§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ Mr. HERBERT MORRISON
I beg to move to leave out the word "now" and, at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
I hope the House will give me indulgence because the matters with which I have to deal are rather detailed, and inevitably involve a certain number of figures. It will, however, be my desire 2458 to be as brief and clear as possible. In the first place I wish to submit to the House, in dealing with an authority of this character, that it is exceedingly desirable that great care should be exercised before further powers are conferred, and particularly powers which relate to finance. The Thames Conservancy is one of those bodies controlled by indirectly elected persons. There is very little popular control over its doings, and very little public knowledge as to its policy and the details of its administration. Consequently it is desirable that the House should not lightly confer upon it new powers.
The present financial arrangements are determined by the Conservancy Act of 1921, and the powers conferred by that Act expire as things stand on 31st December, 1925. The present Bill comes into force, if passed, including these financial provisions, on 1st January, 1925, and thereby the lapsing of the existing Act is anticipated by 12 months. The case for the Conservancy, as hon. Members well know from a document received from the promoters of this Bill, is based on the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Thames and Lea Conservancies, but the Report of that Committee is not by any means conclusive as to the estimates which are the basis of this Bill. The Report of that Committee dealt, with things as they are, whereas the important aspects of this Bill particularly to the water consumers and the owners of the Metropolitan water undertakings is not in things as they are now, but very much in things as they will be after the expiry of the present Act on 31st December, 1925.
May I draw the attention of the House to the expenditure of the Board as it has steadily progressed since the year 1913. The revenue account expenditure of the Board in 1913 was £56,000. In 1914 it advanced to £59,000, and in 1921 to £111,590. In 1922 it went down to £107,735, and the estimate of the Inter-Departmental Committee as to the revenue which the Board ought to secure is £150,000; those increases are, as I think the House will agree, substantial. The Committee's estimate, that is to say, the estimate of the necessary expenditure of the Conservancy reported upon by the Inter-Departmental Committee, was based on maintenance account works for the purpose of maintaining the river in a proper 2459 state £63,000. Then there are arrears of maintenance works—and this is important because it was largely the case for the increased contributions to the Conservancy conferred upon them by the Act of 1921—arrears estimated over a period of five years, the annual charge of which is £26,000; and the prevention of pollution £10,000, a cost which in the ordinary way would fall upon the county authorities and not upon the Conservancy, and, therefore, the county authorities are saving that amount.
Then comes the Head Office expenses and general charges, £36,000, the service of loans, sinking fund for loans for works of a capital nature, £15,000, making a total expenditure on revenue account of £150,000. That is the estimate of the Inter-Departmental Committee, and I think with that estimate the Conservancy was substantially in agreement. I understand that when the Inter-Departmental Committee prepared that estimate the accounts for 1922 of the Conservancy had not been completed, and therefore the Committee had to accept an estimate of the probable expenditure of the Conservancy for the year 1922, and the actual expenditure of the Conservancy for that year turned out to be £26,000 less than the estimated expenditure was as considered by the Inter-Departmental Committee. Therefore, to that extent the figures upon which the Report of that Committee was based were swollen, and the House ought to take that into consideration in dealing with the merits of this Bill.
But there is another factor. There was an error, so far as one can see, in the conclusions of the Inter-Departmental Committee. There was some confusion as to maintenance works of a capital nature which fell on the maintenance account, and another part which fell on the capital account. Without going into the details of that particular transaction let me say, so far as my own research has revealed, and also on the authority of the Comptroller of the London County Council, who is no light authority on this subject, there was an over-estimate of £21,000 in the estimates of the Inter-Departmental Committee when they considered what was a fit and proper revenue which the Conservancy ought to obtain. Therefore there ought to be a 2460 reduction immediately of £21,000 on those estimates. After 1925 the arrears of maintenance works should have been completed, and therefore, after that time, the annual charge of £26,000 in respect of arrears of maintenance work ceases to be part of that estimate, and with the £21,000, this makes a total reduction of £47,000 below the estimate of the Inter-Departmental Committee. That, of course, is a very important factor in the matter.
The Bill does not propose to legalise an estimated revenue of £150,000, but, in reality, proposes an estimated revenue of £165,000, for it goes on the basis of the revenues which the Conservancy enjoyed in 1922, and it adds £2,500 to them as against the counties and county boroughs, who in the ordinary way would be pollution authorities, and 12,000 as against the riparian authorities, who receive considerable commercial and trading benefits from the operations of the Conservancy Board; so that even to the estimate of £150,000, which I submit is excessive, or will be excessive after 1925, when this present Act expires, to the amount of £47,000—even to that figure there have been added new sources of revenue, and to that extent the Metropolitan water consumer is not to be relieved through the Metropolitan water undertaking. I submit to the House that the financial basis of the Bill, strictly on the basis of the Inter-departmental Committee's Report, subject to the reservations which I have indicated, ought, after the expiry of the present Act, to be £150,000 expenditure on revenue account as estimated by the Inter-departmental Committee, less the error of £21,000, and less the £26,000, because the arrears will have been completed, making a net revenue of £103,000 or, say, roughly, £100,000.
That is 66⅔ per cent. in excess of the pre-War revenue of the Thames Conservancy, which I submit is not an unreasonable increase, having regard to the nature of its functions and to the relative costs of ordinary local government services, as compared with pre-War costs. I should assume that at the moment the general expenditure of local authorities is probably not more than two-thirds in excess of pre-War expenditure on the average, and I cannot see why this body should have this enormous expenditure sanctioned. In 1922 the Metropolitan 2461 Water Board provided no less than £112,500 out of the revenue of £150,000 of the Thames Conservancy. That £112,500 from the Metropolitan water consumers was an increase of 150 per cent. on the £45,000 which obtained prior to the Conservancy's Act of 1921, and I wish to submit that that proportion of the Conservancy's revenue coming from the Metropolitan water consumer is excessive. It means that the water-drinkers of London—we hear a great deal about other drinkers, but after all, every Member of this House drinks London water, and I submit that we are entitled to consideration—the Metropolitan water consumer to that extent is, in my opinion, being bled white in the interests of an institution about which we do not know a great deal, and which has many other responsibilities besides that of allowing the Water Board to take water from the river.
Do not let it be thought that I am in love with the Metropolitan Water Board. I am not. I am not in love with any of these bodies with which London is cursed as the result of the attitude of Parliament. I would abolish them all, and merge their functions in one authority for the large scale services in Greater London. We have, however to look after the interests of the water consumers of London, even though, we are not in love with the Metropolitan Water Board. Let me relate to the House the record of the increased demands of the Conservancy upon the Water Board. I am myself a member of the Lea Conservancy Board, and I imagine that the Thames Conservancy Board is much the same sort of institution; and my membership of that board makes mo more than ever convinced that it ought to be abolished. They are both doing very well out of the Water Board. Up to 1911 the annual contribution of the Water Board was £33,000, and I want the House to note the progress that the Conservancy has made at the expense of the London water drinker. In 1912 it was increased to £40,000. It rose in 1920 to £45,000, and it was then regarded—and 1920 was somewhat of a peak year in costs—as a final settlement of the matter between the Water Board and the Thames Conservancy; but in 1921 the Conservancy came up smiling again, and on this occasion got the sanction of Parliament, apparently, to jump from £45,000 to £112,500. 2462 That increase was limited to five years, but the Conservancy is now trying to extend it, I think, to 1941, and to establish that it cannot be varied within a period of 10 years, and then by a decision of a Minister and not by a decision of this House.
It may be argued that the Conservancy gives London water, and I can imagine that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Henley (Captain Terrell) is waiting to pounce on this Bill for reasons antagonistic to mine. Therefore, if I may say so, we are in doubtful company. The hon. and gallant Member may argue that the up-river authorities ought not to pay because they would be asked to pay for the fact of London getting a good and pure water supply. I am going to assert that the water of the River Thames is no man's property, is no body's property. It is, if I may say so, a natural right of the people of London to have access to that water for drinking purposes. After all, we have had it from time immemorial. We used to get all kinds of diseases as a consequence, but it is a right which London has enjoyed from time immemorial, and there ought to be no interference with the right of London to drink that water. Certainly the Conservancy has no actual prescriptive right in the water of the Thames. Whether the Conservancy existed or not, the water would continue to flow down the river to the sea, and, therefore, the Conservancy has no more prescriptive right to it than have the people of London, to whom it really belongs by natural right and because we are here in such large numbers.
If it be argued that the Conservancy preserves the river from pollution, and that, therefore, it is benefiting the London water consumer, that is an argument which is entitled to respectful consideration, though I am not sure that it is conclusive. But even if that argument be put forward, it is to be pointed out that pollution only accounts for about one-tenth of the expenditure of the Conservancy—I think actually for only £10,000; and, as a matter of fact, if the Conservancy did not exist, that cost would fall upon the counties and county boroughs of the riverside. They are the appropriate bodies to bear the cost of the prevention of pollution, in addition to 2463 their local sewage farms and sewage disposal organisations, because London itself has its main drainage system, for which it has to pay, and it is only reasonable that the counties and boroughs up-river should pay for theirs. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that they should be asked to pay, not merely the 25 per cent. of the cost proposed in the Bill, but that they should be asked to pay more than that towards the cost of the prevention of pollution.
§ Captain BOWYER
May I ask a question? I do not want to interrupt the argument of the hon. Member, because in the main I am with him, but would he tell me why people in the north of Buckinghamshire, 60 miles north of the river, should contribute by paying a rate, while people in Bedfordshire, one mile away, should not contribute?
