§ Order for Second Beading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
On a point of Order. May I ask whether there is not one or other hon. Member in this House in favour of this particular Hill who has not something to say on it? would suggest that those who are promoting the Bill ought to have some representative here to explain this scheme for giving certain powers to a private company. May I ask your ruling?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Robert Young)
Hon. Members have put down an Amendment to defer the Second Reading for three months. I presume that, having done so, they know what is in the Bill?
§ Mr. HANNON
On a point of Order. May I say for the benefit of hon. Members opposite that they might have had access to the proceedings of the House of Lords, and so made themselves acquainted with the text of the Bill?
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
I did not suggest that I do not know what is in the Bill. I do know, and that is the reason I am opposing it.
§ Mr. MAXTON
May I point out that those of us who are in favour of the rejection of this Bill might not be prepared to push our opposition to the Bill to the extreme limit if we could hear from hon. Members in favour of it some justification for supporting it—for supporting what scorns to us the absolutely impossible demands of a private company as contained in the Bill. What hon. Members might say might have some weight with us, and we might not push our Amendment.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
We know what is in the Bill. We also know the proceedings that have taken place in another place, and of the negotiations outside, which absolutely compel us to pursue our opposition to the Bill to its final conclusion.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."
In moving this Amendment, which stands in my name and that of several of my colleagues, may I say that there is a statement by those in favour of the Bill which says that they believe that the only opposition is coming from those who believe that this Bill, in some way or other, is going to affect the question of the nationalisation of all electrical undertakings. They contest that belief. Personally, I have read the Bill. I have also read the petition of the Glasgow Corporation. I have also gone to the trouble to read the proceedings in another place in connection with this Measure, and I want to say right away that I believe the House of Commons, in giving these new powers to this company to extend their capital and the area of their undertakings, which the company promise are going to do something contrary to the interests of the people of Scotland. I want to state that in my belief it is becoming more and more 1422 apparent every day that this question of the development of electrical power throughout the country is going to become more and more an urgent question.
There has been a Committee sitting at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), and its members have gone into this question. Those concerned have been good enough to send to Members of this House a little book in which they state their conclusions in regard to the important part which electricity is going to play in the industrial development of the future. Hon. Members who have considered this matter agree on that point. But every day it is becoming more and more apparent that this is a matter which calls for national treatment and not for sporadic treatment by this other company. One of the people interested in this Measure in a conversation with me suggested that, after all, this company had invested a good deal of capital and had carried on a great deal of work in order to provide for the needs of manufacturers and for the needs of industrial undertakings. I suggested to him that they had not invested capital to confer benefit upon manufacturers or on any section of the community, but that they had gone into a concern which seemed to them to offer prospects of a good profit—that they did not come into this business from a philanthropic point of view.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
On a point of Order. Are we discussing the additional powers which it is proposed to confer upon this company or the general principle? Is the hon. Gentleman entitled to discuss the matter so widely?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
It was suggested that this company was conferring a very big public advantage by virtue of the capital they had invested in their company. I suggested in return to my friend that it was not a question of public advantage, it was a question of the amount of profit that could be obtained. Therefore I suggest—
§ Mr. HANNON
But is it not the custom of this House in relation to Bills of this character that bon. Members dealing with it are confined to the precise scope of the Bill itself, and cannot go outside that on Second Reading?
§ Mr. HANNON
I have not finished my point yet. 1 would respectfully call your attention, Sir, to this fact, that only a few weeks ago Mr. Speaker was in the Chair, and an hon. Member on the other side, speaking in relation to another private company Bill, promoted in the interests of a private corporation, was called to order for travelling outside the range of the Bill, and in dealing with subjects apart from the Bill itself. I ask whether hon. Members who are opposing this Bill should he allowed to proceed in this indiscriminate way in dealing with the general subject?
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
Is it not a fact that this Bill deals with principles being applied to a new area in which the principles of private ownership are not operative at present, and the hon. Member is consequently quite in order.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Is it not the case that the hon. Member opposite who raised this point, and who seems so specially interested in this company which proposes to mulct the public, has got an opportunity of stating the various matters concerned in the Bill? I submit that the questions I am dealing with are all contained in this Bill, and I am suggesting that this House should not give powers to this company to make extortionate profits at the expense of he poor.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
With regard to the point which has been raised, and which was dealt with by Mr. Speaker, I believe it was ruled out because it dealt with some extraneous matter. As long as the hon. Member deals with the principles of this Bill, he is quite in order.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
The principle of this Bill proposes to increase the capital, and also the area within which this company is able to operate. It deals with electrical undertakings in those areas. I am suggesting that those undertakings and the extension of the powers to undertake 1424 electrical work in those areas are not going to be to the public advantage, but that the result will be simply to increase the opportunities of those individuals for making profit. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] I am rather surprised that hon. Members opposite are so distressed, and they are evidently determined not to give me an opportunity of putting to the House a connected ease against this Bill. It seems to me that they have not a good case, or they would not try to throw me off my argument like they have been doing to-night. I will now come to the statement of a promoter of the Bill in which he pointed to the big advantages which would accrue to manufacturers and other people within the area if this Bill were passed. I suggested to those manufacturers that I was not at all convinced that those advantages were going to accrue to those manufacturing interests through the passage of this Bill. I also asserted that in tins connection, to my mind, the one way in which those interests could get full protection, as well as the other people within the area, was by a very different treatment to that which was suggested in this Measure.
I want to refer to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs said on the general question of electrical supply, and how he deprecated this sort of sporadie handling of this great need of the people. It is the business of this House, when a Measure like this comes before us to look into all the Clauses and into the question of the area which is going to he served, to make sure that we are not going to entrench deeper a company which will be able to obstruct and block the developments which ought to follow in this connection in the no distant future. On the ground that this Clyde Valley Electrical Power Bill is going to act in the way of obstructing the natural electrical developments within that area which can be far more suitably undertaken by local authorities such as the Glasgow Corporation, 1 ask the House to support my Amendment for the rejection of this Bill.
I want to describe the proposals which are contained in this Bill. First of all, there is a desire on the part of the company to obtain powers to increase its capital. This Measure also contemplates the alteration of the terms under which the shares are held in 1425 the company. I do not wish to place any objection in the way of the company getting the opportunity of obtaining inure money from the investing public. That is a matter for the investing public themselves, but I object to what comes afterwards in the later Clauses of the Bill. There has been a certain amount of contention with regard to those Clauses. This Measure affects various areas. It affects interests in the area of the counties of Renfrew, Dumbarton and Lanarkshire, and within those areas various boroughs and local authorities are concerned, and those areas take exception to some of the proposals contained in this Measure. Clauses 25 to 29 directly affect the interests and the powers of the local authorities contained within those areas. Owing to the fact that the local authorities in those parts were putting up an opposition to this Measure, certain concessions were made. All those authorities under the 1901 Act, under which this company was constituted, have obtained certain powers by which they are protected against the various actions of the undertakings with which this company is concerned. In consequence of that opposition all those authorities within the area have now got the former protection Clauses which they enjoyed under the original Act, and this protection is given to them under the Measure now proposed.
