§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,920,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge for the Staff for Engineer Services, and Expenditure for Royal Engineer Works, Buildings, and Repairs, at Home and Abroad (including Purchases), which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901.
§ SIR A. HAYTER (Walsall)
asked for information in reference to the increase in the number of military clerks and temporary clerks for the staff service. There had been an addition of forty-three, and an addition of £15,000 annually to the Estimates, and he thought the Committee ought to know the reason for it. As to the unfortunate accident which had occurred at the house of the Commander-in-Chief at Aldershot, he considered that the amount taken in the Votes for rebuilding was insufficient and would like to know if the contract for £5,000 had 318 been signed. He also asked for information as to the amount proposed to be expended with regard to the building in connection with the frozen meat store at Gibraltar, and also as to the additional £15,700 for the purchase of land and the use to which the latter was to be applied. Was any of the land intended for rifle ranges or manœuvres?
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
said he had understood from an answer which he received to a Question, that no decision had been come to with regard to the Committee over which Lord Esher presided, which considered the duties of the Royal Engineers. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman had finally made up his mind to lay that Report on the Table of the House. He thought it was clear that the duties now demanded from the Royal Engineers might be far better carried out by the Civil Engineers. The greater part of the money spent under this Vote was expended on barracks, and it would be far better that this work should be taken out of the hands of the Royal Engineers and put out to contract, under the supervision of skilled engineer officers. Skill in the construction of roads and sewers was not necessarily compatible with an accurate knowledge of fortification building.
§ COLONEL WELBY (Taunton)
asked for information as to the present condition of the hospital near Alton, which had been provided by subscribers to a newspaper, and intended for use in connection with the late war. His information was that it was put to no use up to the present, and that it was, in fact, a refuge for partridges from adjacent estates. Such an excellent gift as this was ought to be put to more useful purposes.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said that although this Vote provided for ranges, barracks, and other requisites for the Army, provision was made for exactly similar work under the Military Works Act. It had been assumed that £2,000,000 would be asked for under that Act this year, making with this Vote the sum of nearly £4,000,000—a huge sum indeed for works of this character. They were being 319 kept in the dark as to what was to be done under the Military Works Act, and he did not think the Committee ought to pass this Vote without knowing the total sum the Government intended to expend in this direction. Ten years ago the Vote was only £684,000; now the demand was three times as great. It had actually doubled within the last five years. This year the amount asked for was £1,920,000; of which it was explained that £100,000 was in connection with the war; therefore the net Vote was £1,820,000, or an increase of £286,000 on the huge figures of last year. He was an economist, and tried to inquire into these increases. Some of his hon. friends did not agree with him when he endeavoured to inquire into increases for the Navy: but they said that they would do everything in their power to inquire into increases in connection with the Army. This was a very serious matter, as it concerned a branch of expenditure which had been swollen more than any other during the last ten years. They had the Barracks Act ten years ago, and it had been succeeded by successive Military Works Bills; yet in spite of all the provision which had been made under these special Bills the House was now asked to vote this enormous Estimate. The Secretary of State for War issued a Memorandum explaining these increases, but it was of a most meagre nature. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to give the Committee further particulars, and to justify the policy connected with such huge Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman said that £125,000 was due to the automatic growth of the charges for interest under these large military loans. But that left a sum of £161,000; and that huge increase ought not to be granted without the Committee getting further information. He thought the right hon. Gentleman should explain to the House the principle upon which the Government meant to proceed. If hon. Members would examine the accounts which had been laid before Parliament, they would find that expenditure under the Military Works Act covered the very same ground as the Vote they were now discussing. The same barracks and the same districts were mentioned; and not the slightest reason was given for treating one part of the expenditure at, for instance, Alder-shot under the Military Works Act, and the other in the Estimates. If hon. 320 Members would look at the Act they would find small sums of £20, £200, and repairs amounting to £192. Why should they borrow money to pay for repairs amounting to £192? The whole thing was a huge muddle.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
said they did not borrow for repairs.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that, of course, he would accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement, but some of the items under the Military Works Act were exceedingly small, and covered the same ground as the Estimates. They did not know the principle which directed the Government in choosing between the two courses, and they were placed in a very difficult position in considering the matter. The real reason why the Government refused to bring in the Military Works Bill was that it did not know how much they were going to ask the House for, and how much they were going to spend. There would be no economy in the country as long as the House did not insist on having all the Estimates in advance, in order that hon. Members would have time to consider them. The Committee ought to pause, and ask for some justification of the extraordinary amount of the Vote, and also the reason why the secret of the Government had been kept so well with regard to the other head. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to relieve the situation by withdrawing the Vote until the Military Works Bill was brought in.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said that the Military Works Bill was for the construction of large barracks. The Vote before the Committee was for repairs and maintenance.
§ MR. LOUGH
said there were new works included in the Vote. He did not think the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman was satisfactory; and the Committee ought to know what the expenditure on new works was going to be. He did not know what the policy of the Government with regard to the Army would be; but if any attention was to be paid to representation from hon. Members on that side, as well as on the 321 other side, and if there was a considerable reduction, then so many barracks would not be required. The whole policy of the Government ought to be explained before this huge Vote was agreed to; and in order to afford an opportunity, he would move a reduction of the Vote by £161,000, the amount of the increase.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,759,000, be granted for the said service."—(Mr. Lough.)
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, (Lichfield)
said be thoroughly supported everything his hon. friend had said. The Military Works Bill and the Vote before the Committee were connected with the supply of barracks, rifle ranges, and such things, and they could not make a division and say that the Bill was for new works, and the Vote for old works. Some very considerable sums were asked for new works in the Vote; but he agreed it did not make the least difference whether a new barracks was built or an old one repaired. The object was the same; and he did not think it was possible to draw a line between the Military Works Bill and the Vote. He was quite sure the War Office would not be able to draw a line in such a case. He would take one item to show the impossibility of discussing the Vote properly. Rifle ranges came under the Vote, but they did not know how much was going to be spent on them, as the Vote simply said that a certain sum of money would be spent on barracks and rifle ranges. There was nothing to show how many rifle ranges were going to be constructed In his own constituency the military authorities sanctioned a rifle range six years ago, but it had not yet been constructed, and there were hundreds of similar cases throughout the country. If there was another sudden demand for Yeomanry, they would again be raw and untrained levies, as the right hon. Gentleman said the second lot of Yeomanry who were sent to South Africa were. The most important point in the training of the men was the pro vision of rifle ranges; but they had no 322 information as to what was being done. Rifle ranges ought to be constructed under the Military Works Bill; but they had no knowledge as to how many rifle ranges were to be constructed They had a vague statement from the right hon. Gentleman the other day that the Vote only included sums under £2,000; but there was nothing about that in the Estimates.
The Estimates last year were not very full owing to the war; but they contained more details than were given this year. They had no details, but simply this statement that there was to be this general expenditure at Aldershot or in the Southern District! Was this money to be spent on rifle ranges, new barracks, roads, or what? No indication had been given of how the money was going to be spent. It was merely a lump sum put down. It was, no doubt, a very convenient method so far as the War Office was concerned, but it was anything but convenient to the Committee. He hoped before the Vote was passed members of the Committee would insist upon some particulars being given. Even if details had been given as in past years, they would have been made illusory, seeing that the main Bill, the Military Works Bill, was not yet introduced, much less printed. He did not say the Military Works Bill ought to have been carried before this Vote was brought in, but it ought, at least, to have been printed, so that the Committee might know what was going to be done. He hoped his hon. friend would press his Motion to a division, and he would certainly support him, unless the Vote was put off until another day. He wished to see these matters discussed before they came to discuss the Military Works Bill. The whole value of the Army and Reserve forces depended on their capacity for shooting; their being good or bad shots depended entirely upon their having sufficient ranges to practice on. There had not been sufficient ranges for years past, and there were not sufficient at the present time. He asked if the noble Lord would, under the circumstances, issue a return of the new rifle ranges opened in the past two or three years, and also of those which had been closed in the like period, and what ranges were under consideration and likely to be opened in the next few years. 323 This was a most important point, and the mere putting down of a lump sum was no guide to what was being done.
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said he was glad nig hon. friend had moved the reduction on the whole Vote, in order that the Committee might discuss the magnitude of this and similar Votes before going into the details. Two years ago he had ventured to predict that when the war was over every Department would retain a large portion of the increase which was said to be due to the war. Time had proved that to be true. They were not going back to the normal expenditure, and drastic steps would have to be taken by the Committee before they got back to the normal conditions of finance, The only way to do that was for the Committee to tell the War Office that they could do so much and no more, and they must provide the best Army they could with it. Individually, he thought, under those conditions we should get as good, or a better, Army than we had at present. These items were mounting up year by year, and the country was getting into a hopeless condition. The Committee had been told that there was to be a Military Works Bill, but they had not been told what the amount or purpose of it was, and they would not hear of it until they found this £20,000,000 was incorporated in it. These Military Works Bills were never intended to be anything else than the rarest occurrences in this House, and were intended to provide for such excess expenditure as could not be put on the Votes.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said it had been stated over and over again the permanent loans would be asked for in this way, and not put upon the Estimates.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said that might be true, because in recent years the War Office had tried to put as much as possible on posterity, and as little as possible on the taxpayers. With regard to these Military Works Bills being intended to be of rare occurrence, he would point out that in 1890 there was a Bill which authorised the expenditure of £4,100,000, and the reason he looked at this matter so seriously was that in his belief the top limit of payments 324 authorised by these Bills had not been reached. After the Bill of 1890 there was a lapse of seven years. In 1897 there was a Military Works Bill—
said the hon. Member must confine his remarks to the Estimates before the House. At present he was discussing the Military Works Bill which was not before the Committee.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
, with submission, pointed out that the Committee had been given to understand in both the Navy and Army Votes, under the head of annuities, that it was competent to discuss the progress of these Acts.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
said the hon. Member would be in order in discussing the annuities under the Acts, but he understood that he was discussing the Acts themselves.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
submitted that the hon. Member had been discussing these Acts only so far as they referred to the items which these Acts covered.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
said the hon. Member would have been quite in order in pointing out that a great deal of money had been spent under these Acts, but the Committee was now discussing the Estimates and not the Military Works Acts.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said he was only discussing these Acts with direct reference to what were called the annuities in respect of the money borrowed. In the years 1899, 1900, and 1901, no less than £15,000,000 were borrowed by means of Military Works Acts, and now they were told, in addition to the £19,000,000 already authorised in that manner since 1890, another Bill was to be presented to the House. He agreed with the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said the moment the war was over we ought to be careful to restore the Sinking Fund, and he hoped that would be done. At the same time he thought we ought to be extremely careful not to put to capital expenditure that which we ought to put to annual expenditure. His 325 objection to the continued introduction of Military Works Bills was first of all that the sums there were earmarked, and that it was a great mistake to spend this money on bricks and mortar rather than on guns and so forth, and secondly that this country was being led into a position which would result in a violent reaction in the future. We were piling up liabilities from which we could not hope to escape for the next fifteen or sixteen years. For that reason he was extremely glad that this Amendment had been moved, and he thought that discussion as to the details should be postponed.
§ COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)
said that in the Vote there were two large sums of £148,00 and £432,000 respectively for barracks and rifle ranges. The question of rifle ranges was most important, because troops were no use unless they were good shots. The provision of rifle ranges for Regulars, Militia, and Yeomanry was very inadequate, and a scheme of thoroughly equipping the forces in this respect would have been well worth the attention of the Government. In thickly populated districts the cost of land and other items rendered the provision of ranges a more costly matter, but in other places it was not a very serious business. He hoped the Secretary of State would supply the information asked for by the hon. Member for Lichfield with regard to the intentions of the Government in the matter.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Lord STANLEY,) Lancashire, Westhoughton
said there appeared to be a slight misapprehension as to the purposes of this Vote. It was not for the provision of new ranges, but for the upkeep of existing ranges and any small expansions necessary to make those ranges safe. The cost of new ranges was treated as capital expenditure and raised by loan.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
asked whether the small expenditure for replacing ranges which had been closed would not come under this Vote.
§ LORD STANLEY
did not think it would. Such expenditure would legitimately be treated as capital expenditure. His right hon. friend the Secretary of State was perfectly ready to make a return of the ranges which had been closed and of those reprovided, but it would not be advisable to name the ranges at present under discussion, as that might render yet more difficult the task of purchasing the necessary land. With regard to the rebuilding of Government House, he was not certain to whom the contract was given, but the House was at present in process of rebuilding, which process it was hoped would be finished by the end of the year. All the foundations and so forth were still intact, so that the £5,000 asked for merely represented the cost of reconstruction above the ground floor, and it was believed that that sum would be sufficient. His Majesty the King had placed the Royal Pavilion at General French's disposal during the process of rebuilding, otherwise another house would have had to be provided. He could not go into the question of insuring Government property, but, in his opinion, such a course would involve a great loss.
The land for the purchase of which money was being taken was not at Salisbury Plain, but chiefly at Plumstead and Cork. The Committee to which the hon. Member for Bristol had referred was appointed last autumn, and its Report involved a very radical change in the whole of the Building Department; therefore he thought the Committee would not expect him to give any details until the whole scheme could be submitted. He could, however, say that as a general principle it was intended that the Big Building Department, although perhaps nominally under, should be a separate Department from that of the Inspector-General of Fortifications, and that the engineer officers engaged therein should be employed not for short, but for definite and long periods, or even permanently in that department. They could then be held responsible for any particular work, and if anything went wrong the authorities would know whom to blame, because one man 327 would be responsible for the work from beginning to end, and there would be none of that chopping and changing between people in authority which in the past had undoubtedly led to much waste of expenditure. That was the general principle, but the details would require a great deal of threshing out before they could be laid before Parliament. As to laying the Report on the Table, he did not think it could be laid down that where the head of a Department asked for a Report to assist him in his work he should be compelled-always to lay that Report before Parliament. The Report was meant for the private information of the Minister, to enable him to frame the best scheme, and to publish all Departmental Reports would be rather a dangerous policy.
The hon. Member for Taunton had asked about Alton Hospital. There had been some difficulty as to the terms on which it should be handed over, but that difficulty had been satisfactorily overcome. Certain works were necessary, including the construction of a branch line to run to the hospital. Whether a part of the building would be used for any other purpose he was not certain, but as a general rule it would be utilised as a permanent convalescent hospital for the forces at Aldershot, and perhaps for those in London. The hon. Member for West Islington had complained of lack of information with regard to the loan. But the figures in this Vote could not be in any way affected by the loan. The money now asked for was for making small alterations and additions such as would not come on the loan. It was also for the general upkeep of the service, and might be affected by past loans, but it could not be affected by future loans. The increase was, of course, slue to the fact that there were more barracks to look after and maintain, and that public opinion now insisted, and rightly so, on a higher standard with regard to barracks. The whole system of drainage, which in the past had got into a deplorable state, had had to be practically reconstructed. All these things were necessary, but they cost money, and it would be found that the vast majority of the sums asked for in the Estimates this year were for necessary, and 328 generally sanitary, arrangements in the various barracks.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
believed that item (K), amounting to £552,900, did not depend in the least on the amount of money spent on barracks, but had to do with the loans. The Vote, and especially the part of it representing the loans with which Item (K) was concerned, had largely to do with fortifications. If one thing more than another had been taught by the recent war it was that fortifications might become, not only useless, but absolutely dangerous, and that, as a matter of fact, the intelligent commander of the future would keep as far as possible away from any fortifications whatever. The introduction of smokeless power had rendered it essential that there should be nothing in the nature of a line of fortifications to mark the place from which firing was proceeding, consequently he would have expected to hear the announcement that the War Office had renounced all idea of making fortifications in the future.
He was prepared to hear the defence now to be made for these fortifications which so distinctly marked their positions. Their late enemies in South Africa never used fortifications, and he believed that was one of the reasons for their success. The fortifications proposed to be erected around London had been surrounded by a certain amount of mystery, and he thought they ought to be reconsidered, and probably abandoned. It was generally known that fortifications were being put somewhere, but nobody seemed to know exactly where, and he should be very grateful for some information about them. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell them whether he intended reconsidering the policy of erecting permanent fortifications. What were the eastern defences of the Channel to be? He should have thought they would have been the sand at the entrance of the River 329 Thames, and the ships that would lie in the river. Apparently it was also intended to erect some fortifications at Chatham, for on page 70 he noticed there was an item of £136,000 altogether for this purpose.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he was aware that the greater part had already been expended, but the right hon. Gentleman proposed to spend a small sum from this year's Estimates. He thought that was a mistake, and he suggested that the time had arrived when the Secretary of State for War should reconsider the policy of fortifications altogether. What did he propose to do about the fortifications around London? The right hon. Gentleman had told the world that he wanted 100,000 men to defend London and some other positions. Was he going to put those men behind fortifications? If so, instead of increasing their safety, he would increase their danger.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said that the so-called fortifications of London were little more than defended store-houses. Most of the expenditure which had been recently undertaken had been at Berehaven and similar naval bases, and he knew nothing of what had been done at Chatham. In this country they had been a little behind in regard to fortifications. It was a very curious fact that on the Continent in recent years all the guns had been put outside the fortifications. They were not allowed to go to them, but they could see enough from the water to convince them that the guns had been mounted away from the fortifications in the sand. He agreed with the hon. Member for King's Lynn that this country was somewhat behindhand in this respect, and they were still allowing British engineers to erect fortifications with the guns inside, while other countries were putting their guns away from the fortifications.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)
said that the hon. Member for Halifax had expressed his approval of the men and the guns, but what was he going to do with the men? Was he going to house them inside the guns? How were they going to manage if they had not got proper barracks? Hon. Members opposite were always full of the cry about the necessity of housing the working classes, and, after all, a soldier was as much a working man as anybody else, and it was quite right that barracks should be very much improved. He had been much interested in the speech of the Financial Secretary to the War Office. He told them that a very important recommendation had been taken with regard to the officers of Engineers, and that in future it was intended to have a separate branch for construction of barracks. How could Engineer officers be expected to be architects, as at one moment they were doing telegraph or telephone work, and another day they were looking after the drains or building a fort? It seemed to him that it would be very much better to take the bull by the horns, and employ civilians altogether, as he questioned whether the Engineers could obtain the necessary training at Chatham. The Financial Secretary said that a good deal of the money asked for was to be spent upon drainage works. As far as he understood the question, barracks were never inspected until a crisis such as typhoid fever occurred, and the Government did not allow the ordinary sanitary inspector to enter within the sacred precincts of the barracks. There would be a very different state of affairs if the sanitary inspector were allowed to go round, for then a great many of the barracks in the large towns would be condemned. This kind of thing went on until an epidemic broke out, and then a wholesale reconstruction took place. A stitch in time saved nine, and in nothing was this more true than in the case of drains and sanitary arrangement. He wished to call attention to the terrible state of ventilation and overcrowding in the married quarters in barracks. He had heard of a case at Gravesend where a corporal and his wife and five children lived in one room and an inquest was held on one of the children. If such a 331 case occurred in civil life, there would be a tremendous outcry. He hoped the War Office would do all that was possible to prevent overcrowding. He did not know whether the Secretary of State for War would be able to tell them how far he had progressed with cubicles, and what success had attended them. He had always been an supporter of the policy of the War Office in this respect, as he considered that the life of the soldier inside barracks should be made a great deal more comfortable. For years the soldiers in India had had a separate dining-room apart from their sleeping-room, and he hoped that in the new barracks a similar provision would be made. The other side to the question was that when a soldier went into modern barracks and was afterwards removed into some old barracks, he was often very discontented. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would continue this beneficent policy, and he should be glad to hear how far the experiment with regard to cubicles had been a success from a military point of view. With regard to the lighting in most barrack rooms, there was one solitary gas jet for a large room with about thirty to forty men in it, and nothing was more melancholy than to go into one of these rooms at night. He ventured to think that the electric light might be introduced with advantage. He should be glad to know whether the new hospital on the Millbank site was to be used for teaching purposes in connection with the new medical school in London. It seemed to him that it was rather a mistake to put a hospital so near the river. He thought that a healthier site might have been got. He should like to know whether it was absolutely necessary to build so many barracks at our great military centres. It seemed to him that if they went on building barracks at Salisbury and Aldershot there would be absolutely no room left for the troops to manœuvre. The numerous small depôts all over the country, and especially in large towns, were expensive to maintain and useless for military purposes. In Birmingham there were barracks in the centre of the town which were formerly used for cavalry and now used for artillery. It took a considerable time for troops to get outside of the town from these barracks. It would be a good thing to abolish military barracks 332 in the centre of towns, sell the sites, and, with the money so obtained, purchase more manœuvring grounds instead of spoiling Aldershot and Salisbury Plain. He asked whether anything was being done to improve guard-room accommodation. At present the soldier had to sleep on a plank, and as it was important that men should be properly rested when doing their term of guard duty he thought something could be done in this matter. He understood that some experiments had been made in connection with guard-room arrangements. He was sure hon. Members would await with interest the result of the experiment.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
