§ Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Are we to understand that a Bill of this importance is to be read a second time without any explanation on the part of a responsible Member of the Government or without any discussion? This Bill proposes to remove the statutory limitation of the salaries of certain Ministers, to increase the number of Secretaries of State and Under-Secretaries of State capable of sitting in the Commons House of Parliament, and to transfer the powers 281 of the Secretary for Scotland to one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. It is a most important Bill, and I am very glad to see that the Leader of the House has come in now, because had he been here a few moments ago I feel sure that he would not have supported his collague on that bench in trying to get a Second Reading of this Bill without any discussion.
§ Mr. BARNESdissented.
If I am doing the right hon. Gentleman an injustice in that, I withdraw what I have said. I hope that the Leader of the House will be able to give us some explanation of this Bill. So far as Scotland is concerned, I agree whole-heartedly with Clause 3 of the Bill, which proposes to transfer all the powers and duties of the Secretary for Scotland to one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. The day is long overdue when the Secretary for Scotland should cease to occupy that subordinate position in the Government of the United Kingdom which he holds at the present moment. I hope the Leader of the House will deal particularly with Clause 4 of the Bill, which seems to me to contain certain provisions that it is difficult for the layman to understand.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)
I can assure the House that there was no intention whatever of attempting to get the Second Reading of this Bill, the importance of which I thoroughly recognise, without some discussion. My hon. Friend has asked for an, explanation, but I do not think it necessary to take up time and explain it, as the object of the Bill is perfectly plain on the face of it. I hope also that it will not be necessary to say very much in justification of it. It has for a long time been recognised, to put it at the lowest, as distinctly inconvenient that officers, which through the lapse of time have come to be of importance equal to that of others, should occupy a different status, and should be accompanied by a different scale of remuneration so far as the heads of these offices are concerned. Perhaps it may Interest the House if I tell them that a good many years ago I attended as one of a small deputation from the Chambers of Commerce to the then Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, urging that the Board of Trade should be put on a level with the 282 other high offices of State. With that frankness which, as everyone who knew him was aware, wag one of the charms of the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, as the deputation was private he told us that he had himself found, in forming his Cabinet, that it was a great inconvenience inasmuch as it was not possible for him in any case to put into office the men best suited for the posts, because the standard made it necessary to put into higher offices the men who seemed to justify those offices. That difficulty has continued. I am inclined to think that there is no way in which I can make it plainer to the House that this change ought to be made than by telling them that within a comparatively short time, certainly within the last two years, two of the gentlemen who now fill two of the offices mentioned in this Bill—I do not think it would be right to mention their names—were selected by the Prime Minister for offices of the higher status, but when he came to look into it more closely the Prime Minister, and I myself, whom he was good enough to consult, came to the conclusion that the work which these men were doing in their Department was so important, and they were doing it so well, that we could not move them.
I think if must be obvious that a system which keeps men in what are considered the lower offices because they are particularly good at them is a system which the House could not defend and is not in the interests of the State, I am quite sure it anyone looked at these offices he would recognise that they do require men of capacity equal to that possessed by those who fill the higher offices. I am sure, therefore, that on its merits there is no one who will doubt that this change is one which ought to be made. But while that in true, I recognise that the present is a very in opportune time for making proposals of this kind. I recognise that, and if it were not that we think it necessary to make it now, not in the interests of individuals but in the interests of the State, we certainly should not bring it before the House of Commons. It is an inopportune time, for this reason The financial position of this country is a very serious one. I know that it is the fashion for those who criticise the Government to say that we regard expenditure with indifference. As a matter of fact, that is a charge which is very frequently made against the Government of the day whatever it may be; but it is of far greater weight at this moment, because the expenditure is on 283 a scale which is alarming, and it must be reduced. Whether or not we have been as successful or shall be as successful as we wish. I can assure the House that among the many difficult problems—and there are many difficult problems—that we are called upon to face at this moment, there is not one which more preoccupies or as much preoccupies the attention not only of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but of the Prime Minister and the other members of the Government, as the absolute necessity of bringing our expenditure down to a scale which is more in keeping with what is possible for this country. I think, also, that there is no one in this House or out of it who has had any experience of the conduct of big undertakings of any kind who will not say that a particular kind of saving is not only not economical, but is in itself the most wasteful of any expenditure if it takes the form of attempting to underpay the man on whom you have to depend for the efficiency of the work. That is not economy.
I venture to put this—it is the real reason for our bringing this Bill on now, in present circumstances and at this stage of the Session—the very conditions which called our attention to the expenditure of the country, which make it really vital, I think, that the Government themselves should set a good example in this matter and therefore make it undesirable to bring in such a Bill—it is these conditions which render it absolutely wrong and against the interests of the State to ask the men who are filling those high posts to do so at the small salaries they received before the War. Let the House think what it means. A salary of£2,000 before the War meant, after deduction of Income Tax, £l,925. It means now, after deducting Income Tax, £1,550. I do not need to remind the House that that is not by any means the highest difference. The value of money and what you can get for your money have changed so much that the salary of£2,000, which was certainly too small before the War, is absolutely inadequate for a man who fills these posts under the conditions which prevail at the present time. I wish the House to look at this not from the point of view of justice to individuals, in spite of the story I have told and the fact that some of these Ministers would have occupied higher offices but for the necessity to keep them in their present positions, but I wish the House to realise that this change is not 284 made in the interests of individuals; it is made in the interest of the State itself. Just think what it means. I do not suggest that in paying Ministers the country should be expected to pay them the full amount which it would be possible for them to obtain in other occupations. But think what the present position is. In the past, as the House well knows, it has been a rare thing for Ministers to be dependent upon their salaries. Ministers, I think I may safely say in nine cases out of ten, in the past have had independent means. Everything in our system was founded on that idea, but in this, as in everything else connected with the British Government, though we were never logical, we did get what was necessary according to the times in which we lived. Perhaps some Members have not noticed the very great difference in the salaries paid to Ministers and those paid to the legal officers under the Crown. What was the explanation? As I have said, Ministers belonged to a class which had private means. In the case of lawyers that was not so, and we gave—I must say that I was always inclined to look upon it as rather absurd, and I still do—we gave a salary to the Lord Chancellor twice as great as that of the Prime Minister; we gave him a pension of half his salary, to which he had a right, whereas the Prime Minister, I whatever his services, can obtain a pension of only £2,000, and then only by making a declaration of need
Why was it? It was because the House of Commons knew that it was essential to get the best lawyers for these legal posts, and that you could not get them unless you paid them a salary in some degree commensurate with what they could obtain in private practice. Are we not come to a time when more and more these high posts are likely to be filled by men who have not private means? I am certain of this, that nothing could be worse for the State, worse for the efficiency of these offices, unless the men who fill them obtain ! a remuneration not, as I say, equal to what they could make outside, but a remuneration which is adequate in comparison with the work they do. It is not necessary to give the full amount which a man of that ability could get in other occupations. I do not think that would be possible. Nor is it necessary. After all, money is not the only thing even from the point of view of selfish interest. Perhaps the House will forgive me saying that I gave up a fairly 285 large income to become a Parliamentary Secretary at£1,200 a. year, and at the time I thought I was a very lucky man to be able to make the exchange. What men prize even more than the money is the position it gives them in the eyes of their fellows, and undoubtedly a Minister of the Crown has a great position which gives him a value far higher than anything in the way of money could do.