I would like to point out some of the suggestions contained within those various Clauses because, to my mind, the cardinal feature of this Measure is contained within those Clauses, and the position in which they are going to place their great competitor, namely, the Glasgow Corporation, is an important matter. For example, in Clause 25 it is proposed to enact as follows:The powers of the company under the existing Acts shall be extended to include the following additional powers videlicit:1426 I want the House especially to note the importance of Sub-section (2), which I have just read. The company may take a transfer of the rights, powers and liabilities of any authorised undertakers adjacent to the area of supply. Again, in Clause 26 of the Bill it is proposed to enact, inter alia, as follows:
- (1) The company may with the consent of the Electricity Commissioners and subject to such conditions as these Commissioners may impose enter into arrangements for working or managing any undertaking for generating or distributing electricity within or adjacent to the area of supply; and
- (2) The company may take a transfer of the rights powers and liabilities of any authorised undertakers adjacent to the area of supply and Section (Transfer of undertakings of local authorities and others to company) of the Act of 1904 shall apply to any such transfer."(1) in addition to their existing powers the company may subject to the provisions of this Section and with the consent of the county council or other local authority having jurisdiction supply electricity for lighting purposes to any premises within the area of supply to which the company have power to supply electricity for other purposes Provided that the company shall not give any such supply to any premises within the area of supply of any authorised distributor without the consent of such authorised distributor.''This Sub-section, also, is one of very great importance to those who are opposed to this Measure. Then we find that in Clause 27 of the Bill it is proposed to enact, inter alia, as follows:(1) The provisions of the existing Acts and the Acts incorporated therewith shall so far as these are applicable to the purposes of this Section and subject to the necessary modifications apply to the construction laying down erection and maintenance in any streets or roads of any telephone or telegraph posts wires conductors or apparatus which the company may and which they are hereby authorised to erect or lay down for the purposes of their undertaking but no posts shall be erected in any street or road without the consent of the local authority which shall not be unreasonably withheld and any question whether or not such consent has been unreasonably withheld shall be determined by the Electricity Commissioners.That, also, is one of the Clauses in this proposed Measure which is of very great importance to those who are in opposition to it., in view of the possibility of the various developments which this company may undertake. Again, in Clause 28 it is proposed to enact as follows:The company may subject to the provisions of the Electricity (Supply) Acts, 1882 to 1922. and of the Schedule to the Electric Lighting (Clauses) Act, 1899 and of the existing Acts construct and maintain in or under any street within the area of supply transforming stations section boxes and other works in connection with their electricity undertaking and may in any such street provide and maintain all such means of access and approach to such transforming stations section boxes and works as may be necessary or convenient.This also, as hon. Gentlemen opposite are aware, is one of the Clauses which, with 1427 regard to future possibilities, is viewed with a certain measure of apprehension unless certain concessions are made.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I will tell the hon. Member why, directly. I want the House to understand how important it is to the great City of Glasgow and its electrical undertakings, and to the development of the City, with regard to these various Clauses—
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
As the hon. Member is referring to the City of Glasgow, will he inform the House that Clause 33 of the Bill deals with the protection of the City of Glasgow on all these points to which he has referred?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I simply desire, at this stage, to say to the hon. and learned Gentleman that. I am quite aware that Clause 33 affords a certain amount of protection to the City of Glasgow and its undertakings, but what I propose to show is that Clause 33 does not give any- thing like adequate protection to the interests of electrical development in the West of Scotland, and especially to the interests of the Glasgow Corporation and of the people in the area served by the City of Glasgow. Then we come to Clause 29 of the Bill, in which it is pro- posed to enact as follows:The company may within the area of supply for the purpose of supplying any premises with electricity lay down take up alter relay or renew in across or along any street not repairable by the local authority such mains wires and apparatus as may be requisite or proper for furnishing a supply in such street or in the neighbourhood thereof and the provisions of the Electricity (Supply) Acts, 1882 to 1922, and of the Schedule to the Electric Lighting (Clauses) Act, 1899, and of the existing Acts so far as they are applicable for the purposes of this Section shall extend and apply mututis mutandis to and for the purposes of this Section as if all such streets had been specified in this Act.These Clauses 25 to 29 contain, then, many of the matters which have aroused the opposition of hon. Members of this House, and concerning which they wanted more adequate protection than has been applied to them, and we feel that they constitute so great a danger that we are prepared to press this matter to a Division unless we get what l propose to put before the House. This company, which was given 1428 certain powers, in 1901, which powers were extended in 1904, 1912, 1918 and 1919, comes to the House now with this new Measure, seeking for an extension of its powers and a larger area in which it proposes to operate; and, while it has been operating, there have also been developing alongside it the great municipal electrical undertakings of the City of Glasgow. The city has had to extend its boundaries. In 1905 there was a small extension, and in 1912 there was a larger extension. Those extensions brought within the area of the, City of Glasgow part of the area which was served by the company concerned, and Glasgow, in order to serve its people, has had to spread out its undertakings in every direction beyond the city. For example, it has had to take over other tramway undertakings within the area with which this Bill deals. It has had to undertake a great development of its electrical tramway system. Again we find that the streets, both within and without the city, within the area of supply, are at present occupied by an extensive underground system of sewers, gas and water mains, pipes and electrical lines, the property of the City of Glasgow. So that you have this company asking for certain powers over an area in which there has been, as a result of the Corporation of Glasgow seeking to serve the people, of its city, seeking to serve the people in the area round about it, the great commercial centre of the whole of the West of Scotland—you have all this property of the City of Glasgow out of the area of the city, and the streets in all these districts occupied by this extensive underground system of sewers, gas and water mains, pipes, electrical lines and tramways. Since that is the case, it seems to me that it cannot be contested that the corporation has every right for its interests to be fully conserved in connection with the development of the undertaking suggested in this Measure of this private company.
The other local authorities outside Glasgow, who also have their interests affected, demanded that the protection which was secured to them by the 1901 Act should be secured to them under this Measure, and what did the promoters of the Bill do They provided Clauses 30, 31 and 32, whereby there was given to all those authorities the same 1429 power of protection that they had previously enjoyed. The Glasgow Corporation said, "Yes, we also have got a cause under the Act of 1901." under that Act it was manifest that Glasgow had a great interest in what the developments of this company might produce, and under Section 66 of that Act there were various protections put in so that the interests of the Glasgow Corporation should be fully conserved. But the promoters of the Bill will not give us the introduction of Section 66 now. Instead they offer Clause 33, which states:The company shall not, under the powers conferred by the Sections of this Act of which the marginal notes are repectively, Additional powers, Supply for lighting purposes, 'Power to erect telephones etc.," Power to construct transforming stations etc. in streets,' and Power to lay electric mains in private streets,' interfere except with the consent of the Corporation of the City of Glasgow with any statutory or other works or property of that Corporation within or without the City of Glasgow and shall not except with such consent exercise within the City of Glasgow any of the powers conferred by the said Sections.I can quite well understand that the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Millar), not having gone into the question of the proceedings in the House of Lords, not having gone fully into this question, looking at that Clause would be inclined to say, "Here is an adequate protection for everything that concerns the Glasgow Corporation." I am quite willing to admit at the outset that this Clause looks as if it were an adequate protection for any other interest, but if it were an adequate protection, why was it necessary to give to the other authorities the protection which they formerly enjoyed? Why was it necessary to give them something other than this Clause? They insisted that they must have the former protection—this Clause did not give enough—because they knew that while on the face of it this seemed all right, it does not at all meet the case. Under this Clause they say to the Corporation, "There you are. We will not go on with anything where you are directly interested, where you have property, where your interests are concerned, unless we get your consent. What could be fairer that that?" But if the come with a reasonable proposition to the corporation the corporation cannot refuse their consent. They cannot 1430 say, "We refuse our consent to a certain development which seems reasonable,'' and none of us in any part of the House would say Glasgow had any right to object to give its consent to a reasonable proposition. So this provision really means that if the proposed development by this company is reasonable, Glasgow must give its consent.
But when Glasgow gave its consent previously, or when this company came into the area in which Glasgow interests were more directly concerned, Glasgow had more protection than this. They had the protection which would accrue to them if any damage was done to the works that they had in that area, to all this underground mass of materials belonging to the city. When the company set to work its works might interfere with some of those sewers or mains of the corporation, and they became financially responsible for the damage that was done. Clause 33 of this Bill does not give to Glasgow the protection it formerly enjoyed under Section 66 of the Act of 1901. That Section certainly applied to the area formerly covered' as concerning Glasgow interests in 1901 but Glasgow interests since 1901 have extended in every way in those areas. They have become ever so much greater than they were then, and what Glasgow is seeking is that this company should give them Section 06 of the 1901 Art with regard to their various undertakings within the area concerned. I put it to hon. Members, is that an unreasonable demand on the part of the corporation? The power of protection, the power of obtaining from the company the financial damages which the company might do to the various works under the ground in the areas concerned, the powers that the House believed in 1901 should belong to the corporation surely at this time of day are not going to be taken from this representative institution of the people in the West of Scotland in the interests of any private company. Hon. Members below the Gangway will agree with me that Glasgow Corporation in this connection are putting forward a very reasonable demand. The Glasgow Corporation might have put forward an opposition to this Bill in view of the large electrical equipment in Glasgow, the great generating stations and the great electrical mains laid down by the corporation. They might have 1431 pressed their opposition to this Measure and have said that this company should not be given these powers, because they would cut athwart the development of the electrical power supplied by Glasgow to the whole of the West of Scotland.
One of the Glasgow councillors told me to-day that Glasgow Corporation, in the development of electrical power on behalf of the people, seeking to give the people electrical power at the cheapest possible price, without handing out profits to anybody, had found themselves thwarted again and again by the workings of this company in the adjoining areas. Notwithstanding, the Glasgow Corporation, the natural centre for the development of electrical power, the natural centre in every way for the developments that we agree are absolutely necessary in connection with electrical power, do not seek to oppose this company getting this wider area and these wider powers. All that the Glasgow Corporation say is simply this, that they should enjoy the protection that was given to them by the House of Commons in 1901. I do not know whether I have made myself clear in connection with Section 33, that it does not secure the Glasgow interests, that a new undertaking cannot go on unless Glasgow gives its consent. If Glasgow does give its consent, and if as a result damage is inflicted upon the property of the Glasgow Corporation within that area, then the Glasgow Corporation cannot get financial damages which they would have got under the Act of 1901.
9 P. M.
We are not asking too much from hon. Members opposite who are interested in the proposition contained within this Bill. I do not want to be fractious or factious in my opposition to this Measure, and my colleagues on this side do not want to put anything in the way of the development which this company is proposing for itself. We do not like it; we frankly admit that. We believe that in future we shall have to pay heavily for the development of this company, but we are willing to put that aside, and not to fight that issue on those grounds, which we believe are the very best grounds; but we do ask of hon. Members opposite that they shall deal fairly with the representatives of the people of Glasgow, and with the people of the West of Scotland generally, and that they should give the 1432 protecting Clause 66 to the Glasgow Corporation. The point will be made that in the other areas they are obtaining compulsory powers arid that they are not obtaining compulsory powers within the Glasgow area. They say that, because they are not able to come into the Glasgow area with the same compulsory powers they are getting in these other areas—the areas concerned are the county councils of Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Dumbarton—then there should be this difference made in regard to Glasgow. I ask hon. Members opposite who are interested in the promotion of the Bill whether they are willing to accept the compromise that is offered, and whether they are willing on behalf of those who are interested in the Measure to give to us what we have been fighting for, namely, this full protective Clause, and to give to Glasgow the powers that the House of Commons gave to Glasgow in 1901 when the company was first given its power. We ask for that protection, and if damage is done, and if the company are responsible for the damage, it is only fair that they should pay for it. The interests of the masses of the people are of paramount importance compared with the interests of any small section of the investing public, and so it is with companies. Unless we can get agreement to our proposals by those who are supporting the Measure, I ask the House to refuse to give this Bill a Second Reading.
