§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. JAMES HOPE in the Chair.]
§ CLAUSE 1.—(Customs duties on goods in Schedule.)
§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Amendment on the Paper standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden)—in page 1, line 15, at the beginning, to insert the words "Subject to the provisions of this Act"—is unnecessary. I imagine it was put down to make clear the next Amendment which is in order.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I beg to move, in page 1, line 15, to leave out the words "five years," and to insert instead thereof the words "twelve months."
The object of this Amendment is to curtail the period during which this Bill will operate. Our reasons for making this proposal were fully set forth in Committee of Ways and Means and on the Report stage, and the points I shall put to-day must of necessity cover somewhat the same ground, but I shall repeat some of them because we have not received, if I may say so, any adequate answer to our argument. If these duties run for five years, it means that they must overlap and extend to a period when it is probable that the present Government wild have passed away. In that case we should be obliged to operate these duties under circumstances quite unknown to is, and during a time when the conditions under which those duties were imposed may have totally changed. I am bound to go back to the reasons which the Government gave in order to justify the adoption of these duties. The first reason is that it is hoped that they will create in these particular industries a little more employment than there is at the present moment. There is no question about the genuine desire of the House to see a greater degree of employment, and we cannot be accused of not having the interests of the unemployed at heart because we are opposing these duties. The next reason urged in sup- 1006 port of these duties is unprecedented competition. But such competition may have completely changed in 18 months' time. In respect of gloves we have seen a most amazing rise in the importation of Italian gloves, and I am informed that it is just as likely to fall off with similar rapidity, and we may find entirely new conditions very shortly which would not justify the prolongation of these duties. In the case of cutlery, when the duty has operated for about 18 months, it is very likely that we shall find that the cheapest cutlery would go into markets abroad instead of coming here, and then we should simply have altered the channel of the trade without making any progress at home.
As for gas mantles, we shall probably find better ways of producing cerium and thorium, and then the necessity of imposing a duty on gas mantles would disappear. Not only may there be some great change in imports but also in the conditions of labour in Continental countries. There is no reason whatever for imposing these duties on articles which come mainly from the United States of America. Nothing has been said about the depreciation of currency in the United States because, as a matter of fact, that currency remains as good as in any part of the world. Nothing can be said against the conditions of labour in America, and in Continental countries there is also likely to be a considerable development in the direction of reaching the standards we have set rather than those conditions being lowered. We have seen this going on already but I think we shall see it accelerated under the International Labour Office which must have a great influence eventually in raising the standard of labour on the Continent of Europe. If changes take place in that direction, then the second economic reason put forward for imposing these duties will disappear in about 18 months, or at any rate, at a much shorter period than five years.
The only other reason for the duties is that the depreciated currency gives foreign manufacturers and importers an unfair advantage in this country. May I point out that those currencies have now been put on a more stable and steady basis. The German currency is on a gold basis, and therefore no case can be made out now to object to German imports on 1007 the ground of depreciated currency. I know the Italian currency is heavily depreciated, but the only instances in which this can have any effect is in the category of gloves, and as the Italian exchange becomes more steady, whatever exporting value these duties have now will pass away. For these reasons I move to omit "five years," and to insert "twelve months," and I do this not only on the grounds I have stated, but also on general grounds. By these duties the Government, instead of facilitating the general body of trade, are hampering it, and we ought to try to accelerate the pace of exchange and not impede it. Instead of proposing duties like these the President of the Board of Trade should go round with the oil can instead of adopting these sporadic duties.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir P. Cunliffe-Lister)
This proposal, as my right hon. Friend truly observed, has been debated in this House on these duties on more than one occasion. I think it would be true to say that it has been debated at consider- able length on every single day that these proposals have been before the House, whether on the Second Reading of the Bill, or in Committee of Ways and Means, or on Report on the Resolutions. My right hon. Friend has said that he raised this issue on one specific occasion, but that he has never received an adequate answer. By that, he means an answer satisfactory to himself. That, perhaps, is natural, because our object is to pass these duties and to make them work, and his object, quite avowedly, is to prevent thorn passing, and, if he cannot do that, to make them unworkable. Our points of view being diametrically opposite, the way we set to work to achieve our respective objects is somewhat different. Frankly, I think he would be the first to admit I could do nothing better to stultify and negative all that we seek to obtain by these duties than to accept this Amendment. My right hon. Friend said that before five years are over this Government may be out of office. Well, we will wait and see, but, if we are, then it will be quite open to him, or to other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, or to a combination or coalition of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, if they take 1008 our place, to repeal these duties in the ordinary way and by the proper method of a new Finance Bill when that time comes. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not a. Finance Bill!"] I should say a Bill to prevent industries having any reasonable chance. The hon. and gallant Member, perhaps, would call it a Destruction of Industries Bill. When that time comes, he will be able to do whatever he thinks right. But, until that time comes, we propose to do what we think is most reasonable and to take the most satisfactory way of achieving our object. There could not be anything worse than to put on a duty, if you are to have a duty, for a year or 18 months. You would simply make permanent a feeling of insecurity. You would not really advantage the extreme Free Trade point of view, and you would do no good to the industry itself. If you are going to have these duties at all, then the proper course is to impose them for such a period of time as will give the industry a reasonable security, security against imports coming in under unfair conditions, and security for putting its house in order. That was recognised even by the Liberal party when they were passing the Safeguarding of Industries Bill.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The Leaders of the Liberal party, and they led a more numerous band when they were urging the safeguarding of industries than they do now. in those days, the period which they took was one of five years and not a year or 18 months. Therefore, I must reject this proposal on the ground that it would make the worst of both worlds. The right hon. Gentleman has said that we ought to agree to a period of one year or 18 months, because within that time other countries will come up to our level. I wonder if he rightly forecasts the future? Five or six years have passed since the after math of the War, and yet during that time other nations have not come up to our level. I want something much more certain, if he will forgive me for saying so, than the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman that labour conditions and condition? of hours and even conditions of exchange throughout the world are going to be completely satis- 1009 factory and are going to come up to our level within a year or 18 months, whatever Government may be in office at that time. If and when that time arrives, we can consider our position. But we should only be gambling on a grave uncertainty if we based our present action on that, I fear, far too problematical result. His other argument—I do not know whether we are to treat it as his main argument or merely as a subsidiary one—was that in a year or 18 months we should have discovered new and more effective ways of dealing with thorium. Why have we not discovered this in the last ten years? Are we really to gamble on the improbability that, during the next year or 18 months he or somebody else is going to make the discovery? Really this is an Amendment which, I think, is honestly intended to make these duties unworkable. I can understand opposition to the duties, but, if we are going to have them, let us have them for a reasonable time and on a reasonable scale.
§ Mr. HARRIS
If the right hon. Gentleman believes in the soundness of his speeches, he ought to accept this Amendment. The whole basis of the levying of taxes is that they should be for one year, and, before we tie Parliament and the nation to these taxes, we ought to see how they work. Our contention, and the contention of a good many critics, is that these taxes will not prevent goods coming in because the article is produced at such a lower rate than it is produced in this country. It will therefore be a tax on that section of the community who, owing to their poverty, have to buy cheap articles. If, after a year, we find that a considerable revenue is coming in, we may be justified in asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer either to reduce or to abolish the duties. I contend that this is really deceiving manufacturers. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that he cannot tie future Parliaments. Next year or the year afterwards Parliament can annul these taxes. But he certainly suggests to the various manufacturers that they can look for five years' protection. Therefore, this particular wording, as it is in the Bill, is deliberately misleading the public. This House can only bind this Parliament. The next Parliament next year or the 1010 year afterwards always has a free hand either to increase, reduce, or abolish any tax.
Is it in order for an hon. Gentleman opposite to display knives and other lethal instruments in this Chamber?
Are we to take it as a precedent, supposing on some future occasion duties are imposed on other articles?
§ Mr. T. SHAW
Is it in order, where information cannot be got from a Minister, to give him information, and to produce that information in steel form?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is not necessarily out of order, but it would be out of order to bring exhibits into the House for a lethal purpose.
§ Mr. HARRIS
If taxes are imposed on articles of use, we shall inevitably have this Committee made a sort of bazaar and have various articles produced for illustration. We have been free from this sort of procedure, because for the last 50 years we have been a, Free Trade country. Now that attempts are being made to tax this and that article, we shall have examples of this character. I come back, however, to the Amendment, the very simple Amendment, asking the Committee not to attempt to tie future Parliaments, but to limit the tax to one year. The great foundation for this proposal, we have been assured by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—and we are glad to see a representative of the Treasury here gracing these proceedings— the great argument was that these duties were not protective duties, despite what the President of the Board of Trade has said to-day. The President of the Board of Trade has insinuated that we who object to these taxes aim at preventing industry having a reasonable chance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said quite clearly in his very 1011 eloquent speeches that the purpose of these taxes is not to give protection, but only, under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, to secure for the industries in question a certain form of limited competition, first from countries who have depreciated exchange, secondly from cheap labour, and, thirdly, from some exceptional conditions. It is quite clear that within the next 12 months the position of the exchanges may be entirely altered. The working of the Gold Standard has not yet had time to bear fruit. The object of introducing it was to stabilise the exchange rate throughout Europe, and it is not unreasonable to assume, when the Gold Standard has been adopted by so many countries, that within 12 months' time the danger of competition from a depreciated exchange will have disappeared. The President of the Board of Trade dismissed the argument regarding labour conditions in a very few words. He forgets that every day the League of Nations Labour Department is getting stronger and stronger and that with pressure being brought to bear by the League of Nations on the various countries concerned, and particularly on Germany, there is every reason to believe that labour conditions will be generally levelled up to one standard throughout Europe.
With Germany about to join the League of Nations, the effect of that pressure is likely to be very much increased, and we may find that in 12 months' time labour conditions in Germany, as the result of pressure from the League of Nations, may be raised to a proper level comparable with what they are in this country. Then the House will find itself prejudiced by having given an undertaking to the industries concerned that this tariff would not be removed for five years. I do not think that in such circumstances it is fair to the League of Nations that we, who are very prominent members of the International Labour Office—who are doing all they can to bring into being decent labour conditions throughout Germany—should have to say that, although they may have succeeded, we cannot remove these duties, which were specially imposed, as we were led to understand, to raise the labour conditions throughout Europe, because we have pledged ourselves to a period of five years. I say that, according to 1012 the practice of the House of Commons, we should only impose taxes, whether for revenue or for any other purpose, for one year, and that it is a mistake, in the first place, to mislead the public to think that they can be made permanent, and, secondly, to attempt to tie the hands of the House in reference to any form of taxation, for whatever purpose it may be imposed. For these reasons I support the Amendment.
I desire to support the Government in their proposal that the period should be five years. We have heard something, from the right hon. Gentleman who opened this Debate, as to what would happen in five years' time. A great many things may have happened at the end of five years. Many of us have noticed the curious silence which has brooded over the Socialist party to-day. Many of us rather imagined that the Protectionist wing was gradually overcoming the other wing, and that they were becoming the—
Of course, I accept that, but, perhaps, I may be allowed to argue from this point of view, that the main reason why we wish to insert a reasonably long period is not merely to enable the trade in these particular industries to endeavour as far as possible to develop and capture our own markets, which I think could be done quite reasonably within 12 months. Even if, in any of these trades, like that of gas mantles and, more particularly, cutlery, they could capture the home market, they undoubtedly would require, after that, a further period in which to capture the outside markets which we have not got at the present time.
I noticed that the argument was raised just now from the other side that all that these duties would do, in the case of certain cheap lines of cutlery, would be to divert goods which at the present day are coming to us from a given foreign country, to another foreign country—say, for instance, from Germany, whence these goods are coming to-day, to Spain. But if, as I and many of us maintain, we have a reasonably long period to enable our manufacturers to develop their works and industries and capture our own 1013 market, which they will now be able to do under these duties, that will give them additional resources and additional power to manufacture far more cheaply than they can to-day, and, by that extension of manufacture, which will enable them to manufacture more cheaply and in larger bulk, we firmly believe they would be able to go into those foreign markets and capture the foreign trade of those places as well. That is why I hope this Amendment will be rejected. The only difficulty I have in my mind is that I am not at all sure that the period of five years is quite long enough.
§ Sir HENRY SLESSER
I had not intended to take part in this discussion, but the challenge which the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) has thrown out—that we on these benches are not quite as interested as hon. Members below the Gangway— has brought me to my feet—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have not yet had time to appreciate what the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument is.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
My argument is now about to begin; that was merely a preliminary, to explain why I had intervened in this Debate at all. The speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay would, I think, be an excellent argument if these duties were to be introduced as protective duties. If this were Protection, if it were for the purpose of stimulating these industries by protective methods, I could understand it. But the argument constantly put forward by the Government is that it is not a protective duty, but a mere safeguarding of industries for a temporary purpose under temporary conditions. If these conditions be temporary, then it is very important to see what are the conditions under which protection or safeguarding is needed, and, therefore, from that point of view, it becomes extremely relevant to see whether the conditions said to exist at the present time, and to render it necessary that there shall be safeguarding, are such as extend naturally to one year or to five years.
If we look through the conditions laid down in these Reports which have to be 1014 satisfied, we find that in every case there are specific circumstances, which may very well, and probably will, vary from year to year. If, for example, we look at the first condition—whether the applicant industry is an industry of substantial importance—it probably will not be an industry of substantial importance at the end of a year if the Government succeed in carrying these duties. Again, with regard to the second point, whether foreign goods are imported in abnormal quantities, and the third point, with regard to prices being below those at which similar goods are sold in the United Kingdom, and so on, all suggest special and exceptional conditions existing for a limited period. Therefore, the argument of the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay, which was based nakedly and unashamedly on complete, permanent Protection of industry, can have no application to what the Government are putting forward as temporary safeguarding for dealing with temporary circumstances. It is an interesting question, particularly on this point as to the duration of the duties, whether this is being put forward as a Protectionist tariff. If it is, then a case, not only for five years, but for 50 years or 500 years, might be made out; but if the Government are sincere, if the President of the Board of Trade is sincere in saying that this is not a permanent and Protective tariff, then, surely, there is the very strongest argument for limiting the duty to the time during which these conditions exist.
I have not been able to understand, and I have listened to a good deal of this Debate, the principle upon which the whole of this matter proceeds. I can understand its being said that from a particular country a particular emergency arises at a particular time, but the argument appears to be that, if the emergency is from one country, it is then an emergency which comes from the whole world, and we thus arrive at this situation: We have seven or eight conditions which are said to justify a specific form of safeguarding, and we have, if you please, 200 trading countries in the world which might compete with this country under these conditions. Therefore, there are 1,600 conditions, any of which will justify the imposition of a general tariff upon any particular trade. That has been 1015 pointed out over and over again. If that be so, if in any one country out of 200 any one of seven or eight condition exists in the opinion of this Committee, surely, it is not too much to argue that such a condition, that such a set of circumstances, depending upon so temporary and so precarious a thing, should be limited to the normal period for the imposition of a tax, namely, one year?
I conclude where I started, that the argument for five years, which has been put forward by the party opposite, is an argument for complete Protection by these duties, and nothing else. I look upon these committees as a mere farce. I have been amused to hoar in this House hon. Members opposite shout "Order, order!" when we have criticised these committees, as if they were some kind of high judicial bodies, instead of being merely the nominees of the Government themselves, which have already been declared to be merely instituted to produce a certain result. As I understand it, in this House these committees are not sacrosanct. But, if we are to have committees, then I want to know why these committees cannot be permanently kept in being, and why a committee which, this year, may report that the currency in another country is so low that a tariff is justified, should not be given the opportunity next year of saying that the currency is now adjusted. The instance has been given of the stabilisation of the German exchange. It might have been that a year or two ago people would have thought that the French currency was stabilised and normal, but now it is highly abnormal, and so it is absurd to say that temporary and extraordinary conditions such as currency conditions, because they exist to-day, will, therefore, continue to exist for another five years.
I am glad that this Amendment has been moved, although we know what its fate will be, because it has exposed what is really the deceit which underlies the whole of this pretence that this is a safeguarding of industries. If safeguarding is to be a synonyms for Protection, we have no objection, but to pretend that these duties are based on the findings of these particular Committees is really to trifle with the situation. Hon. Members below the Gangway on the Government 1016 side, who are more logical, and may I say, with every respect, more scrupulous in this matter, have not hesitated to welcome these duties as an instalment of a general protective tariff. I hope we shall have an end of this pretending that this is not Protection. It is protection, and nothing else. If Protection be good, this is good, but if it be a question of safeguarding, then I say the argument for keeping it for five years ceases to exist. May I just put my argument in summary? If this is to deal with a special and temporary danger, the protection should not extend beyond the possibility of the danger. If the danger is likely to go over another year, the Committee can be kept in being and can review the matter a year hence. If, on the other hand, this is, as we suspect it to be, merely a pretence for introducing Protection under another name, we can then understand why the right hon. Gentleman and his friends are so anxious to keep this on for five years, and, if they are in office at the end of five years, we feel sure they will then come to the House and propose another five years, and so ad infinitum.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Central Nottingham (Mr. Bennett) is about to leave the House, because, as I said two years ago, I understood he was a devoted re sister of this sort of policy, If he would just bear with me for a moment, I will explain why I think this period of five years should be left out and the shorter period adopted. In my letter-bag on Saturday morning I received, as probably other hon. Members did, a paper of some interest. At first, I thought it was a demand for Protection in one form or another, but I found, on the contrary, that it was from the Gillette Razor Company of America, supported by two very important Sheffield steel-making firms—Messrs. Sanderson Brothers and Newbould. Limited, of Sheffield—
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I was going very closely to connect my argument, and was only making a few remarks in this respect, that, when we passed the original Resolution, this 1017 information was not in our possession, and really, although it only concerns one item of the Schedule, I think it is a, very strong argument indeed why the shorter period should be taken. I venture to press that point upon the President of the Board of Trade, and to ask him whether he has received these important representations. I have no doubt that other hon. Members have seen this paper. I will not quote at large from the very important letter of these two Sheffield firms, but I should like to draw Attention to only one point, and that is as to the tremendous number of razor blades that come from America. It appears that 40,000,000 of these blades from America are sold here, whereas we send enough steel to America to make 280,000,000.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is really a matter of detail on the merits. It would be perfectly appropriate on the Schedule.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Then I will reserve my remarks on this case. I think it of great importance to the Schedule. Meantime, I wish to support the Amendment as strongly as I possibly can. This is admittedly an experiment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his very adroit speech last week, said it was an experiment. He said, "So far and no further." Then why rivet it upon the neck of the country, if it is a failure, for five years? If the President of the Board of Trade and the representatives of the Treasury are satisfied that this is going to be a great success they can bring it before Parliament in the Session after next and pass it through with acclamation. I very much hope that even now better counsels will prevail.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
I want to support the Amendment for one or two specific reasons. First of all, the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) seemed to think that if we limited the term of duty to 12 months there would be an immediate danger of clumping from other countries. That is what I gathered from the line of his argument. At any rate, if that was not his argument to-day it was the argument of the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. S. Roberts) last week on a similar Amendment to the Money Resolution. I should like to draw the Govern- 1018 ment's attention to the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the matter.
I notice that in a very great Free Trade speech at Leicester during the 1923 Election he challenged his Protectionist opponent to discover the record of one single British industry which has been benefited by the McKenna Duties. If that is the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—and I gathered from his very clever and eloquent speech last week that he had not really shed a large part of his Free Trade principles, and really laid down the law to his own side on the matter—I do not think we need have opposition to the Amendment on the ground that dumping is going to ruin any one of the industries which was referred to. Another reason why I support the Amendment is that some of the commodities concerned are Sheffield commodities. I have spoken a good deal about cutlery during the previous Debates with regard to this tariff. I have been to Sheffield over the week-end and have spoken at four meetings, and I have not had a single question raised as to, my position in this House. There was a very large meeting last night, of at least 1,500 people, and practically the whole time was given to the exposition of the case against a tariff on Sheffield cutlery, and there was not a single question from any member of the audience. My own inquiries during the week-end only confirmed me in my previous views that they are more alarmed at the prospect of a tariff on cutlery than overjoyed, as some Members opposite seem to think. You, Sir, have for the time being requested that the question of strip steel for America should be left to the Debate on the Schedule, but I think there is one point we ought to refer to on this Amendment. There is a very distinct fear on the part of those who are manufacturing steel for export for making up into razor blades that the operation of this duty will seriously injure their business.
§ The CHAIRMAN
A matter of detail like this, unless it can be shown to have a direct bearing on the duration of the duties, should really come on the Schedule rather than here.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I also submit that it has a very direct bearing on this Amendment. In view of the facts which have been given, in view of the fears of 1019 the manufacturers in Sheffield, they ought to be allowed an opportunity of having a review of this matter at the end of 12 months. If it is demonstrated at the end of 12 months that it has had a serious effect upon their export of steel, they ought to have a chance to get the matter raised de novo and to get some redress. Because of your desire to have it discussed on the Schedule, I shall not pursue the matter further, but it is a point Which is very strongly held in Sheffield at present by those people who are manufacturing that kind of steel.
One other point only. The President of the Board of Trade replied to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) with regard to his remarks on thorium and cereum. If it is absolutely essential that there should be a tariff in respect of thorium and cereum, because of the possible danger to the country in the even of military strife, this is not, in our judgment, the best way in which to make provision against that danger. It may be too late to persuade the Government at the moment to adopt another policy, but we think you should limit the period of the operation of the duty so that you may consider in the meantime whether a proper means of providing for national safety in the matter should not be a subsidy rather than a protective tariff, because it is obviously most unfair that the poorest people in the country should be charged a flat rate duty upon their gas mantles in order to provide for the general safety of the country with regard to the use of thorium and cereum. From that point of view, though I despair of persuading the President of the Board of Trade to change his policy on the matter at the moment, we ask that the duties should be limited to a period of 12 months, and that they should consider in the meantime that if they have to provide for national safety they should do it by means of subsidy and not by taxing the poorest people in the country. For these and many other reasons I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. MORRIS
We have heard very little of the interest of the consumer in these new duties, and if anyone is really interested in them it is the consumer. The proposal of the Bill is to practically mulct him in a fine by way of additional 1020 costs for five years. That fine is imposed upon him, first of all by a committee before which he is not entitled to appear. He is the one person who is practically excluded from giving evidence, and yet he is the one person who is mainly concerned with the operation of the duty. In addition to the reasons which have already been given for limiting this period to one year, I support the Amendment because the duty is placed on shoulders that can ill afford to bear it and the consumer, who is called upon to bear the brunt of the duty, is not entitled to give evidence before any committee appointed by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Major CRAWFURD
I rise for the purpose of making an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. I am perfectly sure he has earned a reputation for being adamant, because he has continually rejected every appeal made from this side of the House. But I think he can accept this without in any way giving up the proposals he is urging the Committee to pass. I ask him whether he will not make some attempt to meet us on this Amendment which we regard not as in any way affecting our hostility to these proposals but as being likely to mitigate the hardship arising from them if, as we fear, there will be hardship. So far as I know, only one argument has been used for imposing this duty for a period of five years instead of annually.
