§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The SECRETARY for MINES (Lieut.-Colonel Lane-Fox)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
One of the duties of the Secretary for Mines, which was laid down by Statute, was to secure the most effective development of the mineral resources of the United Kingdom, and it is in pursuance of that duty that I move the Second Reading of this Bill. The Bill is in no sense sensational. I hope it will be a thoroughly useful Bill. It represents a very valuable and useful agreement between conflicting interests, and it has taken a long time to arrive at the agreement. The intention is to release large quantities of minerals which are now, for various reasons, unworkable, and which in the national interests should be worked. The question of the various minerals which are prevented through various circumstances from being worked has been the subject of a series of recommendations by various Commissions and Committees for a long time past, and on the recommendations of these Commissions and Committees the present Bill is mainly founded. I need not go back to the Royal Commission of 30 years ago, but I will refer to the more recent Coal Conservation Committee, presided over by Lord Haldane, which reported in 1918, and which very clearly described the class of case with which Clause I of the Bill is intended to deal. The Committee say in their Report:Cases have been brought to our attention where considerable quantities of coal (in one case amounting to 2,000,000 tons) will be permanently lost unless it is worked by the lessees of the adjoining workings; but the difficulties of obtaining a lease are 2048 at present practically insuperable. Either the land belongs to a large number of small proprietors in a town, or to joint owners who cannot agree amongst themselves, or the owner cannot be found, or refuses to treat, or asks prohibitive terms, or is unable to make a title; and for one reason or another the coal remains unworked.They then proceed to suggest various remedies which are in the nature of the remedies which this Bill suggests. The Acquisition and Valuation of Land Committee in 1919 also dealt with the subject, under the Chairmanship of the hon. Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir Leslie Scott), who was Solicitor-General in the last Government. That Committee recommended that these minerals should be made workable and that there should be compulsory reference of cases to a sanctioning authority, which they suggested should be set up, that if possible a working agreement should be arrived at between the various interests involved, and that a Bill in that direction should be framed. On these lines we hope to proceed by this Bill. The Departmental Committee on the Non-Ferrous Mining Industry, presided over by the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division (Mr. Betterton), who is now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, made similar recommendations. They recommended that cases of this kind should be referred to the Mines Department, with the right of appeal to an impartial tribunal.
Prolonged negotiations have taken place and at last an agreement has been reached between all the various parties on the lines suggested by the Committee presided over by the hon. Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool. I hope the House will allow the Bill to pass its Second Reading to-night, because it represents an agreement of all parties. While we have all the parties in agreement I hope we shall avail ourselves of the opportunity of settling matters which are rather controversial, possibly over small points, but points which are vital to the mining industry. Part I of the Bill deals with the general questions of various obstructions to the working of the minerals, which we propose to refer to the Railway and Canal Commission to decide. There are various reasons why the Railway and Canal Commission has been selected as the proper authority for deciding cases of this sort in dispute. The Railway and Canal Com- 2049 mission was set up originally under the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888; two Commissioners were appointed, one experienced in railway matters, also two ex officio Commissioners, Judges of the Superior Court. One judge representing England is Mr. Justice Lush, and the other Judge representing Scotland is Lord MacKenzie, both of whose names carry with them weight which will justify the House in selecting this body for the purpose.
This Commission has the duty of dealing with disputes, in which railway and canal companies are concerned, and also with disputes between such companies themselves. They have had a great many questions of railway rates, traffic, etc., which have passed partially now into the hands of the Railway Rates Tribunal. Therefore the Commission have a certain amount of spare time, which we propose should be employed in dealing with the cases that are to be put before them by this Bill. They have also to decide certain questions under the Acquisition of Land Act. Generally, their work and experience make them eminently suitable for dealing with the class of case which we propose to bring before them. There is an additional advantage in selecting this body. It is not a costly matter. It is not a matter of setting up a new body of officials. We employ an existing authority and there is no new expense involved. In addition, they consist of gentlemen who are in every way suitable for dealing with this sort of work, and they are willing to undertake the duties. Part II of the Bill is less general, but, at the same time, very important. It deals with the question of minerals under or adjacent to railways which are at present unworkable.
I will now go into the Bill in some detail. Clauses 1, 2 and 3 specify certain rights which are necessary for the better working of minerals which may be applied for and secured by the machinery which we set up. Clause 1 deals with cases where the consent of two or more persons, as in the case of copyhold, is required, or where the minerals are in such small parcels that they cannot be worked by themselves. Any person having an interest in them or in adjacent minerals may be given the right to work them, without consent of 2050 persons whose consent cannot be obtained and subject to certain safeguards contained in the Bill. Clause 2 deals with the question of the adjustment of boundaries. We all know that in many cases there are awkward and inconvenient boundaries between the areas of various pits and very often, owing to the difficulty of getting the consent of the lessor, minerals are left unworked. It proposes that rights should be obtained by the consent of persons working adjoining mines without obtaining the consent of the lessor.
Clause 3 deals with the question of ancillary rights which are necessary to facilitate in other ways the working of minerals. For instance, a right to let down the surface, a right of air-way, shaft-way or wayleave for access to or conveyance of minerals and for the ventilation or drainage of the mines, a right to construct such ancillary works as spoil banks, coke ovens, brickworks and workmen's dwellings. Also a right to get water and get rid of water. The following Clauses set up the machinery by which we propose that these rights should be granted, and the granting of these rights is limited by Clause 4 to cases where such rights cannot be obtained by agreement owing to the number of persons involved, or owing to their being unreasonable or owing to their being unobtainable for various reasons.
I am afraid that this is a very technical and rather dull subject. It is provided that persons who are qualified to obtain these rights may apply to the Board of Trade, and if the Board of Trade—I suppose it will mean the Mines Department—are satisfied that there is a primâ facie case, they shall refer it to the Railway and Canal Commission for settlement. The Railway and Canal Commission may grant the rights applied for if they are in the national interest, and if the Commission considers that they are generally expedient and subject to such conditions as to compensation or otherwise as they may make. For instance, in the case of an application to let down a surface the Commission shall consider the relative value of the buildings or any other works on the surface, and the prospective importance of avoiding surface damage compared with the value of the minerals. They shall also consider the need of protection from flooding from one mine into 2051 another. Clause 8 authorises persons requiring support to apply for restrictions on mining, and there again if the relative value of the buildings or works compares favourably against the value of the minerals which might be obtained, then it will be for the Commission to settle whether such restrictions should be granted and also the terms of compensation. That, as briefly as I can put it, is a description of Part I of the Bill.
Part II deals with a particular branch of the case, in which minerals are withheld from being worked. It modifies and alters the mining code in the Railway Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845, but only in respect of railways. It does not modify it in respect to the rights which local authorities have, for instance, rights in connection with sewage works, waterworks, and other works of that kind. It deals entirely with minerals which lie under or are adjacent to railways. Under the Mining Code, as it exists, railways can prevent the working of minerals under the surface 40 yards on each side of the railway. But they are bound to pay the full value of the mineral so required to be left unworked. If they do not pay such compensation the mineral can be worked and they are liable to the whole damage done to the surface by the working of that coal. In the case of modern mines, the great depth renders the 40 yards totally inadequate to protect them from underground workings, and the railway companies in consequence brought the case before the Courts, and by the well-known decision in the Howley Park case in 1912, the position was completely altered, and the railway companies got a judgment which asserted their common law right to prohibit by injunction for an indefinite distance the working of minerals outside the 40 yards, if there was liability to damage the railway, and they got that right, without having to pay any compensation, and they also had the right to recover the whole cost of any damage done through such working from the mine-owner.
That, of course, entirely altered the position. Large areas of minerals remained sterile because mineowners were not willing to take the risk of becoming liable for the very large costs and damages that might be thrown upon them. 2052 A certain number of private agreements were made, but it will be obvious to the House that the position could not be fully and thoroughly dealt with merely by private agreements. This Bill is now intended, if it passes, to give statutory form to a general form of agreement, which has been entered into by the parties concerned, and which will apply to the whole country. It will, I hope, have the effect of releasing most, if not all, of the coal at present held up unnecessarily and not worked. I hesitate to attempt to weary the House with the elaborate details of a very complicated agreement. The agreement is very complicated, but I am sure it is thoroughly understood by the very keen business men entering into it, and the House can rest assured that they will look very thoroughly after all the interests concerned.
