§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. FINNEY
I beg to move,That the Bill be now read a Second time.I believe that this Bill has been before the House once before. It is a very important measure, although some people do not look upon it with very much approval. It is important in the sense that it attempts to extend the powers of local authorities. It will not in any way compel the local authorities to use the powers, but it would give" to the local authorities more space in which to turn round in the management of their business. If private individuals may assemble themselves together, pass resolutions, and come to an agreement to form a company, with or without limited liability, to carry on business under certain laws, either for productive or distributive purposes, why should not that power be allowed to the people of a community under the same laws through their representatives on the local government bodies? The Preamble to the Bill indicates clearly the purpose of the Clauses of the measure. No doubt hon. Members will take advantage of that Preamble. The local authorities referred to in the first Clause occupy a very powerful position in the country, and are responsible for the exercise of their powers over a very wide and increasing area. From one end of the Kingdom to the other county councils, borough and urban district councils are in existence at the present time with all these powers and, in pursuance of their duties, do many things. It is indicated in this measure that, in the opinion of the promoters, it is desirable to extend those 1234 powers so as to enable the local authorities to enter into business, if they so desire, for the convenience and benefit of the people they represent. In this connection Clause 5 says:Any two or more councils may, under such conditions as may be mutually agreed upon, jointly establish, purchase, or carry on a business.
Clause 7 of the Bill provides that
It shall be lawful for any borough or district council, not having powers under Section one of this Act, or for any parish council, with the sanction of the Board of Trade, and under such conditions as the Board of Trade may direct, to exercise such of the powers of a council under this Act as the Board of Trade may prescribe.
§ In view of these Clauses it is easy for us to understand what it is that the Bill is asking for so far as the local authorities are concerned. There are hundreds of these local authorities operating in vast areas, millions of acres are occupied by them, and millions of people are under their direction and control for local purposes, and, of course, an immense amount of money is under their control and direction. Before we take any steps in advance of the present position, this House and all the people concerned are quite justified in looking at the situation from one end to the other and being quite certain that if a step is taken it will be in the right direction and for the benefit of all the parties concerned. All these authorities were set up under machinery brought into existence by Acts of Parliament, and we are trying to bring about this extension of power in the same way and under the same auspices through these Houses of Parliament. That is quite constitutional, and, as we see it, is the right and proper course to take.
§ This House, I believe, is entitled to take great credit to itself for the part it played in these matters in the years that are gone. There was a time in the history of this country when local government was in a very bad state indeed. Fifty years ago it was almost in hopeless confusion, and was regarded by politicians and statesmen as being in an almost hopeless condition. Mr. Goschen is reported to have said in this House in 1871 that we had chaos as regards authority, and worse chaos as regards areas. I am simply referring to that to remind hon. Members of the movement that we are trying to help along to-day, a movement which began before the 1235 Seventies, but even in the Seventies was in a hopelessly confused condition. Since then much has been done, and I believe all parties are entitled to take some credit to themselves for the improvements which have been brought about in the local government of the United Kingdom. Still we think, and others think with us, that the time has come when we might, with advantage to all the parties concerned, extend the powers of the local authorities so as to make it possible for them to safeguard the interests of the people. In many ways we have had lessons during the War of what it has been possible for private traders to do. Without saying very much about it, I think the lesson has struck deeply into the minds and into the hearts of millions of the people of this country. For some reason or another, where by natural law or artificial law—an arrangement on the part of interested authorities—they have been rather badly treated in many ways. We think the time has come when they should have some right to take some part in these great questions of industry which affect the vital interests of the community over which they preside. That is the intention of this Bill.
§ The local authorities have proved their ability and their powers to govern, and even under present arrangements they are entrusted with some very responsible duties which they perform with a great deal of success and satisfaction to the people concerned. They acquire land for parks and for building public halls, elementary schools and schools of art, and they are interested in the work of looking after sanitary arrangements. They may enter into arrangements for the purchase and management of gas works, electricity works, destructor works, tramways and all the vast questions involved in these matters, and from one end of the country to the other they take a leading part in managing these businesses. If it is a question of whether they are able to do it or not, I think we have an object lesson before us in all the cities, towns and country places of this Kingdom. They have not abused the powers which have been entrusted to them, but rather have taken pride and satisfaction in the endeavour to promote the best interests of the people they represent as far as their powers would allow them to do so.1236
§ There are other things connected with this measure. It is not opening the door so very wide as to give absolute liberty to do as they like, to go where they like, act as they like and spend as they like. There are, as I understand it, safeguards in the Bill of a very real character. Up to a certain point their powers to do and to spend are considerably increased. When you examine the Bill it will be seen that their powers to do these things will be limited by certain conditions as to inquiry and sanction before they can proceed to any ruinous extent, even if they were so inclined. Section 2 provides that before the decision of the local authority or council to establish purchase or carry out their decision can be made effective it will be subject to certain conditions. The resolution must be carried by a majority of the members of the council in attendance at the meeting. Due notice must have been given of the intention to hold a meeting for this purpose. The resolution must have been published in some newspaper or newspapers circulating in the district. The form and subject matter of the resolution must have been submitted for the approval of the Board of Trade or other State Departments concerned. If my reading of the Bill is correct, or anywhere near correct, there are very substantial safeguards against any sort of slipshod, wasteful, doubtful adventures into business or trading without the full consideration of the people immediately concerned, and the full consideration and the approval of the authorities referred to in the Bill, which must be given before they can go far in the direction of maturing to the point where money can be spent. In the preliminary stages the scheme would have to run the gauntlet of all these meetings, investigations, and the approval of the authorities referred to in the Bill. The resources of the local authority would have to be considered under Clause 3. They must be considered in all their details, and even then the council could not proceed beyond one-fourth of the annual rateable value of the rateable property in the area for borrowing purposes. There, again, it is subject to the strict investigation of the local people themselves, and they have to submit a case to the Board of Trade. If it did exceed the one-fourth the Board of Trade itself could not approve the expenditure, 1237 and could not make any order unless it was confirmed by Parliament.
