§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. EMMOTT (Oldham) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 12:
§ MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)
, in moving the omission of subsection (1), said he had not up to now intervened in these debates, because there were many hon. Members far better acquainted with the details of these intricate questions of time-limits, reduction periods, and other terms which conveyed little meaning to the uninstructed mind, but he must say that when he read subsection (1) of Clause 12, it seemed to him that it was a section against which anyone knowing nothing about the question could venture to raise his voice in protest, because a more undemocratic, a more autocratic, clause had never been introduced into any Bill in that House. If hon. Members opposite would look at Clause 14 they would see that His Majesty was authorised to appoint a Licensing Commission consisting of a chairman and two other Commissioners. Clause 12, which they were now discussing, said that all sums payable in respect of compensation under the Act as a consequence of reduction—Shall be paid by the Licensing Commission, and in order to meet those payments the Licensing Commission shall impose in each year of the reduction period, equally throughout England and Wales, in respect of the renewal of all old 297 on-licences, charges at such rates (graduated in the same proportion as the rates shown in the scale of charges set out in the second Schedule to this Act) as may be necessary for the purposes.He would draw the attention of the Committee to that extraordinary provision. It said they might charge at such rates, graduated in the same proportion as the rates in the schedule, as might be necessary. It did not say they must charge as allowed in the Schedule, but only in proportion to the Schedule, and therefore, if he read the clause aright, they were asked by the Government to part with the one power which he always imagined the House of Commons most jealously guarded, namely, the power to regulate the levying of taxes and of rates in this country. Every year they voted a tax of so much per pound on tea and on sugar; every year they said that the income-tax should be so much in the £; but they were asked here to say that the Licensing Commission, a Commission appointed nominally by the Crown but of course in practice by the Government of nineteen or twenty men, should be allowed to tax the licensing trade as high as ever they liked for the purpose of reducing licences, as long as they kept to the proportion laid down in the second schedule of the Act. It seemed to him that that was an absolutely unheard of proposal and one which the Committee ought to hesitate over before allowing it to pass into law. If they carried their minds back 250 years they found that that was the very thing which the Parliament of King Charles I. wrested from the Crown, i.e., the power of levying taxes without the sanction of Parliament, and yet the Government now said: "Trust the three Commissioners so much as to allow them to impose what taxes they like upon the licensed trade." It was not as if the Commissioners were a popularly elected body. The old school boards could make what rates they liked, but they were popularly elected; and in the same way any town council had power to levy a rate, but they were popularly elected and answerable to the electors for the rates which they levied. Even the Metropolitan Water Board, although it was a semi-popularly elected body, was limited in its power of levying a rate. There was really nothing more to be said. He should be very anxious 298 to hear what the Government had to say in support of the proposal, and when he had heard what they had to say he might be able to answer their statements. He begged to move.
In page 7, line 29, to leave out subsection (1)."—(Mr. Ashley.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'reduction' in line 31, stand part of the clause."
§ *MR. G. D. FABER (York)
said that in the earlier stages of the Bill they discussed the authority which should have the control over the reduction of licences, and now they had got to say who should have control of the compensation fund, what should be the maximum of the levy, and how it should be raised. The Prime Minister, in introducing the Bill, mis-described the compensation fund when he called it a national fund. The description gave rise to the criticism that the Bill only applied to England and Wales, and as he understood the homogeneousness of this country, under the name "nation" Ireland and Scotland were included, but they found no place in the Bill, for reasons no doubt well known to the Government. The second criticism he had to offer on the expression of the Prime Minister was that the nation were not finding the fund at all. Dust had been thrown in the eyes of the country from the first initiation of this matter until now as regards the so-called national compensation fund. The nation were not finding a penny piece. The people who were finding the money were a very small portion of the nation, only those interested in licensed premises. Therefore, let them no longer call it a national fund but call it what it was, an insurance fund paid by the trade to provide against their own extinction. What was the meaning of an insurance fund? They insured against some injury that might happen to them, such as fire, or death; they made a payment, and they presumed a benefit. But what was the method adopted by the Government in this Bill as regards the extinction of licences? They had chosen, in spite 299 of expostulation and protestation, to divide the whole of the country for reduction purposes into infinitesimal areas. They were not content with the large areas of the Act of 1904, the quarter sessions and large borough areas; nothing would content them but to cut up the whole country into the smallest possible areas—wards in the boroughs and parishes in the rural parts of the country. Then let the Government be consistent. Surely the same plan ought logically to be followed for compensation purposes. He would instance the City of Leeds, and take a ward in that city, which would not require to be interfered with under the reduction scheme at all, as it only had the number of licences it was entitled to have. But how was the compensation levy going to act in that ward? If no licence in that ward was going to be touched, surely the levy ought not to apply to it. Why was it to find part of the levy if not a single licence in that area was to be affected by the reduction scheme of the Bill? It received no benefit from the reduction, and therefore why should it pay? It might be said that the areas were so small that although this particular area would suffer no loss of licensed houses, it would gain in trade from some adjoining area which would lose licensed houses. That argument would come with strange force from the opposite side of the House, because the whole idea of the Bill, as he understood it, was that the reduction of licensed houses lessened the amount of drink consumed. Therefore, it did not lie with the other side to say that this particular area would benefit, because, according to them, as a licence was extinguished so was the amount of drink arising out of that licence also extinguished. If he enlarged the area the injustice would become more apparent. Under the scheme of the Government, Leeds would lose a number of licences, proceeding by areas, although, if they took the whole of Leeds, that city was entitled to more than it would get under the Bill. It was perfectly clear that the particular ward he had mentioned would not benefit. It would have to pay a compensation levy year by year at the maximum rate — and perhaps, as he would show, above the maximum rate—and yet it could receive absolutely no 300 benefit whatever. To put the matter even more forcibly still, why was one particular ward in Leeds, where reduction was not called for, to pay for the extinction of licences, say, in Northumberland or in Cornwall? Under the scheme, the Government did not intend to be content with the statutory reduction of 32,000 licences during the statutory period, but they had put in provisions for optional reduction and for local option in Wales. How, he asked, could a small area in Leeds be benefited by local option in Wales?
said he did not wish to call the hon. Member to order, but he would point out that there was an Amendment further down dealing with the word "equally," and if the whole question were discussed just now, of course the debate could not be repeated on that Amendment when they came to it.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said that in that case perhaps it would be better if he did not discuss the matter, as he did not wish to prejudge any question which might arise hereafter and prevent hon. Members from going into details when that Amendment was reached. Therefore, he would try to apply himself to the more general discussion of the subsection, but it did seem to him most important to point out to the Committee how extraordinarily unfairly this new levy would act when it was applied to the licensing areas throughout the country. His whole understanding of an insurance fund had been that the person insuring had some chance of benefiting by the insurance.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
, referring to the point of order, said the Amendment as to the word "equally" came a very long way down in the Amendments. There was little chance of its being reached, and if the questions arising on this subsection were not discussed then they might not have an opportunity of doing them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
said he understood that the Chairman's view was that the discussion was not out of order but they could not have it twice over, and that if they were going 301 to discuss the matter generally, including all the questions which arose naturally and properly upon the word "equally," on the consideration of the omission of the subsection, he would not allow them to repeat the arguments when they reached the word "equally." If he were right, it would be a matter for the convenience, of the Committee whether they were to take the whole discussion, including the discussion on the word "equally," on the subsection, or whether they limited themselves to those questions which did not touch the word "equally." If that were so, he was inclined to think they ought to discuss the whole matter then.
said he only mentioned it as a matter of convenience, and to make it clear that if the Committee desired to discuss that point later he did not think it should be discussed in detail then.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said that, as far as he was concerned, without wishing in any way to weary the Committee or duplicate argument, perhaps it would be best that he should complete his argument on this point. He objected to the way in which the Government had divided the country up for reduction purposes. The Act of 1904 at any rate committed no mistake of that kind, and that statute was consistent within its own four corners. It had the Quarter Sessions area, and it provided for reduction and compensation within that area, so that if any licensed house was extinguished under the scheme, the surviving houses might be presumed somehow or other to get benefit, either a near or more remote benefit, according to the situation of the particular licensed house which was extinguished. But here under this ill - conceived and inconsistent measure they found in one part of the Bill the area of the country cut up into these small squares, like squares upon a chess-board, whereas when they came to deal with compensation it was to be from a so-called national fund. It seemed to him inconceivably unjust that a man who owned a licensed house in one part of the country, and in an area in which the number of licensed 302 houses was within the scale laid down by the Bill, should yet have to pay a compensation levy year after year in respect of licensed houses at the other end of the country. He had been taught from his childhood upwards that virtue was its own reward, but this was going a step further and saying that although a particular area was so virtuous as not to require the extinction of any licences, yet that area was to be mulcted and penalised in exactly the same degree as if it were a malefactor in the matter of drink. Then let them take local option in Wales. Why was his pet ward in Leeds to pay an unknown levy year after year in order to keep Wales sober? Why should it be appointed to discharge such an impossible task, and have to pay for it as well? The Government had mixed up their ideas. Where it was reduction they wanted to draw the net as close as possible and make the meshes of it as small as possible, but when they came to the compensation the net was thrown so wide that the whole licensed properties in the country had to pay for individual extinctions. As regarded the compensation fund, it had been well pointed out by the mover of the Amendment that even now, with all the patent hardships inflicted by the Bill, the trade knew nothing about the maximum of compensation. The Bill pointedly, and with malice aforethought, omitted to state the maximum. He thought the Committee would agree with him that there was no such malign intention in the Act of 1904. It was intended under that Act that the trade should know where it was, and in the schedule was found a "maximum rate of charge," but he could not find those words in this Bill—a most significant omission. If they looked here for a word of that sort, corresponding with the Act of 1904, they found nothing at all. The word "maximum" was never mentioned, and that was the difference between the two Bills, which was a malign and premeditated difference. The point became still more acute because of the unfairness of the Government in making one part of the country pay for another. That was to say, that an innocent ward, with an average number of public-houses, would not 303 only have to pay according to the Schedule, but might have to pay much more, and receive no benefit. That could never have been intended by the Government in their better moments, because even this Government had their good moments, though he must say their bad ones were much more numerous. But the Government could surely not have intended to give the authorities carte blanche as to the amount of levy. Great injustice might arise, because although there was a financial check provided further on in the section with regard to local option in Wales, no one could possibly tell, when once this scheme of compensation was set up, exactly what levy would be required. The Inland Revenue were going to assess the compensation. The Licensing Commission would have no more to do with the assessment than the man in the moon. What they were going to do was to fix the levy. If the Licensing Commission were ardent temperance reformers they might not be satisfied with the maximum levy. They could not directly impose anything more I than the maximum levy for local option in Wales, but they might start the levy for statutory reductions with a much higher levy than that named in the Bill and so would have a large amount in hand for purposes of Welsh local otpion. There was nothing to prevent them from doing that. The Bill said they could impose any levy they considered necessary. He would like to know under these circumstances whether there was anything to prevent the Licensing Commissioners starting in that way—imposing a high levy and utilising the surplus thereby gained for local option in Wales. If there was not, this clause was a dangerous one indeed. It was going to be a further chastisement of the licensed trade not by whips but by scorpions. It was not fair that the Committee should be left in this uncertainty with regard to the levy. They had a right to demand what was to be the maximum amount of the levy for all purposes.
Which was the fairer of the two schemes—that of the Act of 1904, or that contained in this Bill? Under the Act of 1904 the trade itself paid the full compensation. The matter was put fairly 304 before the trade, who knew the burden they would have to bear, and who accepted it, because the licensed houses which were left either directly or indirectly got the benefit of the reduced competition of those who were extinguished, and there was no time-limit. What was the policy of this Bill? A short reduction period, with local option besides, and a time-limit. And when the so-called compensation scheme was put into operation it was in so flagrantly unfair a manner that those in one part of the country received compensation from those in another from whom they were not entitled to get it. He contended that this Bill was brought in simply for the sake of knocking down, one after another, the provisions of the Act of 1904. It might be magnificent, but it was not business. This clause was an unfair one from beginning to end, and therefore he should give it his most uncompromising opposition.
§ THE SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir S. EVANS,) Glamorganshire, Mid.
said that the points raised by the subsection were, broadly speaking, two. First of all, whether or not the fund to be raised by means of the compensation levy ought to be a national fund, and therefore administered by a central body; and secondly, what the levy ought to be. On these two general questions they must proceed on the lines adopted all through the Committee and the House, namely, that the policy of the measure, so far as it had already had the approval of the House, was that there must be a statutory reduction according to the scheme. That reduction was compulsory. The hon. Member who spoke last had again adverted to the injustice of raising a levy from a particular house for the purpose of extinguishing the licence of another house far away in some other part of the country. That was an incident which was inseparable from the Act of 1904. Any boundary they might take would raise inequalities of that kind. He had had complaints made to him over and over again in the county of Glamorgan that a new hotel in one corner of the county had to pay a large sum for compensating two or three small houses extinguished in another part of the county, without any chance 305 at all of benefiting itself, because its licence would not be taken away. Certainly, when they took a boundary as big as a county those inequalities constantly occurred. The hon. Member for York had said that they ought not to raise a levy from a house unless it would be benefited by the reduction directly or indirectly. It was quite conceivable that two houses in different counties were so situated that, if the licence of one was extinguished, the other would benefit, whereas in the same county they could have houses so far apart that there was no possibility of one benefiting by the extinction of another. It followed naturally from the scheme of the Government Bill that, in having a uniform compulsory reduction, the levy ought to be contributed to a national fund. What ought that levy to be? On that point important considerations would arise. The levy they had specified in the Schedule was exactly the same as was provided by the Act of 1904. It followed, however, from their having placed upon the justices the obligation to make this compulsory reduction of licences, that, if the necessity arose, there should be no difficulty in the way of their performing the statutory reduction because there were no funds in the coffers of the Licensing Commission. Therefore, in the case of the statutory reduction, the levy might be conceivably increased, though they believed there would be little possibility of a larger levy for the purpose. It was provided in the Bill that, should the necessity arise, some increase might be made to the levy for the purpose of making statutory reductions. He thought the Committee would at once come to the conclusion that, at any rate for the first four, five, six, possibly seven years, there would be no optional reduction at all. The Licensing Commission, dealing with the statutory reduction, would have their hands full, and it really was probable that until they had had the statutory reduction there would be no great necessity for an optional reduction. They would not be permitted to allow an optional reduction under this Bill unless they had the funds already at their disposal, which could only be obtained as by the Schedule which appeared in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had referred to the point that the levy would be made 306 all over the country. Practically speaking, there was little difference between the provisions of this Bill and what was done under the Act of 1904. Except the compensation authorities of Grimsby, Great Yarmouth, Brighton, Bradford and Carmarthen, the levy was raised, to some extent, by every compensation authority throughout the kingdom. So, broadly speaking, the levy was raised all over the country. It was true that in a certain number of cases, thirteen, he believed, the levy of the licensing authorities had not come up to the maximum rate.
§ MR. ASHLEY
asked whether Blackpool had now to pay compensation under this Bill for licences extinguished in London.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said it followed from what he had stated that if there were houses to be extinguished Blackpool would have to pay compensation.
§ MR. ASHLEY
asked whether that could be so, having regard to the population of Blackpool and the number of houses there.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said he did not know what the population was, but whatever might be the amount realised by the levy all over the country it would go back only to the people who had contributed to the compensation fund. As he had pointed out, with the exception of the six cases he had mentioned, and the thirteen where a smaller amount had been raised, the levy had reached the maximum rate according to the schedule of the Act of 1904. Admitting that they were dealing with the counties, with the areas of the licensing justices, practically speaking they had the levy according to the maximum rate raised all over the country. With the few exceptions he had named, the operation of this Bill would be the same as under the Act of 1904. First of all, they provided that there should be a national fund; therefore, it followed that the national fund should go to the coffers of some body like the Licensing Commission, which would be a body, according to the Amendments the Government had on the Paper, responsible to Parliament, The Commissioners 307 would pay compensation out of their funds according to the schemes prepared by the justices. Having regard to what they had already decided in reference to statutory reduction, they thought that the Commissioners should have the power, if necessity should arise, to increase to whatever extent might be necessary the scale in the Schedule.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
asked whether that power was given to Quarter Sessions under the Act of 1904.
