HC Deb 31 July 1914 vol 65 cc1781-7

The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries "hall have power to acquire and dispose of land and buildings with the consent of the Treasury, and to do all other things which appear to them necessary or desirable for the purpose of the provision, maintenance, and management in agricultural districts of dwellings and gardens and other works or buildings for or for the convenience of persons belonging to the working classes, including the making of any arrangements for that purpose with any authorised society within the meaning of this Act.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Runciman)

I beg to move "that the Clause be postponed."

There is a similar Motion on the Paper standing in the name of the hon. Member for Horncastle (Captain Weigall), but I am proposing this Motion myself in pursuance of an arrangement made yesterday in order that we may make some progress with the latter part of the Bill, which is known as the Rosyth Clauses. In Clause 1 a number of points of principle can be raised which will take some considerable time for discussion, and we are anxious that the Rosyth Clauses should not be impeded by taking the decision on Clause 1. I hope that on this Clause it will be possible to meet some of the views put forward from both sides of the House in respect to three or four rather material points. For instance, I have put down on the Paper an Amendment which will deal with the limiting of the buildings which can be put up under this Clause by cutting out the words "and other works or buildings" and "or for the convenience of" and substituting some words which would provide "or incidental to." This has been done to meet the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand. At the end of Clause 1 I hope to provide for powers being given to local authorities which have not now the power, and also to smaller authorities to act in societies. I have also put down an Amendment which would provide for the Board of Agriculture only acting after consultation with the Local Government Board in respect of housing matters. I have further put down an Amendment which I am advised is necessary, although, I confess, it had not previously occurred to me, to carry out an undertaken given by the President of the Board of Trade when he was President of the Local Government Board, to Mr. Henry Hobhouse, as representing the County Councils' Association and other local authorities. Each one of these would obviously take some time, and, as we are anxious to get the Rosyth Clause with as great rapidity as possible, I beg to move that Clause 1 be postponed in order to enable us to proceed to Clauses 2 and 3.


There are points of principle raised in Clause 2 which also appertain to Clause 1. If we consent to the postponement of Clause 1, in which there is implied the handing of public money to private societies, shall we be precluded from discussing that matter on Clause 1?


I do not think so. The point is raised separately on the two Clauses, and I do not see any reason why the Committee should be precluded from discussing it on Clause 1.


I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has made this Motion. I can say, on behalf of those who sit behind me, that we are willing to do everything we can to facilitate giving the Government power to house their own employés. Our reason for falling in with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman to postpone Clause 1 is that we think there must be time given for the discussion of the important questions to which the right hon. Gentleman has alluded. We do not put the case any higher than that; we really do agree with him that there is need for detailed consideration and discussion of the important questions involved in Clause 1. We are very willing to assist the Government to get Clause 2, because we realise that the matter is urgent.


I do not propose to ask the House to divide against this Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, but I should like to have an assurance from him that this postponement does not mean the abandonment of the Section, because it must be recognised in all quarters of the House that this is a grave and urgent problem, the housing of our working classes in the rural districts, and, if this is going to be deferred beyond the limits of this Session, I think that all our constituents will be entitled to complain of the neglect of the House of Commons in this matter.


There appears to be an agreement between the two Front Benches with regard to this question, and I should like to have an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that he is going to deal with Clause 1 of this Bill during the present Session. Clause 1, after all, is the only part of the Bill which deals with the provision of housing in agricultural districts. Time after time hon. Friends of mine on this side of the House have brought forward Bills dealing with the subject, and time after time these Bills have been defeated by the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends on the other side of the House. We have had promises time after time from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this question would be dealt with, and we on this side of the House voted for the Second Beading of the Bill, although we did not like the principle and the method upon which this Grant were going to be made. We voted for it because we wanted something to be done in agricultural districts. Under this Bill the right hon. Gentleman only proposes to provide something like £3,000,000 for housing purposes in agricultural districts. Three million pounds is insufficient. We were told that 125,000 cottages were required, and with those £3,000,000 the right hon. Gentleman will only be able to provide something like 15,000 or 20,000 cottages. We voted for the Second Beading because we considered that 20,000 cottages would be better than nothing at all. But if I can get any support from any section of the House in opposing the postponement of Clause 1, I shall certainly divide the Committee unless the right hon. Gentleman gives an assurance that the postponement does not mean the abandonment of any provision for rural housing this Session.