§ Mr. MORRISON
The hon. and gallant Member has questioned me on a point of geography that I cannot follow at the moment. If he had asked me as to the geography of the county of London, I might have answered him right away, but I am afraid I do not carry the map in my head to that point. I believe, however, that there is a provision in the Bill, that the riverside parishes pay in a certain respect, and perhaps not the whole county. There is a case on the analogy of what the Inter-Departmental Committee propose should be done with London in respect of the Lea. They propose to make the whole county pay, and there there is an analogy for making these counties pay. Let it be remembered that, if the Thames Conservancy did not exist, the counties would have to bear this expense, and whether a certain point in a county is one mile away from the river or three miles away, they pay for their sewage works. There is a liability on the authority to establish sewage works which will prevent the sewage of those districts from flowing into the river. But that is a different function from the function of a pollution authority, which in a sense is the function of the county authority, namely, to prevent the urban and rural districts from allowing sewage to go into the river.
§ Mr. MORRISON
I think the hon. Member's authority pays for its ordinary sewage disposal but not for the prevention—for, so to speak, the oversight of the people who might pollute the river by the pollution authority, which in this case is the Thames Conservancy. But in any case it is not unreasonable that these authorities should pay their proper quota to the expenses of the prevention of pollution. Similarly, there is a proposal in the Bill, with which I am in agreement, except that I do not think it is enough, that the riparian authorities who gain from the river as a pleasure resort should make a proper contribution. Oxford, Maidenhead and places of that kind net a great amount of trade from the river, just as Ramsgate and Margate do from their position on the coast of Kent, and they obtain a considerable living from the fact that the river is there and is kept pleasant and attracts a good deal of pleasure traffic, to the advantage of the constituents of hon. Members, and I am sure we are very glad they should have that advantage, but they ought to pay a proper contribution to the expenses of the authorities.
I would ask the House to consider the present constitutional position. The basis of taxation and representation is all upside down. As a matter of fact, the Committee itself records the fact that the Water Board, with only two representatives, provided 76 per cent. of the Conservators' revenue in 1921. It is recorded by the London County Council that the Water Board consumers, who contribute about three-fourths of the revenue of the conservancy, have only one-fourth of the representation on the conservancy, taking the Water Board, the City Corporation and the county council together, and from that point of view London is paying the greater part of the expense and the authorities outside London are getting the bulk of the representation. The authorities which would in the ordinary way be the pollution authorities are only being asked to pay £2,500 together, which is an average of £227 each, and it is not enough. They ought to be made to pay more. Similarly with the riparian authorities. I am sorry to make this difficulty about the Bill, but we have to keep hammering away at these mysterious bodies that no one understands, which have been constituted by Parliament and then left to drift. There is no popular 2465 control over them. The county council appoints its representatives, one of the ablest of whom is the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Mr. Gilbert), but that is the end of it. We hear no more about it except that my hon. Friend, with other members of the conservancy, makes an annual report to the council, which is more or less unread, but there is no popular control over it. It is the same as the Water Board and the Lea Conservancy, and our view is, that these special bodies ought to be abolished once for all, and the people ought to be given power to rule. Meantime, it is there and we have to watch it, and the London Labour Members will increasingly watch bodies of this kind.
Our case is briefly that the estimated expenditure, on which the financial provisions of the Bill are based, is excessive, and there ought to be a very big cut, to the extent of about a third in the estimated expenditure. Secondly the London water consumer, through the Water Board, is paying too much to the expenses of these authorities. It is being regarded as a milch cow, from which unlimited wealth may be drawn in the interests of the people who get the benefits but do not pay. Thirdly, the other authorities who derive benefits, get substantial advantages and are not paying for the upkeep of the conservancy. For the reasons I have given, and because this is a body which clearly is under loose financial control, if it really means these Estimates, it ought to be pulled up very sharply by the House. I should not want so much to pull it up if it were a popularly elected local authority that the ratepayers could pay up.
§ Mr. MORRISON
No, this is not a popularly elected local authority. It is a sort of Soviet and is not popularly elected.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
There are nearly 20 members elected by the up river authorities, which are popularly elected bodies. I am elected by one of them.
§ Mr. MORRISON
I am sorry if I trod on the hon. Member's corns. He is a member of the Conservancy, but in the main the people he represents on the Conservancy know no more than the dead about the doings of the Thames Conservancy Board. You get the representation of the representatives of the repre- 2466 sentatives of the representatives, and you call that a popular election. I do not. It is worse than the House of—no, I must not say that. But there it is. For these reasons I submit that there is a good case for the rejection of the Bill, and I hope the House will take the matter very seriously and consider the Amendment favourably, so that the conservancy may think a little harder about the financial basis of its organisation.
§ Mr. SNELL
I beg to second the Amendment.
We desire, representing the point of view for which we stand, to submit that the Bill is in effect unjust in the charge that it seeks to impose upon the water consumers of London and that it is inequitable in its discrimination as between one authority, or one set of consumers, and another. It seeks in effect to make permanent in 1925 a condition which was conceded in 1921 for a limited period only, and in a time of very great emergency. That is our first charge that, getting from this House at that period, for a strictly limited time and under exceptional conditions, a certain status, this Bill now proposes to make permanent what the House only conceded as being applicable to a given time. Secondly, we hold that the sum of £165,000 which is demanded is far in excess of the legitimate needs of this body, and thirdly that it penalises London in comparison with the up-river authorities, who, under it, escape what we regard as an equitable proportion of the cost. Speaking generally on the matter, it claims to be based on the recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Thames and Lea Conservancy, which suggested an annual revenue of £150,000. This was framed to meet the conditions that then existed, without regard altogether to the probable conditions in 1925. It seems to us to have erred in its estimates in two or three matters. First it estimated for £26,000 for arrears in maintenance, which would not be necessary at all after 1925, and secondly for £21,000 a year for expenditure on works of a capital nature, which ought not to have been provided for out of borrowed moneys. We claim that the estimate is altogether excessive because the pro-War expenditure was only £60,000, and it now asks for £165,000, whereas we hold, 2467 making due allowance for the increased cost subsequent to the War, that £100,000 would be adequate. We object to this Measure on account of the amount which London is asked to pay. Prior to the year 1912, the Metropolitan Water Board contributed about £33,000. The Thames Conservancy Act, 1911, increased the amount to £40,000. For the years betwen 1912 and 1919 it was raised gradually to £45,000 in 1920. This amount was regarded as a final settlement, and it would not have been allowed to pass at that time had it not been so regarded. The Thames Conservancy Act, 1921, raised the amount by 150 per cent., to £112,500, until 1925. This was passed on the distinct understanding that all questions in dispute would be considered by a new Departmental Committee, but as far as we know these matters have not been considered. At any rate, there is no record available on which we can judge whether it has been considered, and now this Bill has the temerity, to put it modestly, to ask to be made permanent a condition of things that was granted to it temporarily and in a state of emergency. That is to say, London is once more to be regarded as a splendid city to be sacked.
London is so big and unwieldly that it cannot take care of itself compared with these small boroughs up-river, who can take care of themselves and who think that London, being so unwieldly, is incapable of self-protection. These up-river bodies, with all their graces and charms, object to pay an equitable proportion of this cost. We submit that the amount that we are asked to pay is excessive, that it is inequitable, and, therefore, unjust. London has the right, by immemorial usage, to the use of the waters of the Thames. In any case, the upper river authorities cannot keep the water. It will come to us whether they like it or not.
The outstanding facts are these, that the sum of £45,000 in 1920 was increased to £112,500 in 1921, an increase of £67,500, or 150 per cent. above the pre-War charges. This Bill does suggest that after 10 years the matter might be considered if the Minister of Transport at that time should agree. But who would be the Minister of Transport 10 years hence? How can we tell? [HON. MEMBEES: "The present Minister!"] I hope 2468 that may be so, and if the House could give me an assurance upon that point it would get rid of some of my objections. We hold that if, as we believe, the estimate is too high, the Metropolitan Water Board have the first claim upon any reduction that may take place. I will not follow my hon. Friend in his criticism of the amount which the riparian authorities are proposing to pay under the penny rate, except to say, that whilst this goes up to and includes Oxford, we regard it as entirely inadequate, because it does not include the bodies above Oxford, although 10 of the 44 locks which the conservancy have to maintain are above Oxford. It would grieve me to complain seriously about Oxford, but I must say that it is much more distinguished for the humanities than it is for finance and for coming to an equitable arrangement on this matter.
Since this proposal is not equitable or desirable, this Bill ought to be rejected. If the Bill is not rejected, at least the representation on the conservancy ought to be proportionate to the amount contributed by the respective authorities. On my own personal judgment, and without committing my hon. Friend, I maintain that the Thames is as much a national highway as the Great North Road. It is one of the greatest highways in this kingdom, and its maintenance should be a national charge, and not a charge upon any locality, up river or down river. It is a matter which belongs to the nation as a whole. Unless we can get some assurance from the promoters of the Bill that the whole matter shall be sympathetically and carefully considered in Committee, it will be our duty to ask the House to reject the Measure on Second Reading.
§ Captain TERRELL
I am sure the House has been very interested in the two very eloquent speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Motion for rejection. I am going to be very cautious at the outset, because I do not wish to be drawn into conflict with the two hon. Members. I noticed with keen interest that the Mover of the Motion referred to me rather with a twinkle in his eye, desirous, I presume, of drawing me into argument. Why should I argue or quarrel with him to-night when I find myself hand in hand with him in opposing what we both consider to be a very unfair Measure? 2469 I should like to refer to his statement as to the inhabitants of the Metropolis having a right to the waters of the Thames, and his reference to those who drink water. I would remind him that the party of which he is a distinguished member has not yet secured a monopoly in the drinking of water. I drink water sometimes, and sometimes I wash in it, and, incidentally, I am a consumer of water in the Metropolis. Therefore, I am as much interested from the angle at which he has approached this Measure as he is.
