§ (Provisions for carrying out Redemption of War Loan.)
§ Paragraph (4).—If any person credited in pursuance of the foregoing provisions with money payable to him on the redemption of War Stock does not claim his money before the thirty-first day of May, nineteen hundred and ten, the money shall be invested forthwith by the Bank in Two and a Half per cent. Consolidated Stock at the price of the day in the names of the respective stockholders.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
moved to leave out paragraph (4).
I object to this provision, and I would like to call the attention of the Committee to the facts connected with this War Loan. It was issued ten years ago with the understanding that at the expiration of ten years—that is to say, on 5th April, 1910–the holders should receive in cash £100 for every £100 stock. That was a definite agreement entered into between the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time and those people who subscribed to the War Loan. Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to abrogate that agreement and say: We will pay you in money provided you make your demand within seven weeks of the date of redemption.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
If the hon. Member or some of his friends had £2 per week in wages and the master came round and said, I am not going to give you your wages in money but in kind, would he think that quite fair?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Quite so, but that is just exactly what I want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to do, and it is what the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not going to do. If the right hon. Gentleman were going to pay in cash within two months, I should have nothing to say, but he is going to pay in Consols, which is a totally different thing. That is the whole point, and I am obliged to the hon. Member for his interruption. I take it he will now vote with me in the Division, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not agree with me on my Amendment. Yesterday I alluded to this subject, and I ventured to say there was not precedent for a course of this kind. The right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Hobhouse), in answer, told me there was a precedent, and he instanced the case of the conversion of Consols by Lord Goschen in 1889. May I point out that is not a precedent at all? Yesterday or the day before, when speaking upon this Bill, I said I did not know whether the War Loan was funded or unfunded debt, and the right hon. Gentleman replied that it was unfunded. What is the use of telling me of a precedent which relates to funded debt? There is no precedent with regard to unfunded debt of this sort. The right hon. Gentleman gave a contemptuous shake of the head when I said there was a difference between funded and unfunded debt. Let me explain it. The conversion of Consols, in the first place, was not a pledge by the State on a certain date to give the whole of Consols in money; it was merely a conversion of Consols. There was no undertaking ever given by any Chancellor of the Exchequer to pay off Consols at par at any given time; on the contrary, all Chancellors of the Exchequer have reserved to themselves the right to allow Consols to continue indefinitely and to pay off at par on giving a year's notice. Therefore, no one ever invested in Consols on the understanding that on a fixed day they were going to get cash for their stock.
When Mr. Goschen converted Consols what did he do? He did not give another stock; he merely said, "If fox six months you are content to allow your money to remain I shall take it for granted that, having made no attempt to withdraw it, you have assented, and therefore the stock will continue to remain." It was the same stock, the only difference being that the interest was reduced. I venture to say very 996 humbly that Mr. Goschen was quite right under those circumstances, because there was a very large number of people who invested their money in Consols, knowing that it was a permanent security, and therefore they preferred to continue it. They were not always able to make up their minds whether they would take a lower rate of interest, and, under the circumstances of that state of indecision, Mr Goschen simply said, "If within six months you do not make up your minds it will be taken that you have assented to the stock still standing in your name." But in this instance the Government are allowing only a period of two months, and, consequently, the holder who invested in the belief that he would get his money in full will get something less. The only reason is that the holder might possibly not like to lose interest during the time he omitted to claim his money. But what is the rate of interest on Consols? They only return about 3 per cent., and for a period of two or three months that would not come to very much. Suppose a great fall in the price of Consols, which is not unlikely, should take place on 31st May. Supposing, too, the holder of the War Loan who had invested his money in that loan with the knowledge that he was going to get, on 5th April, 100 golden sovereigns for every £100 of stock, knowing that the word of the British Government had always been held to be above question, so that he might rely on getting his money when he claimed it happened to be living abroad at the time, and did not read the Debates in the British House of Commons, he might find when he came home and expected to get his money back in full that, instead of getting the cash, he would only have it offered him in Consols. Supposing further that, in consequence of the action taken by this House in regard to another place, the country was in a state of ferment, if not revolution, it is not impossible that Consols would have fallen to 75, and, therefore, the unfortunate holder who had invested his money at 82 in the belief it would return him 100 would only actually get 75. Surely for that he will not thank the right hon. Gentleman.
