§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ * MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
In the absence of my hon. friend, I desire to move the Second Reading of this Bill. In doing so I should like to make a few words of explanation. Perhaps the title of the Bill is not quite complete. I would rather it had been called the Cheap Tickets or the Cheap Fares Bill, in order that accommodation for workmen might be obtained by existing trains where it is not convenient to get new trains. As regards the definition of cheap trains, it has been construed to mean special trains carrying only one class of people. That is really contrary to the idea of Parliament on the subject. A cheap train is a train which can carry any class at any price, but which also carries at a low price those who cannot pay more. If any amendments are required in this direction I will be prepared, on behalf of my hon. friend who brought in the Bill, to accept them. I think it is a Bill which the House ought to consider very favourably. There could not be a more opportune moment for considering a Bill of this kind. We were engaged one whole day last week, and will be engaged again, in discussing the great problem of how the housing of the working classes in great cities can be improved. It has been agreed by everyone that the chief means of improving housing accommodation in cities is to spread the cities out and 313 destroy congestion, and there is no better means of doing that than by obtaining better facilities for traffic. Perhaps I ought to go a little into the history of this question of cheap transit. We have had in this country the extraordinary experience that whereas it is to the best interests of the railway companies to furnish facilities for people who live along their lines, yet the companies have been most reluctant to furnish facilities for cheap transit. In 1844 this House had to interfere in order to secure that third-class passengers should be accommodated, and quite recently the House took action to secure third-class accommodation on the Irish mail trains. Originally the companies carried third-class passengers in only one train in twenty-four hours, and even that train was run at a most inconvenient time. All that has now been changed. But if the railway director a generation since could see the third-class saloon carriage of to-day, with its pro vision for refreshments and every comfort for travellers, he would have said that any obligation to provide such a service would mean the ruin of the company. Yet it has not been so. The companies have discovered that third-class passengers are their best source of income. Seeing, then, that although this service was necessary to the public and lucrative to the companies, it had to be pressed on by Parliament, or it would never have been provided, and this may teach us a lesson with regard to the necessity of giving some stimulus to the railway companies. I would impress that point on the attention of the Board of Trade. We are asking the companies to go a step further to-day, and to make more complete provision for carrying the working classes at a low price. The Cheap Trains Act of 1883 was based on two principles. The first was that all railways should provide facilities during certain hours for carrying workmen to and from their work, and the second was that the State should remunerate the railways for providing these facilities. The scope of that legislation has never been recognised either by the railway companies or by the Board of Trade, to which this House looks to see that the railway companies do their duty. There was no exception allowed in the Act. It stated that all companies must provide these facilities, and the State would remunerate them for doing so. What took place when the Act was 314 passed? The railway companies, I was going to say, entered into a conspiracy with the Board of Trade, but perhaps that would be too strong an expression—at any rate the railway companies did everything in their power to evade the Act while securing for themselves the remuneration which the Act provided. Without referring particularly to the present President of the Board of Trade, I will say that for many years after the Act was passed the Board of Trade did not bring sufficient pressure on the companies to make them carry out the obligations of the Act. [An HON. MEMBER: How could they?] I will show that presently, but for the moment I wish to keep to my point that the companies on various pretexts refused to discharge the obligation under the Act. In the first place they ignored the hour stated in the Act, namely, 8 a.m., and for ten years after the Act was passed there was on the great majority of railways hardly a workman's train after 6 a.m. Instead of the companies not furnishing trains up to 8 a.m. they should have considered the matter in a liberal spirit and furnished trains up to 8.30 a.m. or 9 a.m., as I am glad to see some companies are now doing in Manchester and other great cities. But the main objection they took was a very subtle one. A great many railways said, "We have no workmen to carry." They did not mean that they literally had no workmen but that they had not sufficient workmen to fill a train, and they therefore provided no accommodation. The fact is that- workmen are, like the poor, everywhere, sometimes in small numbers; but even in small numbers they ought to be provided with facilities for reaching their work. The position of the companies is that if a great body of workmen, say 200 or 300, walk up to a station at a definite hour they will provide a train; but that is perfectly impossible. Workmen live in groups, and if there were only twelve or twenty in the neighbourhood of a station the object of the Act was to provide them with facilities, and the railway companies should not deny them. This was the main pretext on which the companies refused to provide accommodation. Attempts were made to meet this great difficulty. In the first place the local authorities tried to do something, but they found their hands were tied. For instance, the London County 315 Council, who during the last ten years have taken a most honourable part in trying to force the railway companies to give facilities to workmen in London, found they were practically powerless. In 1891 the Council prepared a most elaborate Report showing that there were practically no workmen's trains on a great many of the lines coming into London, and that on some of the lines one or two workmen's trains were provided at most inconvenient hours. The Council's hands were tied, as they had been advised that they could not spend the money of the ratepayers in securing these trains to the workmen, and so until recently the Council did not itself become an applicant to the Board of Trade, asking that better accommodation should be provided. It did what it could, but did not feel justified in spending the money of the ratepayers in fighting the railway companies. The Corporation of Manchester also devoted a great deal of attention to this matter for three or four years, realising that the obligation which had been placed on the railway companies by the Act of 1883 was one of the greatest importance to the city. The Glasgow Corporation also did what they could, but it was a hopeless struggle, because the local authorities were unable to bring sufficient pressure to bear on the companies. If the local authorities could not enforce the Act the workmen themselves were even more powerless. There were three difficulties in their way: they were scattered over large areas, they were not organised, and they were not rich. To bring forward cases under the Cheap Trains Act demands money, and a workman could not find £100 or £1,000 for fighting a case in the Courts. I think, however, that workmen were very foolish in this respect, because a small contribution from them would make a very large sum, and I think it is a pity that £20,000 or £30,000 was not raised to vindicate the Cheap Trains Act of 1883. All that the workmen could do—disorganised, scattered, and poor as they were—was to approach the Board of Trade and ask the Board to get them trains. The Board of Trade has lately learnt to display more sympathy with the complaints of workmen, but all along the Board has paid too much attention to the excuses of the companies. The Board put troublesome questions to the workmen—such as, "How 316 many of you are there? What time do you want the train?"—although a single workman was entitled to the benefit of the Act, and if there were twelve or twenty workmen they were within their right in asking the Board of Trade to secure facilities for them. On being asked for facilities the Board went to the railway company, who replied, "Oh, we will disturb some other trains if we furnish a train at the hour required," forgetting that the Act had stated the hour, and that these facilities should be given up to eight o'clock. Even if the Board of Trade listened to the complaints of the workmen, then the railway companies had the right of appeal under the Act of 1883 to the Railway Commissioners, who are a most expensive tribunal, as many of us know to our cost. The result has been that the Act of 1883 has been to a very large extent inoperative. I know the right hon. Gentleman will tell me that there are many lines on which a great many workmen's trains are run, and, of course, there are companies that should be singled out from others; but the Act is to a great extent inoperative, because several large companies practically furnish no trains at all. On the Midland Railway into London there are only three workmen's trains before eight o'clock, though I daresay there are a hundred other trains. The Great Northern does not furnish an adequate service, and it was the result of a case taken against the Great Northern that the defects of the Act of 1883 were discovered. I think I have made out my point, that the Act of 1883 has not come into operation to any large extent. May I explain what the railway companies got under that Act? They got relief from passenger duty. It is a little difficult to calculate how much, but if we take the amount of passenger duty that the companies paid in 1882, and then allow for the increase in traffic up to this year, we will see how much the companies would have to pay now if the Act of 1883 had not been passed and the balance between that sum and the sum paid by the companies at present is the amount which the companies receive from the House for services which in many cases they do not give. In 1882 the companies paid £764,000, and if that amount were to be increased in proportion to the receipts from passenger traffic 317 they would have to pay in 1899 £1,150,000. As a matter of fact they pay less than £300,000 now, and they are, therefore, receiving relief to the amount of £800,000 for providing accommodation which in many cases is not pro-vided at all. They simply put the money into their pockets without providing the facilities which this House intended. Some serious attempts have been made to remedy this state of things. It was suggested by an hon. Member who did very valuable work in this House—I mean Mr. Knox—that if someone would spend a little money a test case could be brought forward. That led to a certain agitation in London during the last two or three years. We went to the Board of Trade in the first instance. The President of the Board of Trade's first words on the subject were very unsatisfactory, but he afterwards came to a more reasonable frame of mind. He stated that he thought six o'clock was a very fair time for workmen's trains to run. Two or three days afterwards, however, he reconsidered the matter, and agreed that the companies ought to furnish a workmen's service up to eight o'clock, as the Act provided, and we have no complaint to make of the Board of Trade since. The Board approved of the demands which bodies of workmen and associations had made, and they requested the companies to furnish facilities. In every case the Companies appealed. In two or throe cases they appealed to the Railway Inspector, the late Sir Francis Marindin, but in the majority of cases they appealed to the Railway Commissioners, and these cases became trials in one of the High Courts, involving great expense. Three or four cases were proceeded with at a cost of £500 or £600, and as the subscriptions were not equal to the sympathy displayed by the workmen, and as the railway companies were very rich, the other cases had to be dropped. But in the three cases that were brought to trial the applicants succeeded in every case to a certain extent; they got several now trains put on, and the principle that workmen were entitled to this service was laid down by the Railway Commissioners. Bat in these trials grievous defects were discovered in the legislation itself, and the proposals which we are now making in this Bill are to remedy these defects. They are not speculative, and will be found to be of a most moderate character. 318 What is the main principle of this Bill? It is that trains and traffic accommodation, I will say tickets, must precede houses, as no person can live where there is no means of reaching his work. The object of the Bill is that up to 8 a.m. facilities should be given to every workman to reach his work. We do not want new trains, we only want tickets by the existing trains at cheap rates up to 8 a.m. It is said that if these cheap tickets are issued a loss would be thrown on the railway company; but it will be no greater than this House is entitled to impose. Let me quote one instance in proof of my argument. There is one railway running into London which has greater difficulties to contend with than any other—I mean the South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railway. They have two most expensive bridges and have a very difficult system to work, yet they give up to 8 a.m. exactly what we are asking the House to compel all railway companies to give. They said to the Board of Trade that they had no room to put on other trains, but they wanted certain facilities from the House, and they became ingenious. I want other railways to become ingenious also, and meet this Bill in the same spirit as the South Eastern. They could not put on more trains, but they issued workmen's tickets up to 8 a.m. The result, as stated by the chairman of the company at the last annual meeting, was that they carried a million and a half more passengers, and although they had lost something like £1,600 in revenue they were satisfied that the change would be of great benefit to the line, because they have brought workmen to live along it, and the company would ultimately benefit because it would carry goods for these workmen and their families. The first clause of this Bill asks that every railway should do what the South Eastern are doing, and they will soon find that it will be to their great advantage to provide these facilities. The Great Eastern Railway also provides very good railway facilities for workmen, but does the House know why? When they wished to make great clearances in London—to build their Liverpool Street and Shoreditch Stations—they could not get their Bill through this House unless they undertook to carry the workmen they dislodged down to more healthy localities 319 in the country. That is exactly what I ask to be done generally. The Great Eastern has now a splendid suburban traffic, but if one or two or three railway companies furnish these facilities while other railway companies do not, the result will be that you will transfer the slum from Whitechapel or Bethnal Green down to Walthamstow or Enfield and provide just as bad a condition of affairs in the suburbs as you have in the City. Land is almost as dear in Walthamstow now as in London, and with a congested population of 70,000 or 80,000 the conditions are not very much better than in London itself. That is the result which will follow if this legislation is not made general. I want to give a precedent for this legislation, because this House always seeks for precedents, and if it gets a good one it willingly follows it. I refer to the question of tramways. Tramways have been built in this country for about thirty years, but in 1869 this House adopted a principle with regard to tramways which is embodied in a model clause, that every tramway must furnish facilities morning and evening to carry workmen to and from their work. I am glad to say that the Board of Trade and the authorities of the House have effected an improvement in that clause this year. It might be said that workmen do not live along all tramways, and that there is no need to impose such conditions in suburban localities, but, nevertheless, this House placed on all tramway companies an obligation to provide these facilities. Why should the House mete out one law to the tramway companies and another to the railway companies? The reason is that the railway companies are strong, rich, and well organised, and are therefore able to defy the Board of Trade and the country. I now ask the House to apply the same legislation to railway companies as is applied to tramway companies. That is the main provision in this Bill. We have no desire to injure the railway companies, but I believe most solemnly that if they meet this demand in a generous spirit they will find that the service will be the most remunerative part of their business, and if they desire any amendments in the first clause, so long as the principle of cheap tickets is maintained, we will be glad to accept them, because we want to approach this matter in a practical spirit. The other provisions in the Bill can be briefly dealt with. It was found in the 320 case against the Great Northern that if a line belonged to two companies the Cheap Trains Act could not be enforced against them. For this reason there are no workmen's trains from Finsbury Park to Broad Street, and there is a similar case in Manchester. A clause in this Bill will enable the Railway Commissioners to enforce the Act in such cases. There is also a clause which enables costs to be allowed to workmen by the Railway Commissioners. I think that is a very reasonable proposition, and only brings this special law into harmony with the general law. The next provision is one to enable the local authorities to interfere. In the debate on Thursday last it was erroneously stated by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields that the local authorities could take action under the Act of 1883.