§ Mr. THOMAS HENDERSON
I beg to move,That this House, realising the inevitable economic tendency under the present capitalist system towards the formation and development of trusts, combines, cartels, and rings, and the necessity for protecting users and consumers from the evils arising therefrom, as, for example, the prevailing right prices for such necessities as food, fuel, and building materials, calls upon the Government to introduce legislation providing effective public control over the operations of these organisations.I consider it a great privilege to submit a Motion of this kind, because I am fully convinced that the time is opportune for a discussion on the remarkable growth of combines and trusts in this country, and I am convinced that we are facing a crisis in the industrial condition of our country as we find it to-day. I am supported in that belief by the reading of a book, of which I suppose nearly every hon. Member in this House has, like myself, seen a copy, a book written by one of the leading industrialists of America, a man who is recognised as free from party politics, who has given a life's service to his own particular line of industry, who advises the industrialists of this country and of the world to face the present position, and who draws a comparison between the industrial revolution and the position with which we are faced to-day. I refer to a book written 314 by Mr. Filene. I do not suppose the captains of industry in this country will be prepared to accept the advice he has given. From our knowledge of them, nothing more unlikely can be expected. I wish to draw some conclusions and make some comparisons between the period of the industrial revolution and to-day. We can easily find excuses for the evils of the industrial revolution period. At that time there was no definite public opinion, but we cannot shelter ourselves behind that position to-day, when we have evidence of every kind of the growth and development of trusts in this country. When we understand the trouble of the Governments of that period and make a comparison with the position of this Government, there is no possible excuse for the present Government who have a tremendous majority and if they cared, could undertake controlling legislation-. If we have studied the evils of the industrial revolution we could excuse past Governments, because out of the industrial revolution a new political force arose. The manufacturing class and the machine-owning class, who later on were known as the great Liberal party, were coming into their own, and the keen political warfare going on no doubt kept the Governments of that day from observing and analysing the effects of the industrial revolution. Now the party whose slogan for so many years was "Free competition is the life of trade" are fading away and slowly dying, and the irony of the position is that we have seen in our time two of their greatest leaders become converted 315 to the policy of their political opponents. One of them now at rest and the other never at rest.
I wish to direct attention to the evils of the present system by a reference to the great problem which has been facing us during the last five or six years. No question has been discussed more than unemployment, very largely in conjunction with the question of the housing of the working classes. I ask the House to consider the evils of trustification from that point of view. When we are discussing the problem of unemployment hon. Members on the Conservative benches generally advise us that the only cure for unemployment is greater production. The Prime Minister, in a speech at Scarborough, told the people of this country that if they produced more we should be able to hold our own in the industrial world. If hon. Members believe that is the cure, they will support this Motion, because what would be the use of working people using every ounce of brain and muscle to increase production if the great combines and trusts made it their business to restrict production?
The textile industry is well combined. It is a powerful combination of all those engaged in the different forms of production in that industry. They have decided that only 30 per cent. of their capacity of production will be allowed to be produced. If the textile workers are prepared to do all they can to increase production and the combine refuses to allow that production to come outside their works, all the efforts of the workers will have been in vain. More than that, it means more unemployment, because the power of the combines is such that if the workpeople produce more and stocks are increased the textile industry obtains the power to reserve that stock and wait for more suitable markets. So far as unemployment is concerned, increased production by the workpeople is no use, because of this power of the combines and the trusts to restrict output. It is no use the workpeople aiming at greater production while that power lies in the hands of the combines. I would reinforce my argument by evidence given by Mr. John Hilton, the statistical officer of the Ministry of Labour, before the Standing Committee on Trusts in 1919. He said:There were over 500 large capitalist combines operating in such a way as to 316 exert a substantial influence on the flow of industry and upon prices.If the cotton industry are able to keep down production to the extent of one-third of their capacity, and you multiply that instance by the 500 referred to, one can easily see how tremendous is the danger in our midst. I understand many Members in this House know a great deal more about this side of the question than I do, because not only are they actively engaged with the trusts with which they are connected, but they are forming other trusts and monopolies every year; and it would have been a very good thing for this Debate if some of those right hon. Gentleman on the benches opposite had been in their places to-night to tell us what is the great idea behind the trusts, and whether they can prove to this House that they are for the good of the community. I am going to refer to a trust that creates more danger and does more harm than any I know. One of the questions, which I have so often raised in this House, is in regard to houses for the working classes. We are told that the desire of the Government is to cut down the cost of houses to something like an economic rent. That, I think, is utterly impossible until you get some further control over the power of the trusts, because I find in a report that was prepared for the Committee on Trusts, in connection with combinations in building material trades, that the possibilities of bringing house rents down to a reasonable level is almost impossible. The responsible person who prepared this report makes it very clear that the light castings industry, which is a complete monopoly, is one of the monopolies started in 1911, and by 1912 it had under its control 95 per cent. of the whole of that industry. In the report to which I have referred, it states:One of the most powerful associations, whose membership includes manufacturers' goods needed in the construction of workmen's cottages, had until recently at the head of its rules:
- '(1) The object of the association has in view is that of raising and keeping up the price to the buyer of goods and articles made and/or supplied by its members.