But while that is true, I put it to hon. Members to consider the position now. Take the case of one of those who fills those offices as a man who has not got private means, and look at the sacrifice he makes from the monetary point of view. It is not merely that he gets a smaller income than he could get otherwise: it goes further. A man who is dependent on the salary and who, let us say, accepts some Ministerial office deliberately cuts himself off and diminishes the chance of getting posts of another kind. When people are inclined to say that the salaries we get, even the biggest salary of£5,000, are very large sums, I think the House ought toremember, and so ought the country, that a man who has been making political life his occupation, has got to look forward to being in office only part of the time, and to being out of office part of the time, and that he cannot hope to make, when out of office, anything like the same income, if he does his Parliamentary duties, as he might have if he had not been in office. I do really appeal to the House of Commons to look at this matter on its merits, and if I might appeal to my right hon. Friend (Sir D. Maclean), who has given notice of an Amendment, do not draw into this question other questions as to the extravagance of the Government. I am quite ready to have that debated, and I am quite ready to show that we realise its importance as much as anyone else, but this is not the time. If this is the right thing to do on its merits we ought to do it. I would like to say this in conclusion, we have a right to expect that men who are called upon to serve His Majesty should feel it a great honour and should be ready to make sacrifices in order to do that service to King and country, but the present position and the present value of money mean that a man who has no private means, and who is living on£2,000 a year, is forced either to get into debt or to live on a scale below that on which ho was living before, and on which he could live 286 to-morrow if it were open to him to take an outside position. I do not think that is right. They have the right, in the case of those who have the chance of being Ministers, to look upon their services as a great honour, but we have no right to, and cannot, expect them to fill those offices while they are at the same time hampered by, the carking cares of not having an adequate sum on which to live.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The House is indebted to my right hon. Friend for the statement he has made, but, notwithstanding the suggestion which he has made to me, I beg to move to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the wordsthis House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which increases the salaries and alters the status of Ministers, until the Government declares its policy with regard to the reduction of Government Departments to a scale conducive to national efficiency and economy.One of the main reasons which the Leader of the House gave us for this Bill was that the men who are doing this heavy and responsible work should have, to paraphrase what he said, a living wage. That, of course, is a right and proper thing to do, but the right hon. Gentleman has also expressly pointed out that governing positions are different from the positions which men take with regard to the rewards which come to them in commercial life. He himself, with his usual frankness—a quality all too rare, but which has never been absent from his life—said that it wan inopportune time. It most certainly is. Coming back to the point of the distinction between governing men and the rewards of commercial life, we must not lose sight of the fact that the governing men are very closely watched by the people they are governing. While I was one of those who voted for salaries for Members of Parliament, and I see no reason at all to be ashamed of that fact, I frankly admit that throughout the country there was a great deal of a sense of disappointment that this House had for the first time departed from its hundreds of years of tradition, though Members of Parliament were formerly paid, and given the idea that the services which Members of Parliament rendered were not of the same public standard as they used to be. That might be right or it might be wrong, but undoubtedly that was the case. What is the time which my right hon. Friend has described as inopportune? It is a time when economy and efficiency should be so 287 closely linked that a shining example should be given to the whole community of the only way in which our financial position can commence to approach to a satisfactory basis. I do not hesitate at all to say that throughout the country there will be in many quarters very severe criticism of this measure, and through all classes much disappointment that it is linked up with a campaign for economy all round which has been urged from all parts of the House. I am sure, as far as my right hon. Friend is concerned, and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, who has a special responsibility in these matters, that that campaign for economy has always been urged with their cordial assent, although they may not be able to do from their point of view the necessary acts and deeds to carry that policy into very effective operation. This proposal will have a real lowering effect on any campaign launched by any member of the Government, no matter who he may be, for national economy linked with efficiency. What is the proposal? I intend to examine it in some little detail in so far as one can at the quite unexpectedly short notice that one has had. Looking at the Bill, we see that in Section 1, which is the Financial Clause, it is intended to pay, out of moneys provided by Parliament, to the President of the Board of Agriculture, the President of the Board of Education, the Minister of Labour, and, so long as that office continues to exist, the Minister of Food, such annual amount as Parliament may determine. I suppose that means that it is intended to raise these offices from a status of£2,000 a year to one of£5,000 a year. First of all, what will happen? The increase will by no means cease at that£5,000 a year. That being the status of a Minister and that being his salary, there will follow, I suppose, corresponding increases in the salaries of the Civil servants in his Department.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I do not know whether that is so or not, but, at any rate, I ask the question. My idea is—and I have some foundation for it—that if you raise an office to£5,000 a year the Undersecretary of State for that office will get probably £1,5OO to£1,800 a year.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
And then the permanent staff—and, so far as I am concerned, I cannot say I have really as much objection to that as to the Minister himself—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I have not looked into this specially, but I am of the opinion that we have already found it necessary to treat the Civil servants pretty much on the same level, whatever their status.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I draw a real distinction between what I may call the governing man and the permanent staff in these matters. I do not think it can be fairly said that any of our Civil servants are overpaid. I think it may substantially be said with great justice that they are underpaid. But I make no special complaint of that. I only say that there will be some hundreds a year in each case additional to the£5,000 a year. I want at once to say one thing to make my own position clear with regard to Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill, referring to Scotland. For a long time Scottish Members have asked that the Secretary for Scotland should be made a Secretary of State, and to that extent my right hon. Friend, so to speak, has me. I have pressed for that, but what I would say is this, that at the present time, until we get out of this morass in which we are, do not let us give this key to the public to say what they will say. My right hon. Friend said, "Let them say," but it is not good policy to do that. These are very dangerous times, and attitudes and positions which might be taken up with great safety in normal times should be carefully avoided in these days. In regard to the salary of the Minister of Food, I would like to ask a question. That is a temporary office, and I think it is barely six months ago since it was announced in this House that it was going to be wound up. Those are the sort of things which give rise to the case which I am trying to put of the unwisdom of doing these things. Circumstances might so alter in the course of the next six months—we cannot tell; we do not know what may happen—that the Ministry of Food might be unnecessary, but really we are raising this salary and treating it on the same basis as the Board of Education and the Ministry of Labour when it might very well have been left alone on its present basis and not brought into the rank, as it is here, of the£5,000 a year offices. Then I would ask, if these have 289 been selected in this way, what about the Ministry of Pensions? There is, at any rate for a generation, unhappily a permanent Department. I suppose it will run for, I should think, another twenty-five or thirty years, if not forty years. Why bring in the Ministry of Food? I am suggesting that the thing has not been thought out.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Well, it does not look like it. Why exclude a Ministry like that, a very important Ministry which is going to run for twenty-five or thirty or even forty years, and put in the Ministry of Food, which we hope will only be quite a temporary office and which ought to be easily demobilised by the end of the winter or the early spring? Then let me take another example. We have the Postmaster-General, with £2,500 a year. I suggest that the Postmaster-General's office is a very important one, but we select the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Food, and leave out the Postmaster-General. I am not complaining that he is left out. My point is that this has not been properly thought out, and I want to know the reason. I think, if you are going to have any Ministry raised in this way, the Board of Education clearly is one which is fully entitled to it at any proper time, but not, as my right hon. Friend said, at an inopportune time. One might go through the whole range of the Government offices and deal with them seriatim in this way, and doubtless some of my hon. Friends will draw the attention of the House to them; but I will come now to another point. It is one which is contained in the latter part of my Amendment, where it declares that the House declines to read the Bill a second time until the Government declares its policy with regard to the reduction of Government Departments to a scale conducive to national efficiency and economy. It is not possible for anybody to take up any daily or weekly paper without finding in some of its columns protests against unnecessary Government Departments and extravagance and inefficiency. Of course, I quite admit that this is always more or less inseparable from the end of a great war. You get the ad hoc Departments put up, and they are not quite so easily pulled down. That is the difficulty. But the Armistice was declared in November of last year, and we are now into the first week of August. About nine months have gone by. Everybody knows that the 290 number of unnecessary Government Departments which are strewn about London, and have their branches throughout the country, is shocking the public conscience with regard to national economy. Any business man who has anything like a wide range is constantly coining into touch with it. What ought to have been done was this: Someone should have been charged with the duty of winding-up these unnecessary Departments. Perhaps somebody has been, and this is only another instance of the inefficiency with which these things are done, and the general appalling slackness of the Government with regard to public expenditure, that, whoever that gentleman may be, he has not done his job.
The moral effect of these things is as bad as the effect on the financial position of the country. Wherever you go, you find that the moral effect of the Government, who should show an example in this way, is eating into the municipalities, into all public bodies, and reacting through them on the individual. I agree that every individual ought to be strong enough to see his and her duly for themselves, but we have got to take human nature as it is, and if you get slackness, extravagance and inefficiency on the top, it gravitates to the bottom, and through all the intervening strata of society. That is one of the main arguments which we have against the Second Reading of this measure. I know my right hon. Friend opposite realises this, but the Government seem to be so helpless. He can make a speech with much better force and eloquence than I can, I know, but there they are, and it is their business to do this. I do not know how much better I should be if I were there, but, at any rate, the country is looking every day for signs of the Government being awake to the disaster which is overtaking us in the early days of this Parliament I was a voice crying in the wilderness. I remember I said on a Friday afternoon, when there were a few Members in the House, that we were heading straight for national bankruptcy. We are, there is no doubt about it at all. There is not a business man of responsibility and power in the City of London or in any of our great centres who is not; affrighted. It is the old story. There is no royal road to reform except through individuals—every man and every woman taking his or her share in it. The sermons which have been preached through the length and breadth of the land by the 291 Chancellor of the Exchequer and by the Leader of the House have had no effect. Turn where we like, it really appals one to go through the streets of London, or even into the smallest town in the Kingdom—there is no sign of the seriousness of the financial position. Things go on as if we had been treading "the primrose path of dalliance" during the last five years, and I often wonder whether it is not all a bad dream from which, somehow or other, we shall awake and realise it is not true. But there it goes on, and we leave this House to night with evidence of it all round. That is why I so much regret that the Government have chosen this time to bring in this Bill. I am quite certain that not one of these Gentlemen—all of whom, I say without hesitation, are men of fine public spirit—has pressed for this. I am quite certain, if the issue is put to them that this is a wrong time to do it, they will say, "Put it on one side. Let us show the right example." Whatever may be said about the merits of this, this is not the time to do it. Put it on one side, and any hardship that might come from it they would gladly put up with. I suppose it is too late to suggest that this might be deferred until the whole matter has been further considered, and the financial position is a little more sound than it is; but I can only say again, that it was with much regret I saw this Bill on the Paper, it was with alarm I saw its contents, and I feel, therefore, compelled to move the Amendment.
§ Brigadier-General CROFT
The speech to which we have just listened, I think, will probably find sympathy in the minds of most Members present. There is only one regrettable statement that he made, namely, that with reference to the Secretary for Scotland, which I very much personally deplore that he introduced, because it is inclined to make one think that his argument was a party one, and not really based on those principles which he mentioned towards the end of his speech.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The argument that T adduced was that, while I should be glad to see the official status of the (Secretary for Scotland raised to that of a Secretary for State, the same argument that I put forward with regard to the financial side applied equally to his case.
§ Brigadier-General CROFT
I am very glad to hear what the right hon. Gentle- 292 man has said, because that immediately ranges me on his side. I misunderstood him. I thought he did not apply this argument to the Secretary for Scotland owing to some past promise that had been made. How ever, I am glad he agrees that we ought not at this time to allow any increase to take place. I know that the Leader of the House naturally feels on this question as strongly probably as anyone, from the personal point of view in regard to his colleagues, and thinking of them. We all are perfectly well aware of the fact that times are very hard even for the best-paid Ministers. They have their position to keep up. They have their greater duties. There are many other considerations, all of which we realise. But there are hard cases in every walk of life in this country; and my contention is that if we are going to deal with hard cases at this hour we simply are going straight ahead for bankruptcy. It is the same in every walk in life. One cannot fail possibly to be moved by the position, let us say, of those who are pensioners under pre-war schemes—Civil servants, Post Office servants, old age pensioners, the police, and our old soldiers and sailors who are in receipt of pre-war pensions. All these cases are terrible. Even worse than these cases, in my opinion, is the man or woman with small fixed income who had retired before the War, it might be, and now in their old age find it absolutely impossible to make ends meet. That being the fact, I do hope and pray that we may perhaps do something different to our custom here. I hope the right hon. Gentleman, before this Debate is finished, will indicate that in view of the fact that this measure has been before the House but for a very short time, he will take an unusual course, but one which will meet with the approval of the whole of the country, and say that the question will be delayed for at least a few months until the House meets again, when we can reconsider the question in the light, possibly, of changed circumstances.