The tea and tobacco duties affect very large trades. They are renewed annually, and this House always keeps its control of them year by year. I do not think it can be seriously argued that the large commercial and manufacturing interests who are concerned with these two products really suffer because the tax is renewed or occasionally altered year by year. The only serious argument which has been advanced in favour of the course the Government is taking is the argument of continuity—that the traders and manufacturers know that for a certain time conditions will be stable. I sympathise very much with the argument put forward by the hon. and learned Member for South-East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) that if you are going to argue in the sense of the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams), who has now left his place, you are really arguing for Protection and not for this policy known by the now name of Safe- 1021 guarding. Incidentally, perhaps it will not be improper for me to say that we welcome contributions from the back benches on the other side. They have been too infrequent. In fact one of the things we have to complain of is that, in default 0f any reasoned answer from the right hon. Gentleman, we have only been permitted intermittent ejaculations from the back bench Members opposite. At any rate, the hon. and gallant Gentleman did make a speech, and so far as I can understand his speech really was a plea for Protection, and those Members opposite who agree with him will, I hope, support us when we come to a later Amendment to give the Bill its real name.
But apart from that, the argument that has been advanced is the argument of security. It runs something like this: Here are these manufacturers. We are going to help them by moans of this duty. It is no help to them if they are in continual fear that at the end of 12 months the help we give them will be taken away from them, and I admit that that may he a valid argument. But there is another argument on the other side. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Morris) has just instanced the interest of the consumer. Supposing it turns out, as we fear, that these duties will bring hardship to consumers all over the country. Is it not right that that hardship should be reviewed at the end of 12 months, and that the House shall have the opportunity of revoking its decision? Take one example. We have argued again and again, perhaps too often—[Interruption.] May I point out to the hon. Member, who has not made a speech—we should welcome a speech from him—that you have to argue a case again and again if you get no answer, and the case I am going to quote has never been answered from the other side. It is that in the case of cheap goods which come into the country and are sold at a price so low that, compared with the British product, 33⅓ per cent. duty cannot possibly bring them up to the same level of price, they will not be touched by these duties.
The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) gave a very apt illustration of what I mean a few days ago when he said that if a theatre manager found that he could not fill his stalls it would be no 1022 good advising him to raise the price of the gallery. If you cannot help a British industry in certain respects by putting these duties on particular imported goods, and at the same time you are injuring poor people and making them pay more for the less costly articles they buy, surely that is a very good case for being able to review your decision at the end of the year. One of the ejaculations we continually get from back bench Members opposite is that these duties are experimental, and they say to us, "It is obvious that you are afraid of the result." The essence of an experiment is that you can stop the experiment when it begins to be dangerous. There is no answer to the argument that if these things are really experimental the Government or the House should be able from time to time to step in and say that the experiment has gone on long enough. If the results are good, so good that they relieve the conditions which induced the Government to make the experiment, there is no longer any need for the experiment. If, on the other hand, the results of the experiment are harmful, as we believe they will be, there is every reason why the experiment should cease at once. From every point of view, there seems to be no case whatever for keeping on this experiment for five years, and I hope this Amendment will be accepted.
§ Mr. HARDIE
We have had a statement made once more by the President of the Board of Trade that the proposals in regard to gas mantles are of the nature of a war Measure, because thorium and cerium are involved. The proposals are not made mainly for the protection of gas mantle industry, but because they give two elements that will be required in time of war. The Government should have taken a certain amount of control over these raw materials, instead of allowing them to be placed in private hands. They are giving a subsidy, really, to the private owners of these minerals, which subsidy is taken from the poor people who buy gas mantles. The Government are subsidising a monopoly, and not the slightest provision is made for the Government having any control.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Can the hon. Member connect this argument with the question of the duration of the duty?
§ Mr. HARDIE
Yes. On the ground that by restricting the duration we prevent a monopoly having five years in which to build up enormous capital at public expense. If the Government were sincere in regard to this matter, they would say that the Government shall have a share in these minerals which are concerned in the manufacture of gas mantles, and now held by private monopoly at the invitation of the Government. They do not do that, but they subsidise the monopoly out of the halfpennies of the poor who use gas mantles. I hope the President of the Board of Trade will yet see the necessity for the nation, in the national interest, apart from anything else, having a certain holding in these valuable raw materials, instead of giving this subsidy at the expense of the poor gas mantle user.
§ Mr. ALBERY
One hon. Member opposite has said that we on this side look upon these duties somewhat in the light of experiments. That is true. I do not suppose that any better example could be given than the example of the cutlery industry in Sheffield. It is absolutely necessary that these duties should be in force for at least five years so that the experiment may be properly made. The effect will be, I believe, that safety razors will be cheaper in this country. I believe that before the five years are up almost every safety razor sold in this country will be manufactured in this country.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Member means to argue that In the case of all these articles there must be a certain amount of time to develop the scheme, that would be in order; but details on technical matters, such as the safety razor, must wait for their proper place.
§ Mr. ALBERY
I was trying to show that a period of five years was necessary, and I found it easier, and I hoped that I should not be out of order, to give an example instead of speaking generally. I was trying to show that you cannot get a proper experiment or form a proper view about, the effect of these duties unless they run for five years. I was going on to say how it would work if a period of five years was allowed, but that the effect would not be so if the duties were only allowed to run for 12 months. As regards the steel which we export to America, I think we have little to fear. America 1024 does not take our steel to oblige us, but because she needs it for this particular purpose, and will, therefore, doubtless continue to take it.
§ Captain BENN
It is very refreshing to find a defence of some of these duties from the back benches, in default of any defence from the Front Bench. The President of the Board of Trade does not attempt to defend these duties or the period for which he proposes to impose them. He says, "I am in favour of the duty, and you are against it. It is natural, therefore, that you should put down Amendments and that I should resist them." That is the sum total of his argument. Take the question of labour and this period of five years. In some cases labour conditions are worse abroad than at home. The imposition of these duties will not improve labour conditions abroad. The President of the Board of Trade will admit that. Yet ho will not differentiate in his duties between articles which come from countries where high standards prevail and articles which come from countries where low standards prevail.
I can only mention it as a collateral consideration, that the Government is not taking the proper steps to persuade other countries to raise their labour conditions. We were urging that at Question Time to-day, and it must be mentioned in this connection, although it has nothing to do with this Bill. There is no substance in the argument that by this scheme we are doing something to make it easier for our people to fight against sweated conditions. I saw an admirable letter the other day in the "Times" on this subject from the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Sir A. Shirley Benn). The only thing of use to us is to raise the standards abroad. We may dismiss for good the idea that something is being done in these ditties to give our workmen a chance against sweated work.
Why are the same periods to be applicable? Take the question of gloves. I suggest that gloves ought to be taxed in the warm weather, if they are to be taxed at all, and that they ought to be tax free in cold weather. This is the worst possible period to tax gloves. We shall go into the country. I shall certainly go, and say that this Government has put a tax on gloves in the hard winter, and that 1025 that is a great injustice to poor people. That is what I shall say. [An HON. MEMBER: "They will not believe you! "] Whether they believe me or not, it will be true. Why is it necessary to give the same period of experiment for the glove industry as for the cutlery industry? There is nothing necessarily similar in the two cases. Gloves have had a little chance; they got a chance under the old Safeguarding of Industries Act.
When we come to the case of gas mantles, five years is a ludicrous period. I am sure that the President of the Board of Trade is a sturdy patriot. Does he only want to safeguard this country from foreign invasion for five years? He wants us to believe that thorium and cerium— which, in common with everything else, rapacious industry wants to wee protected —are necessary for national defence. If they are necessary for national defence, they are permanently necessary for national defence. There is not the same ground for applying five years protection to thorium and cerium as for applying a five years' period of protection to gloves and cutlery.
The right hon. Gentleman said that one year or 18 months' period is no good. One of his pet arguments was that industries that got a duty under the old Safeguarding of Industries Act flourished greatly thereby. Take the case of motor cars and other things. Those duties were known to be temporary duties. Under the Act of 1921 they were put on only for three years, and many were not put on at the beginning of that period. When they were imposed they were known only to have two years or 18 months to run. Notwithstanding, hon. Members tell us that these duties were working models of what can be done. What is there, therefore, unreasonable in asking that these new duties, which are of the same class, should only be imposed for 18 months as an experiment? The argument on that matter is entirely on our side. The ex-Solicitor-General out right at the root of the matter when he said it is either Protection, in which case it should be permanent, or it is safeguarding, in which case it should be adjusted to the particular needs, both as to character and period, of the particular industry. It must be one or the other.
This is the last of a series of bad legislative Measures we have seen in the last 1026 seven years. First of all, we had Sir Auckland Geddes and his export restrictions—a policy which he kept locked up in a box. Then we had the import and export Regulations. Then we had the Safeguarding of Industries Act. Then we had the Dyestuffs Act, and now we have this thing. There is this feature about them all, that they were all said to be special efforts to do a special job. That being so, a period of five years ia not a suitable period for their duration. The period should be adjusted to the needs of the industries that the duties are supposed to protect.
I am glad to see that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is present. I hope he will find himself more in accord with the President of the Board of Trade than the President of the Board of Trade found himself in accord with his august chief, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in our Debate last week. The President of the Board of Trade characterised as a lie a statement which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made. That was a very unparliamentary and unusual statement. Will the Financial Secretary tell us something about this matter? Can he tell us how much money we shall get from these duties? Surely that is a reasonable request. The President of the Board of Trade, says that we can repeal these duties if we like when we come to office —as we most undoubtedly shall—but that when we repeal them we must do so in a finance Bill. We were, told that he would put on these duties in a Finance Bill, but he said that that was a burden which he could not bear. Therefore. he introduces them in this way. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury might give us some information. He is not allowing the President of the Board of Trade to put taxes on the people without his officials knowing how much the taxes are going to bring in. Will it be a growing revenue or a diminishing revenue in five years? Does he know what the aggregate revenue for the five years will be?
These are questions which certainly deserve an answer from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who is specially attending our debates to-day. Let me ask him another question. His Department is, I believe, in negotiation with the Italian Government for the settlement of the considerable Italian debt to 1027 this country. May I ask him how it is he supposes that the Italians are going to pay that or any other part of their debt, and what financial period does he suggest? The usual period has been 62 years. He would answer that the Italians will pay their debt to us in gloves and other commodities. Why then should he, first of all, make a different period of five years and, secondly, attempt to exclude the articles on which he is going to rely for the payment of this debt? Surely the Board of Trade should not put any obstacles in the way of the payment of foreign debts to us.
§ Captain BENN
Rather than reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman I would prefer to permit him to develop the point more at length later. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury cannot really dismiss this merely by silence. He must do something to tell us what is his idea about the two conflicting views that prevail—one that you must shut out foreign goods, and the other that you must force the foreigner to pay his debts to us. I notice that the Chairman of the Worsted Committee—I think it was the Worsted Committee—was asked the other day whether any rise in the price of the commodity was to be a consideration in the minds of the Committee. I think he said he did regard it as a consideration and that he would not recommend that duty if it would mean a rise in the price. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade will deal with this point. It is one of the questions put to these Committees—a question as to what in their judgment will be the effect of these duties upon the price of the commodity under review. That is a perfectly simple, question and some authoritative announcement on that from Parliament would help the Chairmen of these Committees.
§ Captain BENN
Perhaps it is rather wide. I will abandon the argument in deference to your ruling. Turning now to the German negotiations, I see that 1028 the Rhenish Westphalian Coal Syndicate has definitely threatened to boycott British coal. That is due to two things, partly to this Bill, and partly to the coal subsidy. This is not a trivial or light matter at all. If there be any danger to our coal trade from this twopenny-halfpenny tariff tinkering, I am sure that not a Member of this House would wish anything to be done so the detriment of our coal export trade. I am informed privately that these people are really in earnest. The "Times" on the 10th December had the announcement of the coal syndicate's attempt to boycott British coal. The consequences to this country are very important. All the taxes on cutlery, gloves and gas mantles are not worth our losing such an important trade. It is not a question whether we are morally right. I have no doubt that on this or any other issue we are morally right. What I ask the Committee to consider is whether it is expedient to run the risk of losing this trade for the sake of these trifling duties. I would be obliged if the President of the Board of Trade would deal with the point. It is exciting public interest. It may, of course, be dealt with in silence, but if the Government will not answer we are bound to say that there was no answer they could give to the statement that they themselves are indirectly responsible for this very great harm to British trade.
§ Mr. BASIL PETO
I have been tempted to reply to the argument of the hon. and gallant Member because I remember that in Committee the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman). speaking on a similar Amendment to the Financial Resolution, told us that a period of five years was not long enough, looking at it from the point of view of trade, to do the substantial good which we wish to do and that we ought to have a longer period. We look upon this question mainly from the point of view of the state of employment in this country in the trades dealt with in this Bill. For anybody to come forward and seriously propose that these duties should be imposed only for 12 months, after the experience we have had in one of the main industries included in this Bill—the glove industry —and of the policy of chopping and changing, of putting a duty on and taking 1029 it off and the effects of foreign importation on that trade, seems to me past belief.
I could not believe, when I saw this Amendment on the Paper, that it was going to be seriously argued even from benches opposite. The White Paper shows clearly the effect of chopping and changing in the past and gives a complete answer to the proposal that is now being made that we should impose a duty for twelve months only. In 1922 the imports of fabric gloves were 1,600,000 dozen pairs; the year before they amounted to only 700,000; in 1924 they reached an importation of under the million; this year, in consequence of the anticipation of these duties, the imports have already risen for five months to 1,225,000 dozen pairs. I am informed, with reference to the hon. Member's threat that he was going into the country to tell poor people what a monstrous thing it was to put a tax on gloves in cold weather, that there is a sufficient number of fabric gloves imported from abroad in this country at present to last for two years, yet ho solemnly proposes that we should put on a duty for only twelve months. Why we would not have used half the foreign imports in that time.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Does the hon. Gentleman not see that, these gloves would at once be raised in price in accordance with this duty?
§ Mr. PETO
It would not be in order for me on this Amendment to go into the question of price. I can understand one reason why the hon. Members opposite should want a period of only 12 months. That reason arises from the fact that the operation of a duty of this kind temporarily and in the first instance raises the price. Later the effect of the duty, in limiting to some extent the flood of foreign imports, enables our manufacturers to increase their output and the price will then again be reduced. They want to be able to prove that the duty has put up the price and so to stop the operation of these duties before any benefit to the country can accrue from the cheaper production due to increased output. That is the only real argument I can imagine behind this Amendment. I am sure the Amendment is not seriously meant to help the employment or the 1030 trade of this country, and therefore I am confident that there is no one on this side who will support it.
§ Mr. AUSTIN H0PKINS0N
The hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) stresses rather too much the effect of these duties on the coal export situation. He quite rightly stated that they are only part of the cause of what has happened. I think a little consideration would make it clear to him that the effect of the coal subsidy is likely to be greater than these duties, irritating as they are. As to the question of five years or a lesser period, experience has shown that the chief use of safeguarding has been to enable gentlemen with shares to sell to make promotion safer and to unload on the public. It seems to me that 12 months is ample for this purpose. The public sensation caused by passing the duties in the House of Commons will have evaporated at the end of 12 months. There are people intensely interested in safeguarding who have been notoriously engaged in what is usually called share pushing and promoting. They are people not connected with the production of goods for sale but with the production of pieces of paper with consecutive numbers which, unfortunately, depreciate very rapidly and have to be sold very swiftly or else they become valueless. I suggest that, for the only practical effect which is produced by safeguarding, a 12 months' duty is ample, as the shares in question can be unloaded on to the public by any competent share pushing shark within 12 months.
§ Mr. KELLY
I expected that we should have heard some reply from the Treasury Bench. It is hardly fair to those of us who are concerned with these industries that we should find ourselves faced with a proposal from the Government that this tariff should be imposed for a period of five years while at the same time we have no statement at all from the Treasury Bench.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
May I say that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) in proposing this Amendment, in a speech of great ability, put all the arguments which have since been advanced in successive speeches. To that speech I naturally replied at once, and it is wrong for anyone to say that there has been no reply when I replied to him.
§ Mr. KELLY
Yes, I admit that a statement was made that the duties should go on for five years rather than one year, because five years gives a greater opportunity of testing and judging their advantages. While we have heard something of employment we have had no statement at all, and no endeavour to prove that employment will be advantaged by the imposition of this duty. The imposing of this duty for five years on the trades that produce these particular articles seems to me to be a leap in the dark by the Government who seem to understand nothing of these particular trades. I could quite understand it if they were dealing with an industry where it takes many manufacturers a long time —sometimes over a year—to produce a particular article. I could quite understand their saying in a case like that, that to impose a duty for 12 months on!;, would not give any satisfaction at all and would not give any opportunity of judging.
With the small articles produced in these trades we are asked to go on for a period of five years, and the Government has given us no justification, except
§ the statement that they think five years is better than one year. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto) has said something as to what has taken place before. I do not know whether he is considering the Devonshire glove manufacturers as representatives of glove manufacturers throughout the country, but when quoting from the White Paper, the hon. Gentleman might well have told us why the production of British gloves went down in these same periods. Surely, he ought to have taken note of that when he was reminding us of the importation of a great number of foreign gloves. What does ho expect from these duties? He told us that we had in this country a supply of foreign gloves, the disposal of which would occupy two years. Does he mean, in face of that fact, to tell us that employment is going to be improved in this country by the imposition of this duty?
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 226; Noes, 104.1033
|Division No. 478.]||AYES.||[5.18 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Han George Abraham|
|Albery, Irving James||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Ladywood)||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Applln, Colonel R. V. K.||Chapman, Sir S.||Grace, John|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Christie, J. A.||Grant, J. A.|
|Atkinson, C.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N,|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clarry, Reginald George||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Guinness. Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Barclay-Harvey C. M.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hacking, Captain Dougles H.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)|
|Benn, sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Bentinck. Lord Henry Cavendish-||Cooper, A. Duff||Harland, A.|
|Berry, Sir George||Couper, J. B.||Harrison. G. J. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Blundell, F. N.||Crookshank. Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempsf'd)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Drewe, C.||Herberts, (York, N. R. Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hills, Major John Walter|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Elveden, Viscount||Hoare, Lt-Col. Rt. Hon. sir S. J. G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St Marylebone)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Holt, Capt H. p.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Fermoy, Lord||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney. N.)|
|Burman, J. B.||Fleming, D. P.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Hutchison G.A. Clark (Midi'n & P'bl's)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Fremantle. Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Gates, Percy||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gee, Captain R.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Pennefather, Sir John||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Penny, Frederick George||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Perring, William George||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Lamb, J. O.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W, Mitchell-|
|Loder, J. de V.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Tinne, J. A.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Preston, William||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Price, Major C. W. M.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Lumley, L. R.||Ramsden, E.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Rawson, Alfred Cooper||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Macdonald. Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Remnant, Sir James||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon, Angus||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Macintyre, Ian||Rice, Sir Frederick||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|McLean, Major A.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wells, S. R.|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Ropner, Major L.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Ruggles, Brise, Major E. A.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Rye, F. G.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Manningham, Buller, Sir Mervyn||Salmon, Major L.||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Meller, R. J.||Sandeman, A. Stewart||wise, Sir Fredric|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sandon, Lord||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Savery, S. S.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Shepperson, E. W.||Woodcock, Colonel H, C.|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Skelton, A. N.||Worthington-Evans. Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Murchison, C. K.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Smithers, Waldron|
|Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —|
|Oakley, T.||Spender Clay, Colonel H.||Major Cope and Captain Margesson|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Pease, William Edwin||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Handle, George D.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Harney, E. A.||Scurr, John|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Harris, Percy A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, Walter||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snell, Harry|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Broad. F. A.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Brown, Maj. D.C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Jones, J. J, (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Thurtle, E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Townend, A. E.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lansbury, George||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawson, John James||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies. Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lee, F.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Livingstone, A. M.||Warne, G. H.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lowth, T.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||MacLaren, Andrew||Weir, L. M.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon, James I.||Westwood, J.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Montague, Frederick||Whiteley, W.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morris, R. H.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Gosling, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Pothick-Lawrence, F. W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Purcell, A. A.|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Ritson, J.||Sir Godfrey Collins and Major|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||Crawfurd.|
§ Captain BENN
I beg to move, in page 1, line 15, to leave out the words "commencement of this Act," and to insert 1034 instead thereof the words "first day of January, nineteen hundred and twenty-six."
1035 This Amendment is moved in the interest of those who are engaged in dealing with these imported gloves, and is specially designed in the interests of the Christmas trade. This is a time of the year when trade requires to know in what situation it is to find itself. In view of the fact that the Amendment deals with a rather narrow and small and technical point, I content myself with moving it formally.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Ronald McNeill)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has described his Amendment as a very modest one, and he has moved it in a. very modest way. I am not surprised that the right hon. Gentleman whose name appears first amongst those attached to the Amendment should shrink from the duty of moving it. I see that six members of the Liberal party, practically the whole of the Liberal party, have attached their names to the Amendment, in order, so far as I can see, merely to make an alteration of a week or 10 days in the period when this duty comes into operation. The curious thing is that the Amendment is inconsistent with the last Amendment over which the same hon. Members spent so much time. By the last Amendment they sought to cut down the period from five years to 12 months, and they now want to make it 12 months and one week. If the Royal Assent should be given to this Bill next week, as I hope it will, the effect of this Amendment would be to postpone the Act coming into operation until the 1st January, and, consequently, the 12 months would date from 1st January.
§ Captain BENN
The right hon. Gentleman is doing an injustice to a small Amendment. The Amendment leaves the five years period untouched. All that it suggests is a different period for the commencement of the duty.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I am well aware of that fact, but when the hon. and gallant Member put down this Amendment on the Paper, he did not know that the previous Amendment would be defeated. However, I am perfectly willing to admit that the point I am making is almost as insignificant as the Amendment. I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that no inconvenience whatever will be 1036 caused in connection with these duties by allowing them to come into operation as is proposed in the Bill. Having regard to that fact, I hope that under the guidance and leadership of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman)—in the absence of their real leader—he will be wise enough not to put the Committee to the trouble of dividing on this Amendment.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The subject is a small one, but I cannot allow the courtesy of the right hon. Gentleman to pass without due acknowledgment. The whole point of the Amendment is its relation to goods in transit, and the question is whether goods in transit are to come under the new duties or not? The right hon. Gentleman has given us no reply on that subject. He has indulged in some very good-humoured chaff, and I congratulate him on his return to his debating form. But neither he nor anyone else on the Treasury "Bench has given any reason why goods now in transit should come under the duties which are to be imposed, and, while it may be a small point, I ask the President of the Board of Trade if he would kindly let us know what he proposes to do in this matter?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I can certainly answer that question. Ample notice has been given of the coming into force of these duties. Apart from the introduction of this Bill, notices were given of the holding of the inquiries, and I fail to see why we should not bring the duties into force as from the passing of the Act.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
It is ridiculous to suggest that traders had notice of the inquiries. We do not know-how many trades have made applications. It is common knowledge to those acquainted with industry that orders are placed months and even years ahead, and certainly 12 months ahead for the Christmas trade. The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams), if he will cast his mind back, may remember that if one wants a Christmas toy of a new type it is often necessary to give six months' notice.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
The President of the Board of Trade displayed a lack of knowledge of the practice in trade, and I think this is far from being a ridiculous Amendment. I am sure the House is pleased to see the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury recovering his fighting form; perhaps we may see a few books being thrown across the Table if the right hon. Gentleman develops on those lines.
