As from the fifteenth day of May, nineteen hundred and twenty-three, and during the continuance of this Act, every certified classification within the meaning of the Act of 1896 which was in force at the said date shall cease to have any force or effect.
Amendment made: At the end of the Clause insert the words:
except any existing classification which shall be certified by the Secretary for Scotland in terms of the next succeeding Sub-section of this Section.
Provided that a parish council shall have power at any time within two months after the passing of this Act to alter any existing classification so far as necessary to enable it to be certified as aforesaid.
(2) If it shall be certified by the Secretary for Scotland that the rates leviable on the occupiers of agricultural lands and heritages in pursuance of an existing classification (including an existing classification altered as aforesaid) are not more than one-half of the rates which would without classification be leviable on such occupiers in terms of this Act, such classification shall have effect, and the provisions of the Section of this Act relating to annual value of agricultural
lands and heritages for county and parish rates shall not apply to the occupiers' share of the rates leviable by the parish council in pursuance of that classification.
|Provisions of Act of 1896 applied.||Modifications.|
|Section 6||…||…||…||…||The words "any additional relief to the occupiers of agricultural "lands and heritages effected by this Act" shall be substituted for the words "the relief effected by this Act from a proportion "of the consolidated rate, poor rate, and other rates before "mentioned."|
§ Mr. FALCONER
I beg to move in Part III, to leave out the word "additional" ["additional relief "].
I do so in order to get an explanation as to what is the exact meaning of these words. I understand the purpose of this proposal is to ensure that the additional relief is not to be taken into account in ascertaining the proper amount. The Bill states that the legislation is to remain in force under the Act of 1896 subject to the modifications in the Schedule. The Schedule instead of leaving out these words puts in the word "additional." Therefore if you are to give effect to that part you must to that extent revoke the decision of the Act of 1896. I take it that what is meant is the additional relief granted under this Act, and this Bill would cancel what was granted under the Act of 1896. If the draftsmen say that the intention is what I have stated, then I shall be quite satisfied.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for SCOTLAND
Under Section 6 of the Act of 1896 it is provided that the Land Court, in fixing a fair rent, is not to be entitled to take into account the relief afforded by that Act. That relief is not in any way affected by this Bill. If the hon. Member will look at Clause 12 in the present Bill he will find these words:The provisions of the Act of 1896 set out in Part III of the Schedule to this Act shall have effect for the purposes of this Act, so far as it relates to Scotland, as if they were re-enacted in this Act with the modifications (if any) specified in the second column of that Part of the Schedule.Then if he will look to the Schedule he will find provision with regard to the
Provided that a parish council shall have power to abandon any classification certified in terms of this Sub-section.—[The Solicitor-General for Scotland.]
§ additional grant, so that you have the original Section in the Act dealing with the additional grant re-enacted for the purposes of this Act in dealing with the additional grant. Both, in fact, are covered.
§ Mr. FALCONER
In view of the explanation of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."
In asking the House to refuse a Third Reading to this Bill I am speaking for the Labour party. The reasons which we adduce in order to get the House to agree with us are threefold. In the first place we object to selecting one among many suffering industries in this country for a subvention. Secondly, we believe that the subvention given in this case will go sooner or later into the pockets of the landlords in the shape of the increased price of land, and, thirdly, we do not believe that this is at all the way to promote the development of agriculture in this country. Let me say a few words on each of these three points. I believe hon. Members opposite will agree with us that it is a wrong principle that any particular industry in this country should come upon the vast mass of the taxpayers of the country for financial assistance for that particular industry. It is a system of subvention which has been denounced 1497 as much by hon. Gentlemen opposite as it has been by hon. Members on this side of the House, and I cannot believe that any fair-minded man opposite can really make a case satisfactory from his own point of view for asking when the whole country is suffering as it is to-day, that one industry should be selected for encouragement at the expense of all the other industries. In this particular case we have an even stronger argument to adduce against this subvention policy. Suppose the shipping industry in this country came forward—goodness knows the shipping industry is going through as hard times as any industry—and asked for a subvention from the Government of £3,000,000 a year, or more or less. If that subvention were granted, sooner or later would find there would be greater competition in the industry and the subvention would not remain in the pockets of the shipping companies, but would find its way into the pockets of the public in the shape of reduced freight rates. In the same way, if a grant were made for every pair of boots manufactured in this country, the result would be that more people would go into the boot industry, there would be greater competition, the price of boots would ultimately come down, and the subvention would find its way into the pockets of the public. In this particular industry that is not the case. In the case of a subvention to the agricultural industry it is admitted by hon. Members opposite that it would not find its way into the pockets of the public in the shape of cheaper food, but it would go into the pockets of the landlords in the form of increased rents. In the case of Scotland it goes directly into their pockets, and when we are told that in the agricultural districts, if you give more money to the landlords they will put more into improvements and into bricks and mortar, then one can only point out that that form of subvention is one that should, in decency, be accompanied by some guarantee that the money so received will indeed be spent as it is intended to be spent nominally by hon. Members opposite.
In this particular case the concession given to the agricultural industry by the reduction in the rates upon land means that the landlords, by reason of that reduction, are able to demand higher 1498 rents or higher prices for the land. Indeed, this last raid on the public purse is but one of a long series of similar raids which have been going on for centuries. The landlords under Charles II got rid of their hereditary feudal burden by substituting land laws. Since that time the land taxes have remained, and there has been no attempt to revise them. Also, since that time more and more burdens have been taken off the shoulders of the landlords, and now in the Act of 1896 and in this present Act we are getting a repetition of the same thing, of people shaking the burdens from their own shoulders and putting them on to the public. These were hereditary burdens in the sense that the land was inherited subject to the burden of the poor rate and subject to the burden of local government expenditure. Land has been bought and sold subject to those charges time after time, and now we come along and say we will relieve the landlords of half, or two-thirds, or three-fourths of the burden, and the result will be that the prospective purchaser of the land, in making his purchase, will work out the fact that the rates are less than they were previously, and therefore he is enabled to make an equally good bargain by paying a little more in the capital sum in view of the annual drain of rates having been thus lessened. The natural result is that when a man buys an estate he is inheriting something more than the £3,000,000 which this Bill gives; he is inheriting the capitalised value of that £3,000,000 for something like 25 years. It will mean that when a man wants to buy land for productive purposes he will have to pay not his share of the £3,000,000 but his share of the capitalised value of those £3,000,000 in order to have the opportunity of using that land. That is what, I think, it is most important we should realise, that when the Government talk about this scheme, as they did on Second Reading, as facilitating employment, and helping the development of land, the immediate result of this scheme is to increase the price of land. If you increase the price of land, you make it more difficult than it was before for labour to get access to that land, and all production depends in the first place on labour's access to the land.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The newspapers show that there is any quantity of land 1499 for sale at the present moment, which cannot be sold because there are not any buyers.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The whole object of our party is to get that land cheaper, so that labour can get access on easier terms. The result of this Bill will be to make that land dearer, and therefore you make it more difficult for labour to get access. In that way you are creating more unemployment than there is to-day. The right hon. Member for Chelmsford asks, "Why are you down on landlords," and "Why should not the whole House join together in making this subvention?" Really, I do not think the landlords in this country would be as unpopular as they are to-day if they really understood what it is other people see them doing. The landlord, as a landlord, is not half so unpopular as the landlord sponging, and when we see the landlords sponging on the community, and at the same time talking as they do about the benefit they contribute to the human race, it is more than human nature can really stand, and if the landlords are going to get back into their ancient position of reputable popularity, they must give up this way of sponging on the community. It has become a positive obsession with them that the community exists for the benefit of the landlord, and that they are always entitled to take whatever they can from other people, whether from a submissive Government or in any other way. That sort of position is enough to make anyone unpopular.
