§ Again considered in Committee.
§ [Sir E. CORNWALL in the Chair.]
Proposed proceeding resumed on consideration of Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £848,642, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1921, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Transport, including sundry Charges in connection with Transportation Schemes, &c., under the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919, and certain Repayable Advances under The Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919.
§ Question again proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £748,642, be granted for the said Service."
When business was interrupted I was appealing to the Minister of Transport that he should use his very best endeavours, and every persuasive effort, to assist in the appeal to the railway companies to improve the position, at any rate, on the north-east coast. I know he has advised that a Committee should be appointed. I hope he will not say when we get that Committee appointed and at work that we must refer to that Committee, and that the Committee will be able to settle our troubles. We shall still require the support and assistance of the Ministry. I hope that, realising the tremendous importance it is to every section of industry, employers and employed, that we shall really get greater and better facilities of transport.
Just one other point to which I should like to refer, a minor point, and apart from the question of transport facilities May I put in a word for, what I am afraid is, the much-despised cyclist. The Ministry of Transport has put up rates all round, and they have hit cyclists harder than anybody. Whereas the ordinary rates have been put up 50 per cent. or 60 per cent. The hon. Member told us earlier that the extra charge for carrying a cycle by passenger train has been put up 130 per cent. What was threepence before the War for carrying a cycle the minimum distance was subsequently raised to 9d., and now has been put to 1s. 2d. This may seem to be a very small and trifling matter, but I submit that it is a very real grievance and a hardship to many thousands of people to whom the cycle means getting into the country on a 772 holiday afternoon, or perchance on a Sunday. It may be they want to get out of London, or Manchester, or Sheffield, instead of cycling through the streets of the town, and so commencing their journey on the outskirts, and getting quickly into the open country. They are heavily burdened by this extra charge. Nowadays when everybody motors, when perhaps very few in this House cycle, and therefore when perhaps the sympathy with cyclists is not so widespread as it might be, I would appeal to my right hon. Friend to see when the Rates Committee are sitting, whether the influence of the Ministry cannot be used to support in this matter the under-dog, and that the motorists should not have the only consideration.
There is another point which the Ministry will have to consider, and that is the question of the rear-light. This was imposed during the War. It was said by the Minister when it was renewed that it was done in the interests of cyclists themselves. This contention does not go very far with practical cyclists, and if it was left to them, I think the Ministry would find that in a vast majority of cases they are utterly opposed to its being compulsory. One knows perfectly well that our roads were very much neglected during War time, and they have been rendered so uneven and in such a rotten condition that I defy any Member of this House, who happens to be a cyclist, to ride any distance at night on such a road cut up by heavy motor traffic and keep his rear light in. Only a few weeks ago I arrived at the main station on the way to my North country home to find that the last local train—owing to the excellent service provided by the Ministry?—had gone. I got out a push-bike and started off home 12 or 15 miles. In that time my rear light went out three or four times. It is absolutely impossible to keep your light in. The Ministry should seriously consider whether it is necessary nowadays to maintain an Order which was imposed under D.O.R.A. It is said that there is a danger to cyclists if they have no rear light being run down by motorists, but as long as you exclude some methods of transport—certain farm vehicles and other means of slow transport—from the carrying of a rear light, I submit that you might also exclude cyclists. You do not require a civilian pedestrian making 773 his way along the road to hang a lamp at his coat-tails, and it should be left to motorists to see that they go carefully enough so as not to run over pedestrians or cyclists. The public roads are surely as much a highway for the cyclist as for the motorist, and if it means by the withdrawal of rear lights that the motorists will have to drive more carefully it will be a great advantage. I appeal to the hon. Member who represents the Transport Ministry to consider the humble cyclist, and to realise that he has his rights as well as the motorist. In the interests of the cyclists you should leave this matter of rear lights optional, and not allow the motorist to go scorching along the roads late at night.
§ Sir BURTON CHADWICK
I wish to protest against what has just been said by the hon. Member who has just sat down in regard to rear-lights. As a motorist, I myself find very great difficulty when overtaking cyclists, and I wish to counteract what the hon. Member has said about rear lights. In the Debate, both last Thursday and this afternoon, unfortunately the Committee has been drawn away from the immediate subject which is before the Committee, namely, the Estimates for the Ministry of Transport for 1920–21, by an unfortunate occurrence of personalities, the result of which has been that a large part of the discussion on these Estimates has wasted the time of the Committee. The discussion has been more or less irrelevant, though possibly inevitable, but in any case, it is regrettable. I have been struck by the number of hon. Members who, setting out to reduce these Estimates, have proceeded to urge the dismemberment of the Ministry of Transport, a proceeding which according to what happened last week, I understand, to be quite out of order because it would involve legislation.
It is interesting to note that the greatest sinners, particularly last Thursday, have been those high priests of Parliamentary law and order on the front opposition bench who obstructed my right hon. Friend in making his speech about his railway policy. I think that we are in danger of losing our perspective in our anxiety (and I share that anxiety to the full) to reduce Government expenditure and we are pursuing this bogey of Government extravagance to such lengths and with such panicky excitement that we 774 are creating about it an appearance of reality as a national menace entirely out of proportion to its real importance. That extravagance exists I will not deny for a moment, and where it raises its head in Government administration I would crush it ruthlessly. I speak perhaps with a more intimate acquaintance of national transport and Government Departments generally than some hon. Members who have spoken, and I believe that there is a greater tendency to economy and less tendency to extravagance in the administration of public funds amongst Government Departments than any other section of the community. The great danger in the wild statements that are made about Government waste—and we have heard and read a great many wild statements about this particular Department under review—is that the British public is being mislead into the belief that this extravagance exists, when it is they themselves who are wallowing in an orgy of extravagance that follows every great war. They are being misled into the belief that there is only one main road to relief from high taxation to lower prices, and to a better and more comfortable condition of life, namely, the reduction of Government expenditure.
The mass of the British public believe firmly that the cost of living can be reduced, and the only way to reduce it is the reduction of Government expenditure. That is a mischievous doctrine, and it is one which is being fostered by hon. Members of this House, and those outside, who know how mischievous it is. I do not deny that there is waste, but I do not believe that there is a single direction—certainly it is not the Ministry of Transport—in which the Government to-day could prudently reduce expenditure by such a sum as would appreciably alter or reduce the cost of living. It is necessary that we should scrutinise rigidly Government expenditure, but in that way salvation does not lie if we lose sight of the greater issue that this country has emerged from the War at a pinnacle of potential prosperity such as we could never have foreseen, and our hope lies in the direction of seizing every opportunity for the development of our trade, leaving the trader alone to trade, and not strangling him by intolerable taxation, and leaving the workers alone to work and allowing the capitalist to earn as much as he can with his capital and the 775 worker as much as he can by his work. That is the direction in which we could more usefully devote our energies instead of bandying personalities about and wasting the time of the House.
It is in that frame of mind that I try to approach the discussion of these Estimates. In reading the Estimates and the Report of the Select Committee together, I have been impressed with three considerations. Firstly, that the enormous liabilities that have been entered into by the Government with the railways are taxpayers' liabilities, and the taxpayer has to foot the bill. It is therefore essential that you should have an expert organisation which is adequate to protect the taxpayer in the liquidation of those liabilities. Secondly, that the Select Committee have not found any point in the administration of this Department which at present is extravagant. The third consideration is that we have found it has been the policy of the Government during the last five or six years to call in shipping men to deal with shipping questions, food men to deal with food questions, steel men to deal with steel questions, and so on. That policy has been found wise, and it would be sheer folly, in the face of a railway question of such magnitude and complexity, to abandon it now or to weaken the organisation by parsimonious treatment. It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Transport was not established in 1915. We might have been free from a good many troubles from which we are now suffering had that been done.
I listened with deep interest, both last week and to-day, to the statements of the Minister of Transport and of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department, and I would like to congratulate both Gentlemen on the force and lucidity of their speeches. Both of them treated their subject very comprehensively, and they dealt with their critics in a spirit of great moderation, much greater moderation than I would have been inclined to display. What were the chief complaints? The right hon. Gentleman was attacked in unmeasured terms by the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith), and he defended himself, but in defending himself he hurt somebody else. I consider it extremely unfortunate that so much time has been wasted on this question. In my opinion it was not the fault 776 of my right hon. Friend; it was rather the fault of those who attacked him. He has been mainly attacked throughout the Debate on the scale of the salaries which he proposes for the officials of his Department. His organisation is in its infancy. His policy—on the wisdom of which the well-being of this country so greatly dependspply—can only be developed gradually in regard to the future of transportation. In order to meet the charges of the right hon. Member for Paisley, my right hon. Friend had to describe to the Committee the very troublesome legacies left for him to carry, and I think he was perfectly justified in his description. He may have been wrong or unwise in endeavouring to establish the parentage of the baby, but some explanation had to be made. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) said a good deal about a certain illustration cited by my right hon. Friend to show the variety of the duties which devolved on his Department—the illustration in which he pointed out that even in checking the revenue derived from the sale of champagne in railway hotels he had to take certain steps. Great play was made on that point by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh, but, after all, it was a simple illustration, no doubt designed to reach simple minds, and although in itself small, probably involving a far greater sum than any reduction of the Estimates which could be made by this Committee.