✶ I believe that is not accurate. At any rate the London County Council have been advised that they cannot spend the ratepayers' money in bringing these cases into court, and I think it is desirable that the law should be amended in this respect. The President of the Board of Trade stated the other night that there i was no difficulty in obtaining cheap trains from the railway companies. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not attempt to impress such a statement on the House. I have had long experience in this matter, and in every one of the nine cases brought before the Railway Commissioners the companies fought as sternly as they could. They appealed in every case, and the appeals went against them where they were fought out. There are appeals at I present pending against the London and North Western and Midland Companies, but these cases have not been pressed on account of the expense. How, therefore, can the right hon. Gentleman say that the companies are willing to furnish these facilities? The Government have pledged themselves to the principle of this legislation, and I hope they will give effect to that principle by supporting the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ SIR F. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
I rise to second the motion. After the exhaustive speech of the hon. Member I do not think it neces-✶ Debate on Housing of the Working Classes Act (1890) Amendment Bill. (See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxii., page 1203.)321 sary for me to detain the House for more than a few minutes It is most desirable that all railways running into London should be obliged to give greater facilities than are given at present. This question concerns my constituents very much indeed, because they feel that as facilities are given to other districts but not to them, they suffer serious injury. I would like to state one fact which will illustrate the attitude of some of the railway companies in this matter. The Great Western Railway were obliged to run a workman's train from West Drayton to London every morning. There was no place at West Drayton where they could keep that train at night, and therefore they had to run it into Uxbridge every night. It had to be sent back to West Drayton every morning, but the request of the workmen of Uxbridge to be allowed to travel by it was refused and it was run back empty. That shows the necessity of having powers to make the railway companies carry out their duty. Staines is very much in the same condition. The company would not allow workmen to travel from Staines, or even allow them to walk from Staines to Ashford to secure cheap tickets. This is a question which affects the working men around London, and the House would do well to read the Bill a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ * MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
I am convinced that in this matter the House is desirous of doing strict justice, and that it will not be led away by the attractiveness of a Bill for cheap trains. The House will remember that there are already very ample statutory powers—though possibly not ample enough—to compel the railway companies to provide services of cheap trains where needed. It may be said that no one criticises any Bill of this character except the representatives of the railway proprietors. That is due to the fact that from the nature of the case the information necessary is in possession of such representatives and of them alone. I believe that the House will approach this Bill in a fair spirit, and that it desires that railway companies should be treated in a reasonable manner, so as to induce the investing public to come forward when their money is required to provide 322 further facilities for the travelling public. If that were not so, and if we who represent railway companies are not to be heard on matters of this kind, it would be a very serious state of things indeed, and it would be necessary to refer all these Bills, as semi-private Bills, to Committees in order that the railway companies might be heard by counsel. Take, for example, the two speeches we have just heard. I wish to make no complaint of their tone, but they contained allegations against particular railway companies. I do not know whether these allegations are true or not, or partly true or not, but how can the House judge whether such allegations are or are not true? I refer to these things mainly for the purpose of trying to persuade the House to take a calm and reasonable view of these proposals. As regards the principal clause of the Bill, the hon. Member for West Islington displayed a spirit which I am sure the railway companies will be glad to meet—namely, a spirit of compromise —which I am bound to say would have been more acceptable if it had not been preceded by phrases about a conspiracy between railway companies and the Board of Trade, and other ex-parte allegations. I believe that if compromise is possible the railway companies will in this case, as in others, be willing to enter on it. The proposal in this Bill is that where initial risks have to be taken the railway companies are to take them. Is that reasonable? The hon. Member has not concealed his desire that no risk should be taken by the speculative builder or by the local authority, but that it should be taken by the railway companies, who are to provide facilities for a population which may never arise. It may be well to remind the House what the existing legislation on the subject is. The law says that railway companies may be called on to provide sufficient workmen's trains for workmen going to and returning from their work between 6 o'clock in the evening and 8 o'clock in the morning. Listening to the hon. Member, it would be thought that no such power existed. The bargain which was made between the railway companies and the Exchequer was that the companies should receive a remission of passenger duty in certain cases and in certain cases only—namely, where they provided accommodation at a. rate less than one penny per mile. How can it therefore be alleged that there is some further outstanding obligation on 323 the companies in consideration of that arrangement? What we say is that the conditions on which it is proposed by this Bill to extend the definite obligations provided in the Act of 1883 are such as should not in common fairness be laid upon the railway companies, and that it is not reasonable to ask the railway companies to enter upon what would be a burdensome and unremunerative service. I am sure that the companies will be very glad to take advantage of any spirit of compromise either as regards tickets or special carriages. I do not profess to be acquainted with the technical character of the arrangements which should be carried out, but I am quite sure that the railway companies are not disposed to take up an unreasonable attitude in the matter. We contend that Parliament should not sanction a speculation the whole cost of which, if it fails must be borne by the railway company. Let us take Clause 2, which is not the mere simple matter that the hon. Gentleman says it is. I was surprised to be told that the Cheap Trains Act, 1883, did not apply to joint-owned lines. I very much doubt whether that is good law. The Bill would make the Cheap Trains Act apply not only to joint-owned lines, but to two lines owned by two separate companies which have a junction, and it will thus create a sort of compulsory running powers without the intervention of Parliament, and thereby provide us with workmen's trains in a locality never contemplated, and where accommodation had never been provided for them. I submit that before that is done there should be some more inquiry as to particular cases than would be afforded in the standing Committee upstairs, or even a Committee of the whole House. Those junctions go far to form a great network of lines, in places like the metropolis, for promoting the easy interchange of passenger traffic, and, what is more important, of goods traffic which goes through at night from one system to another; and if this quasi-penal condition is to be attached to the existence of these junctions, railway companies in the future will probably consider a long time before permitting them to be made, for the unremunerative traffic would be placed on them. Let us look at Clause 3. Where the Board of Trade, having reason to believe that a proper and sufficient service of workmen's trains is 324 not provided within the meaning of the principal Act, are nevertheless required by the company, or any of the companies concerned, to refer the matter for the decision of the Railway and Canal Commissioners, such company or companies shall pay the costs of the applicants to the Board of Trade appearing as parties to the reference, unless it is proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that a proper and sufficient service of workmen's trains had in fact been provided before the date of the reference. Here we have evidence of animosity against the companies. What answer is there to the principle that those who start frivolous applications should be condemned in costs? Is it fair or just that great and wealthy corporations like the London County Council or the Town Councils of Liverpool, Leeds, or Manchester, are to be permitted to enter the lists and promote schemes which are held by the Railway Commissioners-to be frivolous and vexatious, and yet not be condemned to pay costs, while the railway companies are condemned in costs for resisting a claim? This is a matter in which, if a reasonable spirit is shown, some accommodation might be arrived at; but I cannot see a reasonable spirit in that clause. I am sure that this Bill, if unamended, will work considerable injustice against those who, through a long series of years, have provided the money for making these railways. I think that reforms like these, however desirable in themselves, ought not to be laid on the shoulders of a particular class, and they ought to be made a matter of careful inquiry before being adopted by this House.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
I largely recognise the conciliatory way in which the right hon. Member for the Hallam Division of Sheffield has met the proposals in the Bill. The speech of the hon. Member for West Islington in moving the Second Heading of the Bill was also conciliatory. I think that the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken as to the object of Clause 3 in reference to costs. There is a right of appeal to the Board of Trade or to the Railway Commissioners. If, however, either of the parties insist on the appeal going to the Railway Commissioners instead of to the Board of Trade, the Board of Trade had no jurisdiction to decide the case. We want to make these appeals as cheap as possible, and therefore to bring the 325 complaints before the Board of Trade for inquiry, which is a practically inexpensive proceeding. But if the railway companies object to that, and insist on going before the Railway Commissioners, that would involve considerable expense and put it out of the power of the trade unions and such-like bodies carrying the case to a final conclusion. The object of Clause 3 is simply that, if one of the parties to the case insist on carrying it to the more ex- pensive tribunal, they should practically have to pay the costs in regard to that tribunal. They are wealthy corporations, and naturally desire that their case should be heard with the assistance of counsel; but it practically puts it out of the power of anyone, excepting some wealthy municipalities like those referred to by the hon. Gentleman, to bring his ease to a final conclusion. Let me give an instance in point. The association to which my hon. friend the Member for West Islington belongs has done much good in the last year or two in regard to cheap trains. They brought one case before the Board of Trade, and another before the Railway Commissioners. In each case they were substantially successful in the issue involved, but the whole cost of that before the Board of Trade was only £5, while the cost of that before the Railway Commissioners was between £500 and £600. The wording of the clause is not very clear, but it can be amended in Committee, and the object of it is very good indeed. Coming to what is the substantial part of the Bill—the first clause—I think the principle involved in it is, at all events, one which the House under the Act of 1883 has already assented to, and which was endorsed the other day in the Bill to amalgamate the South Eastern and London, Chatham and Dover Railways. In 1883 the State struck a bargain with the railway companies, that in consideration of the remission of Imperial taxation, amounting in seventeen years to eight or ten millions, the railway companies should provide cheap trains for working men. Now, this Bill is introduced because, while some companies have met the spirit of the Act very largely, and have done all that we could properly expect of them, other companies, having pocketed the very large sums given to them by the State, have really done nothing to carry out the spirit of the Act. It is very 326 largely because there is this discrepancy between the companies, and because we believe the Board of Trade have not sufficient power to insist on further facilities for cheap trains being given, that this Bill has been introduced. The Bill itself is not of a very drastic character. I had a circular this morning, in which it was stated that it gives power to corporations and urban authorities to insist on greater facilities being given. It does nothing, of the sort. The whole responsibility rests on the Board of Trade or Railway Commissioners, and it will remain with; the Board of Trade or the Railway Commissioners. The Bill does not give any power to any local authority, local body, or individual, to insist on facilities being given, except under the discretion and. assent of the Board of Trade or Railway Commissioners as at present.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
That clause simply enables county councils, urban district councils, etc., to make application-to the Board of Trade to order that greater facilities may be given. It gives them power to make themselves parties to a case a power which it is doubtful they at present possess. If we are to have the legislation of 1883 at all, I cannot see how you can properly exclude these local bodies from having a locus standi in the matter, so that they may state the ease of the inhabitants in their district.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds apparently objects to these local bodies being brought into connection with the matter.
