§ 20."That there shall be transferred to the Exchequer from the Road Fund a sum equal to the cash balance and investments which were on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-seven, standing to the credit of that Fund."
§ Eleventh Resolution read a Second time.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Amendment that I propose to select is the second one on the Paper, in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) and other hon. Members. I think that the matter of time, referred to in the first Amendment on the Paper, can be better dealt with when we come to the Committee stage of the Bill.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
May I ask, Sir, whether it is your intention to permit a general discussion on the whole range of this duty on this Amendment?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think it will be much to the convenience of the House to discuss both the amount and the method of this tax, it being a new tax, on this Amendment Then the House will be able to take two Divisions, one on the Amendment and one subsequently on the Main Question.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask, Sir, if this is the only Amendment that you propose to select, and if the whole discussion will be taken upon it?
§ Mr. HARRIS
I beg to move, in line 6, at the end to add the wordsProvided that the duty to be charged shall not exceed thirty-three and one-third per cent. ad valorem.I move this Amendment in the absence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), in whose name, together with those of other Members, including myself, it stands on the Paper. This is the last of the series of duties proposed under the machinery of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. We have had many discussions on this machinery, and I do not intend in the present case to criticise the method of imposing a tariff or bringing in Protection through this machinery, but this particular recommendation is different in one or two marked respects from the others that have come before the House. As the House knows, the inquiry was held by a Committee of three, and I am going to suggest that, whatever the merits of a tariff or of Protection may be, to put the decision in the hands of such a very small number is very undesirable, and liable to lead to very bad results, and, when it comes to a very complicated, technical, scientific industry like the pottery industry, it is obviously open to very serious criticism.
The right hon. Gentleman admitted the difficulty of finding suitable persons. I have no doubt he searched high and low, and as the result of his inquiries he 1036 selected these two gentlemen and one lady. The first is an old colleague of mine on the county council and I am quite ready to admit that he is a most genial gentleman. I am not quite sure what his business experience is but I understand it has been mainly in the Ministry of Munitions. The lady is a very attractive, charming personality known to a great number of Members of the House. I understand her chief claim to fame, apart from being the wife of a very distinguished settler of industrial disputes, is that she is a leader of what is called the Middle Class Union. The third person, of course, I naturally regard with great respect because he has a lot of business experience and knowledge of the co-operative movement in all its extensive ramifications. There are only three members of the Committee and in many cases only two were present at their meetings. They were busy people.
After long inquiry, they did not come to a unanimous decision. It was only a majority of one. You may say it is a majority of 50 per cent. but the fact remains, from whatever angle you look at it, that a majority of only one decided in favour of the imposition of the duty. It is very undesirable to have inquiries of this kind carried on by such a very small Committee. I understand the President of the Board of Trade was asked to hear an appeal, but he was not to be persuaded. He took shelter behind the opinions of the two members of the Committee and the whole future of the business of supplying china to the people of this country has now been left to this decision. Whatever point of view one takes of this subject, this is not a sound way of carrying on trade. If we are to go in for Protection, surely it should be done on more scientific lines and after fuller inquiry by men of experience and knowledge and the decision should not be left to a small majority. Another respect in which this differs from other proposals for the safeguarding of industry is that the Report goes very much outside the scope of the inquiry. The applicants asked for protection for translucent ware, but for some reason in order to facilitate the work of the Customs as far as I can gather, they proposed to extend it to include vitrified ware, that is, earthenware which merely has a bright varnished surface. Although 1037 they were appointed to inquire into only one side of the pottery industry they extended the scope of their inquiry, while taking evidence, to include another section of the trade.
But there is a third and the most important objection of all. The industry was not modest in its request. It asked for a 33⅓ per cent. Duty—a very generous allowance, far beyond the dreams of pre-War Tariff Reformers. But this lady and gentleman decided to experiment in a new form of duty. Instead of imposing a duty on value, they proposed to impose it by weight. They gave no adequate reason. We do not know on what evidence they reached that conclusion. No facts or figures, as far as I can gather, were produced. That is the recommendation they have brought forward. The Minister blessed it and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has embodied it in his Budget. If you are going to levy a duty by weight, it will naturally be heavier on the cheaper as opposed to the more expensive article. The heavy china is usually of the cheaper and coarser kind, while the fine china is light. I have here some calculations of the results of this peculiar method of levying the duty. In the majority of cases it will work out at from 60 to 80 per cent. I have elaborate tables, which I shall be pleased to give the right hon. Gentleman, show-that on many of the cheaper articles it will mean as much as 60 or 70 per cent. That is a very serious thing. The Danish china sold in Bond Street is not seriously affected. The duty will only work out at 15 or 20 per cent. But when it Dames to the cheap cup, the child's 2d. mug or the cheap tea-set, it will work out at 60 to 70 per cent. It may be said the working man need not drink out of a china cup. He can have a tin cup, but, after all, these little luxuries are becoming something near necessities. It seems hard that, whether it is the working girl's cheap silk stocking or cheap cotton glove or cheap lace finery, the Tory Government singles them out for special disfavour. Now we have a tax so ingeniously contrived that expensive imported China sold in Bond Street bears a small duty, while the cheap china sold in the East End or on the coster's barrow will be subject to 70 or 80 per cent. taxation. I am going to ask the 1038 Minister so to alter it that, if he is to pursue this policy of safeguarding of industry, it will be distributed evenly according to value, and the cheaper articles shall not be singled out for special disfavour. I think we can ask for a certain concession under that head.
I have no doubt we shall be told that owing to the strength of trade unions and their powerful organisation they have been able to demand higher wages and the result is higher labour costs, while the foreigner is working longer hours for lower wages. If that told the whole story it would make a strong case for these duties, but it is very far from the truth. Of course, if we were comparing like with like, if the imported china was the same article, made by the same methods from the same raw material, there might be a very strong case. One thing the inquiry did bring out—and it is admitted even by those who signed this Report—was that the china made in Germany, France and Czechoslovakia is not only a very different article in quality, manufacture and process, but that it is very far from the same thing. The china industry is one of the oldest industries in this country. It is an industry of which we are very proud. I see that my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) has just come into his place. That industry will always be associated with the ancestor of his, who has dignified it and beautified it and made it of worldwide fame, as have many other great manufacturers of china. I am glad to see that the tradition of Wedgwood is still being maintained.
When it comes to quality and beauty of design, it is not surprising that British china is known in every part of the world, but china still remains a luxury for the rich rather than a general article for the masses of the people. China made by the old-fashioned methods in England compares with anything that is made in any other part of the world, On the Continent, and in France in particular, before the War mass production was aimed at and the industry was so reorganised and changed in its methods that, by using other materials, manufacturers were able to produce a different and a far cheaper article. Though it 1039 comes under the category of china, it is really quite a different article. It is just as easy to compare a Ford car with a Rolls-Royce or, say, a tailor-made suit with a ready-made suit, as to compare the high quality of the china turned out by the great china firms at Longton and its neighbourhood with the cheap china imported from abroad. Before the War competition from abroad in these cheaper articles was not so serious but for various reasons, which are partly explained by this Report, the cost of English china has gone up enormously, something like three times. Just after the War, when times were good, the demand for good quality English china was great, but when trade depression came along, this being a luxury and not a necessity, it was one of the first articles to feel the effects of that depression. The reason for the depression, according to the Report, is not so much because of the competition of china from abroad but rather because of the competition of earthenware made, not abroad but very often at factories under the same control and management as the factories for the making of china.
Earthenware—it is common knowledge to the House—is made by a very much cheaper process. It does not go through the same kind of baking in the oven, consequently it is not so brittle and there are not so many breakages. The process is not so expensive and the pottery can be produced much cheaper. Before the War, owing to the absence of scientific experiment, earthenware pottery could not in any way compete in appearance with good quality china, but the English manufacturers, realising that after the War they might have to compete very seriously with Continental china, reorganised their methods of manufacture of earthenware, with the result that they were able to produce pottery in the form of earthenware which in appearance, design, colour, shape and in every respect, competes with the better quality of china and is, on the other hand, much less expensive. It is a very significant thing that, while the cost of china has gone up by something like three times, the cost of English earthenware has only gone up by something like 75 per cent., although the labour costs are practically the same. The union controlling the two industries is the same and the rates 1040 of wages paid are almost identical, but, of course, the article is different. I suggest to the House that the unemployment in the manufacture of china is not so much due to foreign competition as to the substitution of well-designed, well-made earthenware, not by the foreigner, but by the English manufacturer.
When it comes to a question of wages abroad, of course, undoubtedly, there is a considerable difference of opinion. I do not think there is any doubt that to some extent wages are lower, and there is reason to believe that hours, to some extent, are longer. But it was pointed out at the inquiry that the real difference in the cost of producing German and Czechoslovakian china as compared with English china was not the labour cost but the mass production and the methods used. To begin with, the cost of the ovening or firing of the china at Longton works out, on an ordinary case of 20 dozen Minton china, at 22s. 5d. On the other hand, felspar china produced in Czechoslovakia works out at something like 8s. 6d. There is another factor which is a serious thing. The amount of breakage of the felspar china works out at 2s. 9d., but on earthenware it comes to 4s. 6d. They have also the advantages of a modern factory laid out on a new scale, on large lines—something like a garden city—while in Longton they, very naturally, adhere to their old historic buildings and old associations and go on with their individual manufacture of a good article as opposed to the cheap article manufactured abroad.
It may be said that it is not fair that the foreigners should be allowed to come into our market and compete with our better English articles on even terms, but the answer is, that the advance is so great—in many cases it is not a question of 20, 30, 40 or 50 per cent., but 60, 70 and even 100 per cent.—that if you do impose a duty at all, it will mean that the consumer will have to pay more for the same article. The English manufacturer will not be able to compete and it will merely mean the placing of extraordinary taxation on those people who, because they are poor and because of their requirements, have to buy the foreign article. It is a very curious thing that, although this application is made by the so-called china trade interests, the workers, the trade unionists, have not made any application. 1041 The representative of the union who, I believe, is a Member of this House, was present but he took no part in the discussion and did not give evidence. In almost every other case both the employers and the employés have made a joint application. In most cases the application was made by the Joint Industrial Council. It is a very significant fact that in the china trade, which was one of the first trades to have a Joint Industrial Council, although they have a Joint Industrial Council which functions effectively, the employés made no application. That is a very interesting fact which requires explanation, and I hope the Minister will be able to explain it.
Another very curious fact is the existence of a ring. There is a combine among these various china manufacturers, not in order to improve methods, not in order to get mass production, not in order to prevent overlapping, to improve their business organisation, to improve their methods of marketing or to introduce more scientific methods, but for one purpose only, and that is to keep up the minimum price. It is very peculiar, to say the least of it, that here is an industry asking for protection, for a special favour from this House, and it has already in existence an organisation to take full advantage of any protection and any increased price which we put it within their power to obtain. If no other argument were available, that is a very serious argument against passing through this very large duty. Here we have machinery ready to make a trust or combine to fleece the public. We ought to hesitate, we ought to wait long, before we allow the duty to go through in these most serious circumstances.
There is one further matter to which I wish to allude, and although it is a small matter it is of considerable interest. No doubt the President of the Board of Trade goes to hotels or restaurants. I do not suppose he ever patronises any hotel where there is foreign food, or foreign waiters or foreign dishes. That would be against his principles and his patriotism; but if by chance he should stray into a restaurant which is up-to-date he will probably notice the table-ware. One of the great troubles with which hotel-keepers have to deal is the large amount of breakages. One of the most costly things in the kitchen is the clumsiness 1042 or want of skill of the scullerymaid; it is proverbial. In order to get over that difficulty, it has been found in the past desirable to get a special brand of pottery from France. Since the War the German has been our serious competitor, and now this foreign stuff has been imported from Germany. I have here samples of pottery. I see that my right hon. Friend has a cup beside him. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the mugs?"]
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)
I thought the Liberal party would produce those.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
We did not put mugs in the Report. It was the right hon. Gentleman's friends who put mugs in the Report, because they knew that they had mugs enough to support them.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I am not going to throw this plate at my right hon. Friend, but I am assured that if I did it would not break. It is vitrified pottery. [An HON. MEMBER: "Throw it."] One hon. Member wants me to throw it and thus test its durability, but I think that would be against the rules of order. This vitrified china costs 10s. a dozen, and its great quality, I understand, is that it is unbreakable. Here is a sample of English earthenware, which only costs 4s. 9½d. a dozen. I am sure that my right hon. Friend would prefer that, because it is British. It will interest him to know also that it is cheaper. It is only half the price: 4s. 9½d. as against l0s. It is common earthenware, while the other is vitrified pottery. The result of the duty would be that no advantage, so far as one can see, will be gained by the English manufacturer, because he is making an entirely different article and his article is cheaper; but the effect of the duty will be that 4s. 6d. a dozen will be added to the cost of the restaurant plate. Therefore, the cost of the "Come to England" campaign, which we are told to support, will be made greater, and the cost of running hotels in England will be made greater.
It may mean extra revenue, and that is a good thing at a time of financial stringency, but if we are going to impose a tax, let us do it with our eyes open and do it for revenue purposes, and not use it 1043 as a pretence in order to protect an industry which is not asking for protection. The earthenware industry are not asking for protection. The only result of this particular tax will be, not to help the china manufacturers, not to assist those great industries of which we are so proud, which are still working under their old-fashioned methods and producing a good article but not a cheap one; it will give a certain amount of protection to the earthenware industry, who have never asked for protection and have never put forward a case for it. They have not been subject to inquiry under the Safeguarding of Industries scheme. Notwithstanding, we are giving them something under the guise of another purpose.
I think I have said enough to show that there is an overwhelming case against this duty. There has not been an adequate inquiry. The articles included go far beyond the scope of the inquiry, and beyond the request of the petitioners for the duty. The method of levying the duty is unsound. It is going to press upon those least able to afford it. It will not really help business. It will merely add to the cost. For all these reasons, I submit that we have made out a strong case for the withdrawal of the duty.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I beg to second the Amendment.
The Resolution which we are asked to approve proposes to put a tax, for five years, of 28s. cwt. on translucent and vitrified pottery. This is the latest of the brood of ugly ducklings which the Safeguarding of Industries methods have produced. I am sorry that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not here, for I should have liked to have asked him a personal question. Perhaps the President of the Board of Trade will be able to answer the question. The question that I would have liked to have asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer was this: "Can you put your hand upon your heart and say that you have personally examined this duty and come to the conclusion that it is a sound proposal." Or is it the fact that the President of the Board of Trade came to you when your Budget was nearly complete and said: "You have so many eggs of a varying, miscellaneous character in your Budget nest 1044 that one further misshapen egg will not very much matter." Perhaps the President of the Board of Trade will be able to answer that question, or perhaps, alternatively, we shall be given this line of policy: "After all, the House of Commons agreed to the White Paper policy of 1925 setting up this Safeguarding of Industries method. We have appointed the Committee under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, according to the principles; they have reported in favour of the duty, and it is for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to obey the mandate of the Committee set up under this procedure." If that be the answer, or in effect be the answer, then the whole responsibility which rests upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer and upon this House to guard the financial destinies and fiscal policy of this country is being undermined. The procedure can only be defended if, when any duty may be recommended by any Committee, the Chancellor examines the facts for himself and comes to an independent judgment on the matter. It is perhaps rather unusual for us from this side of the House to demand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the other side should have a stiffer backbone, but it seems to me that if he is going to yield on all occasions to the demands of any and every committee which may be set up for a duty under this method, then we shall be inclined to regard him as a sheep in wolf's clothing professing to be fierce when, as a matter of fact, he is yielding to the efforts of the President of the Board of Trade to convert him to Protection.
After all, who are three people, however wise they may be, practically to decide by the simple majority of two over one, the whole of the financial policy of this country? As I understand it, the reason for setting up these Committees is to discover the facts, and if this Committee, in particular, set up for the purpose of examining this question of a Pottery Duty had really judicially and impartially examined the facts and had set them out in a way on which this House and the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have come to a definite opinion, then their function would have been a very real and practical one. But anyone who has studied this particular Report carefully and impartially will, I feel sure, agree with me that this finding 1045 of the Committee is not a setting out of the facts, is not a considered judgment based on facts, but is a verdict and judgment in the teeth of the evidence put forward before that Committee. That is really not all, because in their final proposals they actually go beyond their terms of reference, as I shall show a little later on. They have proposed a duty which for all practical purposes works out very much larger in most cases than twice the largest duty that has ever been proposed before. The form of their duty is regressive in the worst sense, and their proposals, I think, will be injurious to the trade and industry of this country.
Those are statements which, of course, need some proof, and I propose to give my reasons for making those strong statements in opposition to the duty in the form in which it is proposed. First of all, there is a preliminary point. The application was not one by the industry. I believe that in all previous instances where an application has been made for a duty under this safeguarding method it has been made by the industry as a whole. In this case, it was not even made by the largest section of the industry, the earthenware section. When we confine ourselves to the purely china section, it was not made by the employés, because they definitely refused to take part in the application, and, even so far as the employers in the china section are concerned, it was not a representation on behalf of the whole of them but only on behalf of some of them. It seems to me, therefore, that it fails at the outset, not being what it professes to be, namely, an application on behalf of the industry for this duty. The White Paper of 1925 lays down seven conditions that have to be fulfilled. The first of these is that the industry must be of a substantial character. The number of employés in the china section of the pottery trade is not very large, but I am, not disposed to quarrel over words and to deny that this industry should be regarded as a substantial one within the meaning of the White Paper of 1925.
We come to the next condition that the imports shall be in abnormal quantities. It is not very easy to form an exact measurement of the imports of china, because it has been admitted by all parties to this application, those in favour and 1046 those against it, that the Board of Trade nomenclature is open to considerable doubt as to what is involved. But, taking the applicants' own figures and comparing the importation in 1913 with that in 1925, we find, as a matter of fact, that the importation in 1925 was 308,000 cwts., whereas in 1913 it was 341,000 cwts., or 10 per cent. less in 1925 than in 1913 Under ordinary circumstances, I should have thought that that alone would have shown that the importation could not be called abnormal, but when you come actually to value, you find that the case is very much stronger still. You find, in spite of the enormous rise in world prices. that the importation only increased from £937,000 to £1,083,000. In other words, while prices in general increased something like 75 per cent., the increase in the value of the imports of china only amounted to something like 10 per cent. If you compare the value of the imports with the total production of china by manufacturers in this country, then, taking the figures of the applicants, which I by no means accept entirely, whereas the imports in 1913 were valued at £937,000, which is something like 110 per cent. of the production of the home manufacturers in 1913 which was £838,000, in 1925 so far from having increased in proportion, they did not anything like hold their own, but were only £1,083,000 against £1,558,000 of home manufacture, that is less than 70 per cent. Hon. Members may ask why I stop at 1925, and whether it is not a fact that the year 1926 is more in favour of the application. The reason we cannot take 1926 is that it is not at all a comparable year. We had the coal stoppage, which completely altered the whole of the facts, and it must be quite evident to the House that it would be grossly improper to take the year 1926 in order to make a comparison with the figures of pre-war years.
The next point which the White Paper insists upon is that this competition from abroad should be with similar goods in the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact, the goods which are imported from abroad under the name of china, are made of Felspar china, and it is perfectly clear to those who are willing to take the trouble to follow out the details of this application that Felspar china imports from abroad do not compare with the bone china, which is the applicants' case, but very much more nearly with the production 1047 of the earthenware manufacturers. Though I could quote a long piece of evidence, I will confine myself to one sentence from the evidence of Mr. W. P. Moreton, managing director of Messrs. Thomas Forester & Sons, the largest manufacturers of English china in Great Britain, where he says, in answer to a question:Well, you see bone china never, so far as my knowledge goes, even before the War, really could compete with the Continental or Felspar china.That, taken from one of the largest manufacturers of china in Great Britain, completely disposes of the idea that we are really dealing with similar things and can compare the Felspar china which is imported with the china which is the subject of the application. The fact is that this luxury article manufactured in this country has its best market among wealthy people, and a large quantity goes to the United States and to Australia, where money is plentiful; the principal trade is done there.
The next point in the White Paper is whether unemployment arises from the severity of the competition. I think, in this connection, one ought to point out that one of the great failures of the applicants in this inquiry was that they completely failed, or refused, to produce their balance-sheets, and, therefore, it was impossible to discover what was the pre-War costing. I think, therefore, that we are entitled to put our own interpretation on that refusal. It is quite true that it may be undesirable to produce balance-sheets in public, but those who are acquainted with the procedure of these committees know that on certain days they sit in camera, and it is perfectly proper then to produce balance-sheets. I should like to quote a sentence or two from the same witness before the inquiry. He was being cross-examined with regard to the year 1920, and it was pointed out to him that in that year there was no competition from abroad, and he was asked why it was. He hedged about it for some time, but he could not deny that, as a matter of fact, the competition then was due to the fact that people preferred to buy the cheap earthenware material being manufactured in this country instead of the much dearer china, which they found 1048 they could not afford even in those days when money was plentiful in this country. A final question was put to him to this effect:Is it not your real view that the bone china has got too expensive for the general demand for the tea ware and breakfast ware in this country for the masses?In reply, this manufacturer answered:Unfortunately, there is a great amount of truth in that to-day.Furthermore, on the question of unemployment arising from the severity of competition from abroad, I would remind the House of what the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris) has already mentioned, that the employes decided deliberately not to be represented in the application for a duty. If they had thought that unemployment would be cured or improved by the imposition of this duty they would certainly have taken their place alongside the manufacturers in demanding it.
The next point on which the White Paper lays emphasis is that in order to secure a duty there must be proved to be unfair competition. The applicants strove to make their case, but the only point they were able to make was that there was some difference in wages paid in Germany and Czechoslovakia in the industry as against the wages paid in this country. What I want to point out is this, that we are not discussing a general tariff, but whether a particular industry is unfairly dealt with as compared with other industries in this country and, therefore, the important point is whether the competition of foreign wages is greater than it is in other industries in this country.
The applicants entirely failed to make out their case, and in the Minority Report issued by the Committee, Mr. George Hayhurst states that in his opinion the difference in wages is very much less than appeared because such things as payment for holidays and other factors tended to minimise very much the difference. It was further proved in the course of the inquiry that if there still remained a general difference in wages it was more than counterbalanced by the superior workmanship in this country, and still more by the heavy cost which the foreign manufacturer was put to in the matter of packing and carriage. This fully compensated for the slight difference 1049 that obtained in the matter of wages. The idea that this foreign felspar china, by reason of the lower wages that are paid, is gaining a place in the markets of the world which our industry ought to have, was absolutely smashed by the statement made by the Counsel opposing the application. He said:If you take the cheapest factory making bone china in Longton, of which we have heard anything, and if every individual in it from the managing director down to the youngest operative's attendant, including the commercial travellers, worked free, gratis and for nothing, the cost of bone china would still be greater, and in some cases twice as dear as the cost of a similar article in felspar china made in Germany.That is the statement of the counsel for the defence, but the Chairman of the Inquiry commented upon it, and he said:Taking the figures given to us in camera and working it out in one's head, I think that is so.It is therefore not merely the statement of the counsel for the defence but actually the agreed statement of the Chairman, who was one of the signatories to the Majority Report.
I do not want to weary the House by taking up too much time, but I should like to say that so far as the sixth point in the White Paper is concerned—reasonable efficiency—there is no attempt to deny that, looking at the matter on narrow lines, the efficiency of the Long-ton factories is reasonably good, but looking at it on much broader lines, that is from the point of view as to whether the factories are really brought up to date and employ methods of mass production, about which hon. Members opposite are so fond of talking, then I think it is much more doubtful. There seems also no reason why there should not be manufactured in this country an article not precisely felspar china but something of a similar character which could really compete with the article imported from abroad. What we find is this, that the prices which the manufacturers of bone china in this country are asking have soared enormously as against pre-War prices—and in default of the presentation of full balance sheets, for no adequate reason. The Labour costs have gone up some 80 per cent., and the cost of all materials, except one, has gone up by less than 100 per cent. On the admission of the applicants themselves the prices they are charging have gone up 1050 by 125 per cent., which is 25 per cent. more than any of the items which make up the cost of production.
