§ Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made and Question, proposed—
That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Colonel Sir Howard Vincent.)
§ COLONEL SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
Mr. Speaker, in 1012 the absence of my honourable Friend the Member for West Wolverhampton, who has unfortunately met with an accident, I beg to move the Second Reading of the Working Men's Dwellings Bill. my name being on the back of that Measure. [At this point Sir ALFRED HICKMAN entered the House.] I am glad that my honourable Friend has sufficiently recovered from his accident to be able to be present in his place today to support the Second Reading of this Bill, in which he has taken the greatest possible interest. The history of this Bill shows how very difficult it is to secure the passing of even 1013 the most desirable Measure. I am sure we all agree that the greater the interest which the working man is induced to take in his house, and the more permanent the occupation thereof, the greater the advantage to society at large. In 1893 a Bill, having a similar object in view, and a similar title, was brought in by Mr. Thomas Wrightson, who at the time represented Stockton. The then President of the Local Government Board accepted the Bill in principle, and suggested certain Amendments, which were approved by the honourable Member for Stockton. But in 1894 and 1895 no opportunity occurred for going on with the Measure. In every Session of this Parliament my honourable Friend the Member for West Wolverhampton and myself have introduced a Bill with the same object. In 1896 my honourable Friend was fortunate enough to obtain a place for the Second Reading, and the Second Reading of the Bill was carried by a very large majority indeed, composed of honourable Members on both sides of the House. The majority was 185. The honourable Member for Battersea, with the honourable Member for North Monmouth, challenged a division on the subject, but they were only able to muster 91 supporters, the majority in favour of the Second Reading being, as I have said, very considerable. The Measure has been so often before the House that it is not necessary for me to detail its provisions at very great length, more especially as my Friend the honourable Member for West Wolverhampton is here, and will be far better able to explain his Bill. But I may say that every protection that is possible has been taken in the Bill which is now before the House. The local authority, on whom it is sought to confer the power of advancing, under suitable conditions, a sum of money to enable a working man to become the possessor of his own house, is bound down not to advance more than three-fourths of the required sum, the working man himself paying in cash the remaining fourth. The fact that the working man has been able to save sufficient money for that purpose is a guarantee of his good faith, and that good faith will also form the subject of other inquiry before the local authority 1014 would be called upon to act. The local authority in London would be the London County Council, and the local authority elsewhere would be the urban or the rural sanitary authority. I think that the Bill fairly safeguards the interests of the public and the interests of the ratepayers. Now, the only question is as to whether it hampers, or is likely to hamper, in any way the movements of the working men themselves. If a working man's occupation changes, or, if the industry should leave the district—and, unfortunately, industries do leave districts—would he be tied down to a place where it is not profitable for him lo remain by the fact of his having purchased his house? Under the Bill, and under the rules which the Local Government Board would be able to make for the carrying out of the Act, ample power will exist to enable the working man to sell his interest in the house which he had purchased; and in the event of his death, that power would be preserved to his descendants and those who came after him. That there is a general desire among the working classes to become possessed of their own houses is thoroughly shown by the existence of a very large number of building societies. Some of these building societies, I must say, are conducted in a thoroughly satisfactory manner, but others, as we all know, are in a less solvent condition, and not a few of them have brought about a considerable amount of suffering and distress among the working class population. I do not think there is any building society which advances money for the purpose of building a house at a lower rate of interest than 4½ or 5 per cent., but local authorities would be able to advance the money on much better terms. It has been calculated that the capital value of a house for which a working man pays 5s. 6d. a week, or £14 6s. a year, would work out at £160. In this case the workman would have to pay £40 himself, and obtain from the local authority a loan of £120. He could obtain the loan on such terms as regards interest and sinking fund—allowing a liberal margin, say £3 19s., for repairs and incidental expenses, and allowing also 3 per cent. upon the £40 which we will suppose he took out of the 1015 savings bank—as would effect a saving, as compared with the rent of his house, of £2 a year, the house at the same time gradually becoming his own. That would be a very great saving in cash; and besides that there would be a great advantage in view, that the ultimate possession of the house would be in him; so that, besides the present benefit, there would also be the future benefit accruing to him. The principle of utilising public money for an advance such as this is by no means a new one in our legislation. You are probably aware that what is called the Ashbourne Act is working out in a satisfactory manner. Under the Small Holdings Act, and other provisions of the Legislature, advances are made, but up to the present nothing has been done to extend these facilities to the artisan and working class population. A great many opinions have been expressed, but up to the present they have resulted in nothing whatever being done. Honourable Members of this House may take some objection to this proposal; they may object to this clause or to that, or to the wording of this or that particular phrase; but all those matters can be dealt with in Committee at a subsequent stage. I think that it is obvious that a Measure such as this could not in all probability be accepted by the House unless it is considered in all its bearings by a Committee, and therefore it is only the general principles of the Measure which honourable Members are asked to approve upon this Second Reading, and I venture to hope that when the time arrives to go into the details of the Measure the objections put forward by honourable Gentlemen to the principles of the Bill will have been removed, and that they will co-operate with my honourable Friend and myself and many Members upon this side of the House in doing something which will enable the working man upon satisfactory terms, and without injury to anyone, to become the owner of his own house. There is only one thing more which I need say, and that is as to the definition of the working man. It is clearly laid down in the Bill that it does not apply only to the artisans and labourers, but also to the shop assistant, with this provision, 1016 that the total income shall not exceed £150 a year. That, I think, will confine the beneficiaries under this Measure to the class which we all desire to benefit. I do not think it is necessary to say anything more, but I hope my honourable Friend the Member for West Wolverhampton, whom we are so glad to see in his place, will explain more thoroughly than I have done what will be the effect of the Measure he has introduced. I beg to move the Second Beading of the Bill.
§ * SIR A. HICKMAN (Wolverhampton, W.)
It will not be necessary for me to trouble the House with more than a few words after the observations of my honourable Friend. The principles of the Bill have been approved of by the Prime Minister, the Duke of Devonshire, and the Leader of this House, and also in one of the speeches which the Secretary of State for the Colonies delivered to his constituents at Birmingham. The objects of the Bill are to enable local authorities to advance money, to make loans, to enable the working classes to purchase or build houses for themselves. It is a moderate Bill. It is entirely permissive, and not obligatory either so far as the local authorities or the working classes are concerned. It is hedged about with such restrictions as to render it impossible that there should be any abuse. In the first place, it is necessary that the house to be purchased shall be resided in by the workman who obtains the advance; in the next place, the house must be in good sanitary order; and, thirdly, the workman must provide one-fourth of the purchase price of the house, and not more than £150 can be advanced to any workman, nor on more than one house. It is also provided that there must not be any overcrowding. If the advance is for the building of a house, the site must belong to the workman, and the amount advanced must not be more than three-fourths of the cost of the house, taking into account the site. The advantages are that the working man will be able to borrow money at about 3⅛ per cent, as against the 4½ or 5 per cent, which he has to pay to a building society.
1017 That is to say, the advance of £150 will only cost him 1s. 11d. a week. Now, it has been objected that very few working men can find £50; that may be very true, but many working men could do so if there were an incentive given to them to do so. If they had actually laid before them such a scheme it would induce a great many workmen to try and find such a sum, and even if the trial did not succeed the attempt to put by money would be exceedingly advantageous to them. We all regard the great blots on industry as intemperance and un-thrift. The great tendency of this Bill is to encourage thrift, and it will also tend to prevent overcrowding. The Report of the Royal Commission which sat to consider this question says—The evil of overcrowding is a public scandal, and is becoming worse, and the mortality of those who live in basements is 20 per cent, higher than those who live above ground.But if so many of our working men are housed in the hovels in which they now exist, is it any wonder that they should go to the public-house for a little life? I think, Sir, if we were placed in similar circumstances, we also should seek some resort rather than remain in such wretched surroundings as these men do. But thrift has been encouraged to a great extent through the medium of building societies, which have been a, great benefit; but, unfortunately, a great many building societies have failed. I need not refer to the awful disaster which spread so much ruin at Portsea among the people. A disaster of that kind tends to unthrift, because, when one man sees that another who has been paying his money into a building society for some time has lost his all, he naturally says, "I will spend my money as I earn it, and derive some benefit from it." Under this Bill he will have a tangible security, because he is living in the house, and so will feel secure. Now, an Amendment has been proposed, to the effect that if advances are made by the local authorities the freehold should belong to the local authorities. The legal estate will belong to them until the whole of the money is repaid; but if the hope of ultimate ownership is taken away from the purchaser the whole object of the Measure, the chief merit of the scheme 1018 would be taken away. This proposal cannot cost anybody anything. It is not proposed to add anything to the rates. It is to be presumed that the local authorities will take care only to advance three-quarters of the value, and will see that the security is enough. The tendency of this Bill will be rather to reduce the rates than to increase them. If you increase thrift you reduce pauperism, and in reducing pauperism you must necessarily reduce the rates. In many towns there are large open spaces not yet built upon, and these can be appropriated by the local authorities for the purpose of sites. Now, it is objected that the cottages might be erected in centres where the mines might be worked out, and they would become useless; but I submit that this is not intended to deal with isolated colliery property at all, and if proposed I should assume that if a pit were started, and it was known that it would be worked out in a short time, the local authorities would not lend the money. In my locality it has been the practice, where the pits have been worked out, land sufficient for a house and garden has been let to the peasants for 10s. or 20s. a year, and they are allowed to build themselves houses, and I know in many case the houses have been built with their own hands. Another objection is made that the house having been built, might decline in value; but the idea in this system is that there should be a sinking fund, so that every year, by the operation of the sinking fund, the house would improve in value. Then one has to deal with the suggestion that workmen migrate. No doubt they do, but those who do not require a house may be trusted not to purchase one. But if they did, I think it would still be an advantage, because somebody must take the place of him who migrates in the employment in which he was engaged, and would probably acquire the house also. Now, the honourable Member for Battersea objected to this Bill because he said it would help those who helped themselves. In my opinion that is the chief merit of the Bill. What we desire is to do that very thing. We want to try and induce men to help themselves. The honourable Member says it will only help a few; but if we cannot help all, why not help the few? It may 1019 not help very many to begin with, but this is a new departure so far as house property is concerned; and though it may only help a few at the commencement, it may ultimately help a great many. The honourable Member for Battersea said also that £200 was not sufficient with which to build a house in London. That may be true so far as London is concerned, but it is not true so far as the suburbs are concerned.
§ * SIR A. HICKMAN
Well, even if it is, 10 or 12 men might join and put their savings together, and build a block of houses, and then £200 would be sufficient to build or buy a decent house. But if the honourable Member's suggestion is correct so far as London and the suburbs are concerned, his remarks would not apply to the country; and is there any reason why we should not help the country? Now, I ask any honourable Member who opposes this Bill to say candidly and fairly whether this is not a question which ought to be considered. It may not be passed today; I do not propose that it shall. It is the Second Reading that is proposed, and, if carried, it will, of course, be referred to a Select Committee, and any honourable Gentleman who has anything to urge against it will then be entitled to put forward his contention. I challenge contradiction upon this point, that it is a great question and a burning question, and one that ought to be dealt with, and should be inquired into. I honestly believe, if it should ultimately become law, it will confer a great and lasting benefit upon thousands of people, and will meet with the approval of all classes of society.
