HC Deb 10 June 1890 vol 345 cc527-79

Order for Committee read.

(6.11.) MR. SPEAKER

The first (Lord R. Churchill's) Instruction is in order. The second is too vague, nor can the Committee be asked in such very general terms to lay down principles on which licences are to be extinguished. That part referring to maximum value it is already within the power of the Committee to entertain and deal with. With reference to the Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Rotherham, having given my best attention to it, it appears to me that, as a sum has been allocated to the Local Authorities by a previous Bill, now an Act, to be appropriated for purposes to be defined by a Bill in this Session, it will be competent for the Committee to vary the allocation of that sum to another purpose than that specified by the Bill, and for a Member to move that it should be applied, not to extinguishing licences, but to the purposes of technical education. Under these circumstances, it will not be necessary to move the Instruction, as the Committee will have the power to do what the Instruction requires them to do.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1.

(6.14) MR. PICTON (Leicester)

I wish to move to leave out the first words "out of." The Amendment requires explanation, but I can show in a very few words what it means. Its significance has to be brought out by a number of consequential Amendments, the result of adopting which would be that the line indicated to the House just now as possible in the Committee would be adopted, and the application of the allowances arising from. Local Taxation (Customs and Excises) Duties would be somewhat varied. The Committee will best understand my Amendment if I read out the clause in the form it would take if my Amendment, with consequential alterations, were agreed to. The clause would run thus— The English share of the Local Taxation Customs Excise Duties paid to the Local Taxation Account on account of any financial year shall be distributed amongst the several County Funds and carried to the Exchequer Contribution Accounts of these funds respectively and applied to the Local Government Act of 1888 and shall be the subject of an adjustment between the Counties and County Boroughs by the Commissioners under that Act in proportion to the amount contributed by each County and County Borough from Licence Duty. My strong reason for moving this change in the clause is that it will leave the municipalities in the possession of more freedom than they will otherwise possess. The Amendment will not in the slightest degree interfere with, or lessen, the amount which may be applied to police superannuation, which would be dealt with in Clause 4. I do not think it is inconceivable that if the Local Authorities were left free to deal with this money as they like, some of them would occasionally buy up public house premises; but they would buy up without laying down such a prejudicial principle as that which is involved in other parts of the Bill, notably in Sub-section 1 of Clause 1. They would buy them up because, probably, they could make a better use of the around on which they stood, and there would be no generally admitted claim to compensate on the part of licence holders. Therefore, the adoption of the Amendment would not necessarily interfere with the object that the Government say they have in view, namely, the provision of facilities for lessening the number of public houses. The strongest argument that I can urge for the Amendment is one which concerns the moral sentiments of a large portion of the population. I earnestly hope the Government will re-consider the matter before they attempt to enforce on the local Representatives of the people of the country a duty or a necessity which all manifestations of opinion show to be bitterly painful to them. In nine cases out of 10, if the Government proposal remains in the Bill, it will not be availed of, and the County Councils will allow the money to remain idle——


The hon. Member must marshal his arguments. His argument is much wider than his Amendment, and affects a question dealt with by subsequent Amendments.

(6.18.) MR. PICTON

I am only now moving to strike out the words "out of," but I have a difficulty in dealing with the matter unless I can show the alteration I desire to bring about in the clause. I will only say the adoption of the Amendment will give the Government an opportunity of conciliating a large number of persons whose moral qualities and public spirit place them among the most estimable members of the community.

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 11, to leave out the words "out of."—{Mr. Picton.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'out of' stand part of the Clause."


The hon. Member, I think, will scarcely expect otherwise than to hear from me that the Government cannot accept the Amendment he has moved, which would have a far reaching effect. The hon. Member asks that the County Councils may have charge of the money given into their hands, and have perfect freedom of action as to the manner in which they shall dispose of it. One of the purposes to which the money is proposed to be applied is the superannuation of the police. The hon. Member says if the Amendment is accepted further Amendments will be moved by which the Authorities will be compelled to devote a portion of the funds to police superannuation, so that with one hand he gives these bodies perfect freedom of action, and with the other proposes that they shall have no freedom of action so far as the superannuation of the police is concerned. I do not think there is much between us with reference to that particular duty of the Local Authorities. The Government think it a right thing that when this money is given over one of the duties imposed on the Local Authorities should be to provide for that which most public men have for years past considered a right and propel purpose. We have the utmost regard for the feelings of those whom the hon. Member has referred to, but we believe the operations of our proposals will be necessarily in the direction which they would desire. Therefore, we are unable to accept the proposal.

(6.21.) The Committee divided: — Ayes 254; Noes 190.—(Div. List, No. 126.)