That 125 per cent. is a very low estimate, because some of the articles which they sell have gone up by 150 per cent. and 175 per cent., and in some cases even more than 200 per cent. The fact is that the people of this country cannot afford the high prices which have been put on these luxury articles by a price-fixing ring, and in consequence have gone to felspar china and earthenware china because only by doing so can they get an article at a reasonable cost. The White Paper also says that the duty is to be recommended. We, of course, think that in every one of the particulars the applicants failed to make out the case which it is necessary to make, and we do not come to the conclusion that this duty ought to be imposed. Not only so, but in our opinion, even if they are going to propose a duty, they have no right to propose it at this excessive amount. The Majority Report claims that in putting on the duty of 28s. per cwt. it is practically equivalent; to—let me read the actual words of the Report:We have, consequently, considered the possibility of a specific duty, and have come to the conclusion that a duty of 28s. per cwt. would be approximately equal to an ad valorem duty of 33⅓ per cent. on the main classes of pottery to which the application relates.I say that that is not what they have done. Anyone who takes the facts and deals with the "main classes of pottery" will find that instead of paying a duty of 33⅓ per cent. it is a duty of something over 50 per cent., probably it is 66⅔ per cent, and the only reason why it does not appear to be so is that they have included, in addition to "the main classes of pottery," the more expensive articles on which this duty of 28s. per cwt. is only perhaps a duty of a few per cent. If you include these articles you may perhaps be able to bring the average down to 33⅓ per cent., but on the great bulk of articles which the common people of this country use the duty, so far from being 33⅓ per cent. is probably 66⅔ per cent., or more. Let me give one or two illustrations. Here is a case of 60 dozen half-thick cups and saucers of the value of £7 13s. 9d. The duty on it is £5 13s. Take another case of 60 dozen valued at £6 10s. The duty comes to £5 13s. 3d., and in the case of white seconds pottery 1051 of the value of £3 1s. 10d., the duty is three guineas, or more than 100 per cent. In contrast take a case of one of the luxury articles, a china tea set worth £35. The duty on that is only 14s. If you throw in this kind of luxury article you will, perhaps, bring down the average of the duty to 33⅓ per cent.
We take exception to this duty because it is of a regressive character. There are three kinds of duties. Those that are ad valorem duties, which progress as the value progresses, those which are really specific duties and in the nature of a poll tax; and those duties, such as this, which are actually larger in amount on the cheaper articles than the duty imposed on the dearer articles. No doubt we shall be told that there are objections to an ad valorem duty. Of course there are; but we are not concerned with defining any method which is going to make this very obnoxious proposal a more suitable proposal. It is for those who advocate it to find a duty which will not be open to the very grave objections to which this duty is liable in whatever form it is imposed. I shall leave to others who follow me to deal in detail with the case of vitrified pottery, but I will say this, that it was in my opinion outside this inquiry, and I shall be interested to hear from the President of the Board of Trade how he justifies the inclusion of vitrified pottery with translucent table ware in this duty. Let me say a word or two on the injury that this duty is going to do to our export trade. It is part of our case that the effect of this duty on felspar china, which really competes with earthenware and not with china, will have the effect of putting up the prices of the common articles in this country. I do not know whether hon. Members opposite are going to dispute that statement or not, but if they are all I can say is that in the evidence of one of the manufacturers himself it was admitted. Mr. Johnstone was asked:Would your earthenware prices still be the same or would they be increased?And his answer was:I should be glad to keep my present prices, with the exception of white and gold.—That is the main line of cheap tea sets—I shall want to put them up 5d. a dozen.1052 Therefore, on the evidence of one of the manufacturers himself there is a likelihood of the prices going up in the earthenware trade, and that is going to injure our export business, because although our manufacturers may try to sell abroad below the prices at which they sell at home they may find themselves prevented from doing so by the anti-dumping laws which prevail in some foreign countries. But, even if prices were not to go up and we keep out foreign china, do you think you are going to stop the foreign kilns? They are going to get somehow into the foreign markets which we have otherwise maintained. When you remember that the export trade of this country in domestic pottery is three times as large as our import trade you are going to do a very foolish thing by cutting off a small part of our imports and thus strike a blow at a much more important trade—namely, the export trade of this country.
As I have said, the real reason for this falling off in the china trade is the high prices fixed by a price fixing ring in this country, and so long as these high prices remain, there will not be a demand in this country for large quantities of bone china. They will still retain the best market, but they cannot expect to achieve the large quantity which they otherwise might hope to attain. The trade will go to the earthenware manufacturers of this country and to the foreign manufacturers of felspar, but it is only there that you can get prices that are within the limits of the purse, not only of the working people, but of the middle classes of this country. As I have said, the effect of the duty is regressive. It is in fact a tax on the cheap articles of the people in order to try to preserve a luxury trade. It will do an injury to our export business; it will do an injury to our entrepot business, and it will further complicate our Customs tariff. We would like to see this Resolution defeated, but if hon. Members opposite are not prepared to go as far as that we ask them at any rate to limit the amount ad valorem which This tax can reach, to the already large figure of 33⅓ per cent.
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
As is my wont, I shall not detain the House more than a few minutes. I am not in the least intending to protest against the taxation which is involved in this Resolution. 1053 In fact I approve it. What I do protest against is a dreadful verbal heresy in the Resolution itself, which treats that splendid thing, china, porcelain, the transparent article, as merely a sort of pottery. Pottery has a very different meaning. I looked up the word in the Oxford Dictionary and found it defined as "the produce of the potter's art, collectively earthenware." I looked up the word "potter" and found it defined as "a maker of pots or earthenware vessels." It is, therefore, clear that the word pottery cannot include china and porcelain. Never was the word "pottery" used before to include chinaware until a most silly thing happened in 1925, in the reports of exports and imports. Right down to the War in 1914, china, porcelain and earthenware were scheduled as different things. Some person who could not have been a connoisseur or collector in these spheres chose to drop the words "china" and "porcelain" in 1925 and to substitute "transparent pottery." China is not transparent pottery, because pottery, being earthenware, is a different article. It seems to me that the wording of the Resolution ought to be varied. All that we have to say is that we wish to impose taxation on pottery and porcelain (or chinaware, if you like). But they are wholly different things in the usage of the English language. I wonder what Sotheby's would say if someone went to them and said, "I have a lot of pottery I want you to sell for me," and it turned out that what was meant was old Dresden and Chelsea china. It would be ludicrous to think that old porcelain was pottery, or that the word "pottery" could refer to it. They are wholly different things. This Resolution should be a Resolution to impose taxation on pottery and porcelain. I trust that when these things get into print the Minister will take the trouble to vary the wording and to insert both terms.
§ Sir C. OMAN
Do you not call china translucent also? All I wish to do is to propose that the Minister should, since he is taxing this Czechoslovakian stuff, which is china, take the trouble to add to the heading of the Resolution "porcelain or china."
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I have much natural sympathy with the hon. Gentleman when he desires to see that the English word should be correctly used in Parliamentary language. But, after all, the matter which the House has to consider this afternoon first and foremost is a matter of substance and not of words. I submit that of all the taxes proposed in the Budget this duty is the one which calls for the most complete explanation and justification. Let the House consider for a moment what its admitted features are. It is certainly a very heavy duty. It has been pointed out already by the hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence), and I can show it by one or two instances, that as a matter of fact it is a duty far above 33⅓ per cent. upon a large range of articles. Indeed, there is no difficulty in showing that in some cases it is calculated to double the price, and it is so devised that the simpler and cheaper the cup or saucer or plate, the heavier will be the tax put upon that particular article. It is a tax that is put upon things of universal need and use, and notwithstanding all those features, which obviously call both for explanation of the tax and for justification, down to this moment no sort of defence or justification of the tax has been offered by the Government.
I would invite the House to consider to what this Safeguarding of Industries procedure is leading us. The primary function of ordinary Members of the House is to take such part as they can, in the public interest, both in considering suggested expenditure and in considering how money is to be raised. That is what the House of Commons, historically and practically, is for. Yet here is a method by which a Committee, which is not responsible to this House, which is not chosen by this House but is nominated, in all good faith no doubt, by the President of the Board of Trade—in the present instance three individuals, two gentlemen and a lady—and this Committee in course of time produces a Report which is not unanimous, in which 1055 you have indeed the opposition to this proposed duty put with much brevity and great plainness by one of the members of the Committee, and when that is all done it is passed into the Budget of the year, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not even think it necessary to be present when a matter of this kind is discussed. Indeed, if you consider the language which the Chancellor of the Exchequer used when he gave to the House the information that this would be included in the Budget, anyone can see that the right hon. Gentleman was doing his utmost to disclaim responsibility. Let me remind the House how the matter was first mentioned. We had that most brilliant and entertaining, though rather expensive discourse from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in due course of time he told us that he was about to invite us to join him in scaling a precipice which was £40,000,000 high and he employed much picturesque and attractive imagery on the subject. Then he said:I will take the smallest items first. The Safeguarding of Industry procedure in the present year has evolved a duty of 28s. per hundredweight for five years on table ware of translucent and vitrified pottery. I make this proposal in accordance with the recommendation of the Majority Report of a Committee duly appointed.The only other sentence which the right hon. Gentleman thought it worth while to pronounce on the merits of the matter was:This year I think it will produce £150,000."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 11th April, 1927; col. 88; Vol. 205.]If the right hon. Gentleman is engaged in scaling a precipice which is to be measured by £40,000,000, this particular item will take him exactly one three-thousandth part of the way up his height. So that in point of money to the Exchequer the thing is comparatively trumpery. But in point of interference and burden the matter is extremely substantial, and the House can see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who knows how to choose his language if anyone does, is ostentatiously pointing out to the House "This is not my brat. It has been laid on my doorstep, and I will put it into my Budget, and leave the President of the Board of Trade, when the time comes, to defend it if he can." That is the meaning of his statement that 1056 the Safeguarding of Industries procedure has "evolved" this duty. There is not the smallest ground now for saying that the Treasury has ever considered the matter. There is no representative of the Treasury present in the House. There is no ground for saying that 28s. a cwt. is the duty which the Treasury officials thought right or that the method is right. The whole thing from beginning to end is based on this White Paper,Report of the Committee on Table ware of Translucent Pottery.That is no reason why the matter should not be examined impartially. I did make, I hope, my first point, that here is, of all duties, a duty in the Budget which calls for explanation and justification from the Treasury. Up to the present we have passed a Resolution in Committee automatically without anything being said, and we have this Debate without anyone getting up to explain what it is all about. I make this claim, that I believe that anyone who will really address his mind for half an hour to the main considerations that are involved in connection with this duty is bound to come to the conclusion that the view which was formed by the minority member of the Committee is a view greatly to be preferred to that recommended by the other two members. I assume, of course, that the President of the Board of Trade, who was responsible, has done what I have done, that is, examined the shorthand notes of the Inquiry. No doubt he will tell us. I assume also, of course, that he has examined the statistical tables that were produced. I have. Of course he has. If he will now stand up and say that, having read the shorthand notes and examined the statistical tables, he can put his hand on his heart and say as an intelligent person that they really support the view of the majority and overthrow the view of the minority, he will be the first man I have yet met who can possibly make such a statement.
I hope the House will excuse me if I refer to points that it is really necessary to know as a preliminary. We have to remember that there are three different kinds of things manufactured in a different way and made out of different materials, all of which may be found represented in cups, saucers, plates and so forth. First of all, there is this 1057 article which is called bone china. It is extremely expensive. As far as I know the only place in the world where it is produced is Longton in Staffordshire, and the rest of the china of the world, both the china of the Far East and the china of Europe, is produced by a different process. Bone china is a special production made of special materials manufactured at that single spot of earth. It is a very old established industry and employs about 8,000 people. The manufacturers are all in a ring and the first object of their ring, according to its own constitution, is to maintain the prices of their products at a minimum which they prescribe. They produce, beyond all question, a very beautiful article which nobody wishes to decry but it is very expensive. Why is it expensive? Because it is made according to an ancient recipe out of bone ash and other ingredients and the glaze is in most cases produced by the use of a compound of lead. The whole process involves double and separate baking and a series of complications which tend to make the article very expensive. A limited number of people so much admire it that they are prepared to buy it, but to treat bone china, the manufacturers of which sought for safeguarding at this inquiry, as though it were in actual effective competition with common felspar china—which is now going to be taxed—is very much as though the old hand-loom weavers of Spitalfields or Yorkshire were to apply under the Safeguarding of Industries Act in order to get a tariff put upon machine-made silk or woollen goods. Anyone who examines with common sense and attention that elementary fact cannot possibly dispute it, and it will be found in the forefront of the minority Report where the gentleman who draws it up says at the very start:I am unable to see my way to sign the foregoing Report principally on the ground that in my opinion felspar china is essentially different in character from the bone china produced in this country.Felspar china is the cheap china which it is sought to tax. Let us carry it a step further. I will take an ordinary example of bone china. I will take what is called a "twenty-one piece tea set," that is to say, six cups, six saucers, six plates, a bread-and-butter plate, a cream-jug and a sugar basin. The manufacturers 1058 who applied for this safeguarding themselves put forward figures and I assume the President of the Board of Trade has studied those figures closely. They put forward figures in which they say that this particular standard thing, this twenty-one piece tea set, made by their process cost them 11s. 9d. to manufacture and they sold it for 13s. 2d. It may be so. It is a remarkable fact that that very same class of tea set, before the War, was made by these very same people and was sold for 3s. 9d. or 4s., so that these manufacturers at any rate are people who have succeeded in increasing the price of the goods they sell by a bigger percentage than anybody else whose case can be quoted in this country. Of course they are a ring. They were challenged to produce their balance-sheets and they refused, and as they are private companies there was no possibility of finding out how matters really stood.
Taking them at their word, they say this tea set costs then 11s. 9d. to make. If there is any business man listening to me he will be interested to know that of that 11s. 9d. no less than 4s. 1d. represents overhead charges. I should like to see the well-managed business which requires 4s. 1d. of overhead charges in order to produce a tea set. However, there it is. They say that is what it costs them and they divide it up into the cost of material and the cost of labour, these being almost exactly of equal size. Of that 11s. 9d., 5s. 10d. represents material and 5s. 1ld. represents labour, and they include in the labour cost everything from the general manager down to the office boy and even the commercial travellers. What is, at the same time, the cost and the selling price of this cheap felspar china which they are now seeking to tax? This felspar china which is not made out of bone-ash, which does not require double baking, which does not use lead but produces the glaze by the same materials as are used in the composition of the body of the article—this suggested rival in the market is to be bought here at 5s., and that is after paying the whole cost of transport from wherever it is made. As a matter of fact the cost of production was proved to be about 3s. 1d.
It is perfectly ridiculous for anybody to suggest that these bone-china manufacturers are suffering because of sweated 1059 labour or unfair labour conditions in the factories abroad which, they say, sell goods in this country. Let us give them the whole of their labour for nothing. Let us give them their general managers, office boys, commercial travellers and all the people who take part in the process and you will find that this foreign article is produced and sold for less than the mere element of material in the different products which they make. I appeal to the common-sense of Members of the House. What is the explanation of the fact that the maker of this translucent, decorative china—and as I say I do not in the least wish to decry it because it is a very beautiful thing—has to charge something like 13s. 2d. for an ordinary tea-set, whereas the vast quantities of ordinary tea-sets which you find in ordinary humble homes, can be got for a much smaller figure, namely 5s. or 6s. The explanation has nothing to do with the difference in labour conditions. It has to do with the fact that this Longton article, made out of this particular material and by these elaborate processes, is in the nature of things a much more expensive article to make. How can anybody who examines these figures—and I am quoting the figures which the applicants put forward as to their own costs—doubt that the gentleman who signed the Minority Report is well founded when he says:I regard the imports of felspar china as being entirely different in character from home-produced bone china, though it is true that as regards translucency design and use the two products might be deemed to be similar.He goes on to say:The costs of some of the materials used in England (in particular calcined bone and lead oxide) are much more expensive than the corresponding ingredients used in making the Continental product and, in view of this difference in the materials used, no comparison can be made as to whether Continental china is being sold at prices below those at which similar goods can be profitably manufactured in this country.I should like to know from the President of the Board of Trade, who has presumably considered all these points, what is wrong with that sentence? Assuming that the ordinary rules of arithmetic and people's ordinary common sense are to apply has the right hon. Gentleman the hardihood to say "I have studied the Minority Report of Mr. George Hayhurst 1060 and in reference to that sentence, I say upon examining it that it is not true." If it is true there is nothing left in this except a most preposterous attempt to get a tax upon an article which is cheap and of wide consumption and use, not in order to protect a thing which is similarly made but in order to protect a much more expensive, a much more elaborate, and, I quite admit, a much more delicate thing.
Let me go further. It was pointed out at the inquiry—and I presume the President of the Board of Trade, having read the shorthand notes, will know all about it—that there was a third article which was constantly being confused either with this bone-china which is so expensive, or with this felspar china which is so cheap. That is earthenware to which the hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman) referred just now. What is the good of saying that the cheapness of imported felspar tea sets is due to bad labour conditions abroad, when the British manufacturer of earthenware is able to produce very good and beautiful earthenware tea sets which will compete with this foreign china, perfectly well? I have the figures here and, whereas, in the case of felspar china, very largely made abroad, the cost of production of one of these tea sets is 3s. 1d., in the case of English earthenware, which is almost indistinguishable in appearance, the cost is 3s. 5d. Indeed, there was evidence at the inquiry, by English earthenware manufacturers who are outside the ring, that they could produce at a less cost. Will the right hon. Gentleman please observe also that the same workpeople who are in the same trade onions are employed by the English earthenware manufacturers and by the bone-china manufacturers and they are paid on a similar scale of wages.
Therefore, it is impossible to say that the difficulty which the bone-china manufacturers say they have in selling their china is due to the fact that their foreign rivals underpay their workpeople, because the British earthenware manufacturers, who are a far more important body in the Potteries, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) knows very well—a far bigger and more important body than the bone-china manufacturers—are 1061 able, perfectly well, to pay British trade union rates and to compete with that china from abroad. I do not require to delay the House or to complicate what is, in substance, a simple matter by delivering anything which could be called a lecture. I need only say that for 20 or 25 years of my life it has been my duty, in the course of my profession, to examine with a great deal of care shorthand notes of evidence, tables and statistics that have been prepared, and to consider, without the smallest heat or indignation, differences of opinion between one person who is trying to pronounce a judgment and another. I have never, in any experience I have ever had, seen material which more obviously supports the view of the minority, and is more plainly flouted and disregarded in the Report of the majority than in this case.
I simply cannot believe that an intelligent man like the President of the Board of Trade, or anybody else who tries to approach this thing without bias, can possibly say that the conclusions reached in the minority report, some of which I have read, are not absolutely justified by the material which was produced at the inquiry. This recommendation ought never to have been passed by the Board of Trade or the Treasury. If I am right in saying that the proved facts conclusively establish that the failure of the bone-china manufacturers to undersell felspar china has nothing to do with wages, then there is no justification for applying this Safeguarding of Industries method at all. It was one of the essential conditions laid down in the White Paper connected with the Safeguarding of Industries procedure that you should not recommend a duty and you should not impose a duty, unless it could be shown that the exceptional competition which was alleged arose from conditions which were so unfair as to be traced either to depreciation of currency, to subsidies or bounties, or to inferior conditions of employment of labour.
I want the House to observe this. The Committee unanimously agreed that depreciation of currency had nothing to do with it. The Committee unanimously agreed that subsidies and bounties had nothing to do with it. Therefore, unless it could be said that it was proved before this Committee that the difference 1062 of rates of wages in Czechoslovakia and this country enabled the foreign manufacturers to underbid, there is no ground whatever for allowing such a recommendation to appear in the Budget. I have already pointed out that the proposition that the difference in rates of wages had anything to do with it is pure nonsense. It would be easy to take up other points, and the report of the Majority tempts one to do so, because although made in very good faith, it is in many respects a most extraordinary misrepresentation of evidence. To take one example. It was pointed out, in the first place, that it was not true that the import of this foreign china was increasing to a point above the import before the War, and it is not so. The import before the War—in 1913 for example—was 341,000 cwts., and the average for the five years up to 1913 was 300,000, although there has been an increase since 1920, for reasons which have got nothing to do with the point at issue, and the amount in 1925 was 293,125 cwts.
The majority of the Committee most cheerfully print another figure for 1926. At the inquiry, as anyone can see who reads the shorthand notes, it was agreed that the year 1926 was not a fair year to take, for the reason that since the President of the Board of Trade announced his intention to set up a Committee for the purpose of inquiring whether there should not be a tax on this imported stuff, immense quantities of it came into this country. There is a second reason. 1926 was the year of the very serious stoppage in the coal trade. There is no article of ordinary utility in commerce which takes so much coal for the purpose of producing a given weight of manufactured article as this bone pottery. Therefore, when there was a coal stoppage in 1926, this bone china industry was practically brought to a standstill, and it was pointed out, and admitted, at the inquiry, that the figures of imports for 1926 could not possibly be a fair guide. Yet you have this Majority cheerfully putting these figures in their report, without giving the slightest warning that they are introducing figures which both sides agree were not a fair test. They do more. They introduce columns in which they give what they call "Production of Longton China in cwts." but they do not go on to say, as they 1063 ought, that when those figures were submitted to cross-examination, it appeared that the accountant who produced them was quite unable to verify them, that the only figures he had were not of weights at all, but of quantities produced, and it entirely depends whether you are producing small things like pepper-pots or big things like tea-pots. It was admitted there was considerable change in the fashion in the course of years and the figures produced did not in the least agree or correspond with the Board of Trade figures. No one can really examine the material which is available without being deeply impressed by the fact that the Minority Report is extremely difficult to gainsay or contradict, and it is made by a man who says, quite frankly, that the case sought to be made was not made at all.
There is one other matter. It does not seem to me, with all respect to the President of the Board of Trade, that these Committees under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, act in a really judicial spirit. I am not arguing that they should observe special forms and technicalities of law, but if you appoint anybody—I do not care who it is—to decide a matter in controversy, there are certain very simple rules which have to be observed as a mater of commonsense and good faith. I do not doubt that the lady and gentlemen who were appointed have been acting bona fide, but they have not been acting in what anyone would regard as a reasonably judicial spirit. Let me give two illustrations. At the beginning of this particular inquiry, the applicants intimated that they would be willing that their factories should be inspected, because it is essential in these inquiries to know whether the applicants are carrying on their business in a reasonably efficient manner, and that was a matter of very sharp controversy. Later on, the representatives of the opponents referred to this, whereupon the President very frankly said, "We have already been." That is to say, this tribunal, which had before it the very critical issue as to whether the applicants were carrying on their business efficiently, had gone without the knowledge of the opponents, and under the conduct of the applicants themselves, were shown such things as the applicants chose to show 1064 them, and came back again and sat There is no commercial arbitrator in this country, whose award would be allowed to stand if he had done that.
It is not a question of the forms of law at all. The point is that if anybody wants to hold an inquiry in a reasonably judicial spirit, the first rule to observe is that he must not take information from one side without telling the other what he has got and giving the other side the opportunity of reply. When it turned out, in the course of this inquiry, that that had happened, the opponents said, "Well, at any rate, I hope we may be allowed to go and see the same thing." That was refused, and the opponents have never till this day been allowed to see the things shown to the Committee by the applicants. It may be said that this is a secret process, and so on. An application was made by Mr. Comyns Carr, a perfectly well-known and highly respected King's Counsel, that he, at any rate, should be allowed to go, but the applicants entirely refused to allow the opponents or their counsel to be shown the things they had shown the Committee without the knowledge of the opponents. That is how the matter remained to the end.
I take the second point. The lady member—because, after all, it is this lady whose casting vote has decided whether there is to be a tax—[An HON. MEMBER: "Is she over 21?"] Yes, she is over 21. I see that the lady in all innocence blurted out the fact that she was supplied with some confidential documents by the Board of Trade bearing on the subject of the inquiry, and thereupon, not unnaturally, the opponents' side asked to be allowed to see them. "No," said the President, "this is a secret document." No doubt the President was in a difficulty. The result was that an hon. Member put a question to the President of the Board of Trade in this House, and the right hon. Gentleman expressed his regret, said he had directed that it should not occur again, and, in the meantime, the document was to be shown to the other side, as it was. It was a lot of material, apparently collected by the Overseas Trade Department. The Overseas Trade Department has not been very successful in previous inquiries in producing accurate information. Incidentally, I may say, it is a very curious thing that a Department 1065 which is supposed to exist for the purpose of promoting trade overseas, should be used for the purpose of providing information to stop things from coming overseas.
In any case, what is to be said of a go-as-you-please proceeding by which a Government Department does no wrong in providing a body, which ought to be quite judicial, with material which, as a matter of fact, they do not disclose to the opponents, and for which privilege is claimed until it is over-ruled? Are we in the House of Commons really going to say, "Here is this famous Safeguarding of Industries Act. It was recommended to us from the Treasury Bench as another method by which the House of Commons would have much better control over taxes." As a matter of fact it is adopted holus bolus by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will not even come here to listen to the Debate. It is perfectly plain that it is an attempt to get a tax to protect a very beautiful and special sort of china, which is not in competition with the china which is to be taxed, and the procedure which is followed, and in complete good faith, as a matter of fact is not being conducted in a reasonably judicial way. I repudiate altogether the idea that we should hand over matters of primary taxes to men who have no responsibility to the House of Commons. When the Treasury is going to put a tax on silk, it makes very elaborate inquiries, interviews people, forms its own judgment, and comes here and explains it, and takes any responsibility; but in this proceeding, up to this moment, we have not had a single word from any member of the Government to explain why they think this is proper. It seems to me, on many points, to be wholly incompatible with the public interest, and, in some respects, nothing more than a mere confusion on the subject of figures and facts. The present proposal is to tax both translucent and vitrified pottery.