I am afraid I am doing my party a disservice and the party of the right hon. Gentleman a service in drawing attention to what has no doubt been an oversight on his part, because it is going to make his party extremely unpopular. I do not know whether they are so unpopular that they think they have nothing to lose and do not care how much more unpopular 997 they may become, but, at any rate, this procedure is not going to do them any good. It, however, is not my object in raising this point to do them a service; my object is to do some service to the public and to the people who have invested their money in this particular Government stock. The Financial Secretary told me yesterday he was quite certain I had not had any communications from bankers or people in the City in this connection. That was more or less correct. I pointed out, however, that I was not speaking in the interests of the City or of bankers; they are well able to look after themselves; they are able almost to cope with the Financial Secretary himself. I was speaking in the interests of the unfortunate private investor, who is not able to cope with these authorities. Mr. Goschen, when he gave six months' interval before forcibly converting his Consols allowed a space in which dividends accrued. A large number of people only look to their dividends; they know they are going to get dividends at certain intervals, and they do not take the trouble to see whether or not the stock is due to be drawn. When the dividend does not come in, then they begin to ask what has happened; they go to their banker, or solicitor, or broker, as the case may be, and find out probably that it has been redeemed. They simply reply they did not see any notice of it, and then they expect to go and draw their money. If the right hon. Gentleman would give an interval of six months there is some possibility that private individuals would know what is going on; he has, however, given such a short interval that there is very little chance of these investors, unless they are particularly wide-awake, knowing what is going on. That is my reason for raising this point in the interests of private people rather than of the City. I had a letter last night from one of the largest bankers in the City of London. The writer asked me not to disclose his name, and I must, therefore, invite the House to accept my word that he is one of the largest bankers. He was writing about the War Loan, and at the finish of his letter he said, "We never receive an order to buy Consols now, nor English railways, nor anything else English." Yet the right hon. Gentleman is going perforce to make these unfortunate people accept in lieu of War Loan Stock something for which orders to purchase are never received. The right hon. Gentleman a day or two ago told me in answer to the question why it was proposed to 998 pay off this particular loan by means of floaters that there was a demand for floaters, but not a demand for Consols. Yet with that knowledge he is putting on these holders another stock for which he himself admits there is no demand at the present moment. I hope I have been moderate in the way I have placed this matter before the Committee. It is not a big matter, nor a party matter, but it is certainly important for those who have invested their money in this particular stock. It is also really important both for the Government and for my right hon. Friends on these benches that the public shall be satisfied that whatever the English Government says when it comes into the Money Market to borrow money will be carried out without quibbling, and that the plain contract will be fulfilled.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
To my mind the point brought before the House by the hon. Baronet is one of the most amazing mare's nests ever heard of. He has suggested to us that the Government, instead of paying the holders of the War Loan on 5th April 100 golden sovereigns for every £100 in stock, are going to pay something less.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhouse)
Yes, you did.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I read the Section I proposed to omit. That Section says that if the holders of the War Loan do not claim cash on 5th April, and do not claim it before 31st May after that date, instead of being paid in cash, they will be paid in Consols.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
My hon. Friend represents that the holders of War Stock are such rich people that when they are offered £100 they will not take it.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
Let me say at once that this Bill forces the Government to carry out the obligations which they contracted in connection with the War Loan—that is to say, for every £100 of stock they must on 5th April pay 100 golden sovereigns. There is no holder of War Loan Stock who is not entitled to get this money. Now we come to the case of the man who does not claim within three months, or who, through some accident, 999 may not know what has taken place. What is going to happen in that case? He is going to have the same value provided for him in another form. Observe that this War Loan bears interest at the rate of 2¾ per cent. If this victim does not claim his £100 it will be automatically invested for him in Consols, and from the day of its investment, instead of getting £2 15s. per cent., he will be entitled to £3 1s. per cent. Is that an injury to him?
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
He can get it. He can exchange his Consols for cash. My point is this: that the absentee or the forgetful man who has foregone his opportunity of securing his 100 golden sovereigns is not harmed one helfpenny, because, instead of receiving £2 15s. per cent., as he has done during the last ten years, he will, in consequence of his neglect, be given by this paternal and grandmotherly Government, which takes charge of his money for him, as I am sure many brokers in the City would do for simple clients, receive the increased late of interest of £3 1s. per cent. He will, in fact, get £3 1s. instead of £2 15s. for every £100 of stock he held in this loan. Can that be said to be a harm to him? Is it not, indeed, a very fair arrangement? I confess I think the interval might have been a little longer than three months.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
It is really three months. I admit it is rather a short time. I agree that people are forgetful. They live abroad and overlook these matters. There is the celebrated case of Mrs. Roberts, of Smith Street, Chelsea, who for forty years forgot the dividends which were at her bank. They were finally captured by some conspirators, and in that way the matter was first brought to her knowledge. I think, if the Government could make the interval six months instead of three months, it would be a great advantage.