(6.40.) MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I beg to move the omission of Sub-section 1. Mr. Courtney, I should be justified upon this occasion in moving that you report Progress if I was disposed to take that course. I know it would be characterised as obstructive, but if ever there was a case in which the Committee would be justified in reporting Progress, this is it. We have now arrived at the 10th of June, and we have not yet had laid on the Table of the House the Returns showing the appropriation of the money voted for the purposes of local taxation for the year ending March 31st last. I have asked for this Return over and over again. The First Lord of the Treasury has done his best to fulfil the promise he made, that we should have this information. We are told that the Inland Revenue cannot supply it, and then that the Local Government Board are not in a position to do so. I have had some experience of the Inland Revenue, and I am sure that if the Treasury had intimated that they wanted these figures, the Return would have been forthcoming weeks ago. I am sure that they know to a shilling what was the amount allocated in the year ending 31st of March last, and I am equally certain that the Local Government Board know now how that sum has been allocated. It is a very vital point in dealing with this question, because many of us contend that the appropriation has been unfair, that the boroughs have not received their share as compared with the counties; but our allegation is worth nothing; we require evidence as to how the money has been appropriated. This, however, is not my only ground for demurring to the present proposal. We are asked to vote a considerable sum of money for the purpose of police superannuation. In the discussion on the Second Reading I asked the Government whether, before the Committee stage, they would lay on the Table of the House the Bill they intended to bring in showing how they intended to deal with this question of police supsrannuation? I was told there was every probability that the Bill would be laid on the Table. That Bill has not been laid on the Table, and we are now asked to vote this money without having before us one scrap of information as to how the Government intend to allocate the money. The House has already had experience of the intolerable difficulty of discussing one Bill upon another, and therefore I shall have to apologise to the House if, in the absence of information, I make some blunders. I can only deal with the facts and figures we have before us, and I will endeavour as briefly as possible to show why £150,000 of this money should not be voted for police superannuation. The President of the Local Government Board has assumed that the object of the police superannuation is a most desirable one, on the ground that every prominent Member for many years has been in favour of such a scheme, and that great prominence has been given to the fact that the proposals of the Government include this question. For my own part I quite agree that the police should be superannuated, and if the scheme had been brought forward for the first time I would have been in favour of it. But statements have been made which have very greatly misled the public, statements to the effect that we are now going to establish police superannuation for the first time, and that it is a most desirable thing to put a tax on spirits in order to superannuate the police. But the police have been superannuated for about half a century. I think that there is hardly a county or borough where a superannuation fund does not exist at the present moment. There are enormous numbers of police in receipt of pensions under the Superannuation Fund, and therefore any statements that we are now going to vote money for the purpose of superannuating the police are misleading and inaccurate. You are going to vote money for the purpose of adding to the large grants you have already made to Local Taxation out of Imperial funds, and it is an absolute misnomer to say that this money is going to be devoted to the superannuation of the police. I have already said that the Superannuation Fund has been in existence for the past half century. In 1839, the County Police Force of this country was established. The Act was, however, only an enabling Act, and it was not until 1856 that the establishment of the police was made compulsory. Counties had originally the option of having a Police Force. The experiment was tried for 17 years before it was made compulsory, but mark you, although the establishment of the Police Force was optional in the year 1839, so early as 1840, which is just 50 years ago, this House established a Police Superannuation Fund. In the first place, Parliament required that, for the purposes of the fund, a deduction of 2½ per cent, should be made from the pay of every constable. Secondly, that the stoppagesof constables' pay during sickness, all fines on constables for misconduct, and certain portions of the fines imposed on drunken persons, and so forth, should be appropriated for the same fund; and, lastly, that money arising from the sale of worn or cast-off clothing supplied for the use of the constables should be paid into the fund. At the present time the capital value of the fund is over a million sterling. The Act of 1872 prescribed that any part not exceeding a moiety of the penalty under that Act might, if the Court so directed, be paid to the fund. If that is so in counties, what has been the history so far as the boroughs are concerned? The old Municipal Corporation Act—5th and 6th William IV—enabled boroughs to award compensation to constables for wounds or injuries received in the performance of their duty, or on their being worn out in the service. When the borough police were put upon their proper footing by the 11th and 12th Victoria, the old funds were merged in the new fund, and the boroughs were required to appropriate the same sources of Revenue I have just described to the Superannuation Fund, in addition to a weekly contribution from all ranks of the police, as nearly as might be equal to l-36th part of the pay. The Committee will ask what is the superannuation allowance which a policeman may get. By the Act of 1840, a constable may be recommended for a pension of not more than half pay—a very liberal pension—if he has only served 15 years, and less than 20 years. If a constable has served 20 years and upwards, he is entitled to a pension equal to two-thirds of his pay. If he is under 60 years of age, it is a necessary condition that he should produce a certificate of incapacity to discharge his duties. In one case alone, the whole pay may be awarded, namely, in a case where the constable has received injuries in the actual execution of his duties, which incapacitate him from work. The question came before various Home Secretaries as to the extent to which this superannuation scheme was being carried out. The hon. Baronet the Member for one of the Divisions of Essex (Sir H. Selwin-Ibbetson) brought the question again and again under the notice of Parliament, and, in 1875, a Committee was appointed to inquire into the subject. Amongst other witnesses, the Committee called Dr. Farre, the eminent statistician, to speak as to the condition of the fund at that time. In 1877, another Committee was appointed, and it came to the conclusion that, under the circumstances, and having regard to the conditions of police constables, it was not a wise or a proper policy to throw the men back simply upon such arrangements as they themselves might make for provision for old age; the Committee thought it to the interest of the State that there should be a proper Police Superannuation Fund kept on foot. The men complained then, as I suppose they complain to-day, of the fixed age of 60, as imposing hardly on those men who joined the Force when young. A great deal of evidence was submitted to the Committee on that question. The evidence was taken of Members of the Watch Committees of some of the most important towns and cities, and also of various chief constables. All the witnesses concurred that after 25 years' good service a constable had practically given all his best years and energies to the Force. I believe that was the opinion arrived at by my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt), who was at the Home Office for several years, and who thoroughly investigated the case in reference to the Metropolitan Police. But let me come to the question of what was the then state of the Fund, because I apprehend that the Government will endeavour to justify their present situation on the ground that the fund is not sufficient for the payment of pensions. The Council which provided that the fund should be established also provided that any deficiency should be made up out of the rates, and, therefore, so far as the policemen are concerned, the Superannuation Fund was complete; whatever deficiency there may be is entirely a question of the rates. Dr. Farre proposed, in the first instance, to deal with all the counties by themselves, and with all the boroughs by themselves. Taking the counties first, he showed that, in order to ensure the payment of pension, the annual contributions to the fund should be £59,000, while, as a matter of fact, the contributions in 1876 were only £38,852. Thus, according to Dr. Farre, there was in the counties an annual deficiency of £20,000, which had to be made up out of the rates if the proper system were adopted. But he says the Borough Superannuation Funds, considered in like manner, showed a surplus of £88,000 annually. Therefore, you have on the figures this state of things displayed, that the counties did not contribute what they ought to have contributed to make the fund solvent, and that the boroughs had con- tributed largely in excess of the necessary amount. The House will see the force of the reason for which I press for further information, and that I am justified in my contention, which was maintained in 1888, that the boroughs are treated unfairly, and that a great advantage is given to the counties. The Committee had all the figures before them, and two schemes were proposed, what may be called a "rate" scheme and an "amalgamation" scheme. Under the rate scheme the fund system was to be abandoned, and, instead of a fund, pensions were to be charged upon the rates, each police area providing for itself. I am not going to argue this scheme, but there is great simplicity about the proposal that pensions to the police should form an item in the annual charge for the cost of the police, just as pay and clothing. Then there was the amalgamation scheme, the retention of the Superannuation Fund, enlarged by contributions from other sources, an amalgamation of the funds of a county apportioned according to districts, and upon the lines of this scheme the present system it appears to me is to run. This, however, is matter of pure speculation, because the present scheme is hidden from us. The Committee found that the starting of such a fund would require adjustment of a special and elaborate character, because in some places the fund was in excess of requirements, and in other cases it was almost exhausted, exactly the state of things we find to-day. The upshot was that the Committee, after going through a variety of reasons, with which I need not trouble the House, came to the opinion that the amalgamation scheme was impracticable, and then they considered the rate scheme with favour. They thought there were some objections to it, one being that possibly the police might not be so zealous in enforcing penalties when these went to the rates instead of to the Superannuation Fund; but in a carefully considered and statesmanlike manner the Committee of 1877 presented their Report, the general upshot of which was in favour of securing the police pensions upon the district rates directly, and against a general amalgamation scheme, which they regarded as impracticable. The effect of the evidence given before the Committee showed that whereas the annual contributions to the Police Superannuation Fund by the counties was too low, that of the boroughs was too high. The House will remember that from 1877 to 1880 Parliament was far more busy attending to European affairs than upon such matters as police superannuation, and no action was taken until 1882, when, my right hon. Friend (Sir W. Harcourt) being Home Secretary, a Bill was brought in carrying out the recommendations of the Committee of 1877, so far as they were approved by the then Government. My right hon. Friend then, in introducing the Bill, admitted the great dissatisfaction that existed as to the uncertainty of pensions, a constable entering at 21 not being able to obtain a pension until he reached the age of 60, unless previously receiving a certificate of in competency, and a term of 25 years service was provided in the Bill. Provision was also made for the widow of a constable killed in the discharge of his duty, and an allowance provided for each of his children under 15. There were many other administrative details, but the Bill did not carry out the recommendations of the Committee in regard to making superannuations a charge upon the rates; it provided various means for strengthening the fund and placing it in a solvent condition. The Bill of 1882 was met with legitimate opposition— such as is called obstruction now—from a small number of County Members, and the Bill did not pass. Other Bills were introduced in 1883 and 1884, and I myself had the honour of introducing another in 1886. It must, however, be borne in mind that all those Bills dealt with the administration of the fund, and did not propose to provide subscriptions from the Imperial funds in aid of the local rates. Now, I must trouble the House with a few figures to show how the pension funds stand to-day in boroughs and counties; figures relating exclusively to England and Wales, and, for convenience, I separate the City and Metropolitan Police from the others, as they stand upon a totally different footing, and are under wholly different conditions. The Home Secretary has laid on the Table an interesting Return as to the condition of the funds; and the Return shows that the Metropolis presents a remark able contrast to the counties and boroughs. In England and Wales the total strength of the Police Force, including Chief Constables and Inspectors, is 37,735 men, of whom 11,826 are in the counties, 10,778 in the boroughs, and 15,131 in the Metropolis, including the City. The large proportion of 7,698 men are receiving pensions from the fund; and of these 2,105 are in the counties, 1,302 in the boroughs, and 4,283 in the Metropolis. Last year there was paid in pensions, £371,870—£96,673 in the counties, £65,114 in the boroughs, and the large proportion of £210,000 in the Metropolis. The deficiency to be provided out of the rates was £182,460; and of this the counties had to raise £28,576, the boroughs £4,297, and the Metropolis £149,000. The Capital Fund available at the end of the year was £1,208,722; and of that £588,529 belonged to the counties, £614,677 to the boroughs, and £5,415 to London. The counties with no fund at all are Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Sussex, Worcester, and Denbigh. In nearly all the cases where there is a deficiency to be met out of the rates, no Capital Fund has been established. In the other cases there is a Capital Fund; and it is fair to argue that if public money is to be voted now there must, in equity, be an adjustment as between those who have done their duty and those who have left it undone. As regards the boroughs generally, their Police Superannuation Funds are in a thoroughly sound and solvent state, and they are sufficient to meet the claims that are made upon them. The same is true of most of the counties. I wish to call the attention of Members for the Metropolis to the state of the Metropolitan Police Fund. I do this with considerable diffidence, for I feel there are many Members much better able to deal with this part of the question than I am. But I want to call the attention of Metropolitan Members to this, in common with the remarkable subvention now proposed. What is the state of the Metropolitan Police Fund, as shown in the accounts for the year ending March 31st of this year? Although the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police has not the means and appliances of the Inland Revenue or the Local Government Board, he has his statement ready up to that date. I find that last year the Metropolitan Police received from the Local Taxation Account £584,000, and from the rates £731,000. I want my hon. Friends to mark these figures, for they give a clear indication, in my opinion, as to where this sum of £150,000 is going. The other sources of Revenue bring the total up to £1,500,000. Out of this fund, £149,000 is paid for retired allowances, so that the Metropolitan Police Fund pays its way. There is another point. After having paid off all the charges I have mentioned there was in hand at the end of the year £186,000. Therefore, the fund is perfectly solvent Parliament is now asked to put into the hands of the Receiver £150,000 more, though it is impossible for any Administration to grant pensions on a more liberal scale than is done by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby. That £150,000 means an increase in the Metropolitan Police without the control of Parliament. I protest against the granting of this money for the imaginary purpose of creating a fund which has in reality existed for 50 years, and against which the only complaint brought is that of defective administration.

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 14, to leave out Sub-section 1.—(Mr. Henry H. Fowler.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section (1) stand part of the Clause."


I do not propose to follow the right hon. Gentleman through the figures he has given, but I will touch only those points which seem material to the clause. With the general outline drawn by the right hon. Gentleman I have nothing to quarrel. It appears to me that the right hon. Gentleman has not laid sufficient stress upon the recommendation of the Committee of 1877, which formed the turning-point in the action of successive Secretaries of State from that time. That Committee was appointed in consequence of the numerous, complaints received, especially from the Provincial Forces, with reference to superannuation. The grievance was that, although there was a Superannuation Fund, it was not spent as it ought I to be but the Authorities acted, as it was alleged—and I wish hon. Members to understand that I do not identify my- self with that complaint—in a capricious and arbitrary manner. It was a frequent complaint that while a pension was withheld from one man it was granted to another who was in favour with the Authorities, and this uncertain and precarious state of things constituted a grievance. The right hon. Gentleman has actually taken credit to the boroughs for having smaller pension lists in relation to the number of their Forces than the counties; yet it was that very fact which led to the complaints and to the legislation for which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby is so distinguished. Dr. Farre made extensive calculations, occupying nearly two years, to find out what became of 100,000 of the police entering and leaving the Force from all causes. He found that in the Metropolis 13,800 men had pensions: in the counties only 12,000; and in the boroughs, only 7,900. The proportion at the time was in the Metropolis, 14 pensions per 100 men; in the counties, 12 pensions per 100 men; and in the boroughs, less than eight p3r 100 men; and it was this marked disproportion which gave rise to the complaints. The Provincial Authorities dismissed their men without pensions, and caused the disproportion into which the Committee inquired. All early statutes left the granting of pensions optional, but for a good many years it has been the duty by law of every Local Authority to form a Superannuation Fund, and the deductions which have been made from the pay of the men ought to have accumulated, yet hon. Members will find, on reference to a Return recently made to this House that in the case of 35 boroughs in which a Superannuation Fund ought to exist no single man is receiving a pension. These are startling facts. Deductions from the pay of the police have been made for years. I hope that those deductions have been invested, and are in existence now. It must be remembered, too, that these are not new boroughs. They have been in existence many years. The boroughs, and, in a less degree, the counties, have not made for their Police Force so large a provision as Parliament wished them to make. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has brought forward successive Bills giving policemen a right to a pension, and depriving the Local Authorities of their right to decide whether pensions, should be granted or not. All those Bills aimed at this, to correct the fault of both boroughs and counties in having given too little money to the pension charge. The object of those Bills was to enable a policeman to know what his pension will be under given circumstances. That is what has been done in the Metropolis, where it has resulted in the number of pensions that the right hon. Gentleman has adverted to. Our Bill will be largely based upon the lines of the Bills brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, though I have made some alterations in matters of detail. The effect of a Bill based on these Bills would be to increase the number of pensioners in the counties, and still more in the boroughs; and, consequently, there will be thrown on the Superannuation Funds considerable extra burdens, and, therefore, we think it necessary to make this provision to meet them. The right hon. Gentleman opposite says that the funds, especially in the case of the Metropolitan Force, are already sufficient for the purpose. On that point I take distinct issue.