We object to this Bill because it selects one particular industry for a subvention at the expense of all the other industries. This Bill, in the guise of a subvention to an industry, is in England and Scotland putting money straight—I will not say straight in the case of England, but ultimately—into the pockets of the landlords—but straight in the case of Scotland, with the approval of the Conservative party—a strange aberration on their part, which will probably be heard of more in the country, and putting it ultimately into the pockets of the landlords in England, a point which will also be heard of in the country. Our third objection to this Bill is, that it does not give assistance to agriculture in any way which is really effective. It is always said that, there are people who farm the 1500 land, and people who farm the farmers. The people who are helped by this Bill are those who farm the farmers, but any assistance that is be of benefit to agriculture must help those who farm the land. You have got to deal with your rating problem, which is obscured by this particular solution brought forward by the Government. The Government admit that the whole rating problem has got to be taken up. They admit that this is only a stop-gap remedy. I hope it will only be a stop-gap remedy.
A real scheme of reform must deal with the whole rating question. I have been listening all through the Debate to speeches of hon. Members on both sides, in which the whole burden seemed to be that what was wanted for agriculture was better buildings, better drainage, better fencing, better roads, and that expenditure, either by landlords or occupiers, upon improving the land produced more, and produced more cheaply. I wonder if it does not occur to those hon. Members opposite who were advocating that this scheme, by putting more money into the landlords' pockets, might enable these very desirable improvements to be made, that perhaps the best way of encouraging both landlord and tenant to build, drain, fence and generally improve the property would be to change the basis of rating completely and remove the rates which at present fall upon buildings and improvements. We attempted to amend the Bill in that direction. It was ruled out of order—I do not find fault with that ruling—because it was said that this was a Bill to relieve agricultural land, and not to relieve the improvements upon that land. That is the Bill, and so much the worse for the Bill, even in the opinion of honest men opposite who really want to see agriculture developed, to see two blades of grass grow where one grew before, by the application of labour and capital to the land in order to improve it.
Surely if hon. Members are honest in their desire to encourage those improvements, by far the best way would be to spend exactly the same money which is to be spent in this Bill in taking the rates off land, which is not improved, by taking off the same amount of rates upon buildings, machinery, drainage and fencing and other improvements. That, obviously, would have been the way to benefit agriculture the most. May I point 1501 out the enormous advantage that any scheme of that sort would have for the smallholder, and particularly for the allotment holder—in fact, for exactly those classes who stand under this scheme to get no benefit at all, because it is notorious that the percentage of improvements upon a small holding or an allotment to the value of the land comprised in the small holding or allotment is much greater in the case of small holdings and allotments than in the case of big farms. Big farms covering an extended area will have good farm buildings, but the proportionate ratio of the value of land to the value of improvements is very much smaller in the case of the big farms than in the case of small holdings and allotments; so that if your scheme for helping agriculture by encouraging improvements, by increasing the number of small holdings, and increasing the number of men giving their time to it—if you are really going to help that, obviously, it would be infinitely better to remove the rates which at present burden improvements and use the £3,000,000 you are at present squandering by putting it into the landlords' pockets, and give a real benefit to agriculture by making those improvements less costly.
There is no doubt that at the present time every one of the improvements which hon. Members opposite have been advocating, if put into practice by the landlord or by the tenant, would immediately result in a visit to the unfortunate ratepayer from the assessment committee, who would say to him, "You have improved your property, you have fenced it, you have put up new farm buildings, and a new shed for the new motor tractor, and, therefore, we are entitled to increase your assessment and charge you more rates." That is a direct discouragement of exactly the sort of improvements for which hon. Members opposite and on this side have been asking. The only difference is that hon. Members opposite do not follow their own ideas to their logical conclusion, while we on this side do attempt to do so. There is a further difference between us and hon. Members opposite. Hon. Members opposite want improvements in agriculture just as much as we do. Why do they not follow out that idea? Why do they not advocate the removal of rates from improvements in agriculture? For 1502 the very simple reason that they know that if those rates were reduced it would not be the landed interest that would get the benefit; it would not be hon. Members opposite who would find their incomes going up. The result of reducing the rates on improvements would be to cheapen the production of agriculture, and so bring about lower prices to the consumer; and, therefore, that is not one of the forms of reform which hon. Members opposite will support.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The right hon. Baronet says that his income will not increase by reason of this Bill. He may be an exceptional landlord who will not raise his rents. It may be that his tenants are paying far less than the economic rent, and that he will not seek to raise it. But there are others who are not quite such simple-minded patriots, and they may say to their tenants, "As your rates have gone down your rent can go up without your being any worse of." Those things which the right hon. Baronet in his position in this House dare not do others will do. We have to look to the position of the ordinary man. The fact is that the Conservative party are in power, and, as in previous cases when they have been in power, they are going to help their friends. This is a policy of spoils for the victors. The victors are opposite, and they take the spoils; but they might permit the victims to make some little protest, and point out to the victors that, though they are the victors now, others will be the victors in the future, and this wrong and others can be revised.
What I am interested in at the present moment is the attitude taken up by the Liberal party. I wish the shade of Sir William Harcourt could visit the party. We have had speeches from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Acland), from the hon. Member for Denbighshire (Mr. J. C. Davies), and from another hon. Member—men who are nominally Liberals—urging a policy which the united Liberal party have opposed consistently for 30 years. They now come forward with the old, stale arguments that were used by Mr. Chaplin. One wonders whether Liberalism has not entirely left those benches and come on to these. It 1503 will be interesting to see whether they vote with the vested interests. I am confident that all that is best in the Liberal party will support us in voting against the Third Reading of this Bill, and in doing so they will perform a public-spirited action, and show that there are, besides the Labour party, people who are determined, in these as in other circumstances, to support the public interest against the vested interests.
§ Mr. RILEY
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do so because I am convinced, not only that this Bill is inequitable so far as the community as a whole is concerned, but that it will not achieve the purpose for which it is ostensibly brought forward. Although I think the Bill is fundamentally wrong, there would be something to be said for it if the Government had taken the precaution, in the provisions of the Bill, to arrange that the relief which they are asking the House to vote to agriculture really does get to the people who require it—if, for instance, in this Bill, they had done what was done when the Corn Production Act was passed in 1917, and had provided machinery whereby the occupier, in the event of his being called upon to pay an increased rent as a consequence of this relief, could have had his case submitted to the arbitration of an impartial court. If the Government had done that, if it had shown any disposition to safeguard the public money we are now being asked to vote, to reach the source and to serve the purposes it was intended for, something might have been said in justification of it, but nothing of the kind is done. We are asked to give the Government a blank cheque, to hand over £2,750,000 ostensibly to relieve the rates, but ultimately to reach the pockets of the landlord.
