HC Deb 30 June 1904 vol 137 cc234-63

Order for Consideration, as amended, read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill, as amended, be now considered."


asked the House to reconsider the decision which had been arrived at by the Committee upstairs in regard to the Bill. He was conscious of the reluctance which the House always felt to reconsider the decisions of its Committees, but under special circumstances, and when those decisions involved a far-reaching issue beyond anything affecting the particular locality primarily interested in the Bill, it had constantly been the habit of the House to ask for such reconsideration. The Bill before the House did involve such far-reaching issues, which the municipalities of the country regarded as of very serious importance to the interests of the ratepayers and the public generally. It would probably be urged that it would have been more proper and convenient to raise the question on the Order for the Second Reading, and he did not deny that that would have been better; but the only object which the Newcastle Corporation authorities had in abstaining was consideration for the time of the House, together with a belief that the Committee would not give the powers sought for. The hon. Member went on to describe the systems of the Newcastle Corporation and the Tyneside Tramways Company, by whom the present measure was being promoted, and explained that the Corporation had a double track of twenty-three miles, with one mile and a quarter of single track. There were 170 cars in actual use, and about twenty building. Over £1,250,000 of capital had been expended, 38,500,000 passengers were annually being carried, and the car mileage was nearly 4,000,000, while the rate of expenditure to receipts was about 65 per cent. That was the position of the corporation tramways. The company's system was three and a half miles of double track and five and a half miles of single track. The number of cars was twenty-two, the capital expended £135,000; and the number of passengers carried annually was 2,500,000, and the rate of expenditure in proportion to receipts was 90 per cent. Those were the respective positions of the corporation and the Tyneside company, and what the latter sought to do by the Bill was to connect up its system at its western boundary with the eastern boundary of the corporation on each of two routes, known as the higher and the lower, so as to form one continuous system, and similarly to extend the Gosforth system in the north.

Of course, the Committee upstairs no doubt had desired to know, as that House would desire to know, what was the grievance which the Tyneside company had, and what case they could make out, to induce Parliament to give them the running powers which they sought over the twenty-three miles of the corporation tramway system, over eleven miles of which the Committee had actually recommended that such powers should be granted. It was specially necessary that a good case should be made out, because on the one hand, they had a private dividend-earning company, and on the other they had the fact that the running powers sought were over a system maintained by the ratepayers of Newcastle. Of course, it was agreed that a case of public necessity must be made out in order to induce Parliament to agree to such an extraordinary use of the corporation system as the granting of compulsory running powers over it by a private company. It was said that the grievance of the public, which the company sought to remedy, was that there was a large population at Wallsend, just beyond the corporation system terminus, but upon the company's own evidence it could not be denied that of the travelling public not more than one-fifth got into the company's cars on arriving at the city boundaries. It went without saying that everyone would like to travel from point to point by a through route, but a great city like Newcastle, in the regulation of its tramway system, had to consider what was practicable with regard to through routes. It was given in evidence in this case that the best use possible had been made of through routes from the far west to the far east. It was impossible to give the convenience sought by the company without dislocating or upsetting the existing system and inconveniencing hundreds of thousands for the purpose of obliging the few passengers who lived in or travelled from or beyond Wallsend. It was proposed that there should be alternate cars, but the company's cars were not to run further west than the centre of the city, so that the through route would be turned from an eight-minute into a six-teen-minute service. What was the public demand for the Bill? He had sought in vain to find more than the petitions of fifty-five manufacturers concerned in Tyneside industries, a large number of whom are interested in the company. It was said they represented 27,000 workmen, but the evidence of these workmen themselves was all the other way. The local authorities, who represented two-thirds of the 100,000 population served by the company, were either opposed or were neutral. Only the Wallsend local authority was in favour of it, and many of its members were interested in the company. The effect of establishing the principle of granting compulsory running powers of this kind would be very far-reaching and would not be confined to the locality. It was as the spokesman of a unanimous meeting of the representatives of the municipalities of the country that he asked to send the Bill back for further consideration by the Committee. There was no precedent for granting compulsory powers of this kind, except under very special circumstances. The case of the Bournemouth tramways was referred to before the Committee as a precedent for granting these compulsory powers, but it was a very exceptional case. He invited the House to consider what had happened in that case, because it illustrated the danger to which municipalities would be exposed if these powers were granted by Parliament. In the Bournemouth case a light railway was stated to be in course of promotion from Christchurch to Poole, running through Bournemouth. The Bournemouth Corporation opposed the scheme because they said the roads through Bournemouth were not suitable for it, and the result was that powers to run through Bournemouth were refused. Bournemouth in the following year came to Parliament and asked for power to construct a tramway system over the very roads on which the Light Railway Commission had decided that it was impossible to construct tramways; and the Committee, regarding the action of the corporation as something in the nature of a breach of faith, granted the company running powers over the proposed lines. What happened? Bournemouth having got the tramways, and the private company having got the running powers, which, by the way, they had never exercised, the company was now making a claim against the corporation, which had gone to arbitration, for £50,000 in respect of these running powers. Compensation for licences was not in it with that sort of procedure. It, however, had opened the eyes of the municipalities of the country, and it was for that reason that they appealed to Parliament to protect them against the mulcting of the ratepayers of the country by private companies for compensation, and against enhancing the value of private undertakings in this way at the public expense. Precisely the same thing might be done in this case of Newcastle without any warrant. He asked that the Bill should be reconsidered in the light of these facts, and he hoped that the Committee presided over by the hon. Member for South Somerset might be able, without infringing the principle for which he was contending, to arrive at some mutually satisfactory arrangement. It was for that reason that, instead of meeting the Bill with a direct negative, he asked that it should be reconsidered. He was perfectly satisfied that the corporation of New-castle-on-Tyne had endeavoured to meet the public convenience in this matter, because they had proposed to run their cars right through to the centre of Wallsend, and in order to obviate any further inconvenience they had offered to give the benefit of the whole fares received for the last half mile, which was on the company's system, to the company. There was no doubt that if compulsory running powers were given to this company they would enormously enhance the value of their undertaking.