§ The promoters of the Bill are anxious that whatever is done should be done on strict business lines, so that if these powers were given it would be along lines which would be likely to promote success. There cannot be any selfish purposes in the matter, because all the receipts of the local authorities must be paid into a common fund, and the common fund cannot be used to reduce or relieve the rates. There again is another safeguard. The accounts must be made up in a manner approved by the Board of Trade and audited within the regulations of the Board of Trade. We desire that this Bill should become law, and we ask hon. Members and the Government to assist in passing the Second Reading. Any amendments that might be thought desirable would be fairly and fully considered in Committee with a view to making the Bill what the House desires it to be. It is the intention of the promoters that the Bill should be universal in its application so far as the United Kingdom is concerned. We are asking the House to carry the possibilities of local government a step further. We say what has often been said in the past, within these limitations and safeguards, "Trust the people." They have now had fifty or sixty years in which to show that matters entrusted to local authorities are dealt with in a conscientious, patriotic, honest and straightforward way, and, therefore, we think the House might give this small extension of power so as to enable these people to do more for themselves than they have done in the past. It is advisable in matters of this sort to make the people feel a responsibility in the government of their own areas. It would increase a proper spirit of pride and bring about a feeling of satisfaction that they are being trusted with the management of their own affairs, and it would stimulate the freedom-loving spirit of the people when they know that their interests are being safeguarded and managed on the spot by people who have been appointed by their votes to do the work. It would also be a relief in many cases, as it has been in the past, to the energies of this House, so that we could deal with other work that is waiting to be done.1238
§ Mr. W. THORNE
There is a great deal of difference between Members this side of the House and some of the Memberson the other side. We believe in what is known as collective action. My hon. Friends who have given notice of motions for the rejection of the Bill belong to a different school of economic thought. They get their living in a way different from that in which we get ours. Among them is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) who always takes up the attitude which he is taking up to-day. If anyone brings forward anything that is going to interfere with private enterprise he is always against it. Long before this Bill was introduced the organised workers of the country at trade union congresses have passed resolutions in favour of collective action, and the extension of the principia in the case of local authorities would mean a great deal more prosperity than exists at present. This Bill would give the local authorities a great deal more power and would be the means of saving many thousands of pounds. Everyone who had had to do with local administration knows that if you want to extend the principle embodied in this Bill you have to go through certain formalities; you have to promote a Bill or provisional Order and incur a great deal of expense. Every local authority in the country has spent thousands of pounds in days gone by trying to get powers which would be given by this Bill. So that waste of money would be avoided. If local authorities had the power contained in this Bill it would remove a great deal of the profiteering that is now going on. I have been on a local' authority for 29 years; I have been counsellor, alderman, deputy - mayor, mayor, and all the rest of it, and therefore I know all the difficulties that we have to encounter.
If local authorities had had the powers-contained in this Bill during the War, and even since the Armistice was signed, a great deal of the profiteering would have been prevented. This Bill would give local authorities power to purchase coal and set up a coal depot so that they would be in a position to supply their poor people with coal. In consequence of many local authorities having gas and electricity undertakings under their control, they have to make contracts for coal, and if they obtained the powers under 1239 this Bill what difficulty would there be in purchasing a few thousand more tons of coal when making their annual contract so as to supply the coal to the people? Then the distribution would be very much better than at present. Many of the local authorities do their own dust collecting. They have got their own horses and carts, and in some cases their own motor lorries, so that the distribution would be very much better done. Again, if the local authorities had power to buy and supply milk, it would benefit the people. They could purchase a farm outside their own area. I think that some local authorities have got farms. The Birmingham Corporation has got one of the greatest municipal farms in this or any other country. I know that the rates are high through causes over which they have no control, in many cases owing to a high education rate. In my own district the education rate is close on 4s. and the poor rate is another 2s. 6d.
If the local authorities had this power they would be in a position to open a coal depot or a milk depot or purchase land and start a farm and supply their own hospitals and their own people with milk and other necessaries. They could start bakehouses and supply their people with bread. Some time, it may not be in my time, we shall be able to have farms, have our own meat, have our own slaughter houses and act as a local commune so as to supply the people with all the necessaries of life and save the inhuman competition and waste that are going on every day in the different municipalities. Take what happened in the case of coal. We sometimes find half a dozen coal carts in the one street supplying a cwt. here and a cwt. there. The same thing happens in regard to milk, bread and other things and the result is that there is great waste, Take any matter in which you have government control, say the post office. You do not find half a dozen postmen in one street. You find one postman in one street. But there is a terrible, waste going on in consequence of this inhuman competition under what is called private enterprise. You have got the same principle in operation in this House. You have got the Kitchen Committee. They cater for us. No one thinks of handing over our refreshment department to a private contractor. I do not 1240 think that you would get a single, Member of this House outside the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City, to suggest that the refreshment department should be handed over to a contractor.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Does the hon. Member suggest that we should leave the refreshment department to the borough council?
§ Mr. THORNE
No. I think we have got as much wisdom in this House as they have got in the City of Westminster Council. The members of the Westminster City Council, like ourselves, have been duly elected on the democratic franchise. If they have brains enough to do their work, we ought to have brains enough to do ours. We are sent here to deal with the affairs of the Empire, and not the little tin-pot things of the Westminster City Council. No one would think of handing over the refreshment department to a contractor. I hope the time will arrive when we shall have a farm of our own, when we shall grow our own meat, and provide the meat and vegetables for our own refreshment departmeat. That is the channel along which we are travelling. Many on these Benches have promoted that idea for 35 years. You may say we have not made much headway, but that is not our fault; it is because the people do not yet understand the value of what we advocate. I know the position of the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury). He deprecates any idea of giving to the local authorities any more power than they have now.