§ MR. JACKSON
What I objected to was the hon. Member stating that the Bill did not give them any power of spending this money.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
I say it does not give them the power of insisting on railway facilities, but it gives them power to appear for their clients before the Board of Trade or the Railway Commissioners, and it does seem to me a matter in which, under our system of representative local government, and in reference to questions of housing, we ought to 327 give them this facility and these powers. As regards Clause 1, there seems a great alarm on the part of some gentlemen that this Bill may really force a particular railway company, at a particular moment, to start an empty train in the expectation that at some time in the future a sufficient number of work- men will be found to fill it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds seems to think that that will be the result of the Bill; but that fear was effectually disposed of by the hon. Member for West Islington in the very conciliatory way in which he desired to meet the objection to the Bill by hon. Gentlemen opposite. He said that the object they had in view in promoting the Bill was not that you should insist on empty trains being run on the chance of working men going out to, and filling up a particular district, but that you should insist on the right of each working man, under the bargain of 1883, to claim the facility of a cheap train. My hon. friend proposes that in order to meet that in the simplest way a cheap ticket should be issued for ordinary trains in cases where the existing demand for accommodation was not sufficient to justify the running of a whole workman's train. My hon. friend has explained what he wants with great lucidity, and leaves it to the Committee to make amendments in the Bill, although he himself does not think amendment necessary. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to think that considerable loss would be involved to the companies if that principle were accepted. I do not think such a loss would accrue. We have evidence on the part of those railways which give the greatest facilities that it has involved no loss, but been a very considerable gain to them. My hon. friend behind me quoted the case of the South-Eastern and London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, and that is the experience also of the South-Western line, which, I am glad to think, gives greater facilities for late workmen's trains than any other line. I do not think, therefore, that it is very likely that there will be any loss at all; but I am bound to say that on two grounds we are entitled to ask for these facilities, even if there be some loss. In the first place, the railway companies should carry out the bargain they made in 1883; and in the second place, the railways are great monopolist companies, and therefore bound, under the ordinary relations of the State to such 328 monopolies, to give these facilities to the working classes who use their line. The whole object of the bargain of 1883 was to enable them to meet some loss if it was incurred. Sir Frederick Peel, sitting as a Railway Commissioner and dealing with this particular point, said—It has been argued that these trains might be run at a loss, and that the companies could not, therefore, afford to run them. But the companies obtain a large sum every year conditionally on their running workmen's trains, and there is no occasion to consider how these trains stand as regards pecuniary profit, because they save the company from paying railway duty on all fares that do not exceed a penny a mile.Although there may be objection to some of the wording of the Bill, I do not think there is any difference of opinion between those supporting and those opposing it. We are agreed that, under the Bill of 1883, a bargain was struck, and that under that bargain each working man—
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
"Workmen's trains " surely means the trains that carry the workmen. The object of Parliament was to increase the facilities for working men to go by cheap trains. I have shown that there will be no loss in granting these facilities; but if there were, it would be amply compensated by the £600,000 or £700,000 a year which the railway companies are receiving in consequence of the bargain struck in 1883. The difficulty that has arisen had its origin in a case in which the right hon. Gentleman the chairman of the Great Northern Railway was interested. In that case it was held that there would be a certain demand for a certain train service in the district, if only the facilities were given; and the argument of the railway company was that at the present moment there was not sufficient evidence to show that there was such a demand by work- men already in the district as to justify the company in putting on a special cheap train.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
Well, additional train. That was the question 329 before the Railway Commissioners, and they decided that if evidence could be shown that at a particular moment there were enough workmen there to fill up the train, then they would be in a position to insist on its being run; but that until that moment arose, the Railway Commission, as such, were not in a position to compel the companies to put on an additional train. It was in consequence of that decision that this Bill has been brought forward. The whole difficulty is this: Who is to decide the moment when it becomes obligatory on the railway companies to provide additional trains? The companies say they cannot run an empty or any other train unless it is to be properly used. My hon. friend behind me says the true solution of the question is not to endeavour to decide the particular moment when there are enough workmen to go by an additional train, but to issue cheap tickets by existing trains, and thus test gradually whether the increase of workmen travellers is such as to justify the railway company in putting on an additional train, and to enable the Railway Commissioners to insist upon it themselves. It is very hard that particular workmen in a district, because they do not happen to be numerous enough at a particular part of the line, at a given moment, to justify the Railway Commissioners taking action, should for years be debarred from obtaining those facilities which Parliament intended they should have. That is the whole position, and I am glad to find that there is very small difference of opinion between the two sides of the House in regard to the principle of the case. I am sure my hon. friend will be glad to favourably consider any amendment whereby the difficulty in which we find ourselves can be met, and whereby workmen working in different parts of the suburbs may be able to obtain those facilities for cheap travel to and from their work which Parliament decreed in 1883 that they should have.
§ MR. JACKSON
Let me say at the outset that I recognise the moderation and reasonableness of the speech of the mover of the Second Reading of the Bill, and those who followed him, including the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. But it appears to me that there is a little confusion in their minds, because, if I am correct, they have apparently misunderstood the effect of 330 the Bill which is before the House. Their speeches have been directed, in the most reasonable spirit of compromise, to try and find some solution of the difficulty which they recognise to exist, which we admit to exist, and which we sympathise with to the fullest extent. But that is not in the Bill. The hon. Member for Poplar spoke of facilities being offered to workmen—or, let us say, small bodies or groups of workmen—living in country districts and wanting to come to their work in the great centre of London. But the proposal in the Bill does not deal with that question. The ease which was brought before the Railway Commission did not deal with that question. The County Council on that occasion argued that what they wanted—and this is what the Bill endeavoured to give effect to—was that if they proved that in the neighbourhood of King's Cross or St. Pancras there were a number of people who were crowded together in a small area, and that it was desirable that these people should have an opportunity of living out in the country, then the railway companies should provide additional trains. Clause 1 provides that whore it is proved that "there is a difficulty in housing, near their place of work, workmen employed in the urban district, and that the workmen's trains provided by the railway company on such railway" — just listen to this— "are fewer, or that the fares by such trains are higher in proportion to mileage than on another railway serving the same or similar urban district," then the Railway Commission should have no discretion, but they shall decide that an increased number of trains must be provided. That is not the question which has been argued, or the suggestion which has been made by those supporting the Bill. It is not the case that the Great Northern Railway Company refused to provide facilities for workmen travelling by their railway into London. Not at all. What the Great Northern Company said in the case to which reference has been made was that in their opinion there were already a sufficient number of workmen's trains provided, and I think I shall be able to convince the hon. Gentleman that the answer which the Great Northern Company made has been proved to the hilt by the test of actual experience. Let me just say a word in regard to the 331 suggestion thrown out by the hon. Member for West Islington in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, and which really formed the main part of his speech. He has explained to the House that what he wants is not workmen's trains but workmen's tickets. Now, with all respect, I think it must be generally admitted that what the Cheap Trains Act did was to stipulate that workmen's trains were to be provided under certain circumstances. I should like to say that the suggestion which the hon. Member has made is absolutely impracticable in all cases. I will go further, and say that if that suggestion had come before me on any former occasion I would have given it, that which I now say without any pressure should be given—namely, the fullest consideration as to whether it is a practical proposal or not. Legislation is not necessary for that, and this Bill does not deal with that question. It proposes to make an alteration on the Act of 1883, and to read this Bill with that Act. But there is nothing in that Act about workmen's cheap tickets by other trains than workmen's trains. This suggestion is one which may possibly have a larger bearing, and may prove to be more practicable than at first sight appears, although whether it is possible or not to carry it out I cannot say. But I do say that, if it has some advantages, there is at any rate the absence of some disadvantages which apply to workmen's trains. In the first place, I hope the House will recognise—I believe they do—the physical difficulties which exist in connection with putting on additional trains on the lines running into London. This is not a question of the railway companies being unwilling to try to meet the difficulty. When the Cheap Trains Act was passed in 1883 it was fully admitted that the hour of commencing work was earlier than at the present time. It is still the fact that a great many workmen do commence work at an hour much earlier than 8 o'clock in the morning. The object of the Cheap Trains Act was to ensure that workmen's trains should be provided to give the greatest facilities to the largest body of workmen. I may say in connection with the suggestion that has been thrown out that it is not free from difficulty, because I know of nothing more objectionable than the system which it would be necessary to adopt in the event of the 332 suggestion being carried out—the system, namely, of determining by question and examination as to whether the applicant was a man of the class to which it was intended to give the cheap workman's ticket. I do not know the details of the plan to which the hon. Gentleman referred, which has been adopted by the Great Eastern and the London, Chatham, and Dover Companies. As I understand, there is a plan of issuing the tickets which insures that these tickets are restricted to the men who are entitled to have them under the Act. But how are you going to distinguish and differentiate between the workman who earns £2 per week and the clerk who earns 30s. per week? Who, in. that case, is the more entitled to the cheap ticket?
§ MR. JACKSON
Of course the hon. Member by that answer admits that there is a real difficulty in drawing the line between working men and those not included in the classification for workmen's trains. I do not discredit the suggestion. I think it is worthy of consideration, and if it is practicable, in view of the difficulties that exist, it might overcome to some extent the putting on of additional trains which do not earn anything like the cost of running. I hope that the House will recognise that there is no desire, I may say there has never been any desire, on the part of the railway companies to do otherwise than encourage by all the means in their power the development of the traffic on their lines, whether it is that of workmen or of any other class of passenger. I must again point out that that is not the Bill which is before the House. The hon. Member for West Islington spoke of this Bill as containing two principles, or rather of the Cheap Trains Act, which this Bill is intended to amend, as containing two principles. These he described as that all railway companies should provide workmen's trains in return for the advantages which they were supposed to receive by the reduction of certain duties under the Cheap Trains Act; and that the State should compensate the railways for the loss, if any, that would be incurred by the provision of these trains. Now, this principle has been endorsed by the hon. Member for Poplar—that the State should compensate the railway companies.
§ MR. JACKSON
Has compensated: that would be still better. I do not know whether there is any restriction in the use of the word "compensation." I would call it compensation if they had been compensated to the extent of the loss they had sustained. I think that is a reasonable description of compensation; but I think I shall be able to show that that is by no means the case in regard to what has been done. I say it in no spirit of criticism or complaint, but, as a matter of fact, there is a misapprehension as to what has been obtained and as to the amount of relief that has been given by the railway companies, or, at all events, as to the amount of the facilities, and the cost of these facilities, which have been provided for the travelling public. I shall be able to show by a concrete case how the matter stands, and the House will then be in a position to judge whether the public have any grievance against the railway companies on the ground of not having provided facilities to the fullest extent that the Cheap Trains Act intended. The hon. Member for West Islington, desiring to take what he called a broad and liberal view, extended the hours which he thought were covered by the Cheap Trains Act. He first pointed out that the railway companies, although not all of them, had given trains right down to the last moment stated by the Act, and then pointed out that in his opinion it would be a great advantage to the railway companies if these cheap facilities were extended to nine or half-past nine in the morning.
§ MR. JACKSON
That is better than half-past nine. I am sure there is no one who is better acquainted than he is with the difficulty which exists at the London stations in dealing with the existing traffic, and the almost insuperable difficulty there would be in dealing with any increase in that traffic at half-past nine in the morning. And therefore the House may take it that it is a physical impossibility, whatever may be the desire of the railway companies, for them to put on additional trains at present at that hour of the day. I think I need not deal with the question of the 334 case which was before the Railway Commission, to which reference has been made, any further, because I shall be able to show that what happened in that case was that it was agreed, with the consent of the Railway Commission, that an experiment should be made with two additional trains, with liberty on the part of either of the parties to the proposal to come before the Commission after the experiment had been tried and ask for a reconsideration of the matter. Reference has been made to what is called the bargain made between the railway company and the Government with regard to the cheap trains. If "bargain" is the proper word, I am willing to adopt it for many purposes. A bargain was made that, in return for the reduction of some duties and the remission of others, the railway companies should under certain circumstances be called upon to provide certain facilities. Those facilities were that they should provide a sufficient service of workman's trains at reasonable fares. The power to determine whether the service was sufficient or whether the fares were reasonable was left to the Railway Commissioners in event of any difference arising between the company and the Board of Trade, to whom in the first place application was to be made. The particular point which was before the House and before the Government, at the time that Bill was passed, was the desire to try and improve the facilities for the urban districts, they being the crowded districts which needed relief. The railway companies accepted the policy, which was to try by all means in their power to spread the population and make them live in less crowded districts. That policy is required to-day in as great an extent as in 1883, and perhaps to a greater extent; but I think I shall be able to show, taking a particular case as an illustration, that the conditions have been greatly improved. The urban passengers mainly were to benefit, but of course other passengers were to benefit as well— and let me point out the enormous increase which has taken place in the development of the passenger traffic in the railways of this country since the year 1883. It is almost true, I think, to say that on all trains— certainly on the northern lines—there are now third-class facilities which did not exist in 1883. It is also true to say 335 that since the abolition of the second class on some of the lines—and it may be said to be true of all lines—the third-class carriages of to-day are immeasurably superior in convenience to what they were then; and therefore the enormous increase in the third-class passengers to which the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Islington refers is partly due, firstly, to the fact that they are carried in nearly all the express trains in the country, and, secondly, that there has been such an enormous improvement in the comfort and the provision made for these persons in these trains. The third-class passenger does not pay duty, because he does not pay more than 1d. a mile, and therefore I think the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Islington made some slight mistake in the calculation as to the receipts from the third-class traffic. I take a concrete case for two reasons; first, because I know the facts with regard to it; and second, because I believe it will be found on investigation that the experience of the Great Northern Railway was no exception to the general rule. It is not because they have done more than the other railway companies; and having made that admission it goes without saying that I claim for the other railway companies what I claim for the Great Northern Railway, and that what I find applies to that company applies to all the others. I take the figures of the Great Northern Railway, which as I say are equally applicable to the other great lines of the country. Before the Railway Commissioners, recently, the statistical officer of the London County Council stated that the remission of the duties meant a saving of £ 35,000 a year to the Great Northern. The company themselves have gone into the matter very carefully; but they have taken out the whole of the traffic since 1883, and have worked out what would have been paid under the old duties and what had been paid since, and deducting the amount which has been paid from that which would have had to be paid, it showed a saving of something under £ 30,000 a year. That is a considerable sum, no doubt; but what has become of it? It has not gone into the pockets of the shareholders of the Great Northern. It was not, of course, intended that it should. It was intended that the travelling public should receive in exchange for that remission of duties two things. The first 336 was to secure the cheapening of travelling generally; and the second, to give to a particular class in urban districts greater facilities than they had, at reasonable fares. What had been the result? The season-ticket holders, many of whom may be described as workmen, had to pay, in addition to the fare which was charged for the journey, an additional sum which represented the amount of the duty. That amount was collected by the companies as the agents for the Government, and when the tax was remitted it was no longer charged, but went into the season-ticket holders pockets. Therefore in that case the season-ticket holders have got in full what Parliament intended they should have. In the case of the Great Northern Railway Company the amount of duty thus dealt with was £ 23,500 a year, which disposed of a large portion of the remission said to have been received by that company under the Act. In addition to that there was a certain compulsory reduction in fares for soldiers, sailors, and public officers— this sum in the case of the Great Northern amounting to £6,000 a year. Then there was the class for which the relief was mainly given— namely, the workmen. The company ran a certain number of trains called half-fare trains, and a certain number of workmen's trains at quarter fares. The reduction of the fares represented by these cheap trains amounted to close upon £ 30,000 a year. Therefore, as regards the remission and the relief given to this company, there has been a saving of some £27,000 a year, whilst they are at present bearing a burden which they did not before bear of £60,000 a year. I think that these figures entitle me to say that the railway companies have not unfairly performed their full share of the bargain of 1883. Then, in the terms of the Act, we were to provide these workmen's trains and run a reasonable number of trains at reduced fares. Well, the Great Northern Company actually run, between the hours of 5 and 7.30 in the morning, twelve trains at a quarter fare. In addition to that, we run nine trains at half fare, and following on what was done before the Commissioners, we ran two experimental trains at a later hour, in order to test the question as to whether these trains were required to give what accommodation was wanted, and would not take away any of the traffic from the 337 present trains. Well, these twenty-three trains meant, in three hours, a train every eight or nine minutes.