said the hon. Member for West Islington had challenged the increase on the Vote as a whole after making full allowance for the exceptional charges of last year, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman, before dealing with points of detail, should defend that increase in general terms. He thought the reasonableness of that demand could not be denied in the present state of our expenditure. He believed the country wished, indeed demanded, the most severe exercise of economy in all branches, but more particularly in the Army. He instanced the specific item on page 75 for the provision of temporary accommodation owing to the increased cost of the Army in South Africa. It was a large item, and covered about one-third of the increase. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would be strictly in order if he took up that item and dealt with it at once. There had been some conversation to-day about Military Works Acts. He did not think it would be right for him to attempt to discuss the policy of these measures, but he might be permitted to point out that the reasons for these Acts which were given by the noble Lord and by the right hon. Gentleman did not seem to agree. The Secretary of State apparently would put all permanent works on loans. The noble Lord, on the other hand, would put all big works on loans. Now these were not quite the same thing, and he did not know that the House would be prepared to accept either. The justification of a loan was that if in the state of finance of the country for the moment 333 it was inconvenient to resort to new taxation, or if there were other financial reasons, then, and then only, they should resort to loans even for works of a permanent character. He would not press the demand which had been made from this side of the House that the Military Works Bill should be produced to-day. He did not think the Government could be asked now to say what they were going to propose in that Bill, but he thought they were almost bound to tell the Committee what was the estimated total expenditure under the existing Military Works Acts up to the end of the present financial year—31st March. That could now be estimated almost to a farthing. Further, the Government must be able to tell the Committee at this moment what was the probable estimate of expenditure under the Military Works Acts for the year beginning 1st April. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he could tell the Committee how much of this Vote depended upon his own scheme of Army Corps, and generally whether this was to be considered a normal Vote. He was using the right hon. Gentleman's own words. He had distinguished between normal and exceptional expenditure through this session, and therefore the Committee could reasonably ask information as to how much of the Vote was normal and how much exceptional.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he did not think any of the observations made by the hon. Member for Dundee could be regarded as in any way unreasonable. He had asked for a variety of information, which, so far as he could, he would certainly give him. He thought there had been some confusion to-day, as had happened on some previous occasions. The view prevailed among a few members of the Committee that there was something hardly above-board in providing for larger new works by means of loans instead of Votes. He had made a defence on this subject before. He had not the smallest doubt that the system which was now pursued was the only proper, economical and efficient system. The system was carried on before this Government came into office. It was set on foot sixteen years ago. Up to that time the Votes for barracks—for large 334 new works—were put on the Estimates for each year. Under that system the Department never knew when they were going to build large barracks whether they would be able to get the money to carry on the work in the following year. Everybody who owned property knew that when work had once been started the only economical way was to complete it at whatever pace the contractor worked. The system led to two most vicious practices. One was that as money taken in one year and not expended had to be surrendered to the Exchequer before March 31st, there was a temptation to spend that money at all costs in the course of the year for which it was voted. This wholly unbusiness like system was replaced by one under which they came to the House from time to time and submitted their programme. In the present year they asked the House for half-a-million to pay the interest and sinking fund of the expenditure on barracks which would be used for hundreds of years. He believed that there was no expenditure which the Committee would grudge less than that for housing the troops. Roughly speaking, new works of a permanent description were built out of loans—that was to say, works of any magnitude—but small works were not included. They also thought that the purchase of land was a legitimate expenditure to be placed on loan.
The hon. Gentleman had asked him how much of this Vote depended on the Army Corps scheme. Now, one advantage of that great scheme of organisation was that it practically cost no money. He dared say that hon. Members would be surprised at that statement. They utilised every existing barrack, and it was perfectly true that they were adapting some of those barracks to the requirements of a certain number of troops under the scheme. But it was also true that for the first time they were building barracks where they were wanted, instead of putting them here and there in a hap-hazard way where it might be convenient to buy land. Qua the Army Corps scheme, there was no expenditure incurred further than to provide barrack accommodation for 54,000 troops, the number which the House voted additional in 1897. The 335 hon. Member asked whether this was normal expenditure. Barracks were the worst subject on which to talk of normal expenditure. It was in a sense normal expenditure, but the more barracks there were the more repairs would be required, and it was impossible to say what expenditure might be necessary from time to time on sanitary and other services. As regarded expenditure on loan: under the loans already running the estimated expenditure in this country for the year 1903–4 was £2,250,000, and for hutting troops in South Africa £1,250,000. As the Committee was aware, there had been large additions to the permanent garrison in South Africa. Up to 1896 the number was between 4,000 and 5,000, which was increased in 1898 to between 7,000 and 8,000—and the additional men were only temporarily accommodated in Ladysmith. Consequently sufficient hutting accommodation had to be provided for the permanent garrison, whatever the numbers might be in the future. He was sure that the Committee would feel that, having kept the men for three years under canvas, it was very desirable that they should be put under a good roof as soon as possible. Of course they were not providing for the whole number of 30,000 at present in South Africa—one-half of which might be regarded as temporarily located there.
His hon and gallant friend behind him had asked a question about the new hospital. It was extremely desirable that this hospital, which was to be the headquarters of the Royal Army Medical Corps Staff, should be in London to enable the doctors to attend lectures and take part in research work, which had been practically the main incentive to the large number of medical men who had lately joined the corps. His hon. friend urged that they should not over-build at centres like Salisbury Plain, so as to prevent the proper training of the troops; and he asked that isolated barracks in small towns, where the troops could not be properly exercised, should be abolished. But they could not have it both ways. He would, however, now give a pledge. The War Office had fully considered, in regard to Salisbury Plain, the necessity of keeping a very large area entirely clear, and he believed that exercises carried on there were well provided for. His hon. friend had asked a question about 336 cubicles. That was a difficult question to answer. They had tried experiments with cubicles, and there was a difference of opinion as to whether they were desirable or not. They were more expensive than the old barrack system, because they took up more room, and they made it much more difficult to keep the barracks clean. His personal leaning was to have a certain number of cubicles and allow men of good conduct to occupy them. He was in correspondence with the Commander-in-Chief on the subject, which was important, and which the Committee would agree had much to do with the comfort of the soldier especially when they hoped to get a better class of men to enter the Army.
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
said he understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that there was to be accommodation of a permanent character for the troops in South Africa. He saw that in the Estimates there was provision for temporary accommodation. Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the Committee whether these were to be permanent barracks, and what number of men it was contemplated they would accommodate?
§ MR. BRODRICK
said that the matter was still the subject of correspondence. It was impossible, in the state of South Africa, to put up buildings to house 20,000 men in the time at their disposal; and what had taken place was that wooden huts of the best description—airy, superior, roomy huts, such as had lasted for thirty or forty years in this country—had been sent out to South Africa. At present the hutting going on in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony was estimated to accommodate 20,000 troops and the families of the men on the married estabtablishment. What they had been careful to see was that the accessory buildings, which accounted for a large portion of the expense, were adapted for what would be the permanent garrison only.
§ MR. RENWICK (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would give a Return of the existing rifle ranges, I and those that were to be provided in the near future. He quite recognised that the Return should not specify the districts where the ranges were to be fixed, otherwise 337 the Government would have to pay a much larger amount for the land required. He had been surprised that the hon. Member for Dundee had advocated economy on every item in the Estimates. There were some items on which economy could be exercised, but that for rifle ranges was not one of them; and he was sure that the constituencies would grudge no sum in reason for the provision of these ranges. Lord Roberts, in the course of a speech delivered in 1901, appealed to the patriotism of the British people to make no opposition to the acquisition of rifle ranges, and to promote by all means in their power rifle shooting, on which the efficiency of the Army absolutely de pended. He agreed with the Commander-in-Chief, and hoped that the Secretary for War would give the Committee some assurance on this all-important matter of rifle ranges.
§ MR. BECKETT (Yorkshire, N.R., Whitby)
said he gladly welcomed the remarks of his hon. friend, and he would suggest to the Secretary for War that it would greatly assist in providing rifle ranges if more power were given to the local authorities. He had heard of a case in which a County Council was quite willing to acquire such a range, but owing to some technical difficulty it was found impossible to do so. He was convinced that if the local authorities were approached they would assist the War Office in every possible way in providing rifle ranges in great numbers, and at small cost. The right hon. Gentleman said that unless the troops had training grounds they would have to walk about with their hands in their pockets; and they all heard with satisfaction that more land was to be taken. That might not seem to accord with views on economy, but at the same time it would make for economy and efficiency in the long run, because efficiency could not be attained unless the men were properly trained. He also agreed with his right hon. friend in his statement with regard to raising money by Military Works Bills for providing barracks and other things of that kind. The Dawkins Committee investigated that subject, and came to the conclusion that it was a proper and economic method, and that the system of providing money by Vote was found to be a more wasteful and less businesslike arrangement 338 altogether. He was informed that fortifications had been erected on the Surrey Hills; and he wished to know whether they were intended for the protection of London, or for the protection of the division of which his right hon. friend was such a distinguished representative. His right hon. friend said that provision had to be made for an increased force in South Africa, but he did not understand whether that was to be an increase in the present or would be an increase in the future. He hoped it would be an increase in the future, as he was very much in favour of an Army Corps being permanently established in South Africa. He wished to ask a question about the £3,500 to be voted for the Commandant's house in Pekin. He thought that the troops were to be withdrawn from China; but, perhaps, the troops referred to were legation guards. [Lord STANLEY: "Yes Sir".] That was what he thought. As regarded expenditure he thought that a distinction ought to be drawn more carefully between what was permanent and what was temporary, and what should be charged to capital and what should be put on the Votes. Unfortunate results often happened when expenditure was charged to capital which should have been paid out of revenue.