§ Mr. SAMUEL SAMUEL
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now", and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
This Bill was introduced in the last Session. I am sorry to trouble the House by speaking again on the same subject. Before I put down my Amendment I wished to see whether any other hon. Member would move the rejection of the Bill. Finding they had not done so, in the interest of the community I felt I was compelled to put down an Amendment myself. This is really part of a proposal for nationalisation, which has been put forward many times by hon. Members opposite. It is purely a political Bill. I oppose it on the ground that it is likely to kill all individual effort. The hon. 1241 Member who seconded the motion for the Second Reading admitted that he and his friends are in favour of collectivism. There are two forms of work which have helped to make this country the great Empire that it is: one has been the use of brains and the other has been manual labour. It is essential that they should work together. In the community there are enormous numbers of manual workers, but there are also large numbers of people who have to get their living by other work. The man who is working all day with his hands cannot possibly do what is essential to provide for all his requirements. Other people have, therefore, taken up businesses in different localities. It is proposed by this Bill that all those people should be eliminated, and that the manual workers should elect representatives and give power to those representatives to provide them with everything. They lose sight of the fact that a great many of their number who have a municipal vote do not contribute anything to the rates. That is one of the great dangers in this Bill. Who are the electors of the borough council? You may say "everybody." In certain places the majority is made up of manual workers, who take their houses at a flat rate and, no matter what the rates are, do not have their rents increased. In the majority of such cases, take any community you like, the rents are not increased with the rates, and consequently those who have a vote in the election of the municipal councils do not have to pay their share of rising municipal expenditure.
It has been said that private people can promote companies and that they can do any sort of business they like. When a private individual promotes a company he does so with his own money and at his own risk. It has been asked, "Why should not the municipal authority be allowed to do more trading?" The answer is that the municipal authority is placed there as an administrative body to carry out the laws which are passed by the House of Commons, and to look after the life of the community in such matters as sanitation, gas, and so forth, but they do not run any risk of any loss by carrying on their undertakings because they are safeguarded by having the rates to fall back upon. At the last municipal elections certain districts elected progressive 1242 councils, and I hear on all sides that the ratepayers in those districts are not very happy under the new conditions. I recollect sitting on a committee in this House and considering a Bill of the Middlesborough Corporation. The Bill was for the extension of the boundaries of Middlesborough, and the incorporation within the borough of two or three places in the neighbourhood. We had before us the Mayor of Middlesborough and two or three other witnesses, and we very soon found out the object they had in view. The rates in Middlesborough were more than double the rates of the neighbouring villages, and the Middlesborough Corporation had got into such a financial condition from its extravagance that it was anxious to bring in these outlying districts. They had found that a lot of people formerly residing in Middlesborough had moved out to these less expensive neighbourhoods, and that industries were being created in these outlying districts, so as to avoid the high rates of the town.
You had a similar example in Harwich. The municipal council put their rates up to an enormous extent, and the Great Eastern Railway Company told them that if they continued to do so they would remove their works. The result was that the Great Eastern went to Parkeston Quay, and the municipality were deprived of those rates. You will have the same thing if municipalities are allowed to trade and carry on business of every description. You will simply create a condition of affairs when nobody outside the employment of the municipality will be able to exist in those countries. Clause 1 gives power to carry on any business. It stands to reason that the electors of the municipality who are not actual ratepayers will always vote for municipal trading, because human nature, being what it is, all sorts of inducements will be offered to the public to support the municipal body in carrying on the trading. By decrease of cost they can ruin the rest of the traders. By Clause 2 a resolution can be carried by the majority of Members in attendance at a meeting of which notice has been given. The hon. Member who moved pointed out the safeguard that notice had to be given. In my constituency there is a plot of land called the Dover House Estate. The London County Council were 1243 anxious, after the passing of the Housing Bill, to acquire the property. They called a meeting at very short notice, and carried a resolution that the estate should be bought. The majority of the members were unaware of the proposals that were to be made, and the resolution was adopted by a narrow majority, and only because the people concerned in my constituency had not time enough to protest in any way against the acquisition of that land, in which, after all, they were the people principally concerned. Giving notice means Very little indeed. It can be got over by giving as short a notice as possible or by wording the notice in such a way that the subjects to be discussed are in some way disguised.
§ Clause 3 provides as to borrowing power that if the amount exceeds one quarter of the rateable value the municipality will have to go to the Board of Trade for sanction. The merit of that depends on what Government you have and on the President of the Board of Trade. We may have in the future a Labour Government in power. We all appreciate the ability and moderation of the Labour Members who are here, but we might have some of those extremists who are irresponsible and whose one idea is nationalisation. There is nothing in this Bill to prevent such extremists in a municipality borrowing not a fourth, but ten times the ratable value or any sum they like, if they can get the money. Clause 4 is one of the most objectionable because it gives power to the local authorities to go outside their own areas and join with other councils in any undertaking. You may have two municipalities in London widely separated, and they could go in for municipal trading in their own localities and in the localities in between, and they could establish markets there or in any part of the country. You might, for instance, have Leeds and Bradford joining and eliminating the traders in the few villages in between. In that way you would have what many Members of the Labour party want, namely, the nationalisation of all industries and trades. This Bill is the thin end of the wedge and gives powers which are unlimited. By Clause 6 the council are restrained from selling or leasing any undertaking for more than seven years unless sanctioned by the Board of Trade, and that is a most 1244 significant Clause. It means that you might get a very progressive council in power pledged to nationalisation, and they might go into very large undertakings and get into financial difficulties and make a heavy call on the rates. The ratepayers would naturally resent this high taxation and at the next council election they might reverse their decision that they had given entrusting their interests to the Progressive party and revert to a more conservative municipality, but under this Bill that newly-elected council would say, "We have tried this; it has not been as successful as we thought it would be; our predecessors have lost money, and we had better give it up." But the Bill says they are not allowed to sell or lease it for more than seven years. If they lease it for the seven years, you may get another council elected who may want to revert to the old system which had been so disastrous before, simply for political considerations, and they might have leased some of their undertakings and the leases have expired, and the municipality that comes in takes back everything and goes on in the same way that had been condemned by the electors during the interval. That, I think, is one of the most dangerous Clauses in the whole Bill, because it makes municipal trading a permanent part of the existence of local government.