§ Captain Viscount CURZON
The hon. Member has referred to the possible damage that may be done to the property of the Corporation of Glasgow. Will he amplify that a little, and say what damage he anticipates?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
L am sorry that the Noble Lord was not in the House when dealt with that matter. I said that Glasgow had certain powers given to it in connection with electricity development before this company came into the field. I also pointed out that, as a great city in the West of Scotland, the centre of the great shipbuilding industry, a great population has gathered around the City of Glasgow.
§ Mr, STURROCK
On a point of Order. Is it in order for the Noble Lord to come into the House now and to ask my hon. 1433 Friend to repeat the first part of his speech, in view of the limited time we have for this discussion?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Glasgow is the centre of a great many other towns, and Glasgow's municipal undertakings have branched out in many directions. There was a private tramway company, for instance, which used to run in Paisley, and the Glasgow trams extended to Paisley. Ultimately, the Glasgow Corporation bought up the Paisley tramway system. This development has gone on in various directions. There have been developments in connection with sewers electrical cables, etc., extending around this part of the West of Scotland. The consequence is that in part of the areas covered by this Measure there is all this underground property belonging to the Corporation of Glasgow, and the corporation say that if this company damage this municipal property they should be indemnified against the loss.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
I beg to Second the Amendment. I do so, not because I am interested in granting to Glasgow certain privileges connected with some Act passed long ago. I do so, because this Bill seeks to grant certain monopolistic powers over a certain area in Lanarkshire to a private company whose interest is not in supplying electricity for heat, light or power, but to exploit the users of electricity in that area. I feel sure that, when we come to deal with the great problem of the national supply of electricity, if we-grant a Second Beading to-night and this Bill is passed, those to whom we had granted the powers now asked for would he asking the nation to compensate them for these powers in these circumstances I can never in this House support the granting of further powers to private enterprise to deal with what should be a national problem. I find that this company are seeking to get new powers granted for practically the whole County of Lanark. It is a remarkable thing that to-night, when a private Bill which seeks to interfere with the rights of the Glasgow Corporation and deals with the question of electricity and its supply to various parts of Lanarkshire comes up, many hon. Members opposite who have expressed themselves as being -anxious to carry out 1434 the will of Glasgow are not present to defend the interests of Glasgow. I feel sure that, before we come to a Division on this Bill, it will not be the Members for Glasgow who will be defending this particular Bill, but that it will be outside individuals who do not come from Scotland, individuals who in all probability come from Birmingham, and we shall find that they are not interested in what would benefit the Clyde Valley.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
But that they are merely interested in private enterprise. What is the reason why I am unable to support the Bill? I believe that the electricity supply of this country ought to be under national control. It is the only way in which you can deal with the natural resources of this country in relation to power, light and heat. I am going to oppose every Bill which seeks to give monopolistic powers in these matters to private enterprise. I expect that in the Division to-night we shall have the vote of every hon. Member below the Gangway, particularly after having read that strange hybrid production, "Power and Coal," not the produce of the red tiger, but the produce of the black elephant, and even of the patient oxen, and l have no doubt that when it comes to a vote on this Bill the patient oxen and the impatient asses will be in the same Lobby.
§ Sir SAMUEL CHAPMAN
A very short, plain statement is the best way to meet the speeches, which have lasted nearly an hour, of the two hon. Members opposite. The matter divides itself into two portions; first, the Bill itself, and, second, the question of nationalisation. The. Minister of Transport gave a lead to this louse—the only time, so far as I know, on which he has expressed any opinion on the extension of electricity—on the 12th March. This is the advice which he gave:I agree that every stimulus should he given to the development of electricity in all quarters.Then he went on to give the statistics with regard to the development of electricity by corporations and by private companies. He did not condemn the extension of private companies, because he had prefaced his remarks by saying that a stimulus ought to be given in all quarters. This Bill is not different in principle from 1435 any other Private Bill which has been brought into this House from time immemorial. This House in its wisdom has made certain procedure necessary for the promotion of Private Bills. Notice is given in the ordinary way some time in November. The Minister of Transport gets to know all about it. He gives his opinion on the various questions of principle if it is necessary that he should do so. Then a Select Committee of either House is appointed by the Chairman of Committees and the Bill is sent to it. This particular Bill was sent to a Select Committee of the House of Lords by the ordinary procedure. One particular point as regards Clause 33 was discussed for a whole day by the Select Committee. I will not be so foolish as to be drawn into an argument as to whether Clause 33 is right or wrong. It was discussed by local authorities, by counsel—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh !"] Let hon. Gentlemen listen to me. I never interrupted a single sentence of those who have spoken. Why should not they listen to me? Edinburgh has set a good example to Scotland on that particular point. These questions of detail were argued in the ordinary way in which they have been argued for generations past before the Select Committee, and then the four Commissioners, men of ability, gave their opinion in a judicial manner as to which counsel was right—the counsel acting on behalf of the Corporation or the counsel for the promoters of the Bill. The Select Committee gave its decision, and the Bill is now presented for Second Reading.
Hon. Members know that this Bill will be sent to a Select Committee of the House of Commons in the ordinary course of procedure, and hon Gentlemen opposite can go before that Select Committee and make speeches such as we have heard to-night. Four Members of this House will judicially consider the matter in detail, decide as to whether hon. Gentlemen opposite are right or wrong and give their judgment, just as hundreds of Select Committees have clone in the past with regard to similar Measures. One or two statements have been made to-night which it is necessary I should refute. I only mention one matter in order to avoid any misunderstanding. I do not think that when an hon. Member opposite referred to hon. Members on this 1436 side as being interested in the promotion of the Bill, that he meant that we were financially interested. [HON. MEMBERS: "No !"] I only refer to the point to obviate any misunderstanding, because I am not in any shape or form financially interested in the Bill.
§ Mr. DUNCAN GRAHAM
Will the hon. Member say whether he is morally interested if he is not financially interested? In what respect is the hon. Member interested?
§ Sir S. CHAPMAN
That is the point to which I was coming. I am here representing a constituency the same as other hon. Gentlemen in this House.
§ Sir S. CHAPMAN
I have a special weakness for providing employment for the unemployed people of this country and this company proposes to spend £500,000 in the next two years in employing people who presumably at the present time are not employed and in giving additional employment to many thousands. If hon. Gentlemen ask me whether I am morally interested in this question or not, I reply that every Member of this House should be morally interested in the situation of the unemployed people of this country. This is the second occasion on which hon. Members opposite have opposed Bills which would give employment to many thousands and it will go against them in the country. They can, if they like, seek to make out a case for nationalisation, but this is not the time to make out such a case. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport have appealed to private enterprise and have asked employers to put their backs into the work of providing employment. Is the rejection of this Bill an example to set before men who have capital and who wish to employ their capital in this country? I would remind hon Members that in the promotion of a Bill of this kind a tremendous amount of time and money is involved, and all sorts of questions have to be considered before an important Measure like this is laid on the Table of the House. Is it any encouragement to men to invest money in giving employment to allow them to come forward in November with these carefully prepared 1437 plans and then, in the following July, to tell them they have no business to bring a Bill of this kind before the House at all, and that the whole system is going to be altered?
If we are going to alter our national system, then let the people of the country have duo warning. Let us discuss this question fairly and squarely with the Prime Minister and the whole Cabinet on the Front Bench, and not the Chancellor of the Exchequer in sole occupation, as at present. Are we to debate a question of this kind on a private Bill and alter the basis on which this legislation has been carried out in the past? That must not he done behind the back of the country but in the face of the country. It limy be right or it may be wrong to do so. I am not going to be led into an argument of that kind, hut if hon. Members opposite think their view is right they should get the country to back them up, and then let them come on with their nationalisation if they can and when they like. To promote nationalisation on a Bill of this kind is to destroy the confidence of men of capital in this House and is cutting at the very root of industry. It is one way of destroying industry and promoting unemployment. I am in favour of this Bill because it is going to promote immediate employment, and I, for one, support it with all my heart.
§ Viscount CURZON
I am glad to have an Opportunity of intervening in this Debate. This is the second Debate of a similar character to which I have had the opportunity of listening and all these discussions spring from the same source. The Mover of the rejection of this Bill referred to possible damage to Corporation property as the basis of his objection. I asked him if he could elaborate that point and I must apologise to him for not having been here in time for his opening remarks, but I think he has amplified that point in his second speech, and so far as I have been able to gather there are no substantial reasons for supposing there will be any damage to Corporation undertakings other than reasons of a very elementary and dog - in - the - manger character. I think the hon. Member's principal point was that the Corporation might wish to expand in the future, and might find a private company in the way and therefore, he said: "Away with 1438 private enterprise and let us have a municipal undertaking." I did not hear him give any figures to show that the municipal undertaking was a huge success. It may be or it may not be but he did not give us any tangible reason other than his mere ipse dixit that this Bill might possibly cause damage. He did not say it was going to damage, but that it might damage the Corporation in the future. The Seconder of the Motion was much more to the point and came down to the bedrock of the opposition to the Bill. He spoke of a national supply of electricity, and pointed to the fact that there was the possibility of compensation becoming payable to those who are promoting the Bill. It is quite obvious that the opponents of the Bill have only one object and that is to secure nationalisation piecemeal. They want a system of nationalisation secured by local option.
