HC Deb 07 March 1923 vol 161 cc507-609

Order for Second Reading read.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

This Bill is of a less contentious and less exciting character than that we have just been discussing. It follows, with some modification, the fees provisions which were found in the Economy Bill, which was introduced in the last Parliament. The, provisions of this Bill, like those proposals, are based largely upon the recommendations contained in the Report of the Geddes Committee; either upon specific recommendations for the imposition of fees, or in accordance with the general principle, which was advocated constantly in that Report, of charging the fees to meet either the whole or part of the cost of the particular services. This is to enable the Departments to recover all or part of the cost of different services which they perform and which are set out in this Bill.

I think it will be convenient if I give to the House a short summary of the provisions contained in the various Clauses for the imposition of the fees. The first three Clauses of the Bill and the Schedules relate to the work of the Mercantile Marine Department of the Board of Trade. That is work connected with various inspections of the Mercantile Marine and various services rendered which have been imposed by a succession of Acts of Parliament. I might conveniently summarise them as follow. In the first place, there are surveys—the survey of steamers for passenger certificates, the survey of emigrant ships, the medical examination of steerage passengers on emigrant ships, the measurement of ships for tonnage, the survey of ships for load line; and a number of miscellaneous services and inspections which are imposed by the Merchant Shipping Acts, like the inspection of crow accommodation, inspection of lights and fog signals, of life-saving appliances, and of wireless telegraphy. The next heading of expenditure of that Department is in the work of the Mercantile Marine Offices, the main part of whose work consists of the statutory supervision of the engagement and discharge of seamen. There is also the statutory provision for the inspection of ship provisions, and, finally, there is the work of the General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen, which includes the Register of ships, the Registration of seamen, verification of service, the issue of masters' and mates' certificates, and various other detailed matters of that kind.

When the Geddes Committee considered these services, they made a General Report which, in effect, came to this, that the fees which were already charged upon the shipping industry in respect of those services should be increased to a sufficient extent to defray the whole of the cost of the services. They made a recommendation for certain economies in the Mercantile Marine Offices and in one or two other directions, which have been largely carried out. The House would like me to say what will be the cost to the shipping industry. As near as I can estimate it, the cost of these services to-day is something like £420,000. The total amount. which is charged in fees to-day is £92,000. Therefore, to carry out. in its entirety the recommendation of the Geddes Committee, would impose a further charge of something like £328,000 or £330,000 upon the shipping industry. The Government have considered very carefully whether these recommendations should be proposed to the House in their entirety or with a modification. I had discussions with the Chamber of Shipping and the Shipowners' Parliamentary Committee, and I have gone with them into what exactly the incidence of those charges would be. That is a very reasonable thing to do when you are going to impose charges upon an industry. What the Government has decided to propose to the House is this, that we should not ask the House to sanction the imposition of fees or the increase of fees sufficient to defray the whole of the cost of these services but only to sanction sufficient to defray one-half of the total cost of the services. I would justify that proposal to the House on three grounds. In the first Place, it is, I think, a matter of common knowledge that the shipping industry to-day is going through an exceptionally difficult. period. In the second place, these services—inspection and survey and so on—imposed by the Merchant Shipping Acts are not services rendered solely or indeed, I think, principally, for the convenience of the shipowners themselves. They are services or duties which Parliament has imposed in the interests of the community generally, though no doubt they are also of considerable benefit to the shipowner. Therefore I think it is reasonable that, instead of putting the whole cost of these services upon the shipping community, the cost should be borne as half and half.

I venture to put to the House a third consideration which is also a sound one. If the whole of the cost of the services were to be put exclusively upon the shipping industry, it might be said with some reason that there was then no incentive to economy on the part of the Government, because, after all, they could then appoint whatever staff they thought was necessary. The total amount of the charge for the services would, it is true, appear on the Vote, but it would be entirely set off by Appropriations-in-Aid to whatever amount was sufficient to meet the services for the year, whereas if the expense of the services falls equally upon the industry and upon the Government, there is a full incentive for the Government to make all the economy possible and there is a double incentive—to both the Government and to the shipping industry—to combine in securing the most efficient and most economical service possible. For these three reasons, I ask the House to accept the proposal that the recommendations of the Geddes Committee should be modified to the extent of making this charge a half-and-half charge upon the taxpayer and upon the shipping industry. The effect of that will be that if the cost, as I have estimated, is in the region of £420,000 the shipping industry will pay £210,000 in place of the £92,000 which is paid to-day. The House will see the variations in the fees set out in the Schedule to the Bill, and Clause 3 of the Bill contains a general indication—


Has the Shipowners' Committee agreed to these proposals?


Yes, and I think that proves they are not unreasonable. [Interruption.] I rather deprecate that interruption. It is only proper when you are going to put a considerable cost upon a great industry which is serving the public very well that you should not be precluded from consultation with that industry and from seeing what the effects of the provisions will be upon the industry.


Has the Seamen's and Firemen's Union also been consulted in this matter?


No, Sir, because no charge is put upon them. There is, as the House will see in Clause 3 of the Bill, a general provision that the total cost recovered from the industry shall not exceed one half of the estimated cost; of the services of the year. The reason for putting that in and leaving a certain margin in the Schedule is this, that a mere mathematical increase of all fees in order to obtain the contribution of one half might work hardly against one type of shipping as compared with another. Therefore by taking a margin in the Schedule and putting in a provision that the aggregate charge is not to exceed one half, there will be provided an opportunity of imposing fees which will meet the aggregate required with the least possible inconvenience to the shipping community generally. I might to add that as this charge is being put upon the shipping community and as, I am sure, it is the common desire that we should get not only an efficient but an economic service, I have invited the Chamber of Shipping and its associates to appoint a small committee to go into the whole of the services, and the administration and cost of those services, with the Mercantile Marine Department. That is being done in order to see whether any further economy can be made in administration, and also in order to see if there are any services which, though imposed by Statute at this moment, do not really serve any useful purpose and which with due regard to the public safety—that, of course, is the overriding consideration in all these matters—could possibly be done away with or modified. That committee, I am glad to say, has been appointed by the shipping industry and it is already getting to work. These provisions cover the main and greater part of the Bill—that is the provisions dealing with the Mercantile Marine services.

The remaining Clauses of the Bill provide. for the levying of fees for a number of different services performed by various Departments and I shall run through them rapidly. Clause 4 provides for an increase in the fees charged by local authorities for the verification of the apparatus for testing the flash-point of petroleum. That is a duty which they have to perform in order to secure safety in the use of petroleum. Clause 5 provides for an increase in the fees in respect of the registration of business names. A considerable economy has already been made in connection with that Department and, in fact, I think only a very small extra charge will have to be made in respect of this service. The Geddes Committee, as the House will remember, was rather doubtful as to whether that was a service which should be maintained. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I thought that was quite an open question. My predecessor consulted various large commercial bodies as to whether the service ought to be maintained. He communicated with the Association of Chambers of Commerce, the London Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of British Industries and the National Union of Manufacturers, and they all replied that they thought it performed very useful service, and that in the interests of the manufacturers and traders of the country, it was a provision which should he maintained. I, therefore, propose, in view of all these circumstances, to maintain that service and to ask the House to sanction the small increase in charges which is necessary to make it self-supporting. Clause 6 enables the Board of Trade to make a charge to local authorities for the verification of local standards of weights and measures. The charge to local authorities is something very small. It works out at probably not more than or £6 or £7 a year. While the charge is very small, they will have the advantage, in future, of having their weights and measures compared on the spot instead of sending them long distances up to London. Clause 7 deals with a small and very non-contentious matter. It enables the Home Office to charge a fee where persons want to remove a body after burial. That is purely a matter of private advantage and convenience, and it is proposed to charge a small fee of 2 guineas and to enable a fee to be paid to the officer of the local authority who attends.


How many bodies are removed every year, and what amount is likely to be derived?


I am told this will bring in about £600 a year, and I was rather surprised at the amount. Clause 8 empowers various Departments to charge fees for work which is done at the headquarters of the Department in London, for which, when it is done abroad by consuls, a fee is charged—work such as the authentication and legislation of documents and so on. That, again, is work done entirely for the convenience of private persons and a foe is charged for it at the consular offices. When the work is done by the Foreign Office or Home Office here, there should be a fee in order to meet it. Clause 9 enables the British Museum, with the approval of the Treasury, to make a charge for admission to the museum, and that also covers the Natural History Museum. It so happens that, whereas nearly every other museum and gallery in the country is entitled to charge fees, there is a statutory bar which prevents the British Museum or the Natural History Museum from charging fees. I daresay the House will remember that this matter came before the Geddes Committee and was dealt with by them at some length. It was pointed out that expenses had gone up, and it was represented to the Committee that it was very desirable, if possible, that the Government grant should not be reduced. In order to enable these grants to be carried on and the money to be found from some other source, the Geddes Committee recommended that in, I think, the case of all museums and galleries there should be a charge for admission on four days of the week. That bad already been done by the National Gallery, by the London Museum, by the Victoria and Albert Museum and by the National Museum of Scotland—no doubt, a precedent, we ought to follow—and the Committee recommended that the practice should be made universal. This proposal is estimated to bring in £6,000 a year to the British Museum and £3,500 to the Natural History Museum. I would point out to the House it is not a proposal to charge on every day of the week, but only a proposal to charge on four days of the week. That would enable Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays—on which there is an influx of people into the museums—to be free days. I understand it is also proposed that students who wish to go to these museums for special purposes may be admitted free on any day.


Does this proposal in-chide the Bethnal Green Museum?


I am sorry I cannot say at the moment. I will make inquiry, and when my Noble Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade replies, he will refer to the matter.


Can we have a guarantee that these museums will be open free on Saturdays?


Yes, that, I understand, is absolutely intended, and that is what is done in the case of all galleries which are charging a fee. They are open free on Saturdays and Sundays. The only other Clause in the Bill is Clause 10, which gives a general power to the various Departments to charge a fee, limited to five guineas, for the services of an officer holding or attending an inquiry, in cases where the Act says the costs of the inquiry are to be payable by the local authority or some other person. At present there is a variety of fees under different Acts, local government, municipal, transport, health, and so on. Sometimes it is specially provided that a fee is to be recoverable, sometimes it is limited to three guineas and sometimes there is no limit, and this is a general proposal that where the costs of an inquiry are chargeable upon a local authority or upon some other person, a fee limited to five guineas shall be charged. That follows what, I understand, has been the general practice recently in all modern local Acts, and I think those who are acquainted with the work of Private Bill Committees will bear me out when I say that that is put in as a common form Clause now into those local Acts. We propose by this Clause that that provision should be made universal.


Will that fee go to the Department or to the officer who conducts the inquiry?


It will go to the Department. It will be an appropriation-in-aid, the office: having a regular salary, except, I suppose, where somebody was brought in specially by the Depart- meat, where the fee, if he were paid by the Department, would find its way to him. I have tried to give the House a comprehensive and, I hope, an accurate summary of the provisions of this Bill, which carries out, I venture to think, in a practical way both the specific recommendations and the general principles of the Geddes Report.


On what basis would the fees be charged at the British Museum?


I think they would amount to 6d.


On four days a week?




I must express some surprise that additional taxation should be placed on the shipping industry, at one of the darkest moments, as the President of the Board of Trade himself acknowledged, in the fortunes of that trade. However, that is a matter that I will leave to be discussed by others who are better acquainted with the subject than I am. I base my opposition to this Bill on Clause 9. I do not think there ever really was a more inconsiderate proposal made than that which is contained in that Clause, and I will put to my right hon. Friend a very searching question. Has he ever gone, not as a mere visitor, but for professional reasons, into the Library of the British Museum? I do not suppose he ever has. His flowery path of life did not compel him to follow the thorny path of those who write for a living, but if he were acquainted, as I am, by personal and painful experience, with the Library of the British Museum, he would see, as I hold, that a more cruel and a more preposterous proposal was never made than to put a tax on the people who frequent the library of the British Museum. Of course, the most distinguished writers have gone there, but these are the exceptions. The ordinary visitor to the library of the British Museum is a very hard working and a very "hard up" man or woman of letters. I have not been there for many years myself, though a considerable period of my youth was passed in it, but anybody who. knows the ordinary population of the reading room of the British Museum will know that it is frequented, not by the successful, but by the extremely unsuccessful, members of the literary profession.