§ Clause 7 enables the smaller councils to trade. Under Clauses 4 and 5, as I pointed out, these smaller councils who may not care to go into the adventures of trading may be compelled to do so by the very fact that their larger neighbours would come into their areas and establish shops and different stores in competition with the different traders. The next is Clause 8, which I was most anxious to get some enlightenment on. Last Session I criticised this Clause and asked the hon. Members opposite to explain it. It requires every council to place the profits in a common fund, which then cannot be used to reduce rates. I asked last Session what was the object of that common fund. There is only one condition attached, and that is that you cannot use it to reduce the rates. What can you use it for?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
The profits that are made out of the trading are intended 1245 further to develop the trade of the municipality, then. That is, they would utilise the profits further to compete with the local traders and further to ruin the local tradespeople and drive them out of business. Have hon. Members considered the bearing on the ambitions of the nationalisation advocates of this financial operation? Because, after all, you are not to be allowed to use those funds for a reduction of the rates, and who is it pays the rates? The tradespeople pay some of them, and the owners of the house property pay some of them also. If you are going to shut up the competing tradespeople—you can for a time; the municipality have the whole of the rates behind them to pay any loss they make, and they can shut up the whole of the tradespeople in the neighbourhood—where are the rates coming from to carry on the local government of the borough council? The hon. Members opposite make a provision in Clause 8 that you must not use the surplus funds for the rates, but at the same time they ignore the fact that their severe competition with unlimited means may, and probably will, force ruin on the small retail traders, who to my knowledge are not, as a rule, very wealthy men, but are living from hand to mouth. Their position is far more precarious in many cases than that of the man who has simply to work with his hands, and if you eliminate these small traders, how are you going to pay the expenses of the municipal council? It appears to me that if there is a profit we should have very much what is happening to-day in the coal mines. The moment that the employés of the municipality find that the municipality are making a profit, they will say: "That profit belongs to us. We must have our wages increased, and there is no possible reason why this common fund should benefit in any way."
We know perfectly well that the appointments which would have to be made to carry on these municipal undertakings would be political appointments, and we should come to a condition of affairs, as I pointed out when this Bill was last before the House, that it would mean to the victor the spoils, that anybody who was not prepared to support the municipality which was carrying on this trading would not find any employment in the municipal undertakings, and the consequence would be that you would 1246 do away with all independence in that locality, and it would inevitably ruin the whole of the locality. In Clause 9 the accounts have to be audited by the Board of Trade. That is going to involve the Imperial Exchequer in a very large outlay, and I cannot myself see any justification for imposing upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer the obligation to find the funds for this new organisation that is to be created for the purposes of nationalisation, especially that the tradesmen who are at the present time contributing very largely in the shape of Income Tax to the Exchequer would be unable to continue, because, owing to the competition that they would receive from the municipal councils, they would be unable to carry on their business.
I notice that the hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading of the Bill said that the local authorities have proved their powers of government. His reason for that contention was that they had acquired and carried on schools, parks, and amongst other things, cemeteries. So far as I know, of municipal undertakings at the present moment, probably the cemeteries are the most paying of all, because all the others are charges on the rates. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Parks, schools and public lands are charges on the rates. Sometimes, of course, electric light and gas do pay, but in the case of the Middlesbrough Corporation, on which I sat, these undertakings did not pay, because they were not carried on on the best lines. [HON. MEMBERS: "Bad Management!"] The only thing that can really be relied on as a paying undertaking are the cemeteries. The safeguards of the Bill, I think I pointed out, are not altogether satisfactory, because it depends entirely on the people we have at the Board of Trade, and the Government that may be in power at the time, whether those safeguards are not altogether imaginary.
I beg to second the Amendment.
Early in the Debate the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. W. Thorne) told us that, at any rate, for thirty years he had been fighting for this principle of municipal trading, and I think we may regard this Bill as something in the nature of an annual. But, although this Bill may be a hardy annual, it stands somewhat in a different position from what it did when 1247 we discussed it last Session. Borough councils in London and over a large extent of the country have declared in favour of this Bill, the principal of which, therefore, to my mind, is now absolutely practical politics. I understand in London thirteen of the borough councils returned Labour majorities at the election last November, and that one of the main planks of the Labour platform-was this question of municipal trading. I have no doubt, of course, that this House as at present constituted will reject this Bill either now or finally, and that as long as this particular Parliament is sitting this Bill will be rejected. But supposing the Labour party got into power, I am perfectly convinced that in the first Gracious Speech from the Throne a Bill like this, or some similar Bill, would have a very prominent place, and therefore I take it that, in introducing this Bill, and knowing that it will be rejected, hon. Members have given it a prominent place at an early date apparently to relieve their election pledges and ventilate the subject. This is the great sounding board of the nation, and, therefore, they want to prepare the way for what they know-perfectly well, and we know perfectly well, too, is a very great change. I read through the speech of the Proposer, when a similar Bill was introduced last Session, and it is quite clear that a great change is involved. It is a change over from our system of individualism to what is called a system, not of socialism—he laid stress upon that; I do not know why—but what he called collectivism, but what I should call communism, the principle of each for all and all for each. As the hon. Member who moved the rejection of this Bill said, there is a great change involved. The private trader, as such, can have no possible chance—the man paying rates and taxes as against the municipality not paying rates and taxes. What real chance, therefore, has the private trader got against the larger concern?