If we in this House are going to pass legislation of this character at this time it is, I believe, going to have a thoroughly serious effect right throughout the whole of the community. It is difficult enough to try to point out the complex reasons which are making life so difficult. Take the case of the profiteer, the man who is supposed to be guilty of profiteering. There are such people. On the other hand, every man in this House knows that what appears to be profiteering in one instance 293 may, in another, be caused by countless effects in other parts of the world, in raw materials and wages. So it is that we have this feeling going through the country. People, of course, do not understand the real situation. Is this, however, the time for this House to introduce legislation which is going to increase the salaries of any Member of this House, when the whole country is looking to us for guidance? I think it will be a fatal matter to pass this Bill now. It was mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman that he supported the Motion for the payment of Members. But that is a question of a time gone by, when we had different opinions, and when, the House was divided, but anyhow, for better or worse, that was carried, and we have payment of Members. But surely the one thing we want to try to convince our countrymen of is this: That our service in this House is different and in no way comparable to service in the commercial world. We come here, I take it, for the sake of service. The idea of salaries for Members was that they should be to cover those expenses incidental to being a Member of Parliament, not that the work should be made a profession. In the same way, in Ministers of this country in the past, we always believed that the men were making sacrifices, at all events we hoped so, and that they were serving their country in these honourable positions purely and simply for the sake of service. If we do not set an example in regard to this question how we can go. out into the country, as I feel we all ought to do, this autumn, and explain the situation 1 How can we implore the people to exercise economy, to cut down expenses, and try to help us through this terrible state of affairs? The right hon.' Gentleman also was wise to link up with his Motion the question of the reduction of staffs. It is perfectly true what he says. I speak from a different point of view, but I do know that throughout the length and breadth of the country there is the gravest anxiety on all hands in regard to the colossal staffs which are still kept on in all the Government Departments. Are we to raise the salaries of Ministers who have not succeeded in cutting down these surplus staffs. When they really have proved to the country their value by introducing efficiency and economy into their Departments, then it seems to me will be the 294 right time to come to this House, and for us to consider whether we should raise their salaries.
There is just one other word. No one will agree—although I think it is most unfair in nine cases out of ten—but that this House has lost confidence in the country. I remember the Leader of the House himself made a speech to that effect. Perhaps, as the right hon. Gentleman reminds me, he was then in Opposition; but it does not matter whether the right hon. Gentleman sat on this or that side of the Table. He has always been equally sincere. I do not believe his opinions have changed merely by reason of such a very short march round the Table. So the fact remains that we do not at the present time, unfortunately, hold the confidence of the people as in the past. It is essential from every point of view that we should try to regain that confidence by letting them see that whatever we say we mean, that we are determined to be just, and that the thing we preach we are going to practice. For that reason I hope very much that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to introduce some new machinery, even at this late hour, by which he can postpone a decision on this question, and not force us to go into the. Lobby against the Government, but carry the matter over for future consideration.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
The issue raised in this Debate affects something more than the mere question of the salaries of Ministers. I do not know whether the pool is now in existence.
§ Mr. THOMAS
My right hon. Friend answers at once and says "No." I was going to point out that this simply meant adding to the pool. Seeing that the pool is not in existence, and that each Minister is drawing the salary of his office, it still leaves this point: that the same people— and it is not a question of personalities—and the same offices that it is now proposed to increase the salary of were carrying on during the War even more strenuous work than some of them are doing now. To give one illustration—the Ministry of Food. No one can pretend that their labours to-day are more than during the period of the stress and struggle of the War. Surely, if it was not necessary, and if in the interests of the country, the Government felt that the only fair way 295 to deal with the salaries of Ministers was by a pooling arrangement, thereby sharing emoluments as well as responsibilities—at that time, and certainly the Leader of the House recognised the situation better than anybody—it is a bad time to come to Parliament and say, "Our example to the country is to preach economy, our advice to you is to economise in all things, but do not do as we do, because we think it wise for you, but not necessarily for ourselves. "That is exactly the kind of sentiment that will operate in the mind of the public.
Let us try to discuss this matter from the standpoint of millions of people who are to-day nominally in the Government service, the men with fixed incomes; because whatever else may have resulted from the War the real people who have been hit probably harder than anybody else are the people with fixed incomes; men who at first had domestic responsibilities, the education of their children, and such like to attend to, they have been hit in that way; also with increased Income Tax, with increased cost of living, and they have had no opportunity to augment their income. I refer to people in the country, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, with fixed incomes. I do not mean the workers or those who have made war-profits, but I mean the large mass of people with fixed incomes. Take, first of all, that type of the community and then take the millions of people in the employment of the Government. Applications have been made for a few shillings increase as the case may be, but this amounts to a very large sum when it applies to a large number. What is the impression in the minds of these people? It is that the Government refuse an application for a couple of shillings a week and they say they do it because the Government have gone to the limit of their resources. Then these people reply, You refuse us a couple of shillings, but when it is a Cabinet Minister his salary can be increased£2,000 a year. "In this way you create a bad impression, and you have no right at this time to create the impression that the Government are indifferent to the need for economy. The only answer in regard to a proposal like this is that it must be an urgent matter, and that can be the only possible excuse. Does any hon. Member pretend that this is an urgent matter?
That really raises so interesting a point that I should like to interrupt the hon. Gentleman now. Is the suggestion that the Government are not actuated by what is fair and just, but that threats of resignation have been made?
§ Mr. THOMAS
I hope the right hon. Gentleman did not speak feelingly, but in any case the Government are entitled to say what is fair. That does not answer the question which I put about doing it at this moment, because if it is fair now it was fair five years ago.
§ Mr. THOMAS
That is not an answer the people will accept. My right hon. Friend knows there are a number of people who think the whole lot of us are not worth the amount involved in this particular Bill, whether Ministers or Members. The House will rise in the course of a few weeks, and surely this matter is not so urgent that it cannot be delayed until then. In the next few weeks Bills will be dropped wholesale, and some hon. Members will be disappointed to hear that certain of their pet schemes will be dropped because there is no Government time for them between now and the end of the Session. I ask the right hon. Gentleman how can he reconcile the dropping of any Bill whatever in which hon. Members are interested with the bringing of this measure forward which is not so urgent. It is because I believe that it would not be wise, and because I think that no danger can arise and there would be no injustice, and, above all, because I hope we shall be able on the reassembling of Parliament to find not only the House of Commons but the Government and the country in not so disturbed a state as it is to-day. It is because I believe that the authority of this Parliament must be maintained that I want to see nothing done that will shake the confidence of the people. I do not want to be accused of panic legislation, and I do not want the House of Commons to be accused of pushing measures through 297 which merely affect certain people's salaries, because I believe that this Parliament must always be the true reflex of the people of this country, and I do not think you will reflect the wishes of the people by any hasty action such as the measure now before the House.
§ Mr. JOHNSTONE
I do not think any lion. Member will think that the sums involved in this Bill are of a serious nature, although one must guard against the vicious principle that because it is a small sum we can afford to spend it, and we shall never have economy until we realise the need for saving in the little as well as the much. I agree with what has been said with regard to the inopportune time for bringing forward this measure. There is a wave of extravagance and spending abroad throughout the whole land, and a great many people are looking to the Government to set an example and there ought to be a self-denying ordnance imposed on all classes in the country, and more especially on the Government itself, instead of bringing forward this proposal just now to increase the salaries of Ministers. What the country expects from the Government is that they should reduce the number of offices and exercise strict economy in every Department, and wherever there is a possibility of cutting down and saving that should be done.
At no other time has there been such need for the Government of the day setting an example of economy and exercising strictness over the spending Departments than exists at the present moment. I am sure the Government realise that there is a great wave of unrest passing over us, and what has contributed to that state of things I Principally the high cost of living and the tremendous prices that are being charged for everything. There is a feeling that we are not being properly governed and that the Government does not realise its obligations to the country in the present condition of things, more especially in regard to spending and the need for economy. I hope the House and every Member who rises to-night will impress upon the Leader of the House and the members of the Government that no more unfortunate step could be taken than this comparatively small measure as it will be in their eyes, of bringing forward this Motion for increasing the salaries of Minister.