I do not want to say anything disrespectful to a worthy class because they happen to be poor, but to a large extent many of those daily frequenters of the library of the British Museum could fairly be described as almost the flotsam and jetsam of the literary profession. The reading room of the British Museum is to some of them almost their chief living room, to some of them their restaurant, because, not having the price of their lunch at a restaurant, they very often bring their poor little packet of food into the Museum, and many of them use it as a dormitory, which is not unnatural when you are reading books that are not always interesting. That is the kind of people who go to the British Museum regularly. There is practically a professional class of readers in the British Museum, men doing research work for books and newspapers, carrying on what is technically called "ghosting" work for other authors with more attractive names and larger remuneration. Many of them have been going to the Museum almost every day of their lives, from their youth up to their doddering old age, and now it is proposed to put a tax on these poorest of the poor almost, because after all, with all due respect. to men who work with their hands, they very often get far better and more regular remuneration than these more or less hack workers in hack literature.

I think the right hon. Gentleman stated that the fee is to be 6d. That may make all the difference, to many of these poor people, between having a lunch and not having a lunch, and I am sure my right hon. Friend, when he comes to reconsider this question, will not press for this charge. The exception he mentioned is almost as bad as the rule, for what are the days excepted? Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is a short day anyhow, and I do not think the British Museum library is open on Sunday. Therefore, it is no good to them to be free to go on Sunday, whilst Saturday is more or less dies non to all classes except those employed by Sunday newspapers. I am tempted to make an observation about Sunday newspapers, but I had better not, as I am a member of the newspaper profession myself. The class for whom I am speaking are a class that have not many people to speak for them. Their occupation is most precarious, and to inflict upon this worthy though poor class of people a fee for admission, which sounds very little perhaps to Members of this House, but which may mean all the difference to them between a day without food and a day with food, is a very cruel proposal.


I sympathise to a certain extent with what has been said by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor). I know there is a very poor class of men who are searching in the British Museum, to whom 6d. a day would be a very difficult thing to pay. But there are two points on another subject in regard to which I should like to question the Minister in charge of this Bill. The first is: Can provision be made in this Bill to put a tax on foreign commercial travellers who visit this country, in the same way as our commercial travellers are taxed in foreign countries? Our commercial travellers have a great grievance, in this respect. Our men going abroad have to pay very heavy fees and taxes, while foreign commercial travellers coming here pay, I believe, almost nothing at all, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will take this matter into consideration and put in a Clause which will enable our commercial travellers to be on an equality with foreign commercial travellers who come into this country.

The second point I would like to ask is somewhat similar, and that is whether the fees levied by our consuls on foreign merchants abroad can be put on an equality with the fees levied by foreign consuls on our merchants in this country. Our consular fees levied abroad are very much less than those levied by foreign consuls in this country, and I see no reason why there should not be perfect equality in this matter. I have heard it stated that we cannot do this on account of the Mast-Favoured-Nation Clause in our Treaties. I put a question the other clay on that very subject, and the reply I got was that the Most-Favoured-Nation Clause in our Treaties was all gain and that we had no loss: but I have given the right hon. Gentleman two instances in which that Clause in our Treaties is a distinct loss to us. I would therefore ask the right hon. Member to put this matter right in the Bill.


In reply to what was said by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. O'Connor), I have ascertained that if there is any person who uses the library of the British Museum regularly, all he would have to do under the regulations which are, I believe, in contemplation, would be to write to the Director of the Museum, saying that he wishes to use the library regularly, and then he would have a free pass in the same way as students.


The President of the Board of Trade has cleared up one point in connection with Clause 9, but I think he might explain to the House what fee will be charged to the public to gain admission to the British Museum, as I think there is a little doubt in the minds of hon. Members after his explanation. Do the Trustees of the British Museum and the Natural History Museum intend to increase the fees to the ordinary public when they desire to enter these two Museums? If so, it is surely a retrograde measure to impose a tax or put any impediment in the way of the free access of the public to these two treasure houses. In the City of Glasgow, my native city, the Corporation have not increased the fees of the picture galleries and the other amenities in that city. Surely it is rather a backward step that to-day, in the City of London, the public desiring access to these two places, should have to pay increased fees. I hope the President will keep an open mind, whether at this stage of the Bill or at a later stage, when an Amendment will be moved to delete Clause 9 from the Bill. The President in his opening statement gave three reasons why the Government are introducing this Bill this afternoon, more especially the Clauses referring to the Mercantile Marine Branch of the Board of Trade. I would like to ask him, when these charges were originally fixed in connection with the Marine Branch of the Board of Trade, whether the charges were so fixed that no burden would fall upon the Department, or, in other words, upon the shoulders of the public? I welcome the transfer of the burden from the shoulders of the public on to 'the shoulders of the shipowner, but why should the public to-day be asked to pay £210,000 for the working of the Mercantile Marine Branch of the Board of Trade? There may be a very good reason, if these charges were originally so fixed that the charges in 1898 and onwards were intended to fall on the shoulders of the public. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman may be able to give us some information on that matter.

During the right hon. Gentleman's opening statement I asked him whether the Seamen and Firemen's Union had been consulted, and he stated that the Seamen and Firemen's Union had not been consulted, because the seamen would not have any extra charges under the Bill. Let me direct his attention to what, I believe, is a small matter, but a matter which is of some consequence. Whenever a seaman is engaged, or whenever he is discharged in future, a fee of 6d. must be paid. is this really necessary? Will it not have the effect, in some degree, of depressing the wages of seamen when joining ships for a short time on the coastal trades of this country? Every time they are engaged this fee must be paid. Every time they are discharged, this fee must also be paid. Is it really necessary, in the interests of the shipowners or of the seamen themselves, that this charge should be made, which is bound to have the effect in time of depressing the wages of the seamen? I hope he will give us some information on that point.


I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

I do not intend to deal with the question which has been raised by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, and which has also been referred to by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I want to confine myself to the main provisions of this Bill—those referring to increased fees about to be imposed on the shipowners for services which come within the jurisdiction of the Mercantile Marine. I am bound to say, in the first place, that a Bill such as this, one which is of an omnibus character and deals with matters which have no relation to each other, is not at all satisfactory, and ought not to have been submitted in this fashion at all. We have had a reference from hon. Members already with regard to the British Museum, and now we are to have an incursion into the affairs of the Mercantile Marine, and, possibly, later in the Debate, a dead body will be drawn across the path, arising from an inquiry which may come within the scope of Clause 10. That I regard as a most unsatisfactory method of submitting Bills to this House, and, in any event, the provisions which relate to the Mercantile Marine are of so vital a character, that they might very well have been introduced in a short amending Bill, instead of a Bill of this character. I will go further, and contest the validity and propriety of certain references in Clause 2, Sub-section (4), which propose to repeal Sections which are contained in the Act of 1894. You are asking here for an increase in fees, but, in my judgment, you are not entitled to ask at the same time for the repeal of a Section of the Act which has no relation whatever to the question of fees. At all events, that is my opinion, and I will take care to submit Amendments in Committee with regard to that particular provision. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down made some reference to the charges about to be imposed. It is, perhaps, matter for comment—to put it mildly—that hon. Gentlemen should discuss matters of which they have very little knowledge. Certainly, that reference should be made to the imposition of fees which are to be borne by seamen, when, as a matter of fact, the proposal is that they should be borne by the shipowner, shows a lack of knowledge, and, to say the least of it, is disconcerting. However, that is a matter for the hon. Gentleman himself.

I submit that no justification has been made by the President of the Board of Trade for the acceptance of this Bill by the House. He attempted to justify the partial increase of fees by making reference to the undoubted depression of the shipping industry, and to the fact that the services were not solely intended for the shipowners, but, to some extent, were serving the interests of the community. That is not a justification for an increase of fees, but rather for an alteration in the incidence, taking the burden completely off the back of the shipowner, and imposing the charge on the community entirely. I for once find myself in entire agreement with the shipowners in the desire to remove burdens from the industry, which are certainly embarrassing at the present time, and I must confess to amazement at the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that this is a non-contentious Measure. I have been regaling myself by perusing some of the shipping papers, in the course of which I have read reports of speeches which have been delivered by very eminent shipowners in the country, one of whom is an hon. Member of this House. Perhaps I might remove any doubt in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman as to the controversy in the shipping industry with regard to this matter if I quoted one or two extracts from speeches which have been made. The other day at the meeting of the Glasgow Shipbrokers' Association, the chairman, Mr. Wm. Henderson, one of the joint managers of the Anchor Line, a gentleman for whose views, particularly with regard to shipping, we must pay due regard, made some very caustic references to the proposals which are contained in this Bill. He said: There are sinister signs also that the Government are pondering the advisability of very heavily increasing some other charges with regard to the surveys and inspection of steamers. The charges proposed are so preposterous "— a remark which was received with loud applause from the surrounding ship-owners— that one can hardly credit that sane men could think of levying such charges on an already overburdened industry at this critical time. Should such an attempt be made further to throttle shipping enterprise, our reply to the Government "— I hope the right hon. Gentleman will take notice of this— if I may adopt the virile language of the late Lord Fisher, will be, Peace and tranquillity be damned! That is not the language of a seaman or a seaman's representative, or of a Member of the Labour party. It is the language of a shipowner, who has been supporting the policy of this Government, but who says that if you propose to proceed with the provisions of this Bill, then "Peace and tranquillity be damned!" That opens up a very good prospect for the right hon. Gentleman and his friends. That is not all. There is the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Sir W. Raeburn), who is very well known in the shipping world, and is perhaps one of the most efficient men in the shipping industry, one who is regarded, I should think, by shipowners as being the mouthpiece of the shipping industry in this House, and I am quite sure that he efficiently represents that industry, What did he say at the same convention? It would fall to him to say something about this Bill. I am perhaps anticipating what the hon. Member will say this afternoon on the subject., but, perhaps, he will excuse me for taking this liberty. He said: It would have fallen to him to have opposed it in its original form, but, although he would have done his best, the fight would have been an absolutely hopeless one in a House of Commons that had no sympathy whatever for the shipowner win was supposed to have fed fat off the country during its time of trouble. He proceeded to discuss the Geddes Report and its recommendations, out of which this Bill has arisen, according to the right hon. Genfleman who introduced the Bill. Then he said: Therefore he was glad that the settlement which they were now offered was to be accepted. Half a loaf was better than no bread. Those are the opinions of shipowners, and they passionately, indignantly, resent the proposals in this Bill. He said they were prepared to accept a compromise. We are entitled to learn from the right hon. Gentleman what was the nature of this compromise. There must have been a quid pro quo. What is the concession granted to the shipowners in return for their acceptance of the provisions of this Bill? May I put one or two questions to the right hon. Gentleman? He spoke about the setting up of an Advisory Committee is that Advisory Committee to be consulted not only with regard to the imposition of fees, but with regard to the regularity of inspections which are involved? Obviously—and here I agree with the hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins)—that if there is to be consultation, then much wider interests must be consulted, since the whole question is not only for shipowners or seamen, or the Board of Trade, but for the community. With regard to that I would say this, Reference has been made to a particular trade union organisation which the hon. Member for Greenock said might he taken into consultation, and I would say this to the House, that there are other organisations just as capable of conferring advice, and they are as much entitled to consideration at the hands of the Board of Trade as the organisation to which the hon. Member for Greenock referred. That will be impressed on the right hon. Gentleman every time I rise to speak in this House on shipping questions and in other ways. [An HON. MEMBER: "What are they?"] If the hon. Gentleman wishes to know, there is a union known as the Amalgamated Marine Workers' Union—a union which has as honourable traditions behind it as the organisation to which the hon. Member for Greenock referred. At all events, it represents a body of seafaring opinion entitled to be taken into consideration similarly with other organisations. I have no objection to the wider consideration or representation, but if the matter is to be arranged as suggested it must include all sections of the seafaring community.

