§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Before I move my Amendment to leave out the Clause may I ask for your guidance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has put down Amendments which make a very considerable difference in the incidence of this duty. May I ask if on my Amendment we shall be at liberty to, as it were, have a prospective discussion of the Amendments which the Chancellor of the Exchequer may move? May I suggest that if you are able to do that it would much facilitate progress. It would, of course, be on the understanding that there would be no discussion when the Amendments are moved.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
This is one of these matters in which the Chair must be guided by the opinion of the House. I should be perfectly willing to allow Divisions on all Amendments on the Paper to take place if it is to be understood that there will not be a, separate discussion on the separate provisions of each Amendment. If no objection be raised, I should be glad to fall in with the suggestion.
§ Mr. McNEILL
So far as my right hon. Friend is concerned I think he will be quite prepared to fall in with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I think, under the circumstances, it would be most economical in time and certainly most convenient in method. My right hon. Friend has made proposals to alter the original text and to take them in conjunction with the Motion of the right 714 hon. Gentleman would make it more convenient.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I beg to move, to leave out the Clause.
I do not propose to say very much in submitting this Amendment to the House as I have already spoken at some length on this proposal when this Bill was in Committee. I then submitted all the arguments of which I could think, which, in our opinion justified the opposition then put forward. I shall not repeat any of those general arguments, to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no reply. The right hon. Gentleman has two methods of answering his opponents. The first is to point out that those who are opposed to some proposal which he has made, advance arguments or make statements which appear to contradict each other. The Chancellor of the Exchequer then jumps to the conclusion that his opponents have answered themselves, and that there is no case worthy of his consideration. The other favourite argument of the Chancellor, with which we have been made very familiar, is, where he cannot defend a proposal on its merits, to say it is supported by overwhelming public opinion. He stated that in his speech on the conclusion of the Debate on the Betting Duty, when this Bill was in Committee. He said it was supported by a preponderance of public opinion and his right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury apparently agreed with him.
If it be supported by a preponderance of public opinion, it certainly was not supported in the Division Lobby that night by a preponderance of the Tory Members of this House. That very tax was carried in Committee by what is, I believe, the smallest majority this Government have ever bad on any proposal of importance. They have, I think, 425 Members in this House, and after all the whipping up of their supporters into the Lobby on that occasion, they were able to show in favour of this Betting Duty only 231 votes, and a majority of only 79. A number of the supporters of the Government actually voted against this tax, and it was well 715 known that there were nearly 200 Tory abstentions. There are 425 Tory Members, of whom only 231 voted in favour of the duty, leaving 194, and even allowing for some who voted against the duty, we find that nearly 200 abstained on that occasion for one reason or another. It is perfectly well known that the great majority of them did not care to go into the Lobby against the Government, but they were not prepared to go into the Lobby in support of the Betting Duty. There is not a shadow of support for the claim of the right hon. Gentleman that he has the support even of a united party, much less a preponderance of public opinion. He has not the support of his own Cabinet. There have been rumours, of course, of a division in the Cabinet on this question. What I may describe as the evangelical members of the Cabinet are well known to have been strongly opposed to the duty.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
The right hon. Gentleman asks me who are the evangelical members of the Cabinet. I do not think there is sufficient imagination in this House to assume that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could be put into that category and I will not be more definite than to say that the evangelical members of the Cabinet are those members of the Cabinet who appear upon the platforms of the Evangelical Alliance. We know now there is a great deal of foundation for the rumours which have been circulated as to a division in the Cabinet. I do not profess to know what is the cause of it, but I remember last year, when the present Minister of Agriculture was the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, he made some blazing indiscretions in regard to the Finance Bill in a public speech in his constituency. Now, there appeared a very interesting sidelight upon what had been going on in the Cabinet, in regard to this Betting Duty in the newspapers on Sunday and Monday last. The present Minister of Agriculture was speaking in his constituency—at least it was at Elveden and I do not know whether that place is in his constituency or not—but at all events he declared: 716It had been alleged in the Press that he stated during the by-election that there would be no betting tax. That was absolutely without foundation. What he said was that there was no betting tax under consideration; and if it came under consideration, he would oppose it and point out the difficulties to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his colleagues in the Cabinet. He had already done so. He had urged the difficulties in Committee and in full Cabinet, and they would not expect him—a Conservative Minister—to throw over the Conservative party and join the Socialist party because he could not get his own way in every detail.If there were other members of the Cabinet as indiscreet 'as the Minister of Agriculture, I am sure we should get other interesting information as to the Cabinet view of this duty. I am quite sure it is a great compliment to the pertinacity and influence of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he has been able to overcome strong opposition within his own Cabinet and his own party, and has succeeded, so far, in imposing this tax upon the country. In his reply to my speech on a former occasion, he said that I had abandoned the contention or argument that there were any mechanical difficulties in the way of levying this tax. I said so at that time, and it will be remembered that my main objections to this tax were that I did not think it was a good policy for the revenue of the country to be raised from such a source. I had sent to me the other day a letter from a man who is, I assume, in some Government service, because he forwards this extract from the Post Office Rules:Betting and gambling in any shape or form are forbidden, and are regarded as serious offences. Any servant of the Department who is concerned in either renders himself liable to dismissal.I suppose that Rule will be repealed when the betting duty comes into operation.
§ Mr. McNEILL
A question on that point was put to me by an hon. Member in the House, and I then gave the answer that there was no more reason for repealing that rule than there was for allowing hon. Members to smoke in this House because they paid the tax on tobacco.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
That, perhaps, is a rather smart way of dealing with the matter, but it is perfectly inconsistent, and I do not admit that even the smart rejoiner of the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary meets the point at all. 717 It does not mean that betting and gambling in the office is wrong, and not wrong elsewhere. We had the revelation in the case which had been raised at Question Time where a Post Office servant was dismissed, not for gambling in the office, but for grave irregularities which were said to be the result of gambling elsewhere. So that we have this anomalous position: that it is a most serious offence, according to this standard, to indulge in betting or gambling, yet the State give its patronage to it, and is receiving considerable revenue from the encouragement of this serious offence!
How is the right hon. Gentleman going to get over the mechanical difficulties that may arise? How can he defend the tax which he is going to apply in one case only, while he is going to exempt betting in another case, when the two transactions are carried out under almost precisely the same conditions It will be perfectly illogical to attempt to defend the distinction. I should have thought that there was a great deal more to be said for the taxation of what is called street betting than for taxation of the other kind. Whether that be so or not—and the Chancellor knows what was said by his officals who gave evidence before the Committee on betting—if you once begin to tax betting you must go on to its logical conclusion and tax every form of betting. The matter came before the Committee presided over by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley).
May I again, leaving out of consideration the moral issue—which perhaps for the moment is irrelevant—deal with the right hon. Gentleman who defends this tax solely on the ground that it will produce revenue? If that is the reason for imposing this tax why is he going to abandon taxation upon such a large proportion of betting It may be true that the amount of money involved in betting which will be duty free is not so large an amount as that involved in the betting that will be taxed, but surely it is a new principle in revenue law and practice altogether to put a, duty upon one of two things which are identical. Therefore the right hon. Gentleman must ultimately be driven to extend the betting duty on all forms of betting, and he can 718 only do that by the licensing of betting houses set up in every part of the land.
I want now to say a word or two on the Amendments which are to he moved later by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I say now what I said on a previous occasion. I saw no difficulty in effectively collecting the duty because the amount at that time was a good arithmetical number of 5 per cent. The Chancellor now proposes to make the duty 31 per cent. on credit betting and 2 per cent. on cash betting. How in the world are you going to calculate arid collect this 2 per cent. duty upon the racecourse? A good deal of racecourse betting is, I understand, in comparatively small amounts. I believe some people put on a shilling. [An HON. MEMBER: "A bob'!"] Others half-a-crown; others larger sums. How is it going to work out? What is a 2 per cent. duty on half-a-crown? It will be two farthings and two-fifths. On a 5s. bet it will be four farthings and four-fifths, and so on. I shall be interested to know how this duty is going to be levied. One suggestion that has been made is that the authorities are going to issue tickets to collect the duty in somewhat the same way as the Entertainments Duty is collected. It cannot be done. It seems to me, therefore, that this duty is going to take a great deal more out of the pockets of the people than it is going to bring into the Exchequer. It is much easier to calculate the value of the 32 per cent. on the credit betting. In dealing with this aspect of the case I understand that sometimes large sums are involved. Therefore, it is much easier to collect the 31 per cent.
Just one further observation. The Chancellor, when he introduced this duty, announced that it would be 5 per cent. He was supposed to be in possession of all the facts as to the amount of money which passed in betting in the course of the year. It is not to be assumed—or, at any rate, we ought not to assume—that the Chancellor comes to this House and throws his proposal on the Table without having given it proper consideration! But that is the practice of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. He tables his proposals first, and then he thinks about them afterwards. We had exactly the same experience last year. He proposed Silk Duties. As soon as 719 expert criticism was brought to bear upon them they were proved to be utterly impracticable and foolish, and the right hon. Gentleman was compelled, in passing the Bill through Committee, radically to amend them in all their more important aspects. This year he proposed this duty at 5 per cent.; now he proposes 3 per cent. and 2 per cent.
