HC Deb 05 April 1927 vol 204 cc1986-2033

I beg to move, That this House, realising that the continuing decay in agriculture is a grave national concern and should be dealt with by the Government without delay, is of opinion that the placing of British agricul- ture on a sound and efficient basis so as to yield a fair return to the farmer with security of tenure, subject to proper use and a satisfactory standard of living to the agricultural worker, depends upon the transference to the State of the ownership of all agricultural land, the adequate provision of capital for drainage and buildings, the encouragement of a system of cooperation in buying and marketing, the stabilisation of prices, and the energetic pursuit of scientific research. I desire to state, in the first place, that no Member of this House need apologise for raising a discussion on agriculture at any time. This is always a topical and interesting subject. In fact, it is a vital issue always; it never becomes stale. The land was here before factories and workshops were conceived, and human beings will most likely till the soil of Britain when the industrial revolution has long been forgotten. Although this question is debated at considerable length in this House from time to time, we return to it to-night to find our difficulties in relation to agriculture just as great as ever. While the decaying conditions of the countryside in Britain are fairly well known to all Members of the House, it would not be amiss once again if the tragic facts connected with the agricultural industry were repeated. The statistics in general in relation to agriculture have been set forth with great clarity in that wonderful document entitled "The Agricultural Output of England and Wales, 1925." If there is one outstanding feature in that document it is the steady decline of this, our premier industry. For illustration, the total area of this country is 37,000,000 acres; and, as I said at the commencement, no one need apologise in the least for repeating some of the salient facts connected with it. Out of the 37,000,000 acres comprising the total area of this country, 31,000,000 acres are used for agricultural and horticultural purposes, while out of those 31,000,000 acres, 25,750,000 acres are arable and grass land, leaving about 5,000,000 acres as mountain, heath and moorland. The other 250,500 acres are presumed to be built upon or utilised for amenity purposes as parks and recreation grounds.

With regard to the value of the land—and that point, I suppose, will appeal to many hon. Members listening to me now —the total value of our land is estimated, according to that document, at £815,000,000; the working capital on the land is about £365,000,000, making the colossal total of £1,180,000,000. The value of the land, including the necessary houses buildings, etc., or landlords' capital, works out at about £31 per acre, whereas the tenants' capital, in the form of livestock and deadstock, is about £14 per acre. The gross rental value of agricultural holdings is about £42,000,000, and the average rent per acre paid in respect of areas under crops and permanent grass is about. 32s.

Those are really very important facts to remember in drawing a picture of the agricultural problem in this country; but the depressing side is to be found in figures that are very ominous and significant indeed. During the last 50 years there has been a decline in arable cultivation from 14,750,000 acres in 1875 to 11,250,000 acres in 1925; and most important of all to remember is that, while this decline has been progressive and very saddening in its effect upon agriculture, the population of the country during the same period has practically doubled.

I have not endeavoured to calculate the percentages in this connection; but when they are worked out, giving, on one side of the picture, the decline and decay in agriculture and, on the other side, the growth of our population, the situation indeed is a very grave one to contemplate.

During the last 23 years, the area of land under crops in Great Britain has diminished by 3,408.300 acres. While that decrease has been proceeding, we have these astonishing figures presented to us, that we are importing annually 5,250,000 tons of wheat, 1,500,000 tons of meat, 2,500.000 eggs, and huge quantities of other foodstuffs. That is the capital side of the question; that relates to land, buildings, and money. What are, above all, more important to me are the statistics relating to the decline in the number of persons employed in agriculture. After all, as I shall try to prove, this is at root a human problem. In 1871 there were employed in agriculture in this country 1,240,000 males and 82,000 females. By 1921, however, 50 years later, the number of males had declined to 907,000 and of females to 51,000.

I said a moment ago that, so far as I understand it, this problem is a human one. I have been asked on several hands why I should speak on agriculture at all. I will give my reason why. I started my working life as a farm labourer. I spent the first three years in trying to earn my livelihood as a farm servant; and my case is typical of the diversion from the land to industry of thousands, if not millions, of our young people. I will tell the House what animated me to leave the land. I will try to describe, in the limited vocabulary at my command, what happened to me personally. That, I feel sure, will be an indication of the tremendous growth in our industrial population and the drive from our fields and plains into the industrial districts.

The question of wages must of course be touched in this connection. I started on a farm when I was 14 years of age. I was living in and had all that was required by way of food and shelter; but I had to buy my own clothing and was paid no wage at all for 12 months. I was hired in the annual fair, as workers are still hired, apparently, in some parts of the country. Once a week there was half a day's holiday, on the Sunday afternoon. There was half a day's holiday for the annual ploughing match, half a day for the hiring fair, and half a day's holiday at Christmas time. In each of the three years I worked on that farm the total holidays, apart from the half day on Sundays, never amounted to more than two days per annum. There was no question of a week's annual holiday; that was never mentioned, never thought of, never even dreamed of in those days. The treatment of the labourer in the past is undoubtedly at the root of most of our agricultural troubles. The second year I spent on the farm I was paid £l in wages—that was for a full 12 months—with a gift of a suit of corduroy as an act of grace. I wish I had kept them and brought them here to illustrate the treatment of farm servants many years ago; but I am not so sure that even now, in some parts of the country, the farming industry has developed very much beyond that stage. The last year I worked on the farm, at the end of which I said good-bye to the land for ever, I was paid £3 in golden sovereigns. The money was paid at the very end of the year, by the way, so that the old gentleman farmer might not lose any interest on it.

The picture I have drawn could be multiplied in thousands upon thousands of instances in South Wales where I hail from. I wish to make it clear, however, that the retention of people on the land as labourers and farm servants is not entirely a question of wages or of tied cottages; it is the freedom of the soul of the individual that matters most. His spirit revolts against the shackles which bind him. Whatever else we on this side of the House may say about the ownership of the land—and I will touch upon that later—the one thing which has got to be done to redeem the agricultural industry is to free the soul of the man who works on it. Unless I am mistaken, the squire and the landlord still claim the right to keep in subjection politically and sometimes in the matter of religion a goodly number of men who work on the soil. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I know that will be disputed in some quarters, but I am not sure that in the district where I was born and bred things are so very much better now than they were 30 to 35 years ago.

I have tried to depict, as well as my vocabulary would allow, the situation as I see it; and I am pleased to note that each Party in the State realises to the full that there is something radically wrong with agriculture. Every Member in the House, irrespective of Party, realises that fact when there is so great a decline proceeding in cultivation. Statesmen from foreign countries who have come here have felt sad about our situation, because they believe, as all thinkers have always believed, that a country which neglects its agriculture is doomed to ultimate failure. To-night, if it be at all possible, I would raise this issue above party politics. Although we may differ on methods, we all have the single object in mind of retrieving the agricultural industry from the terrible situation in which it now finds itself. The three political Parties have recently taken a keen interest in the problem and their proposals have been printed. I have read them all. It would be as well if I bring before the House to-night the agricultural proposals of the party to which I belong. I know they will be regarded in some quarters as novel and drastic, but drastic and fundamental measures must sooner or later be applied to agriculture if we are to stop the rot.

I notice that the Amendments to this Motion decry the proposal that the State should! take over the land; and counterproposals are put forward. I suggest to hon. Members who have put forward those Amendments that all the remedies they now propose have been tried before and have failed to do anything for agriculture. The proposals of other parties brought before this House from time to time have included the Corn Protection Acts, the reduction of rates on agricultural holdings, the lightening of the burden of rural roads. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, but in spite of all the proposals which have been made, and all the Bills which have been translated into Acts of Parliament, this industry is actually dying under our eyes. It is decaying from year to year, and something in the nature of a surgical operation is needed to prevent its condition becoming worse. We claim, therefore, that the time has arrived when the State ought to own the land. I know the question will be asked, "Is the State going to do the farming?" Not necessarily. It is possible for the State to own the land and to take the place of the landlord, and still leave actual farming to the farmers. What we want is to rid the nation of the incubus of idle landlords. Private landlordism has failed ignominsously in connection with the land of this country.

Whatever criticism may be levelled against us, we begin with the fundamental point that the State ought to own the land. That is nothing novel. The land has been owned by States before. From time to time the land has been parcelled out by Governments—not in this country, maybe; but in my own country the land was once upon a time parcelled out among the adult population periodically; and I am not so sure that the day will not come in this country when a law of that sort may not be carried by this House in an effort to redeem agriculture. I repeat that private landlordism has failed the farmer. Lack of security of tenure has killed his spirit. The big landlord too often treats land as an amenity, a playground, and a means of obtaining social prestige.

The transfer of the land to the State would, of course, mean compensation. We admit that at once. [An HON. MEMBER: "HOW many of you?"] The dispossessed landlord would be compensated on Schedule A basis; but he would not be paid amenity values. We would set up a central and a local administration. The National Agricultural Commission which we propose would naturally be departmentalised. It would have its experts in finance, in agriculture, in education and in research. A national Commission, having the responsibility of seeing that agriculture is carried on properly, ought, in our view, to be established as soon as possible. Once we have established a national authority, we must, of course, have local administration, and for that purpose we should reconstitute the county agricultural committees. We would have people there representing the Ministry of Agriculture, the county council, the farmers, the smallholders and the workers.