We have listened this afternoon with great pleasure to one of those forensic efforts of which the right hon. Member for Paisley is a master. It was a most pleasurable experience as an entertainment, but it did not contribute a single word to the subject which we are debating. It must have carried many of his contemporaries in this House back to those days when time was less important and when politics and the business of the Government were not quite so stern as they are to-day. Last week the same right hon. Gentleman, if I may crib an expression used by the Secretary for War recently in connection with an hon. and gallant Member of this House, developed a great deal of indignation—an undue amount of indignation—over this Ministry of Transport, and this, of course, was supported by elements around him which have risen or are rising to the surface of a somewhat fizzy 777 Opposition. I have not heard a single world said which suggests or advises a practical alternative to the Ministry of Transport, or a sound line of improvement in the administration of the Ministry. I agree with the criticism of the Select Committee where they point out that these Estimates are misleading, in that they do not show or at any rate do not make clear the War bonus accruing in the various grades of salaries. Moreover, they do not include the very large sum of £25,500,000 of expenditure for which the Ministry is responsible in the current year, nor the £22,000,000 of this is required for the liquidation of the railway agreements made long before the Ministry of Transport was ever contemplated. It would be helpful if all these sums appeared in one statement. The right hon. Gentleman said last week that he was only following the ordinary Treasury practice. That may be so, but I think it is not a good practice. It is not helpful to have these statements appearing in a number of documents. They should all be given in one statement in order that the position may be made perfectly clear, and then we can have a useful discussion upon it; for otherwise hon. Members of this House, as well as the public, are not able to grasp the enormous amount of work of squaring up as distinct from the current transport administration that devolves on this Ministry.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton (Sir W. Raeburn) said just now, the critics of this Ministry are divided into two groups, namely, those who do not agree with a Ministry of Transport at all, and those who disapprove of its administration on the ground that it is extravagant. I was one of the Standing Committee who considered the Bill, and later I was one of the large majority who voted for it in the House. I would do exactly the same to-day, and should be strengthened in so doing by the results of the first ten months' working of the Ministry. As to whether the Ministry has justified its existence, I think the statements made by the Minister of Transport and his colleague, and the policy foreshadowed in the two White Papers that we have had before us, have amply justified those of us who supported the Bill a year ago. As regards the question of the administration of the Department, the revised Estimate calls for a sum of 778 £1,348,000. Of that, £1,000,000 is for miscellaneous services which; I understand, have been foreshadowed in the White Paper published yesterday. It is the £348,000, for administration and salaries, which is causing all the opposition. This amount is already £85,000 less than the original Estimate, and I confess to some surprise that the right hon. Gentleman has so readily met the advice of the Committee as not only to reduce his Estimate by £70,000, as they recommend, but to go £15,000 further, although he stated last week that his Department will require a large staff, and although the Select Committee themselves consider that the work of the Department is on a rising scale, the right hon. Gentleman, before he came to this Committee last Thursday, had reduced his Estimate by £85,000. As far as I can see, he has simply deprived himself of a margin which he considers will be necessary.
A great deal has been said about high-salaried officials, and many of the critics of this Ministry have stated with much emphasis that the salaries of this Department, as compared with the Board of Trade and other branches of the Civil Service, are outrageous. What, however, do those hon. Members suggest? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley has himself denounced as totally inadequate the ordinary Civil Service salaries. Do they suggest that these gentlemen, who are not Civil Servants, who are bringing expert knowledge and experience to the solution of a very difficult problem, should be offered the inadequate salary scale of the Civil Service? They speak of a Minister with a salary of £5,000 a year as an expensive Minister. I wonder if they realise how much of that £5,000 is left to him by the tax-gatherer for his own personal needs. Yet that is the salary of the Prime Minister of this country at the present day—a pittance of £5,000 a year; and we are following out this ridiculous kind of economy, which is better described by the word "folly." We have, after mature consideration, established a Ministry of Transport. We cannot wisely screw down to-day the salaries of the men in that Ministry. If we do, we shall impair the efficiency of the Department and defeat the very object we had in setting it up.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ROYCE
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley, in his speech 779 a week ago, and again this afternoon, eulogised the older Board of Trade administration of the railways. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. G. Roberts), who is an ex-Parliamentary Secretary to the same Department, took an entirely different view, and said that the Department was totally unequal to the duties imposed upon it in connection with the railways of this country. With the latter opinion I am entirely in accord. I have had some experience of railway construction and working, and what has struck me especially, in connection with the railways of this country, is their extraordinary backwardness in comparison with some of the railways in our Dominions. This consideration largely influenced me, when I came to the House of Commons, in desiring to become a Member of the Committee which dealt with the Transport Bill. I supported that Bill through all its stages, I attended, I believe, every meeting of the Committee, and I invariably voted with the Government, because I felt that some other authority was absolutely necessary than that which had previously subsisted, if we were to bring the railways of this country into anything like the condition in which railways are, to go no further afield, in our own Colonies and Dominions. As the result of inquiry and investigation, I felt certain that the then railway administration through the Board of Trade was not only incapable of effecting this improvement, but was absolutely a stumbling block in the path. I have nothing to say with regard to their care for the safety of the travelling public, but, looking at the condition of the railways, I am forced to the conclusion that very little improvement, in some sections, has taken place since the days of George Stephenson, and certainly not in the matter of permanent way. Some people say, and the right hon. Gentleman himself has said, that our railways are the best in the world. He did not endorse that, and certainly I cannot. Our permanent way is most expensive. The same effect could be produced to-day with probably an annual saving of at least£2,000,000 on our railways, and it would be infinitely better in many directions. Our passenger services leaves very little to be desired, and I think in that respect we are fairly abreast of other countries.
780 When I come to the goods, in which every single member of the community is deeply interested every day—some days some of our people travel on the railways, but every day the railway affects the life of every man, woman and child—and when I come to the goods section of the railways, that is very far behind indeed.
When I take an important section of our railways, the coal and mineral communications, the number of axles that these poor struggling locomotives drag for the amount of load they carry, I am profoundly impressed with the necessity for a change. I thought that change might possibly be effected by the creation of the Ministry of Transport. I had other reasons. I thought and I believe there is necessity to carry out the promises made by the Prime Minister that a considerable impetus would be given to the development of light railways for the purpose of improving our agricultural communication. That was an important matter to me, and that was another reason why I realised the necessity of appointing someone who would have authority to help to bring about the construction of these light railways, and I do not despair that the right hon. Gentleman will do very much in the direction of developing agricultural communication. You can talk sympathetically of agriculture, but if you do nothing to improve the communications or to cheapen the means by which the produce of the land can be brought to the markets, your talk is of very little avail, and I hope from this Ministry that something will be done. In the absence of this Ministry, in the old bad days the railways were worked for their own especial good, without any reference whatever to the needs of the community. Their very territory was sacrosanct, and not only that, but the various concessions which have been made to the railway companies—they would hardly regard them as concessions, but I do—gives them an opportunity of levying tribute on the whole of the country which they traverse.
We have an opportunity of amending those conditions under the direction of a responsible Minister. Here we have a Minister, and, whatever else may be said with regard to this Ministry, every Member of the House who has any grievance or any question in connection with the railways can put the question direct to a 781 representative of that Ministry, and he gets a fair amount of satisfaction. One might say, that is very little for the expenditure of so large a sum of money, but it is something. It is some service that is conferred upon the community, and it is something that this House has not enjoyed in the past. You have had no opportunity of coming in direct communication. In the past, under the Board of Trade direction, you had a Minister who probably was as ignorant of railways as he was of many other subjects, and it is altogether improbable that he was an expert in connection with railway administration. In the Minister we have before us we have a man, at any rate, who is full of energy and who also has very great knowledge of the business that he is engaged in. He is a man who knows his job—I have never heard anyone say he does not—and to that extent the country is very fortunate in having his services at this juncture. I am not like my hon. Friend who went over from these Benches. I am not looking for a secretaryship, but I am compelled when I rise to speak on this subject to do, at any rate, justice, and when I hear the opposition that is being levelled at the Minister I remember with a good deal of disquietude in my mind the struggle we had upstairs, and how we fought him from start to finish, and it makes us and the party with which I am associated loyal—I think we are in perfect harmony on this subject—and we desire, so far as we possibly can, to defeat the efforts which are being made to bring distrust and condemnation on a Minister who, in my opinion, is doing excellent work.
Take the position of affairs when this Ministry was instituted. We had the country just emerging from war and the railways seemed to have been diverted from their regular course in every direction in a hopeless tangle. It seemed to me, who know something of railway administration, a hopeless task to attempt to bring back those railways to work in the channels that they had previously worked in, and it has not been done today. The coastal traffic, which formed an important part of the carrying power of the country, has been practically destroyed and the various other forms of transport have been disorganised and diverted from their usual channels. To me, who understand something of this subject, it is something of the nature of a 782 marvel that things have been so rapidly brought to something like a reasonable condition of affairs, and to-day we know very little difference, so far as the travelling public and the carrying capacity of the railways are concerned, from what they were in pre-war days. This is something to be thankful for and we have to thank the Transport Ministry for this state of affairs. When we come to other things which have arisen in connection with this Debate, a slip from the cliffs on a portion of one of the railways is dismissed with the very airy remark, "anyone would charge that to maintenance." Would they? As an old railwayman who knows something of the business of working extras and having to pay for them occasionally, I know how these things are worked, and if I were a railway director I should find many reasons—the line was occupied, excessive traffic was being run, and I was not able to take the necessary precautions to shore up or save these slips—I could bring a thousand things to prove that that would not be ordinary maintenance.