- (2) This shall be done by means of pooling arrangements so controlling production that prices will rise naturally and inevit-
317 ably, as they always must do, when supply is brought into equilibrium with or is ever so little below demand.'This association has within its membership over 90 per cent. of the manufacturers of the class of goods thus controlled in output and in price. It affords a concrete example of the operation of the first purposes of combination, namely, the limitation of competition, the control of output, and the increasing of prices.That statement is made and a table is drawn up which shows conclusively that if there is to be no control over trusts of this kind, then there is no hope of catching up the necessary demand in connection with houses for the working classes. He says:We take the proportion of 1464 shown in Diagram II as controlled and calculated the cost per cottage at £36 10s. 0d.He assumes that an increase of 5 per cent. would increase the price of materials per cottage by £l 16s. 6d., and per 300,000 cottages it would mean £547,500; 10 per cent. an increase of £3 13s. 0d. per cottage of £1,095,000 per 30,000 cottages; 15 per cent. increase would mean £5 9s. 6d. per cottage or per 300,000 cottages £1,642,000. Then he completes that statement by saying:These figures indicate that even if the proportion of materials at present subject to full control is not increased, the effect of combinations in the building trades on the cost of cottage construction is probably (substantial even now. It is hardly likely that associations whose primary object is the control of prices would continue to exist unless they could raise prices by at least 10 per cent.If ever we are going to get rid of this problem of providing the necessary cottages required by the working classes, we must control the industry supplying the materials. Here we have an industry entirely controlled. By its pooling system it safeguards all those who come under it, and an increase of 20 per cent. in the cost would make it impossible for any local authority to enter upon cottage building upon a large scale. These are two of the cases in which we believe the trust and the combines operate against the best interests of the community. We are giving the House an opportunity to-night of deciding whether legislation shall be introduced to exercise a ton-trolling power so that the benefit of any new developments may come to all the people in the country. I do not suggest that the Labour party are against all 318 combines and trusts to the extent that all within a combine is wrong. We believe that the original idea of the combine and trust in so far as it eliminated waste and made for greater production and greater co-ordination of services, we are entirely satisfied that it is a necessary instrument in industry, and we are prepared to use it provided we have some controlling power to make it impossible for the combine and trust to abuse the powers they now possess.
Believing that what I suggest ought to be done, and believing that if it is not done we shall be allowing the trust and the combine to become the masters of the people of this country, our desire is to take that power from them and make them the servants of the people. This is exactly the difference between trusts and combines and private enterprise and the co-operative movement which I have the honour to represent. In the co-operative movement we do injury to none, but in the case of private enterprise and the trust and combine, they use their power for their own particular benefit. Increasing their profits is their only object and in doing so they injure a great number of the majority of the people of this country. In comparing the two institutions, I think one might do it best by making a comparison—
§ Mr. HANNON
I am Lorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but will he give us some precise example of what he intends to convey by saying that they are making profits at the expense of the community?
§ Mr. HENDERSON
I will give an example. The soap trust is one of the greatest of all the trusts in this country. The soap trust, in increasing the number of firms under its control, has extended to them all the power of the controlling firm", all the power of Lever Brothers, and has told the shareholders of several of the companies it has taken under its control that it will guarantee to them as much as 37 per cent. on their shares. That is contained in the evidence before the sub-committee appointed by the special Committee who were reporting to the full Committee on trusts. It is distinctly stated that, in the case, if I remember aright, of the firm of John Knight & Company, the chairman, at a meeting of the shareholders of that firm, told the meeting that he had con- 319 sistently refused to have anything at all to do with the combine, but the magnificent offer made by Messrs. Lever Brothers—by the Lever combine—was one that was so generous that he would advise his shareholders to accept the offer. In the case of another firm, 25 per cent. was guaranteed for ever, as long as it was possible to guarantee it. The words used were "in perpetuity." Twenty-five per cent. was guaranteed in the one case, and 37 per cent. in the other.
