§ Mr. SPEAKER
As I stated yesterday, I had the advantage on Monday morning of a consultation with Members from different parts of the House, and I propose to select the questions to be raised to-day in accordance with the result of that conference. The first question will be the Motion to omit the Silk Duties from the Finance Bill, and it is suggested that that might take about two hours. The second is the omission of the Lace Duty, and the third the Motion to omit the Clause with regard to the Super-tax, in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn). Then there is the Clause dealing with the Death Duties in the case of agricultural land, and, if we should have adequate time left, we could deal with any questions that may arise on the new proposals of the Government in the Schedules, or any details that Members might wish to raise on those Schedules.
May I ask your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that if we divide on the Motion to omit Clause 4, we put ourselves logically in the position of voting against the Customs Duty while leaving the Excise Duty in operation, and perhaps, if the discussion took place on both duties in one Debate, there might be an opportunity to divide on Clause 5, which raises rather a separate point?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
As I explained yesterday, if the House throws out the Customs Duty, there can be no doubt that the Government themselves would have to leave out the Excise Duty, so that the purpose would be effected by the first discussion and division.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
As you do not propose to call the Amendment to omit Clause 9, may we have a discussion on the Imperial Preference Clauses in the Schedule?
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
Arising out of your statement, Mr. Speaker, in regard 1332 to how you intend taking the Clauses, may I ask what you intend doing with the Amendment in my name, and in the names of several of my colleagues, to insert, in Clause 8, the words "provided that such articles have been produced under fair conditions of labour"? It is a new principle, which has never yet been discussed in a Finance Bill, to my knowledge—it was not discussed during the Committee stage—and I think that, in the interests of the House as well as of the public, it ought to have an opportunity now upon the Report stage.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
My attention has been called this morning to that Amendment on the Paper, but, apart from the question of selection, I could not take that Amendment, because it is too indefinite. If the hon. Member wished to bring up, on some other occasion, such a proposal, he would have to make it more complete and definite than he has now got it. I will on some future occasion endeavour to find an opportunity for him if he, on his part, will produce a more practical and definite proposal, but, so far as to-day is concerned, I am not in a position to select that Amendment.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Is it not just as definite in its statement as the statement laid down by the Government with regard to Imperial Preference, namely, that certain classes of goods produced in British Colonies should have the right to come into this country at a preferential tariff as compared with foreign produce? Cannot we, therefore, have a right in this House to lay down terms and conditions upon which labour employed on these articles shall work? That surely is not a vague term, since the conditions of labour generally are ruled by the country or colony in which the produce is manufactured.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I will gladly give attention to any further Amendment the hon. Member may put down, but on the present occasion I cannot go beyond the decision I arrived at in consultation yesterday.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
If I draft a manuscript Amendment that will be definite in its character, will you, Sir, be prepared to accept it or rule that it may be debated this afternoon?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
No, not on this occasion. In consultation with the hon. Member's friends, I came to an understanding yesterday.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
In consulting with my colleagues yesterday, may I remind you, Sir, that this Amendment was not then on the Paper, and consequently you could not have considered it among the other Amendments that were considered? That is why I am pressing for its consideration now.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I agree that that is so. At the same time, I cannot alter my decision, which I have just announced to the House.
§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed [22nd June] on Consideration of the Bill, as amended.
§ Which Amendment was to leave out Clause 4 (Customs duties on silk and artificial silk).—[Mr. Riley.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I shall not keep the House for any length of time on the Clause that is now before it. Those who were present near the end of the sitting last night will remember the proposal to leave out Clause 4, which proposes to impose Customs duties upon silk and artificial silk, and that on that Amendment being moved, the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose at once to say he would not be able to accept it. In the interests of the right hon. Gentleman himself, I am sorry that he has announced that irrevocable decision, for, if the right hon. Gentleman is still under the delusion that these duties are popular in the country, he is the only man in the land who is suffering from that mental delusion. These duties have no friends anywhere. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has defended them principally on revenue grounds, and I propose to say just a word or two upon that aspect of the question. The right hon. Gentleman has invited, by these proposals, quite an unnecessary amount of trouble, and he has caused unnecessary friction, irritation and opposition. From the point of view of revenue, there was no obligation upon the Chancellor of 1334 the Exchequer to impose any new duties whatever. I can imagine circumstances where a Chancellor had a surplus and where it might be necessary to impose additional taxes, but that could only arise where the Chancellor of the Exchequer was called upon to face some new and very heavy public expenditure, which is not the case this year.
There is no proposal before the House of Commons involving additional expenditure except the Widows and Orphans' Pensions Bill, and that will not call for a single penny of revenue from the right hon. Gentleman during the current financial year. He had a very large surplus, and he has adopted the unprecedented course of giving away more taxation than he can afford and of obtaining compensation by the imposition of new taxes. My point, therefore, is that from the revenue point of view there is no need whatever for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cause all this friction, to upset a great industry, and to arouse widespread opposition for the purpose of the comparatively small amount of revenue which will be derived from these taxes. As revenue taxes, these duties are open to every possible objection. A tax should be imposed and levied in a way whereby the least friction will be caused, the least opposition will be aroused, but I am quite sure that even the ingenuity of the right hon. Gentleman could not have devised any taxes which would less conform to that very important and necessary canon of taxation. These duties violate every one of the recognised canons of taxation. It is quite true that there are varying degrees of evil in indirect taxes, but the Silk Duties now proposed and embodied in this Bill are the very worst form and have in the most aggravated degree every one of the evils always inherent in indirect taxation. They cause, as I have already said, a great amount of friction and they interfere with trade. The incidence of the tax is quite uncertain, and it is one which the right hon. Gentleman himself says can be evaded if persons are indisposed or unwilling to buy the articles which are subject to the duties. Therefore, from the point of view of revenue, there is nothing whatever to be said in favour of them.
That is the excuse or the reason which the right hon. Gentleman has given for 1335 imposing these new duties, but I venture to say that is not really the chief purpose. When the right hon. Gentleman first proposed these duties there was not, I admit, much of the element of Protection in them. There was a slight degree of Protection, and he justified that on the ground that it would be some compensation to the home manufacturer and trader for the expense and irritation to which he was subjected by the imposition of the Excise Duty. I doubt if there ever have been proposed duties which, in the course of their passage through the House, have undergone such strange transformation. The original small element of Protection has now become a very large measure of Protection, and these duties now are distinctly protective in their character. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman himself, in what I thought was certainly an impromptu and rather an unfortunate observation in the course of the Debate during the Committee stage upon these duties, said that they were part of a scientific tariff.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
These were the right hon. Gentleman's very words. We valued them too highly at the moment to forget them:We are engaged in framing a scientific tariff.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I was dealing with the Silk Duties and the Silk Duties alone, and I said, so far as the Silk Duties were concerned, that they were framed on the lines of a scientific tariff.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I am not capable of discerning any distinction between the statement which the right hon. Gentleman has now made and what I said.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The distinction is perfectly clear. I was dealing with these duties as an isolated instance in our fiscal system. The right hon. Gentleman is suggesting that they are part of a general design, and that has no warrant at all.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
The only interpretation that could possibly have been put upon the words which the right hon. Gentleman used that evening were that these duties were part of a scientific 1336 tariff. "We are engaged," he said, "in framing a scientific tariff."
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
The right hon. Gentleman was certainly discussing the Silk Duties. I have searched through the columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT to find what the right hon. Gentleman said. I may have overlooked it, but I certainly cannot find it. There is, however, no doubt in my mind, and I am sure in the minds of my hon. Friends behind me, that that was the impression created by the words which he used, and I submit that the only possible impression was that he was engaged in framing a scientific tariff. The right hon. Gentleman now says that that observation had reference only to silk. I am quite ready to confine the right hon. Gentleman's words to silk. We now learn, therefore, that he was framing a scientific tariff for silk. But I understood that the right hon. Gentleman had introduced these taxes solely for revenue purposes. Now he says that these duties are a scientific tariff for silk. Let us just look at the right hon. Gentleman's scientific tariff. He told us that he had been giving long consideration to this question of an imposition of a duty upon silk. It had baffled all his predecessors, but he had succeeded where they had failed. After having given months of consideration to the advice of all the experts upon silk and artificial silk in all the Government Departments, he put his scheme before the House. Where is that scheme now? The concessions, the alterations, and the changes which the right hon. Gentleman has made prove conclusively that he had given no intelligent consideration to the question before be submitted these duties to the House.