We have been told repeatedly from the opposite side of the House that this relief will really stop with the farmer and none of it will go to the landlord. May I call attention to the experience we have had under previous Acts of this kind. There are two, the principal Act of 1896 and in economic effect the Corn Production Act of 1917. What is this Bill asking the House to do? The Ministry have issued a statement in which they gave examples 1504 of what is going to occur. On page 4 of this White Paper there is an actual case given. They suppose a rateable area of £12,000, of which £4,000 is the rateable value of the land and £6,000 the rateable value of the buildings, and they show that to such an area the Bill will give £500 to the occupier of the land. What difference is there in principle in the economic effect of that as against the effect of the Coin Production Act which gave a subsidy to farmers for the production of oats and wheat? In principle there is no difference at all. Speaking on the Agricultural Rates Bill in 1896 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) said it was known for a fact that if this relief was not given rents would inevitably go down. In other words, the result of that Act was to save the landowners from reducing rents. That will be the economic effect of this Bill. It is to save the owners of land from reducing rents. As to whether owners of land have reduced rents or increased them in consequence of these subsidies, let me give the evidence. I am going to put in the witness box a Member of the House—unfortunately not in his place. The evidence is from the Royal Commission on Agriculture in 1919 and one of the witnesses was a member of the National Farmers' Union, Mr. Donaldson, and he was asked:I am asking you for next year now what your view is as to what those prices ought to be.The reply was:I should certainly say economic prices ought to be higher for next year in view of our having decreasing hours worked by the labourers which will mean increase of cost. Then again you are having increases of rent taking place. That will come into operation on a good many farms next year.11,505. Would the rent be about 66 per cent.?—I have cases of rent being raised 60 per cent.I will now quote the evidence of a present Member of this House, the hon. Member for the Kinross Division of Scotland (Mr. J. Gardiner):13,008. Would I be right in inferring that in your opinion a guarantee would tend to raise rents?—And rightly tend to raise rents.13,009. It would raise rents?—I have no doubt of it whatever.That is the evidence of two witnesses at the Royal Commission. I can give other evidence. In 1919 there was issued a 1505 report of the Committee appointed by the Agricultural Wages Board to inquire into the financial results of the occupation of agricultural land on the cost of living. The section dealing with farm rents gives certain important information. It deals with 112 farms from which returns had been obtained. It has been stated that from 1895 down to 1915 rents in both England and Scotland for agricultural land decreased by 10 per cent. In 1915 we had the War conditions. This inquiry was held in 1919, two years after the imposition of the Corn Production Act, and here are 112 farms from which returns had been obtained, as the report says, "under great difficulties." They found people reticent as to what the increases were. There were 112 authenticated cases spread over almost every county in England, and the result was that, as compared with 1914, the rents on these 112 farms had risen from £27,252 to £32,500. In the case of farms in the Lincolnshire area the rise was 28 per cent.; in Cambridgeshire, 33 per cent.; in Essex, 23 per cent.; in Sussex, 22 per cent.; and in Norfolk, 26 per cent. Here is the evidence that the subsidy under the Corn Production Act in those first two years had had the effect of turning the decrease which had taken place from 1895 to 1915 into a gradual increase of agricultural rents I am not quite sure what the rents are to-day, but I have from my own district a concrete case which brings us down to 1922, and I find that, whereas the farm of which I have particulars had maintained a steady rent of £259, when it came to the year 1920 the rent suddenly rose by £87, and went up to £346. It maintained that rent through 1921. When the Corn Production Act was repealed there was a reduction on that farm of £40, which proves clearly that a subsidy, either in the shape of relief of rates or the price of corn, ultimately finds its way into the pockets of the landlord. We protest against this Bill, because we say that it is not a Bill to relieve agriculture. It is a landlords' relief Bill, and on that ground we will vote against it.
§ Mr. BRUFORD
I came into this House while the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) was speaking. I did not hear all he said, which is possibly to my advantage. Since I have been listening to this Debate I have heard nothing but rubbish, which 1506 has been served up for consumption in the towns where people know nothing about the subject. The Proposer and Seconder of the rejection of the Bill would not dare to go into my county, in the country districts, and utter the words which they have uttered to-day. I do not believe that either of these Gentlemen would know the difference between a head of rye, bearded wheat, and barley. I have listened to a diatribe against the landlord, but not for the first time am I taking the landlord's part in this House. I am a tenant farmer, and I am grateful to the landlords. Nothwithstanding all that has been done against them by the Labour party and their friends, the landlords are still a great asset to the country, for this reason. They are still supplying a great part of the capital necessary to carry on the business of agriculture. Farmers who have got to buy their farms have very often to raise capital from the banks and pay a big interest. The landlord in many cases is not getting more than two or three per cent. for his money, and you cannot get money at that rate at any bank. Besides, the landlord does the repairs to a great extent and often helps his poorer neighbours. That is not thought about in this House.
The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme told us just now he would see that the action of the Government was understood in the country. I do not mind if he does that, so long as he will see that his emissaries tell the truth about the Conservative party and the landlord. [Laughter.] You can laugh as much as you like, but you know, as well as I do, I am saying what is true. We have been told that we are asking for charity. The Government are not giving us anything in charity. We are simply asking for our just due. For many years agriculture has been taxed on an unfair basis. I agree that we want a different basis of rating, but that is a big order and will take some time to effect. Meanwhile agriculture needs help immediately. I do not say that the Government are bringing in a Bill with no faults, but in the circumstances it is the best Bill they can bring in to relieve agriculture immediately.
This money is not a gift to agriculture; it is a gift to the rest of the ratepayers, whose burden agriculture has been bearing for many years. It is the rest of the 1507 ratepayers that the Government are relieving to-day. They are simply saying, "We will take the unfair burden off agriculture, and rather than that the other ratepayers should bear it, we will take the money out of the Exchequer." Perhaps, fortunately, certain hon. Members opposite know very little about the conditions of agriculture. The talk about rents being raised 66 per cent. is utter humbug. There may be individual cases of that kind, but in the generality of cases rents have been raised sufficiently only to meet partly the increased cost of repairs, and in many cases they have not been raised at all up to now. There are old rents which have not been altered, and good landlords are not altering rents to their old tenants.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I have followed this Bill through Committee and I wish to make one or two remarks before it leaves the House. I confess that the way the Bill has been discussed in Committee and on Report is a little ominous for the kind of legislation which we may see in future. You get a rather perfunctory discussion in Committee. You get a really important point, such as the question of the distribution of relief, whether it should be by a flat rate per acre, on which seven Members made their speeches, taking perhaps one hour, and the point is decided by 15 votes to six. That is excluded when we come back to the House. Other points which we considered were of vital importance are excluded. If that is the way in which Standing Orders—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
This is the third or fourth time that the hon. Member has made veiled criticisms of the Chair. I did not rise before, but I think it necessary to point out to him now that he must not do so.