This Committee had no evidence at all before it on the subject. Going entirely beyond its terms of reference, without ever calling for any information, it has been pleased to say, "Besides putting a tax on translucent pottery, we propose to put a tax on vitrified china." Who was given an opportunity of furnishing evidence about it? I hold in my hand the very plate on which I got my lunch 1066 to-day. On the back of it I see it is labelled "Vitrified." It is not china at all; it is earthenware, and, as the hon. member opposite said, nowadays there is quite a lot of earthenware which is being vitrified, which means, I suppose, nothing more than that it is a material so treated that even inside the glaze the stuff is such that it will not take a stain. Here is this Committee going outside its terms of reference and cheerfully adding this to the thing with which it was asked to deal. Still more extraordinary, the Committee says on page 18.We have considered the possibility of a specific duty and have come to the conclusion that a duty of 28s. per cwt. would be approximately equal to an ad valorem duty of 33⅓ per cwt. on the main classes of pottery.Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me who told the Committee so? Where is the evidence and the calculations which show it is so? I have looked through the shorthand notes and made inquiries, and there is not a single word in the inquiry which would have given them that figure. As a matter of fact, it is a ludicrous error. I have had quite a number of communications about this. Take this, for example. Here is a well-known house, Messrs. Woolworth and Company. It is a very good instance to take, because they are dealing with some 250 branch retail shops. They say, take a comparatively ordinary staple line in china, and if you take thin tea-sets, you will get a consignment for £10 4s. 2d. and the tax as at present proposed, 28s. a cwt., will work out at £5 2s., which is almost exactly 50 per cent. But, they say, if you will take a thick cup and saucer, the kind that you will get in the kitchen or in the poorest homes, you will find that you can buy an almost similar weight, rather more, for £5 45. 2d., but it weighs rather more, and the tax on that will be £5 10s. Here is this precious Committee recommending its 28s. a cwt., and, as a matter of fact, it is not putting on a tax of 33⅓ per cent. at all, but, in the case of the simple, thick, coarse, rough ware, which is presumably principally used in very humble homes, it is actually adding something like 100 per cent. duty. I do ask the House of Commons to exercise that function, which we all of us claim to exercise at times, and to say whether these considerations are not such as make it our duty to urge 1067 that this particular impost should not be put upon this pottery. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, after his first Budget, in one of his delightful and eloquent passages, that that Budget wasthe most delightful hamper, the most overflowing cornucopia of luxuries, the most delectable and carefully-chosen repast that ever was laid upon the table of the nation by a British Administration.That was about two years ago. Only two days ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer, at a time when he was attending to his duties under the Budget, was assuring the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) that one of the great ambitions of his life was to secure something in the direction of a free breakfast table. When you look at the White Paper of the President of the Board of Trade, you will find that it puts in that the Safeguarding of Industries procedure must not be used to put any tax on an article of food or drink. But these people, though they will not tax the meat, tax the plate you eat the meat from. They will not use the Safeguarding of Industries method for taxing a liquid, even the most innocent liquid, but they will tax any vessels made out of common china in which such liquid can be put. Instead of using the involved language of the Resolution, aboutarticles of translucent pottery or of vitrified pottery, being either articles suitable for use in connection with the serving of food or drink or component parts of such articles,let me for a moment just use homely English about it. There is a list at the end of this White Paper of what this really means. Here is what we are being asked to tax, among other things: Tea sets, dinner sets, breakfast sets, cups and saucers of all sizes, egg-cups, butter dishes, teapots, toast racks, bread and butter plates, jugs, plates of all sizes, soup tureens, cruets, mugs, all sizes and kinds, with one or more handles, etc. As far as I know, there is only one thing in the list which has escaped. These applicants, who were nothing if not bold, since they had got the right to apply for a tax on any article of table ware, included in the list flower vases, apparently under the argument that, after all, you put a flower vase on the table. You might just as well try to tax the Mace.
The truth is that this is a particularly odious form of tax. It 1068 puts, and deliberately puts, the heaviest burden upon the poorest person and the cheapest article. It is really a cruel tax, and unless it is justified up to the hilt by a series of facts and figures which I, for my part, cannot find, I cannot conceive that it is the duty of the House of Commons to do anything but to vote that it should be rejected.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
All those in this House, and they are many, who feel that the very close procedure under the White Paper bears perhaps unduly hardly on manufacturers, will welcome the speech which the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) has just delivered. He has hitherto said that before a duty is proposed to the House, there should be a careful and an exhaustive inquiry, but he has come down to the House to-day—and he is supported in this by one of the hon. Members above the Gangway—saying: "We do not want any more of these inquiries. What we want in future is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the President of the Board of Trade, and the Cabinet should make up their minds as to what duties should be put into the Budget of the year, that, as a Government, they should justify those duties, and that then the House should vote upon them." That is an argument which will indeed be welcomed by a number of my hon. Friends below the Gangway on this side of the House, for it is only in deference to a certain reading of our pledge that we have gone in for this system of exhaustive inquiries, but if, when these inquiries are held, the Opposition is going to say to us, "What is the use of these inquiries; why cannot you come forward as a Government and justify, as a Government, the duties you propose?" then I think hon. Members on this side are quite entitled to say that, if the whole of this exhaustive procedure is to be treated in that way, the Government are fully entitled to reconsider their position. If a duty should be proposed which has not gone through all this machinery of inquiry, it certainly will not rest with the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley or his colleagues or associates, or with hon. and right hon. Members above the Gangway opposite, to say that we are doing anything which is improper.
If any complaint were to be made as to the way we are fulfilling our pledge, 1069 I should have thought it would have come from hon. Members on this side far more reasonably than from hon. and right hon. Members opposite. Inquiry after inquiry has been turned down by Committees, and Members on this side have accepted that without a word, yet we are told to-day, because there has been an inquiry, and a majority of the Committee have reported in favour of a duty—
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The hon. Member is very gallant indeed in making attacks on people who are not present, and his characteristic courtesy will have the appreciation of his colleagues, I am sure. I remember another case, where there was a majority against a duty and a minority in favour of it—the case of superphosphates. What would hon. Members opposite have said if we had come down to this House and said: "There is a minority in favour of this duty, but we are going to impose it"? How eloquent would have been the exposition given us by the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris)! He would not have produced one article from under his seat, but dozens of articles, in order to show us how wrong we were in our action. It does not really rest with him to say that we are not entitled to proceed on the findings of a majority of a Committee. I am quite prepared to defend these duties in the House, not only on the findings of the Committee, but on the plain facts of this industry, which are apparent to everybody from the trade returns, and which are common knowledge. But before I come to the broad merits of the question, I will deal very briefly with one or two points that were raised by previous speakers.
The hon. Member who spoke first said it was wrong to put on a specific duty, but a specific duty is exactly what was asked for by the opponents. It was the opponents who said that an ad valorem duty would bear unfairly, by putting too high a tax on the highest priced articles, in which competition was not so keen, 1070 and, therefore, the last people who would be grateful to the hon. Member for his advocacy of an ad valorem as opposed to a specific duty are the people who opposed this at the inquiry. It is quite true that in some cases it will be somewhat above. The figures supplied to me show that in the case of teacups and saucers, it is estimated that a 33⅓ per cent. ad valorem duty would be 23s. 8d. per cwt. but it is 28s. per cwt. with a specific duty; but on tea sets, with which the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley dealt, a 33⅓ per cent. ad valorem duty would be 40s. per cwt., whereas the specific duty is 28s., and on plates, which were not only cited but produced in this House, the specific duty is 3s. per dozen, and an ad valorem duty works out at 5s. Therefore, taking it by and large, I do not think it can be said that the specific duty is very unfair as an average, as compared with an ad valorem duty.
§ Sir J. SIMON
Would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to circulate as a Parliamentary Paper the document from which he has just taken those extracts? Then we should be able to see why our information is different from his.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
There are numbers of cases which can be produced. I am not prepared to circulate a mass of Parliamentary Papers.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
We can argue these duties in one of two ways. We can either argue them on the report of the Committee, or we can argue them on the responsibility of the Government, but why should we be put in the dock and pilloried whenever we propose a duty which has gone through all the procedure of an inquiry in order to keep within the terms of the Prime Minister's pledge? It was a pledge by the Prime Minister at the last election that he was going to use this policy where industries needed protection, and I repudiate the suggestion that we are always to be put in the dock whenever a duty is proposed, and whenever we carry out the positive side of our pledge, which is far more import ant to the working classes of this country than the negative side, of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is so fond. We are told that the people working in this industry are opposed to the 1071 duty, but on what authority is that stated? Has the hon. Gentleman been down to the factories and asked? Is he aware that in factory after factory workmen have signed petitions in favour of this duty? I suppose that when he is told that, he will change his mind and he will say, "Well, they may be in favour of it in this particular industry, but working men in general are not in favour of it."
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
Is it not a fact that the organised workmen in the trade definitely decided not to be represented if the employers made an application?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I am not aware of that. What I am aware of is that in a very large number of cases the workmen in the factories, I am told, have signed unanimous petitions in favour of this duty. I would be very much surprised if the hon. Gentleman would have a successful tour to Longton speaking in favour of Czechoslovakian and German pottery as against the pottery which they make there. [Interruption.] It is not the least weak at all. I am proposing to the House to-day a duty upon this pottery. The hon. Member says the workmen in Longton do not want a duty upon German and Czechoslovakian pottery. Let him go down to Longton and make a series of speeches explaining to the workmen in the Longton factories how valuable it will be to them, how much the unemployment, which is very serious, will be improved, if his policy succeeds and the policy of the Government is defeated.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Would the Minister tell us whether the organised workpeople did appear before the Committee?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
Really, if I am being challenged on this, I say, as a proposition, that if you put this duty upon this ware—
§ Miss LAWRENCE rose—
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
Let me pursue my argument. If you put on this duty, you will undoubtedly improve the prospects of this trade, and undoubtedly the workmen will be in favour of it.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
Certainly. If the hon. Lady says that the workmen who are employed in competition with German and Czechoslovakian workmen are anxious for this competition to go on—
§ Miss LAWRENCE
On a point of explanation. I did not say whether the workmen were anxious or not anxious. I asked the Minister whether the workmen came before the Committee.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
Really, how ridiculous this is. Here is a claim made from the other side—[Interruption]—I am in possession of the House—a claim that the workmen are opposed to this duty.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain FitzRoy)
Three hon. Members took an hour and three-quarters in attacking the Minister, and surely it is only fair to allow him to reply.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I am quite content to let it rest at that, and when the opportunity of ultimately taking a decision comes, in the Longton area, it will be seen on which side the interests of the workers lie.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
We were told that the export trade was going to be prejudiced in some way, but no one explained how the export trade was going to be prejudiced. The export trade is of two kinds. The export trade is in either very high-grade specialities, which are not affected at all, and which, because of their particularly high grade, do still find their way into many of the markets of the world, Or in lower-grade china, where we are in difficulties. I ask the House to remember that although our export trade and our production of this china has gone down, there is one series of export markets in which we have been steadily holding our position, and that is in the markets of our Dominions, where a preference is given to us under their tariffs.
I draw this analogy from Germany—if we are to succeed in the export trade it will not be by still further handicapping our own production here, but we shall succeed, as they have done, by having a protected home market for this 1073 trade and getting larger production, because if we have that larger production we shall have a better chance of selling in those other markets. The case for this duty is, I think, plainly established on the facts, which are not in dispute and do not require a meticulous examination of evidence. I have read pages of evidence of this and other inquiries. The broad, simple facts stand out. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has had to go through the evidence in order to find this and that item which will support his particular contention.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I shall be quite content if my right hon. Friend will take the Minority Report, and will say which of the paragraphs in it he is in a position to disprove.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I am coming to the Minority Report. Naturally, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is very keen to cite whatever authority is in his favour. I have often heard him in this House and in the Courts, and the weaker his case the more he concentrates, naturally, on the one single authority which can support him. He would not be the great advocate he is if he did not do so.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I was just going to say there is no one in this House who is more grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend; but he had a far better case there than he has got to-day. I am going to cite two other facts in defence of this proposal, which he has made light of. Unemployment is serious. In 1925 the unemployment in this branch of the industry was something like 16 per cent. I will not take 1926, which was, of course, an abnormal year. When unemployment is bad in this particular branch, it not only affects that branch of the industry, but the whole pottery industry; the pottery industry is still more upset. Imports are undoubtedly abnormal. There is no question that they are well above the pre-War average. They were steadily increasing through 1926, and reached a total of 365,000 cwts., and I will give the House what has happened in the first quarter of this year. In the first quarter of this year they reached the figure of 128,000 cwts.—that is for one quarter alone. Pre-War there were about 1074 300,000 cwts. for the whole year, and now there are 128,000 cwts. in one quarter. But it is not quite fair to make a comparison on the pre-War figures alone, although even if we take the pre-War standard as absolute and compare it with the rate of import to-day, the rate of import is higher than pre-War. I am often reminded by hon. Members opposite that we must take the relative proportion in this matter—must not take merely the imports, but must see what the trade at large is doing. Let us look at that. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman has proved the fragile character of the translucent ware he has introduced into the Chamber. Let us take the true parallel. The true parallel here is the import trade, in conjunction with the general trend of home production. When the question is looked at in that way, the argument is much more in our favour. Whereas the home production before the War was about 258,000 cwts. a year, the home production in 1926—this is not based upon the stoppage period, it is based on the four months during which there was no stoppage and they were working as fully as they could—was at the rate of only 183,000 cwts. a year.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I really think it is better that we should pursue this as a Debate and not as a conversazione. I have given way several times. When you compare the trend of production with the trend of import, you not only find that actually our imports are greater than they were before the War, but you find that the home production has gone down and, as I have said, is held up only because of the preference given to us in Dominion markets, and you find that, relatively, an adverse importation is far more serious than appears from the figure itself. Competition is coming from markets—there is not the least doubt about it—where the conditions are far less favourable to the workmen than they are in this country. Wages are lower and the hours are longer. I need not ask what are the industrial relations in this industry. It is one of the industries where the industrial relations are extraordinarily good. There is a Joint Industrial Council, and there has not been an industrial dispute 1075 with a stoppage for 25 years. It is just the kind of industry which should receive the attention, and the sympathetic attention, of Members of this House.
Really only two arguments are advanced against this proposal. The first is that the article is not of a similar character. That was the argument advanced by one hon. Member above the Gangway opposite and reinforced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We had an abstruse scientific exposition which showed that whereas the English make of china is made of china clay and bone ash that foreign china is made of this clay, or this china stone, and felspar instead of bone ash, and that therefore the two things are not similar. Scientifically, that is so; but what about the practice? What does an ordinary buyer look for in an ordinary china tea service? There is not one buyer in a thousand who inquires whether a particular type of cup he is going to buy is made of felspar china or bone china. If I were a betting man, I would adventure a small sum that even so great an expert as the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not know which was the bone china cup and which the felspar china cup out of these two cups (exhibited). I do not believe that he would guess right six times out of 10; and I am perfectly certain in the case of the ordinary individual who goes into a shop for this pottery the last thing in the world he would ask is whether he is getting felspar china or bone china.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is always in favour of what he calls cheapness at the expense of employment in this country; but that argument, which sounded very good when he advanced it 20 years ago, is getting to be less appreciated in this country as one duty after another has gone on and the prices for the articles protected, instead of rising, have steadily 1076 decreased. Gloves, motor cars, and many other articles could be quoted as examples. The only other argument which has been advanced against this proposal is that the industry is not efficient. Well, as against this statement of the right hon. Gentleman I am bound to say that I prefer independent experts like Mr. Bernard Moore, or Dr. Mellor, head of the pottery school. I think their evidence as to efficiency is probably as valuable as his.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to do me an injustice. I have made no statement whatever on my own responsibility—I have made no statement of any prejudiced sort at all. I have simply called the attention of the House to some of the evidence that was before the Committee and the way in which the Committee acquired some of their information, and I am merely waiting to know whether what I have said about that is untrue.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
Of course, I accept what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said. He has merely given quotations, but I venture to think, as opposed to any quotations which may have been given by anybody, that the general knowledge which people possess of china, and the common knowledge that in this country we have better material, and although we have not the felspar and it is quite natural that one form of manufacture should develop in one country and another form in another country owing to the conditions which prevail in those countries which are favourable to the production of those two articles, looking to our positive pledges that we would come to the rescue of those trades, and looking to the general trend of imports which have steadily risen I say on the responsibility of the Government, let alone the Committee which considered this question, we are not only entitled but bound to propose this duty to the House, and I unhesitatingly present it.
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I am simply amazed at the reply which has just been delivered by the President of the Board of Trade, because I thought we were going to hear from him his positive case in favour of this proposal. To my surprise, he has not made the slightest 1077 attempt to deal with the argument that has been used in this Debate; in fact, instead of making that attempt, he has shown the extreme discomfort which he feels by the ill-temper and neurotic excitement which he showed at the end of his speech. The only serious argument which the right hon. Gentleman has attempted to bring before the House is a criticism of the actual figures of imports which were given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon). I notice that the figures upon which the President relies are figures of quantity. I venture to assert that there have been few Debates in which the presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been so needed by the Government. I do not know what the Chancellor's enthusiasm is for this duty, but, without any enthusiasm and without any belief in the duty, I am sure the right hon. Gentleman could make a case for it much better than the miserable fiasco to which we have just listened.
Let me take the only serious attempt at argument which the President has made. The right hon. Gentleman has dealt with the figures which have been quoted during the previous hour-and-a-half, but I notice that he will not deal with figures of value. If you take figures of value, they give proof beyond all doubt that the proportion of imports to our home production was lower in 1925 than in 1913. The right hon. Gentleman insists upon taking figures of quantity, although it has been proved beyond doubt that figures of quantity are no test, because they represent a miscellaneous assortment of articles. The President takes the year 1926, and he takes the first four months of 1926, a period so short that obviously no conclusions can be based upon it. When the right hon. Gentleman has considered that four months of 1926, he then takes the year 1926 as a whole. Those who made this trade application, and the chairman who signed the majority report, state that to take the year 1926 is grossly unfair for any judicial examination of this case, because, owing to the coal stoppage, the production of Longton china was so diminished that the gap had to be filled by an excess of imports in that year, and consequently the one serious argument of the President reveals that he took a calculation which the applicants themselves regard as unfair. Therefore, he shows 1078 himself to be a stronger and more prejudiced party in this issue than the men who applied for the inquiry.
I am not going into the elaborate arguments which have been brought before the House, and I am not going to speak for three-quarters of an hour. The President said that he would like this discussion to be confined to the broad facts of the position, and I am going to put forward those broad facts in order that the House may see how the arguments against this proposal have been met by the speech from the Treasury Bench. The only fact on which the President relies is that the actual production of Longton china is less to-day than it was in 1913. There has been a diminished output, but that diminution is not as great as in many other trades to which no duty has been granted. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence shown that the diminution of output is due to the importation of china from abroad, or that a single extra man in the Longton china trade will be put into work by a tariff which raises the price of foreign china or keeps it out of the country, and that is the point.
What has been revealed by this Debate is this broad fact, to which no answer has been given, that the Longton china is a luxury article, appealing to a very limited class of the population. It is more of a luxury article to-day than it was before the War, because the price of Longton china has increased upon an average by 300 or 400 per cent., and out of all proportion to the price of other articles of ordinary consumption. I will go over the figures. It has been stated that the price of tea sets have increased from 3s. 6d. to 13s. 2d. As a matter of fact, the luxury character of this trade is really revealed in these tables, and a curious feature of the trade is that, while the output in this country has diminished, the export trade in Longton china has maintained its position ever since the War. The explanation is that the export trade is mainly to America. Longton china is bought by Americans who live in a country which has not felt the trade depression which has existed here. The point to which this fact leads is that so long as the Longton china trade continues to be a luxury article it is bound—
§ Sir WILLIAM PERRING
Does the hon. Member suggest that when this article was 3s. 9d. it was in the nature of a luxury article?
§ Mr. LEES-SMITH
I have deliberately said that it has become far more a luxury article since the War. I am afraid the hon. Member does not see my point. I quoted the 3s. 9d. set in order to show that it was a cheap set then, and it has become a luxury article to-day. The second broad fact is that the imports of china into this country consist of many articles, which, although they are called china, are in fact articles which are made by a different process, which are sold to a different public, and which appeal to a different market. The articles which come from abroad consist of felspar china, and, as the inquiry revealed, the cost of the raw material of bone china is about 4½ times the cost of the raw material under the felspar system of manufacture. Look at the position. You get two systems of manufacture. The cost of one is 4½ times the cost of the other, and, that being so, the question we ask is: "What is the use and what is the sense of imagining that you can plaster a tariff across this gap which will bridge the enormous difference which must exist between the ultimate cost of the two articles?" The fact is that the price of the two is so divergent that no operation which this House can conceive will bring them within a price at which they can be sold to people in the same market.
The next broad fact is one which I will bring out, because it has not been made with any fulness during this Debate. The remedy for the Longton china trade, if they seek a remedy, is to adopt the methods adopted on the Continent and introduce a system of felspar china production in this country. Even the expert witnesses state that there is no reason whatever why this should not be done. The Continental producers have not a single advantage in the production of felspar china which is not equally to be found in this country. The only reason given during the inquiry was that, apparently, some of the manufacturers who put forward the application argued that there was a lack of capital in the trade for the necessary expenses of this great transfer in method. If there is a lack 1080 of capital, what have the manufacturers done with the enormous profits they are known to have made during the War and in the years immediately following the War? The tariff will be useless. The fact is that, tariff or no tariff, it is impossible, by the method of production of bone china, to compete for the cheap and inexpensive trade, and, if manufacturers wish to recover their position, they will not do so by hanging about the Board of Trade, or by these political victories, or by votes in the Lobby of this House; they can only do so by following the methods that have always been open to them to make an article that can be sold at a popular price.
There is one last fact with which, again, the right hon. Gentleman did not attempt to deal. He showed us two cups, and he challenged us to tell him the difference between the one which was made of bone china and the one which was made of felspar china. I have not any cups with me, but I would say this, that anybody could show the President of the Board of Trade two cups and challenge him to tell the difference between the cup which is made of felspar china and the cup which is made of ordinary earthenware. In the diningroom of this House there is crockery made of felspar china and crockery made of earthenware, and I venture to say there is only one Member of this House, who happens to be connected with the trade, who could tell the difference between the two. What is the meaning of that? It means that it is possible to compete with felspar china in this country. The earthenware manufacturers have done so. It is possible by the ordinary development of progressive methods in the industry. The earthenware industry, apparently, is one of the most progressive industries in the country. It has succeeded, with the same wages and the same trade unions as the bone china industry, in developing a product which can hold its own with the foreign product, with the consequence that the only serious competitor with felspar china to-day is the earthenware industry.
What has happened is perfectly clear. The import of felspar china was lower in 1925 than in 1920. What has taken its place? Its place has not been taken 1081 by bone china, but by earthenware produced by modern methods, which the bone china manufacturers refuse to introduce into their own trade. The result of this tariff is very clear. It is not going to help the bone china manufacturers, because they are making for a market that this tariff will not touch. It will probably help the earthenware manufacturers, but the earthenware manufacturers did not ask for a tariff. They have got their tariff by putting the bone china manufacturers in front of them, and the final result of this duty is that we reach the scandalous and ridiculous position that a tariff intended for a luxury trade ends by putting a duty on an article of common consumption, which is going to raise the price of one of the elements in the cost of living of every family in the land.
§ Mr. REMER
There was one passage in the speech of the President of the Board of Trade which I welcome very sincerely. That was the passage in which he referred to some Members of the Conservative party who are getting very tired of the safeguarding procedue. What happens in these cases, and has been happening during the last two or three years? An application is made; after great difficulty an inquiry is granted; the application is opposed by the agents of various foreign interests who employ, not only junior counsel, but King's Counsel as well—in this case there were a King's Counsel and a junior counsel, whereas the applicants could only afford a junior counsel; and when an application is successful—and let it be noticed that applications have only been successful in five or six cases, as against many that have been unsuccessful — when the application is successful, the members of the Committee who have given a favourable verdict have to meet in this House violent and vitriolic abuse such as we have heard from the Opposition this afternoon. I venture to say that, the sooner the safeguarding machinery is wiped out, and the Government can put on the duties they think should be put on without any more fuss or bother, the better.
If it were necessary to make attacks upon the Committee, it would be quite easy for me to make an attack upon the gentleman who signs the Minority Report. Mr. George Hayhurst is a 1082 director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society. The Co-operative Wholesale Society have a factory where they make pottery themselves in Longton, and when Mr. Hayhurst visited Longton, the only factory which he visited was that occupied by the Co-operative Wholesale Society; and I am informed on very good authority that that factory is the very worst and most inefficient factory that there is in the whole pottery trade.