SIR WALTER PLUMMER (Newcastle-on-Tyne)

said that, in seconding the Motion, he believed that under present circumstances the time of Parliament could not be better occupied than in the discussion of this important question. A great principle was at stake, viz., the principle of compulsory powers as distinguished from voluntary agreement. It was true that Newcastle was at the present moment only concerned, but he was convinced that if this Bill passed in its present form, there was no other city in the country which would be safe from similar inroads. It was not a question whether two different tramway systems should have power to arrange through traffic, but whether one system should have compulsory powers over another, notwithstanding the great difference between them in regard to mileage and capital expenditure. The capital expenditure on the corporation tramway system was seven times greater than that of the private company, the car mileage was eight times greater, the number of cars was eight times greater, the amount of receipts was ten times greater. For the year ending 25th June the corporation system of tramways had carried 40,000,000 passengers and the cars had I travelled over 4,000,000 miles. He quoted these figures because he was aware that a good deal would be heard in the course of the discussion about the convenience of the public; but care should be taken to suit the convenience of the majority of the public and not sacrifice that to the convenience of the minority. He believed in the greatest good for the greatest number. He ventured to contend that neither the company nor the corporation had started their tramway systems in a purely philanthropic spirit. They were started, as most things were in this material world, because it was believed that the tramways would pay. Certainly he knew that the ratepayers of Newcastle would never have sanctioned the expenditure of £1,100,000 from purely philanthropic motives, or unless they believed that they would retain full control over the system, and not be compelled to allow a private company to use their streets and lines. Different views were held with regard to municipalisation. He was one of those who had voted against the municipalisation of these tramways, but he felt that once the system was sanctioned, it was his duty loyally to endeavour to make it a success. It was because they believed that that success depended upon the corporation having full control of the streets and of their own tramways, that they felt so keenly this invasion by a private company. It seemed to him that the value of municipalisation would be reduced to a minimum if, after the corporation of Newcastle-on-Tyne had spent over a million sterling upon their tramways, they were compelled to admit small private companies to use their system. The Bill dealt with east and north of Newcastle, but if once it was established, a similar company would soon approach them from the west, while the tramway systems of every other city in the kingdom would be imperilled. From the point of view of the public convenience they had offered to run their cars out to Wallsend, the chief centre of population, and to erect there, at the point of junction of the two systems, a comfortable waiting room for the small number of passengers who would want to continue their journey further east. He did not believe that Parliament would compel the 'bus proprietors of the metropolis to establish through routes everywhere. The thing was impracticable. Yet every day hundreds of thousands of people had to change twice or three times in order to get to and from their places of business and their residences. The question of public inconvenience had been magnified out of all proportion to its true value. The corporation of Newcastle had offered to extend their services on the two main routes, to deal with exceptional traffic during race meetings, and to make arrangements for extending the line a half mile east at Wallsend. If the Bill was re-committed they were willing to renew these offers. He was convinced that if the principle in the Bill was sanctioned, it would strike a serious blow at local self-government, and injuriously affect the prosperity and progress of the great municipalities.

Amendment proposed— To leave out all the words after the word 'Bill,' and add the words 'be re-committed to the former Committee in respect of Clauses 15 and 16.'"—(Sir James Woodhouse.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)

said that as Chairman of the Committee which had considered the Bill, he ventured to think that his hon. friends had not approached this subject on any other ground than that of principle; but it was rather late in the day to raise the question of principle after the Bill had passed through the other House, and now came back to the Commons practically for Third Reading, without such principle being raised before. His hon. friend the Member for Huddersfield had asked, on various grounds, that the Bill should be referred back to the Committee. The Committee of this House had declined to give a roving commission to the tramways company, and had struck out the facilities clause which had been passed by the Lords, and had only given the company running powers over a portion of the Newcastle corporation tramways. The hon. Member for Huddersfield said that there was a great distinction between a private tramway company and a corporation. He could not understand what the hon. Member meant by that. The hon. Member seemed to think that it was a right thing for the corporation to carry on a tramway for the benefit of the corporation and a wrong thing for a private company to carry on a tramway for its own benefit so long as it was to the public advantage that they should do so. His hon. friend was connected with private companies, and surely he must think that it was legitimate to make profit out of these private companies. The Newcastle corporation said they did not care about profit, but all that they desired was to do what they liked with their own. It was stated before the Committee that one of the objections to the tramway company was that they allowed advertisements to be placed in their cars, while the corporation sacrificed £4,000 or £5,000 by prohibiting advertisements in their cars, showing that the interests of the ratepayers was not considered in working the trams. When vested interests were talked about, it seemed to him that it was the vested interests of a great corporation which were in question—a corporation which said that they did not want to give facilities of travelling to the public at large by allowing others to invade their sacred grounds. In the old days the great agricultural landlords use to say that they would not allow the amenities of their estates to be interfered with by railways running through their estates, but Parliament compelled them. The sole point of view from which the Committee acted was that the one thing to be considered was, not the susceptibilities of the corporation or whether it would be profitable to the company to run their cars over the lines of the corporation, but whether it was to the interest of the travelling public. The question they had to consider was whether it would be convenient to the working men going to their work and returning to their homes, that there should be a system of through cars from one centre to another. The Committee over which he had the honour to preside was perfectly impartial and acted entirely from a judicial point of view in the public interest.