5.0 P.m.

I come to a question which, in my judgment, is vital to the mercantile marine provisions of the Bill. I suspect—I hope I am not imputing dishonourable motives for I should hardly be justified in such a course—that the concessions are, to some extent, of a nature which will remove the inspection which is at present operating so far as the services are concerned, the inspection of food and stores, in regard to life-saving appliances and wireless telegraphic installations. I would point this out further, that Section 206 of the Act of 1894 lays it down that there must be an obligatory inspection of ships which travel certain routes, and it is proposed in Clause 2 (4) of the present Bill to repeal that Section, thus removing the obligation on the Board of Trade to conduct an inspection into the food and stores provided for the seamen. I desire to read the Section, because it is rather important—at all events important to the seamen. Section 206 of the Act of 1894 says: In the case of ships trading or going from any port of the United Kingdom through the Suez Canal or round the Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Horn, the barrels of beef and pork, the preserved meat and vegetables in tins, and the casks of flour or biscuits, intended for the use of the crew of any such ship shall be inspected by such officer and in such a manner as the Rules under this Section direct ‥‥ That is a compulsory inspection intended in the interests of seamen. It is well-known, and I think, perhaps, the shipowners on the other side of the House will agree with me, that in the ships that are going through the Suez Canal and round the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, ships that are going long voyages, it is essential that preserved food should be inspected before the ship leaves the port of engagement, and so far as the seamen are concerned, so as to ensure that the foodstuffs are in such a condition as not to cause disease and suffering to the men concerned. That is reasonable. Why in this Bill it should be proposed to repeal such an important Section of the 1894 Act I cannot understand. If this be one of the concessions granted to the shipowners in return for their acceptance of this Bill, on behalf of the seamen of this country I am determined to oppose this repeal and will certainly raise the matter in Committee.

I want now to say something on a question which affects not the seamen, though I am not sure that they are not almost as much involved, but one which concerns the community itself. It is proposed in this Bill to charge fees for the inspection of life-saving appliances. Could anything he more absurd? It is proposed to charge fees for the inspection of wireless telegraphic installations. I suggest that is preposterous! Why are these things put on board? Wireless telegraphy is being installed on passenger liners and tramp steamers for the purpose of protecting the men, the crew in the latter case, and the passengers in the case of the liners, yet it is proposed that the shipowner should be mulcted in a charge which should be undoubtedly placed on the State. It is the duty of the State to protect the lives of the passengers, and though the shipowners certainly has some duty and responsibility in the matter, surely they ought not to be subject to a charge of this kind. It ought not to be imposed on them at all. Let me take the analogy of the mines of this country, or the railways, or Agriculture. If the Minister of Aviculture submitted a Bill which said that the inspection of milk supplies and cattle, in order to trace whether or not disease existed, should be borne by the farmer there would be an outcry on the part of the farmers which would probably disturb the equanimity of the Government. Yet here the Government come along and propose this increase of fees—not modified fees—for duties which should properly be carried by the State which ought not to be a burden on industry. Similarly, if the Secretary for Mines should propose that the inspection of mines should be a charge upon the mine-owners, there would be an outcry. Similarly with the railways. So I submit that if the principle which it is intended to apply, that is the principle of the imposition of fees for certain services, is not applied in the case of the mines, the railways, and agriculture, it ought not to be applied in the case of the shipping industry: in other words I submit to this House that the duty and responsibility or providing and maintaining life-saving appliances on board passenger liners and tramp steamers, the responsibility of installing wireless, of inspecting the crew's supplies, for engaging and discharging the seamen, should be a charge imposed not on the ship-owner or the industry; it is one for the taxpayer. There is a body of opinion in the country associated with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins) who wish to remove the charges at present put upon the taxpayer and place them on to the shoulders of those concerned in industry. That seems at first sight to be an excellent principle, but once you attempt to apply it you will find yourself in a considerable difficulty.

I just want to say one word more in regard to a matter which arises from the proposed new charges, and which will bear hardly on some seamen. I would direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the First Schedule, Part 1, where he will see that it is intended to increase the fee payable for the granting of certificates of service for the A.B. rating. What does that mean? It means that a seaman who has served for three years as an ordinary seaman and goes up for his discharge must pay a fee to the Board of Trade before he receives that document. There is no industry in the country where a similar condition of things prevails. I would urge upon the right hon. Gentleman to remove from the Bill the proposal imposing a charge on the A.B. for a document which is imposed upon him by the Regulations of the Board of Trade, and which he can very well do without. The ship-owner himself, as I suppose, is not particularly concerned about giving discharge hooks to the seaman, or documents of this kind; at all events, he does not do it unless for certain purposes which he is not prepared to disclose. Certainly, if the Board of Trade lay down a Regulation that an able-bodied seaman must have a discharge certificate, the Board of Trade should supply that discharge certificate without imposing any fee at all. As a matter of fact that was done until within the past ten years or so. There is a good deal that might be said upon the whole matter, but I want to summarise my observations.

If it was intended to amend the Merchant Shipping Act then a separate amending Bill ought to have been introduced into the House. You cannot discuss a variety of subjects in the course of this Debate with any satisfaction to those who are participants with that clarity which is desirable. A lecture was given to us the other night by a legal gentleman in this House, who suggested that there ought to be much more clarity in regard to the provisions outlined in particular Bills. If you have this kind of Bill dealing with merchant shipping and a variety of other subjects it is impossible clearly to apprehend the meaning of the Merchant Shipping Acts and all their ramifications, and I would ask that, if a Bill is to be submitted at all, it should be submitted in a form which should enable us sooner or later to consolidate the Merchant Shipping Acts as they should be consolidated.

Secondly, I submit that the principle of State responsibility must be accepted by the Board of Trade. Shipowners may have accepted the situation for the time being for reasons best known to themselves and hardly referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, but the community has an interest in this matter at large. Those interests ought to weigh with the Board of Trade even more than the interests of the shipping industry of this country. Lastly, if an Advisory Committee has been set up, as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, then all the interests concerned must be included in the membership of that Advisory Committee. These are not questions which affect only shipowners. When such are under review, we have no right to come in and interfere, that is, with the matters which are primarily the concern of the shipowner himself. But when questions of a wider character are introduced, or under review, then seamen and seamen's representatives, the Board of Trade, and the ship- owners must consult in the interests of all parties and in the interests of the general community. In moving the rejection of this Bill, if subsequent events do not turn out as I would hope on the Division, I reserve to myself the right to submit very drastic Amendments in Committee.


I beg to second the Amendment.

My hon. Friend who has just sat down has devoted a good deal of attention to the Merchant Shipping Clauses of the Bill. I do not think I need trouble the House at all in drawing attention further to these points, and I, therefore, propose to invite the attention of hon. Members for a few moments to a discussion of Clause 9, the Clause which refers to the power of trustees of the British Museum to make regulations imposing charges for admission. The Minister in charge of the Bill—quite rightly—recalled to the memory of the House that we had a very interesting discussion on this subject last year, and that the provisions of this Bill arose from these proposals of the Geddes Committee. I want to join with hon. Friends who have already spoken in protesting against the attitude of the Government in attempting to carry through a reactionary proposal such as this in regard to the British Museum. The economy which the Government hope to effect is something like £6,000. The Minister in charge admitted that point in his opening statement, but I think he overlooked making this further admission, that the economy already effected upon the British Museum in 1921–22 amounted to £69,000 or 18.3 per cent. We on this side of the House take objection to this particular Clause because, rightly or wrongly, we feel it is a vicious principle to return to the habit of artificially excluding members of the public from free access to libraries and national museums.

I have taken the trouble to look up the Report presented to this House by the Trustees of the National History Museum as regards the number of visitors who used this particular institution in the year 1918. The Report is dated 1st April, 1920. I find that in 1918 no less than 422,805 people passed through the National History Museum, and in 1919 that figure had increased to the substantial number of 455,736, illustrating the point that quite obviously there is a very deep and increasing interest on the part of the general public in the exhibits at the National History Museum. There are further figures which are quite interesting to know. The average number of attendance on Sundays in 1919was1,090 and the average for all the other days of the week amounted to 1,286. Roughly there is substantially very little difference between the attendance on Sundays and weekdays. There were 12,236 people attended the demonstrations in the year 1919 of the official guides in that Museum, and I submit that if this proposal is passed it will vitally affect the degree of interest which the public will be able to show in the exhibits of that institution.

I want to put another point. I suppose everybody here is fully familiar with the very remarkable discoveries now taking place in Egypt. Obviously those discoveries must stimulate interest in antiquarian and archœological discoveries. If this kind of proposal is going to be allowed to pass, that very natural interest in achievements and civilisation of the past will be arrested thereby. I would like to ask my right hon. Friend in charge of the Bill how far this Measure has the unanimous approval of the members of the Government. I would like to know, does it represent the view of the UnderSecretary of State for the Colonies? Last year we had a very entertaining speech from the hon. Member, and, indeed, it was one with which I am in the most complete agreement. It dealt with this very subject, and I would like to remind the hon. Member of some of his previous declarations upon this subject. Discussing this very Clause, or a similar one, last year, and speaking without the responsibilities of office, the hon. Member said: It is the most penny wise and pound foolish Clause which has ever been introduced. I do not believe that the Trustees of the British Museum want it in the least, and it will only lead to great inconvenience. The same hon. Member further said: I believe von would lose the ten or twelve research students you have got in the Natural History Museum and the British Museum coming from quite humble homes, very often from the elementary schools, if for the first time you impose a charge which would bring in practically nothing, a mere bagatelle of a few odd hundreds a year, and which I believe would do infinite harm to the cause of science and art. I wonder whether my hon. Friend's interest and love for science and art will carry him to the degree of voting against the Government on this occasion. It is a sort of economy which is not worth making and it is absolutely trilling. Becoming very daring, the same hon. Member made this hold declaration: If I can get on the Grand Committee I shall move the deletion of that Clause, or try at any rate to amend it out of all knowledge, and prevent the Treasury getting control of our museums. I shall be very happy indeed to escort my hon. Friend on this occasion into the "No" Lobby. I have an interest in this Bill on another ground. Most of my time before I came to this House was devoted to trying to encourage and stimulate, amongst the young scholars of elementary schools, an interest in education generally. I understand that this particular institution in London is very much used by elementary school students, as well as by teachers, and if hon. Members care to look at the report published by the British Museum Trustees, which will be found in the Library of the House, they will observe what a large number of organisations were escorted over this building during the period of the War, and subsequent to the War, by the authorities of that place. I want to make a protest in most emphatic terms against this attempt which is being made to strike at one of the most useful of our social services. Education, like every other section of social service at this moment, is passing through times of very great difficulty. We have already been told by the Minister in charge of this Measure that private merchants in the shipping trade find themselves hard pressed, but I leave those hon. Members who are interested to speak upon that point. I know that education authorities are finding things very hard as well, and I very strenuously object to a very reactionary proposal such as this, which will have the effect of closing this institution on many days of the week to a large number of people who want to use their time profitably, instead of wasting it in the public streets of London.

A concession has been suggested in reply to what has been said by the hon. Member for Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). We are grateful for that concession, but it doe not go far enough. It is not enough to meet the demands of those who are in the habit of using the library attached to the British Museum and their demands only. Upon what ground is any section of the public, whether they are habitual users or not, called upon to pay any kind of charge while some are allowed to go in free? I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the effect of this proposal will be to deter a large number of potential students from making use of this establishment, and I would urge the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to withdraw this particular Clause, in the best and highest interests of the community as well as for the purpose of enabling those interested in the achievements of the past to avail themselves of whatever means they have in that building to understand the civilisation, the achievements and, if you like, the accomplishments of those who have lived in darker and less prosperous days.