298 Reflect for a moment what effect it will have on the people. The feeling will go abroad throughout the land that instead of the Government being in earnest in supporting a campaign of economy in the Government itself and to set an example, they are proposing to spend money, and they waste the time of the House in bringing forward this measure to give more money to the Front Bench. There could be no more unfortunate impression created in the country than that, and I sincerely trust, before this Debate comes to an end, we shall have an admission by the Leader of the House that, in view of the expression of opinion which has taken place, this Bill should be withdrawn. Then good would come out of evil, and it would be an object lesson to the country if we could say that the Government, after introducing this Bill, had withdrawn it, and that would convince the country that this House is really in earnest and serious about the need for economy and of staving off the day of national bankruptcy, and they will think the Government have taken this matter in hand. For these reasons I hope the Leader of the House will withdraw the Bill in no half-hearted manner.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I listened with great interest to what was said by the last speaker, but I would put this question: How are economies effected? In a business concern you do not get economy by cutting down reasonable remuneration for the brains of the business or of any particular department. You reach economy by cutting off superfluous members of the staff. There are numerous Government employès who cannot be very busy now the War is over, and it is in that direction we want to see economy achieved. Would it be wise to economise in the case of the Minister of Education when he is dealing with great schemes of education? Can it be said that the Minister of Labour, who has the hardest and toughest of jobs, ought to be the subject of economy? Again, the Secretary for Scotland has had his burdens added to enormously during the last two or throe years, and no doubt the Gentleman, who occupies that post has had to make enormous sacrifices in taking over the office. Is it not invidious that he should be paid on a lower scale than other Ministers? Where we want economy is in getting rid of that enormous octopus of Government officials, and the best men to reduce the staffs are the Ministers, 299 who should exercise their best powers to diminish expenditure in that direction. If you are going to treat the men in your chief offices in a niggardly fashion, that is not setting a true example of economy to the country. If you are going to have Cabinet Ministers faced with enormous difficulties, you should see that the best men are encouraged to accept those offices. You should not treat them in a shabby and mean fashion. I do not think this big and generous country, which believes in its statesmen, whatever may be said outside, would wish them to be treated in a niggardly fashion, and it certainly would not desire to see this Bill postponed because of a cheap cry on public platforms or at street corners. I trust the Leader of the House will stick to the Bill.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I am sorry to have heard the speech just delivered. The lion. Member certainly could not have listened to the arguments which were adduced in support of the Amendment, or he would have realised that those arguments were very much in sympathy with the points he put forward. I understand it is intended to raise the salary of the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries from£2,000 to£5,000 yearly. That is a retrograde step. At the present moment the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries is subject to very much criticism in regard to both branches of its work. I, for one, hope in the near future to see the Government realise that the two functions of the Board are not well performed by one Department, and divide the Board into two. But if you are going to raise the salary of the present head of the Department to£5,000, it will be much more difficult to make the division, because you will not be able to reduce the salary of the President once it has been raised. Reference has been made to the fact that this is a very unfortunate time at which to propose to raise the salaries of great officers of State. If this country is going to be saved it will be saved only by the self-sacrifices of the duty-loving economically-minded band of men who fill our public positions—men who will be willing to give up everything in order to try and save their country. I suggest that the raising of the salary of these four Ministers from£2,000 to£5,000 a year is the worst possible thing we can do at the present moment. It is not the 300 mere£12,000 a year which is involved, it is the principle which is at stake. Much better would it be for Ministers to accept reduced salaries—to put them all on to a level of£2,000. That would set a good example to the country. We shall have to to scrape and save in the future if we are going to win through at all, and therefore if every Minister had his salary reduced on the lines I have suggested he would offer a splendid example to the whole country, and would help to bring the people to their senses.
As regards the reduction of the salaries of Members, which my hon. and gallant Friend below me suggested, that is a different thing altogether. The reason for those salaries is to enable poor men to enter into political life, and for that reason I should always vote against their being abolished. But here you have the case of Ministers. 1 gathered from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that they found it very difficult to make both ends meet on £2,000 a year. I suppose that entertainment is expected of them. Well, they must give up entertaining. If a man cannot live in decency on£2,000 a year at the present time, how can you refuse to raise the salaries of all your permanent Civil servants and everyone else How can you refuse the old age- pensioner How can you refuse to raise the salary of the man who has lost his limbs in the War? Of course, they can live on£2,000 a year ! I come of a profession that has always been underpaid, and we have always been told that our reward lay in our service to our country. Many times more does that apply to Ministers of the Crown. I hope that this Amendment will be pressed, and that it will be carried if the Bill is not withdrawn.
§ Colonel GRETTON
Many of us greatly regret that the Government should have placed the House in the difficult position of having to decide on this Bill at this time. We wish to support the Government; we do not wish to give them a rebuff; but this Bill is one of those strange examples of how the Ministry, living away in its offices and engaged in business., can misjudge and overlook the obvious feeling in the country in matters of this kind. All the arguments which have been, made about increases of salary are good. We can admit them at once. Bht the only argument that is valid at this moment in support of this Bill is that of urgency. There arc two or three considerations which, I think, have been stated, or partially stated, before, and which I will 301 endeavour to put quite clearly and baldly. Does the Government contend that it is impossible to fill these offices adequately and efficiently for the salaries which are now paid? It is not a question of reducing salaries. The salaries have been fixed in times past, and the holders of those offices accepted them knowing what salaries were able to be paid according to the law. The only other argument of urgency is that the four Ministers holding these offices, or some of them, could not afford to continue in them, and that their services are so valuable that they cannot be dispensed with, and therefore their salaries must be increased. That argument cannot be maintained.
I wish to support the Government, but, greatly to my regret, I shall have to vote against the Second Reading of this Bill unless the Government can show that it is so urgent that it must be passed on this 1 day in this Session, or the efficiency of the Government will suffer. I do not think that that argument can be put forward. I do not wish to labour the arguments which have been advanced as to the effect on the country of Ministers coming down and asking for" larger salaries for them selves, when the country is plunged into a morass of overwhelming expenditure, and when economy is so necessary. Some of them will have to go to the country—they have been already—and tell the people that, they must cut down expenditure and economise, and this at the very moment when Ministers are asking for higher salaries for some of their number. This is not the time to deal with some old-standing arrangement—come to in time of peace— that the Ministry of Agriculture should be put on the basis of a first-class office, when the expenditure of this country is being drastically curtailed. On these grounds I shall be compelled to resist the Second Reading of this Bill, much as I should wish to support the Government.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
This Bill does three things. It increases the salaries of four Ministers; it adds two Under-Secretaries; and it alters the law with regard to Ministers seeking re-election. This law we amended a short time ago, at the beginning of this Session; why we want to alter it again I really do not know. With regard to the first point, it has been said that the increase of the salaries of these four right hon. Gentlemen only means an addition to the expenditure of the country of something like£12,000 or£13,000. That, of course, is the ostensible addition 302 under Clause I of the Bill, but it really means a great deal more, because, as soon as those right hon. Gentlemen become Secretaries of State in receipt of£5,000 a year, everyone in their Department has a corresponding increase. I am informed, on what appears to me to be good authority, that, the moment the status of the Department is increased, all the Undersecretaries and secretaries and officials consider that their own status and salaries will tie increased.
But even supposing that that is not so, on what grounds do we raise the salaries of these right hon. Gentlemen? It seems to me that there can be only two grounds upon which that increase can be justified. The first is that you cannot get anybody to do the work unless the salary is raised. I venture, however, to say that there is not a single Member in the House who would not agree with me that that argument is absurd. If the salaries are not raised, those right hon. Gentlemen will continue in their office, and will be very glad so to do. If by any unfortunte circumstances they should be compelled to relinquish their office, it is not the fact that the Prime Minister will be unable to replace them. The benches are full, and I doubt if there would be three men who would not be prepared to say they would come and do it for less. Under those circumstances, what is the justification for raising these right hon. Gentlemen's salaries? Let me point out that in the old days, which 1 hope are not gone never to return, it was always considered an honour to be a Member of this House, and it was considered to be a still greater honour to sit upon that Front Bench. The question of salary did not enter into the matter at all. It was that we were doing our duty to our country, and we were proud to be allowed to sit on that bench and to be allowed to do what we could in order to serve the interests of our country. Now all that is to be swept away, and it is to be resolved into a question of how much we can pay in order to get somebody to serve their country upon that bench. I venture to say that if that idea were to gain ground it would be a very serious matter for the House of Commons. It would lower the House in the estimation of the country. I am sorry to say that the estimation in which this House is held is not what it used to be. That is one of the arguments, and I think it is a very great argument, against this Bill. But there is another argument, which has 303 been advanced by practically every speaker, and i hope the House will excuse me If I venture to repeat it. It is that this is the worst possible moment for bringing forward such a-suggestion. I thing the Leader of the House will remember a meeting at the Guildhall about three years ago, at which I was present, when Mr. Asquith and the present Leader of the House made speeches, and 1 was asked tore turn a vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor. I listened, as I ought to have done, with very great interest and very great appreciation to the speeches of Mr. Asquith and the Leader of the House. They were very eloquent speeches, expressed in very weighty words, and they recommended the whole nation to practice economy. I was asked to move a vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor, which I did, and I followed it up with this remark, as Member for the City of London, that if the Government would set the example in economy we would follow. That remark was received with great cheering by all my Constituents who were present, and who would have been delighted to have followed that example if it had been set them by the Government, but which, I venture to say, has never been set them from that day to this. Now that matters are worse than they have ever been before, this opportunity is taken of asking right lion. Gentlemen, who would have been quite content to remain on in their offices at£2,500 a year, to receive double pay. I was reading an account in the paper, a day or two ago, of an interview between the Prime Minister and certain hon. Members of this House who represent agriculture. The Prime Minister is reported to have said; "I have attacked in my day the landowning class, but I wish to render a tribute to them. They have not doubled their rents." Can the right hon. Gentleman render the same tribute to his own colleagues, and say, "They have not double their salaries"? The next Clause, I think I am correct in saying, is one of those Clauses which deals with the subject by reference. I have been endeavouring to look this up in the ninety-seven Clauses in the War Emergencies Laws (Continuance) Bill, but I have not had the time to do so. I gather, however, that the Clause increases the number of Undersecretaries by two. I have a very great admiration for all the Under-Secretaries. We generally see them on the Front Bench more often than their superior officers. But why do you want any more? There is no 304 room for them on that Front Bench as it is at the present time. Why add any more, specially as we have already attempted to add another, and have come into conflict with another place when, to use a slang phrase, we had "the knock"? We had to withdraw that one Under-Secretary and now, apparently, by a side-wind, we are going to get two instead of one— that is, if the other place does not interfere. I come to the question of re-election, which is the last Clause. This is a very curious sort of muddled Bill, because it deals with Under-Secretaries and salaries and winds up by saying that if a certain person holds an office under the Crown he is not to stand the risk of re-election. I do not know if that is because the by-elections have not been very successful. It may be so; I do not say it is for a moment; but as it was only so short a time ago, I think, as February or March, that a Bill was introduced to deal with this very question you ought in common decency, at any rate, to let a few years go by before you begin again.