Let us just contrast the duties as originally proposed by the right hon. Gentleman with the scale of duties now embodied in this Bill. Take, for instance, artificial silk waste. He originally proposed that it should be 3s. a 1b. Now he is proposing 1s. Was 3s. a scientific tariff at the end of April, or has he discovered that a duty of 1s. will make his scheme a scientific tariff? Take the case of raw natural silk. Originally, it was 4s.; now it is 3s. The most ridiculous of the original proposals—and the proposal is still ridiculous though in a somewhat smaller degree—was to impose a duty of 33⅓ per cent. upon im- 1337 ported manufactured articles which contained any proportion of silk. All the changes which have taken place in trying to make this tariff more scientific have been to make it more a protective tax.
Nothing, I think, could better illustrate how little consideration—I will not say "little consideration," but "little intelligent consideration"—had been given to these proposals before they were introduced into the House than the form in which this original 33⅓ per cent. duty appeared in the Budget statement. Then any article which contained even a strand of silk or artificial silk was to be taxed at the rate of 33⅓ per cent. upon the whole manufactured article. It is a little less ridiculous now, but it is still ridiculous. What does he now propose? If the value of the silk or artificial silk exceeds 20 per cent., then the whole of the article is to be taxed at the rate of 33i per cent. That is not merely a tax upon silk, but it is a tax upon all the other component parts of that article. In the case of clothing, it is a tax upon wool and a tax upon cotton. In the case of a portmanteau which happens to have a silk lining the value of which exceeds 20 per cent., the leather and the buckles and everything else in the portmanteau has to be taxed at the rate of 33⅓ per cent. That is in conformity with the right hon. Gentleman's ideas of a scientific tariff. Therefore, this is not merely a tax upon silk and artificial silk, but it is a heavy tax upon a large number of other articles. In imposing these duties, and especially in imposing the protective character of these duties, the right hon. Gentleman has done something which has never been a part of any scientific tariff proposals in this country. He has imposed a tax upon raw materials.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
That is not a protective duty. I am amazed that the right hon. Gentleman should have said "sugar."
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
But it is not a protective tax. Why should the right hon. Gentleman throw that out at me? Did I propose the Sugar Duty? I did not propose it. It was the party with which the right hon. Gentleman is now associated 1338 which re-imposed the Sugar Duty at the time when the right hon. Gentleman was defending the British Empire in the South African War.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman is very fond of making statements of the kind. He must not forget that last year he also reimposed the Sugar Duty with all the force of a great Government majority.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Does the right hon. Gentleman think that anybody is going to be fooled by a statement of that kind? His party imposed. I did not reimpose the duty. I reduced the duty by more than a half.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
We have been mulcted in our sugar to a very great amount during the last 12 months in consequence of the ukase of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by talking of having been mulcted when the price of sugar is only half what it was 12 months ago?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
The price of sugar is only one-half what it was 12 months ago. But this is irrelevant. It is not my fault, but that of the right hon. Gentleman for having introduced the matter, for I do not want to get into a controversy with you, Mr. Speaker. Nobody, I say, is going to be fooled by a statement of that kind. I was dealing with the tax on raw material when the right hon. Gentleman rather drew me aside. I have said that no Tariff Reformer ever suggested that for protective purposes there should be a duty imposed upon a raw material which was an important commodity and a necessary article in one of our important industries.
What has the right hon. Gentleman done? He has upset the trade in Lancashire and Yorkshire. The hon. Member who usually sits on one of the benches opposite had the audacity to say last week that there was no opposition to this duty throughout Lancashire. That statement has been denied by every representative man in the Lancashire cotton trade, and has received no support at all. The opposition to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, both in Lancashire and Yorkshire, is as strong as it was when he first made it. There are hon. 1339 Members in this House, I suppose, who might certainly claim to know something of the opinion of Lancashire, and we can have no better evidence of the unpopularity of this proposal in Lancashire than the fact that there is no candidate for Oldham to-day who is defending these duties. In spite, therefore, of the Liberal and Tory pact which will operate to some extent to-morrow, every vote given to-morrow will be a vote given for a candidate who is opposed to these duties. The right hon. Gentleman is throwing these trades into a state of commotion at a time when all hopes have been centred upon progress. The hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) speaking yesterday, said that there was a widespread opinion among commercial people in the country that this Government cared nothing at all about industry. He said that the action of the Government in regard to that particular question gave a good deal of support to the widespread opinion as to the lack of sympathy which this Government had with trade and industry. So much for that. In his original speech when introducing the Budget the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said nothing about rebates. That was an afterthought.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Well, it came about three hours after the Budget was introduced, and only after the right hon. Gentleman had been prompted by the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) did he make the admission to the House that rebates would be introduced. In view of the opposition to these duties in Lancashire and Yorkshire, if these are going to be revenue-producing, he need not look to Macclesfield for that revenue, for if that revenue is to come it will come from Lancashire and Yorkshire; there will be no possibility of the development of this industry in Macclesfield. As I said before, hampering as these duties will be to the trade of Lancashire and Yorkshire, they are not going to kill the trades. They will hamper them. They will prevent trade expanding at a rate at which it otherwise would expand, and continue to grow. Doubtless the Chancellor of the Exchequer will get revenue, and perhaps this year, but he will get 1340 it at the expense of having hampered what is the most promising industry in the country to-day. I will leave it at that.
Does anybody believe that rebates are going to help? There is no man in the trade who believes that this rebate system will not cause expense, worry and delay, and hamper industry in every way. The rebate system will work. I know it will. Of course, any rebate system can be made to work, but at what expense? It will work at the expense I have already mentioned—at enormous expense, and the delays will be great. It must be so. It cannot be otherwise. At a time when everything ought to be done to stimulate a progressive industry the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes and imposes these duties with the certain result that I have indicated. I do not want to speak any longer. I can quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman is not, perhaps, so easy on the subject, or is happy with this Debate.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I have dealt broadly with our objections to this scheme and our arguments for rejecting it. The proposals are unnecessary as a Budget Duty. They are Protectionist in their character. They will be difficult to carry out. We object to them because they are going to hamper trade, they are an unnecessary expense, and will cause irritation. For these reasons we ask the House to reject this Clause.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I had hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have replied to what has been said by the late Chancellor, and his very damaging criticisms of these new duties. It is true when first introduced they created very little criticism. They seemed to be very innocent proposals put forward for revenue purposes only. But I cannot help thinking that had the Chancellor of the Exchequer realised the magnitude of his proposals, with all the dislocation and disturbance they will cause, he would have paused before he touched this Silk Tax. He himself admitted that owing to the need of secrecy he had not been able to make a very full or adequate inquiry into the industry. He knew he was touching an old industry and a new industry, but he had the idea that these were merely luxuries. However, by now 1341 I am sure he has learned his mistake. He has spent days and weeks in meeting deputations and reading reports of what has turned out to be a very complicated and involved industry. If he would take the House into his confidence he would have to admit that he was sorry that he had ever touched silk and had, instead, hoped for some other source of revenue.
I do not blame the right hon. Gentleman for introducing the duty. I do blame him for sticking to it. If he were really a big man, a big Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would reorganise his mistake, and come down to the House even at this late period of the Finance Bill, admit his mistake, and withdraw these proposals. I do not believe that with one or two exceptions this tax has a single friend in the House. One exception perhaps is the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer). There may be people who are prepared to apologise for this duty. I do not know one single Member of the House, I do not know a single manufacturer, except perhaps a few manufacturers of tissues made from real silk, who are prepared to defend these taxes either from a revenue point of view or from an industrial point of view.
§ Mr. HARRIS
The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth is a very loyal and devoted friend of the Government, but is he prepared to defend these taxes as purely revenue taxes? After all, that is the justification that has been put forward by the Government, a justification which has been emphasised over and over again. What has been said was that these duties were not put forward for purposes of protection, were harmless in that direction, and were put forward purely for revenue purposes. The Chancellor said that if you get revenue he is quite prepared for what goods may come in; and the more there were the better he would be pleased. Anyone who studies these taxes with any knowledge of the textile industry and all its ramifications must see that they are going to do, as the late Chancellor so well pointed out, irreparable damage. After all, what is the most important industry, taking it as a whole, in the country? The textile industry, lumping together the cotton, wool, and all the various textile indus- 1342 tries, spinners, weavers, makers-up of garments in the country. At a very critical time in its history this disorganised trade, very slowly recovering from the crisis caused by the War, finds the Government putting their clumsy hand in an interfering way on it and on the whole of the textile industry.