What is the reason for the change? One reason, a very extraordinary reason to move a Chancellor of the Exchequer, is that he thinks a 5 per cent. tax would bring in far too much money. He estimated the revenue at about £6,000,000 a year when the tax was originally proposed. I have heard, and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will deny it, that one of the reasons which has induced him to make this Amendment is that a 5 per cent. tax might bring in £12,000,000 or £18,000,000, and the right hon. Gentleman recoils from the prospect of having a surplus next year of £10,000,000 or £18,000,000. [interruption.] The only thing which I think would justify this tax, especially if the rate were maintained at the figure originally proposed, is that it would become most fruitful in the last year the right hon. Gentleman is likely to occupy his present position, and, therefore, there would be something of a nest egg for his successor, who, perhaps, might not have his moral compunction so highly developed as to refuse to take advantage of it.
As I have said, the main point to discuss this evening is the proposal which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will shortly submit to the House, and I shall look forward to what he has to say about the practicability of these proposals with very great interest; and although I have not to-night urged at such length or with so much force the moral objections and the other objections that we have advanced on a former occasion, it must be distinctly understood that we still hold all the objections to this tax which have been repeatedly stated in this House, believing it to be vicious on moral grounds and, as an instrument of taxation, one which no country like our own ought to have.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I daresay it has been the experience of most hon. Members, as it has been mine, in the course of the past week or two, and, indeed, since the 720 day when the Budget was introduced, to be inundated with communications regarding this tax. In my case the vast majority of these communications have protested against the tax, and urged me to do what I could to persuade the Government against it, and to warn them of the consequences which many people believe will ensue; consequences, some think, disastrous to the financial prestige of the nation, and, as many others think, disastrous to the character and the morals of the people. I confess I have been impressed by the number of these communications, and I have been impressed also by the weight of authority behind many of the writers; many of them well known for the keen and practical interest which they have long taken in social matters, and many of them representing powerful organisations whose opinion on this subject ought to he carefully considered. From my own constituency I have received many communications of that kind from representative people whose opinion I greatly value, and I am glad that the vote which I shall give to-night will not be a silent vote, and that I have this opportunity of saying why it is that I have had no hesitation hitherto about supporting this tax, and have no hesitation whatever in supporting it in the remaining stages of this Finance Bill.
My main reasons for supporting the Clause are two. One is that it is a good tax. From a revenue point of view there is much to be said for it. We have many taxes that are not good taxes for the reason that they violate certain principles and maxims which have been laid down a long time and which test whether a tax is a good or a bad one. The principles by which this tax can be tested are these. It will be a productive tax. I have listened to the Debates, and, so far as I can remember, not a single speaker has suggested that this tax will not prove productive, though there is a difference of opinion as to how productive it will be. The hon. Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) is of opinion that £10,000,000 or even £12,000,000 may well be looked for. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is more modest, his expectations are not quite so high; but I have certainly not heard anyone in this House say that the hopes and expectations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be disappointed, It is a tax which 721 will be equitable in its incidence. As far as I am concerned, it is a tax that I shall probably completely avoid, not that I indulge—at least not often—in street betting; bat because it is only very, very occasionally that I bet at all; and, for that matter, everyone can avoid the tax by following my example.
Another reason why I think this tax should stand is that it will be easily collected. I have heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) make many speeches, but not until to-night did I hear him ever suggest that there would be any practical difficulties in the collection of this tax. Certainly such evidence as I have read, and which was given before the Royal Commission, as far as I can remember, went to show that it is a tax that will be easily collected. I think it is also a tax which will be wholesome in its effect. I know it is suggested that it will increase betting, but I think the experience of taxation of this kind, and the evidence of those who are in a position to give valuable evidence on this point, is that the effect of this tax will be wholesome. So that for that reason, which is the one which has been pressed upon this House and upon this Committee by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as the one and sufficient reason for the tax from his point of view,. namely, that it is a good tax, it is on that ground that I feel I can heartily support it.
There is a second reason, and one which in my opinion is of no less importance. But before touching upon that perhaps the House will allow me one moment or two to refer to the grounds of objection that have been taken to the tax. They are grounds that are doubtless by now familiar to every hon. Member because of the propaganda and because of the Debates which have taken place on this subject in this House. Broadly, they are these: This tax is said to be a departure from a policy that has been long pursued in this country with regard to betting, and a change in the attitude of the State towards betting. It is suggested—I think it was suggested in the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) when this Bill was going through Committee stage—that it was a departure from a principle which had governed the 722 policy of this country for so long, and it would be disastrous to depart from it now. I confess I have studied that speech very carefully, and I have not been able to find what fundamental change there is in this tax. I suppose it is that hitherto the attitude of the State towards betting has rather been to frown teem it, so that among the members of the community recognising the attitude of the State, the impulse or the wish to bet was withered and wilted. The suggestion is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes now to change the frown into a smile, and that the attitude which has hitherto tended to discourage it will now tend to encourage it unduly.
The second argument against the duty is that we are proposing to handle tainted money. I have not heard that argument used, but I have received a pamphlet and other hon. Members have doubtless received it, called "Tainted Money," and on the back of it appear the words,Keep clean the country's coffers.I suppose there is nothing in this world that has not a taint of some kind, or at least the taint of corruption. If the State is to consider the sources from which its revenue is to come, it will embark upon a task that would be very difficult indeed. If money is illgotten, or criminally gotten, then it is for the law to deal with it, but when it is money that is legally gotten, then to me at any rate it seems a subject which is rightly taxable by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The last ground of objection is this, and it leads me back to the second main reason for my support of this Clause, and it is what the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer said was the moral question. I think it was quite unnecessary that the moral question should ever have been raised at all. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] For this reason, that I do not think there is a moral issue in the tax that is proposed. I know the Chancellor of the Exchequer has himself deplored that the issue should have been so confused by the raising of this moral question, because there is one peculiarity among the people of this country, that while it is difficult to interest them in many questions of national importance, immediately you suggest that it is a moral issue their interest is immediately 723 aroused. There is this peculiarity about it, that while they elect to decide for themselves any other question, they somehow leave the moral question to be decided by an authority to whom they look.
I venture to suggest that much of the opposition to this tax in the country is not found so much among the people, but is what I might describe as an official opposition. If there is one thing that has been made quite clear in this Debate, it is this, that, while it is quite true that this tax has been proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer mainly for revenue purposes, there are many people throughout the country who will support it, not only because it is a good tax, but because it is likely to have a wholesome effect and to give some opportunity of controlling an evil which has attained such appalling dimensions in the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking during the Committee stage of the Bill, referred to the decision of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The consideration of this tax by that Assembly was not from the revenue point of view, but from the point of view of its moral effect upon the people of the country. Hon. Gentlemen who have read the Report will have been struck, as I certainly was, by the evidence of two of the witnesses before the Committee. Both of those witnesses were men whose interest in the matter is not purely and simply academic, for both of them have been identified for some 20 or 25 years with the movement to cope with the betting evil in the country. I refer to Dr. Lyttelton, the late headmaster of Eton, and to Bishop Welldon. These are men who are supporting this tax, and who approve of it, not because of its value as a means of raising revenue, but because they honestly believe, as I believe and as many throughout the country believe, that it is only by taxation, which at least offers some form of control, that you are going to cope with the evil of betting, which is admittedly so great at the present moment. I want to say in passing that, while it is true that it was the financial difficulties of the country that gave rise to the consideration of this tax at first, a great good has certainly been done in this respect, that the report 724 of that inquiry has thrown a light upon this evil, and has informed and instructed the country as to its dimensions. In that way I think it has done a great good. For these two main reasons—that the tax is a good one which will raise much-needed revenue, and that it is a tax which I think will have a wholesome effect upon the present state of things, and will bring into some measure of control, at any rate, an evil that seems so long to have gone rampant and uncontrolled—I support it heartily.
§ Mr. BARR
Our lion Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Russell) began by stating very clearly and fully the large amount of opposition that there was in his constituency. He explained later that people were very apt to take up a moral issue and run after it. I put these two things together, and I thought that it was because of the moral issues that so many of his constituents were addressing themselves to the subject, and were opposing this tax. I desire this evening to give some indication of the strength of the opposition. I instance, first of all, the National Council of the Evangelical Free Churches of England, who issued manifestoes on this subject to all their federations, councils and branches, to the number of 750. Nearly all of those have passed resolutions against this tax. Every denomination of Nonconformists, at their annual synods, assemblies and conferences, has passed, so far, a resolution against this tax. It is striking that the Churches of Christ, in every one of their congregations, have fostered a resolution or petition against this tax.