Then with regard to charges in connection with handing back railways and stores, I think there are several questions involved there. It is quite right that the railways should be handed back in their original condition. It should be, but you must not forget that you have to deal with five years of wear and tear of every section and every part of the railway, and, though you can bring your road back to its previous condition, you have had five years' wear out of it, and that has to be taken into consideration. All these matters require expert knowledge and expert administration, and he has got a big job. When you consider that the right hon. Gentleman has to deal with progressives in his administration, like the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury), for instance, and directors of that type, you will realise that not only has he the greatest possible difficulty in bringing about anything new in improvements in the condition of affairs, but he has the greatest possible difficulty in discharging the Government's liabilities and seeing that the State is not charged with that which is not fair and reasonable. He has got the most difficult task to perform, and he deserves and requires the support of this House rather than its condemnation. He deserves the sympathy and the help of the House. That is all 783 the good I can say of him. Now I come to another point. I have told the Committee why I support him. I have said that I want agricultural light railways built, and an improvement in the administration of the railways and of the permanent way. I want the railways generally improved and brought up to something like 20th century practice. George Stephenson was a very great man, but we hardly think he was equal to the present century requirements. We of the Labour party supported the establishment of this Transport Ministry because we wanted to bring the railways under one head and to have them nationalised. The right hon. Gentleman would have been far wiser and far better advised if he had grasped the nettle firmly in his hands. I am not in favour of bureaucratic administration if nationalisation of the railways means the payment of a miserable pittance to a permanent officer of any Department of State or to pensioned officers. If it means that, I am opposed to it. You can never work the railways under those conditions.
There may be other Transport Ministers in the world as capable as the right hon. Gentleman, although it will take a good many of them to furnish the same degree of steam that he can. I have no doubt we shall be able to find them in due course, and we should find none of the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman predicts in connection with the nationalisation of the railways. He said that no invention either in method or of material has come out of a nationalised system of railways. What invention has come out of our system of railways during the last 50 years? Take your coupling system—a system by which hundreds and thousands of men have been maimed and lost their lives. That is a specimen of what English administration of railways has done. The right hon. Gentleman will not defend the present form of coupling or the medieval trucks with solid buffers that go clanking along. Half his trains are not coupled with an automatic brake; they are coupled with a brake which is not an invention of anybody connected with English railways.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir E. Cornwall)
The hon. Member cannot discuss matters requiring legislation by way of analogy on this Vote and ask the right hon. Gentleman to reply on matters that involve legislation.
§ Mr. ROYCE
I will not trouble further. It is very painful to me to lecture the right hon. Gentleman on a matter of judgment when I have such a high regard for his ability. I trust that when the time comes the Committee will by their votes show their sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman and give the Ministry a chance. We have heard so much about a business Government and business men. Here you have a business man. If anyone has any doubts about his being a business man let them think of the £50,000 he took from the North-Eastern Railway and there will be no question in future as to his business capacity. You want a business man for this work. You have got a business man. Give him an opportunity. The fruits of his labours cannot be borne for one, two, three or four years. You have to plant and wait for the harvest. I believe that he is preparing the harvest. I have had an opportunity of going into his Department in several directions, and I have found them a business community, alive to the responsibilities of the situation, and capable, so far as I am able to judge. Give them a chance and I am sure they will justify the toleration you have shown and the support you have given them.
§ Mr. SEDDON
I have listened with great pleasure to the speech of my hon. Friend, but I wish to avoid either compliment or attack. I join with other speakers in deploring the attacks that have been made and the personalities used in connection with this question. I wish to avoid personalities, because the question of transport is a very vital national question. When the Department is asked what has been done during the last 10 months, hon. Members seem to forget that the original proposals were proposals for reconstruction, and not merely scavenging after the results of the War. Looking at the last 10 months, anyone who has had to do with the work 785 of this Ministry must be forced to the conclusion that in face of the difficulties left by the War, there has been an acceleration, so far as transport is concerned, which seemed impossible 12 months ago. I am not giving credit entirely to the Department. The railways have recognised that they have a public function to fulfil, and they are cordially co-operating with the right hon. Gentleman in clearing up the mess of the War, and getting as efficient a service as it is possible to have under the present conditions.
I want to ask a few questions of the right hon. Gentleman as to the future. He may take it for granted that this pinpricking that has gone on this afternoon, whether it is introducing personalities or otherwise, is merely part of an old political game, that the "Outs" must attack the "Ins," but the man in the street, and the great public outside, are wanting to know what this Department is doing. It has cost a lot of money; I do not say too much, for if you want efficient men who can do the job, you have got to pay them, and as long as Government Departments are in competition with private enterprise, the Government cannot expect to get the best men unless they offer something comparable with what can be obtained from private concerns. I am not complaining about the money spent, but for the sake of the Department and to satisfy my own curiosity I would like the Minister to give us some indication of when we may expect some of the fruits of co-ordination. There were fierce Debates on the very ambitious proposals in the original Bill. We were asked to include railways, canals, roads, and electricity, and there was a general feeling—I think it was expressed in pantomime—that one person was going to be the director and controller of our being from the cradle to the grave. In any case, the scheme was emasculated by the dropping of the electric proposals. But the Minister has under his supervision the question of roads as well as of railways and canals. I am one of those who believe that road transport, if not as great a benefit as railway transport, is going to take an enormous place in the life of this country. I believe that with road transport we are going to solve a great many of our transport difficulties, and the same remark applies to canals, and I 786 would like to ask whether we may expect some scheme in which this co-ordination shall be visualised in the minds of those who are looking to the Department to ease the congestion of traffic in every direction. Take the case of a small railway—the right hon. Gentleman knows the railway I am referring to, for I have spoken to him about it. I would like to ask whether that railway, which may have been efficient in the days of George Stephenson, has not now become a hindrance to the locality, and whether we can look forward to its being absorbed or transformed, and made into a public utility for the locality and the trade of the district. With reference to canals, we all know that in the days gone by it was the policy of the railways to cut out their competition. Many of the canals have been left derelict. Can the Department give us any hope that we shall have, in the co-ordination, a scheme of linking up the canals which shall be of use in carrying heavy traffic? Regarding the charge of lack of inventiveness, I think the hon. Member who spoke last (Mr. Royce) was a little unfair to our railways when he suggested that they had not progressed since the days of George Stephenson. I would like him to come down from Lincolnshire in winter in the same carriages as the contemporaries of George Stephenson came down in.
§ Mr. SEDDON
It has been my privilege to travel in one or two other countries where they are supposed to be very advanced, and it has been my privilege to travel in this country with people who come from very advanced countries, and I have heard a chorus of approval, which I endorse enthusiastically, for our permanent way. There is no country in the world where the permanent way can equal that of our country for comfortable travel.
§ Mr. SEDDON
I hope the hon. Member's zeal for economy is not going to result in getting our tracks into the same condition as those of some other country; 787 otherwise, instead of getting blessings, he will have curses upon his head. I hope that what was said by the hon. Member is deserved by the right hon. Gentleman. I am not so familiar with his past, but I am trying to get to know something about it, even if it is only from his critics, though probably that is not a fair standard of his capacity. His Department has got great possibilities and great potentialities, and though he is sniped (either through a desire on the part of those who are out to be in, or with the idea on the part of the snipers that they will get on to the Treasury Bench quicker that way), I want him to remember that his Department is entrusted with one of the greatest missions of reconstruction, and if he can give the people some idea that reconstruction and co-ordination are going hand in hand, and that at no distant date we shall have presented to us this great scheme for the transformation of our national life and the improvement of our transport, then, so far as I am concerned, he will have nothing but support, and I shall wish him God speed in the good work—if he will get on with it.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I am one of those who for nineteen days after this Bill was introduced fought it to the best of my ability. I never hesitated in opposing the Bill, and I pointed out in the Debates in Committee that we were setting up the greatest bureaucracy we have ever had in this country at a time when the country was sick and tired of bureaucracy; and I venture to think that that prophecy was not far wrong. It is a great bureaucracy now, and it is going to be a much greater bureaucracy. But, although I fought that Bill, yet I recognised, when the Bill was passed, that it was my duty loyally to support the Minister appointed under the Bill, and to endeavour to make it a success. There is not a single Member in this House who can rise and say that he voted against the Third Reading of the Bill, every Member either voted for the Bill or abstained, and therefore it is rather surprising to me to find Members in this House and the Press after the Minister like a pack of foxhounds after the fox. They brought it on themselves, and it is their duty to give the Ministry a fair trial. I have not altered my opinion that I do not like the Ministry; I do not 788 think there was any necessity for it, and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich (Mr. Roberts), who thought that this scheme ought to have been worked by the Department of the Board of Trade. But it was much too big a scheme to put in force with the strength that one had during the War. We should have waited to see what happened under normal conditions when the War was over. However, instead of that, we took advantage of the abnormal conditions during the War and we formed the Ministry. We shall have an opportunity in about eighteen months of getting rid of it, and it will be extremely interesting to see what view this House takes eighteen months hence.