One of the great troubles of the textile trade has been the decreased production of raw material. During the ten years from 1913 to 1923 there was a decrease of no less than 3,000,000,000 lbs. in the annual production of cotton, and a decrease of 267,000,000 lbs. in the production of wool. The only raw material that has shown buoyancy is this new material produced by the ingenuity of British chemists, British manufactures, and British industrialists, artificial silk. It has shown an increase in the same period of 75,000,000 lbs., and is increasing every year by leaps and bounds and now the Government come along and treats it as a luxury and as something to be discouraged. If the State has refrained from taxing it and had allowed it to continue its natural progress there is very little doubt that in a few years it would have become, possibly, a rival to raw cotton, if not to wool. One of the materials it is manufactured from is cotton waste; but the greater part of the artificial silk made has wood pulp as its chief component, and with the progress of science and the improvement in our methods of manufacture there is little reason to doubt that before long the troubles and problems of Lancashire with respect to supplies of raw material would have been, if not solved, largely relieved by artificial silk. It is most unfortunate, at this period of unemployment, when the one things we want is to encourage the export trade and to stimulate all means of production that the State should interfere with a raw material by treating it as a means of producing revenue.
When the Government carry out their policy we shall see what an immense number of difficulties they will let industry in for. The troubles of the manufacturer are great enough at present; markets are more difficult to find than ever before, and he has to face competition on an immense scale owing to developments on the Continent of Europe and now the State comes along and introduces this taxation, with its 1343 complex system of drawbacks. Let hon. Members look at the Schedule. There is a fashion now for cross-word puzzles. I should like some newspaper to offer a prize to anybody who can give a simple interpretation of all the methods of getting drawbacks mentioned in the Schedule. We warned the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early stages of the Bill that the Schedule would have to be constantly altered and added to, and later in the evening, or it may be early in the morning, we shall have to consider still further Amendments. We know that Members of this House are expert in understanding Bills, but how is the unfortunate manufacturer and trader who desires to find markets for his goods going to understand all the ramifications of this complex Schedule? When a foreign trader desires to buy our goods, the merchant will not be able to give him an ordinary net quotation, but will have to refer him to that complex Schedule which the ingenuity of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has drawn up; and when the prospective buyer of the goods we are so anxious to sell sees all these perplexities it will not be surprising if he passes by and decides to buy his goods from another quarter of the world.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) referred to the great importance of this new raw material to Lancashire and Yorkshire. In previous Debates we have been told how it has been twisted, spun and woven with cotton or with wool. In one part of Yorkshire quite a new industry has sprung up in mixing artificial silk with wool; and the same sort of thing is going on in certain centres of Lancashire. It will be a comparatively simple thing to claim drawbacks for textile piece goods, though even there it will mean disputes, delays and discouragements to our export trade. When the exporter tries to get his goods shipped he will constantly be in conflict with the Customs officials, which is Bad for trade and discourages enterprise. But it is quite a mistake to think that our exports go out in this very simple form. The other day I took the trouble to get a list of the many articles in which artificial silk and real silk are incorporated. The list is a long one, and I will not venture to give it to the House. Although the percentage of 1344 the silk actually used in these made-up articles is not large, whether it be a case of ladies' hand bags, or silk shoes, or other articles, the extra cost in respect of the duty levied on the silk will make the price higher, while at the same time the percentage of the silk in the article will not be large enough to enable the exporter to claim a drawback. When the shipper of goods containing artificial silk finds that he has to go through all the intricacies of Customs forms, he may come to the conclusion that the gain is not worth the labour and there will be—
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present; House counted; and 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. HARRIS
I want to say, in conclusion, that in its final form this particular duty has another vicious principle. Originally it was purely an Excise Duty. Now, after the attempt to conciliate first this interest and then that interest, first Macclesfield and then some other district, the duty has taken a purely Protectionist form. That is an infringement of the Free Trade principle the Chancellor of the Exchequer swore faithfully to adhere to when he joined this Government; but it has a still more serious aspect, because he has created vested interests. When any attempt is made in the future to alter this tax, either to reduce it or to abolish it, all the various interests that have been created will raise an outcry that the removal of this protection will mean ruin to them. In its final form this duty is not only a handicap to the great textile trade as a whole, is not only going to interfere with our export business, handicapping it and making it more difficult to do business in the markets abroad, but as a Protectionist tax it is going to create vested interests, and that fact will make it difficult to reduce or abolish it. I suppose it is impossible to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer at this late hour to drop this Clause, but I hope that party predilections will be nut aside, and that large numbers of Members, not only on this side but on the other side, will take the opportunity in the Division Lobbies to protest against a thoroughly bad and vicious tax which infringes all the sound canons of finance, is Protectionist in character, and a handicap to trade and industry.
§ Mr. REMER
In spite of what the hon. Gentleman has just stated, I think the opposition has absolutely fizzled out, and that even in Lancashire itself the opponents of these duties can almost be counted on the fingers of one hand. My object in rising to speak is because certain new facts came to light in Manchester yesterday when I was there which, I think, are of great importance to this question. It has been an old controversy between Free Traders and Tariff Reformers as to who paid import duty. Tariff Reformers of the extreme school stated that an import tax was paid entirely by the foreigner. Free Traders stated that the tax was paid by the consumer. I have never been quite as dogmatic as either, for I have always stated that the tax was sometimes paid by the consumer and sometimes by the foreigner. An interesting thing came to light yesterday as far as Swiss and French manufacturers are concerned. They have cabled to the various people who represent them in Manchester, stating that as from the 1st of July next the extra Is., that is the Is, that exists between the Excise Duty and the Import Duty—that they will reduce their price by exactly that amount, namely Is. per lb. That shows that the argument Free Traders' have used for years has been disproved by facts, and that in this case the tax is being paid entirely by the foreigner. This is a new point which will be of extreme value to the House, and will remove very largely the foundation for the stories which have reached hon. Members opposite that the duties are going to increase the price of working girls1' stockings. I am satisfied that these taxes are going to be of great value to the people of this country, and so far from injuring our trade, I believe they will stimulate it, and will be of great benefit to the unemployed. In my own constituency plans are being developed for a great increase in the artificial silk trade, and I am quite satisfied that there is a new era of hope for the people who are unemployed.
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
I do not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer can be congratulated upon the amount of support his proposals are receiving from hon. Members behind him, because I noticed just now, when attention was called to the fact that 40 Members were not present, that there were only about 10 hon. 1346 Members sitting on the Conservative Benches; and as for the representatives of Lancashire, who certainly have a special duty to perform in regard to this matter, I counted two, or at most only three, of them present. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been allowed to let loose this wild dog of silk taxes amongst the delicate scheme which our modern textile industry represents, and there has been nobody on the Conservative Benches who knows the facts well enough to effectively hold him back from the damage that he is doing. In spite of the statements made last week on this question, there continues to be made in Lancashire and Yorkshire, irrespective of our influence upon the various organisations, a very strong protest against these proposals. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) intervened in this Debate to encourage us by telling us that he thought we should get the foreigner to pay this tax. I know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer many times in the past has dealt with that argument, but I think now the hon. Member for Macclesfield has allowed his enthusiasm to run away with him. It is true that there are cases where the foreigner does pay the tax, but they are very exceptional cases, and this was admitted even in the days of the Free Trade controversy in the White Paper written by Professor Alfred Marshall, which was published in connection with the Free Trade propaganda.
We are now in an exceptional period with regard to the supply of artificial silk yarn. In the last year or two there has been an enormous development in this industry with which those who supply artificial silk yarn cannot cope whether abroad or in this country, and the consequence is that it has been possible to extract a price as the result of these quite temporary conditions out of all proportion to the cost of production. Naturally, when an expedient is introduced, such as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced in these temporary circumstances, it is possible to compel the foreigner or the supplier in our country to forego some of the extra price which he has been charging to the consumer. It must not be forgotten that in the ordinary course of competition the price would have come down to something akin to the general cost of production. 1347 Although there may now be a temporary opportunity to extract this sum from the foreigner, in the long run when things have generally adapted themselves to the circumstances, it will be the consumer who will pay the full value of the tax.
I have risen more particularly to draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to a special point, and that is the effect of this tax on the textile industries of Yorkshire. The representatives of the Yorkshire industries have been very anxious to personally place before the Chancellor of the Exchequer their views, but for one reason or another the right hon. Gentleman has not found it possible to accede to their request.
