§ (1) If, on complaint being made to the Board to that effect, it appears to the Board that goods of any class or description (other than articles of food or drink) manufactured in a country outside the United Kingdom are being sold or offered for sale in the United Kingdom—
- (a) at prices below the cost of production thereof as hereinafter defined; or
- (b) at prices which, by reason of depreciation in the value in relation to sterling of the currency of the country in which the goods are manufactured, are below the prices at which similar goods can be profitably manufactured in the United Kingdom;
§ and that by reason thereof employment in any industry in the United Kingdom is being or is likely to be seriously affected, the Board may refer the matter for inquiry to a committee constituted for the purposes of this Part of this Act.
§ (2) If the committee report that as respects goods of any class or description manufactured in any country the conditions aforesaid are fulfilled the Board may by order apply this Part of this Act to goods of that class or description if manufactured in that country:
§ Provided that no such order shall be made which is at variance with any treaty, convention or engagement with any foreign State in force for the time being.
§ (3) An order made under this Section shall be laid before the Commons House of Parliament as soon as may be after it is made for a period of twenty-one days during which that House has sat, and if that House before the expiration of that period presents an address to His Majesty against the order His Majesty in Council may annul the order, and thereupon the order shall become void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.
§ Mr. A. SHAW
On a point of Order. May I ask for your guidance as to where the Committete now stands? There are a number of most important Amendments to that portion of the Bill contained in paragraph (a) of Sub-section (1) of Clause 2 which deals with dumping. Is the whole of that portion of the Bill to go without a single word of discussion, and are we to have no redress against this mockery of legislation?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The decision of the House was that discussion on Subsection (1) of Clause 2 down to the end of paragraph (a) should come to an end at 7 o'clock, and that all necessary questions connected with the business should be put then. We now come to para- 2238 graph (b), and the first Amendment I call is that of the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson).
§ Lieut.- Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask whether on the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Gentleman whom you have just called you will take the whole discussion down to Subsection (3)? I am asking because there is an Amendment in my own name and in that of the hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins) which deals with paragraph (b).
§ The CHAIRMAN
If, as might be possible, paragraph (b) were omitted, I would then allow the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Amendment to be moved, if it did not increase the charge.
In reference to the question raised by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. A. Shaw), I understand the Order of the House is that Clause 2 down to the end of paragraph (a) has to be disposed of by 7 o'clock. That being so, are we to understand that we have disposed of the question of dumping without even having had a Division upon it, apart from any Debate?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have had my. doubts on this point, and I have ascertained that the precedents are as I have stated, and that it is necessary to dispose of the business concluded, but that the point involved will be covered when the Question is put that Clause 2 stand part of the Bill. There is no question of this particular course not being strictly in accordance with precedent.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the wordsor (b) at prices which, by reason of depreciation in the value in relation to sterling of the currency of the country in which the goods are manufactured, are below the prices at which similar goods can be profitably manufactured in the United Kingdom;I am moving to leave out that portion of the Bill which deals with the depreciation in value in relation to sterling, and what is said will be its effect upon prices. We are not quite sure that the arguments in relation to the effect of exchange on prices will hold good. I am not one of those who is in a position to-day to speak with any kind of accuracy upon the question of exchanges. As I have listened to 2239 the Debates in this House I have gathered the impression that the bulk of hon. Members are not in a position to speak with great accuracy upon the question of exchanges. The longer I listened to the experts on the question of exchanges the more mystified I was. Here is a Bill which lays it down that articles are to be excluded when they are sold or offered for sale at prices which, by reason of depreciation of value in relation to sterling of the currency of the country in which the goods are manufactured—that is to say, at prices which are affected by the rate of exchange. I want to know, as a simple layman on this question, how the Government are going to decide that the price of an article is affected by the rate of exchange. It seems to me that it is almost impossible to say that the price of a certain article is affected simply and solely by the rate of exchange of the country in which it is manufactured. How do we know, for instance, that it is not affected by the skill of the people who produce the article, or the initiative of the company employing the men who produce it? We, as workers' representatives on this side of the House, have been told in this House repeatedly that the reason why the industries of this country are being undermined is the improved average output of, say, the German worker as against our output in this country. That has been thrown at us from time to time. How do we know that it is not because the average worker in Germany increases his output as compared with the output of the workman in this country, as hon. Gentlemen from time to time say is the case?
If an article that comes from Germany, or any of the other countries aimed at by this Bill, is cheaper because of the relatively increased output and the relative value of the worker, how can it be said at the same time that it comes into this country more cheaply because of the rate of exchange? I remember reading in a newspaper the experience of a manufacturer who had been in Germany, and who said that in his opinion the reason why we had been beaten, say in shipbuilding, is that the worker there is working harder, is working longer hours, is smarter at his work, and all the kinds of things that could be said to the derogation of the British workman. He says, therefore, that even ships are going from 2240 this country to Germany to be repaired by German workmen. Of course, he says they are not getting much butter, they are not getting any meat, and do not get very much milk; but still they are working harder. It may be that it is as the result of very low wages that the article is able to come into this country more cheaply. It may be because of improved output; it may be because of improved skill as against some of our own firms; it may be as the result of improved technical education which gives the worker an increased chance to produce under better conditions. I should say it is impossible to lay down a rule and say that a certain article is sold in this country more cheaply because it is affected by the rate of exchange. I have listened day after day to ascertain whether we could get any sure test of this question. I know that the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. G. Terrell) not only gave us illustrations, but showed us some very good ones in his industries exhibition; but, as far as I could gather there, the people who benefited by the low prices were not the British consumers at all, but rather the middlemen who sold the article. They robbed the British public, as far as I could gather, of something like £50 on a £100 article. At the same time, it did not seem to me that the hon. Member laid his finger on the spot and said that the reason why that article is cheaper is because of the low rate of exchange. It may be that the article is cheaper because of the foreign policy of the Government itself, and that seems to me to be one of the most reasonable explanations. If the Government compel a country to give you something for nothing, and then you begin to grumble at the effect upon yourself, it does not seem to me to be very reasonable to say that it is because of the rate of exchange that they are able to sell in this country at a cheaper rate.
I want also, as a layman, to put this point. We have heard a good deal from time to time in this House about stabilising the exchanges in foreign countries. How are you going to stabilise the exchange? Is it by contracting the opportunities for export? It seems to me that along those lines you go from bad to worse. If you want to give this country a chance at all, the real chance that we shall have is in improving rather than in limiting our opportunities for export and 2241 for dealing with these people. Regrettable as it may be that one country, may have an opportunity over another country, it does not seem to me that we are going to get anywhere by simply making vague statements as to what is the cause of articles coming in more cheaply. If a cheaper article comes into this country, the real cause is the condition of slavery that is being imposed upon certain classes of workers in those countries which are paying indemnities. That is affecting us. It led to the miners' trouble; it led to the wholesale breaking up of the shipbuilding industry; it may be that it will affect other industries. The only way in which we can deal with it is by frankly recognising that our neighbours' prosperity will be our prosperity. Instead of setting up limitations of this kind, we ought to break down every possible barrier and link ourselves with them in a common policy of improving the situation. I know that there are hon. Members who can deal with this question of exchanges in an expert way, but neither the Government nor any combination of experts in this country can lay its finger upon any particular article and say that that article is coming to this country more cheaply simply because of the low rate of exchange. The setting up of a barrier of this kind, instead of improving the rate of exchange in other countries, will keep them where they are, and even tend to make them worse; and so far as we do that we damage ourselves as well as the other countries.
I support this Amendment on the general ground that I think the Government have made a, fundamental mistake in putting down this Sub-section. I do not pretend in anyway to be an expert on exchanges I have heard many people talk about there, and there seems to me to be generally some flaw in their argument. But I believe it to be true that exchanges are not a cause but a symptom. It is not the fact that the exchanges are bad that causes trade to be bad; it is the fact that trade is bad that causes the exchanges to be bad. You will never get the exchange right until you get your trade right. I believe that that proposition is fundamentally true, and that is it controverted by this Sub-section which I am now opposing. If this Sub-section passes into law grave damage will be done. I am not so foolish as to suppose that the 2242 figures one sees in the newspapers every day relating to the comparative values of the exchanges really reflect their true values. At the same time I do believe that, although the difference is not so big as one would be led to suppose by noticing, for example, that the exchange in Polish marks is 2,000 to the £, yet there is a sufficiently large difference in actual value to make a duty of this sort quite inoperative. If I was right in my original contention that exchanges are a symptom and not a cause, it is obvious that, if you deliberately adopt a plan which will and must, in so far as it is operative, perpetuate the exchanges in a bad condition, you are thereby taking steps, not to cure the disease, but rather to perpetuate it.
I do not believe that there is any need for this Sub-section at all. As the hon. Member (Mr. Lawson) has very truly said, you cannot lay your finger upon this or that particular class of goods or article and say that it is coming into this country and is being sold at prices below the cost of production because of depreciation of the exchange. It is impossible to do that. Even supposing that it were possible, to what quantity and what value of goods would this provision apply? I have here some figures relating to articles which might be said more especially to be affected by this Subsection. I take it that it is chiefly directed against Germany. That is what we are always told. In relation to Germany, I have the total value of the imports of all goods, except food and drink, imported into the United Kingdom for the year ending 31st December, 1920. They amounted to £28,319,000. Even if the whole of those imports were due to depreciation of the exchange, that, in itself, is not a very large quantity of goods to be imported into this country, and when you take into consideration the fact that it is impossible to divide that sum into categories and say that this is pure dumping, that is legitimate trading, and something else is due to depreciated exchange, then it seems to me, since you cannot do that, that there is no reason for this Sub-section at all. Let us work out the effect of the duty, supposing that it were operative. The country with a bad exchange is penalised if it attempts to export goods to this country. What does it do? If it can get its goods to another country where no such duty is 2243 operating, and where the exchange is not depreciated, and if it can export its goods from that country to this country, then it will not have to pay duty on those goods. Therefore, it seems to me that the only effect of this duty will be that those countries whose exchanges are depreciated will send their goods, say, to America, where the exchange is against us, and those goods will he exported from America into this country, and no duty will be charged. Therefore, it would really be more logical of the Government, if they were attempting to deal with the exchanges at all, to put a tariff on goods imported from all those countries where the exchanges were against us instead of the countries where the exchanges were favourable. That is to say, it would really be more logical to put a tariff upon goods imported from America than on goods imported from Germany.
There is one practical example of what happens when you do that sort of thing. I believe there are countries which have tried this very plan of attempting to legislate against the effects of depreciated exchanges, and I believe in those cases precisely the effect which I have described has been produced, namely, that countries against whom this legislation is, aimed send their goods to countries where the exchange is unfavourable to the country which passes the legislation, and the goods get into the country without paying any duty, and, moreover, it merely increases the trade, so to speak, of the intermediary. For these three reasons: first of all, that it seems to me that this Sub-section will be inoperative; secondly, that, in so far as it is operative, its effect will be bad; and, thirdly, because, if it is operative, the effect will not be that which it is aimed to produce. I support the Amendment. I should like to refer to the arguments whereby this part of this legislation has been justified by the spokesmen of the Government. The Minister of Education had nothing to say about it except that there was an exchange problem, and it must be dealt with somehow. The Minister of Health said he could not contemplate thousands of men being thrown out of employment owing to collapsed exchanges. Nothing of the sort is happening. Even if this were an attempt to legislate intelligently for the future, I should not mind, but it seems to me that not only is it futile for 2244 the present Government, but it is futile for the future. The effect must be bad, and I do not think this House should be asked to pass a piece of legislation which I do not believe the President of the Board of Trade believes in himself.