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER after the usual interval,
Leave out from the word 'that' to the end of the question, in order to add the words—
That in any Measure for facilitating the acquisition of dwellings for the working class by the use of public money, the freehold should be vested in public bodies and not in the individual."—(Mr. McKenna.)
§ * MR. MCKENNA (Monmouth, N.)
Sir, I am sure on this side of the House we 1020 shall fully agree with the general proposition of the honourable Member for West Wolverhampton that it is desirable to afford every facility for thrift amongst working men. What we quarrel with is not the general proposition of the honourable Member, but the method by which he proposes in this Bill to carry out that very desirable object. Now, Sir, the honourable Member for West Wolverhampton says, in justification of his Bill, that at least it should be given a fair trial; and he adds, "It will not cost anybody anything." In this question as to whether it will or will not cost local authorities anything we have the whole difficulty of the Bill. If it could be shown that as an experimental measure we might attempt to provide dwellings for the working classes cheaper than they get them now, without any risk to anybody, I do not doubt that this Bill would be supported by honourable Members on both sides of the House; but the facts disclosed by the Bill do not justify that assumption. Quite the reverse. If the Measure as it now stands were carried out it would inevitably lead to very severe losses to particular local authorities. What the honourable Member who proposed the Bill and the honourable and gallant Member for the Central Division of Sheffield altogether overlook is this, that the working classes, under this Bill, would be tempted to buy their property, to invest in land and houses, on a rising market. It would be only in times of good trade, when trade had been good for some considerable period, and when, consequently, prices were high, that there would be any inducement or any opportunity for the working classes to venture to buy their houses. They would not possess the preliminary £40 or £50 unless they had been having good wages for some time previously. Now, if the land and houses are bought in times of good trade, the price will undoubtedly be high. When the period of bad trade follows, as inevitably it must follow in every district, there will be a very serious decline in the value of property, and a number of working men would not be able to keep up their instalments. This house property, for which no occupants could be found under the conditions I am supposing, would fall into 1021 the hands of the local authority; that is to say, at the very moment when trade was worst, and when the prosperity of the district was least, the local authority would have thrown upon its hands a large amount of house property which was not required. I oppose this Motion in the interests of the local authorities, and of the working men themselves. By this Bill you are holding out to a certain few working men—the aristocracy of the working classes — an inducement to invest their money in a way which will not be satisfactory to them. If they really wish to speculate in house property they can speculate on far more advantageous terms than are proposed in this Bill. They will be able to find existing houses in which they will be able to invest their money on quite as favourable terms as you will ever be able to offer them under this Measure. What you propose to do is not to give them any special advantage, or if you do give them any special advantage it must be at the ratepayers' expense, but to encourage them to invest their money in a form of security which is most unsuitable in the long run for the working classes to hold—because it is an undoubted fact that the working classes are necessarily migratory. To tie them down to one particular district would be to injure their prospects in life. I cannot help thinking that a workman would be far better off if he had his £200 invested in the savings bank. He may wish to move within a week or a month, and he could not, under ordinary circumstances, find a tenant for his property, because the very conditions which compelled him to leave would be the conditions of bad trade in his district, and these conditions would deprive him of a market in which he could sell or let his house. Now, Sir, the case of colliery districts has been referred to by the honourable Member for West Wolverhampton, and he stated, very frankly, that that was a case not intended to be dealt with by this Bill. But why not? What is there in this Bill to prevent the colliery owner from taking advantage of it, and, by advancing a quarter of the cost, putting up at the expense of the local authority the cottages he has now to build at his own expense? If the local authority does lend the money in that way the 1022 result will be that when, 30 or 40 years hence, the colliery is exhausted the district will become poverty-stricken and depopulated, and the houses will be left in the hands of the local authority, which might become bankrupt thereby. This state of things would lead to an enormous amount of hardship and suffering in that district. Sir, this Bill does not carry out any one of its supposed objects, and will not touch the vast masses of the working classes. It will not touch the working men who are now housed in hovels, and are driven into the public house on account of the misery of their homes. It is idle to suggest that any considerable number of working men would be able to put their hands into their pockets and find £40 or £50 with which to provide the necessary fourth of the cost of the house. I do not believe this sum would be anything like enough to cover a fourth of the cost of building a house and providing the land.
§ Several HONOURABLE MEMBERS: "Oh !"
§ * MR. MCKENNA
Honourable Members may say "Oh," but I do not know of any district in which a house could be put up, including the purchase of the land, for much less than £200. That is my experience. Some honourable Members may know districts where houses could be erected for £150, but I do not. I think it will be found, in towns especially, that, generally speaking, the working classes who are now housed in hovels could not be provided with houses at less cost than £200 a piece, apart from the price of the land. It is, therefore, to my mind beyond doubt that considerably more than £40 or £50 would have to be found by any workman before he could make use of the terms of this Bill. So far as the working classes in the agricultural districts are concerned, I do not suppose that anybody suggests that this Bill could be made use of by the agricultural labourer, who, with wages ranging from 11s. a week, would not be able to save anything like £50. Certainly in the colliery districts, with which I am most familiar, and where wages are over £1 a week, savings amounting to £50 are comparatively rare. In big cities you will find individual workmen, artisans of high character, who have been able to save 1023 this sum, but those men can find investments for their money at far more advantageous terms than are offered in this Bill. They do not want this Bill. I cannot get away from the idea that this Bill is put forward very creditably and very fairly by the private Members who have backed it, as an endeavour to carry out certain pledges which they themselves, and others, have made at a General Election, and no doubt they think that this Bill will satisfy the working classes. If it be so, and if it be the fact, as the honourable Member for Wolverhampton says, that the principle of this Bill has been supported by Lord Salisbury and other leading statesmen on the opposite side of the House, surely it ought not to be left to private Members to establish so important a principle as this. The Measure, if carried at all, should have the authority and weight of the Government at the back of it. The Amendment I propose to move attacks the principle of allowing public money to be used for a private purpose without having the security under public control. If a Measure were introduced on the lines laid down in the very extensive scheme now in force for providing houses for the working classes in Glasgow, I should be inclined to support it. But I do not think we ought to sanction or consider from a private Member a proposal of this kind, making away with public money without retaining in our own hands, or in the hands of the local authorities, the control of the money, or the control of the houses and land which the money represents. Under this Bill you are seeking to introduce a principle which is novel and financially unsound, and you are not dealing with the real evil; and I cannot help thinking that you are merely flinging dust in the eyes of the electors.
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ SIR A. K. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
The honourable Member for Monmouth has told us that he would be prepared to support a scheme based on the principle that the freeholds of the houses proposed to be purchased were vested in the municipal or local authority. But I understood him to rest his chief objection on the great risk to the municipalities involved in advancing money. But it seems to me that those who are opposing this Measure are not consistent. If the objection, on account of the risk to the municipality, is a real one, and it is undesirable that the municipal or local authorities should engage in such undertakings, it would be rather aggravated by the conditions of the honourable Member's Amendment. The objection is not capable of being maintained, for the Bill provides for the individual giving an earnest of his belief in the value of the purchase by taking a quarter of the pecuniary interest in it. Sir, I venture to think that the honourable Member has not supported the terms of his Amendment, and that what he said shows that the risk to the municipality will be lessened rather than increased by the proposals of this Bill. One of the very best features in our modern municipal life has been the readiness with which Parliament has affirmed, and the municipalities and local authorities have accepted, a very great enlargement of their sphere of action. I may venture to make also the further statement that, taken as a whole, and even in the case of experimental legislation, these extended privileges have been wisely exercised, and have proved of advantage both to the community and to the individual. And if there be any one point in which these privileges have been more beneficial than another it has been where provision has been made for the better housing and lodging of the people. The evils of insanitation and overcrowding have been so minimised and so greatly decreased by legislation which has already taken place that the result seems to me to have been to make the home what it ought to be—the very centre and source of civilisation. Wherever we can apply that principle more extensively without any undue risk to the municipality, it seems to me to be our duty to do so.
1025 The Bill gives a new opportunity for conferring upon local authorities additional powers, which I believe they are willing to accept, and their judgment and local knowledge and experience may be trusted to apply those powers advantageously for the benefit of the people over whose affairs they have control. The honourable Member for Monmouth also said that he thought this was a matter which should be taken in hand by the Government. On the contrary, I venture to say that in the building up of those great statutes which govern our sanitary authorities the chief and best elements have been contributed by private enterprise.
§ SIR A. K. ROLLIT
I am quite prepared to accept the modification, but I repeat that I can produce numerous instances of Bills for sanitation, for conferring greater powers on local authorities, the Museums Act, and several other Acts, which were passed on the initiative of private Members. So far from it being an objection to the present Bill that it has been brought in by a private Member, it seems to me to be a recommendation. The Secretary to the Local Government Board is so well aware of the value of Private Bill legislation, and so well aware of the state of public opinion on this question, that I hope before the Debate is over he will give the strongest endorsement of the Government to this Bill. I do not think the honourable Member for Monmouth will seriously insist upon his statement about election pledges. After all, election pledges ought to be carried out, and the honourable Member would be the last to say that honourable Members would give pledges for party purposes. Therefore that argument seems to me not to go very far. The honourable Member also said that he doubted the ability of the working classes to meet the pecuniary engagements which would be imposed on them by this Bill. Of course, all speculations must be of uncertain value, but from a knowledge of the classified reports of savings banks, I am able to say that there is a very large number of the working classes who have not only these resources, but more, who are wise enough, in the hope of 1026 advancing their position in life, to avail themselves of any substantial investment about which they are capable of exercising their judgment. And is it to be said that those who have the means are not to be helped because there are others who have not the means? We have always, in these matters, to make a beginning, and the best means of cultivating thrift is to give facilities for its exercise. Where there is no undue risk the State and the municipality might well help individuals by doing that which they can do better and more cheaply than individuals can do themselves. Numerous cases might be cited to show that this is a principle which is widely and wisely applied by public bodies for the benefit of the people, and to prove that there is no reasonable expectation of even a small risk attending the Measure. We are not going beyond proper economic principle, and are only seeking to do something which may be of great benefit to many classes of the people of this country. Exception has been taken to the requirements made upon the individual. I think that is one of the best features of the Bill, as the sum the man provides is an earnest that he believes in what he proposes to the local authority. I am very glad to see that in this Bill, at any rate, a wiser principle is adopted than in some of the Government Measures—namely, that care is taken that whatever advance is made shall be adequately protected. I think it would be perfectly safe to go farther, and enlarge the terms, so as to make it more easy for the individual to repay. It has been said, again, that this Measure will be a source of embarrassment to the working man, to be fixed to a house which he might not permanently require. I am not going to attempt to go into the particular case of colliery districts, about which I do not speak with the authority of the honourable Gentleman who has just addressed the House; but there are a number of cases in which there are other trades in which migration does not occur in the population to anything like the extent which marks particular industries. But a man can exercise his option whether he buys or not, and whether he asks the municipality to aid him. Assuming that a man finds it necessary to migrate, the Bill provides 1027 for the sale of property, and the property may be sold with many advantages. Well, then, Sir, there is only one other point—a very difficult one, one which I have already discussed to some extent— and that is the question whether it is necessary to make it a condition that the freehold should be vested in the authority or in the individual. I confess that under this Bill it remains doubtful where the freehold will be. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that though the Bill will have only a limited application, though it may involve additional responsibility as regards the risks of local authorities, I am quite sure they will be able to cope with a responsibility which they will willingly undertake; and though the Bill may not at first be capable of the whole benefit which is predicted for it, I venture to think that, in encouraging thrift and prudence, and, consequently, more social stability, it is the beginning of a movement which I think will be wisely and widely extended, and when this Bill has been amended, as it may have to be upon certain points in Committee, it will, at any rate, justify the House in giving it its most cordial and impartial support.