My objections are from a different standpoint. Though I am sympathetic in the main with the objects of the Bill I am compelled to oppose it because I think that it is very unfair. It has been drafted with very little consideration for those who live in the upper reaches of the Thames. It has been badly conceived, and it is based on erroneous assumptions. I consider that it is tantamount to an injustice to those who live in a riparian district such as Oxfordshire, portion of which I have the honour to represent in this august Assembly. We consider—and when I say "we" I mean the inhabitants of riparian districts affected by this Bill—that we have a direct grievance. We believe that we are being made use of to pay for advantages and benefits which ultimately will accrue to another section of the community, the water consumers in the Metropolis, and, if justice is to be the order of the day, if these people are desirous of those benefits and advantages it is up to them to foot the bill to pay for them. I cannot bring myself into line with remarks of the Mover and the Seconder because they seem to allot their sympathy from the standpoint of those in the Metropolis. There are other people to be considered. If this House is out to give justice to all sections of the community these other people ought to be considered. Though this Bill, as drafted, contains many obnoxious and contentious Clauses I will direct my criticism against two of the clauses, Clauses 31 and 32, contained in Part V of the Bill. These are the Clauses which mainly affect riparian districts such as Oxfordshire. Clause 31 provides:—As and from the commencement of this Act there shall be paid to the conservators by each of the councils of the several counties and county boroughs respectively mentioned in Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule 2470 to this Act (hereinafter collectively referred to as the contributory authorities) in each year the sums following, that is to say:From this it will be seen that all riparian county councils, borough and district councils and parishes will have to pay a rate of one penny in the £ to the conservators. I claim that this is unfair and unreasonable. I know that the promoters of this Bill, who are here in great strength to-night, and who, I notice, are scattered in various corners of the House, will seek to justify themselves for the provisions of the Bill by the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee which was appointed by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Transport in 1921. They claim that this Bill is based on the recommendations and suggestions contained in that Report. Indeed in the circular, which has been sent out broadcast to-day to all hon. Members of this House, they make that statement. It is interesting at this particular juncture to refer to that Report, because I maintain that in certain respects that Report is most misleading, especially when it refers to the advantages that riparian district derive from the operations of the conservators.
- (i) By each of the councils of such counties an annual sum equivalent to the product of a levy of a rate of a penny in the pound on the assessable value of the several boroughs, urban districts, and parishes within said counties respectively mentioned in Part 2 of the said Schedule.
- (ii) By each of the councils of such county boroughs an annual sum equivalent to the product of a levy of a rate of a penny in the pound of the assessable value of such boroughs respectively."
They claim according to the report that the first advantage is the maintenance of adequate levels in the reaches and the regulation of the stream for the advantage of boating. After all, boating is not confined to those who live in riparian parishes. Other people, I suggest, visit Henley Regatta, and other regattas which are held on the reaches of the Thames. The second advantage which they claim is the reduction of flooding on low-lying land. The third advantage is the upkeep of tow paths. In the fourth place, they say that the value of the river is a substantial trade asset to the towns and villages where there are given facilities for boating and recreation. My opinion is that these assumptions are erroneous, and that the idea that riparian parishes 2471 secure all these advantages is grossly exaggerated. I would go so far as to say that in certain instances riparian parishes do not derive any advantages from the fact that they have a river in that district. To bear out that statement may I tell the House that in many riparian parishes the inhabitants have not any legal access to the river at all.
I have no doubt that the average person, having read this Bill, would have come to the conclusion that all the inhabitants of riparian parishes dwelt alongside the river. But that is not so. In the majority of cases the inhabitants have no legal access whatsoever to the river. That is a bold statement to make, and to bear it out let me deal with the case as we find it in South Oxfordshire. There are, I believe, 25 riparian parishes which will be affected if this Bill is passed. Of those 25 riparian parishes1, in 11 the inhabitants have access to the river only by the towpath, and in 10 parishes the majority of the inhabitants have no legal access to the river at all. Yet in the whole of those parishes the inhabitants are to be rated to the extent of a penny in the £. Take a parish like Warborough. The only access that the inhabitants have to the river is at one very small point, and the extraordinary fact is that the smallest part of the population of this parish lives near the river. Then there is the parish called Ipsden. The only part of the river accessible to the inhabitants is at the ferry, which is not now used. This parish has a frontage to the river of less than one-third of a mile, whereas the length of the parish is between six and seven miles. That means that the inhabitants of that parish, although they live six or seven miles from the river, will have to pay the penny rate just the same as those who are fortunate enough to live on the banks of the river.
Another glaring instance is the parish called Botherfield Peppard, in South Oxfordshire. It has a frontage to the river of less than a quarter of a mile. The parish is over seven miles long, and and the village is four miles from the river. This is the condition as far as the majority of the riparian parishes are concerned, certainly as far as Oxfordshire is concerned. In the majority of the 2472 riparian parishes affected by this penny rate, the inhabitants have no legal right whatsoever to the river. Surely, therefore, if they are called upon to pay this rate they will be suffering a serious injustice. I submit that it is misleading to say that the parishes get advantages. I believe it is true to say that a very large number of the inhabitants of these riparian parishes do not see the river, much less go on it, from one end of the year to the other. This Bill is being introduced entirely in the interests of the inhabitants of the Metropolis. If the Thames Conservancy desire to secure these extra benefits, it is up to them to shoulder the burden. Many a year has passed since a Bill of such a character, a Bill so grossly unfair, a Bill which will bring injustice to tens of thousands of people, has been introduced into this House.
I know that the promoters of the Bill desire to do well from the people of the Metropolis, but I appeal to them, business men as they are, legal gentlemen as they are, just to think of the other people who have to pay this rate, and not merely of the people who are ultimately to consume and enjoy this water. I take it that the promoters imagine that those who live in riparian parishes secure their livings from pleasure seekers and those who use the river for entertainment. That is not so. It may be true in a few cases; I dare say there are many people who make money out of pleasure-seekers in Oxford City. The hon. Member for Oxford City (Mr. F. Gray) can speak for them. I have no doubt that at Henley-on-Thames there are some who make money out of those who go there for pleasure. But mainly, in the constituency of South Oxfordshire, the inhabitants do not secure their living from the people who go there for pleasure, but they are employed in the main industry of the country, namely, agriculture, If this Bill passes, if the inhabitants of these riparian parishes are forced to pay this rate, this House will be inflicting upon those who are employed in agriculture, upon those who to-day are finding it difficult to make a living, another burden which they cannot possibly shoulder.
So much for Clause 31. With the indulgence of the House I should like to refer to Clause 32, which lays down that a proportion of an annual sum of £2,500 shall be paid, based on the rateable 2473 values of the counties and boroughs mentioned in the Sixth Schedule to the extent to which they are within the catchment area, of the river. That contribution, it is said, is to go towards the expenses relating to the prevention of pollution. I would point out that the Thames Conservancy already have great powers to deal with this question in districts such as Oxfordshire, under the Rivers Pollution Prevention Acts, 1875 to 1893. It is interesting to note that although those Acts were passed to provide for the cleanliness of rivers and the prevention of pollution by noxious and insanitary matter, nevertheless, the Thames Conservancy have caused to be carried out from time to time vast and expensive works mainly with the object of providing drinking water for the Metropolis. Let me remind hon. Members that in the course of the last few years the ratepayers of the County of Oxfordshire have paid over £200,000 out of the rates towards this work. The House should also know that the various borough councils and parishes in Oxfordshire do not draw the water for their own consumption from the Thames. Some of those who favour this Measure have asked, "Why should not the inhabitants of the riparian parishes pay, since they consume this water? They do not consume it. They consume water, but not from the Thames, and in no single case in Oxfordshire does any urban council, rural council or any other authority draw water for consumption from the Thames. I apologise to the House for occupying so much time in airing the grievances of the people of South Oxfordshire, but I feel that if this Bill becomes an Act, it will bring about indescribable hardship, and will inflict a gross injustice on a section of the community who are not able to stand up for themselves and protect themselves.
§ Mr. J. D. GILBERT
As my name is on the back of this Bill, it may be convenient that I should put forward the views of the promoters in answer to the speeches of the hon. Members for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison), East Woolwich (Mr. Snell) and Henley (Captain Terrell). Those who object to the Bill appear to do so from various points of view, and considering the difference of opinion which seems to exist among the opponents of the Bill, I submit 2474 the House should give it a Second Reading and allow it to go to a Committee, where the proposals made by the London Members and by the hon. Member for Henley can be more adequately discussed than is possible on the Floor of the House.
§ Captain TERRELL
Does that mean that the promoters of the Bill will consider the withdrawal of Clauses 31 and 32?