§ SIR WILLIAM ALLAN (Gateshead)
said that a sum of £10,000 appeared under the heading of "Expenses in connection with Experiments." He should like to know what these experiments were. He should also like to know about the £5,000 put down for Brennan torpedoes. Were the War Office making them? If so, where, and how many torpedo stations were there; He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman when he said that the quickest way of finishing a job once it was begun was to go right through with it. If he wished to increase the cost, the best way to do that was to leave off, and then begin again.
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
said he wished to supplement what had fallen from his hon. friend with reference to the co-operation of local authorities in the matter of providing ranges. The attitude of the War Office on this question was not one which was calculated to promote the wishes of the House of Commons, or the general views 339 of the country. There was a very suitable camping ground at Great Yarmouth. The Corporation some years ago made it still more suitable; and as the result a large number of Volunteer brigades used it. On the recommendation of the military authorities the Corporation spent money in improving it. Then arose the question of ranges, and it was pointed out how very desirable it would be if a range was also provided. The Corporation at considerable expense provided a range with the sanction and under the supervision of the military authorities; and thus saddled themselves with an addition to the rates for the advantage of the public service, and also, of course, indirectly, for the advantage of the town. Since the new Army Scheme came into operation, the position was entirely changed, and a veto had been practically put on Volunteer brigades who wished to go to Yarmouth because there was not a larger manœuvring ground. The Mayor of Yarmouth, who was himself a distinguished officer of Volunteers, and who served in South Africa and was a man of practical experience, brought the Corporation to the point of trying to meet the difficulties which had been raised by the War Office, and the result was that the Corporation showed willingness to provide a larger manœuvring ground if the War Office would undertake to use the ground annually and restore the old condition of things. The War Office were good enough to signify to the Corporation that if they spent the money, amounting perhaps to many thousands of pounds, they would not raise any objection to Volunteers going there if not sent elsewhere. Was that the attitude which the War Office should adopt if they really wished to encourage the co-operation of the local authorities? He mentioned the case in support of what had been said by his hon. friend; and he would ask his right hon. friend whether, in cases where there was an indication of such willingness of the local authorities to co-operate with the War Office, a practical Committee should not be appointed to come to a businesslike settlement. In the particular case of Yarmouth, the War Office were losing a chance they would never get again. He maintained that it was not necessary that Volunteers should go every year to the 340 big camps. There should also be subsidiary camps; and when local authorities offered to provide ground for camps, ranges, and manœuvring grounds for exercising brigades, the War Office ought to give a better answer than to say: "Oh! if you spend the money, we will then see whether we will take advantage of it or not."
A very considerable portion of the Vote was devoted to the military arrangements for water defence, such as submarine mines and other things. That involved a special school at Chatham to train officers and soldiers to become aquatic professors. The cost of the military arrangements for local water defence was extremely large; and he would ask an assurance from his right hon. friend that he would go into the matter and bring it to the notice of the Defence Committee. These were charges which ought not to belong to the Army Estimates at all; and their work could best be discharged by retired officers and pensioned men of the Navy. It was very fitting work for them; but not fitting work for anyone else. The Admiralty paid large retiring allowances to officers and men who had qualified in torpedo duties; and they would undertake the water defence, which now cost so much, for a very slight increase of pension. With regard to fixed fortifications, they could not be justified when it was admitted that the first principle of the country was to obtain security on the sea. He protested against the ever increasing vote for land fortifications. The only other question he wished to ask was with regard to the appropriation in aid for Esquimalt, £500; he saw no expenditure put down for works at Esquimalt, but he supposed the money had already been expended. He would like to know whether the War Office expenditure there had come to an end and what its total amount had been, and how long we were to receive from the Canadian Government this £500 a year. He was interested in this matter because before the War Office took it over Esquimalt was under the Admiralty, and was garrisoned by marine artillery at little cost, but immediately the War Office took it over there followed a great expenditure. For that reason he wanted to know, since the War Office had taken it over, how much they had spent upon it.
§ MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)
said he rose to support the appeal that had been made with regard to the future provision of rifle ranges, and especially so far as the Yeomanry was concerned. Under the old system every Yeomanry squadron, and in some cases each troop, had provided for them a private range up to 600 yards at which very efficient firing was taught. That system had now been done away with, and at the present moment the regiment with which he was connected, the Earl of Chester's Yeomanry, had no range at all. They had a fine new permanent camp on Government ground for military exercises, but as regarded a rifle range, they had to go a distance of thirty miles by train to a place called Altcar, in the neighbourhood of Liverpool, at considerable expense. If they were allowed to find their own ranges, and if the War Office would be content with a range up to 600 yards, he ventured to say that the County Councils would provide an excellent one close to the camp, affording communication by rail or otherwise. But if it was thought necessary to have a range up to a mile, with two miles beyond and a mile on each side as a zone of safety, in a populous country like this, they would have to wait until the Greek Kalends before they found it.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
asked whether in respect in rifle ranges any experiments had been made with miniature targets and short ranges, so as to save taking troops long distances. He could not help thinking that with a proper system of miniature targets they could accustom the men to the use of the sights and the triggers and so on. He thought with a development of the miniature target system something might be done to teach the men the use of their weapons. He noticed with pleasure that suggestions had been made from all sides of the House, which, if his right hon. friend would accept, would increase the Estimates by £9,000,000 or £10,000,000. He was glad to see there were so many converts to the policy of the Government.
§ MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)
said the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down had raised the question to which he also had desired to draw 342 attention. He would suggest that a Departmental Committee should be appointed before any large expenditure on rifle ranges was entered into to investigate the matter. So far as he had been able to ascertain the results of miniature target practice, persons who had practised at these miniature targets had made most excellent shooting when taken to ranges of 500 yards; in fact, far better shooting than the Regular shooters at the range on that day. So extraordinary was the result, that he felt justified in communicating with the Commander-in-Chief on the subject. He thought if something were done in this direction, they would get better shooting at less cost. The same remark would also apply to smokeless powder and fortifications, because both matters depended upon appreciating the novel circumstances introduced by modern inventions. A Departmental Committee, therefore, should also be instituted to investigate and say how far the invention of smokeless powder had done away with any necessity for fortifications. He thought if that were done, results might possibly be obtained which would modify works which, to his knowledge, were now being proceeded with.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said the War Office had concentrated a great deal of attention upon rifle ranges, and they were pressed on all sides of the House for an almost unlimited extension of them, which could not be carried out without large expenditure. Nothing was easier than to talk of rifle ranges all over England for all the troops; but since the Government came into office eight years ago they had spent, he was going to say, an enormous sum in providing rifle ranges and training grounds which had rifle ranges on them or attached to them. It was impossible that that sort of expenditure could go on. He did not think it would be possible for them to find ranges for some 800,000 men. If the trials now going on with miniature ranges proved effective, the problem of properly training the troops would be considerably modified. The subject had engaged the attention of the War Office, and experiment would no doubt give them further information. The difficulty about fortifications was that the problem of what fortifications should be was constantly changing. The 343 fortifications which were being completed at Malta were exactly of the type which had been pressed upon him—namely, what were called invisible fortifications, and were totally different from those adopted even ten or fifteen years ago. Naturally that system would be followed in other places. He had no doubt that in some cases, when it was a question of completing a fortification already begun, not quite of the newest type, or of beginning again at an enormous expense, the War Office had adopted the former alternative. With regard to the local complaint raised by his hon. friend the Member for Great Yarmouth, the War Office would only be too glad to avail themselves of the assistance of the County or Borough Councils when they were willing to give it. Their difficulty was that, though they pressed the House to give County Councils power to assist in national defence, they had been unable to find the necessary time for the Bill owing to the strong opposition of persons supposed to represent municipal bodies. If the local authorities had the power to lease or buy land and to let land or ranges to the troops and Volunteers, he believed the public would be the gainers. But, whenever the Government went into the market to buy land, every effort was made by everybody to get the largest price they could. It did not matter who they were, they all, with one or two notable exceptions, did their utmost to get a price which the Government considered exorbitant, and in almost every case the arbitrators were, on the same side. There was a striking instance of this on Salisbury Plain. A gentleman purchased certain land there for £1,100 when he knew the War Office wanted to purchase. He had not actually completed the purchase or paid the money over, and yet the arbitrator, one of the first judges in the land, gave him £1,650 for that which, he believed, he had not even passed his cheque for £1,100.
Then he would say a word with regard to fortifications for the defence of London. That question was raised three or four years ago, and he then explained that there was nothing of the kind in the sense in which the point was put to him. It was perfectly true that the military authorities desired to have, at certain 344 strategical positions, centres of earthworks on which to place covered storehouses, in which guns would be put at the right time. These works were of a very modest character as regarded expenditure; but there was no question of fortifying London in the sense suggested. It would be contrary to all modern ideas of military teaching.
His hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth had said, quite truly, that these Estimates contained an immense sum for services rendered by the Army to the Navy. It was well worth considering, he thought, whether they should not work out and lay before Parliament what was the cost charged on the Army Votes for services which would not be involved if it were not for the necessity of keeping coaling stations for the Navy, and which was, no doubt, from one point of view, purely naval expenditure. If he might be allowed, he would deprecate too great an attempt to adjust a sort of balance between the Navy and the Army in this matter. This new system, of which they had heard now almost for the first time, of assuming that whatever was given to the Army was so much taken from the Navy, was entirely foreign to the conceptions which those who had to deal with the two services had in their minds. It had been constantly urged in the course of the last few weeks, against him in particular, that in framing the Army scheme he had entirely ignored the requirements and probable action of the Navy. Nothing was more foreign to the procedure he had adopted or to the ideas he had in his mind. And in that respect a quotation was made from a speech of his only a few days ago, which was entirely taken out of the context. He fully recognised that in the defence of this country they must take the Army and the Navy together; and it was immaterial, he thought, to the country at, large whether the expenditure was found on the Army or the Navy Votes; but as there was so much misapprehension on the point it was worth considering whether the Estimates should not be placed before Parliament in such a form that the cost of the maintenance of the Army proper was separated from 345 the expenditure due to the maintenance of coaling stations and so forth for the Navy.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said the reply of the Secretary of State had not touched the point referred to by the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth, viz., that soldiers were doing sailors' work in connection with torpedoes and submarine mines. That went a step farther than the protection of coaling stations. In regard to rifle ranges, he was satisfied that the return promised by the Financial Secretary was the only one that could be given, but he was not satisfied that much progress had been made. The matter was of so great importance that it would be better to do away with two or three battalions of the regular Army or twenty or thirty battalions of the Reserves in order that the remainder might be taught to shoot. The value of the items of this Vote could not be properly estimated until they knew what was to be done under the Military Works Bill. The mere word of the Minister that too much was not being spent was hardly sufficient: in going through the Estimates something more was required. Another objection which had not been answered was, as to the lack of information: the items were not separated, and there was not even given information corresponding to that given last year. He should, therefore, vote for the reduction.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that while the right hon. Gentleman had clearly explained several points of detail, he had not dealt satisfactorily with the main objection which had been urged, viz., that a proper line had not been drawn between capital expenditure provided under the Loans Bill, and the
§ sums properly chargeable on revenue. The right hon. Gentleman attempted to make the division clear by saying that new works of large amount were dealt with by borrowing. He did not object to the principle of borrowing for such works, but if they were provided for in that way it was to be expected that the Estimates would diminish. Instead of that, the Estimates had increased. But even the distinction laid down by the right hon. Gentleman was not observed, because in the Estimates there were items of £83,000 for a new hospital at Portsmouth, £17,000 for new workshops and armouries, and £41,000 for the purchase of land.
§ LORD STANLEY
pointed out that the new hospital at Portsmouth was in place I of one taken over by the Admiralty, and for which the Admiralty would repay the War Office.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that that made no difference to his argument that, according to the right hon. Gentleman's own rule, items of capital expenditure were placed on the Estimates, and he believed items which should be met out of revenue were included in the Loans Bill. Another point had been entirely left untouched, and it was that this year this great Estimate should not have been increased. It had, however, been increased by £161,000, and the House would have to take steps to stop this extraordinary increase in the Army Estimates. Therefore he should ask the Committee to divide.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided—Ayes, 83; Noes, 236. (Division List, No. 40.)349
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Cameron, Robert||Dunn, Sir William|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Edwards, Frank|
|Bell, Richard||Causton, Richard Knight||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Black, Alexander William||Cawley, Frederick||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Charming, Francis Allston||Fenwick, Charles|
|Brigg, John||Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Crombie, John William||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Crooks, William||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Burns, John||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd|
|Burt, Thomas||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Harwood, George|
|Caldwell, James||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Dowd, John||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., E.)|
|Jones, David B. (Swansea).||O'Shee, James John||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Partington, Oswald||Tomkinson, James|
|Kitson, Sir James||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wallace, Robert|
|Labouchere, Henry||Pirie, Duncan V.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Lambert, George||Rea, Russell||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Reid, Sir R. T. (Dumfries)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Leng, Sir John||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)|
|Levy, Maurice||Runciman, Walter||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Samuel, Herbt, L. (Cleveland)|
|M'Crae, George||Schwann, Charles E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Mr. Lough and Mr. J. H. Whitley.|
|M'Govern, T.||Shackleton, David James|
|M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Howard, Jno. (Kent, Faver'hm|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Dickson, Charles Scott||Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Disraeli, Goningsby Ralph||Jebb, Sir Richard Claver-house|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Doughty, George||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Kemp, Lieu.-Colonel George|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Duke, Henry Edward||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbiqh|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Kimber, Henry|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Balfour, Rt, Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Faber, George Denison (York)||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Lawson, John Grant|
|Bignold, Arthur||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Bond, Edward||Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Fisher, William Hayes||Lockie, John|
|Bousfield, William Robert||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham|
|Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.|
|Brassey, Albert||Flower, Ernest||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Eorster, Henry William||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bull, William James||Foster, P. S. (Warwich. S. W.||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoff|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gardner, Ernest||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg)||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ||Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elign &Nrn||Malcolm, Ian|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Maxwell, W. J. W. (Dumfriesshire)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Graham, Henry Robert.||Milvain, Thomas|
|Chamberlain Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||Mitchell, Edw, (Fermanagh, N.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Groves, James Grimble||Mitchell, William (Burnley)|
|Chapman, Edward||Hall, Edward Marshall||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)|
|Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Hamilton, Marg, of (Londondy||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Colston, Chas, Edw H. Athole||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Healy, Timothy Michael||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Health, James (Stafford. N. W.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert, F.||Newdegate, Francis A. N.|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hogg, Lindsay||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Davies, M. Vaughan, (Cardig'n||Hope, J. F. (Sheff, B'tside)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Denny, Colonel||Hoult, Joseph||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Palmer, Walter (Salinbury)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Valentia, Viscount|
|Percy, Earl||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Seely, Chas Hilton (Lincoln)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und-Lyne|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Purvis, Robert||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Williams, Rt. Hn. J. Powell-(Birm|
|Pym, C. Guy||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Randles, John S.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Rankin, Sir James||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Smith, H. C. (North'mb Tyneside||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Remnant, Jas. Farquharson||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Renwick, George||Spear, John Ward||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wood, James|
|Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Robertson, H. (Hackney)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Younger, William|
|Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Thomson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n, N|
|Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Thornton, Percy M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Tollemache, Henry James||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Fellowes.|
|Russell, T. W.||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR A. HAYTER
called attention to the increase on the Estimates consequent on the addition of forty-three to the "staff for engineer services," and asked the Secretary of State for War to state the reason for the increase. He would be very much obliged also if the right hon. Gentleman would give some information in regard to an item of £36,800 for the conversion of North George Magazine at Gibraltar into a frozen meat store. In all £47,000 was to be spent on the conversion of this store. He did not understand how the work already built for £42,000 should involve so large an expenditure.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he was afraid that the right hon. Gentleman was over sanguine about the conversion of an ammunition magazine into a frozen meat store being in any way a cheap matter. In such a case they were only able to use the outer walls, and beyond that almost everything had to be rebuilt. He had personally investigated a large frozen meat store the other day and was surprised at the amount of work that had to be done. He had not seen the exact items; but he was afraid the amount very much surprised him.
§ MR. BRODRICK
agreed, the original cost being £42,000 and that of the conversion, £46,000 or £47,000. With regard to the increase in the staff in the Surveyors Department, that was due to the amount of repairs and work that had to be done. There had been, however, a decrease of special salaries of over £3,000. There was no doubt that a large amount of work had to be done and supervised in that Department.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said there was an item of £9,700, which was described as required for additional staff and new stations in South Africa. In another part of the Estimates there was an item of £50,000 for temporary accommodation in South Africa for the increased force there. He noticed there were other items in the Votes in connection with the maintenance of a force in South Africa. As far as he was aware the Committee had never had from the Secretary of State for War a statement, firstly, of the number of troops to be kept in South Africa during the next twelve months; secondly, of the nature of the provision which was to be made for the cost of such things as barracks or temporary accommodation; and, thirdly, the division, if any, of those charges between the Imperial and the loca exchequers. He thought it was very desirable that, instead of going over the ground as each item arose, the Committee 351 should have a clear and comprehensive statement from the War Office of what would be the estimated expenditure for the next twelve months on the force kept in South Africa. It would naturally be divided into normal expenditure—that was, the expenditure which would be incurred if the soldiers were at home instead of in South Africa—and the increased charge due to more or less permanent works such as barracks.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said he was not aware that there was a complete statement of that kind. Did it include the items of £50,000 and £9,700 to which he had referred?
§ MR. WHITLEY
asked whether the whole cost of the troops to be maintained in South Africa for the next twelve months would fall upon Imperial funds, or whether there was to be a contribution by the Orange River Colony and the Transvaal, or by the self-governing colonies of Natal and Cape Colony.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said the excess of expenditure—the extra expenditure for temporary purposes—on these Estimates with respect to South Africa amounted to £2,000,000. With regard to the possibility of a contribution—and that possibility had not been lost sight of—no actual arrangement had been arrived at. He was certain that one colony, at any rate, would be willing to contribute.
§ MR. WHITLEY
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would state the nature of the barracks to be provided under the Vote for £50,000. Was it for permanent buildings?
§ LORD STANLEY
said there were a certain number of troops to be kept there for a time, over and above what would afterwards be required. They could not be kept any longer in camps, and therefore the Government were providing as cheaply as they possibly could coverings for their heads. These were temporary huts, without any of the ordinary accessories of barracks. They were to 352 be put up just to accommodate the men until the accommodation was no longer required.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £4,820,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge for the supply and repair of warlike and other stores, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1904."
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said he should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question or two about the new rifle for the troops. He had seen one in the Tea Room and thought of bringing it into the House, but was afraid that hon. Members would take some objection to that course. He personally did not understand rifles, but he was informed by those who did, that this one had some very serious defects, the principal one being a very considerable increase in the recoil over that of the last type. Every one who used a rifle knew that when they began to teach recruits to shoot the recoil was a very serious consideration. He was further told that the new rifle being covered with wood except at the slot for the back sight, the hot air came out through the slot and obscured the sight. Then, again, was there any advantage in the shortening of the rifle, and was there any alteration in the twist of the rifling, or was it the same rifling as in the former weapon.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
asked, with reference to the new rifle, whether it was the case that the muzzle velocity was less than in the previous rifle, and was the trajectory higher. Of course an immense advantage claimed for the late rifle was the flatness of the trajectory. That was a very serious change indeed if it had been made.