§ Mr. HENDERSON
I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that there is plenty of evidence; indeed, what embarrasses one in a Debate of this kind is the amount of evidence. It is because I only desire to take up a reasonable amount of time that I am only quoting the two firms I have mentioned. I see that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade is here, and he is a high authority. I hope he will be able to tell the House, before this Debate is finished, what the Government are prepared to do with regard to this evil, because the Prime Minister has given pledges with regard to this, and I want to find out from the hon. Gentleman whether the Prime Minister intends to keep his pledges. The Prime Minister made a statement, just as he made other statements that have never been fulfilled, and we want to ask to-night if he is prepared to carry out the statement he made in the Albert Hall on the 4th December, 1924. It was the Victory Meeting, and he may have been just a little bit excited, so that we are willing to excuse him to some extent; but this is what he said:We have to force a way through the jungle of vested interests"—This is a Tory Prime Minister, and we would expect that, when a Tory Prime Minister makes a statement of this kind, there would be something to show for it, that he would be prepared, at least, to 320 make some attempt to carry through the pledge he gives. He said on that occasion:We have to force a way through the jungle of vested interests, but we have behind us, in that magnificent recruitment of young members, sufficient driving force to put anything through.It is quite possible that, in that hour of victory, he said things which he found it impossible to carry through. I do not believe for a moment that there is any Prime Minister, at least so far as I can judge, who is likely to appear in the Conservative ranks, who will be able to attempt in the slightest degree to influence legislation that would take any control over the trusts of this country. That is just about the last thing I would expect. The Prime Minister spoke again in Sheffield, in December, 1924, and he said:I have undertaken, if we are returned to power, to have a Royal Commission to inquire into the causes of the rise in the cost of food, and I will guarantee this, that if, as a result of the inquiry, it is discovered that any practical step can be taken to cure these ills, we will take it.No steps have been taken to cure any of the ills arising out of this change in system. No Act of Parliament has been passed, there is no law that will control in the slightest degree the power and influence for evil that exists in the trust and combine system. Believing that to be true, we believe that the only possible thing we can do is to attempt to-influence hon. Members on the other side, to attempt to influence legislation in this House. If we can do that, we shall be doing something for the good of this country. If we fail to exercise any influence, we can only wait for the time when we shall control in this House—and I believe it is not far distant—and when we shall have the power to carry through legislation; and I want to make it perfectly clear that, that power having been given to us, we will do our very best to take the evil out of the trust and combine system, and make it the servant of the community.
§ Mr. SCURR
I beg to second the Motion.
I do not suppose that any subject could have been chosen which would illustrate better than this the really fundamental difference which there is between the party which sits on these benches and 321 the party which sits on the opposite benches. We know that the inevitable economic tendency of the time is towards the growth of trust, combines and cartels. We know that that has been going on for some time, particularly since the heavy industries of the world have become more and more the dominant factor. As far back as 1883 we had the beginnings in this country of attempts to regulate prices. For example, we had the British Railway Railmakers' Association. Although it had a chequered career in some of the earlier years of its existence, it found that it was able to get on to an effective basis when it concerned itself, not only with production in England, but with the regulation of prices and production as far as Germany and Belgium were concerned, and in 1907, for a period, an agreement was entered into under which the British were to have 37–36 per cent. of the export trade, the United States 25–7, Germany 2013, Belgium 12–34, and at that time, when France was very much behind in the steel making industry, they were allowed 4–47 per cent., with a guaranteed minimum of 59,500 tons. We see the effect of this in the competition between the various firms in each country, because in 1909 only 474 tons of steel rails came from America to Europe, despite the great production of steel frails in that country, and this syndicate controlled practically the whole of the output of the world, because the firms outside the syndicate in every part of the world only accounted for 3–2 per cent of the production. Since then we find that this regulation has continued. That is admitted in City circles. I find that as recently as 28th October, the "Financial News," which will be acknowledged as an authority and in no sense of the word a Socialist paper making wild statements, says:Regulation has gone farthest in those trades which are sheltered, or in other words are concerned mainly with the home market, for instance, building materials, wall papers, numerous food products, proprietary articles and possibly railway transport and banking, in addition to the subsidiary processes of textiles such as bleaching, dyeing and threadmaking. In these cases rings or protection associations may exercise an unofficial though powerful influence, or at all events competition is limited to the extent that all the parties usually raise or lower 322 their basic rates simultaneously and have at any given time a tautly agreed level below which they will not undercut each other.One thing that has made itself more apparent since the War has been the considerable concentration of capital into fewer and fewer hands. I know that quite recently the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) has referred to the extension of individual shareholders, and no doubt it is true that you can find a large number of individual persons who have small investments, because one of the things the War did was to teach a number of small people the idea of investing their savings and to turn more and more attention to industrial securities than they had done before. But although there may be those investments, the persons who invest have absolutely no control over their capital at all. It is true they may have a vote at the meeting of the company, but all that that really comes to is that, if the company is prosperous, they receive their dividends and if it is not they can howl at the directors, but they will find they will have to submit to some scheme of reconstruction which those who dominate the concern have agreed to carry out already. One thing that happened during the War is that whereas European nations were engaged in a struggle for victory and in developing their armaments, they were not able to pay very-much attention to technical processes for peaceful industry, but America came later into the War and, moreover, did not contribute the amount of man power that the European countries did. The consequence was that America has been able to develop its technical processes while, for a time, Europe was, so to speak, quiet in that regard. The result has been that on the Continent there has been a corresponding attempt, particularly in Germany, to catch up to the development in America. So to-day we find, as the "Financial News" remarks, thatThe most successful combinations in unsheltered trades are usually permanent organisations which have taken deliberate 6teps to safeguard their position abroad as well as in this country. The tobacco and soap trades are cases in point. The chemical trade has taken a bolder step towards. closer organisation.323 9.0.p.m.