§ MR. JACKSON
I cannot answer that question, but I think this is the answer to what is in the hon. Gentleman's mind —that if this is a small proportion it is insufficient. But the County Council told us that the Great Northern Railway was one of the companies which prevented workmen living on their line, and that this Bill was wanted to facilitate that traffic which would grow if facilities were given. I think after my statement that there are twenty-three trains in the three hours, it is difficult to suppose an additional number is necessary if, as we are told, no workmen live upon the line.
§ MR. JACKSON
That is so. There is a, branch at Finsbury Park, from which one train goes in one direction, and another in another. One train goes to Enfield, one in the direction of Finchley, and one down the main line. But those trains have to come through the most crowded part of London, and if you increase them, you must very much increase the aggregate number of trains which would have to come into London, and into London stations. I should have thought that a sufficient service, and, as a matter of fact, it has been found to be more than sufficient. I think I shall be able to show that the object and intention of Parliament by the Cheap Trains Act was not to use the money of the shareholders of railway companies to develop new districts, but that it was the plain and simple intention of Parliament that they should provide a sufficient service of trains to carry any workmen who desired to be carried to their work. On that basis I think it will be found that the company provided a great many more trains than were necessary for the use of passengers. These twelve quarter-fare trains which were provided do not earn on an average one-half the cost of working these trains, and therefore the company, in addition to the figure I have already stated 338 as the amount of money they are paying over and above the remission, is bearing on these twelve trains the whole burden of half the cost of working these trains all the year round. These figures have been given for the purpose of showing that if the passengers were there the company would not be running empty trains, and that, therefore, is proof positive that the company is fulfilling to the letter its share of the bargain of 1883. I might also say that some of the trains in question did not earn much more than 8d. per mile, or not over a quarter of the cost of working. The two experimental trains which the company had agreed to run gave them an opportunity of bringing these figures up to date. These trains were to leave Enfield at 6.35 and 6.48 respectively. The company assented to run these trains for six months in order to test for themselves the contentions of the County Council, and they are continuing to run them in order to really find out the facts. Most clearly it is to the interest of the railway company not only to offer facilities, but to run these trains as far as it is physically possible at the periods when they are most likely to be wanted. What has been the result? The company said at the time that the service was sufficient, and that a train at 6.48 would be likely to be availed of by a large number of persons who then travelled at five o'clock in the morning. The result was that one of these trains only earned half the cost of working it, whilst the other train earned nearly the cost of working it. These were quarter-fare trains, and into them had gone the passengers who before had travelled by the previous train and the subsequent train, with the result that nearly the whole of the earnings of these two trains arose from the depiction of the earnings in other trains, which still continued to run, and which now did not earn their working cost. This proved very conclusively that the contention of the railway company was not an unreasonable one. The view of the railway companies is not a hostile attitude to the principle of providing a sufficient number of trains, but that this Bill, if it is passed, containing the principle which it does, will take it out of the power of the Board of Trade and out of the discretion of the Railway Commissioners to consider whether facilities which are already provided 339 are sufficient and reasonable or not. The first clause of the Bill provides that if certain things are proved in regard to the population and the houses available then it shall be determined that a sufficient number of trains is not provided. I contend that such an Act should not be imposed upon the railway companies in anticipation of traffic and passengers which might never come. I would point out that the Great Eastern Company, which has a really enormous suburban traffic to deal with, is only under statutory obligation to run two workmen's trains, and yet to-day the company itself, finding that the traffic had grown, has made very large additions indeed to the number of these trains. It is not reasonable to put upon the railway companies a costly service of trains for which there are not passengers enough to meet half the cost of the service. I confidently predict that the President of the Board of Trade will say that in no case, even under the present Act, where an application has been brought before the Board of Trade, and where they had been satisfied that a case was made out, had there been any difficulty in obtaining what was wanted from the railway companies. If that is true as regards the present law, then, unless you want to impose an unreasonable obligation on the companies— namely, to provide trains where there are no passengers for them—the present law gives the Board of Trade ample power to deal with the matter. Further than that, the railway companies themselves, once it could be proved that there was a traffic to carry, have never hesitated to provide additional trains if within their power to do so, even if they involved a charge of one-half the cost of working. If this is the point, then the alteration of principle involved in this Bill is unreasonably unfair and unnecessary. If it is either unreasonable or unnecessary, I think the House will not hesitate to trust to the existing law, and give further time for consideration to the suggestion as regards cheap tickets. For all these reasons, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.
§ * COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
The right hon. Member for North Leeds has entered at great length and with great perspicacity and clearness into the various statistics bearing on the Bill which has been laid before the 340 House called the Cheap Trains Bill. Both he and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Hallam Division of Sheffield dealt with what I may call the railway side of the Bill. They argued each clause as it stands now in the Bill, and they proved, I think, to the satisfacfaction of those present in the House that the arguments advanced by the hon. Member for West Islington had not been proved, and that the bargain, as it is called, between the railway companies and the public made at the time of the Cheap Trains Act of 1883 had been properly carried out in a spirit of equity and fairness by the railway companies, and that the remission of the passenger duty had been spent by the railway companies for the benefit of the passengers in other cases than that for which the railway companies agreed to act as collectors for the Government. But there is another aspect of the Bill before the House at the present time which I should like to be allowed to take up to-day, and that is the aspect of the shareholder in a railway in which, as the possessor of private property, he has invested his money. It is perfectly true, and I have no wish to hide it from the House, that I am one of the directors of the London and North-Western Railway Company, but I do not wish to argue from the point of view of a director, but as a shareholder in what I believe to be a thoroughly sound commercial undertaking. It seems to me that this is one of those peculiar attempts to benefit a particular class of the community at the expense of private property. These attempts are getting more and more numerous in the House, especially on Wednesdays which are devoted to private legislation. It would appear that when some enterprising individual wants to enter upon private legislation, the railway companies are to be his favourite hunting ground. It rather reminds me of a gentleman in Pickwick who suddenly conceived an idea and rushed into a wine shop to write it down. Private individuals in this case are suddenly fired with an idea, and it seems to be a Cheap Trains Bill. It is a taking title. It secures a certain amount of popularity in the constituencies. It does not hurt them, because it does not take money out of their pockets. The railway companies having large capitals are looked upon as fair game for any attacks made upon them. 341 When the representatives of the railways attempt in the constituencies or in the House of Commons to defend the companies from these continual attacks they are called bloated capitalists or the railway ring. We are accused of conspiring with the Board of Trade in defeating various movements, and we are told that we are no friends of the working classes. Why are we to be branded with these names? Has private enterprise no rights at all to any justice? Are we to find ourselves exposed to various attacks from different portions of the House, and not get up to defend our own property by endeavouring, if possible, to prevent the passing of legislation which we believe will be detrimental to the interests of the people we represent? Are the hundreds of millions collected from various sources, and invested by thousands of pounds in great commercial undertakings, to be spent, not on the purpose intended— that is, the extension of the railway prosperity— but diverted apparently to what I would almost call socialistic purposes? I look upon this Bill as a further attempt in that direction. It is an attempt to make railway companies run cheap trains for the benefit of a certain class, even if that class should not exist in the localities to which they are to be obliged to run these trains, and, as has been proved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds, even when they run these trains at a loss to themselves. What is the object of this Bill? The object of the Bill is indirectly to use the property of the railway shareholder to provide cheap dwellings for the labouring classes; to develop building estates near towns, not where already a class of workmen exist and are anxious to be carried to and from their work; to provide trains between outside localities and urban districts not already inhabited by workmen, but where, in the opinion of the urban council, there may, and very probably will be, certain gentlemen interested in the exploitation of land and the providing of facilities to raise the price of land. It is a most estimable object to provide cheap dwellings for the working class and to develop building estates, but it should be done at the expense of the proper people and at the expense of funds raised for the purpose. Why is it to be carried out at the expense of the railway companies? What would building societies say if we 342 proposed to expend their money for the improvement of our railway lines, and levy a contribution from them for that purpose? There are two phases in the life of a railway line. The first is its infancy, when the district requires a line to serve its purpose. We who are interested in railways receive any amount of deputations who impress upon us the necessity for a railway line to serve their purpose. They invite us to think of the benefits we will confer upon the district, of the ready access we would give them to other parts. The profitable investment of capital is always held out to the shareholders if they would only create the line and the facilities. Then came the second phase, when they got the line. At that moment the benefit conferred by the railway company on the particular district is forgotten in the great anxiety to increase the rateable value and the amount to be paid in rates by the company as much as possible. They wish not only to provide proper facilities for the working classes but to compel you to run trains at unremunerative rates for the working class, and to carry produce of all sorts if possible at rates that do not return any profit at all. The Cheap Trains Act has been described as a bargain struck between the railway companies and the public. The Railway Commissioners have power to order such trains for the accommodation of workmen requiring to travel as may be necessary. You would think from the accounts given in this House very often of railway directors and managers that the interests of the public and the interests of passengers had been sacrificed to the shareholders. Let me give one quotation from a manual containing some useful knowledge on this subject. It states that the year 1899 will long be remembered by reason of the extraordinary activity and prosperity from a commercial and industrial point of view. The result is prominently shown in the vast growth in all classes of traffic on the various railway systems of the world. Home railways have experienced great and continuous expansion, the gross aggregate having exceeded 99,000,000, compared with 96,250,000 in 1898. Unfortunately as regards the shareholders the net results have shown little if any, improvements, owing to the ever-increasing expenses. In 1898 the total capital paid-up (in shares) was £ 1,134,468,462. The total traffic receipts were £ 91,066,038 in 1898. 343 The working expenses have gone up from ' £ 13,187,368 in 1860, to £55,960,543 in 1898. The number of persons employed on railways in 1898 was 534,141. The two largest items which have affected the net revenue of the companies are the increased wages, curtailed hours of labour, and increase of local taxation, which is increasing in disproportionate ratio to the net profits. In 1888 the amount paid for rates and taxes was equal to 16 per cent. of the amount distributed as railway dividend, and in 1898 this amount had increased to 20 per cent. I think that shows that we have continually to spend money for the public good, and not with the sole view of recompensing our shareholders. The hon. Member for West Islington, who began the discussion on this Bill, went so far as to say that if ten or eleven workmen elected that facilities were to be afforded for them to be carried to and from their work regardless of the loss to the railway company they ought to be.