He was rather surprised that the senior Member for Newcastle should have referred to the manufacturers as he did. Surely the manufacturers had a right to be considered. It was in their interest as well as in the interest of their men that the men should be brought to their work as easily and as cheaply as possible. It had been said that they had had evidence from the trade unions against the Bill. That was quite true; but they had evidence also from working men—whether they were members of trade unions or not he did not know, but they, unlike the trades union witnesses, live outside the corporation area—who maintained that it would be a great convenience to them if these running powers were granted. He noticed that the trades unions of Newcastle had issued a circular to the House in which they stated that the Bill would rob them of their one successful municipal enterprise. He had the greatest sympathy with trade unions, and as a rule supported their demands in this House, and he could not help sympathising with the Newcastle trade unions who had apparently suffered so much from municipal mismanagement and misgovernment and who naturally supported their one successful municipal enterprise. The Bournemouth precedent did not enter into the minds of his Committee at all; but if his hon. friend asked that the Bill should be recommitted in order that a clause should be inserted that any increase of value from these running powers should not be taken into account he would be prepared to agree as he was opposed to such unearned increment. His hon. friend said that many men who broke the journey did not get into the tramcars again. There were two reasons for that. One was that if a man was near his home he did not think it worth while to enter another tramcar. The other was that the tramway company made a mistake in charging a penny instead of a halfpenny. It was suggested that the Bill should be referred back to the Committee to see if they could not get the two parties to agree to some compromise. The question would never have come before the House if a compromise had been possible. It would be more reasonable to suggest that the Bill should not be read a third time until the parties had themselves arrived at a satisfactory compromise. It did not influence the minds of the Committee that this was going to be made a test question —a question of a municipality against a private concern. He very much regretted it was being dragged from being a local matter into a national matter. The Committees both of the House of Commons and the House of Lords were unanimously of opinion that it was desirable that running powers should be given. No doubt it would have been better if those powers could have been obtained by agreement instead of compulsion. An attempt to arrive at an agreement made in 1902 failed owing to the attitude of the corporation tramways committee. On that occasion, the chairman and vice-chairman of the committee who were in favour of running powers being given were beaten by only one vote and they resigned their positions. His hon. friend stated that the corporation was quite prepared to take over the most paying part of the company's line; but that was an offer to which the company would not agree. It was said that if running powers were given it would lead to the dislocation of the entire system; but his Committee, after careful consideration, did not agree with the statement; and it was provided that the regulations, conditions, and terms under which the running powers were to be exercised should be sanctioned and controlled by the Board of Trade, and that the Board of Trade should have power to appoint an arbitrator to settle such regulations, conditions, and terms if necessary. It had also been said that the company's employees would not observe the regulations of the corporation; but the Board of Trade had ample power with reference to that; and, as a matter of fact, the servants of the company would be, to all intents and purposes, the servants of the corporation while working within their area. He asked the House to consider whether it was wise to decline to accept the decision arrived at by Committees of both Houses and to decide that facilities should not be given which were to afford great masses of population means of being taken out easily and quickly from large centres to the country districts. He approved of municipal trading; but on the other hand he wanted to see it carried out on sane and Imperial lines and not from the narrow and parochial point of view urged that night. He therefore resisted the Amendment.

MR. HUGH SMITH (Northumberland, Tyneside)

said that he formerly supported the corporation in the municipalisation of the tramways. Now he supported the company and the Bill. His constituency was rather mixed in opinion upon this matter. Three distinct authorities had presented petitions in favour of the Bill, and another was opposed to it. Employers of labour, representing 27,000 workmen, had sent a petition in favour of the Bill, but it was said they did not really represent the opinion of the workmen. He was, however, perfectly satisfied in his own mind that the workmen did not care whether it was by the tramway of the corporation or of the company which had compulsory running powers, by which they travelled, so long as they could get to Wallsend. The whole question related to about 600 yards of tramway line which separated the corporation tramway from the centre of Wallsend. Many attempts had been made by the corporation to obtain powers to run a tramway to Wallsend. There were no less than four attempts to arrive at a compromise between the corporation and the company; but they were abortive. The first attempt was in 1903; and a quasi agreement was then drawn up. The tramway committee declined to discuss it, and it was thrown out. The second attempt was in 1904. Altogether, four unsuccessful attempts had been made by the company to come to an amicable agreement with the corporation. The Bill was considered for three days by the House of Lords Committee and for four days by the Committee of this House, and now the Motion for the rejection of the measure, which had stood on the Paper for some days, had suddenly been replaced by a Motion for re-committal. He submitted that if the principle was one of the enormous importance alleged, it ought to have been dealt with on the Second Reading. If the Motion were carried there would be another deadlock, as the parties interested were not at one in any way whatever. He welcomed the speech of the hon. Member for Huddersfield, in which the hope was held out that if the Bill were recommitted some arrangement might be come to whereby mutual running powers would be granted.


said he had simply suggested that the House should not be committed to the principle until it had been inquired into by a Committee, and that in the meantime in this case, as had been done in many other cases, running powers might be arranged by mutual agreement.


understood the hon. Member to suggest that there was a likelihood of that being done.


said he did not represent the Newcastle Corporation. He had taken the matter up on public grounds, in the interests of municipalities generally.


asked why there had been all this waste of time and money if there was any chance of a compromise being arrived at? The working classes were to be penalised because they happened to work outside the city boundaries. In days gone by, cities of refuge used to be established for those who had broken the law, but by this Motion there would be set up all over the country cities of privilege, which reminded one not of the twentieth century, but of the middle ages. He earnesly hoped the corporation and the company would come together, so as to avoid what would in the future unquestionably be a grievous disadvantage to the whole community.