I have endeavoured to deal with the different points which appear to me to tell against this Bill. I would conclude by saying that I was much struck with the speech of an hon. Member just now, who concluded by asking the Government to withdraw the Bill and acknowledge that they had made a mistake. After all, they are human, or we hope so. 1 am glad the Leader of the House has gone out. I presume he has done so, in order that some of the Under-Secretaries, or the Attorney-General, may rescue him from a false position, and announce to the House that, on further consideration, he intends to withdraw the Bill.
§ Captain W. BENN
We have had many Debates in this House on the question of economy. Whenever any private Member rises and urges economy on the Government, the Government has a stereotyped reply, which is that it is the private Members who always urge expenditure. On this occasion I hope the Government will observe that the private Members and the unofficial Members are absolutely united, and think that this is not the time to promote this Bill, however excellent its object. What the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) said seems to me very much to the point. In the matter of expenditure I think the hon. and gallant Member for Hull (Lieutenant-Commander Kenworthy) was mistaken. This Bill does not only involve an additional expenditure of£12,000 305 a year. I have looked at the salaries of three of the Ministries concerned. In the Ministry of Food the salaries are£900,00 a year; in the Ministry of Labour the salaries are£250,000 a year; in the Ministry of Education the salaries are£500,000 a year. I understood the right lion. Baronet to say, and I believe it is absolutely right, that if you raise the status of an office, although you do not multiply everybody's salary by the fraction by which you raise the Minister's salary, yet you give them a reasonable presumption that their salaries will be raised as has been the salary of their chief.
§ Mr. BALDWIN (Joint Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
I cannot let that go unchallenged, as my right hon. Friend has been called away from the House. That is not a statement of fact. It does not at all follow that the salaries of all the officials of a Department arc raised because the Minister's salary is raised. When the salary of the President of the Board of Trade was raised to£5,000, there was no corresponding increase in the salaries of the officials.
§ Captain BENN
If the hon. Gentleman says so, I take his word for it, but it seems to me very unfair, if an office is considered big enough to increase the salary of the chief, that those who are at work in that office, and are carrying out the public service, should not have, an increase as well, and I shall be greatly surprised if they do not consider that they are entitled to it, whatever the intentions, of the Government may be. In the old days Thursdays used to be the Supply day, but now every day is a Supply day. No Bill is introduced which does not involve an enormous sum of money. This very day a Bill has been introduced involving, no doubt with very good reasons, an expenditure of£ 3,500,000 on forestry. This Bill also will involve a very great expenditure. Whatever the Government may think, the people outside this House only desire one thing, and that is a ruthless cutting down of expenditure. Here is a very peculiar thing: We set up to-day a Forestry Commission. It is to take over the duties of forestry from this very Board of Agriculture the salary of whose Minister we are raising. But do we observe any reduction in the money voted to the Board of Agriculture for carrying out its duties? On the contrary, we are voting an increase. Surely, if you are going to take away work from a Department, that is generally a 306 primàa facie reason for reducing the Estimate? This Bill seems to me a very unnecessary and badly-drawn measure, but I do not want to speak of that because it obscures the real point at issue. For example it says no more than six Secretaries shall sit in this House. It is quite unnecessary to insert that provision, which was put in to safeguard the other place, because there are only five Secretaries of State, there not being one for air. There are other things one might mention in connection with it, but I do not want to obscure what is really the main issue, which is this. Is this the moment for the Government to sot an example of personal increase of salary to its Members? We voted in this House£2,C00 a year for the Minister of National Service and£3,000 a year for the Minister of Reconstruction. What is going to become of the money?
§ Captain BENN
Then we have voted£4,000 a year, which is a substantial part of what is asked for to-day, and the salaries are not being paid, and the taxpayer is being asked to pay£4,000 which is not required at all.
§ Captain BENN
I remember that the War has ended, but the Estimates were presented long after the War had ended, and it is an example of the slipshod reckless manner in which the Government produce their Estimates. Two Minister's salaries voted and not being drawn and here now we are asked to double the salary of five other Ministers. This Bill will create the very worst impression in the country. I wish to re-enforce all that my right hon. Friend and leader has said in reference to what should really be the reward of service. We are far too apt to make it a money reward. The real reward should be public esteem. I do not see why we should not go back to the practice of more Ministers without salary. If a man can live on the salary given to Members of the House he could be a Minister on the same salary. I am not aware that he is put to any additional expense at all.
§ Captain BENN
The Government would do much to raise the status of Ministers of the Crown if they relied not so much on money taken from the Treasury, which is already empty, but more upon the public esteem which their public service merits.
§ Mr. WALLACE
I am extremely reluctant to vote against the Government, but I cannot help saying that in my judgment the Government has been extremely ill-advised in introducing this Bill at the present juncture. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced it is a business man, and I take it that in transacting his own business affairs, if any expenditure comes about he always asks himself the question, "Can I afford it?" think the Government ought to ask that question themselves for this proposed expenditure. In times of financial stringency a business firm always looks round to see in what direction it can retrench, but that evidently is not the policy of His Majesty's Ministers. I consider that the present expenditure in which the Government is indulging is of a most appalling character, and I cannot look forward to the future with anything but the greatest possible concern. There is a distinct want of coordination in the spending Departments of the Government. Each one seems to go along the same line, and if the Government does not bring down this reckless expenditure the expenditure itself will bring the Government down. I wonder if Ministers know the feeling in the country about these matters. I go round occasionally to various business centres both in Scotland and in England, and if they knew the deep seated resentment, not only amongst the working classes but amongst business men, at the reckless extravagance that is going on, they would mend their ways. I suggest that the comparative failure of the Victory Loan was largely accounted for by the methods of extravagance which are shown in many Government Departments, and it is no use our having a propaganda of economy if the Government itself is not to set the example. I support every word which has been said by the right hon. Baronet (Sir F, Banbury), and I press on the Government that this is an inopportune time for the introduction of this measure, and 1 hope they will reconsider their idea of pressing it forward.
I want to ask for information in regard to Clause 2. It says that the number of 308 principal Secretaries of State and Undersecretaries of State capable of sitting and voting and so on shall be increased to six. I want to ask if there is any intention of appointing an Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. The Clause says:Provided nothing in this Section shall affect the status of any Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health appointed under the Scottish Board of Health Act, 1919.I regard that paragraph as being of a wholly gratuitous character, and I am quite at a loss to understand it. The duties of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary are concerned with the Ministry of Health in Scotland, and it seems to me, if I am reading the Clause aright, that the idea is possibly to appoint an Undersecretary of State for Scotland exclusive of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. We were very strong in Scotland regarding the appointment of a separate Minister for Health, and we gave way on the point because the Committee agreed to the appointment of a Parliamentary Under-Secretary. We regarded the duties of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary as so important that we should resent very strongly, whoever holds the position, that he should be relegated in any sense to the position of a junior. In other words I should like to know whether the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health is to be the junior of the Secretary of State for Scotland and also the junior possibly of anyone who may be appointed to be Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. I think it is very necessary that that point should be cleared up.
§ Mr. SEDDON
I am sure it will pass the wit of the ordinary man when he tries to find out what madness has led the Government to the action proposed in this Bill. It is not often that I have the privilege of supporting the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury), but I endorse every word he has said. I remember some years ago when the right hon. John Burns was President of the Local Government Board, a proposal was brought forward to raise his salary from£2,000 to£5,000 a year. Although he had made himself famous by a remark in his pre-Parliamentary days that no man was worth more than£500 a year, he was informed by the spokesman of the Government of that day that the difference between£2,000 and£5,000 was an invidious distinction between one Department and another, and I believe on that score the 309 salary was raised for the Local Government Board. But to-day we are facing a situation unparalleled in the financial history of this country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked every Member of the House to utilise his time and" what ability he has in inducing people to economise. It has gone forth as the policy of the Government that unless we economise as a people we are not only bankrupt but we shall be doomed in the race of nations for a first-class position. At this moment we are asked to increase the salaries of right hon. Gentlemen. Surely it cannot be because they are unable to live on£2,000 a year. As was well said by an hon. Member on the Front Opposition Bench there are a number of Members of this House who are compelled to live on£100 a year. Let me take the case of the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas). I hope he will excuse my reference to him. He has a position of responsibility compared with which a Cabinet Minister has a Sunday school picnic. The right hon. Gentleman has not only to be the financial guide, philosopher, and friend of his organisation and the guardian of its funds, but he has to be the statesman and almost the legislator. At least he has to interpret legislation for them. What is the position so far as he is concerned? He has a salary of considerably less than£1,000 a year. I hope the news that comes to me that his salary has been increased is true. If it is true, I know that his salary is considerably less than£1,000 a year. Here we have the position that in one of the greatest trade unions of this country, with enormous responsibility, the workers feel justified in giving less than£1,000 a year to their general secretary; and here we have the Government coming forward, after asking everybody else to economise, and saying that right hon. Gentlesmen cannot live on less than£5,000 a year. I hope that the answer given in former days in reference to the right hon. John Burns will be reversed on this occasion, and instead of the Cabinet coming down to the House and asking for increases of salary to the tune of £12,000 a year, representing individually increases of£3,000 a year to certain gentlemen, they would in fulfilment of their own theory, and to give a lead to the nation, say, "We£5,000a year men are coming down to£2,000 a year, so that we may give an exhibition to the country of what we mean by economy."