§ MR. BURNS
Sir, I think, the first time in my experience as a Member of this House, I shall have to dissociate myself from the honourable Member for Islington on a matter that affects the municipal life, and, incidentally, the house accommodation of the working people. But I do so in the interests of the dignity of municipal life, and to preserve our public life from that interference with the sphere of bargaining in freeholds and leases and potential jobbery that this Bill will possibly develop if it passes the House of Commons in its present form. I am, indeed, surprised that such a sagacious municipal statesman as the honourable Member for Islington, as he is universally and justly recognised to be, should have expressed himself in favour of a Bill the like of which has not been discussed either by the County Council Association, and which, I venture to say, there is no demand for, or by the local authorities, and, judging from the 1028 point of view of the working men of this country, I have heard no request for it.
§ * MR. BURNS
I am sincerely sorry that the honourable Member has identified himself with a Measure of this kind, but I would ask where are the petitions from the towns and county councils in favour of this Bill? Produce them, and I am silent. Where is the demand from Sheffield working men In favour of this Bill?
§ * MR. BURNS
After that we shall have the worms clamouring for cremation. Supposing you were to put this to a meeting of Sheffield workmen: I know what Sheffield forgemen would say. They would say this: "If I can get a bigger shilling in Woolwich Arsenal or any other district I will go, but I want my house accommodation and my domestic economy to fit in with the mobility of my labour, so that it will take me where the bigger shilling will be found." The honourable Member for Sheffield evidently wants to tie Sheffield workmen to the town of Sheffield. That might suit the game of the Sheffield manufacturer, but if he can get bigger wages outside Sheffield than he can in his own town, then he will go. The honourable Member for Islington knows that in Islington house accommodation is difficult to secure, and if there is any district which wants substantial help Islington is one of the districts which ought to have such help. And what is the good of £150? It may be said that this is one of the details for the Committee, but it is a. detail which affects nearly five millions of people. But I am not going to rest, content with London or with Islington. Go to Glasgow, go to Liverpool, go to. Manchester, and add 100 big towns, and add practically 60 per cent, of the total population of this country. This Bill —so far as the provision goes as to 1029 the £150—is practically ridiculous and inoperative. In Islington and London, and many other towns, nothing less than £300, and in some cases £400, is sufficient to get this room, cottage, or house, and no workman ought to be content with less. Well, this Bill won't do that. Any man who has £350 can afford £50 for the house under this Bill. He won't be fool enough to tie himself down to a hovel for the rest of his life in the district when his industry and his work might want him to leave as soon as practicable. Then the honourable Member for Islington ought to know that if there is a class in this world whom we ought to help in the housing problem, it is the poor widow, the seamstress, the charwoman, the costermonger, the casual labourer, the navvy, the chimney sweep, and, what one might term inoffensively, the residuum of our labour market. Have they got £50? Certainly not. If they have 50s. they consider themselves to be rich beyond the dreams of avarice. The honourable Member knows what the difference is as between the advantages of this Bill and a Bill to compel the railway companies and the omnibus companies, and the tramway companies, to run workmen's trains at cheaper fares. He knows that all the big towns will solve the housing problem infinitely better than this pettifogging Bill can. Now I come, Sir, to the rural districts. Can the agricultural labourer get £50 for the purposes of this Bill? The Bill would be preposterous and ridiculous. In some cases in our rural districts there is great overcrowding, and in many cases insanitary conditions, and the congestion of population, relatively speaking, is more than it is in the urban sanitary districts. You know very well that the agricultural labourer cannot put down £50 to avoid this condition of things. Let us deal with the districts partly town and partly rural. I say it is not right that a population, say, of 25,000 or 50,000. should incur the liabilities that they would under this Bill for a special class. In the event of an industry dying out, a house would be left upon the hands, not of the people who occupy the house, but the liability would rest upon the whole community, who do not have the advantage of the house when it is put up. But, Sir, I think we ought not to confine 1030 ourselves to a mere criticism of the Bill, and I at once rise, Sir, to say that I decline to allow some honourable Members, especially the honourable Member for Sheffield, to assume an entire monopoly of sympathy with the working classes in housing or any other question. I go further, and say that the House of Commons is unanimous, and has ever been, to its credit, that the housing problem of our working classes has a vital, and to the workman an almost tragic, consequence and significance. So important is it that Parliament grappled with this question in a statesmanlike and bold and excellent way, under the initiative of Lord Shaftesbury, and what did Parliament do? Parliament said: "If you have overcrowding, if there is insufficient house accommodation, if people are too poor to build their own houses, then the local sanitary authority shall have the power to provide the accommodation, letting the houses at rents sufficiently low to cover the cost of erection, maintenance, and repair." If local authorities can be compelled to put Lord Shaftesbury's Act into operation, more good would be done than by a thousand such ridiculous and unworkable Bills as this. I venture to say, Sir, that we ought to encourage the working classes, and not hamper them with this ridiculous and unworkable Bill. The point is, what can be done by Parliament, failing the action of the local authorities under the present powers to re-house and to house the poor? I do not make any suggestion, but it is not the duty of Parliament to compel local authorities to do that which, at their own initiative, they ought to do. But it is upon occasions like this that we can suggest to local authorities that they have this power if they like to exercise it, and it is a better power than they have in this Bill. Failing a demand from the local authorities, who have power already, I am not prepared to force on local authorities a power for which they have not asked, nor given any Member of this House a mandate to claim for them. What I want to say on this Bill is from the point of view of the working man. When a workman goes to work he, as a rule, tries to get as far away from his work as he possibly can to live, but the object of this Bill is to place him close to his work. Well, in. my opinion that is the object of this Bill, 1031 for it will encourage a workman to buy a house near his work and close to his employment, so that his employer can always have his eye upon him. ["No, no."] Honourable Members may say "No, no," but the House of Commons is still a free assembly, and that is my view. I repeat that the object of this Bill is to encourage the workman to live near his work, so that his employer can have his eye on him and know everything he desires; and in the event of too many of his workmen owning houses you can trust an employer —especially in these times of competition—to use that either as a reason to withhold an advance of wages or to prevent an increase of wages coming as quickly as they would have done if they lived away. This is practically a Measure for allowing employers to morally intimidate their workmen, and to ascertain their personal and domestic business, with a view of interfering with the free combination and mobility of labour. Now I come to another point. Under the Housing of the Working Classes Act, which local authorities now have, what can they do? They can pull down a slum, buy the land and freehold, erect dwellings and tenements, and under this scheme there are no inquisitorial investigations as to whether he is bonâ fidethe occupant, or whether or not he takes a lodger in, either man or woman. We allow him freedom, and I hope we always shall. In the event of the tenants of that particular block of dwellings or houses owned by a local authority not being satisfied, they can move without the least incumbrance to themselves, or without in any way interfering with the majority of labourers. But this Bill will do—what? It will enable the local authority, if it thinks fit, to make an inquisitorial investigation before it advances £150, if the workman has £50. Well, I dealt with the £150, and also with the rare occasion in which the workman will have £50. But this Bill does not define the word "workman"; but what they say is that no man shall be entitled to this sum who is earning move than £150 a year. Now, what does that mean? Why, it means this, Sir, that in many localities which are growing, and where industries are springing up, and where house accommodation is most needed, the small shopkeeper, perhaps a member of the vestry or 1032 district council, or the town council, will himself make application under the operation of this Bill, and when his shop takings are very low, what is easier than for him or his friends to put up eight or nine houses in order to create customers for his very sluggish business. There is nothing in this Bill to prevent that kind of thing. That it can be done we all know from our experience of house jobbery and house farming. I shall probably be told that I have no right to suggest this, but immediately this Bill is passed the small money-lender —the kind of gentleman whom the Secretary to the Local Government Board has been keeping in order upstairs—will regard it as a fruitful field for his operations, and the stalking-horse British workman will be created for the purpose. Now I come to another point, and it is this: that the local authority, at the rate of interest in this Bill, cannot afford to do justice to the rest of the community, if it does justice to the others of these houses, on the amounts of money that they are seeking. I am positive of that. It also means a large increase in the staff of local officials to pry into titles, the investigation of freeholds, the looking into mortgages and transfers—a class of work that for many years we do not want to see our officials engaged in. They have now clearly defined duties, and they have plenty of employment elsewhere; and I sincerely trust that they will not have the opportunity for increasing officialism which this Bill gives. Now, who is it favours this Bill except promising politicians at election times? I think there is a tendency everywhere for every man who puts up for a public office to promise more than in his sober moments he could ever hope to fulfil. But because politicians have been reckless of the dignity of local life and of the sacredness of the private enterprise of friendly societies and building societies—because they have made terms which they want to fulfil at other people's expense, there is no reason why the House of Commons should follow them down to that level of recklessness which many of them have already descended to. We have to look at this from the point of view of redeeming rash election pledges. Now, Mr. Wrightson did not do very well out of this Bill, and I venture to say that the 1033 honourable Member for Sheffield, accustomed as he is to putting all his best goods in the shop-window at election time, did not make this the most prominent plank in his platform.
§ * MR. BURNS
I know there appeared prison goods, Fair Trade, emigration of aliens, Imperial Federation, and these were the election tit-bits with which the Sheffield people were delighted. We have recently had some remarkable local elections—one for the school board, one for the county council, and one for the vestries, and at all these three elections in some form or another schemes of this kind have been dangled before the working class electors; and it is a curious fact that nearly every man who put this kind of thing uppermost in his election address has not been elected. Take the case of Mr. Stanley Boulter, who is regarded as an authority upon the housing of the poor, and he is practically one of the sponsors of this Bill. Mr. Stanley Boulter stood for Stepney, which is a district where the rents are high, and where the very people whom we ought to help in housing certainly ought to have rallied round him. He was, however, one of the defeated, simply because he made a Bill of this kind the very ground and justification for his election. I can quite see why he was not elected. It was because the East End artisan knows that the county council housing schemes are taking the place of slums in the East End of London, and he thinks if he has to choose between a private landlord who rack-rents, or a public authority who will offer him dwellings at rents just sufficient to cover the cost of erection, maintenance, and repair, he will choose the latter. He does not want the bad landlord if he can do without him, and he will prefer the public authority, but certainly he will not have the absurd terms in this Bill which Mr. Stanley Boulter boasted of at the county council election. But let us come from the East End of London to the working class district which I have that the honour to represent, namely, the parish of Battersea, and here we have a 1034 splendid illustration. I represent a district in which there is a block of artisans' dwellings called the Shaftesbury Estate. It consists of 1,200 houses, occupied by 10,000 people. I am glad to say that with regard to these 10,000 people there is neither a drinkshop nor a pawnshop connected with them, and one policeman could keep the whole district in order for 12 months—in fact, I think they could do better without the policeman than with him. There you have an instance of 1,200 houses occupied by the same type of persons whom this Bill is supposed to help. What are the facts? Why, that 25 years ago, when this estate was built, it was built somewhat under the conditions of this Bill. The tenants were, through their rents, to be enabled to buy their houses upon advantageous terms. The fact is that those who bought the houses have ever since regretted it, and those who sold them have made sacrifices and practically got nothing near the value of their property. And why have the men sold their houses, and why is it that the company can no longer sell them? Why, because every man on the Shaftesbury Estate knows that a workman wants to follow his work, and the greatest impediment to prevent him doing so on limited wages and irregular work is for him to have £50, or £70, or £80 invested in bricks and mortar tieing him to that spot when he ought to have absolute freedom to go all over the place. In the light of my experience of the Shaftesbury Estate it seems to me that we ought not to pass this Bill. I go further, and say that between public ownership with cheap rents, and good private ownership of houses kept in order by the local sanitary authority there is no room for the compromise in this Bill. Now, Sir, I trust that the House has heard sufficient to reject this Measure. I happen to represent a district on a big public body which is specially concerned at the present moment with the housing problem, and what do we find? Let me take the average constituency. It is a fact that 90 per cent, of the London workmen drift in from the provinces between 21 and 38 years of age. It is evident that all the men who come to London from the provinces do not want to be hampered by this Bill, because they want to move up to the big towns to get higher wages.