I have just indicated only two or three points in the programme of the Labour party; but it is not my intention to dwell unduly on that programme in moving my Resolution, as other Members want to speak. In these matters, there is nothing better than personal experience to convince most of us in regard to methods to be adopted upon issues of this kind. I have sat for 10 years on the Manchester City Council. I was a member of the Markets Committee of that authority, and it interested me that that great local authority which owned a very large cold storage, stored a huge quantity of foreign produce, notably apples. When I travelled through Worcestershire and Salop, I could often see when looking out of the train a large quantity of apples which were never gathered; they were allowed to rot because it did not pay to gather them.

It seems to me that there is something radically wrong in a nation that has to import produce of this kind thousands of miles over the sea, cold storage them, and at the same time allows the same type of produce to rot in its own fields. I suggest that the Minister of Agriculture should look into this question of cold storage and see if something cannot be done to secure the co-operation of local authorities in order to help the farmer to deal with his produce. The kernel of this problem as I have said is the human being. Naturally, the farmer must secure his dues, he must be freed from the thraldom of landlordism that surrounds him. The agricultural worker must be provided with better wages, a full working week, a reasonable number of hours of labour, payment for overtime and above all—it is strange that we should be compelled to claim this in 1927 in Great Britain—the farm worker must be made free as a religious and a political being; and he must be freed also from the economic pressure of his employer.

The astonishing thing to those of us who touch agriculture only on an occasion of this kind is, that last year 66,103 of our people migrated to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa mostly, I should imagine, men who would go there to work on the soil. They would proceed to work on land which is not as fertile and productive as the soil of this country. That is an extraordinary situation. I am not opposed to emigration; but one thing I fail to understand, namely, that the best of our stock are taken from the best farms and fields of our own land, and sent thousands of miles away to Canada and Australia to do exactly the same work and produce exactly the same things that they ought to be producing in their own country. There is something wrong in a situation that admits of the figures which I have quoted.

I rather admire the idea which prevailed in ancient Rome when agriculture was classed with war as an occupation necessary to become a free man. I am told that the leading statesmen of Rome of olden days were never allowed to sit in a Cabinet unless they had followed the plough. In our country one of the essential qualifications for sitting in the present Cabinet is having been a good and prosperous capitalist. I wish we could get back to the Roman idea of drawing our rulers more and more from agriculture. As a rule, our present Ministers are people who have been engaged in banking, the coal industry and even in brewing.

I will venture to conclude with the language of Oliver Goldsmith, who knew probably as much about this question as most of us who are here to-night. His words were perfectly true then: and they are applicable even now. He said: Princes and Lords may flourish, or may fade, A breath can make them, as a breath has made; But a bold peasantry, their country's pride. When once destroy'd, can never be supplied.


I beg to second the Motion.

I do not intend to enter into any detail on the aspects of this question which the Mover has raised. I may, however, ask the indulgence of the House to emphasise one or two outstanding features which are necessary to the argument which I hope to develop. I want to say, in the first place, that I associate myself with what the Mover of the Motion has said with regard to lifting this question of the basic industry of the country into a position of some relationship to actual truth and actual facts, apart from the exigencies of political bias. Probably all sections of the House will agree that in the days before the War when, from an industrial point of view, our manufacturers found a ready sale without much difficulty we could look with complacency on the decay which had taken place in rural England for over fifty years so long as the markets of the world were taking our goods. Since the War we all agree that there has been a great change in the situation and to-day everybody realises that the evidence points in the direction that never again are we likely to enjoy the dominating position in the markets of the world for our industrial products which we held before the War. Therefore, we are driven by necessity to look to agriculture from the point of view of a national necessity to meet the changed situation which has come over the world since the War took place. That being the case, what are the outstanding facts? My hon. Friend has mentioned one or two of them; may I put them in, perhaps, if I may say so, a more concise form? The book on agricultural production that has been alluded to has only brought out what was very well known before. From 1871 down to. 1925, there have gone out of cultivation in this country 2,245,000 acres, which used to be cultivated when our population was only 22,000,000, as against 37,000,000 in 1891, and nearly 40,000,000 in 1925, in England and Wales alone.

That is with regard to cultivated land generally, but when one comes to land under arable cultivation, the drop there is over 4,000,000 acres since 1871, and the result is that to-day we have something like 9,000,000 acres altogether under arable cultivation in England and Wales. When one considers certain basic crops, such,, for instance, as wheat—the prime necessity of agricultural pursuits and of life—we find that, whereas in 1871 we had 3,400,000 acres under wheat in. England and Wales, with a population of 22,000,000, now, with a population of nearly 40,000,000, we have only 1,500,000 acres under wheat,, or a drop of nearly 2,000,000 acres since 1871. That is obviously, from the point of view of self-sustenance, a very serious situation, and one which I venture to suggest is unparalleled in any other Western country in Europe. There is no Western country in Europe where agriculture has come to be what it is in this country to-day. Indeed, in Western Europe, probably without a single exception, there has been a great increase in the amount of land under cultivation. With the rise in population,, more land has been taken in, and, therefore—


Is not that under Protection?


There is Protection only in some countries. Is Denmark a Protectionist country?

Major the Marquess of TITCHFIELD



I will deal with that later, but there is the fact. In this country, on the other hand, with an enormously expanding population, doubling itself since 1871, our fundamental crop of wheat has gone down to less than half what it was when we had only half the population that we have to-day. It is not only reflected in the matter of output of agricultural produce, but in the rural life of the country. Everywhere we see the decay of the village and the growth of the town, the fleeing of the rural population from rural England. Within the last 50 years, we have seen the fleeing of men from a plague of conditions imposed upon them by the agricultural system existing in the country.

My hon. Friend referred to his early experiences. A matter of 30 years ago, it was my duty for four years to investigate, village by village, the agricultural conditions in the middle of England, to ascertain the conditions of village life— housing, wages, labour, the seeding down of arable land to grass, and so on. For four years I did nothing else but investigate and report upon those changes which had taken place, and I recall to-day many occasions, 25 and 30 years ago, in villages in Herefordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and South Warwickshire, when on a summer afternoon—not after the work was done in the evening, but from 2 to 4 o'clock—you could walk into the fields and see no sign of human life—simply growing grass, a few cows here and there, but no population, no sign of human life. You might have been in the centre of Africa so far as any sign of vitality was concerned.

Within 30 miles of Birmingham, in county after county you could experience the stillness of death 30 years ago. And when one came to look into village records, and take the records of population, one found, and had to record the fact, that from 1871 down to 1891. there was a drop in population of over 50 per cent in village after village. Taking villages with a population of 500 in 1871, one had to record 250 and 240 in 1891. People had flown from the. conditions in which they lived, as people who flew from a plague. As someone said in the Debate on agriculture in this House the other day, one of the tragic things in rural life, which I think every Member of the House realises, is the absence of the virile active young mar and the presence of the middle-aged and the old man. What has brought about this situation? What is the explanation of it, and what is the remedy that can be applied? Those of us who sit on these benches say that the cause of this decay of British agriculture, this stagnation in Great Britain of an industry which prospers elsewhere, is to be found largely in the system of control by the landlord of the tenant, under which the man who does the work is conditioned by the man who happens to own the land.

We say that the first remedy, without which no permanent solution can be found, is to put the man, whether he be farmer or labourer, on to a business footing in relation to the land which he occupies and on which he works, to relieve him from any kind of dependence upon or control by some individual who happens to own the raw material on which he has to make his living. Therefore, we set forth in our programme that there can be no real step forward towards an improved agriculture in this country until the nation realises that in the past it has been let down by a control of the agriculturist's raw material which has not had in view the national well-being in the use of national resources, but has had in view an interest to which the industry has had to minister irrespectively of the well-being of the country. We say that the first thing, if there is to be a revival in agriculture—and we on this side want such a revival—if national resources are to be used as the Minister is now using them, if these millions of pounds are to be taken from the taxpayer, from public funds, and given over to trying to revive agriculture, if £9,000,000 is to be put into promoting the beet sugar industry, and so on, if the farmer is going to be helped by relieving him of his burden of rates—if the national resources are going to be used in this way, we say the nation must take charge and control of the land.

Now I come to the policy of the Government and those who moved the Amendments. There are two Amendments. One asserts that in place of our proposals for the reorganisation of agriculture for the acquisition of the land for the nation and the development of the resources of the country what you want is stable prices, and you will get that by some alteration of the currency.


What is your answer to that proposal?

9.0 p.m.


Before 1914 for a very long period that very condition obtained in other countries in Europe. In 1893, when agriculture was on its last legs, there was a stable currency. This depression on agriculture is not at all new. I recall being a delegate to a conference in London organised by Lord Winchilsea over 30 years ago and then we had a stable currency, but we did not have prosperity. There was a stable currency in Denmark and in this country. The other alternative is the Government programme which, so far as it goes, is to put up certain proposals with regard to drainage and with regard to the capital required for land which has become derelict because of the neglect of the landlords to do their duty. Capital is now required to help the industry along and money is needed for small holdings and so on. Our objection to that is the experience of the past, that the utilisation of national capital to try to promote agricultural prosperity always has one inevitable end. So long as land is privately owned, the assistance given by the nation goes into the landlord's pocket. I know that argument will be questioned, but no man with any vestige of knowledge of economic experience has any doubt whatever in his mind. The facts are too patent. Let me give one. The Minister answered a question to-day with regard to small holdings in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Before the War the West Riding County Council acquired 5,000 acres for small holdings. Since the War they have acquired 8,000 acres. The financial story with regard to that is that the 5,000 acres acquired before you had the Corn Production Act—£20,000,000 or thereabouts of national money poured into the landed interest—cost on the average £31 10s. per acre. Then, under the Land Settlement Act of 1919, they purchased 8,000 acres more at an average price not of £31 but of £43. If public money poured into the agricultural interest does not go to the landlord, how can this increase of price be explained? Had the landlords done anything between 1914 and 1919? You know perfectly well they had not. What had occurred was that £20,000,000 of the taxpayers' money had been put into the agricultural industry, and the landlord reaped the benefit.