§ Mr. ROBERTS
I must express my apologies to the Chair, but it seems to me that the discussion, in Standing Committee, at all events, is exceedingly unsatisfactory at the present time, and leaves very little opportunity for real points to be made against the Bill. After having suffered a good deal from the reflections of hon. Members opposite, may I for once ask them if they would give us credit for an elementary knowledge of the subject? We know that hon. Members opposite are great authorities and 1508 experts who know their business. We do not dispute that, and we do not wish to be treated as in any way on an equality with them. But when they think they have an exclusive knowledge, and deny to us any knowledge of the elementary facts of the situation, one protests. The right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman), for instance, in correcting some remarks which I made, gave some information which appeared to me singularly irrelevant, and then challenged a statement made by me about one particular branch of agriculture. I have got the latest figures issued by the Ministry giving exactly the percentage which I quoted, and all I can say is that, while the right hon. Gentleman no doubt is giving the average figure in his own sphere of experience, yet, on the average figures over the whole country, I was right and he was wrong. Apart from that personal statement I should like to make one statement about our general attitude towards the Bill. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), seeing a little party capital in it, I suppose, asked what was going to be the attitude of the Liberal party upon this Bill. I cannot speak for the Liberal party, but I think their attitude will be what it was in 1896. The party is divided now, as it was then. There was at that time a section of the Labour party who did not see eye to eye with the main body of the party and they supported the Bill of 1896 just as some support this Bill to-day. I admit and I have always admitted, that the farmers have a case for relief. There are various ways in which the Government might have dealt with that case and many suggestions were made. The case of the farmers was a general case; they had not a special or individual case, and their real claim lay in the fact that there are national services which are borne by local ratepayers' and local ratepayers have a claim for relief from the charge for these national services. Had the Government taken that method and left it open to the House to deal with the situation along those lines, I do not know that we could have objected, because the farmers and occupiers would have received, in those, circumstances, the same relief as that to which other local ratepayers would have been entitled—as for instance if the charges for education had 1509 been taken off the local rates. There might, again, have been introduced an arrangement such as was suggested by Lord Ernle, allowing the farmers to set off against their rates some part of their expenditure on manures or fertilisers. Again there might have been a division of rates between the owners and occupiers, but that is ruled out as being beyond the scope of the Bill. There might have been other arrangements for dealing with the matter, but some were ruled out by the Financial Resolution and others we could not put forward and the Government fall back on the bad old stereotyped method, the unintelligent method of granting relief. I am content to take the description given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford. He was asked before a Royal Commission what he thought of the method of relief and he said:I think it is a bad method, because the land best able to bear the burden gets the most relief and the land least able to bear the burden gets least relief. That is inseparable from that form of relief and that is one of the reasons, I suppose, why it was made only temporary.He took a different line to-night. To-night he said that the relief goes to the man who has the heaviest burden, but that was not his view when he was requested to express his opinion before the Royal Commission, and I think his views before the Royal Commission are a good deal sounder than his views to-night. That is one of my real objections—that you have this old, bad system. The Ministry of Agriculture could not get out of its stereotyped and unintelligent rut. It had to do the thing in the way in which it had been done before. It could not bring a fresh mind to bear on the subject. It has left all the old objections entirely unrelieved, all the old grievances entirely untouched. It has refused any kind of Amendment. The most relief is given to the land that needs it least, and the least relief is given to the land that needs it most. Therefore, I think we are entitled to say that it is a bad method of giving relief. I do not quite agree with all that the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme said, because I do not think the effect of this Bill will be to increase rents. I do not think there is any doubt as to what the ultimate effect will be. The first advantage will go to the farmers in England, though some of it will go, of 1510 course, to the landowners, but ultimately I do not suppose there is any doubt that the benefit goes to the landowners. I do not think that is really disputed by the authorities, and, in fact, the way in which it will operate is that it will be a prop to falling rents.
Rents rose after the War, and they went up, in many cases, 25 per cent. above pre-War level. That was an advance which was naturally asked for, and I do not wonder at landowners increasing their rents, but with the world fall in prices, it is quite obvious that these rents must come down, and when they come down, and in the process of coming down, is it not quite obvious what must happen? Here is a farmer rented at £100 a year, and he may get £10 out of this Bill in certain circumstances, but if the farmer goes round to his landlord and asks for an abatement—or perhaps he feels that he has got the 10 per cent. off the rates, and that, under the circumstances, he cannot ask for an abatement—but if he does, is not the obvious answer: "You have had the equivalent off your rate, and under the circumstances you cannot expect me to give you more"? Therefore, I think it will not raise rents, but it will be a prop to falling rents, and that is the economic effect which I think will be produced.
I will not go over the whole ground now—I know it is very hot—but I want to protest against the sophistry, that has been repeated more than once, that this is not a grant to the farmers, but a grant to the non-agricultural occupiers, and that the money goes into their hands. The argument is this, that the rural occupiers get off their rents. If nothing were done, the non-agricultural occupiers would have to make up the deficit, and as the Government comes down and puts the burden on the whole of the taxpayers of the country, the grant is given, not to the people whose rates have been reduced but to those who would have had to contribute if it had not been for the Exchequer grant. To represent that as a grant, not to the rural occupiers but to another body is, I think, pure sophistication.
There has been running throughout this Debate two lines of argument, and the Government stand first on one leg and then on the other. Sometimes it is the 1511 pressing distress of the farmers, and the fact that if we do not give this relief at once agriculture will perish. Then, when one points out that that will not take place, the Government turn round, and say, "No, this is part of our ideal system of rating, which is going to come in." That argument really will not do. There, again, it does not bear it out. This is not a redistribution of local burdens. If it were a redistribution of local burdens, the Government, as I should have thought they would have done, would deal with the whole matter comprehensively, and meet the case, not merely of the farmers, but of all the ratepayers. The Government are in a terrible hurry about this. They say, "We cannot possibly do all this. There is no argument against it, but if we do it we should hold up this relief, which must be granted at once." The Government need not introduce an ideal system if this were merely an alteration of the rating system; and if it were a redistribution of the rating system and an introduction to a better and more ideal system, then clearly they would not single out the Scottish landowners for preferential treatment.
There are only two other points. In the first place, this is, of course, a dole to the agricultural interest. It is a contribution from the State. It clearly cannot save British agriculture. What does it mean? It works out at about 2s. per cultivable acre, which is perhaps one per cent. on the total agricultural product of the country. It works out at about £6 to each holder. No human being will say that that is going to save British agriculture. Many hon. Members have taken up an attitude of oven-handed generosity towards the farmers. They say, "They have had a bad time, let us give them something. Let us throw some public money about, rather heedless of where it comes from, or what its final effect will be. It will, at all events, encourage and put heart into the farmers for the immediate present; and it does not matter, it is only public money, and is only contributed by the taxpayers of the country. We may as well distribute it pretty indiscriminately, shutting our eyes to the fact that a good deal is going to those who do not want it, and that in a good number of cases it will go to people who have no claim whatever.
1512 There are two great objections to that line. In the first place, I must confess that I am one—I do not know whether hon. Members will believe it—who has a very honest respect for the capacity of the British farmer. I also believe that British agriculture is not going to be saved by these occasional doles, but by the practical skill and management of the British farmer. We know what he has done in the past; we know he produced a greater product in his crops in wheat-growing times than any other country. He has been passed now by some other countries, but that was his achievement in those old days, and, after all, his practical experience has built up the best herds of cattle and of pedigree stock in the world. I believe his brains and his practical skill will enable him to adapt himself and to alter his methods, and that possibly the Government may be able, by research and elsewhere, to assist him. I do not think that the Minister of Agriculture will be able to assist him very much by the arable dairy farming which he is at present carrying on. So far as I can make out, the right hon. Gentleman, when he tries arable dairy farming, loses never less than £1,000 a year on each farm. Something will be done, but it will not be by a policy of doles; and I believe that British farming will save itself by its own self-help and capacity.
The other point is this: An hon. Member, speaking a little while ago, said he had made the discovery that the landlord was an unpopular character. I am afraid that is a fact. A little while ago I fought an election in a rural area. Under the surface I never saw a fiercer class war than that which raged in that particular part of the country. [An HON. MEMBER: "And in the towns!"] And in the towns. A feeling has grown up that the landlord is a class of person who ought not to be permitted to exist. [Laughter.] It is no use laughing at that remark. I do not agree with the feeling in the least; but it is there, and it is no use ignoring it. Under these circumstances I think the landowners would have done better not to put themselves into an invidious and exceptional position, and to claim preferential treatment over other people. Any grievance they believe they have had better be remedied in a comprehensive scheme. No one who has watched what 1513 is happening to the agrarious revolution that is going on now in Europe can quite easily see that some drastic changes may come in our own country. Even in a land like Denmark, with its system of peasant proprietorship to steady the situation, the best step to the agrarious revolution is a proposal under which the big landowners had to surrender to the State one-fifth of their property, on a very small and scanty compensation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members say, "Hear, hear!" But there is a real danger. I recognise the services which have been rendered by the great landowners who have played their part in the improvement of agriculture. That, however, is not recognised by a large class, a large body, of the people at the present time. It is for that reason that I deplore that once more the Government have chosen to carry through a Measure that places the landowning class in a very invidious and false position.