That is worth looking into for a minute. Take the last great trust that has been formed in this country—Im-perial Chemicals, Limited. We find, first of all, that the capital of this concern has been increased from £38,225,942 to £56,802,996. That is an increase of £18,000,000, without a single penny being subscribed of new capital, but simply brought about by a process of exchange of shares in the four great companies which make up this trust—Brunner Mond and Co., Nobel Industries, the United Alkali Company, and the British Dyestuffs Corporation. This trust is represented as being largely a British enterprise, but all these companies are interested in China, in Japan, in India, in Australasia, in Malaya, Mexico, South America and many European countries.
One thing I wish to call attention to in regard to the growth of concerns of this kind is that by that increase of capital without any new capital being put in, the workers in those industries have to earn the dividend on the extra £18,000;000 during the ensuing year. We are told by the chairman of the company, a distinguished Member of this House, that the new combine is notintended to destroy the identity or the autonomy of the individual units. The board of the new company will form a supervising and conne[...]ing link in finance and policy in exchange for knowledge and information, and will enable the British chemical industry to deal with similar groups in other countries on terms of equality.If this concern is not going to destroy the autonomy of the individual units I fail to see how the board will be able to form a supervising and connecting link in finance and policy. Further, the German chemical combine has welcomed the formation of the trust and put forward the idea that in the future instead of war there will be co-operation between the countries. This was hailed by the "Manchester Guardian" Commercial Supplement as a British trust, and they said:The chemical industry is notoriously greatly handicapped in several directions by the excessive plant constructed to meet war requirements, but combination ought now to assist in the elimination or the utilisation for other purposes of this surplus manufacturing capacity.324 That is one of the things that results from the development of huge trusts of this kind. They will close down whole factories. In fact, that is admitted as being one of the objects of the formation of the trust. As a matter of fact, the Chairman a day or two ago referred to some fears that there may be and indicates that there 'will have to be adjustments. But the great question comes to this, that the extension of a trust of this kind means in the end more and more unemployment in the industry. The whole object of the trust is to cut down the cost of production to a minimum and to eliminate what they regard as superfluous plant. If that firm enters into competition with similar firms abroad the cost of production has to be brought down, and we shall be told the only way to bring it down is by [...]flutting wages. If they do not do it in that way they will enter into an agreement with the foreign trust, and there will be the same result, that there will be the closing down of plant in the various countries, and so we shall have an increase of unemployment.
The extension of trusts is going on not only in this country, but everywhere: it is international. There is a particular German trust named Hugo Stinnes, Limited. This concern seems to be a collector and picker-up of unconsidered trifles in the industrial world. They own coal mines in the Ruhr, oil mills at Hamburg, shipping concerns at Hamburg, films and tannery at Potsdam, book-publishing at Berlin, and also newspapers. They have three newspapers in Vienna which, of course, are very handy for the purpose of controlling and educating public opinion. Newspapers of that kind are not unknown in this country. In North Germany this trust own landed estates, in Czechoslovakia they have sugar works, in Sweden a shipyard and in Naples an aluminium factory. [Interruption.] The hon. Member will have his opportunity. I do not interrupt hon. Members opposite when they are speaking, and I would ask the hon. Member to extend to me the same courtesy which I extend to others. This trust have also a controlling interest in Siemens-Rhine-Elbe Sehukert Union, and under one management they have also collieries, blast furnaces, steel works, rolling mills, machine factories, paper mills and china factories. Some hon. Members may say 325 those are Germans. If we look up the career of one or two magnates in this country such as the right hon. Lord Inchcape for example, and we refer to "Who's Who," we find that from the various directorships which he holds he, too, is a picker-up of unconsidered trifles, just as the late Hugo Stinnes was.