What the Transport Ministry has got to do is to convince the country of its necessity, and it never had a more difficult task. The first thing the average man wants to know is how it is that under this Act he has got to pay 50 per cent. more for every railway ticket that he buys and that he is threatened with a still further advance. He also wants to know why every person who sends goods by rail has got to pay 50 per cent. increase for carrying those goods. The right hon. Gentleman has got to explain how it is that there is still great delay on the railways, how it is that we have got fewer and slower trains than we had before, and how it is that we have no excursion tickets and no week-end fares. Unless he can satisfactorily answer these questions, we can say that he does not justify the necessity for the existence of his Department. He has also got to explain how it is that the coasting trade is in a languishing condition and practically destroyed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) referred to agriculture. Let agriculture ask how it is that trains are still carrying foreign produce past their farms and fields at less than they are asked to pay for carrying their produce to London. How is it? I will tell the Committee how it is. It is because the railway companies are carrying foreign traffic at rates far below cost price, by what is called exceptional rates. They are exceptionally exceptional rates, and the railways are endeavouring to carry all the traffic with a view to killing the coast traffic. The orders apparently are to their agents, "Go and get certain traffic, at a certain rate, if you like, but get it." It 789 is like the advice the old woman gave to her son who was going out into the world: "Get money if you can, get it honestly if you can, but get it."
The goods are being carried at present, and I defy the Minister of Transport to say that I am not speaking correctly when I say that the railway companies are carrying traffic at a dead loss. Who pays for that? Everybody who takes a ticket by the railway and everybody who sends goods by rail pays for it, and notwithstanding that, the railways are making a demand for £41,000,000 at present to make up the deficiency in the working. I do not envy the task of the Minister of Transport. An hon. Member said just now that certain Members attacked the Government because they wished to be on the Government Bench themselves. I have no wish to occupy the right hon. Gentleman's position; I would not occupy it for any sum that could be offered to me, because I know the difficulties; and I warn the Minister that he is making a huge mistake in allowing the coasting trade to be destroyed at the present time. He is taking advantage of the slack experience of the year, when everybody knows that there is very little traffic being carried by water, but when the autumn comes again, there will be a congestion on the railways. It has been alleged that the coasting owners asked for a subsidy and got it. They never asked for a subsidy. They did not want it. They are quite willing to carry on their business. We did not ask for a subsidy, and we did not want it, but let me just inform the Committee of this, that last August the Government itself issued a circular absolutely ordering people to send goods coastwise, and this is what was said:In consequence of the withdrawal of coastwise steamers, a large volume of traffic has been diverted from the sea to the railways, with the result that the railways are now burdened with traffic which they have not previously carried. The absence of normal coastwise shipping facilities is impeding the transport of the food supplies of the nation and the raw materials needed in our mills, factories, and workshops … and thereby the cost of living has advanced, the re-establishment of our industries and commerce is retarded, and the difficulties of finding employment are increased.Who is there that dare get up and say that the same conditions will not occur in August, and if they do and they are unable to find the coasting steamers, who is to blame? The Ministry of Transport 790 is. Therefore, I hope the Ministry will give attention to that particular form of transport, which is equally important in many respects to that of the railways. I hope the few remarks I have made will go home to the Minister, and that he will recognise the importance of that great industry and not lift a little finger to destroy it, because, once destroyed, it will be no easy matter to re-organise.
I have listened for practically two days to a very interesting discussion on the Vote for the Ministry of Transport, and if the right hon. Gentleman were present I should feel it my duty to congratulate him that, amid all the criticisms, he has had one or two Members ready, if not to praise him, to praise him with very faint praise. I rise with a very definite purpose in order to call attention to a matter which I think cannot be allowed to pass so long as we have these Estimates before us. The Minister was, as we all know, deputy-manager of the North-Eastern Railway, and, as may have been gathered in an answer given to me yesterday, a sum of no less than £50,000, which was granted to the Minister of Transport by the North-Eastern Railway under circumstances so remarkable and so exceptional that I shall ask the Committee to bear with me while I explain them, is, if the Company can arrange it, to be put upon the British taxpayer. The answer I received from the right hon. Gentleman was that this £50,000, granted under the most extraordinary circumstances in which, I suppose a grant was ever made to a distinguished gentleman, has already come before the right hon. Gentleman in the form of the accounts of the Company, but that he had returned it.I have returned the item as far as I am concerned, but I have said if that item is considered again it must be considered by the Treasury. I will have no part or lot in it.I raise this matter because I feel that, when we are passing Estimates to give powers to a right hon. Gentleman of great capacity, it is our business to try to understand the mentality of the right hon. Gentleman, the mental processes by which he arrives at his decisions, and to see whether, with all his great ability as a railway man, he is quite a fit person—I do not mean in an offensive sense—quite the type of man we want to rule 791 this country in one of the greatest positions to which a Member of this House can be called. The right hon. Gentleman did great service in the War, and if I may, in my humble way, pay tribute to him, I do not agree with the sneers which the hon. Member for Holborn (Sir J. Remnant) cast upon the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon. I think that the right hon. Gentleman did great service to this country during the War, and it is because I feel that that I think I have a right to criticise his conduct in regard to the grant from the Northern Railway. Under an agreement that the right hon. Gentleman had with the North-Eastern Railway Company, in the event of nationalisation he was to get some large unascertained sum. He went to the Ministry, and there came a time when he had to make what I will call a great decision—whether he would go back to the company or remain one of His Majesty's Ministers at a considerably less salary, with considerably less financial possibilities. The position was that he had this agreement with the North-Eastern Railway Company, under which, if there was nationalisation, he was to receive a large sum of money.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
This particular subject could not now be referred to under this Vote were it not that it has been mentioned by previous speakers, but, although it has been mentioned, I doubt whether a general discussion on it, such as is indicated now by the hon. Member, would be strictly in order on the Vote which is before the Committee.
With all respect, I may point out that the right hon. Gentleman is the new Minister for Transport, who comes to this Committee with large Estimates in connection with a great national policy which he intends to put before the House. Am I not in Order, seeing that this particular item of expenditure, £50,000, is sought to be placed upon the Exchequer, possibly to come into the accounts of this very Ministry, in calling attention to the matter and making certain deductions from it?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
If the money in question comes within the sum which we are now discussing, it would be in Order, but if it is not included in this sum of money, then some other occasion would have to be taken.
I will not pursue that, but might I point out that the salary of the right hon. Gentleman is included in this Vote and that matters have been raised to-day, notably in regard to these agreements, which do not occur in the actual Estimates but have to do with the right hon. Gentleman in his conduct of his Department. His salary is on the Estimate, and, surely, it is in order to criticise the right hon. Gentleman's conduct of his Department and the circumstances in which he came into his present position.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Any action by the Minister in his position as Minister as head of the Department which is spending this money may be criticised, but we cannot go outside that.
Then I shall have to take an opportunity outside this House of publicly exposing this matter.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
The subject which we are debating to-night is one of the most important, from the national, the Empire, and the international standpoint, which could come before this House. The question as to how the Ministry of Transport should be organised will have a definite bearing on the cost of living and a dominating effect on the industries of this country, either in furthering the progress and expansion of British trade in the future and the well-being of the people, or in acting as a severe handicap, if the wisest course be not pursued, as to the method of conducting railways and general transport. I was one of those Members who supported the appointment of the Minister of Transport, but in doing so I certainly had not in mind the necessity which apparently has come before the Minister of creating and augmenting a salaried staff such as that large staff whose salaries we are asked to vote to-night. Those of us who know something of early Victorian history know, whether hon. Gentlemen on this side agree or not, that the ships and railways of this country, together with the splendid industrial esprit de corps of the craftsmen of industry, gave a greater stimulus to the progress of this country in that period than any other factor. Therefore, if we can now utilise all the new splendid agencies of transport, and combine civil aviation with the proper use of the canals, the readjustment of the coast traffic with the railways—if all these 793 sections can be welded perfectly together, then our country will make greater headway than any other country in the world.
But the point which I want first to lay before the Committee is that the railways, during the forty years before the outbreak of war, did show themselves capable of giving a free impetus by the special expert leadership which they possessed (when removed from the paralysing influence of certain sections of the Board of Trade), and gave great proof that they were able, through specialisation of the transport and enterprise, to co-operate together with business ability, and often to lessen the cost of living of the people, as also to build up our export trade and commerce. And to-day I suggest that these experts might be still utilised. I repeat we still have these experts on each of our railways, and when we substitute for them certain Ministers or Deputy-Ministers—I do not say too highly-paid Ministers—under the Ministry of Transport, I suggest that there will be economic waste, which eventually must come on the taxpayer. Therefore, I suggest that as the taxpayer must be protected, since he is finding the money to run this great Ministry, we should first utilise the experience of the railway companies, and the expert guidance and knowledge of the experts which they possess. I remember the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Transport as a brilliant railway expert. If he will permit a very humble engineer officer to pay a tribute to his work in France. I suggest that he is the product, not of the Board of Trade, of a Government Department, or of the Civil Service, but of the great industrial business community. I therefore urge that there are other men, not so titanic in application as the right hon. Gentleman may be, but men of similar class and status on the railways, who could be utilised at the expense of the railways, and thus save the expense which it is now suggested should be put on the taxpayer in respect of this Ministry.