§ Major the Marquess of TITCHFIELD
In a very few words I want to say something in favour of the wicked landlord. It has been said by hon. Members opposite that by reducing the rates on agricultural land the Government are benefiting the landlord, and that the advantages contained in this Bill will not be of use to the community which farms the land, but that the money will go direct to the pockets of the landlord. This, in my humble opinion, is a subtle half truth. I do not think any hon. Member will deny that by reducing rates and lightening the burdens, the capital value of land is bound to go up. But what I do deny is that the landlords throughout the country are going to raise their rents from the date this Bill becomes law.
The agricultural industry to-day, as every hon. Member of this House knows, is in a parlous state, and no one knows that fact better than the landlords. The landlords, realising that fact, are not going to be so foolish as to reburden their estates before the industry is again on a flourishing foundation. Agriculture is like a tired horse; you must lighten its burden until it regains its strength. When it regains its strength you can then give it burdens which are equal to, but not more than what it can reasonably be asked to sustain. The landlord to-day is in exactly the same position as the tired 1514 horse, and he is not going to reburden his estate after the Government have given him a helping hand.
I do not think hon. Members on the Socialist benches need have sleepless nights thinking that the landlords are going to break the agricultural industry, as the well-being of the tenant means the well-being of the landlord. The landlords, in my humble opinion, have been for many years the backbone of the agricultural industry in this country. The well-being of the landlords and the tenants means the same thing, and the landlords know that perfectly well. If the tenant is well off the landlord will be well off, and if the tenant is badly off the landlord will be badly off. The landlords are not going to cut off their noses to spite their faces. It has been said that the agricultural labourers do not want the rates on agriculture reduced, but that is not true, because last year a memorandum was prepared and submitted to the Government by the Central Landowners' Association, the National Farmers' Union, the National Union of Agricultural Workers, and the Agricultural Section of the Workers' Union, in which they say:Upon the injustice inflicted on their industry by the present system of local taxation they are entirely at one. Realising that …. the effect of the present system is to withdraw capital which would otherwise be available for investment in agriculture, and reduce income which would otherwise be available to meet outgoings and maintain or increase wages, and thus seriously to prejudice the industry as a whole, they have made common, cause to express their urgent claims for the redress of an admitted and pressing grievance.Hon. Members may accuse the landlords of cupidity, but they cannot accuse them of stupidity as well.
§ Mr. S. PATTINSON
I think hon. Members will agree that those engaged in agriculture are entitled to some consideration as regards rating. There has been confusion in my mind whether this is a grant or a dole. If I thought it was a dole I should vote against it. But I think it is a grant-in-aid of the rates. It has been needed for a very long time. Many public bodies have sent representatives up here claiming relief. I have taken two or three parties to different Government Departments to which they have pointed out the inequalities and injustices under which agriculture is labouring. It is only because I believe 1515 that the Government are giving this grant in relief of rates for three years and that then they intend to do something to alter the basis of local taxation that I shall support it. I have been interested to hear some of the arguments for and against the Bill. I think they have been worn rather thin. I noticed that the hon. Members for Derby (Mr. C. Roberts) and for Penistone (Mr. Pringle) both used the same quotation. If they had had strong arguments they would not have done that.
One argument has not been quite fully dealt with. We have heard a great deal about the occupiers of land near towns. There are in the City of Lincoln about 10,000 men out of work. In the Lincoln area are two rural councils, purely agricultural districts. The men receiving out-of-work relief in those two rural areas in the year 1922 drew about £700, but in the City of Lincoln the outgoing amounted to no less than £107,500, and these two rural councils have to bear their share of keeping the unemployed engineers in Lincoln. An hon. Member says, "Quite right"; but how have those rural areas benefited by the work of the engineers of Lincoln? Lincoln exports the whole of the machinery it manufactures to Russia and the East of Europe; it does not send any noticeable quantity into the two rural areas. Surely it is not the business of agriculturists to pay for the unemployed in large towns. In these two rural areas they are paying 4s. or 5s. in the £ for this purpose. They will get a distinct benefit under the Bill. One they would not have received if the benefit had been fixed at so much per acre right throughout the country. The time has long gone by when an inquiry into our whole rating system was due. If I am in the House in 1925 or 1926, when this Bill comes to an end, and if I find there is no attempt to remedy this injustice of local taxation, the House may depend on it I shall never vote for another Bill of this sort. I only vote for it now because I know, as chairman of the rates committee of the county council, that it is an urgent necessity that the farming community should receive some relief from the unjust burdens put on it during the last three or four years.
§ Sir ERNEST POLLOCK
The hon. Member for Derby (Mr. C. Roberts) be- 1516 gan his speech by telling us that the proceedings in Committee were exceedingly unsatisfactory. I certainly should not have used the word "exceedingly," although I could agree with him that they were unsatisfactory, and the point of view my Friends and I took why they were unsatisfactory was that the hon. Member for Derby occupied practically the whole time of the Committee. He spoke six times as much as anybody else, and used exactly the same arguments over and over again, and verbatim has reproduced much of the argument he used in Committee. He said he believes in the practical skill of the British farmer. So do I, but as the hon. Member told us in Committee that he himself was a farmer, I gathered that really means he believes in himself, and from that point of view I congratulate him, and I am very glad to think, whoever else has confidence in him, he has at least confidence in himself—a manly quality.
We are told over and over again that by some other method we might have done some good to agriculture by taking off the rates locally borne for education, lunacy and so on. The hon. Member knows perfectly well that if that had to be done, it would be a matter of deep consideration over a long period of time, and agriculture, if it is to benefit, needs to benefit immediately. It is easy to say that we are really not doing something in favour of agriculture, and to be able to go down to the hustings and say, "I am not opposed to agriculture or to the farmers, but a better method could have been chosen." Those speeches are really opposed to the agricultural interest. Of those Members of the Liberal party, it may be said with Lewis Carroll, it is always jam yesterday and jam to-morrow, but it is never jam to-day. That sort of speech is of a dilatory nature, and is not intended to give any help at all to those who need it, and is really intended for a purpose ulterior to the main objects of this Bill, and to enable Members to found an argument, not understood in the constituencies, but understood in this House, to be a direct opposition to anything like relief to agriculture. Hon. Members have used the old argument, from 1896 onwards, that the landlords are going to increase rents, or, as the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. C. Roberts) put it, that it is a prop against 1517 falling rents. Those observations were made in 1896, and have been repeated up and down the land, but every effort that has been made to try and find a single landlord who has raised a single rent has failed. After 27 years, up comes the old stuff, like a property from a side-show in a theatre, and we are introduced to these arguments again, but they have no foundation. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcatle - under - Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), wherever he hears of land or property, always sees red about rent and landlords. It is a warm day to-day, and I daresay he sees things in a brighter colour. The reason, however, for my intervention is to say that I support this Bill as one which is intended to give to the agricultural interest an overdue relief which is needed immediately, and to explain, so far as my words may reach, that those Members of the Liberal party who are pretending by some other method to offer some assistance to agriculture are really only endeavouring to confuse the issue, an issue on which they are definitely opposed to giving any relief to the greatest interest which this country has.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I should like to begin, my remarks with a reference to a subject which has not been touched upon yet in the Debate, namely, the question how, if at all, the passing of this Bill will affect the labourer. The Labour proposal in the Bill was that on farms where the labourer was paid less than 30s. a week no relief from rates should be given, but I do not see how that would help the labourer very much. The Government hope is that the relief given in rates will automatically percolate through and the labourer will get his share. I want to make a suggestion which is, I suppose, intermediate between these two suggestions. I will not ask my right hon. Friend to make any comment upon it tonight, but would ask him to consider it later. We hope there will be, by the passing of this Bill, and in other ways, some improvement in the general agricultural position in those very much distressed Eastern counties and in other districts where they are already paying 30s. a week, which is, of course, below the standard of a living wage in the case of a man with a family. I would like my right hon. Friend to consider, not the immediate re-introduction of compul- 1518 sory wages boards, because I do not think that that is the most practical way in which to get a real improvement, but to consider whether he could not say, if and when he sees any little signs of improvement in the position of agriculture, that he expects the farmers to indicate to him from time to time—it may take a long time before things get appreciably better—by showing him their balance sheets and accounts through their branches of the Farmers' Union, that they are paying at any rate as good a wage as they can afford to pay, and that, on their position improving in this, and, one hopes, later, in other ways, he will expect a wage to be paid as good as the industry can afford; and that if he finds, by examination through his officers, that the sort of wage that they can afford is not being paid, he will have to come round to the position of considering the practicability of re-imposing wages boards.