Sir W. BARTON
The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) appealed for some expert on exchanges to get up and deal with the matter which he had unsuccessfully dealt with. If we had all the experts in London on this subject, I believe they would come very much to the same conclusion as he did in the end, because, at bottom, exchange between one country and another does not so much rest on currency as on the exchange of commodity for commodity. The whole question is one of the utmost difficulty to answer whether a low exchange is, in fact, an advantage to a country in exporting. I know it can be said that there is an external value to the currency, say, of Germany and an internal value, and the relation between those two things is constantly fluctuating. But we must remember that this same exchange which helps any country in its exporting, to an equal degree works against it in its importing, with the result that no country ever desires to have a low exchange. The Minister of Health, who took rather an active part in the Bill up to a certain stage, said that Germany was deliberately depreciating her exchange-—an ex parte statement of which he did not give us any proof—and since he made it I have been making such inquiry as I can to find whether, in fact, this is so. All the information I can get is that it is indeed contrary to the fact. Indeed, I think the Germans are far too scientific a nation, in trade as in all else, to resort to such a dangerous expedient in their national finance.
I look at the thing in this way. Exchange is not a cause at all; it is a kind of barometer indicating the economic condition at a particular time. Our interest is to lift the exchanges of the nations of Europe. That is undoubtedly the interest of this country as a great manufacturing nation. Again, the Minister of Health on one occasion in these Debates said that was what we desired, and that was our object. This legislation must, in point of fact, have quite a contrary effect. What I think must happen will be this. If you put on a tariff because of a depreciated 2245 exchange the effect would be further to depreciate it, and if your tariffs were to be beneficial at all you would have to increase it to meet that lowered exchange, and you would find yourself in one of those vicious circles which we have found affecting our economic life during these latter days, and from which we are so desirous of delivering ourselves. Surely we have learnt the interdependence of nations and how closely the economic life of one nation is dependent on another. I am quite sure that no man looking at Europe at present can believe that there is deliverance for any one nation unless we can uplift the whole, and this proposal, I think, has been rather rashly entertained. I find at present that business people who at first were inclined to legislation of this kind, as time passes, realise that it is impossible to tell on what ground cheapness arises. It may be greater efficiency, it many be mass production, it may be one of many things. How are you to say that it is lowered exchange? But the words my hon. Friend proposes to omit are not exclusively connected with this matter of exchange. There are one or two other words I should like to draw attention to. It says:At prices which, by reason of depreciation in the value in relation to sterling of the currency of the country in which the goods are manufactured, are below the prices at which similar goods can be profitably manufactured.Who is to say whether goods can be manufactured or not? It is a question which cannot be decided by the Board of Trade or by the Committee. You only realise what you can do by what you have done, and I defy any man to construe these words in such a way that it will be of any use in a court of law. This Clause, when it arises, will be one of the most troublesome things any committee of the Board of Trade can possibly be confronted with. Then it says, "profitably manufactured." What does "profitably" mean? Does it mean 5 per cent., 10 per cent., or 20 per cent., or what does it mean? These are words of an indefinite character, not at all suitable to be put into an Act of Parliament, and on those grounds and not because I am an expert in this matter, I think this Clause had better be omitted. But I want to make this appeal to my hon. Friend opposite. He has supported the Bill throughout because he feels that he and his friends have made pledges. Here 2246 is a matter which has arisen since these pledges were given. He can take it purely and simply on its merits, and although I think the Government have rather an idea of pushing through the Bill almost without the alteration of a comma, here is a very serious matter on which, I am sure, if he would make some concession he would greatly help not only the Government, but many of his friends opposite who are anxious to support the Government but who, I am sure, he will compel reluctantly to vote against him if he maintains this provision.
§ Mr. G. TERRELL
I am anxious to make good what I fear I failed to do on the Second Beading, and explain, perhaps in a little greater detail, exactly why a depreciated exchange helps a country with a low exchange to send its goods to this country and to undersell her own workmen. It is evident, from the speeches which have been made in support of the Amendment, that neither of the three Gentlemen who have spoken really understands anything of the subject at all. The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) said he could not put his finger on the spot and show why an article from Germany was cheaper, and that he visited the collection of samples of German goods, and, as far as he could gather, it was the middleman who made a huge profit, and the only reason he seemed to be able to understand was that the goods were produced in Germany under what he described as slave conditions. I do not think that is the cause at all. The cause is entirely what is known as exchange. Before the War the mark was the equivalent of the British shilling. To-day the mark, for all practical purposes, is the equivalent of the British penny. The skilled worker is paid 2s. an hour in this country. In Germany the skilled worker is paid 6 marks an hour. But when the product of 6 marks an hour is brought from Germany to England it represents labour in England at 6d. an hour in competition with our labour of 2s. an hour. If hon. Members had examined the lessons which were taught by that little collection of samples, they would have understood this and been absolutely satisfied with the evidence which was presented to them. The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street spoke about goods produced under slave 2247 conditions. Skilled labour at 6d. an hour in England would be considered slave conditions. The skilled worker who was only paid 6d. an hour would have a very rough time of it, and the lower grades of unskilled labour who would be paid proportionately less would be under a harder condition of life than any slave in any country under conditions of recent years. It must be clear to the Committee that when you have that form of competition you have to do something to meet it and to counteract it. There is very abundant evidence that the present rate of exchange is not the real value of the German mark, but an artificially created value for the purpose of Germany appearing before the Reparation Commission, and for making the best terms in connection with the heavy debt which Germany has incurred to practically the whole of mankind. Naturally Germany has not thought fit to show herself in her most prosperous condition. She has deliberately depreciated her exchange, with the result that we see the difference between internal and external value as between the mark in Germany and the mark out of Germany which you do not see as regards the goods of any other country. It is peculiar to Germany.
The hon. Member for Oldham (Sir W Barton) referred to the difference between the internal and the external value of the mark. It can be easily tested. Before the War the mark in England was equivalent to 1s. You cannot test it by a gold value to-day in England or in Germany because neither England nor Germany has any gold, but we can test it by food values, because both countries have to buy food. Before the War the mark was the equivalent of 1s. in this country. The cost of living in this country—I am giving the figures last December, but there has been a fractional alteration since then—had gone up two and a half times in cost last December, so that it took 2s. 6d. to buy food of the pre-War value of 1s. Try to buy that food with marks. The value of the mark in this country to-day is one penny, so that you would require 30 marks to buy food of the value of one mark before the War. Go to Germany with your mark. The, mark last December in Germany had depreciated about nine times. It took 9½ marks to buy the equivalent of one mark's worth of food before the War, 2248 so that measured in marks and measured in food you require in England 30 marks to buy one mark's worth of food compared with pre-War, while in Germany you only require 9½ marks to buy the value of one mark before the War, a difference of three to one. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] An hon. Member says "No," but if he will take the trouble to examine the statement which I have made he will see that it is absolutely the case, and that shows that there is a great difference between the external and internal value of the mark. One can only account for that by suggesting that that has been deliberately created. No other country has done it. You may get slight fractional differences which vary from month to month through the dealings of banks and merchants in currencies, but in regard to Germany you have a deliberately depreciated value between the internal and external value of the mark.
That brings us back to the point where we started, and that is that the conditions of labour in Germany are such that she can completely under-sell us in this country so far as concerns goods for which she is self-contained in her raw materials. The moment she has to import goods she is at an enormous disadvantage; but the difference between Germany and this country is that Germany is largely self contained, and she is able to obtain on most advantageous terms raw materials from countries where the exchange is more depreciated than her own, namely, Poland and countries that once formed part of the Austrian Empire. She has the advantage that she is largely self-contained as regards her food, and she is able to obtain a supply of surplus foods from these other countries. The conditions which, exist to-day as between Germany and this country are widely different. We cannot afford to allow our exchange to be depreciated. We have to import more than half our foodstuffs. It is the highest importance to us to maintain our exchange at the highest possible level, otherwise we pay through the nose for what we have to buy. Germany's advantageous position, on the other hand, help her in her manufactures and her exports where she is self-contained in her raw materials. That was abundantly illustrated in the collection of samples to which I have referred. One could see at a glance that where Ger- 2249 many was self-contained as regards raw materials she was able to produce goods at prices one-third our possible cost of production. That is due to the fact that her labour is 6d. an hour as against our labour of 2s. an hour.
§ Mr. TERRELL
If you reduce wages in this country to 6d. an hour you could compete, and compete well, but that is an absurd proposition to put forward. It is utterly unthinkable that our wages should be reduced to anything like that level. That is hardly the point with which we are attempting to deal in this Bill. This Bill is to provide some measure of compensation which will put the product of German labour, to some extent, on an equality with British labour, and the Sub-section, which it is proposed to leave out, is the essence of the Bill. It is of the utmost importance for labour in this country that these proposals should be put on the Statute Book. The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Captain Coote) referred to imports from Germany of manufactured goods during last year, and I think he gave the figure its £28,000,000. That £28,000,000 is the value in marks converted into sterling at the present rate of exchange. The real value of those imports should be taken at something in the neighbourhood of three times that figure. It is not really £28,000,000 worth of imports, but it is three times that figure—somewhere between £80,000,000 and £100,000,000. That is a heavy load of manufactured material put into this country, and it was one of the main causes of the great unemployment from which we were suffering when, unfortunately, the coal dispute came upon us. The excessive taxation was another cause. This Bill only deals with goods which come in through the depreciated currencies. If the Bill is fairly applied, and if the Government would accept some Amendments which I have down on the Paper, it will go a long way to cure the unemployment, which is the result of imports from Germany and other countries.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I appreciate the speech of the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. G. Terrell), because, at any rate, he does answer arguments, and does remain to listen to the case put 2250 against the Bill, in refreshing contrast to the empty Benches opposite. We have a right to complain of the little interest taken by the Committee when we are discussing the extremely complicated and difficult question of the exchanges. I agree with some of the remarks of the hon. Member with regard to the difference between the internal and external value of the exchanges. The Government do not seem to have considered that side of the question at all. I really think it has not. I wonder if it has struck the hon. and gallant Gentleman and his advisers that in a country where the rise in the cost of living is parallel with the fall in the exchange the manufacturer in that country has no advantage. For example, the French franc stands at 50 to the £ instead of 25. If the cost of living in France has doubled as the exchange has fallen the French manufacturer has no premium over the British manufacturer, because he has to pay his workmen more, unless he can depress their standard of living. Not only has he to pay his workmen more, but he has to pay more for everything he buys, and, therefore, he has to charge 50 francs instead of 25 francs in this country. It is where, on the other hand, the cost of living has not risen to the same extent as the exchange has dropped that the manufacturer has at first sight an advantage. That is the case in Germany. At first sight the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. G. Terrell) are fairly sound, but they are not arguments which commend themselves to the Government. They seem to think that because, for example, the French franc or the Belgian franc is down there is at once a great premium in favour of the Belgian or French manufacturer.