These firms and trusts very often come forward in their patriotic way in countries other than their own. A little while ago, according to a report issued by the German Metal Workers' Union, a municipality in Holland was approached by a dockyard firm who said: "If you will assist us, we can get a contract to build two ships for the navigation of the Rhine. The wages which we can afford to pay are low; we admit they are too low, but we are a Dutch firm and if we get the contracts it will bring money to Dutchmen and keep them employed. Therefore, if you as a municipality can do something to help us, we will get the contract." The municipality agreed to vote what was called a productive dole of 12½ per cent. on the wages, the contract was secured and Dutchmen rejoiced, but shortly afterwards they found that the Dutch shipyard was really a branch of Messrs. Mathias Stinnes of Mullheim-on the-Ruhr, which was a German firm masquerading as a Dutch firm. This masquerading goes on all over the world.
One of the effects sought by trusts is to increase the productivity of the individual workman, to develop the intensity of labour, to produce a lowering of wages and an increase of unemployment. In the United States of America I find, according to a report of the United States Labour Department in 1925, that the productivity of the American worker in 1925 as compared with 1914, taking 1914 as 100, was in the automobile industry 310 greater, in the iron and steel industry 150 greater, and in coke 154 greater. Hon. Members opposite may say, "Quite right. We want more production." But these various concerns take care when it suits their purpose to restrict production and even stop production. I can quote a case in regard to cotton in America. I will not quote from a Socialist newspaper but from the "Cotton Times," which says:The resolute and vigorous attitude of the local banks throughout the cotton-growing area constituted one of the decisive factors in promoting the success of the com paign for restricting production. It was impossible for the farmers to secure from 326 the dealers advances and credits enabling them to plant as much land as usual. They had to restrict the areas under cultivation and to bow to the imperious necessity of a radical diminution of production, as preached with so much energy and impressiveness by the American Cotton Association. Worthy of special attention is the fact that in a very large number of fields cultivation was abandoned after the fields had been sown. This, too, was due to the failure of the farmers to secure loans and credits needed by them for the continuance of the work of cultivation. The farmers had spent all their ready cash in preparing the ground and sowing the cotton. When the banks tightened the strings of credit, the cultivators had no option. The prospect of a crop had to be sacrificed in a large proportion of the sown fields.They were producing the policy of ca' canny. I find also in regard to the International Federation of Flax producers, which has been formed to defend the interests of flax producers, that they had a meeting recently to discuss the cultivation of flax, and it was stated that their first aim must be to restrict production.
We are sometimes told that America is a very prosperous country. [quote the case of America because it is a classical instance of trusts. We are told there is no question of unemployment there, and we are told of motor-cars waiting outside the factories to take the workmen to and fro; but I find that, according to Mr. Bellerby, in his report to the International Labour Office, that there is at least 10 per cent. of American workmen out of work or something like 2,500,000, and from the figures of the Labour Department of America I find that in June of last year in connection with agricultural implements 30 per cent. of the available working force were out of work, while in iron and steel only 81 per cent. were in employment. Further than that, there is a considerable speeding up and growth of accidents throughout America. The United States Commissioner for Labour says that in his judgment, although there are no statistics of accidents published in America, accidents are increasing, and he goes on to say:The reason is that there is a general speeding up of workers, both skilled and unskilled—a production per man hour increase which registers a greater number of accidents.From an employers' paper, the "Rhein-land Westphalian Times," I find that in 327 the Ruhr coal-mining industry the production per shift, per man, in October, 1913, was 903 kilogrammes, and in October, 1926, 1,190 kilogrammes, although the wages of miners had fallen by 20 per cent., unemployment had increased by 200,000 men, while the production per worker had increased by 17 per cent.
