§ Sir FREDRIC WISE
I beg to move, to leave out the Clause.
It was with some diffidence that I put this Amendment on the Paper, especially having regard to the respect in which I hold my two right hon. Friends who have charge of the Bill, but I have given it full consideration, and, although it may he against my party, I feel that this is a national issue, and that it affects the tax- 1323 payer as much as any Clause in all the Bill. I often think, standing here and speaking on finance, or international finance, or Government expenditure, that I am like Robinson Crusoe on the desert island; but to-day, anyhow, I have my hon. Friend the Member for South Salford (Mr. Radford), who is my Friday, and is going to support me in this Amendment.
One of the important things to-day for this country is that we should have a reserve of credit, or, perhaps, I should say, a reservoir of credit. I hope my hon. and learned Friend will not consider that I am fighting the Bill. I am not an expert in electricity, but at the same time I am not altogether a mushroom in finance, and I feel, in putting forward my Amendment, that it should have the full consideration of the House. Clause 27 guarantees the principal and interest on £33,500,000 of taxpayers' credit. When the Budget was introduced in April, one of the sound points in the introduction was the elimination of the Trade Facilities Act, but now almost a similar thing is being carried on in regard to Clause 27 of this Bill, which guarantees principal and interest on this large amount of taxpayers' credit. The Weir Report estimates that about £250,000,000 will be spent over 15 years. I welcome that; it will mean development and it will mean employment but that is not a taxpayers' guarantee. If anybody refers to the memorandum that was issued when the Financial Resolution was brought before this House, they will find the following:The Board are required to fix tariffs which shall cover their expenses, with such margin as may be allowed, and are given the necessary powers to raise capital up to £33,500,000.I contend that with a fixed tariff it becomes a monopoly, and, if it is a monopoly, I see no reason why the taxpayer should guarantee this vast amount of money.
Monopolies are not altogether a great success. I think that up to now railway amalgamations have not proved quite what was anticipated when the Railways Bill went through the House. If you go back 100 years, and consider when gas was introduced into this country, there was no guarantee then as to the furthering of gas in this country. As far as I 1324 recollect, and it is so now, I believe it was a case of participation between the shareholder, the person who used the gas, and the employed. There are two main points that I want to raise—1, is the guarantee necessary, and, 2, can the taxpayer afford it? Let me take the first point, is the guarantee necessary? The Weir Report is very complicated, but it does state that there will be a saving of millions of pounds. Recently the Prime Minister, at the Scarborough conference last month, stated that the annual saving in cost of generating electricity, if this Bill becomes an Act, will be approximately £11,000,000 a year. If there is to be this gigantic saving in cost of generation, why should it be necessary for the taxpayer to guarantee this large amount of £33,500,000?
A lot depends, as I am sure the Attorney-General will agree, on who is on the Central Electricity Board. I remember that when the Financial Resolution was before the House I referred to the London Power Company. The London Power Company has a Board which is very difficult to equal in strength and if there is a strong Central Electricity Board I see no reason why this money should not be raised from the market without a guarantee. Naturally, you want good stockbrokers who would underwrite the issue. I should like to explain to the House that I have no interest in electricity and have no interest in underwriting; I am only putting this forward as a national necessity, because I feel that it is to the detriment of the county to use up its credit on something that is quite unnecessary. The Attorney-General said—I think it was when we were dealing with the Financial Resolution—that unless this money was guaranteed the money would not be got. I wonder if he has consulted anybody in the City? I wonder if he realises that, if he consulted certain City men, they would probably be willing to take up this big issue, spreading it over years and saving the taxpayer this guarantee? No doubt he realises that money rates are heavier to-day than they were in May when this Bill was introduced. The last Conversion Loan in September was more expensive than any that we have ever had. Might I ask the Attorney-General whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer has agreed to this, 1325 because I cannot conceive any Chancellor of the Exchequer, having gone into the figures and understanding them, agreeing to this guarantee. He is going to lose money. For argument's sake, supposing the Government to be raising this loan on a guarantee basis at 5 per cent., and supposing that if it were not guaranteed it would be on a 6 per cent. basis, that represents a difference of £335,000 in the interest that would have to be paid. But what is the difference in the Income Tax? Surely, the Chancellor of the Exchequer looks to the Income Tax, and, if it is a loan at 6 per cent. instead of 5 per cent., naturally, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would reap in more Income Tax. The extra amount that he would reap in would be £67,000. Why does he throw that away?
§ Sir F. WISE
I am giving exact figures. The right hon. Gentleman must realise that it is to the detriment of the country to carry through this guarantee at the present time. I contend that the security is ample without the guarantee; I contend that it is an advantage to the investor, who would get 1 per cent. more interest, and an advantage to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, if the loan is not guaranteed, it is an advantage to the taxpayer.
My second point is, can the taxpayer afford it? I am sure the Attorney-General realises how loose the Government have been with their credit in the last two years—how we have squandered our credit. It does not matter whether it is an individual or whether it is the nation, we have only a certain amount of credit, and the loose way in which this credit has been thrown about is to the detriment of everybody who lives in this country. I wonder if the House realises the position of our National Debt? Does the House realise that there has been an increase in the National Debt since 1919? On the 31st March, 1919, the National Debt was £7,434,000,000; on the 31st March, 1926, it was £7,558,000,000, or an increase of £124,000,000 since 1919, and yet we are going to give this guarantee. Again I say that it is to the detriment of the country and therefore the taxpayer to give this guarantee. Then take the interest and management charges en the National debt. The interest and management 1326 charges in 1921–22 were £307,000,000; in 1925–26 £308,000,000, or an increase of £1,000,000. Does the House realise the state of the country? Does the House realise that in giving this guarantee we are making our National Debt literally bigger, and are putting the interest also on a higher scale than it is at the present time?