§ * COLONEL LOCKWOOD
The hon. Member did not say so, but I maintain that if you are to run special trains for ten or a dozen workmen you are doing so regardless of the loss.
§ * COLONEL LOCKWOOD
It is perfectly true that he did alter the title of the Bill to the Cheap Tickets Bill, but the Bill remains the same, and it is the Bill we are endeavouring to deal with. I look upon the Bill as it stands as unjust and unfair. The difficulty we have now is to differentiate between the class of men requiring cheap tickets. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds said, there are many clerks earning £1 per week, or even loss, who might much more justly be called workmen than artisans who are earning £2 or £2 10s. per week. You might go further than that and say that the curate who is earning £ 60 a year is to be treated as a workman and provided with a working man's ticket. A Bill should have been brought in stating that anybody with an income below a certain amount should be provided with workmen's tickets. The hon. 344 Member for West Islington complained of the troublesome questions put by the Board of Trade. The troublesome questions consisted in finding out whether the extra service of trains was really wanted, whether the number of trains already run was insufficient, and whether the locality was inhabited thickly or thinly, or at all, by working men, by whom such a service of trains would be wanted. If the hon. Member calls these questions troublesome, I am afraid he would find any public Department which was charged with a great duty troublesome indeed to deal with. He complained further of our right of appeal. He is always anxious to limit the rights of railway companies in every possible way; but surely he will leave us the right to appeal to a higher authority where we think we have been unfairly or unjustly treated. Then he speaks of certain railways as having afforded better facilities than others. Many people have pointed out that the Great Eastern Railway have set a particularly good example to other rail ways. I live on the Great Eastern Railway, and I can see very good reason why that company do afford these extraordinary facilities. No one who has passed by Queen Victoria Street and by St. Paul's Station in the morning and seen the thousands—I was going to say millions—of human beings going across the bridge and streaming into London can doubt that it pays the Great Eastern Railway to run trains as they do. But the Great Eastern Railway were exempted in their Bill from housing the number of people whom they displaced, and in return for that they promised to run certain trains. They found it paid them to run more trains than they promised, and I believe they now run trains to certain districts all the night through, and they say that it pays them to do so. But are you to take a thinly inhabited district on, say, the London and North Western Railway, and say that we should run trains or issue cheap tickets at quarter or half fares to one or two—or, to take the hon. Members' own figures, nine or ten—workmen who choose to locate themselves anywhere down our line? The obligation which is sought to be placed on railway companies by this Bill is unfair in the extreme. You seek to make us exploit building land; you seek to make us afford facilities to corporations for creating estates and give a fictitious value to 345 estates, and you would impose upon us an obligation for which railway companies were never intended, and certainly if the public had known that such obligations were to be imposed upon railway companies they never would have invested their money in such undertakings, or looked upon them as a safe investment for their savings. The hon. Member for West Islington says that grave defects exist in the present law. Does he mean by that that by existing legislation he does not get all he wants? He says— "It is quite true there may be no workmen in a certain locality, but there may be, and so you must provide facilities. If by so doing you raise the price of land in certain localities, that is not my look-out or the look-out of the railway companies, although certainly somebody will benefit by it. As long as the Bill is passed that is a matter of indifference." He shows how speculative this argument is by his next sentence, because he said— "We invite the railway companies to enter into a little speculation." Why are we to enter into a little speculation, regardless of the end or cost of it, simply to afford facilities for workmen who do not exist, and who may never exist in a particular locality? Then the hon. Member turns to the House and says— "Compare the tramway companies with the railway companies. Look how extraordinarily well the tramways behave in the matter of cheap fares." But how can he make any comparison between a tramway and a railway? Do tramway companies have to acquire land at an enormous cost, and are they required to take the various increases of cost into consideration as railway companies are? Does it cost the same amount to run a tram as it does to run a train? Does the hon. Member take into consideration the magnitude of the system of a railway, the number of men employed, and the amount of the working expenses, when he tries to institute a comparison between tramways and railways? The hon. Gentleman eventually wound up by disclaiming any wish to injure the railway companies on the one charming condition that they gave him even more than he asked. I honestly say that I do not believe that this Bill was brought forward from any wish either to injure the railway companies, to deprive them of their profits, or to place in jeopardy ,the money of the shareholders; but what I do maintain is that by passing a Bill of this sort you will injure the prosperity of 346 the railways and endanger the money of the shareholders, and you will be diverting the money subscribed for railway purposes to purposes other than those for which it was intended. It is because I believe the Bill to be unsound in principle and likely to be dangerous to the railway companies that I second its rejection.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Jackson.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)
The only object the promoters of this Bill have in view is that of causing a diminution of the over-crowding in our great cities. The debate last week on the Housing of the Working Classes Bill showed the enormous congestion which has been created in London, Manchester, and other places, and even in districts in the north-east of England more than half of the inhabitants are over crowded. It is therefore evident that some steps must be taken to remove these populations from our great cities to portions of the country where fresh air is to be obtained, and where the people will still be within reach of their work. It is very strange that the two Gentlemen who have just spoken have each had to admit that the companies with which they are connected have not done their duty up to the present.
§ MR. SCHWANN
Then I will show that the company has not done its duty. I have a table before me giving the respective number of trains furnished by companies running out of London in 1897. The Midland ran two workmen's trains, the Great Northern nine, the London and North Western eleven, the South Eastern thirteen, the Great Western twenty-five, the London and South Western 134, the Metropolitan ninety-six, and the Great Eastern seventy-six per day. It is clear that without injuring the shareholders, about whom the hon. Gentleman is so sensitive, and without at all reducing the magnificent dividends which have been paid during the last few years by our leading lines, something more can be done than is done by many companies for 347 the benefit of the working classes in our great cities. On the London and South Western 7 per cent. has been paid, and I believe the dividend last year was 9 per cent.
§ MR. SCHWANN
That seems to show that, although the London and South Western run 134 workmen's trains per day, they can still pay a. very handsome dividend. I think you will find that the very lines which are offering these facilities to workmen are practically obtaining all the working class population of London that live outside London itself for their lines, and that is not a fair division of the labour entailed by the Cheap Trains Act. If you come into London by the Great Northern or the London and North Western line you have absolute country right up to London itself, whereas if you travel by the Great Eastern line, you find great accumulations of population at towns like Ilford and Walthamstow, where the same forms of overcrowding and congestion which take place in London are making themselves felt. The last speaker seemed to think that railway companies had no duties at all towards the public with regard to workmen's trains. He very prudently appeared to forget that there must be nearly £ 1,000,000 of remitted passenger duty divided amongst the various railway companies of England It was proved in the case between the London Reform Union and the Great Eastern Railway that that company were saved £ 70,000 per annum, and that a small railway like the London and Tilbury were spared something like £9,000 per annum in duty. It may be urged that these powers of the Railway Commissioners ought to be used with great deliberation and discretion, but that was not the opinion of the Commission that sat in 1885, of which the Prince of Wales, Lord Salisbury, and the First Lord of the Admiralty were members. I will read what they said as the result of their deliberations—The Act of Parliament (Workmen's Trains Act) of 1883 mentioned eight o'clock in the morning as a limit of the time for workmen's trains, but at present most of them are run before seven o'clock, and it is said that if the companies were compelled to run them till eight it would tell very hardly upon them in interfering with the clerks traffic, which begins just then. It is, therefore, contended for this 348 reason, and for others which were given in evidence, that the powers under the Act of 1883 must be exercised with great discretion. Your Majesty's Commissioners are, however, of opinion that under it a great bargain was struck between the nation and the railway companies, the consideration for the remission of a part of the passenger duty being the provision of a certain number of workmen's trains.Another objection which has been urged by former speakers has been that there would be a great sacrifice of profit. It is quite a question whether there will be that sacrifice of profit. I should like the House to hear what Sir Frederick Peel, one of the Railway and Canal Commissioners, said in the case of the Great Eastern Railway—The company consider they are justified in charging it, on the ground that the receipts from the two penny trains on the Enfield and Walthamstow lines are only sufficient to cover working expenses, and yield nothing towards interest on capital. But then, in consideration of their running workmen's trains, the company are, under the Cheap Trains Act, relieved from paying any passenger duty on all fares which do not exceed 1d. per mile, and the benefit which they gain by this exemption from duty amounted in the year 1896 to £68,000. The company therefore obtain a large sum every year conditionally on their running workmen's trains, and there is no occasion to make the question of these trains depend upon a consideration of how they stand as regards a remunerative profit from the fares, seeing what these trains earn for the company by saving them from paying duty on all those fares which do not exceed 1d. per mile.Lord Cobham in the same case said—I concur with Mr. Vesey Knox, when he points out that the remission of a large part of the passenger duty was meant to meet this very contingency. I cannot follow the argument that because the company were encouraged by that remission to reduce their third-class fares by a greater amount than that of the passenger duty remitted, therefore we should not take the remission into consideration. The reduction of the third-class was wisely effected in the company's own interest, and was very much to its profit. The fund, therefore, saved from the duty is still intact and able to safeguard them from any loss which can reasonably be expected to accrue from a workmen's train service improved within the limits defined by us.I have thought it right to give the House these quotations, because they show that the companies have no right to allow the question of profit or loss to enter largely into their consideration in regard to the provision of workmen's trains. They receive a large remission of duty, and they are bound by that, and by the fact that they are monopolists, and have the 349 sole right of conveying passengers, except by old and antique methods, from one place to another in the United Kingdom, to provide these facilities. I should like to point out that very often workmen's fares are dearer than third-class contracts. The Manchester Corporation have made inquiries with a view to ascertaining what would be the difference on a particular line between a third-class contract ticket and workmen's fares, and I will state the result they have arrived at. A workman's ticket during the year would amount to £82; a third-class contract ticket, £69, which would be reduced to £62 if there were two in a family; while if there were three in a family it would be still further reduced to £58. For scholars and pupil-teachers the amount is £34 10s. I do not in the least object to third-class contract tickets being cheap. There is not the slightest doubt that most railways will find in the future that their largest profits are to be made in cultivating the third-class traffic. Indeed, without being railway managers, we have all noticed that great stress is now laid on the cheap but recurring fares. All lines give very cheap tickets for weekend journeys, and there is a grand effort to encourage traffic by offering the greatest facilities rather than by putting on high and overwhelming fares. I see present the hon. Member for Wimbledon, and he, as we know, is chairman of a railway company. I have culled some remarks which he made in a speech at the last half-yearly meeting of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway—On the North Kent, Mid Kent, and Greenwich lines between London and those stations where workmen's tickets are issued there has been a falling off in the number and value of ordinary passenger bookings of 239,000 and £4,014, and this has been compensated for by carrying 805,000 additional passengers at workmen's fares, producing £4,500, or an average of l.34d. per journey.
§ MR. SCHWANN
That is exactly what we wish by our Bill to urge upon the directors who have addressed us this afternoon. I hope those hon. Gentlemen will consult with the hon. Member for Wimbledon, who is, as we know, a most accomplished railway director, and probably he will be able to teach them the secret of how, while making a profit for themselves, they may yet act in this 350 beneficent manner—which, however, is paid for by the remission of duty— towards the working classes of this country. I am glad to say that a number of petitions and memorials have been sent up from the town councils and municipalities of England in support of the object of this Bill. Manchester, Glasgow, Bradford, Bristol, and Sheffield all seem to appreciate the advantages of the measure which has been laid before the House, and which I hope will receive the blessing of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, and pass its Second Heading this afternoon. These municipalities are glad to see that in the Bill they will have a locus standi before the Board of Trade and the Railway Commissioners with regard to workmen's fares. At present they have a locus standi with regard to freightage, the rates of carriage, terminals, and all those involved and confusing railway terms, but in their efforts to induce railway companies to increase facilities by giving workmen's trains they have been stopped because they have had no locus standi before the Board of Trade. It is for that reason we have inserted a clause in this Bill giving them that advantage. I do not consider that this is at all a party question or a party Bill. Members on both sides of the House have spoken in its favour, and there has been shown a very conciliatory disposition on the part of those who have opposed the Bill. They have said they are willing to consider the suggestion of issuing workmen's tickets by trains already running. It is not the object of the promoters of this Bill to run armies of trains into desolate and uninhabited districts. We wish to strengthen the hands of the President of the Board of Trade so that reasonable facilities may be given to relieve this state of overcrowding which exists. The time is ripe, and the necessity is great, and I believe that this House—which in the past has shown that if the Government does not introduce many beneficent measures of its own they are perfectly ready to take up Private Members' Bills which have reason at their back—as we have seen this session—will put the seal of their approbation upon this Bill and agree to the Second Reading.