We also find more and more that international agreements and understandings are entered into between the captains of these various great enterprises in the different nations in order to be against the worker the whole of the time. At a meeting of the governing body of the International Labour Office in January, 1924, Mr. Pinot, the Secretary of the Comite des Forges, who represents the French employers at the International Labour Office, waxed quite eloquent, saying that the workers ought to work a longer day in Germany. Although he was French, he said that, and he said it for the simple reason that he acted as the late Hugo Stinnes had acted in the Economic Council of the German Reich when he demanded the abolition of the 8-hour day. "Le Temps," the leading French newspaper, commented on that and said:That is the Hugo Stinnes gospel, and it is the only gospel which is genuinely international.I could go on multiplying instances to show how the development of trusts means, so far as the workman is concerned, a greater intensity of labour and a greater risk of unemployment than exists at the moment. As far as the consumer is concerned it means that prices are all the time rigged against him in the interests of profit mongering pure and simple.
There was a time when certain persons who were regarded as captains of industry wanted to do something. To-day we have captains of business who are out to do everybody. This Motion marks the fundamental difference between us and the Government. I have read notices in the public Press that we are a very ineffective Opposition, and one of the reasons may be that we on this side of the House will not play the stupid game of sham politics which has been played for so many years in this country. We 328 who belong to the working classes and have had to go through the hell of factory and workshop, walk about unemployed until the iron has entered into our souls; we who, at street corners and elsewhere, have built, up the party which now sits on these benches are not going to play a beautiful game of politics so that Gentlemen on the other side shall sit there for five years and then our turn will come; turn and turn about. We are here because the Motion expresses the fundamental difference between our outlook and the Government. We want industry organised as a public service for the community. so that every man, woman and child shall have an opportunity for a happy life, and not be organised for the purpose of profit-mongering and the slavery of the working classes.
Mr. ROY WILSON
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from the word "House", to the and of the Question, and to add, instead thereof, the wordsdeclines to commit itself to a 6ystem of general control of industry, which would be costly, cumbrous, and hampering to trade, and which is intended to lead to the nationalisation of industry.I should like to assure the two hon. Members who have opened this Debate that I do not intend to attempt to be provocative. I want, if I can, to deal with my Amendment from the business point of view, as I see it. I do not want the House to understand by my Amendment that necessarily I believe all trusts and combines are for the good of the community. I do not think that at all, but I see no reason for Government interference with trusts which are now operating. Although I listened with a great deal of care to the two hon. Members, nothing they have said has led me to believe that there is any necessity to-day for Government interference with the trusts and combines with which we are familiar in this country. It is quite clear from the statement of the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. T. Henderson) that what he really means by the Motion, and he made it clear in his remarks, was that he wanted to see the industries of this country nationalised and placed under Government control. That is just where I join issue with the hon. Member, for I am perfectly convinced that any step towards the nationalisation of our great 329 industries would be harmful to the country and would not be for the benefit of the workers and the people generally. My own view on the subject of trusts and combines is that, unless they are thoroughly well-managed and produce and sell cheaply—that is an important point—they can be far more damaging to those who run them, the capitalists, than to the consumers. If anything is wanted to reinforce that point of view, it is the reference that has been made by the hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Scurr) to the trusts controlled by the late Hugo Stinnes in Germany. The hon. Member could not have been aware when talking about this trust of the fact that, when Mr. Stinnes died his affairs were found to be in the most hopeless confusion and caused a great deal of anxiety to his executors and the banks in Germany, who were engaged for a long time in the painful process of separating the chaff from the corn. During the last two years I have listened in this House to numberless Debates on trade, industry and unemployment, and really I am amazed at what I think is the waste of time when these matters are discussed, because it seems to me that there are certain fundamental issues, certain underlying factors, which must be understood if we are to tackle the great problem of the condition of industry in this country to-day on business lines.
The simple facts are these. For reasons which I shall attempt to define, this country is being shut out of the world's markets. I am convinced from my own observations that that is a plain statement of fact. We are being shut out of the world's markets which used to be ours, and if we are going to get them back we must find out why we are being shut out, whether it is through trusts or combines or something else, and, having ascertained the facts, devote ourselves to the application of the remedies. I am convinced in my own mind that the nationalisation of the industries of this country would not in any way mitigate the evil of unemployment or increase our share of the world's markets. Quite obviously the Motion is directed to finding. some solution for the problem of unemployment, but what is more necessary to-day than anything else is that a solution of this problem should be found by 330 the people who are engaged in the industries which are now suffering. Masters and men, employers and employed, must possess themselves of the facts underlying our troubles, and it is probably because these facts are so vividly apparent that they are overlooked. That may seem a paradox, but I think it will be found that in many serious and difficult matters, sometimes you are up against your own difficulties and troubles so closely that you tend to get a wrong perspective and lose sight of what really are the proper courses to take. In short, what I think should be done is this: Some means must be found in this country to cheapen the price of our goods by improved organisation, by increased efficiency and by greater output. I want to make my position perfectly clear in saying this. I am dead against any suggestion of a decrease in wages. I do not believe there is the slightest necessity to decrease wages. I believe that if masters and men in the great industries could get together, not to have a vapid talk about nothing, but to consider the factors which are causing our difficulties, it would be found that by increased production, better efficiency and management and greater co-operation on all sides, we could increase our output and greatly decrease the cost of our manufactured articles.