§ Mr. J. JONES
This seems to be a quarrel among the forty thieves as to who is going to get the best results from new duties—those who import or those who export. German toys do not trouble me, nor do German principles. We want to know what is to be the result of the policy which is to be pursued, if you are going to put a tax on dogs—I hope not on dirty dogs, otherwise Members of the House of Commons may find themselves severely mulct.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I hope the hon. Member will address himself to the argument for or against the insertion of the words " first day of January nineteen hundred and twenty-six."
§ Mr. JONES
I suggest the first of April. Dog skins or rabbit skins do not matter a great deal to us. Most of our people have not the opportunity of enjoying them. Now that people are going in for Russian boots I suggest that if you want taxation you should put it in the right place, and let those pay who can afford, and let those who cannot afford luxuries go without them. This is a quarrel between those who have and those who have not. Your Free Trade and Tariff Reform quarrel looks to us very much like—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I will not say whether this might not be relevant to a Third Reading Debate, but it cannot be relevant here.
§ made from old principles causing interference with trade, those who are to be interfered with have the right to know where they are and they should have time in which to make their arrangements. It is all very well to say that sufficient notice has been given because the inquiries have been going on and because this Bill has been introduced, but it is audacious for a Minister to think that because he has introduced a Bill, therefore that Bill must necessarily pass without any amendment whatever.
§ Traders have a right to be considered, and it is reasonable for them to expect that the logic of the case against these duties might prevail even against the serried ranks of the voting Members on the other side. Every business man has to place orders a long way in advance and arrangements have to be made for the packing and transit of the goods. If hon. Members opposite are going to have their own way in this matter they should play the game fairly, and let those who have already under taken commitments in connection with the Christmas market dispose of the consignments which they have ordered. It is a bad principle to bring such a Measure as this into force in a manner which interferes with commerce. I suppose the next step will be to make such Measures retrospective, and to claim duties on goods which have been purchased for redisposal at a time when there was no duty. In effect that is what the Government are doing by bringing this Measure into operation in this way. They are imposing duties on goods purchased at a time when the purchasers had a right to consider them entirely free from duty. It is without moral justification to do a grievous monetary wrong, even by Act. of Parliament to individuals, and this is taking money out of the pockets of certain individuals to put it into the pockets of others.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 228; Noes, 106.1041
|Division No. 479.]||AYES.||[5.40 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Atkinson, C.||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish.|
|Albery, Irving James||Bldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Berry, Sir George|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Betterton, Henry B|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Birchall, Major J. Dearman|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Benn, sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Blades, Sir George Rowland|
|Blundell, F. N.||Gunston, Captain D. W,||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pease, William Edwin|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hanbury, C.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harland, A.||Perring, William George|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harrison, G. J. C.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hartington, Marquess of||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Haslam, Henry C.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hawke, John Anthony||Preston, William|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Ramsden, E.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Henderson, Lieut. Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Reld, D. D. (County Down)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Burman, J. B.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hills, Major John Walter||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth. S.)||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rye, F. G.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Chapman Sir S.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Savery, S. S.|
|Christle J. A.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jacob, A. E.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jephcott, A. R.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).||Smithers, Waldron|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cooper, A. Dull||Knox, Sir Alfred||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Couper, J. B.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Loder, J. de V.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Looker, Herbert William||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lumley, L. R.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempsf'd)||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dean, Arthur Wellasley||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. p.|
|Drewe, C.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Macintyre, Ian||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Elvedon, Viscount||McLean, Major A.||Waterhouse Captain Charles|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset Weston-s.-M.)||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Macquisten, F. A.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wells, S. R.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G||Malone, Major P. B.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Falle Sir Bertram G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Margesson, Captain D.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Fleming D. P.||Meller, R. J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Forestier Walker, Sir L.||Meyer, Sir Frank||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Ganzoni Sir John||Mitchell, .W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Gates, Percy||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Gee Captain R.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Gibbs, Col Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Glyn Major R. G. C.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Grace, John||Murchison, C. K.|
|Grant, J. A.||Nelson, Sir Frank||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Oakley, T.||Major Cope|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Crawfurd, H. E.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Dalton, Hugh|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Broad, F. A.||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Brown, Maj. D.C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Baker, Walter||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Day, Colonel Harry|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Buchanan, G.||Dennison, R.|
|Barnes, A.||Cluse, W. S.||Dunnico, H.|
|Barr, J.||Cove, W. G.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lansbury, George||Snell, Harry|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lawson, John James||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Lee, F.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Livingstone, A. M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Gosling, Harry||Lowth, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Lunn, William||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Grenfell, D. R (Glamorgan)||MacLaren, Andrew||Thurtle, E.|
|Groves, T.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Townend, A. E.|
|Grundy, T. W.||March, S.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Guest, J. (York, Hems worth)||Montague, Frederick||Viant, S. P.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wallhead, Richard C|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Oliver, George Harold||Warne, G. H.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Paling, W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hardle, George D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Harney, E. A.||Potts, John S.||Weir, L. M.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Purcell, A. A.||Westwood, J.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Whiteley, W.|
|Hayes. John Henry||Riley, Ben||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Ritson, J.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Windsor, Walter|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Scurr, John||Wright, W.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES —|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Sir Godfrey Collins and Mr.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Morris.|
|Kennedy, T.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided that any such duty shall cease to be chargeable at any date prior to the expiration of the period of five years upon a Resolution to that, effect being passed by the Commons House of Parliament.This is to provide that these duties can cease to be chargeable upon a Resolution to that effect being passed by this House. We are moving into a new period with regard to financial legislation. Formerly there was quite a fixed time at which we might expect, to have to discuss the Budget, but we are now going to have these Budgets and Finance Bills introduced all the year round, from January to December, and we shall never properly be free from having some Finance Bill dealing with some important industry, such as those we have here, safety razor blades, or something of that sort, and it is only right that the House should have an opportunity as frequently of reviewing and repealing these Financial Resolutions. I take it this new conception of having a Budget scattered about through the year in separate Bills is due to the well-known strategy of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on another field, in which he likes to have his troops scattered about the world in little packets.
It is important that we should consider what opportunity the House will Rave of reviewing this legislation. The Committee has now decided that these duties are to last for five years, in face of the 1042 fact that we have had extraordinarily little evidence of their effect or of their need or of the conditions of the industries with which this Bill is concerned. We had those delightful-little white brochures, which told us singularly little about these industries; we had a valuable contribution from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that told us even less; we had an admirable speech by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, who told us that that was that; and we had several speeches from the President of the Board of Trade, but we are still quite in the dark as to the position of these industries. The first point I would make is this; We have certain fixed amounts put in this Bill. Take the 33⅓ per cent. on cutlery. That duty is to cover a very large number of articles, and it is for the benefit of a very large number of firms in that industry. But we have had no figures at all to tell us how the 33⅓ per cent. is arrived at, and we want, in the experience we shall have of this Measure in the next five years, to watch and see whether this amount is not really too much as regards particular articles or a particular trade, or, it may be, that it is even too little in some cases. We want to watch out very carefully, as everyone who has studied tariff legislation in other countries will know, for profiteering. The 33⅓ per cent. is placed on a great variety of articles, and in some cases it may lead to gross profiteering, so that this House should Be able to step in with a Resolution and stop that.
1043 Again, a quite different effect may occur. Hon. Members may find that while they thought they were reviving a dying industry, they have actually killed it. It is quite possible that some entirely new substitute for gloves may come in, owing to the raising of prices under this Bill, and you may actually have the makers of fabric and leather gloves coming and petitioning for the duty to be taken off because they find that their trade has been smashed owing to the introduction of gloves made in an entirely different way. Take gas mantles. You may have the gas mantle industry praying to have the duty taken off because they find it has given such a stimulus to the electric lighting industry. I see that knife sharpeners are here, but only those that are made of steel. It may be that people will turn to knife sharpeners made of stone, and we may have this trade coming and saying: " Take away your gift: it is destroying our trade.' Those are all reasons why this House should reserve to itself in a handy form a possibility by means of a mere Resolution of causing these duties to be dropped.
There are other considerations of rather more importance and rather wider application. As far as I can see, the only reason put forward for these duties has been the difference between wages in this country and certain other countries. We have had no evidence of it, and there was a most extraordinarily vague statement in the The port of the Committee, as admitted in the "Times," which is not particularly hostile to the party opposite, but that is what it is based on. I am hoping to see wages rising all over the world; I am hoping, in those countries where wages are lower than ours, to see them coming up to our standard, and when that has been done the whole basis of this Bill, the unfair competition, will have passed away. Therefore, this 33⅖ per cent., instead of being a protection against unfair competition, will be a mere subsidy to the industry, not only at home, but all over the world, to enable them to put up the price of cutlery against the people of this country. Therefore, we want to be able at any time to bring these duties to an end. There is another point—one that is glanced at in some of these White Papers—that is, the different monetary standards in different countries. We all 1044 know that exchanges are extremely fluctuating—look at the position of the franc at the present time, compared with a few months ago—and we do not know from time to time what changes may not be taking place, which may entirely reverse the position between this country and its competitors. The legislation that we are passing here is being put down quite definitely, with definite figures, for a fixed period, and this suggested Resolution will enable this House to keep its hands on the whole subject and to make alterations wherever they are necessary.
I do not see that there is any real objection whatever to this provision. It will be said, of course: " Oh, no, people in these trades must have absolute assurance that for five years they will get the duty." But you cannot give them that assurance. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade may think they are going to stay in for five years, but it is quite possible that they will not, and they really cannot ensure that these duties will continue, but it is quite possible even for hon. Members opposite to change their minds. They are not all models of consistency. You have the Chancellor of the Exchequer. You never know quite where you have him, and it just depends on the date as to what particular opinion he puts forward, and it is quite possible that his corrupting example may affect the President of the Board of Trade, and turn him into a Free Trader in a year or so. It is possible he may convert his party. It is possible he may even have gone over to that party in a secret conspiracy to lead them all into the Free Trade camp. Supposing that happens, no doubt other hon. Members will be pressing on with various proposals, and they will want some simple method like this in order hurriedly to cover up their past indiscretions before they learned political economy at the feet of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
We are, therefore putting down this Amendment, which will not impair the essential security of the trades concerned It will give the House of Commons control over this Bill, and I would emphasize that it is admitted on all sides that this legislation is experimental. It is an experiment upon which we have had to embark, from this side of the House, at all events, with practically no informa- 1045 tion. We have had no information from the Ministers in Debate. We were reinforced just now by a heavy gun to support his colleagues of the Board of Trade, but it has not fired very loudly at present. It merely fired a little blank at the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn), but I am hoping that it is coming in with great effect directly, and I hope it will be charged with something other than mere explosive material and hot air. I hope we shall have some facts and some arguments.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The question before the Committee is whether any repeal of this duty shall be done by the method of Resolution.
§ 6.0. P.M.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The point I am making is that it is very necessary that we should have this method of Resolution, because a Resolution is swifter in its effect than a Bill. If this were well thought out legislation, founded on a large amount of evidence, it might be quite right to trust to the possibility of getting a Bill through an ordinary Session. But we all know how crowded the Session becomes, and how difficult it is to get a Bill through, and the great lack of information in these White Papers, and from the bench opposite, absolutely necessitates this method of a Resolution, in order that the House may have time to deal with the mistakes it has been pushed into by this extremely hasty legislation.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I beg to support this Amendment, and to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that if he does not accept it, the time may come when he will regret it for two reasons. First of all, the results of these duties may prove to be so disastrous in the industries they affect, that the Government may be very glad to have a short and 3asy way to get out of them, particularly if a General Election happens to be imminent. The President of the Board of Trade will then find that a committee of three, however able, will prove very insufficient cover against the attacks in the country. But I urge this for a stronger reason. The House of Commons has been asked to impose these duties on the strength, not of a comprehensive industrial inquiry, but on the ipse dixit 1046 of three unknown persons, in whom the public has no confidence whatever. It is really farcical the way we are discussing this Bill, because the moment these three gentlemen were appointed, knowing their views, these duties were as good as imposed, and if we are to impose these duties merely because three unknown and inexperienced people, not even belonging to the industries concerned, say so, it is very little to ask that the House of Commons may by Resolution rescind these duties. I hope the President of the Board of Trade, who, I believe, regards himself as a good House of Commons-man, will show his faith in the House of Commons by accepting this Amendment.
§ Mr. GILLETT
I wish to support this Amendment, and especially to accentuate the point which the hon. Member has just' mentioned as to the very unsatisfactory reports which have been presented with regard to these duties. Although this matter has been mentioned before, I think it is very important that it should be distinctly understood by hon. Members that many of us feel exceedingly dissatisfied with the kind of reports brought up as recommendations for introducing these duties, all the more so in view of the fact that the President of the Board of Trade still refuses to allow us to see the evidence on which these unknown ladies and gentlemen have come to their conclusions. There is also this other point, which, really, is one that is changing all the time. The reason that is given for these duties in many cases is the state of the exchanges of other countries. At the present time we are watching the effect upon France, which is one of the countries concerned in one of these industries. There may come a. time when an opportunity should be given to the House, which has been compelled to pass these proposals on the unsatisfactory reports before them, of reconsidering them.
There is one other matter that my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment did not mention. Perhaps the most important of all the reasons why I object to the imposition of these duties is their effect upon foreign policy. I have remarked before on the effect in Germany, and I am still further strengthened in my reasons by the fact that only a day or two ago the correspondent of the " Economist," writing from Germany, 1047 said that the imposition of these duties Is being resented in Germany, and that they are proposing to legislate against us. Therefore, it does seem to me one reason why at any time it ought to be possible for this House to express an opinion upon duties of this kind if our relationship with other countries is going to be affected by them. We have been trying to create a better relationship between Germany and England. At the same time that that attempt is being made by one of His Majesty's Ministers, another of His Majesty's Ministers appears to be doing his best to counteract the effect of that attempt. On these grounds, the House ought to be able to claim, if it so desire, the right to review these proposals, at any rate within a certain period before the five years come to an end.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I do not propose on this very narrow Amendment to go over again the ground traversed many times in these Debates, or to deal with the crticism that you are necessarily hostile to other countries because you take the view that you must stand up sometimes for the industries of your own country, more particularly when that is conceded not only in general but in precise terms in the Treaty. The hon. and gallant Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones) made a most improper charge against the members constitutiug the committee. I do not in the least mind what is said about me, but it is not fair in this HOUSE for hon. Members to cast aspersions on men and women well known—
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I rather resent the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, because they are without foundation. I cast no aspersion whatever on the committee: I should not think of doing so.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I am within the recollection of the Committee. The hon. and gallant Member said that they were appointed because it was known what they were going to say, and that they were entirely unknown people.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I really hope the right hon. Gentleman, if he thinks I said that, will accept my assurance that I did not intend it. I think it is a travesty 1048 of what I said, or, at any rate, of what I meant.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
The hon. and gallant Member must not keep rising when it is not a point of Order.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
If the right hon. Gentleman makes the suggestion that I said what I did not say, am I not to be allowed to contradict it?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member certainly can get up if the right hon. Gentleman gives way, but that does not constitute a, point of Order.
Sir P. CUNLIFFE LISTER
The hon. and gallant Member will see to-morrow in the OFFICIAL REPORT what he said. I am within the recollection of the Committee when I say that certainly the sense of what he said was that the members of this Committee were not only unknown, but prejudiced in the conduct of their inquiry. Certainly, that was the sense conveyed. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not mean that, I entirely accept his withdrawal of any charge against the members of the Committee. It has been made in other quarters in this House, in other Debates, and I suggest it is a most improper and unfounded charge to make against men and women, members of every party, or of no party in some cases, who have conducted an exhaustive and impartial inquiry. The purpose of this Amendment is that the House should take power, by Resolution, to repeal the duties now imposed. I am amazed that those who, both above and below the Gangway opposite, have been so anxious to keep me on the path of financial and constitutional rectitude, should make this effort to seduce me from this path. I am told it is most important that we should proceed through the full and recognised procedure of this House in the imposition of duties. If it be right to proceed in that way in the imposition of duties, it is surely right to proceed in that way when we come to take off duties, and I am amazed that this unconstitutional and improper suggestion should be made by the constitutional purists. But I propose to resist their temptation, and to follow the path of rectitude. The hon. Member drew a very improbable picture 1049 of the results which would ensue if we might wish to repeal the duties, and said that we might wish to repeal them before the next General Election. If the time comes to repeal these or any other duties we ought to proceed by the right and proper method, that Is, by an Act of Parliament, and not by a Resolution of this House.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
This is an Amendment of very great substance, but I think the House has a right to ask that the whole circumstances under which this Bill is being put through should be considered. There is no question that this matter of Safeguarding or Protection, as against free imports, has always been a great bone of contention between different schools of thought, and one would have thought the House of Commons had the right, in case any departure was made, to have the evidence on which that departure was made, and to have grounds for the change. Those of us who are going to vote for this Amendment, which will give to the House the power at the earliest possible moment of withdrawing these duties, have to look at what has taken place. We are in a most invidious position as a House of Commons. A Committee has a number of points put to it, and, on the advice of that Committee, the House of Commons is asked to take action. Up to the present we have no idea whatever of the evidence that has been given. We do not know whether the people who have given the evidence were interested parties. We have received absolutely no proof from the right hon. Gentleman to show us how any one of the conditions has been really reached. We have simply vague statements from three people, I do not care how distinguished they are—and I am reflecting in no possible way either on their integrity, their intelligence or their knowledge. But that three people should state to the House of Commons these things are so, and you must swallow them holus bolus, without explanations, reasons or evidence, is, I think, rather too big a dose for the House of Commons to swallow, unless that House of Commons be very docile indeed.
In fact, the statements made by the right hon. Gentleman himself lead me to the conclusion, either that he does not know what has gone on on the Continent of Europe, or he is unwilling to tell the 1050 House, because only last week, by implication, he said that countries on the Continent, which had accepted the principle of the Convention at Washington as to the number of hours, were working up to 60 hours a week. There is no foundation for that statement. The right hon. Gentleman ought to know that his statement is quite wrong, and the House of Commons is entitled, when statements of that kind are made, and when the House, by implication, is allowed to believe that these things exist, to have the proof, and it is neither frank, just nor straightforward to lot the House go away with a misunderstanding of what has taken place. Take the case of Solingen. Does the right hon. Gentleman say that there the workers are working for 60 hours?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I have in my hand here a Report of a week ago, which states the 48-hour week applies, but that eight hours' overtime is allowed, for which there is no extra pay.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind the question at issue, and keep to it.
§ Mr. SHAW
I am thinking of how we can effect our desire of getting rid of these duties in the quickest possible way. I am suggesting that these duties have been put before the House in such a way as would justify us expecting that we should have the right at the curliest possible moment to reverse them. We have been asked to give live years on the ground of certain statements that have been made. We say, and I say, that it is unwise to give five years without the House having been given the fullest possible information, because the statements that have been made so far do not justify the Government in asking, on conditions, for five years.
Take, again, the question of fabric gloves. The fabric is made in Saxony. It is perfectly true that for a time more than 48 hours were worked in Saxony. Is it true to-day? In Saxony to-day the textile workers are unemployed. Is it true that we are justified in giving five years to the Government on those grounds? Is it true that the Govern- 1051 ment have a right to ask for five years unconditionally? The rate of exchange in Germany is stabilised. Where is the country on which the Government can. base a claim for five years?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of this fact, that quite recently an investigation, made by the workers in the north of France., proved that the woolen workers there are actually better off than before the War—a state of things which is not true of Yorkshire. All these things ought to have been told to us quite frankly by the Government. Instead of that, we get a lot of assertions, and things are being done that ought not to be done, with absolutely no proof what-ever for them. I venture to assert that the Government have no right to ask for five years at all, and it is not right that the House should be unconditionally pledged to that length of time, and for this reason: The Government have never attempted to demonstrate that the committees were right in their conclusions, nor that we ought to hand over the judgment of the House of Commons to three citizens, however distinguished. That would be quite wrong. Further, I venture to suggest that any Government that asks for five years on the findings of a committee that it appoints itself, is asking for a thing that really ought not to be asked for. A Government that appoints a committee to report on a certain matter, and merely argues against the five years, and declines to hear arguments against the five years, is really asking for—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The only question before the Committee at present is as to whether, if the House ever wishes to repeal these duties, it should do so by a Bill or by a Resolution.
§ Mr. SHAW
Yes, I am quite certain that is the only question. My point is that this method gives the House a quicker way to get rid of the duty than the other, and that the House is justified in asking for that quicker way because of the methods of the Government in asking for the powers which they are seeking. I am trying to demonstrate to the House, and to the President of the Board of Trade, that the House has a right to expect to be put in a position to take a quick decision because of the lack of information, the lack of evidence, and the 1052 lack, above and beyond all, of proof on. the part of the Government for the conclusions to which it has come. I am certainly going into the Lobby to vote for this Amendment restoring to the House at the earliest possible moment a right of the House of Commons which ought never to be given away. The House should be the determining factor on this question. No Committee of three persons, appointed by anybody, should lay down a policy for the House of Commons. That is not the right, position of the House of Commons. We ought to know from the responsible Minister, when he brings a matter of this importance before the House, where are his facts. We do not want mere vague statements of some Committee. Why, the worst criminal in a court of law has a right to have the evidence, and in the House of Commons we are not to have it! It is apparently sufficient for the House of Commons that the President of the Board of Trade should get up, make a. speech and bring documents signed by three persons, and we are invited to swallow the documents and swallow the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman, and be bound for the proposed five years. These are the reasons why I am supporting the Amendment.
§ Commander WILLIAMS
The speech to which we have just listened will convince many people of the extraordinary wisdom of the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer in not baking part in this Debate, because it is perfectly clear that if the House of Commons accepts this Amendment it departs From the ordinary constitutional usage. If you wish to repeal legislation you do it by means of a proper Bill, which is .discussed in all its fullness in the House of Commons, and over which the House of Commons spends a certain proper time find decides whether or not to repeal. The mere bringing in of a Resolution is a very easy thing. I fully appreciate that the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer is extraordinarily wise in hiving nothing to do with this matter, because, if he had, it would be setting a precedent which other Governments might use—such as a prospective Socialist Government in the dim and distant future—for the repeal of legislation. It is for that reason, and not because I am not one of those who belive for one minute that any Government is sacrosanct in any way, that I 1053 urge very strongly that the people of moderate opinion in this House, who wish to preserve our privileges, should not vote on this occasion for the Amendment, which would undoubtedly have the effect, so far as we understand it, of making and repealing legislation a very much easier task than at the present time. When a law has been once made in this country following the usual constitutional practice, we ought to ve very chary indeed before we allow that law to be repealed by a mere Resolution of the House of Commons. We should give the matter the fullest possible discussion before taking action.
§ Captain BENN
I do not quite understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) and how it comes about that he is such a financial purist; nor, indeed, do I understand the President of the Board of Trade. I can understand him opposing the Amendment, which is essentially a House of Commons Amendment, because, if rumour speaks truly, his interests are to be transferred from thin humble place to a more august Chamber. I do not understand why either of these hon. Members is so shocked at this simple proposal that these silly little taxes shall be repealed by Resolution of the House of Commons when it appeals from Philip Drunk to Philip Sober. I well remember the President of the Board of Trade1 in 1921 when he and others started most enthusiastically the Safeguarding of Industries Measure, under which they not only repealed—they did not limit the Measure to repealing—but imposed taxes by Orders laid upon the Table of this House for 21 days. That was, I say, the Act of 1921. Why did not the right hon. Gentleman find himself uneasy on the score of financial purity in 1921? Now he cannot stand this modest Measure proposed by my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench above the Gangway. Is it not a useful addition to our financial machinery, this power we are giving to the House of Commons? New information has come too late for the moment! Let me give an example of this.