I would like to refer to one or two of the statements that have been made from the Opposition benches. The first is that the reason why the pottery trade is quiet is because their price is too high. On several occasions during the last two or three years, since there has been a slump in trade, the pottery trade have reduced their prices, but the reduction in prices has not resulted in increased work for the people in the potteries. They are still working about two days a week, and, as the President of the Board of Trade has stated, there is considerable unemployment. It is well to emphasise what this means, not only as regards prices in the industry, but also as regards the export trade. It means that the standing charges are just the same on the factory whether it is working full time or short time. That in itself increases the cost of production in the factory, and makes the prices higher, and who can possibly say there can be a reduction in price unless the factory can get on to full employment? That is the only means by which the price can be reduced, and which our exports can be increased. A further statement was made that the manufucturers who were the applicants in this case refused their balance sheets. That statement is not correct. The statement was made at the last minute by Mr. Comyns Carr, the counsel for the opponents, and the manufacturers made it quite clear at that moment that they had never been asked until the last minute to produce their balance sheets. The Chairman of the Committee stated that Mr. Comyns Carr's statement was most unfair, and Mr. Comyns Carr withdrew the statement in face of what the Chairman had said.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
Does the hon Gentleman know that the Member of the Committee who signed the Minority Report made the same mistake?
§ Mr. MORRISON
The hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. Has he noticed that it was not only Mr. Comyns Carr, but a Member of the Committee who signed the Minority Report, who made that mistake?
§ Mr. REMER
I was not aware that Mr. Hayhurst had made the statement, but my point is that it was not justified. Reference has been made to the wages in this industry, and I think that that is the whole crux of the problem in the pottery industry. I have here a list, taken from the evidence and certified by a chartered accountant, of the wages which are being paid in various skilled industries competing with the pottery trade. They are given for three different areas. In Thuringia, the basic rate for a skilled male is 8d. an hour. His actual earnings, because there is a certain amount of piecework, are equal to 10d. an hour. In the case of a. skilled female, the basic rate is 4¾d. and the actual earnings are 5½d. In Bavaria, the skilled male gets 7¾d. as a basic rate, and his actual earnings per hour are 9½d. The skilled female gets 4¾d., and the actual earnings are 5d.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Would the hon. Member say where he got those figures, seeing that they are violently contradicted by paragraph 36 of page 14 of the Majority Report?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Would the hon. Member allow me to quote from it, as it is of considerable importance? It gives figures which are violently in contradiction with those that the hon. Member has just read.
§ Mr. REMER
I will read that paragraph. I think it does not do in the slightest what the hon. Member says it does. It says:It was established that in Czechoslovakia the 48-hour week was strictly observed, but the average wage of an adult workman was stated to be about 30s. per week. According to evidence given, the wages in certain German factories were 22s. 10d. per week, or 5.71d. per hour, and 28s. 10d. per week, or 7.2d. per hour, according to the district in which the particular factory concerned was situated, and in Czechoslovakia as low as 21s. 8d. per week, or 5.4d. per hour.1084 I think that shows quite conclusively that the wages in Czechoslovakia and Germany are just about 50 per cent. less than they are in Longton.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I quite agree. What I wanted to get at was where, the hon. Member got his figure of 9d. per hour, which upsets these figures.
§ Mr. REMER
I do not think it upsets them; I think they are practically the same thing. The evidence was given by Mr. Milligan, a chartered accountant, who was giving evidence before the Committee of Inquiry. I believe there was some slight variation. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) referred to the fact that there is in those two countries a certain amount of payment for holidays. How could one really find a more stupid and silly argument? If a man gets payment for two weeks' holidays, as he does in those countries, it is the equivalent of an increase in wages of less than ½ per cent., and he is receiving wages 50 per cent. less than in his country.
This Debate will be interesting for one reason in particular. We know exactly now where the Labour party stands. They are arguing and voting in favour of cheap importation from Czechoslovakia and Germany. They are voting in favour of the people of this country being driven to the Unemployment Exchanges, and in favour of a reduction of the standard of life of the British working people. It is said that this duty will not make any difference to the pottery industry. I have met some pottery people this week, and they tell me that already, since the Chancellor's statement only a few days ago, orders that were previously going to foreign countries are coming to Longton, and the very people who were so vehement in their opposition before the inquiry are starting to place orders with the Longton factories. They also give to this House, as they gave to the Chairman of the Committee, their solemn promise that this will not result in any material rise in the price of the commodity. I feel very strongly that this fact should be brought home to the working people, that those who claim to be standing on behalf of the working people and protecting the interests of the trade unions are taking action in the House of 1085 Commons which means a reduction in their standard of life and in their ability to compete with foreign workpeople.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The hon. Member who has just sat down has made the same speech we have heard in favour of Tariff Reform for 25 years, but I think even he would admit that this House has never listened to so strong a case against a particular tariff as that made to-day. The deadly dissection of this scheme by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) was unanswerable, and has naturally been unanswered. But there is one point on which I am beginning to agree with the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer), and that is that the sooner the Safeguarding of Industries fraud is dropped the better. When it was first introduced, it was described by the right hon. Gentleman who ought to be on that bench, and is not at the moment, as an admirable system for really discovering whether an unfortunate industry required protection. After an impartial inquiry had reported, the whole of the Cabinet were to consider the matter and to decide whether the Report of the Committee, if in favour of protection, was to be acted upon. What has been the result? Industry after industry has come before this Safeguarding Committee, and, curiously enough, on inquiry being made, industry after industry has failed to prove its case. So the machine has been oiled, the tribunal has been selected with greater care and has acted, as the right hon. Gentleman has proved, with less and less judicial moderation and with more and more of a partisan flavour. I cannot imagine a better President for this Safeguarding Tribunal than the hon. Member for Macclesfield. He would be an ideal Chairman for the President of the Board of Trade. When he has made his Report, having put both sides to considerable expense and paid no attention to the arguments, the President of the Board of Trade will be able to debarrass himself of any critical colleague on that bench and face the world alone in replying to the desperate protests of the rest of the House of Commons with the usual screed of the imaginary virtues of Tariff Reform without an attempt to reply in detail to any single argument.
We listened to the President of the Board of Trade—I wish he were here— 1086 in growing desperation. We kept on hoping that ultimately he would come to the case, but he never did. Instead of replying to any argument of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) or the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley, instead of even considering them for a moment, he gave the two crowning arguments with which he had no doubt been supplied in favour of this duty. One was that Longton in future would vote Tory and the other was that china would be cheaper. If these two prophecies—they could hardly be called arguments—are going to hang together, there is a bad time coining for the Tory party. I wonder whether the hon. Member for Macclesfield has noticed one peculiarity about this Debate. One is that not a single Member for North Staffordshire has dared to get up and support the Government.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
That may excuse the hon. Member's speech, but I cannot think how he had constituents who allowed him to come to the House uncoached in the question. This Measure, first of all, must not be taken as protection for the china trade only. Do not let the right hon. Gentleman imagine that he is only going to win Longton on this question. If felspar china coming into this country is taxed the benefit is going to be felt not only by the china trade in Longton but by the whole pottery industry in North Staffordshire. The pottery manufacturers there will benefit almost precisely to the same extent as the china manufacturers. The competing article will be kept out, and I have no doubt there will be a certain sense of gratitude among some of those manufacturers for this duty. Let it he said to their credit that the earthenware manufacturers, who will, I have no doubt, be able to get rather better prices for their goods, had the grace not to come and ask for it. They were not represented before this Committee any more than the workers were represented. Gratitude for a thing that has not been asked for very often 1087 degenerates into contempt. The pottery trade know quite well that they can manage on their own. I do not want anyone to imagine that I am posing as an exceptionally virtuous person who has an interest in the business and is yet going to vote against protecting that interest. As a matter of fact, my financial interests in the business are so small as to be negligible, but we all, sitting for North Staffordshire at any rate, have the knowledge that this is a protection of the North Staffordshire interests, and yet we are going to vote against it, not because we do not think there will be a little bigger dividend for some manufacturers in the district, and possibly even a little more employment for some of the workers, but because we believe no district and no trade has a right to prosper at the expense of the community.
Let the right hon. Gentleman face these figures. This duty is to bring in £150 this year and possibly £200,000 in future years. That is not the whole story. That is not what the people of the country are going to pay. Of this £200,000, perhaps some £50,000 would be the cost of collecting the duty, reducing the benefit to the Exchequer. But what we have to look at is what the community as a whole is going to pay owing to this protective tariff. Not £200,000, but more like £600,000 will be paid. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Because prices will rise. [An HON. MEMBER: "They have not done in other cases."] On Monday I addressed a Chamber of Commerce in North Staffordshire, and I had instances given me even there. A china manufacturer said to me, "I have been waiting for this. I postponed my tender for a certain contract. It would have been 18s. if this had not gone through. I shall get 21s. now." Knowing full well that the china trade has a complete ring, obviously they would not have pressed for a tariff unless they were going to reap a benefit from it. They are not merely going to get larger orders, but better prices. Certain manufacturers will benefit, and the whole community will pay. The community will not merely pay £200,000 into His Majesty's Exchequer, but another £400,000 into private pockets.
Then let us observe that of all the protective duties which have ever been suggested 1088 this is undoubtedly the worst. The President of the Board of Trade has accepted blindfold the Report of that Committee, apparently without reading the Minority Report, as a godsend, without permitting the Treasury to bring their critical brain to bear upon it, and has put a duty of 28s. per cwt. on these imported goods, knowing full well that that would mean a duty—the "Manchester Guardian" put it as high as 150 per cent.—on the coarse china used by people of moderate incomes, and on the stuff that competes with what we produce the duty is practically negligible. Hon. Members will see at once why I oppose this. For this stuff that the common people use, this common felspar china, they will have to pay 100 per cent. more, or, according to the figures supplied by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), 73 to 75 per cent. They will have to pay the heavy duty.
The President of the Board of Trade, blindfold, has accepted the worst form of Protection, that form which puts the heaviest penalty on the poor and practically no burden on the people who buy the expensive forms of china. It is really Conservatism run mad. This is Protection such as Macclesfield and no other place in England can stand. Protests against this form of Protection made in this House are always replied to in the same way as the right hon. Gentleman has replied to them to-day. We saw for one short moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer looking round the door. He came in, wondering whether it was all over but, finding that it was not, he left it to the President of the Board of Trade. If the right hon. Gentleman will only listen to the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) and myself in our humble petition to him he would scrap this Safeguarding of Industries which is now becoming a farce and put questions of tariffs into the hands of the Treasury, so that we can have the British Treasury scrutinising these matters instead of these fancy committees, and the British Chancellor of the Exchequer giving back argument for argument. Then, I feel certain, the trade of the country, even the Pottery manufacturers of North Staffordshire, will in the future he more grateful to him than they are likely to be for this absurd duty to-day.
§ Mr. LAMB
The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) said he preferred broad facts. I presume he meant broad facts as against figures. I entirely agree. I will try to prove later on that figures may be very deceptive in this particular case. It is to the broad facts that I wish to call the attention of the House. As a matter of fact, before the year 1922 there was very little or no unemployment in the Staffordshire pottery area, but since 1922 the great and disastrous fact as far as the workers are concerned is that unemployment has been so rife that practically they have only been working two and three days a week. Those are facts which no amount of figures can disprove, consequently I think they should carry much more weight with this House than figures which can be made to speak in two ways. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), who has now left the House, preferred, I believe, to rely very much more on economic theory than upon fact, and he discussed for quite a long time the merits, or demerits, as he thinks, of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. As a matter of fact, I wonder what the workers in his district will think when they read his speech and his admission that the effect of this tax is likely to create more employment in that area, and when he said that in spite of that very fact he is now going to vote against the possibility of further employment for the people in his particular area.
It has been said by several Members previously that the workers in the pottery industry did not support the application that was made to the Committee. It is quite true. It is a fact, and I am not going to deny it, that the organised industry did not support the application, but I can say with absolute truth that very large numbers of workers in this industry who happen to be my constituents have approached me and said that they are anxious that this Safeguarding Duty should be given to their industry. It may possibly be that the representative of the organised workers' associations in this House will get up and say what is the attitude of the workers and why they did not support the application. It remains to be seen, of course, whether that statement will be made in this House. All I want to say is, that 1090 whatever is the reason why the organised workers as an association did not support the application, individuals who are members of that organisation have told me in numerous cases that they are absolutely in favour of it and are very desirous that it should become law. I could have brought a very large number of petitions to this House signed by those working in this industry. I said that I preferred not to do so, because I am one of those who believe that petitions do not always tell the truth. It is not only those who are actually working in this industry and who have an interest in the welfare of the industry who are affected. The coal industry is one of very great importance to this country and also to North Staffordshire and this duty will have an effect on the coal industry. We know very well, at least those of us who are intimate with the industry, that it taken between seven and eight tons of coal to fire one ton of pottery. You can see from this that it is of very great interest to the coal producers that their product should be used in the manufacture of this particular article.
With regard to the question of wages, I am going to refer to the figures given in the Report itself, because I think these have stood the test of having been analysed by the Committee, by the Opposition and by those who are putting forward their case, and consequently should be accepted by this House. These figures show that the male workers in the United Kingdom are paid, on an average, £3 9s. 9d. per week of 47 hours, which is equivalent to 1s. 5.82d. per hour. The women get £1 12s. 9d. or 8.36d. per hour. I can give the figures which are in the Report, but as every Member has read it, I do not wish to weary the House. I am making the comparison between the United Kingdom wage and that of Germany, in the first instance. In Germany, the figures are not given per week, but per hour, and they work out for a 48 hours week at £1 14s. as against £3 9s. 9d., which is a difference of 100 per cent. In Germany, the female workers are paid £1 2s. 10d. for 48 hours, as against the £1 12s. 9d. paid to female workers in this country—a difference of 50 per cent.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Will the hon. Member tell the House from where he gets these figures, what is the authority for 1091 the figures? If they are true, they destroy the whole basis upon which this duty is being proposed.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
The hon. Member says that the wage in Germany is 34s. In this Report the wages are only given as 22s. 10d., and this duty is proposed on the assumption that German wages are 22s. 10d., whereas the hon. Member and the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) are busy proving that wages of 22s. 10d. are in reality 34s.
§ Mr. LAMB
The figures are on page 14; I have worked them out myself. I told you that the Report did not state what was the wage per week. It says that the wage in the case of men was 8½d. per hour and in the case of women that it ranged between 5d. and 5½d. per hour I have taken 5½d., which works out at £1 2s. 10d. That is where I have taken my figures from, and they will give, I believe, the results I have shown. Reference has been made by several Members to the injustice of making the tax one upon weight as against ad valorem. I think the President of the Board of Trade has answered that very accurately and effectively by stating that those who opposed the application said that one weight is very much better and fairer than an ad valorem duty. Consequently, I do not think hon. Members should say anything more about that. I should like to say something with regard to the effect of it. It is very elementary arithmetic to find out that 28s. a cwt. means 3d. a 1b. I am told that the average weight of 12 teacups and saucers is 5 1bs. Consequently, 5 lbs. at 3d. a 1b. will be 1s. 3d., That means that a dozen teacups and saucers will be increased in price by 1s. 3d., or, taking a single teacup and saucer, by the tremendous sum of 1¼d. With regard to the 21-piece teaset, I understand that in that case the average weight is about 6½ lbs. That works out by the same method of elementary arithmetic at 1s. 7½d. It is not a very tremendous advance, but still it is one which will, according to the opinions of those who are in the trade, be of very great assistance to them. I said figures were not reliable. If hon. 1092 Members will refer to page 6 of the Report, they will see this paragraph dealing with the question of imports of pottery into this country. It says:It was contended by the Applicants that the imports of those articles in which the applicant industry is concerned were shown in the United Kingdom trade returns not only under the heading 'Chinaware' but were also included under the 'Earthenware' headings. This fact was not disputed by the Opponents, and evidence was produced showing that certain consignments which were in fact 'Chinaware,' were imported into this country described as 'Earthenware,' and there is no doubt that they were entered under the latter description in the trade accounts.Consequently it is very unfair and unwise to make comparisons from things which are unequal. I prefer to say nothing more about that except that the conclusion of the Committee was, after full consideration of all the facts, that a considerable amount of this chinaware was coming into this country misdescribed as earthenware and not as china, obviously for certain purposes of the trade. Reference has been made with regard to balance sheets and the unwillingness on the part of applicants to show their balance sheets. I do not think that that should be brought up against them, because I think it is very easily understood by hon. Members why that was so. Who are their opponents? Of course, they are the importers, and I think that it is unreasonable to ask manufacturers to show their balance sheets to those who are their trade opponents. But let me say this. The willingness of the manufacturers to show their balance sheets can be judged in this fashion. I believe it is a fact—it appertains to this industry and to this industry only—that the accountants for the workers have absolute access to the books and balance sheets of all the manufacturers. Consequently, if any statements which these manufacturers were making in regard to their balance sheets were untrue, it was possible and reasonable that the workers in the industry, if they thought that those statements were untrue, and against their interests, would have been able to bring forward those people who, in their interest, had had access to those balance sheets.
With regard to the Minority Report, I hesitate to say anything as to the gentleman who signed it. I wish to cast no aspersion whatever upon his judicial 1093 capacity or the way in which he performed his duties. Undoubtedly, aspersions were cast upon two other members of the Committee by certain hon. Members of the Opposition, but I do not wish to follow their example. It is, however, true to say that the gentleman who signed the Minority Report is a director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, who have their own factory in Longton. As we have been told by the hon. Member for Macclesfield, he went to the pottery in which he was interested, and, when he had seen the conditions, he thought it unwise to go to any other. The Co-operative Wholesale Society are not only manufacturers of pottery, but very large importers, and it evidently suits their purpose better as distributors to make their profits from distribution and to import their pottery, in preference to making it in this country and providing work for people.
With respect to the efficiency of the works in the Potteries, I can say, quite definitely, that the average of the best factory in the Potteries cannot be approached by the factories abroad. A suggestion was made in the Minority Report that certain machinery ought to be used. That machinery has been used in this country and scrapped as being unsuitable. Since that Report was issued, visits have been made to Czechoslovakia, and it was found that in the factories which had been quoted as having made use of this particular machinery they are very largely scrapping that machinery and going back to the old process, showing that the factories in our own country are equally efficient, and that the manufacturers in those areas are only too willing to adopt the methods that are practical for making good pottery; but there is one thing they will not do, and that is, they will not adopt machinery for the purpose of cheapening work, unless that work will be of equal quality with that for which they have created such a worldwide reputation.
As chairman of one of the education committees in Staffordshire, I know that the pottery manufacturers there have collected vast sums of money in support of the pottery technical schools, and that they have given unanimous support to the efforts which are made by the education committees in the City of Stoke-on-Trent; 1094 but they have also supported the county authority with which I am connected. We have many pottery workers who live in the county area, and we have to do our quota in the maintenance of the technical institutes of the Potteries. In this direction, the manufacturers have shown their willingness to do everything they possibly can to increase the efficiency of their workpeople and to give them every opportunity to make themselves competent by all the technical knowledge that can be given.
In connection with the art schools, it is the practice for manufacturers who have indentured workpeople to pay their wages while they attend the art schools for the purpose of making themselves more proficient in the industry. It is, therefore, very unfair to suggest that the people who are engaged in the production of this class of article are not doing all they possibly can, not only to make their works efficient, but also to give their workpeople the greatest opportunity to make themselves proficient, so that they may maintain the quality and reputation which they have created throughout the world for bone china, which certain people think is not deserving of any support.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
Anyone who has listened to the Debate will, I am sure, endorse the appeal which has been made by the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) and the right hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), that it is time that we ended this White Paper procedure. Of all the instances we have had produced by this procedure, I think this is about the worst. I spent some hours going into the matter and was prepared with an analysis of the proceedings before the Committee, but after listening to the remarkable analysis, I might say the exposure, given by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir John Simon), I do not propose to weary the House by dealing with those matters. We heard the case put forward by the right hon. and learned Member and we awaited anxiously the reply of the President of the Board of Trade. I feel sure that had we been sitting here in a judicial capacity to decide on the two cases put before us by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley and the President of the Board 1095 of Trade, we should have been agreed in dismissing the case of the Government, with costs.
These Committees which work in secret, bound by no rules of procedure produce the most extraordinary and unexpected results. The Committee with whose dealings we are now concerned is no exception to the rule. We find that by a majority of one this Committee has given to a trade which did not ask for it a duty far larger than was proposed by the terms of reference. It paid no regard either to the rules of evidence or procedure, and no regard to the terms of reference which set it up. By a majority of one, it gave a most unexceptional duty by way of weight and not by value. I had hoped that the President of the Board of Trade would give some explanation on that point. My right hon. and learned Friend quoted some figures with which he had been supplied as to how this duty will work out. With the leave of the House, I will quote other figures, not only because they support those already quoted, but because they come from a different source. These figures show that in a case containing 60 dozen cups and saucers, white and gold, costing £8, net weight of goods, 3½ cwt., the duty payable at 28s. per cwt. would be 60 per cent. In another case containing 75 dozen cups, white and gold, costing £6 5s., net weight of goods, 3 cwt., and the same duty payable, it would work out at 67 per cent. In a case containing 80 dozen cups, only white, costing £5, with net weight about the same, and duty payable at the same rate, it would work out at 84 per cent.
We are entitled to have some explanation. All that the President of the Board of Trade could say was that it was a sort of average. I do not think the House of Commons should be asked to place a duty on goods of this sort, which are used by the working people, simply on the ground that it is a sort of average. What relation does that average bear to the cost? As the goods go down in price, the duty goes up. That is quite in keeping with the other duties which have been put on by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget. In other matters in connection with indirect taxation, the increase has been put upon the cheapest class of goods, which the poorest class of 1096 people have to buy. Before this Debate closes we are entitled to know on what grounds this duty is based on the weight of the goods, and not on the value.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
Reference has been made to the Minority Report signed by Mr. Hayhurst, and reference has also been made to the fact that he is connected with the co-operative movement. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) and the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) have referred to the Minority Report and to the co-operative factory. I am glad that these criticisms have been made openly, because an answer can be given to them. The experience of the co-operative-owned factory in Longton is a complete answer to the application for this duty. What are the facts? I would remind the House of what was said by the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). Some years ago, the organised consumers of the country thought that it was advisable to endeavour, wherever possible, to supply their wants in this respect by the process of co-operation. They found that during the War, when there was no foreign competition, very high prices were charged for china. Among other things, it was suggested that the co-operative movement should go in for the production of bone china. They entered into the necessary negotiations, but they found that they had to pay an abnormally high price for a small factory. Moreover, attached to that contract of sale, there was a condition which was extraordinarily restrictive, namely, that if they consented to buy the factory they should for five years enter into an agreement to purchase a certain quantity from the other manufacturers, as well as producing in their own factory. In spite of these two facts, first, the restriction placed upon the co-operative owners of the factory, and, secondly, the inflated price paid for the factory—I am told that the price paid was almost double what it was really worth—
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
1919, or 1920, when prices, of course, were inflated. Despite these two facts, that factory has consistently shown a satisfactory profit 1097 on the manufacture of bone china. The President of the Board of Trade referred to the fact that it was necessary to come to the assistance of distressed industries. I am now putting up a case in regard to a factory which has been described by hon. Members opposite, inaccurately described, as the most inefficient factory in the Potteries, and yet that which they have described as the most inefficient factory in the Potteries is producing a satisfactory profit upon an inflated capital. I will give a few figures to prove my case. The capital employed in the last few years in that factory was somewhat over £20,000; a figure which is far too high for the actual production or for the number of workpeople employed. Nevertheless, in 1921 they showed a profit upon the capital of £738, after paying 5 per cent. upon the capital. In 1922, they showed a profit of £931; in 1923, a profit of 1,659; in 1924, a profit of £1,211; in 1925, a profit of £1,236. In 1926, although I have not the figures, I am told that the profits were being satisfactorily maintained. So that with the addition of the 5 per cent., which we always charge first for capital, there has been sufficient made during the whole period of the working of the factory to give a total return on capital of between 10½ and 12 per cent. over these years. It cannot properly be argued that what hon. Members themselves describe as an inefficient factory, producing such figures as these, is a distressful industry which must come cap in hand for a tariff from the Government. Further, the profit is secured, first, after payment of the trade union wage and, secondly, after another payment, which is not made by any other pottery employer in the district, that is to say, it is the only factory in the pottery district which gives a week's holiday on full pay. Because the output is comparatively small, as a matter of fact, what it costs to pay for that week's holiday would mean, if we worked on the same basis as the other potteries, that we should have another 1½ or 2 per cent. return on capital. Therefore, I say that on the experience of the Co-operative factory in Longton and on the basis of not paying for the holidays adopted by the other manufacturers, it is quite clear it would be possible to pay round about 1098 14 per cent on the capital employed. How, then, can the Government possibly come to the House, in the face of the experience of our own factory, and argue that this is a distressful industry which requires a tariff?