May I pause for one moment to refer to the example cited by the hon. Member for Tradeston in regard to the cotton industry. He pointed out that that industry, which is a great combine, was an example of how things should not be done, in that they had deliberately restricted their output to 30 per cent. of their capacity. I do not think that a mere statement like that is really quite a fair statement of the position. I do not think it gives the House the impression which the House ought to have in considering that great industry because, while I do not profess to be an expert in the cotton trade of Lancashire, I do know that the restriction of output has been deliberately adopted, not for the benefit of the swollen capitalists in the industry but for the benefit of the workers. It has been adopted for this reason, that the great desire of the cotton spinners in Lancashire has been to keep their people employed. Hon Members opposite should realise—for it is perfectly 331 true—that one of our greatest markets for cotton goods, namely, China, has for some years now been a vanishing market, and that has cut off a great deal of trade from the cotton industry. You will find there, far more than in any other direction, the reason for the decreased output for the textile industry in Lancashire.
I am of the opinion that co-operation, amalgamations and combines, on proper lines, far from being a bad thing for this country, are very often an extremely good thing. But I am equally certain that there is very much more to be achieved by initiative and enterprise. Government control, in my judgment, would kill both initiative and enterprise in the long run. We have to remember that initiative and enterprise on the part of our workers and manufacturers in this country have built up the prosperity of our commercial interests and have placed Great Britain in the place that she did occupy before the War, and any steps which may be taken to kill enterprise and initiative would at the same time gravely react on our commercial position and the prosperity of our people. I do beg the House to remember that our competitors to-day. notably Germany, are under-cutting and under-selling us in various very important markets. Notably is this the case in the steel industry, and the House should remember that that has been done through the very cartels and combinations in Germany which the hon. Member who proposed this Motion would seek to abolish. I should like to cite a case which came to my notice only last month, where a friend of mine in the City of London, who acts as commercial agent for one of the Central American Republics, was asked to obtain tenders for steel rails. Naturally he was most anxious that this order should be placed in this old country of ours. The facts were these. He got tenders for these rails from Germany, Belgium and France, and from several firms in Great Britain, and the British tenders were the highest of the lot, and the result was that the contract went to Germany.
I should like, for a moment, to deal with some of the so-called trusts which 332 are operating in this country. The hon. Member for Tradeston referred to the soap industry and to Lever Brothers. That is a great trust, but it is a wonderful business. It is a business which employs tens of thousands of people throughout the country and which pays wages to its employes which compare very favourably with the wages of any other commercial employes in this country, and which provides them also with partnership rights if they care to take them. While it is perfectly true.-that this is a great trust—and I am not here to defend Lever Brothers, for I have no interest in them, nor have I any interest to serve in this House except the duties which I try to perform—I want to point out that here is a great concern which, before they amalgamated with all these various concerns throughout the country—Knights, Gossages, Crossfields. Pears, and others—was a concern possessed of great capital and business enterprise, and if these amalgamations had not taken place, the result would have been that in time these firms, which are now still live entities employing large numbers of men, would have been forced out of the soap market by the competition of Lever Brothers, and we should have seen those particular brands of merchandise which those firms make disappear from our overseas markets. I think that would have been regrettable and a mistake.
But there are two other groups of combines and trusts which have not been referred to to-night up to now, but on which, as they may be referred to later, I should like to say a word. They are the banks and the insurance companies. I say with all the seriousness I can command that I am satisfied that the great banks in this country which have formed themselves into powerful combines, and the great insurance companies, have in no way abused their rights, and have been for the great convenience of trade and industry. If proof were wanted, you have got it in those difficult years which succeeded the War, when our financial and banking system in this country stood one of the most serious and devastating tests which any country could ever be called upon to face in a similar direction. Therefore, I contend that when you are talking about trusts and combines it is idle to generalise and 333 to condemn them as such. I am only sorry that the Mover and Seconder of the Motion have not given me more material than they have on which to reply to the criticisms against these trusts and combines. I should not be in order in referring to one of our great difficulties at any length, namely, the erection of tariff walls in the markets of the word against our manufacturers. We have to remember that we still produce in this country the finest manufactured goods in the world, but the unfortunate fact is that we are not producing cheaply enough. When hon. Gentlemen have said that Government control is necessary for our trade and industry, I think who should do well to examine for a very few moments those countries where Government control has been exercised and see if we cannot draw some inference from those experiences which will be useful to ourselves.