§ Sir P. LLOYD-GREAME
I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend has read what has been said on the subject.
§ Lieut.- Commander KENWORTHY
Except for an hour or two this afternoon when I was unavoidably absent I have had the privilege of listening to all his speeches on this subject, but I have never heard my hon. and gallant Friend deal with this particular matter, and if he will later on show where he has dealt with that subject, I shall be extremely obliged. I have another criticism. It is admitted by the hon. Member for Chippenham that 2251 the German manufacturer has to pay a much greater price for the articles he imports from abroad, and that therefore he is under some disadvantage. But, he says, Germany is so self-contained that it does not hit the German manufacturer very much. I wonder if our blockade had any effect on Germany at all. Were our efforts all wasted? It costs us many hundreds of millions and very great risks. Did it not matter whether cotton, rubber, oil, spelter and other things were prevented from going into Germany? Were they so self-contained that they could provide these things for themselves? We know perfectly well the thing is absurd. They are not self-contained, and during the War they were put to every sort of shift to try to make synthetic rubber and to do without copper for the driving bands of their shells and to get nitrates from the air, and so on. All these operations were tremendously expensive and altogether uneconomical. I suppose there are some cranks in this country who would like to grow cotton under glass because cotton is a key industry. I suppose it could be done, but it would be very expensive, and of course it would not pay. The same thing applies to the synthetic industries the Germans have developed. Everyone knows perfectly well that a North European country is dependent on other countries for certain tropical products, and Germany must import high-grade steel from Sweden and from Spain before she can compete with our steel manufacturers.
It is obvious that the German manufacturer is hit tremendously hard. Talk to any foreigner living in a country where the exchange is bad, to an Italian, to a Belgian, or to a Pole, and the great grievance he has, the great disquieting fact he has to face, is that his exchange is down and is doing harm to his country. I have never had an answer to this question. I would like to know if the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department can give it. I have asked the Minister of Health, who is the great expert the Government now brings in on these discussions. But he is unable to tell me. I wonder if the hon. and gallant Gentleman is in a position to do so. If we are suffering so much because of our favourable exchange, why do not the Government depress the exchange and give manufacturers in this country the advantage of 2252 a low exchange? You could easily do it. All you have to do is to set the printing presses to work, treble the wages of all the officials and all the Government employés, sailors, soldiers, police, give the unemployed £5 a week instead of 15s. You would very soon injure the credit of this country and depress the exchange. In fact, we are doing it just now. Our exchange is going down owing to various causes, but you could hasten the process, and make the English shilling worth Id. abroad.
If there is such an advantage in a depreciated exchange to the German, Polish, and Austrian manufacturer, if we really believe in that argument, we could easily put our manufacturers on a level with them, and then, of course, there would be no more unemployment, and we should be able to undercut our rivals in the foreign markets. But of course it is obvious, directly the proposition is broached, that this is ridiculous, and will not bear a moment's examination. I admit that in Germany the cost of living has not risen parallel with the fall in the exchange, and to that extent Germany has a slight advantage. The reason is that the German people were so injured by the blockade and by the War' that their standard of life was reduced to a very low level, and a slight improvement to-day pleases and satisfies them. Therefore the German working man has not demanded increases in wages corresponding to the fall in the German exchange. The German people have been cowed and beaten by the blockade and by the continued hostilities that they have not recovered anything like their pre-War standard of living. In our country the standard of living has gone up in consequence of the War; in Germany they have recovered about two-thirds, and they are rather pleased, and they are working very hard, and are very satisfied. For the moment Germany has the stimulus of defeat, while we have the disadvantage of the flush of victory, but presently that matter will adjust itself. The German is slowly recovering his standard of life, and the English people, all classes, are coming to the conclusion the we have got to be thrifty and hard working in the future. There has got to be a lower standard of life, certainly, in the upper classes in the lean years that are ahead. At the same time, there is nobody who will get up in this country and say he wishes to depress the standard of life of our working classes 2253 to the standard of the German working man. Therefore, I think, the remedy is obvious. We must enable the Germans to get on their feet again. Then their exchange will adjust itself, and this awful spectre of German competition which has haunted hon. Members below the Gangway for the last 15 or 20 years will, I hope, be finally removed. In the meantime, this ridiculous proposal of the Government will only retard that process of recovery, and as long as we retard that process we will suffer here in this country.
§ Mr. PENNEFATHER
During the course of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. G. Terrell) he mentioned that in Germany wages were 6 marks an hour, and he said that that meant, translated at the present rate of exchange, 6d. an hour in this country. When he made that statement a number of my hon. Friends said, "No, no!" I would like to ask them seriously do they mean to say that 6 marks in Germany, translated at 240, marks to the £, do not mean 6d. in this country?
§ Mr. PENNEFATHER
I said 6 marks in Germany, if my hon. and gallant Friend would do me the honour of listening. Translated at 240 to the £, that is worth 6d. in this country.
§ Mr. PENNEFATHER
I want to pin down hon. Members to this, that 6 marks an hour in Germany is equal to 6d. an hour in this country. There is the other point of reducing the wages of the working men in this country to 6d. an hour. The object of this Bill is to prevent that. The object of this very Clause that my hon. Friends are opposing is to prevent that, and if the hon. Gentlemen who are moving, seconding, and supporting this Amendment have their way, the effect will be to bring into this country more and more goods manufactured at the rate in our currency of 6d. an hour to compete with the wages of our working men here. I really believe that some of my 2254 hon. Friends do not appreciate what they are doing. I would ask them if they are prepared to go down to their working class constituencies, and put the proposition to them in that way. I am preaching good, sound Free Trade doctrines. I will tell the Committee why. A few years ago at a large Free Trade banquet in the City of London one of the principal speakers made a very wise remark. He said:We speak of exporting commodities. What do we mean? When we speak of exporting commodities we really mean that we are exoprting our labour. The more highly finished the commodities the more labour we export, and that is why we, are anxious to export our commodities, and the more highly finished the better.If that is true of our exports to other countries it is equally true of their exports to us which become imports, and when you import these commodities you import labour and you are importing labour at 6d. an hour. This Clause is designed to reduce that. How my hon. Friends support an Amendment to cut out a provision which is protecting the working-class constituents, and how at the same time they call themselves representatives of the people, I cannot understand. Is it that we are still party politicians? I say, No! Away with all that. Let us be business men and consider the interests of our own workers and let us not be carried away by these theories. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Oldham (Sir W. Barton) is not here, because I would like to put a question to him. Suppose this Bill is not passed or that my hon. Friends have their way and delete this particular Clause in regard to depreciated exchanges, it would enable my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham to export yarn from his mill in Oldham to Germany, have it there converted into cloth, finished and printed, and brought back to this country. I have had proposals put before me months ago for doing something of that kind for British capital to manufacture goods only to the rawest point and then to send those goods to a country like Germany or Poland and have them finished there and brought back to this country. There is no Member who contra diets what I say.
If this Bill be not passed, and that is done to any extent in this country, it will mean taking advantage of depreciated exchanges to take labour and wages away from our workers in this country, and put 2255 those wages into the pockets of the workmen in other countries, and that is supported by men who claim to represent our working classes. The hon. and gallant Member for Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) said that he could not understand why any country should wish to maintain a depreciated exchange. It is very simple. The fact is that the great bugbear of all the great manufacturers and combines in Germany, Poland, and Italy is that the rate of exchange should improve. That is very natural. Once a country has by various means arrived at a depreciated currency, if that country has large natural resources and if it has built up a certain amount of stability of commerce on that basis, it becomes a perfect bugbear to the people of that country that the exchange should suddenly rise, because the effect of a sudden improvement in the exchange is that their competitors would be able to buy cheaper raw material and able to sell at a price which would leave the people who hold stocks with the certainty of loss. Therefore it is reasonable to suppose that in a country like Germany, which has the mark at its present depreciated level, that may be quite a reasonable policy.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Captain Coote) said truly that the imports into this country from Germany in 1920 were only £28,000,000. The hon. Member for Chippenham pointed out the real fallacy of that argument in relation to the exchange. May I point out that during 1920 Germany had not got into her manufacturing stride, and had not yet satisfied the needs of her own people, but it is absurd to argue because Germany only sent £28,000,000 worth of goods in 1920 that she may not, unless we pass a Bill like this, send us a great deal more in 1921 and 1922 or 1923. We are not now legislating for the past. We are taking precautions for the years to come, and therefore an argument of that kind is of no avail. Another point made by my hon. and gallant Friend was, why should not a manufacturer, say, in Germany, send his goods to another country, and then those goods could be brought from that country to this country, thereby defeating the intentions of this Bill? The more I listen to speeches made against this Bill the more convinced I am that a great many hon. 2256 Members have not read it. Anybody who will take the trouble to read it will see that precautions are taken against that and that the Committee can take steps to defeat anything of the kind. I have no doubt that the actual modus operandi will be by means of Consular certificates.
When I hear hon. Members like the hon. and gallant Member for Hull say that they have studied this Bill, and listened to every speech on it, I think that they hardly do themselves justice. I think that there would be more excuse for them if they admitted frankly that they had not grasped it, because they all talk at large as if every import into this country from every country where the exchange was depreciated would be subject to the duty, but if they read the Bill they will see that that is not in the Bill. The Bill merely says that if a case is made out that by reason of the depreciated exchange employment in some industry is being seriously affected, then in that case only this duty shall be imposed. To hear the speeches of hon. Members you would think that everything except food and drink would be subject to this tax. That is not so. A case has to be made out. Do my hon. Friends who represent labour really say if unemployment in an industry is proved before a committee to have resulted from the depreciated exchange, "Never mind, let the unemployment go on. We will not lift a finger to stop it." Is that the story with which they will go to their platforms and meet their constituents? No. I do believe that if our Friends on the Labour Benches, and the Mover and Seconder and supporter of this Amendment, give the matter a little consideration in that light they will see that they are moving to delete something which aims at reducing unemployment and preventing a drastic cut in wages, and that they will withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. MYERS
I do not wish to follow the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Terrell) in his somewhat confusing analysis of the relative value of the mark. In my judgment, many of the things ha put forward were fallacious. I will take up one point, and try to state it in rather a simpler form. We have been told that the importation of goods into this country is the importation of so much labour. With that suggestion I entirely agree. It must operate also the other way round, 2257 and any goods that we export from this country must, in the main, be an exportation of labour. When the mark represented one shilling of English money and we imported an article from Germany at the price of 10 marks, it required the equivalent in English money of half a sovereign, but, if owing to the depreciation in exchange or any other factor, that same article is imported into this country at an equivalent of 5s. in English value, the worker in this country has to expend only 5s. worth of labour to get the article, though he had originally to expend 10s. worth of labour. All the way round, whatever the causes are, the British worker and the British consumer get the advantage of the cheapness of the article when it lands in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "He loses his labour."] It is not a question of losing his labour. He gets a commodity for the expenditure of half the labour that was necessary before.