I wish to allude to some observations which were made by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell). He made an extremely interesting speech with a great deal of which I entirely agree, but he made a certain suggestion which, to my own knowledge, is entirely without foundation. I had the privilege of being present at all the interviews between the President of the Board of Trade and members of the shipping industry in connection with this Bill. The position we were in w as that we had up against us the definite recommendation of the Geddes Committee, which we considered was entirely mistaken, but which the President of the Board of Trade felt it his duty to carry out. That recommendation would have placed the entire cost of all these services upon the shipping industry. We approached the right hon. Gentleman and said: "You are proposing to do to the shipping industry something which you are not proposing for any other industry; for example, do you propose to saddle agriculture with the entire cost of the network of inspection which is applied to agriculture; do you propose to saddle the owners of factories with the cost of the network of inspectors for factories? "

The President of the Board of Trade after listening to us gave us no favourable eply, but he made certain representations to the Government, end this Bill in the form in which it appears is the result of hose representations. On this matter I want to be perfectly frank with the right hon. Gentleman and the House. What was the position? We were faced with a Government which commands a majority in this House, and which was acting on the definite recommendations of the Geddes Report which would place upon the shipping industry a most unfair and onerous burden. In these circumstances we agreed to a compromise by which, roughly speaking, the fees which are payable in the shipping industry are doubled. I think the position will be readily understood by Members of the House. I regret that the hon. Member for Linlithgow appeared to suggest that there was something of an insidious character behind a perfectly simple transaction. I only rose to assure him that so far from any word having been passed as to any quid pro quo whatever nothing of the kind could have taken place. In connection with the point about food which he has raised I may inform the hon. Member that in the last Parliament it was proposed by the Board of Trade to do away altogether with the inspection of food, but so far from wanting it whittled down my bon. Friends and myself, as well as those who speak on behalf of the shipping industry, expressed a desire that for the sake of both the sailorman and the decent shipowner the inspection of food should continue. With regard to everything which makes for real efficiency there was no undertaking of any kind given or suggested, either by us or by the President of the Board of Trade. With regard to other matters, it will be obvious to my hon. Friend and to the House that if anything of that kind had been suggested nothing could have been done behind the backs of Parliament, for all these inspections and surveys are statutory and any alteration that was proposed would have had to run the gauntlet of criticism in this House. I hope my hon. Friend will accept the statement from me that there was absolutely nothing in the shape of a quid pro quo suggested, and that we found ourselves simply in the unfortunate position of having to acquiesce in the choice of the lesser of two evils.


I am glad my hon. Friend who has just spoken has disposed of one of the points with which I rose to deal—the point as to the suggested quid pro quo. There was nothing of the kind, and I join with my lion. Friend in giving that assurance. All these surveys and other duties of the Board of Trade are bound to be carried out by them, and it is ridiculous to suggest that there is any bargain that will prevent the Board from carrying out any and every statutory obligation. It is almost the first time in my experience that a Member on the other bench has anticipated all my arguments and agreed with them. Reference has been made to a speech I delivered the other night in Glasgow. Allowances are generally made for after-dinner speeches.


I said nothing about that.


What I said in that speech was that when we first heard that the Board of Trade were going to impose on shipowners the burden for all the services of the Marine Department, not in the interests of shipowners, but in the interests of the community, we naturally were alarmed. But as there were two influential shipowners—Lord Inchcape and Lord Maclay—on the Geddes Committee, and that Committee recommended the transference from the Board of Trade to the shipowners of the expenses of the Department, we felt we were helpless, and that we had to make a compromise, and that half a loaf was surely better than no bread. We all know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is out for economy in every Department, and I for one did not wonder that the Board of Trade and the Treasury were on the look-out for victims. But we did think it very unfair that they should attempt to do in regard to shipping what has not been attempted to be done in any other Department, either in agriculture or in connection with factories, or mining, or railways. We have always been willing, as far as it was in our power, to pay a fair price for the services which are performed on board our ships at our request. But we are called upon to pay not only for the surveys we ask for but one-half the cost of the other surveys. The hon. Member for Greenock (Sir Godfrey Collins) need have no fear that because we are called upon to pay a fee of 1s. 6d. on the engagement and discharge of seamen we shall there- fore seek to depress the, wages of the men. This question of wages is dealt with by a National Maritime Board on which are to be found representatives of officers, seamen, firemen, cooks and stewards, and it is not the least likely that for a paltry sum of is. 6d. we are going to try to depress wages. As to this Advisory Committee, by whatever name it may be called, I think it is a right thing. There ought to be some sort of committee. In the Geddes Report the first point dealt with was the effecting of economy, but it is really no economy simply to shift the whole charge from the Department or the State to the shipowner. If it were all to fall on the shipowner there would he no inducement to the Board of Trade to cut down expenses. Indeed, it might become an exceedingly popular method of finding jobs for people. I do not know of any shipowner who is in favour of thorough efficiency wh objects to a legitimate survey. But there are one or two grievances which we feel, and which probably an Advisory Committee could look into. Very often we are troubled by officious surveyors coming on board a ship as soon as she arrives and making a survey before the owner has had an opportunity of finding out what, is necessary to be, done, and it is unfair to charge us for that The Advisory Committee would probably look into that Nothing is to be done that will impair the safety of seamen; nothing is to he done against their interests, and those who have a suspicion that the shipowners and the Board of Trade have sought some kind of arrangement which may be to the detriment of the men, are quite wrong in that suspicion. We have every desire for efficient supervision by the Board of Trade. With regard to the examination of foodstuffs, we think it is a right thing to do. Very often trouble is caused by sea lawyers on board ship who, when they reach port, go to the Consul and complain about the rottenness of the provisions. It is something to be able to say that the stores have been inspected by a Government official, and that the presumption is therefore that they are good.


But is it not proposed, in the Section to which I referred, to repeal the original Clause regarding that?




We are quite opposed to the repeal of this particular provision. I understand it is a compulsory inspection for which the shipowner has to pay. It was not the Board of Trade, nor the Geddes Committee, nor even the men's unions who urged this inspection but the shipowners' representatives in this House and we expressed our willingness to pay all the costs of such inspection. It gives a fairly good guarantee to the mariner that the food on board the ship is good, and at the same time it is some protection to the shipowner against reports that he is not doing the proper thing by his crew in the matter of provisions. The Board of Trade were bound to carry out wholly or in part the recommendations of the Geddes Committee which investigated this question, and although some of my shipowning friends who are not conversant with all that has taken place may not thank me and those who are acting with me for supporting the Government, I am convinced when they do know all they will see that a reasonable arrangement has been made and that we are justified in the course we are taking this evening.


There is one point I want to touch upon, and as to which I hope my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will help us. I frequently have to consider these matters, and at times I am met with the comment that no one seems to have endeavoured to get the Bill made quite clear before it is passed into an Act. I am satisfied that a good many hon. Members behind me are anxious on this point. Looking at Clause 2, Sub-section (2) what I wane to know, and what many others want to know is, is it the intention that the fee which is there specified as payable both upon the engagement and discharge of a seaman, is to be paid by the shipowner or by the seaman? I have heard it said it is to be paid by the shipowner, but that is certainly not made clear, because if one reads the Sub-section it will be observed that it only applies to cases under Section 115, Sub-section (2), of the Act of 1894. It is just that sort of case which leads to endless confusion if and when a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

If my right hon. Friend will turn up Sections 114 and 115 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, he will see that the agreement in question has to be signed, first of all, by the master of the ship. That is under Section 114.

It only goes before the superintendent under Section 115, and that is for the purpose, and for the purpose only, of its being signed by the seaman. Therefore, it is quite clear, under Sections 114 and 115 of the Act of 1894, that the master signs otherwise than in the presence of the superintendent, but the seaman is obliged to sign, both his engagement and his discharge, before the superintendent. The master is not, and the only fee payable is for the signature effected in the presence of the superintendent. Anyone would at once be in a position to argue, as from that, that this is a fee payable by no one else but the seaman. lt is all very well to say, as was said by the hon. Member who spoke last, that it. is very unlikely that shippers or shipowners would decrease the wages of the seamen in order to get hack the 1s. 6d.; but that is not the point. It is not a question at all, in my view, as to what in fact would be done. If it is the intention of the Government that, under Sub-section (2) of Clause 2, the payment is to he a payment by the shipowner, at least that ought to he explained quite clearly. If one reads Sections 114 and 115, it is perfectly obvious that, on a true view of those Sections, it is payable primâ facie by the seaman, and not by the master of the ship or the shipowner.

It really is a very serious matter, in my view, because my right hon. Friend has now stated that this is a payment to be made—and I take his statement to mean that it is intended to be made—by the shipowner; but the Bill as at present drafted shows an entirely contrary meaning, and I am satisfied that, if it ever came to be discussed in Court, that would he the reading. If the Bill were passed in its present form, and the learned Judge had to look back to Sections 114 and 115, it would be clearly thought that the intention of the House, in passing this Measure, was that the fee should be paid by the seaman and not by the shipowner. I strongly suggest the desirability of putting in some words to show that the intention is that it should be paid by the shipowner. A similar point arises in Sub-section (1) of the same Clause. Paragraph (b) deals with the certificate of service in pursuance of Section 99 of the Act of 1894, and the fee that is to be paid is now scheduled at £1. From Section 99 one sees who it is that gets that certificate. Persons who have attained certain ranks in His Majesty's Indian Marine Service or in the Navy are entitled to a certificate of service, and presumably they are the persons who are to pay the £1; but is that intended? Is it intended that the person who desires the certificate is to pay? I understand my right hon. Friend to indicate that it is, but it certainly would appear, from Section 99, that he would not be obliged to pay, because from that Section it is quite clear that he is entitled as of right to the certificate, and, therefore, it could clearly be argued that he would not be the person who would have to pay.

In Sub-section (2) it is quite clearly indicated, in accordance with Sections 114 and 115 of the Act of 1894, that the document is to be signed by the seaman, and the seaman only. before the superintendent. The President of the Board of Trade says that the direct contrary of that is the intention of the Government. I only rise to point these things out, because anyone who notices them and does not point them out is very properly commented upon at a later date. It is said, "You were present when this was discussed, and no one pointed it out." If I went into Court with this present Bill in the form of an Act, I should feel in a very grave difficulty if I tried to argue under it that this 1s. 6d. was paid by the shipowner and not by the seaman, and if I had to admit that I was present during the discussion and had not raised the question whether that was clearly intended. To me, and I think to almost everyone else in the House, it appears to be the direct contrary, and if it had not been for what the President said I should have been prepared to assume that that was so.


The hon. and learned Member has mistaken what I said. I was answering a remark made by the hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins), to the effect that, if the shipowner paid these fees, there would be a tendency to depress rates of wages, because that would be taken into account. That is all that I said.


I am much obliged to the hon. Member. I did not quite appreciate that fact.


I support the rejection of this Bill on two cardinal grounds. The first is that it embodies within it a proposed tax upon knowledge, for a tax or charge for admissions to our museums unquestionably bears that construction. In these days, when education is to be made wider and freer and more distributed, this charge for admission to our museums must be looked upon by all educationalists as a reactionary step. The portion of the Bill, however, to which I would specially direct the attention of the House is that which has reference to the shipping clauses. We may safely leave to the larger shipowners the question whether this is or is not an opportuune time at which to place further burdens upon that industry. The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell) has very properly pointed out that shipowners have never, at any period of their history, had larger banking overdrafts. There never was a period when it was more difficult, owing to low freight markets, to run ships at a profit. In our ports to-day there are 1,000,000 deadweight tons of British shipping lying unused. It is true to affirm that an increased financial burden on the industry is bound to have, perhaps to a limited degree, some reflection upon the unemployed market. The greater the burden, the less possibility there must be of vessels being placed in a position to earn freights. But, while the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill stated that there was no intention of repealing the obligatory Clauses as to the inspection of provisions, the matter appears to be perfectly clear, for Clause 2 makes it quite definite that it shall not be obligatory for such an inspection to be made. The Clause says and Sub-section (3) of the same Section shall be repealed— that is to say, that Section 206 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, and Section 26 of the Act of 1906, having reference to the inspection of provisions, shall be repealed. This is an exceedingly dangerous proposition. It is inevitable that it will lead to the abolition of inspection. No longer will the provisions supplied to our merchant marine bear, as a guarantee; of quality, the seals of the Board of Trade guaranteeing not only this, but the dates upon which such goods were packed. The difficulties of the ship-owning community will undoubtedly be increased, and the disability of the seafarer is bound to be augmented. I am entirely at a loss to understand the Government's proposal to move in this reactionary direction. We are told that the Chamber of Shipping has had no hand in any such proposition. I certainly know that at a meeting of North of England shipowners, at which I was present, great resentment was expressed, much to their credit, that this proposition should be made by the Board of Trade.