§ Sir E. GEDDES
A number of officials in the Ministry I now use in exactly that way. They are borrowed from the railways, and are used in the Ministry of Transport in that way wherever it can be done.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
I have not heard a single railway director or railway chief 794 object to the lending of these experts. They lent them in war time for settling the great transport problems that arose out of the War. We ought to utilise their services now, and secure that co-operation and co-ordination of each section of transport which is so vitally essential to-day. It is in the interests of the railway companies, equally as much as that of the community, and I believe the railway companies would, therefore, be willing to bear the expense occasioned in loaning these experts. Is it wise or right to pick and choose these experts when, at the present times, there are Committees sitting dealing with such questions as the adjustment of rates, civil aviation, coast and canal traffic, and various other transport questions? Is it wise to appoint officials to operate under the Ministry of Transport, to deal with the transport of the country, when these and other problems have not been settled? We must maintain a progressive outlook and a wide horizon, but we want to keep our feet on mother earth, and go step by step on proven facts.
Having regard to the fact that on such questions as rates, civil aviation, coastwise traffic and canals, there are Committees sitting to decide policy in its bearings on transports, I would urge that these officials should not be appointed by the Crown, but that we should take the guidance and the leadership of the railway and steamship companies as to what should be done. There is an international point of view. I speak with a distinctive British mind on this subject. I have no international thoughts which will prejudice or depreciate my own country. I stand for Britain and the British people. Are we to have a rate war such as we had before the War? Our international friends from across the water, the American people, are making a strong bid for shipping. I hold that those who operate under the Ministry of Transport have not the capacity for dealing with the international competition which we have to face. The necessary leadership can be obtained only under the guiding hand of the experts in railway, shipping, and air transport, as also of the leaders we have in the great industries and businesses of the country.
Let me say a word as to the position of the taxpayer. It has been suggested that in the Ministry of Transport the taxpayer has a great protection. It is, 795 however, the Treasury that is the great guardian of the taxpayer. I hold that the Minister of Transport, with all his powers and capacities, is not equal to the Treasury in regard to the protection of the taxpayer. I would like the Committee to appreciate the bearing of increased rates on the cost of living. Some of us know a little about cotton. The advance of rates means to cotton a farthing a pound; to tobacco, 11d.; jam, ld. for three and a half pounds; butter carriage, Hull to Manchester, ld. on nine pounds; fish rate, Grimsby to Sheffield, ld. on 10 pounds; and bacon carriage, Liverpool to Glasgow, ld. on 11 pounds. I would also draw the attention of the Committee to the hardship of advanced fares on the workers in our great industrial areas, in their endeavours to get out for recreation into the countryside and to the coast. If we are to do our duty to the taxpayer and the ratepayer, we must utilise the experts of the railways, and at the cost of the railway companies. With all his powers, the Minister of Transport has not done one whit better than the great railway chiefs who operated the railways in pre-War days. All he has done is to operate on the advice of such railway "chiefs." In the days of stress and strain we relied on the Board of Trade and the great civil "chiefs" of the railways. They served the country well, and did great and wonderful things. I ask the Committee to pause and remember that whilst there is distinct proof that there was not coordination in the early days between the different sections of transport—later they rose to their great responsibilities—it is not a wise policy now to appoint officials operating under the Minister of Transport, but rather fully to utilise, at the expense of the railway companies, the ability of those men whom the companies are willing to lend. Then at the end of two years, if the policy of the right hon. Gentlemen be proved to be useful, the time will have come to take a further step forward.
The hon. Member who has just spoken dwelt on the necessity for keeping on mother earth on this subject. What I object to is that we are doing so entirely and forget that we live in a sea-girt island. The Ministry seems to be obsessed with the idea of rolling stock and neglects the rolling waves, 796 which are perhaps the cheapest permanent way we have got. The British Islands have flourished upon the facilities of seaborne traffic, and yet in two days of Debate there has hardly been a reference to that subject. There was not much provision in the Transport Act for coastal traffic, but even that has not been developed by the right hon. Gentleman in the way that those who were dependent upon it demand should be the case. I quite agree that the Department could not do very much yet, but even in prospect the importance of coastal traffic is not recognised. I belong to the blue-water school. There is a large population along the coast of England as well as of Scotland which depends upon sea-borne traffic. I cannot conceive a properly co-ordinated system of transport unless the Minister devotes attention to the development of sea-borne traffic. That is necessary to complete the system and to provide the means of subsistence for large areas, and especially in Scotland. I hope to impress on the right hon. Gentleman the necessity of dealing with this question, and if I succeed in doing so I am sure he will in future treat it with more sympathy and more practical help than he has been able to give in the past. I invoke his interest for those people on the west coast of Scotland and on the east coast, who rely so much upon this traffic. There is not a word as to their interests in any of the actual or contemplated schemes. During last winter many of these areas were actually short of food in consequence of the lack of transport facilities. We were told at the time of the General Election that in the reconstruction the question of transport would not be lost sight of, and that the Government were to provide us with a new world. All we know about that is that on the west coast of Scotland we can hardly get across to the mainland to see what the new world is like. The system of transport in those parts is worse now than it has been for 60 years, and it has never been so bad as during the last six or nine months. It was better during the War than it has been since the Armistice. I could read many letters to show that the condition of affairs in many parts of my own constituency deserves some consideration, and were it not for the physical protection which the Western Isles afford to the mainland of 797 Great Britain, the surging waves of the Atlantic would have washed you off the face of the earth long ago.
§ 10.0 P.M.
Ireland has adopted Sinn Fein, which means that they wish to protect themselves. We think of the other parts. There is also the question of the conveyance from these districts of marketable produce and in that respect the people have been very badly treated by those responsible for regulating the traffic in Scotland. In these islands it is very difficult sometimes to get to market the stock on which they depend for a living. Recently in one of the islands a number of farmers brought 150 head of cattle to meet a steamer on the Thursday, but they would not guarantee that the cattle would arrive before the Saturday night. The farmers, of course, would not trust their cattle on a small boat closely packed together— 150 of them—for three days and three nights, without food and almost without water. Consequently the farmers had to bring back the cattle to their farms and lost the market. That is the sort of thing happening every week. It is simply ruining the means of livelihood of these people on these islands. When they do get the cattle to the markets, the cost of the freight is very high. Railway rates have been subsidised by the State during the War, and the consequence is those rates are the same as they were before the War; but these farmers and others who have to send stock by steamer have to pay from 200 per cent. to 500 per cent. more freight than before the War. What chance have they of competing with the farmers on the mainland in the markets? None whatever. It is simply a corner of the map to the right hon. Gentleman and the Ministry, but I claim that the right hon. Gentleman ought to take these islands into his purview when drawing up a scheme for co-ordinating and developing the transport services. Then there is the passenger traffic. I have not been to my constituency for a year. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Shame!"] Well, I act upon the principle enunciated by Dickens, who, when he began to wear a beard, was asked by someone why he did that, and he replied that he wore a beard because his friends liked him more, for they saw less of him. It is a notorious scandal travelling 798 in those parts. I know the Minister is sympathetic on this subject, and I know his difficulties, but I wish him to bring his mind to bear on the problem of transport generally throughout the highlands and islands, which will become derelict unless there is improvement. I hope the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy will be translated into actual practice, and that he will see to it that the transport services in those parts are developed.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON
I wish to associate myself, first of all, with the eulogy that fell from a Member on the Labour Bench with regard to the Minister of Transport in respect of railway matters. When he stands at that box, knowing perhaps more about railways than anyone in this House, he always reminds me of an engine-driver on the footplate, with a very capable stoker at his side. But when I imagine him as sitting in a motor car, I always feel a little nervous about him, and fear that he is going to do a side-slip, because in that particular matter he is not so knowledgeable as on railway matters. I am afraid he gets bullied a little by a particular group in this House, which I will call, without discourtesy, "road-hogs". I do not like to see a young and promising Minister bullied by any group in this House, and that is why I want to defend him to-night. I do not want to be called in any way a reactionary with regard to motor transport. I was one of those who drove a motor car when red flags were essential, and later I served my time in the works, and have done everything, including racing and breaking the law, that is possible for the advancement of motor cars in this country. But I do believe now we have got to a state when we have created a bogey which is going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. I am a little mixed, I admit, in my metaphor.
We have got to a stage where we have transport which is too large for our roads. If we were considering the running of a railway—if you compare the two forms of transport, motor lorries and railways—no railway company would ever tolerate a locomotive running on its permanent way which knocked its track about without consideration, because the railway company has to keep its track up and pay for it. But with motor 799 lorries those who run motor services do not in any way consider the damage to the roads, because they have not got to pay for it. That is done by the poor ratepayers. The consequence is that in building motor lorries no consideration whatever is made in the design to in any way avoid unnecessary damage to the roads. There is a certain type of wheel which is ruinous to the roads. Take again, for instance, that motoring monstrosity we see now, the charabanc, which the hon. and gallant Member for Leith the other day said was democratic. It is nothing of the sort. It is a mere kind of travelling Soviet, dealing death and destruction as it goes along, and the poor cyclist and the ordinary man have no chance at all when this monstrosity goes along the country road.