So I might go on. It is the story of agricultural rates just the same. It is an axiom which no one can dispute, that in the long run the higher the rates the land carries the lower the rent paid. It is equally true that the lower the rates the land has to bear the higher the rent the landlord will take. It is an axiom that you cannot get away from. We agree that national capital ought to be used in a situation like that we are faced with, but if we are to have national capital used we must have national ownership to reap the benefit. Hon. Members opposite will probably not accept the necessity of national ownership of land in the interest of a revived agriculture, but there is one thing the Minister has agreed to, as a matter of fact, only he does not push St. He may say: "While we cannot see our way to a policy which will bring agricultural land under national direction, we are prepared to help those who help themselves, and we will do what we possibly can to give a chance to the men who want to get on to the land, who want to have a chance to increase the rural population and increase rural prosperity." So last Session a new Small Holdings Act was passed, which is now in operation. Here again is the failure of the Ministry. What are the facts with regard to the attitude of the Government to the question of small holdings? With millions of men out of work, with 45,000 ex-service men wanting land, 45,000 of them applied, and only some 16,000 have been settled.

Some glaring cases of utter neglect of this Ministry, which stands for agricultural prosperity, are coming out. The other day a question was put to the Scottish Minister as to the number of small owners who have been created in Lanark from 1919 to the end of 1926. The reply of the Minister was that not a single one had been created in the county of Lanark, although in the neighbouring counties provision had been made for 16. I find from the Report of the Scottish Ministry that under the Act of 1919 and the previous powers of the Scottish Ministry from 1912, some 414 ex-soldiers had applied for small holdings in the county of Lanark down to the year 1925, and the Report says that only seven had been settled. When the Ministry made out its return at the end of 1925, there were still 190 men whose applications had been approved and who were still waiting for land. The hon. Member for Both-well (Mr. Sullivan) informs me that at the same time in the county of Lanark, whilst this situation obtains, there are 67,081 men unemployed, not including Glasgow. For years there has been a demand for small holdings, and in all these years seven small holdings have been established in the county of Lanark. I do not want to overdo the picture, but I want to remind the Minister and the Government that they must either show their genuineness and their real desire to promote land settlement or they must lay themselves open to condemnation that they are not sincere in the policy which they profess.

As the Minister knows perfectly well, the striking thing about small holdings is that, with all their difficulties, they have been an unquestionable success. To-day, I asked the Minister to tell us how many failures had taken place on the 600 small holdings in the West Riding of Yorkshire, especially under Acts of Parliament where the county councils have acquired land and where they own the land. He said that on the pre-war holdings the failures have been 3 per cent., and that on the post-war holdings they have been something less than 6 per cent. I have here the Report of the West Riding County Council. On page 10 of the report for 1924, which is the latest report I have, they show the number of holdings created. In the case of ordinary holdings, out of a total of 446 tenants there were five failures, or 1.1 per cent. Then they take the trainees, and out of 29 trainees five were failures. Altogether, including the trainees, the failures were 2.1 per cent. I submit to the Minister that that is a remarkable result. We have been told that the men cannot work the land and make it pay. Here are the facts, the official figures, not mere party figures. I ask the Minister to rise to the height of a great view and of a national, prosperous agriculture, and to do something worthy of it, so that the State can help and stimulate the farmers and everyone concerned, and that they may have a square deal. He knows that Commissions have reported repeatedly that when small holdings are established they not only increase the rural population, but they increase the output of agriculture and react upon the town industry by increasing purchasing power.


I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from the word "House" to the end of the Question, and to add, instead thereof, the words realises the value to the nation of a flourishing agriculture, but is of opinion that the prosperity of the industry is best secured by a stable policy which will enable the farmer to develop his industry without unnecessary interference, will protect him from revolutionary proposals which would impair progress and breed insecurity, and, with the help of such encouragement and advice as the Government may be able to offer, will create confidence and enable the industry to be organised on an economic basis. With the opening words of the Mover of the Resolution no one is prepared to quarrel. I also welcome his statement that this matter should he dealt with from the national point of view and should be divorced, as far as possible, from party politics. It is our great basic industry, and we look to a national endeavour to support it, so that it may not enter the conflict of party politics, such as we have had to-night. The further the Debate has gone, the further it has gone from the Resolution. The hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Riley) has been speaking with great fluency and great enthusiasm, but he has hardly dealt with the Resolution. The Mover of the Resolution, beyond dealing very vaguely with it, really said nothing about it. When the Socialist party put forward a Motion dealing with the policy of agriculture they should try to justify their policy, to show what their policy really means, how it is going to work in practice, and what results they have to show as regards its practice elsewhere, instead of getting down to clap-trap about the thraldom of the underman in agriculture, and so on. That is an old topic. The hon. Member speaks as an agriculturist and, quite justifiably, as one who has been on the land. I can speak for the small landowner and occupier of a good many years' experience, and I take him at his word when he says that there is nothing better than personal experience. I would add that there is nothing better than practical experience. He has given us nothing to justify one iota or the slightest particle of Socialist policy.

The Motion is very wide and sweeping. It covers the whole policy of the Socialist party. I presume that the Mover speaks for the whole Socialist party. When he speaks about the transference of land, I suppose he is prepared to deal with the transference of the land, although he was very vague about it, on the principle of compensation. Has he his full party behind him when he says that? I am rather inclined to think that he has not. The back benches are not very full to-night. There was one member of that party who aspired to enter this House, quite recently, who had nothing to say for compensation. He did not get in. At any rate, he had the whole backing of the party opposite. When the party opposite use the word "transference" they are using a very safe word, because they do not say what transference means. The hon. Member, with his great knowledge of agriculture, might have given us some information. He gave us none.


You know our policy on the matter!


The hon. Member says we know their policy. I do not think we do. The policy of the Labour party differs in a great many points, and what they say in the country is very often different to what they say in this House. I should have thought it would have been interesting to hon. Members in this House, and also to people outside, if the hon. Member had outlined the policy of the Labour party on the question of agriculture. The policy which he has outlined to-night does not receive the support of a single practical agriculturist in the country. As far as it has gone the policy of State ownership has not proved a success; it has not provided a profit. There has always been a loss. The hon. Member talks of the difficulties of the countryside, which I admit, but he never said one word on the question of prices, which is the main problem of agriculture at the moment. The Mover and the Seconder of the Motion have failed most completely to say one word in its justification.

I want to ask two questions. The first is this: Has the present system completely failed? The hon. Member has talked a great deal about the decay of agriculture and has quoted from a document which was recently issued by the Minister of Agriculture, but he forgot to say one thing, which is of great importance, and it is this. If we look at the total agricultural output of England and Wales, what do we find as regards the total price value. They are rather remarkable figures. The total price value in 1908 was £127,000,000, but, in spite of the difficulties which agriculture has had to face, the total price value has gone up to £225,000,000 last year, or an increase of 77 per cent., and this in a so-called decaying industry. Another very interesting point is this. Out of that £225,000,000 worth, no less than £155,000,000 can be attributed to the sales of live stock. It means that because corn-growing has not been successful, and we all know the reasons why it does not pay, the English farmer, who is always being run down by hon. Members of the party opposite, has adapted himself successfully to the altered conditions of farming, he has changed his vocation, and in doing so has increased his output of livestock pro-duets to the extent of £155,000,000. It is quite true that only £11,000,000 is the result of corn-growing, and I agree that it is a most deplorable situation, because the large proportion of the ordinary land of this country is corn-growing land, and would still be available for corn-growing if it was worth while.

At any rate, these facts justify me in saying that, while we all admit that we desire help for agriculture all round, I am not prepared to accept the statement that it is a dying industry. The figures I have quoted show that the farmers of this country are able to adapt themselves to the altered conditions, and the result redounds greatly to the credit of our agricultural community. With regard to the landlord himself, there is a shortage of capital we all admit, and that is one of the reasons why we want State loans on easy terms, especially for those farmers who are engaged in what may be called ordinary farming. The men who are dealing with dairy produce and small holdings get a turnover possibly once or twice during the year. On a dairy farm the farmer gets a turnover many times during the year, but the corn farmer only gets a turnover once a year, and it is because of the slowness of his turnover that he is asking for cheap capital under a credit system, which I believe the Minister is going to bring forward, and by which I hope this capital will be made available.

I want to give an instance or two of practical experience in State ownership. I could say a good deal on this question, but an hon. Member on this side of the House is going to deal with this aspect of the problem, and I will leave the matter, therefore, to him. I only want to say just one word on some returns which I have got from a publication which was issued in 1926. They are taken from the trading accounts and balance sheets of farming operations carried on by the Ministry of Agriculture since the War and up to the period ending 31st March 1926. That Report includes much information with regard to the various farm settlements under the Government, and I commend the information to hon. Gentlemen opposite. These are cases where an official takes the place of the individual; where individual enterprise is divorced in favour of official supervision. What do we find? In the case of the Amesbury Farm Settlement, there is a debt of £39,327; in the case of Holbeach, in Lincolnshire, there is a debt of £24,753 1s. 10d.; in the case of Patrington, in Yorkshire, there is a debt on the settlement account of £71,005 10s. 1d., and on the estate account a debt of £29,451 13s. 2d. On the whole holding of Patrington there is a debt of £100,457 3s. 2d.