Viscount WOLMER

If I may interrupt the hon. Member for a moment, I can assure him that he has misread this Clause, which I agree is rather misleading at first sight. That is not the proposal of the Government. If I have an opportunity of speaking later, I will explain that that is not the proposal of the Government, and will not have the effect suggested.


Can we have the explanation now?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)

On the Second Reading only one speech is allowed.


I hope we are about to have such an explanation as will remove the confusion which exists in the minds, not only of shipowners, but of seafarers also. It is exceedingly important that that confusion should be removed. We have heard that the Chamber of Shipping is representative of shipping opinion in this country, but that is a misapprehension. There are great bodies of shipowners who do not take the ipse dixit of the Chamber of Shipping as final. As an illustration of that, I might point out that, although the Government scheme for the disposal of German so-called reparation tonnage met with the approval of the. Chamber of Shipping, it was resented most strongly and bitterly by large bodies of shipowners in this country. To embrace within one Act such a diversity of subjects as are embraced in this Bill is bound to destroy the control of the House of Commons over legislation, because we shall have sections of the House strongly opposed to portions of the Bill, while, on account of the number of subjects embraced in it, favour other portions. In that way the effect of criticism in the House of such a Measure is reduced to a minimum. Unless I have the assurances for which I have asked, I shall certainly oppose the passage of the Measure.


The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell), speaking just now, expressed regret and surprise that this Bill should include so many different subjects. I think his surprise would have been immeasurable had lie had the experience that some of us in the last House had of seeing the introduction of the Economy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which included, not merely the several items here included, ranging from the registration of business names to the transfer of corpses from one part of the country to another, but also very substantial policies on matters relating to education and other questions, This is a very much smaller Bill. I quite agree that it is not possible, although I think that is unfortunate, to introduce separate Bills dealing with each of these separate matters; but I suppose that would take up too much of the time of the Government.

6.0 P.M.

I should like to make one reference to the Registration of Business Names Act. The right hon. Gentleman, in moving the Second Reading, said that he had been in communication with certain business authorities in this country, and had asked their opinion as to whether the continuance of that Act was necessary in the interests of trade. I should be glad if he, or the other Minister who will reply, will tell us whether, in communicating with those authorities, it was pointed out to them that it was intended to increase the registration fees from 5s. to £1, as is here stated. I can quite understand that they would not raise very much objection if the smaller and almost nominal fee was allowed to stand, but now it is proposed to multiply that fee and make it £1. That will mean, in very many instances, an altogether unnecessary burden. Hon. Members will recollect that when the Registration of Business Names Bill was being discussed, it was at a time when we were very sensitive about aliens, when there was a sort of alien hunt throughout the country, and a desire was manifested everywhere to ascertain whether a man who was carrying on business in this country was an Englishman or not. I know from my own knowledge that it means a very considerable harassing to trade. It is harassing to small firms. It means that practically every firm which does not in its ordinary business title set out all the names of the partners concerned, must stamp every one of its documents with perhaps three, four or five names, a trouble which it is unnecessary to go to in the interests of commerce. At any rate, it means a burden and a tax upon these several firms, and I shall be glad if we can be informed why the Government did not act in this respect upon the recommendation of the Geddes Committee, which suggested that the burden which was imposed had no corresponding advantages as far as industry was concerned.

My main objection to the Bill is because of Clause 9. I find myself in thorough agreement with all that has been said by those who have opposed the Bill upon this ground. I do not know that I should be justified in voting against the Second Reading simply because of Clause 9, but T regard it as a most reactionary proposal. It is not a trifling suggestion. It does not mean that a small number of people are affected. I have had put into my hands an answer given to-day by the First Commissioner of Works in which he gives the total number of admissions to the British Museum in 1922. The answer is that the total figures for admission are on weekdays 918,351 and on Sundays 60,943. In other words, there are nearly a million people, most of whom may be affected by the proposal contained in Clause 9. I had conviction brought to my mind some months ago when the Under-Secretary for the Colonies spoke from the Second Bench and denounced in unmeasured terms this trifling proposal. His argument, with which I found myself in complete agreement, was that it would not only affect the students who go to the British Museum, but potential students—that there were a good number who came into the Museum and by reason of their visit might be attracted to one study or another. Surely it is our business to encourage the people to use their own property. The British Museum is maintained by the taxes of the people. A large number of these million visitors conic from the country. It is often the experience that people who come to London make a round and visit certain places. A day is spent at the British Museum and a day at the Tower of London and so on. They have the privilege of contributing all their lives towards the maintenance of the British Museum. Why should not they on occasions be able to see freely their own property? Instead of putting any hindrance in the way, there ought to be every encouragement given. It was said by the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading that there was a statutory bar against imposing any fees. Does not that show that our fathers were wiser than our present governors? When they established the British Museum and incurred the heavy initial expenditure they said. "This property shall be free to all our people," and in order to ensure that the property should be made free they actually, in a Statute passed at that time, made that, as they thought, certain for posterity. Now, when we are priding ourselves upon our progress in education and think we are a very much more advanced people than they were, we actually propose to go back upon their suggestion and strike out the very salutary Clause on which they insisted. I hope this rather shabby proposal may be removed in Committee and that we may have some assurance on this stage that this reactionary proposal will not he insisted upon. I do not think it will reflect credit on our generation that we should allow any such proposal as this to pass without making a very strong protest. It is true we are in financial straits, but we are a great nation and a rich people and, with all our straits, we have not found it necessary, surely, to make a provision which shall impose, in many cases upon those who have not long pockets, this altogether unnecessary burden. Unless, therefore, some assurance can be given as to Clause 9, and some explanation as to the Clause dealing with the Registration of Business Names Act, I shall certainly join with the hon. Member for Linlithgow if he takes a Division.


I make no apology for referring again to the point which has been raised by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell), that is Subsection (4) of Clause 2, because as there is a general misreading, according to what we have had from the Front Bench, it is well that we should be clear in regard to it. I turn to page 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act and I gather that the inspecting officer may, at certain times, proceed on board ship and examine things and the Board of Trade may make certain tides. Those rules, I suppose, will have the effect more or less of an order which will become obligatory. When we turn to the Bill as printed, one cannot get away from the very definite language which says: But it shall not be obligatory that such an inspection should be made. And accordingly it seems that some very drastic alteration will need to be made before it will be quite clear that this inspection is obligatory, as undoubtedly there is a qualification that makes it quite optional.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies must be, indeed, flattered that everyone seems to have gone to the Library to turn up the speech he made on the Economy (Miscellaneous Provisions), Bill It is not everyone's speech that so impresses itself on hon. Members' memories as his seems to have done on that occasion, and one may hope that, although he has now reached the Government Bench—and we congratulate him—he will not depart from his opinion when it comes to a vote. He raised a point which I want again to refer to in connect ion with Clause 9. I speak as a member of a London Education Committee, and in consultation with the directors of education I can say that they view this proposal with very considerable alarm. It imposes a considerable inroad on the educational curriculum as laid down for the children attending our elementary schools. There has grown up during the past few years a very excellent practice known as school visits to museums and other public buildings, whereby numbers of children are taken with their teachers, make a tour of the building and have lectures on the exhibits. It seems to me that this is going to have the effect of keeping these children out, or at least that there is going to be a very limited number of days, which will require the whole of the arrangements in the school calendar to be altered and will probably lead to very considerable difficulties if they all have to concentrate on a particular museum on one or two days in a week. I assume in this is included South Kensington and the Natural History Museum, as was the case in the Economy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill when this proposal was made some time since. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether he can drop Clause 9. It is not going to bring in any very considerable amount of revenue. It is going to have a very derogatory effect so far as the education of the children is concerned, and it is going to check the growth of future students who have been accustomed in their young days to attend these museums to get used to study and so forth. The recent excavations at. Luxor have certainly given an impetus to visits to museums and to study on these particular lines, and it would be disastrous if for the sake of a few paltry shillings we did anything that would damp down that enthusiasm. The directors of our elementary education in London fear that the whole of the children are going practically to be excluded or that it will he made very difficult for them to visit the museums. They come in the main part from comparatively poor homes where they will not be able to raise the money and where, to be quite frank, many of the parents are not seized with the importance, from an educational point of view, of visiting the museums and are not likely to provide the money from their limited resources. The Clause has occasioned a good deal of disturbance in the minds of many outside, and I have heard only to-day from the Chief Inspector of the schools in London that they view this as a very serious attack on the education of the children, which will result in nothing from a financial point of view, but will cause a very serious set-back in educational efficiency and in the intellectual training of our children.


The occasions on which I have found myself supporting the Government since I became a Member of the House have been very few, but as a shipowner myself, and one on whom certain burdens will fall, I am glad to be able to support the Bill. We as shipowners can certainly not be accused of looking after our own selfish interests. The very fact that the rejection of the Bill has been moved by the hon. Member for Linlithgow, among other reasons, because of the increased burden which is going to be placed on the shipping community, is sufficient evidence to show that we are not primarily looking after the interests of shipowners. We are able to take a long view, and the fact that the net result of the Bill upon the shipping industry is that it will involve us in an additional expenditure of £118,000 per annum is an indication that we as citizens can take a long view of the situation and that we are willing, so far as we are able, to make a substantial contribution towards effecting a necessary economy. This will- be a joint burden which will be shared by the Government and the shipping community, and we are hoping by that co-operation that we shall be able to introduce some economics into the working of the system. An hon. Member on the Front bench objected that certain sailors and firemen's unions had not been consulted. As an employer, I am always very happy to have the co-operation of any section of workmen who may be concerned, but I do not think it can be said by any stretch of the imagination that this is a proposal upon which it would have been convenient to consult any section of the sailors or firemen or any other branch of the workers. I shall be on very safe ground in saying that the harmony that exists between the shipowners and the men who are employed upon their steamers is certainly very great. I think I may say quite safely that no shipowner will seek to take advantage of this Bill when it becomes an Act. Although it will throw an extra burden upon the shipowners, there is no member of the shipping community who will attempt to pass on that burden to the men employed on his steamers, because we want to maintain a decent standard of living on our boats, and a decent standard of wages, as we have endeavoured to do during the difficult years through which the shipping industry has passed.

It can never be said that the shipowners have been the pampered pets of the Board of Trade. Objection has been taken to Sub-section (4) of Clause 2. It is not the desire of any shipowner that the examination of food supplies on board ships should be curtailed. This Bill still gives the Board of Trade power in this matter. It only means the substitution of the words "may certify" for the words "shall certify." [HON. MEMBERS: "All the difference!"] It is not any real difference, because, knowing the Board of Trade as I have done for many years, I am sure that they will not relax the inspection of food supplies, and they will see to it that they exercise all the power that is necessary to protect the men. There are certain objections which one could raise, more particularly to that part of the Bill which win impose a fee upon those who go to the British Museum. I hope that in Committee something may be done to do away with that injustice. In the main, speaking as a shipowner, although I had no share in the negotiations which took place between the Board of Trade and Chamber of Shipping, I very heartily support the Second Reading.