§ SIR S. EVANS
replied that it was not given to Quarter Sessions under that Act, because there was no statutory reduction at all. It was because the justices were compelled to make a scheme of statutory reduction under the Bill that power of that kind was necessary.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said they were very much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for the effort which he had made to relieve their anxiety and doubts. There were still, however, some points to which he had referred, and some points to which he had not referred, on which he thought further discussion would be necessary. The hon. and learned Gentleman had begun by saying that even under the Act of 1904, or under this Bill which dealt with areas, some cases of inequality necessarily arose. Of course, nobody in the House would deny that almost self-evident proposition. In all those cases it must be a question of degree. They were dealing here with a question of degree. Take the instance of making roads in an agricultural county adjoining a county where minerals were raised. The roads of the agricultural county were used for the heavy mineral traffic from which the authorities of that county, who made the roads, derived no advantages. This, of course, was a great injustice to the ratepayers of the agricultural county. He quite agreed that, whatever branch of local government they were touching, whether it were connected with roads or asylums, or whatever it was, boundaries carried with them, and must inevitably carry with them, some tincture of the flavour of inequality. He did not ask the Government to do the impossible; 308 he did not ask them to avoid every case of inequality, because that would be to demand what neither they nor any Government could satisfy. But he did think that they had a right to ask them to minimise inequalities. The hon. and learned Gentleman had quoted the case, apparently within his own knowledge, of an hotel in the town which he represented, and which, itself in no danger of being extinguished, had been called upon to pay compensation in respect of those licences which were extinguished. He was glad to hear that the hon. and learned Gentleman took an interest in hotels, because, as he understood the Bill, it put them in a position of the greatest peril, and he had not made the smallest attempt to safeguard their position. They had passed without discussion, because there was not time for it, subsections which dealt with these hotels. No Amendment had been put on the Paper safeguarding them, and he really was amazed at the courage of the hon. and learned Gentleman when he quoted the case of hotels as though hotels had suffered under the Act of 1904, whereas under the happy and beneficial action of the legislation now proposed they were to be saved from some of the dangers to which a rash Unionist Government had exposed them. He would like the hon. and learned Gentleman to look at some of the Amendments which they had put down safeguarding them, and he hoped at a later stage he would consider some of the very points which he had himself raised by his illustration. Let him turn to what he admitted was a question of degree; it was not less important because it was a question of degree. If they were dealing with places like Blackpool, where, if he correctly interpreted his hon. friend's interruption, there was not more than the number of licences required, and where, therefore, there would be no statutory reduction, did not the hon. and learned Gentleman and the Committee see that every licence-holder in the country would have a real grievance when he was asked to contribute not to the good of his own neighbourhood, not to the improvement of the area in which he lived, not to improve the condition of the town in which he dwelt, but to 309 send his money to another region, perhaps not within 200 or 300 miles of where he lived, and to some other district for the purpose of abolishing superfluous licences there? In the first place, there was a very large number of cases where the owners of licences which remained had to pay compensation for the benefit of those whose licences had been extinguished. He did not say that that was universally the state of things, but it was a very common state of things. The owners of a licence in a particular county paid compensation, and the licence extinguished might be their own, while the house which benefited by the extinction of the licence might also be their own. In that case there was no feeling of hardship; on the contrary, the licences were extinguished without any great hardship to those who owned them. But these mitigating circumstances were absolutely destroyed by the method which the Government had gratuitously adopted, and now in the case of every licence-holder of whatever kind, whether he was one of those large national brewers who supplied beer to every part of the kingdom or a local brewer, whether it was a free house or one of those houses in which the licence-holder and the brewer were the same individual, the feeling of hardship created by this Bill would be inevitable and permanent. They would be compelled to subscribe for the abolition of licences in remote and unknown districts with which they had no connection whatever, and from which they could hope for no benefit. He thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman's defence, that in every system there must be some inequality and injustice, did not really meet the point. The amount of inequality and hardship was enormously and unnecessarily increased by this Bill; and, by the substitution of this paid trio sitting in London to manipulate these great funds, they had added a perfectly unnecessary element of hardship and injustice to the Bill, which, perhaps in the nature of things, must wear a harsh and unfair aspect. Who were principally affected by it? He was compelled to say on this branch of the subject that there was one obiter dictum of the hon. and learned Gentleman which they welcomed with satisfaction. The hon. and learned Gentleman said it was 310 admitted by the Government that the scale of compensation given under this Bill was much lower than that given by the Act of 1904. The scale under the Act of 1904 was the market value of the premises. Though he was quite unable to extract a plain answer to a plain question on that subject from the hon. and learned Gentleman yesterday, he was glad that he had been accidentally betrayed into an admission which gave away the whole case. There were only two or three points on which he wished to ask questions of members of the Government. As he understood their proposals the levy could not be increased in amount for the purpose of dealing with optional reductions. There was nothing in this Bill to prevent either the magistrates in England or the popular body in Wales from voting for a diminution of licences to any extent above the statutory limit. The only check was that they would be told by the central trio that they could not have their way, because there was not enough money to meet the compensation which would be necessary. If that was so just, let the Committee conceive the position of the licence-holders who were under condemnation in some Welsh parish, and who were waiting until their brethren in other parts of the country had been bled to the point which would allow them to be abolished. He thought it was the First Commissioner of Works who had told them that when a licence-holder was under condemnation they could no longer expect decent conduct from him. Let the Government consider what the position of these men and of the Welsh parish would be. The Welsh parish had determined that in the interests of sobriety every place within their limits where liquor was sold, except off-licences and clubs, was to be abolished. It wrote up to the central trio to inform them of the fact. They got back the answer that the central trio were very glad to find that this zeal for temperance existed, but, unfortunately, there were no funds forthcoming by which their policy could be carried out. That put everybody in a false position, and a grossly unfair and hard position. That seemed to him to be an insuperable part of the Bill. He did not see how that was to be got over, except by inflicting an even 311 greater hardship on the licence-holder, by giving the London trio power to increase the levy, not merely for the statutory diminution of licences, but for any eccentric and optional reduction which it might please the magistrates or the parish councils to insist upon. There was one other point on which he would like some satisfaction from the Government. As he understood the matter, it would be the business of the central trio to make an estimate of their obligations in the way of compensation. What was to happen if they made a wrong forecast? What was to happen, for instance, if they sanctioned the action of some Welsh parish, and informed them that a licence might be abolished, and then found they had inadequate funds for the purpose? If that was not provided for it was a very great mistake, because he understood the policy of the Government to be that no licence was to be optionally reduced unless there was actually money in hand with which to pay for it. He understood there was an estimate to be made of the obligations falling upon the central trio, and the money which was to meet them would be obtained under the Schedule. After all, the central trio were not likely to be better in their forecasts than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and they knew Chancellors of the Exchequer were liable to great disappointments at some times and to very unexpected windfalls at others. But if it was a case of disappointment in regard to these central gentlemen in London, he did not see that there was any provision in the Act for getting over the difficulty. They could only obtain funds by an additional levy, not at present authorised upon the trade, or else by some contribution out of the central exchequer, both of which would be very inexpedient. The Government ought to provide some safeguard for this possible danger, and though it was a question of relative detail, on which the Government would be able to satisfy them later, it might be convenient to them if he were to ask whether they would explain clearly how they meant to deal with the contingency which, if not probable, was at all events possible.
§ *MR. BARNARD (Kidderminster)
said it appeared to him that there were a 312 great many points which would work out very harshly under the operation of this section. Under the 1904 Act in many places no levy was made at all, because it was agreed by most people that it was unnecessary, and there were many places which had altered in population so vastly that they would not come under the reduction clauses of the Bill. He quoted one alone—West Ham. If he understood it aright West Ham would not have anything approaching the number of licences that the Bill did not permit. It appeared to him extremely harsh that West Ham was for all time to be called upon to contribute towards that which, under no apparent possibility, would be required at that place. There were many little difficulties of a business character which kept asserting themselves in this Bill, and which unfortunately they did not get an opportunity of discussing. It was a very difficult position when they were to have 800 parishes in England and Wales, with under fifty inhabitants, who might be voting some one way and some another. In a large borough there would be wards. In the borough he represented with 20,500 people, it would be one vote and one vote alone. There did not appear to be any advantage in this great disparity, and he very much hoped the Government would alter their local option area. It would be a great deal better and sounder to state what was to be the maximum levy. The last Bill did that, and there was no reason why the present Bill should not do the same thing. He was very glad to hear the remark of the Leader of the Opposition when he said the Solicitor-General had admitted what they all knew, that the compensation awarded would in the future be upon a much lower scale than the present one. As far as he understood the situation, if they spoke it plainly and without trying to keep anything back, it amounted to this. The amount which under Schedule A they would be receiving would be greatly in excess of what they had been receiving before for purposes of compensation. There was no question that under this Schedule A treatment the trade would have to pay a vast amount more in rates, and a great deal more in compensation levy, and a great deal 313 more in licence duty. Let the Committee compare what they had been doing under the 1904 Act. They had been reducing, at a higher scale of payment, about 1,500 licences a year. They required to reduce a little over 2,000 a year under the present Bill. If that was done it was pretty clear that they would before long have a very big surplus of money, if they levied under the present scale, and paid out under the proposal of the Bill. He put it very seriously to the Government whether they could not put in the Bill a provision to settle what was to happen to any surplus, if there was any, at the finish of this transaction. Was it to go back to the people who had paid it? It was highly desirable that something should be put into the Bill to say what was to be done with any surplus, because there would be very many hands wanting to grasp it. It was also highly desirable that if such indefinite and unknown powers were given to these three individuals, they should be told exactly what was to be the control over them. Parliament he knew had control, but he had heard remarks about the Irish Land Commissioners and others, which did not give a very clear idea as to how the control was always used. According to the way he looked at it, Part II. of the Bill did not limit their control. In one or two places it said: "The Commissioners may, with the approval of the Secretary of State and with the consent of the Treasury," employ a certain number of people, and so on. If it was proper to limit them in one way, if they were to be given such powers as these, they ought to have something definite which would clearly state to whom they were amenable, and what opportunities there would be of discussing what they were doing.
§ MR. BARNARD
admitted that the Chairman was perfectly right, but his troubles had been so numerous in these respects that he had to take the opportunity of saying this in the hope that the Government at a later stage, when he would not have a chance, would give him an explanation
§ *MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs)
said that under this clause the valuation must necessarily be largely increased and the increase in the amount of the levy in consequence would throw a very serious additional burden upon licensed houses. That was the first consideration which ought to be present to the mind of the Government in dealing with this clause. They ought to give some attention to the arguments that had been used in reference to these glaring inequalities. The obvious reason for the charge was that the money was wanted to carry out an extreme, but, as he thought, unnecessary rate of reduction. The rate of reduction was to be accelerated to such an extent that the sum required every year would be very great, and in their desire to effect this reduction the Government had to constitute a national fund, and go to the extent of placing the levy upon Schedule A valuation in order to increase its amount. This, coupled with the fact that this clause gave the Licensing Commission the right to increase the levy in order to make the annual income meet the annual expenditure, placed not only an impossible burden upon the trade, but left them in a most unfair position with regard to the pecuniary liabilities that were being placed upon them. How was it possible for them to provide a sinking fund to meet the loss of all those licences at the end of twenty-one years and also to pay an unlimited levy? The Government had never attempted to find out what precisely would be the effect of their reduction scheme. They had not the ghost of a notion whether 30,000 or 40,000 licences would be taken away, and he challenged the Prime Minister to give any grounds for his estimated figure of 30,000. It would be just as well to remind the Committee what the twenty-one years time-limit meant in the way of providing a sinking fund for wiping out the £120,000,000 that was supposed to attach to these licences. That was the figure given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, but they had not been told what portion of that sum represented the monopoly value. That remained in dark recesses of the Prime Minister's brain. Taking the annual return from 315 these public-houses at 8 per cent. on the capital, a very extreme figure, it would give £9,600,000, and he found that the amount required to provide a Sinking Fund to wipe out the capital value at 4 per cent. for the twenty-one years would amount to 9s. in the £ on the annual produce of the premises. Supposing they were to double the income-tax, which was 5 per cent. or 1s. in the £, would there not be a great outcry? Yet the Committee was calmly proposing to put upon those people an obligation to provide 9s. in the £ upon the annual value for this purpose alone. This clause showed that the Government exhibited the same indifference—he might almost say spitefulness—to wards the interests with which they were dealing, as had been shown in the earlier clauses of this measure. He hoped that members of the Government would realise that something ought to be done to define clearly the responsibility placed upon the trade under this particular section. As years passed the value of the licences to be compensated would be increased; the cheapest houses would go first, and no man could tell whether the levy would be anything like sufficient to meet the demands upon this fund after a few years had elapsed. In the event of the coffers overflowing after the first few years, and optional reductions, either by veto or otherwise, being decided upon, presumably the overflow not required for the purposes of the year might be utilised for paying compensation for those houses which would be reduced under the optional plan. What would be the position of the fund under those circumstances and what safeguard would there be against the trade being charged a second time in the event of the levy being insufficient in later years to meet the liability of the year? That was a question to which the Under-Secretary might address his very brilliant talents, for there was no man who could deal more clearly or lucidly with figures. He supported the omission of this subsection, (1) because it increased the present levy by changing the basis, and (2) because it left those concerned in gross ignorance of the position in which they would be placed by it.
§ *THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL, Yorkshire, Cleveland)
said the ideal system might be the minimum of centralisation, under which compensation levy would only be collected from the people who competed amongst themselves, taking the parish, part of the parish, or even the street, or part of the street. That was a totally impracticable principle on which to act; it would involve something in the nature of a betterment charge limited to a particular neighbourhood, as was the case in municipal improvements. They could not administer funds collected and levied on that principle, and even the Act of 1904 made no such attempt. That Act did not pretend to take the neighbourhood over which the effective competition extended, but it took a county or county borough area. The compensation levy was used to buy out publicans twenty, thirty, or forty miles away, and in a completely different part of the area. Take for example, the County of London. If he was a publican trading in Kensington, and had to pay a yearly levy, he would not mind whether it was used to buy out a publican in White-chapel or in Wales.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he would naturally prefer a man to be bought out in his own street. In the majority of cases in the rural districts publicans had been paying levies for the past three years, and they had not been relieved of any effective competition by the Act of 1904. Therefore, it was impossible to proceed merely on the principle that they were going to pay a compensation levy in order to get rid of competition against themselves. They were going to pay a compensation levy in order to insure themselves against the loss of their licence, and that principle applied equally in this Act and the Act of 1904. The national area must be taken for the purpose of this Bill.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that having decided by a former clause that there should be a statutory reduction in proportion to the population, this was an inevitable consequence. [OPPOSITION cheers.] Hon. Members opposite assented. Therefore, it would be inconsistent to carry this Amendment, and it must necessarily be ruled out. The reason why both sides of the House must agree on that point was obvious. If they imposed statutory duties on the justices in any particular district, they must provide them with the means of accomplishing it. If they limited the compensation fund to the amount collected in a particular area there might not be sufficient money to carry out the statutory reduction under the scheme of compensation provided for in the Bill. Granted that there must be a national fund; who was to manage it? They could not properly put a duty of this kind on one of the ordinary Government Departments for two reasons. In the first place it was only temporary work. It would continue, so far as compensation was concerned, merely for the period during which the compensation was being paid. Secondly, all the Government Departments were already fully occupied, and some of them, indeed, had more to do than they could properly overtake. If they were to put this work on the Home Office or any other Department it would be necessary to create a special staff, and it was better to create a new authority altogether. When hon. Members opposite wished to denounce this Commission in terms of withering scorn and utter contempt they said it was to be a paid trio sitting in London. What was the objection to having a paid trio sitting in London? That they should be paid was reasonable. They could not expect a body of men to perform duties of this character without reasonable salaries. It seemed to him reasonable that the number should be three. Why should they be more or less? And if they were to sit at all, London was the most convenient place. Of course the Commissioners would be men appointed on the responsibility of the Government. They would be men of integrity and ability and of a proper status, and 318 they would be men to whom these interests might be entrusted safely. Another objection raised by hon. Members in this discussion was that the subsection did not limit the compensation levy to the present maximum. That, he thought, was in their view a greater objection than the other to the terms of the subsection. The Government had said again and again that it was impossible to form an exact estimate of the compensation which would have to be paid during the statutory reduction. If it were possible for hon. Members in a spirit of impartiality to examine this question, they would see that it was necessarily impossible to give an exact estimate. It was true that when Parliament was discussing the Bill of 1904 hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite did give estimates, but they were very unwise in venturing upon them, for events had shown the estimates to be sadly wrong. It was impossible to give any exact estimate, first, because they could not tell how far the present assessments for income-tax were too low. That could not be told beforehand, and, therefore, they could not make any exact calculation of the amount of compensation payable in any particular case. Secondly, because it was known that the value of licences would increase as time went on and licences were taken away.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said it was difficult to make a calculation on the basis of the experience under the Act of 1904, because the value of the licences remaining would probably increase as time went on.
§ MR. YOUNGER
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that the fixing of a limit will not seriously alter the market value?