I would suggest this to hon. Members above the Gangway. They want to get, and they must get, the mass of the taxpayers and ratepayers—especially the ratepayers—in this country to accept this principle of municipal trading, and to my mind they have got to do a couple of things. First of all, they have got to bring in a Bill, and get a Bill passed through the House and become law, 1248 directly assessing to rates everyone who occupies a house or pays rent for any house, flat or tenement, so that they shall know exactly what they are called upon to pay. If the Labour party will bring in a Bill of that sort, I will certainly give it my earnest support and I think the majority of the House will do so, too. But there is something else that is wanted, and that is, they will have to select, or get hold of, something in the nature of a corpus vile—some district, town or locality in which they can conduct their experiment, and then, if the mass of the ratepayers and taxpayers of the country see that in one or two selected localities the thing is a success, perhaps the majority of them might allow the Labour party in various parts of the country to extend their experiment. But they have got to get their corpus vile, and I will say that they may find it rather difficult. They have 13 borough councils in London who have frankly declared for municipal trading, and other boroughs up and down the country equally declared last November in favour of it. But I think when it comes to selecting your corpus rile you will find a difficulty. I have taken in this House for some years an active part in supporting proportional representation, and I know it is very easy to get people to vote for the principle, but when it comes to some part of the country undertaking to have it applied to them, it is a very difficult matter. I remember we got Mr. Asquith to make a speech in support of proportional representation. He made an admirable speech, but ended up by saying he was in favour of it if it were not applied to East Fife. This will happen when the experiment of municipal trading is to be applied. I notice that the hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. Finney), according to Dod's Parliamentary Companion, comes from a place called Talk-o'-th'Hill. in Staffordshire. I do not know much about the place, I do not know exactly what size it is, or whether a town or a village, but I do suggest that with his great influence and great knowledge of Staffordshire conditions, he, should get Talk-o'-th'-Hill, and perhaps some other places as well, first of all to try the experiment. If he could get the town of Burslem, it would be better still, but he might get some small place like this to conduct the 1249 experiment, for under the Bill even the small localities can be allowed to conduct the experiment.
Clause 7 tells us that:
It shall be lawful for any borough or district council not having powers under Section 1 of this Act, or for any parish council, with the sanction of the Board of Trade …
§ I am sure the country would want to see this experiment conducted in one or two selected places. Therefore I say choose Talk-o'-th'Hill, or some smaller—or bigger—place, if you can get it, and let these places run these things; get a short Enabling Bill, if necessary, and having conducted this Municipal Trading for, at any rate, three or four years, then come along to the House and say: "Look at this successful experiment. Look how Talk-o'-th'-Hill has gone ahead in respect to these gas works, bakeries, piggeries, and so on, and let us, therefore, extend the principle throughout the country."
Then I suppose Talk-o'-th'-Hill suffers. After all, those who have observed municipal trading and its working of late do not think it has been such a very great success. A similar Bill was put forward the last Session. The hon. Gentleman who put it forward spoke a lot about the success that he and his friends had made in this respect, and told of how certain municipal experiments had been successful at Stoke-on-Trent. Again, I have been reading "Dod's Parliamentary Companion" and I find that it tells us that this same hon. Gentleman is an expert adviser. Doubtless he is able expertly to advise in matters of this sort so as to make them a success. But I say this: that in Finchley we made a ghastly failure' of our pigs. They went on hunger strike. Our pigs were a failure. We lost a great deal of money. The ratepayers were very angry with those people who had conducted these experiments in Finchley. Therefore I say municipal trading wants very closely watching. If it is watched carefully in a little place, as I have suggested, for a few years, then a great mass of public opinion, which is at present entirely opposed to it may be brought over. At any rate, I thank the Labour party for having brought this Bill in at the first available opportunity. At the last municipal 1250 elections, we, the middle classes up and down England, suffered a great defeat. We rightly suffered that great defeat, because we stayed at home and kept our feet warm while the Labour party went out and fought. This Bill gives us just that gingering up that we require. People will see exactly what the Labour party now want to do in municipal matters. I say that the elections to be held in March, or pretty shortly, those of the middle classes who stayed at home, or would have stayed at home if it had not been for this, will go out and fight. I personally hope, although I am seconding the rejection of the Bill, that it will get into Committee, because we shall have a better chance of using this House as a sounding board. On behalf of myself and the friends I represent who are taking up the cause of the middle classes, I say we shall fight this Bill, Clause by Clause, line by line, and comma by comma, hoping at the same time to get a very good advertisement out of it.
One thing I am quite certain about. There is one hon. Member, who has been returned as a co-operator, the Member for Kettering. He is a member of the Labour party. I presume he will have great knowledge of some of the big aspects of the trading of the great cooperative movement. After all, they do stand for a very great movement. They have advantages over the private trader. They have not to pay Income Tax. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, yes!"] Not on what is known as their "divi." They have not, however, got behind them the rates. Therefore, they are handicapped as against the municipality.
§ Mr. WATERSON
Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman say that the co-operative societies pay no Income Tax or rates?
No. I say they do not pay on what is known as their "divi." Income Tax is not deducted at the source.
At any rate, I do want to know whether co-operative societies are backing this movement or not. They have not got the rates behind them. Under this Bill this municipal trading will have the rates behind it. If, 1251 of course, we are going to have the cooperative and a popular movement on our side helping us in this fight it will be of great assistance to us. Before we engage in a great experiment like this, I say we want to watch the thing very closely. There are dangers in front. Although this Bill has great support in the country, far bigger than in this House, I finish by seconding its rejection.
Mr. T. THOMSON
As one who has been a member of a municipality, and for the last twenty years has taken some small but active part in its affairs, I wish to have a word or two, particularly in view of the very lurid picture drawn both by the mover and seconder of the rejection of this Bill, in regard to the activities of local authorities throughout the country. I do not speak as the proposer and backers of this Bill, as a Communist or a Collectivist, but merely from the experience I have had of a local authority. On that experience, I say some of the provisions of this Bill are likely to be of great advantage. The hon. Member who moved the rejection went so far as to give illustrations of the iniquities committed by municipalities throughout the country. He attacked the borough which I have the honour, along with others, to represent, Middles-borough, as being one, I suppose, burdened with a double dose of original sin, and one that was a most flagrant example of what a municipality might do if it only had the opportunity. The hon. Member went on to say that we must not follow the deplorable and iniquitous example of Middlesborough. What are the facts?
