§ Order read, for further consideration of Resolution [22nd April], "That a sum, not exceeding £139,395, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1904, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Subordinate Departments, including a Grant-in-Aid."
§ *SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
said he wished to move the reduction of the Vote by £100, in order to draw attention to the attitude taken by the President of the Board of Trade towards complaints made of railway rates by traders. He understood that the Board of Trade were perfectly willing to give assistance to individual traders when they came with complaints of rates being unfair or prejudicial in relation to the rates of carriage of foreign produce imported from abroad, or that the rates in particular districts were too high as compared with the rates in other districts; but it was not possible for small traders, and he spoke especially in the interests of farmers, men who lived in isolated districts, to undertake the investigation, and to show how they were prejudiced by the inequality of rates, or the preference given to foreign importers. Take the case of the Great Western Railway, with which he was best acquainted. The rate for certain goods from Paddington to Bristol was as high as the rate from Paddington to Exeter, which was nearly double the distance. The higher rate was charged to Bristol because there was no competition, and until a new railway was made the Bristol traders were bound to suffer. Farmers living only six or seven miles 1238 from Bristol were charged 3s. 4d. per ton for carriage of oil cake, while grain was charged only 2s. 6d. per ton, and if two tons of cake and two tons of wheat or oats were sent in one consignment the higher rate of 3s. 4d. was charged for the whole four tons. When complaint was made to the railway company the answer was—If you don't like it you can cart the cake from Bristol.Again, the Great Western Railway charged 1s. 5d. for a cwt. of agricultural produce carried thirty miles, and under similar conditions the Great Eastern Company only charged 9d. The late Mr. Hanbury, as representing the Board of Agriculture, expressed the sympathy of that Department with the complaints of agriculturists in this matter, and he was glad to learn from a speech made by Lord Onslow that he was prepared to follow in Mr. Hanbury's footsteps. But the Board of Trade was particularly concerned, and he asked that that Department should collect information as to rates and codify the rates to show where and how they pressed most unfairly upon small traders and producers, so that a redress of their grievances might be arrived at. To put it in a nutshell, what he asked the President of the Board of Trade was to do this. To collect and compare the railway rates for agricultural produce over the entire railways of Great Britain. This would enable the producer to see where he was unfairly treated. It was impossible for traders such as farmers to do this for themselves. They were unable from their isolated and scattered condition to unite and protect themselves as other traders did. He was only asking the President of the Board of Trade to do what Mr. Hanbury was pressing upon him at the time of his death to do for agriculturists.
To leave out '£139,395,' and insert '£139,295.'"—(Sir Edward Strachey.)
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That '£139,395' stand part of the said Resolution."
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. BONAR LAW,) Glasgow, Blackfriars
said he thoroughly understood the interest which the hon. Member took in this question, an interest which was felt by many Members on both sides of the House. The hon. Gentleman began his speech by saying that the Board of Trade were not willing to help him on this question, but he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the Board of Trade were not only quite willing, but anxious in every way to give assistance to put an end to such anomalies as the hon. Member had mentioned. The Board would investigate any complaint, whether made by an individual or a representative body, and, as a matter of fact, such complaints had been investigated, and redress obtained by means of the conciliation powers conferred by the Act. It was, of course, common talk that unfair rates were charged upon foreign produce coming by sea as against inland produce, but in no case, since he had been connected with the Board of Trade, had this been substantiated entirely. A large consignment to one station cost less in the handling and carriage than small quantities delivered at different stations. He could not promise that the Board of Trade would undertake the general inquiry asked for by the hon. Member, and examine all the rate books of the different railway companies to see where there were unfair rates. He was bound to say that he did not see how that could be possibly done. Years might be spent in investigation of rate books, 1240 and still no definite result would be arrived at. Redress could only be secured by the individual trader bringing his own particular grievance to the Board of Trade, and asking them to go into the matter, when he was sure they would do their best to have it remedied.