One of the ways of preventing what I think we all in different degrees want to prevent, namely, the advantage of this Bill being swallowed up by the landowners, is to see that as much as possible of it is transferred as soon as possible to the workers in those counties where we all lament the fact that the present level of wages is below the living wage on which alone a man can maintain a family satisfactorily. It is only by seeing that the benefit to the industry shall, so far as is possible be shared between the farmers and the workers, that we can prevent it from being absorbed in other ways. I have been surprised, not at the amount of disagreement, but at the amount of general agreement that there has been with regard to many aspects of this Bill. We all agree that it is not a permanent solution, that it leaves unsettled the most difficult, and in many ways the most pressing, of the present difficulties with regard to rating. We all, probably, agree that unless and until it is possible for the State to get somewhat nearer to a transfer of the present very heavy burden of Imperial services on the taxpayer, we shall not get anywhere near a final solution. But the attitude I have had to concentrate on perhaps rather more than my hon. Friend with whom I slightly disagree is, is there or is there not a quite clear and undoubted injustice in the present 1519 incidence of rating as between the occupier of agricultural land and other people of about the same type of means in our country districts. I have been trying to get facts and figures to answer that question. Rates ought to be paid presumably either on a man's ability to pay or on the benefit which he derives from the expenditure of the rates. The benefit a man derives is a personal thing. It is not measured by the amount of land he owns and if you are looking at the benefit a man derives you ought not to look at the amount of land he has to own in order to prosecute his livelihood but at himself personally, because it is not the land that gets the benefit from the expenditure on the roads, for instance. Most farmers would be only too thankful if the roads could be back in the condition they were in fifteen years ago. They would prefer not to have them brought to their present high state of efficiency for motor traffic. It is not the land that gets the benefit of expenditure on lunatics, the poor rate and so on. Those are personal things. It is not fair to call on the land as land to contribute if you are looking at the benefit derived. If it is derived from the person you must look at the person. When one looks at the person what does one find?
I heard a speech by Lord Fortescue at South Molton the other day. He was seeking a fair comparison between the rates paid by a farmer and the rates paid by other people of about the same means and he had stumbled on a case in point. It has been stated in debate that there are other people who pay an unfair amount of rates besides the farmer, and the publican has been cited. Whether that be so or not Lord Fortescue's comparison was between the publican and the farmer and he had found that in 20 free houses—rates are no criterion in a tied house—where the question of compensation for abolition of the licence had come up before the authority with which he was connected, the rents averaged £50 a year, assessable value averaged £42 a year and the tenants of the houses had been able to show that their average income was £250 a year. Then he proceeded to argue backwards. The Inland Revenue argument with regard to the farmer is that his income his equal to his rent, and, therefore, it is fair to argue that a farmer whose 1520 income is £250 would be rented at £250. The man rented at £250 is probably assessed at about £200, of which £180 is on the land and £20 on the house, so that under the old Act of 1896 he is paying on £90 on his land and £20 on his house, or on £110 as compared with the £42 on which the publican pays, although they have the same reputed or presumed income. This Bill will have this effect, that instead of paying on £110 a year he will be paying on £45, on his land, instead of on £90, and on £20 on his house, or on a total of £65. That is considerably more than the £42 on which the publican pays, but, at any rate, £65 is nearer justice for the farmer than the £110 on which he was paying before. Therefore, it is on comparisons of that kind, and in the belief that it is not right to perpetuate what is clearly an injustice, that it seems to me right to support the Government in this effort.
I hear my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) murmuring something about landlords. He must murmur "landlords" in his sleep. I suppose he suggests that I ought to deal with that aspect of the matter, and I will. My hon. and gallant Friend, and it may be other persons, in discussing this matter forgets the great rapidity with which the landlord, in the old sense, is ceasing to be an element in these things. It is rather a pity. Other people may think it is a good thing. The rate at which the landlord in the old sense has been disappearing since the War is a very remarkable thing. In the county with which I have the honour to be connected it has been happening very fast, and is still happening. Therefore, in a very large number of cases, the question as to whether the relief given by this Bill passes to the landlord, ceases to be a factor. The land has passed into the hands of the cultivator, or into the hands of some relative of the cultivator, and there is no longer the sharp division in family and caste between the landowner and the cultivator, and in these cases the relief given by the Bill will go to the man whom the House wants it to go to, namely, the cultivator, and it will be a very practical help in agriculture, so far as money goes.
My hon. and gallant Friend may think it hypocritical if I do not say what I think of the Bill as a landowner myself. I confess, quite frankly, that I am much 1521 tempted to vote for the Bill as a landlord. I can resist everything except temptation. There were two classes of landowners after the War; one sold out and the other hung on. Many of those who sold out had to sell out, and many who sold out sold because they were tempted by high prices. Many of those who hung on, hung on though they knew they could have got double, treble or quadruple if they had sold out. Many, like myself, who managed to hang on have not made ends meet since hanging on, and I have been living on that detested and terrible thing capital. That is so in my case, and many hon. Members opposite must be in the same position. I am not so good as some landlords who kept their rents exactly as before the war. I put my rents up 10 per cent., but my expenses went up 100 per cent. Those landlords who hung on did not in many cases do so because they could afford it. It seems to me that those landlords who did hang on, with regard to whom their tenants have not had to buy their land, as those under the worst owners have had to do, with results which many of them are beginning to find out, do not deserve so badly of the State after all.
But quite frankly I admit that the benefits under the present Bill must pass very largely to the landowners and away from the tenants. I do not think it possible to draft anything which would prevent, when any change of tenancy occurs, the benefit of this Bill passing largely to the landowner. To some extent I agree with what has been said by my hon. Friend behind—that the benefit will pass to the landowner even during a sitting tenancy, because the tendency now under this Bill is for rents to come back again, and it is beyond human nature for a landowner not to argue with a tenant that if he has got considerable relief from the Government in rates he does not therefore need so much relief in rent. It would be hypocrisy for anybody to try to conceal that, and I do not think that anybody has tried to conceal it. Certainly in the case of new tenants no power on earth can prevent the tenant from offering the rent which he thinks he can afford, and the lower his outgoings in the form of rates and so on the more he can offer in the form of rent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Did you say that at Tiverton?"] Cer- 1522 tainly. I have never disguised the fact that I was going to support this Bill, partly because I was a landowner. I think that a great deal of the benefit will go immediately to the tenant and ultimately will pass to the landlord. I have been perfectly frank about it.