Nor is this confined to Nonconformist bodies. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, during the Committee stage, gave us the figures at the London Diocesan Conference, where, I think, 119 declared against the tax and 58 for it. That is in itself significant. The hon. Member for Tynemouth spoke about the Church of Scotland and its decision on the matter. It is fair to say that, so far as I know, every other Church in Scotland has taken up exactly the opposite position. I should not be accounted an unbiased spectator of these events, and I have, perhaps, a certain prejudice, but it sometimes occurs to me that those Churches that stand so much for national 725 religion do not always figure so well as some others on the subject of national righteousness. I wish to say this, that in the Church of Scotland itself, they did not resolve to petition in favour of this tax, although they refused to petition against it, and there was some very wholesome speaking on the subject by those who turned out to be the minority. I hope to have the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself when I read to him a sentence or two from the speech of Dr. David Watson, a man of large outlook and generous and broad sympathies, though by no means a member of the Labour party. Speaking of this tax, he said:They were not going to alter their views and reverse their attitude at the bidding of a Chancellor whose judgment had never been his strong point. He had thrown a glamour over many and had misled them. He had alienated many supporters of the Government. Was the Church to approve of the creation of that new vast vested interest which would block all reform?Moreover, I examined the petitions that came from Scotland on the subject, 295 in number. Although it was put forward by Dr. Norman Maclean, in supporting the tax in the Church of Scotland Assembly, that it was the beginning of a process for delivering the nation from a great evil, will it be believed that among these 295 petitions presented to the House from Scotland, there is not a single one in favour of the tax? Every one of them opposed it. That, I think, is very striking.
What are the grounds on which the Churches take exception to this tax? First of all they hold that in the issue of certificates of registration for bookmakers, and for their premises, you are building up a powerful vested interest which will in the end be a political and a social menace in the days to come, and a formidable barrier to reform. I am quoting from the petitions which I have examined. When the vested interest in the liquor trade was established in 1904 the great argument used was that these men were licensed, that the licences, although they held them only for a year, yet by custom had been continued year by year, and that therefore they had come to constitute property. Mr. Balfour, now Earl Balfour, said they had everything that related to property except security of tenure. It was argued that 726 they were rated and taxed, and therefore their property must be conserved, and they had formed a vested interest. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not take it amiss if I quote from Lord Randolph Churchill, in this house in 1890, using this very argument:It has been admitted on both sides of the House that the custom of renewing licences has become so prevalent and so strong that the licences so issued have become property, and I think that in the discussion of this question the arguments in favour of compensation for vested interests have predominated.Among the churches, as among us, there is this well-founded fear that by certifying the bookmaker you will find it much more difficult to remove him without compensation in the days to come. You are building up a new vested interest. Further, they argue, and we argue, that you are making a radical change in the principles of British law. Ever since 1853 the transaction of betting has, at the most, been tolerated by law. It was only by a legal fiction in 1899 that the decision was come to that allowed betting on the race course. Now, under the arrangements of the right hon. Gentleman, there it a new security given to betting on the race course. It is no longer a legal loophole but something that is fully sanctioned by the State. In the next place, you give a new security to credit betting. That also has only been in an irregular way countenanced by the law. You have this notable fact, that on 12th March, 1924, Lord Darling, in opposing a betting tax, said he was quite prepared to argue that even yet there was not legal foundation for betting by telegraph and telephone. I think we see here one of the new ramifications of this evil. I notice in my own City of Glasgow and in other towns that telephone boxes have been put up at the corners of our public streets, and, doubtless, these will be used, with the countenance of the State, to increase revenue and to further this betting evil.
There is one other respect in which I believe it is bound to influence the law. Lord Darling argued that because it had been accounted a vice therefore the law declared that betting debts would not be recoverable. I take the case of the bookmaker who engages in credit betting. He has paid the betting tax on his stake and 727 the stake is never recovered. Will he not have an unanswerable argument for legislation to allow him to recover the bet on which he has paid the tax? The Select Committee of the House of Lords on the licensing of Bookmakers in 1902 said it would mean the legal recognition of the bookmaker and would necessitate making betting debts recoverable by law. Further they argue, as we do, that it does nothing to remove the evils of street betting but will increase them. Many of these bookmakers on the streets will fortify themselves by taking out a licence for credit betting and will use that as a token of respectability when they are brought into Court. It has been pointed out by Members on all sides, and not least those on the Government side, that the only logical conclusion of this is that you upset the whole attitude of the law towards street betting and must proceed to certify and license street betting as the logical outcome. The bon. Member for Tynemouth said the tax would have a wholesome effect. He argued that it would diminish the volume of betting and it was only by taxation that you could hope to cope with this evil. I wonder how they have coped with it in New Zealand since the Betting Tax was imposed there. It was argued, when they brought in the totalisator, that it would eliminate the bookmaker and would decrease the amount of betting. As a matter of fact it has increased fivefold in the 12 years since that was done and it has stultified the. Government in their efforts to put down betting in various forms. In New South Wales they introduced a tax on betting in 1916, The revenue the following year was £27,366, the year after it was: £40,849, and in 1924, £108,688. The Chancellor himself has confessed that it is not an instrument for the repression of betting. These were his words when speaking of Continental countries which had resorted to a Betting Tax:I have noticed that this is done without in the least degree deterring an ever-increasing number of persons from pursuing their illusions and paying for them.It is widening the distinction between the rich and the poor in this matter. It is accentuating the present differentiation. We have sanction added to the credit bookmaker, but we are still to pursue the street bookmaker with penalties. A good deal was made the other day on these 728 benches as to the 131 persons who were caught in a gambing den and brought before the Western Police Court in Glasgow. Some were out of employment, and it was made an additional part of the offence that they were on the dole. After all, I cannot see the difference between these men meeting in what you call a gambling den and meeting at Ascot or Newmarket. I cannot find it out. You tell me they were unemployed, but ninny of the people who frequent Ascot and Newmarket were never in work, and they are on the dole all the time and not only for a few weeks. I find in all these documents and petitions which have been presented by the Church, that the view they hold is that the habit of betting will be encouraged rather than repressed, and that it is a habit which undermines character and deteriorates the moral standards of the nation. The hon. Member for Tyne-mouth made a merit of the fact that the tax was easy collected and was productive. That has no relation at all to the question of whether this is a tax which on moral grounds should be encouraged and supported. He said the fact that it was legally gotten was a sufficient ground for drawing in the revenue. It may be legally valid, but morally wrong.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Committee stage said he respected adherence to the highest moral standards, and had a proper regard for them. I am sure of that, and I accept what he said on that point. I believe that he is looking at this matter only from the point of view of revenue, but I do say that this Government has not only completely alienated by their industrial policy great masses of the working people of this country, but that they have alienated the Christian churches and those who stand for the highest and best moral opinion in the country. I would not stand always for what is called the Nonconformist conscience. I am a Nonconformist, and I stand for conscience and for the assertion of moral issues, but I sometimes wish that the churches would apply their conscience to a broader field and to the whole industrial system.
We have something broader here than the Nonconformist conscience, and I am confident that the Government will, ere long, feel the force of it. I say to the Government, that if they would pay re- 729 gard to these great moral issues, and instead of a tax on betting they would introduce taxes which would develop the material resources of this country—there are plenty such taxes that could be imposed—they would find that in the end the country would be infinitely stronger and richer, and they would find revenue in far larger harvest. They would find what the Judges in the National Supreme Court of the United States of America found in dealing with the liquor trade, when they said that if the United States in the advance of temperance suffered loss of revenue they would be the gainer—as Great Britain would be in regard to this matter—a thousandfold in the health, wealth and happiness of their people.
§ Sir LEONARD BRASSEY
When this Clause was discussed in the Committee stage I voted against it. I had then, and still have, very grave objections to the proposals contained in it, although I have not a complete objection to any taxation on betting, I do not propose to say now what I might have said on the former occasion, because one of my great objections to the proposal originally was that the 5 per cent. which it was proposed to put upon betting, taking into consideration the conditions in this country as compared with any other civilised country where horse racing is conducted on any large scale, was too high a tax to impose upon those who indulge in betting here. I only rise now to say as one who in years gone by had a good deal to do with the conduct of horse racing in this country, that the whole of the horse racing community will cordially and heartily appreciate the way in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met them. Speaking for myself and on behalf of the horse racing community, I say that we are all very grateful to him for the way he has treated us.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I have no doubt that the horse racing community of this country are very grateful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has met them, but he has declined to meet the petitioners to whom the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Russell) referred. Like the hon. Member for Tynemouth, I have had a very considerable number of petitions sent to me from all over my division, and those petitions are, without exception, pro- 730 tests against the imposition of this duty. The hon. Member for Tynemouth gave several reasons why he supports the duty. His first reason was that it was a good duty, and he added that betting in his view was an unmitigated evil, so great an evil, that so far as he was concerned he intended to evade the duty altogether. If everyone took his view—a very practical view in regard to the duty—the Chancellor of the Exchequer would get no revenue at all. The hon. Member said the tax would be useful, because so great did he regard the evil that a duty such as this would have the effect of reducing it. He welcomed it from that point of view.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer took exactly the opposite point of view, a point of view confirmed by the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) when he gave the example of Australia. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that if he proposed a duty of 5 per cent., not only would he get revenue of £6,000,000 but revenue of £10,000,000 or .£12,000,000, and he would not know exactly what to do with it. He said, further, that he did not want all this revenue and, therefore, he would reduce the duty. That is the very opposite to the argument of the hon. Member for Tynemouth, whose own argument negates his own purpose. He would have preferred that the duty should have remained at 5 per cent. Is he going to vote for the reduction which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes? I do not know whether the hon. Member who has just spoken will be in the same Lobby as the hon. Member for Tynemouth; if so, they will be voting for the duty for exactly opposite reasons. One hon. Member would support the Chancellor of the Exchequer because he has reduced the duty, and he thinks that will help the racing community, while the hon. Member for Tynemouth will go into the Lobby to vote for it because he thinks it will do something to damage the racing community and to put down the evil to which he objects. One way of dealing with this revenue is not to countenance it at all. That was the opinion of the Departmental Committee which investigated all the evidence, including the evidence of the Churches upon the moral aspect. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer corn mended the duty to the House he 731 attached some importance to the moral side. He did not despise the moral side.