Another hon. Member inquired what interest my hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman) had in this Bill. I submit no hon. Member has any right to ask another hon. Member what interest he represents in speaking for or against any Measure. The only interest of any hon. Member is his interest as a Member of this House, and the only thing which the hon. Member opposite is entitled to question is whether or not my hon. Friend speaks as a Member of this House. He has just as much right as any hon. Member from Clydeside to voice his opinions and to be heard. Hon. Members opposite claim to be a party of the workers. They claim to be interested, above all things, in Measures which might promote work. At the last General Election they tried to delude the country into the idea that they were the only people who had a cure for unemployment. We knew them perfectly well. We heard them say it in this House, and I heard them say it plenty of times outside. We also know the country is beginning to see through them and their promises. Hon. Members opposite are Socialists. Socialism is the policy of misery and discontent.
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. Do you not think, Sir, it is rather going somewhat beyond the bounds of the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Bill to have a general discussion on the question of Socialism and the sins of the Government, a matter on which I am quite 1439 prepared to debate with the hon. Member and perhaps find points of agreement?
§ Viscount CURZON
On that point of Order. One hon. Member has questioned my hon. Friend's right to support this Bill. Another hon. Member—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The Noble Lord has risen to a point of Order, and I cannot have another point of Order.
§ Viscount CURZON
Another hon. Member has opposed this Bill on the grounds of nationalisation. Nationalisation—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
When the point of Order was raised by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), I was almost on the point of drawing the attention of the Noble Lord to the fact that he was getting out of order.
§ Viscount CURZON
On the same point of Order. The hen. Gentleman who seconded the rejection of the Bill based his grounds on the question of nationalisation. I want to submit that that has nothing to do with this particular Bill any more than has the question of Socialism.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The question of nationalisation is raised by the hon. Member as against allowing a particular company power to control others in applying its schemes, and is certainly debatable under this Bill. The question of Socialism is not.
§ Mr. GRAHAM
On a point of correction, may I point out to the noble Lord that I did not impute any motive whatever to the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman) but he himself made the statement that he had no financial interest in the question, and I rose to ask what his interest was.
§ Viscount CURZON
I would submit that the hon. Gentleman has no right to ask what interest we have. We are Members of this House. That is our interest in this particular question. I will tell the hon. Member why I am interested. This is a proposition designed to expand, as I understand it, a private undertaking in the Clyde area, just outside Glasgow. If it does that it will lead to more work for people at present unemployed. Hon. Members opposite have gone up and down the country protesting their interest in the unemployed and trying to make the country believe that they want to get more back to work. Here is a chance for them to carry out their precepts, but they are the first people we find opposing this and another Bill of a similar character. They opposed it simply because they want to bring about nationalisation, I submit, by underhand means. Instead of doing the right and proper thing and going to the country about it, they want to block Private Bills in this House and put private undertakings to great expense in order to secure their own theory of nationalisation—a theory which the country rejected just as much as it rejected Protection at the last Election. I would submit that instead of going into nice points which have already been discussed by a Committee of the House of Lords we might more usefully employ ourselves by assisting to pass a Measure which will go before a Committee of this House. We might pass this Bill to-night which, if it passes, will not only expand this particular undertaking, but so increase the resources of this undertaking as to enable it to cope with the increased demand of industry on Clydeside. Hon. Members opposite pretend to represent the workers of Clydeside. Are we to understand that the workers of Clyde-side would rather remain walking the streets and drawing the dole than being in work and earning good wages? We know perfectly well that hon. Members opposite misrepresent Clydeside. The 1441 real workers of Clydeside want work. It is hon. Members opposite who are busy trying to stop them. If they could put more of them on the streets to-morrow they would not hesitate in doing so.
§ Viscount CURZON
That is how some Members who do not come from Clyde-side look on this. We see merely a factious and irrelevant opposition to private undertakings to secure a political theory. That is my interest in this Bill, and that is why I shall support it. I hope that it will secure the support of all sections of this House not so desperately interested in political theories and nostrums as hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. E. SIMON
The opposition to this Bill consists of two parts; first, opposition on the part of the City of Glasgow, which is quite clearly a Committee point. The City of Glasgow does not object to the principle but simply wants more compensation and more protection for sewers and drains and things of that sort. That is quite clearly a point which cannot be dealt with on Second Reading. The real point on Second Reading is that hon. Members above the Gangway are in favour of nationalisation and the Seconder of the Amendment said he would never support an extension of power to private enterprise. Two Members above the Gangway pointed out that a Liberal book had been issued on coal and electrical power, pointing out how essential it was to have a properly co-ordinated scheme, and they argued that because we believed in that we should object to extend the powers of this company. That is one of the most illogical things which have ever been suggested. The object of the national scheme is to help to accelerate the development of power, not to obstruct and impede it. I suggest that the method adopted of objecting to these Bills is the worst possible way of forwarding the cause of nationalisation. Nationalisation may be desirable, any way partly, as regards electrical development. Our own electrical undertaking in. Manchester is municipal and is second to none in the whole country. It is developing at the rate of 20 per cent per annum. I do not know whether the Clyde has developed at the same rate. If the industry on the Clyde 1442 can command an increased amount of electricity every year, this company are the only people who can provide this fur them. If they will stop these people from expanding by turning down this Bill, they are preventing the industries in the area from extending. If there were an alternative scheme, a better scheme, a nationalised scheme before us, and if we were holding up this scheme for the nationalised scheme, there might he something to be said for it. If the scheme were going to interfere with any scheme likely to be forthcoming in the future, there might be reason again for holding it up; but there is nothing of that kind here. These extensions if granted to-day could not possibly interfere with any national scheme that might be developed later, and to hold it up now would only impede the development of industry in the area and prevent the company giving employment to a very large number of people.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I do not want to enter into any acrimonious discussion on the points raised by hon. Members. The type of speech made by the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman), whose home is in a delightful part of Perth, and by the Noble Lord the Member for South Battersea (Viscount Curzon), whose home is also, I believe, in a delightful district—[An HON. MEMBER: "Not in Battersea! "]—
§ Mr. MAXTON
If the Attorney-General were to speak to-night on this question I would regard it as an unnecessary interference on his part. The speeches we have listened to are exactly the type of speeches we get in this House from people who feel they have a duty to make a speech, but have absolutely no knowledge of the subject they are talking about. The Noble Lord the Member for South Battersea has not even read the Bill which he supports and he knows absolutely nothing of the area affected by it. The hon. Member for South Edinburgh has, I think, only read a few portions of the Bill and has only seen a few parts of the area concerned by it. The fact that this Bill has passed through the House of Lords and will go to a Committee of the House of Commons ultimately does not seem to me to present a 1443 good argument why this elected House of Commons should not express a very definite opinion upon it. I, for one, am not going to discuss the different points put forward by the Glasgow Corporation or the general question of the nationalisation of the electricity supply. I am going to discuss the Bill and the company promoting it.
May I say this, in reply to the Noble Lord, who adopted a somewhat abusive and offensive attitude towards us on unemployment: If the attitude which we are taking here is against the interests of the unemployed workers of the city of Glasgow, then that attitude is the one which is being taken by the Conservative Corporation of the city of Glasgow. Glasgow is represented in this House in the proportion of two Socialists to one Conservative Member. In the Glasgow Corporation the proportions are exactly the reverse. We are in this extraordinary position, that the Socialist Members of Parliament for the city of Glasgow are trying to force through this House the policy of the Conservative Glasgow Corportion. I am glad to say that the Conservative Members for the city of Glasgow are either absent from this Debate or are maintaining silence and making no attempt to speak. The one who makes no attempt to speak knows something of the position. The hon. Member who defends the Bill knows absolutely nothing about it. Here is a company asking this House, not for the ordinary rights of private enterprise, but for certain special powers and privileges. There are only certain types of undertakings which have to come to this House for these special powers, and in return for granting such special powers to a private profit-making company this House has the right to know whether this company is capable of performing the service which the House of Commons is conferring upon it the privilege to perform.
For 21 years this company has been operating in this area of the Clyde Valley and this House has a right to be satisfied on certain points. We want to be satisfied that the people in the employ of the company are working under the best possible conditions. We have also a right to ask whether the public who are receiving the products of the company are 1444 getting the best article at the best price. We further have the right to ask if the company is developing the needs of the area to the fullest possible extent, having regard to the future development of the economic and social life of the people living in that area. We have also a right to ask whether this company is having due regard to the amenities of the district in the development of this particular scheme. I am not going to say anything that is not absolutely fair in talking about the company. As far as the conditions of its employes are concerned, I hold that they reasonably approximate to the conditions of workmen employed in private enterprises doing a similar class of work, but they do not compare favourably with the conditions of the employés employed in electricity undertakings under the Corporation of the City of Glasgow. They fall short of the standard that obtains in the West of Scotland, a standard which is deemed to be necessary for the working classes generally. Secondly, in so far as the price of their commodity is concerned, they are on a lower level than the Corporation.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Their hours are not so good, neither are the conditions generally, as those enjoyed by the electricity employee of the Glasgow Corporation, and the prices at which they offer their commodities are on the whole not so good. In one or two particular items they are quite favourable as compared with the Glasgow Corporation. Generally speaking, however, they do not give their customers the same value for money as is given by the Glasgow Corporation Electricity Department. On the third point, they stand to be condemned more than on any other point. They have, for 23 years, had the right to develop electricity, both for power, lighting and heating in this area of the West of Scotland, which comprises large parts of Dumbartonshire and Lanarkshire. They have had these powers for 23 years. It is a most productive part of the country, both agriculturally and industrially. We do there an immense amount of dairy work, shipbuilding, engineering, textile work and cotton spinning, and yet the extent to which electrical power, light and heat are 1445 used in that area compares unfavourably with any other similar area in the whole of Scotland.