I will try to sketch the general effect without wearying the House with much detail. The general effect of this agreement is roughly this. While the railways give up their common law right of support over an indefinite distance, given to them by the Howley Park judgment, they agree to pay limited compensation where coal is sterilised by their requiring that it should not be worked in the interests of their railways, in certain proportions which I am not going into now. The mining interests, on the other hand, agree to extend the statutory area of support beyond 40 yards to a distance equal to half the depth of the seam worked, which, of course, means that if you are working a seam of 600 yards in depth the area of protection which this provision would imply would be 300 yards on either side. In addition to that, they agree to pay a limited share of the cost of repairs to the surface necessitated by workings under the new statutory area, in varied proportions, and to forego the right they previously had of receiving the whole cost of driving through the coal sterilised under the railways.
There was one point which had not been agreed upon when the Bill came before the House of Lords. That was the point which existed between the royalty and the mineowners. It was agreed that in leases before the Howley Park judgment the royalty owners should contribute to the cost of making good the damage to the railways and should agree to certain deductions being made from the royalties. As regards leases made after the Bill 2053 passes, obviously arrangements can be made in view of the provisions of the Bill. The point in dispute, however, was in regard to the leases made after the Howley Park judgment and before the Bill passes into law, in which there were no express conditions as to whether such deductions should be made or not. The Bill states—and by a free vote, in which no Government Whips were put on in the other place, this provision of the Bill was supported—that where there is no definite provision in the lease against such contributions being paid they shall be paid. I think when that matter is thought out it will be seen that there is no actual breach of contract involved, and that it is a perfectly fair and reasonable thing. In the Bill, Scotland is excluded.
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX
If the copious notes to which the hon. Member refers were made in order to deal with the hardship of excluding Scotland, I am afraid that what I am about to say may deprive some hon. Gentlemen of the pleasure of making a speech to the House. I am hoping, in view of arrangements since made, that I shall be able to move an Amendment in Committee to include Scotland under the very excellent arrangements which I trust that this Bill will include.
It is exceedingly gratifying to me to find that, in quarters with which I am not personally always in agreement, there is apparently whole-hearted support of the provisions of this Measure. I welcome that, and I hope we shall find the value of it when the Bill goes into Committee. I hope the House will take the opportunity of giving statutory form to the agreement which this Bill involves. A great many hon. Members opposite will probably say that the Bill does not go far enough. It does not deal with the whole question of subsidence, and those hon. Members desiring nationalisation will not find it in the Bill. It does not pretend to go as far as many of them would like. It does not pretend to grant nationalisation, but that is no reason for wrecking very useful reforms which are badly needed and are asked for.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
I would point out to the hon. and 2054 gallant Gentleman that to refer to nationalisation dangerously enlarges the scope of the discussion.
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX
You have ruled, Sir, that no reference must be made to those matters, and in view of your decision I hope that will be the case. If that be so, it is quite unnecessary for me to say more than this, that this is a very innocent little Bill, and does not pretend to go into dangerous quarters. I would plead for the Bill on that ground. In view of the fact that it represents an agreement between interests which have been for long conflicting, in the interests of the railway companies, the mine owners, and the royalty owners; and in view of the fact that it does represent an agreement on the part of conflicting authorities to alter the law by agreement, I think the House, in the interests of peace, and certainly in the interests of the general working of minerals in this country, ought to grant it a Second Reading. Those hon. Members who are interested in minerals—not, perhaps, the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury)—
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX
Then it is obviously to the interests of the electors of Bow and Bromley that coal should be made cheaper.
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX
Any agreement to remove obstacles and difficulties in the way of working minerals must tend to the general advantage of everyone concerned. I commend it to the House, and I am quite sure, after the ruling of Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that we shall not be allowed to encroach on dangerous subjects. I commend the Bill as a measure of agreement, which has taken a long time to arrive at, and which I hope the House will support.
§ Mr. WALSH
I think every hon. Member will congratulate the hon. and gallant Gentleman on the explicit statement he has made upon a Bill which, after all, is a very complicated one. He spoke of an agreement having been arrived at among all the parties affected. I am not at all sure as to the accuracy of that 2055 statement. In regard to Clause 8, which deals with restrictions on working minerals required for support, one would like to know whether the consent of the houseowners or the tenants, in those tens of thousands of cases where subsidence on an extensive scale has taken place, and where property has been almost completely destroyed, has been obtained to it. Under Clause 9 compensation is purported to be given. I do not know whether tenants or owners have been consulted upon that Clause. The hon. Gentleman in his statement seemed to imply that only three sets of people were interested, namely, the mineowner or the working owner of the mineral, the royalty owner, and the railway companies. They seem to be the only parties that stood prominently in the hon. Gentleman's mind. I am sure that he will admit, probably in Committee, that there are much more substantial interests to be considered than are represented by those three parties. As to the general provisions of the Bill most hon. Members will be agreed. We are aware of the report of the Coal Conservancy Committee. We are also aware of the valuable evidence taken and work done by the Committee over which the right hon. Member for the Exchange Division presided, and to which he gave devoted labour.
As to the saving to the nation of the valuable asset represented by tens of millions of tons of coal in the effective working of the barriers, we are also agreed. That has been spoken about for 40 years by the party with which I am associated. It is wonderful how, after long lapses of time, the voice in the wilderness begins to justify itself. We were standing on tubs 40 years ago pointing out that here were most valuable assets being completely lost because the interests of the individual overrode the interests of the nation. Time after time that doctrine was preached. Time after time we were told, "Yah, that is Socialism. You are a Bolshevist. You have no regard for the interests of property and of the individual owner. You are going to confiscate." The individual may say, "This coal belongs to me." There are those who have bought their rights of ownership. They will say, 2056 "I am entitled to act in my own private interest. I bought and paid for this property. I have, therefore, a right to work it as it seems to me best. I am going to cultivate futures. The mining industry is in a state of great prosperity and it can go on to greater prosperity, and then, when I can realise a very much higher value, I am prepared to work this coal." That has been held to be the most perfect conservatism—that every individual had a right to protect his property in that way, and to wait until he could advance its value. Indeed, the man who argued on those lines has been held to be the kind of man on whom the prosperity of the nation has been based. Now we are told, "Oh, no. If two people holding adjoining mineral properties desire to work those properties, and are prevented from so doing by a third party holding a small parcel, that third party's right is to be overridden."
It is not for us to complain, but it is for hon. Members opposite to say whether the reproaches thrown at us in the past, of Socialism, confiscation, and interference with individual rights, have been justified. We think this change ought to have been made long ago, and we stated so long ago. In respect to Clauses 8 and 9, I would ask the Secretary for Mines whether there have been any attempts made to secure the adherence of cottage property owners in respect of the restrictions upon the working of minerals and compensation to be paid when such property is in danger of being destroyed. This is germane to the present discussion, because in 1919, in the first Session of the new Parliament, a promise was made by the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Home Secretary, that a Bill would be introduced giving compensation for mining subsidences. It is true that we carried the Second Reading in this House and that a Committee was set up, but the Government refused to give us facilities in the Committee and even refused to give us an official reporter, and, of course, under such conditions no progress was possible. That was five years ago. From that day to this there has not been the slightest pretence of dealing with the matter. I am sure that the interests of tens of thousands of cottage owners, who in many cases have found their life savings destroyed, are greater than the interests of the royalty owners, and are certainly more insistent and 2057 clamant. I did not hear from the hon. Gentleman that any attempt had been made to come to a satisfactory arrangement with them.
On one of the earlier Clauses of the Bill I want to ask a question. Clause 4 states:Neither the right to work minerals nor an ancillary right shall be granted under this Act unless it is shown that it is not reasonably practicable to obtain the rights in question by private arrangement for any of the following reasons—I will not quote the first two reasons, but the third reason reads in this way, and it seems to me to be very remarkable—That the persons from whom the right must be obtained, or any of them, have not the necessary powers of disposition whether by reason of defect in title, legal disability or otherwise;We start out by stating there are persons from whom the right must be obtained, and yet, by a later implication, we say there are no persons possessed of such a right. When people are desirous of working coal, for the ownership of which, or the disposition of which, no legal right exists, who is going to confer power? [An HON. MEMBER: "The Railways and Canals Commission."] The Railways and Canals Commission can only act when the legal right exists to work the coal, but here there is by implication a legal disability. There is also by statement a defect in title. Let us presume there is a person who claims ownership of a coal area. Later on, when those desirous of working the coal, which he claims to own, come to probe the matter, they find he does not really own it, that there is a defect in title, that he is suffering from legal disability or that he has not the necessary power of disposition. Who then becomes the owner? Who has the authority to confer the right to work the coal, and where is that authority derived from? I fail, on looking through the Bill, to find any satisfactory answer to that question. One would say that the nation ought to possess the coal for which no individual has either the necessary power of disposition or the legal title. One would say in that case that ownership ought to revert to the people themselves. This is a complicated Measure of 84 or 85 Clauses.