May I also bring to the notice of the Attorney-General the maturities that we have to meet in the next two years? In 1927–28 there will be £300,000,000 of maturities to meet, and in 1928–29 there will be £470,000,000 of maturities to meet. This guarantee affects those maturities. It means that you cannot raise your money at so cheap a rate, and I sincerely hope my right hon. Friend will look at it from that point of view. He will probably criticise me in regard to the question of security; he will say that there are no assets. But this is a monopoly; this is a sheltered trade. The whole electricity supply throughout the country will be in the hands of this Board or the Commissioners, and, therefore, I contend that the security is ample to cover the needs of development in this country. The Attorney-General must also realise where this money comes from. It comes from the savings of the people, and it can only come from those savings. An issue, such as is suggested in the Weir Report, of £250,000,000, can only he subscribed from the savings of the people. There is one other point. Is this guarantee a subsidy? I contend that it is a subsidy. The Report of the Royal Commission on the Coal Industry is against a subsidy. It says:It is indefensible that the people engaged in other industries should be taxed in order to provide profits for the employers or to maintain the wages of the workers in the particular industry affected, their own profits and their own wages being often no better, or sometimes worse.That was condemned as a subsidy.
§ Mr. HANNON indicated dissent.
§ Mr. HANNON
I do not deny the suggestion that the Royal Commission on the 1327 coal industry was against a subsidy; what I do deny is that it is analogous to describe this guarantee in the same sense as the subsidy referred to in the Report of the Royal Commission.
§ Sir F. WISE
I am sorry I differ from my hon. Friend. I contend that it is a subsidy. It is helping this particular trade, just the same as Trade Facilities Act. Trade Facilities Act is undoubtedly a subsidy. Some people did not call it a subsidy, but in my reading of the Trade Facilities Act it certainly was a subsidy. The Prime Minister at Scarborough last month used these words:The last months through which we have passed have postponed for some time, and whatever Government is in power, any prospect of ameliorative legislation which requires money.Those are very strong words, and here is something which really is money. It does not matter what you call it. Your liability is there and you might as well call it money as call it credit. That principle is wrong.
In conclusion, I must refer to the terrible crisis the country is going through at present in regard to the coal lock-out. The President of the Board of Trade stated that our loss was possibly £250,000,000 to £300,000,000. I have worked out figures which come very much bigger than that, in fact nearer £450,000,000, but yet we are going to guarantee something which is not necessary. That loss in regard to the coal stoppage should make us keep our reservoir of credit as full as possible, and I feel that we are melting it away when we give a credit of this sort. The Attorney-General, on 6th July last, said as follows:I can imagine no more fruitful way of watering the field of industrial and agricultural life in this country than by providing this guarantee.I am indeed sorry to differ from my right hon. Friend. I admire his ability and I admire his eloquence, but when it comes to one's own particular subject of finance, I regret very much that I cannot agree with him. Here we have only to-day Supplementary Estimates for over £3,500,000, yet the Government are going to give this guarantee. It is a wicked guarantee, and it is time this House protected the taxpayer and protected the national credit of the country.
§ Mr. RADFORD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I have opposed this Government guarantee consistently at every stage of the Bill, both downstairs and in Committee. Either my eloquence has failed, or the Attorney-General's views differ from mine. I do not know whether I shall have any more success to-day. This Government guarantee is unnecessary for the purpose of the Bill and is a definite subsidy for the benefit of the electricity users at the cost of the general body of taxpayers—a subsidy not to the electricity trade, but to the electricity users. In Committee the Attorney-General said that without this guarantee it would be impossible for the Electricity Board to raise their £33,500,000 of stock, or alternatively that they would have to pay such a rate of interest for the money as would make the cost of electricity as supplied by them unduly and prohibitively high. As to the first point, £33,500,000 is the amount of the issue. Of that, £25,000,000 will be spent either on the purchase of existing recaltricent generating stations or the erection of others and on the main transmission lines. The right hon. Gentleman argued that the main transmission lines constituted no security. What security do the permanent ways of the railways constitute—strips of land of 20 or 30 yards spreading over the country. Of course, only as a going concern are they of any value, and similarly with transmission lines. But they have an asset far and away beyond any question of the value of their tangible assets and that is their potential monopoly for the supply of electricity, and they have the right under this Bill, after they have purchased the current from the various electric stations, to load thereon the expenses of the Board, including the interest on their electricity stock, before they sell it hack to the undertakers. It is clear then that they have an asset there which is good security not merely for £33,500,000, but probably for £300,000,000.
The next point made by the Attorney-General was that even if they could raise the money, they would have to pay a prohibitive price for borrowing it without the Government guarantee. With the Government guarantee they could probably borrow the money at 5 per cent., and 1329 without the Government guarantee, my hon. Friend stated, perhaps they would have to pay 6 per cent. When you have a good case it is better not to spoil it by being greedy, and therefore I will admit that they might have to pay as much as 2 per cent. more for the money. Assume they have to pay 7 per cent. [Interruption.] If hon. Members prefer me to base my argument on 1 per cent. more my case will be stronger and easier to argue. But I will concede that it may be 2 per cent. more. If they have to pay 2 per cent. more for borrowing this £33,500,000, that amounts to £670,000 a year extra interest. That extra interest has to be loaded by the Electricity Board on to the price at which they supply current. That figure of £670,000 is not a very serious amount. At present the consumption of electricity is over 6,000,000,000 units, and the Weir Report anticipates the figure rising to over 20,000,000,000 units. I will take the moderate figure of 10,000,000,000 and the extra interest, if it were £670,000 a year, would amount to one-sixtieth of a penny per unit. Is the consumption of electricity to be seriously prejudiced because the price is increased by one-sixtieth of a penny per unit?