I want to associate myself with the views expressed by hon. Members opposite, and to voice my hope that this Motion does not mean the abandonment of Clause 1. For my part, I stated on the Second Beading that Clause 1 represented to me all that was valuable in the Bill. I am not going to oppose Clause 2, but I would like to ask what the hon. Member for Sevenoaks means when he says he is anxious to facilitate the passing of Clause 2. That Clause can only come into operation by others being excluded, otherwise you are gaining nothing. That is to say, if Clause 1 is to come into operation as part of this Bill, then I cannot see what is to be gained by postponing the consideration of the Clause now and applying ourselves to Clause 2. If I interpret the hon. Gentleman rightly, he meant that Clause 2 should not be delayed, but that it should be immediately brought into operation.


Everybody knows the situation we are in at the present time. What I meant was, supposing, by circumstances over which this House has no control, it eventually became impossible to carry Clause 1, we should give every assistance to Clause 2.


It seems to me there is a certain compact between the two Front Benches that Clause 1 is to be dropped altogether. If there is any advantage to be gained by this proceeding it means that Clause 2 is to be wrenched out of this Bill and to stand as a distinct Bill by itself, otherwise you are saving no time at all. The hon. Gentlemen's explanation means that we are going to have two-Bills, and that Clause 2, in respect of the Rosyth scheme, is to be proceeded with, while the other may or may not be taken by this House. I think the Government could push Clause 1 through as well as Clause 2 if they liked, and I want to enter my protest against the postponement of this scheme. It is small in itself, and an expenditure of £3,000,000 will do little more than touch the real problem. We have built up hopes in country districts that at last something is to be done in respect of this extremely urgent social problem. We have had expressions of sympathy with the proposal from all parts of the House, but it seems that even these dreams are to be dashed to the ground, and we are to afford our people no hope whatever that even a modest £3,000,000 is going to be expended in palliation of this question, It looks to me as if the two Front Benches have agreed in this matter, and that we can accept it, if this Motion is passed, that Clause 1 will not become law. Having regard to the circumstances indicated by the hon. Gentleman, I think we might be honest with our people, and tell them that, while Clause 2 is to be passed, in respect of rural conditions in the country nothing is going to be done. I hope even now it may not be found necessary to postpone Clause 1, because I am sure the Government can carry it into law if they choose.


As I have been asked a specific question, I am quite prepared to give a reply. The hon. Gentleman will observe that I proposed only to postpone the Clause, and the only reason why that was done was because of the special circumstances in which we are debating the

Bill to-day, and the short time available for making any progress. We have made some progress with the agricultural part of the Bill in having reported the Financial Resolution. We have already, by reporting that Resolution, car-marked £3,000,000 for that purpose. I understood the arrangement entered into was not that the other side were prepared to oppose. Clause 1, but that they wished to debate it at much greater length. If it were debated at great length we should not make such progress to-day. It was purely with the object of making that progress, and with a firm determination to go on with Clause 1 that I proposed the postponement of the Clause.


The right hon. Gentleman says he only wishes to proceed with Clause 2 to-day. Is Clause 2 to form a Bill by itself? If the right hon. Gentleman proposes to take out Clause 2 and make it into a Bill by itself I could understand him. It makes no difference whatever if he proposes to carry the whole Bill, whether a part of Clause 1 or Clause 2 is discussed to-day.

Question put, "That the Clause be postponed."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 250; Noes, 33.