§ Mr. HUDSON
I am referring more particularly to the Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce, who wished to place before the right hon. Gentleman their views with regard to the tax on woollen tissues that contain less than 5 per cent. of silk. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman failed to find an opportunity for allowing an extremely important matter to be brought before him personally by these representatives of the Yorkshire trades. There is a Convention at Brussels at which a discussion is likely to take place regarding these taxes. The private Secretary of the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated to the Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce that it would be impossible for him to accede to their request to meet him. The issue I am now raising is an extremely important one because at the present moment Germany has against this country with regard to woollen tissues a tax which I was informed by the President of the Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce makes a difference between Is. 7d. and 8s. per yard. The Huddersfield manufacturers are trying very hard to get the German manufacturers to allow woollen tissues to enter into Germany which have less than 5 per cent. silk or artificial silk yarn in their manufacture, and they are asking Germany to allow that cloth to go into Germany free of tax. They are encouraged to believe that it would be possible to get this concession from Germany by the fact that already France, Italy, Belgium, India and Japan have made such a concession, that is to 1348 say that woollen cloth manufactured in Bradford, Huddersfield or elsewhere that contains less than 5 per cent. of silk yarn or silk weft is allowed in each of those countries as if the whole consisted of woollen cloth, and is therefore not taxed according to the high rate at which silk is taxed in those respective countries.
This is an extremely important matter in those five nations and other nations which are considering the matter favourably at the present time. It is very important to retain for our Huddersfield and Bradford trade this concession, because it means more trade and employment for our workers. Now the Yorkshire manufacturers will have to announce in Brussels that the Chancellor of the Exchequer intends to stand by his proposals, and will put on whatever tax is provided for in the Schedule on materials coming from abroad. Under these circumstances naturally you cannot expect the favourable concession already given by those countries abroad to remain if we persist in keeping up a process not so favourable as their concession is to us.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer talks about a scientific tariff. I remember this question used to be discussed in relation to all those proposals regarding reciprocity which used to form so great a part in the discussions as to what is going to be the scientific effect. Not only will those countries that have allowed this concession to Yorkshire manufacturers be affected by these proposals, but other countries will harden their tariffs against us, and this will make it harder than ever for our Yorkshire manufacturers to get new markets abroad, and it may actually do something to intensify the problem of unemployment from which we are suffering so much at the present time.
Is it likely that Japan, which takes from Yorkshire 16 per cent. of the textile goods which we export, will continue to give us benefits which we apparently are not prepared to give in return. All I can say is that that hope does not seem very well founded and the Yorkshire manufacturers and the textile operatives are all agreed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has embarked upon a proposition which is going to have extremely bad results for our industry. I hope it is not too late in view of the discussions now going on at Brussels for the Chancellor 1349 of the Exchequer to see whether he cannot considerably modify the proposals he has made with regard to goods that contain 5 per cent. or less of silk or artificial silk yarn in order to meet conditions abroad.
I feel that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in these proposals has possibly been led to stick doggedly by them because he feels as the hon. Member for Hulme (Sir J. Nall) tried to tell him that some change of mind has come over those engaged in the textile industries of this country, and that Lancashire is perhaps not quite so much Free Trade as it was in the old days of Free Trade propaganda, and that Yorkshire may be slipping away from the doctrine which the right hon. Gentleman has taught them.
I believe the right hon. Gentleman has been encouraged by some proposals made by the Bradford Chamber of Commerce before the last election, in which they were said to be toying with proposals of Protection. I believe that the Bradford Chamber of Commerce is going to learn in practice what Protection actually means to their industry, and although no mistake has been made by the Yorkshire operatives in this matter, or the Lancashire operatives who are strongly opposed to these proposals, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will find that the result of his Budget and the Silk Duties will be to bring back again the Bradford Chamber of Commerce and all other organisations of textile manufacturers to a belief in those conditions of Free Trade which for a little while they have been deviating from. I feel sure that, although the Chancellor's proposals will have serious effects in preventing the development of our textile industries, in preventing the application of silk finishing, designing and improving of our goods, and to that extent will make it harder to increase the opportunities if employment, he has thrown in the way of people like the Bradford Chamber of Commerce sew opportunities to realise how unsafe is the course of tariffs, which a little while ago they were contemplating.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
This discussion about silk is evidently worn threadbare. The picture conjured up by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) 1350 of a tense political crisis, a real injury to a great industry, flagrant violation of every canon of sound finance—this picture, reinforced as it is by what he tells us of the widespread unpopularity of this tax in the country, is singularly belied by the actual state of affairs, when the Opposition party in the House, on the Report stage of the Finance Bill, with a Motion before it for the rejection of the Silk Clause, were not able to keep 40 Members present. That registers, in a simple, practical Parliamentary manner, the utter failure of the Silk Tax campaign. I must say I have hardly ever seen a campaign launched with so much vigour, so much colour, so much imaginative variety, such powerful backing in the newspaper press, such wonderful wealth of fertile exaggeration—I have never seen a campaign launched in such circumstances which petered out so quickly. There is nothing left that I can see of the opposition to the Silk Tax. It is quite true there are arguments we have endeavoured to answer. There are prophecies against which we have, with some moderation and restraint, matched counter-prophecies, the accuracy of which will make themselves known as time goes on. As for the right hon. Gentleman, he, like the boy on the burning deck, standing almost alone, has come forward and endeavoured, in the circumstances in which we dwell, to inflame vehement;, vigorous, grave attacks upon the whole character of these Silk Duties.
The right hon. Gentleman made many complaints. He said there was no need to put the duties on for the sake of Revenue, as we had a surplus to fortify the Revenue. The remissions of taxation given this year, no one knows better than he, except myself, entail larger losses to the Revenue next year than they do in the year in which they are first accorded, and, unless we had produced additional revenues from silk and from the McKenna Duties, it would have been quite impossible to have given the reduction on earned income as against investment income, which is, by universal admission, just, necessary, and, if I may use the word about a remission of taxation—even popular. Then he went on to say that these duties violate every canon of taxation. I say that these duties violate no canon of taxation that has not already been violated by the Sugar 1351 Duties, which, for many years, have been a part of our fiscal armoury. To say that the Silk Duties march on all fours with the Sugar Duties is to understate the case. It is like two centipedes marching together. Silk and sugar are both raw materials of luxury trades, or of quasi-luxury trades. Neither natural silk nor sugar is produced at present in this country. Both, therefore, are taxes on the raw material. In neither case in regard to the natural product is there any need for a countervailing excise. Both silk and sugar form the raw material of important export trades. Both are the subject of an extensive variety of complicated drawbacks. Drawbacks in the case of sugar have been paid without the slightest difficulty or friction.
So, I argue, will be the drawbacks in the case of silk. The drawbacks in the case of sugar, coupled with the duties on sugar, have not prevented the expansion of a powerful, active export trade in sugar products of all kinds. I have already said there are 600 different sugar products being exported from one factory. A similar process will certainly occur in regard to the tax on silk. The more the system of drawbacks has been studied and examined, the more the traders, and those who are to be subjected to it, have felt re-assured, although I will not say completely convinced, after the alarms which were first engendered in their minds. We have been told this is a protective duty on a raw material. It is not a protective duty. When there is no native production, there is no protective duty. You cannot have a protective duty when there is nothing to protect. You have no native industry in sugar, apart from beet sugar, and you put a duty on the raw materials. Similarly in regard to silk.
In the case of artificial silk, you come to a different region, but considering how we have broken into this novel field, we have every reason to congratulate ourselves on the result. It is quite true that we have a powerful domestic artificial silk industry, and, therefore, we have levied a countervailing Excise. That is in accordance with the strictest principles of Free Trade, and although my hon. Friend below the Gangway, I have no doubt, is waiting to attack this manifestation of vice—for which I get a 1352 temporary consolation by an addition to the revenue—it is the case that we have a countervailing Excise, and you cannot say, therefore, from the point of view of fiscal orthodoxy, that we have violated the canons of Free Trade. But then we are told, "Ah, but you have given a favourable turn of the market to the home producer." We have certainly given a favourable turn of the market to the home producer. Following the precedent of Mr. Gladstone in 1863 with regard to the Tobacco Duties, we have felt bound to make similar provision in regard to the Silk Duties. I must admit that, during the course of the Bill, we have somewhat increased that provision, but not to any extent which seriously or even appreciably affects the cost to the consumer or the yield to the State—certainly not to an extent which, in the slightest degree, vitiates or violates the essential revenue character of these duties for the purpose for which they are alone imposed.