The next point is that it is definitely a subsidy to cheapen electricity to the users at the cost of the general taxpayer. My hon. Friend referred to some £1,200,000,000 of indebtedness which falls due for repayment in the next two or three years. In addition to that, there are £2,000,000,000 of 5 per cent. War Loan which the Government have the option to redeem in 1929. Taking the £1,200,000,000 and the £2,000,000,000 which they have the option to convert if the conditions of the market enable them to do it profitably, we have a figure of over £3,000,000,000 within the next three years that the Government have the right to convert either obligatorily or at their will. We are taught, and I think no one argues the truth of it, that supply and demand regulate price. Here we have a case where, not only is the supply of gilt-edged securities being increased by £33,500,000, but the demand is going to be weakened by £33,500,000 also, which counts two on a division. Either of these factors would tend to keep the price of gilt-edged securities down, but together their effect is equivalent to £67,000,000. I think it would be quite a reasonable hypothesis 1330 that this £67,000,000 difference can easily make one-quarter per cent. difference in the basis of British credit. It requires a very slight increase in the market value of gilt-edged securities to make a difference in Government borrowing powers of a quartet per cent. The 4 per cent. Funding Loan is about 85. If it were 89½ the British Government's credit would be a quarter per cent. cheaper. A quarter per cent. on the £3,200,000,000 of indebtedness which the Government either must or may convert in the next three years would be over £8,000,000 per annum. Here we have this proposition before us. In order possibly to cheapen electricity to the consumers to the extent of £670,000 a year we are going to prejudice the general body of taxpayers to the extent of £8,000,000 a year.
This is not merely subsidy. It is subsidy gone mad. Every other subsidy that the nation has ever known has taken money out of the taxpayers' pockets and an equivalent amount of money has gone into the pockets of other persons. Here, on the other hand, you propose to take £8,000,000 per annum out of the general taxpayer and only give 2670,000 per annum to the people who are to benefit by it. If the Government holds the view that the Electricity Board would have to pay as much as 7 per cent. instead of 5 per cent. for the money they are to borrow, take away the Government guarantee and let us give the Electricity Board a subsidy of £1,000,000 a year. That would be eight times cheaper to the taxpayer than giving this guarantee. I sincerely trust the Government will accept the Amendment.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Major KINDERSLEY
I have purposely refrained from intervening in the Debates on the Bill hitherto because the matters which have been dealt with are very technical, and I do not try to interfere in matters which are too high for me. Moreover I wish to make it clear that I am entirely in favour of what this Bill seeks to do and I only oppose the financial methods by which it is proposed to carry out the purpose of the Bill. In the first place I believe this guarantee to be entirely unnecessary. There is very ample security for £33,500,000, or a very much larger amount, in the statutory powers conferred on the Board by the Bill. Let me point out what those powers are. First 1331 of all the Board can select the cheapest market in which to buy the electricity. It can control the output of the market to suit its own needs. It can commandeer the whole output which it allows and prevent any competition. It can force any electricity which it has for sale—which means, under their control, all power they wish to sell—on buyers at a price which must be a profit to them. It is extraordinarily difficult for me to understand how any body of ordinary business capacity, and this will be a board of people who are recognised as businessmen, in such circumstances could fail to raise any capital that they require at a reasonable rate. It is quite obvious to me that if there is any risk of the Board nut being able to raise capital in these circumstances the whole case for the Bill must fail.
The Attorney-General has raised the point that the Board have not any tangible assets. What tangible assets, in most cases, has a municipal corporation? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I said "in most cases." A municipal corporation has simply the statutory power to levy rates. That is the security which a municipal corporation offers to people who invest in its loans. Whatever those tangible assets may be, they are nothing in comparison to the sums which the corporation raises on the security of its statutory power to levy rates. Here, in this Bill, we have a corporation which is endowed with enormous statutory powers, because it is able to buy such electricity as it requires and to add to the price the expenses of the Board, which include interest and sinking fund on the sum which is borrowed, and then to put it upon the consumers. I can only say that, speaking as a business man who knows something about issuing loans, I should be very glad to have the opportunity of making an issue for a Board possessing such powers as these.
We are told that this money will be raised more cheaply if there is a Government guarantee. Let us take that point. The Electricity Commissioners have recently issued a report for the years from 1923 to 1925. If hon. Members will read that report they will find, curiously 1332 enough, that no less a sum than £33,000,000 has been raised during the last two years—almost the exact sum of money mentioned in this Bill—by electricity undertakings, without one penny of guarantee by the Government, and a lot of it has been raised on excellent terms. Let me tell the Attorney-General that in February last the London United Power Company issued 5 per cent. stock at 96. The other day I had to buy some of that stock, which I consider an excellent security, and I gave 99 for it. The stock which it will be necessary for the Board to issue could be issued on quite as favourable terms as, or even more favourable terms, because they have so large a monopoly, than the London United Power Company was able to issue its stock. Even granting, which I do not altogether do, that this money may be raised fractionally cheaper if you have a Government guarantee, I still maintain that it would be wrong to give this guarantee on the question of principle.
The Attorney-General has been somewhat annoyed because this Bill has been spoken of as nationalisation. It is not nationalisation; it is neither one thing nor the other. If I might coin a phrase, I should say that it is nationalisation without the courage of its convictions. It has, on the other hand, most of the evils of nationalisation, without its form, and that is the danger of it. I will point out what I believe to be the chief evils of nationalisation from the financial point of view. The first evil is that it gives the financial control of industry to a body of persons who have not direct financial responsibility to those who provide the funds. It is essential for all sound business that those who manage the business should be directly responsible to those who provide the money for carrying it on. That is simply business horse sense. In this case, funds are provided by the guarantee of the taxpayer, and the only remedy that the taxpayer has is the scalp of the Minister of Transport, if anything goes wrong. I should be extraordinarily sorry in the case of the present Minister of Transport, or of any future Minister, to put that remedy into operation.