It comes out of the rates.


Very often it is the case that a policeman earns his pension when he has been in the Force from 15 to 25 years, and does the right hon. Gentleman contend that the ratepayer of today is to bear the whole burden of the pension earned during the 15 previous years? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that that is a satisfactory method of adjusting the pension charges?


That is what the Select Committee recommends.


Yes, I am sorry to say they do. But they also recommend that the contribution from year to year should be changed into a terminable annuity.


No; the recommendation is that the existing fund should be changed into terminable annuities.


Well, that may be so, but it is not worth while discussing that question. It seems to me you are imposing on the ratepayers, the day the pension is granted, a most unreasonable burden, unless you ensure that they receive some aid from the ratepayers of the years in which the pension is earned. Remember that the funds were not sufficient in 1877, any excess which might then have existed being due to the facts that the boroughs had an unusually small number of pensioners. I have taken the trouble, however, to get out the figures of the income from all sources of the Superannuation Fund in the years 1874, 1883, and 1888. I find that in the case of the counties the income in 1874was£55,834; in 1883 £64,762; and in 1888 £67,240. In the boroughs it was in 1874 £52,000, and in 1883 and 1888 £52,000. The payments in the counties have grown from £30,000 in 1874 to £100,000 in 1888; and in the boroughs from £27,000 in 1874 to £58,000 in 1888. You consequently now have a deficiency of nearly £33,000 in the counties, and of £5,495 in the boroughs. Nobody, looking at the state of the Superannuation Funds throughout the country, can say that they are now in a satisfactory condition, or that they will be able to meet the demands upon them if the proposal to make the granting of pensions a matter of right instead of discretion passes into law. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton actually had the courage to tell the House that the Metropolitan Fund is solvent.


I never said it was solvent. I simply said that after appropriating £140,000 out of the Superannuation Fund there was still a sum of £180,080 in hand at the end of the year.


I have no doubt there is a balance at the bank, but I think the right hon. Gentleman should have told the House that the Fund has not existed since the year 1856, and successive Secretaries of State have found themselves obliged to fall back on the current rates, The total expenditure is £193,000 a year and the income from odd sources £55,000 a year, so that the deficit of £139,000 a year has to be met out of the Police Fund generally. Clearly, then, the Metropolitan Police Fund is in need of a subvention. To overtake the annual expenditure which now falls on the Fund in respect of superannuation would need the investment of a sum of £6,000,000, and surely this one fact justifies us in pro- viding a nest egg. In fact, all these funds are more or less in a state of insolvency. I do not think it is necessary I should detain the House. I may say that we do not propose to make any difference in the treatment of boroughs and counties, compared one with another, in proportion to their solvency. It does not seem right that a Government subvention of this sort should depend in its distribution upon what I may call the misconduct of the Local Authorities in failing to provide a sufficient Superannuation Fund, and I think it only reasonable that where these subventions are given the localities should assist in bearing the burdens.

(8.31.) MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

I think we must congratulate ourselves upon the very able manner in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton has laid this question before the House. I think he has given rise to a Debate of extreme interest and importance. As the right hon. Gentleman has well said the Metropolis stands in a different position to the other parts of the country, and the Metropolitan Members admit at once that the attitude they take up is because of that difference in the position of the Metropolis. There are facts connected with the control of the Metropolitan Police, which do not exist in other parts of the country, and we have to look at the proposals of the Government from that standpoint. Having listened to the speech of the Home Secretary, I must say I fail to see in what way the members of the Force will receive direct benefit from his Proposal. I admit at once that there is a huge deficit in the Police Superannuation Fund, the amount being £145,000, or it is near enough to say £140,000. Now, that deficit at the present time comes out of the General Revenue. I want to know whether that deficit will be wiped away when this £150,000 is obtained. What I want to know is this. Supposing the £150,000 takes the place of the £145,000, where does the right hon. Gentleman get his money from to defray the cost of the extra 1,000 police he is going to appoint? Early this Session I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether it was true that an increase of the Police Force was taking place, and he answered that he was adding to the Force at the rate of 100 a month until the total of 1,000 had been reached, and he added, in answer to a further question which I put to him whether he was going to rely upon the present funds at the disposal of Scotland Yard, that it might be found necessary to make an appeal to this House for extra money. At that time we supposed that the House would have to be appealed to for further statutory powers. The present 9d. rate, I find, is almost entirely consumed by the present expenditure on the police, and I cannot see, throughout the Returns just issued, where the right hon. Gentleman gets the money to meet the cost of the extra 1,000 police. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton that there is little doubt the £150,000 is going to be used in meeting the demand necessitated by the appointment of 1,000 additional police. What position do we take up? We had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would ask for the money by Bill in the ordinary way. He has not done so. We say distinctly that we are not prepared to see any additional burden put upon the back of the Metropolitan Members so long as we have not direct control of the police. Therefore, we are going to vote for the Government because we say that we are willing to take anything for the Metropolis we can get. We have no control over the Metropolitan Police. We have our opinions as to whether the force is managed economically; and it will be in the recollection of the House that my hon. Friend the Member for Hoxton laid the whole business plainly before the House last Session, and showed that the present state of the Metropolitan Force, financially, is very unfortunate indeed. We have the whole of the 9d. rate swallowed up; we have no control over the manner in which that rate is spent. By the Returns I find that provincial towns are much better placed than the Metropolis in respect of their police and the cost to the ratepayers. When you hear the Metropolitan Police talked about, you feel they are a force coming within the area of the London County Council; but the fact is, that within their jurisdiction are two municipal boroughs—West Ham and Croydon—one on the east and the other on the south. A great part of Surrey is policed by the London County Council and the Justices of the Peace under the Local Government Act of 1888, while there is a large section just bordering the London County Council which is under the control of the Metropolitan Police. Another matter of importance is, that we have to' furnish men from the Metropolitan! Police to do a large amount of public work, and, while I am aware that payment is made for those services, I am convinced that the allowances do not cover the extra cost which the Metropolis is put to with regard to the supply of police for public purposes. I quite agree that the Government must have at, its service men for particular duties, in addition to the men required at Pembroke Docks and other places. The Government cannot get rid of the whole difficulty of the management and control of the police by simply granting this£150,000. We have two objects in view, the first of which is to see that the-necessary funds shall be forthcoming to-enable the police constables and the-officers of the Metropolitan Police Force to be placed in a better position than at present for the performance of the duty they have to discharge. And here I wish it to be understood that we have no complaint to make against the endeavours of those who desire to put the force on such a substantial basis as we think they are entitled to. But, on the other hand, we say that so long as the; Central Government make exceptions in the case of the Metropolitan Police, and say that they are not to have the same rights of citizenship as were similarly circumstanced in the large provincial-towns, and that the ratepayers are not to have the same control over the police as is exercised elsewhere, because they are not to be trusted in the same way as other citizens, the responsibility of finding the necessary means for the maintenance of that force rests entirely with you, the Government. We say that the present 9d. rate is a heavy burden upon the inhabitants of the Metropolis, a burden too heavy for them to be called upon to bear, and we are determined not to allow any increase on that impost. It is for these reasons that we intend to vote with the Government, and we should do the same with regard to any other Government making a similar proposal with reference 4o this question.

(8.17.) SIR R. LETHBRIDGE (Kensington, N.)

It seems to me that the Metropolitan Members ought to take some notice of the Challenge thrown down by the hon. Member and responded to in a very half-hearted manner by Members on the other side of the House, and particularly by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I trust that the ratepayers of the Metropolis, and those who are interested in the police administration of this great City, will take notice of the objection of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton to the proposals of Her Majesty's Government, the object of which is to put the position of the Metropolitan Police upon a more substantial basis. The right hon. Gentleman has asked what advantage the Members of that force will derive from those proposals, but it is abundantly apparent that those proposals will make the superannuation of the police a matter of right and no longer a matter of discretion; while, at the same time, they will relieve the Metropolitan Police Fund from the objection that the burden, as it exists at the present moment, is almost too heavy to be borne. The right hon. Member opposite took objection to the action of his Colleague the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby in having established the salaries of the Metropolitan Police on a somewhat lavish scale. ["No, no!"] At any rate, the hon. Gentleman said the Member for Derby had left his stamp on the police pensions of the Metropolis, and that they were on a somewhat lavish scale; but if the Committee were to follow the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, they would leave this system of lavish expenditure, for which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby is responsible, to be met by the oppressed ratepayers of the Metropolis. It is a significant fact that when a Metropolitan Member rises on the other side of the House to address this Committee, he practically repudiates all the recommendations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, and says he intends to vote on this question with Her Majesty's Government. So, I think, should all Metropolitan Members; and I hope that the electors of the Metropolis will take note of the fact.

(8.24.) COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)

Bearing in mind the consideration that the large proportion of the money intended to be used for the purpose now under discussion is to be taken from the extravagant duty to be laid upon Irish whisky, I think it the duty of the Irish Members to object to the financial proposition which is here involved. The system is an exceedingly bad one and most unjust to the next House of Commons.


The hon. Member is not entitled to enter into a criticism of the financial propositions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the question now before the House, which simply has regard to a proposal for superannuation allowances for the police of the Metropolis.


Of course, I bow to your ruling. And I would say that if you are to give a Local Authority the sum of £300,000, you ought not to tie the hands of that authority with respect to the purposes for which the money is to be applied. If you do that, you are simply giving the money with one hand and tying up the method (£ its expenditure with the other. And, if you give a sum like this to the County Councils of England, and tell them they are to spend it for certain specific purposes, no future House of Commons will be able to remedy whatever inconveniences may arise from your action, and hereafter the House of Commons will be in the absurd position of having to vote money to these bodies, who will not be able to apply it for the purposes they may desire, but will be compelled to devote it for the purposes set forth by a Parliament elected in 1886. Now, Sir, the sum of money which is to be derived from the increased duty on Irish whisky——


Order, order! The hon. Member is disregarding my ruling.