Finally, the right hon. Gentleman complained of the many changes that have been made, the strange transformation we are witnessing, and, like the Parliamentary artist that he is, he endeavoured to add to the actual facts which were at his disposal by a fertile use of his imagination. It has been said that when I made the Budget speech, I had never foreseen the possibility that drawbacks would be necessary. For weeks before, the Customs had advised me of the kind of drawbacks they thought were necessary, and when my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) asked me that evening whether I proposed to give drawbacks, I said of course there would be drawbacks. I readily admit there have been a good many changes, and there ought to be in the course of shaping a duty of this kind. No one could make this change with the advice only of the skilled officials of the Department, not connected with trade or industry in any way, especially a tax of this kind, which is designed to fit harmoniously, and with the minimum of friction, into a complex and changing industrial condition. Therefore, I proposed to discuss these matters with the trades and industries concerned, and, since then, the discussion has been continued, and there have accordingly been changes. It is well said, there is nothing wrong in change if it is in the right direction.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. It is true of our Silk Duties to-day; I do not wish to carry the application any further. But how much has the change amounted to? After all, I stand here with no other object in my mind but to get revenue. It is your money we want. That is the duty which has been imposed upon me by the House. How much have all these changes cost? I estimate that they will cost us £500,000 in the present year, and £900,000 in a full year. That leaves the yield of the duty £3,500,000 in this year, and £6,100,000 in a full year. That is the official estimate which we now put forward, but I do not mind saying that, personally, I believe that estimate is wrong. I believe it errs on the side of moderation and prudence, and I thought I detected some remarks in the right hon. Gentleman's speech in which he, apparently, also thought that we were erring on the moderate side.
I have previously announced that I thought there would be a 10 per cent. contraction, but I think it is far more likely there will be an increase of 10 per cent. in the industry in the next 12 months. But I have framed my estimate on cautious lines. I have not the slightest doubt, and I have every reasonable hope—I am making no pledges or prophecies—that we will get at least the full yield of the duties as announced to Parliament when the Budget was introduced. All these concessions and changes have been made to meet points of view which have been put forward with great industry by Members of the House of Commons, by the trade, and by the interests concerned. They have been discussed with thoroughness and consideration and care in order that there should be the least possible friction, and in the end what do we lose? We lose no revenue at all. Is not that a great advantage? Is not that an indication of the discussion and careful examination that has taken place, and does not it justify and prove the truth of the somewhat doubtful proverb that I quoted a few minutes ago to the House? The right hon. Gentleman complained that I said that this was part of a scientific tariff. I never said that it was part of a scientific tariff; I said that this 1354 complicated scale of duties was in itself a scientific tariff for silk. That is what I said; that is what I meant; that is what I was understood to mean by everyone who was not trying to find an excuse for making a complaint.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
Would the right hon. Gentleman give us the quotation? I did not understand that it referred to silk only. We have to take what the right hon. Gentleman said.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am afraid I can hardly forbear to quote Dr. Johnson in reply. I have given hon. Gentlemen the reason, but I cannot be bound by the understanding they put upon it.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am quoting the tenour of my remarks. We are not framing a scientific tariff for this country. We have no right to frame a scientific tariff for this country. It would be entirely contrary to the conditions and declarations on which the last Election was fought. But we are perfectly entitled to frame Revenue Duties for this country, and, if those Revenue Duties have in their scope 10, 15 or 20 different bearings on products which enter this country, we are perfectly justified in making those various elements of the duty relate to each other in a scientific manner—that is to say, broadly speaking, in inverse ratio to the amount of work left to be done in this country It has been revised so as gradually to disarm more and more all the opposition, until finally we have reached the point where we are to-day, when practically it may be said that the Silk Duties are going through virtually without any resisting hostility against them in any part of the House of Commons.
I must say frankly that the right hon. Gentleman added to his complaints a number of valuable admissions, and, as I have, endeavoured to answer his complaints, I am sure he will not complain if I also thank him for his admissions. He said that the rebates would cause friction, but they would work. He said that the taxes would retard but would not kill the industry. He said that we should get more revenue even this year; and the hon. Gentleman behind him, the Member for Hudder (Mr. J. 1355 Hudson), went even further and said that the foreigner was going to pay. He admitted that, at any rate for the time being, the foreigner would pay. I believe it is a fact that the foreign importers of artificial silk to this country are extremely anxious to preserve their entry into this market. The silk industry has been expanded more in this country than in some countries on the Continent. They have not that expanding market in those countries that there is here, and consequently they are extremely anxious to preserve their entry into this market. While I am not in a position to announce any positive results at present, I certainly do look for a diminution in the price at which the foreign importer will send his goods here, and that diminution will inure to the Exchequer without addition to the cost to the consumer in that respect. Of course, I agree that probably these tendencies will be temporary and not permanent in character, but still, even if they are only temporary, we need not break our hearts about the fact that they manifest themselves.
As far as the production of artificial silk in this country is concerned, I am not going to prophesy, but I state it as my sincere belief, based on very considerable inquiry, that when the confusion caused by the inauguration of the duties and the inevitable friction have passed away, the price of artificial silk in this country will be no more than it is at present, in spite of the duty. That is my belief, and I am talking of what it will be possible to verify before the present year has drawn to a close. In that case, what will happen? Supposing that the cost of artificial silk is not increased in consequence of the Excise Duty in this country, all the argument about the meanness of taxing the finery of working girls will at any rate be robbed of its sting as regards any commodity into which artificial silk enters. And what will be the consequences as far as Lancashire and Yorkshire are concerned? They will be getting their artificial silk at no greater cost than at present, and, in addition to that, they will get the rebate—the drawback—which equates the Excise Duty in all cases, and gives, in addition, a considerable margin to allow for the friction and disturbance caused by the imposition of the tax. 1356 Therefore, you are going to get, not only no increase in the cost of artificial silk goods to the consumer here, but a positive stimulation to the exporting energy of those great trades in Lancashire and Yorkshire which use their decorative fabrics to promote trade in Oriental markets. They are going to get, in my opinion, no impediment of any sort or kind.
After all, as I have said, the judgment will be given on the results. All of us have made our prophecies. All the pessimists have croaked their loudest, I have done my bit to keep the balance on the other side, and now we are at the point when the matter passes out of talk into action, and we must be judged, not by Debates, not by speeches', not by Divisions, however satisfactory, but by the hard results as they manifest themselves on the trade of the country and on the revenue of the Exchequer; and I go before that august tribunal with a clear conscience. (Interruption.) We hear about political verdicts, but I am not talking about the verdict of a constituency, or even of the House of Commons; I am saying that the judgment on these matters will now depend upon the actual results of the tax as measured in the revenue accounts of the future. As to Oldham, I quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman is very sore that there has been no division among the anti-Socialist forces. That is entirely in accordance with the doctrine I have always preached.
These duties must be judged by their results, and if, of course, the view of the right hon. Gentleman is correct, that only a very small revenue will be produced at great inconvenience and with the result of crippling the Lancashire and Yorkshire trade, I shall justly be condemned—I do not say condemned to death, but, at any rate, condemned in respect of this part of my political activities. But if, on the other hand, the duties are found to yield a considerable and substantial revenue, as much as was hoped for, or even more, if the export trade is not hampered by the drawback system, and if the price to the consumer in this country is not raised, although I quite admit that there may be some retardation in lowering it—I am not arguing unfairly—I think the Silk Duties will take their place as a permanent part of our revenue; and I am 1357 sure that, once they have taken their place as a permanent part of our revenue, they will never be repealed by any Government, whether Conservative, Liberal or Labour, until every vestige of taxation on tea and sugar has been stricken from our tariff.
§ Mr. THOMAS SHAW
I am sure that everyone in the House admires the versatility of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whatever they may think about the duties. I am surprised at his reference to Oldham, because the Government had a brilliant opportunity of finding, in an industrial constituency in Lancashire, exactly what they thought of these duties, and the Government ran away and did not run a candidate. There are many political Vicars of Bray as well as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and political Vicars of Bray are to be found in Oldham as well as in the House of Commons. I am one of those who think that the duties on artificial silk are perfectly fantastic, and who think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he drafted these duties, had scarcely appreciated what artificial silk was. Certainly, his arguments did not lead a practical man, knowing what the article is, to believe that he knew what artificial silk was. He assumed that it was a luxury, when everyone who has practical knowledge of the subject knew that it was not a luxury at all. It was evident, from the initial discussions on this question, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his advisers were very much in the dark as to what artificial silk was and what it meant to various trades. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, since the introduction of these duties, has had many opportunities of finding out what those who really know the trade think of his proposals. There are in Lancashire two very large organisations, one of employers and one of employed, and both those organisations are unanimous against the duties that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has proposed. It is perfectly true that the hon. Member for Stockport might not fall into the category—
§ Mr. HAMMERSLEY
As one of the committee of one of the organisations 1358 to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, may I say that he is not correct in stating that they are unanimous? As a matter of fact, there was a very considerable discussion prior to the organisation in question coming up to this House to make the representations they did.