* COLONEL MELLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
I have listened with some surprise to the speech which has been made by the hon. Gentleman opposite. If he listened 351 to the extremely able and convincing speech of my right hon. friend the Member for North Leeds, I cannot conceive why he should have trotted out the opinion of Sir Frederick Peel.
§ MR. SCHWANN
Sir Frederick Peel spoke as a Railway Commissioner, and the Railway Commissioners are experts in this matter.
* COLONEL MELLOR
Sir Frederick Peel expressed the opinion that the railway companies, by receiving a certain amount of assistance in the way of a remission of passenger duty, were under some obligation to expend that money in taking workmen at very cheap rates, but the speech of my right hon. friend has convincingly shown that this money has been given back to the travelling public twice or three times over.
* COLONEL MELLOR
And it can no longer be drawn upon for the purpose to which the hon. Member alluded. It is perfectly futile now to argue that because of a remission of taxation, which at one time was of some value, but which has long since been given back to the public, we are still to be compelled to run these cheap workmen's trains at fares which I beg to assure the hon. Member in very many cases do not pay. Let me give the House a few figures in regard to the railway with which I am connected—the Metropolitan, That railway, though a small one, carries, I believe, more passengers than any other railway in the United Kingdom, the number last year being 97,000,000. We have been told again and again that the railway companies have not done their duty in the way of providing workmen's trains.
* COLONEL MELLOR
On the Metropolitan Railway we are under a statutory obligation to run two trains on the Inner Circle and two between Swiss Cottage and Baker Street, four in all. But we actually run one hundred trains in the morning; we surrender all our trains up till half-past seven over the whole of our system for the carrying of these men. Last year we carried nearly 15,000,000 working men at cheap fares. Do you suppose that we carried those men at a 352 profit? I will give you the figures. Between South Kensington and Alders-gate, a distance altogether, going and returning, of 15 miles and 48 chains, the fare is 2d., and that upon a railway which cost three-quarters of a million of money per mile-Does any man in his senses think that fares of that kind pay? We have been brought to these extreme fares by the competition of omnibuses. On the sections of the line other than the Inner Circle, the return fare for distances not exceeding four miles each way, or eight in all, is 2d.; over four and not exceeding seven, or fourteen miles in all, 3d.; over seven and not exceeding ten, or twenty in all, 4d. These fares would not pay were it not for the fact that the trains are run at a time when the ordinary traffic is not forthcoming. As it is they but just cover working expenses, while in the case of the Inner Circle they are run at a decided loss. We are told that railway companies have a monopoly. A more foolish expression could hardly be used. There is no such thing as a monopoly in a railway company; you are met with competition on all hands, either by competing companies or omnibuses or trams. Our total mileage on the Metropolitan is sixty-four miles; our biggest fare is 5s. 6d. but the average fare is l.76d. We have millions and millions of penny fares, and they bring our average fare down to l¾d. If it had not been for the foresight and sagacity of a former chairman of the Metropolitan Company, Sir Edward Watkin, who saw how the company would be damaged by the competition of the omnibuses, and succeeded in carrying the line about fifty miles to the north, out of the reach of this competition, I should not like to say what position the company would now have been in. The hon. Member says that this question should not be considered as a matter of profit and loss. Does he suppose that railways are run or that people who invest their money in them do so on philanthropic principles? Of the £1,200,000,000 of capital which are invested in the railway companies of this kingdom, the vast majority of the investments are under £1,000 in amount. They are the savings of people who have led thrifty lives; they are the provision to which they look for their sustenance in declining years; and if these workmen's, trains, were put into operation in the 353 way described in this Bill, I am afraid that in regard to a great many railways in the kingdom, a vast amount of those investments would be practically worthless. We have heard very little about the shareholders' point of view in this discussion. On the Metropolitan Railway is is practically impossible to discriminate between people applying for tickets; you cannot tell whether they are workmen or not. Fishmongers, meat salesmen, and people of that class, who make large fortunes, travel as workmen, and I do not see how a railway company can draw the line between them. I am sure that every railway company in the kingdom is perfectly willing to give all reasonable facilities, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade will tell the House he ever finds any difficulty in that respect. What more than that can the House expect? What more has it the right to expect? I think I have said enough to show that if this Bill passes the last state of the railway companies will be worse than the first. The expenses of railway management are constantly increasing. I have seen a statement showing that on one of the railway companies with the greatest mileage in the kingdom the expenses have gone up during the last ten years from 46 or 47 per cent. to 62 or 64 per cent. of the gross earnings. We have to give larger wages and shorter hours to our workmen. I do not say that these things are not in the interests of the public, but they all cost money, and we cannot go on incurring all those extra charges if at the same time we have to run a large number of workmen's trains at less than cost price. This Bill if carried would be a gross injustice; the promoters have not made out their case; the speech of my right hon. friend has not, and cannot, be answered; therefore, I say we shall be doing a grievous wrong to the proprietors of railway stock in this country, the vast majority of whom are small holders, if this Bill is allowed to pass into law. For those reasons I shall oppose the measure at every stage.
§ MR. WOODS (Essex, Walthamstow)
It is well known to hon. Members that I have had a Bill before the House for three years dealing with this question in a far more drastic manner than the measure now under consideration; but through the exigencies of the ballot I have not been able to bring it further before the notice 354 of the House. It is satisfactory to find that we can debate these questions in a friendly and courteous spirit. All questions should be debated in that spirit, because if a question cannot be supported by argument, it is not worth bringing before the House of Commons. This Bill does not mean to interfere with the equilibrium of railway directors, either inside or outside the House; it would do very little to disturb the profits of the railway companies. I venture to say it would not affect the profits to the extent of one - hundredth part of a farthing in the pound. What will the Bill do? First of all, it will not apply to districts where there are less than 200,000 people. In the next place, the Bill proposes to arm the President of the Board of Trade with greater and more certain powers than he now possesses; and in the third place, it would assist localities in providing the costs which are necessary from time to time in making their appeal from the Commissioners. I do not see much in any of those proposals to disturb in the faintest way the feelings of railway directors in this House. One would imagine from the speech of the last speaker that the companies were making no profits at all, but he did not say in his remarks what those profits really were.
* COLONEL MELLOR
May I point out that if it were not for making some profit upon other classes of traffic the metropolitan companies would be in a very parlous state.
§ MR. WOODS
I am afraid that statement does not throw much light on the point. I think it would be a very difficult matter for a railway company to discriminate between the profits derived from a certain class of passenger and the profits or losses derived from carrying workmen from place to place. [" No, no!"] Hon. Members may deride that statement, but I think on reflection they will find there is a great deal of truth in it. I may say that during the past eighteen months much progress has been made in providing workmen's trains, and I am bound to give the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade a certain amount of credit for the assistance he has given in that direction. I will refer to the provision inserted in the South Eastern and Chatham and Dover Railways Amalgamation Bill, which was sent to a hybrid 355 Committee by this House. A clause was inserted by the Committee, and it was found necessary further to strengthen that clause when it came before the House of Lords. This clause, I think, is one of the best that has yet been brought forward to provide workmen's trains. A number of these trains have been put on by the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, the East London Railway, the Great Northern Railway, and the Southern and South East London Railway. Early trains for the printers have also been run to several parts of London, and one or two have been put on by the London and North Western Railway Company. I am bound to say that the people asking for these better conditions for working men have been valuably assisted by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. It would appear from the arguments used by certain hon. Members who have addressed the House in opposition to this Bill that the railway companies get no return for granting these facilities to workmen. I had not the advantage of being in the House when some hon. Members opposite delivered their speeches, and therefore I do not know what arguments they used. It is a mistake to imagine that the railway companies do not get some return for the larger provision they make for workmen's trains. In the first place, they get an exemption from duty on all tickets under 1d. per mile. Again, they only pay 2 per cent. on tickets over 1d. per mile in the City and large towns as well. It has been computed that from this source alone during the last seventeen years since the Cheap Trains Act was passed the railway companies have derived no less than about £17,000,000. I think that sum will provide and make room for a large number of cheap trains. On this understanding, and considering the bargain entered into when this Act was passed and other advantages given to the railway companies of the country, I think railway directors might now see their way to accept the proposals in this Bill. The greatest problem of all is what is to be done with the working classes who are now crowded in our large towns and cities. If you do not provide cheap workmen's trains in order to carry them to and from their place of residence, how are they to travel? It has never been taken into consideration what is the rate of wages of the men who 356 have to travel by these trains. Many of these workmen do not earn more than 16s. a week, and out of that they have to pay 3s., 4s., or 5s. a week for railway travelling; and I ask hon. Members how on earth these people can be expected to bring their families up in a respectable manner upon such earnings. I appeal to the House and to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade to allow this Bill to pass its Second Reading, and if this is done I feel sure that my hon. friend will not object, in Committee, to make the Bill generally acceptable to the House and to the directors, who, it is alleged, will be so seriously affected by the provisions of this measure. We bring this Bill before the House as one of the ways out of the greatest national problem which this House has to solve. It is one of the means of getting over the problem of the housing of the poor, and I appeal in the most respectful manner to all Members who may be in opposition to this Bill to allow it to pass its Second Reading, and make it as good a Bill as possible in Committee.