He did not believe that the means suggested by the hon. Member would be effective; and all he thought the House should ask the Board of Trade to do was that where means were available, they should use them in order to remove grievances of the character stated by the hon. Gentleman. That was what the Board of Trade were now doing, and what the Board of Trade were most anxious to do. The Board did not ask that the injustice should be proved. All they asked was that where a person thought a rate was unfair, he should send them a statement of what he thought the unfairness consisted of. The Board would go into the matter, and if they found an injustice existed, they would do their best to remedy it. Anything more, in existing circumstances, could not be done by the Department; and he could assure the House that, within their powers, the Board of Trade were only too anxious to assist the traders of the country.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
said that the subject which had been raised by his hon. friend was one in which he had taken a profound interest. He was very dissatisfied with what had been said by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. The hon. Gentleman seemed to disclaim any right or duty on the part of the Board of Trade to enter into a general survey of the unfairness of railway rates. He understood from his late friend Mr. Hanbury 1241 that he had laid a large number of complaints before the Board of Trade. What he himself wished to urge on the Board of Trade was that individual agriculturists were placed in a position of very great difficulty; and were unable to obtain the comparative rates which would enable them to establish their case except at great expense. They had a right to complain of the manner in which the hon. Gentleman handled that particular difficulty.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said he distinctly stated that all the Board required was that where a trader considered a rate to be unfair, he should communicate with the Board, and the Board themselves would make the necessary inquiries.
§ MR. CHANNING
said that the hon. Gentleman had disclaimed any duty or responsibility to enter into the comparative justice of various rates.
§ MR. CHANNING
said he was glad the hon. Gentleman dissented; but that was the view conveyed by his speech. He shared the hon. Gentleman's admiration of the late Mr. Hanbury's idea of
§ starting associations which would formulate complaints of a more general character; but that was now rather a matter of hope than of reality. At present, when complaints were made to the Board of Trade nothing came of them; and that was due to a great extent to the costliness of the procedure.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said that there was absolutely no cost on the trader, except that involved in sending a letter to the Board.
§ MR. CHANNING
said he had had to deal with many Presidents of the Board of Trade, and he knew what he was talking about. Traders generally had not received that support from the Board of Trade which they might reasonably have expected. He was glad his hon. friend had entered his protest against the inactivity of the Board, which he knew was somewhat warmly resented by the late President of the Board of Agriculture; and he hoped his hon. friend would proceed to a division.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 180; Noes, 70. (Division List No. 137).1243
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Doughty, George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Charrington, Spencer||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Austin, Sir John||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. Hicks||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose|
|Bignold, Arthur||Corbett, T. L. (Down North)||Flower, Ernest|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Forster, Henry William|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Cranborne, Viscount||Fyler, John Arthur|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ||Crossley, Sir Savile||Garfit, William|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Gordon, Maj. Evans (Tr. H'ml'ts||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Greene, Sir E. W. (Burry St. Ed.||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Rutherford, John (Lancashire|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Hain, Edward||Maconochie, A. W.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||M'Arthur, Charles, (Liverpool)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld G. (Mid'x)||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy)||Majendie, James A. H.||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Spear, John Ward|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Morrell, George Herbert||Thompson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n, N.|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheff., Bt'side.)||Morrison, James Archibald||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Ed. M.|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Mount, William Arthur||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Hoult, Joseph||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Johnstone, Heywood||Percy, Earl||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Plummer, Walter R.||Worsley-Taylor, Hry. Wilson|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Pym, C. Guy||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Randles John S.|
|Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Reid, James (Greenock)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Lawson, Jn. Grant (Yorks, N. R.)||Renwick, George||Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Kearley, Hudson E.||Runciman, Walter|
|Brigg, John||Labouchere, Henry||Russell, T. W.|
|Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh)||Lambert, George||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Langley, Batty||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Caldwell, James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Taylor, Theo. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Lloyd-George, David||Toulmin, George|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lundon, W.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Fadden, Edward||Wallace, Robert|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardign||M'Kenna, Reginald||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Markham, Arthur Basil||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dunn, Sir William||Murnaghan, George||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whitley J. H. (Halifax)|
|Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan)||O'Doherty, William||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Pirie, Duncan V.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Power, Patrick Joseph||Sir Edward Strachey and|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Redmond, William (Clare)||Mr. Channing.|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
Motion made, and question, "That this House do not adjourn"—(Sir A. Acland-Hood)—put, and agreed to.
§ Adjourned accordingly at ten minutes before Seven o'clock.