§ Mr. SHAW
There may have been discussions and there may have been differences of opinion. There was a difference of opinion on one occasion on a Lancashire jury, when they could not reach an agreement because one of them thought that the other 11 were fools; and the same type of discussion, I venture to say, took place in the Lancashire Employers' Association. The workers' representatives ought to have met the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Monday last, I believe, but they did not meet him for some reason or other.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I will tell the right hon. Gentleman the reason. In accordance with the pledge that I gave to an hon. Gentleman who sits on the second bench above the Gangway opposite, I telegraphed and wrote to the Operatives' Association saying that I would place Monday morning at their disposal, that being the only opportunity that there was. The reply I received was that in the altered circumstances they did not think it necessary to trouble me.
§ Mr. SHAW
Then, of course, the right hon. Gentleman must be absolved from all shadow of blame. But one thing is certain, that the Operatives' Association are unanimous against these taxes. What has taken place in Lancashire? Everyone connected with the Lancashire trade on its manufacturing side knows that Lancashire has had to change the type of goods it manufactures and to develop into finer and finer styles and fancier and fancier fabrics, for the word "fancy" is used in Lancashire to denote a sample of beautiful texture. This is continually going on. But in spite of every effort of designers, in spite of every effort of the finest technical body, I think, in the world—for I do not think anyone will deny to the Lancashire employers and managers the credit in technique, in intelligence, in skill and in work which really belongs to them, and I believe at the same time we have the finest body of workmen and women in the world in the cotton trade 1359 —in spite of all our advantages of climate, of tradition and of skill we are the trade which has been the hardest hit of any in this country. We were hit in a double way. During the War, when every other industry was working overtime, we had to work short time because of the difficulty in getting our raw materials. At present our raw material is very high in cost, and we find that plain goods are very rapidly being made in countries to which we previously sold them. We have got inevitably to develop into finer and finer fabrics and more varied "weaves," to use a Lancashire term. We have had four years now of uninterrupted bad trade, and here was a development that was taking place and giving the greatest possible hope to the trade. It is only quite recently that wood pulp has been made to bear the strain of washing and become a really durable fabric, and the growth has been very encouraging. In almost every shirt of Lancashire make now there are a few threads of this artificial silk, but every practical man in the trade, without exception, says our greatest difficulty in selling our goods is the price, and any increase to the price, whether it gives a revenue to the country or not, is equivalent to a reduction of our capacity for developing the trade that we so badly need to develop.
I want to submit, too, that the tax; is wrong because it will hinder the development of a promising trade and one which has a right to expect from the country consideration, for whilst every industry during the War, employers and employed, were doing fairly well out of the War, this one industry was suffering all the time. It did not worry the Government. It carried its own burdens. It arranged its own schemes and went through the War without demanding anything from the Government. It gave all and it got nothing. It has a right to expect that it shall be treated well and reasonably and it has a right to expect that its voice shall be heard in the councils of the nation. There is no representative body in Lancashire, whether of employers or employed, whether their politics be Conservative, Liberal, Socialist or Labour, but believes that these duties are bad and will hinder the development of this growing trade. Then is the Chancellor sure that if the duty yields £900,000 he is 1360 going to get the £900,000 for the Exchequer?
§ Mr. SHAW
The figure for the moment does not matter. I am speaking of whether the Chancellor thinks that if money is paid he is going to realise the sum that is paid. I suggest that his method of collecting is an extraordinarily complicated and technical one and that inevitably his tax collection will be frightfully expensive, because he will need technical experts to collect these taxes, and the technical experts will run away with a very considerable portion of his revenue. Take the taxes that are levied on finished woven goods. The manufacturer might have in one order, as it is termed, of 21 warps, 18 or 20 different patterns all containing different quantities of silk. Everyone of these will have to be calculated separately to get the real tax. In collection alone he will have officials like a swarm of locusts eating up the results that he expects for the Treasury. In essence these taxes are bad. Artificial silk is not a luxury. It is a trade that is growing and ought to be encouraged. It should not be discouraged. It is part of a trade which has been hit very badly during and since the War and which is entitled to consideration. It is a trade in which, broadly speaking, all employers and employed are agreed that a tax will hinder and not help, and beyond all a trade which has a right to demand from the Government, in virtue of the services it rendered during the War, in virtue of the fact that it carried its own burden during the War without coming to the Government, in virtue of the fact that it was exemplary all through the War in a national sense, that it shall again consider this question of artificial silk and consider whether it is not better to let it have a chance of developing instead of hindering it in the development that is now taking place.
§ Mr. HAMMERSLEY
I should like to associate myself in some measure with the remarks of the last speaker, particularly when he says the cotton trade requires most careful consideration by the Government. If I thought for a moment that this tax would have any deleterious effect upon that great trade I should not stand here in support of it. There have been a few new arguments raised to-day, 1361 and I propose to address myself to them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) said this was a bad method of taxation. I disagree. It seems to me that it is spread over a large section of the population. It is not harsh or unequal. It is imposed upon articles which are bought at various periods, and is not like the Income Tax which is paid in lump sums. It is a very good method, particularly when we reflect that it will not affect in any respect the very poor. Great complaint has been made that the Schedule is designed on scientific lines. To my mind the fact that it is scientifically designed is in its favour, and is not a reason to oppose it. The original proposals were attacked and, under the criticism of the House and as the result of suggestions which have been made outside, they have been considerably modified. It is strange that the result of our labours should also be criticised, and it is peculiar to note that the alterations are stigmatised as all being in the direction of increased perfection while at the same time they are said to be the result of the trades' representations. I should be the last person to suggest that those great organisations are all so wedded to the principle of Protection that they should make alterations which are purely on these lines.
It has been put forward that in the future the revenue from these taxes will in the major proportion come not from Macclesfield and Leek but from the great textile trades of Lancashire and Yorkshire. But I think there is some misconception in that idea, because the amount of artificial silk used by Lancashire and Yorkshire is very small in comparison with that used in the Macclesfield and Leicester trades. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that side by side with this great increase in the use of artificial silk there has been a depression in the Lancashire and Yorkshire trades, and if these trades were so wedded to each other, you would find that an increase in the use of artificial silk would take place side by side with the increased demand for cotton and woollen goods, but such has not been the case. I feel that by these Regulations, particularly in respect to the through ticket scheme, our export trade in the textile trades is going to be thoroughly protected. In respect of the home trade the effect will be, to my mind, 1362 particularly to stimulate the production of artificial silk in this country. We have seen during the last few days a prospectus for a new manufacturing concern to produce additional artificial silk. That is not the only new manufacturing process which is in process of construction, and I am certainly of the opinion that by the result of this tax the production of artificial silk will be stimulated. The gravamen of the objections to these taxes comes from political reasons very much more than from any considerations of industrial prosperity.
The Chancellor's defence certainly dazzled the House of Commons and amused everyone, but I do not think, when examined, it will turn out to have very much texture or, in the jargon of our Debates, be very heavily loaded with real argument. His first point was that he had succeeded in wearing down all the opposition to these taxes. He said, "Look at the House of Commons. Here we are on the Report stage of the Clause which imposes these Artificial Silk Duties and there are not 40 members present," forgetful of the fact that, for the first time in the history of the House, as far as I am aware, a system of organised absenteeism has been introduced by his own party. [Interruption.] I may tell the hon. Member privately that our party is engaged in council at present. His second argument was that the judgment of the country had now been delivered in his favour, and when he was asked why, as the judgment was so universal in his favour, no one had claimed that judgment in the by-election at Oldham, he proceeded to explain that he did not mean the political judgment of the country. What he meant was the final judgment of history. I do not think that argument itself carries much weight, and indeed I was much surprised to see the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Duff Cooper) rise in his place, presumably to support the taxes. If he interrupts me to say he was going to oppose the taxes I shall be satisfied.
§ Mr. DUFF COOPER indicated dissent.
It seems such a pity, when the opportunity comes to test the opinion of his own constituents who are so firmly supporting the Chancellor in this policy, that he prefers to come to explain the policy in the House of Commons rath lay it before the 1363 country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer goes on in his defence to state that he must get the revenue and that this is an excellent way of getting it. Although that is an argument which cannot be developed at length on the Finance Bill, many of us challenge the statement that he must get this revenue of £800,000,000. We believe that if he devoted his attention to reducing the expenditure, the necessity for this difficult, as he thinks, and odious, as we argue, form of taxation would entirely disappear. That point, however, I cannot develop except on the Second Reading Debate of the Finance Bill. We entirely challenge the statement that it is necessary to secure this £5,000,000, £6,000,000 or £7,000,000 for which he is asking.