Let me say something more about that. We are able to bring figures to the House on a point like this because, quite apart from practice, a co-operative society has to be registered under the Industrial Provident Societies Act and in consequence it has to accept compulsorily every year an auditing and to publish a complete balance sheet certified by a public auditor. Every one of the figures we produce in a case like this is authenticated, not merely by reference to the separate chartered accountants but by the public auditor. These are the facts. On the other hand what has the applicant industry done in the matter? It is no answer at all to say there could have been figures produced. Let me remind the House of what was said before the inquiry by the counsel for the opponents to the application. Mr. Comyns Carr said to the Chairman:You proposed at an early stage of this inquiry that the applicants should give you some pre-War costings. They have not been able to produce any. This is the only pre-War costing comparable with the post-War coatings that you have got, and there you are 72 per cent. up in cost with these proportions. We put that question to Mr. Bullock and to every one of the manufacturers, and they all said they could not do it and also they refused to give any balance sheet.That is the statement made by the counsel for the opponents to the application for the duty at that time, addressed specifically to the Chairman. I want to point out that that statement, made by counsel is reiterated in the Minority Report and it is perfectly futile now to come along, after all the time that has elapsed, and say in the House of Commons that the firms which were making the application for the duty were really prepared to produce balance sheets. The hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Lamb) whom I am sorry to say is not in his place, said, that as regards the willingness of these manufacturers to produce balance sheets and costings, we might refer to the fact that the organised workers in the industry had access to the books of the firms concerned in the Standing Joint Conciliation Body. Since 1099 the hon. Member was in the House I have had the opportunity of consulting with the secretary to the trade union who is also a Member of the House and he informs me quite authoritatively that the organised workers in the industry have no access at all to the books of the manufacturers.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I asked this very point of the hon. Member who is secretary to the trade union and concerned in the Joint Conciliation Body, and he assured me specifically that it was not the case, and that the organised workers have no adequate means of obtaining any real information as to the financial position of the firms concerned. While I am sure that the hon. Member for Stone, who is always very careful in his statements, has passed on to the House something which was given to him in good faith, the statement in question was not an accurate representation of the facts. I submit, therefore, that our experience in the industry is such as to prove conclusively that the President of the Board of Trade has no case at all for putting on tariff. It is possible—and we have demonstrated it—although we have not as efficient a factory as we should like, and we hope to get a better one some day, to make efficiently the very commodities which are the subject of this proposed tariff and to make them with a satisfactory profit.
Mr. ROY WILSON
May I ask a question just to get information? Is it not a fact that the factory at Longton referred to as producing these profits has an assured market for its products through all the shops of the co-operative societies?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
No, not at all. Every co-operative society which is in the federation has complete autonomy and access to the open markets. Indeed, one of our greatest complaints has been that we have to be always urging the societies to buy from the central organisation, so that they have a perfectly free market, and the hon. Member's point does not apply.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
As a rule, but not always. I have no actual statistics as to the amount of short time worked. I think what I have said is a complete answer to the case which has been produced. Reference was made to the gentleman who happened to be a friend of mine and who signed the Minority Report. In fairness I ought to say that this gentleman was appointed by the Government without any reference to the co-operative movement at all. He was selected by the President of the Board of Trade, and nobody in the co-operative movement knew he was going to be appointed. He was appointed, I suppose, because even the President of the Board of Trade, Protectionist as he is in his outlook and sympathies, felt he could not appoint a Committee which did not contain at least one representative of the organised consumers upon it. We have to bear in mind not only the question of the efficiency of industry but also the point of view of the general consumer and user of the commodity, and there is no doubt at all that what is going to happen is that the manufacturer of English earthenware, which is really the commodity which has largely displaced the demand for the more expensive bone china, are going to have a much better market because of the imposition of the tariff and be able to charge higher prices.
I submit that, on all these specific grounds, the case which the President of the Board of Trade made out so laboriously and at such length, in regard to the Safeguarding of Industries procedure and its application in the case of this industry, has failed on the weight of evidence. In spite of it having failed, we are asked to approve a duty of this kind. It only proves up to the hilt what we have said, not only in this House but on the platforms of the country, that, yielding to the pressure of his hon. Friends—to whom he turned so repeatedly during the Debate and to whom he referred as a special section sitting below the Gangway—namely, the super-Protectionists of the party—and in spite of the weight of evidence being against him, he has had to come to the House once more and not for the first time to break the specific pledge given by the Prime Minister to the country that they would not introduce Protection by a back door. I am perfectly certain that when that 1101 issue comes to be tried as it will be by an appeal to the country—and the right hon. Gentleman has said that they are introducing these duties so gradually and in such a way as to make it almost impossible to repeal them, at least that is the gist of the statement he made the other day at a public function—that the country will say it has been absolutely sold in regard to this pledge of the Prime Minister and that Protection has been introduced by a back door.
§ Mr. LAMB
May I make a personal explanation? I understand that exception has been taken to a statement I have made with regard to access by the workers to the books and with regard to balance-sheets. If any doubt is felt about that, I should like to state definitely that I made the statement in absolute good faith on information given to me, but as some doubt is expressed in regard to it I should like unreservedly to withdraw it.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
We have all listened with interest to the speech which has just been made by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander). Evidently the factory he is concerned with is a very remarkable one. His Friend to whom he alluded, presumably referred to it in the Minority Report when he said that even in this case, the organisation of the factory was not all that could be desired. Other people describe it in less pleasant terms. Yet this factory has the good fortune to make substantial profits and apparently manages to keep its workpeople engaged all the time. It therefore occupies an exceptional position in industry, not, I presume because of the existence of a closed ring, but because of the equivalent of a closed market. The fact remains that it is linked with selling organisations and that link has proved sufficiently satisfactory to provide it with the power to keep going even during the time of trade depression. The hon. Member for Orkney (Sir R. Hamilton) made great play of the fact that the recommendation of the Committee was carried by a majority of one. I would like to ask him what other majority you can expect from a, Committee of three if they are not unanimous.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
It is the only possible majority you can get where it is not unanimous and therefore it is rather out of place to make great play of the fact that there was only a majority of one. I hope in future the President of the Board of Trade will chose a committee of five, so that we may have greater permutations and combinations to amuse us. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) made some reference to the way in which the factories were visited and he seemed to think that it was improper that the Committee made its visit without the agents and representatives of the foreign manufacturers. I really think the British manufacturers have enough to put up with in facing competition without being forced to display to their competitors and the people who are seeking to drive them out of the market all the inside of their organisation.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The hon. Gentleman cannot have heard what I said. My complaint was that the Committee paid its visit without telling the Opposition that they were making the visit and that after it was ascertained they had made it the applicants declined to allow even counsel for the opponents—and I am sure he was not a foreign agent for he was a former Member of this House—to go and see what they had seen. I do not believe any arbitrator in the country would have his award upheld by the Courts if he had taken that course.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
The object of the Committee was to find out the facts of the case. They were evidently not unanimous and surely we can trust them to carry out this general inquiry—
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
As the factories belonged to the applicants, obviously it was only to these factories that they would go. The presence of the applicants does not introduce an element of prejudice. I happen to be an engineer and I have visited a great many factories. The ordinary person who has some measure of technical knowledge can go round a factory and get a fairly quick decision as to whether it is efficiently organised or not. Whether a member of the legal profession can get the same opinion I do not know.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Whether the legal watchdog would he able to come to the same conclusion I do not know. Something has been said with regard to balance sheets. I was not quite right in what I said a short time ago, and I understand that all firms did, in fact, refuse to present their balance sheets; and, quite frankly, I do not blame them. Evidently they not only object to showing their balance sheets to their foreign competitors, but also to one another. I am not going to argue whether they are right or wrong. An Englishman is a curiously suspicious kind of person, and he does not like to reveal his income even to his best friends. I do not know whether any member of the Bar would be prepared to disclose his balance sheet to any other member of the Bar, but there would be no objection to all the members of the Bar submitting a collective balance sheet and for an accountant to supply the information to a committee. That is what happened in this case. The firms made out a collective statement as to the relation of profits to capital and placed it before the Committee, and it seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable way of giving a picture of the industry as a whole. The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) referred to the inefficiency of the manufacturers. Many people think they are really rather efficient. They have experimented with new methods, and some of the methods have been rejected because they are not as efficient as the old. They have given technical instruction in their industry and have done a great deal for the education of their operatives.
In the Majority Report there is a curious statement as to relative efficiency which has been quoted in this House and in the Press. I do not understand it. They say, by way of example, that in Czechoslovakia one skilled workman with 13 assistants can turn out by the aid of automatic machinery 4,800 pieces per day as against 360 pieces per day in this country turned out by one man by ordinary hand methods. The purpose of the paragraph is to condemn our relative efficiency, and 4,800 pieces is contrasted with 360 pieces. That is the way 1104 in which it is interpreted. In one case there are 14 people who turn out 343 pieces each per day whereas an Englishman working alone without any machinery produces 360 pieces. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is in. the Report."] Yes, but I am not praising the Report on this point. All I am doing is to draw attention to the extraordinary statement, the purpose of which I do not understand and the significance of which has been misinterpreted. The fact that I agree with the Majority Report is no reason why I should not criticise it. I am not prejudiced in this matter. The right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) who bears a name distinguished in connection with this industry, pointed out that the revenue from this duty would be in the neighbourhood of £200,000, and he asserted that the burden which would fall on the community would be £600,000. You are not entitled to make such an assertion unless you submit real evidence in support of it.
Let us turn to the general issue. What is the general case? The decision does not depend on the three gentlemen on the Inquiry, it depends on us. What is the issue? The imports are large in relation to consumption and in relation to production, and they are probably larger than in pre-War days. It is quite clear that if the imports into this country were not so large that more potters in this country would be employed, that there would be further employment for potters in this country. There is also a large volume of unemployment in this industry. You have, therefore, two facts: a large importation and a large unemployment. The question then arises in what way can we correct this evil. Hon. Members opposite say "do nothing"; that is their solution. If people are exposed to a cold wind and they have no overcoat and are in danger of dying they say, "let them die." We say, "put an overcoat on," and if you are engaged in one of the sheltered industries you can, of course, put on a fur coat. In pre-War days when we discussed this issue the Free Traders said, "your food will cost you more," and the public believed them. They won. That unsupported assertion is no longer good. We have investigated this matter by the method of experiments, and we are entitled to judge it by the 1105 experimental method. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Red Letter?"] I am not talking about the Red Letter. That issue was discussed and faced some time ago and settled quite satisfactorily.
Duties have been imposed on a series of industries. Some are called McKenna Duties and some are called Safeguarding Duties, but for the general argument we will call them Safeguarding Duties. In every case the price has either not risen or, if it has, the amount of the rise is inappreciable and in some cases the price has fallen. If that is true, and it cannot be contradicted by any Free Trader that the effect of these duties has not been to raise prices in general against the consumer, then the basis of the whole Free Trade case is destroyed. The whole basis of that case is that a duty will raise prices. If it has not done so when it has been tried, what is the use of coming forward and saying that the duty will yield £200,000 but that the burden on the community will be £600,000. The plain truth is that in connection with motor cars and musical instruments, gloves and silk, the duty in the main has been thrown on the foreign producer, and you can go to any meeting of women you like, as I have to many, tell them they are not paying the duty, and no woman will ever contradict you. And a woman has no hesitation in contradicting you when there is occasion. On this issue I attach far more importance to the opinion of any woman in the land than to the opinion of any ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) purchases these articles frequently now.
These duties have not raised prices. If that is the case then we are entitled to assume that it will not happen in this case. I am perfectly willing to admit that there will be imposed protective duties which will turn out to be unsatistory. I am not prejudiced at all in this matter. The Free Trader says that every protective duty is unsatisfactory. I say experiment. In some cases you will matte mistakes and you will then have to change your policy. But let us go further. What has been the effect of these duties on exports? If you examine the safeguarding of industry as a whole they are the only industries which are expanding their exports, and the unprotected industries 1106 are showing a diminishing exportation. That is true because they are given a secure home market, they are given encouragement, their factories are fuller, their overhead expenses are reduced, and they are in a position to compete on real competitive prices. They are now achieving success in foreign markets. These duties are bringing in a large revenue, about £11,000,000, and I put it to the House that the duties, broadly speaking, have not raised prices, they are bringing in a large revenue, exportation is increasing, and in all the industries where statistics are available the employment is substantially greater than it was before the duty was imposed. That is true now in the case of lace, which was the slowest to respond to the effect of the duty. Employment in the lace industry is expanding. In the musical instrument Industry it has also been substantial, and in the lace trade and the motor car trade it has also been substantial. In the case of gloves, where the figures are not published the same thing is true. Here we have an industry which is suffering, and I say that as Protection has helped these other industries why in the name of common sense cannot we apply the same remedy to this industry which has turned out so well in every other case.
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
I am not going to follow the last speaker in the economic argument. I will only refer him to one thing. He will probably remember that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking at Oxford in 1903, when he was trying to nail the Protectionist doctrine of Mr. Chamberlain in its coffin, said that all tariffs and duties meant increased prices, that increased prices meant lower consumption, and that lower consumption meant more unemployment. What was true in 1903 is true to-day. Without going into the whole question of the Amendment, let me sum up the matter in one sentence. It is not a question of more employment, it is not a question of saving this trade. It is simply this, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has yielded to the Protectionist policy of the Diehards on the other side of the House. The President of the Board of Trade held up some cups to the House this evening—I know something about china—and asked us whether we could distinguish between one cup and the other. I could put three plates 1107 before him, one pottery with glaze, one china with glaze and the other porcelain with glaze, and he would not be able to tell the difference between the three. Pottery is composed practically of clay, with one or two other ingredients. China is composed of about 75 per cent. clay and 25 per cent. bone, and porcelain is composed bf 75 per cent. bone and 25 per cent. clay. What are the Government proposing? They are proposing in this case to do exactly what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been doing ever since he became Chancellor of the Exchequer; they are proposing to impose heavier burdens on the working classes of the country. The pottery is used by the working classes of the country and the porcelain is used by the rich. The tax that you are imposing on the pottery is equivalent to 100 per cent., as against 2 per cent. on the porcelain. That is what it means. An hon. Member opposite says, "Oh, but it is going to bring us revenue." I will tell the House the way to get revenue. The sum to be raised is £150,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer can raise that sum on china. Old Swansea, Chelsea, Worcester and Derby china is all going to America. Tax that and prevent it going to America. Get your revenue in that way, and you will not affect the industry of the country. I have heard that the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams), who has just addressed the House, was an organiser of the Independent Labour party and—
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
The hon. Member has made a statement similar to that made some time ago by the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
§ When the allegation was made by the right hon. Member for Derby I sought the permission of Mr. Speaker to make a personal statement, and the right hon. Member for Derby then withdrew the allegation he had made. I trust that the hon. Member will do likewise.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
The hon. Member for Reading on many occasions uses the expression "I am speaking from information." So am I. He was an organiser of the Independent Labour Party.
§ Mr. GRIFFITHS
Here we have a Protectionist policy and nothing but a Protectionist policy, and an extra imposition on the working classes of the country. Let me give an illustration in conclusion. Members of the working classes to-day have to consider on a Saturday night how they are going to spend this, that and the other. It is not very often that they can afford bacon and eggs, because bacon is so expensive. But they do get an egg occasionally, and the egg-cup is made out of this ware that is to be taxed. Hon. Members opposite are going to place a tax on the egg-cup of the working classes of the country. I protest against the duty here, and I shall do so on every possible occasion in the country. Though the Government can beat us in the Division Lobby, when it comes to the ballot box at the next General Election we will show them what we and our party can do.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 142: Noes, 242.1111
|Division No. 99.]||AYES.||[7.36 p.m.|
|Adamson. Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Cape, Thomas||Gosling, Harry|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Charleton, H. C.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Cluse, W. S.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Greenall, T.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Compton, Joseph||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Connolly, M.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Baker, Walter||Cove, W. G.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Groves, T.|
|Barnes, A.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Grundy, T. W.|
|Barr, J.||Day, Colonel Harry||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Dennison, R.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Duckworth, John||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)|
|Briant, Frank||Duncan, C.||Hardle, George D.|
|Broad, F. A.||Dunnico, H.||Harris, Percy A.|
|Bromfield, William||Edwards, C. (Monmouth. Bedwellty)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Bromley, J.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Hayday, Arthur|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gardner, J. P.||Hayes, John Henry|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Buchanan, G.||Gibbins, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Gillett, George M.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Thurtle, Ernest|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Potts, John S.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Townend, A. E.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Riley, Ben||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Ritson, J.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Viant, S. P.|
|Kennedy, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Scrymgeour, E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Lansbury, George||Sexton, James||Watson, W. M. (Duntermilne)|
|Lawrence, Susan||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Lawson, John James||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Lee, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Westwood, J.|
|Lindley, F. W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Lowth, T.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Whiteley, W.|
|Lunn, William||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Mackinder, W.||Smillie, Robert||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llaneliy)|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|March, S.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Kelghley)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Montague, Frederick||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Morris, R. H.||Snell, Harry||Windsor, Walter|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Wright, W.|
|Murnin, H.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Oliver, George Harold||Stamford, T. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Owen, Major G.||Stephen, Campbell||Sir Robert Hutchison and Mr. Fenby.|
|Palin, John Henry||Sullivan, J.|
|Paling, W.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cooper, A. Duff||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Albery, Irving James||Cope, Major William||Hilton, Cecil|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Holt, Capt. H. P.|
|Atkinson, C.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Galnsbro)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Dalziel, Sir Davison||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd. Hemel Hempst'd)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Con't)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Jacob, A. E.|
|Berry, Sir George||Davies, Dr. Vernon||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Drewe, C.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Blundell, F. N||Ellis, R. G.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.,||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Everard, W. Lindsay||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Fielden, E. B.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Finburgh, S.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Ganzoni, Sir John||Loder, J. de V.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Gates, Percy||Looker, Herbert William|
|Burman, J. B.||Gibbs. Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Burton. Colonel H. W.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Goff, Sir Park||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gower, Sir Robert||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Calne, Gordon Hall||Grace, John||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Campbell, E. T.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Macintyre, I.|
|Cassels, J. P||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||McLean, Major A.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Macqulsten, F. A.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Grotrian, H. Brent||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.)||Hammersley, S. S.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Haslam, Henry C.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hawke, John Anthony||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Meller, R. J.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Milne, J. S. Wardiaw.|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Rice, Sir Frederick||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Waddington, R.|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts. Sallsbury)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Rye, F. G.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Salmon, Major I.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Wells, S. R.|
|Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Sandon, Lord||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Skelton, A. N.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Perring, Sir William George||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Withers, John James|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Pilcher, G.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Strickland, Sir Gerald||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Preston, William||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Ramsden, E.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Remer, J. R.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Remnant, Sir James||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and Captain Lord Stanley.|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. sir W. Mitchell.|
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."1112
§ The House divided: Ayes, 245; Noes, 143.1115
|Division No. 100.]||AYES.||[7.44 p.m.|
|Aciand-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Chapman, Sir S.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Albery, Irving James||Christie, J. A.||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Clayton, G. C.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Atkinson, C.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Hall, Capt. W. D' A. (Brecon & Rad.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cooper, A. Duff||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cope, Major William||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crowe)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Galnsbro)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Berry, Sir George||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Dalkelth, Earl of||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Dalziel, Sir Davison||Herbert, S (York. N. R-,Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Blundell, F. N.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hilton, Cecil|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Drewe, C.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Ellis, R. G.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Bullock. Captain M.||Fermoy, Lord||Jacob, A. E.|
|Burman, J. B.||Fleiden, E. B.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Finburgh, S.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Ford, Sir P. J.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Fraser, Captain Ian||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Ganzoni, Sir John.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gates, Percy||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Lamb. J. Q.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Goff, Sir Park||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Gower, Sir Robert||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Grace, John||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Loder, J. de V.||Pennefather, Sir John||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Penny, Frederick George||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Mac Andrew, Major Charles Glen||Perring, Sir William George||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Macintyre, Ian||Pilcher, G.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|McLean, Major A.||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Waddington, R.|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Preston, William||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Price, Major C. W. M.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Ramsden, E.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Remer, J. R.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Remnant, Sir James||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Rice, Sir Frederick||Wells, S. R.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Meller, R. J.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Rye, F. G.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Salmon, Major I.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Senders, Sir Robert A.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Withers, John James|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Sandon, Lord||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew,W.)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Skelton. A. N.||Wragg. Herbert|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dine, C.)|
|Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Lord Stanley.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Murnin, H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Greenall. T.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Owen, Major G.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Palin, John Henry|
|Baker, Walter||Groves. T.||Paling, W.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Grundy, T. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Barnes, A.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Barr. J.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Potts, John S.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hamilton. Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hardle, George D.||Riley, Ben|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Harris, Percy A.||Ritson, J.|
|Brlant, Frank||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks. W. R., Elland)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hayday, Arthur||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Bromfield, William||Hayes, John Henry||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Bromley, J.||Henderson. Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sexton, James|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw. Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shepherd. Arthur Lewis|
|Buchanan, G.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jenkins. W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Calthness)|
|Cluse, W. S.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smillie, Robert|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Johnston. Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Compton, Joseph||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, H. B. Lees. (Keighley)|
|Connolly, M.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cove, W. G.||Kelly, W. T.||Snell, Harry|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kennedy, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, D.||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lansbury, George||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Dennison, R.||Lawrence, Susan||Stamford, T. W.|
|Duckworth, John||Lawson, John James||Stephen, Campbell|
|Duncan, C.||Lee. F.||Sullivan. Joseph|
|Dunnico, H.||Lindley, F. W.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Lowth, T.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lunn, William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Mackinder, W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Macoherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Gibbins, Joseph||March, S.||Townend. A. E.|
|Gillett, George M.||Montague, Frederick||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Gosling, Harry||Morris, R. H.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Vlant. S. P.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||Windsor, Walter|
|Wallhead, Richard C.||Whiteley, W.||Wright, W.|
|Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Williams, David (Swansea, East)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Watson. W. M. (Dunfermilne)||Williams, or. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
|Westwood, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
Twentieth Resolution read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. MARCH
The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget statement referred to the Motor Vehicles Duty in connection with agriculturists, and, I understood him aright, he indicated that the extra tax which was put on previously was to be remitted, wholly or partly, so far as agriculturists are concerned. I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if any representations have been made to him on this subject by local authorities. In my opinion, they are entitled to a remission of this duty in respect of vehicles which are used for their own class of work in their own areas. I understand that this remission in regard to agriculturists means that the duty on a vehicle not exceeding 12 cwt. unladen is to be £10 instead of £21 and on a vehicle exceeding 12 cwt. but not exceeding one ton in weight unladen it is to be £16, which is a reduction of £5; while, in the case of vehicles exceeding one ton but not exceeding two tons unladen, the duty is to be £21. When these duties were imposed originally, representations were made by the farmers, who, with their great powers of persuasion, were able to get the Chancellor to make this concession to them. I am not complaining about that concession, but, if it be good for farmers who are using vehicles for agricultural purposes, it is also good for municipalities who are using water-carts and dust-carts and other vehicles of that kind, and not going outside their own districts at all. The extra duty imposed by the Chancellor is being passed on to the rates, and the district which I have the honour to represent is now paying nearly £200 a year extra in this respect. That, we think, is unreasonable and unjust. The Chancellor said in his Budget statement that we had received more money from this source than was anticipated. This is one way of getting rid of some of it. According 1116 to the paper which has been issued, he anticipates receiving more in 1927–1928 than he received in 1926–1927, and I understand there is a probability of the Motor Vehicles Duty realising £2,707,000 more than was brought in last year. Therefore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has an opportunity of making a concession to those councils who use vehicles for the express purpose of public health and cleanliness in their own districts. I have also had letters complaining of the amount charged in respect of commercial vehicles, but I expect strong representations will be made to the Chancellor about that. The Commercial Owners' Association is a very important body, and they should he strong enough to do something. I mention this matter now, because I expect there will be resolutions asking the Chancellor to remit the duty imposed on municipalities in regard to the vehicles which I have mentioned.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)
I think the point raised by the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. March) is outside the ambit of this Resolution. The appropriate time at which to raise the important point which he put forward would be when we have the Finance Bill before us and when Amendments can be put down to it. This is a somewhat complicated Resolution, and I expect that few hon. Members will be able to understand exactly what it means, unless they spend a considerable time studying the Finance Acts of 1920 and 1926 in conjunction with the Resolution. May I, therefore, explain to the House what it seeks to do By the Finance Act of 1920, agricultural engines used on the land were given certain preferential treatment on the ground that those engines made a comparatively limited user of the roads and that principle, having been accepted by Parliament, the idea permeated all subsequent legislation. Then the Courts of Law came on the scene, and in 1921 the High Court in this country ruled that lorries used in agriculture were what is called 1117 "road locomotives." In 1923, the Court of Session in Scotland ruled that the same vehicles when used in agriculture were commercial vehicles. That might be a criticism of the Schedule in the Finance Act of 1920, but, anyhow, the decision so laid down is different in the two countries. It really did not very much matter up to the Finance Act of last year, because the difference of scale was so small that in Scotland the utmost a man could pay extra was £7. That is an extreme case, and, generally speaking, the difference was only £2 or £3. But when the considerably heavier duties were imposed on lorries by the Finance Act of last year, then the disparity between Scotland and England became very great; in fact, so much so, that at the extreme end of the scale a, Scottish farmer would have to pay £41 more than an English farmer. I am surprised at the equanimity with which Scottish Members submitted to this disparity, and it only shows that the Scottish, in spite of tradition, are willing to bear burdens which Englishmen will not bear. But, after all, this is in the interest of justice, and all that this Resolution seeks to do is to bring down the Scottish scale to the English scale, so that the English and Scottish scales shall be the same. We have in the Resolution definitely confined this to bona fide cultivators of the soil. We have made one or two very small concessions, one of which the hon. Member mentioned, namely, that between one and two tons the tax shall be £21, instead of £25 and £26, for the sake of uniformity. Also, this Resolution says that the tractor used in agriculture shall as a maximum pay £10. That is the sole reason of this Resolution, and I commend it simply as an act of justice to that long-suffering country north of the Tweed.