As a borough we did apply a few years ago for an extension of our boundaries. Middlesborough is the centre of large industrial activities which have grown of recent years. Some years ago the district was described by Mr. Gladstone as "the youngest child of England's greatest enterprise," that is the iron trade. We are situated on a river, and it happens to be, by accident or design, that half of the town—that on the north side of the river—is in a different county, and therefore had not been included in the borough boundaries. On the south side, where are the frontages and works, the town has grown rapidly and developed. In seeking to extend the boundaries the 1252 authorities went to the other side of the river, which was the natural place to be included in the boundaries. The hon. Gentleman referred to our rates, which he said stood at an appalling figure. At that time they were only, I speak from memory of a few years ago, just about 8s. in the £, not an abnormal figure for a large industrial town, one of whose burdens was that of the education of the children of those employed in these big industries which happened to be outside the borough. He drew a picture of the people going outside the borough to escape the rates, I have already explained that owing to the natural development those concerned naturally go to the north side. The extraordinary thing is that although Middlesbrough apparently had such a case, the Committee of which the hon. Member was a member, granted the larger part of the request of this borough for this accession. The hon. Gentleman has instanced the Middlesbrough Gas Works as being a lamentable failure and a burden to the rates. As a matter of fact, the gasworks of Middlesbrough are supplying cheaper gas than any private undertaking in the district. I think that up to the end of September last we had not raised the price of our gas during the whole period of the War. Can any other hon. Member point to any undertaking which during the War has not raised the price of gas from 1914 to 1919. Even in 1920 I believe we have only raised the price 4d., and the net rate is 2s. 4d. I know our rate is cheaper than any other district. Our gasworks are not run at a loss, but they make a profit every year, and we supply electricity as cheaply as the private companies.
We have been told that municipal undertakings will pay because they do not pay rates. I think the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir F. Banbury) will admit that every municipal undertaking has to pay its share of rates on exactly the same basis as any private undertaking. Therefore, the statements in regard to Middlesbrough being an appalling example of the iniquity of municipal enterprise, and that the gas undertaking in that town did not pay its way, and that municipal undertakings escape all rates are absolutely wrong. In every area where there is an industrial centre the rates are higher than in an agricultural district. As you get nearer the sea along the river in Middles 1253 brough the works go that way and they fill up the frontage within the borough itself. The places which have been mentioned by the hon. Member could not have come within the borough because there is no frontage for more shipbuilding works. The three illustrations put forward as arguments have been tested and proved to have been misleading, and instead of municipal trading having been a failure it has been a wonderful success in Middlesbrough, and gas has been supplied more cheaply than in any other district. I ask the House not to accept the extreme anti-municipal view or the other extreme, but take a level-headed view and realise that there are advantages to be gained if municipalities can have these extended powers. I think there ought to be some provision that these undertakings should not be a charge on the rates. The desire is not to make profit and therefore these proposals will neither be a relief to the rates or a charge because the scheme must be run on a sound economical basis. I ask hon. Members to look at this matter from a broad point of view. We hear a great deal about self-determination, and if that is a sound principle in Imperial politics, why not in local politics? Why should not each locality be encouraged in these extra activities? In my own district we have been crippled because there are profitable gas-works desiring to extend the supply, but we have been stultified in our efforts because, although we could take the feed of the main up to the house, we were not allowed to connect it with the gas meter, because we should be competing with private trade. Consequently you had to call in a third party to connect up the meter with the feed from the main. That is an illustration where a great improvement would be achieved. The hon. Member who seconded this Motion suggests that the rates of small cottage property should bo paid directly by the tenant. That is an excellent principle in theory, but if you go to your overseers and ask them how they would like the burden and responsibility of collecting from these small cottage houses, you would find that they are of opinion that the cost would be infinitely greater to the town, and you would not get nearly as great an amount from your rate as under the present system of compounding. The people do pay their rates in the rent.
1254 It has been stated that when rates went up the rents did not go up. I do not know what part of the country is referred to, but I know that at municipal elections in my district people complain that where the rates have gone up perhaps 1½d. a week, the landlord has increased the rent equivalent to 3d. per week. The landlord puts on the rent an equivalent for the rates, and he sometimes gets a much larger proportion. Therefore, instead of these small occupiers not paying rates they often pay more than if they paid the rates themselves. A Measure was passed last Session requiring the landlord to state on his notice paper for an increased rent the amount paid on account of the rates. The landlord has to show every demand and receipt for rent, and ho has to show the amount attributable to the rates, and I think it will be realised that the rates are a burden on the small occupier. I do not think this House should lightly reject this Measure which I am sure would be a great advantage to municipalities and their activities. I submit, apart from the individual cases I have given, that our great tramway, electric lighting and power, water, and various other municipal services have been efficiently carried out, and that if you take the statistical returns, the municipal services compare very favourably with private enterprise.