The right hon. Gentleman's main defence has very largely changed since the Debate began. Everyone who heard his very interesting and powerful Budget speech will remember that he used a phrase about this duty, that it might be paid by anyone without injury either to health or morals. He regarded it as a luxury duty. We have heard nothing more of late about the luxury aspect of this Duty. I do not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer judging from his utterances, and I have heard nearly every one of them, is really enamoured of this Duty as a luxury Duty, or a sumptuary tax. I do not think that is what is in his mind. What is in his mind is what appears to be in the mind of the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Hammersley) and that is, that it is the invention of an indirect form of tax by which we shall be able to levy our taxation on nearly all the consumers in the country. That is why the Chancellor of the Exchequer speaks so often about sugar. He seems to see some similitude between this Silk Duty and the Sugar Duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, drawing upon that inexhaustible source of military metaphor, which we so much enjoy and which is so powerfully handled by him, spoke of these two taxes marching along like two sentinels. [HON. MEMBERS: "Centipedes!"] I apologise. I thought he said centipedes, but I could not quite understand why he should introduce vermin into it. By comparing this Silk Duty to the Sugar Duty he provides the most powerful argu- 1364 ment against the Silk Duty. It means that he thinks he has got hold of something which enters into the life or the wear or the use of very large numbers of people in this country and that he will be able to take his toll of them just as is done upon all those who consume sugar at every stage, imperceptibly but with ruinous results upon the poorer people.
If it be true, as it may very well be true, that this tax will have a large and increasing yield, then that is an increased reason for opposing it. It means that the right hon. Gentleman is drawing nearer to what is alleged to be his ideal, namely, the old equipose of direct and indirect taxation, taking less from the rich and more from the poor. He thinks that he has got something like the Sugar Duty. He is imposing upon the people a sort of poll tax, and we say that it is being done in inverse ratio to their capacity to pay. He thinks that he has found something, like sugar and alcohol, of universal consumption, and that by taxing it it will enable him to take more burdens off the Income Tax payer, the direct taxpayer, and to put more on the shoulders of the poorer indirect taxpayers.
I suggest that there never has been a Budget put through this House which has Been so changed in the course of Debate. I do not like to use the word slipshod; but every day has seen new Amendments by the Chancellor of the Exchequer shovelled on to the Paper. On Saturday we had one edition of the Finance Bill, then later we have had a sort of stop press edition of the Finance Bill to be substituted, with a large number of Amendments, for the preceding edition. There were slips in those Amendments. To-day, stealthily, without the usual stare, these slips, which may have been typographical slips, have been corrected on the Order Paper, and we have a new Amendment on the Order Paper to-night, although hon. Members have not been warned of it in the ordinary way by asterisks. Never has there been such slipshod procedure in proposing a new scheme of taxation upon the people of this country.
What has emerged from the Debates, apart from the points that have been put forward by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden)? What has emerged is, that nobody knows what we 1365 are taxing by this Silk Duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, when we asked a question on the point at an earlier stage, told us to wait for the Finance Bill. When we got to the Finance Bill there was no time to raise the matter. When we came to the Committee stage he said: "scripsi quod scripsi." I have said that, and I say nothing more than that. Artificial silk is artificial silk. That is his definition. It is possible—of course, this is just a conjecture—that he may be brought into Court, that the Treasury may be brought into Court, because of the demand for a tax on some of these articles. He alleges that, if brought into Court, he can supply some chemical definition of what is meant by artificial silk, but he has not thought it worth while to put any definition of artificial silk in the Bill.
What is this duty going to cost in machinery? The right hon. Gentleman scoffs at the idea of any additional staff being necessary, any additional offices or any additional costs at all. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a great orator, and when an hon. Member on this side moved an Amendment to reduce the Customs duty from 1s. 6d., for the purpose of raising the issue, the right hon. Gentleman said, in effect, "What! Will you take from me this Customs duty. It was 1s. 6d., and you want to make it 4d. After all the machinery and the staff and the labour has been provided, you are going to rob me of the produce of the tax?" We pointed out that he said these was no machinery and no extra staff necessary. It was rather late at night, and I do not remember what the remainder of the Debate produced.
In introducing the duty the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that it was purely revenue. He was a Free Trader, but he has told us that progress is change, and the more change the nearer to perfection. When you have changes according to surroundings, it does not necessarily inspire confidence. He started by saying that it is not a protective tax; that there is no protective element in it. He stated that he had carefully provided a proportionate excise. If it was a proportionate excise in the Budget speech, what was it when it came to the Finance Bill? It clearly was a protective reduction of excise. The nice balance, of which we have heard so much and to which we have all attached so much importance, was 1366 entirely destroyed, and the tax has become a protective tax. We have had one hon. Member this evening explaining that it is going to protect the manufacturer of these things, and that already prospectuses have been issued. Protectionists think that is a natural thing to happen, but it does not tally with the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there is no protection in the tax. Of course, it is protective, and is intended to be protective.
The right hon. Gentleman said in the Budget, "I do not say that I can make it work, but I will call business people together and convince them that it will work smoothly and promptly." I wonder if the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Financial Secretary—who has, no doubt, attended the conferences—will say that he has convinced the business community that this tax will work smoothly and promptly. He knows that he dare not say any such thing. He may say that he thinks it will work smoothly and promptly, but as far as the merchants in London are concerned, they are certain that in nine days from to-day, or, some time next week, it will be impossible to bring this system of taxation into force without a great deal of hardship and loss and a very great deal of injustice to those concerned.
As to the drawbacks, the right hon. Gentleman has started an entirely new scheme. He has put down a new Schedule. I should think that it is almost unprecedented for a Chancellor of the Exchequer at the penultimate stage, at any rate on the last day for Amendment purposes, to put down an entirely new Schedule. It is optional, I admit. It may work for yarns and tissues, but I do not believe that it will ever work or can be made to work in respect to made-up articles. Those of us who are opposing these duties have had representations made to us from merchants who have pointed out to us how difficult, if not impossible, it will be to get drawbacks in certain cases. If you have a large tin-lined case with a mixed consignment of articles, you may have some articles of apparel, such as blouses, and there may be umbrellas and other things. The man who holds the consignment may be approached by a buyer, who may say, "I want you to pack all these things for shipment. I have received a telegram from Australia asking for these goods. 1367 Pack them and ship them to-morrow, because the ship is leaving dock and there is space for this cargo." How can he, from that mixed consignment of articles, find out all the specific things on which he can claim a drawback? If he is not able to do that, how can he quote a price? It is this man, the shipper, who has to claim the drawback. He cannot push it off on the buyer at the other end. Therefore, hon. Members must admit that there will be very great difficulty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, with all his pyrotechnic displays, has never attempted to answer the case that we have put with regard to the difficulty arising from the drawbacks.
By far the worst Protection is the Protection given in that part of the Customs Schedule which applies to made-up articles. It is true that there is an element of Protection in the duties charged on tissues and yarns, but when you get to the made-up articles, taxed at either 33⅓ per cent. or 10 per cent., or even only 2 per cent. on any foreign silk which is to be the new fiscal vehicle, you get a measure of Protection which may be very high Protection, and may be widespread over a very large number of articles imported into this country. It touches apparel and many articles of consumption at low prices at every point. We maintain that the points of substance which we have put forward, and which have been put forward by the traders of the country against this tax, have not been met. We say that this tax does not merely mean that you are dislocating trade, but that through the medium of this new tax you are doing a very great deal to damage the interests of the country, and to rob the meagre store of a large number of the poorer consumers in our land.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. COOPER
I trust that I may be excused if I endeavour briefly to reply to the statement made by the right hon. Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw) and the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn) with regard to the action taken by the Conservative party in Oldham in the by-election which is now taking place. To my mind the taunts thrown out by the other side with regard to this election come with a particular 1368 want of grace from the. hon. and gallant Member, since the action taken by the Conservative party in that constituency is the only hope which the Liberal party have of not seeing their candidate defeated.
If the hon. Member asks my opinion, it is that the only hope of the Liberal party is to blot out every trace of the Coalition.
§ Mr. COOPER
I will not enter into an argument with the hon. and gallant Member, who is entitled to his own opinion, but I take it as a bad sign that he was not present at the council which has taken place. It has frequently been said by the other side that the Government were afraid to fight the by-election, but there would have been no by-election if it had not been for the action taken by the Government. It was because the Government were not afraid to appoint to a certain position a distinguished Member of this House and a political opponent—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—simply because they considered him the best man for the position, that the election is taking place. They deliberately, in the middle of this violent altercation over the Silk Duties, created this vacancy in a Lancashire constituency, and you could hardly therefore say that the people who started the battle, who gave the signal for the fight, were afraid to take part in it. I hope that I shall not be indiscreet if I inform the House that the decision not to fight this by-election had nothing to do with the Government at all, and, so far as the Government attempted to exercise any influence on the decision taken by the local association, I think that it would have been in the opposite direction.