The remarks of the hon. Member who has just sat down may be reassuring from one point of view, namely, that all the respectable shipowners have no wish to get rid of the inspection referred to, but I could not help being alarmed by the reference that he made to the inspection being, in form, entirely optional on the part, of the Board of Trade. In the next sentence he referred to the negotiations which have taken place between the shipowners and the Board of Trade. I do not want to be unduly suspicious, but when Subsection (4) says that it; shall not be obligatory that such inspection should be made, it seems to me that the whole purpose is to enable the Board of Trade to reduce the number of inspections to such an extent that the increased charges will not amount, on the whole, to any increased aggregate charge upon the shipowner. Perhaps there is nothing in that suspicion, but surely it would be better, when the House has been assured by the shipowners present to-day that they do not wish these inspections to be given up, and that they have no wish that the inspection should be reduced in number, that the President of the Board of Trade should undertake to make it clear that the Board of Trade does not intend that these inspections should be given up, that it has no intention to suggest that the number of inspections should be reduced, and that if we, in our innocence, are unable to understand the words it shall not be obligatory that such an inspection should be inado— surely some other form of words could be found. I understand that the intention of the Board of Trade is that there should be no change in the law in this respect. At present the inspection is obligatory If it is to continue to be obligatory, if there is to be no relaxation in the law, and no relaxation in the practice, why, then, should we be misled by enacting in the Bill the words it shall not be obligatory that such an inspection should be made, I am unskilled in the use of the English language, but when Parliament is asked to declare that it shall not be obligatory that such an inspection should be made, I cannot help thinking that there must be a meaning attached to those words. Surely, when it says that "it shall not be obligatory," it must mean that it shall no longer be obligatory. If that is so, we must trust to the Board of Trade to ensure that there shall be inspection. If it is not to be obligatory in the future, it must mean that the Board of Trade are to have more discretion. Although I feel inclined to trust the Board of Trade at the present time, who knows who will be at the Board of Trade a few years hence? The Department may then be administered not on quite the honourable standards expressed by the shipowners. The very object for which these powers of inspection are given is not to tax the honourable shipowners. I assume that these powers are given because there are some shipowners who are supposed not to he acting up to the standard. We have increased in morality, honesty and virtue, and we are going on increasing, but I cannot be so optimistic as to suppose that in no period with which we need to be concerned there will be shipowners who would wish to escape inspection, and that there will be no need for any inspection. The House would do wisely either to reject the Bill—and I propose to vote against it—or, at any rate, the House ought seriously in Com- mittee to take care to amend the Bill. We ought to put our heads together, and, with our knowledge of the English language and our capacity to express our meanings clearly, make Sub-section (4) appear to the person of ordinary intelligence what it is really meant to be.

I come to Clause 9. The House has not heard enough about that, and neither the House or the Government will have heard enough of it if the Government persists in going on with it. This is one of those proposed changes which will excite an amount of resentment and an amount of indignation quite out of proportion to the magnitude of the change itself, and enormously disproportionate to the amount of money which the Government will get out of this proposal. I feel very seriously about this matter because I am a Londoner, and I have been brought up outside the British Museum, and have occasionally been inside. One hon. Member referred to the fact that those citizens of the British Commonwealth who do not live in London have the privilege of helping to pay for the British Museum, and they have a grievance if on the days when they are fortunate enough to visit London it will be a matter of chance whether they can go into the British Museum without having to pay a fee. For the moment, I am concerned about London. I have been a London boy without any pence in my pocket with which to pay fees. We are all of us too much in the habit of thinking that it is only a matter of a tax, only a matter of a few pence, and that while a tax of a few pence may be objectionable it is, after all, only a question of paying a few pence.

I would remind hon. Members that there are very many people, especially children, to whom it is not a question of paying a few pence, but a question of absolute prohibition. There was a time in my boyhood when I had not the pence, and it was not a question of paying a tax but a question of exclusion from any place which was guarded by a fee. We ought to have imagination enough to realise that in regard to hundreds of thousands of children and adolescents growing up this demand for what we call a small fee means in 99 cases out of 100 the closing of the door. I remember with some pleasure hearing the remark of an intelligent policeman, who was asked by a little boy outside the British Museum: " May I go in?" and the policeman, who was of exceptional highly developed political intelligence, saying, "Certainly, it belongs to you. Go in." Henceforth, that policeman will not be able to say to that boy, "It belongs to you; go in." He will have to say, "You can go in if you have upon you the price of the fee, and you are able to spare it for that purpose."

It is not merely a matter for amusement or instruction. I have been concerned in the administration of education in London, and whoa I was responsible very largely for the introduction of technical instruction into London, nothing struck me more than going one day to the British Museum and seeing a youth of 14 of 15 years kneeling down before one of the cases containing an extraordinarily beautiful specimen of an ornament, and drawing that ornament, I assume as a guide to himself as a designer at some future time. That is the object for which we maintain the Museum to a very large extent, and I suggest that we, are stultifying ourselves and not acting in an economical way, if we spend tens of thousands, of pounds in maintaining the Museum every year arid then we limit the use of the Museum, on which we have spent these tens of thousands of pounds, by imposing a barrier upon the people who use it for the purpose for which we profess to maintain it.

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reassure the House in regard to this Clause, and that he will either withdraw it now or in Committee seriously consider whether it cannot be omitted. I warn him that he will not improve matters very much by exempting the holders of readers' tickets. He will not really improve matters very much by saying that the trustees will not charge fees on Sundays, or on Saturdays, or in the evenings, or will not charge fees here and there. You cannot by limitations of that sort prevent this imposition of a fee being virtually prohibitive on a large number of people. Consider the students in the various institutions of the University of London. Consider those in the science faculty. When I was making some effort to study natural science I found it necessary to visit the Natural History Museum, and I got there far more instruction than at the professor's lectures. I learned such geology as I know mainly by studying at the museum. On the one hand, to give a large endowment for the University of London to enable them to carry on instruction, and on the other hand to impose a barrier on students who are going there, not occasionally but perpetually, and in such a way as to get the greatest possible benefit from their University studies, is futile. Take the Royal School of Mines. That school surely serves a tremendously useful purpose for the whole commonwealth of nations. It provides skilled mining engineers for South Africa and Australia, as well as this country. The mining students are in and out of the museum constantly. Are we going to make a special exemption for the students of the University of London, or any of its constituent colleges? If so, we shall have to extend it to the students of all the other universities in the Kingdom.

There is no economy in this proposal. It is only a tax. There is no saving to the community in the proposal. There is nothing in it that will make the community pay its way earlier; nothing that will restore the balance between production and consumption, nothing that will enlarge the margin between production and consumption. The whole thing is a mere fiscal transaction, by which you impose a charge upon the citizen in order that the Treasury may get a little more revenue. The result of that depends upon what the charge is. A large number of Members of this House are more interested in the reduction of Income Tax and Super-tax than in the question of these small fees. The matter is, however, of great importance to the community. To impose this charge is to offend against the principles of political economy. You are not taxing according to ability to pay if every penny you got in this way you are going to devote to the reduction of Income Tax and Super-tax. It means that you have passed from the principle of taxation in proportion to ability to pay to the principle of a depressive tax, which will fall more heavily on people with small incomes than on people with larger incomes, which is contrary to all the orthodox principles of economy, and it is rather a shame that it, should be left to the Labour Members on this occasion to teach political economy to the Government Front Bench.


The right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill, said that it was going to set up, under Clause 3, an Advisory Committee to decide what the fees under the Clause should be. Reference was made to masters' and mates' certificate fees. Is it suggested, under this Clause, that the fees for sitting for masters' and mates' certificates shall be increased in any way? It is difficult for me to understand this. Clause 3 says: The amount of the fees to be charged under the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1921, as amended by this Act shall ho so fixed that the amount estimated by the Board of Trade to be produced thereby in any year shall not exceed one-half of the amount certified by the Board of Trade to he the aggregate estimated cost in that year of the administration of the services in respect of which the fees are payable. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that £92,000 was the amount received before and that he proposed to increase the fee so as to raise the total of £210,000. If the Noble Lord (Viscount Wolmer) will answer my question on this point at once I will not carry on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Carry on"] If the Noble Lord will say "no" at once, I shall not continue.

Viscount WOLMER

I will answer the hon. Member later.


It appears to me that they are taking these powers, and I would like to know, when the Noble Lord replies, is this Advisory Committee going to be comprised solely of shipowners, or are the masters and mates of the Mercantile Marine going to be represented on this Committee, because if these fees are going to be raised in any way these men should be represented on the Committee and have some voice in saying what the fees will be? I come from a maritime constituency, and my constituency includes masters and mates who are scattered far and wide over the seven seas, who have practically no votes at the General Election, for they are very seldom at home, and who have no chance of saying anything in reference to any legislation which may affect them in any way. I do appeal to the House to support me in seeing that these men get justice. When are they to pay these fees? They are junior officers when they sit for these certificates. They have had a very short service at sea. They have not been able to save any great amount of money. They come home from a voyage and have to sit for a Board of Trade certificate. The first thing that happens is that they are paid off from their employment. Shipping companies naturally do not pay them while they are sitting for their certificates. This is a large monetary loss in itself. Then they have got to pay some instructor to instruct them so that they may pass their examination, which naturally is a very severe one.

Very properly, the Board of Trade and shipowners insist on a very high standard of competence being attained by these men. Unfortunately, the same high standard does not apply to their wages, which are fixed by the law of supply and demand. We have these men sailing the high seas, day in and day out, on duty at all hours, weekday and Sunday alike in many cases with their duties four hours on and four hours off, with very little time at sea to study. We hear very little of these men except at a time when we read of a case like that of the "Titanic." When a ship like the "Titanic" goes down, we say that these men are heroes and the salt of the earth. During the War the great sea patrols were manned almost exclusively by men of our Mercantile Marine. In my constituency i lost several of my friends in the Dover Patrol. Are we going to treat these men, when the wages have fallen in accordance with economic laws, so badly as to increase their fees by a Clause like this which does not say directly that the fees are going up. It is a scandalous shame when we treat in such a way the men who have rendered such great service to the country in the past.


I was deeply interested in and well pleased with the speech of the hon. Member who spoke as a shipowner, and pleased to hear his statement as to the improved conditions aboard ship and the improved relationship that exists between shipowners and the seafaring men. I hope that they may long continue so, but it was not always thus. I am old enough to remember some of the bitter fights of the past. I remember the hard struggle to improve the conditions on board ship, and the hard fights about the diet of skilly, and I am astounded that there should be any attempt now to relax the stringent regulations which were imposed in the bad days behind us as a result of the bitter struggles of the past. I am astonished that there should be even the possibility of an attempt to go back on some of the good work that has been done. The dietary scale on board ship is greatly improved towards what it was It was not only a question of the quantity of food but there was also the important question of the quality of the food that was provided, and though I am willing to admit that if there were no regulations of any kind the majority of the shipowners to-day would keep up the very high standard that has been attained, that if there were no inspectors they would be sufficiently interested in the men who served them to see that they were well fed and fed on the best of foodstuffs, yet unfortunately the history of the past has shown that there will always be a certain section who will take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to reduce cost if it can be done, and it will take a lot of persuading from the Treasury Bench or anywhere else to convince me that in Sub-section 4 of Clause 3 there is no intention of relaxing the stringent regulations that exist to-day.

We have heard of the difference between "may" and "shall" many a time. Some of us, in the work on which we have been engaged, have often sat in Courts of Law and heard the judge declare that the word "may" means that it is optional, that a man can do a thing if he likes, and very often we have been ruled out on that word "may." But where the word is "shall" there is no squeezing out of it. It is definite. The thing has got to be done. It shall be done. In the Regulations under the Act at present in existence the words are very clear. "Shall be inspected." Then if the word "may" is substituted it will make all the difference. I am not a professor of languages, but I have gathered from the school of experience the essential difference that exists, from any standpoint you like, and more particularly from the leaders' standpoint, between the words "may" and "shall" in an Act of Parliament. One is compulsory and the other is voluntary, and we cannot countenance voluntary actions in matters that concern the life and well-being of the men who travel the great trackless ocean. These Regulations came into existence because of the scandalous conditions that did exist, and it was bemuse of these conditions that agitation was commenced, and the men who have been referred to by the hon. Member as working in harmony with the owners to-day were, I remember, sent to prison, and had to serve heavy sentences because they took part in these agitations which brought about the improved conditions that exist in the shipping industry to-day. The result of their work will be destroyed if this Bill is allowed to go through in its present form, and however clever the President of the Board of Trade or the Noble Lord may be, they cannot alter the meaning of the English language, and they cannot alter the fact that "shall" is compulsory and "may" is voluntary. For that reason alone I shall stoutly oppose the Bill in its present form. Of course, I know what it all means, the Geddes Report and its "too many inspectors, get a few less on the unemployed list, and a little more saving to the Department," but if that is to be done at the cost of the lives and well-being of our brave and noble seamen it is false economy and cannot be allowed. Do not let us go back to the old days of the rotten food supplied to our sailors, or give a possible chance for it to be done. I trust that, if the Bill passes its Second Reading, when it goes to Committee the Noble Lord will take steps to secure an alteration in this Section so as to safeguard that which we have fought for and won and are anxious to maintain in the interests of the seafaring community.