§ Mr. MORRIS
He said he was not going to be drawn into the moral issue, and that all that he was concerned with was obtaining revenue. I cannot understand why if he is primarily concerned with obtaining revenue he has not kept the duty at 5 per cent. Why does he reduce it? Is it merely to meet the views of the racing community? Is it because they have such weight with the Treasury that they have to be obliged? The churches of the country gave their evidence before the Departmental Committee, and stated their reasons cogently. It is all very well to say, as did the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he is not doing anything to alter the law in regard to betting but it will be inevitable in the course of very few years that the law will have to be changed. You are recognising what the Chancellor's own supporters regard as an evil. You are doing something to entrench that evil in this country. There was evidence before the Committee which clearly showed that in the opinion of a good many witnesses it was a greater evil than the drink evil. Testimony was given that money sorely needed to reestablish industry was taken from productive purposes and used to a large extent for this unproductive purpose. Yet the Chancellor disregards the whole of the moral weight, and the whole of the petition. Even if the Chancellor gets £6,000,000 and thereby eases the Revenue to that extent, it will he money dearly bought from a moral point of view. That is the view of the great bulk of the Churches. These people are concerned as to the opinion of the social workers. They meet the conditions at first hand. They are quite as much experts on that side of the question as the Chancellor's advisors are on the financial aspect. The moral aspect of any question is the most important. This country wants reestablishment of the moral sense, industrially and otherwise. You do nothing to assist or develop the growth of that sense when you impose a duty of this kind which affects a change which should never be affected in this country.
§ Mr. RAINE
I am whole heartedly in favour of this tax. I have listened to all 732 the speeches and I have heard nothing to cause me to alter my opinion. If this tax is imposed, it will put an end to the false position in which this country has been for years with regard to betting. I believe it will be the beginning of the end of the tout who preys on the working classes in a way very few people who know the industrial areas realise. If this matter be weighed up, the moral issue is rather on the side of putting on the tax. The great amount of betting that goes on is known to everybody. In reply to the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr), I would ask why should people who make bets not pay honourably if they lose I They are ready enough to collect when they win. I would like to see the whole betting arrangements of this country entirely re-modelled so as to ensure that if people lost they should pay their losses in the same way as an ordinary business debt. I have received a mass of correspondence from various Churches in my constituency. I have replied to everyone with a reasoned argument in favour of the tax. During the 25 years I have been in public life I have made it a rule never to sidetrack any question; whether I was for or against, I spoke out honestly, regardless of the consequences. From various individuals in my constituency I have received far more commendation than I have received kicks. I should like to criticise the Amendment which the Chancellor has put down, namely, to make the tax on field betting 2 per cent. and on credit betting 3i per cent. With regard to credit betting at 3½ per cent., as that is done in large amounts the argument which I am going to put forward is not so strong as it is in connection with the 2 per cent.
I cannot imagine why the Chancellor chose 2 per cent. I should have thought he would have taken 2½ per cent., because 2½ per cent. on a sovereign is 6d., on 10s. 3d., and on 5s. 1½d.; whereas the way it is going to work out is that on the 10s. bet—I am not a betting man myself, but from inquiries I have made, 10s. seems to he the favourite amount to put on—the tax undoubtedly that will be charged by the bookmaker will be 3d. It will be very interesting to hear the explanation the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to give. I can only imagine that the bookmaker, before the race meeting comes off, is going to buy £10 or £20 worth of stamps 733 and be able to put a 3d. stamp on a 10s. card. I think it will be found that the Revenue will lose a great deal which might come to it. If it is not too late for the Chancellor to adopt the 2½ per cent. on field betting, I think the revenue would benefit to a great extent. I hope the Chancellor will take that into consideration. There is nothing that annoys the public so much as to realise that if they are having to pay a tax all of it does not go to the proper source. I hope the Chancellor will take this question into very careful consideration if it is not too late. He, of all people, must realise in the present state of affairs, bow necessary revenue is. There is no reason for losing part of it in. the way I am afraid he will do if he carries out his present intention. I am heartily in favour of the tax. I will not utter any prophecy as to whether the tax is likely to reduce betting or not. It may prevent some people from betting surreptitiously, as they do now. I regard betting as a luxury, and in the present state of the country's finances there is a very good opportunity to collect a considerable amount of revenue at little expense for the good of the country.
§ Mr. MONTAGUE
I have not had petitions from my constituents, but I have had quite a number of letters, and I find that these letters are pretty equally divided between those who oppose the tax upon what is called the moral issue, and those who oppose the tax because it is an interference with the betting community. It seems to me that if I vote in favour of this Amendment, I shall be upon the right side from both points of view. A reflection that occurs to me with regard to most of the Debates we have had upon the subject is that betting is a luxury which is enjoyed or followed by probably the vast majority of the people of this country It is not only a question of betting upon horses. Other forms of gambling are very popular. You have only to take up your weekly newspapers arid you will find that their millions of circulation depend more than anything else upon the spirit of gambling among the people. In view of that fact, it seems to me that the talk in opposition to this tax from the moral point of view is a kind of Parliamentary Puritanism which is beside the mark. I must confess I have very strong prejudice 734 against Puritanism of any kind except the Puritanism of individuals.
Puritanism may be a fine thing for the individual, but when it is projected into the law, when it is a case of pushing one's principles down other people's throats, it has a tendency to become very objectionable, and sometimes not only to become objectionable, but to defeat the very purpose it is supposed to support. I am not going to vote in favour of the Betting Duty for quite other reasons. I was interested in listening, to the speech of the hon. Member below the Gangway about productive as against unproductive expenditure. There is a point in that argument of recognising the economic facts of the case. But it is not a question of productive or unproductive expenditure. If I take money from one pocket and put it into another you would not base an argument on it that it was productive or unproductive expenditure. When two rich men make a bet, men who perhaps have obtained their riches from bad sources, the mere fact that one wins and the other loses makes not the slightest difference to the production of the country. It is merely equivalent to taking money from one pocket and putting it into another.
I fail to see the fundamental objection from the moral point of view to betting. It is not a moral question at all; it is a social question. Betting is harmful because the people who are encouraged to engage in it to extremes, because of the lack of rational interest and reasonable excitement in their lives, cannot afford to bet. That is an argument against poverty, but it is not an argument against betting on principle. I do not see why an individual transaction involving a risk of loss should be more immoral than a church bazaar or playing a game of cards in my own private house. Everybody gambles in one way or another. Life, especially under modern competitive conditions, is bound up with the principle of gambling, and I find my own friends who are Socialists using the argument against my particular point of view, which is not very popular on this side, that as a Socialist I should object upon moral grounds to the principle of taking something for nothing. I do not object to the principle of taking something for nothing, if it is a voluntary transaction and if there is an equal chance for both sides, one 735 winning at the expense of another and there is nothing of compulsion.
What I object to so much is not getting something for nothing, but to the imposition of a condition of society and circumstances upon me, or upon any member of the class that lives by its labour, which allows other people to get something for nothing at the expense of my labour without any voluntary transaction about it. That is what I object to, but I fail to see what there is of a moral character involved in the principle of betting. I object to the Betting Duty in the first place, as the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) has said, that it is creating a new vested interest and, secondly, because I object to all kinds of indirect taxation. For these two reasons I am going into the Lobby in support of the Amendment. I want to urge hon. Members not to imagine that every member of the Labour party is necessarily governed by Free Church or Wee Church policy. Some of us have our own point of view which is not determined by the Nonconformist conscience. I have every respect for the Nonconformist conscience, but morality to me is an individual question; when it is not individual it is worth nothing. I believe every church council and every body of social workers have a perfect right to their own line of propaganda, but when it comes to imposing their point of view on the rest of the community on moral questions, as in the case of prohibition, my anti-puritanism comes uppermost and I object most strongly.
I do not think you are ever going to achieve morality by Acts of Parliament You can improve social conditions, look after the bodies of the people; their souls will look after themselves. I do not think it is desirable to give the Government cachet to betting if it is going to help the extension of betting amongst people who cannot afford to bet on the ground that the money the working classes spend in betting is money which ought to be spent productively. I do not think everything should be judged from the standpoint of whether it is productive or not. I think the working people ought to have some surplus which they can throw away on their own pleasures; I want my class to have some surplus to throw away on their own pleasures. There is one other point of view which occurs 736 to me. The question of prostitution has been used as an analogy between one particular form of vice and the vice, as it is called, of betting; and it is a vice in a social sense because of its effects under the circumstances of life as we live it. But you can never by Acts of Parliament stop prostitution. You can imprison brothel keepers, but that is not stopping prostitution. You can stop, and wisely stop, the creation and existence of gaming houses, but that does not stop gambling. You will not stop gambling by passing Acts of Parliament making it unlawful for anybody to make a bet on a horse. If people cannot bet that way they will bet, and are going to bet, in some other way.