The right attitude for this House to adopt towards the claim of this company for a wider area of operation is to say, "No, gentlemen. You go away back. You are very lucky to be left with the powers you have had for the last 23 years. Go away back and use them, and show us at the end of five years that you have used the powers you have to develop electricity supply, to improve the conditions of your workers, to provide a better commodity at a cheaper price for your customers, and then we will consider trusting you with a wider area."
Fourthly, I want to deal with the question of the amenities connected with the development of the district. Here, perhaps, I shall get on to sentimental and patriotic grounds which are rather the preserve of my Friend the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). I think it is possible for big business to develop itself even in the Black Country without making that country absolutely black and ugly. The industry could develop itself in Glasgow, in Manchester, in Staffordshire and in all the Black Country, and yet have some regard to preserving the beauty of the area; profits should not be the only consideration. This company placed down right by the river side—it was probably a convenient place—about five or six miles from the centre of the city, at a place called Yoker, where thousands of people are crossing every day, one of the ugliest buildings that could possibly be seen. Everyone who sails tip and down the Clyde on business or pleasure has to see this great ugly factory. You have heard talk here about the history of the Clyde. We are very proud of the Clyde, whatever you people think.
§ Mr. MAXTON
If that had come from further up the same Bench I would have regarded it as sarcasm, but I thank the Noble Lord. This company has no regard whatever to the attempts to retain the beauty of the district that we have made up to now and to remove the ugliness that has crept in. We have got in Renfrew-shire the Gleniffer Braes. Nobody outside the West of Scotland knows of the 1446 Gleniffer Braes, but one of our Scotch poets wrote some very beautiful poetry associated with the Gleniffer Braes, the Glen where he wandered and wrote his poems amongst the rocks and hills. This company chose this, which all the people of this area regard as something in the nature of a, poetic shrine, as the very place to erect a great, ugly, overhead electric cable right up the hillside, over the Braes.
§ Mr. MAXTON
He is a member of your party. Perhaps he will provide you with the national policy for which you are looking. I oppose this Bill, not on the general principle of nationalisation, not on the general principle of Socialism, nor on the claims of Glasgow Corporation for special rights against this company, but on the general ground that this company has not used to the best advantage: of the people of the West of Scotland the powers it has already, and that it should have no more granted until it can prove itself worthy of the powers it has already.
§ Sir CHARLES WILSON
I have listened with the greatest possible interest to the hon. Member who has just spoken and to what he said with reference to the power-house, because if he himself were a director or an officer acting for this House under a nationalisation scheme and had to build a power-station he would not put up an elaborate building like the one we are at present in. If he did, he would never make any profits on his production of electricity. I support this Bill, and I wish as far as possible to prevent hon. Members opposite damaging the men they are here to represent, and that is what they are doing. There is a national scheme of electricity, and that scheme is to attack the country in sections. The great municipalities are requisitioned. I am a representative of one municipality, and I want to point out to hon. Members opposite that there are difficulties in dealing with this question. I am not prepared, when I am in Leeds, to recommend the Municipality of Leeds to take on to its shoulders miles of barren area from which there is no possible chance of making a penny profit. If I did, the people there, who know me, would think I had been bereft of my senses. The Glasgow Corporation does 1447 not propose to deal with this area; probably if it did propose to do so it could not, because the area is already under statutory powers belonging to this company. This company has to take the rough with the smooth. That is the point I wish to make to this House as strongly as I can. I will assume for the sake of my argument that the whole country wants electricity. You cannot nationalise the supply in sufficient time for it to be of any benefit to present-day users. What may happen in the future does not very much interest me; I want something of practical use to-day. What is the Government faced with? Through its representatives, the Electricity Commissioners, schemes brought forward have been approved. Why are they not to be put into operation? Because of the absence of the necessary capital. I want to point out to hon. Members opposite that it is not sense to oppose these schemes the House has already sanctioned; it is sense to help them in every possible way. The municipalities can only do a limited portion of the work. Private enterprise is necessary to supplement what they are doing, for the very reason I have given, that the great municipalities cannot cover the whole country.
Hon. Members opposite who talk about capital really do not know very much about it. I wish they knew a little more, because they would alter their tactics. They must be all interested in trade unions, in friendly societies, in building societies and in savings banks where capital is taken in; it is small capital, but it becomes great capital in the aggregate, amounting to millions. What is this money used for? The very sort of thing this Bill proposes to use it for. Why should you interfere with the investment of your own capital? That is what you are proposing to do by your opposition to this Bill. Because of some fallacy, they would cut off their noses to spite their own faces, and that is absolutely wanting in common sense. Even the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whom I am glad to see opposite, wants profits to enable him to carry on the Government of the country. I want to put another line altogether to hon. Members opposite. Let capital come along, let it operate, and if it makes any profits, tax the profits, and then you are on right 1448 lines, but every time you propose to check the use of capital, you sadly interfere with employment.
Hon. Members opposite come here and argue that they are in favour of such and such things, but their actions do not fit their words. I have had years of experience in connection with this matter, and I say that you want all the capital that the country can provide if you are to have a full user of electricity. Take the question that the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) referred to, with regard to the ugliness of the country. The greater the user of electricity, the less the smoke evil operates in all the great "black" towns. We have it in Leeds, and other places are not free from it. The more you bring electricity into use, the better it will be for all parties. Conditions in various power stations, at any rate, do not vary very much; they are very similar all over. As to wages, there may be a division, and it is no use pointing to Glasgow. Glasgow has a fine paying area, and it can afford to do well and probably set a high standard. I have nothing against that, but you cannot get more out of a concern than there is in it, and these other areas can only produce a certain return on their capital. The various Committees dealing with this Bill have gone into most of the questions raised by hon. Members opposite, and it is no use our setting up Committees to do this work, and to go into it in immense detail, and then to attempt to go over the same ground ourselves. If we did, there is scarcely a point which you could advance that I, personally, could not answer, only we have not time to do it.
I want to go on the broad lines of letting capital be used, no matter where it comes from. Other countries have seen the difficulties about that, and have altered their opinions, and if you interfere with the flow of capital in this country, you will be the first to suffer. You cannot have the wages anywhere unless there is the work, and here is a proposal to increase the good work of the country, which will be of benefit not merely to the company, which is merely an instrument. I do not consider it for a moment, but I consider the men affected and the area affected, and this is only one of many schemes. The whole country is to be covered with electricity, but you cannot 1449 get the county councils to take the schemes on, because there is no profit in them. You are bound to fall back on private enterprise to supplement what is proposed to be done, as it is in this connection. It is the wrong way to proceed by attacking private Bills of this sort, that are obviously necessary for the good of the country, and to increase employment. If you deliberately do so for the sake of making it impossible for private enterprise to succeed, in order that your own foolish political opinions may prevail, you are, in my opinion, heading for disaster.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. STURROCK
I was much interested in the speech of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), who pointed out that he and his colleagues, the political representatives of Glasgow, were here in the House of Commons representing the views of a somewhat conservative party in the Glasgow Town Council. That seems to me to explain the illogicality of the various arguments which we have heard advanced to-night by those hon. Members against the Bill. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) devoted himself almost exclusively to points which should have been in the first instance referred to the Committee which sat on the Bill or which, on the other hand, might well go before the Committee which will subsequently consider the Bill if it obtains a Second Reading to-night. In spite of the poetic references of the hon. Member for Bridgeton, I submit that it was the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Westwood) who explained most clearly the mainspring of the opposition to the Bill, which is that this is a scheme of private enterprise, which cuts right across the views held by certain Members above the Gangway. I submit to hon. Members on the back Ministerial benches that it is unfair of them to take up this attitude towards the Bill, because their quarrel is not with the House of Commons or with the promoters of the Bill, but with the representatives of their own Government on the Treasury Bench. We know that only the other day there was a delegation of Labour Members to inspect Gretna, and they presented a, Report to the Government, suggesting that the Government should immediately proceed to indulge in a scheme of nationalisation at Gretna. They wished to run Gretna as 1450 a great nationalised concern under the Government, and the Government, so far as I can gather, will not touch the idea with a barber's pole.
What is the good of the hon. Member for Camlachie pressing us to reject this Bill in favour of a great scheme of nationalisation in regard to the production of electrical power, when he knows that even in the small case of Gretna the Government are quite unprepared to act? It is very unfair of hon. Members to hold up this Bill, as they are doing, and I am sure that they would do well to consider the points that have been put by the hon. Member for Central Leeds (Sir C. Wilson), in regard to the great desirability of this question being looked at as a scheme for the development of power in the West Country, which would undoubtedly employ many thousands of men over a long period of time. This scheme for Clydeside and similar schemes in other parts of Scotland should be pressed ahead without delay, and certainly not delayed in their passage through this House owing to some idea that they will interfere with some future Socialist millenium.