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX
In reference to the manner in which the Clauses are numbered, might I point out that all 2058 of those highly numbered Clauses come within Clause 15 of the Bill—which effects an amendment of the Mines Act—and are simply quotations?
§ Mr. WALSH
I am obliged to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I had not noticed the gaps between one number and another. In any case the Bill is one on which, as far as its main purposes are concerned, we are all broadly agreed. It contains a good many points of contention which will have to be thoroughly thrashed out in Committee. I am sure the closer and, in many cases, more technical knowledge possessed by several hon. Members will enable them to see in Committee a great many points requiring adjustment. It incorporates many principles for which we have been contending for nearly half a century and to that extent we thank the hon. and gallant Gentleman for it. So far as those points upon which there may be common agreement are concerned, we shall facilitate the progress of the Bill, but we withhold to ourselves the right to raise in Committee all those other points which we think deserving of attention.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
With the last speaker, I am inclined to agree that the Bill contains some very good provisions and some very good principles which, if expanded to their fullest extent, would confer many benefits, not only on the mineowners, but also on the miners and consumers. At the same time one must notice the limitations of the Bill. One cannot help remarking that if the benefits which we expect to be derived from it are going to be so comprehensive, what would be the benefit if the whole of the barriers preventing the quick exploitation, in the most scientific sense, of the natural resources of this country were removed? The hon and gallant Gentleman has suggested that all the parties concerned have mutually agreed upon a set of principles on which they can work. As regards removing the barrier which confronts colliery companies about to develop large areas, where a lot of small owners of land refuse to sell their portions, one can readily see that the powers conferred on the Board of Trade or the Commission which will finally determine these appeals will certainly facilitate the working of coal areas, and to that extent good is bound to result. With regard to the boundaries also, one can see that not 2059 only will some of the recommendations of the Coal Conservation Committee actually be put into operation, but that we shall be getting better results from the value of our own natural resources than we get al the moment, with all these 3,300 boundaries.
With regard to Clause 3, dealing with ancillary rights, I am fairly pleased to see that powers are going to be conferred on the Commission to make it possible for colliery companies, when they have purchased rights, not only to work the coal but to make adequate arrangements for the people who will be the producers of the coal, so far as housing is concerned. I have one particular case in mind, where, when a large coal area was purchased, one of the clauses in the agreement was to the effect that no house should be erected within a mile of the pit top. That compels men to-day to walk some two or three miles to their work. I am not sure that it is not advisable that the men should live a fairly long way from the mine, provided travelling facilities are available for them, but when there are no means of transport and the men, because of lack of housing accommodation, are compelled to walk two, three or four miles to work, you may be sure absenteeism in inclement weather will be much larger than it would be in normal circumstances. For that reason alone, at least, I am pleased that joint efforts have been made for the purpose of reaching common ground where arrangements can be made not only for producing the coal in the most efficient way, but for making ample provision for all the people who are about to be the producers.
One important matter arising out of this Bill is the question of subsidence, and here we find, as the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh) aptly put the case, that while subsidence will be dealt with from the point of view of the railway company, no provision is being made at all for the thousand and one people who have dwellings and other erections above ground, and one feels that alongside of this Bill the Government ought to have expressed their willingness to give effect to the promise they gave some two years ago that they would be introducing a Bill dealing with subsidence entirely on their own initiative. I think these three very large bodies, the owners of the land, the owners of the railways, and the 2060 mineowners, ought to make arrangements whereby, when subsidence takes place and dwellings, municipal offices, and public buildings generally are let down, adequate compensation ought to be made, so that they can be kept in a decent state of repair.
One notices also that there is an absence from this Bill of almost every recommendation that was made in 1919, and it is rather a sad commentary upon the people who are responsible for promoting this Bill that, after all the evidence that has been submitted, and after all the justification that has been given for a co-operative effort in these national undertakings, royalty owners in the future are apparently as determined to get their pound of flesh as they have been in the past. The only security that we are going to have is that in future it may be that the working of the coal seams will be facilitated by this Bill, but, from the point of view of compensation, the royalty owners are going to be in just the same position as, and perhaps in a better position in the future than, they have been in the past. The Board of Trade, or the Railway and Canal Commissioners, in 50 per cent. of the cases, are the same people who own land, mines, and railways, and I am rather of the opinion that we shall find, when we come to work this Bill, that we are going to be handing over to a comparatively few people the rights and privileges that ought to belong to the whole community.
However, if by the working of this Bill we can co-ordinate our efforts and justify the plea that has been made for so long by Members who now sit on these benches, one can feel that we are taking a step in the right direction and that the time will not be far distant when we shall not be trimming about with Bills of this description, that touch only the fringe of the question, but that we shall make up our minds as a nation that if the land, either on the surface or below ground, is required to serve a national purpose, there shall be only one body to whom we should have to appeal, namely, the Government of the day. Likewise with the coal below ground or the railways above, all these things are necessary for the life of the nation, and when we want either to produce coal or to use the railways, the Government of the nation ought to be the only body to whom we ought to 2061 have to appeal. If these principles can be first of all laid down under the terms of this Bill, with, perhaps, many modifications in Committee, and we can see the working possibilities of it, I hope the time will not be far distant when we shall extend it on the lines recommended by the Sankey Commission and do in reality what we contemplate doing in a very small way in this Bill.
§ Mr. BATEY
The Secretary for Mines, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, described it as an innocent little Bill, but it is not so little when we see that there are 29 pages in the Bill, and it is certainly not so innocent to the miners engaged in the coal trade of this country. I am at a loss to understand why the Secretary for Mines should be moving the Second Reading of the Bill, and I am at a greater loss to understand why the Government should be providing time for its Second Reading, especially remembering the fact that there are now ready other two Bills dealing with these questions, and if one has got to state what one's impression really is, it seems that the Government is backing this Bill to-night simply to forestall the two Bills dealing with this subject that are already standing in the names of Members of the Labour party.
Independent of the question of compensation, it seems to me that this Bill has two main objects. One is to confer the right to facilitate the working of coal. Those of us who have been connected with the mining industry agree with getting all the barriers removed out of the coal mines that it is possible to remove. We do not believe in leaving in any barriers, but what we cannot understand is why the House of Lords and those responsible for this Bill should say that the people to confer the right to facilitate the working of coal should be the Railway and Canal Commissioners. One could have understood them saying that if we had no Department of Mines, but now that we have a Department of Mines my own personal opinion is that no outside body should be allowed to interfere with the working of coal and that everything in connection with the working of coal should be in the hands of that Department. The second object at which this Bill seems to aim is to impose restrictions on the working of coal for the support of railways, buildings, and works. 2062 No one can argue against the support for railways, but this Bill goes to the extent of insisting upon coal being left for intended works, and therefore we argue that this Bill goes much further than there is any need for it to do. In addition, it not only aims at having coal left for the support of railways, but it goes a step further and says that the Railway and Canal Commissioners shall have the power to determine what shall be the system of working. That may mean far more than appears on the surface, because a coal mine may be worked by a certain system of working, and if they have got power, simply because of some intended works, to stop that system of working, it will impose on that colliery an additional expense.
I was rather sorry to hear the Secretary for Mines say that he intended to move in Committee an Amendment to the Clause which exempts Scotland from Part II of the Bill. If I may give advice to the Secretary for Mines, it would be not to move an Amendment to remove the exemption of Scotland, but to move an Amendment to exempt England, Wales and Scotland from Part II. There is a paragraph in Clause 15 to which I want to refer. At the foot of page 12 it reads:The compensation payable to the royalty owners shall be based on the amount which would have been received from time to time by way of royalty in respect of the specified minerals if they had been worked out in the ordinary course.We take a very strong objection to paying royalty owners even for the coal which has been worked out, and we object even more strongly to paying them for coal which would have been worked out. In the County of Durham where I come from we pay the royalty owners £1,000,000 a year. [HON. MEMBERS: "A million and a quarter."] My hon. Friends say it is £1,250,000. Let it be the lesser figure. I say it is too much to pay to royalty owners at a time when thousands of men are starving. We disagree with this Clause. Personally I am sorry the Labour Members have not taken the step of moving that this Bill be read this day six months.