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he did not think he had made the point quite clear. It was a question as to the class of house chosen. If the licence of some small, decrepit public-house was taken away in the first year, and if in later years the licences of houses of better standing with larger trade were taken 319 away, they had an element of uncertainty which made it impossible to form an exact estimate. And it was impossible to assess with any definiteness the exact sums which would be payable to licence-holders under the provisions of Clause 10, which dealt with the licensees and the compensation with respect to their loss of business, but general estimates had been formed which showed that there was no reason to anticipate the need of increasing the compensation levy.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
We want the information on which you have made those estimates.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the estimates were formed in the ordinary way. They were general calculations of possibilities, and they contained many elements of uncertainty. They were not sufficiently definite to enable them to be laid on the Table of the House. The hon. Member for York, speaking the other day on the optional reduction under the Welsh clause, said there was no question whatever as to money being available for compensation for additional reduction under this Bill, and he stated that there would be an enormous surplus at the disposal of the Commission. He remembered the words distinctly, and at the time he thought they would come in useful later on.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said that for the purpose of statutory reduction under the Bill there was nothing to prevent a levy at a rate above the maximum in the schedule. Once they had got a surplus they could use it for optional reduction.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he would deal with that subject in a moment. The hon. Member for Kidderminister who had made a great study of the Bill—not from a friendly standpoint—had estimated that there would be a considerable sum. Although the Committee had had from the Opposition many estimates and figures of a most astounding character, based on no data that could possibly be accepted for a moment, he thought the most astounding figure of all was that given by the hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs who said that the 320 Bill would involve a compensation levy of 9s. in the £.
§ *MR. YOUNGER
remarked that he did not say anything of the sort. What he said was that that was equivalent to the sinking fund for the wiping out of the whole of the licences in twenty-one years. He complained that on the top of this charge they were placing unknown liability of an unlimited levy.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
begged pardon; he understood the hon. Gentleman to say that 9s. would be the compensation levy.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
regretted that he had misunderstood the hon. Member. The hon. Member for York had stated that the Commissioners might put on a levy beyond the maximum, and use the additional amount raised for the purposes of optional reduction in Wales or elsewhere. He did not know how that conclusion had been reached.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said everything would be in the air, in nubibus. Nobody would know what money would be wanted. The Commissioners might begin by raising their levy above the maximum rate, and thereby get into their treasury a larger sum than they would require for the purpose of statutory reduction. Having got that surplus, they would be entitled, to use it for the purpose of optional reduction.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that under the Bill they would be distinctly not entitled to use it for the purposes of optional reduction. They could not suppress, in the first two or three years, all the 30,000 licences which were to go, and then use the levy afterwards for optional reduction. That was impracticable for the Bill required the reduction to be spread over the whole period. The Leader of the Opposition had said that the Commissioners might make a mistake and think that they had enough money for optional reduction, and use it for that purpose in the first two or three years, and then 321 have to make a levy above the maximum in order to make good the deficiency that would result. In the first years of the reduction the charge upon the compensation fund would be very much heavier than in the later years, the reason being that the number of years purchase which had to be paid for each house would be larger at the beginning and smaller at the end. There would be no question of any optional reduction in the first few years. After the first few years the Commissioners would be able to form an estimate, and in later years would be able to look round and see whether optional reductions could be permitted to take place. In the first three or four years the charges on the compensation fund would be so heavy that probably the Commissioners, so far from having money to pay for optional reductions, might have to borrow for the purpose of statutory reductions. They had borrowing powers. The point he wished to make was that those borrowing powers were only exercisable with the consent and by the co-operation of the Treasury, and the Treasury, as indeed the Commission itself, could be fully trusted to see that the terms of the statute would be fully complied with. The hon. Member for Kidderminster had raised the point that the Commissioners might have a large surplus at the end of the period, and he asked what was to become of that. The Commissioners were instructed so to arrange their levies that they would not have a surplus at the end. They might reduce their levies during the last years, so that the balance, one way or the other, would at the end be exceedingly small.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that if that were so, the matter could be considered when the words came up for consideration. Those Commissioners were fully under the control of Parliament. They would be appointed by the Government on its responsibility; and the Government would be responsible to the House. In the second place, their salaries would appear on the Estimates, 322 and that would give Parliament an opportunity to supervise their actions. Thirdly, reports of their actions would have to be laid before Parliament annually. The Government held that the clause was not open to the criticisms passed upon it.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
thought everybody would admit that the clause now under discussion was a very difficult clause and required careful consideration. His first objection was to setting up this Licensing Commission at all. He did not believe that the Under-Secretary would find any precedent in our law for setting up a paid Commission appointed by Government, with unlimited powers of taxation. That was what they were doing, he ventured to think, for the first time. They might say that taxation was limited by the number of houses taken away; but that was a very small limitation, because no member of the Government was able to tell them how much it was going to cost. He really thought that before the House proceeded to set up a paid Commission of whose qualifications they knew nothing very definite estimates at all events ought to have been put before the House as to how far that authority of taxation was likely to go. It was an abominable system to set up a Commission to do those duties and not to put proper directions, limitations, and terms in the Act of Parliament. He remembered very well, when the Bill of 1904 was going through the House, and they left the power of a rate, which they limited by express words, in the Bill, and gave that power to Quarter Sessions, the outcry raised against it, because they took away power from the justices of the district who were immediately in contact with the needs of the neighbourhood, was almost overwhelming. Now the great champions of democracy and of the local justices said that neither was it to be these local justices, nor was it to be the Quarter Sessions, nor was it to be Parliament, but it was to be the blessed Commission they were setting up that was to have this unlimited power of taxation. He thought that was a matter on which they on that side of the House must enter their firm 323 protest. He did not think any justification for the system had yet been given. They did not even know who those gentlemen were going to be. He did not suppose that any gentleman connected with the brewery companies or any allied trade would be on it. He did not think that the Government would be allowed to appoint anybody but the merest partisan for the working of this Bill. What were those Commissioners going to do? The Under-Secretary, who always spoke with great clearness, himself saw the difficulty, and he simply played about by saying their objections to the Commission were that it was to sit in London and was to be composed of three. That was not their objection at all. They objected to the inherent nature of this tribunal, against whom there was to be no appeal. If the Commissioners said: "We require so much for the year, and therefore our levy must be so much in the £ of the valuation," there was no appeal, although in the most ordinary cases of fixing taxes there was always an appeal. Even on the question of the calculation of income-tax they could take the matter up to the House of Lords. Even in the case of death duties they could appeal. Here were these Commissioners—and he would show how uncertain their authority was—who could simply say: "We, on a survey of this matter before us, require so much, and call upon this particular trade to pay it," no limit being imposed upon them by Parliament. What were the Commissioners to levy this upon? They were to levy this rate in accordance with the valuation in Schedule A of the income-tax. Yes, but they had been told that Schedule A of the income-tax was going to be entirely altered by this Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] They were told so yesterday; but probably the Government had changed their mind again. They were told that Schedule A was going to be on some new basis. [An HON. MEMBER: It cannot.] They certainly understood the Prime Minister to say yesterday that in estimating the proper valuation, under Schedule A, a very large number of the matters they said ought to be taken into account in estimating the value of the houses would be taken into account. If they were going to have a valuation ad 324 hoc, that showed that they must have an entirely new valuation. If they were going to have a valuation under the old system, the valuation must remain where it was. And not only that; the new valuation must affect every other trade in the country. Look, then, at the position in which they found themselves. They did not know what this valuation was going to be. They had no idea of it. They were told it would be greatly increased; that was all they knew. Here again they increased the power of the Licensing Commissioners, because the Commissioners would be levying their rate upon an increase under Schedule A of the income-tax. Really, what his hon. friend behind him said was absolutely true: that no person carrying on his business at all would know where he stood. He would not have the slightest idea, in the first instance, upon what he was going to pay his insurance levy or, in the second place, what the Commissioners were likely to think in any one year was a sufficient sum to charge him. Was that a condition they should be in when the Bill left this House? He did not think a more monstrous proposal could possibly be conceived. Look again at the injustice to the owners of these houses with regard to the increase of this insurance money—for it was an insurance fund—it might be very greatly increased not only by the fact that the powers of the Licensing Commissioners were without limit, but also because the valuation was going to be increased. What was the result of that? They were going to increase a tax on the trade, and decrease the amount of insurance for which this tax was levied. Really, every line of the Bill, every way in which it was worked out, showed the determination of the Government that as far as possible, when they were going to reduce these public-houses, they should do it in the harshest possible manner and in the most unfair way towards the trade. The hon. Gentleman said that some of the difficulties would be met by borrowing. He could not see the necessity for borrowing. It might be quite right to have the power to borrow; but was it necessary? He could not believe so, because the Commissioners could exact as much as 325 they liked. [Cries of "No."] But where was the limit? If the hon. Gentleman would tell him where the limit was, he would agree with him. If the First Lord of the Admiralty would tell him where the limit came in, he would be satisfied. He could not find it. The words to him were perfectly clear—In respect of the renewal of all old on-licences, charges at such rates … as may be necessary for the purposeThat was for the purpose of the necessary reductions. Where did the borrowing come in? The hon. Gentleman said that they would not require to use it so much, and they had already stopped it under the Act of 1904.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said it was quite true that borrowing had been stopped by the Secretary of State, but not in order to block the operation of the Act of 1904. It was thought, in view of this Bill passing into law, it would be wrong to allow the borrowing to take place and the future compensation fund to be mortgaged.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said as to that matter the Under-Secretary took one view and they took the other. As regarded this question of borrowing, he said there was no necessity for it at all, because there was unlimited power given to the Commissioners. Then the Under-Secretary said that it really was not open to them to discuss this question of area. He said for all purposes of the Bill it was absolutely unnecessary, in consequence of Clause 1. It was always the same. When they were on Clause 1 they were told to wait until they reached Clause 12, and then when they got to Clause 12 they were told that the question was dealt with in Clause 1. It was very unfortunate they did not get an opportunity of discussing it on the first clause. Was it really necessary for the purposes of the Bill? He did not see that it was. The question was one of substance. Here was the proposition of the Government—if the publican had a house in a neighbourhood where the number of houses had already been reduced to the maximum of reduction required by the Bill, the publican in that district must pay exactly the same as a publican who 326 lived in a district where there was a very large number of redundant public-houses.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said it was not. Under the present system, if they had reduced the necessary number of houses in a county, which was the present division, then they stopped the tax for insurance. But under the Under-Secretary's provision, even when they were in a neighbourhood where all this had been brought about or existed, they went on with the tax. Moreover, the tax was an unlimited one, which was not an unimportant consideration under existing circumstances. The truth of the matter was, from the way they were framing this Bill, in Sussex a man who had a public-house, the only public-house which was allowed by the Bill in that place, was in exactly the same position as a man in a place crowded with public-houses. He had to go on paying year after year and also any increase necessary for the purpose of bringing the number of houses down. He did not think a man in Sussex would be satisfied when he heard that he had to go on paying in order to carry out the intentions of the Government in Yorkshire or any other place. He could not think why the existing system had been departed from, which allowed each of the districts to manage its own affairs. Certainly the magistrates in the district, or any other tribunal in the district, was, to his mind, far more satisfactory than any paid Commissioners sitting in London. But the hon. Gentleman said the whole of this system would be under the purview of Parliament. That really was of very little use. This Licensing Commission was without an appeal. Apparently any Member of the House could criticise it. But how was this House going to review the proceedings of this Licensing Commission? Supposing the Licensing Commissioners had a surplus and applied it to optional reduction, could they imagine anyone getting up in this House and tackling such a state of things? Anybody would laugh at him. It would be said at all events the Commission had the money in 327 hand, let them go on reducing. The control of this House over a Commission of that kind was absolutely nil. It was only a pretence. It was not any real control. If they were to have any real control at all they had to set up some system of procedure in the Bill by which the proceedings of these gentlemen would be open to those who were concerned so that they could have their interests properly safeguarded. The Under-Secretary said the Licensing Commission was going to be the great success which the Irish Land Commission had been. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not know much about Ireland. He did not think he would find in any quarter in Ireland anybody who would say very much in favour of the Irish Land Commission, which he was afraid was at present in a condition that was almost hopeless. The truth of the matter was, on a question of this kind, perhaps the most important question in the Bill—the question of setting up these financial provisions and the tribunal that was to administer the finance of the Bill—very little attention seemed to have been given it by the Government. He submitted that even now it was worth while considering whether they would not go back to the system set up by the Act of 1904, and allow the district Quarter Sessions to administer their own funds and not to set up this Licensing Commission, which, apparently, would be responsible to nobody.
§ *MR. GRETTON (Rutland)
said that he did not propose to follow at any length the criticisms which had been made in regard to the Commission. The powers given to this body were set out in great detail in this clause, and they need not discuss them in detail on this Amendment, but he might say that he entirely agreed with what his hon. friend said as to the system under which it was proposed to proceed, being that of a Star Chamber, which was an innovation in the constitution of this country. The Under-Secretary, in a speech of candour and a great deal of interest, had explained that this Commission was subject to the review of Parliament, that the salaries of the Commissioners would come before this House, and there was 328 to be a Report of their proceedings which would also be presented. Not one of these safeguards was to be found in the Bill, and there was nothing to prevent the Government, if they found themselves in a difficulty, taking the expenditure off the Votes and putting it upon the Consolidated Fund. It was said that the control was there, because the Commission was to be paid for by money supplied by Parliament, but throughout the whole of the Bill the only sum of money, in spite of the philanthropy of the Government, which could be said to involve a public charge was the salary of the Commissioners. That was philanthropy in the form of cheapness surely. The Under-Secretary tried to deal with the question of area, and he knew what he was saying when he said the minimum was best, as of course, it was. But the Government had taken a different course, and had chosen the maximum area—the whole of the kingdom. A clause which preceded this would involve a higher expenditure in Wales, and whatever might be said in favour of including the whole of England in one area for the purpose of raising this compensation fund did not apply to the inclusion of Wales. Then there was the question of the amount of levy. The argument had been put forward that the terms of the Bill were too high, but at all events, there would be a large sum towards the end of the reduction period which could be applied towards "optional" reduction of licences. There was nothing that he could see in the Bill which would prevent the Commissioners deciding to raise the levy to double the rate of the scale of the schedule, so that the whole statutory reduction might be ended in five or six years. There was nothing to prevent them doing so. The Government had not put it in their Bill.
§ MR. MONTAGU (Cambridgeshire, Chesterton)
pointed out that there was subsection (b) of Section 2 of Clause 6, which provided for the statutory reduction under the scheme of the licensing justices being distributed reasonably over the reduction period.
§ SIR S. EVANS
The licensing justices are to prepare a scheme which shall "provide for the statutory reduction being distributed reasonably over the reduction period."
§ *MR. GRETTON
said that as the Solicitor-General very well knew the word "reasonably" carried very little meaning in a statute. The Licensing Commission were the persons who would have to determine what was reasonable. The word "reasonably" in subsection (b), Clause 6, was no protection and put no limitation on the action of the Commission. If the Government did not intend this clause to be carried out in that manner it was for them to insert words that would make their intentions perfectly clear. It was characteristic of the whole way in which this Bill had been brought before the House that when pressed the Under-Secretary for the Home Department was unable to give any information as to how far the levy in the schedule would meet the requirements of statutory reduction. The Government had never been able to state, or even estimate, the number of statutory reductions they proposed to carry out. The Government had now in the Bill defined the areas of reduction for each district and there would be no difficulty, if the Government desired to treat the House fairly, in laying upon the Table a statement in which the reductions were worked out for each district according to the scale laid down in the Bill. They could very well say how many licences it was intended to extinguish. After that it would be comparatively easy to estimate the levy necessary to carry out the statutory reductions. He hoped the Solicitor-General would bear this point in mind and would find some means before the Bill reached Report by which this might be made clear.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
said the Committee had not yet had this 330 matter clearly brought out. There had been an explanatory interruption but nothing more. The interruption was to the effect that the policy of the Government was made clear in Clause 6, subsection (b) which provided that the reduction should be distributed reasonably. But the next clause gave the licensing justices absolute power. For instance, there might be a district where the licensing justices held strong temperance opinions and they might prepare a scheme which provided for the reductions being reasonably distributed. But it might be that in their opinion the word "reasonably" meant that the greatest part of the reductions should be carried out in the first five or six years of the period. "Reasonably" and 'proportionately" were two different things. If Clause 6, subsection (b) said "proportionately over the fourteen years" no difficulty would arise. But as he read the subsection the Licensing Commission might decide not to distribute the reductions proportionately, but that the word "reasonably" meant that the licences should be reduced in the first six of the fourteen years. It might be said that it was in the interest of the community that these reductions should be made in the first half of the period. Hence the Licensing Commission could start their levy at such a figure that after the first year it would leave them with a margin which would increase every year, and in that way a very evil and unjust levy would be made on the whole of the licensing trade of the country. If the policy of the Government was a proportionate reduction the clause did not make it clear. The hon. and learned Solicitor-General would serve the interests of the Bill if he would tell the Committee whether he thought it possible that the licensing authorities, acting on their rights under this Bill, would be able to reduce three-quarters or four-fifths of the licences during the first half of the statutory period. If they could do that under Clauses 6 and 12 as they stood, then, obviously, the professed policy of the Government, which was proportionate reductions spread over a period of fourteen years, was not being carried out. Many licensing justices, like hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, no doubt desired that there should be local option as soon as possible in Wales, and they 331 would throw their weight and power and influence into the scale in their anxiety to secure local option as quickly as possible. That was not what the Committee was led to believe was the policy of the Bill. He appealed to the hon. and learned Gentleman to make it quite clear in the Bill that the reduction of licences should be proportionately distributed over the whole period and not unduly effected in the first few years.