310 The Government during its short career has never done anything so impossible as that which is proposed in this Bill. They have never done anything so unwise, and much as I would hate to vote against them, I believe that in putting forward this proposal for increases of£3,000 a year to certain right hon. Gentlemen they are doing much to fan the unrest in the country; they are playing into the hands of the revolutionaries, and are giving point and substance to the oft-repeated statement that the Government are dishonest in making their statements to the country. If they want the country to believe that economy is the first and last word for this country, then in heaven's name let them give a lead to the country, and not come forward and ask for these extravagant increases.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Sir A. WARREN
As representing a large industrial area, it appears to me that the matter which is before this House this evening is of the greatest and the gravest importance. There is a feeling throughout the industrial population of this country that the Government are the most spendthrift of all the authorities with which they have to do. We had it constantly before us throughout the Election. Men and women were having to live on less than£2 a week, and we were conscious of the burden that was being imposed upon them, and they were restless under the burden. I believe that a large amount of the unpopularity that the Government are suffering from throughout the. country, as shown in the by-elections we have had recently, is because the people in the main do not believe that the Government are in earnest on this question of economy. We know full well that it had a very considerable influence in respect of the Victory Loan. We were called upon to assist in places to work up enthusiasm amongst the people, but on the other side we were met with the taunt that we as representing the people were prodigal, indifferent, and spendthrift in the money that we were pouring out.
If this country is ever to recover itself, and if ever we are to re-establish ourselves in the position we have a right to occupy, we have every reason for the strictest economy and the strictest retrenchment. As the representative of a vast number of people who hardly know how to make two ends meet, I would like hon. Members to look into the statistics of the constituency 311 I have the honour of representing, and they would readily conceive how indignant and how rebellious the people would feel in their hardship and in their poverty to know that this House is voting such large sums of money as are indicated in this Bill. I join in an earnest appeal to the Government that they will withdraw the Bill. Many of us have come here pledged to support them in all that is reasonable, and in all that is for the best in the country. But I say, very deliberately, that if they persist in this Bill to-night they are putting us to a very hard test, a test that we never anticipated we should have to experience. It would be a wise and reasonable action, and it would help to re-establish them in the eyes of the people if they withdrew the Bill. I beg them sincerely and earnestly as one who is pledged to do all I can to support them to withdraw the Bill, and let the matter stand where it is, at any rate until some better and more propitious time arrives.
§ Captain WATSON
I rise to dissociate myself entirely from the bulk of those who have spoken on this question. What do those who have spoken against this Bill say? They have pointed out that it is unwise and unpopular, but not a single one of them has ventured to state that any particular Minister whose salary is to be increased is unworthy of it or that the responsibility which he has to bear is unworthy of the proposed increase. What is the next argument against it? Every hon. Member, without exception, who has spoken against the proposal has said that this is an inopportune time to make such an increase I Why is it inopportune I If it is good on its merits, how could there be a more opportune time than the present to give the increase? One right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench referred to the £400 a year salaries of Members of Parliament. He is not in his place at the moment. Does he propose to revoke those salaries I If £400 was adequate in 1911 it is grossly and hopelessly inadequate now, and I, and I believe most hon. Members, would have the courage to vote for a proper increase being given. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] That is my view. Wages have risen throughout the whole community. Is it said that it would be an unwise and an unpopular thing to do when the question is raised in this House to raise the wages of the wage earners. I appeal to hon. 312 Members to think clearly on this subject, I have the honour to represent what is an entirely industrial constituency, and if this matter goes to a Division I am going to vote for the Bill, because, in my conviction, it is a good Bill, and because those for whom the increase is proposed are entitled to it not merely because of themselves personally and their worth to this House and to the country, but because of the very great responsibilities which they have to bear. If this Bill goes to a Division, I trust sincerely that it will carry the great weight of this House with it.
§ Mr. HOGGE
The first office dealt with here is that of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. To-day it has attached to it a salary of£2,000. The Secretary for Scotland, who represents the same Board in Scotland, has also a salary of£2,000 attached to that office. Those two offices together make up£4,000. This Bill proposes to raise the salary of those two combined offices to £10,000, or£6,000 more. The House will recollect that before nine o'clock to-night we passed the Second Reading of a Forestry Bill which took away from the English Board of Agriculture and from the Office of Secretary for Scotland, that was controlling the Scottish Board of Agriculture, their functions in reference to forestry and approved of the appointment of three new-Government officials, each of whom will have salary of£1,500 a year. So if the House agrees to this measure with regard to the first item of the Bill, the Boards of Agriculture, instead of a combined payment of£4,000, will have a payment of£14,500. When the Government attempt, as in other circumstances they might reasonably attempt, to make the salaries of Ministers equal, we must bear in mind what other measures are going through the House, what other officials are being created, and what their salaries will be. In addition to the £4,500 which you will agree Co if you pass the Forestry Bill, there will be attached an attendant salary list, as was admitted by the Minister in charge of the Bill, of between£45,000 and£50,000 a year. That is what the House is committing itself if it agrees to this proposal. I, therefore, will go with my right hon. Friend into the Lobby against this Bill. I hope that the position of Scottish Members will not be misunderstood with regard to the Secretary for Scotland. Those of us who are Scottish Members support the elevation 313 of the Secretary for Scotland to the position of a Secretary of State, but we do not ask in this instance the accompanying salary of£5,000. We are quite content that the Secretary for Scotland should draw the salary of£2,000 which he draws at present. The Secretary for Scotland presides over no fewer than fourteen separate Departments of Government in Scotland, and in asking that his status should be raised to that of Secretary of State we are making a fair offer when we say we are content with the salary which is paid now in order to fit in with the spirit of economy in all those matters which we want to encourage.
§ Mr. HOGGE
My hon. Friend who makes that interruption has taken care on many occasions to protest publicly for himself that he has not got promotion because of certain views which he held. Government cannot be conducted without opposition. It is true of the whole House of Commons that every man who comes here makes very great sacrifices in many other ways. Every Member of this House knows that, and the Government of the State could not be carried on unless this were so. My hon. and gallant Friend who talks about vicarious sacrifice must remember the long line of Secretaries for Scotland, public men in Scotland, who have given their services to Scotland without any reward. I am quite sure that the present occupant of the position is the last man in the world to urge on his own behalf that his salary should be increased. But as Scottish Members, when we put that point of economy from the point of view of the Government and the Opposition, we desire only that the provision of this Bill shall be adopted so far as the status of the Secretary for Scotland is concerned.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The experience which we have had to-night is not an unusual one. It is a very common thing to find in this House that when a subject is raised which gives room, as this undoubtedly does, for the kind of speech to 314 which we have listened, we hear nothing but condemnation, but we sometimes find that speeches do not altogether represent the considered judgment of the House of Commons as a whole. I am going, if possible, to put the case exactly as the Government see it. First of all, I wish to put aside an issue which has formed a large part of the speeches and which, in my opinion, is quite irrelevant to the subject which we are now discussing. That issue is the general question of economy. I say at once that there has been hardly a speech made on that subject with which I am not largely in agreement. As the House knows, I was until comparatively recently Chancellor of the Exchequer. While the War was going on, though, no doubt, I could have done, and though I believe the House thought I did, less than was actually the case, I was alarmed at the way in which expenditure was going on. Since the War has ended the whole country, and not less the Government, is absolutely alarmed at the extent to which expenditure is still being incurred. I am sure the House realises exactly what Parliamentary government means. At any rate—for I have had my share of Opposition—the question of extravagance is one of the easiest weapons which anyone who wishes to attack the Government can use, but the present time makes it a weapon which is exceptionally easy to use. First of all, I am not going to defend the existing position. To do that would seem to suggest that we did not realise the seriousness of making changes, and drastic changes. But I do wish the House to realise that they cannot have a great convulsion like the War without finding that, though the storm has ceased, the waves are still rolling, and that the effect is felt in every Department of State. I am sure the House will realise that. We look, for instance, at the amount of money still being voted for the Army, or for the Navy, or for other Departments. It seems monstrous in a time of peace. But if you consider that the demobilisation of the Army is a task, so far as the civil side is concerned, which takes, as much time and requires as many men as during the War, it will be realised that it is not an easy task to get it all put right at once.