Now there is one question I myself should like to put to the Government, and it is in connection with this War Loan which bore interest at 2¾ per cent. I may tell hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they complain of the Government not having extinguished more of this War Loan, the fact is that it was extremely difficult to buy. Those who had it would not part 1000 with it. They were content to wait till the 5th April in order to get their 100 golden sovereigns, and that certainly is a good reason why the Government did not buy up more of the War Loan. You are now about to issue Exchequer Bonds. Are they to run from day to day? Are they receivable in payment of duties? Are they that sort of bond? You are extinguishing a 2¾ per cent. stock or bond. What per cent. are you going to pay for the stock you will substitute for it? I should like to know, in other words, whether we are going to be put into a worse position in consequence of the present state of affairs? Are we going to pay more than 2¾ per cent., or are we going to pay less? Because that is the measure of the liability, and I should very much like to know. I should for myself very much like, indeed, to pay off this War Loan with that £30,000,000 which we never had, but which we were to get; but it would not be in order on this occasion to discuss that question. I do not agree with the hon. Baronet as to his main contention, but with regard to the subsidiary point in reference to the three months I do think there is something in it, and I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary to the Treasury whether they could not accept an extension of the time to six months.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I only wish to point out, in answer to the hon. Gentleman, that he has not answered my case when he says where is the hardship to the forgetful holder of stock, who has his money reinvested for him and is paid £3 1s. per cent. interest instead of £2 15s. per cent. He may get 3½ per cent. on other stocks, or he might even get his money invested in stock paying £4 10s. per cent. I can give the hon. Gentleman the names of plenty of stocks paying these sums, and, therefore, when he said that the investor gets the benefit of the £3 1s. per cent., it is an absurd answer, because he could possibly get much more. Then the hon. Member forgets the real point, which is this. It is true that the investor receives a little higher rate of interest, but he does not get his money. Suppose it was invested by him in order to buy a house, and when he comes back to this country he finds his money re-invested for him. He will at least have to pay brokerage and lose the turn of the market of one-quarter per cent., and in that way he will lose money. Suppose, moreover, he comes back and finds Lord Swaythling's prediction is true and the Bank rate goes up, in consequence 1001 of the non-passing of the Budget, to 10 per cent., he will lose the use of his money which he does want for the sake of interest at a rate which he does not want, and he might get four or five per cent. for his money.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The hon. Baronet comes down to this House and leads the Committee to understand that he is speaking more or less on behalf of the commercial community in the City of London and that he not only represents their political but their financial views in this Assembly.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
That is what I said. He leads the Committee to understand that he represents not merely their political but their financial views. We recognise that he represents their political views, but does he represent their financial views? Because if he does he has not represented to this Committee that there is a state of uneasiness such as might arise in the City over the proposals of this Bill, but he has, I say it perfectly frankly, made a purely party attack on the Government. What did he say? He gave the Committee to understand generally, and I think in particular he gave my hon. Friend below the Gangway to understand, that the Government in this Bill were deliberately breaking faith with those who lent the money to them in 1900. He said that the loan of 1900 promised cash. I agree. He did not say that this Bill did not give them cash, but that is what he meant to insinuate, because if he did not mean that he meant absolutely nothing at all. If, however, the hon. Baronet had not merely studied this Sub-section (4), but if he had read also Sub-section (1) of these Regulations and Sub-section (3) he would have seen that the payment, as has been pointed out, is payment in cash for the cash originally advanced. If that is so, why should not the hon. Baronet have read out that Section to the Committee? He dealt with great asperity with one; why did he not read the other?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
He did not do so because it was not convenient for his argument to point out the whole facts of the 1002 case. Sub-section (1) provides that payment of War Stock shall be carried out by the payment of the principal sum at the rate of £100 sterling for £100 stock; that is sterling for stock, cash for stock. Why was that not said?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Then again we come to Regulation No. 3, which says that any payment to be made by the Bank for the reduction of War Stock may be made either by warrant sent by post or by crediting the stockholder in the books of the Bank with the amount of cash due to him. I hope that this ridiculous legend which the hon. Member has created will not be repeated in connection with this particular Debate. He then went on to comment upon what I will venture to say was a perfectly reasonable proposition against which he argued on a perfectly reasonable basis, the provisions of the fourth Regulation. I drew attention to the provisions of Mr. Goschen in the National Debt Redemption Act of 1889. The hon. Gentleman asked me when that Bill was passed, and I pointed out that it was passed on 11th April. He jumped to the conclusion that because the Bill was passed on 11th April that proved that it came into operation, as far as the redemption of stock under this Bill was concerned on 11th April, but unfortunately for his argument it did not come into existence till 1st June, or rather July. If he will look at the Act he will see that the time is the 6th day of July, and therefore you have to calculate for the purpose of money lying at the Bank not between 11th April and 1st October, which gives him this six months, but from the period of 6th July when the stock is to be redeemed at the Bank to the 1st day of October, on which date exactly the same condition is made by Mr. Goschen as we make by this Bill.
Therefore under the original Act upon which our proposal is based a period of less than three months elapses, not six months, in this case a period of just under two months elapses. As to the point which the hon. Baronet made in reference to the difference between funded and unfunded debt, the object of the investor is to get his money back again—to get his cash back again, and if he applies for it he gets his money back again, and he gets it in cash. If, on the other hand, he leaves his money for a period of nearly two months 1003 in the bank under exactly the same conditions as were made under the Act of 1889, his money is to be put into Consols for him. But my hon. Friend below me said, "Why do not you leave it a little bit longer?" There is, I think, a good reason in this case for investing it on the 1st of June; Consols become ex-dividend on the 2nd. There is, therefore, a period of two days in which the money may be invested by the bank for the person who is in credit at the bank—the original investor—and in regard to any investment made on those two days the creditor will benefit to the amount of the interest which will accrue on the money that he has invested. That is precisely the same reason which moved Mr. Goschen, under the Act of 1889, to fix, not upon the 4th or 5th or any other day of October, and made him fix upon the 1st day of October. That is the reason which moved him and, for the same reason, has moved us to take the first day of the month.