§ *MR. TOULMIN (Bury, Lancashire)
expressed the opinion that the levy should be a national and not a local levy. He considered that the Licensing Commissioners should receive the whole of the money, and the distribution should be all over the country. This alteration was one of the most important parts of the Bill. He favoured a levy over the whole area, as being most just to the licence-holders of the kingdom. The licences which were reduced might be far away from some which paid the levy; but he argued that the licence-holders in the area in which no licences were to be reduced were specially fortunate, but it must be remembered that they could not object, under the present law, to further competition being imposed upon them at the discretion of the licensing magistrates. Therefore, they were not entitled to be free from a levy which was intended to get the whole of the licence-holders out of the trouble they were in at the present time from undue competition through the granting of too many licences in the past. Where there were too many licences the licence-holders were suffering from undue competition, and to confine the levy to those areas where the licence-holders were suffering from the competition would not be fair to them. But they had no ground of complaint, for the licences had been put there by the public authority in the exercise of the discretion granted to them. Licence-holders, in his opinion, had no right to claim that they should receive a direct benefit from the levy extracted from them. That was not now so. In Lancashire, for instance, compensation levies might be taken from an area where no licences were reduced and paid in another, perhaps forty miles away, where those who paid the levy could not possibly receive any benefit from 332 their contribution to the compensation to be paid for those houses which were to be closed. It was plain that it was very necessary that there should be some improvement of the Act of 1904, because in a very little time it would have worked most unequally over the whole kingdom. In some areas they would have been paying no compensation, and in others they would, perhaps, have to be paying for a hundred years before the licences could be reduced. He thought, therefore, that a levy spread over England and Wales was vastly to be preferred.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
said that under this system of a national in preference to a local levy, a district where there were very few houses and perhaps no hotels, would have to pay heavy compensation for the London district. A district where the magistrates had done their duty and brought about a satisfactory state of things, would have to pay the same levy as a district in which there had been a great deal too much drinking. The system of levying compensation under the Act of 1904 was much more just. He could not see how the proposed appointment of Commissioners could be justified, though he knew it was a favourite plan of the Government, who had appointed Commissioners in the English Land Bill and in the Small Holders (Scotland) Bill, where the Commissioners had unlimited powers with appeal only to themselves. Under this Bill there was no appeal to anyone except the Commissioners, who were given aribitrary powers over the justices. They were referred by the hon. and learned Gentleman to Clause 6, Subsection (b) as safeguarding the situation, but he submitted, in regard to that subsection, that those best qualified to judge of the circumstances of the district, were the local justices. As had been pointed out by his hon. friend there was a very considerable difference in the circumstances of different parts of the country, yet these three Commissioners sitting in London, were to override the decision of the justices, and introduce schemes of their own, levying what charge they liked under Schedule A. The Solicitor-General said there was hardships even now in the county divisions, and gave an instance 333 in his own county where an hotel had to pay compensation for other licences extinguished. If there were anomalies and difficulties in the counties, in making a national levy they increased them fifty-two fold. No answer had been given to the question, repeatedly asked, whether a special arrangement was to be made under Schedule A to apply to the licensed trade, and whether Schedule A was to be altered so as to be applied to every other trade in the country; but to-day the Solicitor-General said that they had made a mistake, and that the Government did not mean to make any alteration. Under the clause, and in the circumstances under which they had to discuss this Bill, it was impossible to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. They had only two members of the Government present, for instance, the Solicitor-General, and the Under-Secretary for the Home Office, who certainly was often very lucid in his answers. He had told them just now that there would be a high levy for compensation under Schedule A during the first few years of the period, and then it would be reduced. He did not see what guarantee they had that it would be reduced. It might be raised above the maximum under this scheme of reduction, and it was not likely to be lowered again. It would be kept at the high level, and then the money would undoubtedly be used for optional reduction. The Solicitor-General told them that there were safeguards against such a result, but if that were so, then that was all the more reason why it should be made definite and clear now. The Committee ought to have some light and leading on this question. They had received no answer except a reference to future provisions of the Bill, and to this "triumvirate of tyranny." It was said that the Comissioners were to be under the control of Parliament, but all he could say was that they were going to have good salaries, and Parliament would have no control over them. The avowed object of supporters of the Bill such as the hon. Member for Appleby, was to reduce the number of public-houses by as many as possible. The hon. Member for the Appleby division had himself said that what he cared about was temperance, and not financial considerations. Such advocates of temperance were prepared 334 to smash everything in a public-house which contained a drop of drink, and then to rob the till, and the Amendment of his hon. friend was to prevent the till's being robbed. The advocates of temperance were not confined to the other side of the House, while the advocates of justice were entirely confined to the Opposition, so far as he could see. Temperance he had heard mentioned during this autumn session, but never justice.
MR. ASHLEY said hon. Members of the Opposition had pointed out that there was absolutely no limit to the power of imposing a levy which was given to the Commissioners, and though Members on the Government Benches had given rather vague answers that there were some means of imposing a limit, they had not condescended to point out in what section that limitation appeared. He thought the Committee would get no enlightenment on this point until the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, who was really in charge of the Bill, condescended to come to the House and inform them as to what were the provisions of the Bill relating to this point. He objected most strongly to this clause, because it enabled the Commissioners to tax a particular class of people absolutely at their own sweet will, and the House of Commons had parted with the most valuable power it possessed, the power of taxation, which it always so jealously guarded. From what he had heard that afternoon, Blackpool, which was in his constituency, would be put in a worse position by this Bill. In its present circumstances, Blackpool would need no levy for reduction purposes, the number of licensed premises in the town being 100, while the population was 60,000. Blackpool, not having above the statutory number of houses it was thought right and proper to have, would be called upon to pay for every town and district in the country. He considered it to be a case of the greatest injustice that a town which had not too many public-houses, and which, under subsection (3) was entitled to more licences because of the large number of visitors it had in the season, under this Bill was going to be penalised simply 335 because this levy was to be made over the whole kingdom, instead of, as in fairness it should be, over the smaller districts of the county. He protested on behalf of his constituents against this great injustice being done.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
said he could cite even a harder case than that mentioned by his hon. friend, and it was one which arose in his own constituency. The hon. Member for Bury said that, in his opinion, the district which had already reduced its licences, or did not possess a number above the statutory limit, had no special claim to be exempt from the levy, and that it must be regarded as a favoured district. He gathered that the hon. Member's view was that it should rather be more heavily taxed for its virtue than relieved from the charge. He protested against that doctrine—a doctrine embodied in the Bill—on behalf of the city of Birmingham. He confidently invited sympathy from those who had been most interested in temperance reform and the reduction, of licences, on behalf of that great city. What had happened? Before Parliament had taken steps to reduce the number of licences, the Birmingham magistrates had set to work to secure a reduction in that city. They entered into negotiations with the brewers—and let him say in passing on behalf of the tied-house system, that their procedure was only rendered possible because most of the houses in Birmingham were tied. The negotiations with the brewers resulted in a voluntary surrender by them of a number of licences fixed by the magistrates. Before Parliament had levied any compensation for a national reduction, the licensed trade in Birmingham, at the instigation of the magistrates, made a compensation levy among themselves and bought out the houses, the surrender of which was required. They were to have no credit for that work voluntarily done, by which they anticipated the intentions of Parliament and carried out three or four years in advance what Parliament only began to enact in 1904. In addition to having to pay for the suppression of so many licences in their own town, they were now to have an extra levy made upon 336 them in order to extinguish licences in other places in which they had no interest, and from whose extinction they could reap no possible benefit. At the time this was going on temperance Members had no words of praise too high for the action of the magistrates and the trade in Birmingham, and were pressing on magistrates in other places to take a similar course, and he invited their sympathy for that city. They were doing bad work for temperance reform if they discouraged those who acted in advance of Parliamentary precedent and penalised them for so doing. Two arguments had been advanced from the front bench on behalf of the national rather than the local levy and application of the compensation. One consisted in saying it was a national Bill, and, therefore, the levy must be national. But the one thing did not follow from the other. They had no necessary connection whatever. They might have a scheme of compulsory statutory reduction throughout the whole country, but it did not follow that that reduction was to be paid for equally throughout the whole country without any regard to the circumstances of the locality or to the extent to which the compulsory scheme affected particular localities. That really was not an argument, but one of those excuses which Ministers sometimes used when they were very hard put to it to find an argument at all. The only argument really was that used by the Under-Secretary, that they must have a national levy because otherwise the funds might be insufficient for the statutory reduction. Why? They took power to raise the scale of charges for the compensation levy, but that could be done locally just as well as nationally. They could say that the levy on Birmingham should be whatever was required to reduce Birmingham to their limit. It was absolutely unnecessary that because they wished to have a single statutory scale, according to the population, throughout the country, therefore, in order to find funds for it the whole country should be made equally liable though the amount of reduction going on in different places was totally unequal. They ought to have some serious reason before so great and so inequitable a change was made. 337 The Solicitor-General had assured them there was no probability that the Commissioners would raise the levy beyond the scale in the schedule of the Act, because such a scale would give them funds adequate for the reduction of the licences. He asked the Under-Secretary to give them the estimates on which the Government based their assurance, and the hon. Gentleman told them the estimates were not fit for presentation to the House. Then what was the value of the assurance? The estimates, he imagined, were so speculative, and so little-based upon any facts known to the Government, that they dared not lay them on the Table; they were not therefore fit to be the basis of their action, and they were entitled to say that what they were conferring on this Commission was a power of taxation which was unlimited, and for that there was no precedent. It was said that that power could be adequately controlled by the fact that the salaries of the Commissioners were to appear upon the Votes. How did they know they would ever be allowed to discuss those Votes? It might be inconvenient to put the salaries down. How, even if they reached the salaries, could they without any information or power to make accurate calculations, such as the Government refused to give, say whether their proposals were reasonable or not, whether they were acting bona fide or not, whether they were making errors or not? To offer them the discussion on the Estimates as a check upon the action of the Commission in this respect was indeed to invite them to lean upon, a broken reed. The management of the Bill was so peculiar that it placed the Committee in the very greatest difficulty. The Government seemed to be constructed on the same principles as certain boards of directors which refused to have a chairman, but where each member of the board took the chair in turn, with the result that no member had special responsibility, and as a general rule the business was not well looked after. They were always having snippets of information from a Minister who walked in and walked out again, and washed his hands of the future proceedings, and was ignorant of what took place before he entered the 338 House and after he left it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University had made a statement, which was flatly contradicted by the First Lord of the Admiralty, who happened to be taking an interest in the Bill. Something had been said to the effect that the Commissioners would not exercise an unlimited right of taxation because they had powers to borrow, and that if the charge levied in a particular year was not sufficient they would meet the emergency by borrowing. His right hon. friend said there was nothing in the Bill to force them to borrow under such circumstances. That statement was flatly contradicted. His right hon. friend challenged the First Lord to point to the words of the statute which justified his contradiction. The First Lord retired under the Gallery and consulted the advisers of the Government, and then retired still further, and they had seen no more of him. Right hon. Gentlemen should either bring in the First Lord again, or else themselves take up the challenge and justify the First Lord's contradiction. It was dangerous to give an opinion on a Bill when, one was liable to be told he had not read it. He had read it, suffering under the disability that he was a layman, but he could find nothing to justify the allegation of the First Lord of the Admiralty. All he found in Section 6 was that the scheme must provide for the statutory reduction being distributed reasonably over the reduction period. Who decided what was reasonable? Not the licensing justices. They prepared a scheme, but if the Commissioners did not like it they ordered the justices to alter it, and if they did not like it then they ordered them to alter it again, and even if they sanctioned it they might still return to the matter and again compel an alteration. It was always these Commissioners who had these very arbitrary powers conferred upon them. But spreading the number reasonably over the period was by no means the same thing as spreading the expense over the period. The Under-Secretary had told them that the expense would not be equally spread. On the contrary, the argument was that the expense of the reductions in the early years would be so gigantic that the Commissioners 339 in those years would use every penny they were entitled to raise under the Schedule, and would not have the possibility of sanctioning any optional reduction in excess of the statutory limit. That might be true, but in that case it quite clearly showed that there was no obligation upon the Commissioners to distribute the expense equally over the period, and that they might raise, if they liked, very high charges indeed in the first year to meet the case of expensive houses, amounting to any sum they thought requisite for the purpose. Having pursued that course in a certain number of the early years, they might then have reduced a sufficient number of the expensive houses, and having charged more than the Schedule in the first year they were able within the Schedule to pay for optional reduction. That was the case presented to them by the Under-Secretary. He did not quite understand why the hon. Gentleman took it that the expense was going to be so heavy in the first years, unless it was in his mind that the Commissioners or the licensing justices were going so to arrange their scheme that the charge should be raised in those years with a view to giving them money for optional reduction in the later years.
§ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
The houses suppressed in the first years have a larger number of years purchase, whilst those suppressed later have a diminishing number.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that threw a flood of light upon what the working of this Bill would be. The Government had devised a scheme to inflict the maximum penalty and give the least compensation to the trade with which they were dealing. Their idea was to deal first with the cheap houses which were the worst, and they would receive the maximum compensation. The best houses would be left in existence; they were the most valuable, and would have to pay the higher levy, and when their turn came round they would receive the least compensation. The lines appeared to be: "Pay as little as you can, and get as much as you can; inflict the maximum of injury, and give the minimum 340 of relief." It was true that they had to pay more in the early years, because they had to give a greater number of years purchase. As that process went on, the individual houses would become more valuable in later years, but whatever they gained by the fact that they had fewer years to compensate for they might lose by having to compensate houses of much greater value. The Government really did not know what was going to happen. They gave reasons of the most speculative character, and refused to place their estimates on the Table of the House. He protested against dealing with great trade interests and great national questions by individuals, instead of by the vote of Parliament, in such a slipshod manner. He respectfully asked the Government to give a reply to the questions which the Opposition had put to them.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said a large part of the criticism which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire had been offered earlier in the evening by the Member for the University of Dublin. It was not accurate to say that the powers of the Commissioners would be unlimited in the matter of making the levy, for three reasons. In the first place, their power was limited by the Schedule in the Bill. [OPPOSITION cries of "No."] That was so, because they had to deal with the statutory reduction. The only power which the Commissioners had of increasing the levy at all was in respect of licences which would be extinguished by the statutory reduction. Therefore, the first limit was that of the statutory reduction contained in the Schedule of the Bill. The second limit was that they had the scheme of the justices; and the third was the discretion of the Licensing Commission themselves, and that would be controlled by Parliament. He believed that the justices, in the first place, and the Licensing Commission sitting subsequently as a Court of reference or appeal, would do their duty honestly and fairly. It had been suggested that the licensing justices might recommend a wholesale reduction during the first four or five years, and that it would be necessary in consequence of the licensing justices' scheme largely to increase the levy. But 341 that was not what the justices were directed to do by the Act, and that was not what the Commission would take into consideration when they came to revise the schemes of the justices. He would like to refer hon. Members to the section which imposed this duty upon the justices, which laid down that in any scheme they were to provide for the statutory reduction being distributed reasonably over the reduction period. Could anybody contend that a scheme which would reduce the whole number of licences which ought to be suppressed over the period in the first four or five years would be a reasonable one? It had also been suggested that whatever the justices might do there was always the overriding and absolute power vested in the Commissioners. There was nothing of the kind. If the hon. Member would refer to the words dealing with the powers of the Commissioners he would see that in Clause 6, subsection (4) it was provided that—Every scheme prepared and every revision of a scheme made by licensing justices under this section shall be submitted as soon as practicable to the Licensing Commission for their approval, and that Commission shall consider the scheme or revision, and may, after consultation with the licensing justices, make such alterations (if any) therein as they consider necessary or expedient for the purpose of properly carrying into effect this Act.Properly to carry this Act into effect meant to carry the reduction of licences over the reduction period. The members of the Licensing Commission would be people of status, and they could be trusted to do their work faithfully and honestly. The right hon. Member for Dublin University had said that the provision putting the actions of the Commissioners under the review of Parliament was a mere pretence and the effect would be nil. As the Bill was first framed, the remuneration of the Licensing Commissioners would come out of the compensation levy fund, but the Government had altered that, and the work of the Commission would come under the review of Parliament. Having done that, now they were told that it was a mere pretence and the effect would be nil. There were ample opportunities in this House of putting questions with regard to the conduct of anybody. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for 342 East Worcester had omitted to give due importance to the 8th subsection of Section 14, which provided that—The Commission shall, in every year, cause a Report to be prepared and submitted to the Secretary of State of their proceedings under this Act during the preceding year, and the Secretary of State shall cause the Report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.The situation was that, first of all, they had got a body of justices who were directed by Parliament to perform their duties in a certain way, and he assumed that they would perform them properly. Then there was the Licensing Commission, and the various precautions they had taken. The Commissioners must report to Parliament, and their salaries and remuneration would be subject to the vote of Parliament, and therefore there was the fullest possible power for Parliament to review the conduct of the Commissioners. It had been said that Schedule A was going to be altered, but he protested against anything of that kind being said. That Schedule was passed fifty years ago, and it was idle to say that they were going to alter it now. The hon. Member for Gravesend said the Licensing Commission had power to raise the levy in order to make a compulsory sweep during the first four years. It had been suggested that provision should be made for the magistrates making the reduction "proportionately" instead of "reasonably." Although there was not much difference in practice between the two words, if they used the word "proportionately" in the sense the hon. Member referred to, they would make it absolutely necessary for the justices to reduce one-fourteenth of the licences every year, dividing them into equal compartments. That was quite impracticable, and, therefore, they had used the word "reasonable." The hon. Member for Blackpool had referred to his own division. He was not sure that the borough of Blackpool would not suffer a reduction of licences under this scheme. According to the last Return, on-licences in the borough of Blackpool were put down at 101. With reference to Birmingham, everybody recognised the good work which had been done by the local licensing justices, but they were advised that Birmingham would suffer a reduction in licences under the 343 scheme of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had said that, because a certain number of licences had been taken away in Birmingham, it was unfair to place a further burden on existing licences there for the extinction of licences elsewhere. He would point out that the compensation levy was a burden which was placed on licensed premises by the Act of 1904, and he thought it had been everybody's experience that it was a burden which could very well be borne by those on whom it was put. Presumably, if any houses had been shut up in Birmingham, there had, to some extent, been an increased trade in the others. He used his words very carefully; otherwise he would be told that a reduction of licences did not mean a reduction of drinking. Therefore, they were better able now to bear the levy for compensation than formerly. Was it unfair, in those circumstances, to say that Birmingham must come into the general scheme and contribute towards this national fund? With regard to borrowing, the provisions of the Bill were a copy of the provisions of the Act of 1904 as they applied to quarter sessions.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he did not dispute that quarter sessions could borrow. What the First Lord of the Admiralty said was that they would be compelled to borrow rather than raise the charges above the Schedule scale, and that that, as they understood the right hon. Gentleman, was in the Bill. They wanted to know where it was in the Bill.