Is that a loss?


Yes, I think it is. On the Rolleston, Notts, farm settlement there is a loss of £11,106 3s. 6d., on the Wainfleet farm settlement a loss of £31,777 15s. 3d., and on the Wantage farm settlement a debt of £11,707 12s. 5d.


Is it not a fact that these settlements are not business concerns but are for the training of ex-soldiers?


That may be so, but these are instances of State management and you can consider the State's aspect in every case, apart from that of settlement. That is quite easy, and the hon. Gentleman will find that where the Government of the day takes over this management of agriculture and where in place of the individual effort of the farmer and his family you have a paid man put in, in every case there are these losses and there will be. These are the only facts which can be adduced as regards Government work on agricultural land. Yet, in the face of these facts, the hon. Gentleman and his Friends come down to the House and ask us blindly to plunge into the policy they advocate of a general system of nationalisation of land.


Has the hon. Member seen the letter in to-day's London "Times," signed by Lord Bledisloe, dealing with the effects of nationalisation of land in Czechoslovakia on the increase of food products?


No, I am much more interested in the position here.


Is the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) aware that in Czechoslovakia it is not a question of nationalising the land but of breaking up the large estates and giving it to the peasants, which is exactly the opposite to what the hon. Gentleman is advocating.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what Lord Bledisloe calls the "progressive nationalisation of the land" does begin by breaking up the huge monopolistic estates, but does not mean parcelling out all land among the peasants as the hon. Member is endeavouring to make us believe?


I was trying to show that where the Government of the day does take over the management of land, there has nearly always resulted a loss and that is good enough for me. The Socialist policy is to have complete State ownership of land and State management in place of the owners of land, and to set up an innumerable body of officials who will control the land. I say, from the commonsense point of view of one who has farmed, that the less agriculture has in the way of interference from officialdom the better it will be for agriculture, and the more encouragement there is for private enterprise the better the land will be farmed. I think the hon. Member who is going to follow me will show that.

Now I come to the Amendment we wish to move. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have missed their opportunity to put their case and have given us no statements to justify what they have put on the Paper, and, therefore, I feel still more fortified in moving the Amendment standing in my name. I should like to remind the House, in spite of what hon. Gentlemen opposite have said, that the relief in rates is a very large assistance to farm buildings. From my own practical experience, I say that the relief as to the roads, in other words, the relief in the rates paid by rural ratepayers which already under the proposals of the Ministry mean a relief to the extent of 20 per cent., with an additional 5 per cent. now and more to come—all these proposals do mean a lightening of the burden on industry. All these things, coupled with the fact that the Ministry is also actively prosecuting research in every possible way, together with the proposals dealing with credit, are the lines to work on, and though they do not do all that we want, they are the lines on which we shall progress. There is another point to which I should like to refer. Owing to the ravages of foot-and-mouth disease, a few months ago a certain check was put on carcases coming from those countries where we knew foot-and-mouth disease was rife. The outcome of that has been that the pig industry—an industry which helps the smaller farmer and smallholder and everybody else—has been going ahead in a very satisfactory and helpful way. I would venture to commend that to the Government as something they should think about. Is it not an instance of what has been done at any rate to safeguard an industry from damage from outside and at the same time to give a fillip to the industry itself? Would it not be worth while for the Government to consider the safeguarding of all products and by-products from pigs? You will find that, while there is practically no increase in the price of bacon, yet you get for every class of agriculturist a more stable feeling in the pig industry. Therefore, if the Minister could see his way to extend the policy of safeguarding to that point, I venture to say he would be doing something far more effective to help the smallholder than any of the nostrums of hon. Gentlemen opposite.

In conclusion, may I say I fully realise, as an agriculturist, that times are hard for agriculture and that there is a large number of able working men —and the skilled man on the land is as skilled as any man in any trade anywhere—who are not getting what we would like to see them get. I do say that the strictures passed on those whom hon. Gentlemen opposite call the landlords, but whom I prefer to call the landowners, are neither justified nor fair. I say that instead of that, if we can get a spirit of working together rather than the diverse policy which we have heard to-night, I think we shall be doing more good than we have done in the last few years. I make that appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I venture to say that if we can get a common platform for the agriculture industry to work on we shall do more good to agriculture than this revolutionary policy of confiscation, which would upset the whole social conditions of agriculture from the rock bottom.


I beg to second the Amendment.

In spite of having been a Member of this House for more than two years, I hope the House will, none the less, accord me its customary indulgence in a maiden speech. Like my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment, I must confess that I was disappointed in the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution, because I had hoped they would do something to clear up for me the difficulties in which I found myself when I had finished reading the official Labour policy on agriculture. I think on all sides there is a complete unanimity that agriculture is the most depressed industry—almost, if not quite—without exception in this country. Any difference of opinion that there may be is as to the lines that we are to adopt to put it on its feet again. The Resolution calls upon us, even if its Mover did not, to introduce active control on the part of the Government in the industry. I do not think that Members opposite would expect us on this side to support such a Resolution. It will be exceedingly interesting to see into which Lobby the Liberal party will go in the Division which will end the Debate.

When I was reading the policy of the Labour party, I tried to disentangle the great skeins of red tape, if I may so term them, which were included in their book. I found that there were two principal skeins hopelessly mixed up together. One of them is the idea of national purchase of the land, and the other is the idea of national control of the industry. So far as I can understand, the Labour party has not yet made up its mind whether it is going to put its principles of Socialism into full force as far as agriculture is concerned. The Labour party leaders are probably frightened of the figures shown in the agricultural output of England and Wales—figures which give us to understand that there are now 250,000 men who term themselves farmers engaged in the industry. I cannot help feeling that one of their principal reasons for rather avoiding the issue of nationalising the industry is that they are frightened of offending those 250,000 men and running the risk of losing their votes. But even so far as the first object is concerned, there is a very sharp division of opinion in the party, according to the views we have heard expressed, as to whether they are to take control of the land by means of confiscation or by means of compensation. Up to date, compensation appears to hold the day. It may be of interest if I read to the House a passage from a pamphlet entitled "A Prosperous Countryside," which I expect is familiar to hon. Members opposite, as it is the work of the Leader of the Opposition. In this pamphlet the right hon. Gentleman makes the following remark: If, as in the present case, the compensation to be paid still leaves a clear margin of advantage to the community, then I would have no hesitation in paying compensation and pocketing the margin of advantage to the community. That quite definitely means that under the scheme for compensation as advocated by the Labour party they do not intend that the landowners shall be the gainers, but that the margin of advantage shall be put into the pockets of the community. That is to say, that the morality of the Labour party is this—It is a worse thing to steal a penny than a pound. If that is their point of view, let them say so. If they really mean that they intend to compensate but not to compensate fully, it is a great pity that they do not come forward and say so. My point of view is that if they intend to take over the land, it would be very much better to say: "Well, we will confiscate and be done with it." The miserable policy of scooping in the small margin for the State is not the sort of thing likely to go down well in the country districts. Not only is the landowner to be penalised, but the farmer too, because the State, having taken over the land, is going to pay bonds to the landowner by way of payment, and a sinking fund will be set up in order to pay off those bonds. The sinking fund is presumably to take the form of an increase in the rent to the farmer. So that in effect the result of this policy will be that the farmer will have to buy the land from the landowner and make a present of it to the Government.

That is the Labour policy, and I do not think my statement can be contradicted in any way. In addition to that, the basis of purchase, so far as I understand it, is to be valuation for Income Tax under Schedule A, and under that system the man who has consistently rack-rented his tenants will get the full value of his estate, whereas the man who has been generous and kept his rents as low as possible, will lose to the extent to which he has been generous. I do not know whether that appeals to hon. Members opposite. But what is the object of this colossal financial experiment? It is an experiment which would mean pledging the credit of the State for a sum not very far short of £1,000,000,000. I submit this fact to the House and I do not think that anyone can disagree with me. The only direct effect of nationalising the land will be felt by the farmer and not by the farm labourer; that is to say that if the farm labourer is to have his wages increased the money is bound to come from the farmer, and therefore if there is to be an increase of wages, it will mean really an increase in the revenues accruing to the farmer. Further, any effect beneficial to the labourer must come through the farmer. I submit that if the farmer is to be able to pay these very much increased wages, if the industry is really to be put on its feet again, the farmer must be a very substantial beneficiary under any such scheme.

One would expect that if a scheme such as that, put forward simply for the benefit of the farmers, had any confidence amongst the people who really know, there would be a certain body of opinion among the farmers in support of it. But certainly in the course of my life I have never met a. farmer who could possibly be termed a Socialist. In addition to that, can anyone say that the policy of the National Farmers' Union is calculated to support the party opposite? I would remind hon. Members opposite that the farmers were not supporters of the Conservative party quite a short time ago. They actually gave their official support to a Liberal candidate in opposition to the Minister of Agriculture. But there is this very remarkable fact, that since then the Liberal party, or at any rate one of that party's leaders, has shown a very strong tendency towards the present Labour land scheme, exactly in proportion as the Liberal party has advocated the nationalisation of the land has the Farmers' Union come across and supported the policy of the present Government.