§ MR. H. C. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)
The hon. Member for Waltham-stow has spoken of the interest of the working classes in this measure, and it is because I regard this subject in the light of how the working classes are to be dealt with in the metropolis that I venture to make a few remarks upon this measure. I am not a railway director, and I do not hold a single share in a railway company, except as a trustee. But this Bill does not really solve this question, and I will give my experience only this morning, little thinking that I should be able so soon to show the dangers of this suggested cheap train service directly outside the confines of the metropolis. I have just visited a district some ten miles from the centre of London which is blessed with cheap train service at 2d. a day, and what do I find? I have seen two of the local clergy in that district, and obtained from them the actual statistics, and they state that in this district, where there are no huge working-class dwellings, there is more overcrowding than in the district of St. Luke's, which I have the honour to represent. That is not the fault of the railway companies, for they bring to London every morning the whole traffic offered to them. This happens to be on the railway 357 represented by my hon. friend the Member for Salford, and as far as I can gather at the stations and from the clergymen, there is not the slightest difficulty in getting the people to and from their work. This overcrowding is going on worse in these small houses, which we are told are so much better than the block system, which has done so much to enable the working classes to live near their work without having to spend an hour every morning and an hour every night going backwards and forwards to their homes. So much for that portion of the question in regard to the providing of houses for the working classes in the country. This Bill is not brought in in the interests of the working classes, but it is brought in on behalf of a body which calls itself the London Reform Union, which having nothing better to do is now turning its attention to the railway companies. It is quite clear what the object of this Bill is. It is simply to promote litigation. Of course I ought to be the last person in the world to object to that, but I do not sit here as a representative of the bar but as a representative of the people. Having been worsted by the Railway Commissioners, the London Reform Union have issued a circular urging Members of Parliament to support this Bill, which it is claimed has been introduced in order to remove some of the difficulties under the Cheap Trains Act of 1883. I have received one of those circulars. I venture to suggest that the law is at present enforced by the Railway Commissioners perfectly fairly both to the railway companies and the public. I venture to suggest that the railway companies do not receive any favours in the law courts, and there is the kind of feeling with both judges and juries that if anybody has to be squeezed it must be the railway companies. Of course, when it comes to an issue between the interests of the companies and the interests of the public, it is quite right that the interests of the public should prevail. The hon. Member has spoken of the crude and rough way in which many of these Bills are drawn, and I especially call the attention of my hon. and learned friends on the other side, who know anything of the difficulty of dealing with Acts of Parliament upon this subject, to look at Clause 1, Subsections (a) and (b). Sub-section (a) says—That there is difficulty in housing, near their place of work, workmen employed in the urban district.358 I do not suppose that there is a single district within a range of three or four miles of the Royal Exchange where that difficulty does not arise. We all admit it, although I fear that what Sir Walter Besant calls "the days of the great return" are not yet in sight. Even in the twentieth century we shall hardly expect to find the merchant and the trader living over his office in the City of London. Nevertheless, I think there is a good deal to be done in the City in the way of providing housing accommodation for workmen near the place of their work. I am speaking now with intimate knowledge of my own constituency, many of whom are always appealing to me to prevent them being driven out into the country, where they would have to leave their homes in the dead of night and would not get home before darkness had set in. I do not think there is a district within a radius of five miles of St. Paul's Cathedral where there is not a difficulty in housing the working classes near their place of work. I do not suppose that my hon. friend the Member for Walthamstow would suggest that any more pressure should be brought upon the Great Eastern Railway Company, for if there is one line which has done more in running trains all through the night it is this company, and there is no railway company upon whom less pressure ought to be brought in this direction. With regard to the Metropolitan Railway, I do not think it can be said that, up to the present, they have, in any way, failed to meet the requirements of the working classes coming into the City. The hon. Member for North Manchester made the extraordinary proposition that when you come from the north to the termini you come almost all the way through the country. As a born Londoner I may say that I know miles and miles of districts which I knew as villages which are now large areas containing a great population, and we all know the typical instance of the difficulties which the Great Northern Railway has experienced in dealing with their main line traffic, and the willingness with which they have furnished an additional line in order to deal with this early morning and evening traffic. What is to be the position of the local authority under this Act? Under this sub-section there is not a railway company which has a terminus in London either north, south, east, or west, to which any one of the new municipalities—which will come into 359 existence in November next—may not come, and go on a roving commission round the metropolis, where any of their members may have a building estate to develop, and they could compel the rail- way company to run trains there. The second sub-section is equally full of pit- falls. Just look at the danger of the next sub-section. Sub-section (b) of Clause 1 says—The workmen's trains provided by the railway company on such railway are fewer, or that the fares by such trains are higher, in proportion to mileage, than on another railway serving the same or a similar urban district.What does that mean? You may take the Great Northern Railway system with its four lines of rails, and take another company with two lines of rails. One may be serving the north and the other the south, and you are to take the fares paid on the Great Northern Railway—which I believe are the smallest in the metropolis —or the fares of the Metropolitan Railway, which must run this other company very closely, and having done that you may form an expedition to any railway company and start some fresh scheme to compel them to have a different line of service and bring them in under the Cheap Trains Act of 1883. I suppose there is no one in this House who represents a metropolitan constituency who is not most anxious to do something to further the settlement of what to us is practically the most important question we have to face, and that is where the poor are to live and how they are to live. But this question is not going to be solved by driving them into the country, for they are far better off nearer their work and living in their own district within a reasonable distance from their employment, than if they are driven out into what hon. Members have been pleased to call the country, which will very soon become a crowded centre of bricks and mortar. I have some information from the chairman of the Islington Vestry on this question, showing that upon the borders of one of the most thickly populated parts of the metropolis Islington is not overcrowded, and the class of houses we have to deal with in Islington are just the class of houses we want to deal with. If we want to find some really large scheme there are acres of property in Islington which might be dealt with profitably in this way. I venture to say that this is a better way 360 of dealing with the question than giving to the friends of my hon. friend the Member for West Islington this roving commission. This Bill will lead to a spirit of litigation and land speculation on the part of a class of people who should be kept off these new municipalities—I mean the jerry-builders. If there is one thing I have more sympathy with than another in the metropolis it is to secure men who are unconnected with two or three trades to serve on these municipalities, for if these men once get the idea that by getting on these new municipalities this Bill can be put into operation by simply making a representation under Subsections (a) and (6), we shall find that for a few years building operations will be very rife. I am the last person in the world to apologise for the railway companies, but I do say that they must be treated with common justice, and I should be very surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, or any Government official, approving of these two sub-sections, which, to use the words of the hon. Member for Poplar, are brought before the House in such a crude and rough way. The hon. Member for North Manchester and the hon. Member for Walthamstow have suggested that the House should pass the Second Reading and alter the Bill in Committee. That is an extraordinary proposition. This Bill is a gross act of injustice, and are we going to adopt in this House a principle which belongs only to one religious body and one religious order? Are we going to pass a measure containing proposals which cannot bear the fair test of criticism; and are we to pass it in the hope that in Committee, or in Grand Committee, certain provisions will be altered or swept away? I am the last person in the world to oppose any measure of this sort, because I know too well what are the urgent necessities of the working classes in the metropolis. I know what overcrowding is doing in the homes of the poor, and I should be the last person to do anything against providing them with healthy homes. But I object to this measure because it is simply framed in the interests of two parties, namely the applicants under the London Reform Union, and the proprietors of vacant land in what has been called the "inner belt " of; the metropolis.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Stockport)
I venture to say that the principle of this Bill is an excellent one and we ought to thresh out the details in Committee. I think that the able and excellent speech made by the right hon. Member for North Leeds is one which would have been more appropriate in Committee rather than before the whole House in dealing with the Second Reading. After all has been said and done, this Bill only applies to a very limited area, and it is a very small and modest Bill. It does not deal with every urban community, but it is strictly limited in its application to towns of more than 200,000 inhabitants. I venture to believe that of all the towns in England 75 per cent. of them would be untouched altogether by this Bill. In Lancashire there would be only three large towns affected—namely, Manchester, Liverpool, and Salford. Yorkshire would only have about four or five towns which would come under the provisions of this Bill. Surely, recognising, at any rate, that some endeavour should be made to make a beginning, this Bill might be adopted. The hon. Member for Walthamstow has pointed out— and it is recognised by every hon. Member in this House—the great difficulty which all municipalities and localities experience where there is a large overcrowding of human beings within very limited areas. How are you going to deal with that except by a Bill of this kind? You may pull down slums and rehouse the people, but you are bound to crowd them out, and if you do crowd them out you must disperse them into the outskirts of our great towns; and if you do that the only thing you can do to meet the difficulty is to adopt something in the nature of this Bill, which provides them with a cheap railway service to bring them into communication with the centre of the localities, where their work lies. I listened with great regret to the speech of the hon. Member for Radcliffe, which I might call the cry of the distressed railway director. The hon. Member represents one or two railways which are known to be paying good dividends. He complains that the price of material has risen, that wages have gone up, and that the hours of labour have been shortened. He also contends that the difficulties of railway enterprise are much greater than they used to be. But if wages and materials 362 have gone up during the last twenty years, so have the dividends of the shareholders. [An HON. MEMBER: No, no!] I know that if you compare the railway dividends of to-day with what they were twenty years ago you will find that the average is considerably higher. Take the great companies which have served London, such as the Midland, Great Northern, the London and North Western. Railway, the South Western, the Great Western, the Great Eastern, and other lines. Does any hon. Member mean to say that the shareholders in these companies have suffered, and that receipts-are not greater than they were ten or twenty years ago? I think these great railways, even if some little increased cost were entailed upon the shareholders, could well afford to give these additional facilities. Take even the railways running into Leeds represented by the right hon. Gentleman— take the North Eastern. I have made inquiries to see what the value of the stock is to-day. The North Eastern stock to-day is worth 170, the Lancashire and Yorkshire 134, and the Great Northern and Midland have now got up to high figures, and may be now up to 200 percent. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that any of these railway companies—the Midland, the Great Northern, the Lancashire and Yorkshire, or the North Eastern—could not bear some little burden in order to provide these facilities? I do appeal to the House to give this Bill a Second Reading, and if the House pleases it can be sent to the Grand Committee, where all these details can be threshed out.
§ GENERAL GOLDSWORTHY (Hammersmith)
I have listened with interest to several of the speeches made by hon. Members, but at the same time I must say that this is a Bill for class legislation of the worst kind. You are asked to provide at the expense of the railway companies trains which will not pay, for a certain class of the people. You are asked to compel railway companies to run trains into a district to create traffic. The railway companies are asked to run trains, whether there is any traffic or not, in the hope, that they may get traffic eventually sufficient to pay the cost. I must say that I think it is very unfair that railway companies should be asked to ran trains 363 for workmen or any other people at a loss. It must he remembered that we have had a clear definition of the word "workman," and it does not include many classes who ought to be included, for there are clerks and others getting actually less wages than the artisans, and they do not come under this Act. You are asked to pass this Bill in the hope that it may be amended upstairs or somewhere else, where it can be made a workable and an honest Bill. I do not think you can over make this a good Bill. I am in favour of cheap trains, but I do not think it is fair or right in any way to ask railway companies to provide, at their own expense, for carrying the people at a lower rate than they can afford to do it. There has been in this House a great deal of pressure brought to bear of various kinds, especially when an election is near, to pass something for the working classes. I have always found that if you treat the working classes fairly and squarely they can look after themselves, and the proper way to meet the difficulty is to give them proper wages, so that they may be enabled to pay proper fares and go by train. Another reason why I should be against this Bill is that it is a measure in the interests of the owners of land just outside the area of London. It will enhance the value of such land, and I object to this being done at the expense of the rates. If the London County Council wish to meddle in this matter, then if there is any loss to the railway companies the County Council ought to pay for it. I do not see any reason why the employers of labour should not pay fair wages to the people they employ. I shall oppose this Bill, and there is no Bill which I have ever opposed with greater pleasure.
§ SIR FORTESCUE FLANNERY (Yorkshire, Shipley)
The supporters of this Bill have urged that the railway companies, or some of them, are now paying good dividends, that their stocks have risen, and that therefore they should be penalised for the purpose of contributing to cheap trains for the benefit of the working classes. Entirely different to this in character was the speech of my right hon. friend the Member for North Leeds. He put his case in a remarkably lucid way, with a moderation and reasonableness which could not be exceeded. He stated 364 that the real question raised by this Bill was—shall the railway companies by the machinery under the Cheap Trains Act of 1883 be compelled to provide travelling facilities in advance of the needs of particular localities? That is the position exactly as it stands. Under the Act of 1883 certain provisions were made, and those reforms may be summarised in a sentence. They exempt some trains from duty, and there is a reduction of duty on cheap fares. The Bill goes on to provide that if the Board of Trade thought there were not enough cheap trains, or not enough workmen's trains between six and eight o'clock at night, or before eight o'clock in the morning, then the Board of Trade or the Railway Commissioners should have the power to increase the number of trains. The intention of the Bill of 1883, confirmed as it has been by the recent judgment of the Railway Commissioners, was that the number of trains for the accommodation of workmen should be put up to the requirements of a particular district, but the Board of Trade or Railway Commissioners should not have the power to increase the number of trains over and above the present requirements in view of the future necessity of providing accommodation for the working classes outside the towns. Underlying nearly all the speeches there has been an idea that this Bill only applied to the metropolis, but as a matter of fact it is of a much wider scope. The object is to provide facilities for the accommodation of the working classes in the neighbourhood of all large towns above a certain size. That there is a necessity for providing better accommodation for workmen there can be no doubt, and no one in this House would venture to deny it. Whether that necessity will be provided for by the Bill now before the House, or by large buildings within the towns, or by providing increased travelling facilities to the suburbs outside the towns, is a question which this House will shortly have to determine. I believe that the proper solution of this question is not the provision of large dwellings in the towns so much as the providing of proper railway facilities to districts outside the town. The grounds on which I shall support this Bill are these: Firstly, if under this Bill the railway companies are compelled to provide these facilities they will afterwards become remunerative to the 365 companies. I believe if this Bill is passed the effect will be that the Board of Trade —which must be convinced, in the first instance, in regard to the requirements of any particular locality—will act under the extended powers given to them by this Bill with moderation and reasonable- ness, When the Board of Trade are convinced, not that some landowner wants his property increased in value, but that it is a locality suitable for the residents of localities provided for by this Bill, then, such localities being chosen and served by the improved accommodation under the advice and decision of the Board of Trade and the Railway Commissioners, they will ultimately become profitable to the railway companies, and although there may be some immediate and temporary loss there will ultimately be a commercial advantage to the railway company. Believing that this will be the result, as well as going forward in the direction of solving this question of the housing of the working classes, I shall give it my hearty support.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