MR. POWELL-WILLIAMS (Birmingham, S.)
asked through what course of experiment the new rifle had been put. Everybody knew it was not only an extremely expensive, but a most important matter, to make any change in a service rifle. Before the last rifle was accepted for Army service, it was put 353 through experiments under all conditions, in dry and wet climates, to see whether it was a really serviceable weapon. It was what he thought was known as a Committee rifle; it was the result of a conference. He should like to know whether this rifle had come from a similar source. There were defects in the old rifle that was now to be superseded, which experts in guns deliberately attributed to the fact that it was not a rifle designed throughout by one individual. After experiments it was found that the shooting of that rifle was not satisfactory, that its weakness was due to the fact that the bolt which took the recoil after the explosion was too long, and not firm in its bed. He had examined the new rifle and found the bolt was longer than in the old one, and thus the question arose whether this defect, which was proved to have existed in the old rifle, was repeated in the new one. At any rate he considered that before the new rifle was placed in the hands of the troops there should be exhaustive experiments, and he should be glad if the Financial Secretary could assure the Committee that that had been done.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
asked the Secretary for War to give some explanation as to an item under I "Engineers Stores, £40,000." So far as he understood, that item appeared in the Estimates for the first time, and as it was nearly a fourth of the total of this particular Vote some explanation of it ought to be given.
§ SIR WILLIAM ALLAN
said he had examined very carefully the new rifle lying for the past few days in the Tea Room, and he could tell the Secretary of State for War that the bolt was not a fit at all. It was too slack. Then the lift of the magazine was not uniform, and consequently the cartridge got jammed. It did not lift square, and the magazine did not work fairly. The sight was far too tender, and there ought to be some protection for it. It was of a very slim construction, though clever enough for shifting the gradations, but it was too slight for hard work. The rifle was also far too heavy and of faulty mechanism. No soldier could use it for active work in the field without coming to grief.
§ LORD STANLEY
said he did not pretend in any way to be an expert in rifles, and he could only say that this new rifle had been tested in every possible way. His right hon. friend had condemned it as a "Committee rifle," and would have wished that it had been the production of a single individual. He did not agree with his right hon. friend. He thought a Committee did the work better than by leaving it to a single man. They issued a thousand of these rifles last June, and these had been tried in every possible way, and all of them had been uniformly well reported on. His hon. friend behind him said that there was a certain amount more "kick." That was true, but the increase in the recoil was very slight, and that disadvantage was more than counterbalanced by its numerous advantages. It was a pound lighter and five inches shorter than the old rifle. His right hon. friend opposite had asked whether the result of that was not a decrease in the muzzle velocity. He was afraid he could not answer exactly that technical point, but he understood that the new rifle had a muzzle velocity of thirty feet more than the old rifle. He was under the impression that the magazine was exactly the same as the old one, which had answered admirably in South Africa. The rifle had been examined most carefully, and tried in every possible way, and it had been reported upon by every expert in rifle shooting in the Army. He hoped the Committee would admit that the War Office had done all that was possible to put a good weapon into the hands of the troops.
§ GENERAL LAURIE (Pembroke and Haverfordwest)
asked whether the trajectory of the new rifle was higher or lower than that of the old rifle. That was most important.
§ LORD STANLEY
said he did not know exactly, but he thought they might take it that as the muzzle velocity was increased there would be an almost imperceptible difference in the trajectory.
§ COLONEL LUCAS (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
asked whether the rifle would not be issued in three sizes of stock.
§ MAJOR SEELY
said he did not think that shooting experts were good judges of recoil, for they held their rifles so tight to the shoulder that they were not affected by the recoil. The ordinary soldier, who held his rifle loosely to the shoulder, would feel the recoil more.
asked at what rate it was proposed to put the new rifle in the hands of the troops.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that the noble Lord had forgotten to answer the rather serious point he had raised. He referred to the question of the backsight, and the exudation of foul air when the rifle was fired, which obscured the sight.
§ LORD STANLEY
said that the whole of these points had been tested by people who, with all respect, knew more about a rifle than hon. Members. The War Office were informed that they had got a great improvement on the old rifle and they would now be able to arm both cavalry and infantry with a uniform rifle; and there would consequently not be the former great difference between the cavalry carbine and the infantry rifle as was the case in the last war. His hon. friend opposite had asked a question about Engineers' Stores. It was simply a transfer of special submarine stores from one Department to another. Formerly these were under the Inspector-General of Ordnance; now they were transferred to the man really responsible for them—the Inspector-General of Fortifications.
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
said he apologised to the Committee for intruding upon it so soon after his return to Parliament, but he feared that if he lost this opportunity he would be shut out for another year; and if he transgressed some of the Rules of the House he hoped he would be forgiven. He wanted to ask the Secretary for War one or two questions. There appeared in The Times on 7th March a letter alleged to have 356 come from the War Office promising the contractors a fair share, or as it seemed to him, very much more than a fair share of Government work. He had been told privately that there existed an understanding in the House, that when work was to be given out, that work was to be allocated two-thirds to the contractors, and one-third to His Majesty's Departments. He did not know how it appeared to other hon. Members, but it seemed to him that any Department of a Government, which claimed to be a business Government, should have an undoubted right to first make use of all the resources which the Nation had placed at its disposal before considering any other persons whatever. Of course he had been told that the contractors came to the service of the Government in their hour of need, and therefore they had a right to be remembered when there was no great pressure. That was to say that these contractors had laid down plant and other things and that the Government were bound to keep them going. But he had yet to learn that any particular advantages, financial or otherwise, had accrued to the country. If the contractors had served the Government well, they had been exceedingly well paid for the work they did. They charged exceedingly high war prices for the materials they supplied. He was entitled to say to the Committee that he did not agree with the kind of patriotism which was measured up at so much per cent. that a man would be patriotic or not according to the amount of dividends he paid to his shareholders. The nation was not entitled to consider these people except on strict business lines. They should receive no advantage or privilege beyond what they were entitled to. Of course he knew that they took orders for three years and that those three years had expired. His position was this: that this letter emanating from the War Office ought first to have taken into consideration the number of men and the class of men which the Government had at their disposal to produce the articles they wanted.
One hundred and fifty years ago the Government had established arsenals and manufactories where warlike material could be turned out; and for the last ten or twenty years much money had been spent by the nation in putting down plant for the use of the nation. 357 How could the Secretary of State for War square his notions of strict business principles with his practice, when he threw out of work a number of machines—not to speak of the number of men thrown out—with the view of finding employment for the machines and men of the contractors? If they wanted to get profit out of machinery it should be kept running. Idle machines depreciated sooner than working machines; and, therefore, he was entitled to ask why Government machines were kept idle. Was it of any particular value to the nation? He thought not, because, instead of getting goods cheaper, they were paying high prices for them while their own machines were standing idle. He had always heard that the Government were exceedingly anxious that their men should have regular employment; but when men were attracted to the service of the Government by the prospect of fairly regular employment, the conditions of regular employment were immediately thrown over in the interests of contractors. Why should the contractors be considered in times like these? In answer to a question he put to the right hon. Gentleman that afternoon, he was informed that there had been a general shrinkage. In the shell foundry 600 men were employed before the war, whereas now there were only 200 men in that department. Surely it ought to be put on the same footing as before the war. There was nothing unreasonable in that. In another department which was not up to its full strength, men had been working regularly for five years, but now it was to be reduced to a point lower than it ever had been during that period.
It might be said that contractors supplied material much cheaper than it could be made in the Government factories. If that were the contention, he would put a plain question to the right hon. Gentleman. Whose fault was it? Was it because of the extra supervision which was exercised in Government factories? He wished to know if the same conditions applied to workmen working for contractors and workmen in Government factories; and whether the supervision was the same in both cases. The men in the Government factories had to get up to a very high standard of work, otherwise they had to alter mistakes at their own expense. He wished to know whether the supervision was as strict in the case 358 of workmen employed by contractors as in the case of workmen employed by the Government; and also whether the cost of supervision was charged to each department instead of being charged as a separate item. Surely the cost of supervision ought to be a separate charge. When it was charged to the Arsenal it placed the men in a false position, and made the work appear to be three times more expensive than similar work carried out by a contractor. The contractors had fairly good representation in this House, and many things were to be said in their favour, but he took the line that if there was a national workshop it was the duty of the Government to keep it employed before considering any outsiders. The question of emergency did not arise. Was it not true that Kynochs were making cases for 4.7 shells which were refused by the naval authorities, whereas the shells made in the Arsenal were always accepted. There could not be any excuse for discharging the men; and if the House were composed of business men they should approach this question in a businesslike way. The Government had no earthly right to be using the money of the nation in building machinery and then allowing it to stand idle in the interests of any private firm, no matter who they were, or what influence they might have. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item C be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Crooks.)
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he was sure that whatever their opinion might be as to the views of the hon. Member, all sections of the House would welcome his appearance in debate on a subject on which he was so fully informed. The question raised by the hon. Member was, however, by no means novel. It was one with which the House was exceed ingly familiar. There was hardly a subject on which such a great change in the opinion of the House had taken place as that of the division of Government work between the ordnance factories and the private contractors. When he first represented the War Office in 1886, nothing evoked louder cheers in the House than to say that work had been diminished in the Government factories in order to give it to the private con- 359 tractors. The hon. Gentleman now contended that the factories should be employed to their full time and capacity, and only the surplusage given to the contractors. The hon. Member appealed to the Committee as business men; and perhaps on this subject he might be permitted to quote the opinion of one of the shrewdest business men who had ever been at the head of the War Office. The late Mr. W. H. Smith laid it down that it was the business of the Government to keep private trade alive in time of peace, in order that it might be capable of expansion in the emergency of war; and that to secure that object they could afford to keep a certain amount of plant idle, knowing that they would have to depend on rapid power of expansion in time of war. He had always acted on that doctrine, and it appeared to him beyond question that they should reduce work at Woolwich to such a point as would enable them to secure a rapid increase in supply at the outbreak of war. What were the figures with regard to Woolwich? The present Government had by no means starved Woolwich. In 1895, when the present Government had come into office, 15,580 men were employed in the Woolwich I workshops. The number had been increased in 1898 to 18,800, and during the war it had risen to 23,300. Surely it would be false economy to continue to keep the Woolwich factory up to the war level of employment when a large output was no longer needed. There had been a general restriction of output. Private traders were also complaining that the orders given them for next year were not so large as those of last year. The hon. Gentleman should forgive him for saying that the course taken by the Government with respect to their factories was not in the interest of any private firms. It was taken solely in the national interest. It was taken as a necessary concomitant of any sound policy for the provisions of supplies; and, while he desired to keep Woolwich as fully employed as possible, he maintained that there ought to be some machines idle in time of peace in order to have a proper expansion in time of war. He thought the Committee would agree that the hon. Member, after his recent experience, was justified in bringing the case of the men he represented before the Committee; 360 but he was quite certain that the Committee would support the Government in the action they had taken.