If the policy which is designed simply to benefit the farmers is utterly rejected by them to a man, surely it is not unreasonable to suggest that the policy has not gained much confidence among the experts? Of course, there are other reasons why the farmers distrust any policy of nationalising the land. I think they believe, what is consistently denied by hon. Members opposite, namely, that the policy of nationalising the land is really a preliminary to nationalising the farming industry, and I can bring evidence to show that such an idea is not entirely out of the minds of hon. Members opposite. In the pamphlet to which I have already referred I find the following remark: The Labour Minister of Agriculture charged with the responsibility of executing the schemes of nationalisation outlined in our programme, would carry out all the necessary preliminaries and change the status of occupation and tillage within the brief period of six months. If that does not mean that the Minister of Agriculture is to have absolute control of the status of occupation and tillage, then what does it mean? In addition to that, I find a suggestion for setting up local committees, and it is said that these committees will not be in any way bureaucratic bodies, but at any rate, the majority of the members who sit on those committees will be appointed according to the scheme and paid by the Minister of Agriculture. I can speak with a certain amount of experience on this matter, because I am a member of the agricultural committee in the county which I have the honour to represent, appointed by the Minister of Agriculture. Hon. Members opposite must admit either that the Minister of Agriculture can make some very bad choices, or else that I can speak with the experience of an expert, and I maintain that no such committee as the one on which I sit, could possibly conduct the agricultural affairs of the county. If you are not going to have such a committee, then under this scheme you are going to import people from outside, paid and appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, and if those are not officials, and if that is not a bureaucratic system, hon. Members opposite had better have recourse to the dictionary.

I am quite prepared to discuss the question of State farming and, however much it may be denied on the Front Opposition Bench, there are probably a good many hon. Members on the back benches opposite who, quite definitely, approve of a scheme of State farming and would like to see it. I had hoped that the Mover of the Resolution would give us some of his opinions as to what the State could do by nationalising the land to affect methods of farming in this country We have often brought against us such arguments as this—agriculture in this country is in a bad state; agriculture in Denmark is, apparently, in a thriving and prosperous condition; therefore, the Government ought to take such measures as have been taken in Denmark, and introduce co-operation, if necessary compulsorily, or go still further and take over the whole land and run it by the State. Those who use that argument forget that you cannot introduce co-operation compulsorily. That I submit is a complete paradox. If cooperation is to be successful it has to be and it has always been, through all its original stages, the work of individual farmers or individual landowners. Any idea of introducing compulsory co-operation must obviously fail; such a thing is impossible. In those countries where cooperation has been successful you get conditions totally different from those which are found in this country.

For instance, in Denmark, in the United States and in Canada, agriculture, in the districts where co-operation has been put into action, is the paramount industry. It is not like this country where you have a great many branches of industry carried on in a comparatively small area. There you find huge districts, devoted entirely to one or perhaps two forms of production. In Canada every effort of the population in the wheat-growing districts, and every method of transport, is devoted to the production and marketing of wheat. In this country the railways to a large extent are links between great industrial districts. In those countries facilities are provided, simply and solely for agriculture. In this country, if by any chance we on this side of the House were to give some special facility to agriculture, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) would tell us, as he has told us before, that agriculture is "the pampered darling of the Tory party." An utterly wrong idea is given in the Labour proposals as to the facts with regard to transport in this country. I refer the House to page 26 of the official Labour policy where the following statement occurs: It is a serious matter for the British farmer that it is cheaper to send, for instance, broccoli from Holland to the North of England than it is to send it from Cornwall, or to send produce from France to Covent Garden than it is from Cornwall. The gentleman who wrote that document must not have examined the atlas. If he had done so, he would have realised that the north of France is much closer to Covent Garden than Cornwall, and that the coast of Holland is nearer to the great seaports in the north of England than Cornwall. It is a very much quicker route straight by sea, than taking it from Cornwall across the principal trade routes of the country and across all kinds of lines. There are statements of that sort in this policy to which, I think, we have a right to take exception, because they give the false impression that those engaged in agriculture could in some inexplicable way reorganise the industry so as to change its whole geographical basis. I desire to say something about co-operative farming in England because the figures which have recently been published are extremely interesting. I quote from the report of the central board of the Co-operative Union, and I think those figures will be acceptable to all Members of the House. The figures refer to the land farmed by the co-operative societies between the years 1917 and 1925, and I would remind the House that these include the best price years that have been known in this country for a long time. They farmed an acreage of 75,000 acres, worth £3,500,000, and at the end of the period the net result was that deficits exceeded surpluses by £1,000,000.

That is a very remarkable result of cooperation in this country, and the reasons for that failure are even more instructive. Amongst others, I find the difficulty of competing with farmers. I think that is a good reason. Another is the difficulty of securing farm managers willing to work with the same zeal for a society as for themselves. That is a definite proof of what we on this side of the House have always maintained, that no man will work so well for a salary as he will for a profit. The third reason is even more instructive than any of the others. It is the undue participation by committees in the management of the farms. And yet the policy which the party opposite have the courage to bring before the House, is to organise the whole of the agricultural industry of this country by an ascending series of Committees with the Minister of Agriculture in solitary glory at the top.

There is another very remarkable fact about these figures. Hon. Members opposite are never tired of telling us that one of the principal causes of the difficulty of farming in this country is that the middlemen take all the money, that the difference in the money received by the farmer and that which is paid by the consumer is absorbed by the middlemen. And yet, these co-operative societies, representing unlimited capital, with a guaranteed market at their doors, with no middlemen, with a capital of £3,300,000, in the course of only a few years managed to make the astounding losses of £1,000,000. If I may touch on a rather more risky subject, I think we can do very well to look at Russia as an example of what nationalisation has done. No one will deny that Russia is still a tolerably Socialistic State, and yet in that country, where the land was nationalised, and, from the point of view of the State, perhaps, in the most economic way, that is to say by confiscation, they found that the system was completely unworkable, and at the moment, I believe, almost the entire land has been given back again to the present proprietors. The policy of nationalisation has failed utterly.

10.0 p.m.

I do not want to say much about the subject of stabilisation of prices, because I believe if I do so I shall take up the time of hon. Members behind me who want to talk upon that subject, but I do think that, as a matter of fact, the Labour party, when they put forward a scheme for stabilising prices, although they have not suggested anything which, in my opinion, is feasible, they have touched the real weak spot of agriculture. But when they talk of stabilising prices, I would like to refer them to this book which has been already quoted several times this evening, that, in fact, when you come to the question of yield, you get such enormous variations, that even if you did stabilise prices, you would in no way stabilise the returns, and you are not going to benefit the farmer in the least simply by stabilising prices, if he has a yield which may vary over some hundreds per cent. If you are really going to put forward a scheme for the stabilisation of prices, at least you must also do something to give him an increased price or a decreased price according to his yield, or else you are going to make the whole plan miscarry.

I have endeavoured to show that most of the schemes put forward as the official policy of the Labour party, even if the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution did not touch upon them, are not favourable to British agriculture. Our Amendment simply deals with the policy of the Government, and it would be useless for me to try to cover that this evening. I would like to say that we shall welcome at any time in the near future the proposals of the Government with regard to long-term credit, because that is a. scheme promised long ago, and would really be a boon to farmers. That is the sort of scheme that is going to help the farmer. Revolutionary proposals are only going to make farming more uncertain, and if we want to see a prosperous agriculture, then we have got to put it in a position from which no political party and no temporary mishap can dislodge it.


I desire to congratulate the last speaker on his first effort in this House. I listened with great pleasure to the speech of the Mover of the Resolution. He dwelt most of the time upon a description of the depressed state of agriculture. I do not think it is necessary for anyone to waste very much time in describing agriculture as depressed. That is a matter on which there is common agreement. All parties in the House know that agriculture has suffered for a very long time, and is suffering still. The Motion also expresses the remedies which the Mover would apply to make agriculture a successful industry. I agree with his description of the depression, but the moment he attempts to apply his remedies I differ from him entirely. Take, for instance, the remedies as set forth in the Motion: First of all, State ownership of ail agricultural land, then the provision of capital for improvements, stabilisation of prices, co-operation and research.

Before discussing the proposed remedies, I would ask the House to consider why agriculture is depressed at the present moment. My hon. Friend says it is the Tory Government, but it was depressed when the Labour Government was in office, and it was depressed for many years before that. If I may judge by the chief remedy which my hon. Friend proposes, he appears to think that the depression is due to the private ownership of land. I do not think it is anything of the kind. He described landlordism as an incubus. In my opinion landlords as a class have done their duty nobly. There are bad landlords, I admit, but, taking them as a class, they have done their duty nobly. [HON. MEMBERS: "In collecting the rents."] Yes, and the rents in no way represent the interest on the capital which they have placed in the land. I think it would be fair to say that the landlords have never regarded the ownership of land as an investment. I go further and I say that if the landlords received payment for the buildings only which are erected on the farms the price they would get for them at present cost would be far in excess of what the land and buildings would fetch if they were put in the market. They have done all they can to make their tenants happy. [Interruption.] I am speaking from experience. I have already said that there are occasionally bad landlords but, taking them as a class, I am perfectly certain that they have done more than they could be expected to have done. I go further and I say this. The best system for agriculture is a good landlord taking an interest in his tenant, and a good tenant doing the best he can out of his farm. If you can get that combination, I am perfectly convinced that it is the best combination that can be found anywhere. What does my hon Friend in his Motion propose? He says that the one thing to make agriculture a success is to get rid of landlordism and to substitute for the landlord State ownership. How is the substitution of the State for the landlord going to help the farmer?