We were also informed that if the worker in this country would accept a reduction in wages to 6d. an hour, a solution or a contribution towards a solution of the problem might be found in that direction. That is another start on a vicious circle. Let us suppose that that condition prevailed. The manufacturers and employers in this country would get their commodities produced more cheaply and they would be able to find a market for those goods. But there would be some return in commodities for the goods so sold. Who is going to consume those commodities? Not the British labour that is working at 6d. an hour. The higher the wages of the British worker the greater his consuming capacity. If the British worker worked for nothing or at a very small wage, and played into the hands of the producer, who would sell his goods in the neutral markets of the world, he would find himself handicapped very quickly by depression in trade. The present depression in trade is a result of the operation of that principle. It is due to the fact, not that it is difficult to produce goods at a low level, but that it is difficult to find consumers.
This Clause is loose in two or three places. It contains quite a number of contradictions. It fails to distinguish between the factors that make for cheapness. In one place it might be depreciated exchange and in other circum- 2258 stances other factors might contribute to that end. The Clause specifies manufactured goods. If this is such an exceedingly good thing for manufactured goods, why not include all sorts of commodities? If the imposing of this tax is to bring such great advantages to the country, why do we not embrace every article that comes into the country? The Clause is loose in another direction. It fails to take into account any variations in the rate of exchange in different countries. The Clause endeavours to impose a tax of one-third of the value upon articles which come into this country at a cheap rate due to depreciated exchanges. It has already been stated that the collapse of the exchanges is greater in one country than in another. But the tax is one-third of the Value of the goods. Obviously we are going to impose taxation which will operate inequitably as between one country and another. In industry, in commerce, and in the diplomatic world we shall be perpetuating conflict when we ought to be turning our attention to suffering and healing.
I want to make a general proposition, and I invite a reply from those people who believe in protectionist duties. The more goods that come into this country and the greater the volume of and the cheaper those goods, the better it is for this country. I invite a protectionist to repudiate that argument. Whether because of depreciated exchange or any fact whatever, the cheaper the goods and the greater the volume of goods the better. The great monopolists do not think that way. We have had instances innumerable where monopolists have restricted production because a plentiful supply interfered with profits.
§ Mr. MYERS
We need not enter on that argument. I refer to monopolies as currently understood. When one particular concern corners the production and distribution of an article it comes within the interpretation of what is recognised as a monopoly. If we are seeking to secure a plentiful supply of commodities for the people, the more we get of those commodities and the cheaper they are the better it is for the country as a whole. It may be here and there a partial disadvantage. I will concede the point to the Protectionists that they will be able to 2259 put their fingers upon a particular industry which is adversely influenced by the importation of a particular commodity at a cheap rate. Taking industry as a whole, if we had to exclude importation on that account, the general export trade of the country would suffer to a like degree. When we balance the operation of the disadvantages to a particular trade with the advantages to the whole export trade of the country, all the weight is on the side of the benefits which go to the export trade in general, and they must ultimately be to the advantage of the particular isolated trade which was affected in the first instance. Depreciated exchanges, as is submitted by this Clause, may be one factor in bringing cheap goods into this country and another factor may be underpaid labour and bad conditions of employment abroad. There is a remedy for both these, but that remedy is not inside this Bill. If labour conditions, such as we have been told prevail in India, are competing unfairly with the cotton trade in this country, the obvious move is in the directions of applying some such machinery as is provided by the Washington Convention and raising the standard of labour conditions in different part of the world. If the importation of these goods is due to the fact that exchanges have depreciated, experts have pointed out to us a way of dealing with this question. A Commission, which sat some time ago, composed of bankers and financial experts, indicated very definitely how we ought to tackle the exchanges problem in order to make for greater stability.
One thing is certain: if we impose a tax upon imports coming from those countries where the exchange is depreciated and prevent commodities coming from those countries we injure our export trade. The collapsed exchanges can only be restored by the expansion of trade and the extension of productive activity in this country. The restrictions which this Bill and similar proposals seek to impose narrow down the sphere of operations and restricts the volume and the flow of trade, and plays into the hands of certain sections of the community—those monopolies that I have spoken of—and assists them to maintain their prices and profits by reason of the limited output of the commodities in which they deal. What we have got to do, if we 2260 desire to stabilise the exchanges, is to open out the activities of this country rather than restrict productive activity. We have no right by restrictive methods to encourage high profits arising from the troubles of other people. We have to assist that tendency in trade and commerce which will give returns in profit upon efficiency and effective business organisation. This Bill is one more artificial attempt to prop up the monopolies of this country and penalise the consuming public. A depreciated exchange injures the country in which it prevails, but if, as a result of that, goods are sent cheaply to other countries, then it operates to the advantage of those other countries. When we want to balance things we have to encourage the freer flow of trade and the more abundant production of commodities, both in this and other countries, and not endeavour to proceed by the artificial methods proposed in this Bill.
§ Mr. T. A. LEWIS
When this Bill was before the House on Second Reading I endeavoured to make it clear that I supported it because I had given two pledges to my constituents at the last General Election. One was to support the proposal dealing with key industries, and the second was to support the proposal dealing with restrictions in the matter of dumping. Here we come upon a subject which stands on a different footing from either of those two matters. I made no reference at all in my election address or in my speeches to any proposals intended to deal with the question of collapsed exchanges. Therefore I cannot see my way clear to opposing the Amendment which is now before the Committee. My reasons may be stated very briefly. If the object of these proposals is to prevent these goods coming in from what I may term enemy countries at a very cheap cost owing to the condition of the exchanges, I am afraid a 33⅓ per cent. duty will not achieve that object. As has been mentioned earlier in this Debate, 300 per cent. or 400 per cent. is much more likely to be necessary to keep out cheap goods such as those likely to come in, from Germany, for instance. In the second place, if these proposals are intended to deal with the wider, larger, and more fundamental question of the stabilisation of exchanges, then this is the wrong way to set about the matter. The problem of exchanges is one of the most baffling ever brought before 2261 the Parliament of any country, but there is one point upon which we are all unanimous. They will never be rectified except by a free and copious flow of trade between one country and another. It seems to me by putting on a duty of any kind you will restrict that flow of trade and do something which must militate against the complete restoration of the pre-War conditions of exchange. The question of the protection of particular key industries is not for us a fiscal question at all. We are dealing with the question of key industries from the standpoint of the security of this country. Arguments which have been applied in support of this proposal do not really obtain to the same degree as they did in regard to the key industries.
Take, again, the question of dumping. I believe that in this House, variegated as it is in its opinions and views, there is no division at all as to what I might call the political and commercial immorality of dumping, and I think we are all prepared to do anything reasonable to prevent the dumping of goods in the country to flood our markets with a view to destroy some of our industries. The questions of key industries and dumping stand apart and on a different footing from the question we are now dealing with. I feel that in travelling along this road we are resuscitating old controversies. Nobody could sit in the Chamber for the last three-quarters of an hour without becoming conscious of the fact that he has been travelling back to pre-War days. Many of the speeches which have been made, and I would almost say most of the arguments which have been used, have had a good old pre-War ring about them. We were back again in the whirling days of the fiscal controversies, and if there is one fate I want to avoid it is to go back to those days and controversies. I am sure that the huge majority of the people of this country do not at present want to revive that controversy, at any rate in its old shape and form and violence, and as far as I can see, as we proceed to discuss this particular proposal, we cannot keep away from the old paths that we used to tread so merrily and so noisily at that time, because therefore these proposals are an attempt to prevent unemployment and to help employment in this country by protective tariffs, I am afraid I cannot support them. I have always disbelieved in that method 2262 of the promotion of employment. Also because I think it is bound to fail as an attempt to stabilise exchanges on any appreciable scale at all, I am compelled to vote against it.
§ Mr. WISE
I suppose the problem of exchange is one of the most difficult that we have to deal with after the War, and it is difficult because so few people really deal in exchange and understand its exact significance. Exchange is simply supply and demand. The hon. Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Myers) referred to a monopoly, but I would like to give him an instance of what really is a monopoly at the present time. I refer to the exchange between London and New York. The London-New York Exchange went to $4 quite recently and fell back to $3.725. It fell back because that exchange is not a London-New York exchange at present: it is a European-New York exchange at present. I had a question down to-day to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if any part of the reparation payment made by Germany on the 31st May was deposited in the United States of America, and, if so, what was the amount and what was the bank. The reply was:My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is informed by the British delegates to the Reparation Committee that the amount received in dollars from the German Government un to the 31st May was 35,733,000 dollars, and since that date the dollar receipts amount to a further 12,000,000 dollars, and those sums were deposited with the Federal Reserve Bank, New York, to the account of the Reparation Committee.The purchase of those dollars practically means that any commodities that we had to buy from New York would cost this country more. That is a monopoly, and I could give other instances in exchange of a monopoly, but they are more or less similar to the European-New York dollar exchange. The hon. Member for Spen Valley stated that there were not purchasers for our goods. I contend that there are purchasers for our goods if we have credit, and it is only through credit and the stabilisation of the exchange that you can get the confidence to restore that equilibrium of exchange which is so necessary to give the confidence between the purchaser and the seller of the commodity.
§ Mr. WISE
I agree there, but I was dealing with what the hon. Gentleman said a little later in his speech. I understood him to say what I have stated. With regard to Germany and the possible appreciation of their currency, Germany is in a worse position to-day than at the time since the Armistice. It is because her Budget does not balance, and she only balances that Budget with paper currency, and the more paper currency you put out the worse is your exchange and the worse becomes the mark. It is not a case of labour being employed for sixpence. It is because the Budget does not balance and the paper currency of Germany has gone up to 72 milliard paper marks. You may take other countries such as Poland. Poland is in a worse state even than Germany. You cannot get that currency right, and it is owing to this great depreciation of paper currency and European countries not balancing their Budgets that I support this paragraph (b), because I feel it protects our workmen and it means fair or fairer competition in this way than in any other.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I have had the honour of having one or two strenuous encounters with the Minister of Health on this question of collapsed exchanges, and I have always approached these encounters with very great hesitation, because he is undoubtedly an authority on these questions, and it would be rash on my part to pit my very slight experience against the great weight of his, but I think we are entitled to ask the Government to-night whether, in all the circumstances, and looking to the various Debates we have had on this subject, they really intend to proceed with this hopeless and useless part of their Bill. I know at once that there is an apparent weakness on our side of the House when we are confronted with an argument of the following kind. The Government say that employment in this country is suffering because of the introduction of goods at very low prices, in part, at least, due to the collapsed exchanges; and then they ask us, in the second place, whether we are prepared to sit down and wait for the natural operation of things in recovery. Their third point is, Do you not agree that 2264 it would be far better to introduce some device of almost any kind, if it has any hope of success at all, in order to deal with this state of affairs? An argument of that kind, when we have such a serious state of unemployment as we have, is undoubtedly very impressive, and I would be prepared to support the Government in this proposal if there was the slightest chance of this particular Clause in the Bill doing anything to help unemployment at the present time.