The hon. Baronet says that this proposal is a very unpopular one; it is nothing of the sort. I not only made inquiries in the City before I spoke yesterday, but I made subsequent inquiries since, and the only person whom I have been able to trace who takes any objection to this procedure at all is the hon. Baronet opposite. I do not know why he is always crying down English investments—I do not know whether he thinks that such a practice will increase the value of English investments, but I should have thought that if persons were always being told that English securities were worthless, and that they had better put their money into something else than British Consols and stock for which the British Government is responsible, that it would tend to depreciate those securities as an inevitable result. I do not know whether the hon. Baronet thinks he is serving any interests of the constituency he represents or the country about which he is always talking. I can only say that as an investor, if I had to depend for information which would lead me to invest money in this or that security upon the hon. Baronet, I should certainly avoid all British securities whatever.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I cannot say that I think this is a matter of very great importance, but I was a little surprised at two or three remarks of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. Apparently 1004 he thinks that it is the duty of the hon. Baronet, when his friends come to him for advice, to give them advice which he does not believe in; and, secondly, he thinks that if, in the opinion of my hon. Friend, through the action of the British Government, British stocks are an unsafe investment, it is his duty, nevertheless, to say that they are good investments. I only say that because I am sorry to think that the whole speech of the right hon. Gentleman raised a party tone which was not in that of my Friend the hon. Baronet. My hon. Friend's point did not differ from that which the hon. Member opposite made. My hon. Friend's complaint had no reference to big bankers, who know what is going on, but his whole complaint was that this loan, like many other investments of the same kind, is held by a great many people who do not follow what is being done, and who will find out at the end of two months that they will not get cash, but will find that they have Consols placed to their credit which they do not want. The whole point is whether it would not be fairer and wiser in the interests of everyone concerned to give a little longer notice. I have myself found that I have lost money by having circulars sent to me which I have overlooked. Everybody is liable to do that, and the two months which the right hon. Gentleman gives is really not enough even to meet the case without overlooking everybody in distant parts of the world. I would put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Is there any hardship in leaving the loan in this position for some longer time than two months, so that a man who does not make his claim in time will get his £100 of cash for his £100 of stock?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman took my remarks in a sense in which they were not intended. I distinctly told the House yesterday that anyone who wanted cash could get it, provided he applied before 31st May, therefore the statement that I did not say so was quite incorrect. The right hon. Gentleman has laid great stress on the fact that Lord Goschen's Conversion Bill became law on 11th April, but did not become operative until 6th July. Lord Goschen's Conversion Bill convulsed the City, so to speak. Such a thing had never taken place before. It dealt with £500,000,000 of money—quite different from a little thing like this, and everyone knew that when the Act became law they would have either to convert or to take their money, and to all 1005 intents and purposes they had six months' notice from the date when the Bill passed Parliament to the time when they were obliged to convert.
I have no desire to decry English investments, or to attempt to make a party point upon this question, which is really a matter of business, but I do not think the other side exactly understand the point that the hon. Baronet was trying to make. It is proposed under this Bill to make an alteration in the terms on which the loan was originally floated. It was originally floated on the terms that on and after due date they should repay in cash, and what you are now proposing is to vary those terms. You are going to say "on due date, and for a limited time afterwards, we will pay in cash. Unless you are successful in coming to us and asking for your money within seven weeks, instead of paying in cash we are going to give you Consols." The point is not whether you are giving a better security or a worse security, whether you are getting higher interest instead of lower. The point is that you are varying the terms upon which you floated the loan, and you are not paying in cash when you have agreed to pay in cash. This point is one of real importance, because British securities have always, and rightly, demanded a much higher price owing to the belief, abroad as well as at home, that we shall continuously carry out our obligations, and this alteration, although perhaps not very important, is one of degree. If a foreign State were to say, "although it is due from us that we should pay in cash on the expiry of our loan, instead of paying cash we will give you another security without the option of cash," there would be an outcry at once, and our Foreign Office would be asked to make representations to the foreign State, and it would be put upon the defaulters list. That is a matter, of course, of real repudiation. I am not suggesting that you are doing anything as gross, but you are doing something in the way of altering the security which you promised to the investor, and to say that you are giving Consols is no answer, because, as has been admitted on the Government Benches, the War Loan has been difficult to get when they went to try and get it. It was difficult to get from the very good reason that people knew that within a short time they would get cash, and it consequently commanded a much higher price than Consols although 1006 it was returning a much lower rate of interest. You are therefore telling those who have subscribed upon the faith of getting their cash on and after due date that they have to hurry up and ask in a short period for their cash. The point that you want to re-invest the cash ex-dividend on 1st June is an utterly bad one, because if you want to invest the cash ex-dividend, do not do it on 1st June, but on 1st September or 1st October, three months afterwards, and if you do that you can then give this extra time that is suggested, which, at any rate, will mitigate the hardship of those who have subscribed on the faith of your promise.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I rise to make an observation with reference to the opening statement of the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury). I quite agree that we on these benches are very simple in reference to finance, and especially to the terms of the City. But the hon. Baronet made a reference to an interjection of mine which I am certain led astray everyone who had not considered the actual terms of the Bill. The hon. Member (Mr. Bonar Law) has complained of the style of reply which was given by the Financial Secretary. I think, when one considers that the statement of the hon. Baronet was intended to misinterpret the position of affairs—[Cries of "Withdraw"]—I will ask the House whether these are not the actual terms that the hon. Baronet used. He said to me, "Suppose you have been working for wages and, when the time came, instead of paying you in cash the sum you have earned you were paid in kind, would not you object?" And I said, "If you offered to pay me in cash any time within two months and I never applied for my wages I should think you were entitled to pay me in any form you chose." The hon. Baronet says, "If they offered to pay in cash I would not object, but that is the very thing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer says he is not going to do." Now it turns out that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, within two months of the expiry of the loan, is offering to pay in cash, and therefore it looks like an attempt to confuse those who did not understand the actual terms of the Bill.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
Would the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell us why it is necessary to interfere at all with these people's money instead of keeping it until they come and claim it, the Bank do?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd-George)
I rise to correct one statement made by the hon. Member, who rather suggests that this is a proposal to repudiate our liabilities. He stated that the Act of Parliament on the strength of which this money has been raised definitely promised that the money should be paid on 5th April, either on or after. He could not possibly have looked up the Act of Parliament. Clause II., Sub-section (4) says, "It shall not be redeemable until the 5th day of April, 1910, and on that date shall be redeemed," not on or after. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyttelton) is exceedingly amused. It is the point of his own follower. It is not an important point at all, but the hon. Gentleman seems to think it was a very important point. The statement made by the hon. Gentleman was that there was a distinct promise and that it was part of the condition on which the money was raised that it should be paid on or after.