The Committee on Iron and Steel had not got any information about Solingen. We were told that they could not get any precise information except from the metal workers' agreement. Therefore, 1054 they went on to assume that things were such in Solingen to justify them in suggesting a course of action. After a time the President of the Board of Trade got the information. Now he brings it out and gives it to the House of Commons, and says, " I can now tell you," in order to demolish the arguments of my right hon. Friend the late President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Runciman)—" I can," said the present President, " give you facts about Solingen. Here are the official documents."
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Burton Chadwick)
May I intervene to say that the Report was published only a few days ago?
§ Captain BENN
Where are we now We are now at the 14th December. We may very probably sit over Christmas. This Report is dated 23rd November—that was three weeks ago. Does the right hon. Gentleman, who is almost always willing to give us copious authority and informative details about his Department, really say that on 23rd November this information was not available to the Government or its agents in Germany? Yet the Committee were told there was no information. Therefore, he assumed the necessity of a duty. The right hon. Gentleman got the information. These things come to light. We have no complaint to make about these excellent ladies and gentlemen who took part in these enterprises in Committee, these little jobs on which they were set by the President of the Board of Trade, but what we say is that this is the taxing assembly. We want the arguments placed before us here. It is quite useless for the right hon. Gentleman to come before us with these Reports made by Committees, and suggest that he is justifying the thing on its own merits. Then, in connection with the Committee proceedings, if anyone says those giving evidence are liars, he says it is a monstrous charge. The President of the Board of Trade must show—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member is only repeating what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston said. I would ask him to address himself to the actual Amendment before the Committee.
§ Captain BENN
I am trying to show that the reports of the Committees are not based on substantial grounds. We need power to repeal taxes imposed in consequence of Reports, but I certainly do not want to transgress your ruling. I want to ask the President of the Board of Trade—it is relevant to this Amendment—will the Bill give us power, in the case of international agreements, to remove taxes? Otherwise a tax could not be removed or modified until a Finance Bill has been passed through all its stages. Will the President tell us frankly the position as between ourselves and Germany in these trade negotiations? He always takes refuge behind the sort of argument that anybody who wishes justice to the other side thereby wishes an injustice to his own country. That is merely political clap-trap.
Will the President of the Board of Trade tell us this: Did he intend the negotiations with the Germans to succeed over the most-favoured-nation Clause in the Treaty, because they failed, and they said they failed because of these duties? When he tells us that he is in negotiation as to the amendment of these duties, will he also tell us how it is to be done? If the power resides, under this Amendment, in the House of Commons it affords an additional argument in favour of the Amendment. I see that Herr Trendelen-burg, speaking in Berlin on the 6th December, said certain ameliorations' might be possible on the technical questions of the tariff. There has never been an answer from the President of the Board of Trade about that. But, after all, this gentleman is the accredited spokesman of the German Government, and I think that people interested in trade and in good relations between the two countries would be glad to know how the matter stands. Although this proposal would be an excrescence upon our financial machinery, I shall support it, because I think the machinery is being used for a bad purpose, and, if we can make it easier for that bad purpose to be undone, we shall be doing a good day's work.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I do not know whether the President of the Board of Trade proposes to say anything further with regard to the German negotiations, but they are a matter of the very first importance, and they have a direct 1056 bearing upon the German Trade Treaty which he was, quite rightly, proud to circulate to the House in the middle of the summer, and which provides us with a basis on which we can resume our former commercial relationships with Germany. If the- right hon. Gentleman is going to carry on his negotiations with Germany, at what stage will he find himself if he is tied up with this? There is no doubt that these duties, trivial as they are, are a matter of importance, first to the consumers, and. secondly to the people engaged in these trades elsewhere, as well as in this country. They are an item of constant irritation. It is quite possible, and I think it is more than likely, that when the right hon. Gentle man is negotiating with the representatives of Germany, the first thing they will say is that these duties—the most recent of them born in his mind after the signing of the German Treaty, after examination by committees whose reports were carefully kept back until a very recent date—have been sprung on them, and that if they bad been items for negotiation at the time the agreement was under consideration, they would have been fully discussed. The right hon. Gentleman can say nothing in reply except that the duties have been passed for five years, that for five years he cannot make terms, because both his hands are tied. Therefore, we cannot get rid of these points of irritation. They are not very big things, but they are just the sort of things that make negotiations break down; and with his wide experience of negotiations he must know perfectly well that, unless he has some means of terminating quickly and satisfactorily whatever has stood in the way between the two countries, he will be unable to arrive at anything like a businesslike agreement.
I quite agree that the proposal before us is a new departure, but I am not sure that it is a bad one. Certainly, it is a great deal better than the machinery by which these duties are imposed. The whole genesis of these duties has been attacked again and again, and it is because of their genesis, and because the right hon. Gentleman depends on these Committee's Reports, that we are pressing this Amendment to-day. Month after month new information is coming to hand. These Reports are already out of date. 1057 We know they are out of date with regard to wages. The right hon. Gentleman himself has confessed that, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) has made it quite clear, from knowledge which he possesses, that one of the grounds on which the Cutlery Duty was recommended has already broken down—that on the ground of wages there is no justification for the drastic 33⅓ per cent. duty. There may be other changes year by year. In reply to me this afternoon the President of the Board of Trade said it was hardly likely that labour conditions on the Continent of Europe would improve so rapidly as to make it wise to terminate these duties at the end of 12 months. They are improving a good deal faster than he thinks. I do not know whether he is aware of the movements which have been taking place in Germany, Holland and Belgium. In each of these countries there may be a closer assimilation to British standards as time goes on. Whenever they reach the level, or come within a reasonable distance of the level, of British standards, then will be the time when these duties ought to be taken off, and the shortest means of removing them is by the procedure suggested in the Amendment.
The President was good enough to say, in reply to me, in an earlier part of the Debate, that warning was given to
§ traders by the announcement of the fact that an application had been put in by the industry. If we are to talk about financial departures, I venture to say that that is certainly the most startling. Is all the world now to take warning that there is to be a duty on steel because an application has been put in? Is the work of the Civil Research Committee of the Cabinet to be taken for granted immediately the Report is fired into No. 10 Downing Street? The fact is there will be no trade which will not be getting a sort of injurious and illegal protection if this is to be the way in which our commerce is to be conducted—that directly there is an application all the world must take notice that an import duty is to be imposed. If that is to be the way in which we are to have our finances conducted, let us at all events curtail the procedure at the other end. There are many friends of the right hon. Gentleman who believe that this procedure, such as it is, is too cumbrous and too long for the purpose. I saw a complaint in the Press this morning. We cannot shorten it at the beginning, because the Government are committed; but do let us shorten it at the end, and so enable us to get rid of the duty by passing a Resolution.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 112; Noes, 238.1061
|Division No. 480.]||AYES.||[6.38 p.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Forrest, W.||Lunn, William|
|Amman, Charles George||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Gillett, George M.||March, S.|
|Baker, Walter||Gosling. Harry||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertlilery)||Greenwood. A. (Nelson and Colne)||Montague, Frederick|
|Barr, J.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morris, R. H.|
|Batty, Joseph||Groves, T.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N )|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, George Harold|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Palin, John Henry|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Paling, W.|
|Briant, Frank||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Bromley, J.||Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Harris, Percy A.||Purcell, A. A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Charleton. H. C.||Hayes, John Henry||Ritson, J.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Robinson, W. C, (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hirst, G. H.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Connolly, M.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Saklatvala, Shaourjj|
|Cove, W. G.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Scurr, John|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kennedy, T.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Dennison, R.||Lansbury, George||Snell, Harry|
|Duncan, C.||Lawson, John James||Snowden, Rt. Hon, Philip|
|Dunnico, H.||Lee, F.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Livingstone, A. M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lowth, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Westwood, J.||Windsor, Walter|
|Thurtle, E.||Whiteley, W.||Wright, W.|
|Townend, A. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Viant, S. P.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Wallhead, Richard C.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. T.|
|Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||Henderson.|
|Warne, G. H.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Macnaghton, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Albery, Irving James||Everard, W. Lindsay||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel|
|Atkinson, C.||Fermoy, Lord||Manningnam-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fielden, E. B.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fleming, D. P.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Meller, R. J.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Ganzoni, Sir John||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Berry, Sir George||Gates, Percy||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gee, Captain R.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Neville, R. J|
|Blundell, F. N.||Gower, Sir Robert||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Grace, John||Oakley, T.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Gretton, Colonel John||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Pease, William Edwin|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Perring, William George|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hanbury, C.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Harland, A.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Haslam, Henry C.||Preston, William|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hawke, John Anthony||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Ramsden, E.|
|Burman, J. B.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Burney, Lieut.-Corn. Charles D.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Rhys, Hen. C. A. U.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Holt, Captain H. P.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Rye, F. G.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Sandon, Lord|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Mldl'n & P'bl's)||Sassoon, sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Savery, S. S.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Jacob A. E.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Jephcott, A. R.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Couper, J. B.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Loder, J. de V.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Looker, Herbert William||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Lumley, L. R.||Tinne, .J. A.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Drewe, C.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Warner, Brigadier-General W, W.|
|Elveden, Viscount||Macintyre, I.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McLean, Major A.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L|
|Watts, Dr. T.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Wells, S. R.||wise, Sir Fredric|
|White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple||Wolmer, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Womersley, W. J.||Major Cope and Mr. F. C.|
|Williams, H. G. (Reading)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)||Thomson.|
|Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
§ Major CRAWFURD
I beg to move, in page 1, line 21, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided that no such duty shall b imposed on articles imported from any country in which no inferior conditions of employment of labour exist whether as respects remuneration or hours of employment or otherwise obtaining amongst the persons employed in the production of the imported goods in question as compared with those obtaining amongst persons employed in the production of similar goods in the United Kingdom.I move this Amendment because we consider that the Government have broken their election pledges by introducing the Clause in this form. The Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night offered an ingenious defence of what has always appeared to us to be a breach of faith by the Government. He said that, first of all, he had to defend the pledge made by the Prime Minister that there would be no introduction of Protection by a back door, and the right hon. Gentleman went further and said that not only did the Prime Minister make that pledge, but ho also promised not to introduce Protection, although he said the Government intended to introduce what is called safeguarding. The Chancellor of the Exchequer omitted to say that when this pledge was made during the election by the Prime Minister the word "safeguarding" in the minds of everybody who had considered this question did not mean what it has been taken to mean now, but simply meant special duties in special cases against special countries where special conditions prevail.
Not a single word was mentioned about making these duties general against all countries. What we wish to secure by our Amendments is that when the conditions provided for in the White Paper cease to operate, then these duties shall cease to operate as well. We are fortified in that position by the fact that we are offering the Government a last chance of making their position perfectly straightforward. As we have urged on previous Amendments, it is our view that any opportunity which may arise in the future 1062 of putting an end to these duties is one that should be given to this House in case it is necessary to take advantage of it. May I refer to the argument used in regard to fabric gloves. We say that in the case of this article the former duty was a complete failure from the point of view of those who desired it. We say that the maladroit hands of the President of the Board of Trade has already inflicted considerable damage on British industry in regard to the Lace and Net Duty affecting the volume of the trade and particularly the export trade, and by this Amendment we are endeavouring to give the Government a chance of carrying out the conditions of the White Paper and at the same time giving them an opportunity of taking off these duties if they turn out to be as unfortunate in the future as they have been in the past.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE - LISTER
We cannot accept this Amendment for one very simple reason, and that is that it is opposed to the cardinal feature of the most-favoured-nation Clause. There is no breach of any pledge about this proposal. There would be a breach of the most-favoured-nation Clause if we adopted discriminatory duties, and therefore, in order to keep within the terms of that Clause, it is necessary that we should proceed by a general duty and not by a discriminating duty. The Amendment proposed here would be a breach of the most-favoured-nation Clause, and it would be very unwise to adopt it. Therefore, for that simple reason I ask the House to reject this Amendment. While tie three Amendments originally intended to be moved cover most of the ground, they do not cover the ground of a depreciating exchange. But, even if the other Amendments had been moved, the same arguments would apply, and as we wish to maintain the policy of safeguarding and retain the most-favoured-nation Clauses in our Treaties, it would be impossible for us to accept this Amendment.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
The President of the Board of Trade says that the 1063 reason for opposing this Amendment is perfectly simple. Our position is this. While it might be said that there was a certain degree of absurdity in extending a tariff used to protect one country in which there was one condition to all countries where the conditions of the other countries were actually favourable to this country, it is now said that you cannot do that because you are interfering with the most-favoured-nation Clause with other countries, We have now discovered the one and only reason why a particular duty which is necessary for one particular purpose and one particular country is to be placed on the whole world. That should be an argument to make the Government pause before embarking upon these duties at all. I wonder if these committees, when the question was put before them, "Are you prepared to say that the conditions of labour, say in Germany, are such that a duty is needed to protect you against Germany," realised that the effect of that would be to put a duty on against America, where the conditions were more favourable than in England, and that the only reason why America should be put side by side with Germany was that conditions were worse there, and that otherwise it was interfering with general commercial treaties.
I see that as this policy proceeds it becomes more and more evident that the only way out of the difficulty is by way of the Amendment now before the Committee. If you must have these duties under certain conditions, it is only logical that you should limit the protection. The Government do not seem to have considered the effect of this general treatment, and they have embarked upon these proceedings without considering the effect. It never seems to have occurred to the President of the Board of Trade there were such things as general treaties, and the sole argument which has been built on general treaties by which the right hon. Gentleman seems to me to be an attempt to masquerade these duties which are really the first instalment of a general protective policy. When the Prime Minister spoke of those countries from which we needed Protection this matter of a general treaty was never in his mind at all. Therefore, I do not think this question of a general 1064 treaty has influenced hon. Members in the least, and I believe they are now embarking upon a general policy of Protection, and all this talk about treaties and committees is simply to disguise the fact that the Government are now breaking the pledge which they gave at the last election.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I think it is pretty clear that the Government are trying to initiate a general tariff, because the President of the Board of Trade applies to every one of these duties conditions which would apply to a general tariff. The generalisation of a tariff could only be justified in the case of a few countries, and, in every case where he justifies it in the case of a few countries, he finds also that there are large quantities of goods coming from countries where bad conditions do not apply at all. Take the case of cutlery. If American cutlery comes into this country, it comes from a country with an appreciated exchange. It comes from a country where the remuneration of labour is higher than it is here, and, if it be true that if you pay higher wages you get good work, it means that Americans have the advantage of paying high wages, and the right hon. Gentleman has never pleaded that as an excuse for putting on a tariff against American cutlery. If he goes through the long list of the countries that send small quantities of cutlery to this country, Germany is the only one on which he can depend. When he turns to gloves, he finds that Italy is the only country on which he can depend. There is nothing really very serious in the complaints which are made against the other countries.
§ Mr. BASIL PETO
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? I am sure he does not want to misquote the White Paper, but it says on page 11, paragraph 29:Lower wages in most of the competing countries; e.g., in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
; That may be quite true, but this duty, it stands now, would apply to America, and I am sure my right hon. Friend cannot justify the case given on those grounds against American goods. That is equally true in one or two other directions. He cannot justify it on those grounds. The President of the Board of Trade says: "Never mind about that. It is quite true we cannot 1065 justify it against America, tout we must have America in." His excuse is the most-favoured-nation Clause. His real purpose is to generalise a tariff on cutlery. That is what he is after. The words which are quoted in the Amendment of my hon. Friend are very clear and are taken clean out of the White Paper from the instructions of the Committee and the rules by which they are to be guided, and they are extracted from the speech of the Prime Minister when he gave his undertaking with regard to safeguarding and they ask no more than what is to be expected from these two authoritative sources. The right hon. Gentleman says this will be very difficult to operate because of the most-favoured-nation Clause. I understand, if I am informed aright, that in one case—glass—the Government were stopped from the use of the import duties of the Safeguarding Act because of the most-favoured-nation Clause under their commercial treaties stopping the discriminating duties of the Safeguarding Act. The right hon. Gentleman said we shall not follow that procedure. That will not do. The most-favoured-nation Clause upset us there. But America has a better remuneration of labour, their dollar is worth more, comparatively, than our £ sterling.
The right hon. Gentleman is afraid of any breach made in his little tariff. "We are very glad to make a breach in his little tariff. If the Most-Favoured-Nation Clause, which is a far finer invention than anything which ever came from the brain of a Protectionist is stopping; the imposition of a general tariff, then let it come in the way.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
The President of the Board of Trade gave the House a somewhat casuistical answer which I confess was a little too subtle for me. Because we were not placing ourselves in a disadvantage by breaking our pledge to a foreign country, that was a good reason why we should break our pledge to our own country. In Section two of the White Paper, which deals with the conditions under which competition was to be regarded as unfair, it says:Unless it arises from one or more of the following causes "—and this is condition (c):Inferior conditions of employment of labour, whether, as respects remuneration 1066 or hours of employment, or otherwise, obtaining among the persons employed in the production of the imported goods in question as compared with those obtaining amongst persons employed in the production of similar goods in the United Kingdom.That is one of the conditions which had to obtain before the duty could be recommended, and it seems to me a perfectly simple thing that if that condition ceases to obtain, one of the principle grounds for the duty is destroyed; and, in fairness and honesty to the people to whom pledges were given, that no duties were to be imposed in the absence of these conditions, I think it ought to be provided that, when any of these conditions ceases to apply, the duty should be repealed.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
The President of the Board of Trade said there was one simple reason why he could not accept this Amendment. Perhaps there may be a second one. Perhaps the Government will find it very difficult to incorporate this Amendment in their Bill when they refuse to ratify the Washington Labour Convention. That perhaps is an additional reason in the mind of the President for not accepting this particular Amendment. A good deal of humbug has been talked in this Debate about the conditions of labour abroad, in competing industries that are going to be subject to this tariff. I think it would be a good thing for hon. Members to make some investigations of the labour conditions at home. If they compare some of the labour conditions at home with conditions in some of the countries against whom they are going to impose these tariffs, I do not think we should come out of the examination with very great credit. I am perfectly well aware that, in the case of the cutlery industry, there are sections which have superior conditions—at least slightly superior, better hours of work—than perhaps those engaged at Solingen. But even in the cutlery industry there are conditions of employment and remuneration which are no credit at all to those who are seeking to get a tariff to protect them against conditions abroad.
I said earlier in the Debate this afternoon that I had been making some inquiries in Sheffield over the week-end. One case came to my notice during those inquiries in the safety-razor trade, where girls are employed for testing safety-razor blades. There are no unemployed in this 1067 industry, and, in this particular case, four girls went from the Employment Ex-change to fill two vacancies, and so busy were the factory that they took on the whole four applicants testing razor blades for a full week's work at 15s. They were so busy that overtime was being worked at the tremendous remuneration of 4d. per hour. Hon. Members might begin to pay some attention to the conditions in their own country.
Then let me say this: it is always being used as an argument in support of a tariff policy that if you have a tariff you have something with which to bargain. I believe that is one of the regular arguments of those who support tariffs. Is not that an additional reason why we should accept this very reasonable Amendment which is on the Paper? If you will only incorporate this Amendment in this Tariff Bill, you will have a weapon, according to your own argument, for imposing better labour conditions abroad, far more effective than the Bill as it stands. If there be anything at all in the general argument that the imposition of a tariff can be used as a weapon, then you ought to flock into the Lobby and support the Amendment on this occasion.
There is another point I would like to make in this discussion, before I sit down. The President of the Board of Trade bases the whole of his case in opposing this Amendment on the most-favoured-nation Clause in our general Treaties. He was careful to point out to the Committee on a previous occasion that there was no violation of the most-favoured-nation Clause in the Anglo-German Treaty, because he said we took particular care to put into the treaty with Germany such words as would make it certain that we held ourselves at liberty to safeguard our industries.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
No. I said that in the first place there was no violation of the Treaty because the Treaty contained the ordinary most-favoured-nation Clause and a general duty is no violation of it. Further, in the Protocol we had to express terms preserving our right to carry out our safeguarding policy.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
It is quite clear that in the conversations with the Germans, they began to wonder whether the 1068 safeguarding policy might not be aimed directly against Germany, and therefore in the general form of the Treaty the President made it a special case to include in the Protocol a reservation which made it possible to pursue this policy.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I know he will probably say that he must adhere to the general form of the Commercial Treaty, but that does not do away with the fact that the summing up of the Reports every time shows quite clearly that the duties are in the main directed against this one particular country, and I think the President of the Board of Trade had it in his mind when he arranged for the special reservation in the Protocol.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
We told Germany exactly what we intended to do. We told her that we should operate this policy generally and not by a discriminating duty. Therefore, we put the special words in the Protocol. It would be a breach of our negotiations, as well as of the actual Treaty with Germany, if we put a discriminating duty on to Germany, and it was stipulated for in the Treaty itself that we should not do against Germany what the hon. Gentleman suggests we should do.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
As I understand it, the argument for these duties is to prevent goods from coming in that are manufactured under worse conditions than prevail in this country, and for the life of me I do not understand, after listening twice to the President of the Board of Trade, what the objection to this Amendment really is. I should have preferred, and the policy of those on these benches who agree with the point of view I am going to put is, not that a tariff should be put on but that such goods should be altogether excluded. I am only going to vote for this Amendment because it is something rather better than the Government are proposing, but it is perfectly evident that, if the object is to get fair competition between the nations in the production of goods, you ought, at whatever cost, or by whatever amendments of your agreements with other countries, to take the only logical step, and that is to discriminate against those countries which produce under bad 1069 conditions. We do that in our contracts at home. If we give out a contract, we exclude, to the best of our ability, those firms who refuse to have their work carried on in a proper manner, and I am entirely with everyone who wants to apply that abroad, not by putting on a, tariff but by absolute exclusion.
I want to say one other thing. I listened to what was said by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto) and another hon. Member for a country division, who tried to persuade us that there were numbers of little people living in the villages who make gloves, or parts of gloves, and that that was an industry which we ought to foster, and I heard my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) speak on this subject; and I would like to point out to the Committee that there is in East London an industry which will prove quite conclusively that this playing with the question does not really do what hon. Members profess they want to do. Take the case of the manufacture of matchboxes—not matches—in this country. The manufacture of matchboxes in this country was carried on under really infamous conditions in the constituency I represent. There used to be shouting for Tariff Reform, or fair trade, as it used to be called in those days, and it was said, "Let us have fair trade, and things will be better. These people have to work under these conditions because they are competing with someone at the ends of the earth." You never got fair trade in that sense, but what did happen was that some enlightened capitalist—and there are some in the world—did this, and I commend it to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite; it has been put before during these discussions, but it is worth while putting it again, because an ounce of practice is worth tons of hon. Members' theories.