The more we argue, the more we investigate this proposal, the clearer does it become that so far from helping unemployment, it is going to aggravate the disease. Let us be perfectly fair in our view on this question of collapsed1 exchanges. The right hon. Gentleman opposite would be the very last to deny the weight and authority of the Cunliffe Committee, to which reference has been made. It is no reply at all to suggest that the Cunliffe Committee investigated the matter at a time when the situation was different from to-day, because, in point of fact, the Cunliffe Committee issued its final report on 3rd December, 1919, when the situation was very difficult, when we were more than a year from the Armistice, and when many of the problems we are now discussing came under review. What did they suggest as a remedy for the collapsed exchanges?
First of all, they directed attention to the importance of sound currencies within each country. I am going to ask any hon. Member of the Committee to-night what this proposal of the Government will do to improve the currency within any country in Europe? How do we improve a currency? By giving the country a fair chance to conduct its industry and commerce, and to get it out of the artificial conditions of war obligations, and burdens and debt, and everything like that. Yet here is a proposal which is to be a restriction on trade, and is intended to be a restriction on trade, and must raise prices, and to that extent compels the Government of these countries not to reduce, but, I should say, actually to increase currency by impeding normal recovery. So that actually there is no remedy for one of the fundamentals of the collapsed exchanges, namely, a sound currency within each country; it is not to be found within the proposals of this Bill.
2265 In the second place, the Cunliffe Committee went on to suggest that a very great deal could be accomplished by the cessation of Government borrowing, and also by the greatest public and private economy. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly frank and candid in the reply which he made in a previous Debate. He said that undeniably the tendency of this must be to raise prices. He said that quite frankly. Here is the Cunliffe Committee laying down on the one side, with all the great weight of expert knowledge, the need of public and private economy which cannot be helped by raising prices, and on the other hand the Bill declaring that its object is to raise those prices! On that ground alone this part of the Bill stands absolutely condemned.
I am going to ask Members of the Committee to consider one or two questions from a rather different aspect which perhaps is even more important than some of the questions which so far I have tried to discuss. I want to ask the Government again to-night how they can reconcile this Bill with the Reparation policy? On that point a very great deal has been made of the state of affairs in Germany. No doubt there are collapsed exchanges elsewhere. But the right hon. Gentleman himself, in his previous replies, spoke of Germany manufacturing paper currency and depreciating the exchange, and all the rest of it. I do not think it will be seriously disputed that the real object at the back of the minds of the Government in this particular portion of the Bill is Germany. No doubt other countries so far—but Germany forms the bulk of the problem in this respect. It so happens that it is from Germany that we are quite properly expecting very large reparation. The Government directs attention first of all to the depressed state of labour in Germany at the present time. It sees that there there are millions of people working under arduous conditions, and turning out commodities the prices of which we cannot compete against in this country. I think there is something unreal and wrong in that argument, because we must remember, first of all, that Germany is a country which, while deserving to suffer heavily, lies under tremendous penalties and burdens at the present time which means, of course, that these have to be borne in a very large measure 2266 by the millions of the working population. That is a temporary state of affairs. There can be very little doubt recovery will be found in the records of the recent industrial conditions in Germany, and even now is being found in industrial Germany that will go far to remove at least part of the argument on which the Government have founded this portion of their Bill.
Take the other case—the main case of the reparation itself. I do not for a moment suggest that I am in any way an expert in this matter, but at least we have got the reparation fixed, and it falls into two portions. One portion is £2,500,000,000. The payment of this has to be made over a period of 37 years. There is another contingent portion of about £4,000,000,000. Excluding altogether the second portion and taking the first, we must remember that part of it falls to be paid under a system of 26 per cent. of German exports. If this Bill is to succeed the goods must be excluded from this country. Germany must be prevented from exporting these goods, and to that extent this Bill operates directly against reparation by Germany. There is not the slightest doubt about that. It is being argued on both sides in Germany, and it has been canvassed and debated by perfectly impartial people in this country. I have no respect for Germany's conduct during the War, but I am going to say this, however unpopular it may be tonight, having fixed our reparation from Germany, having embarked upon a system of payment—which may be right or wrong—your next duty is to give Germany a fair chance to pay that money. That is, I think, a reasonable and sound proposition.
What is Germany's position in this matter? Take the state of affairs in 1913. I think I am correct in saying that in that year Germany had an adverse balance in trade. She safeguarded her position so far by her invisible exports, like the invisible exports, the shipping and other services, of this country. That form of her enterprise has disappeared with her mercantile marine. To that extent she is weaker. In the second place, her territory, and part of the most valuable of her territory, has been taken from her. There again you have an aggravation of Germany's internal burden, which I think this country must keep in mind in considering problems of the nature we are discussing. 2267 These are very substantial handicaps in the payment of reparation by Germany, and these go very, very far indeed to make us look carefully at any proposals, under the guise of helping collapsed exchanges, which are going to penalise the exports of the German people. I feel quite sure that these arguments will command some reply from the Government on this occasion. Let us, however, look very briefly, and in conclusion, at the other part of the German reparation case and view this problem of exports and collapsed exchanges in that way. The payment of the other portion of £4,500,000,000, or whatever it may be, depends very largely on a test. That is the test of Germany's economic recovery. The test is to be taken by the 26 per cent. of Germany's exports, which the Government presumably will view over the period of years that it is to be in operation, and on the record of which they and other countries will see whether Germany will be in a position to pay the far greater part of the reparation to which I have referred. Here is a Bill for dealing with collapsed exchanges which stops the exports of that country. If the Bill is succeeding it must have that result.
There is not the slightest doubt that it cute across the immediate policy of reparation economically; in the second place, it cuts across the contingent part based on the record of 26 per cent. of the exports which Germany will pay from time to time during the 37 years. The right hon. Gentleman in one of his replies spoke of the manufacture of a paper currency, as if any country in its senses would go on manufacturing a paper currency unless it was driven to it. The only effect of rapid increase of paper currency is to drive up prices in Germany and spoil her chances of industrial, recovery. My right hon. Friend will know that according to the speeches of the German Chancellor and others the Germans are making desperate efforts to work back to a sound system of finance in Germany, and I think it is bad business for us to do anything in trade which is going to hinder that effort on her part to recover. If the Government press this Bill we shall have to vote against it, but at least let the Government take out this mischief of the collapsed exchanges, which is false to the Cunliffe Report and the policy of repara- 2268 tion, and which is opposed to a return of that free flow of European trade upon which our common recovery depends.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Alfred Mond)
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken commenced by saying that he usually hesitated to take part in these Debates, but I see no reason why he should hesitate on this subject, because he has put certain aspects of this question before us with a moderation and lucidity which we all acknowledge, and I shall endeavour to reply to his arguments. What strikes me, in all the discussions which have taken place on this Section, has always been that there is a great deal of common ground on both sides on general principles. Hon. Members, who criticise this part of the Bill. never seem to direct themselves either to the Bill itself or to the purpose for which it is being enacted. We have had very interesting discussions on the subject of exchanges, and we have had repeated certain elementary axioms that we want to stabilise exchanges and bring the balance of trade to a more normal position. No one seems to have addressed himself to what induced Germany to take the steps they have done to meet the abnormal circumstances which exist, and which will continue, according to the best financial advice, for a considerable number of years. That is the real problem.
What are you going to do during these abnormal circumstances? I look at this question from that point of view. I would lay down the general doctrine that the manufacturers and workmen of this country cannot be expected by the consumers to carry on their industries with any help or assistance from the State under normal conditions, and they cannot ask for anything to be done for them under ordinary conditions of trade. On the other hand, I would ask, is it fair, reasonable or wise to invite either manufacturers or workmen in this country engaged in an effective industry either to carry on the impossible, or to continue a hopeless struggle of competition which they cannot meet, not because of inefficiency or want of management or want of industry or because of rates of wages, but because of exchange conditions such as never before existed and which cannot possibly be met by them. That is a question with which hon. Members ought to deal. If they say, "Oh, we do not mind 2269 a certain number of industries going out of existence," I say that is not our policy. This is a very serious question, and but for that fact it would not be worth the time we are spending upon it. You may say that some of these industries would disappear and that the workmen engaged in such industries would find employment in other channels.
The hon. Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Myers) pointed out that although you may lose in one direction you may gain by your exports in another, but I question whether you should extinguish industries in this country even to benefit your exports. That is a question to which we ought to have some reply, but we have not up to the present got it. I am very familiar with all the old arguments of the fiscal controversy which I have used hundreds of times and from which I do not depart to-day. We are now dealing with special circumstances. The question we have to consider is whether the special circumstances do or do not deserve special treatment. I admit frankly that if you give time enough the exchanges may improve, but what is to happen to the patient while this is going on? That question is not answered by general arguments, by general phraseology, or a sudden discovery of differences in regard to internal and external exchanges.
The hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) has raised a very good argument on the question of the reparation policy, but that is the policy of the Allies, and not of the Government. The question of the indemnity was laid down at Versailles, and therefore it is not one Government, but the Allies generally, who laid down that policy. The hon. Member says that Germany must export her manufactures in order to pay her reparation liabilities, but it does not follow that we should receive all the German goods—some of which should go to our Allies—to the detriment of our industry. America and other countries are rearranging their tariffs, and is it to be contended that we are to be the only country which is to receive an unrestricted supply of German goods? I would point out further that it always seems to be assumed in these controversies that if Germany had to pay no reparation she would not export. What an extraordinary idea! Of course Germany will export just as much as she possibly can, and if the Allies took no reparation the only difficulty would be 2270 that Germany would be likely to become more powerful than themselves. I am therefore left cold by the idea that the reparation policy of the Government is producing all those evil effects. The volume of the German export trade is limited by her maximum capacity to manufacture and sell, and from all the information I have received from people who have recently been in Germany I gather that that country is doing an exceedingly good trade, and that in Germany there is a much smaller number of men unemployed than we have here. No doubt their wages are lower and their standard of living is lower. If we like to live on substitutes in this country, if we like to lower our standard of living enormously, we can also increase our exports considerably. In the big hotels in Germany they are still using paper napkins and tablecloths. The German people are also using substitutes for leather. I hope we shall never come down to their standard of living. It would be a terrible thing if we who won the War were to be pushed down to the same level as the people who have lost it.
The people in this country have suffered much, but the reparation policy of the Government is not responsible for that. This Bill is an attempt to divert a catastrophe. That is the whole object of it. I have not claimed, and it has never been claimed, that the proposed duty is so great as to prevent all importation. What it attempts to do and what it probably will do will be to ease the situation during the period while the exchanges are becoming stabilised. The object is to try and flatten out the curve. We have felt that we ought to try and keep going industries which are threatened by this enormous flood of imports, and if we do not succeed in doing that the Bill will be useless. After all, hon. Members can only prophesy what will be the result. They cannot say for certain. The Bill has not yet been tried. It is not yet in operation. It does not seem to be clearly understood by some of its critics. The hon. Member for Spen Valley talked about monopolies and profiteering under this Bill. But can any one prove that by reason of the depreciation in the exchange goods are going to be produced in Germany at prices at which they cannot be profitably manufactured in the United Kingdom. It seems to be suggested that if we cannot manufacture at profiteering 2271 prices we cannot manufacture at a profit at all. But only in cases where our industries are seriously affected will this Bill become operative.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
The right hon. Gentleman is overlooking the words "or likely to be seriously affected." There is our difficulty.