§ Mr. HANNON
The House listened to-night with the usual delight to the speech of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). I am sorry he is not in his place now, because I want to direct to him the few observations which I wish to make on his criticism of the Bill. The hon. Member for Bridgeton always takes care to keep to the point, and this evening he kept entirely to the Bill itself, or mainly to the Bill itself, plus a few flourishes and embellishments, which one always expects from the hon. Member for Bridgeton. He gave a series of specific objections to this Bill, on the ground that the company responsible for its promotion have not discharged their public functions in the area within their purview as they ought to have done during the past 23 years. I think that that would be a perfectly legitimate objection, if it were justified by the facts. I have no shred of interest at all in this Bill, of any sort or kind, but I am interested in the protection and promotion of private enterprise and industry in this country, and I make no secret of it, and I am particularly interested in providing at every possible moment further opportunities for the employment of our people.
1451 On these grounds, and these grounds alone, I am supporting the Bill. The hon. Member for Bridgeton said that this Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company had not justified is existence in four respects during the past 23 years. The first was in relation to the conditions of employment, that is to say, the wages and hours and so forth of its workmen. He compared the conditions under which the employés of this company have to carry on their daily work with the conditions of the employes of the Corporation of Glasgow in its electricity department. But I noticed a certain amount of hesitation, even in so concise an expression as that of the hon. Member, in making the comparison. The House will judge for itself whether he established any case at all that the employés of this company have not had just as excellent conditions of service during the past 23 years as the employés of the City of Glasgow. The second point he mentioned was the price at which the service was rendered by this company in its own area. My information with regard to the service rendered is entirely on the side of the company. I am informed that the Clyde Valley Power Company receipts, over all, work out at 1˙013d. per unit sold. That is a penny and thirteen-thousandths of a penny.
§ Mr. HANNON
I am taking the average on light and power. I will give the figure in the same terms in respect of the City of Glasgow. Therefore no real objection can arise. The receipts, over all, of the City of Glasgow Electricity Department work out at 1.723d. per unit, or nearly 1¾d. I ask hon. Members opposite who oppose this Bill whether they seriously ask the House to reject the Bill because the efficiency of administration in the case of the company has been shown be so much superior to the administration in the City of Glasgow? There are the figures, and I challenge the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) to disprove them.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Will the hon. Member explain the difference between the quality supplied by the Glasgow Corporation and that supplied by the Clyde Power Company?
§ Mr. HANNON
I confess at once that I am wholly incompetent to do so. It is impossible for me to differentiate between the qualities of the two concerns. On the merits the Glasgow Corporation has been far behind the company in the price which it charges for its electricity, and, therefore, the contention of the hon. Member for Bridgeton, that the company had not justified its existence, falls to the ground. The hon. Member said also that the company had not had regard to the social and economic needs of the district in which it operates. How far can a company of this kind, doing its best to develop electric supplies against, many difficulties and not, receiving much encouragement or friendly co-operation from the local authorities, go in the direction of having special regard to the social and economic needs of a locality?
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. Member charged the company with not having regard to the social and economic needs of the area, but he did not give one illustration of the way in which it disregards its duty in that connection. Then the hon. Member went on in his delightful way to what he called the patriotic, or the poetic, or the aesthetic, or whatever-it-might-be situation, in relation to the work of this company. He charged the company with having put up an exceedingly ugly power house on the side of one of those beautiful and translucent streams which are so common now in the industrial areas of Scotland. Has the Glasgow Corporation always taken special care to preserve the amenities of an area?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
There is an hon. Member sitting next to the hon. Member who is addressing the House, whose duty it was to see that the Glasgow Corporation did so.
§ Mr. HANNON
This company, like every other company, is doing the best it can in regard to this particular power station. I am certain that the company responsible for this Bill be very glad to consult with the hon. Member for Bridgeton, and other hon. Members opposite, with regard to the next power station they put up, so that its design may be in 1453 artistic relationship to the surrounding district. The hon. Member further charged the company with putting up, in a delightful district, from which a large volume of poetry in Scotland drew its inspiration, an ugly overhead cable. I am informed that this atrocious overhead cable, which on all grounds is a very objectionable thing, was not put up by this company at all but by the Ayrshire Electricity Authority, which is one of the local authorities of the County of Ayrshire.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
May I correct the hon. Gentleman? When he is talking about these matters, he ought to know something about Scotland. This place is miles away from Ayrshire.
§ Mr. HANNON
I have not had an opportunity, since we began to consider this Bill this evening, of studying the geography of the area. The information has been conveyed to me that the atrocity to which the hon. Member for Bridgeton drew particular attention is not to be attributed at all to the company promoting this Bill, but is attributable to the exercise of its powers by the County of Ayr Electricity Authority.
§ Mr. HANNON
That is my information. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of this Bill read a whole series of Clauses which, he said, would be prejudicial in one way or another to the expansion of industry in the places he named. I submit that if the electrical industry is to be built on those lines which those of us on this side of the. House support, and hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway wish to support, the passage of this Bill will not interfere in the very slightest degree with enterprises of the kind developed either on the one principle or the other.
But attention was particularly called to the fact of the interests of the City of Glasgow being likely to be prejudiced by the passage of this Bill. It is not desirable in a Second Reading Debate to go into details of specific Clauses and to endeavour to establish the relationship between the company and the local authorities. Clause 33, however, provides, in the most comprehensive way, for the safety of the future interests of the undertakings in the City of Glasgow. There is not one 1454 point of possibility of injury to Glasgow that, in my judgment, is not covered by the terms of Clause 33. In this House in these days we are particularly concerned for the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the people. No one on this side, I think, would ever charge hon. Friends across the Floor with insincerity. I believe my hon. Friends from Glasgow are honestly seeking a solution of the great economic and social problems of this country, and with great sincerity and earnestness. I would not criticise or attack them for the attitude they take up. But I believe, in trying to strike at private enterprise, they are making a profound mistake. They are taking a step which will re-echo to the injury of the people whose interests they are so much concerned about. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] I say that this company, getting these powers to place these contracts and to undertake this work, to develop further in the Clyde Valley, and to create better facilities for industrial expansion will prove an immense field for the relief of unemployment. Hon. Friends would not like to see this Bill get a Second Reading. There is really not a single proposition in the Bill which will inflict a moment's temporary injury on the City of Glasgow. The hon. Member opposite, in an eloquent speech, invited the House to reject the Bill. He was emphatic in calling attention to Glasgow's position. But he knows perfectly well that in another place Glasgow was very competent to take care of herself. He also knows that when the Bill comes before the Private Bill Committee upstairs, Glasgow will be there in all the fullness of her intelligence, and in all the fulness of her wisdom to take care of the interest of that great city in relation to this Bill.
I sincerely hope, first on the ground of maintaining the continuity of opportunity for this company that has done so much in its own district for the promotion of the welfare of that part of Scotland for such a number of years, that the House will give a Second Reading to the Bill. Secondly, I ask it because the Bill will enable this company, together with the municipalities, to offer cheap power for a great variety of industrial enter prises in the district. Thirdly—and this is the most immediate effect—it will afford opportunity for an immense effort in the provision of em- 1455 ployment in Scotland. On these grounds, and in spite of all that has been said, and in spite of all the kindly chaff that came from the other side of the House, I sincerely hope that we shall unanimously give a Second Reading to this Bill.
§ Mr. NICHOL
I should like to intervene for a little while, particularly as no hon. Member in any part of the House, I think, actually represents the whole area that is under consideration in connection with the projected operations of this particular company. I agree with very much of the peroration of the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon). After all, however, we have got to recollect that that peroration was built up on such a statement, as for instance, that the Ayr County Council were responsible for the disfiguring standards which, he admitted, were erected at Gleniffer Braes. I can assure him on the two points mentioned Gleniffer Braes are 25 miles from the nearest part of Ayrshire, and in the second place, I may say that the Ayr County Council never erected any of these electrical standards in Renfrewshire, nor in their own County of Ayrshire. The Ayr County Council have no electrical undertakings whatsoever. I think that is a measure of the type of argument on which these perorations and appeals which have been made, and upon which all these fallacies and stupid mistakes have been founded. I am entirely in favour of the regional development of electricity. I feel that the whole of the Clyde area and the Clyde Valley is naturally one area, and could all be under one power company, or under one electrical authority. In the area in Renfrewshire the optimistic remarks about the price paid by the consumer are not borne out by the figures of the hon. Member for Moseley. The figures which he gave were carefully selected, and they were simply the figures for light and power. The figures which he gave for Glasgow were also for light and power, but living in the area supplied by this company, I know that it is next to impossible to get a light supply from this company, which is an 80 per cent. power company, and instead of supplying electricity at the price stated by the hon. Member, the smaller types of power which 1456 this company are now supplying are supplied by the Glasgow Corporation at 625 of a penny.
Not long ago a gentleman in a small office in the main street of Renfrew asked this company to quote for a supply of electric light, and he was informed that the minimum charge would be £5 per annum. The cost for the supply of gas already installed in this gentleman's office was only £2 per annum, and yet this company has a monopoly of light and power supply. In the 23 years of its existence this particular company has laid down cables and supplied power, but it has put a hopelessly high financial barrier in the way of supplying electricity for lighting. That was why I interjected and asked the hon. Member opposite to give the figures for light and power users.
I will give one or two comparative figures. The lighting charges made by the Glasgow Corporation are 4d. for the first 11 units in the summer period, and 1d. per unit beyond that, and that applies to anyone who has light and also all electric iron, which practically every housewife who has an electric supply has. The account, therefore, in the summer months comes in for a matter of 4s. or 5s., covering the whole of a four- or five-apartment house for lighting during the summer months. What is the position as far as this company is concerned? It puts up a hopeless harrier by demanding £5 a year as an initial charge, and I notice in the Schedule to this very Bill—
§ Mr. HANNON
May I ask whether that £5 includes the cost of making the connections to the mains and putting in the installation?