This Clause, along with the Clause I have already mentioned, allowing the Railway and Canal Commissioners to come in, are dangerous Clauses. There is another provision to which I want to 2063 draw the attention of the House. On the top of page 15 it says:Provided that in ascertaining such aggregate sums as aforesaid minerals gotten more than six years before the date on which a contribution shall have been demanded by a company under this Section shall not be reckoned.That provision seems to suggest that we are to have some more retrospective legislation to go back for the last six years, and wherever there is a possibility of a claim during the last six years, the mines will have to pay that compensation. That, too, is a Clause to which one takes very strong objection. We disagreed with retrospective legislation in the Rents Bill and we object to it as strongly here. The Secretary for Mines has been referring to the royalty-owner, the mine-owner and the railway companies, but I want him to remember that this question may not affect the coal-owner so much as it affects the coal miner. This Bill will add to the cost of working the coal mines, while we want to cheapen the cost as much as possible. When you add to the cost of working the coal mines, it is not the coal-owners but the miners who suffer. As was said in this House the other day, the miner to-day has to pay 83 per cent. of the cost against the owners' 17 per cent. The coal-owner has an advantage that the miners have not got. The coal-owner may be also at the same time a director or a shareholder of a railway company, so that when he is paying compensation to the railway company he may be losing as a mine-owner but he is benefiting as a shareholder of the railway company. One would have wished that this Bill had been left over till the House had had an opportunity of considering the Miners' Federation Bill for the nationalisation of the coal mines. It seems to me that the object of this Bill being rushed before the House now is simply to forestall the Miners' Federation in their Nationalisation Bill.
§ Sir LESLIE SCOTT
As the Chairman of the Committee which made the primary Report on which this Bill is founded, perhaps the House will allow me to express the thanks of that Committee to the Secretary for Mines and to the hon. Member for the Ince Division of Lancashire (Mr. S. Walsh) for the kind words that fell from their lips regarding the work of that Committee. The 2064 Government ought to be pleased with the reception which this Bill, so truly Tory and Conservative as it is, has received from the official spokesman of His Majesty's Opposition. As Chairman of that Committee, I can only say that it was a matter of great regret to the Committee that the hon. Member for the Ince Division, who at my special request was made a member of that Committee, was not able to serve throughout its sittings. We had looked forward to obtaining much assistance from him, and we did in the end, I believe, try our best to produce an entirely non-party, non-political Report just as if he also had been a member of the Committee, trying, with others of us who were Conservatives, to remove some of the very real difficulties found to-day in the working of the mineral resources of this country. In approaching this Bill, I think it is essential to realise that the Bill is an attempt to remove certain definite defects found in practice, and that it is not a very ambitious Measure attempting in any way to make a revolution in the existing system under which the minerals of this country are worked. I appreciate and candidly admit that, from the point of view of many hon. Members opposite who do want a very drastic change in our system, some disappointment with the Bill may be felt, but if we are to approach it as being what it is, a definite attempt to deal with practical difficulties in a practical, broad-minded and liberal-minded way, then I venture to think that the Bill will be recognised as deserving of the general support given to it by the hon. Member for the Ince Division, speaking officially for the party which he represents.
On the general principles of the Bill, it is perhaps not without its use to remember certain words or encomiums on the Bill uttered by Sir Richard Redmayne, on an occasion when the Report of my Committee, on which the Bill is largely founded, was under discussion at the Surveyors' Institute. Following the ruling of Mr. Deputy-Speaker just now, that no question of broad policy like nationalisation will be in order here, and bearing in mind that by making a quotation I am not trespassing upon that ruling, I think it is worth while reading a short passage from the speech of Sir Richard Redmayne. The House will remember that Sir Richard Redmayne sat 2065 upon the Sankey Commission all through, and is known to have expressed strong views in favour of nationalisation, and to have taken what would be described as a very forward, and I would call, even a very revolutionary, line in relation to this matter. After referring to his own view about nationalisation, he said:He desired to take the present opportunity of paying his meed of praise to Mr. Leslie Scott and the very able gentlemen who had served under him for the work the Committee had accomplished. He had studied the Report with care, and he had come to the conclusion that it was the only scheme short of nationalisation of minerals which would satisfactorily solve the problem. There were imperfections in it, of course.—there were spots on the sun, he believed—but they were slight in comparison with the advantages of the main scheme which that Committee had formulated.I do not say that this Bill contains in its provisions the whole of the proposals of my Committee. It does not do so. But, so far as it goes, it adopts the most important of those proposals, and for those reasons I ask the House to bear in mind, in considering Part I, that the proposals put forward are proposals that have been discussed with very great care and fullness by a great number of people who are really familiar with the working of our mines. With that, I say nothing more upon Part of the Bill. As regards Part II, the case which has to be put forward is a very definite one, one which really makes amendment of Part II exceedingly undesirable in principle. The position, which has been very accurately stated by the Secretary for Mines, is, that under the old Act of 1845, a provision was made dealing with coal within 40 yards of the railway, a provision accepted by Parliament in that day, because in the then state of technical knowledge of mining engineering, it was believed that if you allowed 40 yards you would be quite safe, and that mining outside the 40 yards limit, would do no harm, coupled with a belief, not limited to Parliament but shared in those days by judges, that if you took away the coal, you could substitute artificial means to prevent subsidence. We now know that under the ordinary methods of mining in this country, without hydraulic packing, subsidence is certain to follow, and, consequently, subsidence has occurred at a very much great distance than 40 yards, particularly with the 2066 deeper mines. The deeper you go the further the subsidence reaches on the surface. The result is, that subsidence can be caused 120 or 150 yards or even further away.
The House of Lords decided that the common law right of absolute support of the surface attached to coal beyond the 40 yards' limit. It was pointed out by my Committee that the effect of that decision was to sterilise the whole of the coal lying outside that limit, so that it could not be touched without the consent of the railway companies. That being the position, and the nation being faced with the possibility of great loss unless in every individual case an agreement was come to between the owners and the railway companies, it was felt that some means must be found to meet the case; and so we suggested that certain members of the Committee representing the railway companies, and certain others representing the colliery owners, should get their heads together and get people representing the royalty owners and try to come to an agreement which would be made general by legislation. That attempt most fortunately succeeded. We got that agreement as between those two parties, and subsequently with the other party that is particularly popular with hon. Members on the benches opposite—I refer to the royalty owners. They were also brought in. Why? Because we were dealing with things as they are, and trying to get an agreement which will help us out of present difficulties.
They came in and, on terms, agreed to accept certain responsibilities, and it was agreed also that they should receive certain compensation. The agreement contained in Clause 15 of the Bill is really almost like a treaty made between the interests affected, after prodigious discussion that has lasted from 1919—when my Committee reported almost continuously until last autumn, when agreement was finally reached between the three parties as to what was a fair distribution of the liabilities on the one hand and the compensating advantages on the other. They think it is fair. It is an extraordinarily complicated agreement. I challenge any Member of the House to understand it without prolonged work, even the lawyers; and I would ask the House in Committee to remember that it is 2067 essentially an agreement between those parties, and that if we are going to alter one Clause, we upset the balance of the agreement in ways we do not understand, and that, therefore, primâ facie it is proper to take it as an agreement and swallow it whole. Hon. Members may say: "We hate the royalty owner, but we want to get this Bill read; therefore we will pass this agreement." The Bill is without prejudice to any future legislation of a wider kind. To alter it, is to destroy it as an agreement, and, therefore, run the risk of failing to get an agreement between those parties, and also failing to carry an agreed Measure.
There is only one other point I should like to make. A certain amount has been said upon the subject of support—a subject which as we all know is one of very great difficulty. The report of my Committee contained much wider proposals than those that are imported into the Bill. So far as they go, I venture to think those proposals are thoroughly sound. The theory of them is this: that as with every Order which the Railway and Canal Commission is given power to make, so in regard to orders as to support, the Order is to be made on such terms and conditions as the Commission think fair. The burden is not to be put on one side, and the privileges are not to be given entirely to the other side. What I suggest is that the proposals about support are reasonable as far as they go, and that therefore without prejudice to dealing with this difficult question hereafter, after further investigation in other ways, we should accept these proposals as a small instalment which is good as far as it reaches.