1035 Therefore your provincial man ought not to be hampered by this Bill. Immediately he comes to London what happens? He comes to West Ham, or Battersea, perhaps, and what is the experience of those two districts, which are very much alike? In my own district it is fairly settled—more settled, in fact, than in West Ham. Now, last year 31 per cent, of the working class families moved, and 30 per cent, of those families in my own district move ever year. They do not want this Bill, and if they have it it will do them a great deal of harm. If this Bill were forced down their throats—
§ * MR. BURNS
I know it is. If this Bill were forced upon them it would be unanimously rejected; if also they had £25 for taking the Bill as a free gift over the next 10 years, it would be disadvantageous to accept the £25 to stay in one locality. The fact is that a man living in one district works in another. Men living near the Crystal Palace, Bethnal Green, West Ham, Stepney, and elsewhere do not work in those places. What we have to do is not to provide well-off men, as this Bill will, with an opportunity of getting houses at the ratepayers' expense.
§ * MR. BURNS
Simply because it is a reckless form of political subsidy only fit for election times, and not good enough for the practical, sensible House of Commons to pass. The poor—the very poorest—whom we ought to help have not got .£50, and this Bill will not touch them. If we really want to help towards the housing problem it would be better for each Member of Parliament to go back to his own constituency and to bring before the town council the way in which it can be done, and the only good, satisfactory, and scientific, way in which it can. be done is either by building, houses for the poor or by the local authorities putting into operation the Housing Acts, which this House has already passed, and thus catering for those 1036 who claim housing accommodation. This Bill is neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. It is the outcome of mad, rash electoral promises; it is unscientific, and it is extravagant; it is in the interests of those who have, and it robs those who have not; and because there is no demand for this Measure from the working classes, and because the very poor who would benefit cannot afford the conditions imposed by this Bill, I ask the House to reject it. Get rid of these electoral promises and bring in a Measure for enabling the local authorities to deal with this question in the only reasonable way, namely, by allowing them to let houses at rents sufficient to cover the cost of maintenance and repair.
§ * MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)
I look upon this as a Measure for reducing the poor rate by the thrift of the artisan. Let me remind the House that in the very first line of the Bill it is pointed out that it is permissible both for the workman and the local authority. Who are the people that have opposed it? I could well understand it if somebody identified with the large landlord classes, or if somebody interested in insanitary property had risen to oppose the Bill, but I find it is objected to by Gentlemen who describe themselves as representatives of the working classes; by gentlemen who are constantly pleading for the freedom of municipalities. Here is a permissive power placed in the hands of municipalities, and these gentlemen object to it. Here is a Bill which cannot benefit the landlord classes, and honourable Gentlemen opposite object to it. It is said that there is no demand for it in Battersea. I think I may say something with regard to that, for it is a district in which I lived for many years, and, although there may not be any demands in Wards Nos. 1, 2,and 3, there used to be a large demand for a Measure of this sort in Ward 4. With regard to West Ham, with a population of 135,000 people, the greater part of the artisan classes, there has been a very large and widespread demand for a Measure of this sort.
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL (Stockton)
I should like to ask whether there has been a demand for this particular Measured?
§ * MR. GRAY
For a Measure in which the local authority would be able to carry out the work which is now done efficiently by many building societies, but which cannot be entirely satisfactorily done, owing to the dread that many of the poorer class artisans entertain of the financial stability of some of these societies. They are desirous of seeing a friendly society instituted which would have financial stability written on its face as a guarantee to them, and which would enable them to become possessors of their own houses. I have discussed this openly year after year with my own friends in West Ham, and I can say unhesitatingly that I never had a single voice raised against it during all the years I laid it before them. I look upon a Measure of this sort as on a level with schemes for old age pensions and compensation far accidents. I am myself anxious that the artisan classes should be protected against the suffering which may fall upon them during the working years of life, and that when they can no longer work there shall be some form of pension in their possession, and the possibility of their living for the remainder of their lives rent free. This is a scheme for enabling the artisan classes of a particular section to live rent free in the eventide of their lives, and let me say at once that this Bill does not pretend to deal with the class of labourers for whom working men's dwellings are usually erected. It is not intended for these people who are working a week here and a week there, and who are constantly migrating. But are these the only people for which the House of Commons is to have sympathy? It has been argued by the honourable Member for Battersea, who I am sorry not to see in his place to listen to criticisms on his speech, as though this ware a Measure intended to deal solely with those people who cannot look forward to the possibility of paying one week of rental, and who are well satisfied with the accommodation of workmen's dwellings like the Peabody Buildings, and who are constantly migrating. I believe it is a fallacy to suppose that any large proportion of the working classes are in a constant state of migration. Those who are familiar with large towns know very well that a very large proportion of the working classes 1038 are attached in many cases to one firm from boyhood to old age. Now, the honourable Member for Battersea has referred to West Ham. Let me give him an illustration. I will take the works of the Great Eastern Railway Company, works which, I believe, employ at Stratford about 5,000 men a year, nearly all belonging to the skilled artisan class. Now, I have heard year after year most bitter complaints from the most aged of these men that, notwithstanding the fact that they have been living in the one house during almost the entire period of their lives, and have been regularly paying their rent week after week, and have never been in arrears, they do not own a single stick or a stone in the dwelling for which they have paid over and over again. They could never raise a sum of money sufficient without having to go into some of the building societies, of which they have so much dread, and they have been helpless to secure the possession of the dwelling in which they would like to remain until the close of their lives. Now here is a proposal to enable the municipality to step forward and assist them. It is ridiculous to suppose that some of these men cannot provide the initial expenses and if this inducement were held out to them there are many more who would make an effort to save up through the agencies of penny banks and other agencies the necessary funds to bear the preliminary expenses in connection with this Measure. The honourable Gentleman who spoke last told us that we have some sinister motive at the back of this Bill, that we shall get the working man under the eye of his employer.
§ * MR. BURNS
That was on the supposition that where too big a proportion of men lived in close proximity to the factory there was a tendency on the part of the employer to put the screw on. If the honourable Member wants my authority for that let him go to Stratford and ask any Great Eastern Railway man who lives in a company's house.
§ * MR. GRAY
I am very familiar with the men employed by the Great Eastern Railway, and I never heard one of them advance such an argument. On the 1039 contrary, I know there is a proposal by the company to provide cottages for their men several miles away from the works in which they are engaged, As I said before, the line of opposition taken to this Bill is, not to deal with that which is in the Bill, but to conjure up something from the imagination. The Bill does not tie the working man to live in any district whatever. There is nothing at all in the Bill to prevent him from living several miles away from, his work, as many would do in my district. I know many men who would go to the borders of Epping Forest, but if they do so they have to pay rents or purchase their dwellings, and I am very anxious to enable them to purchase their dwellings by the payment of rent. The honourable Gentleman who moved the Amendment to the Second Reading of this Bill said that people would be better off by putting £200 in the savings bank than by entering into this scheme. But, unless he enters into some such scheme as this, if he is year after year paying rent without any return beyond the temporary accommodation of a house afforded him week by week, he will never have £200 in the savings bank. Rent and living pretty well take away the whole of the wages of the working man. Anyone who is familiar with small property knows that this scheme can be worked out without any increase in the rates, because the house can be purchased by 16 years' payment of the rent, and that is a scheme which the House of Commons should give ready acceptance to. It is again suggested that this scheme will tie the men to the district in which their houses are being purchased. Those who are familiar with the operation of the building societies will know very well that there is nothing more common than the sale by the men of what they call their "books." The "books" are freely sold—that is, their interest in the property which they have partly purchased—and there is not within the four corners of this Bill any proposal, of even a shadowy description, which would prevent a man from parting with property which he has partly purchased. The local authority, or the man himself, can sell out the interest which he has acquired, but has not succeeded in purchasing out and out; and there are many working men in the district who would 1040 be glad to take up by purchase the amount that the original purchaser has already invested, and become the owner of the house. I have never known any difficulty of the sort exist with small property in the neighbourhood of large towns. Another bogey was put up for us—namely, that the Bill was not intended to apply to the colliery districts; but is that any reason why it should not apply to London? The figures in this Bill would enable many artisans to purchase their houses out and out, and many of them will look with the very deepest gratitude if such a Measure as this is adopted, whereby they can feel that they have a vested interest in the place where they are staying. And then see how desirous these men are of improving their dwellings if they realise that they will have the whole benefit of the improvement they have made. But a man now hesitates to do anything which will improve his house because he knows he is subject to a week's notice of dismissal, and he believes that if he improves the tenement in which he is living he is liable either to be mulcted in an increased rent or to be turned out at a week's notice. But let him feel that he is no longer at the mercy of a landlord, that he cannot be ejected, that the place is in his own hands as long as he pays his rent regularly, he will spend his Saturday afternoons and his evenings in making his house more comfortable and attractive; and it is my firm conviction that a Measure of this sort, giving the artisan class a direct interest in their houses, will do far more than all the local veto Bills ever brought before the public to inculcate the principles of temperance and sobriety. The natural desire of man is to cultivate home life, but this feeling is at present broken down by the uncomfortable condition under which he lives, and by the fact that he is at the mercy of half a doen persons. If this Bill were a very great charge upon the local ratepayers, if it placed a very heavy burden upon the local municipality, one might hesitate before giving it a Second Reading. But, as far as I can see, the ratepayers' interests are most carefully safeguarded by this Bill. I cannot imagine how any authority adopting this Act and working it out can possibly have any bad debts thrown upon their shoulders. If the Amendment were 1041 adopted, if it became a condition, that the freehold should always become the property of the municipality, I can readily understand that in a district which was rapidly being deserted the local municipality might have upon its hands a number of tenements which would have no marketable value, and which would be a burden upon the ratepayers. But this Measure is optional; the municipality can purchase either the freehold or the leasehold, and the working man is not compelled to move. I do appeal to the House of Commons to give this Bill a Second Reading, and to send its details to be carefully investigated by a Select Committee. I am not prepared to say that I am satisfied with every one of the details. I think it is possible that the amount of money might be with advantage very considerably increased. I think it is possible, too, that the limit of £3 per week as the weekly wage which shall qualify a man to apply for the benefits of this Act should be increased, so that another class might participate in its advantages. But these are details which do not touch the main principles of the Act. The main principle is an exceedingly simple one. It is permissive in its character, it will enable those municipalities who care to adopt it to advance money to artisans who are able to demonstrate their intention to occupy themselves the tenements they propose to purchase, and it will be for the working men to decide what they will do.