I did not say it was in the Act of Parliament, but in the terms on which the loan was floated, and I think I am accurate, because when a loan is floated on terms that you shall pay in cash, the practice is that you shall pay in cash whenever the repayment of the loan is due.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman now, his attention having been called to October, goes on a totally different ground. He is now reverting to the original argument of the hon. Baronet who got up to enlighten the House about the terms of the loan. Was not this the suggestion made by the hon. Member, that there was a definite, explicit promise in the very terms on which the loan was issued, that it was to be paid not merely on, but on and after? I see no condition of that kind. When it comes to practice it is a totally different matter. It is not the invariable practice. The hon. Baronet himself admits that with regard to Lord Goschen's transaction. There time was allowed, and unless the money was applied for within that time they would take the stock suggested by Lord Goschen. There is a precedent. It is not at all a departure from practice. What is the hardship? The hon. Gentleman talks about repudiation. I cannot really conceive why he should use language of that kind, because, after all, we are not paying our own debts, but debts created for us by hon. Gentlemen opposite. This is a War Loan, and we are doing our very best to pay the balance of that debt. We have paid about nine millions, and we 1008 have to go to the City to pay up the balance. I should have thought hon. Gentlemen opposite would rather help us instead of decrying the stock, and saying "you are repudiating your liabilities," and passing all sorts of criticisms which make it difficult for us to float this loan on reasonable terms on the City. They all know perfectly well that this money is redeemable on 5th April. Everyone knows. It is not merely bankers; it is known by every investor in War Loan stock [Cries of "No, no."] Surely they ought to, then, and on the face of every bond it is clearly and distinctly stated. Does the hon. Member (Mr. Bonar Law) really suggest that these investors in War Loans are so very innocent that they know nothing about the time when it is to be redeemed?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I have myself over and over again allowed loans of that kind to mature, and only discovered it when the dividends did not come in.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That is because the hon. Gentleman has left the matter in the hands of someone to advise him in the City. It would not happen in the case of a very small investor who has to depend entirely on an investment of this character. I can understand that there may be cases where a man leaves his business in the hands of someone in the City, but surely his adviser knows the time when it becomes redeemable. The stock is thoroughly advertised, if only by Debates in this House. There is one advantage of the speeches of the hon. Baronet. He is advertising all the holders of War Stock throughout the country that it is redeemable on 5th April, and they know perfectly well that they have only to apply for cash. They ought to know something about it, and if they do not why should the country be damnified? You offer them cash. If after two months they do not take the cash you offer them 2½ per cent. Consolidated Stock at the price of the day. You are offering them something which is equivalent to cash. [An HON. MEMBER: "It may not be next day."] It may be higher. The Noble Lord opposite is one of those who think probably that he would be sitting on this bench. Then, of course, that would put down the price of securities. We are going to give the owners of War Stock a great chance. They have got to invest this money in Consols. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Well, in order that it should produce interest. It is obviously in the interest of the man himself that it should be so invested. Supposing 1009 that it were kept in the bank without making any interest at all, he would have much greater reason to complain than if it were invested in Consols at the current price of the day.
The hon. Baronet, in the course of his speech, made the usual depreciatory observations about British securities, and the hon. Member for Dulwich (Mr. Bonar Law) defends him. He says that if he thinks British securities are unsafe he is bound to advise his clients not to invest in them. All I can say is that if British securities paid the same interest as German securities pay they would be higher in the market. Can the hon. Baronet find any securities in the world paying as low a rate of interest as Consols, which can be purchased to give a better return to the investor than Consols? That is the real test. Supposing we were paying 4 per cent., would our stock be as low in the market as it is now? I take British railway securities, which he is running down.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I really must protest. I have not run down any British securities. Really I must protest because words are put into my mouth which I have not used, not only by the right hon. Gentleman, but by his colleague, the Financial Secretary. I made no reference to British railway securities. I read a letter written by a banker, in which he expressed the opinion, not that British securities are bad, but that he had no demand now either for Consols or any other British security.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Baronet read a letter which he evidently approved of, because it was read in support of his argument. Does he approve of that letter?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Baronet knows perfectly well that it is not correct. He knows perfectly well that there are transactions constantly in which British securities change hands. He knows perfectly well—
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I never said there were no transactions in British securities I said I had received a letter from an eminent banker, in which he said, "We never receive an order to buy Consols now. I might add neither English railways nor anything else English." [HON. MEMBERS: "Name."] If hon. Gentlemen who call 1010 for the name of the writer had come into the House when I was speaking they would have heard me say before reading the letter that the writer asked me not to mention his name, [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] I have been eighteen years a Member of this House, and I am not in the habit of saying what is not correct. Hon. Members may take it from me that the writer of the letter is a banker of eminence. If they do not take it from me, that is their affair.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I have never doubted the hon. Baronet, and I have never doubted that the letter he read was written by a gentleman of eminence in the banking world. But that is not the point. The suggestion which the hon. Baronet made was that British securities did not stand so high in the market as other securities. His suggestion was that people would not invest in them.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