§ Mr. ACLAND
My hon. Friend will not accuse me of arguing that this is the worst difficulty which is to be found anywhere in the country. I am only saying that where you find a class of persons who are paying rates grossly in excess of other persons of similar means, and the Government does come forward to remedy the injustice, it is not incumbent on me to argue that they must remedy every injustice.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Do you say that people whose rates are 24s. in the. £ ought to pay towards this relief?
§ Mr. ACLAND
I do not want to enter into an argument with my hon. Friend. I do not believe that the taxes or rates of the people in Poplar will be raised by one fraction of a farthing by the granting of this relief. I shall support this Bill, because it will perhaps help the landord, though it leaves the general question entirely chaotic, and because it will give some relief, in my opinion, to the occupiers, with their great and I fear not decreasing difficulties in making their living from the land and producing the food from the land, and who have been unfairly treated in this matter of rating, and whom I think it is high time to relieve even though greater injustice may be left unrelieved elsewhere.
§ Mr. WRIGHT
I have listened to the discussion the whole of the day, and have been particularly interested in the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. Probably at no very distant date we shall be able to listen to him looking at his face instead of his back.
§ Mr. WRIGHT
One observation of the right hon. Gentleman struck me particularly. It was that wages were to be paid as far as possible; that is to say, the wages were always to be the last item.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I cannot allow that statement. That is a wholly wrong impression to give of my speech. I was asked whether I had said something in the Tiverton by-election. What I stated was that I thought wages ought to be the first charge on industry, and I indicated to the Government that they should see to it that any relief given should be transferred to the workman.
§ Mr. WRIGHT
I begin to wonder why I sit in this House at all. It is very seldom that I get into a Debate, and when I repeat exactly what has been, said this is the kind of statement that is made. Apart from what the right hon. Gentleman said, it stands as a true statement that the agricultural labourer is the last person to be considered in agriculture. We have heard a great deal about the landlord and the farmer, and I hope that hon. Members opposite will not be unduly irritated if we refer to what we regard as the most important factor in agriculture from the human point of view. It is conceivable that we may have an agricultural system when we have no landlord. I hope the day will come when the landlord as landlord will disappear. An hon. Member opposite said that he wanted to say something in favour of the wicked landlord. I want to say something against the wicked landlord, because my ancestors and I have suffered, in common with hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers, from conditions of semi-starvation in what is one of the most important industries of the country. An industry which does not afford the essentials of a well-ordered life stands condemned. It can afford the landlord, with all his fox hunting—which costs £40,000,000 a year in this country—and the farmer, but the first claim on the industry should be the wages of the labourer, without whom there would be no agriculture. There has not been a word said on that subject to-day. The question is a very important one. We all want to see agriculture prosperous, but I do not believe in a system of subsidies or doles or grants as a favour to one section of the community at the expense of another. It is a very grave injustice to a large number of industrial areas that a Bill like this should be passed into law. I am speaking on behalf of a division where we have had many people during the last few years living under conditions 1524 of semi-starvation. Any industry which does not give its workers a reasonable standard of life should be changed, on the basis of the elimination of all needless factors until men and women engaged in the work are in a position to live upon their labour. I do not believe this Measure will bring the relief which is suggested. I was interested to hear an hon. Member opposite argue that no relief would come if, for instance, we made certain fundamental changes as between local rates and national burdens. Not very long ago a predecessor of the Minister of Agriculture, Lord Ernle, in a letter to the "Times" wrote as follows:It is improbable that the farmers can lighten the burden of their present local rates by merely transferring it to the shoulders of other ratepayers but substantial relief will be given, if as is suggested by the Labour party, the cost of such substantial services as education, lunacy and main roads, was met by increased grants from the National Exchequer. By this means rather than by favoured treatment they are most likely to obtain relief. The change should form an item in the national policy, to go with such measures as can be effectively taken to prevent any diversion of relief from the occupiers to the owners.The hope for the recovery of the agricultural industry in this country—to which I have given a great deal of attention and in which I am deeply interested, not only from the point of view of the labourer but from the point of view of the nation as a whole—lies in the fact that what other nations have been able to do Britain can do equally well. It is generally conceded that as regards the land and the climate we are as fortunately situated as any other part of Europe. Denmark, after the struggle with Prussia in 1864, was very much reduced but Denmark has made an extraordinary recovery—largely by developing its agricultural resources on land which cannot be claimed to be superior to our own. Half a century ago, Denmark lost almost half its territory and was left with a heavy burden of debt. It had very little coal or other natural resources; it was a wind-swept country, yet since 1871 it has reduced its grass lands by half and doubled its stock and in the last 20 years while our agricultural returns remained stationary its crop yield increased by 24 per cent. One-third of the population is agricultural and accord- 1525 ing to a well-known writer the Danish peasantry are the most enlightened in the world.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I hope the hon. Member will not pursue that line. To review the whole of Europe in this way would be outside the limits of a Third Reading Debate on this Bill.
§ Mr. WRIGHT
I defer to your ruling, Sir, but am only following the lines upon which other hon. Members have proceeded. One hon. Member opposite frequently lectures hon. Members on these benches for their supposed lack of knowledge of the agricultural industry, and as he did so to-night, it seemed to me legitimate that I should follow the line which he pursued. An hon. Member has asked me what. I am reading. I have great pleasure in telling him. It is from a small pamphlet called "The Farmer's Problem," written by a farmer, and contributed to a paper quite recently. But I could, if necessary, quote from the highest authorities in the last few months. Apart from that entirely, I venture to say that the great hope of dealing with this problem is the study and pursuit of agriculture upon a scientific basis. If that were done, it would be possible to deal with the problem on the lines we are advocating. We feel this is a very grave injustice to a vast number of our people, and I for one shall certainly vote against the Third Reading.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
I am glad that the last speech has done something to bring the Debate back to the quietude we previously enjoyed, and away from the heat, which was rather unexpectedly engendered by the speech of my right hon. Friend, opposite. I think that speech really replied to the points raised in the course of the Debate, and I will not venture to go over that ground again. I think he put admirably the justification for relief of the rates on the ground, which I have ventured to urge two or three times in the course of discussion on this Bill, as the real ground for this Bill, namely, that the agriculturist was paying a great deal more than his fair share. A good deal has been said about what the landlords are going to gain by the Bill. I agree with my right hon. Friend opposite in believing that the 1526 first person who is likely to score by the provisions of this Bill will be the agricultural labourer.
§ Sir R. SANDERS
Then I go one better than my right hon. Friend, and I say I think the agricultural labourer will be the first person who will gain by it, because he will get higher wages. [An HON. MEMBER: "When?"] Experience proved that when remission in rates was made last time. There was a little heat engendered in this Debate about landowners. I do not mind admitting there will be a distant and indirect advantage to the landowner. Any improvement that is made in the conditions of agriculture will undoubtedly give, in an indirect and distant manner, an advantage to the landlord, as it will to everyone engaged in the industry, and to make it a reason why you should not increase the prosperity of the industry that one of those engaged in it should possibly eventually get some advantage out of it seems to me the very worst logic, and the very worst system of legislation you could possibly devise.