§ SIR S. EVANS
suggested that the misunderstanding had arisen through the use, or the supposed use, of the word compel. There was nothing in the Bill to compel them to borrow. They would know that the normal rate levied was that which was put in the Schedule. It was only because there might possibly arise a case where, by reason of the directions as to the statutory reduction, they might have to go slightly beyond that levy that they had put this power in. He thought the fears which had been expressed were fears which were raised in debate, which ever side in politics happened to be in opposition. He confessed that a great deal of the criticisms which were made when the Act of 1904 was passing 344 the House from those benches, perhaps some of them coming from his own lips, had been falsified by the working of the Act. And he ventured to prophesy that many of the theoretical grievances, and many of the supposed inequalities and injustices and unfairnesses, which were proper things to bring forward as matters of debate, would be found to have not the slightest foundation in fact when the Act was actually in operation.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
thought the Solicitor-General would feel that there was one point with which he had not thoroughly dealt. Let them grant, for the sake of argument, that these people were going to act reasonably—that the magistrates who were going to frame the schemes would act reasonably, and that the Opposition of the day, whoever might be in Opposition, would have full opportunity of criticising the action of the Commissioners and the magistrates. They were at present endeavouring to get a definition of what was reasonable, and that the Government had never attempted to tell them. It all turned on the rapidity with which the magistrates and the Commissioners agreed to abolish licences. The Government had refused to put in any words indicating that the reduction of licence; was to be proportionate and evenly distributed over the fourteen years. They said that was impracticable. It might be, but he did not see himself why it was not practicable, unless the Government thought that a very rapid reduction in the first year, or the first two or three years was reasonable—a reduction far beyond the amount that would be reduced if they had an even reduction over the whole of the fourteen years. Why was it not reasonable? Why should not the Commissioners and the magistrates think it reasonable? It was not accusing the Commissioners of corruption. It was not suggested that the magistrates were men of evil mind if they said: "The Government of the day have laid it down that the number of licences in a particular district shall be such and such a number per 1,000 of the population. Let us not hesitate to make that reduction according to the principles laid down, by Parliament in one, two, 345 or three years. That is reasonable." He thought he heard an hon. Gentleman opposite say it was reasonable.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the Government did not mean by "reasonable" proportionate. They did not mean an even curve. It was perfectly consistent with the teetotallers' view that nothing should be left to the end of the period. In fact, was he not right in saying that it was only consistent with the teetotallers' theory of reduction that the bulk of the reduction should take place in the early years, leaving a small number to the end? [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."] Could anybody say that was unreasonable according to the teetotallers' point of view? Certainly if he were a teetotaller he should say it was reasonable, and he should base himself on the Government view. It must be the teetotal view.
§ *MR. CHARLES ROBERTS (Lincoln)
said that from the temperance point of view it was exceedingly important that the reduction should be gradual over the whole period. The indirect influence of the reduction process on the surviving license-holders was at least as important as the amount of reduction to which they were limited in the fourteen years. From that point of view they thought that the Government was absolutely right to distribute it equally, and not to get the reduction immediately.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he had listened with a mixture of gratification and surprise to the interruption of the hon. Gentleman. He thought the hon. Gentleman belonged to a party which desired at one time local option to stop every licence in the trade. Had the hon. Gentleman abandoned the Bill of 1895? Had he any right to speak for his teetotal friends? Was there any other prohibitionist in the House who would get up and say that he attached this magic value to the fourteen years? He thought the hon. Member would see that, whatever his own personal view might be, the only consistent view for the prohibitionists to take up was that they 346 ought to approach the amount of abolition as permitted by the Bill as quickly as they could. That was the reasonable rate of reduction at which they ought to aim. That was the view which he should hold in their position, and as there were no words in the Bill defining the word "reasonable," and as the Government refused to say whether it was to be proportionate, he ventured to say that it was quite open, more than open, both to the magistrates and the Commissioners, to make, without anybody being entitled to call their action or motives in question, this immense reduction in the early period. Well, how were they going to make it? He understood the First Lord of the Admiralty most distinctly to hold that any large expenditure in the early years for the reduction of licences would be met by borrowing. There was nothing whatever in the Bill, supposing the policy adopted to be that of greater reduction in the early years, to suggest that that should be met by borrowing rather than by the adoption of a scale of levy far in excess of the scale in the Schedule. The result would be that in the early years they would greatly exceed the Schedule rate of levy. By exceeding the Schedule rate of levy they got a great deal of money out of the trade which they used for the rapid reduction of licences, and then, having made this near approach to the total amount of reduction per thousand contemplated by the Bill, they would evidently have an immense amount over to deal with optional reduction. If that course was pursued the result would be that the obvious intention of the Government would be defeated. That intention, as he understood it, was that they might exceed the Schedule rate in order to make the statutory reduction, but not in order to make the optional reduction. That policy would be completely defeated if the magistrates and the Commission carried out a course permitted by the Bill and undoubtedly suggested by the whole theory that temperance and reduction of licences went hand in hand—a theory rendered plausible by the fact that the Government were anxious to make the reduction of so many per thousand as quickly as they could. And with absolutely no limitations in the 347 Bill which the Government could point out to them it seemed perfectly evident that what they admitted to be an injustice—namely, an addition to the Schedule levy in order to deal with the optional licences, was not only a possible danger, but one that was extremely likely to occur. He had limited himself to a single point, and he ventured to say that so far no attempt had been made from the Treasury Bench to deal with that particular matter.
§ *MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)
wished to say a few words on a subject on which the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire had dwelt at some length, viz., with regard to the inequalities which he said would be certain to result from the change of area for the compensation levy. But such inequalities and injustice—if any—already existed, especially in the case of large counties like Lancashire and Yorkshire, or even Cheshire, which, under the Act of 1904, formed one area for the compensation levy. The whole circumstances and conditions and manner of life varied in different parts of the county. In one part the licences were not numerous, either because they had never been granted, or because they had been already reduced, and yet they were taxed for the levy the same as other parts of the county. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt very forcibly upon the supposed injustice which would be involved in towns like Birmingham, where already a large number of houses had been reduced; but that reduction had been going on in many other places, like Liverpool, where the brewery companies who owned most of the houses made a voluntary agreement to give up some, probably the worst, of their houses. He would remind the Committee of a very remarkable fact in connection with the county of Hampshire. A committee of Quarter Sessions there, which was appointed to inquire into the matter, reported that in the town of Bournemouth, with a population of 70,000, there was only one licence to every 1,400 inhabitants, whereas in the county town of Winchester there was a licensed house for every 140 inhabitants, or ten times as many houses per ratio of population 348 as in Bournemouth. The magistrates were so much struck by that state of affairs that they said to the brewery companies who owned the houses in the city of Winchester that they must have a large reduction of the houses, and they called upon the companies to submit to the committee of Quarter Sessions a scheme of voluntary reduction, intimating that if that were not done the magistrates would proceed to reduce the number of houses themselves. The result was that the brewery companies came before the justices at the next sessions, and voluntarily offered to surrender fifty out of 100 licences without any compensation. That, however, was before the Act of 1904. After that Bill was introduced into Parliament, the licence-holders of another borough, who had previously made a similar offer to that of the brewery companies in Winchester, said: No, they would not surrender any licences without being compensated. His argument was that the compensating advantage for the surrender or extinction of some licences was that the rest were very much enhanced in value.
§ *MR. TOMKINSON
said he would conclude by stating that he did not think that to change the area of levy and to make a national instead of a county levy would entail any hardship or injustice whatever.
§ MR. SAMUEL ROBERTS (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
said he wished to reply to one or two points raised by the Solicitor-General and the Under-Secretary, especially with regard to how this clause would affect the large county boroughs. The Solicitor - General had said that under the Act of 1904 those licence-holders who were left after the reduction did not benefit by the reduction; but he was entirely mistaken. Most of the houses in the large county boroughs were owned by local brewery companies, and when the extinction took place of one or more of the houses belonging to these companies the others belonging to the same company benefited because they 349 got extra trade. That was the case also in small county areas. And why were the owners willing to pay the compensation levy? For three reasons. First, because they got some benefit by the extinction going on; secondly, because if the licences were taken away they got the market value which the Government under this Bill were not going to pay them; and, thirdly, because there was no time-limit. Under this Bill they were to be called upon to pay the maximum levy during the whole of the time-limit, and when the time was expired the licence was to be taken away unless they paid the monopoly value. These were the three reasons why on the whole the brewers were satisfied with the arrangement made by the Act of 1904. But by this Bill the Licensing Commission were to take away entirely the local powers that were given to the large county boroughs. It had been the policy of Parliament of late years to extend as far as possible the powers of the county boroughs, but this Bill would take away almost entirely the powers of the local justices and only leave to them the invidious duty of saying what licences were to be suppressed. They knew the character of the three gentlemen who had been appointed by this Government on the Licensing Commission. [Cries of "Oh!"] Well, he had an Amendment on the Paper—and he hoped the Government
§ would adopt it—that one of these Gentlemen should be a lawyer. [Cries of "Order."] He would not pursue that subject because he would be called to order. But he was pointing out that under this Bill they were going contrary to the practice of Parliament, which had entrusted powers to the local justices of those boroughs and districts—the very men who knew the local circumstances, and what licences ought to be suppressed—and proposing to place that power in the hands of the Commissioners in London. That was certainly a grievance, and on behalf of those areas where a proper reduction of licences had already taken place, and where the owners had fulfilled their conditions, he protested against it. It was natural enough that those people who were willing to pay their own debt should protest against being called upon to pay the debt of other people all over England, as they would be under this Bill. It was not justice. The Government must on consideration come to the conclusion that their plan was not a just one in this respect, and for these reasons he had great pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 242: Noes, 95. (Division List No. 296.)353
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Brigg, John||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bright, J. A.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brodie, H. C.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Alden, Percy||Brooke, Stopford||Duckworth, James|
|Armitage, R.||Bryce, J. Annan||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cameron, Robert||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward|
|Barker, John||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Erskine, David C.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Essex, R. W.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford||Cheetham, John Frederick||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cleland, J. W.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Clough, William||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Faber, G. H. (Boston)|
|Bell, Richard||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Fenwick, Charles|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Bennett, E. N.||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Black, Arthur W.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Crooks, William||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Crosfield, A. H.||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.|
|Brace, William||Crossley, William J.||Glover, Thomas|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Curran, Peter Francis||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seddon, J.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Macpherson, J. T.||Shackleton, David James|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||M'Callum, John M.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton||M'Crae, Sir George||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||M'Micking, Major G.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hall, Frederick||Maddison, Frederick||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Harcourt, RtHn. L. (Rossendale||Mallet, Charles E.||Snowden, P.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Massie, J.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Steadman, W. C.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Middlebrook, William||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Mond, A.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Summerbell, T.|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Morse, L. L.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Napier, T. B.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nicholls, George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Tomkinson, James|
|Higham, John Sharp||Norman, Sir Henry||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Toulmin, George|
|Hodge, John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Nuttall, Harry||Verney, F. W.|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Grady, J.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Parker, James (Halifax)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Partington, Oswald||Walton, Joseph|
|Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Waring, Walter|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Perks, Sir Robert William||Wason, Rt. Hn E. (Clackmannan|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Radford, G. H.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Rainy, A. Rolland||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Raphael, Herbert H.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Rees, J. D.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Jowett, F. W.||Rendall, Athelstan||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Kearley, Sir Hudson, E.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Whittaker, Rt Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Kckewich, Sir George||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mptn||Wiles, Thomas|
|Kelley, George D.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Lambert, George||Robinson, S.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Lamont, Norman||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Winfrey, R.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Bg'h||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Elibank.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex.||Bignold, Sir Arthur||Clive, Percy Archer|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bowles, G. Stewart||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Collings, Rt. HnJ. (Birmingh'm|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bull, Sir William James||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.|
|Balfour, RtHn.A.J. (City Lond.)||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Du Cros, Arthur Philip|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Carlile, E. Hildred||Duncan, Robt. (Lanark, Govan|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)|
|Baring, Capt. Hn.G. (Winchester||Cave, George||Fell, Arthur|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Forster, Henry William|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Arthur, Charles||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Gretton, John||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Stanier, Beville|
|Haddock, George B.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Starkey, John R.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Morpeth, Viscount||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hills, J. W.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.||Thomson, W. Mitchell-Lanark)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Parkes, Ebenezer||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Valentia, Viscount|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Percy, Earl||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Kerry, Earl of||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Keswick, William||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Young, Samuel|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Renwick, George||Younger, George|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hn. -Lt. -Col. A. R.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Ronaldshay, Earl of||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Ashley and Mr. George|
|Lonsdale, Walter Brownlee||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Faber.|
§ MR. CAVE (Surrey, Kingston)
moved to insert after the word "optional," the words "or further." He put down the Amendment, he said, following the policy of endeavouring to find out exactly what the Bill meant. He had not yet been able to find out what provision was made for the payment of compensation to Welsh houses, which were reduced under the Welsh veto clause. Clause 12 provided for compensation for statutory reductions, and then for optional reductions, but it did not in terms provide for payment of compensation to houses which were reduced under Clause 9. At first sight, he thought the answer was to be found in Clause 9 itself, which provided that the licensing justices should prepare a scheme for carrying into effect the further reductions directed by the local option resolution, and the provisions of the Act as to schemes of statutory reduction should apply, but he could not think that that meant that all the provisions which applied to statutory reductions also applied to further reductions; because, if that were so, it would be plainly possible for the Licensing Commission to proceed to the consideration of any number of Welsh public-houses in any year, and to raise the levy without limit for the succeeding years. He thought there had been some omission in the clause, and for the purpose of finding out the intentions of the promoters of the Bill he begged to move.
In page 7, line 31, after the word 'optional,' to insert the words 'or further.'"—(Mr. Cave.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ SIR S. EVANS
thought the Amendment was a drafting one, and if pressed very hard, he did not mind accepting it, although he thought the clause was much better without it. There were two kinds of reduction, and only two. The first was statutory, and the next optional. When a reduction was made, if ever it were made, under Clause 9, it would become statutory. Subsection (1) of Clause 9 answered the observation of the hon. Member with reference to what the provisions were regarding further reductions of the Welsh houses. Statutory reductions, with regard to everything except finance, included "further" reduction, so that the object of the Amendment was met.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
asked if there was not a question of policy beyond that of mere drafting. Statutory reduction was to be paid for by levy of any a mount. He always understood that statutory reduction was limited to the proportion of so many licences per 1,000 inhabitants, beyond which it could not be extended. Now he understood that in Wales they might go to any extent beyond that proportion of so many licences per 1,000 inhabitants, and they would still be statutory reductions.
§ STR S. EVANS
said the answer to the right hon Gentleman was that those reductions were provided for once and for 355 all in Clause 9. The right hon. Gentleman might not have observed that with regard to the finance of the question they were to be put on the same footing as optional reductions. If this Amendment was withdrawn he would, if necessary, amend the section. It was merely a question of drafting.
§ SIR S. EVANS
accepted the words on the distinct understanding that they were to be further considered.
§ Amendment agreed to.
In page 7, lines 32 and 33, to leave out the words 'the remuneration and expenses of the Licensing Commission.'
In page 7, line 35, after the word 'Act,' to insert the words 'for which provision is not otherwise made.'"—(Sir Samuel Evans.)