MR. BENN (Devonport),

in supporting the Motion of the hon. Member for Huddersfield, said the Committee had considered the matter purely from the parochial point of view, and if its decision were upheld an important alteration would have been made in the tramway law of the Kingdom. By the Tramway Act of 1870 the local authority was supreme in regard to tramways within its district, but under the decision of the Committee the municipality would be displaced from that position. He asked the House to consider the question from the London point of view. There was no foundation for the suggestion that the London County Council proposed to exploit the Home counties in tramways matters; they had made, however, and were making, amicable arrangements with their neighbours for running powers which would conduce to the best interests of the public, but they would strongly object to any compulsion. The tramway policy of the London County Council differed considerably from that of any tramway company. Companies very properly aimed at the earning of dividends; the London County Council wisely adopted the policy of pooling all tramway profits so that the money earned in the lucrative districts could be devoted to the establishment of tramways in those localities where trams preceded population. If the principle of this Bill obtained, that beneficent policy would be seriously interfered with. The London County Council system was touched by tramway companies at fifteen points, and if the decision of the Committee were upheld the municipal authority would be bombarded with applications for the admission of companies. How would the selection be made? How would it be possible to secure equal rights for all tramway companies surrounding London? Any such proposal was simply impossible. Moreover, this incursion of tramway companies would seriously interfere with the profit-earning capacity of the municipality. In connection with the Bill under consideration, a suggestion was made for getting over that difficulty. According to the documents circulated by the company, the terms of user were to be left, failing agreement, to the Board of Trade, and the company had offered in Committee that each side should take the net profits earned on its own lines. On the face of it that seemed a reasonable proposition but what would really happen was that the cars of the company would occupy the place of municipal cars on the lines within the municipality, and if the trade of the town sufficed only for one service of cars the earnings per car-mile would obviously be seriously reduced. Further, were the companies to use the power provided by the municipality for its own scheme? If so, that would raise considerable difficulty. In London, for instance, the London County Council were erecting generating stations for supplying its own service, and it would be able to supply power for these outside companies only by displacing cars of its own. He was not at all opposed to proper arrangements being made for running powers on the border of the city. If a municipality and a corporation could not agree a sufficient remedy already existed, inasmuch as a November election would speedily set matters right in the event of the adoption of an unreasonable attitude by the local Authority. A great principle was involved in this Bill. Up to the present Parliament had jealously guarded the rights of municipalities in this respect, and he submitted that if the decision of the Committee were upheld it would be a disastrous thing for the municipalities of the country, and would do much to prevent the travelling public at large obtaining those facilities to which they were entitled.


said it was not intended to make this a Government question. It was not usual to treat private Bills as Party matters, and no exception to the usual practice would be made on the present occasion. The question, however, had excited much interest in the country, and the House would naturally expect the Government Department which had control of tramway matters to have a definite opinion on the subject and to express it. The Government had a definite opinion on the matter, and he would, as briefly but as strongly as he could, express it. There appeared to be an entire misapprehension as to the issue before the House. From certain speeches which had been delivered one would have supposed that the House was asked to decide whether or not municipalities should own tramways. It that were the issue he would certainly give a vote different from that which he intended to give, because, so far as he was personally concerned, he believed that experience had shown that municipalities could run tramways successfully, and that on the whole they ran them in the interest of the district by which they were elected. But that was not the issue. The importance of the matter had been enormously exaggerated. The question ought to be considered primarily, if not entirely, as a matter affecting the locality in which the tramways were running; it was an entire misapprehension to treat it as in any way a question of general principle. That, at any rate, was his opinion. In his official capacity at the Board of Trade it had been his duty to listen to many speeches on the question of tramways in different parts of the country, and the advantages of a through service of trams were continually being pointed out. He ventured to submit that there never was a case in which those advantages were more clearly indicated than in that covered by the Bill. The House would remember a pathetic speech delivered by the hon. Member for Battersea a short time ago in regard to the terrible inconvenience young girls and others were subjected to by having to get out of the trams at Westminster Bridge and find their way by other means, frequently through the pouring rain, to the Embankment. But would not exactly the same inconveniences arise at Newcastle? Were there no young girls at Newcastle? Did it never rain so far north as Newcastle? It was frequently said that the best way of dealing successfully with the housing problems was by a good through system of trams. That argument never applied with more force than to the district concerned in this Bill. The Tyneside Tramways Company's system throughout its course was either bordered by workshops to which men had to go every day, or by land on which buildings for works were being erected and on which still more would be erected if there was a decent through service of trams. But it was really unnecessary to argue the advantages of a through service; everybody would admit them. As to the suggestion that the corporation had put forward an alternative proposal for overcoming the difficulty it should be remembered that they made no alternative proposal of any kind until after a decision had been given against them in another place. Their present proposal had been carefully considered and rejected by the Committee, and he thought the terms of the proposal had only to be stated to convince any impartial man that the Committee could have taken no other course with any show of fair play or justice. The proposal was that the Newcastle Corporation should run their trams over the Tyneside company's system into the heart of Wallsend—that was, through the one populous and paying district, and that the company should have no powers of running cars over the corporation lines.