Viscount WOLMER

I think that the Government have no reason to complain on the whole of the reception with which this Bill has been greeted from the interests that are principally concerned. Of course, the imposition of new fees is never a pleasant task to any Department or to any Government. We all realise that such an action is not likely to bring credit, or kudos or popularity, and therefore I think my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade expected, at any rate, as many kicks as halfpence from this Bill. I think the Board of Trade has every reason to be grateful to those hon. Members representing the shipping industry for the way in which they have received this Bill, and I think the Government have every reason to be grateful to the shipping industry for the way in which they have met us in the matter. We did not wish to put increased burdens on the shipping industry, especially at this time, but we had before us the Report of the Geddes Committee, and I think that every hon. Member in the House will agree that it is the desire of the nation as a whole that the main recommendations of that Committee Should be carried out. The hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Sidney Webb) says this is not a measure of economy because you are merely engaged in a bookkeeping transaction, you are putting the charge from off the shoulders of the taxpayers on to the shoulders of certain individuals. Yes, that is undoubtedly perfectly correct, but I suggest that notwithstanding it is a measure of economy and for the very cogent reason that, if we allow all these great services to be borne at national expense, at the expense of the taxpayer, there is not that incentive to economy among the various interests concerned that there will be if we ask those interests to make their contribution also towards the upkeep of those services. I think we have already had an example of that over this Bill. We have the example of the shipping industry. We were told by the Geddes Committee to impose charges that would cover the cost of the services after certain economics had been made. The Board of Trade have already made very great economies in the mercantile marine Service, and the other cervices touched on in this Bill, but our friends in the shipping industry are not satisfied that those economies have gone as far as they might, and now that they are called on to make such a large contribution towards the cost of these services, they insist, and I think rightly, that they should have every opportunity of investigating the expenditure in order to see that none of their money is being wasted. Therefore, although the hon. Member for Seaham may say that this is merely a bookkeeping transaction, it is a transaction which I think very much increases the incentive to economy, and therefore is a real measure of economy and will ultimately have that effect.

I think I ought first to deal with one matter which has received perhaps more criticism than any other. It is the proposal in regard to the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. I cannot pretend that the amount of money involved in this Clause is in any way comparable to the amount of money involved in the rest of the Bill. It is the comparatively small sum of £10,000, but I would ask the House to remember that you cannot make economies without either cutting down expenditure or increasing charges. Those are your only two alternatives, and at this moment the Government is faced, as any Government would he faced, with the necessity of cutting down national expenditure in every possible direction. The Treasury has to serape and pare in every Department, it has to scrutinise and examine every Estimate, as it were, with a miscroscope, and hon. Members opposite really cannot have it both ways. Do they want the services of our great museums restricted: that is to say, do they want the Treasury grants to those museums reduced, or are they willing that those who can afford to make a small contribution towards the upkeep of the museums should be given an opportunity to do so? This proposal has been resisted by hon. Members opposite in language which, I think, is a little exaggerated. My right hon. Friend, in introducing the Bill, I think, fully explained what was proposed. It was proposed that on four days in the week a sum of 6d. should be charged for admission, that there should be no charge for admission on Sundays to the Natural History Museum at Kensington, and no charge on Saturdays or on Bank Holidays, that all students should be admitted free—[HON. MEMBERS: "Students?"]—all students should be admitted free, and that every possible step should be taken to prevent the poor being deprived of that source of knowledge. The hon. Member for Durham drew a very heart-rending picture of a small boy who wanted to go into the British Museum. My only reply is that if he wanted to go in on a Sunday—though I believe, as a matter of fact, he is not allowed to do so on Sunday because it is closed—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]well, then, if he wanted to go in on a Sunday, it is free.


How is "student" defined?

Viscount WOLMER

I cannot answer that offhand, but I will certainly look into the matter, to see that the definition is made as wide and genuine as possible. Therefore, I would ask hon. Members simply to consider it from that point of view—do you want economy at all? Sometimes I confess I doubt it, because whenever a proposal for economy is brought forward by the Government it is opposed from certain quarters of this House, and sometimes we begin to doubt whether some of our friends really do see the necessity for economy at all. If you are to economise, is it to be done by cutting clown the Exchequer grants to the British Museum, or by charging a fee on certain days so that a considerable sum like this £10,000 may be obtained?


We were told £3,000 in the first instance.

Viscount WOLMER

£3,500 for the British Museum, and £6,000 for the Natural History Museum.


It was £3,000 in the one case, and £2,500 in the other.

Viscount WOLMER

The hon. Gentleman is quite mistaken. If ho will read the speech of my right hon. Friend, he will see that he gave both these figures in his opening remarks. That is the dilemma with which the Government is necessarily faced, and while we do not desire to put difficulties in the way of the poor visiting these museums, so far as can be helped, the Government is anxious to avail itself of every possible means of support for maintaining the services of the museums. In that connection, I would remind the House that the charge of a small fee in the case of the National Gallery, of the Wallace Collection, and other museums and art galleries, has been extremely successful. It has not been found to reduce the number of visitors, and has brought in a really appreciable contribution towards the upkeep of the institution.

7.0 P.M.

Now I must turn to the other part of the Bill in regard to the inspection of ships' provisions which I venture to say has been the subject of a good deal of misunderstanding from hon. Members opposite. I am not entitled to make any complaint on that matter because I fully admit that the language of this Section is misleading, but I think I can explain to hon. Members why it comes to be put in that way. The situation is this. Under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 it was made compulsory for the Board of Trade to inspect certain provisions on certain ships that were undertaking certain voyages. Under the Act of 1906 the Board of Trade was given power to inspect provisions on all ships undertaking all voyages, but it was not made compulsory on the Board of Trade to do so. The Board of Trade has never been anxious, and is not anxious at the present moment, to reduce in any way the inspection of the provisions on ships, but the Geddes Committee recommended that this inspection should cease, and therefore when the Economy Bill, which was introduced by the late Government last year, was before the House it contained a Clause abolishing this inspection of ships' provisions. That Clause was never favoured by the Board of Trade, and when the Economy Bill was dropped, and the present Bill—which contains many of the provisions of the Economy Bill—was handed over to the Board of Trade, one of the first alterations made was that the Clause was struck out. In doing so we were glad to know that we had, not only the support of the seamen themselves, but the hearty support of the shipowners. No section of the shipping industry desires to see the inspection of these provisions brought to an end. Several hon. Members have asked why it is that in Sub-section (4) of this Clause the word "shall" is changed into "may." The answer is that the way in which these provisions are now inspected, and the hest and most efficient manner of inspecting them, is in bulk on Land. The Board of Trade inspector goes through the warehouse there, marks them with the mark, and seals them with his seal. From there they go to the ships. We have only put in these words making it not compulsory on the Board of Trade to inspect the ships themselves because we do not want to be obliged to send our inspectors to those particular ships coming under the Clause in the 1894 Act when they have returned to England. We are advised by our officers carrying out this work that that is not necessary, and that if we do all the inspection of food in bulk in the warehouses in England, we can effect an economy of administration, and be relieved of costs which would be incurred by being forced to send inspectors down to ships whenever they come to British shores.


Is the Noble Lord aware that, under Section 206 of the Act of 1894, it is expressly laid down that the Inspection of provisions on certain ships going on certain routes must take place before shipment?

Viscount WOLMER

The hon. Member must remember that the Act of 1894 also obliges us to visit certain ships. It is that obligation of Which the Board of Trade desire to be relieved.


Is it not the case that Sub-section (2) of the Clause to which the Noble Lord has referred, states that the inspecting officer may, at any time, proceed on board any ship; the position being that with regard to inspection before shipment that should be compulsory; but inspection on board ship as permissible?

Viscount WOLMER

I do not think the hon. Member has stated the point quite correctly. I am advised that that is not the case. I am perfectly certain, however, that his object and that of the Board of Trade in this matter is the same, and if it can be shown in Committee that the words can be improved the Government will be glad to do anything they can to put the matter beyond doubt. The object of these words is not to avoid inspection of provisions, but to enable the Board of Trade to do it in the way which experience has taught us to be the most efficient as well as the most economical, An hon. Member raised the question of masters and mates. Perhaps I ought to have interrupted him at the beginning of his speech, but I did not like to do so. Masters and mates are entirely excluded from this Bill, and so they are not affected.

I come to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Melton (Colonel Sir C. Yate). He made two very interesting and important suggestions, but I am afraid they are a little bit outside the scope of this Bill. All I can say, and I say it with the greatest sincerity, is that they will receive the most careful consideration; Perhaps I may be allowed to consult the hon. and gallant Gentleman further on the matter. I shall be very glad to have that advantage, but I am afraid I cannot hold out the hope of the suggestions being included in the Bill at the present time. The hon. and learned Member for Wallsend (Mr. Hastings) raised a very important point. It was a point of very great substance, but still it was a drafting point, a legal point. It is a matter which lawyers, who are experts on these questions, must deal with. I am not competent to question the legal knowledge of the hon. and learned Gentleman, or to argue with him on such a point. All I can say is that this Bill has been drafted by another learned lawyer. If the hon. and learned Gentleman disagrees with the draftsman on this point, then, I agree, that is a matter that ought to be further carefully considered.

I have endeavoured to deal with the points raised so far, which are, in the main, Committee points. The Government will be glad to consider at any time suggestions that might be made as to how greater economies can be carried out, or how improvements in the various Clauses of the Bill can be effected. We are not bringing forward this Bill because we like it, but because the state of the finances of the country compel us to cut down the national expenditure in every direction we possibly can. An hon. Member opposite, who was jealous for the interest of the shipowners, and who undertook their case so eloquently that he even went to the extent of making the speech of the lion. Member for Dumbartonshire (Sir W. Raeburn) for him, said that we had put too many items into this Bill. If the hon. Member had been in the House last year, and had read the Economy Bill, he would not have made that criticism. We have, in the present Bill, taken practically all the eases in which the Geddes Committee recommended that the fees charged for Government services should be increased or new fees imposed. We have put them all together in this Bill, We present them to the House of Commons as a practical manner in which a large amount of public money can be saved; in which the national interest in economy can he stimulated; and which will, if carried, result in a considerable saving to the National Exchequer.

Question put, "That the word ' now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 268; Noes, 160.