If you go down to the East End to-day, and go through Bryant and May's magnificent factory, you will find that they not only make matches, but that they have taken out of the slums of Bow and Bromley the manufacture of the boxes, and the boxes are now produced under fairly decent. reasonable conditions—the people are paid proper wages, work proper hours, get holidays, and are dealt with infinitely better. There is no comparison with the conditions that prevailed five-and-twenty years ago. [An HON. 1070 MEMBER: "That is under Capitalism."] I am prepared to argue that, but I am not going to be such a fool as not to recognise that some people try to improve an industry, even under the Capitalist system. They have taken this work out of the houses, where it could not be done under proper conditions, but where children, women and men worked interminable hours and never got any living at all, and they put it into a really decent factory, where people are working at least under reasonably humane conditions. I suggest to this Committee that, instead of fooling round with these tin-pot tariffs, they should if Capitalism is going to be kept up, say to the capitalist, "You must organise your business on proper lines, introduce proper methods of organisation and machinery, and get rid of these tinkering little home trades and carry them on under proper, up-to-date conditions. "It is for that reason that I support this Amendment, but I support it with just this reservation that I wish there was no question of a tariff, but that I was voting for the exclusion of goods produced under bad conditions. I think that that is the only legitimate method of dealing with them. At the same time, if the glove industry or any other industry is being carried on as hon. Gentlemen during last week's Debate have said it was, and if it cannot compete with decent conditions, then it is time to say to those who are controlling the industry, "Either get out of it and let other people manage it, or reform your ways and give decent conditions."
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I would like to put a question to the President of the Board of Trade. While I agree with my comrade the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) in supporting this Amendment because there is nothing better, like him I would bar out everything coming into this country that was going to act detrimentally to the welfare of the workers of this country. The question that I want to put to the President of the Board of Trade is this: Has he consulted with the Prime Minister before refusing to accept this Amendment? If my memory serves me aright, his chief, the Prime Minister, has stated time and time again—and in my hearing—that, as far as he is concerned, he will put no barrier up against goods coming into this country from any country where the con- 1071 ditions are as good as prevail in this country, or better. If he has consulted with him—
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I con suited with him before the Debate on the Address, when he said that every duty that was put on would be a general and not a discriminatory duty.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I think hon. Members, Tory, Liberal and Labour, will recognise from this moment onwards that the Prime Minister is a Tariff Reformer. This is a very serious matter, because, when you come to think of it, this Government, which is posing—and there never was a Government in the history of Britain that were such posers as this Government, there never were such frauds; never were such knaves in command of the Government of Great Britain as the Front Bench at the present moment — they are pretending to the people of this country to be one thing while all the time they are acting otherwise. They are simply the wolf in sheep's clothing. They pretend that they are not Tariff Reformers, they pretend that they are not robbing the workers, while all the time they are using the whole power of office in order to fleece the workers by all the most indirect methods possible. I only wanted, at this juncture, to find out exactly where this great, peace-loving, philanthropic, Christian Prime Minister stood, because he is symbolic of the greatest hypocritical Government, in my opinion, that ever held sway in Great Britain, France or Ireland.
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
I was hoping that the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams), whom I have seen on several occasions showing signs of taking part in this Debate, might have responded to his inner feelings and given us an opportunity of judging how far there are still left in the party opposite any of those professions, any of those pretensions by which they have managed to secure the support of the British public and to hold the position of the governing party in this country. This Amendment, perhaps, as well as any that we have discussed during the course of these Debates, strips from the party opposite that cloak of humbug behind which they have so long masqueraded. They have filled the country with the thunder and fury of 1072 their professions that they were trying to keep out from competition with our people goods that were made under lower standards of production than prevail in our own land. This Amendment definitely confines itself to those grounds, and, if there were any honesty of purpose whatever in the party opposite regarding what they have in the past called the evils of foreign competition, they would have been glad to seize upon this Amendment in order, at least, to try and prove to the community that there was some sort of honesty in their professions.
What do they do? Despising what they call Cobdenite professions, casting jeers, particularly, at hon. Members on the Liberal Benches because of their loyalty to Cobdenite professions, the only argument the President of the Board of Trade now possesses is that, in order to keep faith with commercial treaties— which, after all, are the best example of Cobdenite professions it is necessary for them to betray all those principles that they put forward during the last election and in several elections during the last 10 or 20 years. There is, I say again, no Amendment that shows more clearly how utterly futile have been the professions of hon. Gentlemen opposite. In all of these trades, like the cutlery trade, the garment-working trade, and other trades which I have no doubt the President of the Board of Trade is still considering with a view to taking further steps towards the general tariff that he has in mind, he would, if there had been any honesty of purpose at all in what he is putting forward, have been glad to have taken this half-way measure for the exclusion, or, at any rate, the limitation, of the competition that comes from countries with a lower standard of life than exists here. But, instead of taking that opportunity, forgetting every profession that has been made he is perfectly glad, as President of the Board of Trade, with all his Protectionist theories, to set up as his example Richard Cobden, and to show that, after all, he is more loyal to the principle of commercial treaties than to all this humbug that in the past he has been pleased to spread before the notice of the general body of electors.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 116; Noes, 239.1075
|Division No. 481.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Alexander. A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Ammon, Charles George||Halt, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Scurr, John|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Sexton, James|
|Saker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Harris, Percy A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Baker, Walter||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barnes, A||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smith, Ben (Bermondser Rotherhithe)|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snell, Harry|
|Broad, F. A.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Buto)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W. )|
|Cove, W. G.||Lansbury, George||Thurtle, E.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lawson, John James||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, F.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Livingstone, A. M.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lowth, T.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Duncan, C.||MacLaren, Andrew||Warne, G. H.|
|Dunnico, H.||March, S.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Montague, Frederick||Westwood, J.|
|England, Colonel A.||Morris, R. H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Forrest, W.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Garro-Jones Captain G. M.||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gillett, George M.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Gosling, Harry||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenall, T.||Potts, John S.||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Purcell, A. A.||Wright, W.|
|Groves, T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Riley, Ben||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Ritson, J.||Sir Godfrey Collins and Major|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Crawfurd.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Caine, Gordon Hall||Fermoy, Lord|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prismth. S.)||Fleming, D. P.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Atkinson, C.||Chapman, Sir S.||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Chilcott, Sir Warden||Gates, Percy|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Christie, J. A.||Gee, Captain R.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Clarry, Reginald George||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Goff, Sir Park|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Berry, Sir George||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Better ton, Henry B.||Cooper, A. Duff||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cope, Major William||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Couper, J. B.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hanbury, C.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Harland, A.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Harvey, Majors. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Hentey)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Brown-Lindsay, Major H.||Drewe, C.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C.(N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Brown, Brig. Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Elveden, Viscount||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Homan, c. W. J.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Burman, J. B.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mosslay)||Neville, R. J.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Howard, Captain Hen. Donald||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Oakley, T.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hutchison,G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Steel, Major Samuel Strong|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Storry Deans, R.|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Pease, William Edwin||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel w. H|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Pennefather, Sir John||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Jacob, A. E.||Penny, Frederick George||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. sir W. Mitchell-|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Power, Sir John Cecil||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Preston, William||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Raine, W.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Ramsden, E.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Rawson, Alfred Cooper||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Loder, J. de V.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Looker, Herbert William||Remnant, Sir James||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Lougher, L.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Rice, Sir Frederick||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Lumley, L. R.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wells, s. R.|
|Lynn, Sir H. J.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Williams, Herbert G. (Heading)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon, Angus||Rye, F. G.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Macintyre, Ian||Salmon, Major I.||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|McLean, Major A.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Sandon, Lord||Womersley, W. J.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Savery, S. S.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich w.)|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Wragg, Harbert|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Shepperson, E. W.||Yerburgh Major Robert D. T.|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Slaney, Major p. Kenyoll||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Murchison, C. K.||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain|
|Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Smithers, Waldron||Margesson.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank|
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I beg to move, in page 2, line 1, to leave out Sub-section (2).
This is, of course, the Imperial Preference Sub-section, giving a rebate equal to a preferential rate of two-thirds of the duty with regard to Empire products. I wish to ask whether the mandated areas —Palestine, Iraq, Tanganyika, the Cameroons—
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Moscow is not a mandated area of the British Empire. I daresay the hon. and gallant Gentleman would like to annex it, but he will have to wait a little till we have a bigger armed force than we have at present. With regard to countries enjoying the B Mandates, which we are directly attempting to make capable of governing themselves—I say directly because we do not seem to be doing much in that direction—will this preference be given to them, because it is clearly said down that there shall be no special privilege given to the nationals of 1076 a mandatory power over and above the nationals of other nations who are members of the League of Nations.
The original Preference Duties were given for quite a different reason from what I presume will be given for this, and the mandated areas were included. I always thought that was wrong, and it would also be wrong in this case to include the mandated areas. I presume hon. Members who support this Subsection will talk about the great assistance that will be given to Empire manufacturers. I do not know that any of the goods in the Schedule come from the Empire at present. I have not heard of any gas mantles or cutlery or gloves coming from any part of the Empire. The main object of the duty so far is to keep out goods from America on the one hand and from Germany on the other. I do not know that they expect anything to come from the Empire, and my second question is to ask what proportion of these goods at present come from any part of the Empire, or alternatively, what is expected to come from the Empire in the way of these goods.
1077 Hon. Members will say this will help to bind the Empire closely together. One day it is a tax on tinned lobster, another day a tax on carving forks that is going to bind the Empire together. Any Empire founded on this sort of arrangement is like a house founded on sand, and I am very sorry we have to rely on these 2½d. duties. The greatest objection of all is that supposing as a result of these duties a little trickle of trade in gloves or gas mantles or manufactured goods comes from, say, Canada or South Africa, whenever we wish to remove these duties when we are in office again, or my hon. Friends above the Gangway—I am certain the present Government will not last very long—there will be a fearful outcry from the other side of the House, who will then be on these benches, I hope in smaller numbers than our party is now. I am not alone in that view. The Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil) has prophesied it. When we want to sweep away these ridiculous impediments to trade there will be great opposition, and we shall be told it is a breach of faith with our blood brothers across the sea.
The preferential part of these duties will make it a little more difficult to remove them. Because I think they are mischievous and that there will be difficulty in the way of their removal, they are objectionable. Any talk about the bond of empire and all that sort of thing that we hear both outside and inside this House, on Conservative platforms, and from the Conservative Benches, leaves us absolutely cold. These things are of no value whatever for binding the Empire together. The Empire is bound together by common feelings of justice, equity, British tradition, British laws, British ideas, and decent treatment by the home Government. This Sub-section is most objectionable. It had no right to be inserted in the Bill, and I hope that no hon. Member will be frightened from his convictions in Free Trade by any talk about Imperialism and strengthening the relations between ourselves and our fellow-citizens across the seas. I hope Free Traders will vote against this, and that they will not be led away by the miserable compromise which some of my colleagues have been guilty of making.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
After the vivacious arguments brought forward by 1078 my hon. and gallant Friend, I have not much to say, but I wish to ask one question which is rather important. A short time ago this House voted £1,000,000 to be expended on the development of markets for Empire goods in this country. That £1,000,000 was voted on the expressed condition and for the expressed reason that Imperial Preference was not to be introduced. Here we find it being introduced by this method of drip, drip, drip until the rock of Free Trade is becoming worn through. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, who always treats the House with complete candour, what is going to happen to that £1,000,000? Is it going to be returned to the Treasury to the extent that Preference is now being granted to the Dominions, or is this Preference to be in addition to the £1,000,000? If it is expended it will be expended for a purpose for which it was not intended. If we are to vote for this Preference Clause, the Board of Trade must return that money to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Captain BENN
Can it be conceivable that an Amendment on a large issue like this is to pass without a reply from a representative of the Board of Trade? I will resume my seat in the hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will reply.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I hope the hon. and gallant Member will not consider that I am so lacking in courtesy as not to reply. His bitterness in denouncing my right hon. Friend for his lack of courtesy is only exceeded by his waspish courtesy to me for excessive courtesy. The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) started on mandates and finished up on the platform of his leader, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), basing all his arguments on canned lobster. I can only say in regard to B and C mandates that they are on the same footing as the Dominions in regard to preference. I do not understand the attitude of hon. Members opposite in regard to this matter of Imperial Preference. To accept this Amendment would cut across all our legislation in regard to Dominion Preference.
It is a curious feature of these Debates that I have so often found that the argu- 1079 ments from the other side almost seem to be directed to the well-being of the interests of every conceivable kind of country except this country . Hon. Gentlemen opposite express the greatest concern for raising the level of labour conditions in every country of Europe, not caring so much, apparently, for raising the labour conditions and the standard of living of the people of our own country. We find them concerned with the possibility of foreign countries being irritated by the imposition of what they describe as trivial duties, but they do not seem to have the same concern for the well-being of the people of this country, who, we think, will be beneficially affected by these duties.
Imperial Preference has been an integral part of our fiscal policy for years, incorporated year after year in our financial legislation and accepted by most Members of this House and, as far as I know, by all the Leaders of the party below the Gangway opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I think the principle of Imperial Preference has been accepted by every hon and right hon. Gentleman who has at one time or another stood in the position of a Leader or an aspiring Leader of the party opposite. I resist the Amendment, and I hope the Committee will support me.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Can the hon. Member tell us the amount of trade in these three classes of goods which is expected to come from the Dominions?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
We are all very charmed with the personality of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, and we are always delighted to hear him speak, but we did not imagine that he would be so adroit in avoiding questions. One question of very grave importance was put to him by the hon. and gallant Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones). That question had reference to the grant which was made in lieu of Imperial Preference to be used in the marketing of Empire products. 1080 The Parliamentary Secretary knows as well as anybody else, because he is connected with the Board of Trade, that as a result of the Imperial Conference it was suggested that on certain goods we should give a preferential tariff to the Colonies, and because all the recommendations of the Conference were not, carried out the Government made a definite grant of £1,000,000 to be substituted for the duties which had failed to materialise.
Here we have a Bill on an entirely different question and, without any announcement and without any real justification for it, a Sub-section is put into the Bill which is to give preference, in spite of the fact that we have given a grant of £1,000,000 for the marketing of Empire products to take the place of certain preferences. I expected that the Parliamentary Secretary would have replied to that point. I should have expected him to be armed with information—I am certain he has plenty of advisers who would give him the information, I know that, because I once occupied the position that he now occupies as to the reasons for putting this particular Sub-section in the Bill with regard to the products in the Empire of these commodities in respect of which a dusy is to be levied. How much cutlery is produced in the Empire, apart from this country? Where can we get in the Empire, other than this country, fabric gloves or leather gloves? Where can we get within the Empire, gas mantles?
It is clear that this is merely a backdoor way of fastening more firmly upon the country the policy of Imperial Preference to which we have a rooted objection. What the hon. Gentleman ought to have applied himself to is this question: if there is any product in the Empire in these commodities, what is going to be the effect upon the consumers in this country? This is a taxing Bill. The consumers in this country are going to have to pay a price for their commodities which will be taxed in relation to the total duty imposed. The hon. Member proposes that this Bill should give a preference to the commodities of the Empire. What happens? There is no difference in the price paid by the consumer, but there is a consequent diminution in the revenue to the Treasury. There is absolutely no ground for that. We have been arguing 1081 for two or three hours about the impossibility of having a discriminating duty in connection with this Bill and yet, because this affects the Empire, the Government get up, as bold as brass, and support a policy which has all the defects of the discrimination which they have been trying to resist. There is no earthly reason why the Committee should give this Sub-section to the Government, and in view of the paucity of the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary I hope we shall defeat them in the Lobby
§ Sir H. CROFT
I would like to point out what is the argument of the hon. Member who has just spoken. He and his party have been telling us all along that these duties are inadvisable and yet, if by any chance our own people in the Dominions overseas were to produce these articles—I do not think they do so to any great extent—the hon. Member would deny them any kind of advantage.
§ Sir H. CROFT
Assuming that this duty goes through before we rise for Christmas and it is possible that in future the Dominions may desire to provide these articles for us, what objection can any hon. or right hon. Gentleman have to admitting those goods on slightly more favourable terms from the Dominions? Our trade at the present time is being sustained by the purchasing power of our Dominions in giving a Preference in every case to this country. Does the hon. Member suggest that the Socialist party as a whole is opposed to that principle? I cannot believe it. I can understand his opposition to a duty, but his opposition to a lesser duty in favour of the people of the Empire overseas, surely is contrary to the feelings of the vast majority of the workers of this country,
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
We object to a tax upon the subjects of the Crown which is not finding its way to the Treasury.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Sir H. CROFT
On the one hand the hon. Member suggests that the revenue will be negligible from this duty, and on the other hand he suggests that we are going to lose revenue in respect of goods coming from our Dominions overseas. Surely that defeats all the arguments we have heard. It means that the Dominions 1082 are going to send their goods here slightly cheaper, and why not? When hon. Members try to argue that we should not do this because of the £1,000,000 voted to encourage the products of the Empire overseas in the matter of foodstuffs, I really think it has got nothing to do with this question. I believe the people of this country are firmly convinced that wherever we have any duty whatsoever, we should lessen that duty in favour of the Dominions, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman opposite will think twice before taking this matter to a Division, which would stigmatise him and his friends as forgetful of all the sacrifices the Empire has made.
§ Captain GARRO-J0NES
The hon. and gallant Member is under a gross and palpable misapprehension. I think it must be plain we are not objecting to the fact that goods should come in at less price from the Empire, but we are objecting to any duty being put on Empire or any other goods. If he is so anxious to help the Empire, why should any duty be put on Empire goods at all? I rise not upon that question, but to insist, as far as I can within the limits of Parliamentary procedure, on an answer to the question I put to the right hon. Gentleman opposite before, namely, if there was going to be returned to the Treasury a proportion of the £1,000,000 which this House voted on the condition that no tariffs were going to be imposed in the form of Imperial Preference? That £1,000,000 was voted on that strict understanding. Now it so happens that we have had two answers in this House within the last few weeks, which show that none of that £1,000,000 has been expended, and that it is now in the hands of the Government. If rumour speaks aright, considerable discussion is going on within the Cabinet as to how it shall be expended. In fact, they are utterly unable to make up their mind. The Tariff Reformers on the one hand say: " This is no use. We do not wish to spend any of it. We want to go the whole hog and have Imperial Preference or nothing." The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I suppose, says: "Well, seeing you are having a little Imperial Preference, I should like to have some of this money back." We should side with the Chancellor of the Exchequer there. We think that if Imperial Preference is to be introduced little by little, 1083 that money should be repaid to the Chancellor of the Exchequer little by little, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us whether he has made any representations to that effect, and if not, why not?
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I must refer the hon. Member to the hon. and gallant Member behind him (Captain Benn), who is continually congratulating me on the full information I have given.
§ Captain BENN
I have many times thanked the Parliamentary Secretary for the courtesy with which he has replied, but I never said he had dealt fully with the question in his reply.
§ Mr. FENBY
I would congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary upon his smile, but not upon any information which he has been able to give me in answer to the specific inquiries I have made to him in this House. It has been said to-night that, in dealing with this particular question, the party to which I have the honour to belong is always pleading in the interests of the people outside our own country and ignoring the workers in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members below the Gangway opposite say, "Hear, hear:" I will only ask the Committee to remember that I have pleaded on two occasions in these Debates for a class of men who work very hard in this country, to which I have the honour to belong. I have asked certain questions concerning the tools they use which are having a duty imposed on them.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That would be relevant in due course, but at present we are concerned with the Dominions.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That was perfectly in order then, but it is not in order to plead for them now on this particular Amendment.
§ Mr. FENBY
Then it was said that every leader or every person who bad been in a prominent position in my own party had been in favour of Colonial Preference. Time brings its changes, and there is a very prominent Member on the Government Benches, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for instance, who may be supporting the principle of Colonial Preference to-day, but I think I can refer to a published statement of his years ago, which I remember very well, when he said that, if Colonial Preference did not operate to raise food prices, it was a fraud and a sham. That is hardly a testimony for Colonial Preference from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We do protest against this imposition of one little burden after another which, in the end, will hit more hardly the workers of this country whom we are accused of always neglecting, but whom in the present case we are doing something to protect, and upon whom the Government is putting an additional burden.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Before we vote I think the Committee is entitled to know a little more exactly how the Dominions will gain by this proposal. We want to know if there is any cutlery coming from any of the Dominions and if so from which Dominion—Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. We want to know if table knives are coming in from the Dominions or any of the hundred and one other knives which are enumerated in the Schedule. I think we are perfectly justified in asking, Is. this a, real or a sham Preference, and is it likely to be of any advantage to industries in the Dominions? In spite of the patriotism of the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) I do not see how it will help us to cement the Empire by taxing those article?. I can understand him saying that we should have Free Trade within the Empire, for there is something very appealing and very attractive about that, but I cannot see it is going to cement the Empire by taxing articles which are at present coming into this country free. Are there many of these articles coming in from Canada and Australia? I have no doubt there are some, but all we are doing is to put 1085 new taxes for the first time on these few articles in order to provide Preference. That is not my idea of cementing the Empire. That is the way to break up the Empire, because as soon as you start putting on taxes you soon get haggling, friction and difficulties between the component parts. The way the Empire has grown up is by this country giving a free market and letting goods in untaxed. Now the policy of this Government is to impose for the first time new taxes on products from other parts of the Empire. I do not call that a very sound kind of Imperialism.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I do not wish to weary the Committee but I do want an answer to my question. This House has voted £1,000,000 on condition that tariffs were not going to be introduced. That £1,000,000 has been voted, but not expended. Is it going to be returned to the Exchequer? I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give me a reply to that question.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I will certainly reply. I am unable to tell the hon. and gallant Member now what will happen to the £1,000,000 that has been granted. It would be quite impossible to say where I hat £1,000,000 is to be expended. I think he will recollect that only this afternoon the Prime Minister had to make a similar reply to a question which was asked, and I could not therefore give more satisfaction to the hon. and gallant Member than to say at the moment it is quite impossible to say where and in what way that £1,000,000 will be spent.
§ Captain BENN
This shows the great disadvantage of not having a Treasury official present. I do hope the Parliamentary Secretary can give us some information as to the trade in these goods. I believe, as a matter of fact, razors and
§ razor blades are coming from Canada. The right hon. Gentleman's officials can give him the information about that. Of course, he will not say anything about the £1,000,000 because it is not his Department and we have not got a Treasury official present, but it raises a very important matter. The matter may have to be dealt with again on the question,, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but it is obviously improper first to abandon the preferences on condition that £1,000,000 is to go to the marketing of Empire produce, and then, when you have got it, to come forward and insist on the preferences being carried forward. I would like to warn the right hon. Gentle man that, when we come to the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," we shall ask him to send a message to some representative of the Treasury to be present to answer questions.
§ Sir H. CROFT
Is it not the case that the whole reason for this grant was because a preference was not put on foodstuffs, and that it has nothing whatever to do with manufactured goods?