He assents to that. Why does he say that he merely read the letter as if it were not relevant to his argument that British securities do not stand high in the estimation of investors? The hon. Baronet ought to be fair to British securities, and when he read a letter of that sort he ought to have explained that it was not meant to draw invidious comparisons between British securities and other securities. The fact is that you can get money here at a lower rate than in any other country in the world. Does he deny that? Does he say that we cannot get money here at a lower rate than the German Imperial Government can get money?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I deny that the reason that there is a disinclination to invest in British securities is because the rate of interest abroad is higher. It is because people have no confidence in the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Baronet knows perfectly well that that is no answer to my question. When he got up I gave way to him in order that he might answer my question, and he took an unfair advantage of my giving way to him. The question I put to him was this, Can he give the name of any Government in the world that can borrow money at a lower rate of interest than the British Government?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Oh, no. The hon. Baronet is absolutely incorrect about that. They cannot borrow money cheaper. The Germans, who are always held up to us as a model of what a country ought to be, especially in the matter of raising revenue, and in military and Imperial matters, have to pay 4 per cent., or very near it. Does the hon. Baronet think that the price of our stock in the market would stand in the same position as that of German stock if we paid 4 per cent.? Compare British railway securities with American securities. The rate of interest for American securities is very much higher for the same amount of cash. Take even Steel Bonds, and compare the return with that on British securities. I could give the hon. Baronet a list of the best industrial securities in America to compare with industrial securities here. The rate of interest has to be higher in order to get the money. What does the hon. Baronet do? He reads these garbled statements and tries to make out that British securities are no good. I think there ought to be an end of this sort of thing—this crying of stinking fish about British trade. British trade no good! British commerce no good! British securities no good! Everything British no good! These patriots are always running down everything English. They go down into the country decrying everything British, and they are quoted in foreign papers to the detriment of this country. These speeches which are made running down Britain are naturally doing a great deal of harm. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Limehouse speech?"] I did not decry my native land. I ran down some of the wastrels in my native land. I never ran down the credit of the country, or its power, or its influence, but those speeches which have been constantly delivered running down British credit are doing harm. They are quoted abroad for that purpose, and I think hon. Members who have the real interest and the fair fame of their country at heart ought to repudiate those statements which are being made.
§ Mr. MACMASTER
The question before the Committee is strictly a business one, but notwithstanding that the discussion has wandered a long way from the point before us. It is not a question of British credit, but whether a particular course of procedure should be followed which may more or less cast a blight on British credit. The question before the Com- 1012 mittee is this: Is it in order that a British security which has been issued subject to redemption on a particular day should be redeemed on that day or after, and whether, in the event of its not being redeemed within a certain period, the borrower should be able to convert that security into some other security? I am astonished that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should consider that a sum of money which is payable on a particular date should not be equally payable at a later date. If the dividend or interest on a bond is payable on a particular day, it is surely payable after that day. Nobody would think for a moment that it was not payable after that day simply because the word "after" was not expressed on the face of the obligation. If there is an obligation on the part of the borrower to pay the original sum on a particular day, should there be the right on the part of the borrower to convert the money into some other security if it is not paid on that day? It is a perfectly elementary matter in finance that if a sum is payable in money it should be paid in money, and not in anything else, except with the consent of the borrower. It is no answer to that to say, "I am going to give you a better security. I am going to give you Consols, and you should be very happy to take Consols." The borrower may have in view the getting of his money to build a house, or to put it in some other investment. Nor is it any answer whatever to say, "I will give you Consols, because they give a higher rate of interest." On the contrary, they may pay a lower rate, and even if they pay a higher rate, the investor might say, "I do not care about making an investment at the price." All these suggestions that you are going to pay something different are purely illusory. The amount of the loan should be paid accordingly to the bond unless the lender agrees to something else. What has all this to do with foreign credit? It is true that it might be a reflection more or less on the credit of the country to say to the borrower that you will repay him by converting his security into another form. Will you permit me to say, without casting any reflection on the credit of this country, that some speeches—perhaps not the speeches referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—with which he is entirely familiar have tended to discredit the public securities of this country more than any other speeches which have been made in the past years. When the Chancellor of the Ex- 1013 chequer undertakes to say that the credit of this country is so superior to that of foreign countries, he must compare the credit of this country with the credit of other countries in regard to matters where comparison is possible.
I notice that from these benches reference has been made to the credit of France. I am not going to make any comparison myself, but I may point out to the right hon. Gentleman, for his consideration, whether this country is now, or ever has been able to borrow money as cheaply as the United States of America. Is it not true that they floated their securities bearing 2½ per cent. at par, and are these 2½ per cent. securities now at a discount in the market? I make this observation simply for the purpose of correcting what the right hon. Gentleman has said and not because I wish for one moment to disparage British security. This is the first time that I have had the honour and privilege of speaking before this House; I had not intended to speak this evening, but I have had something to do with financial affairs myself, and I have some personal knowledge of the operations of money and rates of interest and credit, and for that reason I took the liberty of saying a few words, although I did not wish to occupy the time of the Committee.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that it was the interests of the lender which he was considering when he proposed to invest their money in Consols for them without any mandate or instructions from them. I wish to call his attention to a recent precedent in this matter. Everyone in the House will be aware that during the great financial transaction of paying off the landlords of Ireland under the Act of 1903 it was not possible for the Estates Commissioners to pay in hard cash. In every instance the Estates Commissioners had to invest the money in Consols, and then, when the transaction was completed and the title was proved, the Consols were transferred from the Estates Commissioners into the name of the landlord who owned the property. And what was the effect? Consols stood somewhere about 86, 85 or 84, when the money was invested, and now these gentlemen are looking for their money and cannot get it because Consols have come down to about 82. It is quite true that in the case where a landlord could be communicated with he 1014 had the option of stating whether he would prefer his money invested in some other securities with which he was perhaps personally familiar; but, failing any instructions, the Estates Commissioners were compelled by the Act of 1903 to invest in Consols. The owners have all lost on the transaction, and it would have been far better for those men whose money was at stake if the Estates Commissioners had simply placed the money in hard cash to their credit in some bank and let it lie there until they could claim it.