I am sorry you find it necessary to stop me, but probably I may be enabled in some later phase of the question to make the observations I desire to put before the Committee. I must, however, say that I think the proposed distribution of the money is most unfair, and that the present proposal will form an exceedingly bad precedent. At any rate, I regard it as a most dangerous innovation as far as Ireland is concerned, and I cannot help regarding the Bill with extreme suspicion. I hope the Committee will reject this clause, and that, if they do not, certain portions of the Bill will receive the most thorough examination, because I believe when the measure is thoroughly examined it will be found to be a Bill for the bribing of electors and a Bill to tie the hands of County Councils in the disposal of the funds. (8.31.)

(9.1.) Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,

(9.3.) MR. WADDY (Lincolnshire, Brigg)

It would be out of order to discuss the way in which this money has been provided. The question is, what we are to do with the money that has been found for us. I object, in common with my right hon. Friend (Mr. H. H. Fowler), who spoke with such force and clearness a short time ago, to such application of the funds as is proposed in the clause now under consideration. I object very strongly to the system under which you provide for local wants by means of Imperial taxation. I believe it is a mode of doing business which leads to very great and grave scandals, and which is opposed to every sound principle. I do not hesitate to say that one reason I have for objecting to this proposal is that if you once give for the purpose and in the form mentioned in the clause, it would be very difficult if not almost unjust, to withdraw, and, inasmuch as the Act on which this is founded has been passed, and as this Act will be passed, in spite of anything that can be said or done, by what I may almost call main force, it will be exactly on a level with several other enactments of this Parliament, which another Parliament will feel itself quite at liberty calmly to repeal. If once the money is partly expended, it will be very difficult to stop its further expenditure. Another objection to the sub-section is that it is another instance of a distinction drawn between the three Kingdoms with regard to the application of Imperial funds. This, again, I take to be an exceedingly dangerous and obnoxious principle. The Bill proposes to devote the money in England to superannuation, to the extinction of licences, and to some other purposes. In Scotland it is to go towards police superannuation, the extinction of licences, and educational purposes; whilst in Ireland it will go towards the extinction of licences and educational purposes. I apprehend that, with regard to this Imperial taxation, the principle to be applied to the one nation ought to be applied to the other.


In Ireland there is a Superannuation Fund.


So have we a Superannuation Fund.


Not an Imperial Fund.


I am quite prepared to say that I intend subsequently to propose that the whole of the sum should be taken for education. That will get rid entirely of the difficulty. I object most strongly to the present proposal, because it will render more difficult the revision or repeal of this, and many other Statutes passed, as we think, unfairly, by a House of Commons which does not represent the opinion of the country.

(9.11.) MR. T. H. BOLTON (St. Pancras, N.)

I am not at present very much concerned with the elaborate figures brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler). They show that there has been considerable mismanagement with reference to the Superannuation Fund of the police; but if they go to prove anything, I think they go to prove the necessity of the proposals of the Government with reference to this matter. I do not know what stronger arguments could have been adduced in support of the re-consideration of the superannuation arrangements. I hope this money will be distributed fairly with reference to those boroughs-which have made provision for the superannuation of their police, and that an attempt will be made to place the superannuation of the police in the other boroughs and counties and in the Metropolis on a satisfactory footing. I believe the police discharge their very necessary duties with great forbearance, and to the great satisfaction of the public. There may be individual cases in which we have had to complain of the police; but, on the whole, I believe there is a general feeling of satisfaction with the way in which the police—the Metropolitan and City Police especially— perform their duties. I think they have a real grievance in connection with their Superannuation Funds, and I would advocate a more generous treatment of our police than they have hitherto experienced, not only in connection with their superannuation but also their pay. I cannot help thinking they have grievances in connection with the Superannuation Fund, and I believe this grant in aid of the Superannuation Fund of the Metropolitan Police will enable the superannuation of the Metropolitan Police especially to be placed on a satisfactory footing. If this were done, I believe it would render them a more contented and useful force, and that it would receive the support of the public. I am told the money would go not to benefit the police, but to relieve the ratepayers. That is one way of putting the matter, but, if so, I do not object, for unless this subvention be granted to the Superannuation Fund of the Metropolitan Police, there will be an appeal to Parliament to increase the police rate throughout London, not only for superannuation, but also in order to provide the additional number of police which it has been resolved to add to the Metropolitan Police Force. In any case, this grant will lighten the burdens of the ratepayers of London. I am not terrified by the suggestion that a large portion of the fund will go to the relief of the ratepayers of London. There is no class of persons in this country who are more entitled to consideration in connection with the adjustment of local burdens than the ratepayers of London. The rates of London are very heavy indeed, amounting in some cases to as much as 6s. in the £1; while in a district just outside London, but within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police, they are from 10s. to 11s. in the £1. Under these circumstances, I do not think there need be, on the part of the Metropolitan Members, any great anxiety with reference to a proposal which will very considerably relieve the already over-burdened ratepayers of London. The right hon. Gentleman has expressed very great anxiety with reference to the subvention of rates. I think he rather exaggerates the matter. It has become a sort of text for argument to talk about the impolicy and impropriety of subventions and to jump at the conclusion that subventions in aid of the rates are always wrong. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman it would be much more satisfactory if there could be a re-adjustment as between local rating and Imperial taxation; but until that happy time arrives, I am not terrified at the grants made from time to time in relief of local taxation. I believe that on a readjustment it would be found that local taxation has not received more than it would have received if it had had allotted to it those resources which local taxation has a right to look forward to. With reference to the Metropolitan Police, it must be borne in mind that this force discharges duties that are not peculiar to the Metropolis. The London Police discharge many duties which entitle them to consideration from the Imperial Authorities and Imperial Exchequer. They are under the control of, and responsible to, this House. Surely, therefore, it is quite within the province of this House out of Imperial resources to provide for reasonable requirements of the police in connection with their superannuation. I am here as a London Member to look at this matter in the interest of the people of London. I make this frank and candid confession to the House. I believe the people of London will be very well satisfied with the proposal of the Government to assist the Superannuation Fund of the Metropolitan Police, and I do not think the people of other parts of the country need display any great opposition to it when they consider the Imperial character of the Metropolitan Police and the duties they discharge in the capital of the Empire. It may not be altogether satisfactory to some men who, like myself, are Radicals and Party men, to have to express satisfaction at any proposal of a Conservative Government; but justice and fairness compel me to support the present proposal, and I believe that I and others will succeed in inducing the rest of the Liberal Members for London to support this proposition.

(9.25.) SIR W. BARTTELOT (Sussex, N. W.)

I was delighted to hear the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. T. H. Bolton), because it shows that he, at any rate, considers this question to be far above Party. I venture to say that these proposals are reasonable and just. The police have been promised for many years that they should have a Superannuation Bill. I do not wish to say anything that may offend right hon. Gentlemen opposite; but I may say they that had an opportunity, and they state that they did bring forward certain Bills with regard to the police; but I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler) whether, with any heart and with any soul, they ever proposed to press the Bills through the House of Commons. It has been said their Bills met with opposition from Members who now sit upon the Government side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that we opposed those Bills because we believed that a forces which was of universal benefit to the whole country should be supported, at any rate to a considerable extent, with regard to its superannuation by Imperial funds. I have had very considerable experience of police matters, as the Chairman for many years of Police Committees, and I assert that one of the greatest difficulties which has always arisen with regard to the superannuation of the police is that there is no definite and guiding principle upon which the fund should be conducted. When the Act which enabled us to have a Superannuation Fund was passed, it was stated that only in case of necessity the rates of the country should be called upon to pay towards the fund. Inasmuch as there were certain amounts which were paid annually into the fund, it was considered for many years that there would be no call upon the rates, but when the call did begin to be made on the rates it was made exceedingly heavily, and those counties which had not prepared for that day found out to their cost they had to come on the rates to a very large extent. We find that three things have happened. Some counties have been wise and prudent enough to provide out of the rates from the first a certain amount of money to be added to the 2½ per cent, which the police contributed, and to the other funds the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton enumerated; there were other counties which did not do that, but which contributed a small amount from the rates, and then, when the time of pressure came, continually had to pay out small amounts; and there were other counties which provided nothing at all, and which eventually found the fund was entirely exhausted. The Home Secretary has said that there were certain boroughs which did nothing but take the money the police subscribed, and give no pensions at all. The police, therefore, have in some cases, just cause of complaint. I believe that in several counties there were vast differences of opinion as to what the superannuation should be, and what I have asked for years past is that the Government should bring in a Bill which should contribute a fair quota towards the Superannuation Fund, and lay down, within certain limits, what the superannuation should be. You cannot, in this matter of superannuation, treat the London police like ordinary rural police. There must be elasticity in superannuation. A man who is liable to be knocked about at night is in a totally different position from the man who has practically only routine work to do from one year's end to the other. The man in the country can go on for very many years, whereas in London a man will probably be worked out in 25 years. There must be elasticity of treatment between a maximum and a minimum pension. I have seen and known cases in the country where a man has been able to carry on business and do hard work, and earn considerable sums of money, while very many of the ratepayers who were paying for his superannuation were in straitened circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. H. Fowler) has said that he is against Imperial funds being devoted to this purpose; but we have heard from several hon. Members opposite representing London constituencies that they do not object to a contribution from Imperial funds. The hon. Member for St. Pancras and the hon. Member for Finsbury say how severely the Metropolitan ratepayers are pressed, and these hon. Members expressed an opinion that the Government proposal is just and fair.

MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, East)

I did not say that; I simply accepted the proposal, seeing that we are not allowed to have control of the police.


That is a totally different question. I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that the ratepayers of London ought to have something from Imperial funds, and, therefore, he supported this proposal. I daresay the hon. Member and his friends would like to have control of the police, but that is a question we have not to discuss now, and I will only say there are two sides to that question, and the hon. Member will find, when it comes on for discussion, that such a proposition will not be easily carried. The other night, on the Tithes Bill, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. H. Fowler) expressed sympathy with the agricultural interest; but now I do not think he gives the consideration to that interest it ought to receive. I think that the proposal of the Government is one which will commend itself to the whole country. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman is not able to lay on the Table the Bill with regard to superannuation, because if we had that Bill the whole of this discussion would probably be considered out of order. I hope that the Government will pass that Bill in the interests of the police, a body of men whose interests well deserve consideration from the House.