Division No. 25.] AYES. [4.0 p.m.
Adams, D. Dudgeon, Major C. R. Herriotts, J.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Duffy, T. Gavan Hill A.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Duncan, C. Hinds, John
Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent Dunnico, H. Hirst, G. H.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynts Ede, James Chuter Hodge, Rt. Hon. John
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) House, James Myles
Ammon, Charles George Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Hutchison Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) England, Lieut.-Colonel A. Irving, Dan
Barnes, A. Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Jarrett, G. W. S.
Batey, Joseph Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Evans, Ernest (Cardigan) Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Falconer, J. John, William (Rhondda, West)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield) Fildes, Henry Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Foot, Isaac Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Gilbert, James Daniel Jones J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Bonwick, A. Gosling, Harry Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)
Briant, Frank Gray, Frank (Oxford) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Broad, F. A. Greenall, T. Kenyon, Barnet
Buckle, J. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Kirkwood, D.
Burgess, S. Grundy, T. W. Lansbury, George
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Guest. J. (York, Hemsworth) Lawson, John James
Buxton, Charles (Accrington) Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Leach, W.
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll) Lee F.
Cape, Thomas Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Lees-Smith. H. B. (Keighley)
Clarke, Sir E. C. Hancock, John George Lewis, Thomas A.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Harbord, Arthur Linfield, F. C.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Hardle, George D. Lowth, T.
Coillson. Levl Harris, Percy A. Lunn, William
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Hartshorn, Vernon McCurdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.
Darbishire, C. W. Hayday, Arthur MacDonald, J. R. (Aheravon)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E) M'Entee, V. L.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Henderson. T. (Glasgow) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil) Macpherson. Rt. Hon. James I.
Marks, Sir George Croydon Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford) Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Marshall, Sir Arthur H. Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland) Waring, Major Walter
Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.) Royce, William Stapleton Warne, G. H,
Millar, J. D. Saklatvala, S. Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J. Scrymgeour, E. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Moreing, Captain Aigernon H. Sexton, James Webb, Sidney
Morel, E D. Shakespeare, G. H. Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock) Weir, L. M.
Mosley, Oswald Shinwell, Emanuel Westwood, J.
Muir, John W. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John White, H. G. (Birkenhead. E.)
Murnin, H. Sinclair, Sir A. Whiteley, W.
Murray, R. (Henfrew, Westurn) Smith, T. (Pontefract) Wignall, James
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Snell, Harry Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
O'Connor, Thomas P. Snowden, Philip Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Oliver, George Harold Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Leslie O. (P'tsm'th, S)
Paling, W. Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Parker, H. (Hanley) Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K. Wintringham, Margaret
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Stephen, Campbell Wolmer, Viscount
Phillipps, Vivian Strauss, Edward Anthony Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Ponsonby, Arthur Sullivan, J. Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Potts, John S. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)
Pringle, W. M. R. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Riley, Ben Thornton, M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ritson, J. Tout, W. J. Dr. Chapple and Mr. Hope Simpson.
Roberts, C. H. (Derby) Trevelyan, C. P.
Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich) Turner, Ben
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Davies, Thomas (Cirencester) Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Apsley, Lord Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Dixon, C. H. (Rutland) Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)
Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover) Doyle, N. Grattan Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Astor, Viscountess Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Jephcott, A. R.
Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence Edmondson, Major A. J. Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Ednam, Viscount Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Ellis, R. G. Joynson-Hicks, Sir William
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood- Erskine-Boist, Captain C. Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel
Barnett, Major Richard W. Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. King, Captain Henry Douglas
Barnston, Major Harry Falle. Major Sir Bertram Godfray Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Bell, Lieut. Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Fawkes, Major F. H. Lamb, J. Q.
Bennett, Sir T, J. (sevenoaks) Formor-Hesketh, Major T. Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.
Berry, Sir George Franagan, W. H. Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)
Blundell, F. N. Ford, Patrick Johnston Leigh, Sir John (Clapliam)
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Fraser, Major Sir Keith Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Frece, Sir Walter de Lloyd-Greame, Ht- Hon. Sir P.
Brass, Captain W. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Furness, G. J. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)
Brittain, Sir Harry Ganzont, Sir John Lorden, John William
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Garland, C. S. Lougher, L.
Brown, Brig,-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Gates, Percy Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.) Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Lumley, L. R.
Bruford, R. Gibbs. Colonel George Abraham McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)
Buchanan, G. Con, Sir R. Park Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)
Buckingham, Sir H. Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Margesson, H. D. R.
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Gray, Harold (Cambridge) Milne, J. S. Wardlaw
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Greaves-Lord, Walter. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N) Molloy, Major L. G. S.
Butcher, Sir John George Groves, T. Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)
Butt, Sir Alfred Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)
Cadogan, Major Edward Gwynne, Rupert S. Murchison, C. K.
Cairns, John Hacking, Captain Douglas H, Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Camplon, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hal,, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) I Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J.(Westminster)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (LIv'p'l. W.D'by) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Halstead, Major D. Nield, Sir Herbert
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Chapman, Sir S. Harmsworth, Hon. E, C. (Kent) Ormshy-Gore, Hon. William
Clayton, G. C. Harrison, F. C. Pease, William Edwin
Coates, Lt-Col Norman Harvey, Major S. E. Pennefather. De Fonblanque
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Honnessy, Major J. R. G. Peto, Basil E.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Herbert, S. (Scarborough) Phllipson, H. H.
Cope, Major William Hilder. Lieut.-Colonel Frank Pilditch, Sir Philip
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Asshuton
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hood, Sir Joseph Privett, F. J.
Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page Hopkins, John W. W. Raeburn, Sir William H.
Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Ralne, W.
Crooke. J. S. (Deritend) Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.) Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Curzon, Captain Viscount Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.
Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton) Hudson, Capt. A. Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstoad) Hughes, Collingwood Remnant, Sir James
Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Hume, G. H. I Reynolds, W. G. W.
Richards, R. Somervllie, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness) Wallace, Captain E.
Richardson, U.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey) Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L. Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Roberts, Frederick O (W. Bromwich) Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel M. H. Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesall) Stanley, Lord Wells, S. R.
Robertson J. D. (Islington W.) Steel, Major S. Strang Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford) Stewart, Ger shorn (Wirral) Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Roundell, Colonel R. F. Stockton, Sir Edwin Forsyth Wilson, Col. M. I. (Richmond)
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wise, Frederick
Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H. Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A. Sutcliffe, T. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Sanderson, Sir Frank B. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Shipwright, Captain D. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Titchfield, Marquess of
Simpson-Hinchcliffe, W. A. Turton, Edmund Russborough TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South) Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P. Mr. Gerald Hurst and Lieut.-Colonel Nail.
Division No. 26.] AYES. [7.10 p.m.
Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent Eyres-Monsell, Com. Botton M. Molloy, Major L. G. S.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Faicon, Captain Michael Molson, Major John Eisdale
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East) Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.
Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark) Fawkes, Major F. H. Morden, Col. W. Grant
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Fildes, Henry Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Apsley, Lord Flanagan, W. H. Morris, Harold
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W. Ford, Patrick Johnston Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)
Astor, J. J. (Kent, Dover) Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot Murchison, C. K.
Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence Fraser, Major Sir Keith Nail, Major Joseph
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Furness, G. J. Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Galbraith, J. F. W. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Ganzoni, Sir John Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood- Gates, Percy Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J.(Westminster)
Barnett, Major Richard W. Goft, Sir R. Park Nicholson. William G. (Petersfield)
Barnston, Major Harry Gray, Harold (Cambridge) Nield, Sir Herbert
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff) Greaves-Lord, Walter Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C H. (Devizes) Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.) Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Paget, T. G.
Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Parker, Owen (Kettering)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield) Gwynne, Rupert S. Pease, William Edwin
Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks) Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Berry, Sir George Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Liv'p'l,W.D'by) Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Blades, Sir George Rowland Halstead, Major D. Peto, Basil E.
Biundell, F. N. Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Phillpson, H. H
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Hancock, John George Pielou, D. P.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Harmsworth, Hon, E. C. (Kent) Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray
Brass, Captain W. Harvey, Major S. E. Pownali, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Brassey, Sir Leonard Hawke, John Anthony Raeburn, Sir William H.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Cllve Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Raine, W.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Herbert, S. (Scarborough) Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Hewett, Sir J. P. Reld, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.) Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Bruford, R. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Rentoul, G. S.
Bruton, Sir James Hogg, Rt. Hon.Sir D. (St.Marylebone) Reynolds, W. G. W.
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Bum, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew Hood, Sir Joseph Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)
Burney, Com. (Mlddx., Uxbridge) Hopkins, John W. W. Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Strettord)
Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Button, H. S. Houfton, John Plowright Ruggies-Brise, Major E.
Cadogan, Major Edward Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Russell. William (Bolton)
Cautley, Henry Strother Hudson, Capt. A. Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hughes, Collingwood Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hltchln) Hume, G. H. Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hume-Wllllams, Sir W. Ellis Sanderson, Sir Frank B.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Sandon, Lord
Chapman, Sir S. Hurd, Percy A. Shakespeare, G. H.
Churchman, Sir Arthur Hurst. Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B. Shaw, Hon, Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Clarry, Reginald George Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.) Shepperson, E. W.
Clayton, G. C. Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove) Shipwright, Captain D.
Coates, Lt.-Col. Norman Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Cobb, Sir Cyril James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Simpson-Hinchclitte, W. A.
Cockerlll, Brigadier-General G. K. Jephcott. A. R. Sinclair, Sir A.
Cohen, Major J. Brunel Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul Skelton, A. N.
Colfax, Major Wm. Phillips Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.) Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Colvln, Brig.-General Richard Beale Joynson-Hicks, Sir William Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)
Conway, Sir W. Martin Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cope, Major William King Captain Henry Douglas Somerviile, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sparkes, H. W.
Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L. Lamb, J. Q. Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South); Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.
Crooke, J. S. (Deritend) Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Stanley, Lord
Curzon, Captain Viscount Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P. Steel, Major S. Strang
Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton) Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.
Davidson, J. C.(Hemel Hempstead) Lorden, John William Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Lort-Williams, J. Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Davies, Thomas (Cirencester) Lougher, L. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Dawson. Sir Philip Lowe, Sir Francis William Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Doyle, N. Grattan Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Lumley, L. R. Sutcliffe, T.
Du Pre. Colonel William Baring Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Edmondson, Major A. J. McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury) Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Ellis, R. G. Malone, Major p. B. (Tottenham, S.) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Margesson, H. D. R. Thorpe, Captain John Henry
England, Lieut.-Colonel A. Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Titchfleld, Marquess of
Entwistle, Major C. F, Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Tryon, Rt Hon. George Clement
Ersklne, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Turton, Edmund Russborough
Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Wallace, Captain E. Whitla, Sir William Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Ward, Col. L. (Klngston-upon-Hull) Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond) Yerburgh, H. D. T.
Waring, Major Walter Winterton, Earl Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)
Watson, Capt. J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Wise, Frederick
Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington) Wolmer, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wells, S. R Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon) Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel
Weston, Colonel John Wakefield Woodcock, Colonel H. C. Gibbs.
White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport) Worthington-Evana, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Adams, D. Hartshorn, Vernon Potts, John S.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Hastings, Patrick Price, E. G.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart) Pringle, W. M. R.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hlllsbro') Hayday, Arthur Richards, R.
Ammon, Charles George Hemmerde, E. G. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Attlee, C. R. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.) Riley, Ben
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Ritson. J.
Barnes. A. Herriotts, J. Roberts, C. H. (Derby)
Batey, Joseph Hill. A. Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Bonwick, A. Hinds, John Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Bowdler, W. A. Hirst, G. H. Salter, Dr. A.
Bowerman, Bt. Hon. Charles. W. Hodge, Rt. Hon. John Scrymgeour, E.
Briant. Frank Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston) Sexton. James
Bromfield, William Hogge, James Myles Shinwell. Emanuel
Brotherton. J. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Brown. James (Ayr and Bute) John, William (Rhondda, West) Simpson, J. Hope
Buchanan, G. Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Sitch. Charles H.
Buckle, J. Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East) Smith. T. (Pontefract)
Burgess, S. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Snell, Harry
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon) Snowden, Philip
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Cairns, John Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Cape, Thomas Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools) Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C. Kenyon, Barnet Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Clarke, Sir E. C. Kirkwood, D. Strauss, Edward Anthony
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Lansbury, George Sullivan, J.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Lawson, John James Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Leach. W. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Darblshire, C. W. Lee, F. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) lees-Smith, H. B (Keighley) Thorne. W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Davies, J C. (Denbigh, Denbigh) Lewis, Thomas A. Thornton, M.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Linfield. F. C. Tout, W. J,
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lowth, T. Trevelyan, C. P.
Duffy, T. Gavan Lunn, William Turner, Ben
Duncan, C, MacDonald, J. R. (Abcravon) Waish, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Dunnico, H. M'Entee, V. L. Warne, G. H.
Ede, James Chuter March, S. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Edmonds, G. Marshall, Sir Arthur H. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Maxton, James Webb, Sidney
Falconer, J. Millar, J. D. Westwood, J.
Foot, Isaac Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Morltz Wheatley, J.
Gilbert, James Daniel Morel, E. D. White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E)
Gosling, Harry Morrison. R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Whiteley, W.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Muir, John W. Wignall, James
Greenall, T. Murnin, H. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Groves, T. Nlchol, Robert Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Grundy, T. W. O'Connor, Thomas P. Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Guest. J. (York, Hemsworth) O'Grady, Captain James Wright, W.
Hall, F. (York, W, R. Normanton) Oliver, George Harold Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll) Paling, W.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Parker, H. (Hanley) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.-
Harbord, Arthur Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan) Mr. Neil Maclean and Mr. T.
Hardie, George D. Phllllpps, Vivian Griffiths.
Harris, Percy A.

Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.