§ Amendments agreed to.
§ MR. CAVE
proposed to insert the Words "and not exceeding," after the word "as" in line 40, the object being to limit the amount of the levy in any one year to the amount set out in the schedule. These words already appeared in the Act of 1904. If it was true that it was not intended that the Licensing Commission should raise in any area anything substantially over the amount specified in the schedule, the only possible risk that the Government could run, in accepting these words, was that by some miscalculation some small excess of the amount specified in the schedule might be required. But even that difficulty could, he believed, be dealt with by the provision in the Bill for borrowing money. If the power of the Commission were not definitely limited a very serious risk would be imposed on the owners and holders of property; for the Commission could levy for statutory purposes any sum it pleased, provided that the sum was apportioned between the houses. It was because the levy was absolutely unlimited and because of that serious risk to the owners of these houses 356 that he moved this Amendment, so that every man could know where he was and the worst that could happen to him.
In page 7, line 40, after the word 'as,' to insert the words 'and not exceeding.'"—(Mr. Cave.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR S. EVANS
pointed out that this point had been considerably discussed during the afternoon, and he hoped to be relieved from repeating anything he had already said. For reasons already given, he was afraid that he could not accept the Amendment. Regarding the borrowing powers of the Commission, he reminded the Committee that the security of the compensation fund was required for Treasury advances.
§ *MR. YOUNGER
characterised the explanation of the Solicitor-General as the most astounding that had been heard in the Committee. Both the hon. and learned Gentleman and the Under-secretary for the Home Department had stated that there was no probability of the maximum scale being exceeded, and that the fears expressed by Members of the Opposition had no substance. If that was so, why not put in these words? Their insertion would be a test of the sincerity of the arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleague, and if he refused to accept the Amendment then the Committee would know how far he was sincere in this matter.
§ *MR. BARNARD
expressed the hope that the Government would put in these words. The Committee had heard a good deal of the reason for the refusal to accept the Kennedy award, that the public-houses were under-assessed. If there was any validity in the contention that the assessment of public-houses was all wrong and that the Schedule A assessment had been adopted to rectify it, it must be clear that the Schedule A assessment would result in a much larger sum of money being obtained than was before received. If that larger sum of money was to be got and if they were to pay out, not under the old system, but 357 under the revised method which undoubtedly would result in much less being paid, it was just to compare the 1904 Act with the present proposals. The 1904 Act got rid of 1,500 licences a year. This Bill would get rid of 2,400 licences a year during the fourteen years reduction period. If more money was received and less paid out it was obvious that there would be a balance from that source. If that was the case, what could be the reason for not inserting these words? After all that was said and done it was not public money that was being spent in this way, and it certainly seemed reasonable that the persons who found the money should have some voice in the spending of it.
§ MR. G. D. FABER
said the Opposition were justified in saying that the Government in the person of the Solicitor-General, by refusing this Amendment, confirmed everything the Opposition had said in the course of the debate. There must be something beneath the surface, seeing that the answer of the hon. and learned Gentleman was not sufficient and satisfactory. The Solicitor-General, when it suited his purpose, was ready enough to quote the Act of 1904 in the matter of borrowing powers. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin had asked why the borrowing powers were put in the Bill, and the reply was that they were put in the Act of 1904. That was perfectly true, but why had the Government not put into the Bill of 1908 the words of the Act of 1904, imposing the condition that the levy should be to a certain limit and no higher? The Government adopted certain provisions for one purpose, but when it came to the great danger of the maximum levy being exceeded, as it would be under this Bill, it was pointed out that the danger was guarded against by the Act of 1904. They had never had an answer to their questions. There was nothing to prevent the Commissioners during the early years from making a levy which would exceed the maximum set down in the schedule, and if the words proposed by his hon. friend were accepted they would put a stop to anything of that kind. The levy could be doubled, and the Commissioners could utilise the balance which remained 358 to them for the purpose, in succeeding years, of having both English optional reduction and Welsh local option. He had no doubt that was the object and desire in the minds of the Government, or they would have accepted as a matter of course the most reasonable Amendment put forward by his hon. and learned friend. There was no doubt that his hon. and learned friend would go to a division in order to record the view of the Opposition.
§ MR. JAMES HOPE (Sheffield, Central)
said the Solicitor-General had stated the case on behalf of the Bill with the most conspicuous courtesy and good nature, but courtesy and good nature were not everything. A man might smile and smile, and still remain a Law Officer. He must say that he thought the courtesy and ingenuity of the Solicitor-General were somewhat more conspicuous than his application to any direct argument in support of the Amendment. Could the hon. and learned Gentleman say that there was any provision in the Bill for preventing a scheme, set up by the bench of licensing justices and approved by the Commissioners, which would bring the licences in any area down to the statutory limit within the period of five years from the passing of the Act? He submitted there was no provision whatever. The only defence put forward was the use of the word "reasonable" in the earlier section. The only argument put forward that night was that the justices were to prepare a scheme for the reduction of licences to be spread over a reasonable time. But when they came to the interpretation of the word "reasonable," might he ask the Solicitor-General what sanction there was for the Licensing Commission to approve a scheme of reduction which indicated that the operation of it was to be spread reasonably over fourteen years? Could it be taken into Court?
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
said that if they could mandamus the Licensing Commission, that was a very valuable admission, and he would like to have it confirmed by other legal authorities. 359 He wanted to put this case quite clearly. Supposing a bench of licensing justices put forward a scheme whereby a very large number of licences would be reduced in the first few years, would it be possible for anyone in the district to apply for a mandamus saying that the justices did not provide for the reduction being reasonably spread over a number of years, that it would upset the trade of the district, and that it would upset the social arrangements of the district? Could it be argued in the High Court that the scheme was not a reasonable one within the meaning of Section 6? He would be glad of the view of the Prime Minister on that point, because the right hon. Gentleman was not altogether a layman; he had not forgotten his law, though he professed to have done so when the amenities of debate required. If what the Solicitor-General said was true, then, of course, there was an entirely new light thrown on the functions of the Licensing Commission. But he contested that he was not altogether satisfied with the mere obiter dictum of the Solicitor-General on that subject. To come to another point, what was going to happen in case of a miscalculation on the part of the Licensing Commissioners? Supposing the Commissioners agreed on a Budget which in fact they were not able to carry out. It was extremely probable that that might happen. Many interpretations had been put on the famous subsection (b) of Clause 6, but at any rate the operation of that subsection, in combination with the section they were now discussing, was extremely obscure. He submitted that many miscalculations must necessarily arise when the clause was put in operation. The Commissioners might give their sanction to a scheme which would take a number of years to put into execution, and he thought it was admitted that as regarded statutory reductions there must be mistakes; therefore he supposed that the Government did not want the levy to be limited because they realised that it would be impossible for the Commissioners, with the best will in the world, and with the best information possible, to be quite sure that the ordinary rates of levy would be sufficient to meet the changes in any year. He presumed it was admitted in regard 360 to the statutory reduction that there might be mistakes, and that in consequence of the miscalculations it might be necessary to make a higher levy. Then there was the more difficult point as to optional reduction which was additional to statutory reduction. Suppose that the Commissioners considered the scheme for statutory reduction, and calculated that after several years there would be an ample margin whereby there might be optional reduction, whether by the magistrates or by local veto. They would have already given their sanction to the scheme of statutory reduction, and when the first proposal for optional reduction came before them it would perhaps have to wait. At last, however, they would think that it would be possible to carry it out and sanction it, but they would not know for certain what would be the cost of the statutory scheme, and in the meantime assessments might havegoneup. If the assessments had gone up in the meantime the compensation would be greater than they had calculated or had been led to believe; so they might find that, when the actual time came for the optional scheme which they had sanctioned, the statutory reductions had exhausted all the funds available on the ordinary scale of levy. The question which he wished to put was this: What would be the position in regard to the scheme of optional reduction which the Commissioners had sanctioned when it came to the point that owing to the raising of the assessments in the meantime the amount payable in respect of statutory reduction was higher, and there was no money for the scheme of optional reduction to which they had given their sanction in the expectation that there would be an ample margin left? He submitted that, in the words of the section, once they had given their sanction it would be necessary to carry it out, even if they had to put the compensation levy above the maximum scale. Subsection 3 contained the words—The licensing justices, if they consider, after taking into account any then existing or prospective liability for compensation (including compensation in respect of any optional reduction which may be sanctioned), that they will be able to meet the payments for compensation involved by the proposals without imposing 361 the compensation levy at rates exceeding those set out in the Second Schedule to this Act, shall give their sanction to those proposals, but not otherwise.That was to say that they were to consider, and if they came to the conclusion that they could carry them out, they should give their assent; but once they gave their sanction, whether rightly or wrongly, he submitted that the words made it absolutely necessary that the reductions should be carried out, and if they were to be carried out they would necessarily involve an additional levy. If the Licensing Commissioners gave their sanction to schemes, and there was nothing to prevent it, based on a false estimate, they were bound by this section to carry them through, and to impose more than the maximum charges, although it was the consequences of their own fault. He submitted that it was the proper and the only construction of the section; and it was in order to obviate the possibility of the injustice of an extra levy coming in under the section, simply through the miscalculation of the Licensing Commissioners, that his hon. and learned friend's Amendment was necessary, and he trusted even now would be accepted by the Government.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said this was one of the most important Amendments which had been brought forward. He congratulated his hon. and learned friend on the foresight with which he had acted all through the Committee stage, culminating in his bringing forward this particular Amendment. It must be evident to everybody that the most important question to be considered was the manner of levying the compensation and the amount to be levied. Who ought to be the authority to determine that? Was it to be the House of Commons or a central trio not yet created, sitting in London with absolute authority over the purses and business and livelihood of these unfortunate people which hon. Gentlemen opposite sought to destroy? Whether it was right or wrong to have a statutory reduction, it must be right that Parliament, which created the statutory reduction, should also create the levy and fix the amount of the levy to be raised. 362 The Act of 1904 was always quoted by hon. Gentlemen opposite when it suited their purpose. When desiring to refuse an Amendment, they said it was not in that Act, and they could not have it now. He had asked whether there was any limit in the Act, and the hon. Gentleman replied: "No, because there was no statutory reduction." He would ask the Home Secretary if he had made this statutory reduction without considering the result of that reduction. Had the Government not made any calculation as to the cost of the statutory reduction? It was based on proportion to population, and the calculation must be perfectly easy When they were dealing with a great trade in which £120,000,000 were invested, it was only the duty of the Government to see that proper calculations were made, to know where they were going, and that they were not running blindly down an incline, and putting all the awkward questions into the hands of the sacred trio who were to decide the fortunes of these unfortunate people. He presumed they had made the calculation, because they had put Schedule 2 in the Bill. The hon. Member who had last spoken had alluded to another point which bore upon this particular question. They were told there was to be a statutory reduction, and that there were to be other reductions. The safeguard for these other reductions held out by the Government was that no other reductions would be made if there were not sufficient funds to meet them, and when they asked how it was to be determined whether there were sufficient funds or not, they were told the power to increase the maximum rate was not allowed to the Licensing Commission in respect of optional reduction or of local option in Wales. He would suppose the Commissioners actuated by the best motives, determined to make a levy—indeed, they were bound to do so; they made the calculation which had not apparently been made by the Government, or was not given them, and they came to the conclusion that the sum to be raised in the first two years was, for the sake of argument, £20,000,000. They raised this amount, and in order to get it, they 363 found they had to exceed the maximum. Having done that, they found that in the two years all they spent was £15,000,000. What were they going to do with the other £5,000,000? Was it not evident that if there was a scheme prepared by the justices for further optional reduction or by the local option authority in Wales for further reduction, these people would say to the Licensing Commission: "You have £5,000,000." The Solicitor-General said they could not devote the money raised by a levy above the maximum to either of these purposes. How was he to know that the particular £5,000,000 was the result of the levy above the maximum? Were they going to earmark it and say to a man: "You are the holder of a licence. The maximum levy is £100 a year. We are going to make it £120." How were they going to earmark in two years time which of that £120 had been spent in the reduction of licences? Was it the £20 extra, or the £100. Talk about calculations! It would be absolutely impossible for the Licensing Commissioners to carry on their accounts or their business if they were to do that. Whatever the Solicitor-General might say as to the safeguard on the part of the Government to prevent these additional reductions being provided by rates levied above the maximum amount, no possible statement of that sort in the House would prevent in two or three years time that amount of money being spent, if it was available, on the reduction of licences beyond the statutory limit. He believed it was beyond the talents, great as they were, of the hon. and learned Gentleman to give him an answer to that statement. It was perfectly impossible for any result to occur other than that which he had stated. He hoped the temperance reformers in the House would pause a little in their crusade against the liquor trade. Would it not be enough to have injured them almost vitally without cutting their throats altogether? Surely the statutory reduction was sufficient during the fourteen years. Why, by a side issue like this, should they endeavour to provide for a further reduction? Let them have the courage of their opinions. If they thought the statutory reduction was not enough, let them say so, and make 364 a bigger levy and a greater reduction, but not allow poor people to suppose they were going to be limited to a certain number, when, as a matter of fact, very different results might happen.
§ MR. REMNANT (Finsbury, Holborn)
thought the debate would show the importance of allowing time for discussing the Amendments to the Bill. Thanks to the closure, many important Amendments had already been passed, and they had had no opportunity of discussing them, and in reference to this one he was quite sure the Solicitor-General would, after the debate had taken place, agree that it was one well worthy of consideration. Might he join in the tribute to the courtesy and ability with which the Solicitor-General had met them all through the discussion on the Bill? He congratulated the Government on having selected him to take charge of the Bill. The Solicitor-General had said it would be impossible to borrow beyond the compensation fund, but loans could be made on the future instalments of the levy under the Bill. Loans, it was true, had not been allowed by the present Government under the 1904 Act.
[The remainder of the speech was inaudible in the Press Gallery on account of a disturbance in the Ladies' Gallery, where two ladies had chained themselves to the grille and endeavoured to address the House in favour of woman suffrage. Eventually the ladies were removed.]
§ MR. RAWLINSON (Cambridge University)
supported the Amendment. If there was nothing behind the action of the Government in this matter surely they ought to see their way to accept this Amendment. He had the greatest mistrust of judicial tribunals appointed for a temporary purpose. He submitted that the second Schedule was absolutely useless unless they limited it by an Amendment such as the one they were now considering. Let the Committee consider for a moment the grounds for alarm which existed amongst the licensed trade. What were the grounds? Look at the position they were putting the trade in. They had a schedule which provided that there should be a certain rate levied, and they gave the power to levy that rate not to Parliament, or to the licensing magistrates, 365 but to a new body called the Licensing Commission. Such Commissions were contrary to the general spirit of the English law, and did not inspire the same confidence that ordinary tribunals did. Almost any Bill which the Government brought in carried with it a fresh appointment and set up a fresh tribunal. The Licensing Commission not only possessed the power to levy a rate in accordance with the schedule, but they had power to levy absolutely without any sort of limit at all. That would be the position under the Bill unless this clause were amended. The Commissioners had power to levy a far larger rate than was necessary, and there was a temptation put upon them to make a larger levy and there would be no difficulty about doing it. Surely the magistrates were the best judges upon this question. The Solicitor-General had said a mandamus could be obtained to carry out a scheme. He submitted that that could not be done, and that if the Commissioners acted unreasonably the High Courts had no power to interfere in order to declare that it was not the intention of the Government that the trade should suffer in this particular manner. He had not taken any part up to the present in the debates on this Bill, and he would not have addressed the Committee on this occasion but for the very strong point which this Amendment offered to him to put before the Government. He trusted the Government would see their way to accept the Amendment. The clause was leaving to an ad hoc authority called the Licensing Commission a discretion which ought not to be left to any tribunal.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said he was not quite sure whether his hon. and learned friend was present during a former discussion in which this point was fully discussed. The obligation being upon the Commissioners, they must have the necessary power to carry out the statutory reduction, and they must have funds. That the justices might make a miscalculation was the reason why the Commissioners would have power to examine all schemes.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said that if both justices and Commissioners made a mistake the 366 scheme would become operative and against those upon whom was the duty to carry it out a mandamus would lie as in every other case; the merits of the scheme could not be discussed. Whether there was a miscalculation or not the scheme would have to be carried out under mandamus. He had not the slightest doubt that separate accounts could be kept for statutory and optional reductions, and there would be no difficulty in distinguishing the amount available for the one and the other. The optional reductions would not be part of the scheme. If there was any reasonable doubt whether the optional reductions could fairly be carried out, the Commissioners might, under Clause 12, attach such conditions as they thought fit as to postponement. Earlier in the evening he made general observations as to the security there would be in the character of the Commissioners, and he suggested the Committee might now come to a decision.