§ Captain BENN
The £1,000,000 was granted because the Prime Minister said: "I can go no further with preferences," but he is going further with preference and giving the £1,000,000 as Well.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 217; Noes, 114.1089
|Division No. 482.]||AYES.||[8.15p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Blades, Sir George Rowland||Bullock, Captain M.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Blundell, F. N.||Burman, J. B.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Atholl. Duchess of||Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Came, Gordon Hal!|
|Atkinson, C.||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Cassels, J. D.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Briggs, J. Harold||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.|
|Barclay. Harvey, C. M.||Briscoe, Richard George||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Barnett. Major Sir Richard||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Brooke, Brigadier-General C.||R. I. Chapman, Sir S.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Brown-Lindsay, Major H.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.|
|Berry, Sir George||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks. Newb'y)||Christie, S. A.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Buckingham. Sir H.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W R., Skipton)||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Remnant, Sir James|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cope, Major William||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Couper, J. B.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midi'n & P'bl's)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cunliffe Joseph Herbert||Jacob, A. E.||Rye, F. G|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jephcott, A. R.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lamb, J. Q.||Sandon, Lord|
|Drewe, C.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Savery, S. S-|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Loder, J. de V.||Shaw W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Looker, Herbert William||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Elveden, Viscount||Lougher, L.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Skelton, A. N.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Falls, Sir Bertram G.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Fermoy, Lord||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Macintyre, Ian||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Fleming. D. P.||McLean, Major A.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Forestler-Walker, Sir L||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Macquisten, F. A.||Storry Deans, R.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Margesson, Captain D.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Gates, Percy||Meller, R. J.||Thomson. Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Gee, Captain R.||Merriman, F. B.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Vaughan Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Goff, Sir Park||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Murchison, C. K.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Wells. S. R.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nelson, Sir Frank||White. Limit.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Neville, R. J.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hanbury, C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Williams. Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Harland, A.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Wilson R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Oakley, T.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Pease, William Edwin||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Pennefather, Sir John||Womersley, W. J.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Penny, Frederick George||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Preston, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Lord|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Raine, W.||Stanley.|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Ramsden, E.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Dalton, Hugh||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Amman, Charles George||Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Hayes, John Henry|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Dennison, R.||Henderson, T, (Glasgow)|
|Baker, Walter||Duckworth, John||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Duncan, c.||Hirst, G. H.|
|Barnes, A.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Barr, J.||England, Colonel A.||Hudson, J H. (Huddersfield)|
|Batey, Joseph||Forrest, W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Gillett, George M.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Bread, F. A.||Gosling, Harry||Kelly, W. T.|
|Bromfield, William||Greenall, T.||Kennedy, T.|
|Bromley, J.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Groves, T.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Buchanan, G.||Grundy, T. W.||Lawson, John James|
|Cape, Thomas||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Lee, F.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Livingstone, A. M.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Lowth, T.|
|Connolly, M.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lunn, William|
|Cove, W. G.||Hardie, George D.||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Harris, Percy A.||March, S.|
|Montague, Frederick||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Morris, R. H.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Morrison, R. c. (Tottenham, N.)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Warne, G. H.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda,|
|Oliver, George Harold||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Westwood, J.|
|Palin, John Henry||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Whiteley, W.|
|Paling, W.||Snell, Harry||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Pethick Lawrence, F. W.||Stamford, T. W.||Williams, Dr. J. H (Lianelly)|
|Potts, John S.||Stephen, Campbell||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Purcell, A. A.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Sutton, J. E.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Riley, Ben||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Windsor, Walter|
|Ritson, J.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Wright, W.|
|Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Townend, A. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sexton, James||Viant, S. P.||Sir Godfrey Collins and Mr. Fenby.|
§ The CHAIRMAN
An Amendment, in page 2, line 10, after the word "article," to insert the words "or any constituent part or ingredient of such article," which stands in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) does not appear to me to have any effect, but if the hon. and gallant Member would like to explain it to me I should be glad to hear him.
§ Captain BENN
I am very much obliged for the opportunity. Subsection (3) of this Clause is intended to exempt from double duty an article which may be liable to double duty. It may be that the article itself is liable to duty, and that an ingredient of the article is also liable to another duty under another Act. The purpose of the Amendment is to see that that article is not charged both on itself as an article and on its ingredient as an ingredient. The case arises primarily in connection with gas mantles. I put a question to the President of the Board of Trade the other day, and he said that thorium and cerium are dutiable as fine chemicals, but that they will not be liable to double duty in the case of the gas mantle. There is nothing in the Bill to say so. The gas mantle is not chargeable to duty under any other Act, but the Bill does not say that a constituent part of the mantle shall not be liable to another duty under another Act.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has made a prima facie case, and he may proceed with his Amendment.
§ Captain BENN
I beg to move, in page 2, line 10, after the word "article," to insert the wordsor any constituent part of ingredient of such article.The point raised by the Amendment may appear very technical, but there is 1090 no doubt that the Bill as it stands would cause great trade delays and difficulty and loss. We have had many cases showing how rigidly Customs officials are bound to interpret the provisions of an Act. They are not bound by what we say in this House, but by the statutes. We have had in the past the ridiculous example of the tax on dolls' eyes, on toy instruments, and so forth. In this Bill we want to avoid anything of that kind. We want to put an end to any double duty for an article or any of its constituents. I have mentioned gas mantles. Another case might arise in connection with gloves. Gloves may be dutiable as leather gloves, and also as articles wholly or partly made of silk. There is a real danger that the Subsection, if passed as it stands, would compel the Customs officials to charge a double duty.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I cannot accept the Amendment, but I can allay the anxiety of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. Where a part of an article, or an ingredient in an article, is liable to duty then such an article is chargeable to the extent of its dutiable part, so that this Amendment would not affect the meaning of the Clause as it stands. The Clause provides that where an article is chargeable with duty under this Measure and is also chargeable with other duties, the highest duty only is to be charged. In the case of the articles which are immediately under consideration such as gloves and gas mantles the duty on the whole article is the duty which would be charged.
§ Captain BENN
Does not the hon. Gentleman remember the difficulty which was experienced previously in connection with gas mantles? It was held that the mantle was not dutiable, but that the 1091 precious earths in the mantle were dutiable. Does the hon. Gentleman tell me that these earths would be described as articles chargeable with duty themselves or as constituents of an article which is chargeable with duty?
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
Thorium and cerium would be ingredients of the whole article, but the whole article carries a higher duty than the duty on the ingredients, and the higher duty would be charged
§ Captain BENN
The Sub-section says that where an article is also chargeable with other duties under other Acts the highest duty is to be charged, but the mantle is not chargeable with duties under other Acts. There is no mention of gas mantles in Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. The present Measure does not seem to contain any words which will prevent a Customs officer saying, "There is no mention hero of these precious earths, and, under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, I want 33⅓ per cent. in respect of
§ them,"I cannot see anything in this Bill to prevent that difficulty.
§ Mr. CECIL WILSON
How are you going to determine the respective values in order to discover whether the duty is to be charged upon the mantle or upon the cerium and thorium which it contains? Are you going to analyse all the mantles? What is to be the procedure for ascertaining whether the mantle itself or its ingredients are to be charged with duty?
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
The ingredients contained in the gas mantle would, in any case, bear a much smaller part of the duty. Under Sub-section (3) the highest duty is to be charged—in this case, it would be the duty on the value of the whole article. The ingredients would represent a lower value than the value of the whole article, and this Bill provides for a duty upon value of the whole article.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 115; Noes, 212.1093
|Division No. 483.]||AYES.||[8.33 p.m.|
|Alexander. A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Waller|
|Baker, J, (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Harris, Percy A.||Sexton, James|
|Baker, Walter||Hartshorn. Rt. Hon. Vernon||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barker. G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barr. J.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Batey, Joseph||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snell, Harry|
|Bromfield, William||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stamford T. W.|
|Brown. James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buchanan G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Charleton, H C.||Kennedy, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Townend, A. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Varley, Frank B.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lee, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Livingstone, A. M.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lowth, T.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Warne. G H.|
|Dennison, R.||MacLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Duckworth, John||March, S.||Westwood, J.|
|Duncan, C.||Montague, Frederick||Whiteley, W.|
|Edwards. John H. (Accrington)||Morris. R. H.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|England Colonel A.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Fenby, T. D.||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Forrest, W.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Gillett, George M.||Paling, W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Gosling, Harry||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenall, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wright, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Potts, John S.|
|Groves, T.||Purcell, A. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Sir Godfrey Collins and Mr.|
|Guest, J. (York, W.B., Hemsworth)||Riley, Ben||Trevelyan Thomson.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southward, N.)||Ritson, J.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gates, Percy||Oakley, T.|
|Agg-Gardner, Ht. Hon. Sir James T.||Gee, Captain B.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, w. Derby)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Glyn, Major R. G. C||Pease, William Edwin|
|Atkinson, C.||Goff, Sir Park||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N||Penny, Frederick George|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Grotrian, H. Brent||Peto, Basil E. (Devon Barnstaple)|
|Barclay- Harvey, C. M.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Hacking Captain Douglas H.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bennett, A. J.||Hall, Capt. W. D' A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Preston, William|
|Barry, Sir George||Hanbury, C.||Raine, W.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Harland, A.||Ramsden, E.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Blundell, F. N.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Haslam, Henry C.||Rhys Hon C. A. U.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hawke, John Anthony||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M..||Roberts, E. H. G. (flint)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Briggs J. Rt. Hon. William Clive||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Ruggles-Brice, Major E.A.|
|Brings, J. Harold||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Russell Alexander West(Tynemouth)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rye, F. G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Salman, Major I.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Broun-Lindsay. Major H.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Homan, C. W. J.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Savery, S. S.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts., Westb'y)|
|Burman, J. B.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Sheffield, Sir, Berkeley|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney. N.)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Slaney, Major P. Kenvon|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smithers Waldron|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prismith. S.)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Sport, sir Alexander|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Jacob, A. E.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ledywood)||Jephcott, A. R.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Storry Deans, R.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Stoot, lieut.-colonel W. H.|
|Christle, J. A.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Lamb, J. O.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Tinne, J. A.|
|Cobb, sir Cyril||Loder, J. de V.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Looker , Herbert William||Vaughan-Morgan Col. K. p.|
|Cockerill, brigadier-General G. K.||Lougher, L.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on Hull)|
|Cope, Major William||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Waterhouse, captain Charles|
|Couper, J. B.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Watson, sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Croft, brigadier-General sir H.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W. )||Wells, S. R.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsay, Gainsbro)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon . Angus||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Macintyre, I.||Williams, Com, C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Curzon, Captain viscount||McLean, Major a.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Davidson, Major-General sir John H.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Willson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Davies, dr. Vernon||Macquisten, F. A.||Windson-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Dawson, sir Phillip||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Margesson, Captain D.||Wise sir Fredric|
|Drewe, C.||Meller, R. J.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Merriman, F. B.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Womersley, W. J.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Mitchell. S. (Lanark. Lanark)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde )|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron, Walden )||Wood, Sir Kindsley(Woolwich, W.)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Fielden, E. B.||Moore. Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Fleming, D. P.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOSE.—|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Lord|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Neville, R. J.||Stanley|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
§ The following Amendment stood on the Order Paper in the name of Captain BENN: In page 2, line 13, to leave out Sub-section (4).
§ Captain BENN
This Amendment is not to to taken technically. Obviously, you must have a Sub-section (4), but I want 1094 to know from yon, Mr. Chairman, whether, if we wish to modify the Second Schedule, we have to do it now or on the Second Schedule. You may remember, Sir, that the Second Schedule incorporates in this Bill fragments of other Acts of Parliament and applies those 1095 fragments to the administration of this particular tariff. On earlier occasions when we have attempted to amend a Schedule of this kind, the Chair has ruled that there is the Act and you cannot amend it as it stands there, but you must amend it by amending or altering the governing words in the main part of the Bill. What I should like to ask for your ruling on is whether we shall have to leave out this Sub-section (4) and insert other words if we wish to amend the Second Schedule, or whether we shall be at liberty, when we come to the Second Schedule, to make such Amendments as appear to us appropriate in that Schedule.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have given some attention to this point. A very similar point arose on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. It is not possible to modify the provisions set out in the Schedule. The hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) may move to leave out certain provisions, and in doing so he will conform to these words. If he wants to do otherwise, he must get rid of Sub-section (4) as it is. Therefore, I called upon him to move the omission of this Sub-section.
§ Captain BENN
That is to say, that when I come to modifications of the Second Schedule I gather I may move them without any alteration being made in Sub-section (4)? If so, I have no desire to disturb Sub-section (4).
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member may move to omit particular provisions, but not to modify them.
§ Captain BENN
Would it not be better to move into Sub-section (4) some such words as "subject to the modifications shown in the said Second Schedule" inasmuch as Sub-section (4) purports to incorporate Sections in other Acts and inasmuch as we desire to modify those extracts?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It would be necessary to incorporate the modifications in the Clause, but they do not appear on the Paper, and I have not had an opportunity of considering them, so that I am afraid I could not admit them.
§ Captain BENN
May I direct your attention, Sir, to the fact that I myself 1096 put down, on page 2308 of the Order Paper, a number of Amendments to the Second Schedule, and as leading up to that I put down this Amendment on page 2303, to insert the words "subject to the modifications shown in the said Second Schedule"? I would ask you now whether I may now move that, raising the points of substance on the Schedule itself, in order to safeguard the right to discuss them on the Schedule.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Do I understand that the hon. and gallant Member wishes to move the Amendment to insert the words "subject to the modifications shown in the said Second Schedule"?
§ Captain BENN
I think it would be more in order, if I may say so, to withdraw my present Amendment and move the one you mention, and in doing that I should like to ask you whether its rejection would involve the rejection of all my Amendments on the Second Schedule, or whether they ought to be discussed on my second or alternative Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that neither the Amendments, except in so far as they are pure omissions from the Schedule, nor the second Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member are in order. You cannot modify the Schedule. You can certainly leave out certain provisions, but you cannot change them, exactly as I had to rule on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, when an hon. Member wished to extend part of an Act with modifications. That cannot be done. If the hon. and gallant Member wishes to make his arguments, I am afraid I must ask him to move his first Amendment, as the second would not be in order.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
In looking at the Amendments to the Second Schedule, there is a proposal in my name, and in the names of other hon. Members, for an addition at the end of the Second Schedule. Would your ruling, Mr. Chairman, apply equally to an insertion or a proviso added to the end as to an Amendment of the actual words of the Statute?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes: this Sub-section runs:For the purpose of … the enactments set out in the Second Schedule . …shall have effect as if they were re-enacted in this Act.1097 There is no enactment such as the right hon. Gentleman suggests, and he cannot modify the provisions of the Acts. He can apply them or not apply them, but he cannot modify them.
§ Captain BENN
May I submit that that is precisely why the second Amendment in my name is appropriate? It is true that you must apply the enactment, which is a thing of the past, and that you cannot alter it, but you might apply it subject to modifications if you set out the modifications, and that is the reason why I put down the Amendment to insert the words "subject to the modifications shown." Otherwise, I cannot see how you can do anything but draft a new Schedule.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid that is so. I am afraid the hon. and gallant Gentleman cannot do what he suggests. The second Schedule relates to "Enactments applied for purpose of duties imposed by Act." It does not mean "enactments or modifications," but that you must have the actual exceptions applied or leave them. You cannot modify them. The second Amendment says, "subject to the modifications shown in the said Second Schedule." No modification is possible because the Schedule is a. recital of certain exceptions which, as I say, must be taken or left.
§ Captain BENN
I apologise for being so obtuse about this, but supposing you re-embodied the whole section in the Schedule, is it not possible to say this shall be operative in this Act, "subject to the following proviso"?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman should have drafted these modifications in this Clause, and he has not done so, so that it will only be possible to consider it now. Exactly the same case arose under the first Government of Ireland Act, where certain things were set forth, and there were exempted certain services. Therefore, it was impossible to amend the Schedule, but Amendments were allowed, and I remember a whole series of them in the text of the Bill. It would have been possible, if time had been taken, to propose these modifications in this Subsection. It would have been a matter of some difficulty, to which I have no doubt the hon. and gallant Member's 1098 ingenuity would be equal, but he has missed his opportunity.
§ Captain BENN
I am very much obliged to you for your ruling, which I am sure will be very helpful to every Member of the House, as it is a very clear ruling on an abstruse matter. May I ask, however, whether any comments I have to make on the Second Schedule should be made on this Sub-section, or shall I be permitted to make them when you put the Question, "That this be the Second Schedule."
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the latter would be a better course. Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman move?
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. C. WILSON
I think that if anyone wanted to understand what this Bill proposes, and were to ask what evidence there was upon which the whole case had been based, he would be very much struck with the complete lack of evidence, and if he were told that in making this extremely important change, we had no evidence placed before us, and, indeed, that the demand for evidence had been persistently refused, he would express a great deal of surprise. If then he came to look through the Report, I think there is one sentence which he would find in the Report on gas mantles which very fairly expresses what many of us feel in regard to the whole of these reports. It is on page II of that Report, paragraph 36, which reads:We are inclined, therefore, on a review of this conflicting evidence, to accept the facts laid before us on both sides (the best available to us in the time and by the methods at our disposal) with a considerable measure of reserve.I think that atmosphere is passing through the whole of these reports, and when the Parliamentary Secretary is asked to give us information on a number of these points, I am not sure there is anyone who is satisfied with any of the replies which he has made to us. This Bill is based on the statement that these industries are industries of substantial importance. That, of course, is a purely relative term. If you take the whole of the three industries which are being dealt with, they comprise not more than one-fourth of 1 per cent. of the total number 1099 of insured workers in the country. Then if we look at it from the point of view of unemployment, on which a good deal of what has been said on the other side has been based, we find that the whole of those unemployed in these industries is somewhere about one-half of 1 per cent. of the total unemployed. Then we have this strange feature in the whole of these reports, that we do not get a true perspective in regard to the years of employment. In two cases we go back to 1913, and in the case of gloves to 1919, but the reference to the numbers employed is utterly confused in the Report. Really, there seems to have been something in the way of a selection of years, which certainly cannot be regarded as satisfactory, and I certainly should have thought, when a great change of this kind was being introduced, it would have been part of the duty of the Board of Trade, responsible, as they are, for the trade of the whole country, to see that, in a matter of this kind, the whole thing was done in a thoroughly businesslike manner, which no one can pretend is the case here.
When we come to certain features of the reports we find, in regard to the question of the comparison with prices abroad, that in no case is there a single-figure in regard to prices, either in cutlery, gloves or mantles, but there is a page and a half of general reference in the case of cutlery, a page in the case of mantles, and a quarter of a page in the case of gloves. Surely, as the case is supposed to be based on a question of prices, we are entitled to something a great deal more definite. As I said earlier on, there is no evidence on this matter. Then there is no reference in the case of cutlery and gloves to any price associations, while in the case of mantles we are told there is a price association here, but that in Germany there is no price association and free competition rules. Then when we come to the serious question of overhead charges in the case of cutlery and gloves there is no reference whatever to this, while in the case of mantles we read:High overhead charges are no doubt largely a result of the reduced volume of trade handled by the English manufacturer as a result of foreign competition, and also of the heavy expenses necessary to keep the trade in advertised brands.But while you have got a price association, why are heavy expenses necessary 1100 to keep the trade in advertised brands? When you come to some of the evidence which was recorded in the Press, and which we ought to have had here, in the case of cutlery evidence is given as to a certain knife, of which the cost in 1913 was 8s. 5d. and the cost of materials was 2s. 9d., overhead charges 2s. 3d., making a total of 13s. 5d. The knife was sold at 15s. 6d. by the manufacturers. What we get to is this: Wages in 1913 accounted for 54 per cent., and overhead charges and profits for 28 per cent. But we have to bear in mind that the operations of making the knife comprise 43 different operations, and that only 54 per cent. of the cost of the knife is, say, for the 43 operations, because there is 28 per cent. for overhead charges and profits; it certainly suggests there is room for a good deal more of organisation than we have had.
Again, in the case of cutlery, we know something of the wage per hour, and family allowance has been included in the German rate; but in the case of gloves and gas mantles, there is no reference whatever to this matter. In regard to the organisation of trade it was pointed out previously that so far as the cutlery trade was concerned 75 per cent. of those engaged in the trade are not regarded as in insurable occupations. If we are to be told, as we have been told, that this is an industry of substantial importance, and if a good deal of the emphasis as to the need for something to be done is due to unemployment, surely we ought to consider whether the people are not entitled to unemployment benefit, or why it is they are not qualified for it? Again, you have the case of gloves. Fifty per cent., we are told, of that industry is conducted not in factories at all. It was pointed out the other night, too, by the. hon. Member for Hillsborough that there are 2,500 workers, or 25 per cent. of the cutlery trade, outworkers, and working in 99 tenements.
The figures before us in this Report are startling figures, which I think ought to have been brought before the Committee in a better form and ought to have Been called attention to by the Committee in a way they have not done in the Report.
Working out the cutlery figures and the man-hours, we find that in 1920 for every thousand man-hours—as you might call them—there were turned out 108 dozen. 1101 In 1924 for every thousand man-hours there were turned out 149 dozen, an increase of 38 per cent. If in 1920 cutlery had been turned out at the same rate as it was four years afterwards, the result would have been that employment in 1924 would have been 96 per cent. of what it was in 1920. What that means is that there has been some distinct improvement in the method, organisation, and so forth. We have maintained from these benches both in regard to cutlery and other industries that what is more required than anything else is proper organisation.
When we come to fabric gloves and deal with the matter in the same way and compare 1913 with 1924—in the case of cutlery 1920 with the first year in which comparable figures were given, while in the case of fabric gloves 1913 is the first year—in 1913 for every thousand man-hours worked there were turned out 41 dozen pairs, while in 1924 it was 74 dozen pairs, an increase of 80 per cent. If in 1913 the gloves had been turned out at the same rate as in 1924 there would have been a very much larger proportionate decrease in employment than there was. Again, you have largely the fact of organisation. In the same way we find in the gas mantles that, in 1920, for every thousand man-hours worked there were turned out 56 gross, while in 1924 the figure was 71 gross, an increase of 27 per cent. Again, we have to remember that during the whole of those years it is represented that there has been a very considerable increase in the use of electric light. Let me carry the thing a little further. In the case of safety-razors, the Gillette blade made in America comes to this country in small quantities, and in large quantities to other parts of the world. They are made of Sheffield steel. If you are going—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member cannot at the moment go into detail like that. He will have to raise those points on the Schedule, and he will have opportunity to do so.
§ Mr. WILSON
The Report seems to have disregarded the United States. Looking at the whole of these Reports together, we find that the Government. have accepted a quarter of 1 per cent. 1102 as representing the trades of substantial importance, while in the matter of employment their proposals are going to reduce unemployment by ½ per cent. of the total number of persons unemployed if the whole of these are fully employed. We have comparisons of years which are confusing, no evidence of prices, price associations, or overhead charges; no real evidence as to conditions and organisations in one of these directions that will bear any examination. Therefore they are not really true comparisons in the Reports. What is, perhaps, the most serious aspect is that there is no understanding whatever as to the effect . that these proposals are going to have on a number of other trades. What we say is that if there were real reorganisation and efficiency the trades could be brought to a point to meet competition from wherever it may come.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
I submit that if we pass this Clause in its present form there will be afterwards no trade which cannot make out a good case to come under the Safeguarding of Industries legislation. That is what a number of hon. Members opposite desire, but it is very far from the principle laid down by the Prime Minister when he said that he was not going to impose a general tariff. Just about a year ago he said in this House that any industry which might desire to be safeguarded must besubject to exceptional competition arising from such things as depreciated exchanges, bounties or subsidies, and lower wages in foreign countries, or longer hours."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th December, 1924; col. 1064, Vol. 179.]If we apply that test to the case of razor blades, the great bulk of which are coming from America, how can that case possibly comply with the conditions laid down by the Prime Minister? We know perfectly well that the American exchange is not depreciated. No evidence has been given of the operation of bounties or subsidies in the production of American razor blades. As to lower wages or longer hours, we know that the very opposite is the case there, that they have higher wages and shorter hours. If this Clause goes through, there is no trade in this country which cannot make out a case as strong, if not stronger, for safeguarding. Therefore, we are in effect sanctioning the adoption of a general tariff, and, surely, that is going to be of 1103 no help to us in dealing with unemployment. Take the case of two industries in which unemployment is most serious at the present time, shipbuilding and coal. Does anyone suggest for a moment that safeguarding proposals are going to do anything but hurt or hinder shipbuilding and the export of coal? We will not help shipbuilders by safeguarding razor blades or making it more expensive to build ships; and we cannot help the coal trade by putting these restrictions on the exchange of commodities and so reducing the carrying trade. Therefore, I say, we are taking a very serious step in departing from our long-recognised Free Trade position by laying down a rule which will, in effect, allow any industry to be protected.