§ Mr. LAWSON
The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken very tactfully and like a good lawyer took the good things which the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. S. Walsh) had said in favour of the Bill, but forgot to deal with the other points of objection which the same hon. Member raised. Let me remind the House of one of them. It is a fact that in this Bill there is no provision whatever for compensation for subsidence to a workman whose house is damaged by that subsidence. I want the House, not as representatives of one party or another, but as representatives of their constituents, to take note of this fact. Many hon. Members like myself receive from 2068 time to time memorials from workmen householders complaining that the coal is taken from underneath their houses without their consent, and they are never consulted at all, and that coal, having been taken away in that way, they have absolutely no right of appeal for compensation for subsidence. That is getting more and more the fashion throughout this country, and there is not a single word about that matter in this Bill. I want to put the other side which was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey). This is how we treat landowners and private interests. In Clause 15, the provision as to Section 78A, Sub-section (1), paragraph (iii), states that:The compensation payable to the royalty owner shall be based on the amount which would have been received from time to time by way of royalty in respect of the specified minerals if they had been worked out in the ordinary course.The Clause goes on to provide thatIn every case the arbitrator shall state in his award the tonnage of the specified minerals on which his award is based.In one case there is no compensation, although the poor householder is not consulted, whilst in the other case, if the coal is not taken out, then the owner is paid for it as though it had been taken out. Truly it is still right to say that the poverty of the poor is their destruction. I want to ask hon. Members if that in itself does not justify voting against the Second Reading of this Bill, unless we are going to get some guarantee that these people are going to get some consideration. Another important factor is that this Bill originated in the other House, which is the happy hunting ground of coal barons and land owners. In the other House they readily gave facilities for this Bill. We have in this House a Minister of Mines, and he ministers to mines just so far as the gentlemen at the other end of the building will let him. That is the full extent of his Ministry.
I want to ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman another question. As far as I can see, this Bill does not give the power to compel landowners and royalty owners to agree to work the coal which is now being worked, if they think it worth while to stop working it. Let me give a case. In the division which I have the honour to represent, some two 2069 years ago, 250 miners in a certain mine got their notices. That was when 25 per cent. of the men in the district were out. Fourteen days before Christmas they got their Christmas box—14 days' notice. When the men's representatives went to the manager, they said, "We have had national reductions, we have had district reductions, we have agreed from time to time to local reductions, in order that the pit might go on; what are these notices for?" He said, "There is a dispute between us and the royalty owners. We have made the royalty owners a certain offer, and they say they will not agree, and the royalty owners are now going to close the mine." I wired to the Ministry of Mines, and got into touch with them later in this House. One had to make the matter public a good deal, and it was only by sheer publicity that ultimately the men and boys were allowed to work on a day-to-day notice.
I am not quite sure that this Bill deals with a case of that kind. If it does not what is it going to do? It is not going to get to the root of the problem at all. It still means that one individual, who happens to get 1s. a ton out of a certain seam—as a matter of fact they were getting more—if he cannot get exactly what he wants, has still the power to throw masses of people out of work! I sometimes think that my rigid constitutionalism is not exactly a good thing, because I remember that when there was a ferment in the country we could get a Sankey Commission, we could get a promise from the Government that we should have the whole of the minerals nationalised; and now, instead of that, they change over and quietly drop that problem and hand it to the hon. and gallant Gentleman to settle in his Committee and bring this to us—and they bring it to us as serving the public interest. They are doing nothing of the kind; they are serving their own interest, and if they had not served their own interest we should not have had this Bill here to-night. I am more inclined to take the line of opposing this Bill, but at any rate the public outside will get to know this, that, while the Government agrees with the people on the other side getting 20s. in the pound for the common householder, the thrifty man to whom the Government always pay a good deal 2070 of attention and with whom they are always in love, there is no concern at all so far as this Bill is concerned. We will see that he gets to know about it outside in the country.
The hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott) told us, and I am very glad he did, that this is not a Bill which it is very easy to understand, and that even a lawyer would be puzzled with regard to some of the Clauses contained in it.
Yes, it is Part II that I am going to deal with. The Bill, in its Preamble, professes to deal with the support of railways, buildings and works. Like the hon. Member who has just sat down, I come from a mining district, and upon several occasions one has had the opportunity of pointing out to the House the reasons why some of us are so anxious that the mines should be nationalised, in order that we might deal as a whole with the question, not only in regard to the support of railways, buildings and works, as in the case of this Bill, which is confined to the privileged interests only, but, as has already been pointed out, in regard also to the thousands upon thousands of other public buildings, like workmen's halls and institutes, and dwelling-houses, that have suffered for many years in the past. There is no attempt to deal with that grievance, though we have obtained promise after promise that something should be done in that direction. I want to register my protest emphatically against tinkering with this question and dealing piecemeal with it. The hon. Member for Central Cardiff (Mr. Gould) on Saturday at a gathering of the colliery managers bewailed the high cost of production of coal. I do not know where the increase has gone to, because in South Wales the workmen have not yet received the advantage of it. We are down on our bedrock minimum. The hon. Member said it was the means of preventing our trade expanding, especially with regard to iron and steel. I should like to have seen him here this evening, because I should expect him to protest against a Bill which would increase the cost of the working of the coal in the South Wales district. Any blocks of coal it is intended 2071 to leave in the fashion this Bill proposes to deal with it must certainly tend to increase the cost of all the tonnage raised out of the colliery for a very long time to come, and for that reason, because the matter is only being proposed in this piecemeal fashion to be dealt with, I trust the Secretary for the Mines Department will see his way clear to withdraw the Bill and will not ask for the Second Reading to-night.
§ Mr. D. REID
I think hon. Members opposite are something less than just to the provision made by this Bill dealing with cases of subsidence. They do not seem to be aware that under the English law primâ facie the surface is entitled to support by the mineral. If there is a case in which the owner of the surface has not a right to compensation when there is subsidence, it is because that right has been taken away by previous agreement between the surface owner and the mineowner. We have cases continually where a man owning both minerals and surface sells the surface, reserving the minerals and reserving the right to let down the surface, well knowing that the purchase price he obtains is considerably lower than it would otherwise be. Hon. Members want to eat their cake and have it. If they choose to buy cottages built on land of which the owner has previously parted with the right of support they have nothing to complain of. [Interruption.] The hon. Member dissents because he does not know the facts. The Bill takes a step in their direction by making provisions in cases where people possess buildings on land which is not entitled to support. Hon. Members opposite are obsessed with the idea of barriers. They seem to think that royalty owners want to place barriers all over the mines. Do they not realise that they are either tied by acreage rent or tonnage rent? In former days, when coal was worked in smaller areas, there were considerable barriers. There are considerable barriers still, for the safety of the mines and the safety of working, but in arranging modern mining, the object of the royalty owner is to arrange for as few barriers as possible. It is to the interest of everybody that as much coal as possible should be got. In the deeper seams that are laid there are not nearly as many 2072 barriers as there used to be. It is not to the interest of anyone to have barriers, except where engineering necessity requires it.
There is one provision in the Bill to which I might take exception. We have been told of the advantage there would be in working coal where the owner did not want it worked. The only provision in the Bill to which reference is made to that subject is in Part 1, Clause 1, which provides that where there is danger of minerals being left permanently un-worked:a right to work the minerals may be conferred in the manner and subject to the provisions hereinafter appearing on any person having an interest in them, or, in the case of minerals owned in small parcels, in minerals adjoining them, who is desirous of working them, either by himself or through his lessees.Here is the case of a man who has a small area of land with a small area of minerals under it, and he is surrounded by coalowners who want to work the small area. The owner of the land says he prefers to keep it from being worked, because he wants to keep it from being subject to subsidence. He wants to avoid that which the Labour Members desire to avoid in regard to their cottages; yet we have the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh) blessing that provision, blessing that rapacious coalowner. I always thought the hon. Member was an ecclesiastically-minded layman, but I never thought he would throw over Naboth's vineyard in that way. I do not want to make comment on the Second part of the Bill. It represents an agreement between the various interests, and an agreement to the advantage of all interests. The result of the Howley Park decision was to sterilise a vast amount of coal. If that coal is not worked it cannot be of advantage to the coal miner, because large quantities of coal would be left in the mine. If the parties who are in the position to hold up the working of a mine have come to agreement amongst themselves, it must be of advantage to the men actually engaged in working the coal. I hope the Bill will be read a Second time.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I intervene for a few minutes by way of criticism of this Bill. We were told by the hon. Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott) that it was a Tory Bill. It did 2073 not require any very keen vision to see that. I shall always be keenly interested in any Bill dealing with minerals, particularly those Clauses appertaining to compensation or finance. The truly Tory character of this Bill emerges in the Clause dealing with the transfer of land. Hon. Members have stated that the object of the Bill is to facilitate the working of coal and make the best possible use of any large amounts of coal still in reserve. I would suggest that there are two ways of forcing the coal, or any of the mineral wealth of this country, into use. One would be to make it financially impossible for the owners of minerals to withhold these minerals from use. That way lies in the direction of taxing these owners of minerals upon the value of the minerals which they hold. The other is the Tory way—buying them up at an enhanced value. Speaking for myself, in direct disregard of anything said from the Front Bench on this side, I will oppose this Bill, because it is another step in the direction of compensating landowners. I know of no Government during the last 10 years more liberal in its compensating tendency towards landlordism.