pointed out that all the profits were to go to the company.


said that that was true, but anybody connected with tramways knew that it was not possible to run the remainder of a system at an equally low rate unless they could run cars also on the portion of the system which paid best. But what made the proposal really impossible of acceptance was the fact that the corporation did not propose to run over the whole of the Tyneside Company's system. Had they proposed to do that the decision of the Committee might have been different. The corporation proposed to leave out of account altogether those districts which depended for their profit upon future development. It was urged that those districts were served by the railway, but the only way to compete with the railway was by a through service of trams. The Committee had decided that these facilities were required, and that the method proposed in the Bill was a reasonable way of providing the facilities. The objection of the Newcastle Corporation was that it would seriously interfere with the whole of the tramway system in Newcastle itself. He admitted that the convenience of the greater public had to be considered, and it was considered in this Bill, which simply proposed to do in Newcastle what had been done by agreement in dozens of cases elsewhere. As to the dislocation of the system, surely the difficulties were not greater if it was done by compulsion instead of by voluntary agreement? But the hon. Member himself had stated that if the Bill were recommitted it might be possible to arrange running powers by mutual agreement. Where, then, was the difficulty? If it could be done in the one case, surely it could be done in the other. The Board of Trade, however, was more concerned with the great principle which was said to be involved than with the purely local aspect of the question. He had listened carefully to the speeches with a view to learn what that principle was, and he thought he had found it. He would state it to the House, and if he were wrong he would doubtless be corrected.


I never made such a statement.


said the principle was that a private company trading for profit with powers granted by Parliament should not be allowed to have compulsory running powers over lines of tramways when worked by a local authority. He understood that was the principle. [OPPOSITION cries of "Hear, hear!"] Now they had got it. He asked the House was that a principle which any sane man could adopt? Let him point out exactly what it meant. He would assume, for the sake of argument, that the whole fault lay with the corporation and that this difficulty was due to their obstinacy and perhaps to an exaggerated sense of their own importance. The principle he had laid down still held good. According to the contention of hon. Gentlemen opposite, no matter what might be the needs of the district, that district was to have nothing to say in the matter, and the local authority alone must decide and their decision must be final. What was the remedy? The hon. Member suggested an election. Had the hon. Member ever known a district where there was a jealousy existing between a town and a country district? He would state to the House what he thought should be the principle which should guide the House of Commons in this matter. The right to lay down a tramway was granted to a local authority or to a private company, and, the right having been granted, it became a monopoly. As between the two, Parliament gave the preference to the local authority, but once the privilege was given, both parties should be treated exactly in the same way. The question brought for the decision of Parliament was whether through facilities were required, and it was decided that they were, and Parliament in effect said to both parties, "You get your rights from us, and they are given to you not for you to do as you like with them. Through powers are required, and if you do not agree upon terms we will settle the terms for you." That had been done in the present case. The corporation had made an enormous mistake in treating this as a test question, trying to imagine that a new principle was involved. There was no new principle; there were precedents for private companies having running powers over corporation lines. It was argued that there were special circumstances distinguishing these from the present case, but he did not see any difference except in the relative sizes of the districts. In the document sent out by the municipality it was stated that if the principle were affirmed by Parliament a company would only have to construct a short line linking up with a great municipal system, and they would be entitled to running powers over the longer system. Was there a word of truth in that statement? They would have the right to apply for running powers, but they would not obtain such powers unless Parliament were convinced that to grant them would be in the public interest. Would hon. Members say that in the county of Middlesex under no circumstances should a private trading company have running powers over the lines of a local authority, though one authority might have powers over the lines of another local authority? If the House upset the decision of the Committee they would establish the principle that there was to be one scale of justice for private companies and another scale for local bodies. As representing the Board of Trade, he was bound to say that such an action would, in their opinion, be most deplorable. It would be throwing obstacles in the way of private enterprise, and declaring that districts which were served by tramways owned by private companies should be treated in a less fair way than districts served by tramways run by local bodies. He thought this was a case where the decision of the Committee should be upheld.

MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)

said he could not follow the hon. Member's analogy in regard to the principle which guided the Board of Trade in tramway matters. They were not in favour of having these districts isolated, but what they had urged from the first was that, at all events, the corporation should have fair play. The Board of Trade, in holding the balance between municipalities and private companies, ought to have considered the claims of the citizens of Newcastle as well as those who used the Tyneside system. He agreed that running powers were desirable where they were mutually agreed upon, but they should not be forced on one party against their will, either by Parliament or by anyone else. The reason why they regarded this measure as dangerous was that they had in recent years seen an immense growth of municipal enterprise all over the country. Millions of pounds had been spent upon municipal tramways, and if the capital which had been sunk was to be diminished in value in this way by private enterprise stepping in from outside, not only would corporations be deterred from providing municipal tramways, but the property which they now owned would be considerably diminished in value. The hon. Member opposite said that he thought it was unfair that the Newcastle Corporation should invade the Tyneside district and take the cream of the traffic. The case was just the opposite, because the company wished to invade the Newcastle district and take the cream of the traffic on the Newcastle lines owned by the corporation. He did not wish to go into the London analogy, because they could not judge the Newcastle case by anything which took place in London. He wished it to be observed that those who opposed running powers in London had on this occasion entirely changed their attitude, and they were now in favour of compulsory running powers in Tyneside. They were now adopting a new principle which they should apply in their own constituencies. The Newcastle Corporation urged that the district over which the Tyneside company wished to obtain running powers was an immensely crowded district in regard to cars, and he knew no tramway system in the world where a larger number of cars passed per hour than at certain points in this district.