On the general question of the methods adopted at these inquiries, I think we have a right to protest against what has been a certain amount of back-stairs work. These Committees have been sitting in camera; they have been composed of persons appointed at the behest of the President of the Board of Trade; and they have been refusing to print the evidence, which would enable the House of Commons to judge of the reasons which have caused them to come to the opinions which they have. Another point to which I wish to draw attention is the refusal of the President of the Board of Trade to
§ allow it to be known when an application for safeguarding is made. He has shrouded all this business in the greatest secrecy, with the result that the opponents of any application are handicapped in putting forward their evidence. The announcement is only made after he has decided to set up a Committee. The people who are preparing evidence in favour of the duty have had months and months in which to formulate their case, whereas the opponents have only a very short time between the announcement that a Committee is to be set up and the time when it holds its meetings, only a very few weeks. Surely there is nothing to hide. If the case is a good one, there is no reason why the public should not he informed as soon as the application is made, so that the industries and the general public affected can have an adequate opportunity of making out their case. If the President of the Board of Trade is going to proceed further along these lines he ought not to be afraid of publicity, and he ought to give the opponents the same opportunity of preparing their case against the duties as those who are putting forward the case for the duty have of preparing their views.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 114.1107
|Division No. 484.]||AYES.||[9.12 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Burman, J. B.||Drewe, C.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Butt, sir Alfred||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Elliot, Captain Walter E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Caine, Gordon Hall||Elveden, viscount|
|Atkinson, C.||Cassels, J. D.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Fermoy, Lord|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Fleming, D. P.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Chapman, Sir S.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Berry, Sir George||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Christie, J. A.||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Blundell, F. N.||Clarry, Reginald George||Gates, Percy|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gee, Captain R.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Cope, Major William||Goff, Sir Park|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Couper, J. B.||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Grant, J. A.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Greene, W. p. Crawford|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Gunston, Captain O. W.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hanbury, C.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Harland, A|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Margesson, Captain D.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Meller, R. J.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Merriman, F. B.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Herbert, S. (York, N.R-,Scar. & Wh'by)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Storry Deans, R.|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Nelson, Sir Frank||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Holt Capt. H. P.||Neville, R. J.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Oakley, T.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Tinne, J. A.|
|Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Pease, William Edwin||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pennefather Sir John||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. p.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Penny, Frederick George||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midi'n & P'bl's)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Perring, William George||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon, F. S.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Jacob, A. E.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Preston, William||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Raine, W.||Wells, S. R.|
|King. Captain Henry Douglas||Ramsden, E.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Rawson, Alfred Cooper||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Remnani, Sir James||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Loder, J. de V.||Rice, Sir Frederick||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Looker, Herbert William||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lougher, L.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Lynn, Sir Robert J.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, w.)|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Rye, F. G.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Salmon, Major I.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Macintyre, Ian||Sandeman, A. Stewart||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|McLean, Major A.||Savery, S. S.||Captain Viscount Curzon and Lord|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Stanley.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morris, R. H.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Groves, T.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, T. W.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Baker, Walter||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Palin, John Henry|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Paling, w.|
|Barr, J.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Bromfield, William||Harris, Percy A.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bromley, J.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Riley, Ben|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hayes, John Henry||Ritson, J.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Buchanan, G.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, G. H.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sexton, James|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Connolly, M.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Kelly, W. T.||Snell, Harry|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kennedy, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Duckworth, John||Kirkwood, D.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Duncan, C.||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Lawson, John James||Sutton, J. E.|
|England, Colonel A.||Lee, F.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Fenby, T. D.||Livingstone, A. M.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Forrest, W.||Lowth, T.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lunn, William||Townend, A. E.|
|Gillett, George M.||MacLaren, Andrew||Varley, Frank B.|
|Costing, Harry||March, S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Greenall, T.||Montague, Frederick||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Warne, G. H.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)||Windsor, Walter|
|Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Westwood, J.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Whiteley, W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. T.|
|Wilkinson, Ellen C.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Henderson.|
§ Mr. J. JONES
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I make this Motion in view of the fact that, after having listened to the debate on the Motion "That Clause I stand part of the Bill," the Minister representing the Government did not even condescend to reply to the various arguments advanced against the Clause. [An HON. MEMBER: "Order, order!"] I am only stating the facts, and I am sorry that I cannot give the hon. Member who interrupts me the means of understanding them. The Minister responsible for the conduct of this Debate, I notice, has now been reinforced, and Blucher has brought
§ up his army. During the whole discussion on Clause 1 the Minister in charge never condescended to reply to the various questions asked, and the arguments advanced. I ask you, Mr. Hope, whether it is in order upon an important matter of this character, such as safety razors and blades and gas mantles,, which are a common article of commerce, that the Minister in charge should refuse to answer the arguments and the questions put to him.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 232.1109
|Division No. 485.]||AYES.||[9.23 p.m.|
|Alexander. A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. H., Elland)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Harris, Percy A.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Baker, Walter||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Sexton, James|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Hanry||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barr, J.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Slesser, sir Henry H.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hirst, G, H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Bromfield, William||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snell, Harry|
|Bromley, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stewart, J. (St. Hollox)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Cowan, O. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lansbury, George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawson, John James||Townend, A. E.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lee, F.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Livingstone, A. M.||Viant, S. P.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lowth, T.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Duncan, C.||Lunn, William||Warne, G. H.|
|England, Colonel A.||MacLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Fenby, T. D.||March, S.||Westwood, J.|
|Forrest, W.||Montague, Frederick||Whiteley, W.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morris, R. H.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison. R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Gosling, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, Dr. J. H, (Llanelly)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Oliver, George Harold||William, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenall, T.||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Groves, T.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Windsor, Walter|
|Grundy, T. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. B. Smith..|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Riley, Ben|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Boothby, R. J. G.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Bourne, Captain Robert Crott|
|Albery, Irving James||Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Bennett, A. J.||Brassey, Sir Leonard|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive|
|Atkinson, C.||Blades, Sir George Rowland||Briggs, J. Harold|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Blundell, F. N.||Briscoe, Richard George|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hawke, John Anthony||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Pownall, Lieut.- Colonel Assheton|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Preston, William|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Ralne, w.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Ramsden, E.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Surman, J. B.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Butt. Sir Alfred||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Remnant, Sir James|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Holt, Captain H. P.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Homan, C. W. J.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hope, sir Harry (Forfar)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Rye, F. G.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hudson, R.S.(Cumberland, Whiteh'n)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Christie, J. A.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Savery, S. S.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl (Renfrew, W.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jacob, A. E.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Jephcott, A. H.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Cope, Major William||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Couper, J. B.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lamb, J. Q.||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Craokshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Loder, J. de V.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Looker, Herbert William||Storry Deans, R|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lougher, L.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lumley, L. R.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Drewe, C.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Duckworth, John||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Tichfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Elveden, Viscount||Macintyre, I.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McLean, Major A.||Waddington, R.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Fairfax. Captain J. G.||Macquisten, F. A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Margesson, Captain D.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Fleming, D. P.||Meller, R. J.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Merriman, F. B.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Gee, Captain R.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Wells, S. R.|
|Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||White Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairy|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Moore-Brabazon Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Grant, J. A.||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Neville, R. J.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Oakley, T.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwlch)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D' A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wragg, Herbert|
|Hanbury, C.||Pease, William Edwin||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Harland, A.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Penny, Frederick George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Captain Viscount Curzon and Lord|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Perring, William George|
§ CLAUSE 2.—(Construction and short title.)
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I beg to move, in page 2, line 23, to leave out the words "Safeguarding of Industries," and to insert instead thereof the words " Protective Tariff."
The object of this Amendment is to give this Bill its true Title. The only justifica- 1110 tion which the Government could have had for calling this the Safeguarding of Industries (Customs Duties) Bill would have been to have made these duties apply only to those countries in which there were depreciated exchanges, lower wages, or longer hours of working than in our country. But we have heard from the Minister to-night that they had no inten- 1111 tion whatever of restricting the duties to those countries. They want to make them of a general character applying to all countries alike. That is nothing more or less than a protective tariff. There was a hope at one time that this would have been called the Finance (No. 2) Act. The reason that the Government did not adopt that normal Title is best known to themselves; it may have been out of consideration for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is in charge of Finance Bills.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Certainly. The Government seem to think that, by changing the Title of the Bill, they can relieve the Chancellor of the Exchequer of attendance on the House!
§ HON. MEMBERS: Oh!
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
When the Chancellor of the Exchequer is here, he comes sailing as near to the wind as he can. He wishes to keep up his Free Trade reputation and he makes speeches which are distinctly embarrassing to his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. The Title, Finance (No. 2) Act has been abandoned. It has been abandoned in order that this might become a Board of Trade measure rather than a Treasury measure; there is no other reason. But that it should masquerade under the Title, "Safeguarding of Industries," is more even than this House will stand.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
With regard to the Title of the Bill touched upon by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman), on 4th December I happened to be in the House—[Laughter]— and for a very excellent reason, when the Leader of the Opposition asked a question of the Prime Minister as to the business which it was proposed to take in the next week. The House will remember that that referred to Wednesday of last week, when the Second Reading of this particular Measure was in fact taken. The Prime Minister 1112 gave out the business, and when he came to Wednesday, he said the business would be the Second Reading of the Finance Bill. That is in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 4th December, Column 2811. In previous question about business this same nomenclature has been adopted. This Bill was referred to, not as the Safeguarding of Industries Bill. We have heard again and again that this was to be a Finance (No. 2) Bill, two or three times now, and without any reason being given to the House, this little child of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Trade and other estimable hon. Members is called, and is on view in the Vote Office, and we find that its name has been changed and that it is now the Safeguarding of Industries (Customs Duties) Bill.
I do not propose in any way to suggest that the Chairman of Ways and Means is responsible at all for this extraordinary change, although the Chairman of Ways and Means is, naturally, concerned with Measures which go through the Ways and Means procedure. There has, however, been some mistake somewhere, or some change in mind somewhere—I only wish there had been some change in heart— and I should be glad if the President of the Board of Trade would be kind enough to tell us why the Title was altered. With regard to the Amendment, I must say that it should appeal to all hon. and right hon. Members of the House who like square, honest dealing. This policy is the same old policy dressed up, repainted, refurbished and brought in under a third name. Even in my short political life—by that I mean my short life during which I have followed these matters—[Laughter.] My life has been just about the same length as that of the right hon. Gentleman himself—there are not many years between us—except that I was doing a man's work when he was at school. The result was that my education suffered a little, but, at any rate, I gathered some experience—
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
First it was Protection, and then it was Tariff Reform. Then it was necessary to hoodwink the new voters who were coming along, some of them women, some of them men who had been serving in the 1113 War. and it was necessary, when they came back, to find something to interest them in party politics and hoodwink and bamboozle them generally. Therefore, this new title, "Safeguarding of Indus-tries.'' was invented—
§ The ASSISTANT POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Viscount Wolmer)
By your Leader.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
The Noble Lord the Assistant Postmaster-General does me the honour of intervening for a moment in my speech, and he says that my Leader—meaning, I presume, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George)—invented this title. I attacked it, however, at the time. I have been perfectly consistent, and the light hon. Gentleman has seen the error if his ways. The trouble is that the Noble Lord is so persistently consistent that he refuses to admit the error of his ways, although he must see it, because, if he will allow me to say so, he is a Noble Lord of great intelligence.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I was interrupted, and I at once return to the Amendment. We object very much to this term, "Safeguarding of Industries," not because it is associated with the second regime of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, but because it does not properly describe what is in fact a very objectionable and mischievous form of Protection. Of course, if you like to pick out one industry, or one minor manufacture, and give it protection, building a ting-fence of Protective duties around it, I daresay you can artificially create extra employment, in some eases, in that industry, although in the case of the lace industry and the motor car industry that has not proved to be the case. It is, however, quite on the cards. The President of the Board of Trade has a good gambling chance, he has a good bluffing hand, and it is quite on the cards he holds in his hand that, by picking out gas mantles, gloves and cutlery, and protecting them, when the only other industries protected are those dealt with in the McKenna Duties, that we may see some slight increase, for the time being only, 1114 in employment in those industries. But what about the others that are left out?
I am not going to open out an argument in connection with those industries, but I object to the present Title of the Bill. If, when the expression "Safeguarding of Industries" was used, there had been added to it a, statement that it was the safeguarding of some few favoured industries, there might be something in it, but to use the term "Safeguarding of Industries" without any such qualification is simply to attempt to hoodwink the new voters—women and ex-service men—who may not have been able to follow the matter. Moreover, this policy will injure other industries that are not protected, and I believe the majority of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite would welcome the old-fashioned name upon which they were suckled, namely, Protection. Why not, therefore, adopt the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, and boldly and plainly and honestly—which, after all, British people generally prefer—call it the "Protective Tariff (Customs Duties) (No. 1) Bill "?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I regret to shatter at once the suspicions and the hopes of the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). I can assure him that the Government and their supporters are of one mind, one heart, and one faith, and that, therefore, the Title of this Bill denotes no cleavage in our ranks. I should have thought the hon. and gallant Gentleman would have recognised that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; and this is the same rose with which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) adorned his buttonhole when he was leading His Coalition Government, and which the right hon. Gen-man the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) wore when he returned from Paris. Why should we not call this a Safeguarding Bill? The right hon. Gentleman says we must not call it safeguarding because we safeguard against more than one-quarter. I should have thought that if you stood four square it would be more complete safeguarding. The right hon. Gentleman suggests that we should call it the "Protective Tariff (Customs Duties) (No. 1) Bill," but we cannot do that, because to do so 1115 would be a terminological inexactitude. Nobody proved that better than the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull. He said he did not deny that, if we took an industry here and an industry there, by a selective process, we might play our hand very well. That is the most complimentary thing he has said to me in the course of these Debates. I hope we shall play our hand well and win the rubber. But that seems to me to be the very best proof. The hon and gallant Gentleman says himself that this is a selective process. Therefore, the last thing in the world that would be accurate —and I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman would want to be accurate above all things—would be to call this a Protective Tariff, and, therefore, the Bill is called what it is called. We have to give it a Parliamentary Title, but both inside and outside this House it will be judged on its merits. I submit that this is an absolutely accurate Title. The primary object is to safeguard industries, and the secondary object is to raise revenue, as by Customs Duties. Therefore I think no more accurate Title could be found for the Bill than the Safeguarding of Industries (Customs Duties) Bill, and we really cannot depart from that Title, because of the continuity of policy which we are carrying on.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I rise to support the Amendment. I could have understood the Bill having the name it has if it really sought to carry out what is its Title, but any Government worthy of the name would have started to tackle, say, the four great industries of the country and safeguard them. Coal, iron and steel, shipbuilding, cotton and agriculture are great key industries, and this Bill does not seek to safeguard one of them, but starts what it calls the safeguarding of British industries by taxing cutlery, incandescent lights and gloves. As a matter of fact, the thing is an insult. Gloves may be very useful to the people who buy them, but as a staple industry it does not count to any great extent. When we are arguing this Bill one would assume that industry consists merely of the carrying on of commerce and has no 1116 consideration for those who are engaged in the production of a certain industry at all. This Bill takes no regard for the conditions of working people who are engaged in the industry. If the Bill was really seeking to improve the conditions I could have understood it. If they came along and said, "You have depreciated exchanges, low wages and bad conditions; those things are bad, and therefore we intend not to raise revenue from a bad thing," you have sweating in Manchester and in Glasgow, No one would ever suggest taxing sweated goods, because the proceeds of an immoral thing like sweating are as bad as the sweating itself, and therefore the person who taxed sweated goods would be as immoral as the sweater himself.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I would not have intervened if I did not think quite seriously that I have some contribution to make. This is a misleading name, and I am trying to prove to the British public, and to my constituents particularly, that it is a fraud and a sham, and I can only prove that by illustrating that it is not seeking to do what the Title suggests. I was going to prove that here you have a Bill that proposes to raise money from an immoral source. It ought not to be named this at all. It ought not even to be named a Protective Measure, but ought to be named possibly after some clown in a circus. I do net know the President of the Board of Trade sufficiently well to say whether he would make a better or a worse clown than the hon. Member for Gorbals, but I have no wish to dwell on that. The right hon. Gentleman's defence of this is even worse than the attack of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman), and that was bad enough. "It is never too late for a sinner to repent." Possibly that applies to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea. "Someone else has done it, and because they have done wrong, I shall continue to do wrong." That is the defence.
The right hon. Gentleman has never said the Title; was correct. It is a terrible thing when the Conservative party have to defend their wrongdoings behind the right hon. Gentleman the 1117 Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). The Labour party will be in a bad way before we defend our wrongdoings behind the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. The right hon. Gentleman's defence is that, because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea did it, it should never be criticised. The only one whose character remains unblemished is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). For some reason he has escaped. They say, "They have done it, and, therefore, we ought to do it." That is no defence at all. What you must prove is that the name you have given it is a correct name for the Bill. It is not a matter of the wrongs or the rights of someone else who has gone before. You have to prove that your action is right. If we all start casting up our past predecessors, some of us will have a fair job. You might compare the Secretary for Scotland with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. One could go from the Solicitor-General, who was distinguished for his legal knowledge, to other Members of the Cabinet who were not distinguished for their knowledge, but rather for their lack of knowledge.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
It is extremely difficult to keep in order on this Amendment because the Bill has not a real Title. I believe a Member should only intervene when he can give some useful advice. This is the first speech I have made on safeguarding. In my constituency they are not Conservatives and we are not concerned whether you tax gas mantles or gloves or anything else. The thing that is worrying them is that even if you do or do not tax them, they cannot get gloves. That is the cruel thing, that you are safeguarding industries, although whether you tax them or not, the poorer people in your great centres cannot get gloves to wear at this time of the year. I am not much concerned whether this Bill passes or not. To me it is a worthless Bill.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I have never been called upon to resume my seat, and I hope I shall not be to-night. With a little patience and good humour and good feeling I shall have finished. The President of the Board of Trade is a comparatively young man and is likely to live some years yet. For the sake of his future reputation he should at least try to get a decent Title for his Bill.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
When you read out the Amendment, Mr. Hope, you omitted the words "Customs Duties," and also the figure "No. 1.'' I hope that was done inadvertently, because although the words "Customs Duties" are unnecessary, the figure "No. 1" is an essential part of the Amendment. I support the Amendment very strongly, because of what the Prime Minister said at Plymouth. What he said then is likely to go down in history quite as well as what Gladstone said in 1868. The Prime Minister said that he was not prepared to assume responsibility for the Government of this country unless he could introduce a policy of Protection. The country turned that down, and the Prime Minister put that policy behind his back; but it is being produced again in the form of safeguarding. We have been told by the right hon. Gentleman opposite that there is no cleavage in the ranks of. the Cabinet or of the Conservative party. That is small consolation if there has been a cleavage of principle. Certainly, one party or other in the Cabinet has put its principles behind its back in order to get solidarity of ranks.
Why is it that the Government is shirking the real title of this Bill? "Safeguarding" obviously means Protection from a quarter from which there is a direct menace, while Protection means Protection all round, whether there is any direct threat or not. Obviously, a Government which has such masters of the English tongue in its ranks must realise that "safeguarding" is not the right term to use in this Bill. The term ought to be "Protection." "Safeguarding" has been substituted for " Protection," for the same reason that Iraq has been substituted for Mesopotamia. It is the same old ingenious trick of trying to get out of a popular name by substituting another. I hope the President of the Board of Trade will call 1119 a spade a spade, and that the Government will sail in its true colours, which is the best policy in the long run.
§ Mr. BROAD
I support the Amendment. It would require someone much better versed than I am in the arts of casuistry to explain the difference between the provisions of this Measure and full-blooded Protection as far as the different articles are concerned. "Why cannot the Bill be called by its proper Title? In the interests of straight dealing it ought to be called by its proper title. We were told in the early days after the War that there were abnormal circumstances which would justify those who were opposed to protective duties allowing, for temporary and special purposes, in a discriminating way the application of what we now associate with the term "safeguarding of industries."? we had been used to the term butter as applied to the product of milk we should consider that it was not straight dealing if we were supplied with margarine in place of butter, seeing that margarine is made from oil and fats. This Is practically the same thing now.
A different term is associated with the idea that under abnormal circumstances and over a restricted area where these abnormal circumstances prevail, we should apply a special duty. Here we have a set of duties which are entirely protective. There is no discrimination. Even in countries where the conditions are ever so much better, such as America, hon. Members will find that there is no discrimination there. I am wondering why there is all this subterfuge. I recall a solemn pledge made by the leader of a great party, who is supposed to be so honest and frank that his word can always be relied upon. At the last General Election his word was relied upon, and the officials of the Liberal party in my district issued a manifesto to the electors advising them to vote for the Conservative party because they could rely on the present Prime Minister's word that he would not take advantage of his majority to institute Protection.
I say that they have broken faith entirely. This is pure, full-blooded Pro- 1120 tection. I have listened with interest to the speeches delivered by the President of the Board of Trade, and I have not yet heard from him anything that would prove to me that this is not what we always understand as Protection, and that it is not at all associated with the idea of safeguarding of industries as understood by people up and down the country. I hope he will call a spade a spade and be honest and straightforward and withdraw this title of safeguarding of industries, which is associated with one set of ideas and circumstances which even made some of our Liberal friends agree to it. There may be circumstances which would justify one who believes in Free Trade in departing from that principle, just as in the same way it might be that one who is a lifetime abstainer uses alcohol for medicinal purposes. I should not regard that man as having departed from his abstainer principles. Therefore, I can find a little justification, in those times of the falling mark, for the action of the Liberals in agreeing to safeguarding of industries, although I think they would have abstained from doing it had they realised that their purpose would be twisted as we have heard it twisted to-night. I hope that the Minister and the Committee, in the interests of honest, straightforward dealing, will give this Bill its proper Title— a Protective Tariff Bill.
I would not have intervened had the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) been able to get any reply to the questions he put. We do want on this side of the House to know why the Title of the Bill has been changed. The Prime Minister described the Bill by one name, and the President of the Board of Trade brings it forward by another name. We are constantly being assured from the other side, although we do not need the assurance, of the extremely honest character of the Prime Minister. The President of the Board of Trade has told us what an extremely honest man the Prime Minister is. I do not dispute it. We have here another proof of his honesty. He called this Bill by its right name. Whether he has broken his pledges or not, he is man enough to come here and call this Bill by its proper name, but when it is taken out of his hands and put 1121 into the hands of those who are always preaching about the Prime Minister's honesty, the name which he has given to it is changed, and it comes in as a Safeguarding of Industries Bill. It is not a Safeguarding of Industries Bill. It would be a Safeguarding of Industries Bill if you put in it Clauses protecting the consumer from the rapacity of the British firms once they are protected.