§ Sir A. MOND
It will not be for the Board of Trade to decide; it will be for this House to do that. I am endeavouring to answer the suggestion that this Bill would establish monopolies and encourage profiteering.
§ Sir A. MOND
I should define it as reasonable prices, which would make people very reluctant to shut down their established works. Most people, I imagine, are willing to carry on established works at practically the overhead charges. Of course, they expect to make some profit.
§ Sir A. MOND
We cannot carry on a discussion like that. It is a serious subject. It must not be assumed that everybody is going to be entirely unreasonable. What would be said if someone came forward and asked to have the duty put on in order that he might make 100 per cent. profit? Nobody in this country would venture to appear before a body of his fellow-countrymen with a proposal of that kind. This Bill is really a protection against extreme cases. If the danger does not arise so much the better; but if it does arise we ought to have in our hand a weapon to deal with it. Unless we have that weapon it may be too late. It has been stated that Germany deliberately appreciated her paper currency in order to foster her export trade. What I say is that the German Government, instead of imposing taxation and endeavouring to get her budget to balance, which she ought to have done long ago, has adopted the opposite course, and I have been informed by financiers of considerable experience in the City, who have been in contact with a large German bank, that the German policy has been to foster her export trade by giving bounties, discriminating 2272 between her internal and external trade. That economic theory may operate for a time. It will not operate for ever. The German manufacturer has been operating, not on the difference between the German exchange and our exchange, but on the difference between the German mark inside Germany and the German mark outside Germany. I think he is now beginning to realise that that policy is a suicidal one. The hon. Member referred to the Cunliffe Committee. The Committee estimated that the exchanges would be practically almost stable to-day. We have had three years in which we have been patiently waiting for the exchanges to improve. We have had three years in which we have stood by and done nothing, listening to the experts, who have told us that if we would only leave things alone they would get better. Unfortunately, they have not got better, but that is not through our fault.
§ Sir A. MOND
No, really. It is not due to our foreign policy that Czechoslovakia and Poland, who have never bought any goods of us, are in a bad state now. That is not due to unemployment, and the hon. and gallant Member must drop that argument. There is a great slump in America, and 4,0000,000 men are unemployed there to-day. That is in a country where they have no Imperial policy and no Reparations policy, or anything of that kind. There is a much larger cause at work. The fall in purchasing power since the War has been very much greater than was expected, and the recovery has been much slower. It will remain slow for many years to come, in the view of a number of people best able to judge.
§ Sir A. MOND
Perhaps he did. We have all had hopes and expectations for a quicker recovery. There is not a single business man in this country or out of it who has not been taken aback by the depression and the slump. Even the wisest and most experienced scarcely know how things are going to turn out. Naturally, the Prime Minister takes his advice on these subjects from people who think they know. The hon. Member does not suggest that the Prime Minister could be wiser on the question of trade 2273 than the whole commercial element of the world. He can only take the advice given him at the time, and the current opinion at the time.
There is another point I would like to put to the hon. Member who spoke last. He talked about the Germans exporting goods. It is also a question of what kind of goods the Germans export. The Bill deals with manufactured goods, but there are many other kinds of goods, which we may perhaps have from Germany, not affected by this measure, which would influence the German exchange. There is potash, timber and sugar, which Germany used to export to us, which are not covered by this thing at all.
If the right hon. Gentleman will look, he will see that it applies to all articles except food or drink.
§ Sir A. MOND
It saysmanufactured in a country outside the United Kingdom.Really, the hon. and gallant Gentleman ought to read the Bill. Therefore there are these other things they can export. I say that to the hon. Member, because I do not disagree with some of the arguments he advanced. I do not disagree with the idea that Germany should have a fair chance of recovering herself, but I entirely disagree that Germany should be allowed to recover herself entirely at our expense, or at the expense of the industries of this country. The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. T. A. Lewis) said he did not object to protection against dumping, but he objected to these provisions in regard to collapsed exchanges. If you dump under a collapsed exchange or under paragraph (a), the effect is the same, only the dumping under the collapsed exchanges is rather worse. Would any hon. Member get up and say that if the Germans put an export bounty of thousands of marks per ton on steel exported to this country, which would cause our steel works to close, that he would not want to stop that? That is what is going to happen.
§ Sir A. MOND
The hon. Member for Pontypridd did not object to key industries, but secondary industries in their way are more important than key industries. If this country had to deal with the question of defence when in that position it would be helpless. Imagine Great Britain unable to turn out a single shell or gun or armour plate. We have people who still complain in this country that there is no need to have that. We are told it does not matter about iron, it can all go, as far as they are concerned.
§ Sir A. MOND
We have to deal with one thing at a time. I do not think the country or hon. Members would take this view if they really visualised that state of things. It is only because they get their minds a little bit fogged with exchange terms.
§ Sir A. MOND
I never had to deal with a situation of this kind before. We have never had a position in this country in which any one of our great stable, industries was threatened with being driven out of existence.
§ Sir A. MOND
I do not care what anybody used to say; we have to deal with this question now. For anyone to say that he is prepared to support—[Interruption]—I must really ask hon. Members not to interrupt, because it is really difficult to carry on any connected speech under such circumstances.
§ Sir A. MOND
I do not say that. We have to deal with what is a bounty fed importation from other countries, and some steps must be taken in order to equalise conditions and keep our industries in existence until more normal relations exist. I should have thought such a proposal would have met with no opposition from any part of the Committee. It offends against no principle. It is laying down no permanent change of fiscal policy. 2275 It is dealing with an extraordinary situation in a manner which may not be entirely effective, but is as effective as we can make it. It may not be entirely scientific, but it is as practical as we can make it. We might have schedules and scales fluctuating from day to day, and calculated by mathematicians, which would be of a more precise character, and we should like to adopt them, but the practical facts show that that kind of method, although very good on paper, would be much more hampering to trade than the one we have adopted. We have adopted a method which is workable, and one which we hope will achieve some result, and will encourage the discouraged traders, manufacturers and workmen of this country, who have, surely, suffered enough and have experienced enough difficulties in the last twelve months. I have heard hon. Members say that they do not believe that a low rate of exchange acts as an export bounty. One hon. Member described it as a symptom. But I have known plenty of cases in which the most extraordinary things have happened in industries about which I used to know something. England used to be a great exporter of copper sulphate to Italy and France, and used to be able to compete very well with French and Italian manufacturers, Last year, owing to the tremendous fall in the Italian exchange, we saw the extraordinary phenomenon of Italy, who used to be an importer of copper sulphate, actually exporting copper sulphate to France. It is useless to tell people who know what I may call the daily details of these matters that exchange is a symptom, that it is a question of confidence. Exchange is a hard daily business fact that has to be reckoned with.
Because that makes it difficult for us to do any exporting business, it is surely all the more important that we should try and retain, at any rate, our home trade. You cannot do an export business without a home trade. There is not the slightest doubt that, without the solid basis of home consumpiion, your export trade would simply be a flower without any stem or roots. If you allow the home trade to be cut away, the export trade will follow. That being the case, you are in duty bound to take the best steps you can, and I contend that we have endeavoured to do that in a manner as little troublesome and as little difficult 2276 as the difficulties of the situation will allow. The Amendment of my right hon. Friend later on the Paper cuts out at good many of the questions which were raised in former Debates as to small differences of exchange. Everyone agrees that we do not want to deal with merely small differences. It is where you get deep, fundamental divergencies, of a character so important and so enduring that they do seriously threaten the industry and employment in this country to a really important extent, that we say we must, at any rate until things become more firmly established, endeavour to maintain that equilibrium to the best of our ability, in the hope that better financial conditions in other countries, and the realisation of the necessity of balancing budgets which is slowly dawning on foreign States, will come about. When those conditions come about, no one will be more pleased than I shall. I am certain that the majority of the people of this country will be glad to get back to those conditions of entirely free, unfettered and unhampered trade under which our great commercial system has been built up for so many years.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I congratulate the Conservative Tariff, Reform Members of the Government of which my right hon. Friend is so distinguished a Member, on the complete development of his fiscal faith from that of an unmistakeable Free Trader to that of a full-blown Tariff Reformer. Hardly any of the arguments that I used to hear him refute when I was sitting with him on that side of the House, or joined with him on platforms, have been missing from his present speeches on this subject. The most familiar of them is the great danger to our industries. How well we remember the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain stating, one after the other, the industries that would go. Glass would go, cotton would go, and the turn of the others would come. There it was, almost in the same words. Truly, these are strange times in which we are living. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will carry those beliefs and convictions of his on to the platform in his own constituency, and, no doubt, in a campaign throughout the country for further steps in laying the foundations of the full system of Protection, to which he is quite obviously, in my opinion, a complete convert. One of his main points against hon. Members 2277 on this side is that their arguments are generalities; but was there ever a more general range of argument than he himself developed? He was asked, time and again, "What is your case? What are your industries?"—and he could not produce one. The duty of the Government, when it produces a Bill of this kind, is to be found it on specific, concrete cases, and not on vague generalities and fears and dreads of what is going to happen to this country in the future. My right hon. Friend has not attempted to produce a single case: and why? He is an acute business man, and he knows that, if he produced a single case, it would be shattered to atoms by the arguments and facts that would be produced, to show that that particular case was not one which came within the ambit of the intentions of the Government. He speaks about the mass of unemployment which he hopes will be remedied, and the large interests which are going to be benefited. But the real overriding interest in all these matters is the great general public interest. Who is in support of this particular proposal of the great interests outside this House? We have in this House directly elected representatives of Labour, the very class whom he seeks to benefit. Is there a single one of them who has done other than criticise, in the most vigorous and hostile manner, the proposals of the Government? If they thought this was going to cure or help unemployment they would be the very first to back him, but they are all against him. Here they are. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] If you were to count the numbers of Members on both sides of the Committee who are really against this proposal listening to the arguments, the Government would be beaten. My right hon. Friend has the bravery to suggest that he is backed up by some high financial authority. I will refer to a document which I have quoted once before on this, very point. I suggest to him that the great bankers of the City of London are very good authorities. What do they say, with obvious reference to this Bill?We have to build up the market that we need by encouraging Continental nations to export to us, for it is only by exports that they can re-establish their credit and pay their debt. In such a situation we believe that all expedients to control and hamper imports into this country, whether by licence, tariffs, or any other means, can 2278 only retard improvement in the Continental exchanges, and prevent the national recovery of trade.This very Clause must have been in their minds—this very proposal of the Government. These bankers are representative not of political opinion at all.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Was there ever a greater giving away of a case? The bankers are as much interested in this question of exchange as any body of men in the whole country.