§ MR. YOUNGER
welcomed the frank admission that the reason a limit could not be placed on the levy was that there must be enough money to carry out the scheme. The Government had not the ghost of an idea how much money it would take. They ought by this time to have got in every licensing district proper statistics regarding the urban and rural areas, the population, and the exact number of licences, but they had not done so. They were asked by him in the beginning of March to get the information, but they had not got it. The Government were not treating the House in a respectful fashion in failing to inform themselves as to one of the most important parts of the Bill. The explanation of this carelessness and negligence was that the Government did not take their own Bill seriously. That was his view. He could not think that, if they did take it seriously, they would have left the Committee in ignorance on this important question. He thanked the Solicitor-General for his courtesy and frankness.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
did not think that the Solicitor-General had given an effective answer. Supposing that the hon. and learned Gentleman was correct in saying that it would be 367 possible to keep the two accounts separately, he maintained that there was nothing in the Bill to prevent the trio of Commissioners from so dealing with the accounts as to apply a portion of the levy made for the statutory reduction to the purposes of optional, or the Welsh reduction.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
said the explanation of the Solicitor-General had not left the matter altogether clear. He understood that if the Commissioners made an error in their budget, and the money would not carry out the scheme, still the proposals would be carried into operation.
§ The proposal being sanctioned, the Commissioners would have no alternative but to make a levy in excess of the maximum. He gathered that the last word on the interpretation of the word "reasonable" would be with the Commission, and there was absolute necessity for the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided—
§ When the House was being cleared for the division, a man in the Strangers' Gallery jumped to his feet, threw a bundle of papers on to the floor of the chamber, shouting: "Why do not you do justice to women and the unemployed?" "Votes for women." He was immediately removed.
§ Ayes, 69; Noes, 197. (Division List No. 297.)369
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Faber, George Denison (York)||Pease, Herbert Pke(Darlington|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fell, Arthur||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fletcher, J. S.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Forster, Henry William||Renton, Leslie|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Renwick, George|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gretton, John||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Stanier, Beville|
|Barnard, E. B.||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Haddock, George B.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hills, J. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Cave, George||Kimber, Sir Henry||Young, Samuel|
|Clark, George Smith||Law, Anrdew Bonar (Dulwich)||Younger, George|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Rawlinson and Mr. Lane-|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Morrison- Bell, Captain||Fox.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Nolan, Joseph|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Brace, William|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Barnes, G. N.||Bramsdon, T. A.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Brigg, John|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Bright, J. A.|
|Armitage, R.||Bell, Richard||Brocklehurst, W. B.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Brooke, Stopford|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bennett, E. N.||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Black, Arthur W.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Boulton, A. C. F.||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles|
|Barker, John||Bowerman, C. W.||Cameron, Robert|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Clough, William||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Seddon, J.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Shackleton, David James|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Jowett, F. W.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Kekewich, Sir George||Shaw, Rt. Hn. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Crooks, William||Kelley, George D.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Crosfield, A. H.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Crossley, William J.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lambert, George||Snowden, P.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Lewis, John Herbert||Steadman, W. C.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol,S.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Summerbell, T.|
|Duckworth, James||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Macpherson, J. T.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||M'Crae, Sir George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Maddison, Frederick||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Toulmin, George|
|Fenwick, Charles||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Verney, F. W.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Massie, J.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Menzies, Walter||Walsh, Stephen|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Walters, John Tudor|
|Glover, Thomas||Middlebrook, William||Walton, Joseph|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Molteno, Percy Alport||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Mond, A.||Wardle, George J.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hall, Frederick||Montgomery, H. G.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossend'le||Morse, L. L.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)||Nicholls, George||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nuttall, Harry||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Raphael, Herbert H.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Hodge, John||Rees, J. D.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Winfrey, R.|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robertson,Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Hudson, Walter||Robinson, S.||Elibank.|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
In page 8, line 3, after the word 'optional,' to insert the words 'or further.'"—(Mr. Cave.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
moved an Amendment to provide that any proposals for 371 optional reduction, involving the payment of compensation by the Licensing Commission, should not be carried out until the Licensing Commission had considered "all" the proposals from the financial point of view. The object of his Amendment, he said, was to carry out what the Solicitor-General said was the intention of the Government, viz., that no invidious priority should be given for optional reduction in one part of the country over another. When they discussed this subject on an earlier clause he had in view that there was a probable danger that certain bodies of magistrates in their zeal for reduction might put forward their proposals with great haste, bring them before the Licensing Commission and get them accepted, so that other proposals from different parts of the country would have to wait their turn, because of the first proposals having drained away all the money available for compensation. The Solicitor-General on that occasion said there would be no priority. He himself doubted very much whether the words in the section lower down would ensure that. However, as the Solicitor-General stated that that was his intention, he begged him to make certain that that intention would be carried out. As to the consequential Amendment, he did not adhere absolutely to its terms. All he wanted was that the Commissioners should review all the schemes for reduction put forward by a certain date and consider them, not by themselves but compare them with one another, and that they should not be unduly hasty in deciding upon any particular scheme. He hoped the Government would accept the Amendment.
In page 8, line 6, after the word 'considered,' to insert the word 'all.'"—(Mr. James Hope.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'all' be there inserted."
§ SIR S. EVANS
said that the effect of the Amendment would be to prevent the possibility of any optional reduction taking place until all the proposals had been considered at the end of fourteen years.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said that that was not the effect of the Amendment as it stood. The effect of it would be to limit the discretion of the Commissioners, which the Government did not desire to do. Even if the effect of the Amendment were that the optional proposals should be considered year by year, the probable result would be a scramble among the justices as to which should first get in their proposals, whereas it was the intention that full discretion should be given to the Commissioners. In practice the result of the Amendment would be that while they were dealing with the statutory reductions the Commissioners would be forced to hold their hands in order to see how they would stand from a financial point of view. Therefore, he put it to the hon. Gentleman that if his Amendment were carried it would have the the contrary effect to what he desired.
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
said he was afraid the hon. and learned Gentleman had not appreciated altogether the point of his Amendment. What he wanted to put forward was that if the Licensing Commission were to consider yearly all the schemes put forward in that year it was obvious they could not do that unless the schemes came in by a certain date. He maintained, practically, that the schemes should come before the Commission during the first half of the year; then in the second half the Commission could review these as a whole, and see whether they could be carried out in view of the financial means at their disposal. If that was done, there could not be any undue scramble, because there would be a fixed period for sending up schemes to the Licensing Commission. All he wanted to secure was that there should be no undue priority. The Government was pledged to that, and that pledge would not be carried out unless some such Amendment was accepted.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
thought the Solicitor - General must be conscious in his own mind of the importance of the Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman said the Amendment was 373 in the wrong place, and did not carry out the intention. Let them come from the exact words of the Amendment to the substance of the policy his hon. friend proposed. The point to be borne in mind was that there was unlimited money for the purpose of dealing with the reduction that they had already passed—money that might be required from the trade for the purpose of reducing the number of licences to the statutory proportion. That money could be divided compulsorily among the existing holders of licences. When they came, however, to the optional licences they came to a different problem. The optional licences could only be dealt with by the surplus that remained after the statutory reduction had been dealt with. There was, therefore, only that financial margin to go on to make the optional reductions which localities might desire. Supposing one licensing area in the north of England had asked for so many reductions, another in Wales had asked for so many, and so on. These came in piecemeal, and the resources of the central committee were quite insufficient to meet all the demands. How were they going to allocate their money between them? He found that a difficult problem, and that it was not solved in the Bill was quite clear. Before he ventured further to criticise what seemed to him to be a gap in the Government scheme, he would like to know exactly how the Government would deal with these competing schemes. How were they to be compared and balanced one against another? He was assuming, in the first place, that the claims did not come in at one time; and in the second place, that the total amount of claims in the year was greater than the amount of money at the disposal of the central committee would meet. Neither of these hypotheses was extravagant in itself. If they did occur, on, what principle did the Government think the central committee would dispose of the funds?
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said this was not a point which could be met by any machinery which could be inserted in a Bill. The Commissioners must deal with it as a matter of administration, just as Quarter Sessions did now in dealing with the competing claims in their areas. 374 Every year the Quarter Sessions had this problem before them. The Quarter Sessions had either by conference with the licensing justices beforehand, or else by taking the claims into consideration after they had been sent in, to decide how far they could be met. If, however, it was clear at the outset that there would be no money for optional reductions, he had no doubt notification to that effect would be made by the Commissioners, and so no schemes would be sent in. As money was available so schemes would come before the Commissioners, who would see in what proportion they would be able to accede to the requests made to them. If the Amendment was accepted let the Committee mark the absurd result that would follow. In the first year of reduction there was to be no statutory reduction at all. If this proposal were put into operation in the first year the Commissioners would be obliged to spend all their money, the whole of the levy, over £1,000,000, on optional reduction schemes which might have come before them. He was sure that was not a result the hon. Member desired, but it was certainly the result which would follow his proposal. Apart from that, the proposal would inevitably lead to a scramble between the benches in the country which might want optional reduction to place their schemes before the Commission at the earliest moment, and would not give the Commissioners an opportunity of taking into account the prospective liability as to optional reduction.
§ MR. CAVE
said that with great respect to the hon. Gentleman he did not think he had given due weight to the difference of language in the Act of 1904 and in the present Bill. Under the 1904 Act, Quarter Sessions had a right to select between competing proposals for the reduction of licences. They had an absolute discretion to deal with them as they pleased. But under this clause, supposing the fund amounted to £1,000,000, and £700,000 was required for statutory reductions, that would leave £300,000 available for optional reduction. Supposing there were schemes sent in during the year for optional reduction to the value of £600,000, where was the right 375 of the Commissioners to select among these schemes those with which they should proceed? On the express terms of the Bill they were bound to proceed with them, but if there was not money enough they could not proceed with any. Were they entitled to choose between the different schemes? What right had they to give a preference to any? Therefore he held that the Commissioners should be able to consider the applications at certain definite periods, and use their discretion as to which they should grant. This was not merely a drafting matter, though he thought the drafting faulty in this respect. It was a matter of substance, and he thought before the justices sent in schemes they ought to know how they would be dealt with—whether there was to be this sort of scramble or whether there was to be allotted a time within which the schemes ought to be sent in. He thought there was a great deal to be said for this Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he was really very reluctant to trouble the Committee, but he was quite convinced that anybody who thought over this matter would see that there was a great difficulty facing the Government, which they had not made the smallest attempt to meet. So far as the Commissioners had to deal with the statutory limitations it was simple enough, but after they had spent all the money which was required to deal with the statutory reduction, they then came to a number of applications, already sent in, and, what was more, they were conscious that a large number of other applications were going to be sent in for optional reduction. They had only a certain amount of money at their disposal, namely, the balance over that required for the statutory reduction. It was all important if this scheme was to work that this surplus should be divided fairly and equally between the various districts which asked for optional reduction. Wales, for instance, had special facilities for adding to what were really optional reductions. Other districts might have magistrates anxious to overstep the statutory limits of reduction. How on earth were the three gentlemen in London—he did not use 376 the words "in London" offensively, as was suggested by the Under-Secretary; one might be in London and yet be a very respectable man—but how on earth were three gentlemen in London to settle the allocation of the balance, which by hypothesis was less than the total sum required, or which they thought was going to be required, unless they had before them all the elements of the problem which had to be dealt with? They had to divide money amongst a larger number of applicants than the money would go round. How could they apportion the share of each fairly unless they knew the conditions of the district and what applications were going to be made to them, and unless they had an opportunity of considering the local interests of districts which asked for optional reduction? He did not think the Government had quite to ched the point. In the two explanations they had given they had not attempted to deal with the point. Under the conditions in which they were discussing the Bill they could not allow this opportunity to go without learning from the Government how they meant to deal with the difficulty he had explained. It might be that the Amendment was not qualified to meet the special difficulty, but there was a difficulty, and that the Government had not so far shown how it was to be met must be obvious to anyone who had heard the course of the discussion. He hoped the Government would really explain their views of the problem, to the solution of which he should be glad to give any assistance in his power.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said it was admitted on all hands that the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman and argued so forcibly by the right hon. Gentleman could not be dealt with in the manner suggested by the Amendment or anything like it. Therefore, he was asked to state the views of the Government as a general topic of debate. The matter had not been overlooked by the Government, and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that the vigilance of his supporters was such that the question was raised some days ago and then debated. He did not think in practice there would be any difficulty at all. There would be nothing 377 in the shape of priority given to the various proposals which would come before the Commission. If they accepted the recommendation and put into the Bill what the Commission were to do, they would create endless difficulties. If they appointed a Commission to deal with a matter which required discretion and consideration from every point of view, it was far better to trust to their discretion than to say definitely what they were or were not to do. He believed they would deal equitably and impartially with the claims. It would be impossible for them to deal with all the claims in one year, and it was much better to trust them to deal with the whole matter in fairness to all concerned. Subsection (3) provided that in any case the Commission might attach to the sanction such conditions as they thought fit with regard to the postponing and carrying out of the proposals. That indicated to them that they must consider the whole circumstances. His answer to the right
§ hon. Gentleman was that it was better, instead of attempting to lay down in an administrative matter of this kind exactly what they were to do, to leave the matter in the discretion of the Commission which they were about to appoint.
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
wished to know why, if there was to be unlimited discretion in the Licensing Commission, the word "shall" appeared in line 14 of page 8, because, as he understood it, as long as they could see their way clear to find the money they would be bound to give effect to any proposals before them; that was to say, up to the point to which the proposals could be met. If the hon. Member wanted to give them unlimited discretion he must accept an Amendment changing "shall" into "may."
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 80; Noes, 226. (Division List No. 298.)379
|Acland, Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fell, Arthur||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fletcher, J. S.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Forster, Henry William||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt, Hn Sir H.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Renton, Leslie|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Renwick, George|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Haddock, George B.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Hamilton, Marquess of||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hills, J. W.||Stanier, Beville|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Houston, Robert Paterson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Kimber, Sir Henry||Valentia, Viscount|
|Bridgeman, W. C'live||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col, A. R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Cave, George||M'Arthur, Charles||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Clark, George Smith||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Young, Samuel|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Younger, George|
|Collings, Rt.Hn.J. (Birmingh'm||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||James Hope and Mr. George|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||D. Faber.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Atherley-Jones, L.||Beauchamp, E.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Bell, Richard|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Barker, John||Bennett, E. N.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Black, Arthur W.|
|Armitage, R.||Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Boulton, A. C. F.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Barnes, G. N.||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Brace, William|
|Astbury, John Meir||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Bramsdon, T. A.|
|Brigg, John||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Bright, J. A.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hudson, Walter||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Robinson, S.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hyde, Clarendon||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jocoby, Sir James Alfred||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Cameron, Robert||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. RichardKnight||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jowett, F. W.||Seddon, J.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Shackleton, David James|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Kekewich, Sir George||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Clough, William||Kelley, George D.||Shaw, Rt, Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Collins,Sir Wm.J. (S. Pancras, W.||Laidlaw, Robert||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Lambert, George||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Levy, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Snowden, P.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Crooks, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Crossley, William J.||Lupton, Arnold||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Steadman, W. C.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lyell, Charles Henry||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Summerbell, T.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Maclean, Donald||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell(Bristol, S.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St, Pancras, N.||Macpherson, J. T.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Duckworth, James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||M'Callum, John M.||Thompsn, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||M'Crae, Sir George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Tomkinson, James|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Toulmin, George|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||M'Micking, Major G.||Verney, F. W.|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Maddison, Frederick||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Walsh, Stephen|
|Fenwick, Charles||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Massie, J.||Walton, Joseph|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Menzies, Walter||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Wardle, George J.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Middlebrook, William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Gill, A. H.||Mond, A.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Glover, Thomas||Montgomery, H. G.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morgan, J. Loyd (Carmarthen)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Morse, L. L.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Hall, Frederick||Myer, Horatio||Whittaker, Rt, Hn. Sir ThomasP.|
|Harcourt, RtHn.L. (Rossendale||Nicholls, George||Wiles, Thomas|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Norman, Sir Henry||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Harmsworth, R. L.(Caithness-sh||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Williamson, A.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nuttall, Harry||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Partington, Oswald||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Winfrey, R.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Higham, John Sharp||Radford, G. H.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Raphael, Herbert H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Hodge, John||Rees, J. D.||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)||Elibank.|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)|
§ MR. JAMES HOPE
moved to omit subsection (3), in order to get at close quarters with the point he mentioned 380 just before the Committee last divided. The word "shall" was the governing word of the whole of the subsection. 381 The effect of it was to make it absolutely binding on the Licensing Commission to take the schemes of reduction in the order in which they came to them. He did not think that could be evaded. So long as they saw their way clear to be able to pay for them, so long must they do so. The intention of the Government that there should be no priority would therefore be defeated. Under the subsection as it stood there must be priority. He submitted that it would be better to leave the matter vague and allow the Commission to carry it out in their full discretion, not seeking to bind them by the words of the subsection.
In page 8, line 8, to leave out subsection (3).'"—(Mr. James Hope.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'Act' in line 14, stand part of the clause."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the point had really been discussed on the last Amendment. The Bill was perfectly clear. The Licensing Commission were empowered to take into account not only any existing but also any prospective liability for compensation, including compensation in respect of any optional reductions which might be sanctioned. That completely met the point of the hon. Member. He understood that what was really in the mind of the hon. Member in moving the Amendment was the alteration of the word "shall" into "may"; but he would point out that all through the debate they had heard that this Commission was an autocratic body, able to impose their will upon the justices, the people, and anyone. Now the Government proposed that, where the money was available, and where they could meet the payments for compensation involved by the proposals for optional reductions without imposing the compensation levy at rates exceeding those set out in the second Schedule, the Commission should be required to meet the wishes of the licensing justices, or the people in the case of Wales; the hon. Member wished completely to alter that and to give the Licensing Commission autocratic 382 powers to veto the wishes of the justices or people of the locality.
§ SIR E. CARSON
said the attitude of the Opposition was absolutely fair. When they objected to the powers of the Licensing Commissioners on very much more important matters, the Government insisted upon them. They objected to their autocratic powers of taxation. That was a very important matter, and they said it was unprecedented to give such powers to a Commission of this kind, which was not representative of any interest whatever in the county. When it came to the question of these proposals, the Government allowed no elasticity whatever, but it worked out in an extraordinary way. The Commission must agree to the proposals, but they could attach such terms as they pleased. Having said they agreed, they might put in terms which made the proposals absolutely nugatory. That was an extraordinary way to deal with the Commission. If they wanted a really fit body at all, they ought to leave them the discretion as proposed by the hon. Member.
§ *MR. G. D. FABER
said that the more he looked at the subsection, the more extraordinarily vague it appeared. He could perfectly understand these three estimable gentlemen on the Commission being able to take into account any existing liability, but how, in the name of common sense, were they going to take into account any prospective liability? They would not assess the compensation; the Inland Revenue Commissioners would do that. How were the Licensing Commission to know their prospective liability when they did not assess the compensation at all? Secondly, the subsection said that, if the money was sufficient for the optional reductions, the Commissioners—Shall give their sanction to those proposals.Why "shall"? Why not "may"? The attitudes which these gentlemen were to take up were extraordinarily kaleidoscopic. At one moment they were to be supreme, and were to impose any conditions they pleased, and the moment afterwards it was not they "may," but they "shall" do this. He would prefer that they "may give their sanction" to 383 the proposals. Surely, it was better to make their powers arbitrary for all these purposes, and say that if the money was there for the purpose of the optional reduction proposals of the licensing justices or for the local option proposals in the case of Wales they might have the power to say "No." His third difficulty was as regards rival schemes of local option. The clause, as it stood, left it entirely to the whim of the Commissioners as to the order in which they would consider any proposals for optional reduction. It might be that the chief member of the Commission would be a gentleman passionately devoted to local option for Wales and who would prefer applying any surplus money there might be to securing local option for Wales although proposals for optional reduction might have previously been put forward for England. Why should Wales in that case have preference merely because the first Commissioner might have a desire for local option in Wales? It would have been better in this case if the point had been put over the "i" and the cross on the "t" and chapter and verse had been given as to how the optional proposals should be considered by the Commissioners.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
did not think the Committee appreciated to the full the humour of the proposals contained in subsection (3) of this clause. It was in the power of a Government to appoint three able administrators as Commissioners to deal with this problem; but it was really not in the power of this or any Government to appoint three prophets. What were these gentlemen asked to do? They were to take into account any then existing and any prospective liability for compensation, including compensation in respect of any optional reductions which might be sanctioned. They were not only to have in view liabilities already existing, but any liabilities which might be imposed upon them. Were these three Commissioners to be endowed with a peculiar sense of foresight and prophecy that would enable them to know what claims in the future the licensing magistrates and Petty Sessions were going to make upon the central fund? The action of the magistrates might be difficult to forecast, 384 but it would be even more difficult to forecast the action of popularly elected bodies. He did not think even the Government could say how the constituencies were going to act at the next general election. He should be reluctant to make any prophecy, and he did not know that the Government were more competent to do so than he was. How were the popular assemblies in the various parishes in Wales going to be subjected to an accurate forecast which would enable the Commissioners to know what their future liabilities would be? A merchant in business could form a forecast because he understood the market, and was able to make some prophecy as to the future and as to the relation which his assets should bear to the liabilities which might be imposed upon him. Would any commercial man accept as a business man any forecast of the liabilities which would be thrown upon him by the action of this or that parish in Wales or of this or that bench of magistrates? Yet, according to the words of the subsection, the Commissioners were to take into account not only what had happened and what was happening, but they were to cast their vision into the doubtful and obscure future, to interpret the action of every bench of magistrates, to forecast the changing moods of every parish in the principality, and, having formed accurate estimates of the various liabilities, an absolute command was thrown upon them to sanction the proposals. A more ludicrous and extraordinarily grotesque proposition was never put before Parliament by a Government pretending to deal with a question seriously. He did not for a moment suppose that had the Government not had that admirable substitute for reason and argument which was to be found in the Closure, and had it been possible to arouse interest in a Bill the fate of which seemed so doubtful, they would have had the audacity to propose to cast upon three gentlemen in London the duty of throwing their acute minds into the future and auguring the liabilities to be imposed upon them by he knew not how many different benches and parishes. It was grotesque and absurd, and not the smallest defence of it had been offered.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said the right hon. Gentleman had introduced a vein of 385 humour into the discussion. He said he had not the gift of prophecy, but before he sat down he went very near it as to the future, of this Bill. In that region he perhaps was the very best prophet in the House. What had called forth the right hon. Gentleman's humourous observations? Wales had nothing to do specially with this particular subsection. The subsection dealt with optional reductions, and there might be optional reductions in England as well as in Wales, and there was no special application of subsection (7).
§ SIR S. EVANS
said not upon this particular clause. The Commissioners were asked to consider the existing and the prospective liability, and the right hon. Gentleman had spoken as if it were to be written down in pounds, shillings and pence. They had to have regard—they could put those words in if thought fit—to the claims to be made upon them in the future, as well as to the existing liability. Why not? Were they, in dealing with these matters, entirely to look to the past and never to the future? There was a humourous situation here and he would tell the right hon. Gentleman what it was. He had not told them whether he was going to vote for the omission of this grotesque subsection. He wondered whether he was. He had no right to ask.
§ SIR S. EVANS
said the result of the omission of the subsection would be that there would be no limit upon the levy for either statutory or optional reduction, and the right hon. Gentleman would have put it on record that, so far as that was concerned, he desired that the Licensing Commission should have the fullest power to raise a levy for optional as well as for statutory reduction.
§ Amendment negatived.386
In page 8, line 10, after the word 'optional,' to insert the words 'or further'"—(Mr. Sherwell.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
The Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Kingston (to substitute "may" for "shall") has been anticipated by the discussion on the Motion to omit the subsection.
It is a matter of order. The hon. Member who moved the omission of the subsection did so specifically on the ground that the word "may" should be substituted for "shall."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
May I remind you, Sir, that I was challenged by the Solicitor-General, and it was received with some cheering on the other side, with regard to our dividing on the whole subsection? I quite agree that you cannot omit the whole subsection, but it is grotesque as it stands, and this is the only opportunity we shall have of amending it. If it be understood that there is no discussion on this point shall we be allowed to vote on it? The Government dare not meet the real point.
In page 8, line 14, to leave out the word 'shall,' and to insert the word 'may.'"—(Mr. Cave.)
§ Question put, "That the word 'shall' stand part of the clause."388
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 272; Noes, 104. (Division List No. 299.)389
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Duckworth, James||Lambert, George|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Leese,Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hn. T. C. R.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Armitage, R.||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Lupton, Arnold|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Erskine, David C.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Everett, R. Lacey||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Maclean, Donald|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Fenwick, Charles||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Ferens, T. R.||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Barker, John||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||M'Callum, John M.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||M'Crae, Sir George|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Barnes, G. N.||Fuller, John Michael F.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Fullerton, Hugh||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.)||Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Beale, W. P.||Gill, A. H.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Beauchamp, E.||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Bell, Richard||Glover, Thomas||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets,S.Geo.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Massie, J.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Menzies, Walter|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Black, Arthur W.||Gulland, John W.||Middlebrook, William|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Gurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. Brampton||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Mond, A.|
|Brace, William||Hall, Frederick||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Harcourt, Rt. Nn. L. (Rossendale||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Brigg, John||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Bright, J. A.||Harmsworth, RL. (Caithness-sh||Morrell, Philip|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hart-Davies, T.||Morse, L. L.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Brooke, Stopford||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Murray, Capt. HnA. C. (Kincard.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Myer, Horatio|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Nicholls, George|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Haworth, Arthur A.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Helme, Norval Watson||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Hemmerde, Edward George||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cameron, Robert||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Henry, Charles S.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||O'Grady, J.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Higham, John Sharp||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Partington, Oswald|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hodge, John||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Clough, William||Holt, Richard Durning||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Pollard, Dr.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Horniman, Emslie John||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Hudson, Walter||Radford, G. H.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hyde, Clarendon||Rees, J. D.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Crooks, William||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Crossley, William J.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Jowett, F. W.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Robinson, S.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Kekewich, Sir George||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Kelley, George D.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St, Pancras,N.||Laidlaw, Robert||Rose, Charles Day|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Summerbell, T.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Sutherland, J. E.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Whittaker, Rt Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Sears, J. E.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Seddon, J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carm'rth'n)|
|Shackleton, David James||Tomkinson, James||Williamson, A.|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Toulmin, George||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Verney, F. W.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Walsh, Stephen||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Walters, John Tudor||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Snowden, P.||Walton, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Winfrey, R.|
|Spicer, Sir Albert||Warlde, George J.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Waring, Walter||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Steadman, W. C.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Waterlow, D. S.||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Watt, Henry A.||Elibank.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Fell, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fletcher, J. S.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Forster, Henry William||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Renton, Leslie|
|Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston||Renwick, George|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Haddock, George B.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hills, J. W.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanier, Beville|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Houston, Robert Paterson||Starkey, John R.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hunt, Rowland||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Kennaway, Rt Hn. Sir John H.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Keswick, William||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Clark, George Smith||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Whitbread, Howard|
|Collings, Rt Hn. J. (Birmingh'm)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||M'Arthur, Charles||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Young, Samuel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Younger, George|
|Doughty, Sir George||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Morrison-Bell, Captain||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Duncan, Robt. (Lanark, Govan)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Cave and Mr. Samuel|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nolan, Joseph||Roberts.|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. CAVE
said that formerly the power was given to Quarter Sessions to levy a fund for their own county, but that power had now been given to an 390 independent body who could levy a fund over the whole nation, and spend money in different parts of the country. There was no limit to the power given to the Licensing Commission, and nobody who was liable to contribute compensation under this Bill would be able to ascertain what his liabilities would be. A man 391 might calculate one year upon a certain basis of compensation, and make all his estimates and plans on that basis; but in the following year he might find that, for some reasons or other over which he had no control, the levy imposed upon him was very seriously increased. That was not a fair liability to place upon persons who, under this Bill, were already subjected to very heavy burdens. There was no guidance whatever in the clause which would assist the Commissioners in making a selection from the different schemes presented. Nobody could tell precisely what the effect of this clause would be, because it created confusion itself and added confusion to the other clauses. He knew
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Chance, Frederick William||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Cheetham, John Frederick||Glover, Thomas|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Clough, William||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Clynes, J. R.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Armitage, R.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gulland, John W.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Hall, Frederick|
|Astbury, John Meir||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harcourt Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Cowan, W. H.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cox, Harold||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Crooks, William||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Barker, John||Crosfield, A. H.||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Crossley, William J.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Curran, Peter Francis||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dalmeny, Lord||Harwood, George|
|Barren, Rowland Hirst||Dalziel, James Henry||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Beale, W. P.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Bell, Richard||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Duckworth, James||Henry, Charles S.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Agustine||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Hodge, John|
|Brace, William||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Hooper, A. G.|
|Brigg, John||Erskine, David C.||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.|
|Bright, J. A.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner|
|Brodie, H. C.||Everett, R. Lacey||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Brooke, Stopford||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Hudson, Walter|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Fenwick, Charles||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Ferens, T. R.||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fiennes, Non. Eustace||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Cameron, Robert||Fuller, John Michael F.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fullerton, Hugh||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Gill, A. H.||Jowett, F. W.|
§ that in consequence of the conditions under which they were discussing this Bill they could not expect concessions. He could not help saying, however, that many of the points urged upon the Government might have been met if the Government had possessed any real desire to meet them. For the reasons he had placed before the Committee he contended that this clause as at present drawn was one which ought not to pass, and if a division were challenged, he should vote against it.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Aves, 300; Noes, 114. (Division List No. 300.)395
|Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Grady, J.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Kelley, George D.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Partington, Oswald||Summerbell, T.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Lambert, George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Tennant Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Pollard, Dr.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Radford, G. H.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Lupton, Arnold||Rainy, A. Rolland||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Raphael, Herbert H.||Tomkinson, James|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Rees, J. D.||Toulmin, George|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rendall, Athelstan||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Verney, F. W.|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Maclean, Donald||Ridsdale, E. A.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Walton, Joseph|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent|
|M'Callum, John M.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Wardle, George J.|
|M'Crae, Sir George||Robinson, S.||Waring, Walter|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Waterlow, D. S.|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Watt, Henry A.|
|Maddison, Frederick||Rose, Charles Day||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Massie, J.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Meznies, Walter||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Micklem, Natheniel||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Middlebrook, William||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Mond, A.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Sears, J. E.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Seaverns, J. H.||Williamson, A.|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Seddon, J.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Seely, Colonel||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Morrell, Philip||Shackleton, David James||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Morse, L. L.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard.||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wilson, P. W.)St. Pancras, S.)|
|Myer, Horatio||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Napier, T. B.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Winfrey, R.|
|Nicholls, George||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster||Snowden, P.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Spicer, Sir Albert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|Nuttall, Harry||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Elibank.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Carlile, E. Hildred||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fell, Arthur|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Castlereagh, Viscount||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cave, George||Forster, Henry William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Gretton, John|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Clark, George Smith||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston|
|Barnard, E. B.||Clive, Percy Archer||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Haddock, George B.|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Courthope, G. Loyd||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Craik, Sir Henry||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Doughty, Sir George||Hills, J. W.|
|Bull, Sir William James||DuCros, Arthur Philip||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Nolan, Joseph||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh|
|Hunt, Rowland||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Percy, Earl||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Kerry, Earl of||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ)|
|Keswick, William||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Renton, Leslie||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Renwick, George||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Ronaldshay, Earl of||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lyttleton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Young, Samuel|
|M'Arthur, Charles||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Younger, George|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||and Viscount Valentia.|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Stanier, Beville|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Starkey, John R.|
§ And, it being after half-past Ten of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 17th July, successively to put forthwith the Question on an Amendment moved by the Government of which notice had been given, and the Question necessary to dispose of Clause 13.
§ Clause 13:396
In page 8, line 36, after the word 'compensation,' to insert the words 'in respect of statutory reduction.'"—(Sir Samuel Evans.)
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 303; Noes, 115. (Division List No. 301.)
|Gulland, John W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Shackleton, David James|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||M'Micking, Major G.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Maddison, Frederick||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)|
|Hall, Frederick||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossondale||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose||Massie, J.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Menzies, Walter||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Snowden, P.|
|Harmsworth R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh)||Middlebrook, William||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mond, A.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Harwood, George||Montgomery, H. G.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Morrell, Philip||Summerbell, T.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Morse, L. L.||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Henry, Charles S.||Myer, Horatio||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Napier, T. B.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nicholls, George||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Hodge, John||Norman, Sir Henry||Thompson J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton|
|Hooper, A. G.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Tomkinson, James|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, George|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||O'Grady, J.||Verney, F. W.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Parker, James (Halifax)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hudson, Walter||Partington, Oswald||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Walton, Joseph|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pollard, Dr.||Wardle, George J.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Waring, Walter|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Radford, G. H.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Jowett, F. W.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Watt, Henry A.|
|Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Rees, J. D.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Kelley, George D.||Rendall, Athelstan||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Ridsdale, E. A.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lambert, George||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lamont, Norman||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradfrd||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Robinson, S.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Robsor, Sir William Snowdon||Williamson, A.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Lupton, Arnold||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Rose, Charles Day||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Lynch, H. B.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Winfrey, R.|
|Maclean, Donald||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Sears, J. E.||Joseph Pease and Master of|
|M'Crae, Sir George||Seaverns, J. H.||Elibank.|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Seddon, J.|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Seely, Colonel|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balcarres, Lord||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Ashley, W. W.||Baldwin, Stanley||Banner, John S. Harmood-|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Haddock, George B.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamilton, Marquess of||Renton, Leslie|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Renwick, George|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hills, J. W.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Houston, Robert Paterson||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kerry, Earl of||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cave, George||Keswick, William||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Clark, George Smith||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingham||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||M'Arthur, Charles||Waldron, Hon. Lionel|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Magnus, Sir Philip||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Whitbread, Howard|
|DuCros, Arthur Philip||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Morpeth, Viscount||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Young, Samuel|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nield, Herbert||Younger, George|
|Forster, Henry William||Nolan, Joseph|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Percy, Earl||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Viscount Valentia.|
|Gretton, John||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.