A further evil of nationalisation is that you nationalise the savings of the people. I will explain what I mean by that. A Goverment have no right, and a muni- 1333 cipality has no right, in my opinion, to take money from the taxpayers' pocket or from the ratepayers' pocket and to say: "We are, according to our judgment, going to invest this money, which we have taken from your pocket, in such industries as we think fit." It is a right of the taxpayer to invest his money as he thinks fit, advised by those who are competent to advise him on those matters, who are the bankers and other people in the City of London. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I wonder whether hon. Members opposite who belong to trade unions know how their funds are invested. I may inform them that I am not a banker. When the Prime Minister commended this Bill to the country, in a speech he made at Birmingham, he compared the Board they were going to set up to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, and the Port of London Authority. He then used these words:This new Board will raise its own capital and will work on ordinary commercial lines.I had the honour of knowing the Prime Minister many years ago in the City of London, before ever I thought of coming into this House, and before he ever thought that he would reach his present exalted position, and I am perfectly certain that both of us would have had a far less rough passage in the business world if our business, run on "ordinary commercial lines," had included a Government guarantee for the capital employed therein. The Port of London Authority and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board have no guarantee whatever. They raise their loans, the stock, on the dues which they take from the public. If those bodies made a mistake in policy and incurred a capital expenditure which was not remunerative, what would happen? They would have to put up their dues and tolls so much that they would drive shipping from their ports. If they did that, the service of their stock would be in jeopardy. The stockholders would come along and say, "What is happening?" and the members of the authority would be held responsible.
What would happen in the case of the new Board to be set up under this Bill? Supposing this Board were in the same position as the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and the Port of London Authority, 1334 and had not the Government guarantee? They are traders in electricity. If their capital expenditure was not justified, and it might not be justified, by lessening the cost to the consumer, and so increasing their revenue, they would be unable to sell their electricity, and thus discredit would be brought upon those responsible. The credit of the Board would go, and they would not be able to raise any more money. That is what would happen if this Board were run on ordinary commercial lines. Look what may happen under the guarantee, assuming that we pass the guarantee. They have the guarantee. All these things may happen—the price of electricity may go up; they may be quite wrong in their calculations—I do not say that they are, but they may be—supposing they are wrong, and supposing they cannot find the revenue for the service of their debt! What happens? The people who have found the money will not be one penny the worse. They will say, "We do not mind, because we have the Government guarantee. The Government will have to pay." The Board will say, "We are very sorry we have made a mistake, but, thank God, we have the Government guarantee." The only person who is left in the lurch is the wretched consumer, and he is left to meditate on the advantages of State control in industry. That is the difference between the circumstances of a body which has a Government guarantee, and the circumstances of a body which has not.
I maintain that we are embarking here upon a principle which is capable of infinite expansion, and that is why I am so keen on the question of precedent, and that the House shall think well before it passes this Clause. Hon. Members opposite are very much in favour of the Bill, and I do not wonder at it. Their leader has said: "When I see a Tory voting for this Bill, I laugh and laugh and laugh." I am not surprised at the merriment of hon. Members opposite. There is not one single industry in the country that could not be nationalised on such lines. What is more, you could turn round and say that this is not nationalisation. The party to which I belong ought to think very carefully before it passes a Clause which sets so dangerous a precedent as this.
There is the other point, on which I do not want to go into detail—the question 1335 of the undue inflation of Government credit. The hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) has referred to this, and I entirely agree with what he has said. The country, as a result of the last six months' trouble, is in a far more difficult financial position now than if was when this Bill was first introduced. I do not think many hon. Members on all sides of the House, and this is truer still of the country outside, realise what the repercussions of this industrial dispute are going to be on the financial position of the nation, and this is not a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to inflate Government credit by the issue of £33,500,000 of Government guaranteed stock. I was interested in an answer given by the Minister of Agriculture to-day when he said that he was finding considerable, difficulty in providing agricultural credits because the condition, the financial condition, of the country, owing to the industrial dispute was making it difficult to get money. I consider that agriculture is entitled to some consideration, and if the Government can guarantee £33,500,000, quite unnecessarily I maintain, they ought to be prepared to face the question of guaranteeing credits for agriculture. I only make that point in order to show that the Government are themselves feeling the difficulty of the financial position, and this is not a moment when these difficulties should be increased by a policy of this kind. I apologise to the House for having spoken so long but this is a matter on which I feel very strongly. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Ilford intends to divide the House on the Amendment, but if he does I shall feel it my duty to follow him into the Lobby, and I shall do so reflecting that while no doubt the Government will be supported by hon. Members opposite, I shall have the support of those who do believe in the principles of the Conservative party; principles on which, I believe, I was returned to this House.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
The hon. Member defended bankers and asked Members on 1336 this side of the House whether they were aware how the savings of trade unions had been utilised.
§ Major KINDERSLEY
I said nothing of the kind. All I asked was, that when they came to invest their savings, of whom did they take advice?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
That will suit me just as well. When I hear speeches in favour of leaving the control of the savings of the people in the hands of a small class I am appalled. We have had the spectacle of £200,000,000 and £300,000,000 of the savings of the people being offered for investment abroad. If it is to stabilise the new Belgian franc, if it is to get 12 per cent. in Germany or 10 per cent. in Czecho-Slovakia, if it is to get 9 per cent. in Hungary or 9½ per cent. in Roumania, there is no trouble. All parties seem united when the savings of the people are to be profitably invested, but when the Government of the day, through the Electricity Commissioners, say that a part of the savings of the people shall be directed towards cheapening a great national service, which it is said will also facilitate the development of industry, we have the extraordinary spectacle of hon. Members opposite defending a high rate of interest. They have done so in specific terms to-night. While the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) did not specifically defend a 7 per cent, rate of interest, the seconder of the Amendment did so.