§ Sir A. MOND
They have not the same interest in keeping up the industry of this country. [Interruption.] They have not the same angle of view—let me put it that way.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
A very remarkable interruption. What is the present position of bankers and manufacturers? Manufacturers are in the very greatest stress as to how they can retain their position with their bankers, how their undertakings can be financed by the bankers, and how their whole undertakings—thousands of them—are held together by the banks, and is it suggested to me that these bankers would not grasp at any means which would better the condition of their creditors and their customers if an opportunity is given them? They know these quack remedies, these appeals to interests which we cannot bring into the light of day. Take the whole range of business interests in the broadest and the widest sense. Take the Chambers of Commerce. How many of them are in favour of this proposal? I had sent me this morning a circular from the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. I quite frankly admit that in some respects it supports the Bill, with some qualifications, but it says, with regard to this depreciation of exchange,The Committee do not consider that the proposal to counteract the depreciation in exchange is practicable.I claim that the great mass of financial and business opinion is against it, and, irrespective of party, there is a very small majority in the House really in favour of it As to the constant harping on Germany, there is an exclusion of countries with whom we have commercial relations. Let us see how we stand. I will take the question of brooms and brushes. They 2279 are not food or drink or raw material, but purely manufactured articles. From what country is the largest import, according to the latest figures I can get? From Germany they are only £2,937, from the Netherlands £16,000, Belgium £27,000, France £76,000, Italy £22,000, and Japan, with whom we are concluding a treaty on commercial and other lines, £615,000—far more than all the other countries put together. What are you going to do with Japan under this? Sixpence an hour was quoted to-day. It will be about a farthing an hour in Japan.
The more you examine the details of the Government's proposal in relation to the actual facts of world trade, the more ridiculous and futile does this proposal become. What a machine is here set up; what a test you are going to apply. "Below the prices at which similar goods can be profitably manufactured in the United Kingdom." Here is a Committee going to get to work after having complaints—and they will have plenty of complaints. There will be no difficulty at all about that. The whole range of officialism will be in full swing investigating these complaints. First of all, there is the possibility, and, after that, can they be profitably manufactured in the United Kingdom. Though the right hon. Gentleman tried to pass it off with a little genial chaff, the point is a very sound one. It is not whether the corresponding industry here is to be affected, but whether it is likely to be affected. What is it going to be in the end under the scope of the Amendment? A huge addition to officialdom. Let me point out what is the position now. Owing to the retention of certain import duties levied during the War, to solve the trade problem, I suppose, the cost of officials in the Customs and Excise has risen from £1,037,800 in 1915 to £6,737,000 in 1921. What chance is there of that huge expenditure coming down under the policy of the Government? Test this question any way you like, by the necessities of the situation, by the opposition of the great authorities of the country, by the opposition of the class which it is especially desired to assist, namely, the working people who are suffering from unemployment, and, finally, by the history and experience of our fiscal past, and this proposal is doomed.
§ Mr. REMER
The right Gentleman (Sir D. Maclean) makes much about the attitude of the Government in ignoring resolutions passed by certain chambers of commerce in Glasgow and elsewhere; but he omitted to tell the Committee the constitution of those particular chambers of commerce. Perhaps he is ignorant of the fact that many of these chambers of commerce in some of the large ports are composed of importers of foreign manufactured goods, who do not provide any employment in this country; who grow very rich on small commissions and do not create any real wealth in the country. The right hon. Gentleman seems to forget that the problem which we are discussing in this particular Amendment is not only an abnormal problem but ant entirely new problem. It is a problem that was never contemplated when the last General Election was fought; it was never contemplated in pre-War days, and it is a problem that must be faced. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was not possible to find one trade affected by these collapsed exchanges.
I will mention one trade which is most seriously affected, and in regard to which there is no difference of opinion in the trade itself, and that is the silk trade The trade in my constituency is very seriously affected. Recently a deputation met the President of the Board of Trade, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, representing the Joint Industrial Council in the silk trade. On that deputation was the Labour Member of Parliament for the Leek Division (Mr. Bromfield) the leader of the Wee Free Liberal Association in Macclesfield, several other Liberals from the constituency, and several of my own supporters, all unanimously asking the President of the Board of Trade to bring forward a Bill dealing with the question of the collapsed exchanges. The Secretary for the Overseas Trade Department was present at the meeting. The manufactured silk goods that are coming in are goods not usually used by the poor, but are the luxury of the rich, and they come from countries with collapsed exchanges. [HON. MEMBERS: "France."] Yes, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and other countries, and they cause the most untold distress. Factories are working only two days a week, and find it very difficult to maintain their work at that. Other works are finding it very difficult 2281 to give employment to their people, and a great many are being turned away unemployed. What were the reasons given for this terrible state of affairs in the silk trade? It was that we were getting silk goods from these countries made by labour which, if you work it out on the rate of exchange, was actually paid 1d. per hour. I do not want the Labour Members to take my word for it. Let them ask their own colleague, the hon. Member for Leek, his views about the competition from the collapsed exchanges, and they will find that there is unity of opinion among all political parties that the silk trade must be protected.
The hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) has been speaking about sound currency, and about giving Germany a fair chance of paying her reparation. Surely these things are beyond the operations of this country or of our Government? They are matters for the Governments of the countries concerned, and if they take steps which we think are foolish surely we should take steps to see that our workpeople are not thrown out of work through the maladministration of those countries? It has been stated that this Bill will have a tendency to raise prices. When prices get to an uneconomuc level, when they get to a figure at which it is obviously impossible, however enterprising, however up-to-date our machinery may be, or however low our wages may be, for the manufacturers of this country to compete, it is necessary that the prices should be raised from the uneconomic value which they have reached. Several hon. Members have spoken about employment in Germany. There is no doubt that employment in Germany is a great deal better at the present time than it is in this country, and when the workpeople of this country understand this Bill, as they are beginning to understand it, they will turn round to the people who are opposing the Bill, and will say: "We are going to see that our industry is safeguarded, that these collapsed exchanges are going to be dealt with, and that this new problem shall be dealt with on a basis which is satisfactory to the people of this country."
§ Sir R. THOMAS
If I remember rightly, my hon. Friend who has just sat down is a timber importer. May I ask 2282 him whether he is prepared to extend this Bill to the timber trade? Of course he is not.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
I presume my hon. Friend refers to the classes of timber in which he is not particularly interested?
§ Sir R. THOMAS
He is "a timber importer to a certain extent." To that extent he does not propose to have a tariff on timber. He is quite prepared to have an import duty on silks in which he is not interested, and apparently that is the argument addressed to this House by all the Tariff Reformers on the other side. All I want to say is this, my right hon. Friend the Member for Peebles (Sir D. MacLean) has referred to the banker's appeal. As a business man that appeal has interested me considerably, and I do not think that too much importance can be placed upon it by Members of this House, because, after all, the whole business of this country, the whole trade of this country, is dependent upon the banking industry. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Does any hon. Member opposite suggest that a manufacturer or an exporter in this country is not dependent on credit from the banks of this country?
§ Sir R. THOMAS
A servant very often knows more than his master. The banks are the servants of this country, and they know more about the business of this country than perhaps my hon. Friend opposite. They know the intricate machinery of the trade of this country. They make it their business, they have to make it their business, to find out about the trade policy of this country and how it operates in other countries, and when you have the banking community of this country, regardless of politics, offering an unsolicited opinion to the business community of this coun- 2283 try to beware of Tariff Reform, I say it is time for this House to pause and give it due consideration.
§ Sir R. THOMAS
Rubbish! On this question I am a Free Trader, and I am able to speak out my opinion clearly and unreservedly as a Free Trader, that this is the thin end of the wedge of full-fledged Protection in this country. Make no mistake about it, this is the beginning of Protection in this country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has started it in his Budget, it is developed now in this Bill, and it will go on and on. Different trades will be introduced, and my hon. Friend from Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) will soon come within its scope, and before long we shall be a full-fledged Protectionist country, and that will be the death-knell of the trade of this country. We have built up the reputation of this country on Free Trade. We won the War on Free Trade. [Laughter.] Oh, yes, we did. The finances of this country would never have stood only for the Free Trade policy of this country, say what you like. And I say that the policy for this country is this: Let the Government keep its hands off the trade of this country. That is what we want. As business men we want the Government and the officials connected with the various State Departments to keep their hands off business. We have had control, we have had decontrol, we have had control again, until we are mystified. We do not know where we are as business people. If only the Government and its satellites keep their hands off the business of this country, collapsed exchanges or no collapsed exchanges will have no effect. I got up to intervene for a few moments, but the enthusiasm of my friends here is carrying me away. I am afraid I am losing the thread of my argument, but I really got up to say this only, that if we are left alone as business people m this country we shall work out our own salvation. The collapsed exchanges on the Continent is a passing phase. It will pass. If capitalists in this country, if employers, will really consider that the labourers, the workpeople, the mechanics are part and parcel of the industry of this country, that they are dependent—
§ Sir R. THOMAS
I think the collapse of the Labour movement of this country has something to do with the collapsed exchanges. I think there is a great connection between the two, and I do submit it is quite relevant for me to refer to Capital and Labour in this matter. I say that the only hope for this country is cooperation, real co-operation, between Capital and Labour. If that is carried out the intelligence of this country, the inborn intuition of the Britisher in business, will overcome any deterrent in the way of collapsed exchanges on the Continent. If we do not collapse over here by fighting each other, we need not fear any collapse on the Continent.
§ Mr. JOHN MURRAY
I would like to return from the realm of prophecy represented by the speech to which we have just listened to the very brilliant speech of the Minister of Health. He made it quite plain that a great problem faces the business world through the depreciation of the exchange, and that therefore, in spite of all the bankers in the world, a great problem faces this House. He entered into some details regarding the international trade between Italy, France, and this country, and showed how serious was the effect of the change in the exchanges as compared with before the War. But the point he omitted, and the point that weighs with me, and must weigh with many Members of this House in giving or withholding their vote at 10.30, is this, the evils which he described are great and pressing and the methods, by which he proposes to meet them is this rather stale idea of 33⅓ per cent. It is 33⅓ per cent. for the key industries, and 33⅓ per cent. for the dumping; therefore it is 33⅓per cent, for the collapsed exchanges. I do not pretend any more than other hon. Members who have spoken to understand the question of the exchanges, but I think if the Minister of Health had shown a real proportion between the evils which he described and the method of cure proposed in the Bill, I should have been intelligent enough to understand that. I shall not keep the Committee, but I think that on behalf of the Government some attempt should be made to show even now that the great evils with which we 2285 are faced are capable of being met or mitigated in any way whatsoever by this tax of 33⅓cent.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
I desire to support the Amendment. In doing so I protest against the attitude of the President of the Board of Trade on the subject which we are discussing just now in the Second Reading Debate. He represented then that this is a branch of the general question of dumping, and that, therefore, it ought to be dealt with in the same way. In no sense is this competition, which we have got to face owing to the collapsed exchanges, the same thing as dumping. The Prime Minister originally, and even on this Bill, gave a broad and general definition of what was meant by dumping. We all know that dumping is the sending of goods here deliberately below the cost of production, not as a bonâ fide transaction, but for the purpose of ruining an industry here and then seizing control of it. This evil which we have got to face, where there is competition due to the collapse of exchanges, is the result of natural economic law. It is drastic in operation, but it is nature's own remedy, and we are dealing with a completely different symptom in the economic and commercial world, and I do protest against the attitude of the President of the Board of Trade in identifying the two subjects.