§ Mr. PALIN
I am sure we all concur with the Minister in doing an act of justice to remove an anomaly, but I do trust the good work he has commenced will be carried on, and that when the Finance Bill is introduced, provision will be made to extend the principle which, I believe, the House will endorse, to cover those who, like the agriculturists, are inflicting no damage on the roads by the use of their vehicles. If it is going to be purely a revenue tax, let us say 1118 so, but if it is going to be a road tax, obviously, the tax should bear most heavily on those who make most use of the roads. A municipality in its own public utility vehicles does no damage outside its own district the cost of which it has to bear out of its own rates, and therefore, by taxing those vehicles, you are taxing the municipality twice over, Then there is the case of the showmen who only use the roads once a week.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
I must point out that this must come by way of an Amendment to the Finance Bill. I do not think we can now go into that question.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Commander WILLIAMS
I do not think it would be quite right for the House to allow this Resolution to pass without any form of discussion at all, because, after all, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech, openly boasted that this was for practical purposes the backbone of his Budget. When we consider that this is a Motion which, in a very short space of time, and, apparently, without any discussion, unless I had risen myself, would have imposed £14,000,000 of fresh taxation on the people of the country, I think it is worthy of some short discussion in the House. Under this the Chancellor next January is going to take the January and July instalments under Schedule A, so that he might bring them under this Budget to help—possibly rightly; I am not necessarily disputing that—to carry over the surplus which he has under that fund. There are several objections to the scheme, as I understand. In the first place, it is not a very sound precedent to anticipate taxation in this particular 1119 respect. It is all right as long as you have a sane and sound Conservative Government, and a Chancellor of the Exchequer who is fairly straight-laced in the matter of taxation. But there are possibilities in the remote future of other Governments and other parties. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am glad to hear hon. Gentlemen opposite agree with me that that future is remote.
How did the Chancellor—I will not say justify, because I do not think you can justify it—but how did he endeavour with all his great ability to justify this particular point? He said quite clearly that when the Income Tax was 5s. or more in the £ it would have inflicted a very definite hardship, butAs soon as the Income Tax fell below 5s., the reasons for this concession disappeared.He went on to say:It has, however, up to the present escaped the notice of my predecessors.Apparently it had escaped his notice for two years, but I am not at all sure it had escaped the notice of his predecessors. I can hardly think the right hon. Gentleman opposite would have let it go unless there were very good reasons why this concession, which was made in 1918, should remain, and I believe there are a very considerable number of reasons in the interest of the nation as a whole why the removal of this concession is thoroughly bad and absolutely unsound from a financial point of view. May I draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to a type of individual on whom this new burden will fall, and on whom, the right hon. Gentleman admitted in his speech, would fall the burden to a certain extent? I am not going to labour the burden this will be to the comparatively small man, because I think it is obvious that this particular section of the community is feeling many burdens at the present time, and made no additional profits during the years of prosperity. These are the people who have money invested in a particular form of industry which it has been one of the great objects to encourage, I mean those who are building houses in this country. I believe that this form of anticipated taxation is not going to do anything to encourage the development of house building in this country. However wise it may be from the point of view of 1120 putting burdens on other people's backs, it is not going to help a section of the community, which has already heavy burdens, and it is going to discourage building.
There is also another point in connection with this burden which, I think, it is necessary to raise. You have got an Income Tax of 4s. in the £, and when you have to pay in January, with your rent coming in afterwards, you are anticipating that payment. The effect will undoubtedly be to make certain sections of individuals find it very difficult to carry on the work which must come to these owners of property of repairing their houses from time to time, and that fact, added to the other details which I have mentioned, makes it very regret-able as coming at this time. It will do nothing, in my opinion, to encourage a most essential thing at the present time, and that is the building of additional houses. I think it is a pity the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not find some other means of raising at any rate a considerable portion of this money.
§ Mr. HARRIS
If the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) had not raised this question, I would have called attention to one aspect of it. I know that a property owner does not create much sympathy, but when it comes to a large owner of property, this proposal will not be a very serious hardship. He can go to his banker and borrow money on the security of his houses, but it is a delusion to think that the Schedule "A" tax is only borne by wealthy property owners and big landowners. I remember, on the contrary, when I was a Member for Leicestershire, that I found that many working men in the Midlands, such as hosiery workers and others, bought their own house and invested any savings in a second house. It would be a very serious matter for men of that kind to have to give up the whole of the first quarter's rent, as they would under the new arrangement. It may be argued by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that before the War this arrangement did prevail, but it is one thing when you have an Income Tax at about 1s. in the £, and quite another thing when the tax is at 4s., and when it means that an old man and his wife who are depending for their income on an investment in one of these small houses 1121 have to forgo practically the whole of the first quarter's rent, it is a very serious burden.
I tried to draft an Amendment, but I found it very difficult, and I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider, between now and the introduction of the Finance Bill, whether he can meet the case of the small owner. I appreciate that there are considerable difficulties. When you start deducting Income Tax at the source, whether in respect of companies or of property, it is difficult to distinguish between a person who has wealth and a poor man, between the owner of a great number of houses and the owner of one or two houses. I say, however, that this method of collecting the tax, this return to the pre-War system, is going to hit thousands of small property owners all over the country. It is a very important point, and in putting it I feel that I am representing a real grievance, which will cause a great deal of discontent and hardship throughout the country.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Ronald McNeill)
I think the two hon. Members who have raised this question are under some misapprehension as to the effect that this Resolution will have. I welcome the recognition which the last speaker, the hon. Member for South West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris), has expressed, which does not always come from those benches, that Income Tax, is not an impost confined to the rich. It is perfectly true that a very large number of people with very modest incomes are subject to Income Tax. The real reason for the two instalments as against the single instalment was because the Income Tax, owing to war conditions, rose above 5s. in the £. The moment that it rose above 5s., thinking normally, it rose above a quarter's rent, and it was only because it was felt that it was a great hardship that the Income Tax should be paid in January, when it exceeded the amount of the quarter's rent to be recovered, that this particular concession was made. The hon. Member for South West Bethnal Green spoke as if it were a new introduction in our taxing system, but the fact. remains that we are only reverting to a condition of affairs which I do not think was ever considered a grievance when the one instalment prevailed. It was 1122 only altered owing to the very exceptional conditions which were introduced on account of the War.
The right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), speaking on this subject the other day, also said that he thought it would be a great hardship on small people, people not in a very wealthy position, who would have to wait for some weeks before they would be able to recover, out of the next payment of rent, the amount of the duty that they had paid. I quite acknowledge that you cannot have any taxation which does not cause a certain amount of inconvenience and of burden on those who have to pay it, but I think the inconvenience and injustice here, if it be an injustice, have been exaggerated. In the first place, in the case of weekly properties the Income Tax is not payable by the tenant at all, it is paid direct to the landlord. Again, rent is payable in this country as a rule quarterly, and we all know what the quarter days are. The Income Tax is payable on 1st January, and as a rule—I do not say that there are no exceptions—the demand note for the Income Tax reaches the taxpayer before Christmas.
§ Mr. McNEILL
The right hon. Member says it is wrong, but I think my information is quite as accurate as his. But it does not rest there. My information is that that is the rule at present, but I was going to say also that we are going to make an effort to make it more universal. We are going to take pains that, as far as possible, the Income Tax demand shall reach the taxpayer in time to enable him—it will so enable him, in the vast majority of cases—to deduct it, not from the Lady Day rent, but from the Christmas rent, and if we are successful in doing that, it will remove the particular injustice to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. I do not think that hon. Gentlemen, when they speak of the burdens imposed upon very poor Income Tax payers, give as much weight as they ought to do to the exemption from Income Tax of very small property 1123 owners. There are a large number of people primarily liable for Income Tax who, owing to the size of their income, are able to obtain a rebate in whole or in part. In a very large number of cases of those who are not quite at the lowest level of income and taxable capacity, that is, those who are liable for a certain amount of tax, it must be remembered that owing to the personal allowances which are applicable to the individual—in relation, of course, to his total income—the amount of Income Tax actually payable by the small property owner is a very small sum indeed.
I think I am justified in presenting this aspect of the case to the House: When you combine these two facts, that in the vast majority of all cases—as I hope and believe will be the case—there will be practically no delay between payment of the tax by the tenant and his recovery of it from the landlord, and that the amount of the tax, where it is paid at all by the very small property owner is not a weighty burden—when those facts are taken in conjunction it will be seen that there really is no grievance about a system which was universally accepted up to the year 1918, when the change was made.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I do not want to prolong the discussion, but I should like to offer a few words of comment on one or two points made by the right hon. Gentleman. In the first place, in answer to a point made by an hon. Member behind me, he admitted—of course it is indisputable—that the reason why the half-yearly payment system was adopted was because of the high rate of Income Tax when it was at its peak. Now it is only 2s. in the £ less than it was then, and there is a great deal of difference between an Income Tax of 4s. in the £ and an Income Tax of 1s. in the £, which was the standard rate before the War. While it may be felt to be no burden to pay an assessment at the rate of 1s. in the £ it may be a burden to have to pay four times that sum in one payment.
§ Mr. McNEILL
The right hon. Gentleman must not speak as though the change were made as soon as the tax rose above 1s. The War was over before the change was made and Income Tax had been at 6s. for some time.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
There is a complete answer to that. An hon. Member behind me said the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been two years in discovering that here was a hen roost that he might rob. During the War people were too much concerned with other matters to raise an agitation about a thing like this; and there is the further point that during the War there was plenty of money; profits were high and wages were high, and it was not difficult to meet those payments.
Then there is the objection which has been put forward as to the long interval between the payment by the tenant and the time at which he is able to recoup himself. I do not think the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman will quite remove that hardship. As I understood him, what he was saying amounted to this. The demand notes are to be sent out a little time previous to the date upon which the Christmas quarter's rent is due. The rent must be paid on the 25th December, and I suppose there are very few landlords who would give more than two or three days' grace. That means that the Income Tax will have to be paid before the 1st January—if and when it is paid before the 1st January. I will tell the right hon. Gentleman what will happen. The tenant may delay paying the Income Tax until near the end of the financial year, until just previously to the end of the March quarter, and, therefore, there will be a delay in the receipt of the Income Tax. Of course, the final balance sheet will not suffer, although for some time the Revenue will be out of pocket where it otherwise might not have been.
There is just one third point, which has not been touched upon in the course of the Debates, though before leaving the other point may I say that I quite agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said that the reliefs granted to Income Tax payers exempt a great many small property owners from liability to payment of Income Tax. This is not merely a matter between a tenant and a landlord; there is the question of the owner who has a mortgage upon his house. That question has hitherto been overlooked. These people are a very large class, indeed. Under our system of Income Tax Assessment the Income 1125 Tax on the mortgage interest is paid in the first instance by the person who has a mortgage upon his property. Mortgage interest payments may fall due at varying dates. Therefore, the small property owner, the man who has bought his own house because he must have a house to live in and who has a mortgage of £400 or £500 on that house, may be out of pocket at the rate of 4s. in the £ for two or three months. In many cases mortgage interest is only paid every six months, and, therefore, it may happen—there must be tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of eases of this sort—that this man will be several pounds out of pocket for two, three or even four months; though, of course, there may be cases where he will not be out of pocket for so long.
On principle I have no objection to the annual payment of the tax, but the fact that the Income Tax is so high now does make a difference to the question. The right hon. Gentleman knows there has been an agitation for the payment of the general Income Tax, as in the case of those assessed on the weekly wage basis, in four instalments. But there is the hardship which would be involved in calling upon them to pay all at once a sum which might be much larger than their weekly wages. The objection to this proposal is not so much on principle as upon the nature of injustice that may be involved.
§ Mr. McNEILL
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise, when he talks about the burden which this tax imposes, that the single man does not pay at the standard rate unless his unearned income is in excess of £360 a year.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
That does not affect the case, because 4s. in the £ is deducted at the source and claim for repayment has to be made.
§ Fifteenth Resolution read a, Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Captain BOURNE
I want to put a few questions on this Resolution. One of them is where a person contracts voluntarily to hand over an annual sum 1126 to another person, will the person contracting be liable for the Income Tax under this Resolution? As far as I understand the Resolution, a man who hands over to trustees a lump sum, the income of which is to be held in trust for the benefit of another person, will not be liable for Income Tax in respect of such incomes. The point which I am really interested in is whether this Resolution will affect post-nuptial settlements. It is common knowledge that in the ease of ante-nuptial settlements they are regarded by law as being made "for valuable and sufficient consideration," and therefore are excluded from the purview of this Resolution; but it is a common practice in the case of postnuptial settlements for the parents of one or other of the parties to the marriage to covenant to pay a certain annual sum of money during the lifetime of their child.
The Resolution specifies a period of six years, and I am not clear whether a covenant to pay to an individual during his or her lifetime will be regarded as coming within this definition of six years or not. I quite agree that this does not touch the case of a voluntary allowance, but it has long been held by law that the allowance ranks for Income Tax purposes as the income of the person who gives the allowance. I do suggest, however, that there are some doubts under this Resolution as it appears on the Paper as to whether it affects voluntary covenants to make an annual payment to individuals for the duration of their lifetime. I think these points want clearing up, and I shall be glad to have an explanation of them.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend that the language of this Resolution is a little unintelligible to the ordinary reader, and perhaps I had better explain what is the purpose of this Resolution and why it has been put on the Paper at all. If I do that I think it will meet the difficulty which he has raised. This Resolution is to prepare for a Clause in the Finance Bill, and it is one of several attempts which are to be made to stop up holes which have been discovered for the legal avoidance of taxation. I do not like to call it evasion; but, as we discussed the matter last year on the Finance Bill, undoubtedly these, annuitants and lawyers are finding a way by which the payment of this taxation 1127 can be avoided. One of the devices resorted to of late years is owing to the legislation of 1922, under which a period of six years was laid down for the purpose of limiting settlements and dispositions of an enforceable nature.
Owing to the existing law this practice has grown up for the benefit of charities. A large number of charities, seeing the condition of the law, have approached their subscribers and have said, "Look here; if, instead of giving us a subscription of, £100 this year and £50 next year, and leaving it entirely undeterminate, you will arrange to pay us a fixed sum for six years and a bit over, it Will be to our mutual advantage." This is what happens. If an hon. Member agrees with a charity to pay £100 a year for six arid a-half years and enters into a covenant to do that, what happens? First of all the hon. Member who enters into that covenant is able to deduct Income Tax from the amount of his subscription, and to deduct the subscription from his income for Super-tax purposes. On the other hand, he pays over the net sum to the charity under the covenant, and the charity, by virtue of the exemption of charities from Income Tax, can and do claim repayment of the tax on the amount of the subscription; and by that very ingenious device, which is going on to a very considerable extent, people are enabled to make subscriptions to charities which are really to a certain extent given at the expense of the State.
Supposing a person is able to give a large subscription of £10,000. Instead of doing that he enters into a covenant to pay a corresponding total amount by way of an annuity over seven years, and by doing so, if his income is taxable for Income Tax and he is also paying Super-tax at the highest rate, the result is that the paying of the £10,000 in this way enables him to save £3,000 Super-tax, and the charity gets £10,000, £2,000 of which is given by the -State. So common has that practice become that the charities, after consulting their lawyers, are actually obliging enough to supply to the subscriber a form of covenant in order to carry out a transaction of this sort. Of -course, it is naturally a great advantage to the charities, because they secure a definite subscription for a certain number of years, and the subscriber 1128 can get the benefit of what he intends to give to the charity without quite so much loss to himself as he ought to suffer.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I am not in a position to discriminate, but I do know that it is done in quite a considerable number of cases. There is nothing wrong about it; the law allows it to be done; the only question is whether it is wise to continue it, and, in view of the fact that, owing to the exemptions which Parliament has very deliberately given, charities of all descriptions already enjoy a benefit to the extent of about £10,000,000, we think that this particular form of legal avoidance ought to be stopped. It is for that purpose that we have put this Resolution down, with the intention of founding upon it a Clause in the Finance Bill, and I have very little doubt that it is a proposal which will meet with general acceptance in the House. I do not think it has any relation to the case which has been raised by my hon. Friend. It is so framed that it will not really interfere, as it ought not to interfere, with any disposition genuinely and bona fide for the benefit of any individual, like a person's dependants or children; it is really only intended to stop what I will not call bogus transactions, but evasive transactions. For this reason, among others—it is quite clear that a covenant, such as I have described, in a deed is not really a genuine transaction, because it is perfectly well known that, if there were default in the payment of any of the covenanted subscriptions, the charity would never take the defaulter into Court; it would obviously spoil their market for subscriptions. Indeed, the ingenuousness of those who adopt this procedure is shown by the fact that the Treasury have on one or two occasions been approached by charities to know whether any sort of legal liability would be imposed upon them to take legal proceedings in case of default. It is quite clear that they never would, and, therefore, such a covenant entered into for a period exceeding six years is not genuine, according to the intention of the Act of 1922, in the sense that a person is entitled to make a disposition in layout of an individual if he bona fide parts with the property. If you bona fide part with 1129 your property to someone who is to benefit, that is another thing, and it is quite clear that you should be pro tanto relieved of taxation. But when Parliament has said that it must be in those circumstances and those circumstances alone, we ought to put an end to a sort of transaction which gets round the point without really disposing of the property. It is quite clear that, if a person enters into a deed of that sort, he can, if he chooses, at any time practically revoke it. While, therefore, it has the appearance of an irrevocable disposition, it is not so really in fact. It is in order to put an end to that practice, which might become a very serious encroachment upon the Revenue, that we are asking the House to deal with it this year.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I am sure the House is extremely obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the very lucid and interesting explanation he has given of the effect of this Resolution. The explanation he has given will be very useful in preparation for a fuller Debate upon the subject when we get into Committee on the Finance Bill. I do not think it would be proper to continue the discussion upon it this evening, but I would just like to ask this question, which I think the right hon. Gentleman can answer in a word. Does the expression "charities" include educational institutions like public schools and universities?
§ Mr. McNEILL
Of course, the right hon. Gentleman knows, probably quite as well as, if not better than, I do, what is covered by the word "charities" for purposes of Income Tax. I do not like to answer his question quite off-hand, but, if I did give an answer, I would say that it has the same connotation as in relation to exemption from Income Tax.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I did not really want an answer to-night, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will look up the point in preparation for the discussion on the Finance Bill.
§ Mr. CECIL WILSON
There is one aspect of this matter on which the right hon. Gentleman was not quite clear. He may not be aware that there are certain charities who are not returning Income Tax to the donors, but who are appealing to donors to make this arrangement 1130 in order that the charities themselves may benefit.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House proceeded to a Division—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER stated that he thought the Ayes had it; and, on his decision being challenged, it appeared to him that the Division was unnecessarily claimed, and he accordingly called upon the Members who supported and who challenged his decision successively to rise in their places, and he declared the Ayes had it, no Member who challenged his decision having stood up.
§ Commander WILLIAMS
I think this is probably by far the worst of all the Resolutions which we are passing tonight. It is once again an addition to the burdens which now fall very heavily on the producing capacity of the country as a whole. After all, it is an increase of the capital levy in a form which is just as bad as that proposed by the Socialist Government. It is true it has been more or less accepted by various parties from time to time, and If is also true that it was very heavily increased by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer some two years ago, but what is the exact position as regards this particular increase at present? The right hon. Gentleman in his Budget speech said this particular class of property had evaded the eagle eye of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). Apparently the reason why this exemption was first given as long ago as when the first Death Duties came in—of course, there have been considerable extensions and alterations since then, but in the original introduction of these duties, Sir William Harcourt said quite clearly that it was felt it would not be fair to require the full payment on each 1131 death within the scope of the settlement when the beneficiary takes only a limited interest.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Commander WILLIAMS
I was only using that by way of an illustration. At the time of the 1907 Act, when the reform of the whole position between settled and unsettled property took place, through all the periods when the pressure of taxation was being felt, in the time the right hon. Gentleman opposite was in office, when the Leader of the Liberal party was in office, whoever has been Chancellor of the Exchequer has always exempted this particular form of property, because as I understand it it was not a matter of the Treasury not realising that it was there. The Treasury officials know very clearly every form of exemption that has ever taken place. I seem to be the only person in the House who will protest against this form of taxation. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I am very glad to find there is some support, but there has been a deliberate tendency oil the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the last three years gradually to concentrate on increasing this form of duty. Many of as realise how essential it is to the trade of the country to encourage every possible form of capital development, and it is about time some of us protested against this imposition of taxation at the present time.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I do not think I should have been drawn into an unnecessary explanation by the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend. I do not, think it was quite worthy of him to indulge in a rather cheap jibe at the expense of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who cannot after all sit in the House from three o'clock till eleven without intermission. [Interruption.] He is not always engaged in absolute idleness when he is not in the House. He has a good many other things to do. I will not make much comment on my hon. and gallant Friend's speech. He is an old 1132 friend of mine, and I hope he will forgive me if I say I have seldom listened to a speech which appeared to me to be so absolutely misunderstanding the whole subject with which it was dealing. So far from this being a matter attacking property, as he seemed to think, it deals solely with a certain number of settlements which were made before 1894, and with them alone, and the whole amount of revenue involved is about £300,000. I will try to explain to the hon. Member opposite how this comes about. When Sir William Harcourt put on the Death Duties in 1894 he dealt with property under settlement. He said settled property should not pay Death Duties on the death of the life tenant unless it was the first death in the settlement after 1894. That went on for a very considerable time, and in course of time it was felt, to a certain limited class of people within the settlement, that it worked an injustice. When the death occurred of the first life tenant after 1894 the settled property was aggregated not with the property of the original settler who died before 1894, but with the life tenant's property. In those cases it was felt to be very unjust, and the consequence was that in 1907 the Government under Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman—I think the present Lord Oxford must have been the Chancellor of the Exchequer then—gave an exemption in those cases from the aggregation of the properly of a life tenant, and the life tenant's own property and the settled property was treated as a separate estate instead of being aggregated. But in 1914 the old system was changed, because the privilege or benefit which had been given to life tenants as a whole was swept away. After 1914 there was no distinction made on the death of a life tenant, with the single exception—I think it must have been an oversight—that has been left until the present time, of the small and continually diminishing number of settlements made before the introduction of the original Death Duties in 1894. It is a very limited class of property with which we are concerned here, and there is a very small revenue. We are merely trying to do what I think must have been omitted originally more by an oversight than anything else. It is a very technical subject. I do not know whether I have successfully explained 1133 to the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), who was anxious to know, but I can only say that, if I have not made myself intelligible, I have done my best.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I should like to thank the Financial Secretary to the Treasury for the trouble he has taken in explaining this technical matter to me. The reason why I was so anxious to get that explanation was that I put a, question to him on one occasion regarding the property of the King.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I think the hon. Gentleman is not in order. This relates to settlements made before 1894.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Yes, Sir, that is perfectly true. I do not wish to transgress here, but I am anxious to assist the House and to assist the country in general in getting money. When I put a question to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury as to how much tax accrued to this country from the estates that belong to Royalty—
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I agree that there is not very much here, but I am trying to get to know whether there is a great deal of property coming into this class under this Resolution.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It cannot come under this Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman has explained that this deals with a particular class of settlement made before 1894 and the subject must be confined to that.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Yes, I agree with your ruling. But a good deal of water has flowed through the Thames since 1894. We are dealing now with the present state, and that is why I think you will agree that I am in order in speaking to that.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I should like to take this opportunity to rebut the point made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Commander Williams) who tried to raise this matter. I understand that the point we are dealing with is that the giving of relief to 1134 certain estates shall come to an end. The hon. Member who raised this matter said we were causing another burden to be placed on the productive capacity of the country. That is the particular point with which I wish to deal. I strongly dissent from the argument that an increase in the Death Duties or any of those imposts on large estates do constitute a burden upon the productive capacity of the country. If the hon. Member opposite really wants to get clear views on this issue I would advise him to devote any little spare time which he may have to a careful study of the Report of the Colwyn Committee.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member must not take advantage of an obiter dictum, by the hon. arid gallant Member for Torquay to raise the whole question of the Death Duties.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I should not have attempted to refer to it had the hon. and gallant Member who raised the issue been called to order by you, Sir. I thought that, as you allowed him to discuss the matter, I should certainly be entitled to say something by way of rebutting him.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. and learned Member for Torquay had one sentence on the point, and the hon. Member has already had more.
§ Mr. THURTLE
That is the only point I wish to make, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and in view of the fact that you will not allow me to develop it, I must resume my seat.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I beg to move, in line 2, after the word "to," to insert the words "twenty-five per cent. of."