(9.37.) MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)

The hon. Baronet began by assuring the House that the Government proposal is just and reasonable, but he concluded with a hope that that proposal will be produced. I should have thought it would have been more prudent to reserve opinion until the proposal is before us. Surely it is most inexpedient and a most undesirable policy that we should be called upon to vote the taxation of our constituents while being utterly unable to tell them what the adjustment of that taxation will be. I confess, although I listened carefully to the statement from the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I could not tell my constituents what the probable effect of this Bill would be upon them. But we have had a very remarkable light thrown upon the hopes of hon. Members by the speeches delivered by the hon. Baronet (Sir Walter Barttelot), and by some of our Radical colleagues on this side. Most ingenious if not convincing statements have been made. The hon. Baronet says the agricultural interest is extremely depressed, and this we all acknowledge and deplore. But upon that the hon. Member founds a claim for additional taxation for the relief of the counties. But, I suppose, in every constituency there are industries depressed equally with the agricultural interest, and ratepayers have a hard struggle for existence. Yet we are apparently to vote a large sum from Imperial taxation, which is welcomed by the Representatives of the agricultural interest and by Metropolitan Members as being a relief to them provided by other taxpayers whose interests are of less importance. This proposal is, that of £300,000 to be raised by taxation of all the population, half is to go to the relief of the rates of London —that is, to the relief of 5,000,000 of ratepayers, whose proper share would be a fifth. We are told it is right and proper to do this, and that this Committee is the Watch Committee of London, but I think it is the worst Watch Committee that could be devised. It has been frankly stated that there is a great deal of waste in the management of the police, and that this is a device for increasing the number of police in the Metropolis; but the hon. Members representing London constituencies welcome it because at present they have no control over the police. Our people are to pay for their own police and for a large share of the cost of the London police, though the management is wasteful and non-effective. These speeches ought to have weight with borough Members. When the information showing the new departure in this matter is really before us, I believe it will be seen that the boroughs of England are paying a far greater proportion, and are going to be called upon to pay a far greater proportion, than is at all fair or just to the taxpayers in those boroughs. I do think that in common justice we ought to be in a position to put clearly before our constituents information that would set this matter at rest. If we are wrong the sooner our errors are proved the better for us all, but at present all the evidence goes to show that money will be raised by fresh taxation in boroughs, to be expended in the counties and in the Metropolis. I shall with great pleasure follow my right hon. Friend into the Lobby, as a protest against the injustice which will be imposed on borough populations by these proposals.

(9.45.) MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

The main interest of Scotland is in the next clause, but I should be sorry that hon. Members should at this stage be under any false impression as to the view we take on the question of police superannuation, and the sources from which it should be drawn. I am very much in favour of the superannuation of the police; but I am not more in favour of that than I am in favour of the superannuation of workmen, who have to pay for the superannuation of the police. As a matter of abstract justice, it is as reasonable and quite as necessary that the community from whose pockets the funds are drawn should have a superannuation scheme. The only point in which the police differ from other people is in cases where they are injured in the execution of their duty. But, after allowing for that single concession, there is no principle on which the superannuation of the police can be justified any more than the superannuation of other workers My objection depends more on the sources from which the money is to come. The proposal of the Government is to take money from the Imperial Exchequer in aid of local rates. Now a more pernicious principle than that cannot possibly be devised. In the first place, it is inequitable and unjust.


The principle of the Bill cannot be discussed now.

(9.47.) CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)

One thing has been said by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. H. Fowler) and others which is based upon an error. He referred to the failure of establishing a Superannuation Fund as a failure of duty. Now, I submit to the Committee that this is not the result of a failure of duty, but that it has been done with intention and design. I do not want to trouble the Committee with autobiographical details, but I may mention that, when some 14 years ago I became Chairman of Anglesey Quarter Sessions, there was a fund for the superannuation of the police. We were always increasing that fund; we never drew anything but the interest; and if the interest was not enough, it was made up from the rates; but the fund itself kept on increasing. The Magistrates saw that the fund, which kept on increasing, would before long become self-supporting, and there would be no necessity to come upon the rates at all. Thus there would be no check on the pensions of the police. They, therefore, thought it better to draw on the capital of the fund, so that the ratepayers might always have the matter before them, when the fund was exhausted, and they would have to come upon the rates. Then the question arose as to the legality of coming entirely upon the rates, and upon this we took legal opinions, which were about equally balanced. We found that many counties considered it legal, and acted upon that view, and others considered it illegal, and only used the interest of the sum. Well, for the reason that we wished to keep the matter constantly before the ratepayers, we decided to draw on the capital and have as small a fund in hand as possible. That was done intentionally and of design, and I submit that we ought not to be accused of a failure of duty. We conscientiously believed it to be oar duty to the ratepayers that they might have the question of pensions always clearly before them.

(9.50.) SIR W. HARCOURT (Derby)

My right hon. Friend has dealt with this subject in such a manner that I have very little to add to what he has said. I shall not, I think, be accused of being indifferent to the question of the superannuation of the police. During the time I was in office there was hardly any other subject that more engaged my attention. There is, I think, a great deal of delusion on this subject from which the hon. Baronet the Member for Sussex (Sir W. Barttelot) is not altogether free. The hon. Member was very eloquent and patriotic in praise and in sympathy for the police. Well, we all feel with him in that; but I am bound to say that, whatever this Bill is going to do for the ratepayers, it is going to do uncommonly little for the police. The London Police will get nothing they do not get at present. There is provision in London for the superannuation of the police, and the Government, so far as I know, do not propose to alter that provision. We are discussing this matter at great disadvantage, because we have voted the money, and do not know how it is going to be used. But it is becoming the practice of the Government to get money from Parliament and to decline to say how it is to be expended. It is a new policy, and contrary to all financial principles which have governed the House of Commons hitherto. The sound principle is, before you demand the money, to say what you are going to do with it. From what has been said, I assume that the system of superannuation in the Metropolis is to be maintained. The various Superannuation Bills have gone very much on the principle of applying to the other parts of the country the Metropolitan system. Therefore, this Bill will not give any boon to the Metropolitan Police. The Metropolitan Members take a peculiar view of the subject. I do not complain of any Member trying to get hold of a sum of money for his constituents. I would certainly do it for mine. I am afraid, however, the Metropolitan Members do not understand their own position. Here we have £150,000 to be appropriated; but is it to go to a fund over which the Metropolitan Members will have any control? Not at all. I could understand their voting the money if it were going in relief of their rates; but it is not. The Metropolitan Police rate is fixed at 9d., and the ratepayers will not pay a farthing less if this £150,000 be voted. If this £150,000, on the other hand, went to the County Councils, the Metropolis would get the benefit of the money, and yet you are going to vote against a Motion which would give £150,000 to the County Councils, in order that it may be placed at the disposal of the Home Secretary for the Police Fund. A more extra-ordinany policy from hon. Members who claim to have control of their own police I cannot conceive. They are going to vote for £150,000 being placed to the credit of a fund over which they will have no control, and from which the rates will receive no relief. Hon. Members are judges of their own interests, but, so far as I can understand, it is absolutely contrary to all principles they have ever professed, and to the interest of their constituents in the rates. The money will go to—I will not say it is not a useful object—the assistance of the Police Fund, but it will not assist the rates. I am not speaking in disparagement of the Police Fund; but from the point of view of the ratepayers I am safe in saying that this provision in the Bill will do nothing for the London policeman and nothing for the London ratepayer. That cannot be denied. What, then, is it going to do in the rest of the country? It appears there are some parts of the country that have not made the provision they ought to have made for the superannuation of the police. But the Home Secretary is going to treat the just and the unjust alike, and all districts, whether they have or have not made proper provision for the superannuation of the police, are equally to have a grant out of the Imperial Fund. Here, again, we are in the dark. Of the Metropolitan Police I can speak with confidence. I know what their position is, and, as I understand the Home Secretary, their position will remain practically the same.


The right horn Gentleman must not assume that.


We are entitled to an opinion, at least; and if the Metropolitan Police are to be placed on a different footing in regard to superannuation, why do not the Government tell the Committee what their proposals are? The measure must not go to the country under false pretences. It will not confer on the ratepayers of London any boon at all—it will not relieve the rates a single farthing. I will ask the Government if, when this £120,000 is contributed, there is any intention to lower the 9d. police rate? I should think there will be no diminution of the rate. I appeal again to the Secretary of State if that is his intention. If there is to be no reduction, then I repeat that the grant will be no relief to the London ratepayer. In my opinion, the House will be merely voting the money as an additional subsidy to the general rate. As the Committee do not know what provision is to be made for the police, we cannot discuss the matter; but the President of the Local Government Board, when he follows me, will be in the secret of the Bill which the Government keep up their sleeves. I still assert that the boon is not that which it is represented to be; it is simply an addition to the subsidy to the general rates. In not being able to discuss this matter on equal terms with the Government, we are not placed in a fair position. In my opinion, instead of appropriating this money as the Government propose, it had better be given to the general rates, and handed over to the body who have control over those rates. I have the interest of the police at heart as much as anybody in this House; but I do not think that this proposal is wise in itself, or that it Constitutes the best way of dealing with the money. If the grant is to be made, 8et the County Councils deal with it.