The best thing to do if you want to raise the moral tone and standard of the people is to see that they have a rational sort of life, a decent education and a chance to look upon life in a, well-balanced way. That is the best way to deal with all the moral issues, and there is no reason why Parliament should assist the development of betting, or any kind of social evil which may be disadvantageous to any class of the community. There is far too much unction about this question of morality. It is an individual question; it is not the business of Parliament. We have no right to interfere at all with self-regarded acts until they become a public nuisance, and until they become a public nuisance I am not prepared to vote for Acts of Parliament which interfere with the habits of the people.
§ Sir FRANK MEYER
There has been a. robust reality about the remarks of the last speaker which' to me has been in welcome contrast with some of the other speeches we have heard on this occasion, and also during the Committee stage of this Bill. At the risk of calling upon myself the censure of the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) and the hon. Member below the Gangway, I am going to confess that I am, and always have been, one who takes a pleasure in an occasional bet. I am one, according to the evidence given before the Select Committee, of 3,000,000, and, therefore, I am in considerably good company, and when I say, as the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that my first bet was made at a very early age—I think I beat him by some years, for I believe mine was made at the 737 age of 12—and ever since then I have taken an interest in the sport of horse racing, at any rate, I may be said to be slightly familiar on practical grounds with the subject. I do not think it has ever been very profitable to me. Indeed, I might say, to paraphrase the well-known verse,Myself, when young, did eagerly frequent Tipster and tout, and heard great argumentAbout it and about, but evermore came outA poorer man than in I went.In spite of the knowledge that in the long run it is always the bookmaker who wins, that has not deterred me, or any of the other 3,000,000 apparently, from supporting their own opinion in a sporting way.
There seems to me to be three principal lines of argument in opposition to this tax. We have been told that this tax will increase betting, but it is the first time that I ever heard the economic doctrine advanced that to make a thing more expensive is likely to increase its consumption, and I leave it to those who advance that argument to prove, if they can, how increasing the cost can tend to increase the consumption. I would like to refer to what the hon. Member for Motherwell said, that the tax on what is known as legal betting will drive street bookmakers to take out licences in order to give themselves a respectability which at present they have not got. I would point out that, once they do that, they identify themselves in the eyes of the police, they have a place which the police can inspect at any time, without notice and without warning, and it will make it very difficult for them to carry on the illegal transactions of street betting, which at present they can only practice by means of secrecy and by employing a great many spies and scouts. Therefore, I do not think it is likely that a street bookmaker who wants to carry on an illegal business will take out a licence and brand himself as one open to be inspected by the police.
We are told that for the first time under this tax the State recognises betting. What a peculiar use of the word "recognise." Here is something which is going on all around us by millions of people every day, and to say that we do not recognise it at the present time is to adopt a mental attitude which we are 738 wont to associate physically with the ostrich. How can we pretend we do not recognise a thing on which we take Income Tax and which everybody on all sides is doing all the time? It is an abuse of the word "recognition" to say that merely by taxing a thing you are recognising it. It seems to me that those who are opposed to this tax have only one logical attitude which they can take up, and that is that they should state clearly and definitely that they will do all in their power to stop betting by legislation. If they think this betting is so unclean a thing that you must not touch it, even with the hungry hand of a revenue official, they should be logical in their attitude and should say: "We will do all we can to stop betting. We will not be content that street betting should be illegal, but we will make all that is now legal betting illegal." I challenge those Members of the Labour party and of other parties who are going into the Lobby to vote against this tax on moral grounds to put into their Election programmes at the next Election, that they are opposed to betting and that they think it should be made illegal, just as street betting is illegal at the present time.
In regard to what the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) said on the last occasion, that to tax betting was as great an evil as to tax prostitution, I challenge him to go to his own constituents, among whom, I am sure, there are many thousands who practise this evil of betting, and tell them that whenever they are making a bet they are doing something which is in any sense comparable to prostitution.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
The hon. Gentleman must not misrepresent me. I understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer to argue that he was not con-termed with a moral issue at all, but merely with revenue. I said that if that was his point of view, what objection was there to making a tax upon other forms of vice?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I said that, as I was not altering the law with regard to street betting, or making anything legal which was now illegal, the moral issue was not raised, but only the revenue issue.
§ Sir F. MEYER
I am prepared to leave the matter to the judgment of the House 739 and those who heard the hon. Member's words. I do not wish to misrepresent him. I took the trouble to read through his speech again to-day, and I have here a selection from it on which I founded my argument. He made the comparison, with whatever object he made it. There are only one or two Members here who are logical in this moral attitude towards betting. I believe the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) would be prepared to go to his electors and forbid betting altogether; I believe the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor), who, I am sorry to see, is not in her place to-night, would be prepared to do so on somewhat similar grounds; and perhaps also the hon. Member for Motherwell would, but they must go further. It is no good merely making betting illegal, because street betting is illegal now, yet it goes on among millions every day. That shows that the law is incapable of preventing betting in cash, which is a much more easy thing to prevent than to prevent betting over the telephone in a couple of words. Therefore, you must do away with those sports which lead to betting. You must abolish racing, you must abolish whippet racing, and you must abolish even foot ball. That is the only way logically in which you can do away with betting altogether. I do not see how any hon. Member can get out of that position.
I do not like to speak about the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) in her absence, but she has a definite attitude on this question which I am bound to criticise. She wants to suppress betting. She suffers, as some of her compatriots do, from what I might call a social uplift complex, and sometimes she is so confused in her desire to reform all the people in this country that she omits to see the beam in her own eye while searching for the mote in other people's eyes. Her attitude is very peculiar. She would admit, I am sure, if she were here—she did, on the last occasion—that she is very devoted to the sport of racing, in which I know her husband takes an active part, and she would not do anything to discourage it. In fact, the letter he wrote to the "Times" was an argument in favour of racing, but against betting. How can she take up that attitude, when it is quite 740 clear that, if you do not have betting—nobody can deny this—the greater part of the people who go to the races would no longer go? If they did not go, the race companies and so on would not be able to give prizes, and if there were no prizes, how could people, except the Noble Lord her husband and half-a-dozen others, afford to own racehorses? The whole logic of the position is given away by these opponents of betting, unless they are prepared also to suppress racing and all other forms of sport on which betting takes place.
Although I am strongly in favour of a, tax on betting, and I consider that the moral argument that has been advanced cannot for one moment be logically supported, I am bound to say that I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman has gone the right way about collecting the £6,000,000 which he hopes to get. I desire to see him get his £6,000,000; I should be content if he were to get £8,000,000 or £10,000,000, but I think he is going the wrong way about it. I do not want the right hon. Gentleman to think that I am blaming him, because I know that this is an extraordinarily difficult subject. It is quite obvious that previously to the bringing in of the Budget it was not possible for him to make the inquiries into this highly-technical business which were necessary to formulate the tax in the right way in order to get the money. He has made several concessions as the result, I imagine, of consultation with those who are interested in what I call a great sport and others call a vice. The success of this tax depends on getting the goodwill of those concerned. There has never been a tax which would be so easy to evade. If it be impossible to stop street betting, although it implies the actual physical passing of a coin from one man's hand to another, how much harder is it to suppress betting which is merely the result of a word spoken across the rails or spoken on the telephone?
§ Sir F. MEYER
I will give the right hon. Gentleman an example of how, if I so desired, I could evade his tax, and I challenge him to tell me how he will prevent that form of evasion. I have no intention of evading the tax The only way in which I might evade it would be by reducing the number of bets—they are 741 comparatively few at present—which I have. Assuming that I made a habit, which I do not, of betting in multiples of £10—there are many who frequent the racecourse who do so—and that my stake varies from £10 to £100. All I have to do is to tell my bookmaker that in future I shall bet in £1 multiples, but there is to be this understanding between him and myself, that when I say £1 it means £10, and when I say £10 it means £100, and so on. That is to be the arrangement between us. If I am found out I go to gaol, but how is the right hon. Gentleman to find me out? The accounts will be rendered at the end of each week showing multiples of £1 instead of multiples of £10. At the end of each week, month, or season, there will be a bigger instalment to pay one way or another, but that can be disposed of by entering on the hooks or the vouchers one single bet to make up the amount of that difference. In that way you have taken away from the revenue one-tenth of the tax. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer can tell me how he will discover a fraud of that kind I. shall be very much obliged.
I only say that to show how absolutely necessary it is, if he wants to collect this tax, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have the goodwill of the bookmakers and the backers as a whole. He can get that goodwill if he makes the tax of a size and of an amount which they think is tolerable and which can be imposed without seriously diminishing betting as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman has reduced the tax from 5 per cent. to 2½ per cent. on the course and 3½ per cent. in the office. I am going to vote for that concession but I still think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a mistake. I think that the tax ought to be 1 per cent. all round. That seems an extraordinary reduction from the original 5 per cent. but I believe that the whole of the figures of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to turnover were based upon the evidence given and the Report presented by the Select Committee. It is extremely difficult to know what is the turnover on betting and nobody will ever know exactly what it is, but I have been privileged to see—and I believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer has also seen—the books of one of the largest betting firms in this country and the turnover of that firm now is about 742 £5,000,000 per annum at present. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is basing his 2 per cent. and his 3½ per cent. tax on a turnover of about £300,000,000, which will be reduced by the tax to £225,000,000. If those figures are correct and if one firm has a turnover of £5,000,000 it means that this single firm is doing one-sixtieth of the total betting in this country. Now there are 5,000, perhaps 10,000 bookmakers in this country. How can it be said that this firm is doing one-sixtieth of the total turnover? What must the turnover be of those bookmakers who spend not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of pounds in advertising? I tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it is my firm conviction that the turnover of betting in this country is more like £500,000,000 and perhaps larger. If lie will make this tax one per cent. all round he will get his £6,000,000 with no loss of the good will of the bookmakers and backers.
