HC Deb 07 August 1925 vol 187 cc1759-61

Amendment proposed: In page 41, line 22, at the end insert the words: 9. For a subvention in aid of wages in the coalmining industry … £10,000,000." —[Mr. Guinness.]


Am I in Order at this point in drawing attention to the misdescription of the purpose for which this £10,000,000 is asked. The description is for n subvention in aid of wages in the coalmining industry … £10,000,000. It is notorious to every Member of the Committee—

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. James Hope)

That is not in Order. This has been passed in Committee of Supply and it might well have been argued yesterday that it was a misdescription, but under the Appropriation Bill the consideration of the matter referred to by the hon. Member cannot arise.


It was argued yesterday. Objection was taken by the Leader of the Opposition and by other Members to this description and this is the first time that we have had a definite opportunity of challenging these words.


It has been ruled over and over again that in Committee on the Appropriation Bill we cannot go into matters which are appropriate to Committee of Supply. This Vote of £10,000,000 was passed yesterday and the Report of it, I understand, was passed to-day, and it was passed as a subvention of £10,000,000 for the coalmining in- dustry. The only question that can possibly arise now is whether £10,000,000 is a misprint and whether it should not be £11,000,000 or £9,000,000. That could be argued by the hon. Member but as the Vote has been passed by Committee of Supply the matter cannot be argued again now.


With great respect, may I draw attention to the fact that we are not opposing the phraseology "for the coalmining industry." What we are objecting to are the words "in aid of wages."


The Vote was passed yesterday under that description and therefore the matter cannot be argued now.

Captain BENN

Would it be in Order to ask what Department is going to administer this money? By what machinery will it be done or under what control? Surely we are entitled to know this.


Those things were perfectly relevant on the Report stage of the Resolution, but they are not appropriate on the Appropriation Bill.


If on any other occasion a sum of money is voted in this House and the description of the purpose for which it is voted is found afterwards by common consent and not disputed by any party to be inaccurate, would it not be possible then for this House to amend the description?


Not on the Appropriation Bill. I have some knowledge of the procedure on the Appropriation Bill because the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and I repeatedly attempted discussion in the Committee but we were unable to get very far.


Under this form of words would it be possible for any part of the money to be attributed to profit?


This is only a recital of what was done in Committee of Supply and Report of Supply.


If this House passes this Schedule B with the £10,000,000 described as "a subvention in aid of wages in the coalmining industry" and it is subsequently discovered that any part of this £10,000,000 has been given as a subvention to profits, will this House have any remedy against the Treasury or the Chancellor of the Exchequer?


The matter will come before the Public Accounts Committee, which will make its Reports.


Will it be possible to raise the question on the Third Reading of the Bill?


Yes, certainly.

Question, "That those words be there inserted" put, and agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 41, line 24. leave out "£3,141,228" and insert instead thereof "£13,141,228."— [Mr. Guinness.]

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Schedules agreed to.

Bill reported: as amended, considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Bill be now read the Third time."