§ Mr. GILBERT
Certainly not. These Clauses represent an important part of the Bill, and on behalf of the promoters I cannot agree to withdraw either of them. The hon. Member for South Hackney discussed this Bill from the London point of view. If it were a Bill setting up a new authority for London and doing away with the multifarious authorities which we have at present, I do not believe that either the hon. Member for South Hackney, the hon. Member for East Woolwich or I would disagree with it, but we have to take the authorities as they are and deal with them as they exist to-day. Hearing some of the speeches to-night, one would imagine that the conservators of the River Thames were promoting the Bill without any thought or reason, but simply with the idea of getting money on the one hand from the London water consumers, and on the other from the riparian districts along the Upper Thames. I would remind hon. Members that the conservators were established as a body by Act of Parliament so long ago as 1857, and at various periods their powers have been increased by Parliament. The sums of money which they were empowered to receive, first from the Water Companies and latterly from the Water Board, have been increased by Acts of Parliament. In 1908, when the Port of London Authority was set up, this was an important Measure dealing with the powers of the Thames Conservancy. Up to 1908 the conservancy had control of the river from its source to the sea, but when the Port of London Authority was established, that part of the river from Teddington to the sea passed from the control of the conservators and came under the control of the Port of London Authority. That had a great effect upon the revenue of the Thames Conservancy, and it explains, in some way, why the conservancy have had 2475 to come to this House on more than one occasion to secure powers for increasing their revenue.
During the War the conservancy suffered, like all other public authorities, from loss of revenue owing to War conditions. In 1920, taking advantage of the Ministry of Transport Act, they placed themselves under the control of that Ministry, and applied, under the powers which the Ministry possessed, for an increase of charges on the boating and other traffic of the river. A public inquiry was held by the Rates Advisory Committee, and the conservancy were given powers to enable them to derive, increased revenue from the owners of boats and barges using the Thames. That power was given on condition that, if the charges were increased to the boat-owners and the barge-owners, the amount paid by the Water Board, who were also contributors to the revenue, should also be increased. They put upon the conservancy the condition that, if they gave them these increased charges on the boating traffic, that they should apply to Parliament to get increased revenue from the Metropolitan Water Board.
§ Mr. GILBERT
The Rates Advisory Committee had no powers to rate any of the up-river authorities. All the powers they had were to give the Conservancy power to increase charges for boating and barge traffic which use the Thames. They did put on the Conservancy a condition that, if they got an increase on the boating and barge traffic, they should apply to Parliament to get an increase in the amount paid by the Metropolitan Water Board. The result of that was, that we promoted a Bill in 1921. That Bill was one which we were bound in honour, having got the increased charge on the boating and barge traffic, to promote to get the other increased charges. The Bill came before Parliament. Another Bill, at the same time, dealt with the Lea Conservancy on similar lines, and there was a Bill from the Metropolitan Water Board, which was objecting to pay us any extra money for the water they obtained from the Thames, asking for authority to increase 2476 their charges up to 10 per cent. on the rateable value of the whole of the water area of London. There was a good deal of opposition to all those Bills. There was a very long Debate in this House on the three Bills. During the Debate the Minister of Transport made the following speech. He said:I do not want in the smallest degree to attempt to prejudge these matters, but I am authorised to say on behalf of my right hon. Friends the Ministers of Transport and Health, that when these Bills do receive a Second Reading it is their intention to set up an Inter-departmental Committee to take the broader question into consideration at an early date, and that report would be useful to Parliament. We hope at any time when it became right to revise the charges in the light of the time limit which we venture to hope will ultimately find a place in this Bill.That was the speech of the then Minister of Transport on the Second Reading Debate of those three Bills. The Bills were referred to a Joint Committee of the two Houses, and as a result of the decision of that Committee the increased amount from the Metropolitan Water Board was given to the Thames Conservancy as mentioned by a previous speaker. The Minister of Transport carried out the promise which he made to the House to appoint an Inter-Departmental Committee. The members were, Lord Newton, Chairman, my hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Betterton), the town clerk of Liverpool, Mr. J. R. Brooke, of the Ministry of Transport, and Mr. R. J. Simpson of the Ministry of Health. None of these had any connection with the Thames Conservancy and they were entirely an independent body to inquire into the work and conditions under which the Thames Conservancy work. If hon. Members will read their Report they will see that it consisted of 41 pages. It is quite true part of it deals with the River Lea. They held nine public meetings and examined 48 witnesses, a good many connected with the upper reaches of the Thames. They say in their Report one very flattering thing so far as the work of the conservancy is concerned. They say:Expenditure.—We received no evidence of any wasteful or inappropriate expenditure by the conservators and a large number of witnesses expressed appreciation of their work; we have been impressd with the efficiency, foresight, and economy with which the conservators have carried out their important public duties.2477 They then go on to say, on revenue:We regard it as essential that the income of the conservancy should be adequate and assured to them so as to provide security for the repayment of a loan. It is our considered opinion that an annual revenue of approximately £150,000 is the minimum which should at the present time be placed at the disposal of the conservators, and that this amount would only suffice on the assumption that it would be possible for them to raise a loan to defray capital expenditure which forms part of the estimate for arrears of work and that the general cost of labour and material will fall in the next few years.They then go on to say, on existing forms of revenue:We accept the main contention of the Metropolitan Water Board that the water consumers should not be called upon to bear so great a share in the cost of upkeep of the conservancy, whilst ratepayers in riparian districts who benefit substantially from the work of the conservators make no contribution to the conservancy funds. We find also that no appreciable addition to the revenue can be counted upon from existing sources.These were some of the recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Committee. The Bill, which was passed in 1921, gave the conservators a period of five years. When this Report was produced by the Inter-Departmental Committee I respectfully submit to the House the conservators could take no other action than bring in a Bill based on its recommendations. That is what they have done. That is the Bill before the House to which I am asking the House to give a Second Beading. It is quite true that it does contain quite a new principle. But the Inter-Departmental Committee are responsible for that recommendation. It is quite true they recommend that £2,500 be given to the conservancy from the county authorities and county boroughs towards the cost of preventing pollution. They also recommend that the value of a penny rate estimated to yield £12,000 should be paid by county boroughs, urban districts and rural parishes in the riparian districts.
We submit, on behalf of the conservators, that in view of these recommendations, in view of the powers of the conservancy coming to an end next year, as we derived our power from Parliament we were logically bound to come back to Parliament, and place in a Bill the recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Committee. I submit that we are doing 2478 the right thing, and I hope the House will give this Bill a Second Reading. The point as to whether the riparian districts should be rated or not is purely a Committee point. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of this Bill and the seconder made a great point as to the Metropolitan Water Board paying too much for the water to the Thames Conservancy. One would think that they were paying a very large amount compared with their expenditure to the Thames Conservancy. I do not think my hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) could have looked up the recent figures of the Metropolitan Water Board. They have estimated that in 1924 their total expenditure in round figures is £4,509,000. Of that amount they put down for storage, special treatment and filtration of water £264,000. I suggest to my hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney and other London Members who may sympathise with him that if you get any reduction, large or small, from £112,000 out of the total expenditure of 4j millions by the Metropolitan Water Board they are not going to reduce the cost of water one farthing to the consumers in the metropolitan district.
PersoNally, I wish they were. I am a metropolitan water consumer, and I should very much like to know that the cost of water was going to be reduced, but I am quite certain that if the whole amount were taken off, it would make no difference at all to the cost of water supplied by the Metropolitan Water Board, and I would suggest to the hon. Member for South Hackney—we do not differ in our views about the Water Board—that he should look in other quarters, if he wants to get the expenditure of the Water Board down, rather than in the amount that they give to the Thames Conservancy. They take this water from the conservancy, and they pay us for it, but they do not give it away. They sell it at a very large profit, and I have worked out the amount of £112,000 as being about 2½ per cent. of the total expenditure of the Metropolitan Water Board. It is rather strange that the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment object from the Water Board point of view. There is no opposition from the Metropolitan Water Board on the Second Reading, although it is true that they have objections on Clauses.
§ Mr. H. MORRISON
Neither the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Snell) nor myself speaks for the Metropolitan Water Board. We speak for our constituencies and the interests of London, which are much greater.
§ Mr. GILBERT
I suggest that they were putting forward the case from the Metropolitan Water Board point of view. The London County Council, of which the hon. Member for South Hackney and I are members, are also opposing this Bill, but not on Second Beading. They are supporting the petition of the Metropolitan Water Board to try and get a reduction in the amount, but they are only opposing on Clauses, and in view of the opposition from those two important bodies not being on Second Reading, I suggest to the House that that is an additional reason why the Bill should be given a Second Reading and allowed to go to a Committee upstairs. We are met with opposition from the up-river authorities. The Thames Conservancy have tried to come to an agreement, not only with the Metropolitan Water Board, but also with the up-river authorities. I think I might state, as regards the Metropolitan Water Board, that negotiations have taken place—of course, entirely without prejudice—and I was hoping that I would have been able to tell the House this evening that an agreement had been come to between the board and the conservancy. I regret I am not in that position. The same negotiations have taken place with the up-river authorities, some of whom came in and certainly consulted the conservators as to what they wanted, but I am sorry to say that Berks and Bucks and Oxon, three of the county councils concerned, have refused to come into conference and discuss the matter with the Thames Conservancy.
§ Captain TERRELL
It is fair also to state that, although the county councils to which the hon. Member has referred would not come into the conference, it was for the sole reason that the conservancy authorities absolutely would not give in in the least bit and would not change their principles in any way. In fact, they made no ground clear for a conference to take place.
§ Mr. GILBERT
I can only repeat that the Thames Conservancy called a conference of the up-river authorities, with 2480 the object of seeing if they could agree terms, in order to save all the expense of having a Bill before a Committee of this House—and anybody who knows private Bill procedure knows that the expenditure is very great—and the county councils of Berks and Bucks and Oxon refused to come to conference and discuss the matter at all with the conservancy authorities. On the other hand, may I say that the two largest contributors of the county councils, who will have to pay the two largest amounts, namely, Middlesex and Surrey, are perfectly willing to agree to pay those amounts, subject to some details in Clauses being agreed to upstairs. One of those county councils, Middlesex, is going to pay £2,102, and the other, Surrey, will have to pay, it is estimated, £5,321. They have a far less mileage front to the river than either of the other counties I have mentioned, and Bucks, which is putting up a strong opposition to this Bill, will be asked to pay approximately £826 and Oxford £817. Again, I would like to say that I think, in view of the facts that I have put before the House, the question of dealing with these up-river authorities is purely a matter of bargaining and could be done very much better upstairs before a Committee of this House.