I go so far as to say that if the State give full value for the farms and if they are going to get good rent and have a return on the money invested, if they are going to make any improvement, they will have to have interest on that improvement, and I say, alter having had considerable experience of small holdings in my own county, that the rents will be higher under State ownership than they are under private ownership. [HON. MEMBERS: "The Liberal land policy"!] It may be the Liberal land policy, but it is the truth.


Confiscation is the only remedy.


The right hon. Gentleman says that confiscation is the only remedy. God help the country if confiscation is the only remedy! There is one other point that I wish to make in regard to this matter. My hon. Friend did not dwell very much on the question of prices. He referred to it, but he did not show how it was going to get to work. All I can say is that agriculture is not depressed on account of landlordism. It is depressed on account of the fact that the tenants cannot make corn growing pay. They have changed their system, and, when my hon. Friend mentioned that the area of corn growing has been reduced, I would point out to him that it is due entirely to the fact that the farmer cannot grow corn at a profit. He can buy corn at a much less price from another country than he can grow it himself. He has therefore changed his system of agriculture and he has gone in for stock rearing. Who will blame him? If you are going to insist upon corn growing you are up against this problem. You will either have to subsidise the farmer or you will have to have protection; one or the other. I am perfectly certain that I for one would never be in favour of either subsidising or protecting the farmer, because it means taxing the food of the people.

What we really want for the farmer is fixity of tenure. It is true that there is a kind of fixity of tenure now, but one year's rent and two year's rent does not secure him sufficiently. I say that fixity of tenure should be made a reality. The next thing the farmer requires is that he shall be secured against an advance of rent on improvements he himself has carried out. Unless we secure the farmer against an advance of rent on his own improvements he will never put his best interest into the land. I said that there are certain poor landlords, and we always legislate not in order to do anything to the good landlords, but to the poor ones. Those in my opinion are the two main things that are required in order to bring agriculture into a thriving position once more. There is one other thing. We should provide cheap capital. The farmer should not be compelled to sell his stock simply because he is short of money when the market is down. Credit should be provided for him. With these three things I am perfectly certain there will be a revival in agriculture, but as for nationalisation I am perfectly certain that the farmer's lot would be worse under it than it is at present. I do not believe in nationalisation. I believe that the farmer is far better off as he is, and I trust that the House will reject the Motion by a substantial majority.


I beg to offer my cordial congratulations to the hon. Baronet the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) on his charming maiden speech, and to say that it is a melancholy fact that for two years he has denied the House the pleasure of hearing him. That has been a distinct public loss. Hon. Members opposite, whenever general Debates on agriculture come along, attempt to treat the matter from the attitude of superior knowledge on the whole agricultural question. It is a fact that they can assume a familiarity with the land which I envy them, but I only wish that they would make better use of it. It is all very well to despise the ignorance of their opponents, but would it not be only fair that they should show a little less ignorance of the proposals that we make? The hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment attacked us as being great advocates of Socialist farming. Is he really unwilling to read the proposals that we have made, or is he unwilling to lose the advantage of a bogey which is such a profitable one to use when he tells the electors that the Labour party advocates Socialist farming 1 It is really unworthy of hon. Members opposite constantly to misrepresent what it is that we propose. Lord Bledisloe is not so mis- leading. He wrote to the "Times" to-day, and he spoke there of the nationalisation of land and the stabilisation of wheat prices, in regard to which he wished to call our attention to the experience of Czechoslovakia. He distinguishes perfectly well between the nationalisation of land and the nationalisation of farming. I wish I had time to deal with all the points raised by hon. Members, but I am tempted to make one answer to the charge that no Socialist fanner has yet been found. I may be excused the pleasure of just quoting from the speech of a farmer at a meeting actually of the Norfolk Farmers' Union, in which he said: I have been a Conservative all my life, but I am convinced that we shall get nothing from the present Government, and the sooner it is kicked out and a Labour Government installed the better. May I assume, this subject having been prominently before the public for many months, that our proposals and the proposals of the other parties are really quite well known, and that the general facts of the situation do not need to be dwelt on any longer? We are agreed also in a very remarkable way in regard to a diagnosis of the situation. I think I may say that all parties recognise in effect the failure of landlordism. [HON. MEMBERS: "No !"] Is it not fair to say that a characteristic proposal supported by most of the Governmental party is occupying ownership? Their burning desire is to establish more and more occupying owner-farmers, and that is a recognition of the failure of land ownership as we know it now. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The elimination of the large landlord is a necessary part of the plan for making as many farmer-ownerships as possible. We are not so revolutionary. We still hold that there is a function for the owner in addition to the farmer, and in that respect we are supported by the characteristic view of the English farmer, who prefers tenancy to the ownership of his land. We want to continue the tenant and the owner, and what we propose is a change in the form of ownership.

My Liberal friends, I see, agree, with the exception of the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. H. Jones), who has just spoken, on no less an authority than that of Lord Selborrie, who said yesterday in the "Times" that they had cribbed the policy of the Socialists. We certainly remember that at the election of 1923 they advanced a promise that their policy combined the advantages of ownership and tenancy. Whatever that may be, to a great extent at all events, if one may take the "Green Book" as representing them, they support the policy of national ownership. What about the proofs of the failure of landlordism? We have quoted them ad nauseam. Edward Wood said the strongest things about the failure of the capitalisation of the land. Experts without end might be quoted, and I have myself given a good deal of evidence from experience of the Crown lands, which are very well managed and are very popular with farmers.

In the few minutes I have I wish to give one further experience which has not been alluded to, the experience of war time. War was a testing time for our institutions, a time when we could not afford waste. It is our view that now also is a time when we cannot afford to waste the land. In war, only the fittest institutions survive. Landlord control in wartime was tried and found wanting. What policy did the Government adopt? Did they hand over the land to the farmers, as if they were the responsible occupying owners; or did they hand over the function of control to the owners, as was done in Germany, where they were made responsible for getting the best out of the land? No; here we took a course which surprised many people. The Government took over the functions of the owners, and exercised them through a new authority. For wartime purposes, the State became a super-landlord. The Government took over the management, they supervised production, and the duties of owners were handed over to county committees, with the ultimate control of the Ministry; and the result was considered to be very good. There was greatly improved cultivation, and an enormous increase of the arable area. Hon. Members may say this was due to high prices, but it must be remembered that for a long period before the war, when prices had been improving, the acreage of arable land was falling, so that that answer is not complete. It was proved by experience that great areas had been wasted, and that bad farming was very frequent and was pre- ventible. Under the new Regulations no less than 600 tenancies were terminated. There was far more improvement than these figures show, for a far larger number of farmers were assisted and encouraged and did better than before. These facts are very well worth remembering, because they are the kind of evidence which the hon. Member has asked for.

The committees had power to do two things: either to take possession of a farm, or to serve a notice to improve. The power to take possession was used in no less than 45 counties out of 49, and the 800 cases made up an area of 52,000 acres. The power to serve notice to improve was used partly in order to break up land—which did not reflect on the farmers—but it was also used on account of bad farming. There were 600 of these compulsory orders during the War. What happened when the War stopped? Notices were still employed under the name of cultivation orders—not for compulsory ploughing but for good farming. Many thousand orders were issued. I have tried to get records of them, but the counties have not tabulated their records and they are not to be had. There were many prosecutions. The committees virtually continued the War policy, with a view to maintaining the improvement which had taken place. Then a very notable thing occurred when, I think, Lord Lee was Minister of Agriculture. The whole system was embodied in the Agriculture Act, 1920, under which the powers of the committees to enforce good husbandry and improved methods of cultivation, the destruction of weeds, the extermination of rabbits, and so on, were continued, and whole estates were taken over. These elaborate provisions constituted a permanent expression of the experience of the War. The owners' function was superseded. That, I submit, is a statutory confirmation of our case. The Act of 1920 was a tremendous step. The Government realised that supervision by the State was necessary, a precedent which is incontrovertible. The farmers were not driven by penalisation, but they were assisted and encouraged and they were given time and advice. It was recognised that they had often suffered from indifferent equipment or from an indifferent owner, and under D.O.R.A.

and the Act of 1920 a great improvement took place. Then occurred the repeal of the Agricultural Act in 1921. Agriculture had mounted to a higher position. It had arrived at State control and with that greater fixity of tenure could be given to the farmer because there was control. Part of the Act was repealed, and part remained, but agriculture was left in suspension, causing a gap owing to which the function of supervision can hardly now be exercised at all, and the owner, not only for want of capital, but partly for want of power cannot be blamed for the present situation.