§ Mr. RADFORD
All I said was that I would assume it might cost as much as 7 per cent. without the Government guarantee.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Perhaps the hon. Member will read what he did say in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow. The impression on these benches was that he was prepared to defend a 7 per cent. rate of interest on the necessary credits to be raised by the Electricity Commissioners in pursuance of the objects of this Bill, and he actually specified what this would mean in an increased charge on electricity users. He put it at £670,000 a year, which would be added to the charges which electricity users in this country would have to meet; and hon. Members opposite are prepared to place this charge on the shoulders of the consumers of this country in the interests of the money 1337 market and the financier class. You cannot raise the rate of interest to 7 per cent. without it having some effect on other public loans which are issued. It will have an effect on all rates of interest, and therefore hon. Members, when they defend a policy which means a 7 per cent. rate of interest on a loan, are not only defending that policy but are also defending a policy which is going to raise the cost of electricity in this country and increase the cost of money raised for all public services in the interests of the financier class, from whom we have suffered enough in the past years.
If I understood the hon. Member for Ilford, he said that we should not lose all of this 7 per cent., but that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would get back some of it in the way of Income Tax. That is on the principle that the more a moneylender gets the more the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets. On that basis why stop at 7 per cent.? Why not go to 700 per cent. and wipe out the National Debt as a result of the amount of Income Tax which the Chancellor of the Exchequer would get? There is no end to a policy of that kind. The hon. Member for Ilford also intimated that there would have to be an embargo on loans, a limit set. I go further, and say that there should not only be a limit to the amount of public credit but that there should also be a guidance as to the direction in which public credit is given. It is far more important that the Government should have the right to lay an embargo upon loans which are not in the public interest. Why should a group of individuals in the City of London be able to control £30,000,000 and £40,000,000? I read in one financial paper that one individual had actually offered £30,000,000 towards the new Belgian loan. It was not his money, it was the savings of other people which he was controlling.
The savings of our people have been invested in anti-Socialist schemes, in military adventures abroad. We remember the 8 per cent. loan for military operations in China, for the aeroplanes for China, and we know what has been the results of those operations in China to-day. I know they will not get their capital back; and I am glad of it. But that is an additional argument why a few 1338 private capitalists and financiers should not have the right to divert the savings of our people into anti-Socialist and anti-national policies. Here the Government is proposing to guarantee a loan which is presumably for a national purpose, that is to supply electricity, power and light, and for the first time the bankers and financiers are outside. They want to control the direction in which our national savings should go, and we have the spectacle of hon. Members opposite defending a 7 per cent. rate of interest and an extra charge of £670,000 on the electricity users of the country. If this goes to the vote I shall be delighted to support the Government.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
I rise to support the Government. I cannot pretend to speak with the great financial ability possessed by the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) or the hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Radford); I can only speak as a business man. I have listened to the speeches which have been made from this side of the House to-night, and to me all of them are contradictory in terms. On the one hand, we have been told that this security is absolutely safe, practically a gilt-edged security, and that this money will be obtained without the Government guarantee. If that is so, the Government will never be called upon to pay the guarantee, and, therefore, their credit will not be pledged. It may be asked, if it is a safe security, why should the Government give a guarantee? In an undertaking like this it may be three or four years before the company will be able to make any return on the money invested, and it is only reasonable that the people of this country, who do not all understand financial questions should require some guarantee of this kind before they will invest their money. They require some guarantee that their capital and interest are safe. If this loan is guaranteed by the Government it will mean that the money will be subscribed at 5 per cent. If it is not, it is obvious that you will not get the money at 5 per cent. It may be 6 per cent, or 7 per cent. If you put it at 6 per cent. it means that you are increasing the cost of the supply of electrical current to the manufacturers of this country, and from that point of view alone I hope the Attorney-General will not give way on this Amendment. We 1339 know that our great manufacturers have not been able to get a supply of electricity under existing conditions. In my own area there are 70 works which cannot get electricity. If we could get it we could cheapen our costs enormously. To carry out this Bill we must have the money. For that reason and that reason alone, and because I am confident from the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, that the State will never be called upon to honour this guarantee, I shall vote against the deletion of the Clause.
§ Mr. HARDIE
When this question was raised upstairs in Committee the discussion took quite a different turn. I would draw the attention of the House to the considerable accession to the ranks of London Members since this Clause was reached; Members representing the financial interests of the City of London have come in since the Debate on this Clause began. The national interest in the production of cheaper electricity did not seem to be of sufficient importance to bring them here for consideration of the other Clauses of the Bill. Their interest seems to be confined, judging from the speeches just delivered, to self-interest in relation to finance. No one can listen to the Mover of the Amendment at any time without feeling great interest, because he always speaks with great sincerity; but I am surprised at some remarks he has made in relation to finance. I do not claim to be a financial expert at all, but I am able to think and to make comparisons. The hon. Member made a very strong point about the drain upon national credit. He referred to the horror of damaging this credit, and said that we ought to conserve it and to see that this reservoir was as little tapped as possible. But he did not see the folly of his own argument. He was not annoyed about the credit being used for the purpose of carrying through this Bill, but he was annoyed because it was not coming from the men in the City. They want to get the contract, to get the power to increase the interest, and always to have these things in order to carry on their propaganda. We have heard much about the City and the City and the City. It was the same when the Bill was in Committee, until I was driven to quote the Bible. The Bible says:Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not.1340 Stockbrokers and bankers are all mixed up together for one definite purpose, and that is to take advantage of the nation's interest. I am surprised that the hon. Member for Ilford, for whom I have great respect, should so far forget his relation to the nation that to-night he should make a speech which indicates that his only interest is an interest in one section and not interest in the Bill which is supposed to apply to all sections of the community. Then we had the hon. and gallant Member for Hitchin (Major Kindersley). I do not know where he was brought up, as we say in Scotland, or where he was raised, as they say in England; but I was surprised to hear him talk about the municipalities having no assets. I do not know where he has been, because the municipalities of which I know have tangible assets, in fine gasworks which produce gas, in fine electric power stations, in fine tram systems and other services which I need not mention. The position is always, when you come to the point of discussing finance in this House, that you get a financier who forgets that he is representing a constituency and the nation, forgets that he should be fighting for the nation first, but proves that he is a pawnbroker first. He has not three halls displayed to show that he is a pawnbroker, but the whole spirit shown is that of the pawnbroker from beginning to end.