I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has also made a mistake in differentiating between course betting and office betting. It sounds a very good thing that a man who goes to a course and who takes an actual part in racing should get off more cheaply than a man who sits at home, but it is not so simple as all that. A very large percentage of those who go to the course do not bet across the rails with the bookmakers, but they send telegrams to their bookmaker in town. They do not like all the fighting and hustling that takes place in the ring, and they prefer to go to the telegraph office and to send their wires. Others go to the course and do not send telegrams or telephone. They have only to pay 2 per cent. tax, but the others, by sending a telegram have to pay 3½ per cent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that the only way the tax can be collected by the bookmakers through their clients is by shortening the odds. He admits that any other way may cause irritation and that that will reduce betting and that the tax thereby will be seriously affected. But who is it who makes the starting price? It is the course bookmaker, and he has only to pay 2 per cent. He will take that 2 per cent. into account when lie fixes the starting price, and the man in London will have that price fixed by 743 the bookmaker who has to pay 2 per cent., while he himself has to pay 3½ per cent.
Where is that 1½ per cent. to come from? Is it to come from the bookmakers? We know that the bookmaker will collect it from his client in the irritating way that the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated when he said that the only way to collect the tax was to pass it on by shortening the odds. I only want, in conclusion, to emphasise again what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington (Mr. Montague) said so clearly and so effectively, that it is not the least good thinking you can make people good in this country by moral legislation. Whatever the Member for Dundee may say, and I give him the greatest credit for his courage and sincerity—and I give the Noble Lady credit also—you will not stop people from gambling by any forth of legislation. You are not going to encourage them to gamble more by putting a tax on them. The constant repetition of the words "vested interests," which is a favourite expression, is used in a false connection. How do you give a man a vested interest if you give him a licence when he applies for it? The publican must prove his good conduct before he gets a licence, but a bookmaker who takes out a licence just as a man does who drives a motor car, does not get a vested interest. It is ridiculous to say that a man for £10 a. year, whose conduct is not investigated and who has to submit no references, gets a vested interest.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I rise to raise one or two points in connection to this Betting Duty. The hon. Member who spoke last stated as a very cogent argument that a man could very easily come to an arrangement with his bookmaker about £1 meaning £10 and so on; but that can only be when there is perfect trust between the bookmaker and the man who bets. It means in effect that if he won or lost, then at law all the claim he had would be for the pound. If he went to law the Court would order the bookmaker to pay the smaller amount. The consequence is that everybody is going to bet on £10 and £20 and take good care that they are within the law. I do not think the argument counts much as far as that is con- 744 cerned. I also oppose this differentiation for other reasons. I agree with a good deal of what the hon. Member for West Islington (Mr. Montague) has said about betting. On this point it is no use of the last speaker saying that there is no vested interest. There is a vested interest.
Anyone who knows the drink traffic knows that every time the drink trade want a reduction of taxation, they come to Parliament and, heedless of every other social 'question, press for a reduction. The same will happen in the case of betting. The bookmaker will come and plead and try to get a reduction. But there is this other point regarding the differentiation. It is all very well to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will differentiate in the way suggested. I do not think he can do that logically. You are not only dealing with betting and racing; you are dealing with betting and other forms of sport, if sport it can be called. Take whippet racing. In Scotland there are large numbers of people who go regularly every Saturday of their life to see this form of racing. The person who attends horse racing has to pay only 2 per cent., but if the bookmaker goes to a whippet race meeting, which is frequented largely by working men, he has to pay 3½ per cent., as against 2 per cent. in the wealthier place. If a man makes a book on a whippet ground, he has to pay the larger amount. There is no question that they are poorer people who attend the whippet meetings, and I object to something that penalises poorer people as against the rich people.
There is not only the objection in regard to whippet racing. In my part of the country there is trotting or pony racing, and I am going to ask if under the Amendment moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer a pony race is a horse race? There are grounds where whippet racing and trotting are carried on in combination and there is also foot running. In Edinburgh there is a place called Powderhall where whippet racing and foot racing are carried on, and there are some places where the three forms of sport are carried on. A bookmaker on a race course will only charge his client 2 per cent., but if a pony is considered a horse, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer will charge 2 per cent. for a bet on a pony. If there happens to be a 745 whippet running he will have to alter his basis of taxation and charge the full 3½ per cent. One of the reasons for differentiating is that the bookmaker who goes to the race course has a great deal more expenditure than the other bookmaker who sits in an office. But trotting and whippet racing are equally expensive. I am raising this question because I have been asked by certain people who are constituents of mine to do so. They want to be dealt with equitably. There ought to be no difference.
I myself think there is a tremendously strong case—almost an unanswerable case—for legalising betting in this country. The law of betting has ceased to be a law and has become a farce. When law is treated as a farce, it ceases to be law. Whether we on these benches like it or not, the great mass of people do not look upon a man as a bad person for having been fined for betting. In my constituency he is looked upon as the, reverse and as some one to be proud of. A person fined for a bet is not looked upon the same as a person fined for being drunk or for committing a theft.
If the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to stop street betting there is an effective way to do it. A Bill is at present going through Parliament, the object of which is to cut out newspaper reports of divorce cases. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to deal with street gambling, he has only to cut the publication of betting odds in the newspapers. I will give him an illustration. I have a friend—a constituent of mine—who runs not only a credit betting business but a street betting business. Incidentally, when he gets his licence, it will give him an additional status for street betting, and he is proud of it. In the ordinary course this man takes about 1,000 bets each day. During the general strike, when the newspapers were not being printed, the number of bets went down to about 40 each day. That was because there were no newspapers no betting odds, and no tips. [HON.MEMBERS: "And no racing!"] Oh, yes. I know something about it, and I would remind hon. Members that we had Chester races for three days during that period. I have never made a bet off a racecourse though I have made one or two on racecourses, but I like to go to racecourses and to see horse racing. I 746 do not know that there is any crime in it; if there is, I shall probably suffer the punishment hereafter. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Churches are sincere in wanting to stop betting they should start a campaign to abolish the publication of betting odds in the newspapers.
I am with the hon. Member for West Islington, who is against all indirect taxation. I have, for instance, what some Members would regard as a peculiar "complex" on the drink question. I voted with the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Scrymgeour) in favour of the total prohibition of liquor, and some time later I voted for a reduction of the taxes on liquor, because I believe sincerely that if the liquor traffic is bad it ought to be suppressed in a straightforward way, and we ought to take a referendum of the people upon it. I do not believe in taxing an evil and raising revenue from it, and. if betting be an evil, I do not think we shall stamp it out, by taxing it. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman can logically apply a duty which differentiates between betting on the course and betting off the course. This is being done from the rich man's point of view. The rich man can bet over the telephone. I am a Member of Parliament and I have a telephone, and I can get five bookmakers to bet wills me on credit; but if I were working at my trade, no bookmaker would give me credit. There is one bookmaker in Scotland—James Maclean—who will not "take you on" at all, unless you can give bankers' references. Thus the poor man is driven to street betting, and here we are legislating against street betting, while condoning and encouraging racecourse betting. Therefore, for these reasons I have no moral scruples about the thing at all. I go among my constituents, and the general feeling I find is that the greater the unemployment the greater the betting.
A man, say, has a couple of shillings, and with Is. he decides which one of three things he will do with it—to have a drink, to go to a football match, or to make a bet. He usually chooses the bet, for the reason that if he spends the money on drink it only lasts for about three minutes; again, if he goes to a football match, and watches a game for an hour and a half, he enjoys it, till it 747 comes to a finish; while in the matter of a bet—which he chooses—he does so because he thinks he gets more sport than from the other two. He has as much right to judge what his sports should be as I have. In the first place, he may get a newspaper, and spend an hour or two spotting the winners. Then he puts on his bet. Then he has the excitement of watching, as at the football match, for the result, and one way and another he reckons he gets out of his 1s. on the bet as much sport as in any other way. My own view is that betting increases with unemployment. If you give the mass of the people something to utilise their mind with in the way of remunerative work, you will not get, in the great industrial centres, anything like the betting you get now. That is the experience of almost every one of us. If you give the people a, continuity of employment, good education, good newspapers to read, you will possibly do more to stop betting than in any other way. Anyhow, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider the whole subject of this tax. If, however, he is going to impose it, let it be on a uniform basis, so that it will affect all in the same way.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The Betting Duty has now, at last, reached its final stage in the progress of the Finance Bill. I am glad to see that, long as have been the discussions and frequent as have been the repetitions of the arguments, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has neither been exhausted by the one process or the other. I admired the spirit of the right hon. Gentleman when, at an hour when the House was stripped to the barest minimum of Members which the Rules of the House prescribe, he endured the pangs of long abstinence from food; I admired the spirit in which he whipped up the old arguments and marshalled again the Opposition against this duty, about which 19 people out of 20 throughout the country have already made up their minds. The right hon. Gentleman produced the whole apparatus of argument which should be appropriate to some season where the fate of the Administration turns upon the vote about to be given. He told us the party was divided, that there was a split in the Cabinet, that 200 members of the Conservative party 748 had abstained from the Division, brushing over the fact that there is a great deal of difference between abstention and absence. He told us that the evangelical elements in the Cabinet—of whom he spoke with all fitting and proper respect—had been engaged in a long struggle with the other elements, among which he classed me, a sort of struggle Gentlemen v. Players, as a result of which, I gathered that it was his conclusion, the evangelical elements had narrowly sustained defeat. He pointed to the fact of a speech which was made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture at an evangelical conference, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Newmarket, as clear proof of these grave divisions.