One other matter has arisen to-day, on which I have been approached by several hon. Members who sit on this side of the House. A whip has been sent out dealing with the boating charges by a certain section of the boat owners in the upper part of the river. When the river was divided in 1908, the dividing line between the upper and I he lower river was Teddington Lock. When we got the increased powers to charge given us by the Rates Advisory Committee, and subsequently under a Bill, that meant that the whole of the boat owners who let out boats above Teddington Lock had to pay the new conservancy charges, while the boat owners below Teddington Lock are under the licence of the Port of London Authority, who have not increased their charges, with the result that the boat owners at Richmond, which is one of the places from which circulars have been sent, and which is in the Port of London Authority area, pay 10d. per year for a boat, while in the upper river the licence is 10s. a year for a boat. The boat owner, however, who has a licence below Teddington Lock has the right, subject 2481 to payment of lock charges, to go into the upper reaches of the river under the control of the conservancy, and the reason why we put forward Clause 50 was on behalf of the boat owners in the upper reaches of the river, who naturally complain of the unfair competition of the boat owners who pay only the Port of London licence. The Thames Boating Association, who represent these people and are objecting on Clauses, I am informed, were quite satisfied with the way in which we had met them, and the Richmond boatowners who have been circularising hon. Members are members of the Thames Boating Association. All I can say is that, if there is a strong feeling on this particular Clause, we are quite willing to leave it to the unbiassed decision of the Committee upstairs, and I hope, in view of the statement I have made, that it will be seen that our object was to put all the boatowners exactly on the same level, and that we were trying to do the right thing in the interests, at any rate, of the boatowners who pay our extra and increased licence charges.
I think I have dealt with nearly all the points that have been put forward by the three preceding speakers. It is perfectly true that on the Paper there is an Instruction to the Committee if the Second Reading is carried. Let me say, on behalf of the promoters, that we certainly cannot accept that Instruction. The Bill deals with charges in the upper river and charges on the Metropolitan Water Board, and the two things hang together, and it would be very unfair to the Metropolitan Water Board and the London water consumer if this House gave an Instruction to cut out the part dealing with the people in the upper regions of the river. I think that anybody who has visited the upper Thames and knows the way in which the Conservancy have maintained the locks and reaches and weirs, all of which have a great deal to do with the general supply of water, not only for the Metropolitan Water Board, but also for the convenience of these holiday towns to which the hon. and gallant Member for Henley has referred, must appreciate what the Thames Conservancy has done. The upper river is a great holiday resort for the people of London, and I do beg the House, in view of the various opinions held here 2482 to-night, and in view of the fact that this conservancy has always derived its powers from this House, to give the Bill a Second Reading, and allow it to go to a Committee upstairs, where the various points put to-night will be received by the conservators with the greatest possible consideration; and, they will find that the conservators are not at all unreasonable.
§ Captain BOWYER
The hon. Member for Central Southwark (Mr. Gilbert) has met the claim of certainly three large counties, all of whom have petitioned against this Bill, with the curt remark that their claim can be heard in Committee, and has nothing to do with the discussion of the Second Reading of the Bill. If ever there was a claim put forward in this House which went to principle, and not to detail, I think it is the claim put forward by the three counties of Buckingham, Oxford and Berks. It is perfectly true that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Henley (Captain Terrell) and myself and other hon. Members in other parts of the House, are approaching this Measure in their opposition from a totally different aspect and standpoint than that which was taken up by the Mover and Seconder of the Motion for the rejection. I feel, however, deeply indebted to them, because it seems to me they have proved to the House one thing more conclusively than anything else, and that is that the Thames Conservators are claiming a very much greater sum in this Bill than is likely to be needed as their yearly revenue. The point I want to make at the outset is this. If the two hon. Members who moved and seconded the rejection were correct in saying that the conservators wore claiming something over £40,000 a year too much, then I submit there is ample room for the Thames Conservators to forego the £14,500 that they are demanding from the three counties.
There are other points in the speech of the hon. Member the Mover to which I will not refer, but with which I do not agree, for instance, the remark in which he seemed to claim that the water of the Thames belongs to the people of London, because there are so many people in London. I shall be ready on another occasion to argue against that. Then he said, or as I understood him to say, that, as far as he was concerned, the upriver 2483 authorities were not paying sufficient; that, in fact, according to his argument, we were having done for us certain river works which otherwise we should have to do for ourselves. If I may answer that point now, because it is also a point upon which, I have no doubt, the hon. Member for Central Southwark relied, as was pointed out by the rates advisory committee, and as, indeed, was fully recognised in the preamble of the Thames Conservancy Act which passed this House in 1921, not only the local authorities for the districts abutting on the river, but also those other districts many miles away from the river, have already, in effect, made large contributions towards the cost of purifying the river for the benefit of the London water consumers, by the construction, at great expense, of works for the disposal of sewage, and other works, and the powers of the conservators for the prevention of pollution are more stringent than the powers of county councils and others under the Rivers Pollution Act, and are fully exercised by the conservators.
As far as the County of Buckingham is concerned, this matter started in May, 1923, and the whole of my remarks will be directed towards the new sources of revenue which the Thames Conservancy seeks to bring into play. In May, 1923, was published the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee of which my hon. Friend who sits below mc was a distinguished member. This Inter-Departmental Committee was appointed in pursuance of an undertaking given to Parliament on the passing of the Thames Conservancy Act in that year. That Committee was to consider how the revenue of the conservancy could be secured after the 31st December, 1925, upon which date, it is perfectly true, the present Thames Conservancy Act expires. It is also perfectly true that, in due course, the Thames Conservators will need a fresh Act of Parliament in order to get a fresh revenue. But they are hi too great a hurry in demanding their fresh Bill before actually they have need of it. It is quite true also, that unless they do get this new Act, their revenue will fall from something like £112,500 to their pre-War revenue of £45,000 a year, but in their Report the Inter-Departmental Committee state that, while 2484 they accepted the main contention of the Metropolitan Water Board, that the water consumers of London should not be called upon to pay any greater sum, or take any greater share in the cost of upkeep of the Thames, they also said they thought it fair that the advantages which riparian districts derived from the operations of the conservators should form the basis of some contribution to the conservancy fund, and hence we get the two recommendations that some £14,500 should be levied on up-river authorities and counties. The first levy is that of £2,500 towards the prevention of pollution, and is to be levied on the county councils and county boroughs in the Thames Valley. I should like to point out that this is the first time, so far as I can learn, that this principle of levying a rata upon a whole county for the benefit of the river which flows past one boundary of the county has been introduced, or sought to be introduced, into an Act of Parliament.
I should like to point out to the hon. Member for Central Southwark that from the days of Hampden the county of Buckingham has always resisted any fresh taxation when they thought that such taxation was not warranted and was unjust. The second sum to which Buckinghamshire and other counties will have to contribute is a levy of £12,000 in the form of a penny rate upon certain districts and parishes. At the same time as the Departmental Committee wont so far as to recommend the levying of these rates, they pointed out that they were impressed by the practical difficulty as to whether the contributions which could reasonably be asked for from other districts would, in fact, be any actual relief to London water consumers. So far as the county of Buckingham is concerned, the actual amounts to be paid are comparatively small. Out of the £2,500, we shall pay £178, and out of the £12,000 levied by the penny rate we shall contribute £648. The total amount is only £826 a year. But behind that fact it is the principle that matters: it is not the actual amount, though in any year that amount could be enormously increased. It is the principle to which I am directing the attention of the House and my remarks.
On 5th November last year, it is perfectly true, the various local authorities affected by the Bill were called together, and it is true that there are two county 2485 councils, I believe those of Middlesex and Surrey, which were content with the other provisions of the Bill. But every other county council, I am instructed, threatened to oppose the Measure, and I believe the other county councils and the local authorities and district authorities are against the Measure to-day. The chief objections are: first of all, the new principle that is attempted now for the first time, the principle of levying a rate upon a whole county for the benefit of works on a river which only flows past the southern portion of the county, so that the men and women living nearly 60 or 70 miles away, in Buckinghamshire, have got to contribute. That is a new principle, and is the main objection which I should like to voice this evening.