Division No. 214.] AYES. [4. 57 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Clough, William Gilhooly, James
Acland, Francis Dyke Clynes, John R. Gilmour, Captain John
Addison, Dr. Christopher Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) Gladstone, W. G. C.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Goldman, C. S.
Alden, Percy Cowan, W. H. Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Craig, Herbert J. (Tyemouth) Gulland, John William
Armitage, Robert Craik, Sir Henry Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Baird, John Lawrence Crooks, William Hackett, John
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cullinan, John Hancock, John George
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Currle, George W. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)
Barnston, Harry Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Beale, Sir William Phipson Davies, Timothy (Lines, Louth) Hardie, J. Keir
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)
Blair, Reginald Delany, William Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)
Boland, John Pius Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Harris, Leverton (Worcester, East)
Booth, Frederick Handel Dillon, John Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Donelan, Captain A. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Brady, Patrick Joseph Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) Hayden, John Patrick
Bridgeman, William Clive Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Hayward, Evan
Brunner, John F. L. Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Hazleton, Richard
Bryce, J. Annan Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Helmsley, Viscount
Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O. Elverston, Sir Harold Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Burn, Colonel C. R. Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Henry, Sir Charles
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Higham, John Sharp
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Essex, Sir Richard Walter Hinds, John
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Esslemont, George Birnie Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Byles, Sir William Pollard Falconer, James Hodge, John
Cassel, Felix Farrell, James Patrick Hogge, James Myles
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Ffrench, Peter Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy
Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs, Heywood) Field, William Holmes, Daniel Turner
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Chancellor, Henry George Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Flavin, Michael Joseph Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Forster, Henry William Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Clancy, John Joseph Gibbs, G. A. Hume-Williams, William Ellis
Illingworth, Percy H. Morrell, Philip Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Sanders, Robert Arthur
Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Morison, Hector Scanian, Thomas
Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Muldoon, John Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Sherwell, Arthur James
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Shortt, Edward
Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney) Needham, Christopher T. Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Jowett, Frederick William Neilson, Francis Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Joyce, Michael Newdegate, F. A. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Kellaway, Frederick George Nield, Herbert Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Kelly, Edward Nolan, Joseph Stanley, Major Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Norman, Sir Henry Stewart, Gershom
Kenyon, Barnet Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Kilbride, Denis Nuttall, Harry Sutherland, John E.
King, Joseph O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Lardner, James C. R. O'Doherty, Philip Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) O'Dowd, John Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) O'Malley, William Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Touche, George Alexander
Leach, Charles O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert O'Shee, James John Tullibardine, Marquess of
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas O'Sullivan, Timothy Walton, Sir Joseph
Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Outhwaite, R. L. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Lundon, Thomas Parker, James (Halifax) Wardle, George J.
Lyell, Charles Henry Peto, Basil Edward Waring, Walter
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Pollock, Ernest Murray Watson, Hon. W.
Mackinder, Halford J. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Weigall, Captain A. G.
Maclean, Donald Pratt, J. W. White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Primrose, Hon. Neil James White, Patrick (Meath, North)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Pringle, William M. R. Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
M'Callum, Sir John M. Radford, G. H. Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
M'Curdy, Charles Albert Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Reddy, Michael Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
M'Micking, Major Gilbert Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Marks, Sir George Croydon Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Marshall, Arthur Harold Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Mason, David M. (Coventry) Robinson, Sidney Yeo, Alfred William
Meagher, Michael Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Roche, Augustine (Louth) Younger, Sir George
Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Ronaldshay, Earl of Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Molloy, Michael Rowlands, James
Molteno, Percy Alport Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Mooney, John J. Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W. Wedgwood Benn and Mr. Webb.
Morgan, George Hay
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Fletcher, John Samuel Newton, Harry Kottingham
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Gastrell, Major W. Houghton O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid).
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Grant, J. A. Rees, Sir J. D.
Bowerman, Charles W. Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds) Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Boyton, James Hall, Frederick (Dulwich) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Bull, Sir William James Hills, John Waller Thynne, Lord Alexander
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Hoare, Samuel John Gurney White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Houston, Robert Paterson Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Dalrymple, Viscount M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)
Falle, Bertram Godfray Malcolm, Ian TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Fell, Arthur Money, L. G. Chiozza Goldsmith and Mr. Denison-Pender.

Question put, and agreed to.