The result is a kind of anarchy which is partly responsible for the undeveloped use of the land. Sir Henry Rew has been foremost in making it clear how no statutory provision exists for enjoining on an owner the duty to prevent the tenant from reducing production, the result being a system of tenants without landlords. The sequel to all this is that we have to a far greater degree the bad farming that we see to-day. The output report does not show what amount of land is wasted, partly wasted, and under farmed. The discussion last year and the year before should have led to a survey of the land. Really valuable results of that kind have been obtained by the efforts of Mr. Ashby in Wales. He took a district in every Welsh county and effected a survey by recorders judging each farm aided by local opinion, which is always criticising bad farming in the district. He found in those districts that 40 per cent. were classed as medium, 46 per cent. as good, but no less than 13 per cent. as absolutely bad. I should like to repeat my request for the carrying on of a really effective survey in England. If time permitted great experts could be quoted to any extent on this point. Sir Thomas Middleton talks of the 6,000,000 acres which could be brought into arable cultivation by a slight adjustment of the balance in favour of tillage, and that was secured by the wartime system of control. What is it that we propose to-day? We do not believe that by creating farming ownership you will solve the trouble. The best way is to acquire the land and exercise some such powers as were exercised during the War.

You may be inclined, like Lord Melbourne, to say, "Why cannot you leave it alone?" I personally am of that disposition, but you cannot leave a thing like this alone when the number of our unemployed is what it is. The White Paper protests that nothing striking, nothing large, can be done for agriculture; national waste is to be cured, if at all, by turning attention to animal diseases, insect pests, rabbits, and so on —these little things, great in quantity, but not of a quality that appeals to us as meeting the situation. It is a very serious situation, and great issues are at stake. We say that something must be attempted, however great the difficulties, to raise our production, to raise our population on the land, to make possible better pay for the men on the land. Agriculture is waning partly because the best blood is leaving the villages. The other day a farmer had to take two men from the workhouse in order to carry on his farm, and, when urban employment begins to improve, the shortage will be disastrous.

The problem is, as my hon. Friend who moved this Motion said, very largely a social problem too, because the modern farm hand, the villager, does resent a want of freedom of speech and action in many villages, and only by public ownership can you obtain it. I submit that our policy alone offers a prospect of better equipment of the land, supervision of farming, and stabilisation of prices, by the scheme with which hon. Members are familiar through our literature. The authorities in the agricultural world, not concerned with party interests or politics, cannot be ignored in this connection. I would like every hon. Member opposite to read Sir Daniel Hall's "Agriculture after the War," or Professor Orwin's book on "The Tenure of Agricultural Land." They would then see much more clearly what is needed to deal with the situation. These writings show that our proposals are the only logical course, or so it appears to me. Against all this logical argument, I do not see that you really have a case. We are told that we are only asking for Socialistic farming, and how-expensive that would be, as shown by the Ministry's settlements in war time, and the co-operative farms, also dating from war time—


My statement did no refer to war time.


The hon. Baronet, I submit, did not correctly describe the proposal of the Labour party, which is public land ownership. It is quite definitely stated in the Report that private farming as we know it now will remain the normal method of fanning on the land, and we can more accurately say, as a description of our policy, that it would be a vast extension of Crown lands. There is no time for me to say more, but I submit that this is a solid, practical plan to get more out of the land and to provide a decent life for more people on the land.


I think the House will be very grateful to the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) for having allowed us for the first time an opportunity of discussing the Labour policy for solving the difficulties of the farmer, of which we have heard so much on the platform and so little in the House of Commons. The Resolution which has been put down mentions in outline the proposals which have been put before the country in the official programme, but we have not heard very much in the speeches fr6m the Labour Benches to support those proposals in detail. The hon. Gentleman who opened, as so often happens in Debates on Estimates and so forth, said a good deal about the evils of the present position. He told us of the conditions on the land when he started as a boy. When one compares the present position with the eloquent picture that he drew of the lack of freedom, the miserable wages and the grinding conditions that he was faced with, one cannot help thinking how conditions have changed beyond recognition even without these wonderful nostrums of the Socialist party. He started by saying we had to deal with a decaying condition of agriculture. My hon. and gallant Friend who moved the Amendment gave the figures which were produced in the agricultural census. He did not mention that the output which we have been able to maintain between 1908 and 1925 has been maintained on a smaller area and therefore, is considerable evidence that, far from farming being less efficient, it is able to produce a larger result on a smaller area of land. Of course we know under the disturbance of war and the disastrous fall in prices which followed the War very great changes have taken place, but there is no mystery as to the cause. The Report on Agricultural Production gives the key. In chapter 11 there are very enlightening tables and the position is summarised by the statement that cereals and farm crops have suffered more during the past few years from falling prices than livestock, and fruit and vegetables have done much better than either. Side by side with this loading of the dice against arable cultication has been the great increase in wages. [Interruption.] I will not take up time by reading from the Report, but if the right hon. Gentleman will consult Chapter 11 he will find that I have fairly summarised the facts as set out in the graphs and statements contained therein.


What is the document from which the right hon. Gentleman is quoting?


The document so often referred to, the Report on the Agricultural Output of England and Wales for 1925.


I have been through it and I do not see those facts.


The position as between grass and arable has been worked out in another inquiry and it has been shown that the receipts per acre are very much the same. If you take the receipts per man employed you will find on grass land that it works out at about £477 as against £261 for a man employed in arable agriculture. The trouble is that the most valuable crops to-day cannot bear the high labour cost which is involved in growing them. With the wage costs for arable and the lower relative receipts, many farmers have naturally been compelled to adapt themselves to economic pressure and to change their method of cultivation to avoid ruin. Surely that change was inevitable under the Free Trade system. It is not Protectionist politicians, but the Agricultural Tribunals of Economists who reported that if the nation wants corn it must pay for it, either by a subsidy or Protection. I was very much interested to hear the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me refer to the disastrous repeal of the Corn Production Act, from which I gather that he agreed with the view that, if you want arable cultivation, you have to pay for it by subsidy or Protection, but he shied off the conclu- sion of his reference and relapsed into the anti-climax of the Labour policy, which I think shall be able to show is not going to get us a single extra acre under the plough. Surely, these figures of the change over from arable cultivation to grass farming are no indication of bad farming. To lay down land to grass is a sign, if properly done, of good fanning. Much of our country is, undoubtedly, eminently suited to grass, and, therefore, grass farming is the logical outcome of the Free Trade doctrine that you should produce that for which your country is best suited.

Hon. Members opposite have used another argument about the decay of our agriculture. They have measured it in the terms of the labour which they allege to have been displaced. They did not give us many figures. The right hon. Gentleman founded one argument upon the fact that one of his friends had to employ two men out of the workhouse. That seemed to me rather to bear out the fact that there is no unemployment in agriculture, that there is no surplus of skilled men, but that there is a difficulty in finding enough men for the needs of the farmers. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are in the workhouse!"] No. As a matter of fact, there are more permanent adult male workers on the land this year than there were last year, and last year there were more than there. were the year before. This argument upon the labour employed is very misleading and dangerous, because the countries held up by hon. Members opposite as models come out worst in this respect. The decline in the number of male agricultural workers employed in the various countries was as follow: In Great Britain from 1881 to 1911, 3.2 per cent.; in Germany from 1882 to 1907, 7.3 per cent.; in France from 1896 to 1911, 7 per cent., and in Belgium from 1880 to 1910 15.5 per cent. Those are the figures for Belgium, where we are told that they produce more per acre than we do.


They work 24 hours a day.


The census figures show that there has been a decline in wage earners between 1901 and 1921 of 57,000, but it has been largely counterbalanced by an increase of 42,000 in the number of farmers and smallholders. Hon. Members cannot have it both ways. It is illogical for them to cry out about the landless peasantry and at the same time to lament that there are fewer of these landless workers and more men working for themselves. The decrease of labour on the land is inevitable with the growth of labour-saving machinery, and this Report shows that between 1908 and 1921 there has been an increase of 50,000 oil and petrol engines, and an increase in the number of tractors from none in 1908 to 14,500 to-day. As wages rise the farmer is bound to try and reduce labour costs by the introduction of modern methods to enable him to pay the increasing wages. There is nothing in the policy advocated by the party opposite which will help the worker in any way or give him more employment. We have evidence of this from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle- under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who was a Member of the last Government. He says: There is nothing much in the Report for the agricultural labourer. There is no hope for the small man wanting an allotment or small holding, or getting land for houses. The old three acres and a cow is to be reduced by the Labour party to an eighth of an acre and no chickens. The agricultural unions are against their members getting land because the man who gets land is lost to the union and to his class Six remedies are included in the Motion which is put forward as their programme on agriculture by the Labour party. I need not discuss three of them because we are in agreement. We are in agreement as to the necessity for adequate capital for drainage and buildings, also as to the necessity for more co-operation and for a greater application of science to agriculture. The Motion mentions a fourth, which we all wish to achieve—the stabilisation of prices, but, unfortunately, the official Labour policy proposes to reach that object by methods with which we on this side entirely disagree. In the official Labour publication approving mention is made of the Australian and Canadian Pools. Much has been done by them to achieve a reasonable return to the producer for his output, but it has been achieved by co-operation, which is the absolute antithesis of State monopoly. In that connection, co-operation and price fixing in the interests of the producer is obviously much easier in the case of these great exporting countries than it is here, as we are dealing with the requirements of a market where we only supply a small proportion of the needs.

Obviously where the Canadian wheat pool controls ten times our total production of wheat, they are in a much better position to control prices; and they have done a great deal by preventing forced sales just after harvest, to keep up prices, and that stabilisation has done a great deal to help our producers as well as themselves. Fluctuations are always disastrous, and the present Government has done a great deal by stabilising our currency and getting back to the gold standard to give that security and certainty as to the future which cannot be obtained when you have a currency fluctuating in its value as compared with other currencies of the world. The Labour policy is very different from this method of fixing prices by co-operation. They want a vast scheme to control wheat and meat, and the distribution of the milk. I have only time to deal very briefly with wheat. It is stated in the official Labour policy that if prices show a tendency to fall the quantities to be imported will be diminished accordingly. It is apparently suggested that an artificial shortage will be created with a view of putting up prices.