Secondly—and I will run over these quite quickly, as there are other hon. Members who wish to speak—I submit it is absolutely premature to bring on this Bill at this moment nearly two years before the new Act becomes law. There is this further ground for asking for the postponement of the Measure, namely, that if the Bill were brought forward next year the conservators, I submit, would be far more likely to bring forward an accurate estimate of what their revenue is likely to be than now. The Rates Advisory Committee which considered this question, whilst it is true that they recommended an increase in the tolls and charges, and a big increase in the contributions to the Water Board, definitely rejected the suggestion that the rates should be levied on the localities and authorities adjoining the river. Therefore the county council of Buckinghamshire, and the local authorities in that county definitely submit that Part 5 of the Bill should be taken out, that is to say, Clauses 31 to 33. In the event of the promoters of the Bill not seeing their way to do that, then I, for my part, ask hon. Members to reject the Measure on the ground, essential above all, that a new principle of rating has been brought in which runs counter to the great underlying principle of all rating, which is that no man or woman should be asked to pay a rate except in proportion that they either derive a benefit or escape a danger.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Mr. Arthur Greenwood)
I will not occupy the attention of the House for long, for I wish only to define the attitude of the Ministry towards this Bill, which in view of the coming Division may help hon. Members to make up their minds.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
The hon. and gallant Gentleman, who has just sat down, said it was the principle that mattered. I do not wish to discuss any details of the Measure, but to deal with the principle. The object of the Bill is to place the financial requirements of the Thames Conservancy on a proper basis. That is a thing with which, I think, all hon. Members agree. The whole question is quite a simple one. The problem we have to face is whether the Conservancy and Metropolitan water authorities should bear as big a financial burden as they are now doing, whilst other authorities escape, notwithstanding the fact that they do derive direct benefit from the operations of the Thames Conservancy. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I am not concerned whether the proposed contributions are right contributions or not. The point is, that those who benefit should make a contribution. That is a sound principle. When a question of the workpeople and their taking benefit of any kind from public authorities comes before this House, hon. Members suggest that they should pay a little towards it—however little it may be—to maintain their self-respect. It is not asking too much that we should expect these various authorities to pay in the same way to maintain their self-respect. That is an obvious truth that will be accepted by all. I say I am only concerned about the principle that those local authorities that benefit—[HON. MEMBERS: "We do not."] I do not wish to argue the amount of the contribution. This is not the proper place to argue that question, but I submit that if hon. Members accept the recommendation of the Ministry of Health that a Second Reading should be given, 2487 the details as to the allocation of the contributions may well be thrashed out upstairs after evidence has been taken. I am not prepared to accept all the details of this Bill. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Health reserves the right to give evidence, perhaps of a critical kind, as to certain details of the Bill. What we are anxious for is that these financial arrangements of the conservancy should be put on a proper footing, and that the authorities which derive benefit from the operations of the conservancy should pay a contribution to the cost. I think that is a fair principle. Whether it is £800 or £8,000 that any authority has to pay is clearly a matter for argument. I hope the House will give a Second Reading to the Bill and leave the questions of trivial detail to be settled in the appropriate place which is not on the Floor of the House of Commons.
§ Mr. F. GRAY
It is a most extraordinary and remarkable thing, and I think it is the first time in my experience of the House, that I find myself to-night in agreement with every party but my own. It is peculiar that a party so famous for its unity as my own should be split from top to bottom on this question. I agree with the Member for Buckingham (Captain Bowyer) on one point, which is, that when you have a Bill presented by a body which, if I may say so, is so revered and respected as the board concerned with the upper reaches of the Thames, on the basis of an Inter-Depart-mental Committee, you have a prima facie Bill which should not be debated here, but the details and Clauses of which should be debated and considered by the machinery provided for considerations of that kind. Here is introduced a principle entirely novel, and unthought of before so far as English legislation is concerned. May I say in passing that you might suppose from the depleted condition of the benches on the other side of the House that this is merely a private and personal fight; but that is not so. As so frequently happens between those on my left and myself, we are journeying to the same goal, but by an entirely different route. The principle involved here is one which, if carried, is to affect the whole of England and Scotland far beyond the Thames Valley. In point of fact, as has been mentioned by 2488 other speakers before, the basis upon which the figures are arrived at is unfair and unfortunate, inasmuch as it was taken at a time when the expenditure on the Thames Conservancy was inflated and the revenue deflated. As a matter of fact, the funds of the Metropolitan Water Board at that time were depleted, and this led up to this very Bill. But since then, through the authority obtained in 1921, the Metropolitan Water Board has put itself in funds, and no longer requires the assistance sought by this Bill. Moreover, and this is important, if you analyse the last balance-sheet, and I think it is the balance-sheet for 1922 which I have got, of the Thames Conservancy, you will find that for an expenditure of £107,000 they seek a revenue of £165,000. In point of fact that expenditure of £107,000 is now obtained by debiting income with substantial capital payment. The Minister who has just spoken had no intention to mislead the House, but he obviously has not siezed himself in any way of the facts of this Bill. He says glibly, that we should pay for the benefits we obtain, but he seems to be unconscious and oblivious of the fact that we have been paying for centuries. Perhaps he will permit me to say, and will not think it presumptuous on my part if I claim that I have some acquaintance with the facts. The Thames Conservancy have at the outset secured their revenue from tolls and other charges upon users of the river, upon pleasure services and merchant services for commercial purposes, and from sales. At a later date they have charged, and properly charged, those people who have abstracted water from the river. The City of Oxford, which I have the honour to represent, for a consideration have secured their water supply. The Minister supposes that they secured their water-supply with any consideration whatsoever.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I never made any such suggestion. I did not say they did not pay for the water obtained from the river. The suggestion that individual users of the river pay charges does not meet my case, which is that the local authorities have not paid for the common advantages received.
§ Mr. GRAY
I notice that the Minister was careful, as I have frequently been myself when I did not understand any particular matter, to refrain from re- 2489 ferring to details and facts which would disclose that unpleasant fact. Again, may I presume to tell him something of the situation. The only benefit we have acquired, except for one thing which I am to mention later, is the disposal of pollution. May I take it that is the question the Minister meant? Am I right?
§ Mr. GRAY
That was the purest guesswork on the part of the Minister. There is a special Clause under which the different areas jointly contribute £2,000. I think there is a very strong objection to that, but that is the price which is put against the heading of paying for the disposing of the pollution of the Thames. It is objectionable for this reason, that the great municipalities, like the one I have the honour to represent, and the Borough of Reading, have already paid more than their full share by providing machinery to raise the standard of purity which serves the purposes of London. A far more important point about which the Minister has not yet heard is that, after you have paid for your boating facilities, both for commercial purposes and pleasure, throughout the length of the Thames, and paid for other facilities as riparian owners, and the avoidance of pollution, as we do, it is now proposed that we should be taxed to the extent of a penny rate for the benefit of the Metropolitan area, while in that area they propose to pay no more than a rate of one-sixteenth of a penny. What are we paying that for? The hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill, with whom I do not want to fall out, because we are making for the same goal by an entirely different route, what does he say? He says that, by virtue of the river which gives grace and charm to Oxford City, and we have many other graces and charms as well, that it attracts visitors in the same way as Margate and Rams-gate, where probably the hon. Member goes himself.
The point I put is this. Because Rams-gate and Margate attract visitors by virtue of the sea, are you going to propose to put a tax on the sea in order to benefit the fish shops in London? It is an astounding proposal. Are we to pay a special tax because of our beautiful spas 2490 and pleasure grounds? Is that the proposal? I do not know whether hon. Members representing Manchester are going to do it for the same reason, but I should say probably not, from what I know of that district. At Manchester they get a substantial part of the water which they use which is drawn from the Lake Thirlmere. Let me put it to these shrewd and hard-headed business men that they should now propose to introduce a Bill putting on the riparian owners of Thirlmere Lake—which they have disfigured by their locks and docks in the same way as the Thames Conservancy have injured Oxford and thereabouts—a tax because it has to be cleansed and purified, and dredged, for the benefit of the consumers in the city of Manchester.
§ Mr. GRAY
I have no doubt you would, and so would the Thames Conservancy, goaded on by the London Members; but they will not be permitted to do it. This matter was carefully considered by the Bates Advisory Committee in 1919, and after careful consideration was rejected as being a novel and at the same time entirely unsound method of taxation, and it is for that reason and as a matter of justice that we, for a variety of different reasons it is true, but most heartily, sincerely and firmly, oppose the Bill.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
As I was a member of the Inter-Departmental Committee which has been referred to, and as I happened to be the only Member of Parliament on it, I think it is only right and fair to the House that I should state, quite shortly, the reasons which prompted us to make the Report that we did. This Bill is, in the main, founded on the Report of the Committee, and the reference to the Committee was this:To examine the revenue and expenditure of the Thames and Lea Conservancies and to consider the source from which their revenues are derived; and to report whether, and to what extent and from what source, any additional revenue could be brought into contribution.I want to state the problem as it presented itself to us, and the reasons which induced us to make the recommendations that we did. I hope the names of the Committee are a sufficient guarantee that we considered the matter quite impartially and fairly and carefully. 2491 We gave a very full hearing to, I think, something like 50 witnesses; we examined in person practically every part of the river from Teddington to Oxford, and we held a great many meetings—I think 10 or 15; and there was one or two proposals or conclusions which were based on the evidence we heard, and about which we had no doubt whatever. The first was that we were absolutely satisfied, from the evidence we had, and there has been no evidence to the contrary since, that the conservators have done their work and carried on their duties efficiently and economically and well. There was no evidence at all that they had been profligate or extravagant in their expenditure.