§ Mr. NICHOL
That was the annual charge that was going to he made as a minimum. They had to guarantee that amount. I may say that, so far as mains are concerned, the mains in that instance for power purposes are laid within three yards of the door of that particular office. If one refers to the Schedule one discovers that, while in the statement which the company has sent out to all Members of the House to-day, and which was quoted by the hon. Gentleman, to the effect that they are supplying at a little over 1d. per unit, they are asking the House of Commons, in paragraph (A) of the Schedule, to give them power, in 1457 respect of the quarters ending on 31st March and 31st December, for any amount up to 15 units, to make a minimum charge of 10s., even if only one or two units are used, and, for each unit over 15, to charge 8d. What is the use of coming and telling the House that the company is a very economical and efficiently working company if it is going to ask for statutory power to charge 8d. per unit, when, on its own showing and on the showing of its advocates, it can supply power at 1˙013d. per unit? That is enough to show the whole fallacy of the proposal which is put forward.
§ Mr. NICHOL
The company has had these powers for 23 years, and if the hon. Gentleman refers to the old Bill he will see what the schedule price was then. What happens? If they get a large industrial works in the area, which will probably take millions of units, they lay the cables and supply them at a small charge, a reasonable charge; but, if a small consumer asks for a supply, he is quoted something near the limit. That has been the regular practice of this company. I am in favour of the company developing, and if it would develop on honest lines I should be prepared to support the Bill; but the proposal that is now put forward is a matter of downright and sheer robbery.
I want the House to notice one other specific point about the Bill. The hon.:Member for Central Leeds (Sir C. Wilson), who ought, I think, to have known very much better, said that there was very little difference between the various power stations, but what is the actual position in Glasgow? We have power stations 15 years old that are out of date, and can only produce a supply at something like 2d. per unit, as compared with the modern station, erected a few years ago, which can supply at ½d. per unit. Not a single one of the power stations of this company is in any way up to date. The future development of the area will very largely depend on the electrical development, but the electrical development on the basis of this Bill is going to be at an absurdly high price. If one looks at Clause 7 one can recognise quite easily why the cost is going to be heavy. The company is proposing a dividend on 1458 its debenture shares of 8 per cent. If the Glasgow Corporation was going to erect its power station and to borrow money at 8 per cent., it would have to charge a high price for its electricity, but the Glasgow Corporation for similar developments can get its money at 4½ per cent. to 5 per cent., and this difference of 3 per cent. to 3½ per cent. on £1,000,000 is an enormous saving which results finally in a cheaper supply. The hon. Member who twitted us ought to have known, if he had read the recent pamphlet published by a Committee of his own party, that this question of electrical development depends very largely on the cost of capital. The capital will be absolutely necessary, but why give power to develop to a company who in their Bill lay down an 8 per cent. debenture interest when the municipality can develop the same area at a 4½ to 5 per cent. capital cost?
§ Mr. W. GREENWOOD
I should be glad if the hon. Member would give us a real comparison between the prices charged by the corporation and by the company. We have heard the 625 as being the lowest price charged by the corporation and we have heard the maximum charge for light by the company. Can we have a comparison of the two things?
§ Mr. NICHOL
I will come back to that. I am dealing with the question of the capital cost. We have had an appeal from the opposite benches that this development is necessary, and that the capital will be needed, but when we are going to ask for capital I see no reason for offering 8 per cent. when the municipality can get the same capital for 4½ per cent., as it has done in the past. If one looks at the accounts of the Glasgow Corporation and the Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company, which are very comparable in size, one discovers that during the last 23 years of the existence of the company the electricity department of the corporation has erected its new stations very largely out of its accumulated surpluses and it has paid off its loan capital, with the result that the Glasgow tramway undertaking at a certain period will become entirely free from interest. In the same period of 23 years the Clyde Valley Electrical Company has paid back nothing of its capital. It did not set out 1459 to do it. It set out to charge the highest rates it could and at the end of the year to distribute the surplus to its shareholders. The whole financial situation, comparing the two undertakings, is entirely in favour of the municipality.
The hon. Member for Central Leeds gave as his plea for the Bill that we should give power to this and other private companies and then tax the profits. Are we going to assume that it is part of the looking onward policy of hon. Members opposite that they are going to reimpose the Corporation Profits Tax? That was his plea—the reimposition of the Corporation Profits Duty. Are we to take that as a policy backed up by hon. Members opposite? He said it Was a foolish notion that we should cut off our noses to spite our faces in this instance. We are not exactly doing that. Our noses have been cut off by somebody else in this area, and we want them stuck on and patched up. It is not a very elegant metaphor to use, but it explains the position, My plea, as a representative of the whole of this area, is that, while the gas undertakings in the area, which have been developed by the town councils for the most part, or extended from Glasgow, are carried on at a reasonable cost, the whole area has been starved as far as electrical development is concerned during the 23 years' existence of this company.
I will not go into the points dealt with by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), who, although he represents Bridgeton, was born and has lived all his life in this area. If he wanted a supply of electricity to his house in Barrhead he would discover that the nearest mains of this company were probably half a mile away and that no attempt has been made to lay mains in the streets or elsewhere for the development of the area. We have been told that the company's cost may have been big because they have to take the rough with the smooth. During the 23 years of this company's existence its policy has been, quite clearly and definitely, to take the smooth and leave the rough. Those who are a little out of the way, and the whole farming community, have been absolutely starved as far as electrical supply is concerned. The small power user and the small villages 1460 Within this company's area have been entirely neglected.
The company have made large profits in a simple way by getting a monopoly for the whole area and then selecting their supply and only supplying in bulk to the very large users. Certainly, the small users could demand that they should do certain things, but the limits which are again to be put into the Schedule of the Bill effectively give a lever to the company to say, "We will use the Statutory powers that Parliament gave us, and you will have to pay the Statutory price of 8d. per unit." That is what they have done in the past.
The hon. Member has twice mentioned Gleniffer Braes, stating that they are 25 miles from nearest point of Ayrshire boundary and referred to stupidity of Members on this side of the House in not knowing the Ayrshire boundaries. Perhaps the hon. Member (Mr. Nichol) is not aware of the fact that Kilmarnock, which is well inside the Ayrshire boundary, is only 18 miles from Glasgow and the Ayrshire boundary is very much nearer to Gleniffer Braes, being only about half that distance away.
§ Mr. NICHOL
The bon. Member has not got over my second argument that the Ayr County Council have never erected an electric standard anywhere. My plea is on behalf of the consumers in the area. We in this House are asked to take the responsibility of handing over to this company a monopoly, and we consider that with that monopoly and privilege there ought to go certain duties. We contend that this is not a new company, that in the 23 years of its existence it has systematically carried on a policy which has no reference to the duties of an electricity supply company but has reference to the question of making profits. That is the chief end of private enterprise. But this is more than private enterprise. We are not here as private enterprisers, we are here as a body with a national trust, and we have to consider whether, when we hand over this large franchise to a particular company, the company has done its duty to the public in the area which it is supposed to supply, and whether we are justified in giving it additional powers, not only within the old area, but also by an extension of the boundaries of the area. For that reason 1461 I hope that this Bill will be postponed for another three months. As far as employment is concerned, the Bill will not mean anything in the meantime. I know the area. I know that with the undertaking as it is this is not going to give any extra employment. As far as this Bill is concerned you have another 18 months before anything can be produced by the Bill. If we have this postponement and the Company is forced, as it ought to be forced, to look into its own record, and if it comes forward with some decent record of its stewardship, I will support the Bill in future.
§ Mr. G. BALFOUR
The hon. Member for East Renfrew (Mr. Nichol), in common with other Members, has made reference to this company being in control of this territory for 23 years. I happen to remember the earlier years of the company, and, if my memory serves me, for the first five or seven years, or even for a longer period, the company was looked upon as a rather ridiculous undertaking, for building a large power station, which it was thought at that time was far beyond the requirements, and for pushing this transmission line through an open territory in which nobody would build. For the first five or seven years any hon. Member who looks up the records of the company would find that not a penny of profit was earned, and the undertaking had to be maintained and carried on as a pioneer work of teaching the people of this country that these widespread areas could be developed and an electricity supply given outside the confines of our cities and the immediate environment of a narrow municipal area. That is according to my knowledge the true position of the beginning of the Clyde Valley Company.
That company to-day is not seeking powers for the first time. As I understand this Bill—and my knowledge of this is no more and no less than that of any hon. Member of this House—it simply seeks to add a small corner, and I am informed that there is no opposition to that extension. The position with which we have to deal is this: I always understood, with regard to private Bill promotion, that, provided the necessary procedure was adopted, proper notices were served in proper time, petitions were lodged, the examiner was passed and Standing Orders were complied with, the 1462 usual practice, without party or political bias, was to give a Second Reading to a Bill in order that the petition might be properly heard before the Committee. That has been the generally accepted procedure in this House, whether hon. Members individually or as a party were in favour of or against a Bill. In this particular case we have a Bill of the simplest possible character. It seeks to divide £10 shares into shares of different denominations, namely, £l shares, and it has the usual schedule as to limit of price. I would remind the last speaker that in connection with all electric light undertakings he will find a similar schedule. The limit may be 6d. or 8d. or l0d.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I am sorry the hon. Member should make an appeal to me. I am only speaking as a Member of this House and I have nothing to do with this matter otherwise.