In this case the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his advisers take upon themselves the grave responsibility of investing money for other people in a security which, of course, is our premier security. I do not wish to follow him in his heated argument about British security. But can he give any guarantee that Consols will be at 82 or 83 this day three or four months? And is he not trafficking with other people's money without any demand from them? And for what purpose? Simply to bolster up the price of Consols. He chooses that particular stock, and says, "we are going to invest these people's money in this security. They are lower than they ever stood before. Evidently there is something wrong. We must improve the price of Consols, and therefore improve the credit of the country in this backhanded way." I think it is most unfair. He says that it is on the face of the bonds. But nearly all this stock is inscribed stock. Very often the bonds are in the names of trustees, banks, stockbrokers, and such like, all scattered throughout not only the country but the world, and, consequently, what is being done is that in this very short time the money belonging to these people, without any request from them, is to be gambled with by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bolster up the price of Consols. I do not think it is a fair transaction. I quite agree with the hon. Member for King's Lynn when he says that all the complaints made would be remedied if the date was shifted on three months, if it was made, say, six months instead of two months' notice. Both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary skirted round the Amendment on the Paper and attacked the hon. Baronet beside me (Sir F. Banbury), but neither of them ever touched the real point at issue, which is, what is the objection to giving a slightly longer notice? The conversion of Consols by Lord Goschen was an enormous transaction, a revolution in the finance of 1015 the country, and everyone at home and abroad knew what was going on. Here it is quite a different matter. It is merely a question concerning £21,000,000, which is a trifling sum compared with the £800,000,000 involved in the conversion of Consols from 3 to 2¾ per cent.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer never said one single word as to why in this instance the holders of the War Stock should not have just as long notice as was given in the case of Lord Goschen's conversion of Consols. The right hon. Gentleman is technically correct in slaying that from the time the Bill became an Act it was only three months, but the whole thing involved six months, and that was quite sufficient to permeate to Australia, Canada, and foreign countries. But this short time of seven or eight weeks is certainly not enough to allow the whole of the holders of this stock to communicate with the Bank of England as to how it shall be dealt with. And the Government have no right, without long notice and fair play being given to investors in the stock, to treat it in the manner in which they are doing. Why not leave it alone? Why invest it? Why not let it stand to their credit and say, "When you call you will get what we promised you—£100 for the £100 which you invested"? That would not suit the right hon. Gentleman. He does not like to see money lying idle, and therefore he invests in Consols, as to which no one can say whether they will not be down five or six, or even more, points before the end of the year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and his financial advisers are running a very grave risk by pursuing this course. My learned Friend (Mr. Moore, K.C.) will bear me out when I refer to the serious loss caused by the Estates Commissioners being compelled to invest in Consols before transferring to the owners later on. The Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot get over that, and anyone who has anything to do with it would much prefer that the money should be kept bearing no interest, but standing to their credit, and that they should get £100 for every £100 invested. I think if the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London had altered in his Amendment the date from May to October, or some later date, it would have fulfilled the wishes not only of hon. Members on this side of the House, but actually of the hon. Member for King's Lynn, who has always had a name for finance. I appeal to the right 1016 hon. Gentleman in fairness to forego this little chance of bolstering up in such an artificial way the price of Consols and to do the fair thing by those who have invested in the War Loan.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
Perhaps I may say a few words as to how a business Government would deal with this matter. They would say, "We owe this money, we have to pay it on 5th April, and if we owe it on the 5th April and do not pay it we shall still owe it on the 6th and 7th April; and if the people to whom we owe it are stupid enough not to come and claim it we shall keep it in our possession and make the best use we can of it." It is no part of the function of the State to find investments for the people. The function of the State is to collect the taxes and to get the money in. Therefore it is that I would almost suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take the short cut through this matter: "As there is some difference of opinion as to whether or not we should invest the money for the people to whom it belongs, we will keep it. We will follow the methods of the banks in dealing with what belongs to other people." I want to say, with great respect, if I may, that I wish the Government would be a little more candid with the House. The real reason of this proposal was to try to get statutory power to use this unclaimed money for the purposes for which the money taken out of the Sinking Fund would have been used if we had not taken it out by purchasing Consols.
We have depleted the Sinking Fund—we have no money at the moment to keep up the price of Consols. I admire the ingenuity in this matter with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, under the guise of benevolent interest for those who do not claim the money, says he will support the Consol market. That is really the inner meaning of the whole proposal. Therefore, as it does not much matter to me as a business man whether the Government sticks to the money and has an interest on it or uses it for the purpose of bolstering up the Consol market—in either case they will get the benefit—I am not very enthusiastic as to the coarse adopted. But I do protest against the idea that the Government, owing this money, and being liable to pay it on the 5th April, do not hold the ordinary relation of debtor and creditor with these people if they do not call for it, but say, "We are trustees for these people, and we will make such use of the money as we think best." The real 1017 explanation is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer knows that there is no money to buy Consols; he knows that a great deal of this money will not be claimed, and he says, "Why cannot I counteract the mischief of raiding the Sinking Fund by using this money to buy Consols?" It
§ is a good business proposal, and therefore I do not object to it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule"
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 147.1019
|Division No. 5.]
|Hancock, John George
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
|Addison, Dr. Christopher
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
|Pringle, William M. R.
|Agnew, George William
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
|Radford, George Heynes
|Ainsworth, John Stirling
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
|Raffan, Peter Wilson
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)
|Rainy, Adam Rolland
|Allen, Charles Peter
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
|Rees, John David
|Ashton, Thomas Gair
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)
|Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)
|Hastam, Lewis (Monmouth)
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
|Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
|Barnes, George N.
|Haworth, Arthur A.