§ COLONEL BOWLES (Middlesex, Enfield)
said he wished to direct attention to the necessity of keeping a machine-gun department at Enfield. As the Secretary of State for War had just said, if they were to have rapid power of expansion in time of war, it was necessary that they should be able to manufacture in their own arsenals, as well as obtain supplies from private firms, as private firms could not afford to keep machinery lying idle. The old Maxim-Nordenfelt was now obsolete; and the newer gun, known as the pom-pom, was rapidly taking its place. He therefore hoped the Government would be able to see their way to instal machinery in the Enfield Factory for the manufacture of pom-poms.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR ARTHUR HAYTER
asked with regard to the items in reference to stores whether there had been a general revision of the stores since the war. The reason for this question was, that the Director-General of Stores had stated to the Committee of Public Accounts that such a revision would take place. Of course, the amount of stores must obviously depend on what the War Office and Committee of Defence decided the strength of the Army was to be, but as he understood, there would be a general revision of all stocks, and he desired to know whether that revision had taken place.
§ LORD STANLEY
said the revision was now taking place. Of course, so long as the war was going on articles were being manufactured as quickly as possible on the assumption that it might continue, and when the war suddenly came to an end the authorities were left with a large surplus. But in answer to the hon. Member he could say the whole matter was now being considered.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
called attention to Vote E, which contained an increased amount for new construction of £4,000 for ships. He would 361 like to know what new vessels that was for, and for what reason the War Office embarked on a matter which would appear to belong more properly to the Admiralty. It might be better and cheaper to hire these vessels from the Admiralty and so relieve the War Office from the need of constructing vessels at all.
§ LORD STANLEY
said this expenditure was for a special type of boat used generally for transport between various stations, but used especially for target towing. In the old days a type of boats was used which towed at a low rate of speed; under modern conditions those boats were of no use, and the War Office were now getting boats, which they could not possibly hire, of a higher steaming capacity. These boats were also being fitted in some cases with appliances so that the target could be wound up while being towed so that its speed might be accelerated. This was one of the expenses incurred in order to make more realistic the practice for the work those guns might have to do in time of war.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said he wanted to know something about Vote K. He wanted to know why we were at war in Somaliland and why we had gone to war, and also whether the censorship with regard to matters in Somaliland—
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
said the hon. Member would not be in order in discussing the Somaliland expedition, as this Vote had to deal with stores and supplies only.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said in that case, as his conscience would not allow him to agree to this Vote until he had heard something more—we had just lost 1,000 camels he noticed, and he supposed these stores included camels, so that we should soon be asking for more—he moved the reduction of the vote to £20,000.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £4,800,000, be granted for the said service."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 43; Noes, 259. (Division List No. 41.)363
|Bell, Richard||Kearley, Hudson E.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Leng, Sir John||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Brigg, John||Levy, Maurice||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lewis, John Herbert||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||M'Crae, George||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Burt, Thomas||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Caldwell, James||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tomkinson, James|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wallace, Robert|
|Crombie, John William||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Partington, Oswald||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Rea, Russell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristl, E||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Mr. Labouchere and Mr. John Burns.|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis)|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Brand, Hon. Arthur G.|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Brassey, Albert|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Beckett, Ernest William||Butcher, John George|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasg.)|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Bignold, Arthur||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. H. Sir H.||Bigwood, James||Carew, James Laurence|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Black, Alexander William||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bond, Edward||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Boulnois, Edmund||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Bousfield, William Robert||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middx.)||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hogg, Lindsay||Randles, John S.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Hoult, Joseph||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Houston, Robert Paterson||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson|
|Chamberlayne, T. (South'mpt'n||Howard, Jn. (Kent Faver'h'm||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Chapman, Edward||Howard, J. (Midd, Tott'ham||Renwick, George|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Joicey, Sir James||Rigg, Richard|
|Collings, Right Hon. Jesse||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole||Kennedy, Patrick James||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Keswick, William||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rose, Charles Day|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Russell, T. W.|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lawson, John Grant||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardig'n||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lockie, John||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Seely, Maj-J. E. B. (Isleof Wight|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Lowe, Francis William||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Doughty, George||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Macdona, John Cumming||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Duke, Henry Edward||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Malcolm, Ian||Spear, John Ward|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Edwards, Frank||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Milvain, Thomas||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Tennant, Harold John|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings|
|Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Thompson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n V|
|Fisher, William Hayes||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
|Flower, Ernest||Morrell, George Herbert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Forster, Henry William||Morrison, James Archibald||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Foster, P. S. (Warwick., S. W.||Mount, William Arthur||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Garfit, William||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Myers, William Henry||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Webb, Col. William George|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Nicholson, William Graham||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und-Lyne|
|Graham, Henry Robert||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Groves, James Grimble||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Ld. G. (Midx||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wilson John (Glasgow)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Percy, Earl||Wolff, Gustav Wilheim|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Wood, James|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Heath, James (Staffords N. W.)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Younger, William|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Purvis, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Pym, C. Guy||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Fellowes.|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
drew attention to the minimum wage paid to persons employed in several departments under this Vote, particularly in the gun carriage department at Woolwich, and in the ammunition stores at Devonport. A large number of men were called labourers, and paid as such, who really discharged duties of quite a different description. It was unnecessary to go into the matter in detail, as the question had been discussed on previous occasions, and the Committee were doubtless familiar with the facts. These men, who in London were paid a minimum wage of 21s., and in Devonport, where house rent was also high. 19s., were really employed on most responsible duties, and, as representing an ordinary constituency as distinguished from a dockyard or similar constituency, he thought it was discreditable to the country that so low a wage should be paid to persons discharging such duties.
§ MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)
said that the men to whom the right hon. Baronet referred, and who in Devonport received the monstrously inadequate wage of 19s. a week, were employed in work which, if done for outside contractors, would be classified as skilled labour. Some years ago Mr. Goschen, as First Lord of the Admiralty, promised that a thorough enquiry should be made into the rates of pay prevailing in the various localities, but that promise, as far as he knew, had not been redeemed. He hoped the Secretary of State, who was responsible at all events for the men employed under the War Office, would make a statement as to the intentions of the Government in regard to the matter.
§ SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)
said that in Committee of Supply and in the House, he had repeatedly protested against the practice of paying a man as one kind of workman when he was really doing the work of another workman. Since the year 1892, a Resolution had been passed to the effect that it was the duty of the Government to treat these men the same as ordinary employers would, and give them wages according to the service they performed. He was under 366 the impression that that Resolution had been observed, and that the grievance complained of so many years ago had been remedied. He was very sorry to hear from the speeches he had just heard that he was labouring under a delusion; and it showed how extremely difficult it was to get the Department to depart from any evil when it was once established.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
said that as he had dealt with this question on former occasions, he would be very brief. There were a considerable number of men working for the Government at the wage of 21s., and a limited number were receiving only 19s. per week. Although these men received only 19s. per week, he was told that their real wages were more, because they could earn certain sums of money by being placed on piece-work. If there was one thing these men objected to, it was being given a low living wage, and then having to work at high pressure in order to bring that wage up to the normal wage for unskilled labour throughout the area of London.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said he was under the impression that previous speakers were permitted to deal with this question, and amongst the men at Woolwich there were men who were not skilled labourers, but who were utilised for shifting stores from place to place. There were a number of engineers' labourers, and they had to do stevedore and other work. His contention was that no man employed by Government should be employed at a lower rate of wages than the men employed by the municipalities throughout the area of the County of London This was a matter of grave injustice, and the men looked upon it as such. This was one of the things—which he knew from experience—that those who worked under the War Office at Woolwich felt very keenly, and he begged to move a reduction of the entire Vote by £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £4,819,900, be granted for the said Service."—(Captain Norton.)