said there were 6 per cent. more cars in Glasgow.


said the Glasgow Corporation viewed the precedent that was being created with the gravest alarm. If even a small matter was imposed upon the Newcastle Corporation, the effect might be to dislocate the most crowded part of their system. That was one of the reasons why they objected to terms being forced upon them which would not suit the system of Newcastle itself, and they urged that Newcastle should receive precedence over the Tyneside Company in the consideration of that House. They had to decide whether it was the Newcastle travelling public or the Tyneside travelling public whose interests ought to be most considered. He thought that Newcastle, with its immense population, should receive precedence over that of the Tyneside population, which was very much smaller, and the Tyneside Company carried a much smaller number of passengers. The view put forward by the supporters of this Bill had not been in the interests of the travelling public, but in the interests of large employers who owned large works in the Tyneside district. He thought they had a right to ask what were the views of the workpeople employed by those manufacturers in the Tyneside district? The workmen who used these cars had expressed the opinion that they did not believe that the Newcastle system should be disturbed simply for the benefit of this tramway company. He thought the views of these workmen ought to have considerable weight with the Members of this House. In this case the Committee had made a serious blunder, because they had allowed these compulsory powers to slip into the Bill without thinking that by so doing they would raise a storm in municipalities all over the country which they never anticipated, and which would certainly have made them think twice before passing such a proposal as this. He hoped the House would avoid this course by deciding to take these two clauses again into their consideration. After what had been said in the House upon this point he hoped hon. Members would of his proposal.

MB. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)

said that speaking with the experience of a former Chairman of the Liverpool Corporation Tramways, there was no difficulty whatever in an outside company obtaining reasonable powers to run through and right into the centre of a corporation system. It was quite obvious that when these monopolies spread their network all over the country sooner or later the different systems must touch one another and come into contact, as they had come into contact in a great many places in the United Kingdom. In other places, however, the parties had generally been men of common sense, and mutual arrangements had been arrived at. The case which they had now got before the House was one where owing to some fault on one side or the other it had proved impossible to come to any reasonable arrangement. In had been said that a small outside company had no right to send its cars right down into the centre of a populous city, because such a thing would cause a great dislocation of the traffic. He thought that with regard to tramways the centre of Liverpool was probably as difficult to deal with as any other part of the kingdom. He was Lord Mayor of that city last year and he knew that arrangements, had been made by the corporation of Liverpool under which cars coming from Bolton and St. Helens passed right into the centre of Liverpool down to the pier head, and they had experienced no difficulty and no dislocation of traffic at all by this arrangement. He had seen the manager's report upon this arrangement, showing the time table, and the scheme was worked in the simplest manner. The method adopted was as follows:—As soon as a tram car belonging to one of the outside companies reached the Liverpool boundary the driver and conductor got off and the driver and conductor belonging to the municipality of Liverpool got on and took the car to the centre of Liverpool and brought it back again. Each side collected their own fares on their own lines upon their own responsibility and supplied their own power, and the corporation paid one penny a mile for the use of the car. Everybody was satisfied with the arrangement and the passengers had not to get down and change cars, and consequently justice was done all round. [An HON. MEMBER: Were those compulsory powers?] He could not understand why some simple and reasonable arrangement of that kind was not arrived at in this case. After examining the literature on the subject, he had come to the conclusion that the corporation of Newcastle had absolutely refused on any terms to allow a car of the outside company to cross their boundaries. The outside company were thus bound to come to Parliament for compulsory powers, and the granting of them would not do any harm to the corporation of Newcastle, because the terms would be settled by the Board of Trade if the parties were unable to agree. He wished to add one word about the public convenience. When these monopolies were granted by Parliament they were always granted in the interests of the public, and it was the general public who had a right to be considered first. Wherever they had a break in a tramway system it practically meant a double terminus. The financial effect of a double terminus or a single terminus was that for half-a-mile of line up to the terminus that part did not pay, and the consequence was that in the case under consideration they had a mile of line at each of the three places where the routes met which would be useless and less valuable. He thought that this was clearly one of those cases in which the House ought to support the Committee, and although he had done much to help the municipalities to undertake tramways, he still thought it ought to be recognised that municipalities had no rights which private companies did not also possess. He should, on these grounds, support the Committee, and he trusted that in this matter the House would have regard to the interests of the general public and not yield to this Motion. He noticed that the name of Liverpool was down in the list of municipalities supposed to be supporting this Motion, but he did not believe that Liverpool had anything at all to say in support of this Motion.