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL
The fault I find with this discussion is that honourable Gentlemen responsible for it do not explain the principles upon which the Bill is based, and, if they did, I am sure that, so far as my experience is concerned, there is not a single working class audience in England that would approve of the principles of this Measure. I shall give ample evidence of that before I conclude my speech. This is not a Bill to confer very great powers upon municipalities. I am in favour of conferring powers of an important character upon our municipalities, so as to remove the great evils which exist in our large towns. The honourable Member for Wolverhampton stated that he condemned the manner in which 1042 the working classes are now compelled to live in the slums in our large towns. I quite agree with him. But this Bill will not touch the question of slum property; and, with all due deference to what fell from the honourable Member for Battersea, I disagree with him entirely. The Measure dealing with the housing of the working classes may do for London, Manchester, and Liverpool, but in the smaller municipalities where slums exist, and where they have endeavoured to put that Measure into operation, the cost is so great, it is so overwhelming, that in every case the municipalities are compelled to allow the Measure to remain dormant. I have sat on a Committee dealing with the question of slum property for a considerable time, and the corporation to which I belong have allowed the Measure to remain dormant, owing to the very great cost which would be entailed by its adoption. But what I object to in this Bill is that it does not confer, although it professes to do so, very great powers upon the municipalities of this country. The honourable Member for South Islington spoke about the municipalities approving of this Measure. I know three or four municipalities who have discussed the principles of the Measure, and in every case they have condemned it when the details have been explained to them. By this Bill you propose to confer certain advantages upon the working classes with one hand, and then you impose conditions which on the other hand will nullify to a great extent the benefits proposed to be conferred. Take for instance the first clause of this Bill. That clause makes it compulsory that every working man who will undertake to purchase a house under this Bill must live in the house—he must be the resident tenant. Now, in my opinion such a condition as that is permanently defective, because you may induce a working man to become a tenant of a house, and after he has been paying his interest and redemption money to the corporation, at some time or other he may be discharged from his employment, or he may be compelled to remove some miles away from the town in which he has agreed to purchase a particular house. Under such conditions as those there would be a forced sale, and wherever you have 1043 a forced sale there must be a loss to the person who is compelled to sell the property. That is one of the great defects in this Measure, and I challenge any Member in this House who has had any experience of working men to deny what I said in a previous speech—that there is not a single working man who can say that his position is worth a fortnight or a month's purchase. He is liable to be turned away at a week's notice, and if he is so turned away, and he is compelled to sell property for which he has been paying for five or ten years, he is bound to sell at an enormous sacrifice. The Member for West Ham shakes his head. I am sorry to say that he has not had much experience of the sale of property. If he has had, then I must say that his experience does not agree with mine. However, whatever our experiences may be, in my opinion that is one of the great defects in this Measure. If you are going to confer a benefit upon the working classes of this country, then I hold that a municipality should not give less advantages than a building society. If a man invests in a building society it is immaterial whether he lives 10 or 20 miles away; as long as he pays his interest and redemption to the building society the property is his own, and cannot be touched. Wherever I have spoken upon this subject I have never found a working man who approves of that principle of this Measure. I may say that the Measure was originated in the town I have the honour to represent. It was fought there, and the author of it was defeated at the last election. That proves that where it was originated, where it was discussed in detail, it is not cared for. The fact is, that the working classes laugh at the very idea of such a Measure as this. My second objection to this Bill is this: I have heard from the other side of the House that you are going to improve the condition of the working classes, to encourage thrift among them, and to create a general desire on their part to become owners under this Bill. Now, the very fact that the last speaker taunted Members on this side of the House with being ignorant of the Bill, and that he himself spoke in a general sense, is proof to me that he has not studied the second clause of this Measure. In that clause there is a limitation as 1044 to the borrowing powers of the municipalities, no municipality being empowered to borrow beyond one-eighth of its rateable value. If you are going to confer a great and lasting boon on the working classes, why do you limit the power of conferring that boon? Let me take some striking examples. The honourable Member for the Central Division of Sheffield spoke about the working classes of Sheffield approving of this Measure. But to what extent? The population of Sheffield is 330,000, and the number which can take advantage of this Measure—that is to say, if they have £50 and borrow the maximum sum of £150—is only 1,030 working men. The introducer of this Bill talked about the great benefit it would confer on the people of Wolverhampton, which has a population of less than 100,000, but the number that would benefit if they took full advantage of the Measure is only 272. Now take another town in which this Measure was debated at full length— I refer to Barnsley. Last year we had an election in Barnsley, in which I took some part, and the house of every working man in that town, and throughout the division, had a pamphlet put into it, stating the benefits of this Measure, with portraits of the right honourable Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, the Duke of Devonshire, and Lord Salisbury, thereby connecting the Tory Party with the Measure; and they even sent down special men to expound its principles. I myself explained it to the best of my ability, and I showed that in Barnsley itself, with a population of 40,000, only 93 could take advantage of this glorious Measure; and when it was explained the Barnsley people scouted it, and although there was a division in the Labour ranks they returned the Liberal candidate by a majority of over 3,000. In the two boroughs I have the honour to represent, out of a population of 74,000, only 180 could take advantage of the Measure. Let me call attention to the position in West Ham. The honourable Member said that every working man in West Ham was anxious to take advantage of this Measure, and that was why I rose to ask him whether he had ever explained this Measure to the people of West Ham. The population of West Ham is 222,000, according 1045 to the Municipal Authorities Year Book, and out of that only 810 could take advantage of this great Measure.
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL
I invite the honourable Member to go to West Ham and explain to the working classes that the Corporation can, if they think fit, put this Measure into operation, and that of the vast population of West Ham only 810 in the first year can take advantage of it. I should like to know from the honourable Member how it is possible for a corporation out of a vast population to select, without corruption or jobbery, the particular section of the population to take advantage of the Bill. Now, Mr. Speaker, every working man should be placed in the same position, and every man should have the right to take advantage of the Measure, if the principle were good; but there is not a single working man who, when the condition of this Measure is explained to him, would invest his money under it. I never heard the honourable Member for the Central Division of Sheffield explain the details of this Bill. I listened to his speech at Barnsley, but he spoke in a very general sense, as if he were going to confer the greatest possible boon on the working classes. What I should like the honourable Member to do would be to explain the details of the Measure, and to tell what it proposes to confer, and if he can get a working man to vote for the candidate who advocates this Measure he will have won his point. Take another clause of this Bill, just to show how restricted its powers are. Take clause 4. Now, if there is one thing 1046 that will be found among the working classes of this country, it is that many wives are compelled to assist their husbands by keeping small shops. There are many thousands of working men assisted in this manner by their wives and daughters, but under clause 4—just to show the generosity of the promoters of this Measure—if a house is converted into a public-house, which is very proper —I mean that the clause is proper—to prevent a working man turning a house into a public-house, and I quite agree with that, but the clause goes on to say that if a house is turned into any other use, such as a small shop, the corporation can come down on the working man and compel him to sell the property.
§ * SIR. A. HICKMAN
But clause 4 also states that a house in which a workman both dwells and carries on his trade or employment shall be deemed to be a dwelling-house.
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL
But subsection (e) provides that the house shall not be used for the sale of intoxicating liquors, or for any purpose other than that of a dwelling-house.
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL
Yes, the clause says further—'Provided that for the purpose of this enactment a house in which a workman both dwells and carries on his trade or employment shall be deemed to be a dwelling-house.But that is the trade he is employed at; but if a man is an iron worker, or employed in the works of the honourable Member, and if he or his wife keeps a small shop in addition, it is not his trade, and the corporation can call on him to sell his property. Now, I called attention on the last occasion to subsection 3 of clause 4. It contains a restriction which I say this House has no right to impose on any working man. It prevents him from dividing his property between, say, a son and a daughter, and if it be divided by bequest, the corporation can sell the property. All these restrictions are such as honourable 1047 Members would not tolerate in the case of their own properties, and therefore I hold they should not be put upon the working classes of this country. I am not going to deal with clause 9, by which, if a man earns more than £3 a week, he is placed outside the scope of the Measure. This Measure, although it pretends to confer a great and lasting boon on the working classes of this country, is such that its operation will be very restricted. If you want to enfranchise the working men you should, in my opinion, place them in the same position as other men, and give them equal rights and privileges, and because it fails to do this I am going to vote against this Measure.
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL
In the unfortunate and unavoidable absence of the President of the Local Government Board, I rise to state the views of the Government on this Bill. I have listened with very great interest and with not a little amusement to this Debate. A famous statesman of another generation is reported to have once observed to his colleagues that it really did not matter much what they said, but it was important that they should all say the same thing. That is advice which the opponents of this Bill might very well have taken before this Debate began. The House has been told by the honourable Member for Battersea that there is no demand for this Bill, while other honourable Members have informed the House that it is a mere political job, a question of fulfilling election pledges. The changes have been rung on these phrases all through the Debate, and I wish to call the attention of the House to the opening remarks of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean when he moved the rejection of this Bill in 1896. The right honourable Gentleman then said—This was not an academic discussion in which they were engaged. It was not one of the ordinary Wednesdays spent on a Bill which had no chance of passing. It would be idle to deny that there was a large body of opinion favourable to the Bill, and it was very possible that, on the Division that afternoon, it might be carried by more than an ordinary Parliamentary majority. The very fact that the Bill was one which had some chance of passing 1048 made it the more important that on the first occasion when it had been seriously discussed in Parliament the objections to its provisions should be at once pointed out.It is clear that the right honourable Gentleman, who, I may take it, knows something about the working classes of this country, did not think then that there was no demand for this Bill; on the contrary, he believed, what every man who has ever been in an English election—and I have been in a good many of them—must believe, that the great mass of the English electorate care a great deal mare for questions like this than they care for the constitutional changes that honourable Members opposite advocate. I take an interest in this Bill from another point of view. I represent a part of the country where a great experiment similar in character to this has been tried, and tried with complete success. There are now in Ireland 30,000 occupying owners under the Land Purchase Acts, who have purchased their holdings with money provided by the State. I am not saying the cases are exactly alike, but I do say that the principle is the same. There are now, I repeat, 30,000 occupying owners in Ireland who have purchased their holdings with money provided by the State, and who have not been called upon to advance this one-fourth as the English working man is called upon to do. And I say here, what everyone, knows to be true, that during the 12 or 13 years these Acts have been in operation in Ireland the experiment has been a complete success.
MR, W. ALLAN (Gateshead)
May I ask if these tenant farmers were employed on their own holdings?
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I cannot deal with that question now. I say the cases are not exactly the same. But the principle of the State advancing money for this purpose is the same. I say that that experiment has been attended with complete success in Ireland; indeed, I do not hesitate to say that it is the only complete success in Irish legislation during the half - century that has passed. And, seeing that the advance of State money for this purpose in Ireland has achieved success, I am not in the least surprised that English work- 1049 men should take up the idea that what is good for Irish farmers might be good for English workmen. I am not in the least surprised that that is the case.