(10.8.) MR. RITCHIE

I make no complaint of the general tone of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, but I venture to say that no one who heard the earlier remarks of the right hon. Gentleman would have supposed that he was not in the secret of the Government's proposals. The right hon. Gentleman laid down two propositions with great confidence and without fear of contradiction—first, that nothing would be done for the London Police; and second, that nothing would be done for the London ratepaper. I cannot quite understand how he was able to make such a definite and distinct assertion unless he had the knowledge, which he said was necessary to enable one to come to a right conclusion. Now, as to his assertion that nothing is to be done for the police as regards superannuation, I would point out that Clause 4 deals much more largely with the question of police; and before the Committee coma to that clause it will be entitled to know the proposals of the Government in regard to the allocation of the money. The right hon. Gentleman must not jump too hastily at the conclusion that nothing is to be done for the London Police in the way of superannuation. Then, as to the London rates the right hon. Gentleman must be aware that the superannuation of the police, even under the existing system, was only attained by making heavy drafts upon the ordinary police rate. There was no Superannuation Fund in London available for superannuation. This state of things could not go on for ever. There must come a time when a demand would have to be made on the London ratepayers for an adequate provision, and the provisions which the Government now propose will prevent the necessity for such a demand, besides putting the superannuation of the Metropolitan Police on a sound and satisfactory footing. The right hon. Gentleman asked why the money was not given to the County Councils as a subsidy in aid of the rates, but that was not the way in which the night hon. Gentleman proceeded in conrection with superannuation. In his Bills the right hon. Gentleman proposed to entail upon the Local Authority heavy obligations with reference to superannuation. The Government asserted that the County Councils throughout the country were led to expect that they would have a certain sum of money given to them in aid of their local rates. That sum was considerably reduced in consequence of a certain Bill, which provided for raising the funds, not being passed. Although the Government did not assent to the proposition which was made at the time that they were responsible for finding the money which the County Councils were naturally led to expect, yet they did recognise the fact that county finance was not upon that basis which they led the County Councils to expect at the time the Local Government Act was passed. The Government now find that money for the County Councils, and they think they are justified in binding the County Councils to apply it towards the superannuation of the police. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton was rather angry with the London Members for being prepared to accept that boon. The right hon. Gentleman said he was angry——


Not angry, but astonished.


Well, then, the right hon. Gentleman said he was astonished at Metropolitan Members allowing that money to go to a fund over which they have no control. Are we to understand that the right hon. Gentleman has receded from the position which it is well known he took up at one time, that the control of the London Police ought to be retained in the Home Office? I am very much surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should appeal to the London Members to reject this boon, because the police are not under the control of the County Council. The Government believe the proposals they are making are necessary if the Superannuation Funds of the police in London and the country are to be put on a satisfactory basis. The right hon. Gentleman passed some rather severe strictures upon the Local Government Board for not having presented to Parliament a Paper giving details of the amounts which have been allocated and contributed to County Councils and boroughs out of the funds appropriated to them. The preparation of the figures required a considerable amount of time, and they have only been received by the Local Government Board from the Inland Revenue a few days ago. Certainly there has been no unnecessary delay at the Local Government Board, and I have no reason to believe that due diligence has not been used on the part of the Inland Revenue. I believe we shall be in a position within the next few days to lay the Paper on the Table of the House. I believe I have shown that the right hon. Gentleman is quite mistaken in saying that our proposal in reference to London will give no relief to the rates or that it will not prove beneficial to the police.

(10.23.) MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

I cannot agree that the Bill is required to put the Superannuation Fund on a proper footing so far as the Metropolis is concerned, although it may be required for that purpose in other parts of the country. I rise, however, to answer the question raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, as to why the Metropolitan Liberal Members are about to vote against the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. We believe that those who control and manage the force should be those who pay it. When you have placed the Metropolitan Police under the control of the ratepayers of the Metropolis, when it is in their power to raise or to refuse to raise a rate that may be required, then we will not come to this House for grants for the police. But this House claims—and has maintained its claim—that the police of the Metropolis shall be managed by the House, and, consequently, the House should be obliged to pay for it. The House has claimed and maintained a right to impose a rate on the London people for the purpose. By Act of Parliament it imposes a unnecessary police rate, and, after the remarks of the Home Secretary, I venture to say that that 9d. will soon be increased to 10d., unless this offer of the Government is accepted. I pro- phesied that this would be the case two years ago if we continued5 the present system, and my words-have been verified. The Government are not acting in a straight way in the manner they are now seeking to avoid that necessity. I think the Metropolitan police rate is already-ridiculously high; it is high in everyway, and it is so because the Government and the Home Secretary insist on levying the rate and administering the proceeds of it. When the rate is administered by the people who have to levy and pay it, depend upon it you will not only get rid of all the unpleasant friction which now arises between the police and the people of the Metropolis, but you will also avoid that continually increasing increase of expenditure. So long as we have no share in the management or control of the police I say that a 9d. rate is too large a police rate to levy, and I can only say, in conclusion, that there is no possible solution of this question than by proving to the House that it must pay for its own experiments. We are determined that so long as this House claims to manage the police so long shall the constituents of this House contribute towards the expense.

(10.28.) MR J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

I think we are carrying on this discussion under most inconvenient circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, in his forcible speech, made a double protest. He condemned the action of the Government in not giving us the Returns necessary to enable us to judge the application of this money, and he protested also against the Superannuation Bill not being in our hands. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board has offered some apology for the non-appearance of the Returns. But I do submit that we are not in a position to discuss this: matter, unless we are able to understand the financial effect of the proposal, so far as our constituencies are concerned. That is a position in which no Member of the House should be placed. Why not postpone this matter, so that we may judge. With regard to the superannuation measure, the Chancellor of the Exchequer threw across the Table of the House the remark to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolver- hampton "You will find that principle in the Bill." It is all very well to tell us that the principle is in the Bill, but we want to find the words in which it is clothed. The Bill, from what has fallen from the Home Secretary, will probably show that there is room for criticism whenever it reaches our hands. It is perfectly impossible to discuss adequately this matter without both the Returns and the Bill in our hands I am quite aware that the Chief Secretary asks us to vote Bills without giving us the evidence on which he founds those Bills, and I am sorry to say that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ritchie) is in this matter somewhat imbued with the same spirit. I feel entirely justified in making the Motion with which I am about to conclude. I am perfectly aware that it may be called obstruction, but I am willing to take all the responsibility attaching to it. For the reasons I have given, Mr. Courtney, I beg to move that you now report Progress.


I think I am justified in refusing to put that Motion.

(11.17.) MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)

I think the House is indebted to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby for placing the issue clearly before the Committee. As I understand, the Amendment proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton really only offers us a choice of evils, and, of the two, I have no hesitation in accepting my right hon. Friend's. I do not think it has been clearly brought to the attention of the Committee that in the Bill, as drawn, the County Council is the residuary legatee of this fund. You have first the super annuation of police to provide for, and next the extinction of licences in England. The 1st sub-section says the residue is to be given to the County Council. If you get rid of one or the other of these two primary purposes, then the whole of the residue goes to the County Council, and I am justified in saying that the London County Council will be the residuary legatee of this fund under the Bill. Under the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, the whole of the residue would go to the local Representatives of the people, to be managed by them for local purposes. What do the Government propose to do with it under Sub-section 1? They do not in the least tell us. They refer us to a Bill which, so far as we are concerned, is not yet in existence. The right hon. Gentleman a few minutes ago, in defending his position, referred us to Clause 4 as affording a complete statement of what is going to be done under this Superannuation Bill. But there is not one single word in Clause 4 which is not in Clause 1, except one, that the rate of the Metropolis is distinctly defined in Clause 4, and it is not in Clause 1. If we are entitled to know under Clause 4 what the Government are going to do, we are equally entitled to know what they are going to do under Clause 1 in respect to this specific grant now being made, according to the proposal of Her Majesty's Government. I cannot compare the demand made by the Government on the Committee to anything else than what the Americans call "a blind boom," which means that people trust their money to a person without knowing how he is going to use it. It is a "blind boom" the right hon. Gentleman is now asking us to sanction. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton offers us the alternative to leave the money to the County Councils, to make use of it for local purposes. I believe my right hon. Friend objects as strongly as I do to the whole policy upon which the clause is founded, but as between the two evils, I have no hesitation in supporting the alternative proposed by my right hon. Friend, and I shall vote in support of the Amendment.

(10.37.) MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnalgreen, S. W.)

Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby dealt somewhat severely with the London Members, and I wish to say a few words in their justification. Now, with the principles laid down by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton I very largely agree and sympathise. But when the right hon. Gentleman complains that the Metropolis is receiving a larger share of this money than that to which it is entitled, he can hardly expect us to follow him. The Government, upon whom rests the responsibility of reconciling opposite and divergent interests, offers to the Metropolis a large subvention, and it is hardly reasonable to expect the Metropolitan Members to refuse it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby raised an issue which was not quite fair. He said that the issue presented to the Metropolitan Members was whether the £150,000 should be paid over to the Receiver of the Metropolitan Police or to the London County Council. That is not at all the issue. The £150,000 is allocated to London for a particular purpose—the superannuation of the police—and there is no reason to suppose that if, as my hon. and learned Friend suggests, the London County Council were to become the residuary legatee, the Government would give the Metropolis so large a share. One word with regard to the ridicule which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby tried to throw upon the London Members. We may be selfish, but we are not so short-sighted, as the right hon. Gentleman represents. What is the case? £150,000 is at present paid over to the Metropolitan Police Superannuation Fund annually out of the general Police Fund. In future that £150,000 is otherwise provided for. It is obvious that one of two parties must receive an advantage by the Police Fund being discharged from that liability—either the ratepayers or the police. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby that the ratepayers are not likely to receive any benefit. I think that the President of the Local Government Board confirms my impression that the Metropolitan police rate will not be reduced. But I shall vote for this proposal, because it is inevitable that the Metropolitan Police must receive large advantages out of this £150,000. I am one of those who believe that the position of the rank and file of the police is unsatisfactory, and that their emoluments and pensions are not such as they have a right to ask. They compare unfavourably with the City Police in that respect. There is already rising in the ranks of the Metropolitan Force an agitation for an improvement in their position, and the Government cannot resist that agitation. I have sometimes been constrained to speak in terms of reprobation of the Authorities of Scotland Yard, but I have always borne my humble tribute to the merits of the rank and file of the Police Force, and I shall be glad if the vote which we give to night results in placing at the disposal of the Receiver of the Metropolitan Police funds, out of which he will have the means of satisfying the reasonable demands of the Force.