This Bill is a proposal to facilitate the use of coal by compensating the landowners for the coal that they have in reserve on the land. My mind goes pack to the time of the famous Finance Act of 1909–10 when some Members of this House, and some—including myself—outside the House were very anxious, during the land campaign of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) to get what we considered to be a fundamental thing for breaking down Toryism in this country, a valuation of the land of this country. I often listened, in the Gallery of this House, to Tory Members stating: "We cannot get a valuation of this country. We cannot hope, even if we have a hypothetical valuation, to impose a tax on it because we cannot value the ungotten minerals." That was the snag on which they tried to wreck us when we tried to enforce a valuation for taxation purposes. But in this non-contentious, innocent Bill we find that compensation payable to royalty owners shall be based upon the amount which would have been received by way of royalty in respect of the specified minerals if they had been brought up in 2074 the ordinary course. You can value the ungotten minerals for the purposes of compensation, but not for the taxation of land values in this country.
There aye other little things, as has already been said, with regard to subsidence. I come to this House to represent Burslem, in the heart of the pottery district. An old resident in that district has said that when after he has been away from the district for a while and comes back, Burslem's contour seems to be like the ocean, it waves a bit, some buildings going up and some going down. We built a new Town Hall a few years ago. It is now yawning at every gable. Houses are disappearing, and there is nothing in this Bill about the position of people who own this property. The last speaker put his finger on this very point when he said—and I should like all the hon. Members on our side of the House to appreciate what is behind this—that many owners of land have sold the right to some people to build on the surface, but they have not sold the right to the minerals underneath. I will take my own constituency as an example. Many small men bought small portions of surface land. We have heard a great deal about private enterprise, here were private enterprisers, taking their little bits of land, and building their little buildings upon them. To their consternation, they discovered afterwards that in the original transfers the mineral rights were reserved to the superiors. Those mineral rights were sold outright to a large mining company in my own Division, and to-day the people on the surface are calling out for compensation and are being told, "You cannot claim compensation because, in the original conveyance, the right to exploit the minerals was reserved by the superiors."
There is nothing in this Bill about compensation, because, as hon. Gentlemen opposite state, these rights were not procured in the first instance by those owning the surface, and not having secured them, the owner of the land, who is all-powerful and almighty, owns the minerals. We had a case the other day in my own Division, where we wanted land for a secondary school. We got the land, which had been condemned as unsuitable for working-class houses during the Addison scheme. It was rented at £4 10s. an acre, and we wanted it for that school. The 2075 owners demanded £6,000, and the education authorities had to pay. I made inquiries as to the conveyance, and I found that in it the owners of the land had reserved to themselves the right to exploit the minerals underneath, and, if there were subsidence under that school, there should be no claims for compensation by the local authority. Is it any wonder that even my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Exchange Division (Sir Leslie Scott), for whose knowledge in these matters I have a great respect—indeed, I have learned much from many of the reports issued under his hand—said that this is a good Conservative Measure? It is one of the many presents which right hon. and hon Gentlemen opposite are offering to the table of the landowners of this country.
I appeal to hon. Members to beware. It is all very well to say that this Bill is not cutting deep into vital principles, and is not going into the field of nationalisation. As has already been said on this side of the House, this is a Bill to forestall anything that we may attempt to do in a much more liberal way, and more in conformity with the basis rights of justice, that all men have equal rights to the earth on which God put them, and that no men have the right to withhold the minerals underneath, which they never made. I could quote speech after speech of the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs in those great days, when even I was apprehensive. [HON. MEMBERS: "Your leader!"] I took him, in a way, as my leader, though I suspected him even then. When I saw this impetuous Welshman straining at the reins, and the austere driver in the chariot, I wondered whether the steed would break the reins and throw itself and its driver into the ditch. I have witnessed it: they are separated, and now looking askance at one another. But the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs and hon. Gentlemen opposite, when the nation was at war and coal was an indispensable commodity, let out many a spark of truth, which will be revived the more right hon. and hon. Gentlemen attempt to bring in so-called innocent, non-contentious Measures of this kind. This Bill is a concession to the landowners. We recognise that there are many landowners 2076 who deserve their place in society, as they do some useful service for the money that they take. But that cannot be said of the friends whom this Bill is to compensate. Whether or not there is an hon. Member on this side who has risen to give his absolution to this iniquity, I for one will oppose it every inch of the way.
§ Mr. T. JOHNSTON
I did not understand that the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh) gave his blessing to this Bill, and I trust that he will lead us into the Lobby against the Second Reading. I agree in the main with what the last speaker said about this Bill. There are phases of it which he did not touch. We were told by the Secretary for Mines and by others that this was an agreed Bill, a Measure agreed upon by the coal-owners, the railway companies, and the royalty owners. Why were not the municipalities called in? Is there any hon. Member with experience of local government in a mining area who does not know that roadways are being sunk, sewers destroyed, poisonous gases set free to poison the community, drainage schemes smashed, and tramway systems broken up?
Why should not the municipalities have been consulted? Have not gasworks been threatened with extinction, and have not municipalities been called upon to pay fabulous sums—bribery, backsheesh, blackmail, call it what you like—to the alleged owners of the minerals in the bowels of the earth, to prevent those gasworks being destroyed? The representatives of the public apparently are not to be consulted. References were made by the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. Walsh) and the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) to the fact that the party of hon. Members opposite represented property, and we are told so every day in their Press. Why did they not consult the small property owners; why did they not consult the man who has sunk all his little capital in the building of a house? The Minister of Health tells us that is an admirable thing to do. But do not do it in a mining area or your house may tumble about your ears on account of the royalty owner and no compensation will be paid. An hon. Member said a few moments ago that it was perfectly right and just that these houses should be 2077 destroyed. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I am within the recollection of the House when I say that one hon. Member declared with emphasis that any man who built a house in a mining area where there were no guarantees that the coal would not be worked, did so at his own risk and no compensation should be paid. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] People who build houses in mining areas do not do so for fun; they build the houses to live in so that they may be near their work. Is it to go out to the public, as a doctrine of the Conservative party, that it is right and just and proper that these poor men should have their houses tumbled about their ears without a penny of compensation at the hands of the royalty owning class. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] An hon. Member says "Hear, hear." I hope he will be pilloried all over the working-class districts of Great Britain to-morrow, and I trust others who agree with him, and have not the courage to say so now, will also be pilloried. [An HON. MEMBER: "We do not agree."] Oh yes, you do. It is in your Bill. Your Bill provides compensation to royalty owners if their coal is not to be worked, and compensation to railway companies if it is worked, but no compensation for the small houseowner who has spent his all in building himself a home.