I should be misleading the House if I led them for a moment to suppose that when this subject was first mooted in the Cabinet it was received with an absolutely unanimous and unbroken chorus of approval. I do not suppose there is any place where 20 English, Welsh and Scottish men or women could be gathered together in which such a topic could be raised without giving rise to mingled opinions; and it is the business of a Cabinet, as it is the business of the House of Commons, to thrash out and canvass every proposition that is put before them. Therefore, if there are different points of view there ought to be different points of view—[HON. MEMBERS: "What does that mean?"]—ad when they have all been considered and examined, then it is necessary and proper that united action should be taken. I am quite clear that at the present time there is not the slightest serious difference of any kind among the supporters of the Government on this question, and any differences which really exist upon whether the moral issue should or should not be what one might almost call trotted out on this occasion are really found in their must luxuriant forms on the benches of the official Opposition.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me why it was that we supported a tax which would be an encouragement to betting. He used the expression "encouragement." He must really make up his mind where he stands in this matter. He must, to use an expression which comes rather readily to my lips since I have been engaged in passing this Measure 749 through the House, make up his mind as to which horse he is going to declare to win. He said a tax on betting was an encouragement of betting. The Amendment reduces the tax on betting and therefore reduces the encouragement; and therefore what we invite the Committee to do to-night is to join with us, not in an encouragement of betting, but in a discouragement. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say, "Why, if revenue is your object, do you reduce the rate of the tax? Why have you departed from the 5 per cent. uniform tax on ail bets, no matter wheresoever they may be made?" This is not a case of difficulty of a political or Parliamentary nature. I think it would have been just as easy to carry a uniform 5 per cent. tax as it is to carry the lower and differentiated tax which I have placed on the Order Paper, and which will be formally moved later. It is not because, as we have been told, that we have had to bow and bend to the storm that we have altered our original plan.
There are two reasons for the change from the uniform rate of 5 per cent. to 3½ per cent. for office betting and 2 per cent. for racecourse betting. We have better information now about the volume of betting than it was possible to obtain by any Parliamentary Committees before we actually came forward with a definite proposal. We have had the opportunity of examining the books of some of the largest betting firms in the country, and from the Income Tax which we know is collected from the betting firms of the country we are able to see what proportion this business of these particular firms bears to the whole. All these matters are, as a rule, under-estimated, but still, I believe we have been able to reach much safer, surer and stricter estimates than were ever possible before.
When I opened the Budget I estimated that the turnover of legal betting, leaving out illegal betting which we do not touch, was £170,000,000, and I was advised that it would be safer to allow for a shrinkage in betting owing to the discouragement caused by the tax to the amount of £50,000,000. That would leave £120,000,000 and 5 per cent. on that would yield £6,000,000 which was the revenue I estimated. That is the amount which I hope to achieve and which I am deter- 750 mined to achieve if it is humanly possible. Now, as the result, not of mere estimates but of close and accurate examination of large specific accounts, we have put the turnover of betting at £275,000,000, and we have thought it right to make a large deduction' in order to he on the safe side. Although the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth (Sir F. Meyer) told as that the turnover would probably be £400,000,000, I am only placing it at £275,000,000, and I take only £200,000,000 as the sure and certain basis as far as anything can be sure and certain on which we expect to reap the tax.
A tax on that basis of 5 per cent, would produce £10,000,000. It may be asked why don't you take the £10,000,000 and rejoice, but it was never part of our policy to impose a tax on betting which would break the betting business. I have never pretended that it was right for me to do that, and it would be hypocritical and wrong of me so to pretend. The tax may diminish betting, and I am budgeting that it will, but I should be sorry if as a result of the tax we found that the whole business of racing and horse breeding had been struck a serious and possibly a deadly blow. Therefore, I am glad that it is in my power to realise the revenue which I honestly believe is possible, and which I set out to realise, at a lower rate of tax. Of course, if we find that the business can bear a higher rate of tax than the £6,000,000 which is common ground between all parties to this business, without breaking the industry, there is nothing to prevent Parliament and the Government from raising the rate of the tax. In the first instance, it is necessarily a speculative matter, and, as we have every reason to believe that we shall get the revenue we set out to obtain, it seems to me very right and prudent, in view of the later information we have obtained, to reduce our rate, and not to aim at taking more than £6,000,000 from the racing and betting community.
That is the first reason why we have reduced the rate of the tax. A more difficult point is when it comes to the differentiation in favour of racecourse betting and against office or starting price betting. There, again, I have been powerfully impressed by the fact that the racegoer is the man, or woman, upon 751 whom the whole sport of racing is sustained. The entrance fees which they pay at the course, and the general expenses which they contribute by their presence on the racecourse, are the means by which the racecourses are kept up, and the horses—those beautiful animals to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) referred so feelingly—are induced to compete. It seems to me that there is a great difference between the man who goes to the races, who pays his railway fare or other travelling expenses, who pays his entrance fee and his Entertainments Duty, and who, as I am opportunely reminded, buys both his solid and his liquid refreshment on a scale which is certainly not unduly cheap—it seems to me that there is a great difference between such a one and another man who merely takes down his telephone receiver and transmits his bet, cold-bloodedly, from one office to another, and who may, perhaps, bet for years, and indulge in this frigid excitement, without ever going to see a horse run or doing anything to support what. is, after all, a great and characteristic British national sport.
Merely for the sake of equity, for the sake of equality of treatment as between these two classes, it is right that a certain casement should be given to the man who has the expense of attending the racecourse, as against the credit bettor, who uses nothing but the telephone or the telegraph. Also, it seems that this will, in fact, give some assistance to the racing community and the horse-breeding interest, which will, perhaps, go a long way to compensate them for the additional burden which has been cast upon them through the imposition of this tax. At any rate, if it should so be that they are left in the same position, neither better nor worse, advantaged by the differentiation as much as disadvantaged by the tax—if it should so be that that is the result, I, personally, shall be quite content. That is the reason why we have decided to propose a rate 3½ per cent. for the credit bookmaker and a discriminative preferential rate of 2 per cent. for bets made by persons who go to the racecourse with persons who have also gone there.
752 The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) raised a still more complicated point on the subject of this preferential duty. I shall not follow him into the moral issue on which he touched because, as far as I could gather from his speech, the moral issue was very important but it stopped short of whippets. If he will excuse me, I must suit my movements to this moral issue and stop short at whippets too. I am quite prepared to go with him as far as to say that a pony is a horse, but nothing shall induce me to say that a whippet is a horse. We must draw the line somewhere. I draw the line even at a donkey. If you are to let in the donkey, how can you exclude the pigeon? And; if you are going to say that anyone who goes to a course over which pigeons are flying is to get the preferential 2 per cent., I do not know any part of England where we should not be confronted with demands. There is the case of the greyhound chasing the hare. For all you know, before you had finished you would find you would have to have a special differential rate for the famous race between the hare and the tortoise which so greatly excited the interest of the ancient world and would, I have no doubt, give rise to an equal volume of betting and gambling were it to be instituted here. No, we must stop at the equine species—I do not wish to be led into any error of natural history—defined as comprising the horse and the pony. I give the hon. Member the pony. He cannot say he has gone empty-handed away. He has the pony. After that I cannot do anything further to assist him.
I have explained the reasons, I think with the assent of the House, why there should be a differentiation in this tax. It is certainly equitable, it is fair, and it is in the. public interest. The question still remains, is it practicable to differentiate. Can you manage to work the tax and collect it when to you have a differential rate Here there are a number of serious objections which I shall endeavour to deal with. We have considered it very carefully, and I am advised that we shall have no difficulty in working the proposals which are being put forward in this Amendment, including the differential rate, and I am advised that we need not apprehend any serious loss from evasion. But let me deal with some of the points specifically. The first is this. Will the course book- 753 makers pass on the 3½ per cent. in the starting price to the backers instead of the 2 per cent. If that were true, we should have failed in our object of differentiating the tax so as to attract the backers to the course, and that would not have been obtained because the bookmaker on the course would have pocketed the difference between 2 and 3½ per cent. I should like the House to realise that this criticism assumes, what we have always contended, that the duty would be passed on to the clients of the bookmakers by a differentiation in the odds, or what the hon. Member who knows too much about the subject called cramping the odds, an expression which I have never heard before, but which is accurate, suggestive, and compendious.