§ Mr. NICHOL
I wish to protect my constituents and I am prepared to consider supporting the Bill of a limit of 4d. be fixed instead of 8d.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I quite understand the hon. Member's difficulty, but I should like him to accept it from me that it is the usual procedure in connection with lighting orders, whether of municipalities or companies, to have in the schedule a limit of price which is a protection. If the hon. Member looks at the records of companies and municipalities leaving out the War period, which was exceptional, he will find that scarcely ever is the maximum charge made. I have no knowledge of what charge the Clyde Valley Company is making, but I question very much, if, unless in one of the rural areas where it is very expensive to tap the supply, they are charging the maximum.
§ Mr. NICHOL
The instance which I gave as to the £5—which, I think, went outside their own schedule—was not in a rural area but in the middle of the Borough of Renfrew and within half a mile of the power station.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I have no knowledge of what the hon. Member speaks of, and I was dealing with the question which was raised as to having a schedule with 1463 a limit of 8d. As a result of the bad example set me, I fear I have travelled wide of the real point at issue, which is that a Bill, with only one petition against it, and that petition which is not against the principle of the Bill but is admitted to be on a Committee point, has a right to a Second Reading, so that the Committee point and the one petition may be disposed of upstairs.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I rise to ask whether we are to have any guidance from the Government. I presume this Bill has not reached its present stage without heaving been before the Electricity Commissioners. The Minister of Transport is in his place, and the Electricity Commissioners are under his Department, and the House has a right to ask the Minister how we are to vote upon this Bill. In accordance with old practice, we ought to vote for the Second Reading of an Electricity Bill. Most of the points which have been raised are points which would be dealt with before a Committee, and hon. Members would have the opportunity of voting against the Bill on the Third Reading if they were not satisfied.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
How does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that these points will be dealt with in Committee upstairs, in view of the fact that the Bill has been through a similar Committee in the other House, and that these points were not dealt with?
§ Mr. JONES
I would trust to a Committee of this House to hear all relevant evidence. This is a Bill which prima facie will provide employment, and develop electricity, and very good reason would require to be shown against it. How can we judge between the conflicting statements made if we have no guidance from the Government? Naturally and ordinarily we should vote for the Second Reading unless strongly advised against it by the Government. Otherwise it ought to go to a Committee, where objections could be raised and met. The Bill could be altered to meet the views of Members, and the Bill come here on the Third Reading, when we shall vote for or against it. I ask the Minister of Transport for his guidance.
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Gosling)
The only word I should like to 1464 say on this Bill is that the Commission has reported in its favour; that it has gone through the usual forms in the other House, and that the usual thing is for a Bill of this kind to get a Second Reading here. The corporation, or anybody who wants to put up a case against it, will have an opportunity of doing so. The Government prefer to leave it to the judgment of this House.
§ Mr. SULLIVAN
I want to say a word or two on behalf of the county of Lanark. There is a mistake usually made in this House that when the Scottish Members speak only Glasgow is affected. I want to assure hon. Members on the other side that we have no objection whatever to a Clydeside supply, but we want it to be done in such a way that it will benefit the people concerned. This Company has had power for a long time. Their method is this. They go to an area, and if they get a request they put down the capital sum to the county affected and the county council pays the money for that purpose and not the company. There is another thing I want to put before hon. Members who are interested in business. I represent North Lanark, and there was a colliery there burned down a short time ago. The employer is not a wealthy man by any means, and when he was rebuilding the colliery and giving employment to 300 men, he wanted to introduce electrical power for his coal-cutting machine. He approached this company and this company was quite willing to allow him to build a sub-station at a cost of £5,000. They are allowing him to pay £5,000, and he has difficulty in finding that money. The men are drawing the dole, and nobody seems to be willing to help. I would appeal to hon. Members to think this proposal fairly well over. It is a remarkable thing that there is no Member from the area affected supporting this Bill.
§ Mr. FERGUSON
On a point of Order. As representing the most industrial part of Lanarkshire, I am supporting it. It is absolutely in the interests of the working classes in the County of Lanark.
§ Mr. SULLIVAN
I am astonished at the interruption. I understood that the Corporation of the Burgh the hon. Member represents is opposed to the Bill.
§ Mr. FERGUSON
When an hon. Member makes an accusation which has no foundation—[Interruption.] Very well, I will withdraw, and say it is a deliberate mis-statement.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Is it in order to withdraw the words "deliberate lie", and to substitute for them the words "deliberate mis-statement"?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I hope hon. Members will observe the usual courtesies of debate. The proper phrase to use is "inaccurate statement."
§ Mr. FERGUSON
Has any hon. Member the right, without proof, to accuse another hon. Member of what I was accused? It was his own bare statement.
§ Mr. SULLIVAN
I do not mind the interruption. I should be very sorry if I made any wrong statement about the hon. Member. It may be that my memory is at fault, lout time will show. We want power in this area. We want the company to give that power in order to serve the needs of the people. I appeal to Members of this House to hold back this Bill. If they come to the conclusion that the Company are willing to meet the wishes of the people then, it can go through, but, so far, it has failed in that respect.
§ Several hon. Members having risen,—
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 131.1467
|Division No. 182.]||AYES.||[11.3 p.m.|
|Ackroyd, T. R.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Harvey, C. M. B.(Aberd'n & Kincardne)|
|Alexander, Brg.-Gen. Sir W. (Glas. C.)||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Darbishire, C. W.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hindle, F.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hobhouse, A. L.|
|Barclay, R. Noton||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Deans, Richard Storry||Hood, Sir Joseph|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Dickie, Captain J. P.||Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Dodds, S. R.||Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie|
|Becker, Harry||Duckworth, John||Howard, Hn. D, (Cumberland,Northrn.)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase||Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bellaire, Commander Carlyon W.||Dunn, J. Freeman||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Illffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Elliot, Walter E.||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bt. Hon. B. M.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Birkett, W. N.||Falconer, J.||Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool,W.Derby)|
|Black, J. W.||Ferguson, H.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||FitzRoy, Captain Rt. Hon. Edward A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)|
|Bonwick, A.||Foot, Isaac||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)|
|Bourne, Robert Croft||Forestier-Walker, L.||Kay, Sir R. Newbald|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Franklin, L. B.||Kedward, R. M.|
|Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Keens, T.|
|Brunner, Sir J.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Burman, J. B.||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Burnle, Major J. (Bootle)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lane-Fox, George R.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Gorman, William||Laverack, F. J.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gosling, Harry||Lessing, E.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Chapple, Dr. William A.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Lloyd Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Clayton, G. C.||Grigg, Lieut.-Col. Sir Edward W. M.||Loverseed, J. F,|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||McCrae, Sir George|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||MacDonald, R.|
|Cope, Major William||Harland, A.||McLean, Major A.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn, N.)||Hartington, Marquess of||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Remer, J. R.||Thompson, piers G. (Torquay)|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Meller, R. J.||Robertson, T. A.||Thomson, Sir W.Mitchell-(Croydon,S.)|
|Millar, J. D.||Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Cheimsford)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Thornton, Maxwell R.|
|Mitchell, R.M.(Perth & Kinross, Perth)||Robinson, W. E. (Burslem)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Royle, C.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston on-Hull)|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. C.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Morse, W. E.||Russell, Alexander West- (Tynemouth)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Moulton, Major Fletcher||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Weston, John Wakefield|
|Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Wheler, Lieut-Col. Granville C. H.|
|Newman, Sir H. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shepperson, E. W.||Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-In-Furness)||Williams, Maj. A. S.(Kent.Sevenoaks)|
|Owen, Major G.||Spero, Dr. G. E.||Willison, H.|
|Pease, William Edwin||Stanley, Lord||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Starmer, Sir Charles||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Penny, Frederick George||Stewart, Maj. R. S. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L,|
|Phillipps, Vivian||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Raffety, F. W.||Sturrock, J. Leng||Wragg, Herbert|
|Ralne, W.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Rankin, James S.||Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Rea, W. Russell||Tattersail, J. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Mr. E. D. Simon and Sir Samuel|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Chapman.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Potts, John S.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hastings, Somerville (Reading)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hilisbro')||Hayday, Arthur||Richards, R.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Hayes, John Henry||Richardson, R (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South)||Ritson, J.|
|Banton, G.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertiltery)||Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfld.)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hoffman, P. C.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hudson, J. H.||Scurr, John|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich)||Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern)|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sherwood, George Henry|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jewson, Dorothea||Smillie, Robert|
|Buchanan, G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Buckle, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Snell, Harry|
|Church, Major A. G.||Lansbury, George||Spence, R.|
|Clarke, A.||Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Climle, R.||Leach, W.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lowth, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lunn, William||Thurtle, E.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||McEntee, V. L.||Tillett, Benjamin|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Macklnder, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Tout, W. J.|
|Dickson, T.||March, S.||Turner, Ben|
|Dukes, C.||Marley, James||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Egan, W. H.||Middleton, G.||Warne, G. H.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Mills, J. E.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North)||Montague, Frederick||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morel, E. D.||Westwood, J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome)||Murray, Robert||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenall, T.||Nichol, Robert||Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B.(Kennington)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||O'Grady, Captain James||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Groves, T,||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Paling, W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Palmer, E. T.||Wright, W.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Perry, S. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hardle, George D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Mr. Stephen and Mr. Maxton.|
Resolution agreed to.
§ County of London Electric Supply Company Bill [Lords]. (By Order.)
§ Second Reading deferred until Monday next (28th July).