We have been told by the financial experts that there is no real guarantee in this. Where are the stockbrokers and the bankers going to get their guarantee? Can they get it outside the national reservoir of credit? No. Whenever they see this kind of thing taking place they know there is another pipe laid to the reservoir, but it is not going to their offices and thereby enabling them to make an extra charge. Their opposition is not opposition to principle at all. It is simply a question of fighting for their own selfish ends as stockbrokers and hankers. The hon. and gallant Member for Hitchin spoke about, taking money from the rates and that money being invested without consultation of the ratepayers. For what do we vote at municipal elections? Do we not vote for the man who will spend the public money in order to get good public services in a city? To say that there are municipalities which do this sort of thing in spite of the ratepayers is to talk without know- 1341 ledge, or something worse, which I do not want to mention. No argument has been used as to the possible saving on the carrying out of the Bill. No speaker has dealt with the question of the price of current. The whole basis of the Bill and its success or non-success depend on whether it will cheapen the price of electricity. Why then should those who have not taken an interest in the Bill come in now and with a selfish individualism seek to waste the time of the House?
§ Colonel BURTON
It would be rather refreshing to get away from the sanguinary city and the kind of argument which the last speaker has used and to turn back to the agricultural areas. The Prime Minister spoke at Birmingham, and notwithstanding the unceremonious manner in which part of his utterance has been thrown over by his colleagues on the Front Bench, I trust that we may still regard what he said as roughly an outline of the Government's electricity policy. The Prime Minister said that as a result of the six years' labour which the Electricity Commissioners had put in, the plans which had been produced would give to "every business and household the opportunity of enjoying the electricity it requires." I have been at great pains to secure a copy of these plans, and I hope that every Member, who represents an agricultural constituency will take an opportunity of examining these plans, because he will have to answer to his constituency for having voted for this guarantee. After a great deal of trouble I was able to get a plan showing the way in which the country had been mapped out according to the Prime Minister's statement, and I was also able to get the details of the particular part of the country which have the honour to represent. It is a very involved and intricate document. It looks like a game of snakes and ladders with this dice hopelessly loaded against the agricultural areas of Fast Anglia. I have not been able to gather from any Member of the Government that the agricultural interests are to get what we were told that we should have when this Bill was introduced. We were told that the Bill was to be a Bill to restore the amenities of the countryside. The very brilliance of the villages was to lure back 1342 to the land the men who had gone to the towns. They were to listen-in at night in their homes, comfortably lighted by electricity and heated by the same power. I hold in my hand the map which should contain the details for the eastern areas of Great Britain.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That would he a speech more suitable for to-morrow, on the whole policy of the Bill. I do not think that the application to particular areas comes in on this Clause.
§ Colonel BURTON
I apologise if I have transgressed. I was about to show that we were not to get what we were supposed to get under the guarantees. But in deference to your ruling I will defer my speech, in the hope that I may be able to make a few remarks on the Third Reading of the Bill to-morrow. I shall now content myself with protesting against the impoverished and unsheltered agricultural interests being compelled to contribute their quota to the guarantees, in favour of opulent companies, boards, and other people who will draw benefits from these guarantees.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We have heard a series of speeches from different points of view upon this Amendment. The Amendment was moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise), and he claimed that while he did not pose as an expert on electricity, he was an authority on finance. I do not in the least dispute that fact, but I could not help thinking, as I listened to his speech, that the financier had somewhat lost sight of the claims of industry. The hon. Member told us that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would lose money on this proposal, and he gave what to my mind was a remarkable illustration to prove his point. He said if there was no guarantee then the money could be raised at a higher rate of interest, and he said if a higher rate of interest had to be paid then there would be more Income Tax, and so the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be better off. I do not think I misrepresent the hon. Member's point. Would he like to see a 10 per cent. Bank Rate? Because, of course, if there was a 10 per cent. rate instead of a 5 per cent. rate, it would mean that everybody would be paying twice as much interest, and therefore the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be twice as well off.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We are dealing here with interest and with interest only. There is no question of profit in this matter. We are dealing purely with the amount of interest that is to be paid and my hon. Friend has told us that the higher the rate of interest, the better off the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It may be true that from a financial point of view it is a profitable thing to have a high Bank Rate, but I doubt very much whether the industries of the country would be grateful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for it or, indeed, whether it would not be found that there was such a thing as killing the goose which laid the golden eggs. My hon. Friend actually went on to challenge me as to whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer approved of these proposals. I am glad to have that question asked because it enables me to give the answer, and the answer is that not only has the Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed to these proposals from the very first moment when the Bill was planned and discussed, but we have had his cordial approval and support because he is satisfied that the financial provision which we are making is right and proper, and is in the interest of the country. I hope that it is a sufficiently specific and definite answer to the question.
Let me go over one or two of the objections which have been raised. The Mover of the Amendment began by referring to the Weir Report, and said that this guarantee would not be necessary under the Weir Report. The House no doubt has looked at the Weir Report, and hon. Members will recollect that instead of a guarantee of £33,500,000, which is the proposal we put before the House, the Weir Report suggested that there should be a gift out-and-out from the Treasury of £8,500,000 and then a guarantee as to the amount which had to be raised in addition. Instead of a mere guarantee, the Weir Report provided for a gift by the Treasury to the industry of over £8,000,000 sterling. That we could not see our way to adopt, because we regarded it as being in fact a subsidy. Then it is said, "There can be no difficulty about raising this money. You may have to pay a little more interest, but what is £33,500,000; you have only to ask for it 1344 and you will get it at once, you have such ample security." I waited to hear what the security was. It is admitted, of course, that when the Board comes to raise money it will have no actual assets but it is said, "While it has not assets, it has a monopoly."