I believe as our roads get better we shall be able to go at a bigger speed, but in the coming development of motor transport, and until we have got better roads, I do think we ought to ask the Ministry to use the powers they have, to in some way limit the weight and design of the heavy moving transport on our roads.
There is one other small point which has now come under the Minister, and that is, traffic, which used to be under the Home Office. We are told by all traffic experts that the speed of the slowest moving vehicle is also the speed of the traffic in our cities, and the slowest moving vehicle is the motor-bus. We see in London a state of things which has never been worse in the way of congestion. I do not believe that ever, at any time in London history, have matters been worse. What policy is laid down by the Minister in regard to the regulating of traffic? No policy at all seems to be behind the policeman as he stands in our main streets. You are driving a motorcar, and you arrive at a place where you are likely to be held up. If you have a nice kind face you go on; if you have not, you stay there until he lets you go on. There is no co-ordination at all. Take such a place as Piccadilly Circus. I have never seen such a sight as is to be seen there. In Piccadilly Circus I have seen a policeman deliberately cause a block in the traffic, not from any intention, but simply from ignorance—because everybody in London, more than any other city in the world, immediately obeys the policeman.
800 I have seen an absolute block, caused by no fault of anybody, but by the policeman directing the traffic not knowing what the policy was of looking after our traffic. Anybody who knows anything about London traffic knows that a refuge in the middle of the road does not facilitate, but impedes traffic. London is full of comic policemen on horseback, some with red rosettes from the Horse show, and when you simply ask them to go to the left they are rude. It is suggested that these policemen are there to deal with the slow traffic, but they impede it more than they facilitate it. I have read the Report of the Traffic Committee, and they seem proud of some of the things they have done. One is the way they have asked 'buses to stop at different places from where you want to go. My experience of this is that they land you now at Downing Street and call it Westminster Bridge. One of the criticisms which has been directed against that Ministry is on the question of salaries, but I support very heartily the policy of the Ministry, because at no time of the history of any new Ministry is it more important to have good brains than at the start, and when different policies have got to be initiated that is the time when you want the very best brains. It is no good thinking that because you are a Government that you are going to get those brains for nothing. There may come a time when everything is working smoothly, and we may economise then, but at the start it is essential to have the best brains, and you cannot get them without paying for them.
§ Mr. SEXTON
This Debate has been somewhat remarkable, and the little of it I have listened to has taken a very wide range extending from the early Victorian era to the present day and from the bicycle and the motor car to the comic policeman in the middle of the road. Every bit of opposition has been used as a peg on which to hang an attack against the Minister and his colleagues, who are struggling with one of the greatest problems which has ever presented itself to this House or the nation. I am not going to haggle about the cost, but anybody who knows anything about the chaotic state of our transport previous to the War will admit that some drastic reform is necessary. I happened to take a part in the initial stages of this Trans- 801 port Ministry scheme, and the fault I had to find with the Minister for Transport is that he did not, in my opinion, display sufficient courage, a courage which is characteristic of him, to stick to the powers which were in the original Bill. Who was responsible for that? The very men who are now attacking him. I think it will be admitted that when we remember the chaotic state of the railways before the War, and the enormous waste of raw material in the shape of lengthy trucks and other matters, we ought not to haggle about the price of a policy that will put an end to that chaotic state of things. Of course, in the initial stages there was a heavy expenditure, but I venture to suggest that when the results come to be shown in a practical manner we shall not be at all dissatisfied. An hon. Member said we ought to keep our feet on mother earth. Some of the attacks have been made by persons who know very little about transport. They have made these attacks specially for the purpose of saying something, but they have contributed nothing of real value to the Debate. We are told that transport now is worse than it was before the War. Is it any wonder? Surely, hon. Members have short memories. The whole of our transport system was demoralised during the War. Rolling stock was taken away, rails were even torn up in order to be sent to France. This seems to be all forgotten. Attempts are being made here to belittle what has been done by the Ministry of Transport. I am not going to carp at the question of cost. I say that the Minister and his colleagues ought to receive not the condemnation but the whole-hearted support of this House for the efforts they have made to relieve the situation. I know something about congested traffic, and I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman to give greater facilities if possible to relieve the railways by granting equality of treatment to coastwise traffic. I will leave it to his ingenuity and his responsibility and energy, and he has plenty of it, to find some way out of the difficulty. I am sure if he will devote his attention to this, he will be able to do a good deal to relieve the existing congestion.
§ Mr. WILSON-FOX
I believe the Amendment before the Committee at the present moment is one to reduce the Vote 802 by £;100,000. On the last occasion on which this Vote was discussed, a week ago, the Motion was one which I myself had proposed to reduce the Vote by £;750,000. I think it right to explain to the Committee how it is that I am unable to support the Motion now before it. The Amendment which I moved last week was moved for a specific purpose. Three Motions were on the Notice Paper last week, and they were the outcome of recommendations made by the Select Committee on National Expenditure. The first was a reduction of Sub-head A by £7,000. That was made on the recommendation of the Select Committee, but, at the time that Motion was put down, the revised Estimates of the Department were riot before us, and now in those revised Estimates we find provision is made for a reduction not of £7,000 but of £85,000. The next Motion standing in my name provided for a reduction of £750,000, and the third related to the Canals Compensation Vote, which I proposed should he reduced by £75,000. In the result I dropped all these three Motions, and moved to reduce the Vote by £750,000. I did that because, as I explained last week, the Minister of Trans-port at the present time has not before him, at any rate in a shape in which he can recommend them to this Committee, any of the schemes for the purpose of which he is asking for this £1,000,000. I objected to giving this large Vote of Credit, for that is what it amounts to. Seeing that the House will be meeting for an Autumn Session, and again, no doubt, early in the New Year, I thought that, if we have him a credit of £250,000, and he afterwards wanted more before the 31st March next, there would be plenty of time for him to come and ask for more, and I felt certain that the Committee would readily give it to him. I had no intention of attacking either the Ministry or the Government, nor of moving a Vote of want of confidence in the Government. From the speech of the hon. and gallant Baronet (Sir J. Remnant), and especially from his attack on the right hon. Gentleman, I gathered that his purpose was wholly different from mine, and I desire to explain the difference between us, and the reason why I shall not be able, if he carries his Motion to a Division, to support him in the Lobby. I wanted, if possible, to try and introduce again what I regard as a beneficent practice, namely, 803 that Motions for reduction of Estimates shall not be regarded as necessarily being attacks on the Government, but as endeavours on the part of the Committee to do its duty and assist the Government in bringing about that economy which on many occasions the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other leading Members of the Government have pressed us to observe. I hope that from now onward it will be exceptional to regard a bonâ-fide Motion for reduction of a particular item as being a Vote of want of confidence, when proper reasons are given for desiring the reduction of that particular item. I hope that the Government will seriously consider this very important question of dealing with Estimates in a manner which will give the Committee greater power to effect the economies which we all desire.
Although I have been trying for about five hours to get the opportunity of inflicting myself upon the Committee, I feel a certain amount of diffidence in rising, as an ordinary business man, to speak in this Debate, especially after the very severe trouncing which business men seemed to get at the opening of the Debate from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley, who seemed to refer rather sneeringly to business men, and particularly to their mannerisms and their language. He made a great deal of play about the words "Look here!" and it struck me that it was rather inconsistent that he should lay so much stress on the words "Look here," as a man who himself had always given the advice of waiting before one looked. It appeared to me, as a business man, that he would have been more successful as one who would "Look here," than as one who would develop too much the policy of "Wait and see." This Vote is for £848,642. I understand the total capital of the railways is £1,300,000,000, and although it has been stated by the Parliamentary Secretary that about half the cost of this Ministry is being used for services that were ordinarily in use before the War—that is to say, only one-half of it is used for what we might term the research or re-construction part of the Ministry—taking the whole of the Vote to be used for the purposes of research and coordination, the cost of the Ministry per annum is only one-fifteenth of 1 per cent. of the capital involved. As a business 804 man, it seems to me that we ought to be able to put on one side out of such a tremendous business such a small amount as that for the benefit of research.
A point the Committee ought to ask itself is, "Is the money necessary?" The question of the Ministry has already been decided. It can now only be a question as to whether the Ministry is serving its purpose or not. What are the criticisms against the Ministry, or rather not so much against the Ministry as against the Minister? If you want to run a business successfully, just as you would wish to run this particular Department successfully, you ought to try to look out for a successful business man, and if we are to use the science of psychology a little in deciding the type of man whom one would employ for this peculiar position, there is not the slightest doubt that we should support the Government in the particular type of man they have chosen in the present Minister of Transport. If you look on each side of this House for those who have been successful in administration and in business, you will see that they are very often, something like the right hon. Gentleman, very rotund in appearance, which shows that they have had plenty of time, as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Asquith) said they should have. for proper contemplation. The point is was it good judgment to select him. I really think he is the best man who could he found for the job as far as I could gather. He had a very good case to put forward on Thursday, and he put it rather badly, if I may say so very respectfully. He brought forward a very pettifogging instance which made it appear to the House that in his opinion it was a right one —I am referring to the question of testing the prices of champagne at various hotels. I think in that he made a big mistake, but he is not the first business man or politician who has had to call in champagne to help to build up his case. He has shown us that he is the best man for this position by the fact that he has taken care to select a very good deputy, who put forward a far better case for the Ministry. It was possibly the modesty of the Minister himself. He is evidently by his physical development a man who is prevented from blowing his own trumpet. There is no doubt that in the Parliamentary Secretary he has chosen a man who certainly can state the case for the Ministry very favourably and very well. I 805 think the case for the defence was a good one which was put badly, while the case of the Opposition was a bad one which was put worse still. The Opposition complains about too much time being spent in contemplation and observation. It is quite time that in this country, with regard to its business developments, more time was spent in contemplation and observation. From the criticisms of the Opposition, one would argue that no high salaried men ought to be employed in using their brains in the matter of reconstruction with regard to the great transport questions of this country. We are told that very high salaries are being paid, and that nothing has been done. What business man, other than one of the pettifogging, out-of-the-world business men, would expect any results from a research department in the first twelve or eighteen months of its existence? Everybody knows that in questions of research it is a long time before your reap the results, and that applies in connection with a Department of this sort. We were given an instance by the Minister of Transport which shows the necessity for this Ministry, and that is that the duplication of track in this country is 1.8, compared with the American duplication of 1.1. Assuming that by research, co-ordination and co-operation, this Ministry could bring down our duplication of track to the same percentage as in America I calculate that that would save not less than £30,000,000 a year.