§ MR. DUKE (Plymouth)
asked the Committee to consider what the risks were which men incurred when employed from day to day in a Government factory where explosives were manufactured, and where shells were charged. He thought a man who was exposed to these risks ought not to be paid a wage of 19s. per week. That was one of the rates of wages at Bull Point. A considerable number of men were employed at this wage, and they felt it was something in the nature of a scandal to the public service that work of that kind should be remunerated in such a way. He was aware that they could always set men to do this work, but it had been decided before now in Parliament that the Government should not take advantage of the labour market in this way to force men to work under dangerous conditions at a wage which could not possibly be a living wage. Any one who knew the conditions of life in the Three Towns knew that 19s. a week was not a living wage. It was a very disagreeable thing for a Member representing a naval port or a dockyard town to be continually bringing these matters before the Committee; but if his right hon. friend would look into the question, he would find that the state of things existing was a real reproach to the public service which should be removed.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
said he had not the advantage of representing a dockyard or an arsenal constituency, but he did take an interest in the wages of unskilled labourers generally in this big city; and he said frankly that t did seem ridiculous that the Government should insist upon contractors paying, in the carrying out of Government work, the current rate of wages for the district, while the Govern merit themselves did not comply with that condition. Under the custody and issue of stores there were dock labourers, engineers' labourers, and store-keepers assistants, who received wages as low as 21s. and 19s. per week. Whether it be 368 at Woolwich, Devonport, or Portsmouth, he considered 19s. per week was miserably inadequate for a married man with a wife and, perhaps, two children. Without any electoral pressure he put it to the Secretary of State for War whether the time had not arrived when the Government should put its house in order, and pay the same rate of wages which they insisted upon contractors paying to their men. Take, for example, the store labourers at Woolwich. They handled stores of a heavy character, which were sometimes dangerous in manipulating; and when a man with a wife and two or three children was receiving only 21s., it must be admitted that it was below what private employers paid for similar work almost in the same district. The scavengers of the London Borough Councils received from 26s. to 30s. per week, with sick pay and a week's holiday every year. In his Majesty's Arsenal at Woolwich the men were paid only 21s. per week. He wished to remind the Committee how a man receiving 21s. per week had to live. He got 21s. for forty-eight hours work, and out of that total one-third would have to be paid for rent. If he was a father and a good husband, he could not get two or three rooms for less than 7s. a week. The result was that his children would have to live mainly on tea, and bread and butter, the wife would go without substantial food, and the husband would not be able to develop sufficient energy to give the Government value even for the low rate of pay he received. He appealed to the War Office to raise the wages from 21s. to 24s., which was below the average, and he did so not only in the interests of the lowly paid men, but in order to enable the Government to get out of the men a reasonable minimum of work, which he did not believe they could get out of the low wages paid at Woolwich. He believed that the dearest labour was cheap labour, and it was due to the fact that the American labourer was paid much higher wages that he gave a greater reproductive return in proportion. They could not expect men to maintain their physique and give a good return upon such low wages. He believed that where they had low wages they had always redundant labour. If they were paying 900 labourers 21s. 369 per week, it would be much better to pay 800 24s. per week and allow the other 100 to find employment elsewhere. With cheap labour they did not get the same output as they would get if they gave the men from 24s. to 30s. a week. He appealed to the Government to raise the minimum to 24s. a week. He had himself always believed that the dearest labour was cheap labour.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said that what was now asked for the dockyard men was already recognised by the War Office with respect to the policemen who were on duty in the vicinity of those buildings where specially dangerous work was carried on. The policemen received 1s. extra wages when on this duty, although the men who were actually doing the work received nothing extra.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said everybody knew that usually the dockyards went against the Government of the day. There were some reasons why they should do so. A notable one was what was going on at Woolwich. It was absolutely necessary to reduce the output at the close of the war. The question of wages was looked upon in the House up to recent times as a matter of supply and demand. That attitude had been abandoned in favour of paying the local rate; and it had been found that men preferred a lower rate of wages with constant employment under the Government than a higher rate under an employer whose supply of work was inconstant. Some time ago he had held an inquiry at Woolwich as to this subject, and he found that rent unfortunately went hand in hand with a rise of wages. He had taken special care to inquire among the men as to what they were paying in rent; and several workmen assured him that on the last occasion on which there had been a rise of wages it was promptly swallowed up, because the owners of the houses in the district immediately raised the rent to the same extent. He believed, therefore, that if the Government were to give a rise of wages all round at Woolwich it would have a general effect on rent. Neither was it fair that the Government should be guided by the wages paid by the trade contractors to labourers with whom those in the 370 Government service might be compared. The general scale of wages for labourers was formerly 17s. a week, now it was 21s., with allowances to be added for sick pay, medical attendance, and the general advantages of Government employment. These might be estimated as being equivalent to another shilling a week. He would undertake, however, in each case of the lowest wage to have the question looked into again in concert with the Admiralty, but he could not promise the hon. Member for Battersea that as a result wages would be raised from 21s. to 24s. while the Government were getting excellent labourers at 21s.
§ MR. CROOKS
said the problem they had to face in regard to wages was a difficult one. He maintained that it was not cheap for the Government to pay men 21s. per week, although other employers might be able to get them for that amount. If the men had more money they would be able to get more and better house accommodation, and the ratepayers would be able to save a substantial sum which was now paid for medical orders. The President of the Local Government Board knew that in London, in consequence of overcrowding, these medical orders were issued to the people who were living under the conditions under which people must live who were only earning 21s. per week. That was not sufficient to find food, let alone shelter. An order had been issued by the Local Government Board instructing Boards of Guardians to feed the inmates of workhouses properly. The minimum scale laid down for persons in workhouses was of such a character that no man with a family could approach if he was only earning 21s. per week. He urged that the men in the employment of the Government should at least have a Local Government Board existence, if nothing more. If the nation was saving in employing men at 21s. per week, there might be something to be said for it, but they positively lost by it. There had been discussions as to the physique of the men in the Army and the Navy, but if a man brought up a family on wages of 21s. a week, they need not expect that his sons would have a chest measurement like he had. They had been told that there 371 were no miserable people under the British flag, but those who said that would find plenty of miserable people if only they looked downward instead of upward. The best service could not be got out of an ill-paid man. A master might say to his ill-paid workman: "You are not giving value for the money," but that workman might well reply, "I give value for all the money get." If they wanted a man to serve them well they must feed him well, and that could not be expected to be done on 21s. a week. The argument used about rent would not hold water. Even in Woolwich a way would be found of getting round the housing problem, if it did interfere with private enterprise. At present workmen had to live in slums for which they were charged the rent of first-class houses. If the Government did not interfere in this question of housing, an organisation would be got up to compel the erection of houses which could be let at such rates as a workman could afford to pay. Why should a workman have to pay as high as 50 to 75 per cent. of his wages for house room? If it were only known what struggles these poor people had to make for a bare existence there would not be so much talk about, this great nation and this Imperial race. The Government should set an example to other employers by paying the best rate of wages with the view of getting in return the best service.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
said that eleven years ago a Resolution was moved when the House was going into Committee of Supply, which was accepted by the Government of the day as a Resolution that was to apply to all Government establishments, and not to the naval establishments only. This Resolution was passed unanimously—That in the opinion of this House no person should in His Majesty's naval establishments be engaged at wages insufficient for proper maintenance and that the conditions of labour as regards house of work, wages, insurance against accident, provision for old age, etc., should be such as to afford an example to private employers.That Resolution ought to have been acted upon by the naval and military authorities ever since.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said that before the Committee went to a Vote it was only fair to the Secretary for War that they should recognise the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman had replied to the criticisms. The Secretary for War had promised that he would take an opportunity, in conjunction with the Admiralty, of considering the wages of the lowest paid employees engaged by both Departments. As far as that went it was satisfactory; but there should be something more than mere consideration. He believed that the introduction of the eight hours day in all the Government establishments had screwed up the intensity of the workmen at their work, had increased the quality, the value, and the quantity of the output in the shorter working day. He contended that what they asked for was not a bribe to the workmen, but in the interests of good physique, and a better output. They pleaded for fair play and equal rights for all white men, whether employed by contractors or by the State. There should be a determination to get rid of criticism both inside and outside the House on the wages question, by making the State "toe the line" with the best private employers, and instead of discussing whether their workmen should be paid 19s. or 20s. per week they would have time to discuss properly Imperial problems in the House of Commons. The London County Council, which employed 12,000 men, found no difficulty in dealing with the wages question. They paid the current rate of wages, and if a man did not do his work, out he went. Their rate of wages was 24s. a week.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said that he had already promised to consider this question, but he reminded the Committee that during the discussion it had not been shown that the Government were paying less than the current rate of wages. One of the things which had been pressed most strongly on the Government was that they should not pay wages beyond the point which private employers could pay, and for which really good men could be obtained. He fully recognised that the spirit of the Resolution passed by the House of Commons should be 373 carried out, and he claimed that so far as his Department was concerned, they had acted in that spirit.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said that he had proved to the Committee that at Siemen's works at Woolwich the men were paid 23s. a week.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
said there was no want of sympathy for the condition of the labourers who had no bigger wage than 21s. a week. But this was not a matter that could, or ought—and he believed the workmen agreed in this—to be determined by considerations of charity. What the workmen desired was what they called fair wages, but what was a fair wage was rather a
§ difficult matter to determine. The governing consideration ought to be that Government employees should be paid at least as generously as other employees, and that when wages were rising, the Government should not lag behind, and when wages were falling they should not be the first to lower them. He felt he should be guilty of gross inconsistency if, after the recent debates advocating economy, he did not support the Government so long as they carried out the spirit of the Resolution and the principle of the model employer.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 70; Noes, 196. (Division List No. 42375
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Bell, Richard||Helme, Norval Watson||Russell, T. W.|
|Black, Alexander William||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Samuel, Herbt. L. (Cleveland)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hope John Deans (Fife, West||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middx.)||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brigg, John||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Labouchere, Henry||Smith, H. C. (North'mb. Tynesid|
|Burt, Thomas||Leng, Sir John||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Caldwell, James||Levy, Maurice||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||M'Crae, George||Thomas, Sir A. (Glam., K.|
|Crooks, William||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benj.||Thompson, Dr. E. C. (Monagh'n N|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardig'n||Markham, Arthur Basil||Warner Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Mitchell, Edw (Fermanagh, N.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Elibank, Master of||Partington, Oswald||Wood, James|
|Fenwick, Charles||Paulton, James Mellor||Younger, William|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Pirie, Duncan V.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rea, Russell||Captain Norton and Mr. John Burns.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bigwood, James||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bond, Edward||Chamberlayne, T. (Southmptn|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Chapman, Edward|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Bousfield, William Robert||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Brassey, Albert||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.|
|Austin, Sir John||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Butcher, John George||Collings, Right Hon. Jesse|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasq.)||Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Cautley, Henry Strother||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Crossley, Sir Savile|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Keswick, William||Rankin, Sir James|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos, C.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Renwick, George|
|Doughty, George||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lawson, John Grant||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Duraing-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Lockie, John||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lowe, Francis William||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macdona, John Cumming||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Artlrar, Charles (Liverpool)||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Seely, Maj J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Malcolm, Ian||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Flower, Ernest||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Forster, Henry William||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. E. M.|
|Groves, James Grimble||Morrell, George Herbert||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Morrison, James Archibald||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt, Wm.||Mount, William Arthur||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Webb, Col. William George|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. Lloyd|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und-Lync|
|Heath, James (Stafford, N. W||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Nicholson, William Graham||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wilson, A S. (York, E. R.)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hoult, Joseph||Parkes Ebenezer||Wilson John (Glasgow)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Howard, Jno. (Kent Faver'h'm||Percy, Earl||Wolff Gustav Wilhelm|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Fellowes|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||Purvis, Robert|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Randles, John S.|
§ Original Question again proposed.—
§ And, it being after half-past Seven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report Progress; to sit again this evening.