I think the hon. and gallant Member for Hitchin (Major Kindersley) took the analogy of a great municipal corporation raising money on the rates. He said, in effect, "A corporation can borrow on the rates; why cannot this Board borrow on the security of its monopoly"? There is no sort of analogy between the two. One has only to remember what a corporation has to offer and what this Board has to offer. A corporation has to offer a charge on rates which are leviable by law from every citizen resident within its area, and it is known with certainty how much money can safely be raised on a security of that kind. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hitchin argues that it is the same sort of thing in this case, because the Board, under this Bill, is given the power to buy current and then, at whatever price, to force that current on the consumer. I cannot help thinking that my hon. Friend has forgotten to read the Bill. If he studies the Bill more carefully, or perhaps I should say a little more sympathetically, he will ascertain that instead of the Board having the right to force this current at any price upon the consumer, there is no obligation on the various undertakers to take their current from the Board; the only inducement is that the Board can supply more cheaply than the undertakers can produce it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, no!"] If hon. Members look at the Bill they will see that the provision is that the Board having got the current, supplies it back to the owners of selected stations at prices which cannot, by the Bill, be higher than the price at which those owners might have produce d it for themselves, without the Bill. They cannot compel any owner of a non-selected station to take it at all, unless they are able to supply at a price which is cheaper than the price at which it could be generated by the owner himself.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not understand the interruption. It is quite true that not only have we provided that they must be able to supply more cheaply than the current could be produced otherwise, but they must prove that they can continue to supply for no less a period than seven years at a lower price. Accordingly, the one inducement is the cheapness and the monopoly of which my hon. Friend speaks is not as he said, a monopoly to force current on the consumer at any price, but it is taking the right to claim that if consumers cannot produce as cheaply as the Board themselves then they shall conic to the Board for it, so that the ultimate consumer may get the benefit. That involves of course that the essence of the scheme is that the Board shall be able to sell more cheaply than the price at which current would otherwise be produced.
I am satisfied, and the very eminent experts who have advised me are satisfied that they must be able to fulfil that condition, and that the Board is assured therefore of an almost limitless market. But if we went to the public and had some of the statements published which we have heard in the House during the last two days, how many investors—who after all are not experts in electricity—would lend money on the security of a corporation which was bound to say, "We have no assets, but we have the prospect of securing a monopoly if we can sell cheaper than the present price, although a great many people have been saying that we shall never have a chance of doing so." It is true that when we get the guarantee, and get our money, and set up our scheme, then it will very soon be proved that our figures are accurate and that we have been able to get the monopoly because we can produce so much more cheaply. But we have to establish our scheme, and prove our figures before we are able to inspire the confidence of investors in that being the case. Therefore, if ever it was necessary to have a guarantee in the first instance, it has become more necessary now, not because the scheme has deteriorated, but because of the attacks made upon it by people like the hon. and gallant Member for Hitchin. Those attacks are calculated and are, indeed, liable to have a prejudicial effect upon the confidence felt in its success.
1346 Then it is said that the country cannot afford it. The hon. Member for Ilford said the money would have to come from the savings of the people. True enough, but it has to come just as much from the savings of the people whether it is borrowed by this guarantee or borrowed n other ways. The only difference is that in one case you may be less likely to get it, and you may have to pay more for it. It is important in the national interest that, as far as possible, our credit should be conserved. Nobody can challenge the truth of that statement. But to wrap up your credit and leave it aside is not the most useful way of putting it to a profitable use, and in my submission there is no more useful way in which to use credit than in enabling this Board to raise the sum of money required to start its operations, when the result of so doing will not be to impose any charge on the revenues of the country because, as hon. Members have said, the security is ample—fully sufficient to ensure that the guarantee will never be called up.
The security is, in truth, sufficient to ensure that, but no investor is ready to believe it until he has seen it actually proved, after the sort of statements we have heard. It is true we shall not have to call on the taxpayer. It is equally true that unless we had the taxpayer behind us we should never be able to raise the money in the first instance. The hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Radford) gave us some figures in which he established, I presume to his own satisfaction, that we were going to spend £8,000,000 in order to save £600,000. Figures can prove anything so long as you start with the right assumption. If you begin by assuming that the effect of a guarantee of this issue is going to be to increase the cost of conversion of £3,000,000,000 by a ¼ per cent., then, of course, your mathematical results are unimpeachable. But the assumption is wholly unfounded according to competent authorities. I am advised by people whose lives are spent in studying problems of this kind, and who are responsible for the national finances, that the effect of raising this sum of money over this considerable period of years will not be to increase the cost of conversion by a ¼ per cent. or anything else. It will not affect the cost of conversion at all. The amount to be raised 1347 is so infinitesimal, and the amount to be converted is so enormous, that it is ridiculous—according to such advice as I am able to get—to suppose that any effect will be produced by the guarantee.
Something has been said as to whether or not we are supporting one interest rather than another. Let me say at once that the object of the guarantee is to ensure the success of the scheme, which, if carried out, is going to benefit not one class of the community but the whole community. It is going to benefit not urban against rural or rural against urban but both urban and rural, industrial consumer, and domestic consumer alike. The result of using our credit wisely in this way will be in the long run not to diminish but to increase the stock of national wealth, to increase the income from which the Chancellor of the Exchequer draws his resources and to add to the prosperity of our country, the success of our industry and the welfare of our people.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I have listened with a great deal of interest to the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) when he has spoken on financial matters, and I have heard him express in very well-chosen language what I thought at the time were opinions of sound sense. On this occasion he has rather shaken my confidence. I am surprised to see him come down in the unequivocal way in which he has, on the side of finance as against industry. I do not pretend for a moment that I like this Bill and its structure, neither do I pretend that the Government like the Bill. I said the other day that it was circumstances which compelled the Government to bring in this Bill; and that there was the question of trade. We still have 1,500,000 unemployed, according to the Government. I am told by all the trading interests that our export trades are in a bad way, that trade generally is not good, that prospects for the future are not bright, and I am convinced it was considerations of that description which urged the Government to bring in the Bill for assisting industry by the supply of electricity.