I protest against it all the more because I, and many of my colleagues, are pledged to support the Government in legislation against dumping, and the line which he took up indicated that this is a branch of dumping, and that we are bound by the pledge which we gave then to support the Government in its legislation on this subject. I am one of those who desire to adhere not merely in the letter, but in the spirit, to the pledge which we gave at the General Election to support the Government in legislation with regard both to key industries and dumping. But after I have given that pledge the Government have no right to say to me, "We shall not allow you to redeem that pledge unless you also accept something quite different." That is not fair to their supporters. It is not a bonâ fide transaction. It is a dangerous course for the Government to embark on. I am anxious to redeem all the pledges which I gave, but I deny the right of the Government to put me in the predicament that I shall 2286 not redeem my pledge unless I accept something which is quite different and to which I am strongly opposed. I have voted throughout for all proposals with regard to key industries and dumping, but if the Government force me into that unfair position I shall be compelled to vote against the Bill as a whole when it comes up on its Third Reading.
I listened with great interest to the speech of the Minister of Health. He was not present during much of the Debate before he spoke and he is not present after, so that he will be able to vote for the Bill with a clear conscience, having heard nothing except his own arguments. The right hon. Gentleman always speaks with a real knowledge of many subjects. There was force in much of what he said. He confined himself to dealing with the evil which exists owing to the collapsed exchanges. There is a real evil, and commerce and labour are placed in a cruelly difficult position owing to this competition. There was one thing which was completely absent from his speech and absent from the speech of every Minister. No attempt was made to show that the policy contained in this Section of the Bill dealing with exchanges will provide any remedy whatever for the evil. I admit the necessity of finding some remedy, but I deny that this Bill provides a remedy. I assert that it aggravates the evil. Naturally, we shall be asked to put forward our remedy. This it not the place to do it, on this Amendment. I dealt with the subject at some length on the Financial Resolution. I am opposed to this provision, in the first place because I believe it will aggravate the evil; it will increase the difficulty of the exchanges. The hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) dealt, with great force and skill, with the position of German reparation. We all know that a very large factor in bringing about the collapse of the exchanges is the money owed to this country in the form of reparations, and in the form of loans from France, Belgium, and other Allies. This Bill will prevent the payment of this reparation and of these loans. To that extent it will aggravate the evil. It will do more than that; it will drive German trade into foreign markets in which at present it is not competing with us to the same extent. The President of the Board of Trade said 2287 that the world's markets are open to Germany. Of course they are. That is just the point. The trade which we shut out here will be driven, as water finds its own level, on to these markets abroad, and we shall be faced with competition in markets in which we are not faced with it now. More than that. This Measure will protect the foreign manufacturer and the foreign competitor in the British home market at the expense of the British consumer. In all those countries in which the exchange has not collapsed, in which it at par or above par, the foreign manufacturer or producer of raw material will be protetcted in our home markets to the extent of 33⅓ per cent. That will be paid by the British taxpayer.
I have not heard any of these arguments dealt with by speakers on the Front Bench. The vast majority of the trading and financial interests of this country are seriously alarmed at the provisions of this Bill. Two examples have been mentioned. There is the remarkable manifesto on the financial side of the question published by the bankers, who, at least, know something about the exchanges. It is said the bankers' outlook is confined to one aspect of the subject and that they are not manufacturers. We have, however, the equally important declaration from the great chambers of commerce. It has been said they represent only importers. Is there any city more representative of the manufacturing and producing classes of this country than the city of Glasgow? It is one of the greatest manufacturing districts of this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "And importing!"] There is not a part of the country that is not interested in importing, but the manufacturing interest is a great and powerful interest in Glasgow, and its Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers, having circularised all its members, has unanimously condemned this proposal in this Bill and supported the other two—as I am doing, and as I have done all along. They believe that this particular pro-
|Division No. 207.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bellairs, Commander Carlvon W.|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish|
|Atkey, A. R.||Barlow, Sir Montague||Birchall, Major J. Dearman|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Barnston, Major Harry||Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)|
§ posal will not achieve the object for which it is designed and will inflict new and lasting injury on this country. What is it these traders are interested in? They know that the great and vital interest of this country is the foreign market. It is the foreign market by which we earn the profits which maintain the vast industrial population of this country, and not the home market. This proposal is designed to benefit the small home market at the expense of the vast foreign market.
§ Captain ELLIOT
There are only two minutes left for me in which to point out that the only example the Minister of Health gave in support of this Bill was the astounding fact that sulphate of copper had been exported from Italy to France, and, apparently, he thought he was able to deal with this financial transaction by putting a duty of 33⅓ per cent. on stocks coming into this country. That is a specimen of the arguments used on behalf of this proposal, and it is because of the arguments used in favour of it that I intend to vote against it.
§ Colonel PENRY WILLIAMS
I rise to ask the Government one question. The collapsed exchanges vary in extent. The German exchange has collapsed ten times and the French exchange only barely twice. How is this proposal to apply both to the German exchange and the French exchange? I understand the Spanish Government have recently dealt with this problem, and they have adopted a really scientific method by instituting a sort of sliding scale. I wish to ask if the Government have considered the plan adopted by the Spanish Government?
§ It being half-past Ten of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 13th June, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from, the Chair.
§ Question put, "That the words 'or (b) at prices which, by reason of depreciation' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 189; Noes, 90.
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Perring, William George|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Pratt, John William|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hoare, Lieut-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Brown, Major D. C.||Hood, Joseph||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn.W.)||Reid, D. D.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hopkins, John W. W.||Remer, J. R.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Hurd, Percy A.||Renwick, Sir George|
|Carr, W. Theodore||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Casey, T. W.||Jephcott, A. R.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm., W.)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Kidd, James||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Knight, Major E. A. (Kidderminster)||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lane-Fox. G. R.||Shaw, Capt. William T. (Forfar)|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Cope, Major William||Lindsay, William Arthur||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Lloyd, George Butler||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Lort-Williams, J.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Dean, Commander P. T.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Sugden, W. H.|
|Denniss. Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lowther, Col. Claude (Lancaster)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Edwards, Allen C. (East Ham, S.)||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Fildes, Henry||Magnus, Sir Philip||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Townley, Maximilian G|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Mason, Robert||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E||Matthews, David||Walters, Rt. Hon. sir John Tudor|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Gee, Captain Robert||Mitchell, William Lane||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Waring, Major Waiter|
|Gould, James C.||Morrison, Hugh||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Grant, James Augustus||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Grayson, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Henry||Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Greer, Harry||Nail, Major Joseph||Winterton, Earl|
|Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Neal, Arthur||Wise, Frederick|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Galbraith, Samuel||Lunn, William|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Gillis, William||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Glanville, Harold James||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Armitage, Robert||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Mills, John Edmund|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Grundy, T. W.||Morgan, Major D. Watts|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Halls, Walter||Myers, Thomas|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hayward, Evan||O'Grady, James|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Hinds, John||Rae, H. Norman|
|Briant, Frank||Hirst, G. H.||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cairns, John||Holmes, J. Stanley||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Davies, A (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Johnstone, Joseph||Rodger, A. K.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Kenyon, Barnet||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Kiley, James Daniel||Sexton, James|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Lawson, John James||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)||Tootill, Robert||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Wallace, J.||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Swan, J. E.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)||Wintringham, Thomas|
|Taylor, J.||Waterson, A. E.||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Wignall, James|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr.|
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government, of which notice had been given.
§ Amendment proposed: In Sub-section (1, b), after the word "manufactured," insert the words "not being a country within his Majesty's Dominions."—[Mr. Baldwin.]
§ Question, "That the Amendment be made," put, and agreed to.
Amendment proposed: At the end of Sub-section (1) to insert the words
Provided that the Board shall not so refer any matter involving a question of depreciation of currency unless they are satisfied that the value of the currency of the-country in question in relation to sterling is less by thirty-three and one-third per cent., or upwards, than the par value of exchange."—[Mr. Baldwin.]
§ Question, "That the Amendment be made," put, and agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[Colonel Leslie Wilson.]
|Division No. 208.]||AYES.||[10.45 p.m.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Broad, Thomas Tucker||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Brown, Major D. C.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Evans, Ernest|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Farquharson, Major A. C.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Ford, Patrick Johnston|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Casey, T. W.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot|
|Atkey, A. R.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Fraser, Major Sir Keith|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.(Birm., W.)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Churchman, Sir Arthur||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Coats, Sir Stuart||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Grant, James Augustus|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Grayson, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Henry|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hackn'y, N.)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Cope, Major William||Greer, Harry|
|Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell||Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Gregory, Holman|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Greig, Colonel Sir James William|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Dean, Commander P. T.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Edwards, Allen C. (East Ham, S.)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)|
§ The CHAIRMAN
Under the Order of the House I am obliged to put this question immediately, and there can be no debate upon it.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Under normal conditions, we are entitled to carry on the Debate until 11 o'clock, but if it be clear in the Order of the House, then I bow to your decision.
The words of the guillotine Motion provide that a Motion to Report Progress may not be made by any private Member, but only by the Government. That leaves the matter open.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I will read the passage dealing with this point—On an allotted day no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to recommit the Bill, nor Motion to postpone a Clause, nor Motion that the Chairman do report Progress or do leave the Chair, or that further consideration of the Bill or any Debate be now adjourned shall be received unless moved by the Government, and the question on such Motion, if moved by the Government, shall be put forthwith without any Debate.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 202; Noes, 73.
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Mitchell, William Lane||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)|
|Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Morrison, Hugh||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Hood, Joseph||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hope, Sir H.(Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn,W.)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Nail, Major Joseph||Sutherland, Sir William|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Neal, Arthur||Taylor, J.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Jodrell, Neville Paul||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Frederick George||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Kidd, James||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Knight, Major E. A. (Kidderminster)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Perring, William George||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Lewis. Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Pratt, John William||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Lewis, T. A. (Glarn., Pontypridd)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Lloyd, George Butler||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Waring, Major Walter|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Reid, D. D.||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Remer, J. R.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Lort-Williams, J.||Remnant, Sir James||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Loseby, Captain C. E.||Renwick, Sir George||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.|
|Lowther, Major C. (Cumberland, N.)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Winterton, Earl|
|Lowther, Col. Claude (Lancaster)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wise, Frederick|
|McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rodger, A. K.||Woolcock, William James U.|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Roundel), Colonel R. F.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Manville, Edward||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Mason, Robert||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur||McCurdy.|
|Matthews, David||Shaw, Capt. William T. (Forfar)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Holmes, J. Stanley||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Sexton, James|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Johnstone, Joseph||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Swan, J. E.|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Briant, Frank||Kiley, James Daniel||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Cairns, John||Lawson, John James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lunn, William||Tootill, Robert|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Edwards, C (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Mills, John Edmund||Wignall, James|
|Entwistle, Major C F.||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Gillis, William||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||O'Grady, James||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Rae, H. Norman||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Halls, Walter||Rendall, Athelstan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hayday, Arthur||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr. G.|
|Hayward, Evan||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)||Thorne.|
|Hinds, John||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.