The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) complained that the reducing of the Estimates of this Ministry by £85,000 was no real reduction. He said that the only thing that had been done was to refrain from making appointments which ought to have been made. Surely, if this Ministry be so bad as we have been told by the Opposition, the fewer appointments they make the better. It is very inconsistent that they should complain about the Estimates being saved at the expense of an increase of the Ministry. A point was raised by the hon. Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Myers) who said he questioned very much the deferred maintenance sum of £32,000,000 on a capital of £1,300,000,000, even over a period of three to five years. That only works out 806 at 2.7 per cent. of the capital involved, although the cost of repairs has gone up in the proportion of three to one since 1914. Nobody can say that that is a very expensive or very serious consideration in comparison. He also referred to the agreement relating to the replacement of stores on the 1913 basis as being something the like of which he had never seen before. That seemed to be in direct opposition to what was said by the hon. Gentleman sitting next to him, who said it was no doubt a fair thing that the railways should be allowed to go back to exactly the same condition that they were in before the War. There ought to be consistency from those who oppose the Ministry.
I should like to support the Minister of Transport very much, and as an ordinary plain business man to give him a little encouragement. I noticed his worried look when he was being trounced by the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith). It reminded me of an old type of Lancashire mill manager who used to have a stocktaking every thirteen weeks, seven weeks of which were in awful contemplation of the results, and six weeks of which were in awful condemnation. Now that the right hon. Gentleman has had a little encouragement, though it is only from the back benchers, I am glad to see that he has changed that worried look, and that he is all smiles. He realises that people cannot work unless they are contented, and the manner in which he is being chastised by the Leader of the Opposition explains the diffidence of a good many business men to accept service under such leaders. I would ask the House to encourage to the fullest possible extent the spending of money in research. It will be well spent. Further, Members ought not to expect too much, or too quickly. These things must grow, and it is well that they should grow slowly, because this country is like a man who has been going through a serious operation. Nobody is more anxious to see him recover than his doctors, but, unfortunately for the poor fellow, the only reason they want him to recover is that they may perform another operation! I ask the Ministry to hold their hands and do the best with what they have got. Then I for one will give them my entire and cordial support.
§ Mr. BILLING
We have had enough Members this evening qualifying for junior posts in the Ministry of Transport. We have had a great deal of criticism which amounted to a very little, and a great deal of eulogy that amounted to still less. The question of road transport was raised by the hon. Member who has just left the House (Colonel Moore-Brabazon), and I am sorry he did not carry it a little further. He tells us, and he is perfectly right, that the destruction of roads by road transport is a matter of no consideration to those who employ the transport. Yet it is quite within the power of the Ministry to put direct taxation on to those who destroy the roads by taxing that part of the vehicle which does the damage, the tyres. However, the Ministry has refused to consider that, and prefers to tax the horse-power, which has no relation whatever to the road destruction. I only wish we had not so apologetic a tone from the Government in this as in other matters. If we had a Napoleon in the Ministry he would drive roads through the country, but instead we have the same mental condition of compromise that we have in all directions. The Minister of Transport is a railwayman. He cannot help it. I am sure that when he started out in the railway world he never anticipated attaining the position he holds to-day, but he has spent the whole of his life with railways, and, just as an Army man will always be an Army man, and a Naval man will always be a Naval man, so a railwayman will always be a railwayman, and you cannot expect any sympathy from the present Minister either for roads, the sea, or air. The whole Debate has circled round the question of whether railways are paying or are not. That is not what is interesting the man in the street. What he wants to know is whether it is the intention of the Government to set up a new scheme, even if it is by developing old schemes, to revitalise the transport system. Every Member who gets up from the Treasury Bench endeavours to excuse the condition of chaos in his own Department by blaming the Ministry for Transport, and occasionally the Minister of Transport hits back, sometimes effectually. We all blame the Minister of Transport, and when he replies I want him to tell the House whether 808 he has done anything more than to make up wages and the dividends of the shareholders of the railways. I am not interested in the position of the shareholders, although the competitive commercial class must be given consideration, and here I would appeal to the Labour Members that if they, in their endeavour to produce the perfect State, stamp out the competitive commercial spirit, they will stamp out the enterprise and with it the advancement which is so necessary. An hon. Member said the student of psychology would say: "What better man could we choose than the right hon. Gentleman for the Minister of Transport, because has he not had a successful career in railways?" But a more careful student of psychology would have said: "How is it more simple absolutely to ruin a man than by placing him in a Government Department?" We ought to appreciate that directly a man gets in a Government Department he ceases to consider whether a thing is a paying proposition or not. He has all the various vested interests outside, and so long as he can keep them outside and not affront too much the interests of the other Departments, he is satisfied. There is nobody at the Cabinet meetings like one gets at the board meetings of a limited company, who want to know how the money is being spent and where it is coming from. That is never taken into consideration at all. It is not a question of whether a thing pays or not, and really the Minister should appreciate that the transport of this country is a commercial proposition. It cannot be done by subsidy. It is far greater than the railways or even the transport of the country; it is greater than an Imperial matter; it is an international matter.
What has the right hon. Gentleman done to develop our canals? Surely he would have known, had he spent his life as a lock-keeper, instead of as a railway manager, the enormous possibilities of water transport. On inland waters you can move 1,000 tons for less than you can move 100 tons by rail. What are we doing to develop that? Nothing. The canals are sitting up, because the interests of railway shareholders must be safeguarded, and that is why the railways have purchased all the canal interests of the country, simply to shut them down, because they were unhealthy competition in the interests of the shareholders, 809 although healthy in the public interest. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what he has done in order to develop the canals of this country, and what he proposes to do to enable the British mercantile air force commercially to capture the international air-borne traffic of the world, which will justify us in setting up an Air Service, as our mercantile marine justified us in setting up a Navy which has saved us on every occasion when our national life has been jeopardised.
§ Sir FORTESCUE FLANNERY
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) challenged this Vote upon the ground that the Ministry itself was unnecessary, and that a section of the Board of Trade could carry on the necessary duty. The hon. Baronet the Member for Holborn (Sir J. Remnant), in support of that allegation, moved a reduction, and that reduction will be voted on in a very few minutes by this Committee. The allegation of the Leader of the Opposition has been supported by the further allegation that the salaries of the directors-general and the numbers of the directors-general under the Ministry of Transport were altogether out of proportion. The salaries which are the subject of criticism by the right hon. Gentleman are less than those men for the most part would have been able to earn outside of Government employment. Take the case of an officer of the London County Council, the engineer-in-chief. We have been told in the newspapers within the last day or two that he is to have an additional £2,000 a year for the duty of housing administration. If I am not very much mistaken that would mean for that officer a total salary of over £4,000 a year, or even more. How does that compare with the salary of any official of the Ministry of Transport? Surely a Government Department competing with the London County Council may say for itself that it has succeeded if it has no official whose salary is equal to that which the London County Council are able to pay.
The whole issue is this. Does the Ministry of Transport hold itself responsible for one section of transport or has it the duty of dealing with the whole transport of the country both by sea and land, or as the hon. Baronet behind me (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) would say also by air, though that development seems very slow. The hon. Member for the Western Isles 810 (Dr. Murray) had a great deal to say about coastwise traffic. There is no doubt that coastwise traffic presents opportunities for the development of transport that will give enormous benefits to our trade in comparison with the railways. The point is that the Ministry of Transport has the duty of guiding, choosing and organising not only railway transport but road transport, tramways, canals, coasting ships and docks, harbours, if necessary, and even of arranging for the accommodation of travellers through the hotels. The duty of the Minister of Transport is to bring all these into harmonious organised co-working together, and if the Ministry of Transport is able to do so, and directing all those systems which are in operation, cutting down here and extending through and bringing agriculture and urban trade together, their hands will be very full for the next year or two, and they are justified. This Vote will prove whether or not, in the opinion of this Committee, they are justified. They are in my opinion justified by the moderate expenditure which they ask the Committee to sanction in view of the great and extended work which they had to perform in the interests of the trade and transport of the whole country.