That is not the worst. Clause 4 provides for compensation to royalty owners who are not even the legal owners—those who have what is called "a legal disability." It means that people who have no valid title to the minerals in the bowels of the earth, who hold land which they or their ancestors have stolen and to which they have no title, are now to be given a valid title, not in a court of law, but by the Railways and Canals Commission. They are to be given compensation for minerals that they do not legally own. Let us take another amazing proposition in this Bill:Where any such counter-notice has been served on the mineowner, the specified minerals shall not be worked or got after the service of the counter-notice, and the company shall pay compensation to the mine-owner and the royalty owner (if any) for the same being left unworked.Even if there be a fault in it, compensation is to be given, compensation wherever there is damage to the land owning class 2078 in this country, no matter how the industrial classes are treated. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary for Mines said he intended to move an Amendment to the Bill himself that it should be made applicable to Scotland. If he does that, he will get trouble; the Bill will cease to be an agreed Bill, if he sticks to Clause 14 and his interpretation of it. I wonder if he means that the paragraph:'Minerals' includes all minerals and substances in or under land obtainable by underground or by surface working.includes metals. If so, for the first time for hundreds of years you are taking away from the ownership of the Crown in Scotland that which is public property, and handing it over to private interests. For hundreds of years metals, at any rate, and, in my belief, minerals, in Scotland have been the property of the Crown. The lead mines are the property of the Crown in Scotland, and if you propose to bring under the terms of this precious Bill all the metals in Scotland and proceed to give compensation to dummy owners who do not own them and have been obstructing the working of them for years despite your Commissions, it will cause trouble. I think you had a Commission that sat during the War which said that there were 30 miles of good lead-bearing land in the lead hills represented by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Dr. Chapple) in Scotland which could not be worked, which the lead-workers were barred working, because the landowners would not allow a water branch pipe to be laid below their land when they were not going to get any benefit out of the metals. Are you going to begin at this time of day attempting to endow that gang? We are here as a protest against what has gone on in the past, and God forbid that we should sit silent and peaceable if you are going to do that. We will take every possible step in our power to prevent that idle, parasitic, useless class from bleeding the industry, the trade, the craftsmanship, and the labour of the British people any further than they have been allowed to do it in the past.
§ Mr. G. A. SPENCER
I wish to say that, if my friends were to force this Bill to a division, I should vote in favour of it. Any alteration that may be made, should be attempted in Committee and 2079 not by attempting to defeat the main provisions of the Bill. There are details in the Bill I would like to see amended in Committee. For instance, it says in Clause 3 that the colliery owner shall havea right to use and occupy the surface for spoil heaps, or for the erection of washeries, coke ovens, railways, by-product works, or brick making or other works.I want to deal with the question of spoil heaps. I have not a great objection to the heap itself although that is bad enough, but I do think that if we allow the colliery companies to dump down these heaps, which are sometimes very essential, care should be taken to see that they are not constantly on fire. Where you have colliery heaps, you have spontaneous combustion and no one can live in any comfort in the immediate locality. Very often you find that the chief colliery owner lives some distance away. He is not troubled by the stench and fumes generated by the heaps. Therefore I say that, if this Bill passes the House to-night, in Committee care should be taken to protect those who have to live in close proximity to the colliery heaps.
Secondly, I know that if there are byproducts, the companies have the right of draining their liquids from the by-products into any stream or sewage. Everyone who has served on a local authority knows that from time to time the local authority has a great deal of trouble by reason of the fact that liquids from various works are allowed to go into the sewage, making it extremely difficult for the sewage to be dealt with. If this Provision is to be put in the Bill, making it possible for colliery owners to get rid of the liquid from their byproducts in this way, it ought to be made perfectly clear that it shall be such liquid as the sewage works can deal with properly and adequately. With regard to Provisions as to the getting of coal in the case of the small property owner, I have no objection to being compelled to lease the coal under my land, provided I can get satisfactory terms, but I am a little doubtful in regard to the tribunal that is set up. It is going to be a very difficult tribunal. Let us take the case of a man who has a small parcel of land. A colliery company want probably the whole of the coal under the 2080 land, and as a matter of fact they will have the right to work the coal, but they cannot come to terms. If they cannot come to terms, so far as I read this Bill, the colliery, company can make application to the Board of Trade, and if the Board of Trade are satisfied that in the national interest the coal should be worked, they can refer the whole question to the Railways and Canal Commission for them to decide.
If you are to have this Commission acting in regard to land of that character, one of two things ought to take place. In the first place, provision should be put into this Bill that the terms and conditions which are to be allowed to the small owner should not be less favourable than the terms and conditions to be allowed to the principal mining royalty holders. If you have not a provision of that kind, you will get a man with a small parcel of land who will say to himself, "It is no use my going through with this as it will cost me far more money to attend this Commission and get my case adequately placed before them than the whole thing is worth." I have myself had experience just recently of having a house where a colliery company work the coal. It is copyhold, and half of it has to be paid over to the lord of the manor. We could not agree as to the amount to be paid for the coal under that small parcel of land, which was about as much as one seam was worth, and there were about five seams. I said they could get the coal for me. Where a colliery is working in these circumstances near a small town notice should be given to every owner whose coal the colliery wants to purchase, and on a given day the Commission should sit in that town, so that applications can be made on one day. If there is not a provision of that kind, they will have to go one by one, and it will mean that justice will not be done to those people who have small plots of land where a colliery is to be worked.
If we go to a Division to-night, I shall vote for the Bill, because I believe the two principles are sound that where the national interest is concerned it should be understood that the people who own the coal should be properly protected. I agree with everything that has been said to-night with regard to payment for damage for subsidence, but if this Bill be not passed, will these people be in any better position? Can anyone of them get 2081 a penny damages against a colliery company or anyone else? If we do not pass this Bill, those people who have not got in their leases terms stating that they are to be compensated for damages that are done, will not be a penny better off, and we shall leave the country, from the mining point of view, in the bad condition in which it is to-day. With regard to boundaries, so far as I am concerned, I should not agree that there really ought to be an agreement between the owners. I believe that when a pit is sunk, and there is on one side perhaps half a mile, to the boundary and between that and the next pit 3½ miles, if I had my way the former would not be cut off at half a mile, but would continue to work until the two meet, so that instead of getting only the coal of a bad quality, they could work the whole piece, and it would be far more advantageous to the nation. Therefore, as far as boundaries are concerned, I myself would delete the lines of imaginary demarcation, and make it possible for each party to continue to work until they reached each other.
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX
I may, perhaps, by leave of the House, reply to some of the points raised. With regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, the point as to draining liquid into sewage works is met, I think, by Clause 11 of the Bill. That and other points are Committee points. The main trend of this Debate has been, to oppose not what is in the Bill, but the absence of certain things which hon. Members want. I appeal to the House to take the Bill. Here you have a chance of getting certain things that can be carried out. I am hoping that at an early stage some action may be taken as desired by some hon. Members; but it cannot be taken this session; therefore let us do what we can. I do not think I need deal with the smaller points made; the main points have been met. The two chief objections, first as to their being no provision against subsidence, and secondly, against their being provision made for support, are mutually destructive. I do not think it requires me to go further. I appeal for a Second Reading to a Bill.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I want to deal—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide, divide!"]—with the Bill from quite a different point of view 2082 to the general trend of the discussion. Those who drafted the Bill surely did not designedly desire to appear stupid—if I may use the term—and so make hon. Members believe that they have not got reasoning powers. Suppose we take Clause 3, Sub-section (1, c)—A right to use and occupy the surface for spoil heaps—Do hon. Members imagine that in the year 1923, with all our boasted scientific knowledge, that here we are asking a supposedly intelligent House of Commons to accept a Bill that is going to give power to conduct the mining industry in this way; by bringing to the surface that which can be kept under and so keep the spoil in something like a logical continuance of the idea of support? Any intelligent crowd of men wishing to work a mine, especially in a country like ours, where we are told we are short, of land, would at once say that three things would happen if you did not follow this stupid and ugly method of bringing refuse to the surface. Those who understand the science of mining know that when you first begin to sink your shaft, of necessity you will have some spoil formed which you take back when there is storage room, and you should keep back every particle of dirt in your mine. There are thousands of reasons why all that stuff should be kept down the mine. Take it on the question of ventilation, men who understand mining know that when you get huge accumulation of gas you get it in these spaces and they become huge gasometers. For the proper ventilation of mines you should have these spaces packed and this is not only better for the ventilation of the pit but also for supporting the surface.
I want to deal with what is called the supports. The hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott) said that in the early days when they did not know very much they used to leave 40 yards each side of a railway and that these people had blundered seriously by allowing that distance. Then he made the remarkable statement that the deeper you went for the coal there was a wider base because when a subsidence took place there was a greater draw.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
What I did say was that the deeper the mine is the greater 2083 distance laterally the subsidence extends.