You will find, taking them throughout the country, that the municipal services compare very favourably with private enterprise. I submit that you should leave this matter to the localities. Let the localities decide for themselves. It is a purely permissive Bill. We live in a democratic age, and, if the localities want these extra municipal activities, give them the freedom to exercise their choice. If the experiment be not successful, you will find that the ratepayers will object and will soon send to the right about those who make mistakes and mismanage things. You do not want to keep your localities in leading strings. Leave them to develop on lines which they think desirable. If they want to make experiments, then, as one sitting on the Devolution Committee, I submit that it would relieve the burdens of this House if a lot of this work were left to the municipalities. This House, after all, knows 1255 very little of municipal effort and of its magnificent results. I have, therefore, very much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
The hon. Gentleman who seconded the rejection of the Bill is evidently anxious that it should get into Committee. I hope, therefore, that he intends to withdraw his Amendment and to allow the Bill to go through without opposition.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I am merely quoting his own statement. He said that he hoped it would go into Committee, because then the opponents of the Bill would be able to put the matter before the country in such a light that at the next municipal election they would be able to bring to the middle classes a realisation of their civic duties and thereby defeat the Labour movement in the country. This Bill, however, was before the House last Session. Consequently, it is not required to ginger up the middle classes to come out and vote. If they wanted any ginger to bring them out and vote, they had this Bill last year. We want a wider extension of municipal services, and the objections of the Mover and Seconder of the rejection are merely the objections that have been urged against municipal enterprise even of the most limited character for the last 30 years. No municipality has ever engaged in any line of business, either in its own district or beyond, without it being argued that they were curtailing or endeavouring to limit private enterprise. If a municipality took over the tramways, the gasworks, or the electric light undertaking, or if they endeavoured in any way to improve the amenities of their own town by taking over things which had been previously mismanaged by private enterprise, then they were told that they were endeavouring to eliminate private enterprise and were going outside their proper sphere. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment objected to that Clause of the Bill which gives municipalities power to go beyond their own districts. Take the municipality of Glasgow. The Glasgow Corporation requires millions of gallons of water per week for the inhabitants of the town. The waterworks are situated some distance from the town, and thousands of miles of pipes are required to convey the water 1256 to the inhabitants. If a municipality were unable to go beyond its own area to supply any service for its inhabitants, the Glasgow Corporation would be prohibited from going beyond their own confines for the necessary supply of water.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Of course, the Bill asks for these powers as well as the other powers which are contained in it, and I am pointing out the extent to which the objection taken to this particular clause would go. The argument is that if two municipalities, such as Leeds and Bradford, joined together and opened shops between these two towns, they would by competition eliminate private enterprise. How could they eliminate private enterprise except by selling cheaper or performing better public services. The private trader to-day is subjected to the same competition when a big combine opens a shop across the street. If the hon. Members objects to a municipality trading, will he back us up when we bring in an anti-trust Bill?
§ Mr. MACLEAN
It would be a paying concern. The Glasgow tramways are a paying concern. They are in the possession of the people of Glasgow, and they are making thousands of pounds profit a year. The old Car Corporation of Glasgow was almost continually in debt. Another private enterprise, a transportation enterprise, cannot pay any dividend, but the tramways are paying thousands a year. The same thing holds good in all matters. To-day we are faced with a great danger from trusts, and the giving of such powers as this Bill confers to the municipalities, would in many ways curtail the powers of the trusts. Take the clothing trust. The municipality of Bradford purchased 2,000 suits and 1,000 greatcoats from the Government for £2 5s. each, and they sold them at £2 10s. to the people with the result that they went like hot cakes. The Bradford Corporation put in a claim for more, and other municipalities were prepared 1257 to follow their example, but the Government refused to supply them and even tried to limit the sale of the clothes that the Bradford Corporation had purchased, to the employees of the Corporation. If the Government had sold the clothes to the municipalities and the municipalities had sold them at a little above cost price to cover the expenses of distribution, I am confident that it would have killed the clothing trust in this country, and that we should to-day be able to purchase clothing very much more cheaply.
The Bill contains enough safeguards to satisfy even the hon. Member who moved the rejection. No municipality will have the right to start any of these undertakings unless with the authority of the Board of Trade. Even the other powers—borrowing and the powers of finance—are left in the hands of the Board of Trade. Do you think the Board of Trade, as we know it to-day, will look with any degree of generosity upon any municipal undertaking, and will allow it to have all the powers that a municipality might desire to have, even those Labour municipalities that you have within the London area? I trust hon. Members will see their way to withdraw their objection, because a Bill of this kind can be gone into much more keenly in detail. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bridgeman) told us last year that this Bill was one of mere academic interest. If that is the frame of mind in which he is going to reply to it again to-day, I may tell him that conditions have changed since May last year. Even then I held that it was not of academic interest, but to-day it is of greater pertinent interest to the people than it was at that time. Trusts have grown up. You cannot read a paper to-day without reading of some industry or other coming within the grip of some great trust. Prices have gone up enormously since last year, and here you have a Bill seeking to give the people themselves, through their municipality, power to establish undertakings which will kill those trusts and which will enable them to get their supplies practically at the price of delivery. Yet I expect the Government will not accept it.
An hon. Member suggests that it is Socialism or Communism. I said last year, and he takes exception to me for saying so, that it was neither Socialism 1258 nor Communism, but merely Collectivism. Socialism and Communism mean a society in which the wages system would be abolished. That is why I describe it as a Collectivist system, and it shows to my mind a little more necessity for close study of the principles of Socialism and Communism and Collectivism when hon. Members criticise measures put forward by the Labour party. I trust we are not going to have the old block vote of the Government on this occasion. I hope we are going to have the question looked at from the point of view of the beneficial effect it is going to have upon the country. I understand the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bridgeman) raised some objection last year with regard to the common fund. What was to be done with the profits that we made? They went to a common fund for development purposes. They were not to be used to pay rates. We have had an example of using the profits of a municipal undertaking to pay rates in Glasgow. It was only tried once, and never again have we gone back to it. The reason was that seven business firms in the City took practically a half of what was paid in relief of rates, and the rest went among the other part of the community, including those manual workers who were living in low-rented houses, and because of that and because of the undertakings which did not use or used in a very small degree the municipal service which had been making such huge profits they never again decided to go back to that system. The money goes back into the common good fund. Here it is suggested that the same thing should follow and the common good fund should be used as a development fund to extend the enterprises, to add to the enterprises, and to start them in a manner which would be beneficial to the people and he creditable to the municipality which commences them. Consequently I hope the House will see its way to give the Bill a Second Reading and amend or change any obnoxious Clauses to which they take exception in Committee.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Bridgeman)
The hon. Member (Mr. Finney) clothed the Bill in a garb of most engaging innocence, and described it with such benevolence that I am sure very few hon. Members have been able to discover the dangers which it entails. He dwelt very much upon the safeguards that were 1259 necessary in carrying it out, but by that very admission admitted that there were a great many dangers which had to be guarded against. I think he very greatly exaggerated the safeguards, as also did the seconder. I cannot see that there are any safeguards in the Bill. But what astonished me about bringing it forward again this year is that in opposing it last year I pointed out several obvious defects in it. In the first place I pointed out that the machinery to exercise whatever safeguards there are in it should not be that of the Board of Trade but of the Local Government Board. The Board of Trade has no machinery to enable it to decide whether any particular enterprise ought to be sanctioned or not. As regards borrowing powers, I pointed out that the safeguards were of a perfectly absurd nature because it says they may not borrow more than a quarter of the assessable value of the undertaking. Every municipal authority has already borrowed far beyond that limit, so that the safeguard is quite unnecessary and quite useless. In every case a Provisional Order would be necessary. I also pointed out last year that as far as science and art undertakings are concerned, under the Companies Corporation Act, municipal authorities already have power to do it. Another thing which was pointed out and which was very carefully left out of account by those who supported the Bill was that it actually gives these very great powers even to parish councils, subject, of course, to the approval of the Board of Trade. Is the Board of Trade to go down to every parish council to see whether it is fitted to exercise the powers? There were four or five very notable defects in the Bill, and if hon. Members who are interested in promoting it had been really anxious to impress their views on the House, they would have taken some pains to modify their Bill in such a way as to meet with more approval than they met with last year.