Let me say this: My successor, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been as alarmed as any Member of the House on this subject. I should like to take this opportunity of saying that, knowing, as I do, how great a part the 315 psychological moment plays in a loan, knowing the pressure and the need for it, I do not think the loan was a failure. I am perfectly certain that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and those who helped him deserve to be congratulated on the efforts which they made to make it a success. We did realise that this question of extravagance was one of the things that militated against it. I cannot in this connection—it really is not relevant—pretend to tell the House everything we tried to do to cut down expenditure, for we realised that it is not a question of trying, but that it must be cut down. We are agreed about that. One of my right hon. Friends said that we ought to wind up Departments which are no longer needed. Some of them arc being wound up, and the winding up is nearly completed. We are now winding up branch departments of these others and putting an end to them. But what we have done is not enough. We have had Cabinet after Cabinet discussing this problem, and nobody realises more strongly than the Chancellor of the Exchequer that no Chancellor in circumstances like these is powerful enough to meet this difficulty by himself. He must have support in his efforts to cut down, the help not only of his colleagues taken generally, but he must, above all, have the whole weight of the Prime Minister thrown into the balance to put an end to expenditure which ought not to continue. And that we mean to do. Leaving that aside, for it is really not relevant to this discussion, let us consider this question on its merits. I wish, first of all, to ask the House to realise that many of us in the Government have been a long time in political life, and even the dullest of us understands the psychology of the country to some extent, and that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister may be considered to understand it almost as well as any of the Members who have spoken. If you take that as the preface, you will realise that we expected that what we are doing would be unpopular. That we knew, and yet we are doing it in spite of that knowledge and in spite of the time at which we are making this proposal; and remember that what was said about the inopportuneness of that time was made by me in my introductory speech. I said myself that you could not get a more inopportune time, and obviously we are not justified in doing it 316 unless there is urgent reason for it. I wish the House to consider what are the arguments which have been brought against it. What are they? Take, for instance, my hon. Friend who sits on the second bench below the Gangway opposite. He said that any business man, if he found that things were not going very well, would at once practice retrenchment. Like himself, I was in business for a considerable time, and I met a very large number of the most capable business men in this country, and I will tell him what my observation is as to what really a big business man would do. There are, of course, successful business men, who make money, and who would cut down everything, and who would cut down wages, but there is not a big business man, in the real sense of the words, who will not tell you that the real way to make business a success is to pay well the me non whom he depends to work his business.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is not a case of affording it. I say it pays to give proper rewards to the men who are doing the work, and that is the point. Let me look at it from another point of view. I say there is urgency in this matter, and the urgency is not, as hon. Members seem to think, that we should treat fairly the particular men in particular positions. I do not put it on that ground. I put it on this ground, that if you are going to get efficient work, you must give the men who are doing that work, not equivalent salaries to what they could make in commerce—for I am going to repeat now what I said in my opening remarks—but you must give them salaries which are in some degree commensurate with their ability and the importance of the work they are doing, and you must free them from any sense of anxiety in regard to monetary affairs. If you do not do that, then instead of really helping economy and helping the State there is no form of saving which, in my view, is so wasteful as to cut down below a reasonable figure the salaries of the men on whom you depend for the work of the country. Let us look at what is reasonable. Take, first of all, the speech of my right hon. Friend opposite (Sir D. Maclean). I listened to it, and, as usual he put the matter quite moderately, but what did it amount to? He did not say 317 to us what you are proposing to do, which is to put offices of similar standing with the others on the same position and to give them the same salaries is wrong. What he said was, it is unpopular, it is going to have a bad effect on the country, and if you go to those men and say, Do you insist on this? They will reply at once, No, we are ready to make the sacrifice. Is that right, for the House of Commons, representing a great nation? [An HON. MEMBER: "Certainly!"] I do not think so. I think it is right for us to make sacrifices for ourselves, but I think it is mean to ask the men who are serving you to make sacrifices. That is my view. Look at it from another point of view.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
If the hon. Member had taken the trouble to be here when the Bill was introduced he would have heard there a son. Let me put to the House another aspect of the case. My right hon. Friend behind me (Sir F. Banbury), in the course of an interruption, said there would be plenty of blacklegs, and in the course of his own speech he said the time was when the men who sat on this bench did not want a salary at all, and he would like to see us doing the work without a salary.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
No. I said that the salary was a secondary object, and that they went there in order to get the honour.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Oh, yes; but I think he said more than that, and I must say I was not surprised to hear it from him. I have no doubt he would like to see us back again in the position to which I referred when I introduced the Bill, when it was the rarest thing to have a Minister who had not private means, but I was surprised to see the same view expressed by my lion, and gallant Friend opposite (Captain W. Benn). I did not think it was one of the Liberal principles, even under the new conditions, that what you want is men who will do the work, not according to their merits but according to their private means.
§ Captain BENN
I think the right hon. Gentleman should understand that the Liberal principle is to have men who will do the work, with self-sacrifice, for public honour.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
That is a very noble sentiment, but bring it down to practice. Does it mean that the work is to be done 318 by men who are without private means, and who depend on their salaries for what they live upon? If it does, will my hon. Friend say that they are not entitled to a salary which in some degree is commensurate with their responsibilities? It is said that no man can claim more if he gets£2,000 a year. Is not that really a question of what the value of his services is and what his responsibilities are? Is not that the test? I remember, when I was a candidate in Scotland in 1906, the question was put to me by a Scotch elector whether I would be in favour of putting an Income Tax of 100 per cent. upon all incomes above£500. It is the fact, and we have got to face it, that it is one of the weaknesses of democratic Government that there is a prejudice against paying men value for their services. Is it really worthy of a great country to say that we are not going to give salaries which, if any of our salaries are deserved, are deserved by the men who fill these offices, because public opinion will say it is against our interests? I quite agree that you cannot expect to give men who fill the rank of Ministers of the Crown a remuneration equal to what they could get in other walks of life, and, as I said before, even if you look at it from the point of view of selfishness, it is not reasonable that we should do that People always estimate money or anything else in proportion to the esteem to the position, which we hold in the eyes of our fellows. No one will doubt that it is a great honour to be a Minister of the Crown. Ho one will doubt that a man in that position does hold in the eyes of his fellows a position which no amount of money would give him, and that has to be taken into account as one of the inducements to get the best men to serve. But while that is true, is it really reasonable to ask them to serve as Ministers of the Crown—I am speaking of those who depend on their own exertions for their livelihood—when everyone knows that if they are to continue to do it they have got either to incur debt— that is the actual fact—or at once to live on a different scale from that on which they were living before they were asked to become a Minister of the Crown? Supposing they were willing to do it—and I do not deny that probably that is true, because, of course, it is not these Ministers who have made us bring in this Bill—is this House of Commons really going to say this: Because these Gentlemen do not. 319 press for this, because we know that we will get their services even at this remuneration and under these conditions, the sacrifice which is made by them is to be accepted by the House of Commons as if It were our sacrifice, and that a great nation like this is not at least prepared to free its Ministers from the carking care that is induced by such a position as this? It is all very well to say that£2,000 is plenty to live on. We know that there are many men—I might say millions of men—who have to live on harder conditions. We all know, as my right hon. Friend says, that people with fixed incomes are those who are suffering worst under present conditions. That is perfectly true, but you have to consider fairness to those whom you ask to perform its service, and I do not think it would be out of place to tell the House again what I said to begin with, that in the case of two of these Ministers they were actually selected by the Prime Minister for offices on the higher scale, but when we began to look into it we came to the conclusion that the work of their own Departments was so important that they could not be spared from those Departments. Is it reasonable because a man is doing 'his work so well that you should keep him, owing to this arrangement, out of an office open to him?
It is not reasonable. £2,000 a year now— and this is the urgency of it—is nothing like the equivalent of the same salary before the War. Of course, I quite agree that that is true of other people also, but it is nothing like the equivalent of the same amount before the War. The Income Tax alone reduces it from£1,925 to£l,550. The point is not whether other people are suffering the same hardship, but whether the State can hope to continue to get the best men to serve it unless it gives them remuneration in some degree commensurate with the responsibilities of the posts which they occupy. Some of my hon. Friends have pointed out, quite erroneously, that the raising of the salaries of the heads of these offices means that the salaries of all the Civil Service are raised also. That is not the case. We realise the necessity of being reasonable with our Civil servants, but even now they are paid far less than men doing the same work in commercial pursuits. And let me say here, again, that I think the same applies to them as to Ministers. They do occupy a position which commands greater 320 respect than the ordinary mercantile man, and for that reason I have no doubt we shall get plenty of applicants. But the Government, in the interests of the State, has had to raise their salaries. We have done that not merely out of sympathy for them—though I think we have that sympathy—but for the reason that we cannot possibly hope to see the State well served unless we give something like a reasonable reward. Everyone knows that, if we are to get men without private means who are the best fitted to serve the State, we must give them something which is at all events comparable to the remuneration which they would receive else-where.
I confess I feel strongly on this matter. It certainly does not concern we, as the House knows, but I feel strongly on it, and I will tell the House why. My right hon. Friend below the Gangway said that there had been three applicants for every one of these posts. Although the House may be inclined to question it, and it is one of the things which have been very much criticised, I say, quite sincerely, that we have honestly tried to get the most efficient men we could. And I will say, in addition, that, strange as it may seem, it is not easy to find men who are fit for these great posts. It is however, one of the curious facts of human nature that none of us are able to judge our own relative positions, and that applies to members of the Government as much as to other Members of the House of Commons. I have had some experience of the views of different hon. Members as to the suitability of people for particular offices, and I can assure the House that there is a very large number of Members of this House who have not the smallest doubt that they are quite capable of taking the place of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. It really is difficult to get good enough men for these posts. I am sure the House could not make a, greater mistake than to treat as unimportant the question of what particular man fills a particular post, and I am sure also—although personally I do not regret it—thatmore and more of these offices are being filled by men who have no private means. But I do say that under the conditions of democracy which now prevails, unless we make arrangements, whatever they are, which give a remuneration in some degree adequate to the responsibility, we shall, for the sake of meeting a little popular disapproval, for the sake of bowing to what is 321 undoubtedly one of the weaknesses of democracy—their unwillingness to pay adequate salaries to those who serve them—we shall for that purpose be doing a great disservice to the real interests of the community.
Let me put one other point. I was very interested in the speeches of certain Scottish Members condemning this. They condemned it root and branch, but a memorial was presented to the Prime Minister this year urging that what has been done for the others should be done for the Secretary of Scotland, and two of them who condemn root and branch this proposal signed that memorial. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name!'] My hon. and gallant Friend opposite (Captain Benn) was one of them.
§ Captain BENN
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman wishes to do me justice. Certainly I signed the memorial, but it did not suggest an increase of salary, but that the Secretary for Scotland should be a member of the Government.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I am surprised at that. I know my hon. and gallant Friend is as straightforward as any Member of the House, but does he really mean to suggest that he meant in signing that memorial that he did not mean the salary of the Secretary for Scotland to be increased?