§ Mr. HARDIE
That is what I am saying. The deeper you go when your subsidence takes place you are going to have a greater draw. What are the facts? There are no two subsidences in coal-mining in Great Britain that have the same characteristics. If you take coal from below a whin-bank, with the White Horse rock above, then, with these great pieces 40, 50 and 60 feet long resting nearly perpendicular you have no subsidence. Why should the hon. Member nod his head, signifying agreement with an argument which is diametrically opposed to the Bill he is supporting? Not a single intelligent reason has been given for this Bill. Not a single figure has been given upon which any engineer who would claim the name would place the faintest reliance. I could show you places in Scotland where the bridges and embankments would not move in a thousand years because of the whin-bank; but I was in Tonypandy early this morning—looking out for facts. I saw one row of houses which had slipped down 4 feet 3½ inches—I measured it, and the railway company are taking down refuse from the surface and stowing it as fast they can to save the railway; but there is no talk of saving the houses. It is no use for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen to come along in a superior way with this Bill which, because the great men of the House of Lords have said it is good, we are supposed to accept like so many lambs. I am not a lamb in this respect. I am going to vote against this Bill, because of the stupidity and lack of modern knowledge that it shows.
We are told by the Secretary for Mines that the agreement come to was that the supports allowed under a railway should be half the depth of the seam from the surface—that is to say, if you had a depth of 500 yards, 250 yards was to be left in upon which the railway was supposed to rest; but even if you left 500 yards at a depth of 200 or 300 fathoms, if you had the strata that you find in the Welsh valleys, you would not save it, because those strata are friable, and the moment you take away the coal they begin to break up into square blocks, which, again, break up into smaller square blocks—but they always remain square. Even 2084 in the House of Lords they are still lacking in some little things so far as mining supports are concerned. If you want to deal with this matter as engineers should deal with it, why do you not get the men who are every day down there knowing what is taking place?
In this Bill not one word is said about that which always accompanies subsidence, namely, water and pumping. Here is where I feel that those who framed this Bill have not been serious. It seems to me that here are three types of thieves gathered together in order to consolidate their method of thieving, and they agree that one shall compensate the other; but when that compensation is paid it is to be put on to the back of the consumer. It is "Thieves' Consolidation, Unlimited." There is not a word about the science of mining. Instead of having one great pumping system draining the whole of a coalfield to its depths, you are, in the commercial anarchy which prevails, as if no science existed, allowing one man, because he is smaller than the other man, to be drowned out by the water, if he happens to be on the other side of the mine in question, letting the waters drown the poor little fellow, and if he cannot get enough money to pump and keep the water down he is flooded out and has to sell out at a cheap rate to the big company. There are intermittent springs in all mineral strata, and by changing the course of these you change the whole movement of the strata, and mineral strata are always on the move. You may not see it, but it is always moving. I have been in Tonypandy—I like to say that word—and I know what Lanarkshire is like and I know that for 4 miles from the Cross of Motherwell there is not a single piece of land on which houses rest where a man can say his house will be sitting plumb to-morrow morning when he wakes up. If the framers of this Bill had been serious in what the title would imply they would have had definite scientific measurements. They could have had their engineers and they would know the character of all the strata that overlay our minerals in these islands. They could have had the absolute weight to an ounce of the movement of the strata towards the pavement where the coal has been taken out. With all these 2085 calculations and all that knowledge behind them and embodied in the Bill they could have had something which would be understood by intelligent men on this side and we should have been quite willing to pay tribute to the great minds that brought it forward, but here you have words, words, words. Why do you not get it set to music? You fail as promoters or supporters of this Bill in the fact that there is not a single word of evidence to show that those who brought it into being had the slightest knowledge how they were going to start to apply supports to the surface.
§ Sir L. SCOTT
On the Committee which was originally responsible for the Bill three of the most distinguished mining engineers in the country sat as Members, and we much regretted the absence of the hon. Member.
§ Mr. HARDIE
There is nothing in this Bill dealing with something which is just as serious as houses. There is nothing in the Bill dealing with surface water. You go calmly on stating that you may let down the surface. Why should you do that?
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
On a point of Order. Is an hon. Member in order on the Second Reading in discussing everything that is not in the Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
On the Second Reading it is quite proper, within reason, of course, to discuss what provisions you would have liked to see in the Bill, provided they would be relevant to the Title of that Bill.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Where you have subsidence in agricultural land, in the centre of your best growing field, what are you to do? Our drains are all to pot; you have changed the run of the water, yet there is nothing in this Bill to deal with that. You are calmly saying that where it is agricultural land you are going to let it down if you like. I want also to refer to the pollution of rivers. I was looking to-day at what used to be the crystal streams of Wales.
§ Mr. HARDIE
It was the Secretary for Mines who put it into my head by referring to it. Where by-product works are put up, the effluent from them makes 2086 it absolutely impossible for ordinary life to continue in a river. If proper care were taken there is not the slightest reason for a gallon of the effluent passing into any river, because if the promoters know what they are doing, they can make money out of it, and if they profess not to be able to know what to do, they ought to be compelled to put in effluent tanks and render the effluent harmless.
This is not a Mines Bill. It is a compact between three of the largest interests in order to pass on to the consumer whatever they may be called on to lose by the support of their own railways.
§ Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX rose in his place, and claimed to move,
"That the Question be now put," but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, as he thought that the House was prepared shortly to come to a decision without that Motion.
§ Mr. SEXTON
Whatever is the policy of my party I always like to be loyal, but if the argument is to be used, as is continuously used, not only by the hon. Member for Ince (Mr. G. Walsh) but hon. Gentlemen who spoke on the opposite benches. If the Second Reading of a Bill is to be used as a means to protect iniquity, then there is a limit even to my loyalty. A more iniquitous principle than is embodied in this Bill, I cannot conceive. It is said that the Bill can be amended in Committee, but that is always said, and those who want to amend the Bill are in the minority, and when the Bill comes down to the House again those who do not agree with it are influenced by the fact that the Committee has agreed to it, and therefore the only chance of getting a protest entered is on an occasion like the present. We have had reference to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and his action many years ago, and since he has been below the Gangway we have had one or two touches of the vanished hand. I believe that he is beginning to find out the mistakes of the last four or five years and now wants to return to his old love, and if his old love will have him I will not raise any objection. But if this argument of a Second Reading is to be used to prevent any honest protest against an iniquitous principle like this being embodied, that a man who claims that he owns the surface can prevent the 2087 balance of the earth being used, except at his own price, and that is advocated by Members opposite who denounced the bricklayer because he only lays so many bricks in a day, than, though I am anxious to be loyal to the party to which
§ I belong, there is a limit to human endurance, and that limit has now been reached.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 214; Noes, 76.2089
|Division No. 139.]||AYES.||[11.50 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Goff, Sir R. Park||Pielou, D. P.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Gould, James C.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Privett, F. J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Raine, W.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Guthrle, Thomas Maule||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Halstead, Major D.||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield)||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chrtsy)|
|Berry, Sir George||Harrison, F. C.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Harvey, Major S. E.||Robertson- Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W.)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hawke, John Anthony||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Bonwick, A.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hinds, John||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hopkins, John W. W.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Houfton, John Plowright||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Bruford, R.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Simpson Hinchliffe, W. A.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hudson, Capt. A.||Singleton, J. E.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Jarrett, G. W. S.||Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)|
|Button, H. S.||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Jephcott, A. R.||Sparkes, H. W.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Jones, Henry Haydn, (Merioneth)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Stanley, Lord|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lorimer, H. D.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Cope, Major William||Lumley, L. R.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||McCurdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Crooke, J. S. (Derltend)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Manville, Edward||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Margesson, H. D. R.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Mercer, Colonel H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Ednam, Viscount||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Molloy, Major L. G. S.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Ellis, R. G.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Wells, S. R.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Murray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Nall, Major Joseph||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson||Winterton, Earl|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Wise, Frederick|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Paget, T. G.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Furness, G. J.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Penny, Frederick George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Garland, C. S.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Lieut.-|
|Gates, Percy||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Colonel Gibbs.|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Peto, Basil E.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Herriotts, J.||Riley, Ben|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Ritson, J.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Saklatvala, S.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Sexton, James|
|Buckle, J.||Lawson, John James||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Leach, W.||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Chapple, W. A.||Lee, F.||Snell, Harry|
|Charleton, H. C.||Linfield, F. C.||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Collison, Levi||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||Warne, G. H.|
|Darblshire, C. W.||M'Entee, V. L.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||McLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Webb, Sidney|
|Ede, James Chuter||March, S.||Wheatley, J.|
|Foot, Isaac||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morel, E. D.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Murnin, H.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hardie, George D.||Phillipps, Vivian||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Potts, John S.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Pringle, W. M. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Ammon and Mr. Lunn.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.