The next conclusion we came to was that, if the conservators are to be placed in a position to carry on the work which they are doing, they must have at least a revenue of £150,000 a year, which is little more than £2,000 a year more than they have now—it is practically the same. We were also satisfied that that revenue must be an assured revenue, because it must be a revenue on which they could raise the loans which were necessary for capital expenditure. The revenue of the conservators hitherto has been made up, as to no less than 76 per cent., by the contributions of the London water companies, as to 19 per cent. by tolls, and as to the balance—only 3 or 4 per cent.—by the sale of ballast and from other sources of that kind. We came definitely to the conclusion that the amount which the London water consumers are paying is larger that the amount they should be asked to pay, and they are paying too large a proportion of the revenue of the conservancy. Therefore the problem presented itself to us, how we were to recommend that the additional revenue should be made up. We recommended that a sum of £2,500 should be provided by the county authorities and county boroughs in the Thames Valley.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I am speaking of the Report we made. We further recommended that contributions be made by all riparian county boroughs, urban dis- 2492 tricts and rural parishes from and including Oxford to the lower boundary of the Conservators' jurisdiction. We came definitely to the conclusion that there are large numbers of persons in the Valley of the Thames who are deriving benefit from the operations of the Conservators for which at present they are not paying, and when you look at the large items of expenditure I can explain in a moment how we came to arrive at this conclusion. A very large proportion of the expenditure by the Conservators is in respect of the maintenance of river works, locks, weirs, tow paths, and so on, and when we came to consider who got the advantages of this expenditure we thought some or all of these riparian authorities in the Valley of the Thames derived benefit to a larger or smaller extent. The evidence on this point was really of a very remarkable character, and I would refer to paragraph 60 of our Report, which contained the following passages:Whilst several witnesses, including those of local authorites, testified to the value of the Thames and of the work of the conservators, we were surprised to hear that a number of others were not prepared to admit that the river brought them any advantage. The Maidenhead witness, for example, contended that the borough lost rather than gained by the influx of visitors, and referred to the rebuilding of Boulter's Lock as not adding to the amenities of the district, inasmuch as the time occupied in the passage of the lock, which he considered was one of its attractions, had been considerably lessened. An Oxford witness was of opinion that Oxford was of more benefit to the river than was the river to Oxford.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I should be surprised to hear that it was universally shared. This, perhaps, is the most remarkable of all.A Reading witness went so far as to say that he did not think the town would be seriously prejudiced if the river were reduced to a mere trickle.I will ask my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Henley if he is prepared to go to Henley and say that, in his opinion, it does not matter to Henley whether the river is reduced to a trickle or not.
§ Mr. GRAY
With regard to Henley, the river is an important asset, but with regard to Reading it certainly is not. Reading is a commercial centre, apart 2493 from the river. With respect to Oxford, no witness would be likely to say that the river was the outstanding asset, but, rather, the University.
§ Captain TERRELL
I made it perfectly clear in my speech that to Henley the river is an asset. The point I tried to make was this, that those who lived several miles back in the riparian areas are getting no advantage whatever from the river, and I ask the hon. Member whether the Committee took evidence from farmers who live ten or twelve miles away in riparian parishes.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I am glad to hear from the hon. and gallant Member that the river is an asset to Henley.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
In regard to the whole question, we were definitely of the opinion that places like Henley, Maidenhead, Oxford and Reading did derive very considerable advantage from the river, an advantage for which they ought to be asked to pay. With regard to the parishes just mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member, where the frontage to the river is comparatively small, I agree that in some of these cases the Committee, to which I hope this Bill will be referred, might consider whether or not they ought to be asked to contribute, and, if so, how much. With regard to the general principle, we thought that those who derived benefit should be asked to pay. As to the Bill itself, I hop", that it will go upstairs, where these points can be considered. Whether that happens or not rests with the House. I thought it right as a Member of the Committee to state the reasons which induced us, after very careful consideration of the whole of the facts and of the evidence, to make the report which we did.
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Gosling)
As the Minister of Transport and representing the Department that was responsible, with the Ministry of Health, for setting up the Inter-Departmental Committee, I should like to say a few words. The Committee very carefully went into the whole subject and the Bill was prepared on the findings of the Committee. May I remind the House of the main findings of the Committee which now appears in the Bill? 2494We regard it as essential that the income of the conservators should be adequate and assured to them so as to provide security for the repayment of a loan. It is our considered opinion that the annual revenue of approximately £150,000 is the minimum which should at the present time be placed at the disposal of the conservators, and that this amount would only suffice on the assumption that it would be possible for them to raise a loan to defray the actual expenditure which forms part of the estimate for the arrears of work.I would like to call the attention of the House to a document issued by the conservators, in which they point out that the result of the rejection of the Bill would be very serious to the water supply of the Metropolis, to inland transport waterway and to public recreation grounds. The opposition to this Bill seems to come from those who do not want to pay. They are not even united in their reasons. They are willing that others should pay if they could only get some relief for themselves. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!"] That is how it struck me as I listened to the whole Debate.
There is another reason why this power should be allowed to the conservancy. They need it for their new works. It was my duty to support the endeavour to find work for the unemployed, and, among other, to approach the Thames Conservancy. They said, "We have a lot of work which we want to put in hand, and we should be very pleased to do it, but until we are sure that we are going to get this Bill, we cannot do that work." Though I do not want to put that too high, it is a consideration for pressing this Bill forward. If there are any adjustments to be made in this Bill they would not justify the wrecking of the Bill to-night. They should be made in Committee. There is one point that has been raised to-day which rather concerns me. That is the question of the tolls which were referred to by the hon. Member who introduced the Bill with regard to the watermen. I have a suggestion to make which might put that right. With regard to Clause 50 and the position of the watermen who have made representations to Members of this House, I am naturally, as many here know, most concerned.
I understand that the Thames Conservancy are willing that this matter should be settled in a manner satisfactory 2495 to all parties. I feel that the Clause should certainly be further examined, and I am inclined to think that it ought to be modified. I have asked the Conservancy whether they would agree to meet the watermen with a view to modifying this Clause, and if it would be of any assistance to the parties I should be glad to preside at a conference for which there will be every opportunity at a later stage. I would say to my friends who raised the question from what I would call the London point of view that they ought to withdraw their opposition and let the Bill go to a Committee. Together with the Minister of Health, and speaking as Minister of Transport, I would ask the House to let the Bill have a Second Reading. Having said that in that capacity, I would like to say a word or two to the House as a Thames man, I belong to a very long line of Thames watermen, and the way in which the Thames has been treated during the whole of my life, and from what I have heard from my father and my grandfather during the whole of their lives, is not worthy of such a magnificent river.
§ Mr. GOSLING
By everybody at different times; treated by people when they were not wanting it for a moment or two; treated by people in winter who did not want it till the summer, and that kind of thing. I speak strongly, because I have experienced it. I remember when we wanted to get the lower reaches of the river in better condition. I remember the great effort that was made by the then Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). I remember how he went to the municipalities and said, "Let us municipalise the river." They had the greatest job in the world in fiNally forming the Port of London Authority. The doing of that has put the Thames Conservancy rather in the position that it is in now. When I hear hon. Members who represent riverside constituencies saying that the river is no good, or, if they do not say it, meaning it for the moment, and then saying that thy do not want to pay, I remember that when one goes to these places the first thing one sees on the bookstalls is a guide to the town, that one is encouraged to go there and spend money, and that always on the front page of the 2496 guide it is stated that the first attraction is the river itself. Let me read an extract from a guide to a very well-known town.The fame of the Thames is world-wide. It is our most typical English river, and is so thoroughly identified with our national history that, even if it had no attraction other than those of its many famous associations, it could not be despised. Happily, however, it possesses in many parts of its course scenery that it would be impossible to over-praise, and has on its banks so many interesting, old-world towns and pretty sequestered villages, appealing to artists, anglers, boatmen and all manner of tourists, as to render the Thames Valley an admirable district for excursions. Beyond this there are the incentives that the Thames provides for all kinds of river sports, which can be enjoyed under exceptioNally favourable conditions.I want to say a word about the Thames, apart from its trade. Nothing has been said about the Thames, apart from its trade. Nothing has been said about that to-night. We have talked only about the water for drinking. That is the last thing you do with a river; you use it for every other purpose first and drink it last. The river leads a most precarious life. No one seems to care for it until it is actually wanted, and then it is described as in the quotation I have read, and, fiNally, big hotel charges are extracted out of those who go to these places. Yet the very places that get the money by this means come here and say that they ought not to subscribe to this scheme because they do not want it. Speaking now for the first time as a waterside man, out of office for the moment, I am trying to speak for a river that I love more than anything else. I ask Members to consider the comparatively small amount of money which is being discussed now, and to think of what we would be prepared to spend if we were asked to keep intact an open space of the same value as the river. It is one of the finest lungs in the country. It is the most beautiful open space that one can find. By way of comparison, I have been looking up what we spend upon open spaces, and I find that the amount expended on national parks in London alone—Hyde Park, the Green Park and St. James's Park—is £92,000 a year, and yet when the conservancy ask for the means to raise sufficient money to keep the river going there is all this trouble about getting it. It would be worth spending the whole amount asked for if it were spent solely on keeping the river as an open space, 2497 and for pleasure purposes, apart from anything else. It is one of our greatest inland waterways and for all these reasons I appeal to the House to allow this Bill to go to a Committee where these differences may be thrashed out, and not to reject the claims of one of the finest waterways in the whole country.
§ Mr. GILBERT
With regard to the appeal made by the Minister of Transport, may I say that I accept his proposal about the watermen? We shall be pleased to meet them, and we shall be pleased to accept the hon. Gentleman as Chairman of any Committee.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir PHILIP RICHARDSON
There is a very salutary rule in this House against repetition by a Member, and I think it would be a much more salutary rule if Members were not allowed to repeat that which has gone before in the Debate. I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes. There is an objection to Clauses 31 and 32 of this Bill, and in the Fifth Schedule to the Bill five counties are mentioned. I happen to represent one of those counties, and to represent all the places in that county which are detailed there except the first, for which an hon. Member who is present, will, no doubt, speak. On behalf of the districts of Chertsey, West Molesey, and the others, I have been requested by my constituents to oppose this Bill unless some considerable concession is made in respect of Clauses 31 and 32. I have also a petition from the Richmond watermen, and though reference to that would come more properly from the hon. Member for Richmond (Mr. Becker), in case that hon. Member does not happen to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, I may mention that they protest most strongly against the repeal of Section 233 of the Act of 1894 and the inclusion of Clause 50 in the Bill. Brevity is the soul of wit, and I do not propose to detain the House further.