In regard to the speech of my right hon. friend the Member for North Leeds, while recognising the interest which he threw around the figures he gave us, I cannot assent to a good many of the conclusions which he has drawn from them. In reference to the critical issue before the House I think it is admitted on all hands—it is admitted by the hon. Member for West Islington and by the hon. Member for Poplar—that the Bill as it stands, and construed literally, is not a Bill which cannot be defended. If we take the words of the Bill and construe them strictly, no doubt it is an objectionable Bill. I do not defend it any more than my hon. friend upon the ground of its precise words. My hon. friend the Member for West Islington in explaining this Bill said that it proposed to deal with one specific evil. With great candour the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leedsadmitted the grievance, and they said that the railway companies generally would be ready to consider the grievance which had been complained of. What I want to put to them and to the President of the Board of Trade is that this Bill proposes to deal with that evil. It is admitted that the Bill does not propose to go further than that, and there- 366 fore I think the clauses might be amended, and those which are objectionable could be struck out. As this is admitted, I put it to the House whether it is wise that we ought to lose this opportunity of passing this Bill. It has been argued that the Bill might require a railway company to run trains at a loss in places where there did not exist a sufficient population to fill those trains.. That is an unsustainable proposition. My hon. friend points out that there are cases in which there exists no provision for cheap fares or workmen's fares; and that cheap dwellings fit for the reception of the working classes are not being erected upon those areas near large towns, and particularly near London, because the railway companies do not provide these travelling facilities. He suggests that at present there is no power to compel the railway companies to provide facilities for a comparatively small number of work men, and he suggests—and I think he carries the House with him in that suggestion—that if these cheap fares were provided houses would be erected in those areas to supply the requirements of working people, and that we should see an increase in cheap fares to a point at which, before very long, it would be possible and desirable in the interests of the company that they should run more of these workmen's trains. The mover of this Bill asks for nothing more than the provision of cheap fares, and that power should be given to the Board of Trade and the Rail- way Commissioners to provide these fares. Surely that is a reasonable proposal. That is included in the Bill, and following the words of the Cheap Trains Act of 1883 I could show that the slightest alteration in the section would secure the object which my hon. friend desires to secure. In Clause 1, for example, the word "facilities" might be substituted for the phrase "workmen's trains." If the Bill, with this alteration, were read in conjunction with the Act of 1883 it would not be open to the objections now entertained against it by several speakers, and it would at the same time have secured the object desired. I put that to the House as being a strong reason why we should go on with this Bill. The House has given in many cases a Second Reading to a Bill where the object is desirable, and where it is admitted that the language of the Bill does not properly effect its 367 object. The right hon. Member for the Hallam Division of Sheffield took a slight objection to the second and third clauses. The second clause is necessary, and it is under the control of the Board of Trade or the Railway and Canal Commissioners, who would apply it in such a way as to cause no inconvenience to the companies. I come back now, therefore, to the first clause. I desire to ask my hon. friend whether he will give an undertaking that, if the House passes the Second Reading, he will introduce into the Bill the provisions indicated in his speech and dwelt upon in that of the hon. Member for Poplar. If the hon. Gentleman will do that I have no doubt that the President of the Board of Trade, recognising, as he must do, that the law is imperfect and that the subject is of great and pressing importance, will see his way to agree to the Second Reading of the Bill, and let it have in Committee those amendments which we all agree it requires.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. RITCHIE,) Croydon
I do not think it is possible to express a greater condemnation of the Bill as it stands than has been expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen. The words of the right hon. Gentleman were singularly forcible —" the Bill as construed literally cannot be defended"; and yet the House is asked to give a Second Reading to a Bill the principal provision of which the right hon. Gentleman says "cannot be maintained." The hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill said in a casual sort of way that there had been some little mistake about its title—that it was called the Cheap Trains Bill, whereas really it was a Cheap Fares Bill. I will not do the hon. Member the injustice to suppose he is so innocent a Parliamentarian as to imagine that the Bill which he has introduced to the House is anything else but what it is called—namely, a Cheap Trains Bill. Of course, in the sense that cheap fares are embraced in the words "cheap trains," it is a Cheap Fares Bill; but the two things are very different, and this is really a Caeap Trains Bill, and not merely a Cheap Fares Bill. If the hon. Gentleman, however, is simple enough to imagine that the title is not correct, I am sure that the draftsman made no mistake as to its intentions, for 368 the provisions certainly effectively carry out the title. Still, one disadvantage arising from the hon. Member's statement has been that in the course of to-day's debate some hon. Members have argued the measure as if it were a Cheap Trains Bill, and others as if it were merely a Cheap Fares Bill. In dealing with the action taken under the existing law by the Board of Trade the hon. Member used some expressions which I think are rather unjustifiable. The hon. Member said there was something like a conspiracy between the Board of Trade and the railway companies to defeat the law. But the hon. Member for Walthamstow spoke in a different tone of the action of the Board of Trade. He knows we have done all we can to see that the existing law is carried out, and I must say in justice to the railway companies that though they found it necessary to appeal to the Railway Commissioners on some legal questions—such, for instance, as to whether a postman is a workman—they have thrown no difficulties in the way of the Board of Trade. In fact, I do not believe that the Board of Trade has had to issue any order to the railway companies. The companies have always complied with the representations of the Board of Trade for the provision of cheap trains when the Board has been able to show to them that there was sufficient population of the kind requiring to be accommodated resident in a particular district.
§ MR. RITCHIE
I think it is, and I repeat that with hardly an exception there has been no necessity for the Board of Trade to issue an order in reference to these trains. They have always been provided when it has been shown that there is a population to be accommodated. The companies have only appealed on legal points as to whether certain classes should be included in the term "workmen."
§ * MR. LOUGH
In the nine cases against the great railway companies that were all 369 approved by the President of the Board of Trade, the railway companies appealed in each case, not on a law point, but in order to avoid putting on the trains; and in three eases where there were funds to to fight the appeal, the companies were forced to provide the trains. That is exactly the opposite of what the right hon. Gentleman says.
§ MR. RITCHIE
What I say is exactly the opposite of what the hon. Gentleman says. I may add for the information of House that the number of additional trains put on in the metropolitan area since I have been at the Board of Trade is no less than 200. That is a sufficient indication of the fact that the Board of Trade are desirous of putting in force the existing law. One of the disadvantages the House labours under in considering this matter is that in the course of the debate some hon. Gentleman have argued that it is a Cheap Trains Bill and others that it is a Cheap Fares Bill. The Bill is really a Cheap Trains Bill. It refers to the Cheap Trains Act, 1883, and must be read together with that Act; and on passing that Act the House by the words it used showed that cheap fares merely were not sufficient to meet the demands of the working classes. I do not believe that cheap fares would effect the object the introducer of the Bill desires, though the hon. Member seems to think they would. What is the good of having cheap fares if there are no trains which the workmen can use? If there are workmen living in a particular district the railway companies can be obliged to provide trains under the existing law. If there are no workmen in a district there are of course no workmen's trains in that district—trains which run at certain times and at certain intervals for the accommodation of workmen; and if the Bill were cut down to the proposals which the hon. Gentleman who introduced it made in his speech—that is, to ask the railway companies to give cheap fares and not cheap trains—it would be of no service whatever to workmen who live in certain districts. The hon. Member would enlarge the obligations of the railway companies to such an extent that they should be obliged, not only to make provision for a working class population where that population exists, but that some country district, where possibly some workmen's dwellings may be built, should be ex- 370 ploited at their expense by cheap fares. Surely that would hardly be a fair obligation to place on the railway companies. If it were done, there must be a quid pro quo. There was such a quid pro quo in the existing legislation. The House is now being asked to vary the bargain that was made, and to vary it only on one side. Tramways have been mentioned. But, if tramway companies come to the House for new powers, the House is justified in making the grant of those powers under whatever condition it chooses to lay down. So it would be if the railway companies came to this House and asked for added privileges. In order to show what the companies have to contend with, I may say that I have been told that the amalgamated London, Chatham, and Dover and South Eastern Companies say that they are satisfied that not less than a million persons have travelled with cheap tickets on their line who are not properly entitled to do so under the definition of "workmen." It is a very mean thing for people to take an improper advantage of these arrangements but they do it. The companies have to submit, because it is difficult to draw the line; but it would be much more difficult to draw the line when cheap tickets are issued by any train. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds has shown that it is a mistake to suppose that the railway companies are not losing by cheap trains. He quoted figures which must convince us all that these trains are undoubtedly run at a loss. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields made an observation the other day in discussing the Housing of the Working Classes Bill, which is rather applicable to this particular point. He said—A local authority would not very readily be induced to run tramways miles beyond their boundaries, because the operation would be speculative; it would involve risks to the ratepayers.But what the hon. Gentleman deprecated with regard to municipalities and tramways the House is asked to impose on railway companies. At the same time, I must say that, for my own part, I think it is perfectly legitimate for a municipality to run such speculative risks if by so doing it can cure congestion of population. As to the argument that the population will not come to a district until after the facilities have been provided, that is 371 directly contradicted by what has happened under the existing law. Where did the great labouring-class population which is served by the existing railway companies come from? It must have settled before facilities for travelling were provided, because the Board of Trade had no power to call on the railway companies to provide a cheap service in anticipation of the future. As a matter of fact the companies must have done it of their own accord, and then there would be no necessity for the Bill; or they must have done it under the law. In the latter case it could only have been done if the Board of Trade were satisfied that the working class population existed. The real truth of the matter is that these working men's houses are not built in a day, nor are they built separately one by one. If it is desired to make a working class colony in a particular district which is still un-
§ built upon, it is taken in hand in a rather wholesale kind of way, and the population goes there in considerable numbers. I would suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he should withdraw the Bill and bring forward one which says what he means, for many of the provisions fail satisfactorily to carry out the views which he holds.
§ MR. RITCHIE
The hon. Gentleman must know that even if this Bill is read a second time, it is not likely to pass into law this session. He will not, therefore, be in a worse position so far as time is concerned, if he adopts my suggestion.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 143; Noes, 172. (Division List No. 125.)373
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Evans, Sir F.H.(Southampton||Manners, Lord Edw. Wm. J.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Fenwick, Charles||Mather, William|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Field, William (Dublin)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Moss, Samuel|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Norton, Captain Cecil Wm.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gold, Charles||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Billson, Alfred||Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Greville, Hon. Ronald||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Gurdon, Sir William B.||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Harwood, George||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Burns, John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Burt, Thomas||Hazell, Walter||O'Malley, William|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Caldwell, James||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Cameron, Sir Charles(Glasgow)||Holland, William Henry||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Horniman, Frederick John||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Carew, James Laurence||Howard, Joseph||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kearley, Hudson E.||Samuel, J. (Stockton on Tees)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Kilbride, Denis||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Colville, John||Labouchere, Henry||Shaw, Chas. Edwd. (Stafford)|
|Commins, Andrew||Langley, Batty||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Leng, Sir John||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Crombie, John William||Lewis, John Herbert||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Lloyd-George, David||Souttar, Robinson|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Spicer, Albert|
|Dillon, John||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Dixon-Hartland Sir Fred Dixon||Macaleese, Daniel||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacDonnell, Dr M. A.(Qu'n's C)||Strachey, Edward|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||M'Arthur, William(Cornwall)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Duckworth, James||M'Cartan, Michael||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Crae, George||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Ghee, Richard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Evans, Sam. T. (Glamorgan)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Wallace, Robert||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Wilson, ,John (Falkirk)|
|Wason, Eugene||Wilson, John (Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Weir, James Galloway||Woods, Samuel||Mr. Lough and Mr. George|
|Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||Wylie, Alexander||Whiteley.|
|Acland Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F||Forster, Henry William||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Garlit, William||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Gedge, Sydney||Myers, William Henry|
|Arrol, Sir William||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gibbs, Hon. Vieary (St. Albans)||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Baillie, James E.B. (Inverness)||Gilliat, John Saunders||Nichol, Donald Ninian|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Godson, Sir Augustus Fred.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Pease Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Penn, John|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald (Leeds)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Pilkington, R. (Lanes, Newton)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Barry Rt. Hn. A H Smith-(Hunts)||Graham, Henry Robert||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace Curzon|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Gull, Sir Cameron||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W.W. B. (Hants)||Gunter, Colonel||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Purvis, Robert|
|Bill, Charles||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Rankin, Sir James|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Helder, Augustus||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Henderson. Alexander||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Hoare, K. Brodie (Hampstead)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Hobhouse, Henry||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Brassey. Albert||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Robinson, Brooke|
|Butcher, John George||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Russell, Gen. F. S.(Cheltenham)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow)||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Sandon, Viscount|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Chamberlain, J Austen (Wore'r)||Kimber, Henry||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Charrington, Spencer||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Coddington, Sir William||Knowles, Lees||Shaw-Stewart, M. H.(Renfrew)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William Edw. H.||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swan.)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stock, James Henry|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Macdona, John Cumming||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Denny, Colonel||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Maclure, Sir John William||Tomlinson, W. K. Murray|
|Doughty, George||M'Ewan, William||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Vincenl, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield)|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||M'Killop, James||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Drage, Geoffrey||Marks, Henry Hananel||Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E (Taunton)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-Under-L)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Middlemore, John T.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas. J.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Mane'r)||Monckton, Edward Philip||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Finch, George H.||Monk, Charles James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||TELLER FOR THE NOSE—Mr.|
|Fison, Frederick William||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Jackson and Colonel Lock-|
|Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||wood.|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Morrison, Walter|
|Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to. Second Reading put off for six months.|