The question, of course, was raised in a much more acute form about the Scottish landlords. Like the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith), I do not profess to be up in Scottish rating law, but on the broad ground I am quite ready to say that I hold that if the Scottish landlord pays more than his share towards local taxation, it is quite fair that he should get his measure of relief. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) said, "Why should the Poplar people pay toward any relief given to the agriculturist?" I do not want to have any heat or any excitement about that question, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to put the matter, quite gently and quietly, from the agriculturists' point of view—which is a point of view which has been raised to me by more than one agriculturist. In places like Poplar there are a great many men out of work. Very costly relief works are set up all over the country for the benefit of these men, and the agriculturist has to subscribe toward those relief works, although the number of agricultural labourers who are out of employment, and the number of unem- 1527 ployed in the country districts, is very small indeed. Further, the taxpayers all round, including the agriculturists, subscribe a very large sum—I have not looked up the amount, but it is very large indeed—towards the unemployment insurance fund. The agriculturists have to contribute to that fund, just as much as anyone else, but they get no benefit from it whatsoever. The point of view that the agriculturist takes is, that the towns have a good deal more unemployment than they have. It may be quite right—there is not much grumbling about it. They are sorry for the men out of employment in the towns—and they do not grumble at having to contribute their share toward this unemployment insurance and this relief fund, but they say to the townsman, in return, "When we show that a perfectly unfair burden is placed on us, we ask you not to grumble much when you are asked to contribute a trifle toward relieving that unfairness."
I have tried to put the agriculturists' point of view to the hon. Gentleman as fairly and as plainly as I can. I do not know if I have convinced him, but I think it is a case to which a great many townspeople are ready to listen. We have evidence of that in the opposition to this Bill, which has really surprised me by its mildness, when I remember the opposition to the Bill of 1896—I was not in the House at the time, but I remember it—which was one of the fiercest oppositions ever offered to a Bill. It was then said, and it was believed to be proved, that enormous sums were going into the pockets of the landlords every year as a, result of the passage of that Bill. Yet, year after year, the Liberal party, which, in those days, had the honour of the adherence of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), in-
§ Major BURNIE
I am not an agriculturist, but I should like to explain why I intend to vote against this Bill. My ancestors were Scottish fishermen who lived in the constituency represented by the hon. Member for Dumfries. My grandfather lived in the time when the Battle of Waterloo was fought. The then landowner enclosed a large part of the parish, and that is the land on which we are going to give relief to the present landlord by reducing his rates. My uncle erected his nets in the waters off the coast and was cast into Edinburgh Gaol for three months. These were all poor men. My father—[laughter]—I am sorry to go into these personal and family details—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]—my father built a cottage for his mother and paid £7 an acre for land which was worth 15s. As I understand this Bill, the present inhabitants of the cottages, who are poor fishermen, will have to pay this rate in full, while the landowner who is a millionaire is going to be relieved directly by the Clause in this Bill of three-eighths of his rates. On these counts, which I think form ample ground, I intend to go into the Lobby against this Bill.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 183; Noes, 98.1529
|Division No. 286.]||AYES.||[12 m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Blades, Sir George Rowland||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Blundell, F. N.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Churchman, Sir Arthur|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brass, Captain W.||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Sir Martin||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Clayton, G. C.|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Brittain, Sir Harry||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Butt, Sir Alfred||Cope, Major William|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Button, H. S.||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Cadogan, Major Edward||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Berry, Sir George||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cautley, Henry Strother||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Dawson, Sir Phillip|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Dixon, Capt. H. (Belfast, E.)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W.)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Kelley, Major Sir Frederick A.||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Lamb, J. Q.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Lort-Williams, J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Lumley, L. R.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Garland, C. S.||Manville, Edward||Shipwright, Captain D.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Margesson, H. D. R.||Simpson-Hinchliffe, W. A.|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Singleton, J. E.|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Mercer, Colonel H.||Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Molloy, Major L. G. S.||Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Nall, Major Joseph||Stanley, Lord|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Halstead, Major D.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Harrison, F. C.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Paget, T. G.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Pease, William Edwin||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Peto, Basil E.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pielou, D. P.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Wells, S. R.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Privett, F. J.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Houfton, John Plowright||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Hume, G. H.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Remer, J. R.||Wise, Frederick|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Rentoul, G. S.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel the Rt. Hon. G. A. Gibbs.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Paling, W.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Groves, T.||Phillipps, Vivian|
|Ammon, Charles George||Grundy, T. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Attlee, C. R.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Potts, John S.|
|Barnes, A.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Richards, R.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hardie, George D.||Riley, Ben|
|Bonwick, A.||Harris, Percy A.||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)|
|Briant, Frank||Hayday, Arthur||Rose, Frank H.|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Brotherton, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Buckie, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Burgess, S.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Snell, Harry|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Kirkwood, D.||Tout, W. J.|
|Chapple, W. A.||Lansbury, George||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawson, John James||Warne, G. H.|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Leach, W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Collins, Pat (Walsall)||Linfield, F. C.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Collison, Levi||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||M'Entee, V. L.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||McLaren, Andrew||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Duncan, C.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Dunnico, H.||March, S.||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Wright, W.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Millar, J. D.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Morel, E. D.|
|Falconer, J.||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Mr. Morgan Jones and Mr. Lunn.|
|Gosling, Harry||O'Grady, Captain James|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."1532
§ The House divided: Ayes, 193; Noes, 78.1533
|Division No. 287.]||AYES.||[12.10 a.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Goff, Sir R. Park||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Peto, Basil E.|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Pielou, D. P.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Gretton, Colonel John||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Sir Martin||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover)||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Privett, F. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Halstead, Major D.||Remer, J. R.|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Berry, Sir George||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Harrison, F. C.||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W.)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Bonwick, A.||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Hopkins, John W. W.||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Houfton, John Plowright||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.)||Hume, G. H.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Button, H. S.||Hurd, Percy A.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Shipwright, Captain D.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Jephcott, A. R.||Simpson-Hinchliffe, W. A.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Singleton, J. E.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Kelley, Major Sir Frederick A.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Stanley, Lord|
|Clayton, G. C.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Linfield, F. C.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Collison, Levi||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Cope, Major William||Lort-Williams, J.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Lumley, L. R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Manville, Edward||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Dixon, Capt. H. (Belfast, E.)||Margesson, H. D. R.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Wells, S. R.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Mercer, Colonel H.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Molloy, Major L. G. S.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Nall, Major Joseph||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wise, Frederick|
|Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Paget, T. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Garland, C. S.||Pease, William Edwin||the Rt. Hon. G. A. Gibbs.|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Entwistle, Major C. F.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Gosling, Harry|
|Barnes, A.||Charleton, H. C.||Gray, Frank (Oxford)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Collins, Pat (Walsall)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Briant, Frank||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Groves, T.|
|Broad, F. A.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Grundy, T. W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Duncan, C.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Buckie, J.||Dunnico, H.||Hardie, George D.|
|Burgess, S.||Ede, James Chatter||Harris, Percy A.|
|Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Morel, E. D.||Snell, Harry|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||O'Grady, Captain James||Tout, W. J.|
|Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Oliver, George Harold||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Paling, W.||Warne, G. H.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Phillipps, Vivian||Watson, W. M. (Duntermline)|
|Lansbury, George||Ponsonby, Arthur||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Lawson, John James||Potts, John S.||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Leach, W.||Richards, R.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Lee, F.||Riley, Ben||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)||Wright, W.|
|M'Entee, V. L.||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|McLaren, Andrew||Rose, Frank H.|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Saklatvala, S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|March, S.||Salter, Dr. A.||Mr. Morgan Jones and Mr. Lunn.|
Bill read the Third time, and passed.