§ * MR T. W. RUSSELL
An honourable Member says, "Give them the same chance." I would remind the House that, when the Land Purchase Acts were first passed, the tenant had to advance one-fourth of the purchase price. It was then a tentative experiment, and it was only when the experiment became a success that the State advanced the whole of the purchase money. I now come to the question of how far the Bill gives cause for the objections that have been raised by a few honourable Members. Some honourable Member declared that the Bill would only benefit a, small class. How is that argument to be reconciled with the argument of the honourable Member for Monmouthshire that the local authorities would be taking a tremendous risk in advancing money? If the class to be benefited will be small, the money to be advanced will be small in amount, and therefore the risk will be small. And if only a small class will take advantage of the provisions of the Bill, is that any reason for not doing a good thing? We are told that there are very few workmen—and I am astonished to hear that statement from representatives of the working classes—who would be able to advance a fourth of this money—that is, £40 or £50. I feel sure that the experience of honourable Members opposite is not the universal experience. I am certain that there are many thousands of English working men who will be able to advance this money and to take advantage of this Bill. We are told that the local authorities will run risks in advancing the money, but I think the Bill, although, of course, it can be amended, provides sufficient safeguards. In the first place, no local authority would be able to borrow more for this purpose than is represented by one-eight of its rateable value; in the 1050 second place, the local authority will have the security of the working men themselves paying a fourth of the money; and, in the third place, no local authority will be allowed to advance more than £150 to any single workman. I do not see that there is much risk to the local authorities in this arrangement; but, if there be any risk, the answer is that the local authorities will enter upon it with their eyes open, for this is not a compulsory Bill, it is a permissive Bill; and I am surprised that honourable Members opposite, who are always defending, and rightly defending, local authorities and local government, should hesitate to allow these local authorities to exercise their discretion upon this question. The local authorities are the best authorities upon the question; they have all the facts before them, and they are perfectly competent to deal with matters of this character. I admit that, while much may be said in favour of the principle of the Bill, there are difficulties in the way. I believe there is a very large number of working men of England—I am not speaking so much from the Debates in this House as from the experience I have had—who are in favour of the Bill. But there are, as I have said, serious difficulties which it is not wise to overlook. In the first place, there is the fact that a very large number of English workmen are migrants, and that there are cases in which industries are shifted from one locality to another. There are cases in which industries are closed altogether—for instance, the tin-plate industry in Wales. I am not overlooking these difficulties in the least, and I admit that the migratory character of the English workmen differentiates cases under this Act from those under the Irish Act. I also admit that there is the question of how far a man who is tied to his labour by the possession of his house in this way is a free agent. I am not speaking from the employers' standpoint, and I recognise that that might be a reason for confining a man to the locality in which he works. But these are not difficulties which ought to prevent the fullest inquiry into this Measure. The position of the Government is this: they 1051 sympathise with the principle of this Bill, and they think the object to be achieved is a good one. The Bill may require Amendment; there are very few Bills introduced that do not require Amendment. Believing, therefore, that the object of this Bill is a good one, the Government think it ought to be read a second time, and that it ought to go to a Select Committee. In this way we ought to be able to get the opinions of the local authorities upon this matter. Surely honourable Members will admit that the local authorities, who will be called upon to act under this Bill, ought to have an opportunity of studying it. The appointment of a Select Committee will also enable the House to get at the opinions of the working classes themselves upon the Bill. For these reasons, the Government will support the Second Reading, and if my honourable Friend will move to refer it to a Select Committee we shall be very glad to support the Motion.
§ * MR. ASQUITH
I rise simply for the purpose of calling attention to the somewhat singular conditions under which we are debating this subject. This, if my memory serves me right, is the second plank in the great programme of social reform which was exhibited for the admiration of the electors at the General Election of 1895. The first plank was old-age pensions, which is now under the consideration of a Royal Commission. The second plank was dwellings for working men, and that, we are now told, is to be referred to a Select Committee, in order that the Government may discover, as the right honourable Member for South Tyrone has ingenuously confessed, whether there is any real bonâ fidedemand for it.
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL
That is further than I went. I admitted the demand in full, but I said that what the Select Committee would inquire into was as to the opinion of the local authorities with regard to their power; and in addition to that I said it would be expedient to have the opinion of the working classes.
§ * MR. ASQUITH
I do not think the honourable Gentleman's correction seriously modifies my statement. But is not this a rather curious state of things? Here we are at the fag end of a Wednesday afternoon, in the third Session of the present Parliament, and we are discussing a Bill upon the back of which I do not see the name of a single member of the Ministry. And where are the authors of the Birmingham programme? Where is the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies? It is true I see on the Treasury Bench one shy and retiring figure, which has recently emerged from the seclusion of the far end of the Bench, and I hope we shall hear from, the right honourable Member for Bordesley (Mr. Collings) what is his view of the responsibility of the Government in this matter. In the meantime I call the attention of the House and the country to this significant fact, that, after three years of legislative experience, after three Queen's speeches, programme after programme from the Government, the only thing the Government can say about this great question of workmen's dwellings is that they are prepared to consider it with an open mind, and take the instructions of a Select Committee upon it. I think, under these circumstances, it is a waste of time to go on dwelling upon the details of this Bill. My honourable Friends behind me have raked the Bill with criticisms which have not been answered, and the substantial justice of which I do not understand the representatives of the Government have disputed. Before I sit down I desire to deal with only one point; that is the most misleading analogy which the honourable Member who has just sat down, has endeavoured to press into the service of this Bill; the analogy of what has been done in Ireland. What is the reason and justification for the policy of advancing State money to the Irish tenants? It is this, that the Irish tenantry, by their labour and their enterprise, have created the value of the holdings upon which they live. These tenants had in every 1053 sense, except the legal sense, in ethics and in morality, a preponderating interest in the holdings upon which they lived, and by means of which they acquired their livelihood; and it was from that point of view, morally, as well as from the point of view of the maintenance of social order, that this House embarked upon the policy of a large measure of land purchase in Ireland, which, I am glad to agree with the honourable Member for South Tyrone, has produced most beneficial results. But there is no real analogy between the two cases; and the suggestion that there is any such analogy, either as regards natural justice, or social expediency, or economic practicability, appears to me to be playing with the judgment of the House, and to be invoking an analogy which has no real foundation. I shall certainly vote against the Second Reading, as a clumsy and belated attempt to deal with an unreal demand, and if I am ever called upon to justify that position I shall be prepared to do so, and I shall fortify myself with the admissions we have heard from the Treasury Bench.
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
The right honourable Gentleman the Member for East Fife has referred to the fact that the names of none of Her Majesty's Ministers appear on the back of this Bill. I have a very limited experience of the procedure of this House, but I have been informed by those on whose opinions I can rely that such a thing as the name of one of Her Majesty's Ministers appearing on the back of a private Member's Bill is quite unknown. Because the names of Her Majesty's Ministers do not appear on the back of this Bill, the right honourable Member seems to assume that they do not approve of the Measure. But the honourable Member for South Tyrone, speaking on behalf of the Government most wisely in favour of the Bill, said, as everyone will admit, that for certain portions of it consideration is required, and that by 1054 being referred to a Select Committee it will be improved, and the opinions of the local authorities will be obtained. The honourable Member for Battersea objected to this Bill on the ground that it was a political job, intended to fulfil our election pledges, and he appealed to us to withdraw from the election pledges and not to pass the Second Reading.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
The honourable Member for Stockton, and several other honourable Members on the Opposition side of the House, objected strongly to this Bill on the ground that it would help very few of the working classes of this country. The honourable Member for Stockton also went into an elaborate calculation—the accuracy of which I do not dispute—and he seemed to deduce from his argument that, because 30 per cent, of the population only would benefit by the passing of this Bill—
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL
What I said was that the second clause limited the borrowing powers of each municipality to one-eighth of its rateable value, which meant that in very large towns only a very small proportion of the working men could possibly take advantage of the Bill.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
The argument seems to be that because only one-eighth of the population which depend upon this Bill would benefit by it, therefore—
§ * MR. J. SAMUEL
I must repeat that I did not say one-eighth of the population. I said the municipality would only be able to borrow to the extent of one-eighth of their rateable value.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
The honourable Member said that in Wolverhampton, out of a population of 100,000, only 279 would benefit by this Bill. I am not disputing the accuracy of the honourable Member's figures, but there are two answers to that argument. In the first place it seems to me an extraordinary argument that, because in Wolverhampton only 279 people are going to benefit by this Bill, the Bill is a bad Bill; and that these 279 people are not to be allowed to benefit by it. But, surely, even if only a small number of the working classes of this country would benefit by the passing of this Bill, that is one reason why we should begin in a tentative manner to try and improve it. It is argued that the Bill will not benefit the poorest of the poor. That may be so—I never argued that it would—but I fail to see why the thrifty artisan should be put under a penalty for his thrift, and that is what this argument really comes to. We are further told that there is no demand for this Bill, but my experience of the working classes in Lancashire is that they have an evident desire for the passing of some Bill such as this, in order that they may become possessed of the house in which they live. Speaking as one who has had some experience as an employer, I have yet to learn how any employer will be able to use the fact that a man owns the house in which he lives as an argument for decreasing or avoiding an increase, in the man's wages. We have been told that the fact that his house could not be sold without great sacrifice would tend to pin a man down 1056 to one employment, but I know many cases where men have spent the whole of their lives in the same occupation. And why are we to put these men under a penalty because of some fantastical idea that some employer may be able to use the fact that a man owns his house as an argument against an increase, or in favour of a decrease in wages? The truth is honourable Members opposite fear that if this Bill is passed we shall be fulfilling one of the election pledges of which they are most afraid.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
An honourable Member opposite says "One pledge." Well, we shall be ready when the time comes to take the verdict of the country, and if a comparison is made of the pledges we have redeemed and the pledges honourable Members opposite have redeemed, it will be found that we are far in advance of the Opposition.
§ MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)
Mr. Speaker, after the way in which the Secretary of the Local Government Board has addressed himself to some of the difficulties surrounding this question, it would be altogether unnecessary for me to refer, as I purposed doing, to the statements which have been made in the course of the Debate as to the overwhelming amount of evidence there is in support of the principle of this Bill, more particularly from the working classes. For, as the honourable Gentleman has assured us, the ground upon which the Government give their assent to the Second Reading of the Bill is that it may be referred to a Select Committee, that, there, they may have the opportunity of ascertaining the opinions of the local authorities as to the advisability of proceeding on the lines indicated by this Bill. One of the chief arguments which has been advanced in the course of the Debate in support of the Bill has been that it will have a tendency to 1057 promote thrift. Well, Mr. Speaker. I should certainly be one of the last to discourage any movement or any proposal which, in my judgment, was calculated to induce the working classes to break away from any tendency towards thrift that there may be at the present time. One of the greatest regrets of nay life is that there should be so much wastefulness and extravagance amongst working men, and I should certainly do all I possibly can in order to encourage the tendency to thrift amongst the industrial classes. But, Sir, my impression is that the provisions of this Bill as it stands will not tend to induce thrift to such an extent as honourable Gentlemen opposite imagine. But, granting that their argument be sound, why should certain well-meaning and industrious portions of the community be debarred from the provisions of your Bill? You have already had it admitted by the promoters of the Bill this afternoon that it is not intended to apply it to miners.
§ * SIR A. HICKMAN
Excuse me. What I said was that it would not apply to miners working in isolated parts of the country.