The effect of this safeguarding of industries will be that prices will go up on the goods protected, and the workers in other industries will have to pay more for their goods. Then they will come for higher wages, and the result will be that instead of having safeguarded any industries you will have made their last state very much worse than their first. This is a proof of the supreme dishonesty of the party opposite in their plea that they want to protect industry. You do not want to. All that you want to protect is profits. If you wanted to protect British industry every time you introduced a Bill to impose an import tariff you would introduce other legislation to ensure that it was not exploited by the raising of prices. If you did that you would have me in your Lobby every time. You would not do it. It would not meet your purpose. Call this a "Safeguarding of Profits Bill" and be honest about it. Do as the Prime Minister has done, and confess that the pledges given at election time do not matter once you have got a majority. Either do that or, if not, call it an "Imposition of Taxes Bill," an "Increase in the Cost of Living Bill," or any other kind of name you can think of. That will explain clearly your policy in taxing the poor in order to allow the rich to make more profits. Do that by all means. It is not so bad to have politicians who look after the interests of their friends, but it is extraordinarily bad when they do it with a hypocritical air of charity on their faces, saying, "We are not protecting our own interests, but the poor people for whom our hearts grieve." You are not. You are protecting profits and making the poverty of the poor even worse. Even your Prime Minister has not got the face to come and tell the House of Commons that this is a Safeguarding of Industries Bill. That is left to the President of the Board of Trade and he can hardly be blamed, after all.
1122 One cannot wonder when one knows the right hon. Members for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) and Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and that association with them, when they have no political principles, is apt to corrupt you. The President of the Board of Trade was very closely associated with them, and he, who, I am afraid, has no very fixed political principles except the protection of profits and vested interests, was naturally corrupted by the extremely bad company in which he was. For that he has the sympathy of many of us. We differ very much from the party opposite, but we do not wish even them to be compelled to keep company of that kind.
I have read a good number of them. I have not read them all. I have read some speeches of leaders of the party opposite, and I notice that the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to have been under the impression that the hon. and gallant Gentleman was a member of the Socialist party. I do submit it would be very much better even in the interests of a party opposite to come out as honest highwaymen instead of masquerading in the guise of charity in their nefarious purpose.
§ Major CRAWFURD
The speech of the hon. Member, who has just sat down, prompts me to say a few words, in order that Members may go into the Lobby with clear minds and clear consciences. I wish to say a word, and with all modesty, as the author of this Amendment. The purpose of discussion and debate in this House is to endeavour to influence votes. I have not been very long a Member of this House, and I still cherish some of the, perhaps, illusions with which I came here, but may I say that the sole purpose of the Amendment is to help hon. Members on the Back Benches opposite. This is the second occasion this afternoon that I have had to speak on an Amendment designed to clear the consciences of the Front Bench and Back Benches on the other side. It would not be in order to refer to the former Amendment, but this Amendment is simply drafted for this purpose, and only for this purpose. Hon. Members on the Back Benches opposite cheered the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other evening for the first 1123 half of his speech, when he was defending these duties, because they believed and knew they were Protective duties, and the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) said the same thing this afternoon when he declared quite openly that these were Protective taxes. Nothing would give us more pain than that hon. Members opposite, who use the Union Jack at election times and other patriotic devices, should sail under false colours. [HON. MEMBERS: "Did not you?"] No.
§ Major CRAWFURD
My appeal is to back benchers opposite, to support us. because they know, just as we do, that the Title which is put in the Amendment is the true Title of this Bill.
§ Mr. DALTON
I have been in great hesitation during this Debate on 'he matter of a Title to decide how I should cast my vote if it were carried to a Division. In my opinion neither of these titles is a complete description. I am inclined to vote for the Amendment, but this is not properly described as a Protective Tariff (Customs Duties) (No. 1) Bill. It is the second Finance Bill of the year, in the first Finance Bill numerous trades were protected by duties. In the Budget, or the Finance (No. 1) Bill protective duties were imposed on motor cars, motor bicycles, watches, clocks, silk of every description, lace, and a number of other articles. I suppose it would not be in order to move an Amendment to the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment. May I ask whether it would be in order in submit a further Amendment to this Amendment proposing to submit for "No 1" the words "No. 2"
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain FitzRoy)
"No. 1" has already been dropped, and the words "No. 1" have been omitted in putting the Question.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
If it was omitted, it certainly was not omitted with my consent, and I moved the Amendment. It is the first I have heard of it.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Was not the point of your predecessor in the Chair to omit the words "Customs Duties" on the ground that they were already in, and that there was no need to use them again, and not the words "No/"?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must have misunderstood me. The Question put was, to leaves out the words "Safeguarding of Industries," and to insert "Protective Tariff."
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
Your predecessor in the Chair corrected the Amendment to leave out the words "Customs Duties" on the ground that they were not necessary, and did not mention the words "No. 1" at all. When a few minutes later L rose to support the Amendment! drew attention to those words, and said I understood the words "No. 1" had been left out inadvertently by him, to which he made no reply. We therefore concluded it was agreed that the words "No. 1" had been left out inadvertently, and would be included in the Amendment when put to the House.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member no doubt thought that silence meant consent, but I have here a memorandum left by my predecessor with those words struck out.
§ Mr. DALTON
In view of what you have told us, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, I am clear as to which way I shall Vote. The Amendment before as, it appears, is not that on the Paper, but a different Amendment put by your predecessor in the Chair. I shall have great pleasure in supporting very heartily the Amendment. It is worth While to dwell on the point which I have mentioned, namely, that this is not the first step in the process of walking backwards, away from pledges given during the Election. In view of the fact that so large a number of industries, some of them of considerable importance, have already had Protective duties imposed upon their foreign competitors, it is quite clear that, this is a Measure making for Protection, and that it had better be called by its plain name.
§ Mr. JONES
Of course, I cannot pretend to be an economic expert. My economics have been pained in the gutter. I have learned by experience what economics mean. Imports and exports do 1125 not trouble me. This Debate ought really to take place in the Crypt. The trouble is to find a name for the baby. If we do not succeed, we shall have to send is to Dr. Barnardo's Home. Hon. Members opposite are denying responsibility for the parentage. There seems to be difficulty in proving whoso baby it is. Really, we want to know where we are. We are not responsible for the parentage of the child. We have a right, when this Bill becomes law, to know who really are the fathers of it, and who will have to foot the bill for its maintenance. We shall have to pay all sorts of duties and no one knows what. Some people do not want to pay, and the people who will not pay will be the first to claim that the parents repudiated responsibility for the child. You will find that a large number of hon. Gentlemen on the other side will say, "Please, sir, it wasn't me." They remind me of the story of the servant girl. Someone said, "A small one"; but it will get bigger as it grows.
Instead of this very small instalment of Protection we shall have a full-blooded thing later on. Why cannot hon. Members opposite be honest? The men who come down to Silvertown are honest. The men who stand at the corners of the streets—I do not know how much they get for it—are quite frank about it. They say "our Government"—they mean their Government, for they are only the torn-tits on the round of beef—they say, "Our Government is going to introduce Protection." They tell that story to the workmen in the East End of London. This is the way you get Protection—by degrees. If it is Protection, and you know it is Protection, why do you not say so? Let us have a straight fight on the matter. Whom are you going to protect? Doll's eye merchants, chocalolly sellers. Why not protect the people who want protecting? If there is anything in it, why not protect the miner, the steel worker and the workers in the main industries of the country? You do not protect the sailors and the firemen. You do not protect the great masses of the industries that really matter. Oh, no, you are going around by sides tracks.
I am not a Free Trader; I am a trade unionist. If Free Trade means each man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, or each country for itself and the devil take the rest. I am not a Free 1126 Trader. My idea is to protect the people who produce the wealth against the people who take it from them. Therefore as far as we are concerned, we say, "If you honestly believe in Protection, why be ashamed of it?" I am a Socialist, and proud of it. In spite of the right hon. Gentlemen the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am soft-headed and proud of my soft head—and I hope I will never wear the right hon. Gentleman's hats. We want you to come out into the open and if you are Protectionists, to say so We, as Socialists, are going on to fight for the abolition of a system which means the robbery of a kingdom in the interests of profit mongers.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I wish to emphasise what has been clearly stated already, namely, that this procedure is nothing short of duplicity. I do not understand why hon. Members opposite refuse to accept the term "Protection." Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite owe much to our old friend Joe Chamberlain of honoured memory, who, after the Boer War, in attempting to hide some of the disclosures of the War Office originated the fiscal policy. Those wore the palmy days of Toryism, when hon. Members opposite received a great policy with which to go forward to the country and were blunt and straight bout it. The late Mr. Bonar Law made his name in this country as second fiddle to the great Joe Chamberlain in his marvellous policy of Protection. There never was a greater economic stupidity than the theory that unemployment is due to imports—
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I am just making a passing remark which I think is necessary when one listens to the arrant nonsense which is produced as solid discussion from the other side. I have noticed throughout those Debates how the President of the Board of Trade takes discussion when it is seriously put forward. He sits there in his place, and he could no more defend the economic theory which is being advanced than he could fly to the heavens. Listening to these Debates one can clearly see that this is not a matter of reinforcing an economic principle or of reasoning logically. Proposals are brought into the House to carry out a 1127 consistent policy not of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) nor of any member of the Liberal party. This Safeguarding of Industries hypocrisy is a Protective Measure and consistent with the action steadily pursued since the days of Joe Chamberlain. If to-morrow, hon. Members had a free road open to the establishment of Protection, is there one of them who would not point to these duties as the prelude to the opening up of that full Protective policy? I defy any hon. Member to deny it. They know that this is Protection, but they feel bound to defend a hypocritical position.
I have been second to no man in this House in admiring the Prime Minister. I have taken his word and defended him through thick and thin because I believed he was one of the outstanding figures in public life. It is to be regretted that now when I go among his critics I will have to admit that he said he would not introduce Protection, and yet we have tonight his Ministers bringing in this Safeguarding of Industries Bill. Are you ashamed of it? Is that what it comes to? If you believe that Protection is a means of solving unemployment, it is an idea that you can only have inherited from some inmate of a Babylonian asylum, but if you do believe it, why not be frank about it and say it is Protection because it is clear what sophistry is behind this? You go out into the country and say you have been consistent with the Prime Minister's pledge and you have not brought in Protection; it was merely a Safeguarding of Industries Bill. That is when you find that the wave of popular opinion is going against the reactionary proposals of Protection, but supposing it should go the other way, you can equally play the other card. [An HON. MEMBER": "Ah!"] The music is indicative of the asylum. This same card could be played, and if there was a tendency towards Protection you could use this very safeguarding argument to prove that you were consistent in going straight forward to Protection.
Last, but not least, I think it is nothing short of damnable, when you consider the conditions outside, that men are tinkering and playing about with names and titles. Make no mistake about it. You are playing with a name because you are 1128 afraid of the real name, but considering the conditions outside, you are wasting valuable time tinkering about with measures of this kind, while all the time you are using these measures for a greater assault upon the conditions prevailing in the trade of this and other countries. You talk about the Locarno Pacts, and signing Treaties of Peace, and proceeding along the lines of safeguarding, making your professions of peace and unity with other nations under the guise of safeguarding industry, while all the time it is to strengthen your policy of Protection, which is as mad as the man who proposed it, and as stupid and insane as anything that could ever be thrown into a lunatic asylum.
§ Captain BENN
I urn certain that hon. Members above the Gangway will realise that there are a number of us on these benches who consistently fought this sort of thing in times of very great difficulty when we and they were few in numbers in this House. It is all very well for hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to cheer speeches about improving the conditions of the workers of this country, when time after time in these; Debates they have rejected Amendments which were intended, within the very limited and imperfect structure of this Bill, to protect labour conditions. We said we wanted to raise the standard of the workers abroad, and what did the Undersecretary to the Board of Trade say? "Every country but your own." not realising that everything we can do to raise the standard of the workers on the Continent of Europe is something to help the workers of this country, and is the only sane way to go about it. We have moved Amendments to say that this Bill shall not be operative where other countries accept reasonable standards of work. Amendment after Amendment has been moved on this side, and rejected by right hon. and hon. Members opposite.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. and gallant Member is not entitled to make a Second Reading speech on this Amendment.
§ Captain BENN
I was replying to the cheers which greeted speeches on this side, but I will content myself with the mere statement which everyone knows is true. It is a strange thing on an Amend 1129 ment of this kind, dealing with Customs Duties, that there is nobody qualified to speak on behalf of the Customs Department. Why is that? The President of the Board of Trade knows nothing whatever about the Customs.
Sir P. CUNUFFE-LISTER
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman comes to discuss something relevant to the Customs Department, the Financial Secretary will be here.
§ Captain BENN
When there is a Finance Bill dealing with Customs before the House, the Treasury ought to be represented. We know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer regards this as pure tripe, and has a feeling of disgust towards the whole thing, and when he does come, he is in such violent disagreement with the President of the Board of Trade that he finds it difficult to restrain himself. But if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not come, why should not the Financial Secretary to the Treasury? The President of the Board of Trade said he would not summon this high official unless something relevant was said about Customs, but we have put questions repeatedly and can get no one on that bench to reply. It is treating this Committee with contempt not to have a Treasury official here. Of course, hon. Members opposite who are ordered not to speak on penalty of not getting their Christmas holiday—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I really cannot think the hon. and gallant Member realises what the Amendment is. The Amendment deals with the Title of the Bill.
§ Captain BENN
I submit, with respect, that if we are defining the Bill as a Customs Duties Bill, whether for purposes of tariffs or safeguarding industries, we are entitled to ask that someone representing the Customs Department should be present to answer. There is another point which, I think, has not been raised. In 1911 there was a great struggle in this House for securing to this House the control over finance, and the Parliament Act was passed. Hon. Members opposite would all be in prison for sedition had the law been put into operation in those days, and in the way it is to-day. They threatened and practised Parliamentary disorder, and they 1130 spoke outside of civil war. I would like to ask—but there is no one here to answer—-this question about the Title of the Bill. Under the Parliament Act, Finance Bills are specifically protected, and a Finance Bill passing from this House to the other House enjoys an immunity which no other Bill enjoys. We were given to understand by the Prime Minister that this was going to be a Finance Bill. I did not think when I asked that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury should be present, that the First Lord, who has just entered the House, would himself grace the Debate, and I tender my grateful thanks to the President of the Board of Trade for having secured his attendance. I know the right hon. Gentleman will not deny that throughout all this matter he has contemplated these duties being imposed by a Finance Bill. He himself spoke of a Finance Bill, too, just before we started the Debate. Last Friday night he told us it would be a Finance Bill. Why has the Title of the Bill been changed? I might be quite prepared to support the right hon. Gentleman if the words "Finance (No. 2) Bill" were included.
We know what was the intention of the Prime Minister. Will he tell us why he has changed the name of the Bill? Why was it a Finance Bill on Friday, and on Tuesday and Wednesday a. Safeguarding of Industries Bill? There must be some explanation of that. It re a very important thing. Under the Parliament Act when a Finance Bill is sent to the Upper House it may be said to be passed whatever the House may do, if the Session is sufficiently long. Of course, it is not any of my business to point out to the Upper House what their powers are in this respect, but they may know that a Bill passed at a late stage of the Session, whatever it may be called, a Finance or a Safeguarding Bill does not enjoy the immunity of the Parliament Act. They, however, are, no doubt, well apprised of that fact; but the title does matter because we do not want to have the title of a Bill so altered as to frustrate the purpose of the Parliament Act. I would rather see the control of this House over finance maintained than any number of tinkering Bills rejected.
I should like to ask the First Lord of the Treasury this question: Does the alteration of title mean that there is 1131 any alteration in the special privileges that the Bill enjoys, because if so we are entitled to look at it askance? Does this Bill enjoy all the immunities that a Finance Bill would enjoy in the other House? If the right hon. Gentleman can tell us that, then, indeed, we might understand whether or not it is necessary to press the Amendment. I submit, Captain FitzRoy, that these are relevant questions, not important because I put them, but important in themselves, and I put it to the Prime Minister to offer us some enlightenment on the matter.
§ Miss WILKINSON
I want to keep the question of Title, which may seem, as the Debate has gone forward, to be a small matter, to the fore, for as a matter of fact it involves a very serious principle. We have been recently told by the estimable Attorney-General, and his colleague the Solicitor-General, that the law is a very dignified thing. I, therefore, suggest, that laws which are passed by this House and the Titles of those laws ought to be protected against "stunts." I want to suggest that in calling this Bill a Safeguarding of Industries Bill and not calling it a Protection Bill the President of the Board of Trade and his colleagues are merely engaged in an advertising stunt. We know that there are very many flourishing advertisement firms who charge very large fees, not to improve an article, but that they may find just the title to sell that article. In the modern commercial world, I understand, it is a more important thing that you should get a suitable title for an article to be sold than that you should be particular as to the quality of the article. [An HON. MEMBER: "YOU do not know anything about it!"] Oh yes, quite a lot. I suggest, further, that to the large number of departments at the Conservative headquarters—their forged letter department and the others—there has, no doubt, been added recently an attractive titles department. For example, if we had to have a Bill—as we may have as the result of Circular 1371—to take away our nursery schools and return our children to the dusty pavements, the attractive titles department will, no doubt, call that the Sunshine Bill, or the Fresh Air Bill.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Yes, or the Safeguarding of Infants Bill, as my colleague suggests. It is lowering the dignity of this House to give these stunt titles to what is, after all, a naked Protection Bill. I understood that it was the custom of this House, if not the law of the land, that the title of a Bill should explain exactly what is in the Bill. This title does not explain what is in this Bill, but merely what is not in the Bill, for there is no safeguarding whatever of the real, vital necessities of industries. The Amendment provides a very much better title than the present one.
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
I feel that the title proposed in the Amendment would be very much better than that suggested by the Government; but I realise that the title given to the Bill by the Government is in line with the very old dodge adopted by the party opposite. One of my hon. Friends, in speaking in this Debate, said that, 20 years or more ago, when the right hon. Joseph Chamberlain introduced Protection, he called it by that name. I do not remember that he did; he called it Tariff Reform. Twenty years before that, when certain hon. Gentlemen were trying their hand at Protectionist proposals, they were afraid of calling them by their real name, and suggested the name of Fair Trade. At another time Reciprocity and Retaliation were tried. Ever since Disraeli banned with bell, book and handle this thing Protection, which in his words was dead and damned, the Conservative party have been looking for another name to describe it.
I observed the other day that a certain printer—it is usually upon the printers that we like to put the responsibility of our errors—in describing this Bill in the Parliamentary Papers announcing the business that was to be taken to-night, put it down with unerring instinct as the Safeguarding of Interests Bill. I hope that printer will not get into any trouble as a result of his mistake, for he came nearer to the truth, probably, than does either the name suggested by the Amendment or that suggested by the Government. This Bill is through and through a Bill for the protection or safeguarding of interests. In no single speech from the Treasury Bench has any real case been made out that the unemployed would be protected. Hon. Members know perfectly 1133 well that they are little likely to offer protection to the unemployed, that such unemployment legislation as they have put their strength to has proved a disgrace to this House and to the Government that introduced it. The unemployed will be neglected—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I would remind the hon. Member that we are not debating the question of the unemployed.
§ Mr. HUDSON
I was trying to show that this Bill is not protective in regard in those people on whose behalf the Conservatives came into office, and I want to suggest that, the real Title of the Bill should be "Protection of Interests," because that would be a far truer and a more correct description of the action of the Government than the name which has been given to this Measure. We know that profits and the protection of profits is the aim of all this legislation and we shall oppose it with all our strength.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
An important constitutional point has been put before the Committee to which the Prime Minister has listened with great care and I think he must be aware of the importance of that point. The whole of the operation of the Parliament Act may or may not be affected by this Title. May I point out that in the first place the Prime Minister gave it the title of the Finance (No. 2) Bill, but a change was made as late as last Friday and we are anxious to know whether that indicates any change in the relations between the two Houses and the status of this Measure. I should be glad if the Prime Minister can throw any light on that point because it is one of very great constitutional importance.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 118.1135
|Division No. 486.]||AYES.||[10.50 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Agg-Gardner, Ht. Hon. Sir James||T. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Cope, Major William||Hammersley, S. S|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Couper, J. B.||Hanbury, C.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.)||Harland, A.|
|Atkinson, C.||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antri'n)||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Croft, Brigadler-General Sir H.||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Barnett, Ma)or Sir Richard||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainbro)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Herbert, S. (York, N. R. Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Davidson, J. (Hertl'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Dixey, A. C.||Homan, C. W. J.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Drewe, C.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Elveden, Viscount||Hopkinson. A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset Weston-s.-M.)||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Fielden, E. B.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Fleming, D. P.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F, S.|
|Burman, J. B.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Ganzoni, Sir John||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gates, Percy||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Gee. Captain R.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir-Clement|
|Campbell, E. T.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Goff, Sir Park||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Gower, Sir Robert||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Grant, J. A.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Looker, Herbert William|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Grotrian, H. Brent||Lougher, L.|
|Christie, J. A.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Lumley, L. R.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame)||Stuart, Han. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Preston, William||Sugden, sir Wilfrid|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Raine, W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Ramsden, E.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Macintyre, Ian||Rawson, Alfred Cooper||Tinne, J. A.|
|McLean Major A.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Remnant, Sir James||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Rentoul, G. S.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Waddington, R.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Rice, Sir Frederick||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Meller, R. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Merriman, F. B.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Rye, F. G.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Mitchell, S, (Lanark, Lanark)||Salmon, Major I.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wells, S. R.|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Sandeman, A. Stewart||White Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Sandon, Lord||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Savery, S. S.||Williams, Com, C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Murchison, C. K.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W.)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Neville, R. J.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shepperson, E. W.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Oakley, T.||Smithers, Waldron||Wood, E.(Chest'r, Statyb'dge & Hyde)|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Penny, Frederick George||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Storry Deans, R.|
|Perring, William George||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Col. Gibbs and Major Hennessy.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Sexton, James|
|Amman, Charles George||Hardie, George D.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Harris, Percy A.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayes, John Henry||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Snell, Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Bromley, J.||Kelly, W. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon, James H. (Derby)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kennedy, T.||Thomas. Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Buchanan, G||Kirkwood, D.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, George||Thurtle, E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Compton, Joseph||Lee, F.||Townend, A. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Lindley, F. w.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Livingstone, A. M.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||MacLaren, Andrew||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Day, Colonel Harry||March, S.||Warne, G. H.|
|Duckworth, John||Montague, Frederick||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D, (Rhondda)|
|Duncan, C.||Morris, R. H.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Dunnico, H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Weir, L. M.|
|England, Colonel A.||Murnin, H.||Westwood, J.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Forrest, W.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Paling, W.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Gillett, George M.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gosling, Harry||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Potts, John S.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenall, T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Riley, Ben||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Ritson, J.|
|Groves, T.||Robinson, W. C. (York, W. R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rose, Frank H.||Sir Godfrey Collins and Major|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Crawfurd|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Scurr, John|
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.