MR. HENDERSON (Durham, Barnard Castle)

said the hon. Member representing the Tyneside Division had endeavoured to make out that the application made by this company was supported by the workers in the Tyneside district. The various workers' organisations in the Tyneside district had communicated with him and they had specially urged him to do all that lay in his power to induce the Labour Members in the House of Commons to support the attitude which had been taken up by the corporation of Newcastle upon this question. It had been stated that some 27,000 workers had declared themselves through various channels in favour of this company's proposal, but he did not think anything like that number, if appealed to, could be found to support this Bill. The various trade organisations in Newcastle, Tyneside, and Wallsend were against any such powers being granted to this company. The plea of the company was that they wanted to give the workpeople of Tyneside better facilities for travelling between Newcastle and their employment. He knew the district himself very well, for he had worked there, and he could tell the House that there were thousands of workmen, ratepayers in the city of Newcastle, who were unanimously in favour of the position taken up by the Newcastle Corporation, because they recognised that the corporation had taken in hand a vast property. They felt that any further facilities ought to be granted to the corporation and not to a private company which would enter into competition with the corporation in the management of its own trams. He was very much surprised to find that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade had spoken with two voices. He began his speech by laying it down that the Government were going to be neutral, but he had not travelled very far when he, in the name of the Board of Trade, a Government Department, laid it down that they were going to support wholesale the proposals of the company. The hon. Gentleman went on to make a comparison between the Newcastle case and the case in which the hon. Member for Battersea took an interest, and which came before the House a few weeks ago. The case with which the hon. Member for Battersea was concerned was entirely different from that which the Secretary to the Board of Trade supported now in name of the Board of Trade. Surely there was a difference between the London County Council desiring to extend its own tramway system and trying to link up two parts of this great city, and the case of a corporation which was resisting a private company from the outside when seeking powers to enter a big city like Newcastle-on-Tyne. The analogy, he held, was a most unfair one. But what struck him most of all when the hon. Gentleman was making that comparison was that the Gentlemen who cheered him on the present occasion were the same Gentlemen who opposed the hon. Gentleman for Battersea in the case which he had in hand on behalf of the ratepayers of London a few weeks ago. There was another point which was surprising to him. If the Secretary to the Board of Trade could come and make this pathetic appeal on behalf of the company's proposals this evening, where was he when his right hon. friend the Member for Battersea was trying to do such a great service for the millions of this great city? They had no pathetic appeal from him then on behalf of the London County Council. It appeared that it was only on behalf of a private company that the Board of Trade went out of its way to appeal to this House to go against the wishes of the people of the district. He hoped the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Huddersfield would receive the approval of the House. At any rate, the Labour Members were determined to support the Corporation in this matter.

SIR ROBERT HERMON-HODGE (Oxfordshire, Henley)

said it might be assumed that he had some particular personal knowledge of the matter before the House, because his name appeared on the Whip which had been issued in favour of the corporation of Newcastle-on-Tyne. He desired to say that his name appeared without his authority. He thought that was a very serious matter, which was worth mentioning to the House.


I had nothing whatever to do with that Whip, and I did not issue it

MR. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)

said if he thought the hon. Member for Barnard Castle was correct in his statement that the working classes in Tyneside were opposed to the tramway facilities being granted, which the company asked for under their Bill, he would certainly vote with him, but having represented the Tyneside Division during the last two Parliaments, and having some knowledge of the question, he took entirely a different view. Let the House realise that the riverside population had doubled in the past ten years, and from the point of view of meeting this increase and the prevention of overcrowding it was essential a linked system be formed between Wallsend and Newcastle. He, at any rate, was consistent in supporting a linked system between areas of population both in London and elsewhere, and he did not understand the view taken which would prevent the facilities being given which were locally required. Not only had the voice of the people been heard that day through their elected Parliamentary representative, but every member elected upon the Wallsend Corporation, the urban district council of Willington Quay, and the urban district of Gosforth had petitioned in favour of the Bill—only those Members had abstained who were shareholders in the company promoting the Bill. The House would therefore see that public opinion in Tyneside as represented by the local authorities was unanimously in favour of the company having running powers into Newcastle, and when they found that the corporation was not prepared to act in a reasonable spirit, there was no other course but to support the Bill.

MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)

said they had to deal here with a mixed question. If this were merely a local matter, he should support the action of the Committee. The company convinced the Committee of the House of Lords, and it obtained the unanimous Vote of the Committee of the House of Commons; but they had in this matter a great contest being fought between municipal enterprise on the one hand and private enterprise on the other. [Cries of "No."] Well, he ventured to think so. They had also what always happened in such contests, namely, private enterprise getting the better. The question the House had to decide was whether they were prepared to establish a precedent that compulsory powers were to be given to a private company over a corporation. The Secretary to the Board of Trade got up and defended the application of the company without having taken the trouble to provide himself with information. He did not make that statement without being prepared to support it. He would ask the hon. Member now whether, before he made his speech, he had read the evidence given before the Commons Committee.


Every word of it.


said the hon. Gentleman's second point was that as between private enterprise and municipal enterprise, once powers had been granted they ought to be treated equally. He denied that proposition altogether. Private enterprise and municipal enterprise did not stand on the same basis at all. Private companies thought only of

