HC Deb 13 August 1919 vol 119 cc1547-9

The Board of Trade may by order require any person holding stocks of an article or articles to which this Act applies to dispose of such stocks within a period of four weeks.—[Mr. Holmes.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

It is generally known that in many cases prices have been forced up by merchants holding stocks for a rise. The result has been that an artificial shortage has been created and prices have risen. In order to enable the Board of Trade to deal with cases like that, I suggest that they should have the right to issue such an Order. I also suggest that the same power should also be given to any other Government Department. An extraordinary disclosure was made yesterday by the Financial Secretary of the War Office that an enormous amount of material, not required by the War Office, was. in the hands of that Department. I suggest that if this material could be put on the market it would bring down the prices of articles of everyday consumption to a far larger extent than all the provisions of this Bill put together. I think the Board of Trade should have the right to call upon the War Office, in respect of any of these goods, to clear their stocks and so reduce prices.


I can fully understand the reasons which prompt the moving of this Clause, but I feel that, at the present time at all events, this is a power which the Board of Trade should not possess. It is a very large power, much larger than has been conferred so far in any part of the Bill, and it is a power which could only be exercised after full information has been collected with regard to the whole organisation of the trade at present existing in the country. It would be a very dangerous and difficult power to use—that is to say, in so far as persons outside the circle of the Government offices are concerned. Within that circle, I am in a position to report generally on the arrangements and policy with regard to the disposal of stocks now vested in the Board of Trade, and that policy, whatever it may be, is being carried out by the Department concerned. So far as powers for other Departments are concerned, there will be no real gain.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY

I hope this Amendment will be pressed. I think it is most desirable that the Board should have this power to order forced sales in cases in which goods are held up. The "rigging" of markets by "corners" is well known in America, and the practice is spreading to this country. If the Government refuse to accept this Amendment, they blow on their whole Bill.


I think this Amendment is most dangerous. [An HON. MEMBER: "Dangerous to profiteers!"] No, dangerous to Labour. The probability is that it would cause the holding back of a great many consignments coming forward to this country for disposal here.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 27; Noes, 134.

Division No. 105.] AYES. [5.40 a.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke Grundy, T. W. Royce, William Stapleton
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.J Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton) Sexton, James
Bell, James (Ormskirk) Hirst, G. H. Smith, W. (Wellingborough)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W. Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander, J. M. Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Briant, F. Loseby, Captain C. E. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Bromfield, W. Lunn, William Thorne, G R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Cape, Tom Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe) Newbould, A. E.
Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Entwistle, Major C. F. Roberts, F. O. (W, Bromwich) Mr. Holmes and Mr. Griffiths.
Adair, Rear-Admiral Fraser, Major Sir Keith Perring, William George
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Goddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. c. (Basingstoke) Pratt, John William
Ainsworth, Captain C. Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge) Pulley, Charles Thornton
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Purchase, H. G.
Atkey, A. R. Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John Raeburn, Sir William
Baird, John Lawrence Glyn, Major R. Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr.
Baldwin, Stanley Greame, Major P. Lloyd Remer, J. B.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Green, J. F. (Leicester) Robinson S. (Brecon and Radnor)
Barnett, Major Richard W. Hailwood, A. Rogers, Sir Hallewell
Barnston, Major Harry Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham) Roundell, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.
Beck, Arthur Cecil Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur
Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth) Hilder, Lieut.-Col. F. Seddon, J. A.
Blades, Sir George R. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John
Blair, Major Reginald Hughes, Spencer Leigh Shaw, Hon. A. (Kilmarnock)
Brackenbury, Captain H L. Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster) Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Bridgeman, William Clive Inskip, T. W. H. Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.)
Briggs, Harold Jameson, Major J. G. Simm, Col. M. T.
Brown, Captain D. C. (Hexham) Jodrell, N. P. Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Brown, T. W. (Down, N.) Johnstone, J. Stanler, Captain Sir Beville
Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. A. L. H. Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen) Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Buckley, Lieutenant-Colonel A. Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey) Stephenson, Colonel H. K.
Campion, Colonel W. R. Joynson-Hicks. Sir William Stevens, Marshall
Carr, W. T. Kellaway, Frederick George Strauss, Edward Anthony
Casey, T. W. Kerr-Smiley, Major P. Sugden, W. H.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin) Kidd, James Sutherland, Sir William
Child, Brig.-General Sir Hill Kiley, James Daniel Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender King, Commander Douglas Townley, Maximillian G.
Clough, R. Knights, Captain H. Tryon, Major George Clement
Cockerill, Brig-General G. K. Law, Right Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow) Vickers, D.
Colvin, Brig.-General R. B. Lewis, T. A. (Pontypridd, Glam.) Wallace, J.
Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan) Lindsay, William Arthur Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.
Cozens-Hardy, Hon. W. H. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Hunt'don) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.) Lort-Williams, J. Weston, Colonel John W.
Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H. M'Curdy, Charles Albert Wheler, Colonel Granville C. H.
Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe) Macquisten, F. A. Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander H. Mitchell, William Lane Winterton, Major Earl
Doyle, N. Grattan Morden, Col. H. Grant Wood, Major Hon. E. (Ripon)
Du Pre, Colonel W. B. Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh, S.) Woolcock, W. J. U.
Edge, captain William Nail, Major Joseph Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Eyres-Monsell, Commander Heal, Arthur Young, Sir F.W. (Swindon)
Farquharson, Major A. C. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter) Younger, Sir George
Fitzroy, Capt. Hon. Edward A. Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Parker, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Capt.
Forestier-Walker, L. Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike F. Guest and Lord E. Talbot.
Foxcroft, Captain C. Peel, Lt.-Col. R. F. (Woodbridge)
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