It has always been our view that the duty will be passed on by the bookmaker to the public by what the hon. Member so well described as "cramping the odds." If that is so, we see no reason why the 2 per cent. should not be passed on in the odds. That simply means that the normal book of £100, out of which at the present time £97 is paid back to the public and £3 retained by the bookmaker, will be succeeded by a system under which £5 will be retained by the bookmaker, of which £2 will go in tax, and £95 will be given back to the public. Of course, that is not true of any particular bookmaker, and it is not true of any particular bet, but it is, broadly speaking, true, if you. take week by week and race meeting after race meeting .throughout the year., according to the calculations on which we have proceeded.
There is no doubt whatever that the racecourse bookmakers will endeavour to give less than the difference which the tax means to them, in the odds, but it does not rest with them to decide, because the competition is very fierce and very keen, and backers will make their bets dependent on the fact that the odds are given on what they think is a fair basis. We believe that the competition of the ring and the effort of backers to Obtain the best odds will press down the course bookmakers to the existing gross profit of 3 per cent. plus 2 per cent. tax.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley asked ire what is going to be done about the 2 per cent. duty, and how we can pass that on in any odds. He quoted some extremely awkward 754 fractions. For instance, he said that 2 per cent. on £1 was 4 4/5d. and that 2 per cent. on 5s. was 1 1/5d., and that 2 per cent, on 2s. 6d. was 2 2/5 farthings. He asked how on earth the bookmakers were going to be able to make those calculations and pass them on to the public. Once you accept the point of view that this is going to be passed on, not on each particular bet or even on each particular series of bets, but passed on generally over the course of the year, through the cramping of the odds and the alteration of the odds, these inconvenient fractions make not the slightest difference.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is no good my sight hon. Friend shaking his head. I would not make that statement if every conceivable difficulty that could be imagined, and which even cleverer people than my right hon. Friend could imagine, had not been tested and examined. From the moment you admit that the burden, whatever it is, and the man who is hearing the burden will know what it is, is going to be transmitted, as it should be, to the general betting public through an alteration of the odds, it does not make the slightest difference whether it is 2 per cent. or 2.78 per cent. It will be passed on, I dare say, with a little bit more. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes. Show me any tax that is not passed on with a little bit more—we do not live in a world of illusion—to the general consuming public. That is exactly the point in this case.
In the same way these fractions, which look peculiar on paper, will not affect in the least the issue of tickets to bookmakers for the transaction of their business on the racecourse. The bookmaker will buy tickets of the different denominations of 1s., 5s., 10s. and £1 in large numbers. If he buys 1,000, he will pay in a lump sum the duty which has accrued on the whole of the 1,000 tickets, no matter what. the fraction, and he will take that into his working expenses and recover from his customers.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is it proposed that a ticket shall be given on the course with each betting transaction?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
In this case they will have to be given. There is no difficulty where tickets are used by the duty being passed on to the customer. Now we come to the question of office betting. We are told that the office bookmaker will not be able to raise the betting odds so as to deal with the higher rate of 3½ per cent. which he has to pay. There will be no difficulty in the office bookmaking.
There are all sorts of methods of dealing with that. In the first instance, nearly the whole of the starting price betting is done off the course, although the starting price is fixed on the course. If the bookmaker cannot pass on the extra 1½ per cent. on the odds, there is no reason at all why the credit bookmaker should not charge a fee adequate to indemnify himself for the 1½ per cent. which will be collected on his turnover by the State. If he likes, he can charge 1½ per cent. on the winnings only, instead of on the turnover. He will thus only be out of pocket the difference between 97 and 100 per cent., namely, 3 per cent. of 1½ cent. That by no means exhausts the resources of the credit bookmakers. Quite apart from the odds and quite apart from the fees which he is entitled to charge, there remains what I call the code of rules, which play a very important part in the relationship between the credit bookmaker and his clients—the rules which prevent bets being accepted before a certain time, beyond a certain date, or beyond a certain amount. I am bound to go into these details. I am not coming forward with this tax pretending it had not been carefully studied and worked out, and I should be ashamed if the House thought we had not laboured long over every one of those details. We are sure that with all these different methods which are open to the office bookmaker he will have no difficulty in passing on not only the 2 per cent. which we believe will be reflected in the odds, but the 1½ per cent. additional which will apply to him.
I come to the last point that has been raised, and that is the question whether 756 we are not opening the door to wholesale evasion. The hon. Member for Great Yannouth told us how if he were not a moral and respectable Member of Parliament he would evade this duty. He said that what he would do is to instruct his bookmaker that whenever he said £10 he meant £1.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is precisely the same thing. Really I hope hon. Members will give His Majesty's Customs and Excise credit for being a little more up-to-date than would be supposed by a question like that. How is it supposed that we collect the vast revenue of this country? It is because we deal by samples with classes of goods. Wherever we find fraud or evasion we punish. This is not only the result of the activities of the Customs and Excise officials, the information on which we act nearly always comes from the trade itself. When an honest trader, and an honest bookmaker, sees himself being undercut—and bookmakers are just as honest as anybody else—by the dishonest trader, he never hesitates to give information. If a systematic method of defrauding the Revenue such as the hon. Member suggests was in practice in any bookmaker's office, there is not a single clerk who would not know about. it, and if he were dismissed he would give information and we should act upon it. I think I have dealt with all the points—the danger and difficulty of collecting this particular fraction, the danger of evasion, the reason why we have lowered the duty, and the special position of the office and credit bookmaker.
I commend the duty to the House in its final form. It is not too heavy to kill the business. I am confident that it will yield the revenue I set out to obtain. I am confident that the betting business will adapt itself easily and swiftly to the new conditions and that the bookmaker will pass the duty on quite easily. I am hopeful that the differentiation will be found to be .a real benefit to racing and breeders of horses. Everything connected with this duty, I frankly admit, is necessarily of an experimental character; but there is time to make the experiment. I am only counting on £1,500,000 for the present year, and there will be plenty of time, with the actual 757 working of the duty before us, if we choose to make any modifications in the Budget next year which it may seem to be required, in one direction or the other, as the result of actual experience. As the machinery will be in existence, the duty in any altered form can be imposed the moment. the Budget Resolutions are approved, that is before the end of April, before the important flat racing season
§ begins, from which our revenue is mainly to be derived. I thank the House for their support.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'five' in page. 11, line 9, stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 200; Noes, 117.759
|Division No. 377.]||AYES||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Ganzoni, Sir John||Parkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Albery, Irving James||Gates, Percy||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Gibbs. Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Pitcher, G.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Goff Sir Park||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Gower, Sir Robert||Preston, William|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Raine, W.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Ramsden, E.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Hanbury, C.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bainlel, Lord||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Harland, A.||Ramer, J. R.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Haslam, Henry C.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Hawke, John Anthony||Roper, Major L.|
|Berry, Sir George||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hilton, Cecil||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hohier, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Shaw, Capt. Walter (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Stanley, Major P. Kenyon|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Huntingfield, Lord||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hurd, Percy A.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hurst, Gerald B.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden,E.)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Jacob, A. E.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.S.)||Jephcott, A. R.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon, Sir William||Storry Deans, R.|
|Christie, J. A.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Lamb, J. Q.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Templeton, W. P.|
|Colfax, Major Wm. Philip||Loder, J. de V.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Couper, J. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||MacMillan, Captain H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Waddington, R.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Warner. Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Crookshank, Col.H.(Lindsey,Gainsoro)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Makins, Brigadler General E.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey arid Otley)|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Merriman, F. B.||Wells, S. R.|
|Davidson,J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Whaler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||White, Lieut.-Col, Sir G. Dairymple|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Drewe, C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Elveden, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s-M.)||Murchison, C. K.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Womersley, W. J.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Neville, R. J.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Nicholson, Col. Rt.Ho.W.G.(Ptrsf'ild.)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Nuttall, Ellis||TELLBRS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fraser. Captain Ian||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Major Cope and Captain Mar|
|Fremantle, Lt -Col. Francis E.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||gesson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Grundy, T. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Guest, Haden (Southwark, N.)||Potts, John S.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Riley, Ben|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hardie, George D.||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Barr. J.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Batey, Joseph||Heyday, Arthur||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hayes, John Henry||Scurr, John|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hirst, G. H.||Sexton, James|
|Briant, Frank||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bromley, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smillie, Robert|
|Buchanan, G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kelly, W. T.||Snell, Harry|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Lawrence, Susan||Stamford, T. W.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lee, F.||Stephen. Campbell|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lindley, F. W.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Sutton, J. E.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Duncan, C.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Thurtle, E.|
|Dunnico, H.||Mackinder, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|England, Colonel A.||MacLaren, Andrew||Townend, A. E.|
|Forrest, W.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Varley. Frank B.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||March, S.||Vlant, S. P.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Montague, Frederick||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gillett, George M.||Murnin, H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gosling, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hampton)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenell, T.||Palin, John Henry||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coyne)||Paling, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Groves. T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A.|
§ Amendments made:
§ In page 11, line 9, leave out the word "five," and insert instead thereof the words "three-and-a-half."
In page 11, line 12, after the word "bookmaker,' insert the words
or, in the case of a bet in respect of a horse race made on any ground used for the purpose of a racecourse for racing with horses, or on any ground adjacent thereto, on a day on which horse racing takes place thereon, and made with a bookmaker attending at that ground by a person so attending, equal to two per centum of that amount."—[M. Churchill.]