That is really a most remarkable proposal from free-traders who used to placard the country with the large and small loaf and slogans about "Hands off the people's food." I really cannot accept the suggestion that dearer bread is to be brought about to the advantage of the farmer by this machinery of stabilisation and a Wheat Import Board. I prefer what was said by the author of this scheme, Mr. Wise, before the Royal Commission on Food Prices. He said that the farmer would get his price based on that of imported wheat. He hoped to get the price of imported wheat lower in the interest of the consumer. Now nationalised food and lower prices may be very nice for the consumer, but as the farmer's price is to be based on the lower foreign price, I really do not see where the farmer is to come in or how stabilised prices of that kind are going to enable him to plough his land.

I am not really concerned with the political or financial danger as to feed- ing the whole population, nor with the financial or economic or administrative difficulties in which this scheme would land us. I do feel it would be disastrous to the farmer because it would inevitably bring about lower wheat prices, as it would cheapen foreign wheat, not because the Wheat Board would necessarily buy more wisely than those who at present buy our wheat, but because whatever miscalculation they made the consumer clearly would never be expected to pay more for his wheat than the contemporary world price. The consumer would get the advantage of forward purchases when those purchases had been achieved at favourable rates, and he would demand to get the benefit of world prices at the cost of a subsidy when forward purchases turned out wrong. There is no doubt that this proposal to stabilise in the interest, not of the producer, but of the consumer, would make the position of the arable farmer very much worse.

The other two proposals are to bring about State ownership and control of cultivation. The late Prime Minister said in his pamphlet on "The Prosperous Countryside": There cannot be private ownership of land and a good system of cultivation. That is a most astounding statement because in every country in the world you have private ownership of land. Therefore, as you cannot have good cultivation with private ownership of land, nowhere in the world have you got good cultivation—not even in Denmark or Belgium or in any of those countries which are held up to us as models. To achieve this which has never been achieved in any country in the world, we are to go in for confiscation. Nothing is to be allowed for building or amenity values, although the present owners have paid large sums for them. The gross income from land has been practically level for more than 100 years. The landlord has remained the one party in agriculture whose position has been worsened in the real value of his income since the War. The farmers and labourers are all rather better off than before the War, whereas the landlord—if you compare his present rent with his pre-War rent and correct it in the same way from the purchasing power standpoint as you do the position of the worker—is 42 per cent. worse off. During the last 100 years the landlord has put vast sums into the land in improvements, and I really can see no justice in the proposal that after all that he has done in the public interest, his land should be confiscated without due compensation.

The other proposal is that farming should be controlled by agricultural committees. [Interruption.] It was laid down quite definitely on page 6 of the official Labour policy, that not in all cases, but where suitable, farmers would have to carry on under the orders of the committees. These committees are to consist of equal numbers of workers and farmers, but they are to be out-voted by the nominated members. That is an extraordinary policy from those who talk about trusting the people. It is based on the astounding fact that if you take a stupid man and set him down at a table on a committee, you are going to get a great deal more wisdom out of him than he ever possessed before. If the farmer is inefficient he will remain inefficient if you set him on a committee, especially if you out-vote him on that committee by those who have no financial respnsibilities. Of course scientific knowledge can quite well transform the production from our soil and the marketing of our output, and we believe that these scientific lessons will be best applied by individuals helped and taught by the State,

and not by committees who cannot have any personal knowledge of the varieties of the land and its need for individual cultivation.

We believe that the problem of standardising other industries is nothing like as formidable as the problem of standardising production of the land in its ever-changing mood and clime. Production and distribution will achieve much better results if they are left to individual effort and kept up to the mark by competition and survival of the fittest. Our White Paper offers a very welcome contrast to the revolutionary proposals of the party opposite. Instead of compulsion we believe in education and encouragement. Instead of destroying the foundation, we believe in strengthening the weak places. We are convinced that the future depends on the better balancing of prices and costs, and that the prosperity of agriculture can be ruined by the proposals in the Motion before us and can be helped only on the lines of the Amendment. We believe that prices are more than politics and lowered costs than land reform.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 122; Noes, 246.

Division No. 77.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Maxton, James
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Groves, T. Montague, Frederick
Ammon, Charles George Grundy, T. W. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Baker, Walter Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Naylor, T. E.
Barnes, A. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Oliver, George Harold
Barr, J. Hardie, George D. Palin, John Henry
Batey, Joseph Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Paling, W.
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Hayday, Arthur Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Bondfield, Margaret Hayes, John Henry Ponsonby, Arthur
Broad, F. A. Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Potts, John S.
Bromfield, William Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Purcell, A. A.
Bromley, J Hirst, G. H. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Riley, Ben
Buchanan, G. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield). Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W.Bromwich)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks,W.R.,Elland)
Cape, Thomas John, William (Rhondda, West) Rose, Frank H.
Charleton, H. C. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Scurr, John
Compton, Joseph Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Sexton, James
Connolly, M. Kelly, W. T. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Cove, W. G. Kennedy, T. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Dalton, Hugh Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Sitch, Charles H.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Kirkwood, D. Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lansbury, George Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Day, Colonel Harry Lawrence, Susan Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Dennison, R. Lawson, John James Snell, Harry
Duncan, C. Lee, F. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Dunnico, H. Lindley, F. W. Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Gibbins, Joseph Lowth, T. Stamford, T. W.
Gillett, George M. Lunn, William Stephen, Campbell
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mackinder, W. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Sullivan, Joseph
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine) March, S. Sutton, J. E.
Taylor, R. A. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney Wilson, C. H. {Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Wellock, Wilfred Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Tinker, John Joseph Westwood, J. Windsor, Walter
Townend, A. E. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Viant, S. P. Whiteley. W.
Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen Wilkinson, Ellen C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline) Williams, David (Swansea, East) Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly) Charles Edwards.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Everard, W. Lindsay Merriman, F. B.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Meyer, Sir Frank
Albery, Irving James Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Mitchell, S (Lanark, Lanark)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Forrest, W. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l) Foster, Sir Harry S. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. B. (Ayr)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Moore, Sir Newton J.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Fraser, Captain Ian Moreing, Captain A. H.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent,Dover) Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Murchison, Sir Kenneth
Atholl, Duchess of Ganzoni, Sir John Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Atkinson, C. Gates, Percy Nelson, Sir Frank
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley, Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Neville, R. J.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Balniel, Lord Glyn, Major R. G. C. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Goff, Sir Park Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Barclay- Harvey, C. M. Gower, Sir Robert Nuttall, Ellis
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Oakley, T.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Grant, Sir J. A. Owen, Major G.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Penny, Frederick George
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Greene, W. P. Crawford Perring, Sir William George
Bennett, A. J Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Berry, Sir George Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Bethel, A. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Philipson, Mabel
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Hammersley, S S. Pownall, Sir Assheton
Blundell, F. N. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Price, Major C. W. M.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Harrison, G. J. C. Radford, E. A.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Hartington, Marquess of Raine, W.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Rawson, Sir Cooper
Brass, Captain W. Haslam, Henry C. Rees, Sir Beddos
Briscoe, Richard George Hawke, John Anthony Remer, J. R.
Brittain, Sir Harry Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Rentoul, G. S.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxt'd,Henley) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Henderson Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'I'd, Hexham) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretlord)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y) Herbert. Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Burman, J. B. Herbert, S.(York, N.R.,Scar. & Wh'by) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hills, Major John Waller Salmon, Major I.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Hilton, Cecil Sandeman, N. Stewart
Campbell, E. T. Holland, Sir Arthur Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Carver, Major W. H. Holt, Captain H. P. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Cayzer,Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Sandon, Lord
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Hopkins, J. W. W. Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W)
Chapman, Sir S. Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Clayton, G. C. Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Shepperson, E. W.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Skelton, A. N.
Cockerlli, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Hume, Sir G. H. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)
Cooper, A. Duff Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cope, Major William Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Smithers, Waldron
Couper, J. B. Kennedy, A. R. (Preston). Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Courtauld, Major J. S. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.) Kindersley, Major Guy M. Sprot, Sir Alexander
Crawfurd, H. E. Lamb, J. O. Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden,E.)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lane Fox, Cot. Rt. Hon. George R. Stanley, Lord (Fylde
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th) Storry-Deans, R.
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Lougher, Lewis Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Davidson, Major-Genera Sir J. H. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Strauss, E. A.
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Lumley, L. R Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Lynn, Sir R. J. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Davies, Dr. Vernon MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Duckworth, John MacIntyre, Ian Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Eden, Captain Anthony McLean, Major A. Tasker, R. Inigo.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Templeton, W. P.
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) MacRobert, Alexander M. Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
England, Colonel A. Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M) Margesson, Captain D Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Tinne, J. A.
Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Wells, S. R. Wise, Sir Fredric
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple- Wolmer, Viscount
Waddington, R. Wiggins, William Martin Womersley, W. J.
Wallace, Captain D. E. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern) Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Ward, Lt.-Col.A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Warner, Brigadier-General W. W. Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Warrender, Sir Victor Williams, Herbert G. (Reading) Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle) Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Watts, Dr. T. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl Major Sir Granville Wheler and Sir
Hugh Lucas-Tooth.

Resolution agreed to.

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."



It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.