§ MR. FENWICK
There are very few miners who can hope to be working in isolated parts of the country, but if I am prepared to accept that qualification from the honourable Baronet opposite, I cannot help remembering that only a short time ago Lord Londonderry, who has taken an active interest in this Bill, went down to the north of England, and particularly singled out myself, the honourable Member for Berwick and Mr. Samuel Storey as being amongst the opponents of a Measure which was intended to enable miners to become the possessors of their own houses. I am very glad to hear from the promoters of the Bill this afternoon that it is not intended to apply to any considerable extent to men in the position of miners. The reason that was given for that was 1058 the uncertainly of the work in which they were employed; but I should like to ask the House, Mr. Speaker, how you can determine any given time as to the stability or continuance of any industry? Every industry depends upon the margin of profit that can be obtained out of that industry. When trade decreases the margin of profit to the employee will decrease either permanently or for an indefinite time. Well, now, how are the local authorities to ascertain, with any assurance, whether that trade is to continue in a state of stability or not? Presumably they will only grant the allowance to working men provided that they are assured that the industry in which they are employed is likely to continue in a prosperous state for a considerable time. How is it possible for the local authority to satisfy themselves on that question unless they are given inquisitorial powers for investigation into the financial position of those interested in the industry? Take, for example, the steel work at Sunderland, which is now practically dead. Would it be possible for any local authority, three years before the closing of that industry, to determine that that industry would cease at the expiration of another three years? Or take, again, the Railton collieries. To have seen the Railton collieries in operation five years ago, any outside observer would have said they were likely to have gone on prospering for an indefinite period. I confess that it seems to me absolutely impossible for any local authority to determine with any degree of assurance that, the industry in which those who apply for assistance under this Bill are engaged, is likely to continue for any considerable time. And therefore, if by any means an industry should be closed, it seems to me that the local authority is bound to suffer considerable loss by the closing of that industry. And here it is that I, in my humble judgment, conclude that the local authority would be subject to considerable risk of losing under the provisions of this Bill.
1059 Now, I admit, Mr. Speaker, that there is a considerable—or there was a considerable, to speak more correctly—amount of sympathy with the principle which underlies this Bill at the time when it was first made known. The proposal was made when the Unionist Party were appealing to the working classes of this country for their votes at the general election of 1895. The ground upon which the proposal was made was that the British workman in this respect should be in no worse circumstances than the Irish peasant farmer, and surely, said Unionist candidates in all parts of the north of England, at least, if the Government can see its way to advance money upon easy terms to Irish peasant farmers, why should not they advance money on equally reasonable terms to the British workman, to enable him to become the purchaser of his homestead? Yes; but you have not, indeed, carried out in that respect the pledges which you gave to the country at that time. Why do you propose, under the provision of this Bill, to place the British workman in worse circumstances than the Irish tenant under the Irish Land Act is placed? You do not ask the Irish peasant farmer to lay down one quarter of the purchase money when he applies for the purchase of his holding; and why, I ask the Unionist Party in particular, lay down this condition, which practically puts the British workman, who makes application under the provision of this Bill, in a much worse position than the Irish peasant farmers who have purchased their holdings? But, Sir, one of the chief objections that I have towards a Measure such as this is that it will effectively prevent the mobility of labour, and that it will place a working man to a very considerable extent in the power of his employer. We all know that all employers of labour are not alike. There are good employers of labour and there are very indifferent employers of labour. A good employer certainly would be the last to take advantage of a man who had 1060 provided himself with the capital for the purchase of his homestead. But there are employers, I do not hesitate to say— I hope there are very few—who would not hesitate to take advantage of such a workman; and if a workman be dismissed from his employment, from whatever cause it may be, then there must necessarily follow the forced selling of his homestead, and everyone knows, who has had any experience of forced sales, that the probabilities are that the original holder will suffer very considerably by such forced sale; and it is on this ground, that it interferes with the absolute freedom and mobility of labour, that I have uttered my strenuous protest against the provisions of the Bill. I am bound to say—
AN HONOURABLE MEMBER
Would the honourable Member be in favour of prohibiting a workman from buying his freehold?
§ MR. FENWICK
Not at all. He buys it now through our building societies, and very largely, I am happy to say, in the county for which I have the honour to be returned. There is, moreover, in my personal knowledge a co-operative store through which he has absolute freedom to dispose of his property; he may either let it or sell it, and it binds him not one iota more to the neighbourhood than it did before he became the possessor of his own house. It is, as I have said, Mr. Speaker, because I think the Measure, just as it is, largely interferes with the freedom of the workman in disposing of his labour—which, after all, is his capital—and that it would interfere largely with his freedom in disposing of that capital, that I object to a Measure such as this. I think I see in the readiness of the promoters of this Bill today to accept the suggestion made by the Government that the Measure should be referred to a Select Committee, an indication that they themselves have lost to a considerable extent faith in their own proposals. However, I feel sure that 1061 the Bill, if it goes to a Select Committee, is done with, so far as this Session is concerned, and I feel equally sure that when we have an opportunity of placing, as we probably shall have, the views of the great body of the working classes before that Committee, the House will be in a vastly different state of opinion with regard to the advisability of this Measure from what it is today.
§ MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
said he had been struck with the unfavourable attitude which the right honourable Gentleman the Member for East Fife had shown to the Bill and the different reception given to it by the Member for East Wolverhampton on a former occasion. The Member for East Fife came there that afternoon, he supposed, on behalf of the Front Opposition Bench. He (Mr. Tomlinson) wished that they had had a colleague of his present who took part in the Debate in 1896, and whose remarks he had before him. The right honourable Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton—and Wolverhampton seemed to be unanimous in support of the Bill—made these remarks—He thought there was a general consensus of opinion in the House in favour of the objects of this Bill. When he was at the Local Government Board this Measure in a different shape was brought before Parliament, and he then stated his own opinion that it was desirable the House should give the Bill a Second Reading, approving its principle, and reserving for the Government and the House the fullest freedom as to the details.And he went on to say—He should like to see a Select Committee take the Measure in hand.It would therefore be seen that when the Bill was before the House on that occasion the right honourable Gentleman advocated the identical course which the Government proposed should be taken now. The honourable Member who had just addressed the House had spoken of the difficulty that might arise in regard to the operation of the Bill in cones 1062 quence of the uncertainty of employment in a particular district. He did not dispute for a moment that in the case of a great many working men that was an important matter for them to consider, as it might be very desirable that they should not fix themselves in a particular locality. But he thought that the modification of the wording might be left to the consideration of a Select Committee. The honourable Member seemed to be very much afraid, like a great many Members on the opposite side of the House, of entrusting local authorities with discretionary powers.
§ MR. FENWICK
The honourable Member is in error. I am quite prepared to trust local authorities even with a Measure of this kind. My objection was rather drawn to the point as to how the local authority shall determine that a given industry was likely to continue in a prosperous or a semi-prosperous state for a considerable time.
§ MR. TOMLINSON
said he did not wish to prolong the Debate. He only wished to say that amongst the working men of his own constituency there was a considerable number who were very proud to possess their own dwellings. Many, indeed, had possessed them for a very long time. He believed that in many places there was a strong desire that legislation of this kind should be carefully considered and carried out. He thought there were many cases in which local authorities might enable working men to improve their position by becoming the owners of the houses in which they lived, and he therefore supported the Bill.
§ MR. BROADHURST
I have very little to add to the statements made by the Secretary to the Local Government Board. I feel that he has relieved us of a heavy responsibility by himself delivering such a criticism of the Bill as has destroyed nearly the whole fabric.
1063 Now, it is quite true that the honourable Gentleman and myself have on a great many occasions travelled to and from many campaigns, and I hope we may do the same again. I always enjoy the company of the honourable Member, and I hope to enjoy it on other occasions. But the point is this—that since this Bill has been drafted and been before the country I have experienced no volume of support from the electorates. I have never heard a ward said in its favour. I do not believe a vote has ever been gained to the Conservative Party in consequence of this Measure. What we understood at the general election was that the Conservative Party had returned to power to deal with the housing question, the great problem of the housing of the poor. Well now, what we interpreted that to mean was that it was the widow—the poor, lone widow—and her family and the agricultural labouring class that the Tory Party would deal with when they had the opportunity. Instead of that, they have entirely neglected the class which most needs assistance; and now again, in this case, as in all their legislative efforts, they are seeking to aid most those most capable of taking care of themselves. That is the essence of this Bill; that is the intention of it. A man with £200 or £300 in his pocket can very well manage to obtain his own housing without the assistance of the Conservative Party. This is the secret of the whole thing. If the honourable Baronet in charge of this Bill, assisted by his right honourable Friend the Secretary to the Local Government Board, and by the right honourable Gentleman who sits on his left—if they between this and next Session will thoroughly re-cast their Bill, as they have been advised to do by the honour able Member who spoke for the Government—if they will re-cast it and bring forward a scheme that will assist the 1064 labourer getting 12s. and the lone widow —they will find plenty of support on this side of the House. Now, that is the main reason why I shall be compelled to vote against this Bill in the Division which I hope we shall shortly take. As to the investment of working men's savings in cottage property, I do not know what the experience of the honourable Member for West Ham has been in investments in London leasehold property. I cannot imagine a more unwise investment for a working man than for him to put his money in a wretched leasehold property in the surroundings of London. Why, Sir, every year the depreciation in value would be enormous, for it is all, or nearly all, jerry-built property. ["Oh!"] Well, I know what I am talking about in the matter, and I do not think the honourable Member for West Ham has had the same opportunity of knowing what the property is as I have had. He does not know, and cannot know. I say that you could not give worse advice, in my opinion, to a workman about London than to tell him to invest his savings in a wretched jerry-built property, such as that by which this great metropolis is surrounded. Unfortunately, I was one of the enthusiastic young men years back who were unwise enough to realise the glorious ideal of owning one's own house. Every year the value of the property went down, and the probabilities are that in a very short time the house would have tumbled to the ground, or would have cost me an enormous lot of money to shore it up. But you are not subject only to your repayment of capital and interest; there is the ground rent to be met. And have you considered the ground rent? Have you considered the enormous powers of the owners of the ground? Do you know that every three years the ground rent owner can send his surveyor and his agent, and compel 1065 you to, do all sorts of repairs which he may declare to be necessary, at enormous cost, and be paid for by the tenant, or the so-called owner? I bought my house out of my own savings. I paid for it out of my own pocket without being indebted to Her Majesty's Government, or to any of their supporters behind them in consequence of a Bill of this kind. But that is not the point. What I say is that a more unwise investment for a working man's money than London jerry-built property cannot be conceived. That is perfectly clear. The Secretary to the Local Government Board disposed once and for all of the theory that it is wise for a. workman to be anchored to one particular place for the remainder of his life. The theory that you can sell small cottage property in single houses is altogether a delusion, if you think you can sell with any increased profit. The rate of depreciation is so enormous in that class of property that unless you have special facilities and are able to buy in large quantities you have the greatest difficulty of ever seeing your money back again. I think that has been the experience of most of the workmen who have been unwise enough in their youth to invest money in this class of property. I am not going to engage in any attempt whatever to delay a Division on this Bill. I am perfectly prepared to vote against it, for the reasons I have given, and if the honourable Baronet thinks that I have any ulterior design against the Measure I will at once resume my seat in order that he may endeavour to restrain his own friends from supporting this Bill, and thus defeating it from his own side of the House. Mr. Speaker, I wish, as a friend to my own class, to vote against this Measure, doing so with a good conscience that I am rendering them a sound service, instead of deluding them into the belief that there are advantages to be gained out of a Measure such as that which we have been discussing this afternoon.