There does not remain very much time for a full discussion on this important matter, but this will not be the only occasion which the House will have for dealing with it, so I shall not now detain the House for more than a very few minutes. It will be remembered that last year the Chancellor of the Exchequer took £7,000,000 from the reserves of the 1135 Road Fund, and at the same time took for general revenue purposes one-third of the duties upon a certain class of motor vehicle. He attempted to justify that raid on the Road Fund a year ago on the ground that the yield of the Motor Duties was increasing so rapidly that this raiding would not have the effect of reducing the resources at the disposal of the Ministry of Transport for road maintenance and road improvements. I have no doubt that he will use the same argument in defence of the still greater raid that he is proposing to make by this Resolution.
When I spoke on this matter a year ago, I went into rather full details about the history of this Fund. I do not propose to do that to-night, but I want to put the point in one sentence. I am quite sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not deny—nobody can deny—that the Road Fund was contributed for a very definite and specific purpose. I will not at the moment argue whether there was a bargain or understanding with the taxpayers who made that contribution. Let us leave that for the moment. The point is, that this Fund has been created by taxation contributed for a very definite purpose. Now, the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes along, being in financial embarrassment, and takes these accumulated monies and applies them to general revenue purposes. He will say, as he has said before, that there are still very considerable resources at the disposal of the Ministry of Transport, or of the Department which will shortly take over the duties of the defunct Ministry of Transport. Whether that be so or not, the fact is clear that there will be £12,000,000 less for the purpose of road improvement after the Fund has been raided than would have been the case bad the Fund remained intact.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer disagrees with the point of view that many of us take on this side of the House—I think there are certain hon. Members opposite who agree to some extent with us—that the money which is now being spent out of national funds for road improvements and road maintenance is insufficient to meet the needs of the roads. The right hon. Gentleman has made that point over and over again. He has said that in considering the amount of money we spend upon the roads we must remember 1136 other calls upon the national exchequer, and that we must have some idea of proportion.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
It is clear that I am not misrepresenting the right hon. Gentleman. I would not for the world misrepresent anything that the right hon. Gentleman has said. He said that we must have some idea of proportion in allocating the limited amount available from national resources. The point I want to emphasise is that instead of the amount of money which is being devoted to the roads to-day being too large, it is very much too small. There will be, of course, a progressive increase in the yield of the Motor Duties and that part of the yield which will still be applied for the purpose of road improvement and maintenance. There will be each year a progressive increase, until the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes the next raid upon this Fund. Last year, he told us when he took the £7,000,000 that he was quite satisfied for the time being. He then gave no indication that, however embarrassing his position might be this year, he had designs on what still remained in the Fund.
The terms of this Resolution are that every penny of the Road Fund is to pass into the general revenues of the country. Therefore, there will be no more reserves for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to raid next year, and if he does seek to reduce the amount of money devoted to road purposes he will have to do it by extending the practice which he introduced last year of appropriating some part of the duties upon what he calls "luxury motor cars." We maintain that the amount of money which is now being contributed to the roads from national funds is altogether insufficient to meet the needs and requirements of the roads. In years gone by the roads were wholly, or, I might say, to a great extent purely local affairs. The coming of the motor car and of mechanical means of transport generally has altered that state of things, but we have not changed the system of road administration and road maintenance to harmonise with the changed methods of transportation. There are, I believe, something like £150,000 miles of roads of all classes in England and Wales, and only about one-fifth 1137 of this mileage is main or county roads. Every hon. Member of this House knows that there is a vast amount of motor traffic now upon the secondary and third-class roads, and that not 50 per cent of the roads in this country are adapted for motor transport to-day.
Hon. Members might use their imagination and try to make a calculation of the amount of money that would be needed if this 50 per cent. of ill-adapted roads were made fit for the calls of the traffic which is being put upon those roads to-day. I said last year, if I remember rightly, that we could easily spend in the next year or two £100,000,000 upon the roads, Of course, you cannot put your schemes into working order in 24 hours; it takes a very considerable time to do that and to carry them out; but I think there are schemes already approved by the local authorities, and to a considerable extent by the Ministry of Transport, involving expenditure of over £100,000,000. I am speaking from memory, but if I remember rightly the amount of money which is being spent by the local authorities upon the maintenance of the roads is between 40 and 50 million pounds a year. Part of that is for the maintenance of main or county roads. The cost of the secondary and third-class roads falls, in the main, upon the local authorities.
The time has come when there should be a complete reclassification of the roads and a change in the incidence of the burden of maintaining the roads. There are something like 2,000 separate authorities in this country. That, of course, leads to a great deal of overlapping, waste, and lack of economy. If the roads were placed either under one central authority or under much larger local authorities you would get greater uniformity, and with great uniformity you would get considerable improvement. Therefore this argument leads up to this, that the time is not to lessen the contribution of the State to the maintenance of the roads but to increase the contribution of the State. If we go back for one moment to what I know will be the point, I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will say that the increasing yield of the Motor Duties will be quite sufficient to do what is reasonable in the way of increased grants for road improvements and road maintenance. I maintain that that is not the case at, all if motor 1138 traffic continues to increase as it has been increasing during recent years. The right hon. Gentleman estimates that there will be a progressive annual increase of, say, £2,000,000 a year. What is that? Nothing at all The needs of the roads are growing far more rapidly than the yield of the Motor Duties is growing. That therefore makes it little less than criminal for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take away all these accumulated funds contributed for a definite and specific purpose and already hypothecated to schemes which had, at one time, at any rate, the sanction of the Treasury. We know, of course, that it has been the- policy of the Treasury during the last year or two to withhold its sanction from new schemes which have been submitted by the Ministry of Transport and through the local road authorities. Schemes in London, for instance, are being held up simply because of Treasury interference with what the Ministry of Transport would no doubt like to do.
Expenditure on roads differs from a great many other forms of National Expenditure. I do not know whether I have ever told the House this incident, which made me an enthusiast for road improvements. About 20 years ago, I was a member of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the waterway and canal systems of this country and I had not been a member of that Commission very long before I came to the conclusion that the transport problem was a much bigger matter, that it was a waste of time to inquire into one particular form of transport, that the problem of transport must be treated as a whole, and that some plan must be found for dealing with the various means of transportation by water, rail and road. Motor transport was just coming on the road in those days. I made a statement in a public speech—and it shows that, although I appreciated to some extent what was coming, my prophecy was moderate—that it would be not merely desirable, hut a very good investment for the State to spend £10,000,000 in improving the roads of the country. I remember the "Spectator" commenting on my observations by saving that it was the first time in flip history of the world that a sensible suggestion had ever emanated from the brain of a Socialist. I maintain, therefore, 1139 having the support of the "Spectator," that it is not merely good Socialism, but good Toryism, too. Indeed expenditure upon the roads is of a highly remunerative character.
Hon. Members can see the enormous loss that is being inflicted upon the commerce and trade of this country by road and street delays. I saw a calculation made by a very eminent authority some time ago that the delay in carrying out the Victoria Dock scheme was costing in traffic delays half a million pounds a year. I remember seeing it stated, at the time the improvement was made at the Marble Arch, that that comparatively small improvement had saved £20,000 a year to those who use motor traffic along that street. You can multiply that by ten thousand or a hundred thousand or a million and, if you take all the congested streets and roads, you get a colossal sum running into hundreds of millions. Is it not worth while to spend a sum which will relieve us of this enormous waste? The Chancellor of the Exchequer agrees with what I am saying. He is giving me most encouraging cheers. I wish his actions would confirm his cheers, but, instead of doing that, he has taken every penny there is in the Road Fund. Of course, I remember that he said in his Budget speech that the Treasury would be prepared to consider any schemes that might be suggested. I have not a shadow of doubt that the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to consider them or as to what his decision would be.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Exactly! That means nothing at all. I was not ungenerous in my interpretation of what he said. What are the existing schemes? If he is prepared to finance all existing commitments then he has no right to take a single penny because most of that fund is appropriated to the schemes already approved. There will be other opportunities of speaking on this matter, and I think the remarks I have now made will suffice for the present occasion.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
When the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced his proposal to make a raid on the Road Fund last year, I understand that his 1140 attitude was very apologetic. I listened to his speech this year, as I always do, with great pleasure, but instead of his attitude being apologetic it was inexorable and defiant. His actions remind everyone on this side of the House of the raider's progress and the haul which that raider has made. It is well that the House, when discussing the Road Board Fund and this raid by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, should be reminded of the extent and size and nature of the raid he has just made. In 1926 he made a raid of £7,000,000, and at the same time he made a raid—and this is too often forgotten—on motor taxation to the extent of £3,500,000. This year he has made a raid once again on the Road Fund to the extent of £12,000,000, and not satisfied with that he has again made a raid upon the amount accruing from motor taxation to the extent of £4,500,000. He has raided out of funds to which as Chancellor of the Exchequer he is not entitled to get anything in two years £27,000,000, an amount which is just one-third of the entire expenditure of the country when I first entered politics. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) called the attitude of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer one of sheer confiscation. One of his own followers behind him has called it petty larceny, and another hon. Member has called it highway robbery. But whatever it is, his haul from these two funds wipes out the whole of the Road Board Fund upon which the hopes of big national read development schemes in this country were based.
May I also remind the House of another matter which was alluded to by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. It is well to remember the origin and aims of the Road Fund. I well remember in 1909 when my right hon. Friend and colleague the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was Chancellor of the Exchequer, that one of his most ardent and vehement supporters was the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. At that time the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs founded what is agreed is one of the greatest institutions in this country—namely, the Roads Improvement Fund. It is well to quote one or two opinions in order to establish my point that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no right morally 1141 or legally to take these monies into the general revenue of the country. This is what my right hon. Friend who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1909 said when establishing the present Road Fund:Motorists are willing.…I want the House to note those words:so long as a guarantee is given. … that the funds so raised will not merely be devoted exclusively to the improvement of roads, but that they will be well and wisely spent for that end. My proposal is that the whole of the money"—I want the House to pay attention to the word "whole"—should go to the improvement of roads. This tax has been imposed purely for the benefit of the roads of the country, and is no part of the general scheme of the country for raising revenue.[AN. HON. MEMBER: "The Liberal party has arrived!"] Yes, and they have arrived at an appropriate time. They have arrived at the moment when I was telling the House of the good work the Liberal party did in 1909. My right hon. Friend concluded his speech in these words:It is purely a tax raised to enable us to set aside a fund for improving the roads of the country.Almost immediately after the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs had spoken the present Foreign Secretary, who was then an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, got up and referring to the Roads Improvement Fund said on behalf of the Conservative party:Our attitude towards the tax will depend on the answer. If it is going to the support of the roads we think it is a very fair proposition. If it is intended to take it for general revenue purposes, we shall oppose it.That is exactly what the present Chancellor of the Exchequer is doing. I will not quote, and the House would not like me to quote, many more examples from the speeches of ex-Chancellors of the Exchequer. During the War conditions were obviously very different from the conditions of peace time, but in 1915 the Chancellor of the Exchequer was Mr. McKenna. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer always likes a reference to the McKenna Duties, but I am going to give him a phrase which I do not think he will like quite so much because it is in entire support of the 1142 argument I am putting forward. In 1915 these Duties were increased, but when Mr. McKenna was increasing them, and appropriating them to the scheme of the general revenue of the country, he made it perfectly plain that this fund was acquired by the additional amount put on to the Motor Duties and were being reserved for general revenue purposes only for the time being. I have quoted three Chancellors of the Exchequer who have preceded the right hon. Gentleman, who have had no hesitation in telling the House of Commons that the Road Improvement Fund was instituted for one specific purpose alone—namely, the improvement and development of the roads of the country. I am not content with the dicta of three Chancellors of the Exchequer, though I should have thought it would have satisfied any economist in the country and certainly have satisfied any lawyer in the country. I come to 1920. At that time the Ministry of Transport, which I understand is now to be abolished, was in actual being and the Minister of Transport was Sir Eric Geddes. When he was introducing, assisted by his Parliamentary Secretary, a Bill called the Roads Bill, he made this statement which I think is well worth noticing at the present moment:This is a specific Act to insure a specific revenue to be devoted to a specific object.For whom and for what? This is his answer:From road users for the improvement of the roads.A few days afterwards Mr. Neal, speaking on behalf of the Government, he was then Parliamentary Secretary, made these remarks:The motorists have consentedI want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to realise the significance of these words:to raise money by this particular tax on the definite undertaking that the money should be expended on the improvement of roads.That was a pledge which was given two years after the end of the War, when general taxation was at its highest and much higher than it is now. My right hon. Friend, I understand, has said that it is no part of the taxpayer's duty to dictate in what manner the tax which is imposed upon him should be spent. That, I have no doubt, is a very sound 1143 and very good general proposition. It may be true of the man who pays upon his bets, or his smokes or his drinks, but after the quotations I have given can it be seriously contended that the motorists and people of this country have not a say upon the way in which the money is to be spent? This tax is quite different from every other tax. The motorists have consented to pay this tax for a specific purpose. As someone has pointed out very wisely, it has now become a sort of super-tax on one class of the community, a class which, I would remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is not limited to one social section but is daily growing in every part of the country. While all that money is being paid for a special return, my right hon. Friend says that there shall be no return in the specific way which was arranged at the foundation of the tax.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer talks of the amount which is raided as if it were a surplus. There is, as a fact, no surplus. The country now, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has said, is crying out for road development, which is recognised as the most beneficent and essential factor in the social, industrial and agricultural life of the country. Anyone who takes any part in Private Bill Committees upstairs will realise the truth of what I say. There is scarcely a Bill introduced upstairs by the various big organisations in the country or by the great Corporations which does not bring to the notice of Members the fact that road transport and road facilities and road development are the principal factors in the great industrial organisations of the country. I was amused to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer say in the course of his very admirable speech:Resolute as have been the efforts to spend the money in useful ways."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th April, 1927; col. 94, Vol. 205.]Any Member who goes into a rural or an urban constituency knows perfectly well that there is no sign of any resolute spending of money in that constituency during the last few years. What do I find? I have no doubt that the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been drawn to a very important statement on this particular case in to-day's 1144 "Times." I think it was incidentally referred to by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. This is what Mr. Rees Jeffreys, the chairman of the Roads Improvement Association, said yesterday:The programme of improvement and development works that would be abandoned as a result of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's action and the uncertainly that now prevailed as to what he and future Chancellors of the Exchequer would do with regard to the Road Fund was as follows:Widening, strengthening and reconstructing roads in the rural districts, £40,000,000.Ditto in urban districts, £15,000,000.Constructing approach roads through developing areas of the large towns in advance of building development, £25,000,000.Removing blind corners in rural and urban districts, £5,000,000.Reconstructing weak bridges over railways and rivers, £12,000,000.I will not read the whole of the items, but the total comes to £100,000,000. Equally interesting is an article which has been sent to every Member of this House by Mr. Inglis Kerr. He wrote an article for the "Glasgow Herald," in which he made it perfectly plain that the Road Fund was created for the purpose of relieving the financial pressure on local authorities. Notwithstanding that, the local rates have risen gradually from 1s. 9d. a0 14s. in the £. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will recollect Mr. Pretyman, a former Member of the House, who took an abiding interest in the agricultural welfare of the country. Mr. Pretyman made a speech the other day, in which he made it perfectly plain that the highway rates alone in the rural communities of England have risen from 6d. before the War to an average of 6s. now. When one remembers, too, that no less than £56,000,000 a year is spent annually on highways and bridges, and that the Ministry of Transport has spent only £11,000,000 out of this Fund by giving grants and loans to the various local authorities, and £1,000,000 in work arranged by itself, one realises that out of that enormous sum—it is an enormous sum—four-fifths has had to be borne by the urban and county rates.
Everyone knows that it is not high taxation that is the grievous problem, so far as employment and the development of industry are concerned. The real 1145 problem is the injury which high rates cause to enterprise. One has only to listen to arguments upstairs and to consult any of the great industrial magnates in the Midlands or the North of England and Southern Scotland to find that they say to a man that the great handicap placed upon them compared with the foreigner is the very high and ever-increasing burden of local rates. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer may very well say, in reply, that so far as rural rates are concerned he allocated a sum of £150,000 last year, and the same amount this year, for local rates in rural districts. That is not sufficient for a single large county alone in any part of the country. It is no good really, and I will tell the right hon. Gentleman why. Because people forget Mat the rural district ratepayer is exactly the same person as the county ratepayer. This small sum of £150,000 is a paltry sum when one considers the enormous amount at the disposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This small sum, this saving on rural roads, is not nearly a set-off when you consider the additional amount that is added to the county council rate when this money is raided and taken into the general fund of the Exchequer.
When dealing with rural rates of this kind the Chancellor of the Exchequer must remember that rural areas are clearly divided into two parts. One part is practically urban, with a very high or fairly high valuation, and that therefore the county rate may not be a very serious burden. But there are other genuinely rural areas, and these areas have a correspondingly low valuation, and the more onerous and grievous is the burden of the rates. The extraordinary fact is that the one section of the community that is to be injured more severely than any other by the withdrawal of this money from its proper and appropriate end, namely, the development of roads, will be the agricultural section of the community in rural parts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that this sum of £12,000,000 will play a far more useful part in national economy if it is handed over to the Commissioners of National Debt. The facts which I have given from the "Times" show that employment could be made available at once 1146 Look at the significance, in relation to employment, of the raid which the Chancellor is making. If the £25,000,000 or £27,000,000 taken for the general exchequer were used for the development of existing roads, the improvement of bridges and the making of new roads, 50 per cent of that money would be spent directly in wages. Of the materials employed in this work, 25 per cent would be manufactured by British workers, so that 75 per cent. of the whole amount would be used in the employment of British laboar. It would have employed and would continue to employ as many as 80,000 men on road construction throughout the country for a long period of time. My right hon. Friend may say, as indeed he has said, that his action has not impeded any scheme. That may be true, though I know of a scheme in my own constituency which is at present being held up, and I have no doubt there are many other schemes in other constituencies which are being held up. But whether that be the case or not, the fact that my right hon. Friend or any other Chancellor of the Exchequer takes away from its proper allocation a fund which has been definitely allocated will create in the minds of local authorities a desire to suppress activities and to stifle action.
The, right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley said he was greatly impressed by the gigantic nature of the road problem in this country, and no one can fail to be impressed with that problem who considers the facts. There are 152,736 road miles in this country, and if you take the main roads in 16 typical counties only 48 per cent. are equipped to carry modern traffic, and of the remainder, 38 per cent. require reconstruction at an estimated cost of £25,000,000. If you take the unclassified roads, which are in the main in agricultural areas, you find that only 7 per cent. are equal to the burden of modern traffic and require at least £10,000,000 for upkeep and reconstruction. In 1906 there were only 4,000 commercial motor vehicles in this country. In 1926 there were no fewer than 355,000, and the taxation on these amounts to £7,602,000. On the roads alone, as many as 800,000 are employed even now. The House will remember another phrase of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech. He said:The £12,000,000 reserve stands outside all this, and is not required for any of these 1147 purposes. … It is the working balance on the Road Fund."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th April, 1927; col. 94, Vol. 205.]10.0 p.m.
Any hon. Member who looks up the Road Board's Report for 1925–26, page 3, will see that liabilities are shown of £30,174,000. That is to say, all these are commitments, entered into by the Ministry in relation to the building of roads and bridges and other works. A reserve fund was earmarked for this particular purpose, and while my right hon. Friend describes it as a "working balance," it is nothing of the kind. It is a true reserve, that is, money invested to meet commitments actually entered into. If these facts be true what becomes of the Chancellor's buoyant assertion that "the coffers of the Road Fund are continually overflowing" and that the annual revenue from motor licences itself will be sufficient to carry out every undertaking entered into? Will it? You cannot restrict activities of local authorities with regard to road development and transport facilities, you cannot restrict motor traffic and motor taxation and at the same time collect your taxes. That is where I think the Chancellor has made a grievous mistake. It may be that it is useless to try to alter my right hon. Friend's attitude to-day, but we are entitled to ask him for assurances in the future as to the constitution and application of this Fund. The hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon), in the course of his speech said, "We have still the Road Fund, thank God, intact." May I ask my right hon. Friend to tell the House whether it is to be really a separate fund, or will it continue to exist as a separate fund only on paper? I think we have shown clearly that the Fund which is now being appropriated for general revenue was originally started for one specific purpose alone, namely, the development and improvement of the roads of this country, and I think the fact that it is being diverted from its proper course will create a sense of grievance and injustice throughout the country and will place a burden on the poorer classes which they ought not to be called upon to bear.
§ Major CARVER
I desire to ask the indulgence of the House as this is the first occasion on which I have had the honour of addressing it. The question 1148 of the Road Fund is of supreme importance to me, because I happen to be the chairman of the highways committee of the county in which I reside, and in which my constituency is situated. Before the War, in our district we had 70 miles of road to look after; we have now over 240 miles. Therefore, those of us who are representatives of local authorities look upon the proposal for the annexation of this large sum by the Chancellor with considerable misgiving. I do not in the least want to harass the Chancellor in his very difficult duty, but I feel that, in my position as representing a local authority, I should record a mild protest. I have just been reading the Report on the administration of the Road Fund for the year ending 31st March, 1926. It has taken some time to issue that Report, but I know it is impossible to bring it out sooner. I see in that Report that there are commitments for the various road works in the country amounting to over £30,000,000. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken re minded the Chancellor that last year he took £3,500,000 from the income of the Road Fund. I believe in the actual wording of the Finance Act of 1926 it was to be one-third of the proceeds of the licences which accrued from motor cycles and private motor cars, so that it really is a moveable quantity and it is quite possible that the amount which has been stated as £3,500,000 may be considerably more. I take it that is to go on year after year. Last year he took £7,000,000, plus this sum, which has been estimated at £3,500,000. This year, according to this Resolution, he is taking not only £12,000,000, but the whole of the Road Fund, and I do not want to accept that situation lying down.
I know the Chancellor has said that all the schemes for which this £12,000,000 stands will be carried through. I must say I should like a definite announcement about that from the Government. All of this £12,000,000 has been allocated for definite schemes of urgent importance. It is not exactly a reserve fund. Schemes are now being contracted for all over the country, and this money is allotted for that purpose. Therefore, I really do want to be quite certain that everything that is promised will be definitely carried out. We do realise that modern road-making 1149 was revolutionised by the railway strike in 1919. It was then that people realised the use they could make of the roads as against railways. What was known as the waterbound principle is being gradually done away with and we are now nearly everywhere adopting the tar Macadam system.
My own constituency is bounded by water from Hull to York, with absolutely only one bridge, and that a wooden toll bridge at Selby, to cross which we have to pay 9d., and commercial vehicles, of course, have to pay considerably more. But even before you reach that rickety wooden bridge at Selby, you have to cross two other toll bridges, for which you also have to pay. I remember when I entered this House a few months ago for the first time, as I walked up the Floor I heard under the Gallery, from the Labour party, a voice which exclaimed, "From darkest England!" I thought at the time that it referred to the fact that I had been returned by a constituency which always had returned a Conservative, but I am inclined to think now it was the voice of sympathy, because I came from a place which is practically inaccessible. I had hoped that a great deal of this money which has been laid by in the Treasury might have been used for doing away with these toll bridges. There are toll bridges in other parts of the country, but in the East Riding of Yorkshire we are particularly affected. I do not know to whom I am to look now, as the Ministry of Transport is done away with. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not yet!"] You could always knock at the door there, and know quite well you would be favourably received, but it would be with great timidity that I should dare knock at the door of the Treasury and ask for the grant of a sum of money which would do away with these toll bridges.
It is a very serious thing for us in the East Riding, and a very great grievance, and I want to take this opportunity of mentioning it. Certainly, the Ministry of Transport is helping in the making of a bridge over the River Ouse at Booth ferry but that bridge will not be ready for another 18 months, and when it is ready it will practically end in a ploughed field. At any rate, if it is not a ploughed field, it is next door to one—an unclassified country road. We have put forward a 1150 scheme which will connect up with this bridge, but so far the money is not forthcoming. I only put that forward as one of the schemes for which some of this money might be allotted. I want to plead with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do not want to harass him at all, but I do want to impress upon him the importance of these country districts. I live in an agricultural district, amongst a simple pastoral people, who have not a great deal of money left. I, certainly, dare not go to any of my constituents and suggest raising the rates in my own county council. Certainly, we have reduced our estimates considerably, and I think we have set a very good example to a great many Government Departments in that respect.
We want this money for roads and bridges. Another matter which is very important in our part of the world is that of the level crossings. I live near a town which has been often mentioned in this Chamber—the City of Hull. I am sorry that so far the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) is not here, because I am quite sure he would support me in this. On several occasions questions have been asked in this House about removing these level crossings in Hull, and schemes have been put up to the Ministry of Transport for a grant to remove those level crossings. Years and years ago, when I first came to the City of Hull, I was told that it was bounded on the one side by the North Sea and on the other by the North Eastern Railway, and was thus rendered inaccessible from all parts. That, of course, was before the hon. and gallant Gentleman was returned for the Central Division. Anybody who goes there by motor car knows quite well how difficult it is to approach. One is continually held up by level crossings. I know there are other parts of the country where level crossings should also be abolished. Only last week some of my friends going up the Great North Road, at a place called Crow Park, were held up for ten minutes while shunting operations took place. At least 100 cars on each side were held up on one of the main arterial roads of England.