(10.44.) MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)

I would point out that though the Metropolitan Members are very important in this case they represent only one-fifth of the population, and surely those who live in other parts of the country should have an opportunity of stating their case. I think it is a miserable matter upon which the Committee of the House of Commons is engaged at the present moment. If a Peabody or a Carnegie had left a sum of money in the hands of the Government there could not have been a greater scramble for it than there is for a share of this fund. In my opinion, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is extending a system which is pernicious in the last degree. We have Bills before us affecting millions of people, yet the precious time of the House is wasted in a scramble for a few hundred thousand pounds among gentlemen representing the Metropolis and the provinces. If our system of taxation were fair and equal it would only be the difference between taking the money out of the right-hand pocket instead of the left. We know the anxiety there is to transfer money from the Imperial Exchequer to purposes of a local character, and, at the same time, we know that the poorer classes pay a very much larger sum to the Imperial Exchequer than is allowed out of it for local purposes. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Sussex (Sir W. Barttelot) has pointed to the case of the agricultural labourer, but he has not stated how the agricultural labourer would be benefited by the allocation of this £300,000; and, in point of fact, the agricultural labourer will be as heavily burdened when this amount is allocated for the purposes proposed as he is at the present moment. After all, it is in reality a mere will-o'-the-wisp that we are now pursuing, and I, for one, must enter my strong protest against the policy which is now being pursued by Her Majesty's Government—the policy of subvention which is so constantly resorted to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On one other point, which is involved in the consideration of this question, I desire to say that we ought not to allow the Government to interfere in any way with the local control over the police of this country; and, if it were only on this ground, I think we ought to draw the line, and protest against this system of Government subvention for local purposes.

(10.50.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 249; Noes 169.—(Div. List, No. 127.)

(11.5.) MR. A. ACLAND (York, W.R., Rotherham)

I beg to move the following Amendment:—Clause 1, page 1, line 16, after "mentioned," insert— (ii.) The sum of £350,000 shall be applied in England for the purposes of agricultural, commercial, and technical instruction, as defined in Clause 8 of 'The Technical Instruction Act, 1889,' and in Wales either for the said purposes or for the purposes defined in Clause 17 of 'The Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889.' We have now reached the sub-section of the Bill round which the principal controversy rages. I am glad that your ruling, Sir, permits us to offer an alternative to the proposition which we call the compensation or endowment of publicans. It may be said that the Instruction which I put down on this subject was obstructive, but I can only say that I had no obstructive intention. I put down the Instruction simply to give the House the choice whether it would give this large sum of money to assist education, which we all believe in, or to assist the publicans, an object which a great many of us do not believe in. Under this Bill we find, as usual, that our friends in Scotland and in Ireland are going to get assistance for education, but not a word is said about it for England. I am not going to make a long educational speech, but I should like to say that an opportunity has now arisen for assisting technical education, in a secondary sense, in a way which has not offered itself for many years. Last year the Government gave us a Technical Instruction Bill, and a Revised Code this year, but unless more is done than has been at present to help intermediate education, a large portion of the money spent on education will have been wasted, and the Technical Education Act of last Session will remain, what, unfortunately, it is at present throughout most of the country, a dead letter. If the Government could see their way—and they would receive every help from this part of the House—to stimulating local contributions under the Technical Education Act, by Imperial contributions, they would soon find a network of technical and secondary schools rising up throughout the country that would do credit to England, and soon put us on a level with other countries. I suppose I shall be asked "Do the County Councils want this money for the compensation of publicans?" and I affirm, without any doubt, that if the County Councils were consulted at this moment, they would prefer to have the money for education rather than have it for the endowment of publicans. I think that one of the blots in the Bill, and in this clause especially, is that the County Councils have never been consulted in this matter. This was never mentioned in the Queen's Speech. The County Councils, which met in May, had no opportunity of discussing the subject, and many of them will not meet again until August, when, I suppose, the Government will have passed the Bill into law. I think that many of the County Councils—I can speak for that to which I belong—will refuse to use this money at all, and I hope we shall find the whole of Wales and the whole of Scotland, as well as the whole of the North of England, refusing to touch this money for the purpose set down in the Bill. But offer it for education, and every County Council in the whole of Great Britain will instantly be willing and glad to help forward education—agricultural, commercial, technical, intermediate—for the benefit of the inhabitants of every county and every town. That is the proposition which I venture to lay before the Committee; that, I say, would most certainly be the verdict on their own proceedings; but the Government have sprung upon us this proposal. They have not consulted the County Councils, and they have laid at their door a duty that they do not want to discharge. I think very often Punch hits off the feeling of this country in matters of this kind very well. Recently it depicted the President of the Local Government Board with the infant publican in his arms and with the bottle of compensation to feed him, and the right hon. Gentleman is supposed to say. "Having brought the infant up, I am going to drop him in somebody's door," and he drops him in the doorway of the County Councils. Well, many of the County Councils will refuse to let him come inside the door. I may be told that this sum is too small to be of use for technical or intermediate education in this country; but I will endeavour to show, from the way we are working the Technical Education Act in Wales, that that is not the case. The Welsh Act may be called a small thing. It may give power to raise a ½d. rate, but I do not hesitate to say, from what I have seen during the past six months, that in a year or two in Wales we shall have a system of secondary education which will set an example to England which she will desire to follow. I have the honour to be the Chairman of one of the County Committees, appointed under this Act, partly by the County Council and partly by the Government, and I am, therefore, familiar with the systematic, thorough, and genuine way in which these Committees are getting to work. What is happening there shows the stimulus which a Government grant gives in these matters,' and I say that the Government might easily, in a very few clauses, draft a scheme for the employment in England of the money dealt with in the Bill on some such operations as are now being carried out in Wales. That would be infinitely bettor than spending the money in raising the price of public houses. The hon. Member for the Bordesley Division (Mr. Jesse Ceilings), and other hon. Members, ask whether something cannot be done for agricultural education. I quite admit that something ought to be done. When it is known what is being done in countries like Denmark and Switzerland for agricultural education, England ought to feel ashamed of herself, and here is her opportunity of freeing herself from the reproach. If hon. Members press their principles this money might be the nucleus of a good system of agricultural and commercial education, and obviate the necessity our farmers and tradesmen are under of sending their children, for certain kinds of instruction, to wretched private adventure schools. To devote it to this use would be far wiser than to adopt the proposal of the Government, which will cause the maximum of friction with the minimum of good. I shall be asked why I refer to the alter- native of the Government. I do so first because I consider that alternative a bad one. We are justified in calling it a scheme of compensation on a basis to be fixed by the publicans themselves. If it be not a scheme for the benefit of the publicans, why do we get letters of this sort, of which I have had several? Dear Sir,—As one of your constituents, having a pecuniary interest in the brewing and licensing trade, may I ask you to give your support to the Customs and Excise Duties Bill? Having got your surplus out of drink, you say you are bound to spend some of it on those who sell drink. That may take in some people in the country, but I do not think it takes in anybody here. We know perfectly well that our taxes are not ear-marked in that way, and that the idea that the money must be spent on drink is simply a fraudulent and ludicrous assumption. As I have already pointed out, you will be involved in an endless muddle if you carry this proposal through. I believe that many of the County Councils will refuse to touch this money. You will then have one part of the country dealing with the question in the manner proposed, and the other parts withholding themselves from the "unclean thing" altogether. I believe my alternative to be one which supplies a genuine and real need to the country. We ask you to give to our young people in the middle classes, and the pick of the artisan class, who are now receiving no training, good technical and modern instruction of a kind very different from that which is offered in many of our old grammar schools at the present time. We know just as well as Members opposite what are the evils and miseries which result from the drink traffic, and we offer alternatives of this kind, not because this happens to be their scheme, but because we believe it to be a vicious scheme, and one which will not remedy the evil against which it is directed. I venture to say there will not be a murmur from any Town Council in any part of Great Britain if my proposal be carried. But I suppose it will not be carried. You are going to force this sub-section through against the will of large masses of people, in a way which is very unusual in this House, and when you have done it, you will find yourself lauded in a precious muddle, and will be extremely sorry you ever made the proposal. If the County Councils use the money there will be great danger of constant disputes among themselves. There will be a danger of jobbery. I suppose you will provide whether County Councillors who are brewers are to have votes in these matters or not. If not, you are going to disfranchise a large number of constituencies, whilst if they are to vote you are going to allow that which is not allowed in the case of Magistrates. I can only say I hope that ever, now, at the eleventh hour, the Government will take advantage of this proposal, and will put an end to one of the most ill-advised propositions ever brought before the House.

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 17, to leave out sub-section (ii.), in order to insert— (ii.) The sum of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds shall be applied in England for the purposes of agricultural, commercial, and technical instruction, as defined in Section eight of 'The Technical Instruction Act, 1889,' and in Wales either for the said purposes or for the purposes defined in Section seventeen of 'The Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889.'"—(Mr. Arthur Acland.)

Question proposed, That the words '(ii.) The sum of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds shall he applied for such extinction of licences in England,' stand part of the Clause.

(11.23.) MR. GOSCHEN

I think it will be more convenient if we discuss the general question of our plan upon the Amendment to leave out the sub-section, to be proposed by another hon. Member.


I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that that is the Motion now made.


I am grateful to you, Sir, for pointing that out to me. Do I understand that when this question is put we shall have disposed of the point that the money be devoted to this particular purpose?


The Question I put is— That the words, 'The sum of £350,000 shall be applied for such extinction of licences in England' stand part of the Clause.


Well, I think it will be better that, for the moment, I should reply to the observations of the hon. Member as regards his alternative scheme, and reserve what I have to say about our own plan. The hon. Member calls his a simple plan. He proposes that £350,000 should be applied to agricultural, technical, and other education, without informing the Committee of a single condition on which the money is to be granted. We are simply asked to vote £350,000 in the air for the general purposes which the hon. Member has indicated. I hope the hon. Member will do the Government the justice of acknowledging that they have shown every disposition to further the cause of education. They have carried a measure for intermediate education in Wales and also the Technical Education Act. Indeed, we are as anxious as the hon. Member himself is for the proper development of education in all its branches. We shall continue to advance in that direction. The hon. Member has used very violent language with regard to the Government proposals. I, however, will use very moderate language with regard to the proposal of the hon. Member. It would be impracticable to carry out the hon. Gentleman's "simple plan" without having some indication of the conditions upon which the money is to be expended. Although we admire the enthusiasm of the hon. Gentleman in the cause, we cannot assent to his proposal. I think, the hon. Member has, in some respects; done scant justice to the immense progress made of late years in the cause of intermediate education. Splendid schools have been formed in many large towns, and in the Metropolis, by voluntary efforts and by the generous assistance of the public, and have been, brought to a high state of efficiency. It will be impossible for the Government to assent to the proposal which the hon. Gentleman has made.