That the Question be now put."—(Sir A. Hickman.)
§ MR. WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)
I am entirely in agreement with the honourable Baronet who introduced this Measure as to the principles of the proposal, but the Bill has been drawn up in the most extraordinary way. I personally have had a very large experience in building, and I know something about the purchase of workmen's houses. If you build on a small scale you are certain to lose money. If you build on a large scale you can buy on a large scale at remunerative prices, and can build at 25 per cent, less cost than if you are building a single house. Now, as to the question of a workman buying his house ready built. A workman, unless he is in the building trade, is not a very good judge of a house, and there are some very sharp people in the suburbs of our large towns, where the great mass of the population live, who are very good judges indeed of how to build bad houses, and houses which will only last a year or two before getting into a very bad state of repair. A workman may buy, in some parts, for £200, a very nice and comfortable-looking house, but after three weeks or a month it will begin to leak, the slates will come off, and in the course of a very short time the house will almost tumble to pieces and become practically unsaleable. This particular Bill has a large number of objections. It has been said that we can alter the details, but the whole question depends upon details. Any Bill which deals with this question must be worded very carefully in every single one of its details, and there is hardly a detail throughout the whole of this Bill which has not got very great faults to be found with it. The whole question, whether you are doing a man a service by enabling him to buy his house depends upon the terms upon which he 1067 buys the house, whether the house is a thoroughly sound house, and other things The first thing that this Bill does is to exclude London and the suburbs from its operation, because a man can only get £150 or £200 under the provisions of the Bill, and you cannot get a good house in London and the suburbs—and certainly West Ham, which I know pretty intimately—for £200. I think I know the value of property there better than the honourable Member for West Ham, and I know a good deal of property near West Ham which is not fit for anyone to live in, to be sold for £200. And the same provision excludes our great towns. In all the manufacturing towns the cost of labour is so great that you cannot put up a good house for £200. Then, again, take the case of the agricultural labourers. It is quite true that an agricultural labourer's house might in many cases be built for £200, but he has not got the £50. He does not get enough wages to save his £50, so he is practically excluded from the scope of this Bill. Then we come to staple industries, such as collieries. These employees, as has been said, are liable to be moved about, but there are very few of them that are out of our large industrial centres. I think the Bill was especially meant for the collieries industry in the Midland districts, because there it is the custom of the colliers to buy a piece of land and build a house out of their own money, and the money which they have borrowed, but the honourable Baronet has said, if I understand him correctly, that it was not meant for them. The colliers prefer to buy their land, and then build their house upon it, but this Bill will not assist them to do that. Moreover, you can get money on freehold cottages on very much better terms than anybody can get out of this Bill. Then there is the question of the small shopkeepers. There, of course, a numerous class might benefit, if clause 4 is altered. As clause 1068 4 now stands—as I read it, and as I think most people will read it—it means that no small shopkeeper who has any other employment will be able to take money under this Bill. I come now to the question of the cost of the house. The sum of £200 is to cover not only the cost of the house, but the cost of transfer, the cost of the investigation of title, the cost of registration, and the necessary legal expenses. Well, now, most building societies have some arrangement for covering these at the smallest cost. There is no arrangement here for reducing these to a minimum, and I think they would make a very considerable hole in the £200, and reduce the sum to be spent very considerably. Then there is another question which has not been gone into by the Committee. It is generally the case in the suburbs that when you spend £200 to build, you have to pay towards making the road for the house to stand on. Then there is the gas and other things which have to be paid for, and these, added together, make a considerable sum. But there is another matter which should be taken into consideration. A man would be very much worse off if he is buying his house back for £160 than if he paid 5s. 6d. per week, because, when he is paying 5s. 6d. he would not have to pay rates and taxes, and, if you take a place like West Ham, where the rates are 8s. in the £, it comes rather heavy. I believe, in cases like that, the local authorities would not be very anxious to put this Bill into force; but, still, where the rates are so high, the advantage of buying a house for £160 would be very doubtful indeed. In one respect, I think, this Bill has done good. It has brought this question before the House. I am glad it has been brought forward. I hope the Debate this afternoon may induce Her Majesty's Government to take this question up, and bring in a more rational and better-considered Bill—a Bill which has been considered by people who know some- 1069 thing about the question of building, and one that will be applicable to poor people who have not saved £50, as well as to those who have saved £50; and that it will do something more than this Bill, which is really only a scapegrace and a red herring stopping the way for a Measure that will do more good.
That the Question be now put."—(Colonel Sir Howard Vincent.)
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 174; Noes 88.—(Division List No. 128.)1071
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Anstruther, H. T.||FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Milner, Sir Frederick George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Milton, Viscount|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Flower, Ernest||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Austin, Sir J. (Yorkshire)||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Monk, Charles James|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Fry, Lewis||More, Robert Jasper|
|Baird, John George Alex.||Garfit, William||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Gedge, Sydney||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manc'r)||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gilliat, John Saunders||Murray, Col. W. (Bath)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Myers, William Henry|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Goldsworthv, Major-General||Newark, Viscount|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. SirM.H. (Bristol)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Graham, Henry Robert||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Pease, Arthur (Darlington)|
|Bethell, Commander||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Penn, John|
|Biddulph, Michael||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Bill, Charles||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bond, Edward||Greville, Captain||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Brassey, Albert||Gull, Sir Cameron||Purvis, Robert|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Gunter, Colonel||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Rankin, James|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Heaton, J. Henniker||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Helder, Augustus||Robertson, Herbt. (Hackney)|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Hill, Sir E. Stock (Bristol)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Hobhouse, Henry||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Coddington, Sir William||Howell, William Tudor||Rothschild, Baron F. Jas. de|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Russell, Gen. F. S. '(Chelt'm)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. R.||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Colston, C. E. H. Athole||Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.||Seeley, Charles Hilton|
|Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Knowles, Lees||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Rn'fr'w)|
|Cox, Robert||Lawson. John Grant (Yorks)||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Legh, Hon. Thos. W. (Lancs)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanark)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Spencer, Ernest|
|Denny, Colonel||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Lucas-Shadwell. William||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Maclure. Sir John William||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Evershed, Sydney||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||McKillop, James||Sturt, Hon. Humphry N.|
|Finch, George H.||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G.(Oxf'dUny)|
|Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'dUniv.)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Milbank, Powlett Chas. John||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Walrond, Sir William Hood||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und-L.)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Wylie, Alexander|
|Warr, Augustus Frederick||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Younger, William|
|Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)||Willox, Sir John Archibald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)||Sir Howard Vincent and|
|Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Wodehouse, Edm. R. (Bath)||Sir Alfred Hickman.|
|Asher, Alexander||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Price, Robert John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Gold, Charles||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Birrell, Augustine||Hogan, James Francis||Steadman, William Charles|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Holden, Sir Angus||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Brigg, John||Horniman, Frederick John||Strachey, Edward|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Burns, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Burt, Thomas||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Caldwell, James||Leng, Sir John||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Lowther, Rt. Hn. Jas. (Kent)||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Cawley, Frederick||McArthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||McEwan, E. (Armagh, S.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Colville, John||M'Hugh, E. (Armagh, S.)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Crilly, Daniel||McKenna, Reginald||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Crombie, John William||Maddison, Fred.||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Mappin, Sir Frederick T.||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|Davitt, Michael||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitech'p'l)||Woodall, William|
|Duckworth, James||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Hudd'rf'ld)|
|Dunn, William||Moss, Samuel||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Evans, Sam. T. (Glamorgan)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South't'n)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Warner and Mr. Jona-|
|Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||than Samuel.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ Question put.1072
§ The House divided:—Ayes 181; Noes 82.—(Division List No. 129.)1075
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Biddulph, Michael||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bill, Charles||Colomb, Sir Jno. Chas. Ready|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Bond, Edward||Colston, Chas E. H. Athole|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brassey, Albert||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Brookfield, A. Montagu||Cooke, C. W. R, (Hereford)|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Bullard, Sir Harry||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)|
|Baird, John George Alex.||Burt, Thomas||Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Carlile, William Walter||Cox, Robert|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch.)||Cavendish. R. F. (N. Lancs)||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cecil, Lord Hugh||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Chelsea, Viscount|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Davies, M. V. (Cardigan)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Coddington, Sir William||Denny, Colonel|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.||Robertson, Herbt. (Hackney)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Robinson, Brooke|
|Evershed, Sydney||Knowles, Lees||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Rothschild, Baron F. Jas. de|
|Finch, George H.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Russell, Gen. F.S. (Cheltenham)|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Legh, Hon. Thos. W. (Lancs)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Flower, Ernest||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Maclure, Sir John William||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Fry, Lewis||Me Arthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Sidebottom, W. (Derbysh.)|
|Garfit, William||McKillop, James||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Gedge, Sydney||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Smith, J. Parker (Lanark)|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Spencer, Ernest|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Godson, Augustus Frederick||Milbank, Powlett Chas. John||Stephens, Henry Charles|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Goschen, Geo. J. (Sussex)||Milton, Viscount||Strachey, Edward|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Milward, Colonel Victor||Strauss, Arthur|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Monk, Charles James||Sturt, Hon. H. Napier|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||More, Robert Jasper||Talbot. Lord E (Chichester)|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Talbot, Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'dUn.)|
|Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs)||Moss, Samuel||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Greville, Captain||Muntz, Philip A.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Walrond, Sir W. Hood|
|Gunter, Colonel||Murray, Col. W. (Bath)||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Myers, William Henry||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Newark, Viscount||Wentworth, B. C. Vernon-|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.||Nicol, Donal Ninian||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-under-L.)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Parkes, Ebenezer||Whitmore, C. Algernon|
|Helder, Augustus||Pease, Arthur (Darlington)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol)||Penn, John||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Hobhouse, Henry||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Howell, William Tudor||Pierpoint, Robert||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry C.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Purvis, Robert||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Pym, C. Guy||Younger, William|
|Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Rankin, James|
|Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||TELLERS.FOR THE AYES—|
|Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Sir Alfred Hickman and|
|Kemp, George||Richardson. Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Sir Howard Vincent.|
|Asher, Alexander||Crombie, John William||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Davitt, Michael||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. Henry||Doogan, P. C.||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Duckworth, James||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Bethell, Commander||Dunn, Sir William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Evans, Sir F. H. (S'th'mp't'n)||Leng, Sir John|
|Brigg, John||Fenwick, Charles||Lloyd-George, David|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)||McArthur, W. (Cornwall)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Ffrench, Peter||McEwan, William|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Maddison, Fred.|
|Burns, John||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mappin, Sir F. Thorpe|
|Caldwell, James||Gold, Charles||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Cawley, Frederick||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hogan, James Francis||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)|
|Colville, John||Holden, Sir Angus||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Crilly, Daniel||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, J. F. X. (Cork)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Stevenson, Francis S.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Tanner, Charles Kearns||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk)|
|Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Price, Robert John||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)||Woodall, William|
|Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Woodhouse, SirJT(Hud'rsf ld)|
|Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)||Thomas D. A. (Merthyr)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wallace, Robert (Perth)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Souttar, Robinson||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Mr. Warner and Mr.|
|Steadman, William Charles||Wedderburn, Sir William||Jonathan Samuel.|
Bill read the second time.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee."—(Colonel Sir Howard Vincent.)
§ And it being after Half-past Five of the Clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding,
§ The Debate stood adjourned; to be resumed upon Wednesday next.