the fares that would make the biggest dividends, and they were right in thinking so. Their business was run as a shop. But municipal enterprise took up a different point of view. They ran their enterprise, not for the purpose of earning profit, but for the purpose of serving the community. This was proved by the fact that in connection with many municipal corporations the charges were diminished when they were earning a large profit in order that they might give more facilities to the community they served. On that account private companies and municipal enterprise should be treated differently. The Newcastle Corporation seemed to have acted blindly in this matter. They ought to have said, "We will not have these compulsory powers at all," and they should have fought the proposal of the company on the Second Reading. Was the House now going to inflict on the whole of the municipal corporations of the country a great wrong? He hoped the House would take a broader view than the Committee had taken and would support the Motion of his hon. friend the Member for Huddersfield.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 142 ; Noes, 178. (Division List No. 186.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michacl Hicks Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Bigwood, James Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc.
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Blundell, Colonel Henry Chapman, Edward
Anson, Sir William Reynell Bond, Edward Charrington, Spencer
Ashton, Thomas Gair Brassey, Albert Clare, Octavius Leigh
Atherley-Jones, L. Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Clive, Captain Percy A.
Atkinson, Right Hon. John Brotherton, Edward Allen Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole
Balcarres, Lord Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.) Compton, Lord Alwyne
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Cautley, Henry Strother Davenport, William Bromley-
Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Delany, William Lawrence, William F. Liverpool Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Denny, Colonel Lee, Arthur H.(Hants., Fareham Slack, John Bamford
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Dickson, Charles Scott Llewellyn, Evan Henry Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk
Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Lowe, Francis William Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Loyd, Archie Kirkman Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Macdona, John Cumming Stewart, Sir Mark J M'Taggart
Ellis, John Edward (Notts.) M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire) Stock, James Henry
Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r Markham, Arthur Basil Strachey, Sir Edward
Fielden, Edward Broeklehurst Martin, Richard Biddulph Stoyan, John
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Fison, Frederick William Montagu, Hon. J. Scott(Hants. Sullivan, Donal
Eitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose Morgan, David J.(Walthamstow Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Forster, Henry William Morpeth, Viscount Taylor, Austen (East Toxteth)
Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S. W. Morrell, George Herbert Tennant, Harold John
Fuller, J. M. F. Mount, William Arthur Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Greene, Sir E. W (B'ry S Edm'nds Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury) Nicholson, William Graham Walrond, Rt Hn Sir William H.
Grenfell, William Henry O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Warner, Thomas Courtenay T
Hare, Thomas Leigh Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Webb, Colonel William George
Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th) Percy, Earl Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Heath, Arthur Howard(Hanley Pierpont, Robert Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.) Piatt-Higgins, Frederick Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks
Hoare, Sir Samuel Pretyman, Ernest George Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm)
Hobhouse, Rt. Hn. H. (Somers't E Price, Robert John Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Hoult, Joseph Pryce-Jones, Lt. Col. Ed ward Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Howard, J.(Midd., Tottenham) Remnant, James Farquharson Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Jameson, Major J. Eustace Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred. Round, Rt. Hon. James TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop. Rutherford, John (Lancashire) H. C. Smith and Mr. Gallo
Keswick, William Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) way.
Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Dewar, John A. (Invrrness-sh) Henderson Arthur (Durham)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Dobbie, Joseph Hogg, Lindsay
Ainsworth, John Stirling Donelan, Captain A. Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)
Allen, Charles P. Doogan, P. C. Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Arrol, Sir William Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire
Bagot, Capt. Joscerine FitzRoy Duke, Henry Edward Jordon, Jeremiah
Bain, Colonel James Robert Duncan, J. Hastings Joyce, Michael
Barran, Rowland Hirst Emmott, Alfred Kearley, Hudson E.
Bell, Richard Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Kennedy, Vincent P.(Cavan, W.
Benn, John Williams Farrell, James Patrick Kilbride, Denis
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Flavin, Michael Joseph King, Sir Henry Seymour
Bignold, Arthur Flower, Sir Ernest Lambert, George
Boland, John Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W)
Broadhurst, Henry Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)
Burke, E. Haviland Freeman-Thomas, Captain F. Lay land-Barratt, Francis
Burns, John Furness, Sir Christopher Leamy, Edmund
Caldwell, James Gardner, Ernest Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)
Cameron, Robert Gladstone, Rt Hon Herbert John Leigh, Sir Joseph
Causton, Richard Knight. Goddard, Daniel Ford Leng, Sir John
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Gordon, Hn. J E (Elgin & Nairn) Levy, Maurice
Coghill, Douglas Harry Grant, Corrie Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Condon, Thomas Joseph Guest, Hon. Iver Churchill Lough, Thomas
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Gurdon, Sir W, Brampton Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark) Harcourt, Lewis V (Rossendale Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)
Crean, Eugene Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Lundon, W.
Cremer, William Randal Harmsworth, R. Leicester Lyell, Charles Henry
Crooks, William Harwood, George MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Hay, Hon- Claude George MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Cullinan, J. Hayden, John Patrick
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. M'Fadden Edward
Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galway Helme, Norval Watson M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N. Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. M'Kenna, Reginald
M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Reddy, M. Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Majendie, James A. H. Redmond, John B. (Waterford) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Manners, Lord Cecil Reid, James (Greenock) Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N. Renwick, George Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)
Mitchell, William (Burnley) Rickett, J. Compton Thornton, Percy M
Moss, Samuel Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green Tollemache, Henry James
Moulton, John Fletcher Rigg, Richard Tomkinson, James
Nannetti, Joseph P. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Toulmin, George
Nolan, Joseph, (Louth, South) Roche, John Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Norman, Henry Roe, Sir Thomas Tuff, Charles
Nussey, Thomas Willans Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Valentia, Viscount
O' Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Rose, Charles Day Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary) N.) Runciman, Walter White, Luke (York, E. R.)
O'Doherty, William Russell, T. W. Whitley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne
O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
O'Dowd, John Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Wills, Sir Frederick
O'Malley, William Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.)
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Parrott, William Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Paulton, James Mellor Schwann, Charles E. Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Pemberton, John S. G. Seton-Karr, Sir Henry Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Pilkington, Colonel Richard Shackleton, David James young, Samuel
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Yoxall, James Henry
Power, Patrick Joseph Sheehy, David
Pym, C. Guy Shipman, Dr. John G. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Ratcliff, R. F. Soares, Ernest J. James Woodhouse and Mr.
Reckitt, Harold James Spear, John Ward Plummer.

Words added—

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to; Bill re-committed to the former Committee in respect of Clauses 15 and 16.