(11.28.) MR. J. MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

Mr. Courtney, on a point of order, I wish to ask you whether the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Brigg Division (Mr. Waddy) will or will not be excluded by the ruling you have given?


If the Committee resolve to retain the words "the sum of £350,000 shall be applied for such extinction of licences in England as here inafter mentioned," it will not be competent for the hon. Member for Brigg to move his Amendment.

(11.29.) SIR W. HARCOURT

I would submit that if my hon. Friend, instead of moving to insert his Amendment after the word "mentioned," would move to insert it after the words "shall be applied," the Question put from the Chair would then read—"The sum of £350,000 shall be applied in England for the purposes," &c. The usual manner of putting an Amendment is to do so in such a form as not to shut out subsequent Amendments. If the question be put from the Chair in the way I have mentioned it will then be open for the hon. Member to make a proposal as to the method of application.


I must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that the words proposed to be left out and the words proposed to be inserted are identical so far as what he refers to—"that the sum of £350,000 shall be applied." It is not proposed by the hon. Member for Brigg, nor by other hon. Members, to strike out those words. The point in dispute arises immediately after the word "applied," and in putting the question that the words "for such extinction of licences" stand part of the clause, I gave an opportunity to the opponents of that application of all kinds to combine against it.

(11.31.) MR. J. MORLEY

Would not the point be met by the alteration of the first line and a half of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Brigg down to the word "England?"


Whether the hon. Member for Brigg or the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. A. Acland), or any other hon. Member proposes an alternative, they all unite in opposing the adoption of the words "extinction of licences."

(11.32.) Mr. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N. E)

May I point out that the proposals of the hon. Member are not necessarily antagonistic to the application of the money for the extinction of licences. I submit that it would not be correct to put the question in the form that the sum applicable to licences is to be left out, but that the proper way is, after the word "applied," to take a Division on the question whether so much is to be applied to technical education. There might then be enough money left for the licences.


I am afraid that is not the case, as a matter of fact. I would point out that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Brigg says "the said sum."

(11.34.) MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)

I should like to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we in Wales acknowledge that we are indebted to the Government for what they have done for Welsh education, but our gratitude would be increased if the Government would adopt the suggestions which have just been made by my hon. Friend. I am certain that the County Councils in Wales will decline to apply this money in the way proposed. The Bill, if it passes, will be a dead letter in Wales, for the feeling of the public is so strong against the proposed scheme of compensation for public houses that they will decline to touch the money for any such purpose. I can, however, assure the right hon. Gentleman that if he accepts the Amendment of my hon. Friend we shall receive the money with the greatest satisfaction, and shall apply it to the cause of education. The people of Wales are very poor people, and even the aid they received in the last Act fell short of what they require to provide a complete scheme of secondary education. I, therefore, heartily support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.

(11.35.) MR. ELLIOTT LEES (Oldham)

The hon. Member who has moved this Amendment proposes to devote a sum of £350,000, to be raised from the tax on drink, to the purposes of intermediate education. It follows that the more drink consumed the better for the intermediate education of the country. It follows also that the father of a large family who wishes to give his children a good education has only to consume as much drink as possible. Allow me, also, to point out that this tax will be raised almost entirely from the working men, and the hon. Member proposes to devote it to founding a system of intermediate education which, will not really affect the children of the working classes, because it is very seldom practicable for the son of a working man to spare sufficient time from work after coming to the age of 13 or 14 to acquire a good intermediate education. Therefore, you will have in England, as you have in America, the complaint made by the masses of the working classes that they are taxed for the education of those who can very well afford to pay for their own education. I believe myself that intemperance does far more harm to the agricultural labourers of this country than the lack of a good education; and I am prepared to do what I can for the cause of temperance, and to pay for what I think is a good object.

(11.39.) MR. MATHER (Lancashire, S. E., Gorton)

I think the Government ought to accept the Amendment with a considerable amount of gratitude. My hon. Friend (Mr. A. Acland) appears to have made a golden bridge across a state of difficulty, and leading to the position of perfect tranquillity. We are, I think, all perfectly agreed on the policy of taxing drink, but there is great difference of opinion as to the way in which the amount thus raised should be used. I think if the Chancellor of the Exchequer adopts this Amendment all the differences will at once vanish. Something has been said about the amount of money which is spent in this country on education, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer reminded us of the closing days of last Session, when the proposals of the Government with regard to technical education were passed. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not forget that on that occasion he received the support of Members on this side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman said one of the difficulties in the way of accepting the Amendment was that my hon. Friend did not mention how the machinery for distributing the money would be devised. I need only remind the right hon. Gentleman that the machinery exists. The Science and Art Department already takes charge of money to be used for educational purposes, and I am sure the Science and Art Department would, in a few days, show the right hon. Gentleman how this money could be distributed. The Department has already published a Minute respecting the disposition of the sum of £5,000 in aid of technical education. That is, however, a mere drop in the ocean, and is merely playing with a great national question. I need not remind hon. Members that in America there is a vast amount of money distributed amongst the various States in the form of land grants with which agricultural and industrial education is encouraged and maintained. Look at the vast industrial pursuits of England, and compare our means of industrial education with those of other countries? Why, we exist under the most miserable conditions. I believe that if this £350,000 were appropriated, as my hon. Friend suggests, it would be about the most popular action on the part of the House of Commons that has taken place for a considerable number of years. I sincerely trust the House will take this matter into its serious consideration, and I thank my hon. Friend for having thought of a plan by which he can settle all our differences and satisfy the country on this question.

(11.45.) MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)

Originally I had no intention of speaking on this question; but I feel I must say something by way of protest against what has fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman complains that my hon. Friend has submitted a vague Resolution to the House, that he provides no machinery, and does not state the amounts to be allocated to the different counties. Has the right hon. Gentleman read the Amendment? What is the Amendment? It is that this money shall be applied in England for the purposes of agricultural, commercial, and technical instruction, as defined in the Act of last year, and in Wales either for the said purposes or for the purposes defined in Clause 17 of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889. During the discussion which took place last year it was admitted on all hands that there was nothing that was more disagreeable to us than the delay which had taken place in the House in acting on the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Technical Education, and the right hon. Gentleman tells us to-night we have passed an Intermediate Education Act for Wales, and with respect to technical education the right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten we passed a Technical Education Act last year. But what did you do by passing a Technical Education Act last year? You simply gave powers to the Local Authorities to do something for Technical Education. But what have you done for such education?


The right hon. Gentleman must know perfectly well it is the intention of the Government to meet what is done by the Local Authorities.


I happen to have in my hand the Minutes of the Science and Art Department, from which I find what is proposed to be done under the Technical Education Act of last year. I find that the entire sum proposed to be given is £5,000.


The first year.


No, Sir. I should like the Committee to understand how we are dealt with; how the Government make promises and break them.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what promises we have made, and how we have broken them?


You took power-to make grants for the purposes of Technial Education. This is June. What have you done in fulfilment of your promise?


There are only three Local Authorities who are prepared to act, and we have taken such a sum as will meet all the demands that we think will be made upon us this year by the Local Authorities. When the Local Authorities exercise other powers we shall make further grants.


Not more than three Local Authorities are prepared to act. Why? Because you have given them no inducement to act. You have placed no scheme of grants before them. You have made no offers to develope local efforts. One of the three Local Authorities to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred is Sheffield. You have been good enough to sanction the request they made, that they may at their own expense teach technical subjects. That is the extent of the assistance you have given them. Another member of the Science and Art Department shows that the sum to be allocated under the Technical Education Act of last year will during the financial year 1891–92 be £5,000. There is not a Canton in Switzerland which would not be ashamed of such a grant. I wonder what the City of Berlin would say if the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the German Empire were to propose that £5,000 should be granted for technical education to the City of Berlin. More than five times £5,000 is spent on technical education in Berlin, and yet £5,000 is all that is to be given to the whole of England and Wales. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says the Government have amply provided for what is required for 1892.


I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. I repeat that there has been no denial of any sum whatever. The Science and Art Department made their estimate of what the Local Authorities would ask, and if we have not given more it is not because there is any reluctance on the part of the Government or the Spending Departments, but because the Local Authorities did not put before the Government such proposals as would require more money. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to sneer at the Government Department in this matter, and to contrast what has been done with what is done by other Governments. I myself was struck by the smallness of the amount, but I looked upon it as a result of the comparatively small demand made. I repeat, there is every disposition on the part of the Government to meet to the full all the requirements of the Act, and to perform the duty which Parliament has laid upon us under the Act.


My complaint is that the Government have not taken the initiative in this matter. Last year they threw the whole of the responsibility on the Local Authorities. We told them last year that the Local Authorities never would take steps, and now the right hon. Gentleman says it is all very fine to contrast what we are offering with what they are doing abroad. I have never heard that any country on the Continent has given £350,000 for the compensation of publicans. They do not spend their money in that kind of way.


If I am not mistaken, in Germany they bought up the whole of the public houses, and when they did so they compensated all the publicans.


They must have done it very cheaply indeed; they certainly did not do it on your terms. The publicans were not left to fix their own terms, and no taxation was laid on the German public. But I was going to say that there is another Minute of the Science and Art Department which shows how we are going to provide for technical education. The Minute is to the effect that no pupil in an elementary school is to be allowed to receive any grant from the Science and Art Department. That is a distinct blow at our higher elementary Schools. I was astonished when I read the Minute, and I should like to hear the Vice President of the Council's explanation of it. Now, I do not think this money could be better applied than as suggested by my hon. Friend (Mr. A. Acland). The right hon. Gentleman said that the state of intermediate education in England is not what it used to be, because we have now excellent voluntary instruction. What is to be done for the great towns, where there are no endowments? I opened a splendid elementary school in Yorkshire on Saturday, and I was told by the promoters that what they want are secondary schools that the farmers and tradesmen can use. I trust that this question will be thoroughly threshed out by the Committee, and that——

It being Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday.