§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.), in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:—
§ MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)
said he wished to move an 1487 Amendment to except from the operation of the Bill one of the Acts referred to in it, namely, the Tithe Rent-Charge Rates Act, 1899. This was a Bill of an entirely different character to the Agricultural Rating Act. It concerned a different part of the community to the farmers and the agricultural interest. It referred to the tithe rent-charge which was paid to the clergy of the Church of England. It was relief given to the clergy of the Church of England at the expense of the general ratepayer, by the remission of a large part of the rates upon their tithes. When the Bill was introduced it was opposed from his side of the House as vigorously—and with additional reason—as was the Agricultural Rates Act. It was alleged in support of the Bill by the Government that the clergy of the Church of England were, in many parts and in the rural districts especially, very poor, and that they deserved consideration at the hands of the country, that their rates were rising on the tithe rent-charge, and that out of consideration for them, a large part of those rates ought to be remitted. The measure was opposed on the ground that the Church of England was the richest Church in the world, that it was a Church which from the private subscriptions of its supporters ought to have been able to make good any deficiencies which might occur owing to the larger charges on the rent-charges resulting from the rise of rates. They pointed out that the original tithes, of which the commuted tithe rent-charge was the direct successor, were, in the first instance, given very largely to the poor, but that as time went on they became devoted more exclusively to the Church, and it was urged that in view of that fact, and in view also of the fact that at the time of the passing of the Tithes Commutation Act the question of the amount of rates "paid on the tithe was taken into consideration, and the amount was decided in view of those facts,—it was urged that the clergy ought to have been content to go on paying charges which had been borne up to that time by the tithe they were drawing.
As a matter of fact, when the Tithe Commutation Act was passed and when the arrangement was made which fixed 1488 the amount of the tithe, the rates throughout the rural districts were actually higher on the average than they now were. The rates at that time averaged 3s. 8d. in the £., and certainly in rural districts they were not more than 2s. 6d. before the passing of the Education Act, and taking into consideration that Act they could not possibly be above 3s. in the £. It appeared to them it would have been better for the clergy of the Church of England to have relied on the voluntary efforts of those who supported them, as did the ministers of other churches throughout the country. It might be pointed out that there was an additional reason in the last few years for revising the decision which the House of Commons then came to and that was, that since the last Agricultural Rates Continuance Act—which included this Bill—was passed the Education Act of 1902 had been put on the Statute-book, by which the Church of England had been relieved of a very large part of those subscriptions which they formerly devoted to their schools, and which might now, with advantage, be handed over to the clergy. Lastly, he would point out in reference to the Bill, that while it professed to be a Bill for the relief of poor clergy, it distributed something like £100,000 broadcast among the Church of England clergy, and the greater part of that money did not go to the poorest clergymen. Like the Agricultural Rates Act, it was indiscriminate in its relief, and it really did not assist those who most needed help. The relief given under it was a gift from the general taxpayers' pocket to a particular class, and as such they objected to it, and in opposition to it as such he begged to move his Amendment.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
said he was astonished that this Motion should have 1489 been brought forward without having been placed on the Paper. They had a whole day's discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill, and, as far as he could remember, the question of excluding the Tithe Rent-Charge Act was not once mentioned in the course of that debate, yet the hon. Member now came down to the House, and without the slightest notice proposed that that Act should be excluded from the operation of the Bill. The hon. Member had given no reason for his Amendment, or, at any rate, he had heard absolutely none, except the single, one that by the Education Act of 1902 so much had been done for the schools of the Church of England that less subscriptions than heretofore would be expected from the supporters of that Church.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
No; what I intended to convey was that the voluntary subscriptions which previously went to the schools might very well now be given to the clergy.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said he did not think that that very much improved the position. Did the hon. Member seriously suggest to the House that the clergy of the Church of England ought in future to be made more dependent than heretofore upon the subscriptions of their parishioners. They had not hitherto derived their income from that source and they, on that side of the House at any rate, were not prepared for one moment to support the idea. He would like to remind the House in connection with this proposal that the Act which the hon. Member was led to exclude was based on the Report of a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the question of local taxation, and that one of the members of that Commission who differed from his colleagues on almost every other subject agreed with them that tithe rent-charge attached to benefices should enjoy the same privileges as agricultural land. He might, too, remind the Committee that tithe rent charge had already been included, together with agricultural land, in the exemptions from rating under the Public Health Acts. It was, in fact, treated on the same footing as agricultural land, and he failed to see any reason whatever 1490 why such an exception should be made as had been proposed. He trusted the Committee would reject the Amendment of the hon. Member.
§ MR. PURVIS (Peterborough)
said that the Amendment was moved for reasons which the House fully appreciated, and that the question of tithe rent-charge had been imported for a specific reason, although it was very remote from the subject-matter of the Bill.
§ MR. PURVIS
said the Bill, the renewal of which they were discussing, was most carefully debated when it was originally before the House, and he remembered that in 1896, for no less that twenty-one hours at a stretch, the House was engaged in discussing it. The question of tithe rent-charge, like many other questions connected with local taxation, was too remote for a practical House like the Mother of Parliaments to attend to at that moment. Times had changed very much since 1896, when they discussed the Agricultural Rates Act. Since then a Royal Commission had given its Report, and he submitted that the most practical thing they could do would be to act on the specific recommendations of that Commission without allowing this red herring to be drawn across the trail. He did not wish to say anything objectionable, but he might use an expression which he had heard in the North, and tell the hon. Member that he must put his red herring into his pocket. The Committee had met that day for a specific object, and in these times, when revolution was in the air in regard to ideas of land taxation, it would be an appalling and even a disastrous thing to allow what was already the law of the land to be thus changed. It would be most inexpedient and unworkmanlike for the Committee to allow itself to be drawn aside in the immediate presence of a great revolution in regard to rates and taxes by allowing this Amendment to be passed. It would make confusion worse confounded if any such thing were permitted, and he was quite convinced that hon. Members on that side of the House knew full well what the reasons were which induced hon. Members opposite to bring 1491 forward such an Amendment. It was simply intended to promote sectarian and Party purposes.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said he really could not understand why the President of the Local Government Board and the hon. Member for Peterborough had expressed such extreme horror and astonishment at the action of the hon. Member for Elland in moving his Amendment without notice. Naturally they disagreed with its object, but the hon. Member had acted entirely in accordance with practice, and he failed to see why special complaint should be made against him. With regard to the Amendment, he thought it was fair to argue that tithe rent-charge in its essential elements differed from the other hereditaments which had enjoyed the benefit of these exemptions, and that the laity of the Church of England should be asked to do more than they now did to support their own clergy, after the manner of the Nonconformists. A Bishop of the Church of England made a speech only the other day in which he declared that the comparison between the voluntary subscriptions to the Church of England and to other denominations should make the laity of the Church of England ashamed of themselves.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
said the noble Lord had declared it was the right of any Member to move an Amendment which was in order when it pleased him. Of course it was, but his complaint was that the bon. Member for Elland had taken an extremely unusual course. Nobody would deny that. Here they had a Bill practically accepted by the larger number of Members opposite, and to which a certain number of Amendments had been on the Paper for some days, y et at the last moment they had sprung upon them an Amendment with reference to a matter to which no allusion was made in the course of the Second Reading debate. He thought that under the circumstances the criticisms of the President of the Local Government Board were perfectly legitimate. His right hon. friend had said that only one reason had been advanced in support of the Amendment, but as a matter of fact there were two others which he personally 1492 thought were absolutely futile. No doubt it was true that when the Bill was introduced in the first instance the opposition to the proposal regarding tithe rent-charge was as great and as bitter as to the Agricultural Rating Act it self. But he did not consider that a sufficient reason for continuing the opposition to the Bill now. Then another reason advanced was that this was the richest Church in the whole world. He was not sure of that fact, but he was sure that the revenues derived from this particular source had fallen enormously in late years, and, therefore, that reason lost force. He sincere trusted that the hon. Member would not persevere with an Amendment which, to-his mind, was uncalled for in the extreme.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said he was surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford preach the doctrine that an Amendment in Committee ought to be given notice of before the Committee stage was-reached.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
You endorsed the complaint that had been made of the way in which the Amendment had been brought forward.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I said that, under the circumstances which I specified, the course adopted by the hon. Member was unusual in the extreme, and I do not think that that can be denied.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he thought it was very usual indeed to move an Amendment in Committee without giving any notice of it. He had even seen the Government bring forward proposals in regard to the Standing Orders of that House without any notice whatever. There were occasions on which notice could not be given. As a matter of fact, hon. Members often did not examine Bills until the day they were coming on for discussion; and it was perfectly conceivable that the hon. Member who moved this Amendment only thought of it as he came into the House that afternoon. But, apart from the merits of the Amendment, he had 1493 some objection to the Bill. First, he objected because it was a very special instance of illusive, referential legislation. It proposed to renew one Act, but, as a matter of fact, it would actually renew four other Acts, and thus they would be renewing in one Bill—in one very short clause of four lines—five Acts of Parliament altogether. So far as he could see, there was no reason why the hon. Member should not move to except the other Acts. It certainly was putting the House in a very awkward position in calling on it to discuss five Acts when only one was actually before it in the Bill. Again, he ventured to point out that every one of these five Acts was founded upon an absolutely false system of finance, because the payments in respect of them were obtained by anticipation, and every farthing was excluded from the national accounts. This raised a very large financial question. The particular amount which would be affected by the operation of this Bill was comparatively small. Reference to the Finance Act would show that probably about £1,500,000 was paid in respect of the Agricultural Rates Act in the year 1894, in addition to £119,000 in connection with the tithe rent-charge. But his objection applied to the manner in which the money was raised, because it was most unconstitutionally intercepted from the Revenue on its way to the Exchequer. He submitted that that was a most irregular method of raising money, for the Bill escaped the usual financial guarantees relating to money Bills. There was no doubt, as the hon. Member for Peterborough had said, that the most pressing need of the day was the reconstitution and recasting of the whole of our rating system, and this was a consequence of their having neglected it for so many years, in spite of repeated promises from both sides of the House to attend to it.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said his desire was to point out that this was a most inopportune moment for dealing with this question, because the renewal of 1494 Acts of this nature prevented them dealing with much more serious questions which were becoming most pressing, and he hoped that the attention of the Government would be given to them. In regard to these particular Acts the principle had been agreed to long ago, it had twice been approved by the House and he, therefore, agreed with the right hon. Gentleman behind him that the Act ought to again be renewed. He could not, however, allow it to be renewed without making one more protest against the evil which Bills of this nature produced. He protested against them as illusive, referential legislation, and as perpetuating the grossly false and misleading financial system of anticipating revenue and not allowing it to pass into the Exchequer.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said he understood that the object of the Amendment was to withdraw from tithe rent-charge in this country the rating exemption it had hitherto enjoyed. The Bill did not apply to Ireland, although they had tithe rent-charge there. But the difference between the two countries was, whereas in England tithe recharge went to the support of the clergy, in Ireland it was paid into a great public fund which was reserved for public uses. In England the rating relief was fully extended to the tithe rent-charge because it was the property of a powerful and influential Church; but in Ireland, because it went to a fund held in trust for the general benefit of the country, no such relief was granted to it. Under these circumstances there was a good deal to be said for the Amendment. Personally he took an active part with the Radical Party in opposing the Agricultural Rating Act, because he believed the principle embodied in it to be essentially vicious financially as well as demoralising, and he remembered he was among those who were suspended in the course of the discussion. The evil of such an Act as the Agricultural Rating Act was that, once passed, the mischief could never be undone. Vested interests grew up and the Act could never be repealed. The whole system of equivalent grants was bad; and the sum they received in Ireland might be infinitely better disposed 1495 of than it now was. Too much of it went into the pockets of the landlords.
§ MR. DILLON
admitted it had nothing to do with it, but he was explaining the reasons which induced him to support the Amendment, and was explaining there was no analogous relies in Ireland to that given to England under this Bill.
But the hon. Gentleman has no right on this Amendment to discuss the system obtaining in Ireland.
§ MR. DILLON
submitted that he was absolutely in order in drawing an argument from the Irish system and in arguing that the principle which was applied to Ireland should be made to apply to England. He would not, however, pursue the matter further.
§ MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
said he had no desire to prolong the discussion, but he would like to point out that whilst hon. Gentlemen opposite did not appear to have very strong objection to this Bill the Amendment raised a very serious issue. Tithe rent-charge had an intimate connection with the question of agricultural land, and they could not separate the rating of tithe rent-charge from the rating on such land. To divorce one from the other as a subject for exemption would be to do injury to a very deserving and certainly not a wealthy class of men, viz., the rural clergy. He was not going to discuss the question whether or not more should be done by voluntary effort to augment their incomes; on this point he was largely in agreement with what had been said by the noble Lord, but he did wish to draw attention to the fact that this Amendment, if carried, would inflict a great hardship upon the class to whom he had referred, some of whom he had the honour to represent in that House, and so great a change to their detriment in a Bill largely non-contentious ought not to be sprung upon the House in the way in which it had been. He appealed to the hon. Member in the interest of 1496 the courtesies of debate not to press his Amendment.
§ MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)
admitted the difficulty arising from the fact that this point had been raised so suddenly, out he thought it was going a little too far to say that it showed a lack of courtesy to the House on the part of the hon. Member for Elland. It was not unusual and it was not against the rules, and, therefore, he thought enough had been said upon the point. The right hon. Gentleman who last spoke had told them that they could not logically separate the rating of tithe from the agricultural rating generally, but he believed the separation was already made so far as lay tithe was concerned, because the Bill only dealt with tithe paid to the Church of England. That argument, therefore, fell to the ground. He was the last man in the world to desire to adopt a policy of pin-pricks towards the Church of England, and he thought that sometimes, perhaps, that course was adopted on his side of the House. He desired to dissociate himself entirely from it; but, on the other hand, the worst thing that could be done for the Church, was to pass special legislation of this character, which was felt as a hardship by a great many of the people of the country. There were other hardships in connection with rating to which he need not refer, and this question of the rating of tithe might surely have been left until the larger question of rating was dealt with. The other day they had brought before the House another rating question in connection with East Ham, and the Prime Minister in speaking on it told East Ham that it ought to cut its coat according to its cloth. Now that argument went a very long way when they were dealing with the question of rates, and it might be applied to tithe as well as to other matters. He did think the Government had made a very great mistake in trying to pass a measure regarding clerical tithe without dealing with the whole question of rating upon a broad basis. They were told that a revolution was approaching. That was exactly the point—the revolution took such a desperately long time in coming. He would not care if there was any chance 1497 of its coming within the next year or two, but he was not sure that they would get it so soon, and, because the policy of relieving certain classes and omitting to give relief to other classes was being adopted, he should support his hon. friend if he went to a division.
§ MR. A. K. LOYD (Berkshire, Abingdon)
rose to make a protest against the way in which this Amendment had been brought forward. It was a very serious matter. The hon. Member for Elland put down an Amendment at the last minute, when the House had assembled under the belief that they were going to discuss a totally different matter. The matter he charged himself with was a matter requiring the most careful study and impartial statement, and yet he furnished himself with all the fallacies which had been exploded over and over again, and he fired them off at the clergy of a Church with which his Party had no sympathy, making his attack under circumstances which, rendered it almost impossible that justice should be done to the rural clergy throughout the country. But the hon. Member had undertaken a job which was too big for him. He had not really gone into the matter; if he had, he would have found that it was not a case of giving relief to the clergy at the expense of the general ratepayers at all, The relies was given out of the Local Taxation Account in order that it might not be taken at the expense of the other ratepayers of the parish from which the tithe was drawn. The hon. Member had said it was alleged by the Government in support of the Bill that the clergy were very poor, and in consequence this relief ought to be given to them. He did not know where the hon. Member was at the time the Bill was discussed. He spoke very positively, but that certainly was not the ground on which the Bill was advocated by the Government.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I remember the debate very well. The hon. Member is stating the arguments which his side used. I have stated those which were advanced on our side.
§ MR. A. K. LOYD
regretted that the hon. Member had so entirely lost recollection of what took place. He had no hesita- 1498 tion in saying that the "poverty of the clergy" was not the ground advanced, and there was no Government of modern times which could push through the House of Commons a Bill to compensate a number of persons because they were poor. The thing was absurd on the face of it. The "poverty of the clergy" might have been one of the expressions used in the course of the debate, but it certainly was not the ground on which the Bill was brought in. The real ground was that as long ago as 1840 a grievance existed about the way in which the clergy were rated, and that grievance was acknowledged by Mr. Gladstone, the Poor Law Commissioners, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis. It was one of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who at that time insisted that the grievance was one which ought to be looked into, and when the Bill of 1840 was passed there was an express undertaking that it should be dealt with, but such was the helpless condition of the clergy that they had been swindled from that time to this. The clergy of the Church of England were not able to fight for themselves in a matter of this kind, and in consequence it was a notorious fact that they had had to submit to a gross injustice all these years. The old fallacy that rates were taken into consideration at the time of the commutation had been exploded over and over again, and he asserted it was a monstrous shame that such a charge should be brought out simply for the purpose of belabouring the clergy of a Church with which the hon. Gentleman was not in sympathy. He noticed that the noble Lord the Member for Cricklade was much more careful of the way in which he put the matter, for he admitted the difficulty of the subject. The real facts were that when the returns were-sent in for the purposes of commutation it was found that there were a number of cases in which the tenant paid the rates and deducted the amount from the tithe. It was true that that was brought into the calculation, but there was not one particle of truth in the assertion that the general question of rates was taken into account. There was a real grievance in this matter. The Royal Commission had reported in favour of this relief, and consequently everything said 1499 against this Bill was equally directed against the Royal Commission He protested most earnestly against this matter being brought forward without notice in order to snatch an advantage against the rural clergy who for so many years had been suffering under the grievance relieved by this Bill.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
said the hon. Member who had just spoken entirely misunderstood the case. This Amendment was not brought forward from any special antagonism to the Church, or with any idea of attacking the Church. The present rating system inflicted great injustice on many classes of people, and if one class was dealt with all should be dealt with. That was the foundation of the opposition to the Agricultural Rates Act and to the Tithe Rent-Charge Act. It was true that many of the country clergy were poor, but it might equally be said that many livings were paid much better than the services of the clergy demanded. But that was not the point. The clergy had their rating grievance in common with many other classes, and the only reason for their being singled out for relief was that they were poor.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
held that many other classes had specific grievances, and would doubtless have been singled out for relief if they had had the additional claim of poverty. There was a great difference between the two Bills here concerned. The depression in agriculture was injurious not only to the class employed, but to the whole country, because land was being driven out of cultivation, so that
§ a strong case could be made out for the relief of those who paid rates on agricultural land. But in the case of the clergy the whole of the tithe might be taken away without the country as a whole being a penny the worse. Therefore the two Acts were on an entirely different footing. He agreed that the tithe rent-charge should be treated in the same way in England as in Ireland. In the latter country it had been left unrelieved, and he failed to see why the relief should be renewed in England. He submitted that the question had been brought forward in a thoroughly constitutional way. The House was in Committee, and this was a small question, and he failed to see how the supporters of the clergy could complain because the matter had been brought on. Seeing that so many hon. Members took so much interest in the matter it was perhaps a pity that the Amendment had not been placed on the Paper, but that was no reason why it should not be considered. Exceptional legislation with regard to rates was mischievous and dangerous. Every time the rating question was dealt with piecemeal it deferred the day when justice should be introduced into the whole rating system, and for that reason he would oppose all measures for altering the rating system piecemeal. He trusted that before long the question of rating would he forced upon the Government and that it would be dealt with in such a way as to do justice to all classes. By supporting such Amendments as the one before the Committee he believed they would be taking a step towards securing that justice for all.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 138; Noes, 217. (Division List No. 153.)1503
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Brigg, John||Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Crooks, William|
|Allen, Charles P.||Burt, Thomas||Cullinan, J.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Austin, Sir John||Caldwell, James||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Cameron, Robert||Delany, William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway|
|Benn, John Williams||Cawley, Frederick||Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)|
|Black, Alexander William||Cheetham, John Frederick||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.|
|Blake, Edward||Clancy, John Joseph||Dillon, John|
|Boland, John||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Dobbie, Joseph|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lamont, Norman||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Doogan, P. C.||Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W.)||Price, Robert John|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Reddy, M.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Edwards, Frank||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Richards, Thomas (W. Momn'th|
|Ellice, Capt EC (S Andrw'sBghs||Levy, Maurice||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||Lough, Thomas||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Lundon, W.||Roche, John|
|Farrell, James Patrick||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Runciman, Walter|
|Fenwick, Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Crae, George||Shackleton, David James|
|Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, NE||M'Fadden, Edward||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M'Kenna, Reginald||Sheehy, David|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mooney, John J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Moss, Samuel||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Murnaghan, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Gilhooly, James||Murphy, John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hammond, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Harcourt, Lewis||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Harrington, Timothy||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thompson, Dr EC(Monagh'n, N.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Whitley, J. H (Halifax)|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf d|
|Johnson, John||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Young, Samuel|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Shaughnessy, P.J.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Shee, James John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Trevelyan and Mr. Emmott.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Parrott, William|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Joyce, Michael||Perks, Robert William|
|Kennedy, Vincent P (Cavan, W||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Fison, Frederick William|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Ark wright, John Stanhope||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Flower, Sir Ernest|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt Hn Hugh O.||Chamberlain, Rt Hn J A (Wore.||Forster, Henry William|
|Arrol, Sir William||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S.W.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Chapman, Edward||Gardner, Ernest|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt Hn. Sir H.||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Garfit, William|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Coates, Edward Feetham||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gorst, Rt Hon Sir John Eldon|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Gretton, John|
|Balfour, Kenneth R (Christch.||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hardy, Laurence (Kent Ashf'rd|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Harris, Dr. Fredk R. (Dulwich)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Davenport, William Bromley||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Dickson, Charles Scott||Heath, Sir James (Staffords N W|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.|
|Bill, Charles||Doughty, Sir George||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Bond, Edward||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hobhouse, Rt Hn H. (Somers't, E|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hope, J.F. (Shemeld, Brightside|
|Bowles, Lt-Col. HF (Middlesex)||Faber, George Denison (York)||Howard, John (Kent, F'verh'm|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Fellowes, Rt Hn Ailwyn Edward||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J A (Glasgow)||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Campbell, J H M (Dublin Univ.||Finlay, Sir R B (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs)||Hunt, Rowland|
|Carson Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fisher, William Hayes||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Morton||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Kerr, John||Morgan, David J (Walthamstow||Spear, John Ward|
|Keswick, William||Morpeth, Viscount||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Morrison, James Archibald||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Stanley, Rt Hn. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Mount, William Arthur||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th)||Myers, William Henry||Stroyan, John|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks NR||Parkes, Ebenezer||Talbot, Rt Hn. J G. (Oxfd Univ.|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareh'm||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead||Pemberton, John S. G.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Percy, Earl||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Pierpoint, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Tuff, Charles|
|Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Turnour, Viscount|
|Long, Rt. Rn Walter (Bristol, S.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Walrond, Rt Hn Sir William H.|
|Lowe, Francis William||Purvis, Robert||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Randles, John S.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E. (Taunton)|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Rankin, Sir James||Welby, Sir Charles G.E.(Notts.)|
|Lucas, Reginald J (Portsmouth)||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Whiteley, H (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Wills, Arthur Walters (N. Dorset|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wilson-Todd, Sir W H (Yorks.)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E R (Bath)|
|Maxwell, Rt Hn. Sir H. E.(Wigt'n||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Maxwell, W J. H. (Dumfriesshire||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford||Wylie, Alexander|
|Middlemore, John Thr'gm'rton||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Younger, William|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Samuel, Sir Harry S.(Limehouse|
|Milner, Rt Hn Sir Frederick G.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Viscount Valentia.|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
§ MR. BLACK (Banffshire)
said the Amendment he proposed emphasised the necessity of making this Act purely temporary in its character. When the principal Act was introduced it was denounced as a gross and flagrant instance of class legislation, and it had supplied doles totalling £2,500,000, which amounted to 5s. per household of the population. Therefore the labourer earning 15s. a week had to work two days a year in order to provide this dole to the wealthy landlords. He did not move his Amendment having in view any proposal for a root-and-branch repeal of the original Act, because, as in the case of individuals, if an ill-considered course was embarked upon it was much more difficult to alter that course than to enter upon it. What was true of the individual was still more true when they came to deal with public questions affecting a great many rating 1504 authorities. Once they established vested interests they could not all at once repeal and alter the measure which created them. They would either have to make any alteration gradually, or make it as part of a general alteration of the rating system. He moved this Amendment because the reform he had alluded to was largely overdue. The Government ought to have undertaken the recasting of the rating system at an earlier date. The Royal Commission upon Local Rating, presided over by Lord Balfour of Burleigh, was appointed in August, 1896, and reported in May 1901; and they had now reached May, 1905 without a single step having been taken to give effect to the recommendations of that Commission. Legislation dealing with the whole recasting of the rating system in England and Scotland was largely overdue and ought to be undertaken before the expiration of 1505 the next four years, for which period the principal Act was being extended by this Bill.
Apart from the general recasting of the rating system and what might be called piecemeal legislation, there were several matters of detail which ought to receive early attention either at the hands of the present Government or the Government that was likely to succeed them. Complaints were forthcoming from all parts of the country that the method of distribution of the grant under the principal Act was inequitable and worked badly. In every case where the parish rate had been raised the system of distribution adopted both in England and Scotland under the principal Act had operated very injuriously because the system of distribution was that the rates contributed in 1896 should form the criterion for the distribution of the grant-in-aid. Where there had been an increase the result was that the grant conferred by the principal Act had been insufficient to meet the shortage in the rates upon agricultural land. In the case of Scotland, with which he was most familiar, although it applied to both countries equally, he understood that the effect of the principal Act was to restrict the rateable value of agricultural land to three-fifths of the true value appearing in the valuation roll, and in order to make good the deficiency of the rateable value thus created the subvention provided for in the principal Act was granted on the basis of 1896.
Take the case of a parish whose valuation had been going up, and whose valuation was, say, £15,000 in 1896, composed to the extent of £3,000 of rating upon buildings, and to the extent of £12,000 of rating upon agricultural land, and let it be supposed that in such a case the amount required to be raised by rates had risen by £375, the net result of applying the Act was to transfer from the shoulders of the agricultural ratepayers to the shoulders of the urban ratepayers a proportion of the burden which would otherwise have been borne by the agricultural ratepayers. In the case supposed, where the amount required had risen £375 the burden would have been borne to the extent of £75 by the urban rate- 1506 payers, and to the extent of £300 by the agricultural ratepayers, but under the Act as applied the urban ratepayers had to pay £125, and the rural ratepayers had only to pay £250, with the result that the urban occupiers had to pay nearly double the amount which they would, otherwise have done. He was assured that was not an isolated case, In that particular the Act required modification. It would be convenient that in passing this Continuance Act the Government should feel itself free in such a matter of detail. The Amendment was not necessarily directed against the principle of the measure.
Take another illustration of how unjustly the original Act operated—the case of a parish whose rates had fallen. There was a parish within his own knowledge which had a poor rate of 1s. 4d. falling upon occupiers in 1896. The rate h id fallen in the meantime, with the result that the subvention given under the principal Act paid the whole of the poor rate and entirely relieved the occupiers. Surely that was a very anomalous and extraordinary result. Then in another parish the subvention was paid for the rate which was imposed in 1896, but which had since been taken off, so that the parish actually got from the grant under the Act payment in respect of a rate it did not levy. That also seemed to be a very anomalous result. Therefore he submitted it should be made perfectly clear that the continuation of the Act was only temporary, that it might be amended during the four years, and that it should in any case be amended at the end of four years.
He desired also to draw attention to the necessity for dealing in a different way with site values. He understood that when the principal Act was under discussion this matter was raised and discussed, but, as the Committee had been more than once reminded in the course of the debate, matters had progressed since 1896. A Royal Commission had sat and taken evidence, and there was appended to the Report of the Commission a vary weighty and important recommendation by a minority of their number, including so good a Conservative as Lord Balfour of Burleigh, pointing out that site value should not be rated on the same basis 1507 as agricultural land and that it ought to bear an additional burden. What was the present position with regard to site values and agricultural rating? However much ground might have a value, over and above its agricultural value, that additional value attaching to it by the proximity of population was not subjected either to Imperial or local taxation. The population of large towns was pressing out to the suburbs anxious for land, and they found that the land was held by speculators. He instanced a case which had come under his own observation in Edinburgh. A piece of land there was feued for a feu-duty of £2,000 a year. There was no building on the ground; it was only occupied as agricultural land.
§ MR. BLACK
With all deference it is a rating Bill for agricultural land, but I am going to show that under the Act which is being renewed certain land is treated as agricultural land. I am adducing that as a reason why the Continuance Act should be made temporary.
It is out of order to have a discussion on that matter on this occasion. This is a Continuance Bill and the question is whether the Act should be continued or not.
§ MR. BLACK
With great deference my point is that the principal Act, being a faulty Act, should not be continued for four years. The extension should be plainly only until something better can be done. I am surely in order in saying that the Act is a faulty Act. I am only showing why it should not be extended definitely for four years.
§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
asked whether it would not be in order to urge that the Act ought to be made temporary on the ground that site values should be dealt with in the meantime.
§ MR. BLACK
I bow to it at all events. The Continuance Act, the hon. Member submitted, should be so framed as to make it plain to all parties called upon to contract under it that it might be altered in the course of the four years. Hundreds of contracts would be made during the next four years throughout the country, and thousands of rates would be fixed on the terms of this Act. Was the measure to be temporary during the four years, or was it to be recast during that period? It should be explicitly stated what the duration was to be. He begged to move.
In page 1, line 6, after the word 'if,' to insert the words 'for a period not to extend beyond the thirty-first day of March.' "—(Mr. Black.)
§ Question proposed, That those words be there inserted.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said the mover of the Amendment was a lawyer, but he could not help thinking that the hon. Member had formed an extraordinary idea in respect to the powers of Parliament. He seemed to think that if this Amendment were introduced, it would be quite competent to do that which otherwise it would not be competent—to alter the Act in the next four years. He further seemed to think it would be impossible for Parliament to pass a further Continuance Bill after the year 1910. Those were very extraordinary propositions to come from a lawyer.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said if the hon. Gentleman did not advance them the effect of his Amendment was nil. 1509 It would not make any difference whatever in the Act the House of Commons had now to pass. There was another point to which he should like to call the attention of the hon. Member, namely, that if the Act as drafted was passed the effect would be that the Agricultural Rates Act, 1896, would be extended to March 31st, 1910. If the hon. Member's Amendment were accepted the Act would be extended "for a period not to extend beyond the 3lst day of March" in whatever year might be substituted for 1910 by the hon. Gentleman. He himself did not know whether it would have the effect of extending the Act or not. The Committee would observe that the hon. Gentleman did not say that the Act should be extended for a certain period; he merely proposed that the Act should not be extended for more than a certain period. He himself was not a lawyer, but be was free to confess that if the Amendment were passed he should not know whether the Act had been continued or not. It seemed to him to be a very serious and substantial objection to the hon. Gentleman's Amendment that he had practically asked the Committee to introduce words which, in his opinion, would bind either a subsequent Parliament, or this Parliament at a later date. It was impossible for any Act passed through this House to bind either the same Parliament or a future Parliament, and on that ground he submitted that the hon. Member's Amendment would make no practical difference. The hon. Member might say that he desired to introduce a warning to agricultural ratepayers that in the opinion of this Parliament at the present time it was inexpedient to continue the Act beyond a certain date, but the suggestion of the hon. Member appeared to him to be wholly out of place. Even supposing it was in the power of this Parliament to bind its successors, was it a desirable thing to do? It seemed to him that it would be an eminently undesirable thing to do. This Bill did meet a very serious grievance. Supposing it was in the power of this Parliament to bind its successors, it appeared to him that it would be an undesirable thing to do. They were all agreed that this Bill did 1510 meet a very serious grievance. Would it be desirable at the end of four years, granting they had the power to bind themselves not to continue this Act, even though a comprehensive scheme of reform of local taxation had been passed? It would be the height of folly. When the Second Reading of this Bill was being discussed the right hon. Member for the Stirling Burghs stated that a measure which had lasted for nine years ought not to be abruptly brought to a termination. But supposing this Bill were continued for two or four years longer, the argument of the right hon. Member for the Stirling Burghs would be all the stronger. He could not accept the Amendment, which appeared to him to be absurd.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
thought, they were all agreed that his hon. friend had made out a very good ground for bringing forward his Amendment. On both sides of the House it was admitted that the existing law of rating was most unsatisfactory and urgently called for redress. As he understood, the object of his friend was to place certain words on the Paper, and get them incorporated in the Act, which would, as far as possible, bind Parliament with in a period of four years to legislate upon this question in a shape, not temporary, but permanent. Although he quite recognised the excellence of the object and intention of his hon. friend, he very much doubted whether it was really possible, from a constitutional point of view, to mortgage the time of our Parliamentary posterity. Even if the Bill passed as it had been presented by the Government, and if within the period of four years Parliament succeeded in passing a financia1 measure for the reform of local taxation, it would be within the constitutional rights of Parliament to repeal an Act of this kind, for it was well known that Parliament was supreme and could do anything, as the saying was, except turn a man into a woman, or a woman into a man. He believed his hon. friend would serve no object in pressing his Amendment. They were all agreed that this Bill was a temporary measure and that nothing 1511 they could do could bind the hands of their successors.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey)
said he would support the Amendment of his hon. friend. Any Amendment which would shorten the duration of the Act or bring pressure upon Parliament in the future to deal with the whole question of local taxation he considered laudable. The Government would have done better if they had asked for a yearly renewal. If he had been on the Government side of the House he would have tried to get the Government to regard it as a temporary measure, and renew it year by year until the whole question of local taxation was dealt with. But that might be when, in the whirligig of time, a large Liberal majority was returned to this House which were stronger in their principles than some of his hon. friends. They might say, if a proposal were made to renew the Act again: "Oh, no; the land has had its run, and it is high time that these doles should cease until everyone can join in." He suggested that his hon. friend should withdraw his Amendment, and another should be proposed for a yearly renewal. In that case he did not think there would be much opposition to it from that side of the House.
§ MR. SPEAR (Devonshire, Tavistock)
said he hoped the Government would resist the Amendment. Although the Act fell short in some respects, yet in the main they believed it gave to the agricultural industry some degree of relief, which it justly required and demanded. Agriculturists did not want this to be a permanent settlement. They claimed it was merely carrying oat the recommendation of the Royal Commission, who saw the injustice which the agricultural classes suffered. They claimed still that the relief was inadequate, and they were as anxious as any section of the community, not only in the interests of agriculturists, but also of the trading classes, whom they recognised had a grievance, that there should be a complete rearrangement of the basis of local taxation. They welcomed this measure, and were not afraid to have the question reopened, because they were satisfied that the more closely the question was examined 1512 into the more just and equitable it would be found. But he objected to the Amendment because the impression created by it in the minds of agriculturists would be that the hon. Gentleman wanted to curtail the advantage given by the Second Reading of the Act. The removal of the unjust burden from agriculturists was due not only to the farmer, but it did something to retard rural depopulation, and in the interests of the whole community it was an essential measure of justice. The agriculturists only accepted it as a temporary arrangement, however, and if a rearrangement of local taxation could be made next year certainly the advantage under this Bill would go, and therefore he failed to see the use of the Amendment. As it would probably take three or four years to deal with the question of local taxation, the Amendment would cause unrest, and lead agriculturists to feel there was a possibility, if Liberals came into office, of their being deprived of this simple measure of justice.
§ MR. LEIF JONES (Westmorland, Appleby)
said he had voted for the Second Reading of this Bill, but he wished to say a few words in support of this Amendment. He would not have voted for the original Act, but it had been in force for nearly ten years, and when one realised that in the county of Cumberland, for instance, twenty per cent, of the farms had been estimated to change hands annually, one saw that in nine years rents having adjusted themselves, to withdraw suddenly the grant under the Act would be to inflict a great hardship upon the occupying tenants. But, none the less, although he voted for the renewal, he felt that this question of the overhauling of the rating system was among the most pressing and important work which Parliament could undertake, and his objection to the lengthened period proposed was that for four years the subject would be withdrawn from the consideration of the House, and his desire was that the Bill should be brought up as often as possible, until permanently settled. It was for that reason he supported the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill said it made no difference whether this Amendment was 1513 carried or not in its effect upon the action of the House, but it seemed to him that if this Amendment were carried the Act would come up automatically until the subject was dealt with. It had been urged that if it came up yearly the agriculturists would never know whether the Bill was going to be renewed or not for another year, but he did not know that that would be any great disadvantage from the point of view of the occupying farmers. If the tenants were to derive benefits from this Act it was essential that it should be understood that it was not permanent but only temporary, pending a final and equitable settlement.
§ SIR CARNE RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said that one was not often surprised at anything that happened in that House with regard to agriculture, but he confessed that he was astonished to see hon. Members of the House interested in land righting for the limitation of the Rating Act. One was surprised to hear the other night hon. Members getting up and speaking against the Rating Act and then walking out without voting. He could not understand why hon. Gentlemen desired to limit the operation of the statute to two years, and did not know whether they thought they were going to have the millenium and a new Heaven and a new Earth at that time, or that they thought that then they would be on the right and they on that side on the left of the Speaker's Chair. If they thought that agriculture was going to look up under those circumstances he did not think they were very good students of history. He remembered that in 1894, when hon. Members opposite were on the Front Bench on the Government side, they used to get up and thank God that wheat was 19s. a quarter. He remembered that Sir William Harcourt, whom he always thought of with affection and regret, by his Budget Bill of 1894 put the last straw upon the back of the agricultural camel. What they wanted was not a Rating Act for a few years but a perpetual Rating Act. Did hon. Members think that agriculture was so prosperous now that they could do without this measure when they knew that last year there was 1514 30 per cent, less of arable land under cultivation than there was the year before. According to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, who knew what he was talking about, the farmers had lost £300,000,000 of their capital, and somewhat less than half the number of labourers were now employed upon the land than there were thirty years ago. Moreover, half of the land had in that period gone out of cultivation. What could be worse than a condition of things like that, which was owing to the incidence of taxation on land. Land was going out of tillage, fences were straggling into the fields, gates were off, cottages were falling down, and the agricultural population of the villages consisted of old men and boys.
This was an important matter nationally. It was not so important where a squire here and there went down or a farmer here and there went to the workhouse. The important thing for the country was the decadence of the agricultural population, which was due to the present rating and taxation of land. Out of 75,000 recruits for the Army, 25,000 were sent back because they could not comply with the wretched requirements of the War Office. It was because as time went on the population was being driven out of the villages and into the towns, that instead of getting as recruits the residents of the country sides, the Army only obtained mill hands and other people of that stamp who had resided in towns. It was not however, by mill hands that the battle of Waterloo was fought and won, and in order to foster rural life again it would be worth the while of this country, instead of paying only half the rates of the agriculturists, to pay the whole. Under the present system they were losing the agricultural population of the country, and with it they were losing their virile force. He hoped hon. Gentlemen would vote against the Amendment, and if they did not he hoped their constituents would have something to say to them.
SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
thought that under the circumstances the Amendment of his 1515 hon. friend behind him might be advantageously withdrawn in favour of a time limit of a year or two years. They had to remember in connection with this Act that all of those who passed it originally would be very glad to see the question of rating taken up, and they would be very glad to encourage any Government to grapple with that problem. He did not like the idea of the Act being continued for four years; he thought it ought to be brought up from year to year, which would force the Government of the day to take into consideration a real solution of the general problem of rating. If they had year by year brought before them the general necessity of meeting and dealing with this question they would be more likely to grapple with the difficult problem before them than if they put it off for four years. They had renewed the Act before, and the result was that for nine years the House of Commons had been neglecting the great subject of rating, and although they had had the Report of the Royal Commission they had not dealt with the problem. He did not want to encourage a policy of that sort. It was an urgent problem, and therefore he thought that in the interest of all parties, those who were anxious to relieve the agricultural population and the congestion of the town population would do well to renew this Bill only from year to year, and he would ask his hon. friend to consider whether he would not withdraw his Amendment and support an Amendment to renew the Bill from year to year, so that whatever Government, whether Liberal or Tory, was in power they would have to deal with that question.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
asked as a point of order whether if a division was taken upon this subject it would preclude the Committee from dealing with and deciding a definite time for the duration of the Bill—whether it precluded the discussion of the question of two years.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said he simply rose in the interest of the progress of debate, 1516 and hoped the Amendment would not be withdrawn. They had discussed this question for a considerable period, and now his hon. friend on the Front Opposition Bench suggested that the Amendment should be withdrawn, and that they should have another discussion as to whether the Act was to be renewed from year to year. He should take the opportunity of preventing the Amendment being withdrawn.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said that he could not agree with the appeal which had been made to his hon. friend to withdraw the Amendment before the Committee, because, in his judgment, it raised a separate and distinct issue from that mentioned by the hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench. He, therefore, hoped this Amendment would be disposed of. They had had a little homily from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, who lectured his hon. friend on his want of legal knowledge. It was, however, a remarkable fact that with a Bill of this character which raised legal issues they had not had previously any speech from any member of the legal profession, and he was much surprised that the right hon. Gentleman, anxious as he was to get this Bill through without unnecessary debate, should have thought it useful to introduce outside issues which had no connection with the arguments of his hon. friend. The proposal of the Amendment was that it should be possible for Parliament at any time to deal with the rating question. That was the simple issue. [Cries of "No!"] That was why hon. Gentlemen opposite failed to appreciate the bearing of the Amendment of his hon. friend. The right hon. Gentleman said it would be possible, even if the Amendment were not adopted, to alter the provisions of the Bill. It was possible, but if it was going to be in operation for four years, was it conceivable that any Government would interfere with it. It was idle to say that if the Bill was to go on for four years any Government would interfere with it at any particular time. If it was accepted in its present form its principle would be adopted and the Bill, for all practical purposes, would be in operation for fou years.
1517 The reason his hon. friend had not been able to put his Amendment in a more simple form was that the Government, in order to limit debate, had had resort to the method of reference. This Bill referred to a past Bill, and therefore they were unable to understand the issue before them, as they had to speak within one clause. He objected to a Bill of this important character being brought forward in this manner. What, however, was the main reason of his hon. friend for bringing forward this Amendment? It was the reason adduced by the Government itself when the Bill was originally brought forward, viz., that in the interval before it came up for renewal inquiry would be made, the Report of the Royal Commission would be presented, the whole question could then be reopened and it could be considered whether or not the Bill should be renewed. That was the principle which his hon friend wished to introduce at the present time. What his hon. friend said was that the Government had had the Report of the investigations; that they paid no heed to the investigations; that they had shut their eyes to the whole question of rating which ought to be considered in a matter of this kind; and that they were going beyond their power in tying up, for the next four years, the question of rating in this Bill.
He did not know how those who, representing town constituencies had voted for the Land Values Bill, were going to vote on this Amendment, but he was certain that if they voted against the Amendment that fact would be taken notice of in their constituencies. He could understand Members representing agricultural constituencies voting against the Amendment, but those who represented urban constituencies, if they were in favour of site values being properly dealt with, were bound to support the Amendment, and to make it possible for the Government to deal with the whole question of rating, in the near future, on proper lines. Did the hon. Baronet the Member for Mid-Essex suggest that this Bill was going to deal with all the questions to which he referred in the short speech he made? He himself did not agree with the facts put forward by the hon. Baronet 1518 with regard to the diminution of labour in agricultural districts. World the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford declare that this Bill was going to deal with every grievance from which agriculture suffered at the present time. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman had a far different scheme. He. had no doubt that a duty of 2s. a quarter on wheat would be far more acceptable to the right hon. Gentleman than anything contained in this Bill. He doubted whether this Bill would be of any real value to agriculture, or whether the land which was said to have gone out of cultivation would get any relief from it. He should vote for the Amendment because it limited the operation of the Bill.
§ MR. RANDLES (Cumberland, Cocker-mouth)
said he could conceive of nothing more mischievous than the Amendment. Nothing could be more mischievous than to always harass those who paid the rates. It might be a useful measure for the purpose of bringing before the House the views of hon. Members to the advantage of getting a better system of rating, but considering the time that must necessarily elapse before that question could be dealt with, it was, to say the least, mischievous to limit the term of this Bill. Agriculturists must look ahead more than twelve months, and this limitation for twelve months was simply keeping the farmer, who had to make provision for the future, in a state of unnecessary uncertainty. It was absolutely certain that the Act would not be allowed to drop during the course of the next two or three years, and if that was so why not let the farmer know that there was no intention of keeping from him the benefit he conceived himself to be entitled to under the Bill. He thought the House would be ill-advised in accepting the limitation proposed.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
said the hon. Member who had just spoken was under a misconception as to the scope of the Amendment. There was no suggestion to limit the period of the Bill to one year, and, so far as harassing the farmers was concerned, he would point out to the hon. Member that his own Party, had for nine years been debating this question 1519 and if anybody was harassing the farmer it was the Government. It had been said, too, during that discussion that the Amendment would prevent the Bill being made perpetual. But the Government itself had no intention of making the Bill perpetual. The Bill was to continue the Act till 1910, and the Amendment was to continue it till 1908. That was the only difference. The reason for this Amendment was that this question of rating ought to be dealt with at the earliest moment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, who introduced the measure originally, wished to make it perpetual, but after it had been discussed for some time it was shown quite clearly that the Bill was faulty, inadequate, and so unfair, that the right hon. Gentleman himself decided to limit it to five years. If the right hon. Gentleman thought the Bill was so good why was he ready to adopt that limitation. In 1896 or 1901 the Secretary to the Local Government Board said that the urban ratepayer had many grounds for receiving assistance. His calculation was that it would require £2,000,000 per annum, and they were unable to provide the money, although he quite admitted that the urban ratepayer ought to receive his fair share as well as the agricultural ratepayer. There were still four sessions during which this question might be dealt with, but the action of the Government would put off all discussion upon it till 1910. Why should the Government object to this matter being dealt with at the first possible moment, either by themselves or succeeding Governments. No hon. Member would say that farmers would think it was right that this question should be dealt with merely by the present Government, and not by any succeeding Government. District councils which were composed mainly of farmers had sent representations to him on the subject. He had received one of them that day calling attention to the enormous deficiency in the average of the grant under the Act, and stating that, in fact, the Act was of very little value to them. They calculated that the average loss of the last two years or so was £814 a year, as compared with what they would have received if they had received what they 1520 were entitled to when the Act was passed originally. This great loss had been brought about by the increased taxation put on them by the Government, and to the great expenditure entailed in the upkeep of the roads owing to the heavy motor traffic.
said the hon. Member must not make a Second Reading speech on the Bill at this stage.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY
said he was simply giving an illustration showing the necessity of this matter being dealt with as soon as possible. If rates had not been increased so much of recent years there would not be the same necessity for immediate action. The whole argument in favour of the Amendment was that rates had increased so much that the grant was entirely inadequate, and that was the only reason he supported it. He was a supporter of the Act, and if he thought the Amendment would take away the advantages of the Act he would be the first to oppose it. His constituents on the small parish council to which he had referred were losing £800 a year, and they felt it was very necessary that something should be done at once to remove this unfairness. It was too often forgotten that although agricultural land was relieved to the extent of half its rates, the houses and buildings received no relief whatever.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY
said he would not pursue the subject. His only reason for supporting the Amendment was to force the Government to deal with this question earlier than they would otherwise do.
§ SIR H. MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Staffordshire, Handsworth)
differed entirely from the object of the Amendment. He was one of those who believed that the relief afforded by the Act ought to be made perpetual. The justification for the Act in the first place was that an unfair amount of public 1521 burdens was thrown upon the owners of real property as compared with the owners of personal property. The latter had already in two particular instances received large permanent relief at the expense of the owners of real property. The first of those instances was with regard to tithes, which were originally intended to apply to all personal as well as real property.
said the subject of the hon. Member's remarks would arise more properly on the next Amendment.
§ MR. CHANNING
appealed to the hon. Member for Banffshire to withdraw the Amendment, as the next point the Committee were anxious to discuss was a specific proposal to limit the Act to a definite time one way or the other, such as was embodied in the Amendments standing in the names of the hon. Member for South Molton, himself, and others. Such a proposal could be discussed in an intelligible way, and might lead to a practical result.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said the point of the Amendment was that it would not only shorten the period of the Act by nearly two years but it would put the Act in such a form as to indicate that it was a purely temporary measure and that legislation on the subject was expected at any time during the period of the continuance of the Act. It was practically pressing on the Government the necessity of further legislation. Agricultural Members on the other side of the House were alarmed because they thought that if the Bill came to an end two years earlier the question would have to be dealt with while the Liberal Party was in power. They seemed to forget, however, that the strength of the Liberal Party now-a-days was in the counties rather than in the towns, and was growing more rapidly in rural than in urban areas. The Liberal Party, therefore, would be to a great extent dependent upon its agricultural Members, and, consequently, there need be no fear that that Party would not endeavour to do something for agriculture. Supporters of the agricultural view seemed to be 1522 afraid that when the whole question of rating came up for consideration the case for agricultural land would not stand investigation. He protested against that view, for he believed that agricultural land paid more than its fair proportion of rates. What was needed was a thorough not a piecemeal investigation, followed by a permanent settlement. If the subject were properly investigated the claims of the farmers would be recognised and conceded. He pressed, therefore, for a general investigation and a speedy permanent settlement. He supported the Amendment because it would bring the measure to an end two years earlier and would make it the duty of whatever Government might then be in power to effect a settlement.
§ MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)
said the debate had been useful in that it had brought out the different points of view from which the two sides of the House regarded this measure. Many hon. Members opposite held the view that the grant should be made perpetual. That was an unworthy way of approaching the great question of rating. Whatever the claims of the applicants were they should be considered fairly and thoroughly and the matter put upon a sound basis for the future. Many members of the Opposition supported this Act strictly on the ground that it was a temporary measure, and they wanted a definite statement as to what the Government intended to do. Whatever Government was in power they would insist upon something being done as soon as possible.
I do not think the hon. Member is out of order. The hon. Member, however, must not go into the principles of the whole Bill.
§ MR. AINSWORTH
said he wished to draw attention to a point which he thought had an important bearing upon the question they were considering, and it showed the urgent necessity of having a definite statement from the Government as to how soon they intended 1523 to deal with the whole question. Here was a dole being given to a particular class, but what had happened to the rates in the meantime? There had been an enormous increase on account of the education rate. Did hon. Members consider that the renewal of the present Act dealt with the grievance of the agricultural interest in having had their rates increased in consequence of the Education Act?
§ MR. AINSWORTH
said his object was to show that as the education rate had become a great burden the sooner they remedied that state of things the better. They ought to have a definite statement from a responsible member of the Government as to when they were going to deal with this important question of rating which pressed so hardly upon the agricultural community.
§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
said he did not propose to go into the principle of the Bill, and he would simply give one or two reasons why they ought to make a stand against the policy of drift. On previous occasions they had been given some hope that after the Royal Commission had reported the Government would deal in a general way with this question, but now they had relapsed into the policy of drift. It was not only hon. Members on the Opposition side who felt uncomfortable about this policy, because the hon. Member for Essex had stated in a speech to his constituents that he should be glad to be rid of the relief which he got under the Bill. This Amendment would give the hon. Member a chance of doing that.
§ MR. DILLON
said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford had raised a point of order which clearly showed that he did not in the least understand the Amendment before the Committee. The words which had been proposed would have no legislative effect whatever.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said the hon. Member must take this Amendment in connection with the other Amendments following it, which would reduce the period from four years to two.
§ MR. DILLON
said the other Amendments had no necessary connection at all. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that because a series of Amendments were put down in the name of the hon. Member that they necessarily hung together. This Amendment stood on its own basis and it had no necessary connection with the subsequent Amendments, which raised a totally different issue, namely, the limitation of the period to 1908 instead of 1910. The object of the present Amendment was to put into the Bill words which would give notice to all concerned that it was the intention of Parliament probably to do away with this Bill and substitute a general settlement of the rating question before the date mentioned in the Bill. In his opinion the words now proposed would have no legislative effect, but the hon. Member for Banffshire thought they would act as a note of warning to those making contracts that there was a chance of repealing this Bill and introducing another system of taxation before the date fixed by this Bill. Under this Act contracts were continually being made, and when they put in a date it was held to be a pledge that the Bill would not be altered until after that date. Men making contracts took that into account.
§ MR. BLACK
said a good deal of misapprehension existed as to the effect of this Amendment. The hon. Member for East Mayo had exactly expressed the object he had in view, and what he intended by his Amendment. The qualifying words he had moved would show all parties that they might look out for changes within four years, either great or small. He proposed to press his Amendment to a division.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 163; Noes, 253. (Division List No. 154.)1527
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ashton, Thomas Gair|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Ambrose, Robert||Atherley-Jones, L.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Harwood, George||Parrott, William|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Hayden, John Patrick||Partington, Oswald|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Boland, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Brigg, John||Higham, John Sharp||Power, Patrick Joseph]|
|Brown, George M (Edinburgh)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Price, Robert John|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Reddy, M.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burt, Thomas||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Richards, Thomas(W Monm'th|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Caldwell, James||Jacoby, James Alfred||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Cameron, Robert||Johnson, John||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Joicey, Sir James||Roche, John|
|Cawley, Frederick||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Jordan, Jeremiah||Runciman, Walter|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Joyce, Michael||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kearley, Hudson E.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kitson, Sir James||Seely, Maj J E B (Isle of Wight|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Labouchere, Henry||Shackleton, David James|
|Crean, Eugene||Lamont, Norman||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Cullinan, J.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sheehy, David|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Delany, William||Lloyd-George, David||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Lough, Thomas||Slack, John Bamford|
|Dewar, John A, (Inverness-sh.)||Lundon, W.||Spencer, Rt Hn C R (Northants)|
|Dillon, John||Lyell, Charles Henry||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Dobbie, Joseph||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||M'Crae, George||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Fadden, Edward||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Kean, John||Toulmin, George|
|Ellice, Capt E C (SAndrw's Bghs||M'Kenna, Reginald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Emmott, Alfred||Mooney, John J.||Tully, Jasper|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Moss, Samuel||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Moulton, John Fletcher||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Murnaghan, George||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Murphy, John||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, N E||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whiteley, George (York, W. E.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||O'Brien, Kendal(TipperaryMid||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, JW (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersfd|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Young, Samuel|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gladstone, Rt Hn Herbert John||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Grant, Corrie||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Black and Mr. Dalziel|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Hammond, John||O'Mara, James|
|Harrington, Timothy||O'Shee, James John|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Baird, John George Alexander||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Balcarres, Lord||Bignold, Sir Arthur|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Bigwood, James|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Bill, Charles|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds||Bond, Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith|
|Arrol, Sir William||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F. (Middlesex|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Barry, Sir Francis T (Windsor)||Brassey, Albert|
|Austin, Sir John||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Bull, William James|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bentinck, Lord Henry C||Butcher, John George|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Rankin, Sir James|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ.||Hobhouse, Rt Hn H. (Somers't, E||Rasch, Sir Frederick Carne|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hogg, Lindsay||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Hoult, Joseph||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Howard, John (Kent, Faversham||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Renwick, George|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Ridley, S. Forde|
|Chapman, Edward||Hudson, George Bickereteth||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hunt, Rowland||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Coddington, Sir William||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Kerr, John||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Kimber, Sir Henry||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Knowles, Sir Lees||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Lambert, George||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Oossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Law, Andrew, Bonar (Glasgow||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th)||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks N. R.||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H.(Renfrew)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Denny, Colonel||Legge, Col. Hon. Honeage||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Levcson-Gower, Fredenck N.S.||Smith, Rt Hn J. Parker (Lanarks|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||Spear, John Ward|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Lowe, Francis William||Stanley, Edward Jas (Somerset)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)||Stirling-Maxwell Sir John M.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Fellowes, Rt Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Macdona, John Camming||Stroyan, John|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Talbot, Lord E (Chichester)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Maconochie, A. W.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxfd Univ.|
|Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Thompson, Dr. E C (Monagh'n. N|
|Fison, Frederick William||Majendie, James A. H.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Ed ward Algernon||Malcolm, Ian||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Flower, Sir Ernest Martin||Richard Biddulph||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Forster, Henry William||Maxwell, Rt Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Tuff, Charles|
|Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S.W||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfnesshire||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Turnour, Viscount|
|Gardner, Ernest||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Garfit, William||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William. H.|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Milvain, Thomas||Welby, Lt. -Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Gordon, Maj Evans (T'rH'mlets||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Morpeth, Viscount||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord,|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Morrison, James Archibald||Wills, Arthur Walters (N. Dorset|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Mount, William Arthur||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Hain, Edward||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Hamilton, Marq. Of (L'nd'nderry||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Percy, Earl||Wylie, Alexander|
|Harris, Dr. Fredk. R. (Dulwich)||Perks, Robert William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Pierpoint, Robert||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Younger, William|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Plummer, Sir Walter R.|
|Heath, Sir James (Staffords, N W||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Helder, Augustus||Purvis, Robert|
|Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W.)||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert.|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Randles, John S.|
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
rose to move an Amendment to leave out of the clause the words "one thousand nine hundred and ten" in order to insert the words "until Parliament shall otherwise determine."
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
rose to a point of order. He said the effect of this Bill was to provide for the payment of money out of taxation for four years, and his hon. friend seemed to him to propose to extend that for time immemorial. He did not mean "time immemorial," but indefinitely. He wanted to know whether it was in order for any hon. Member to propose in this way an extension of taxation.
said the Act had been extended from year to year, and there was no question of adding to taxation raised by the Amendment.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said he did not propose that the original Act should be continued for time immemorial, but only suggested that it should be continued until Parliament should otherwise determine, which was a considerable difference. It seemed to him that no useful purpose was served by making this Bill a temporary measure, so that it should lapse in 1910. It was perfectly obvious to anybody who had followed this debate that it was intended by both sides of the House that the subject of the reorganisation of rural rating should be thoroughly overhauled, and the basis of taxation put upon a more just foundation than it was at present. He thought that when that time came it would be impossible to withdraw from the agriculturist the relief which was granted by the Act of 1896. What ever view might have been taken of the Act at that time of its passage it had been in operation for nine years. and it was now impossible, without putting some equivalent in its place, to withdraw the £1,330,000 which now passed to agriculturists under it, and to increase the rating of land to more than half its value. The President of the Local Government Board had said that two conditions were necessary for dealing with the question of local taxation. The first was an overflowing Exchequer 1530 and the second a Parliament with plenty of leisure. Could they ensure that those conditions would prevail in 1910? If they could not, what was the use of allowing the Bill to lapse automatically in that year? Since the original Bill was passed in 1896, a Royal Commission on Local Taxation had been appointed, and had reported in favour of this relief being continued in the agricultural interest. At all events he thought the Government would not dispute the fact that it was their intention when they appointed that Commission to deal with the whole' subject of rural rating. They had not done so and he very much regretted it.
The first thing they would have to do would be to give a uniform system of valuing all over the country. That would take very nearly a session, and then a review of the question of rural rating would take another session. The present Chief Secretary for Ireland stated very clearly in 1901 that the position was not the same as it was in 1896. It was trebly accentuated now. In 1896 they were dealing with an Interim Report, and now they had the complete Report of the Royal Commission. Out of fifteen members thirteen reported that the case of agricultural land must be considered. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that it was the hope and desire of the Government to deal with the whole question, but it was obvious that the Government had not dealt with the question and therefore he did not see any reason why this Bill should lapse in 1910. If the Bill was just and politic in 1896 it was doubly more so now. The rates all over the country had increased since 1896. In the county of Devonshire the education rate was now treble what it was in 1896, and in other ways there had been an increase. Therefore the land would, if this Act were repealed, have to bear a greater share of taxation than it did in 1896.
But there was one other reason, and he thought it was a very strong one, why this Bill should not be allowed to lapse in 1910. When the Act of 1896 was passed there was no equivalent grant to Ireland, but by the Irish Local Government Act of 1898 1531 there was now more than an equivalent grant. Ireland by that Local Government Act received a grant far and away in excess of the sum granted under the original Act. The grant to Ireland amounted to £730,000 a year, and that was given to Ireland permanently and nobody had ever dreamed of withdrawing it. The grant to Ireland was for the relief of rates on agricultural land, and, it being made permanent, it would be an obvious injustice to the rural ratepayer in England if the relief to him should drop in 1910 unless, indeed, a parallel course was pursued in regard to Ireland. On the Second Reading of the Bill a good many arguments were adduced and a good many statements made as to the defects of the measure. He did not want to go into the subject in that way at all. It was sufficient to say that the Bill was rather severely riddled at the time it came before the House. His contention was that from the agricultural point of view this Bill was better than nothing, and therefore he hoped it would not be allowed to lapse until Parliament passed something in its place. If the Bill were allowed to lapse in 1910 or at any time without the question of rating being dealt with, the confusion which would result would be enormous. He did not think that anybody understood what enormous complications there would be, because the farmers who were paying the rent would suddenly have their rates increased, not only by the large increase which had taken place by their growth since the Act was passed, but they would lose the remission of half of them which the statute provided for. For these reasons he thought that, although this Act should not be made a permanent one it should not be repealed until Parliament had thoroughly dealt with the question of rating. He therefore moved the Amendment which stood in his name.
In page 1, line 6, to leave out the words 'one thousand nine hundred and ten' and insert the words' until Parliament shall otherwise determine."—(Mr. Lambert.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'one thousand nine hundred and' stand part of the clause."1532
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said that on one point at all events he might congratulate the hon. Member who had moved the Amendment. He meant the very extraordinary change of sentiments which had taken place among hon. Gentlemen opposite which had made it possible that such an Amendment as this could be moved from the benches opposite. He quite agreed that some hon. Gentlemen had been quite consistent in this matter, but he thought that the action which had been taken on the other side of the House showed great inconsistency. It was only necessary to recall one sentence of a speech by the Leader of the Opposition in 1896 in describing this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said it was selfish, it was unjust, the reasons for it were inexplicable, and that if it were passed it would be perilous in its consequences. After a declaration of that sort, one did not expect to have the spectacle of an hon. Member from those benches rising to move that a Bill so described should be made permanent, or at least should be permanent until Parliament should otherwise determine. He thought that such a circumstance was an eloquent description of the very remarkable change which had come over the Liberal Party.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said the Government had of course had to ask themselves what attitude they should take in connection with this Amendment, and to the principle of it they could take no exception. In 1896 the Government introduced the original statute as a permanent measure, but to conciliate hon. Gentlemen opposite its duration was reduced to five years. Again, when the first Continuance Act was introduced in 1901 it was proposed to make the measure permanent, and the duration was again reduced to four years. Again, on the present occasion, the Government had introduced a temporary instead of a permanent Bill in order to conciliate opposition. The history of the whole question showed that the Government would have preferred to have the Bill worded in the sense of the hon. Member's Amendment. After all that had been said, it must be admitted that it would 1533 be necessary to continue these Acts until some more comprehensive system had been devised and carried through the House. But if, unfortunately, that proved to be impossible, whatever Government might be in office, before 1910, he was as certain as he stood there that this Continuance Act would have to he renewed. Therefore, it might save time to make the Act permanent. But, on the other side, he remembered that the Government had introduced the Bill.as a temporary measure, and that it passed the Second Reading on the understanding that it was to be a temporary measure. The Amendment, therefore, was one which it would have been clearly improper for the Government themselves to introduce. Such an Amendment ought not to have the weight of the Government's authority thrown on its side, and the view of the Government, therefore, was that the question should be left to the decision of the Committee. [Cries of "Oh" from the OPPOSITION benches.] The Government did not desire to influence the votes of their supporters for or against this Amendment. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh" and "Report progress."]
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
said that the extraordinary speech which the Committee had just heard announced a most astounding breach of faith which deserved the prompt attention of the House. Here was a Bill introduced as a temporary measure and raising a most controversial question—controversial as raising a variety of other questions beyond the simple agricultural aspect of the case—which he might say in passing was not the most important part. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, who had championed the original Bill in 1896, had laid stress on the fact that the Bill was a temporary one; it was to be only in force pending the result of a future inquiry by a Royal Commission. The right hon. Gentleman then admitted the force of the arguments used by the late Sir William Harcourt and himself that there was as great a grievance in the urban districts as in the agricultural districts; and admitted the principle that the Bill 1534 was to be for only a limited period. After a long fight the House accepted the measure on the understanding that it would come again under the cognisance of Parliament when the Royal Commission had reported. He thought the way in which the Government had treated the Report of that Commission was not the least significant of many of their proceedings during the last nine years. That Report was a most able dealing with the whole question of local taxation; but, after it was presented, it was practically flung upon the scrap-heap by the Government. It had served their purpose; and so far as the present Government was concerned they had left out of sight all consideration for any other class in the community except the one class benefited by this Bill. He held that our system of local taxation was wholly indefensible. The whole burden was thrown on one kind of property, which was most unfair. If the question of local taxation was allowed to remain in abeyance much longer it would be a public sandal, no matter what Government was in power. The Government now proposed that by this Bill their temporary Act should be extended for a short period. His hon. friend the Member for South Molton—who in no way represented the Opposition, but who had been a consistent supporter of the Bill—proposed an Amendment to make the Act perpetual. The Government were pledged to the lips not to accept such an Amendment, and yet the right hon. Gentleman turned round and asked his supporters to vote for it—for that was the effect of saying that the Government Whips would not be put on and that the Conservative Party were to vote freely. The action was most un-Parliamentary and without parallel, and he moved, therefore, that Progress be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again."—(Sir Henry Fowler.)
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
asked whether the merits of the Question could be discussed on this Motion, and whether he 1535 would be in order in replying to the impassioned oration of the right hon. Gentleman.
No, I am afraid not. I have put the Question of progress, and the debate must be curtailed to that.
§ MR. DILLON
Was not the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton an argument in favour of reporting Progress?
The right hon. Gentleman made his speech on the Amendment before the House. [OPPOSITION cries of "No!"]
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER
I rose at once to make a charge of breach of faith against the Government, and I repeat that now. We are surely entitled to a reply from the Prime Minister.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I hope the right hon. Gentleman does not suggest that I am not anxious to give him a reply.
§ MR. DILLON
I beg to point out that the speech from beginning to end was an indictment of the action of the Government and not addressed to the Amendment.
l am quite clear on the question. The right hon. Gentleman made his speech on the Amendment before the House. There was no other Question before the House, and now that he has moved to report Progress the discussion must be confined to that.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
The right hon. Gentleman made an appeal to me, and in one sense made an attack upon me. In various of his statements he was absolutely incorrect. Shall I be allowed to reply?
If the right hon. Member withdraws his Motion speeches can be made on the Amendment before the House. [OPPOSITION cries of "No!"]
§ MR. DILLON
On a point of order, may I say that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton's speech' was altogether direct to the Motion which he has moved, that Progress he reported. That Motion is now before the House and surely the Leader of the House ought to reply to the speech which was made in moving to report Progress.
I did not know that the right hon. Gentleman was going to move to report Progress. I thought his speech was directed to the Amendment.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he presumed that it would be allowable on a Motion to report Progress for the Leader of the House to reply to the allegations made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton of improper conduct on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)
On the point of order, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, after your ruling, might I ask what would be in order?
It is quite in order to discuss the conduct of the Government in having given their approval to this Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he understood that what the Deputy-Chairman had laid down was that it would be improper to discuss whether this were a good or a bad Amendment, but that it would be in order to discuss whether the Government had committed anything in the nature of a breach of faith or of dereliction of duty in saying they would leave this an open question; and he should, therefore, abstain altogether from the discussion of whether the Amendment ought to be accepted or not. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton had told them that, in his opinion, this was a breach of faith—a violation of a pledge; but he was at a loss to know when the pledge was given, or in what 1537 the alleged breach of faith consisted. While the right hon. Gentleman in his speech, addressed, he presumed, solely to that purpose, dragged in all sorts of topics which, in his (Mr. Balfour's) opinion, were not relevant, he omitted to touch a matter which was relevant, viz., what was the character of the pledge he said they had violated?—what was that pledge?
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER
When you introduced the Bill and took the Second Reading, it passed, if not without a division, at all events practically with the support of a large section of the House upon the faith of the allegation that the Bill was of a temporary character. Your action in accepting this Amendment reverses that intention. That is the pledge which was given and which I complain, is being broken.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the right hon. Gentleman declared that it was a breach of faith to alter a temporary Bill into a permanent one in Committee. If that were so, then he presumed it would also be a breach of faith to alter a Bill from a permanent into a temporary one. But twice they had done this. Let them be perfectly clear what was meant by the allegation of breach of faith.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he failed to see that that had anything to do with the alleged breach of faith. The accusation made was that the Bill having been introduced as a temporary measure was being turned into one of a permanent character, and he asked whether it would not equally be a breach of faith to introduce a Bill as a permanent measure and turn it into a temporary one. [Cries of "No, no!"] The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton seemed to think it was a matter of enormous importance whether the Bill were temporary or permanent, but personally he did not think it was, either from the point of view of those who liked or of those who disliked the Bill. The truth was a Bill of this kind was quite certain to be renewed unless a 1538 general reform, a much needed and desired reform, of local taxation was meanwhile brought in, in which case, of course, this Bill would be supplanted and would not be required. This Bill, in their opinion, was an act of justice to a particular class, and it did not affect to be a general solution of the rating question, which was one of the most difficult and complex of problems and one which appeared to him, the more he studied it, to become more difficult and complex. It had been brought prominently before their notice by a recent debate in the House, and he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that matters were approaching something in the nature of a scandal; but this was no reason in the world why a Bill which he believed to affect a just reform, as far as it went, should not be either made permanent or renewed from time to time, as he did not doubt it would be, until the general reform was brought in. Therefore, the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton was wholly without warrant, was based, upon no argument whatever, and was quite uncalled for. If they thought the Bill was likely to be dropped when its term came to an end, he could only remind them of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on the Second Reading He tried to get out of the difficulty in which, he and his friends had placed themselves by their violent opposition to the measure in the first instance and by the calmness with which they had accepted its present renewal, and he said that when a scheme of this kind was once in operation it must go on; they could not drop it; it was sure to go on; they had to accept the fact and make the best of it; and they assented to its renewal. This argument would, of course, be used every time the Bill came on for renewal, should it be found necessary to again renew it in the absence of general legislation. He should, however, regard it as a great public calamity if a period of four years should again elapse without the House having either the time or the opportunity to deal with this complicated and thorny question of general justice in our rating system, and if the House did indeed take up this duty, as he hoped it would, then whether 1539 this measure were temporary or permanent in form it would certainly come to an end. The sooner they were able to place upon the Statute-book a general scheme which would introduce order into the chaos, and justice into the anomalies, which now affected almost every part of the rating system of the country the better.
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY (Durham, Chester-le-Street)
said he was perfectly in harmony with the hon. Member for Wolverhampton in charging the Government with a breach of faith. This was the third time this Bill had been introduced as a temporary measure.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No, I have stated that the Bill was introduced as a permanent measure on both previous occasions.
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY
, proceeding, said that the Government had not introduced it as a permanent measure on this occassion, and therefore they presumed it was not the intention of the Government to make it permanent. When the Bill passed its First and Second Reading it was passed as a temporary measure. The House and the Opposition believed this to be so; had this not been the case it would have received most strenuous opposition on the part of those opposed to the principle of the Bill. The Government secured the Second Reading pledged to this being a temporary measure, and he could not understand anyone defending the Government in taking such action as it was now doing. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, who was in charge of the Bill, wanted to shuffle off and leave it an open question, whilst he intended his followers to make it a permanent measure.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
dissented, saying that making it an open question meant that they left their supporters to vote as they thought best.
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY
thought things were coming to a pretty pass when the Government introduced a Government measure, and the Minister in charge of it said they were not going to make it a Party question, but were going to leave it to their supporters to do as they thought best, and that he would not vote at all. A more extraordinary position he had never seen during his whole twenty years experience in this House. The right hon. Gentleman might think he would deceive the country, but he would not. The Leader of the Opposition would never have advised his followers not to oppose the Act if it had been a permanent measure; and this attempt of the Government to get it made permanent was a most mean one. For his part he should give it his strongest opposition.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said that when any charge of breach of faith was brought against the Government, those who made it ought to be fully informed as to the facts. The right hon. Gentleman opposite and his friends were wrong in saying that this Act had always been treated as a temporary measure. Both when originally introduced and upon its renewal five years afterwards it was brought forward as a permanent measure, and there was absolutely no foundation for the charge of breach of faith against his right hon. friend. It was true that on both occasions changes were made in Committee for reasons stated at the time, and hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to be the last persons in the world to raise the difficulties they were now raising. The whole afternoon they had been clamouring for the reduction of the period of the Bill by two years—
reminded the right hon. Gentleman that the question before the Committee was a Motion to report Progress.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said he was giving reasons for not reporting Progress. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had been declaring all the afternoon that if the measure was made temporary it would be impossible; to deal with the question until the 1541 period of the Act had expired, thereby expressing the desire that it should be made permanent.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
quite agreed that when charges of breach of faith were made they should be based on accurate information, but the right hon. Gentleman opposite had said nothing in his remarks to minimise the gravity of the charge or to show in any way that it was unfounded. According to the right hon. Gentleman's own confession the original Bill was introduced as a permanent measure, but in order to get it through the House the concession was made that it should be only a temporary measure. Then when its first term of currency was expiring, the measure was reintroduced as a permanent proposal, and again for the purpose of obtaining the assent of the House it was given a temporary character. Therefore, so far as the Bill had ever been an Act it had been nothing but a purely temporary measure, and the Second Reading of the Bill this year was obtained on the assumption and the express understanding that it was to have the same temporary character as the two Acts which had preceded it. But what, after all, was the description the Government themselves had given of the measure? In the King's Speech they announced their intention of introducing Bills "for the renewal of the Agricultural Rates Act and other temporary Acts." It was therefore distinguished from other proposals as a renewal of a temporary measure. How under these circumstances the Government could affect to treat it as an open question passed his comprehension, and he thought his right hon. friend was perfectly entitled to take the sense of the House upon his Motion.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
thought hon. Gentlemen opposite hardly realised the position in which they were placing themselves or the claim they were making. An Amendment moved from the other side of the House had been favourably—perhaps too favourably—received by the Minister in charge of the Bill, and their claim really was that no Minister should be allowed to accept an Amendment, however reasonable, moved by his opponents. The President of the Local Government Board, while recognis- 1542 ing that the Bill was introduced as a temporary measure, saw no objection in principle to the Amendment moved by an hon. Member opposite. Was he, there fore, to array the whole forces of the Government against what he considered to be a reasonable proposal? Was the right course to make a violent speech against it and call all the forces of the Government into the lobby against it. He thought not. Whether the right hon. Gentleman had taken the most prudent course was another point. The Prime Minister said he would leave the Amendment to the House. He wished the Government would always take that course and leave the decision to the House without putting on the Party Whips, whenever they saw certain merits in an Amendment. He had risen to say that he thought it was very unfortunate that hon. and right hon. Members opposite should accuse the Government of a breach of faith because they had shown a readiness to accept an Amendment proposed by an hon. Member opposite.
§ MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
said that upon this question differences were fundamental, particularly with reference to the concrete question which they had before them. The renewal of this Act was a question which ought to be kepi within the control of the House of Commons, because the landlords' House would have the determination of the question whether it should remain perpetual. So long as the Act remained a temporary one so long they would know that those? who opposed it would have an opportunity of taking the sense of the House of Commons effectively upon the question whether it should continue in force or not; but the moment they made it a perpetual measure they would place it beyond the power of the House of Commons and hand it over to the House which was most interested in the question, namely, the House of Lords, whose consent would be necessary to repeal it. In the past there had been an abortive attempt made to introduce this Bill as a permanent measure, but the Government gave up attempting to make it permanent and proposed it as a temporary Bill. The House of Commons had twice insisted upon this Bill being converted from a 1543 permanent to a temporary measure, and upon the third occasion the Second Reading was obtained upon the understanding that it was to be temporary. To make it permanent would be to remove the greatest lever that existed in favour of that effort, which all sides agreed ought to be made, to alter the whole basis and reorganise the whole system of rating. So long as the measure remained temporary they acknowledged that there ought to be a complete solution and they had a lever, and power, and inducement, and some compulsion, to bring to bear on whatever Government might be in power to undertake that difficult task; but when they removed that lever by making the measure permanent they postponed the redress of that grievance which everybody agreed existed, and which they were unanimous in believing ought to be remedied.
§ MR. MILDMAY (Devonshire, Totnes)
said he thought the right hon. Gentleman was under a misapprehension. The Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for South Molton was merely an indication that the Bill was to be a temporary expedient. He was voting for a temporary expedient until a larger measure of local taxation reform was introduced. There were a great many Members on that side of the House who would not vote for the Amendment for one moment if they thought that the Bill was anything but a temporary expedient. They only wanted justice for the agriculturists, and they were convinced that this Bill would give it to them.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
said it was perfectly true that the Bill as originally introduced in 1896 was permanent in its character, but in its passage through that House it was altered to a temporary measure. And why? The reason for that alteration was the pressure put upon the Government by their own supporters who were borough Members. He took an active part in opposing that Bill, and a full score of borough Members came to him upon its introduction and informed him that in their judgment it was an unfair and unjust Bill for the boroughs, and they said that unless the Government could see their way to introduce a temporary clause 1544 they would join with him in opposing it. It was a wrong action on the part of the Government at the present time, without any notification to the large band of their borough supporters, practically to accept this Amendment. They should have had warning of what was going to happen. His right hon. friend had informed the House that if the Bill were passed as a permanent measure it would require the assent of another place in order to repeal it. It was possible that the financial clause might be repealed by the Finance Bill, but the first clause could never be repealed without the assent of the House of Lords. He appealed to Members and especially to the London representatives, whose constituents were already being charged the equivalent of a 3d in the £1 rate in order to make good the funds necessary for carrying out that Act, to say whether it was fair of the Government to spring this mine upon them without due notification, and to make the Act a permanent measure. He would suggest to the Prime Minister and to the President of the Local Government Board that it was not fair to their own constituencies to act in this manner. Would it not be an error in tactics on the part of the Government to oppose this Motion? Let the matter be well considered by every Member of the House, and that if, after the lapse of a week, they were in favour of the measure being made permanent it would be a different thing altogether.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that all difficulty would be got rid of if the hon. Member for South Molton would withdraw his Amendment, which, he assured the Committee, the Government did not wish to press upon him. It was a bomb thrown from the other side of the House. There were many hon. Gentlemen on that side who would like this to be a permanent measure, and many who would not like it. The hon. Gentleman who had thrown this apple of discord into their midst was evidently regarded by all his own friends as having suddenly raised a question of which they had had no notice, although it was down on the Paper, and if he withdrew the Amendment they might resume in tranquillity the further consideration of the measure.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said the Government had been in favour of the principle contained in this Amendment. The Bill had been described in the King's Speech as a "temporary measure." [Cries of "No."] Yes, that was so. It was stated that the Agricultural Rates Act, and other temporary measures, were to be renewed. The renewal of temporary measures did not mean that they were to be made permanent by any possible twisting of words. The hon. Member for South Molton had always disagreed with the whole of his Party on this question—[An HON. MEMBER: No!]—and he believed he was quite alone to-day in the position he had taken up, just as he had very often been alone before. The Government were at one time in favour of the principle of this Amendment, but they deserted it under pressure from the borough Members. Now when the proposal came from the Opposition side of the House it was to be accepted when the borough Members were not there. When the Opposition accepted the Bill on the Second Reading it was understood on both sides of the House that in Committee only technical alterations would be made. It was certainly not understood that the great alteration which the Amendment would nvolve was going to be made without the House of Commons having notice about it. He put it to the Prime Minister's sense of fairness not to press the matter further that day. He supported the Motion to report Progress. He was speaking in the interests of agriculture and he hoped the Motion to report Progress would be carried. He believed the Government were under quite a misapprehension as to the opinion of their own followers on this question.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE
said he wished to submit a point in support of the suggestion made by the Prime Minister in order to get the Committee out of the difficulty. If the Amendment were adopted it would make this Act of Parliament permanent; and this was how the Courts would have to interpret it:—Clause 1 of the Act of 1901 would read as follows: "The period of the continuance of the Agricultural Rates Act of 1896 is hereby extended until the 31st day of March 1546 until Parliament otherwise determine." Now, that was absolute nonsense. The hon. Member for South Molton moved his Amendment in the wrong place.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
thought that some other course should be adopted from that suggested by the Prime Minister. The Deputy-Chairman should rule that the Amendment was out of order because it would not read in with the Act of 1896. He thought the Prime Minister must feel some hesitation in carrying the point further when he considered the position of the borough Members of the House. It was said that the proposal now made was a breach of faith. Ten years ago it was promised that the case of the great cities in regard to rating should be considered in the time to come. The time to come had come and the case had not been considered. There never was a case of so much urgency for reporting Progress in order to let the outside public understand what was being done by this Act being made permanent. It was perfectly unprecedented that the President of the Local Government Board, who was in charge of the Bill, and whose duty it was to advise the House, could not advise them when the case was not clear.
THE DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN
The noble Lord has asked me a point of order. The Amendment has come in the wrong place and it makes nonsense of the original Act, without some additional words.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said that the debate they had had was a most interesting object lesson of the manner in which the House was led; and he thought the statement which the Deputy-Chairman had just made was sufficient to induce the Committee to register their votes to report Progress. The Amendment of the hon. Member for South Molton was moved in a very small House, with very few Members—almost half-a-dozen—on that side; and he maintained that the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board had taken was not proceeding fairly, inasmuch as he seemed to regard the alteration of the whole character of the Bill as a 1547 minor matter. In the first place, it was unfair, because he brought forward the Bill as a temporary measure in order to get a Second Reading for it; in the second place, he got it into Committee as a temporary measure, knowing that scores of Members who voted for the Second Reading of the Bill would have been there that afternoon to vote against altering it from a temporary to a permanent measure. The right hon. Gentleman got the Second Reading under false pretences, because he must have known that at that moment the Government were willing to alter the whole character of the Bill. They all knew the reason of the change. The right hon. Gentleman had been "nobbled "—not for the first time—by the right hon. Member for Sleaford.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford would say that he did not know that the Government were going to treat this Amendment of the hon. Member for South Molton as an open question he would withdraw his remark. The right hon. Gentleman remained silent. Many hon. Members knew it. The hon. Member for South Molton knew it; but it was kept a secret. Why were these secret conclaves held? This decision was to be taken in a small House in consequence of private discussions and arrangements. He said chat to take such a course was not treating the Committee with proper respect, and they ought, he thought, to protest against the shabby treatment of the Government in taking off their Whips in regard to this matter. Did any Member of the Committee ever hear of such a condition of things as a Minister in charge of a Bill running out when a division was called, and, having his own opinion on the subject, not coming forward to express it. He did not know whether 1548 the Prime Minister thought he was going to save the time of the House by taking this sort of course. The right hon. Gentleman could have had the whole Bill two hours ago but for this, and he thought they ought to protest against the Government's action.
§ MR. DILLON
said the Chairman's ruling was an absolutely unanswerable argument in favour of reporting Progress. What had occurred was an unprecedented thing in the history of the House of Commons. Here was a Minister leading the House in regard to a Bill of his Department, and here was an Amendment which had been on the Paper for days, if not a week, and the Minister got up and announced in a solemn speech that he was going to leave it an open question, and after wasting an hour of the time of the House they found they were talking about a nonsensical Amendment all the time. The Minister in charge of the Bill apparently never took the trouble to examine the Notice Paper and satisfy himself that this Amendment was sensible. [An HON. MEMBER: It is not the first time that the House has done it.] Quite so; it was not the first time that the House had done it, but it was the first time that a Leader of the House, and a Minister in charge of a Bill, had accepted an Amendment which was nonsense. He would not blame the President of the Local Government Board if this had been an Amendment sprung upon the Committee, because it was not very easy all of a sudden to tell whether an Amendment fitted in the Bill. When, however, an Amendment had been on the Paper for a week the matter was different. In this case not much labour was involved in examining the Notice Paper as there were only three Amendments to this Bill. Yet the Minister in charge of the Bill could not find out whether the Amendment was sensible or not. Under these circumstances he supported the Motion to report Progress in order to give the President of the Local Government Board time to study the Amendment.
§ MR. KEARLEY
thought they were entitled to ask the Minister in charge of 1549 the Bill to have the other Amendment on the Paper properly examined so that the House of Commons might be prevented from making itself extremely foolish. They had wasted a couple of hours on this Amendment, and it seemed an extraordinary thing that the right hon. Gentleman should stand up and debate
§ an Amendment when he had not discovered whether the Amendment was sensible or not.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 170; Noes, 219. (Division List No. 155.)1553
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Malley, William|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Hammond, John||O'Mara, James|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harrington, Timothy||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Allen, Charles P.||Harwood, George||O'Shee, James John|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hayden, John Patrick||Parrott, William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert||Henry Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.||Partington, Oswald|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Higham, John Sharp||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Benn, John Williams||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Price, Robert John|
|Black, Alexander William||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Priestley, Arthur|
|Blake, Edward||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Reddy, M.|
|Boland, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Johnson, John||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Burt, Thomas||Joyce, Michael||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Caldwell, James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Cameron, Robert||Kennedy, Vincent P.(Cavan, W||Roche, John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Lambert, George||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lamont, Norman||Runciman, Walter|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Shackleton, David James|
|Crean, Eugene||Levy, Maurice||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lewis, John Herbert||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Crooks, William||Lloyd-George, David||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Cullinan, J.||Lougn, Thomas||Sheehy, David|
|Dalziel, Jamos Henry||Lundon, W.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Slack, John Bamford|
|Delany, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Devlin, Ch. Ramsay (Galway)||M'Fadden, Edward||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||M'Kean, John||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Dillon, John||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dobbie, Joseph||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Mooney, John J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Moss, Samuel||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Moulton, John Fletcher||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Edwards, Frank||Murnaghan, George||Ure, Alexander|
|Ellice, Capt E C (S. Andrw'sBghs||Murphy, John||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Emmott, Alfred||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||Norman, Henry||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nussey, Thomas Wilans||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'brien James F. X. (Cork)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Wills, Arthur Walters (N. Dorset|
|Field, William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Findlay, Alexander (L'na'k.Ne||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Young, Samuel|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||O'Dowd, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. Causton.|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Grant, Corrie||J O'Kelly, James (Roscommon N|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Faber, George Denison (York)||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Fellowes, Rt Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.|
|Arnold-Forster Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs)||Milvain, Thomas|
|Arrol, Sir William||Fisher, William Hayes||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fison, Frederick William||Morgan, David J. (Walthamstow|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Austin, Sir John||Flower, Sir Ernest||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Forster, Henry William||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Gordon, Maj Evans (T'rH'mlets||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Percy, Earl|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Graham, Henry Robert||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Pilkington, Colonel Richard|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Gunter, Sir Robert||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Purvis, Robert|
|Beach. Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Randles, John S.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bigwood, James||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Bill, Charles||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Bond, Edward||Heath, Sir James (Staffords N W||Renwick, George|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn||Helder, Augustus||Ridley, S. Forde|
|Brassey, Albert||Henderson. Sir A. (Stafford, W.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hogg, Lindsay||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Butcher, John George||Hoult, Joseph||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Houston, Robert Paterson||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ.||Howard, John (Kent, Faversham||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Samuel, Sir Harry S (Limehouse|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hunt, Rowland||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew)|
|Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kerr, John||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Chapman, Edward||Kimber, Sir Henry||Smith, H. C (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Knowles, Sir Lees||Spear, John Ward|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lanes.)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks N. R||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Stroyan, John|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxfd Univ.|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol. S)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lowe, Francis William||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Tuff, Charles|
|Denny, Colonel||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Turnour, Viscount|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Macdona, John dimming|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Doughty, Sir George||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Douglas, Rt- Hon. A Akers-||M'lver Sir Lewis (Edinburgh, W||Warde Colonel C E|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Majendie, James A. H.||Welby Sir Charles G.E.(Notts.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Malcolm, Ian||White Luke (York E.R.)|
|Dyke.Rt.Hn. Sir William Hart||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Maxwell. Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia|
|Wilson, John (Glasgow)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||Younger, William|
§ Question again proposed, "That the words 'one thousand nine hundred and' stand part of the clause."
§ And, it being after half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.