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)
|Hemmerde, Edward George
|Beale, William Phipson
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)
|Henry, Charles Solomon
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
|Bethell, Sir John Henry
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
|Higham, John Sharp
|Seddon, James A.
|Bowerman, Charles W.
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
|Shackleton, David James
|Bowles, Thomas Gibson
|Brocklehurst, William B.
|Hooper, Arthur George
|Simon, John Allsebrook
|Brunner, John F. L.
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
|Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton).
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley
|Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)
|Soares, Ernest Joseph
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
|Spicer, Sir Albert
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydfil)
|Strachey, Sir Edward
|Byles, William Pollard
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
|Summers, James Woolley
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
|Sutherland, John E.
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)
|Jowett, Frederick William
|Sutton, John E.
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs. Heywood)
|King, Joseph (Somerset, North)
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
|Chancellor, Henry George
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis
|Tennant, Harold John
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen
|Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S
|Lehmann, Rudolf C.
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
|Levy, Sir Maurice
|Thorne, William (West Ham)
|Clynes, John R.
|Lewis, John Herbert
|Tomkinson, Rt. Hon. James
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)
|Lincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
|Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
|Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
|Cory, Sir Clifford John
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
|Cowan, William Henry
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
|Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)
|M'Callum, John M.
|Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
|Wardle, George J.
|Crosfield, Arthur H.
|M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs. Spalding)
|Crossley, William J.
|Mallet, Charles Edward
|Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)
|Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)
|Masterman, C. F. G.
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)
|Menzies, Sir Walter
|Waterlow, David Sydney
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)
|Watt, Henry A.
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)
|Millar, James Duncan
|White, Sir George (Norfolk)
|Dawes, James Arthur
|Molteno, Percy Alport
|White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas
|Mond, Alfred Moritz
|Whitehouse, John Howard
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)
|Montagu, Hon. E S.
|Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-shire)
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
|Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
|Williams, John (Glamorgan)
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
|Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.
|Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
|Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
|Evans, Sir S. T. (Glamorgan, M.)
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
|Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
|Norton, Capt. Cecil
|Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
|Ferguson, Ronald C. Munro
|Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
|Furness, Sir Christopher
|Wing, Thomas Henry
|Gibson, James Puckering
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark
|Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
|Glanville, Harold James
|Parker, James (Halifax)
|Young, William (Perth, East)
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
|Younger, W. (Peebles and Selkirk)
|Greenwood, Granville George
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.
|Yoxall, Sir James Henry
|Grenfell, Cecil Alfred
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)
|Guest, Capt. Hon. Frederick E.
|Pirie, Duncan V.
|Gulland, John William
|TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
|Master of Elibank and Mr. Fuller.
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.
|Adam, Major William A.
|Magnus, Sir Philip
|Arbuthnot, Gerald A.
|Fletcher, John Samuel
|Attenborough, Walter Annis
|Forster, Henry William
|Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas
|Bagot, Colonel Josceline
|Foster, John K. (Coventry)
|Baird, John Lawrence
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton
|Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.
|Gibbs, George Abraham
|Newton, Harry Kottingham
|Goldman, Charles Sydney
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor
|Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)
|Goulding, Edward Alfred
|Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)
|Grant, J. A.
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
|Bathurst, Hon. Alien B. (Glouc. E.)
|Greene, Walter Raymond
|Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)
|Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward
|Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)
|Beckett, Hon. William Gervase
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)
|Perkins, Walter Frank
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)
|Peto, Basil Edward
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar
|Pollock, Ernest Murray
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)
|Pretyman, Ernest George
|Brackenbury, Henry Langton
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)
|Rawson, Col. Richard H.
|Brassey, H. L. C. (Northants, N.)
|Harris, F. L. (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)
|Remnant, James Farquharson
|Brassey, Capt. R. (Oxon, Banbury)
|Harris, H. P. (Paddington, S.)
|Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
|Bridgeman, W. Clive
|Heath, Col. Arthur Howard
|Ronaldshay, Earl of
|Bull, Sir William James
|Rothschild, Lionel de
|Butcher, John George (York)
|Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire)
|Calley, Col. Thomas C. P.
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.
|Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
|Carlile, Edward Hildred
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)
|Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)
|Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter
|Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
|Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)
|Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)
|Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirral)
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis
|Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkc'dbr'tsh.)
|Clyde, James Avon
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)
|Cooper, Capt. Bryan R. (Dublin, S.)
|Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven)
|Sykes, Alan John
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)
|Courthope, George Loyd
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
|Thynne, Lord Alexander
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)
|Kerry, Earl of
|Tullibardine, Marquess of
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)
|Kirkwood, John H. M.
|Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
|Craik, Sir Henry
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford
|Wheler, Granville C. H.
|Croft, Henry Page
|White, Maj. G. D. (Lanc. Southport)
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)
|Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
|Dalziel, Davidson (Brixton)
|Llewelyn, Major Venables
|Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.)
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
|Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
|Dixon, Charles Harvey (Boston)
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
|Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
|Du Cros, A. (Tower Hamlets, Bow)
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee
|Wood, John (Stalybridge)
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birn. Edgbaston)
|Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Wor. Droitwich)
|Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh
|Falle, Bertram Godfrey
|Mackinder, Halford J.
|TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir F. Banbury and Mr. A. Fell.
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill reported without Amendment; to be read the third time to-morrow.