I simply put this forward as showing that there is a great deal still to be done for the roads. A great many questions have been asked in this House about 1151 these level crossings. It has been suggested to me that I might put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, in order to raise revenue, he might tax questions, say, £1 for every question to be orally answered and 10s. for each written answer. It might bring in a considerable revenue. I would suggest, also, that there might be a scale for Imperial Preference. Think what a nice revenue we should get from the Labour party if they paid £1 for every question they asked about foreign countries. Of course, on the Conservative side, we should get the advantage of the Imperial Preference. I understand the Labour party will want at least £100,000,000 a year to finance their Socialistic schemes. I am not quite sure that this is a good example the Chancellor is setting them in taking this large sum of money. We know that the income this year is £21,000,000, and that next year £24,000,000 will be coming in from the Road Fund. I have not the slightest doubt that in a few years it will be £30,000,000, and I am quite certain the Labour party will have their eye on that. I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he would agree to a system of block grants. It is very difficult in agricultural districts to take advantage of the percentage grants that we are given, and wherever I go, in our part of the world, many people ask whether we could not have a system of block grants and a sum of money given to us, which we could expend. I am certain that a great deal of economy could be effected in connection with the Ministry of Transport if a reduction of their provincial staffs took place and more and more was put on to the local authorities, which, after all, do their work very well indeed. I am sure that if this system of block grants were given, the Local authorities would do the work very well.
I do not like to close without passing one word of tribute to the Minister of Transport, who, I am afraid, is going to leave us very shortly. I very much regret myself, though I quite realise its expediency, that the Ministry of Transport should be done away with, but I cannot let the Minister go without passing a word of gratitude for the help that he has given at any rate to us in our part of the country. Whenever we have had occasion to approach him, he has always been most sympathetic and kind, and, 1152 therefore, the passing away of the Ministry of Transport is to me a matter of sincere regret. If he has to go—and I understand it is so—I hope the Roads Department, which, I suppose, will take his place, will act in a great measure as he has done, and that the present Director-General of Roads, who has also been most kind and approachable in every way, will continue to serve. I desire to thank the House for their extreme leniency and kindness to me.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Howdenshire Division (Major Carver), who has just addressed the House for the first time, has made a speech which was very admirably delivered, which was very fully packed with suggestive points, and which undoubtedly gave expression to-many desires. He desired that the bridge should be built across the stream, and that when the bridge was built the road should be made to carry on the good work on the other side; he desired that the toll gate should be swept away; he desired that a far more general development of road expenditure should take place in this country, and particularly in that part of this country which has been so extremely well advised in quite recent times as to return him to the House of Commons. All these desires are natural and legitimate, and their expression is entirely in accordance with what Parliament exists for, but I am bound to say that I think, in the hard times in which we are living, and on the long bleak, uphill road on which we are condemned to toil, my hon. and gallant Friend would, at the very outset of his Parliamentary career, be well advised to take refuge in philosophy, and to dwell less upon those things he would desire to have than upon those things which he is prepared to sacrifice and give up. I am quite certain that a great many of the desires which he has expressed to-night will be beyond the compass of the State in the near future. If he desires to have the beginning of all riches and wealth and opulence, he can only do it by finding from his very poverty the means to give something to the State and not to seek any benefit.
I do not think that to-night we can attempt to grapple in close detail with the financial issues involved in the Resolution now before the House. After 1153 all, these are the preliminary Resolutions. When they are completed, the field will be open for the introduction of the Finance Bill, upon which all the discussions take place at much greater length and even with greater formality. The Committee stage and the Report stage of that Bill enable all these matters to be brought to the severest test of Parliamentary examination. The remarks which I shall venture to offer to the House to-night will be of a general rather than of a detailed character. We have had two speeches, one from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) and one from my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson), both of which have stated very effectually a case against the policy which this Resolution embodies. But you cannot judge the question of taking £12,000,000 from the reserves of the Road Fund in relation only to the Road Fund or to the question of the roads—you cannot judge it apart from the general financial proposals of the Government for the year or from the general financial situation of the country.
Every form of expenditure, every form of organised public effort, has its channel, and for every one of the innumerably large branches of expenditure for which we provide this year there are good justifications, justifications the excellence of which appears only when the expenditure is challenged in detail. At the summit the Exchequer has to try to take a general view, to try to establish a true relation, as far as it can, between the different forms of expenditure, to bring them into the proper proportion and to present them as a complete and integral whole. This transference of £12,000,000 from the reserve of the Road Fund to the National Debt Commissioners cannot be judged by itself, it can only be judged in relation to the general financial scheme which has been placed before the House and the country, and which has been received with a degree of acceptance in principle which, in a Parliamentary experience now beginning to be among the most lengthy of those here present, I have never seen equalled, and which, so far as the Budget is concerned, I can never hope to see surpassed.
1154 You must look at this matter in its general sense and consider the alternatives. After all, it is a question of £12,000,000. We are not now discussing some moderate matter of £200,000 or £300,000, but a question of £12,000,000 in the Budget of the present year. This £12,000,000, if it had to be found elsewhere, would involve an addition of 3d. on the Income Tax, or would involve a failure to make any effective provision for the huge rent, in the Sinking Fund made by the disasters of last year. Therefore this sum of money cannot be taken in isolation just as £12,000,000 being taken from the Road Fund, but we must also consider what other alternatives would have to be adopted.
I am not going to follow the right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty in the arguments he has used as to whether the money raised by the Motor Licence Duties was for all time finally assigned to the upkeep of the roads. I went through all that last year. At that time the argument was used that it belonged to the motorists and that it was "Government of the motorists, by the motorists, for the motorists." It was claimed that it was their money and ought to be spent only on the development of the particular conveniences on which they relied. All those arguments about the pledges of my predecessors were brought forward last year and smashed to pieces. I am not fighting that battle this year. I fought it last year. I am merely pursuing, and collecting some of the baggage which they left behind.
The right hon. Gentleman opposite used the expression that the motorists of the country have consented, and he quoted a statement by Sir Erie Geddes in which he said they had consented, to take on these extra duties. I do not admit that there was any need to ask their consent. We ask for the consent of the electors of the country and the Members of the House of Commons, and no class of taxpayers has any right to prescribe conditions as to the method by which the compulsory taxes imposed by the State are exacted, or as to the disposition made of those funds. There is too much tendency on the part of democrats like my right hon. Friend to claim a sort of privileged position for the motorist. I had a letter from a lady the other day making a suggestion in regard to the 1155 Budget. She said that she strongly advised a tax on bicycles—not motor bicycles, because they go at a proper pace, but the ordinary bicycles which get in the way.
We have to try as far as we can to relate all these individual points of view, which are so vehemently expressed, into the common scheme of national policy; but I yield to no one—[Interruption]—I yield to no one in my appreciation of the immense value of the development of motor transport and motor roads. Here you have, in this island, carried to a point where no other country is a rival, a method by which goods can be delivered from the warehouse to the customer, and the interchange of services and goods between the citizens of this island has been carried to a point of per fection which 20 years ago never had dawned upon the consciousness of the greatest economic thinkers. You have a system which, undoubtedly, has stimulated and developed our internal trade, which, as we all know, exceeds many times—how many times is disputed—the whole external trade of the country. But it is, as I have said, a question of proportion and relation. Everyone is in favour of road development, and the road development of this country exceeds the road development of any country in the world. Show me any country in the world which spends so much on its roads as we do show me any country in the world which has better roads than we have.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
We have the best roads. We spend the largest sum of money and the largest proportion of revenue on them. But there must be some limit to this. How are you going to argue this matter on the basis that all expenditure on roads is good? You cannot say so apart from where the money comes from, apart from what is the general wealth of the country, apart from what are the other needs of the State, apart from what are the other competing requirements in each direction 1156 Of course, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty says, "Why should you take this £12,000,000 from the roads?" If I had proposed to take £12,000,000 from the Navy, all the Liberal party would have been bound to rise up and say, "Hosanna! Let us, if you will, have a second-or third-class Navy, but, whatever happens, we must have first-class roads." I need not say that that is a highly disputable proposition. Here is the right hon. Gentleman opposite—or who was opposite—he has been very regular and assiduous in his attendance in the House, and I do not mean my remarks to be in the slightest degree a reflection upon him—the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) tells us how much is required, but I am bound to consider the proper relativity of expenditure. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty talks of the possibility of spending £100,000,000 upon the roads, and I think £200,000,000 or £300,000,000 has been mentioned—
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I was quoting a statement which appeared in to-day's "Times" from the Chairman of the Roads Improvement Association, saying that £100,000,000 was required.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
All in good time. If you get £20,000,000 for five years, you will have your £100,000,000, and in 15 years you will have £300,000,000. Time and money are interchangeable terms. If we are told that we ought to spend £100,000,000 or £200,000,000 in the next—I think it was suggested—two or three years, or three or four years, on the roads, I utterly demur to that; I say it is not in accordance with the true housekeeping of the nation to make such an expenditure. It would be an altogether disproportionate expenditure. Every woman in the country who manages her household knows perfectly well how the balance has to be held between the different vital needs, and to have starved education, to have a Navy no longer maintaining its equality with the other strongest Navies in the world, to fail in discharging all other functions of the State, to have pinching and grinding economies enforced in every direction, and yet to have one fund and one activity alone marching forward, spending money galore to the utmost limit, 1157 till the whole country is covered with perfect rapid racing tracks—to do that, I am certain, would be entirely contrary to what a sober view of the national interest requires.
Take the relation of the Road Fund and the expenditure on roads to the railways of the country. There are twelve hundred millions of capital invested in the railways and more than 600,000 men get their livelihood therefrom. No doubt the railways are severely competed against by this ever-growing, ever-developing road transport, and so they ought to be, but there must be some limit to the extra push and thrust which the State and local authorities make to develop the quota of transport in competition with these railways. You cannot say, for instance, that we ought to lay aside everything else and spend £200,000,000 in the next two or three years upon the roads without regarding the fact of the enormous railway system which we have, which can compete in a great many ways with motor transport, and which ought not by any artificial stimulus to be brushed aside or ill-treated. When the railways first came in, they came on the heels of a great system of canals. The canal system never recovered from the rough treatment it received at the hands of the railways. I have always been of opinion that a wiser development would have found a proper sphere, and a much larger sphere, for canals in the true interest of national transport economy, and I believe this new form of transport, which in its turn is superseding railways, has to take its place in the field, not by the destruction and the atrophy of the railway system, but by a fair and proper division and distribution of the functions of the State in a true economy. You have to consider this in relation to other forms of expenditure. You have to consider it in relation to the position of the railways.
Then we are told there are local authorities and local rates. I decline utterly to argue about local rates on the question of the Road Fund. If you wish to argue about rates and taxes, that must not be on the question of my taking £12,000,000 from the reserve of the Road Fund. It must be upon the broad issue of national and local taxation. I should not fear in the least to discuss the question of national and local taxation from the point 1158 of view of the Exchequer. If you compare the movement which has taken place since 1914 year by year, you will see that it is the Exchequer which has suffered and the rates which have gained. It may be quite right. I daresay it is. Many people think we ought to carry that evolution further and push it faster, but still it is obvious that it must be dealt with as a whole. The whole relations of the central government to the local authorities, must be brought into view, not merely one item like the Road Fund. You have to consider everything, the bearing of old age pensions, widows' pensions and so forth, on the expenditure of local authorities, and a dozen other items would have to be considered. However, on the question of the rates versus taxes, since 1913 the rates have doubled, but the Imperial contribution to local authorities has trebled or quadrupled, and the burden on the Imperial taxpayer has nearly quintupled. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"] There is nothing that gives greater pleasure to a speaker than seeing his great points go home. It is like the bullet that strikes the body of the victim. I say that if you examine this problem under any of these three heads, first of all, in relation to the general expenditure and finance of the country; secondly, in relation to the revenue, and, thirdly, on the basis of the national taxes versus the local rates—on all of those grounds you will see that a thoroughly good case exists at the present time for the transference of £12,000,000 from the Road Fund to the Exchequer.
I am not prejudicing the operations of the Road Fund. Let me explain very carefully what I mean by that, in case there should be misunderstanding at a later date. I am not claiming, for one moment, that the Road Fund will not he poorer by £12,000,000 or that every scheme put forward by advocates of rapid road development will have as good a chance. I am not arguing any of these points. What I have said is this, that we shall finance with the credit of the State every undertaking and commitment into which we have actually entered, and, in the second place, that we shall make available for the finance of the roads in each year of the present Parliament larger sum than that which is available in the present year—and that is a sum 1159 which far exceeds the sums provided in any other year. When we hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross and Cromarty tell us of the great achievement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) when he founded this Fund, and the generous consideration in regard to the roads and so on, I must re-call to the House the brutal figure. The generosity of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs in 1910 was worth £860,000 to the roads.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
And in 1913–14 it was only worth £1,395,000. That was the value of his generosity. My stinginess, what is left over after my rapacity in the present year, amounts to £20,000,000 sterling.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
If my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs was supported by the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time, he would never have had that Fund available to-day.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I entirely agree. Never have I looked back with more satisfaction upon my association with the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs than during the course of the last financial year. It is a case of poetic justice that after all these years—we built in a humble way, in a small way; we built truly and we built soundly—in the long swing of events, a rich reward is reaped. Nothing to which the Road Fund is committed will fail to be financed by the Exchequer. Each year a larger sum than that available this year will be provided for the roads. That will enable this country to keep not only the position which it has obtained over every other country in the world in the matter of its roads, but to maintain the rate of its advance undiminished in the years before it. In these circumstances to take the £12,000,000 lying in the separate hoard of a Department which is already provided with as large a share of the revenues of the country as it would be prudent to spend upon road development, and transfer it to the proper, appropriate and fruitful purpose 1160 of sustaining the national credit and paying off the Sinking Fund, is a measure which, whether you look at it from the point of view of financial purism or from the point of view of practical advantage, will equally commend itself to the good sense of the House.
§ Mr. PALIN
The hon. Member for Howdenshire (Major Carver) may be able to find some consolation in the philosophy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but there is one victim of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposal to take this £12,000,000, who will not be able to find such consolation, and he is the unemployed man who has been able to find some useful work as a result of the expenditure on the roads during the past few years. Fine words butter no parsnips. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement that no commitments that have been entered into will be ignored does not carry us very far, because for two years past local authorities have been having their schemes turned down, and when one comes to examine the commitments that have been entered into they do not amount to very much. If we had not to consider a heavy unemployment problem, if we had not to look forward to dealing with over 1,000,000 persons who are out of work, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech might have been very entertaining, but it will be very sad reading for those conscientious local authorities who desire to see people doing work which will be of more value to the community than drawing unemployment allowance or Poor Law relief. It will be very poor consolation to the relatives of those who have lost their lives in the ever increasing number of fatal accidents that are occurring as a result of the very large number of death traps that still exist even on our main roads.
All throughout the country there are unclassified roads which, through the development of motor traffic, have become very important roads, and the local authorities have been compelled to enter on expenditure which ought not to fall upon them at all. All the talk about the relation between local and national taxation will not make the impost the authorities have to bear any more just or reasonable. I have in mind a road in 1161 my own constituency, which was very little better than an occupation road 10 years ago, but which now fulfils the function of a switch road between the road going North and the road going West, and thus enables motor traffic to avoid the city of Newcastle. The road always met local needs, but to-day it is a death trap, and the local authority has to meet an expenditure which ought to be borne by the Road Fund. It is all very well to talk about our roads being superior to those of any other country, but no other country has such congestion as exists on our roads. If the Chancellor wishes to show sympathy to the railway companies, there are plenty of other opportunities for him to do so without stopping the development of the roads on the ground that a system of road transportation has sprung up which is doing an injustice to the railway companies.
The local authority, too, has not adequate resources very often. Take Scotland, for instance. Who could impose upon the sparsely populated authorities surrounding the great roads going North and traversed by the ever-increasing stream of millionaires' motor cars using that part of the country as their pleasure ground the burden of the upkeep of those roads. The Road Fund has had to improve those roads, and will continue to have to do so. Again, there are the moorland roads in Yorkshire, which are being used by motor omnibuses competing with each other, but which were never intended to carry motor omnibuses, and which are not safe for the traffic. Somebody besides the rich motorist ought to have some consideration in this matter. Those who use the roads to get their living should be considered. There are men who drive motor lorries from one side of the country to the other, carrying loads of merchandise to the ports, and who have to use these moorland roads. They are entitled to some consideration. When the effect of the beautiful and amusing speech of the Chancellor will have passed away for ever, grave injustices will remain to be remedied, if not by him, by his successor, who, I hope, will not be long delayed.
§ Major G. OWEN
I want to draw attention, not so much to the moral aspect of the rapacious demands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to the 1162 effect which the withdrawal of such a large sum of money is likely to produce in the country generally. One serious effect of the great increase in motor traffic in the country is to be found in the great increase in the number of accidents, fatal and non-fatal, throughout the country. Let me give as an illustration what is happening in the county which I have the honour to represent. I have here the figures showing the growth in the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents within recent years. In the year 1919 the number of non-fatal accidents was 53, and the number of fatal accidents seven, making a grand total of 60. Last year, 1926, the number of non-fatal accidents was 513, and the number of fatal accidents five, making a grand total of 518 as compared with 60. Every hon. Member who represents an agricultural constituency knows perfectly well that many and most of these accidents are due to the fact that the roads are narrow and not capable of bearing this traffic. By withdrawing this amount of money, which was specified for the purpose of improving these roads, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, though he treats it so lightly, and with such evident enjoyment, is, in fact, helping to produce a larger number of these unfortunate accidents.
In the course of his remarks he refused absolutely to discuss the question of local rates, but surely one is entitled to draw attention to the great increase in local rates due to the maintenance of roads. I have here figures from two rural district areas in my own constituency, purely agricultural areas. In the Lleyn area the amount of the rate in the £ on road maintenance in 1917 was 9d. In 1927 it had risen to 2s. 9d. In the Gwyrfai area the increase in 1923–24 was 3d. in the £. In 1924–25 it was 6d., and in 1925–26 it was 8d., and, if the council had carried out the proposals put before it by the surveyor this year, it would have meant an increase in the rate for road maintenance alone of another 1s. in the £ making an increase of 2s. 5d. in the £ since 1923. The money which the Chancellor is now taking should have been used to keep down the expenditure in these local areas. We are constantly complaining that agriculture is suffering, and yet we are now imposing more burdens on the rates of these areas 1163 which will make it impossible for agriculture to flourish. The Chancellor of the Exchequer treats the matter as a great joke; it gives him an opportunity of making one of his very interesting but very unconvincing speeches. It seems to me that the object of the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not be to add to
§ the dangers of life by the withdrawal of this money; nor is it his task to render the difficulties of local authorities greater than they are already.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 127; Noes, 234.1165
|Division No. 101.]||AYES.||[11.2 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hardle, George D.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Harris, Percy A.||Saklatvaia, Shapurji|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hayday, Arthur||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sexton, James|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Barr, J.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Batey, Joseph||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smillie, Robert|
|Bromfield, William||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Snell, Harry|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kirkwood, D.||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Cluse. W. S.||Lansbury, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawrence, Susan||Taylor, R. A.|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Townend, A. E.|
|Davies, Rhys John(Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||Variey, Frank B.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Mackinder, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dennison, R.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Duckworth. John||March, S.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Duncan. C.||Morris, R. H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|England, Colonel A.||Murnin, H.||Westwood, J.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Naylor, T. E.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Oliver, George Harold||Whiteley, W|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Owen, Major G.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Gillett, George M.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenall, T.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Windsor, Walter|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Wright, W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Riley, Ben|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Ritson J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Hayes and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Boothby, R. J. G.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Albery. Irving James||Bowyer. Capt. G. E. W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Christie. J. A.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Brass, Captain W.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Apsley, Lord||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Clayton, G. C.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Briscoe. Richard George||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Atkinson, C.||Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Couper, J. B.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Bullock, Captain M.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Harry||Burman, J. B.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Calnsbro)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Butt, Sir Alfred||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert|
|Bennett, A. J.||Cadogan. Major Hon. Edward||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Calne, Gordon Hall||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Campbell, E. T.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Carver, Major W. H.||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Blundell, F. N.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Drewe, C.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George N.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Looker, Herbert William||Rye, F. G.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lougher, Lewis||Salmon, Major I.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Lumley, L. R.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Fleiden, E. B.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Finburgh, S.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Macintyre, Ian||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||McLean, Major A.||Savery, S. S.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Macmillan, Captain H.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Gates, Percy||Macquisten, F. A.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Malone, Major P. B.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Grace, John||Manningham-Butter, Sir Mervyn||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Margesson, Captain D.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Meller, R. J.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Merriman, F. B.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Meyer, Sir Frank||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Morrison, H. (Wilts. Salisbury)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hanbury, C.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Waddington, R.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Neville, R. J.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Henderson, Lieut-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Nuttall, Ellis||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hills, Major John Walter||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Wells, S. R.|
|Hilton, Cecil||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pennefather, Sir John||White, Lieut-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Perring, Sir William George||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pilcher, G.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Withers, John James|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Preston, William||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'f)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Jacob, A. E||Raine, W.||Wood, E. (Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Ramsden, E.||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Remer, J. R.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wragg, Herbert|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rice. Sir Frederick||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Kinloch-Cooke. Sir Clement||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Major Cope and Mr. Penny.|
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."1166
§ The House divided: Ayes, 232; Noes, 126.1169
|Division No. 102.]||AYES.||[11.10 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Burman, J. B.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Blundell, F. N.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Albery, Irving James||Boothby, R. J. G.||Caine. Gordon Hall|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Campbell, E. T.|
|Applin. Colonel R. V. K.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Carver, Major W. H.|
|Apsley, Lord||Bowyer, Captain G. E. W||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Braithwalte, Major A. N.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)|
|Atkinson, C.||Brass, Captain W.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Briscoe, Richard George||Christie, J. A.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Clayton, G. C.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Bennett, A. J.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Bullock, Captain M.||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Cope, Major William||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Couper, J. B.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)|
|Crooke. J. Smedley (Derltend)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Ropner, Major L.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lamb, J. Q.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Cunliffe Sir Herbert||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Rye, F. G.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Salmon, Major I.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Looker, Herbert William||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lougher, Lewis||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Drewe, C.||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lumley, L. R.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Ellis, R. G.||MacAndrew Major Charles Glen||Savery, S. S.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Macintyre, Ian||Shaw. Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||McLean, Major A.||Sheffield. Sir Berkeley|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Fermoy, Lord||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Skelton, A. N.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Macquisten, F. A.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dlne, C.)|
|Finburgh, S.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Smithers, Waldron|
|Foxcrott, Captain C. T.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Malone, Major P. B.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Gates, Percy||Margesson, Captain D.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Meller, R. J.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Goff, Sir Park||Merriman, F. B.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Meyer, Sir Frank||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Grace, John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Grenfell, Edward C (City of London)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Morrison, P. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Waddington, R.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Neville, R. J.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hanbury, C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Nuttall, Ellis||Wells. S. R.|
|Haslam, Henry C.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Pennefather, Sir John||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Herbert. S. (York. N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Penny. Frederick George||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford. Lichfield)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hilton, Cecil||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Perring, Sir William George||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Withers, John James|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Pilcher, G.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Preston, William||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Ralne, W.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Ramsden, E.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Remer, J. R.|
|Jacob, A. E.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Rice. Sir Frederick||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Major Sir George Hennessy.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Cluse, W. S.||Greenall, T.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Compton, Joseph||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Connolly, M.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Cove, W. G.||Grundy, T. W.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Dalton, Hugh||Hall, F. (York, W. R. Normanton)|
|Baker, Walter||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hall. G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Barnes, A.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)|
|Barr, J.||Day, Colonel Harry||Hardie, George D.|
|Batey, Joseph||Dennison, R.||Harris, Percy A.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Duckworth, John||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Broad, F. A.||Duncan, C.||Hayday, Arthur|
|Bromfield, William||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Henderson. Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Bromley, J.||England, Colonel A.||Hirst, G. H.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Fenby, T. D.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Buchanan, G.||Gibbins, Joseph||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Cape, Thomas||Gillett, George M.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Potts, John S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Jones, T, I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Kelly, W. T.||Riley, Ben||Townend, A. E.|
|Kennedy, T.||Ritson, J.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Vlant, S. P.|
|Lansbury, George||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Lawrence, Susan||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Lawson, John James||Scrymgeour, E.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Lee, F.||Sexton, James||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Lindley, F. W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Westwood, J.|
|Lowth, T.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Lunn, William||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Whiteley, W.|
|Mackinder, W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|March, S.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Morris, R. H.||Smillie, Robert||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Murnin, H.||Snell, Harry||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Snowden. Rt. Hon. Philip||Windsor, Walter|
|Oliver, George Harold||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)||Wright, W.|
|Owen, Major G.||Stamford, T. W.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Palin, John Henry||Stephen, Campbell|
|Paling, W.||Sullivan, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Sutton, J. E.||Mr. Hayes and Mr. B. Smith.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ REPORT [13TH APRIL.]
§ Resolution reported,