§ Captain BENN
My object was to secure an increase in the status of the office, but no question of salary arose.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I can assure my hon. Friend that when the Prime Minister got that memorial he had no doubt on the point, and I am surprised that any of those who signed it had any doubt. This point I am going to put. Does anyone doubt that these offices are relatively of smaller importance to those in the higher service? IE so, is it not quite unreasonable not to treat them in the same way? I cannot understand how anyone can pretend that if we seek for efficiency in our administration and realise that it depends upon these Ministers, I cannot see why we should not give to one man doing the same work the same scale of remuneration as we give to another.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby and my hon. Friend behind me said that the life of a Cabinet Minister was a picnic compared with the life of the Member for Derby. If that is true, then I am 322 sorry for the Member for Derby. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that we might set the matter right by "pooling" salaries. I will tell him why that was not done. The House has forgotten apparently that when the "pool" was announced it led to great criticism, although I think it was fairer than the present arrangement. It was criticised, and we stated that it was only a war arrangement. When the Government was reconstituted after the Armistice the Prime Minister did not think that he was justified in continuing that arrangement, and I agreed with him, for this reason. I think the House of Commons ought not to be afraid to pay openly whatever reward it thinks is reasonable to the men who serve it. That is my opinion. I have said all 1 am going to say. I agree with my right hon. Friend opposite what we have to do is to be just. This is just, and whatever is said about the outcry in the country, believe me, if the Government is going to be discredited, if there is one thing that will discredit it more than any other it is waiting for a gust of public opinion, and not being prepared to do what the Government or the House of Commons thinks is right, whatever may be popular opinion. That is the view of the Government. I quite admit that for one reason or another there is a larger amount of hostility—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]—I am not going to give it up—a larger amount of hostility than I had expected. If those who are opposed choose to fight the Bill at every stage it is quite evident they can compel us either to keep the House sitting an indefinite time or to postpone it till the autumn. I do not think it would be reasonable for the Government to keep the House sitting indefinitely for this purpose. We will not abandon the Bill, but, as some hon. Members suggest we are rushing the Bill, we are prepared to show that we are not. We will insist on the Second Reading being taken now, but, in view of the hostility, I will not say we will press it until we come back in the autumn.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The Leader of the House in an unfortunate moment said this Bill was being opposed because it was unpopular. He will admit that I would not be likely to object to the Government bringing in a Bill which is unpopular. The more unpopular it was the better I should be pleased. I would not be likely either to oppose a Bill because it was unpopular if I thought it was just. 323 But this Bill has not even the merit of being just. The real reason why it is inopportune at the present moment is not because it is unpopular, but because it will create a wrong impression throughout the country. It will also increase the Labour unrest which everyone knows is now so much on the surface, and so very anxious to pick up little things of this sort with which to beat not only the Government, but all civilisation. It will not only increase Labour unrest, but it will make subordinate members of the Government think that they have a good claim to get their salaries increased.
The right hon. Gentleman was very eloquent about paying men according to their worth, but he admitted that people were willing to serve the State for a less sum than they were prepared to work for in private business. That is perfectly true, and we get many Cabinet Ministers for less than they would get in private employment. But we also get Permanent Secretaries of State for far less than they would get if they were in private employment. We realise, in paying the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury—perhaps the most important official in England—or the Secretary to the Post Office, a salary of from perhaps£1,000 to£3,000 a year, that we are getting them far below their real worth in the market, and we continue to pay them salaries which are below their worth in the market. Is it not then wrong that we should go to the Cabinet Ministers concerned, and say, "We have been paying you below your worth in the market. It is true you were willing to come at the price, just as the Permanent Secretary, but now we will pay you more in future"?
If you are going at once to say that anybody who serves the public is to be paid his full market value, you ought to begin with the permanent officials, who have no vote in this House. [An HON. MEMBER: "They have!"] They have not. The permanent officials at the Treasury, at the
§ Post Office, and at the Board of Trade, are all paid far below their worth in the market to-day, as can be seen when they leave, and get bank directorships, and so on. If any increase is made in the payment for the public service, to bring the remuneration up to what is their worth in private employment, let it begin with the permanent officials, and not with the members of the Government, who have votes here and Private Secretaries to back them up. About ten years ago we had a Bill introduced to raise the salaries of the Presidents of the Board of Trade and Local Government Board to£5,000. It was introduced in collusion between the two Front Benches; the Government had the support of the Front Bench opposite. I think it is to the honour of the Opposition Front Bench that they oppose this, in spite of the probability of their reversion to the office. [An HON.MEMBER: "It is remote!"] It is not a bit remote the way the Government is going on. The fact is that ex-Ministers realise that they must oppose this not only in the interest of party politics, but in the interest of national politics. This example will run throughout the country, and everybody will know tomorrow that we have raised the salaries of Cabinet Ministers. Everybody, from the manager of the factory down to the unskilled labourer there, will urge that, as Cabinet Ministers have raised their salaries, they have a perfect right to press for a rise in their own salaries also. This thing is like a cancer which spreads indefinitely. Once you start it, with the Cabinet at the top, squandering the public money on themselves, you will find that the country will immediately follow in their footsteps, and try in the same way, not to make both ends meet, but to make hay while the sun shines, and to get what they can out of a country which is rapidly going towards bankruptcy.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 176; Noes, 83.325
|Division No. 84.]||AYES.||[10.55 P.M.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. N. (Gorbals)||Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. A. L. H.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James|
|Agg-Gardner, sir James Tynte||Barnett, Captain Richard W.||Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay)|
|Ainsworth, Captain C.||Barnston, Major Harry||Campion, Colonel W. R.|
|Amery, Lieut.-Colonel U. C. M. S.||Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Carr, W. T.|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Birchall, Major J. D.||Casey, T. W.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Bridgeman, William dive||Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Broad, Thomas Tucker||Child, Brig.-General Sir Hill|
|Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.)||Brown, J. (Ayr and Bute)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hope, Harry (Stirling)||Pratt, John William|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Horne, Edgar (Guildford)||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Howard, Major S. G.||Purchase, H. G.|
|Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan)||Hudson, R. M.||Raper, A. Baldwin|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rees Sir J. O. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Ried, D. D.|
|Craig, Lt.-Com. N. (Isle of Thanet)||Jameson, Major J. G.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Johnson, L. S.||Robinson, T. (Stretford, Lanes.)|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison (Brixton)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Royds, Lt.-Col. Edmund|
|Davies, T. (Cirencester)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Dennis, J. W.||Kidd, James||Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Knights, Captain H.||Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Law, Right Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)||Seager, Sir William|
|Edwards, J. H. (Glam., Neath)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Seely, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. John|
|Elliot, Capt. W. E. (Lanark)||Lort-Williams, J.||Shaw, Hon. A. (Kilmarnock)|
|Elliott, Lt.-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander||M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.)|
|Falcon, Captain M.||Macquisten, F. A.||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Maddocks, Henry||Stanley, Colonel Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|FitzRoy, Capt. Hon. Edward A.||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.)||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Foreman, H.||Manville, Edward||Stewart, Gershom|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Mason, Robert||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Matthews, David||Sugden, W. H.|
|Ganzoni, Captain F. C.||Middlebrook, Sir William||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Geddes, Rt. Hen. Sir A. C. (Basingstoke)||Mitchell, William Lane-||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge)||Moles, Thomas||Taylor, J. (Dumbarton)|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Terrell, G. (Chippenham, Wilts)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (M'yhl)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Morden, Col. H. Grant||Vickers, D.|
|Gray, Major E.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Green, J. F. (Leicester)||Mosley, Oswald||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)||Mount, William Arthur||Waring, Major Walter|
|Greenwood, Col. Sir Hamar||Murchison, C. K.||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Gregory, Holman||Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh, s.)||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)||Wigan, Brig.-General John Tyson|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Guinness, Lt.-Col. Hon. W. E. (B. St. E.)||Neal, Arthur||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Hall, Capt. D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Nelson, R. F. W. R.||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)||Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)|
|Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Henderson, Major V. L.||O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H,||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Parker, James||Younger, Sir George|
|Herbert, Denniss (Hertford)||Parry, Major Thomas Henry|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord E.|
|Hilder, Lieut.-Col. F.||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Talbot and Captain F. Guest.|
|Hood, Joseph||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Hartshorn, V.||Robinson, S. (Houghton and Radnor)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hennessy, Major G.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)||Seddon, J. A.|
|Barker, Major R.||Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Sexton, James|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||In skip, T. W. H.||Sitch, C. H.|
|Benn, Capt. W. (Leith)||Johnstone, J,||Smith, W. (Wellingborough)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Spencer, George A.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Jones, J. (Silvertown)||Spoor, B. G.|
|Bowerman, Right Hon. C. W.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander||Surtees, Brig.-General H. C.|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Kenyon, Barnet||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Briant, F.||King, Commander Douglas||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Buckley, Lt.-Col. A.||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Cairns, John||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Tootill, Robert|
|Cape, Tom||Lunn, William||Wallace, J.|
|Carter, W. (Mansfield)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Ward, Colonel L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Clough, R.||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Morrison, H. (Salisbury)||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Croft, Brig.-General Henry Page||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)||Williams, A. (Conset, Durham)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, SO||Nail, Major Joseph||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Newbould, A. E.||Willoughby, Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Finney, Samuel||Oman, C. W. C.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C.||Palmer, Brig-Gen. G. (Westbury)||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Parkinson, John' Allen (Wigan)||Wood, Major Mackenzie (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Perring, William George|
|Griggs, Sir Peter||Rae, H. Norman||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rattan, Peter Wilson||Hogge and Mr. G. Thorne.|
|Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)||Rom or, J. B.|
Question put, and agreed to.
|Bill read a second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.|