That decision was taken solely on their own initiative by the Conservatives of Oldham, and I am prepared to go into the reason for their taking it. It was a decision which had my approval and support. Eight months ago I was elected owing to a very large number of Liberal votes. There was no pact and no agreement between the two parties in that constituency, but there was a general understanding on each side that they had less to fear from one another than from the Socialist party, and on those grounds they each put up one candidate. To my mind, it would have been a singularly 1369 graceless act on the part of the Conservatives if, after having caused a by-election to take place, they had then sought to capture the seat of the Liberal whom they had promoted, and it appears to me to be remarkable that hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway opposite should be so loud in their condemnation of pacts and understandings, since it was only owing to a pact and a political understanding that they had their short and inglorious career on the Government Benches.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
It has been extremely interesting to hear the hon. Member's contribution to the Silk Duties' Debate. It appears that at last, after a long silence, Oldham has really spoken. I would have preferred the hon. Member who represents Oldham to tell us what the manufacturers think about the Silk Tax rather than to hear about the pact. Some of us were hoping that the official Conservative party would have gone to Oldham and told us what they thought about the Silk Tax. It was also very interesting to see that out of a party of 400 there were at least 10 present when the Debate was being initiated this afternoon. It is all very well for the Chancellor to say that the discussion has been worn threadbare, but it has not been worn threadbare on this side of the House, and very little assistance in the discussion on the Silk Tax has come from Members of the Conservative party in the course of the Debates.
One thing which has emerged out of the whole Debate is very useful. Artificial silk and real silk have received a really good advertisement. Anyone who looks at the morning papers will find that advantage is being taken of that advertisement. I suppose that the £300,000 capital will shortly be increased to about £500,000, or a little more, but as artificial silk has received a good advertisement, I honestly and sincerely hope, though I have criticised the tax, that it will not do the trade the injury which we expect it will do. Only last Saturday I was invited by a partner in a very prominent firm of export merchants in Bradford to meet them and discuss with them the possible effect of the Silk Duties on the export trade. It is needless to remind the House that neither of these gentlemen is a member of the Socialist party, nor, when I was discussing the Silk 1370 Duties with them, for the moment was I a member of the Socialist party. I was a man interested in the trade of my native city and they were men interested in the trade of their native city, and we discussed the export scheme part of the Bradford trade from every possible angle. We discussed the through ticket for artificial silk, and we found no possible chance for a passage for that through ticket.
I challenge the Financial Secretary, in the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to tell us how far these negotiations have gone and how successful he has been in finding a method of dealing with the drawback system. I said in the last Debate that I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but we looked at it from every possible angle and neither these Bradford men, whose exports amount to many hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, nor any single person whom I have met with in the business, has been able to think of any reasonable scheme or method whereby you can make it easier for the exporter to continue through the ordinary business channels and to be able to receive his drawback. We found very definitely that it will mean a cheap protection for the foreigner at the expense of the British consumer. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That has been definitely proved, though Members of the party opposite say "No." I say definitely that, if we produce 100 pieces of cloth and 50 of them are exported for the foreign trade, those goods will be sold more cheaply abroad than they are being sold in this country, because of the drawback which they get on account of the export. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) who represents a textile town, and does know something about textiles will agree with that. It has been stated that Swiss firms are reducing the price of their articles of silk by 1s. a pound. The hon. Member for Huddersfield asked how long-will that last, but at all events it means that they get it all back. When the Swiss do send us this cheap artificial silk into this country will the Government call it dumping and will they want to impose a protective tariff upon this material? They say that the foreigner will pay, and they adduce as an argument the fact that the Swiss producers of artificial silk have reduced their 1371 price by 1s. a lb. Then they will say, "That is a gross example of dumping, let us have a fresh tariff against this artificial silk."
This is a tax upon an industry. It is a hard tax on an industry on which many thousands of people have to depend for their living. I cannot understand how the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Financial Secretary has arranged the gradations for the amount of duty. On the import of goods containing any proportion of silk over 20½ per cent. they will have to pay 33⅓ per cent. import duty. When they contain 19½ per cent. they only pay 10 per cent. import duty, so that for a difference of 1 per cent. there is a remission of 24⅓ per cent. William Pitt once said that to impose a tax of 5 per cent. on a free people is a dangerous experiment which may excite a revolt, but that there is a method by which we can tax the last rag from the back and the last bite from the mouth without the people knowing it. That is to impose a tax on a great many articles of daily use and necessity. Then people will complain of hard times, but they will not know that the hard times have been caused by taxing
§ the last rag from the back and the last bite from the mouth. The Chancellor has imposed taxation on sugar, the food of the children and the necessity of the working people. He imposes a tax on artificial silk, the girls' cheap finery. On real silk, the expensive material there will be a tax of 7½ per cent. On artificial silk, which is also weighted by tin—
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I accept that. But the food is taxed and the girls' cheap finery is also taxed as a result of this new method of taxation. I protest against it as representing the consumer and as one who has had to do with thousands of working people in the West Riding and I shall continue to protest against it and shall also vote against it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 291; Noes, 152.1375
|Division No. 202.]||AYES.||[6.14 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Butt, Sir Alfred||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Albery, Irving James||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Campbell, E. T.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cautley, Sir Henry S||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Drewe, C.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Elliot, Captain Walter E.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Ellis, R. G.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chapman, Sir S.||Elveden, Viscount|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Chilcott, Sir Warden||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Christie, J. A.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Falls, Sir Charles F.|
|Beckett, sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Clarry, Reginald George||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Clayton, G. C.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Fielden, E. B.|
|Berry, Sir George||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Fleming, D. P.|
|Bethell, A.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Forestier-Walker, L.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cooper, A. Duff||Frece, Sir Walter de|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Cope, Major William||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Gates, Percy|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Goff, Sir Park|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Dalkeith, Earl of||Grant, J. A.|
|Burman, J. B.||Dalziel, Sir Davison||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Greenwood, William (Stockport)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Macintyre, I.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Hall, Lieut. Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||McLean, Major A.||Sandon, Lord|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||MacMillan, Captain H.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Hanbury, C.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Savery, S. S.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Harland, A.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Margesson, Captain D.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfast)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Skelton, A. N.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Moles, Thomas||Spender Clay, Colonel H.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxfd, Henley)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Morden, Colonel Walter Grant||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Herbert, S. (York, N.R-,Scar. & Wh'by)||Murchison, C. K.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Neville, R. J.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sueter, Rear-Admral Murray Fraser|
|Homan, C. W. J.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld.)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Nuttall, Ellis||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Oakley, T.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pennefather, Sir John||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon, S.)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Perring, William George||Titchtield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Huntingfield, Lord||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Philipson, Mabel||Vaughan-Morgan. Col. K. P.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Pielou, D. P.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Pilcher, G.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Jacob, A. E.||Preston, William||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Price, Major C. W. M.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Raine, W.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford Lichfield)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Remer, J. R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Rentoul, G. S.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Rice, Sir Frederick||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R. Ripon)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Loder, J. de V.||Ropner, Major L.||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Lougher, L.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon Sir L.|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Salmon, Major I.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Captain Douglas Hacking.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Gillett, George M.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Compton, Joseph||Gosling, Harry|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Connolly, M.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Crawfurd, H. E.||Greenall, T.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Dalton, Hugh||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Baker, Walter||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Day, Colonel Harry||Groves, T.|
|Barr, J.||Dennison, R.||Grundy, T. W.|
|Batey, Joseph||Duncan, C.||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Dunnico, H.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)|
|Briant, Frank||England, Colonel A.||Hardie, George D.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Harris, Percy A.|
|Broad, F. A.||Fenby, T. D.||Hastings, Sir Patrick|
|Bromfield, William||Forrest, W.||Hayes, John Henry|
|Charleton, H. C.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Clowes, S.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Cluse, W. S.||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Hirst, G. H.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Murnin, H.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Naylor, T. E.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Oliver, George Harold||Taylor, R. A.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Owen, Major G.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Palin, John Henry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Paling, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Pethick-Lawrence, R. W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Varley, Frank B.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Potts, John S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Kennedy, T.||Riley, Ben||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Ritson, J.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Lansbury, George||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Lawson, John James||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Lindley, F. W.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Livingstone, A. M||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Lowth, T.||Scrymgeour, E.||Westwood, J.|
|Lunn, William||Scurr, John||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Whiteley, W.|
|Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Mackinder, W.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Sitch, Charles H.||Windsor, Walter|
|March, S.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Wright, W.|
|Maxton, James||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Young, E. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Montague, Frederick||Snell, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Morris, R. H.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Warne.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|