I said last year that in regard to important questions which fully deserved consideration, such as coal and milk, that they ought, if introduced into any Bill at all, to be introduced in a Government Bill, after careful consideration and consultation with the local authorities who might have to carry it out. What has been done here? The Labour party, who 1260 aspire so soon to take the reins of government into their hands, have not shown, if I may be permitted to say so, any great statesmanship over this Bill. This Bill is exactly the same, word for word, as that introduced last year, with two exiguous differences. One is a title in Clause 2 which refers to the Borough Funds Act, 1872, and the other is a difference in Clause 10, Sub-section (3), in the date of the Local Government (Ireland) Act. Those are the two portentous alterations introduced into this Bill in order to make it more acceptable to this House. One of those alterations is wrong. The first Bill was right and this Bill is wrong. In regard to the other alteration, this Bill is right and the old Bill was wrong. It does not show very great skill in trying to get a Measure through the House in regard to which hon. Gentlemen opposite know very well that most of us—democratically elected, as they are always saying—have not got the consent of our constituencies to agree to it. If they had wanted anything more than what the hon. Gentleman opposite described as an academic Debate, and if there had been anything more than an academic interest on the part of his Party in the Debate, they would have taken the trouble to make this Bill assume such a form that they might have had a chance of convincing some of the 156 Members who voted against it last year to vote this time with the 25 who then voted for it.
I cannot say more than was said last year against this Bill. The real danger which everybody who has supported the Bill has slurred over is the great danger to tradesmen in the municipalities, who, under this Bill, whatever anybody may say, are subjected to the unfair competition of rate-aided enterprise. The hon. Member for Middlesborough (Mr. T. Thomson), who went away as soon as he delivered his speech and has not yet returned, endeavoured to prove that that is not so, but he never dwelt on the question of competition with retail shops, which is the great danger of this Bill. What do you do? You take the unfortunate tradesman, who has been doing his best to supply the town in which he lives with what it requires, who is struggling under rates already heavy, and which are likely to become heavier on account of the housing problem, and you say to him, "We want to borrow some money on the security of what you 1261 are going to pay to the rates in order to set up a competing institution which, if it succeeds, will knock you clean out, and from which you will derive no benefit even as a ratepayer." If the undertaking is a failure he loses the money he has paid as a ratepayer. Hon. Gentlemen opposite know very well that if they were to go to most of their constituents with that cry alone they would not be returned to this House. It is obviously unfair on the face of it. Further, I remember saying last year that if the voice of the people in favour of this Bill was so strong, it was odd that the Government had not heard from a single municipal authority in favour of the measure. Why have we not had petitions from every municipal authority all over the country to pass this measure? Because it is a matter purely of academic interest, and because the municipal authorities, at any rate at present, do not want it. I would venture to say to hon. Members opposite, with great respect, that where there are fairly strong arguments on their side, as in such matters as the distribution of coal
§ and milk, if they want anything done in that connection they should set themselves—it would be a very good training for them between now and when they come into power—to draw up Bills which have some chance of appealing to hon. Members of this House, and which will embody some proposals which might attract support, and that they should cut out some of these proposals which, so long as they remain in the Bill, are bound to meet with the strenuous resistance of a large majority of hon. Members. I think it would be for the convenience of many hon. Members if we could take a Division on this Bill now. The Debate has proceeded on exactly the same lines it followed last year. In the few remarks which I have made I think I have made it clear that the Government, at any rate, are unable to do anything towards passing of this Bill
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question".
§ The House divided: Ayes, 26; Noes, 105.1263
|Division No. 14.]||AYES.||[2.34 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Lunn, William||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Bromfield, William||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Robertson, John||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Rose, Frank H.||Wignall, James|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Sexton, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Spencer, George A.||Mr. Tyson Wilson and Mr. Neil|
|Hartshorn, Vernon||Spoor, B. G.||M'Lean.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Galbraith, Samuel||Lonsdale, James Rolston|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gardiner, James||Lorden, John William|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Lynn, R. J.|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Glanville, Harold James||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Glyn, Major Ralph||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Green, Albert (Derby)||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Macleod, J. Mackintosh|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Brown, Captain D. C||Gregory, Holman||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Greig, Colonel James William||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Griggs, Sir Peter||Mason, Robert|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Moles, Thomas|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel A. H.||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Hanna, George Boyle||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Haslam, Lewis||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Casey, T. W.||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Chadwick, R. Burton||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. I Birm., W.)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Preston, W. R.|
|Dunniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Dixon, Captain Herbert||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Purchase, H. G.|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Jesson, C.||Rankin, Captain James S.|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Kiley, James D.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||King, Commander Henry Douglas||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Taylor, J||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Stanier, Captain Sir Seville||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.||Townley, Maximilian G.||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Stevens, Marshall||Waring, Major Walter|
|Stewart, Gershom||Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sturrock, J. Leng||Whitla, Sir William||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Towyn Jones.|