§ Mr. GILLETT
While I think the remarks of the Minister may apply exceedingly well to the speeches of the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Gray) and the hon. and gallant Member for Henley (Captain Terrell), they in no way apply to the views held by my Friends and myself. The Mover and Seconder of the Amendment raised a definite point that the sum being asked for was extravagant 2498 and was not required. I agree with the Minister in what he says about the river. I cannot pretend to share the love which I know he has had for the river for many years, but to a very large extent I hold similar views. What we complain of, however, is that this body is asking for a larger amount than is needed for the work which they propose to carry out. That is our complaint. The Minister of Transport said it might be £800 or £8,000. We are talking of £50,000. That, so far as we understand, is to be imposed on the district over which the Metropolitan Water Board has control for something like 10 or 20 years. I think the House will agree with me that is a matter worth talking about. The amazing thing was that the Member for Southwark Central (Mr. Gilbert), when he replied, never answered the complaints made. We said there was a mistake made by the Commission, that they had muddled capital with maintenance. My hon. Friend never attempted to answer that point. He said also that the actual facts in the Estimates were in excess of the amount required.
§ Mr. GILBERT
I am sure my hon. Friend will allow me to say I did mention the negotiations which had been going on between the Metropolitan Water Board and the conservancy with the object of arriving at an agreed sum, and I was hoping to be able to tell the House that we had agreed on a sum. I regret I am not able to do that. The Metropolitan Water Board is not opposing the Bill on Second Reading.
§ Mr. GILLETT
I have nothing to do with the Water Board; I am looking after the interests of my constituents. The hon. Member gave us a most extraordinary answer, especially coming from a member of the Liberal party, who pride themselves on being the only party in this Chamber who stand for economy. All he said was, "Why did you trouble about £50,000? The expenditure of the Metropolitan Water Board is something over £4,000,000."
§ Mr. GILBERT
I never said anything of the kind. What I said was that any amount that they got reduced from the Water Board grant would not reduce the price of water to the London consumer.
§ Mr. GILLETT
I quite agree, but that is not answering the question. The 2499 point is whether it is to raise £50,000 or £100,000, and the answer in no way met the point. My hon. Friend says that an understanding was given that the charges should be raised. I understand that at the present time the tolls have been rejected, and I am not surprised to find that the increase is 150 per cent. with regard to tolls over the pre-War figure. Then having increased the tolls by 150 per cent. they are asking the Water Board to raise their contribution by 150 per cent. I ask whether any other municipal body to-day has an increase in its expenditure similar to this. That is our case, and that is what we are complaining about. It seems to me that we have had no definite answer to this question to-night, and that is why we are raising our protest. It is on those grounds that my Friends who move this Motion against the Bill, and it is on those lines we are basing our position.
§ Sir HERBERT NIELD
I think the last speaker has entirely missed the mark in so far as the Amendment is to prevent this Bill going further. A Bill of this character in accordance with Parliamentary usage would go to a Committee upstairs to have its details examined. [Interruption.] I can assure my hon. Friend who interrupts that Parliamentary counsel earn their wage and that I cannot assist them by reason of my position in this House. Therefore, do not let us have a gibe at the Parliamentary counsel or the lawyers. What I want to make the House appreciate—and this is a new House—is this, that it is an almost unparalleled thing to stop a Bill of this description going upstairs so that its details can be considered in Committee.
Now let us come to the question that agitates my hon. Friends on this side of the House. I represent the County of Middlesex, which is certainly the most Highly assessed county that borders the river Thames outside the county of London. They have examined this Bill in great detail, and have come to the conclusion that the proposals to charge the riparian parishes are perfectly fair proposals. I want this House to realise that the Schedule to which this penny
§ rate applies has carefully delimited the various urban districts and boroughs which are to be chargeable, and when hon. Members look at the counties which are objecting so strongly, those of us who know anything at all about the river itself will be found to admit that every one of those districts are contiguous to the river in question. My own county is very carefully kept to these riverside areas and to the parishes which immediately adjoin, and it derives benefit. It is supposed that the conservancy confer no benefit on these people, but what would happen to these districts if the towpaths, the banks, and the streams that run into the river were not taken care of in order to preserve the waters? First of all, you would have the land overflowed with water and useless for agricultural purposes. The expenditure of the Thames Conservancy in respect of these up-river districts is very considerable, and therefore it is fair, since the need arises for the money, that they should be put upon terms of paying so small a contribution as this. I am not going to prevent this Bill being divided upon, and therefore I appeal once more, as a person representing a county that is going to pay, that hon. Members should not raise objections, but should let this Bill go upstairs and be considered on its merits in Committee.
§ Mr. GILBERT rose in his place, and claimed to move,
"That the Question be now put," but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. H. MORRISON
In view of the favourable line towards the London case taken by the Government and, I think, the House generally, I ask the leave of the House to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 240; Noes, 61.2503
|Division No. 24.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Ackroyd, T. R.||Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Alstead, R.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Ammon, Charles George|
|Attlee, Major Clement R.||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Paling, W.|
|Baird, Major Rt. Hon. Sir John L.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Baker, W. J.||Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Perry, S. F.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfield)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Barclay, R. Noton||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Pielou, D. P.|
|Barnes, A.||Hillary, A. E.||Potts, John S.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Purcell, A. A.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hobhouse, A. L.||Raffan, P. W.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Raffety, F. W.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hodges, Frank||Raine, W.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hoffman, P. C.||Raynes, W. R.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Bromfield, William||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.)||Remer, J. R.|
|Buchanan, G.||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Buckie, J.||Hudson, J. H.||Ritson, J.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Isaacs, G. A.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Robertson, T. A.|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Jephcott, A. R.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Chapple, Dr. William A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Clarke, A.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Savery, S. S.|
|Climie, R.||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Scurr, John|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sexton, James|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Sherwood, George Henry|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Collins, Patrick (Walsall)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (pontypridd)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Comyns-Carr, A. S.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cope, Major William||Kay, Sir R. Newbald||Snell, Harry|
|Costello, L. W. J.||Kedward, R. M.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Kennedy, T.||Spence, R.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Spero, Dr. G. E.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, D.||Spoor, B. G.|
|Dickson, T.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Dukes, C.||Laverack, F. J.||Stewart, Maj. R. S. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Duncan, C.||Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Dunn, J. Freeman||Lawson, John James||Sullivan, J.|
|Ednam, Viscount||Leach, W.||Sunlight, J.|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern)||Lee, F.||Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Egan, W. H.||Lindley, F. W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Darby)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Lorimer, H. D.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Finney, V. H.||Lumley, L. R.||Thompson, piers G. (Torquay)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Lunn, William||Toole, J.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||McCrae, Sir George||Tout, W. J.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Turner, Ben|
|Gavan-Duffy, Thomas||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Varley, Frank B.|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Macfadyen, E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Mackinder, W.||Waddington, R.|
|Gillett, George M.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Gosling, Harry||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Ward, G. (Leicester, Bosworth)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Warne, G. H.|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||March, S.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|GreeNall, T.||Marley, James||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Weir, L. M.|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Grenfell, D. B. (Glamorgan)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Westwood, J.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James||Whiteley, W.|
|Groves, T.||Mills, J. E.||WigNall, James|
|Grundy, T. W.||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Williams, Lt.-Col. T. S. B. (Kennington)|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Montague, Frederick||Williams, Maj. A. S. (Kent, Sevenoaks)|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Windsor, Walter|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Murray, Robert||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Harris, John (Hackney, North)||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Harris, Percy A.||Naylor, T. E.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Harvey, C. M. B. (Aberd'n & Kincardne)||Nesbitt, Robert C.||Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury)||Nixon, H.|
|Haycock, A. W.||Oliver, George Harold||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hayday, Arthur||Owen, Major G.||Mr. Gilbert and Sir Herbert Nield.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bonwick, A.||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. H. (Prtsmth. S.)|
|Becker, Harry||Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby)||Clayton, G. C.|
|Black, J. W.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Darbishire, C. W.|
|Duckworth, John||M'Entee, V. L.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Maden, H.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mansel, Sir Courtenay||Stranger, Innes Harold|
|Foot, Isaac||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Meller, R. J.||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Morse, W. E.||Tattersall, J. L.|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Murrell, Frank||Thornton, Maxwell R.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Wells, S. R.|
|Hastings, Somerville (Reading)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||White, H. G. (Birkenhead. E.)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Penny, Frederick George||Willison, H.|
|Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton)||Philipson, Mabel||Woodwark, Lieut-Colonel G. G.|
|Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Phillipps, Vivian||Wragg, Herbert|
|Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W. Derby)||Rathbone, Hugh R.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Keens, T.||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Lessing, E.||Rea, W. Russell||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Linfield, F. C.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Captain Terrell and Mr. F. Gray.|
|Loverseed, J. F.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed.
§ Mr. BECKER The following Instruction stood on the Order Paper in the name of
That it be an Instruction to the Committee upon the Bill that they do divide the Bill into two parts and do report Parts V and VI and any relative Schedules, separately, to the House after such inquiry thereon as may seem to them expedient.
§ Mr. BECKER
On a point of Order. If the objection be persisted in, does it mean that the Instruction cannot possibly be voted upon at all?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Yes, unless the hon. Gentleman can persuade the Chairman of Ways and Means to put it down for another evening.