§ Sir E. GEDDES
I feel that I can be only pleased with the progress of this Vote. The criticism, so for as I have heard it, has been very helpful and useful. I have been asked a large number of questions, some of which are of purely local interest, and in regard to which I really cannot profess, at this moment, to have detailed information. The North-East coast was mentioned by an hon. Member. I can only say that the difficulty, as he is well aware, and as many Members are aware, is due to the fact that the steel output requiring special wagons has grown out of all proportion during the War, but wagons are being built as fast as possible, and manufacturers and railways are co-operating in every possible way. As to coastal shipping the position of the Government is this: the subsidy was given to assist coastal shipping in one respect, while the railway rates were at an artificially low level. When the increase was put on, it was found that coastal shipping freights, probably unavoidably, also had to increase, but the Government felt that with the improving 811 and improved position of the railways and with the fact that the tonnage on the market had increased very much and was still increasing, the time had come when the State subsidy must end. At the same time there is nothing but sympathy with the coastal shipping industry, and it is the intention of the Government, so far as they can, to fix the railway rates at a fair competitive rate with the sea. But hon. Members will understand that while that is desirable, and while we should not have abnormally low rates on rail in competition with the sea, at the same time one must not put railway rates up merely to allow much higher freights to be charged on the sea for coastal shipping. It is a matter in which the balance should be held evenly and fairly between the two parties, and that is the intention of the Government.
I think that the Debate has been a very useful Debate. I cannot quite agree with everything that the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Greenwood) said about my own inability to hold up my end in this House. I realise that the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) made a strong case against me, but I wonder what sort of case he would have made against me if he had had my case. I hardly think I would be standing at this box to-night. However, he had not my case, and I am duly thankful for it. The Motion for the reduction of the Vote by £750,000 was, as the mover pointed out very clearly, not intended as a censure on the Government, nor as dissent from Government policy, but in order to enforce his view that it was desirable, and this is the attitude of the Committee, that these Estimates should be closer up than they have been in the past. That is sound finance. I personally, and the Government, entirely agree that the Estimates should be as close up as possible. We were going through a time of reconstruction and an abnormal period. The Ministry of Transport was in its infancy, and the Estimates were made on a basis which would not require Supplementary Estimates. At the same time, although in the Vote on Account we had money to spend, it was not spent and the Select Committee which went into the expenses of the Ministry said, and this I gather to be the sense of this Committee, "You must not go too wide; go on 812 and do what you are doing, be as economical as possible." They did not say, and I do not think this Committee is going to say, that any money has actually been wasted. They said be careful; they said do not spend more money than you can help. We agree; we will not. That I take to be the attitude of this Committee and of the Select Committee, and I fully accept it.
§ Mr. BILLING
Can the right hon. Gentleman kindly tell us what has been done in the control of the canals, as to which the Prime Minister promised.
§ Sir E. GEDDES
I referred to that in my statement. I think the future of canals is a matter which will have to be considered very carefully on present-day costs. I think the best step in that direction has been the appointment of a Committee with the hon. Member for Ladywood (Mr. N. Chamberlain) as Chairman to deal with the subject.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
As to coastal traffic may I ask if the railway rates will be raised to an economic level? That is all the coastal people ask.
§ Sir E. GEDDES
The railway rates as far as possible in the general revision were raised to an economic level. It may be that as that increase was applied by percentage, where there was an abnormally low coastal rate the percentage was not quite a sufficient addition to bring the rate up to the general level. Wherever that can be done in the future that is the object of the Government. In these revisions where you get coastal and inland rates, it is almost impossible to pick out an individual rate. What the hon. Member has in mind is very much my object.
§ Mr. BILLING
May I ask whether it is not the fact that you subsidised the railways and coastal traffic, but that you did not subsidise the canals by one penny since the Act came into force?
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £748,642, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 48; Noes, 206.659
|Division No. 168.]||AYES.||[4.5 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Edge, Captain William||Kidd, James|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Larmor, Sir Joseph|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Elveden, Viscount||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Lister, Sir R. Ashton|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Fell, Sir Arthur||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Fildes, Henry||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Barrand, A. R.||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Forestier-Walker, L.||Mallalieu, F. W.|
|Bellairs, Commander Canyon W.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Matthews, David|
|Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Mitchell, William Lane|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Freece, Sir Walter de||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Gardiner, James||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gardner, Ernest||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash|
|Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland||Gilbert, James Daniel||Morris, Richard|
|Blair, Reginald||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Morrison, Hugh|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Glyn, Major Ralph||Mount, William Arthur|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Goff, Sir R. Park||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith||Grant, James A.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Green, Albert (Derby)||Murray, Lieut.-Colonel A. (Aberdeen)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Greig, Colonel James William||Neal, Arthur|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Gretton, Colonel John||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Nicholson, William G (Petersfield)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Campbell, J. D. C.||Hanna, George Boyle||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin||Parker, James|
|Casey, T. W.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Cautley, Henry S.||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Haslam, Lewis||Perring, William George|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Preston, W. R.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Herbert Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hills, Major John Waller||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)||Raper, A. Baldwin|
|Colvin, Lieut.-Colonel Richard Beale||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)||Reid, D. D.|
|Cope, Major Wm.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Renwick, George|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Howard, Major S. G.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rogers, Sir Hallewell|
|Curzon, Commander Viscount||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Jephcott, A. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jesson, C.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Dawes, Commander||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Dean, Lieut.-Commander P. T.||Johnstone, Joseph||Seager, Sir William|
|Dennis, J. W. (Birmingham, Deritend)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Simm, M. T.|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Smithers, Sir Alfred W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Stanier, Captain Sir Beville||Townley, Maximilian G.||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Stanley, Major H. G. (Preston)||Wallace, J.||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Stevens, Marshall||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Stewart, Gershom||Waring, Major Walter||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Strauss, Edward Anthony||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Sturrock, J. Leng||Wason, John Cathcart||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Sugden, W. H.||Wheler, Lieut.-Colonel C. H.||Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Sutherland, Sir William||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)||Younger, Sir George|
|Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)||Wills, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Gilbert||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley|
|Thomas-Stanford, Charles||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)||Ward.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Grundy, T. W.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Sexton, James|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l,W.D'by)||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hallas, Eldred||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bottomley, Horatio W.||Hayday, Arthur||Spencer, George A.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hayward, Major Evan||Swan, J. E.|
|Brace, Rt. Hon, William||Hirst, G. H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Briant, Frank||Irving, Dan||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)||Thomas, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lawson, John J.||Wedgwood, Colonel J. C.|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Lorden, John William||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Lunn, William||Wignall, James|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Donald, Thompson||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Palmer, Charles Frederick (Wrekin)||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Finney, Samuel||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Remnant, Colonel Sir James F.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Robertson, John||Mr. Hogge and Mr. Myers.|
|Division No. 169.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Smithers, Sir Alfred W.|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hogge, James Myles||Sugden, W. H.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Billing, Noel Pemberton-||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Thomson, T. (Middiesbrough, West)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wedgwood, Colonel J. C.|
|Briant, Frank||Morgan, Major D. Watts||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Mosley, Oswald||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Palmer, Charles Frederick (Wrekin)||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Rattan, Peter Wilson||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Rankin, Captain James S.|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l,W.D'by)||Sitch, Charles H.||Sir J. Remnant and Mr. Johnstone.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Gardiner, James||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)||Matthews, David|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Mills, John Edmund|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Gilbert, James Daniel||Mitchell, William Lane|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gould, James C.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Grant, James A.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Barnes Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Grayson, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Henry||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Green, Albert (Derby)||Morrison, Hugh|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Greig, Colonel James William||Myers, Thomas|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Neal, Arthur|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Grundy, T. W.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark|
|Blair, Reginald||Hall, Captain Douglas Bernard||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Perring, William George|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.|
|Boscawen. Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Haslam, Lewis||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Hayday, Arthur||Pratt, John William|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Preston, W. R.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Herbert, Denis (Hertford, Watford)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Bromfield, William||Hirst, G. H.||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Hood, Joseph||Raper, A. Baldwin|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hope, Lt.-Col, Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Reid, D. D.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Renwick, George|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Casey, T. W.||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Chadwick. Sir Robert||Howard, Major S. G.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.||Robertson, John|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Colvin, Lieut.-Colonel Richard Beale||Jephcott, A. R.||Rogers, Sir Hallewell|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Jellett, William Morgan||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Cope, Major Wm.||Jesson, C.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Courthope, Major George L.||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Seddon, J. A.|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sexton, James|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Dawes, Commander||Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Edge, Captain William||Kenyon, Barnet||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kiley, James D.||Smith, W. R.(Wellingborough)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Spencer, George A.|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Stevens, Marshall|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Lawson, John J.||Swan, J. E.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Taylor, J.|
|Fildes, Henry||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Finney, Samuel||Lister, Sir R. Ashton||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lloyd-Greame, Major Sir P.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Lorden, John William||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Lort-Williams, J.||Waterson, A. E.|
|Forrest, Walter||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lunn, William||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Whitla, Sir William|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Wigan, Brig.-Gen. John Tyson|
|Ganzoni, Captain Francis John C.||Mallalieu, F. W.||Wignall, James|
|Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)||Worsfold, Dr. T. Cato||Younger, Sir George|
|Wilson-Fox, Henry||Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Parker.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.