It has become necessary that there should be cheap power. We are in the midst of the greatest industrial dispute. 1348 All reasonable men hope it will speedily end. All sensible men must know it will leave reverberations and have serious effects. It becomes increasingly imperative that the State, or some authority, should do something to assist us so far as these questions are concerned. May I suggest that if the granting of this money or the guaranteeing of this money for the purpose of supplying cheap electricity has the effect of stimulating industry and assisting us to restore our trade by absorbing our unemployed, that is bound to have a more beneficial effect on our credit than anything else. I cannot believe the trade of the country can be considered vitally good while our trade is in the condition we are told it is by experts at the present time. I think in this case the Government are quite right. While I would vote against the whole Bill, yet, if there is going to be a Division upon this issue, I shall certainly support the Government, because I believe this is the right line which should be taken.
I want to say a word in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Hitchin (Major Kindersley). I hear his diatribes about Socialism with great interest. The more speeches he makes the more I am impressed with the profundity of his ignorance. I heard him speak about the way in which municipalities raise loans and the assets municipalities possess. The other day we had great towns in the North celebrating civic weeks. They published their newspapers, and the speeches made were of a very laudatory character. We were told in regard to Manchester that they had £19,000,000 worth of assets over liabilities. Here is a city with a population of less than 1,000,000, and every man, woman and child in Manchester is worth £21 in civic property. It cannot be said for any other town in the country. What is the use of saying cities have no assets? They have more assets than the State itself. They have tangible assets of a formidable value. I am astonished that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should make the speeches he does. If he would indulge in a little introspection in regard to questions of valuations of municipalities in the North, and shift his mind out of its somewhat paralytic condition, and observe what some of the hard-headed business men of the North have done with regard to the 1349 management of their towns, he would not indulge in the same foolish talk in regard to municipal Socialism. I will support the Government in this matter.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 291; Noes, 33.1351
|Division No. 454.]
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)
|Eden, Captain Anthony
|Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)
|Edmondson, Major A. J.
|King, Captain Henry Douglas
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
|Albery, Irving James
|Elliot, Major Walter E.
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)
|Ellis, R. G.
|Lane Fox, Col, Rt. Hon. George R.
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer-)
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)
|Everard, W. Lindsay
|Lawson, John James
|Attlee, Clement Richard
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)
|Falle, Sir Bertram G
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
|Fenby, T. D.
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley
|Locker- Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)
|Loder, J. de V.
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.
|Ford, Sir P. J.
|Looker, Herbert William
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.
|Lord, Walter Greaves-
|Fraser, Captain Ian
|Lowe, Sir Francis William
|Barnett Major Sir Richard
|Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.
|Galbraith, J. F. W.
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.
|Ganzoni, Sir John
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)
|Gardner, J. P.
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)
|Gillett, George M.
|Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John
|Betterton, Henry B.
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman
|Macmillan Captain H.
|Blundell, F. N.
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.
|Briscoe, Richard George
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)
|Malone, Major P. B.
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
|Grundy, T. W.
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)
|Guest, Haden (Southwark, N.)
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
|Gunston, Captain D. W.
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
|Morris, R. H.
|Campbell, E. T.
|Hammersley, S. S.
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
|Charleton, H. C.
|Hardie, George D.
|Naylor, T. E.
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.
|Harris, Percy A.
|Neville, R. J.
|Christie, J. A.
|Harrison, G. J. C.
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
|Clayton, G. C.
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
|Hawke, John Anthony
|Cluse, W. S.
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.
|Hayes, John Henry
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
|Cobb, Sir Cyril
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
|Perring, Sir William George
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome.
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.
|Pilditch, Sir Philip
|Cooper, A. Duff
|Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.
|Hills, Major John Walter
|Potts, John S.
|Cove, W. G.
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Assheton
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn, N.)
|Hirst, G. H.
|Purcell, A. A.
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
|Rawson, Sir Cooper
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.
|Remer, J. R.
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)
|Rentoul, G. S.
|Curzon, Captain Viscount
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
|Rice, Sir Frederick
|Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)
|Hurd, Percy A.
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)
|Hurst, Gerald B.
|Richardson, R. (Ho'ghton-le-Spring)
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
|Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
|Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)
|Davies, Dr. Vernon
|Jephcott, A. R,
|Rose, Frank H.
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)
|John, William (Rhondda, West)
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
|Dawson, Sir Philip
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
|Day, Colonel Harry
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
|Rye, F. G.
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
|Salter, Dr. Alfred
|Kelly, W. T.
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.
|Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
|Welsh, J. C.
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
|Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
|Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
|Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
|Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
|Sutton, J. E.
|White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
|Taylor, R. A.
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
|Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
|Wiggins, William Martin
|Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
|Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
|Wilkinson, Ellen C.
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
|Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
|Tinker, John Joseph
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
|Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst)
|Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
|Sitch, Charles H.
|Townend, A. E.
|Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
|Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
|Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
|Withers, John James
|Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
|Varley, Frank B.
|Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)
|Viant, S. P.
|Womersley, W. J.
|Wallace, Captain D. E.
|Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
|Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
|Wallhead, Richard C.
|Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
|Sprot, Sir Alexander
|Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
|Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
|Stamford, T. W.
|Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
|Stanley, Hon O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
|Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
|Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
|Steel, Major Samuel Strang
|Warrender, Sir Victor
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
|TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
|Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
|Major Cope and Captain Margesson.
|Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
|Watts, Dr. T.
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
|Rees, Sir Beddoe
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)
|Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne)
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)
|Bullock, Captain M.
|Harlington, Marquess of
|Remnant, Sir James
|Burton, Colonel H. W.
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
|Caine, Gordon Hall
|Hopkins, J. W. W.
|Sandeman, A. Stewart
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.
|Shaw, Capt. Walter (Wilts, Westb'y)
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
|Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
|Fielden, E. B.
|Morden, Colonel Walter Grant
|Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.
|Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
|Greene, W. P. Crawford
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)
|TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
|Sir Fredric Wise and Mr. Radford.
Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.