The case of Norway is a very important one, which I commend to the attention of hon. Members. Norway went in for a great policy of nationalising her shipping, and it very nearly brought Norway to bankruptcy. It put many of the hanks in very great difficulties, it caused great disaster in Norway, and I am informed that the results are still being felt. We find exactly the same thing in regard to America. America decided to nationalise shipping and to control all the ships, but she is very glad indeed to be out of it to-day. America has burned her fingers very badly over her nationalisation experiments, and has dropped them. I do not want to be provocative, but there is the case of Russia. Hon. Gentlemen opposite who know Russia and the present condition of Russia know that the efforts of the Soviet Government to nationalise everything have brought misery and penury to the people of Russia. [Interruption.'] That is a plain statement of the fact. We can look nearer home for some similar experiments. I propose, even if it hurts the feelings of the Postmaster-General, to refer to the control by the Government of the telephones. I am one of those, and no doubt there are many others present, who remember well the excellent service we used to get from the National Telephone Company. For a very small fixed sum of £5 a year we got an unlimited service, and we were not 334 bothered by irritating quarterly accounts for local calls which it is quite impossible for us to verify or check. The National Telephone Company's service was in every way a much better service than that which we have now.
The important thing to remember is this: I am certain that I am voicing tonight the opinion of the whole of the commercial community of this country when I say that the people of this country who are responsible for creating things, for employing labour and manufacturing things, have no faith whatever in Government control. The less we have to do with Government control in business the better it is for the whole community. The amazing thing to me is that hon. Members opposite, and indeed hon. Members in all sections of the House, are perpetually pressing the Government to reduce the cost of administration in the Civil Service, and yet here to-day we have this amazing Motion which, if it were passed, would mean an enormous increase in our Civil Service Estimates, with new Departments, no doubt under the charge of entirely obsolete functionaries, who certainly would do no good for the industry of the country, and would no doubt in a very short time convince the world what a hopeless thing it is for a Government to interfere in business affairs. I would like to ask the hon. Member who introduced the subject a hypothetical question which bears on the subject of this Debate. Suppose that he was ill, and that he called in a specialist to consult him as to what ought to be done for his complaint. What would he say if such a specialist said to him, "Look here, I propose to apply a remedy to your complaint. It is a very serious remedy, the consequences of which I cannot foretell. but I can tell you this, that wherever this remedy has been tried, it has brought disaster and unhappiness to everybody who tried it." That is the position in regard to this Motion.
I am sure that the hon. Member, if he were face to face with the proposal, would be reminded, as I was reminded when I read his Motion first, of a quotation by our great national poet, who had the wonderful faculty of putting sound common sense into beautiful language:Rather bear those ills we have,Than fly to others that we know not of.It has been said by great authorities in this House on more than one occasion 335 that business men are no good in politics. As a business man, I accept the admonition with, I hope, due humility. But my answer is this: The state of our trade and industry in this country has for the last seven years baffled the politicians of all shades of opinion and all degrees of capacity. They have never found a remedy for our complaint, and in my judgment they never will. The cure for our existing ills in trade and industry is to be found by business men. It will not be found by politicians. It will be found by business men sooner or later, and my great regret is that our business people of all shades of opinion are not taking more steps than they are today to face the facts. I am not one of those who believe that England as a commercial nation is dead and of no account in the world, but I do believe that we are not only asleep, but that we are deaf and blind to the facts that are calling out for solution, and have been calling out for solution during the last seven years. The sooner we face those facts, the better it will be for all of us. I am equally assured in my own mind that if this Motion were carried, it would but add shackles to the struggling hands of industry to-day and would achieve no useful purpose. For all these reasons, which I have imperfectly developed, I am against the Motion, because I think it will do no good, but will do a great deal of harm, and I have pleasure in moving the Amendment which stands in my name.
§ Mr. HANNON
I beg to second the Amendment.
I am particularly gratified to observe that throughout the Debate the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has been present, because of all the Members of this House I think none has given more serious thought—as reflected by certain articles in the Press—to this question, than the right hon. Gentleman. The whole trend of modern industrial organisation is towards the great cartel. The efficiency of our competitive power in the world in future must depend upon the efficient organisation of combines, and I think that that fact has been recognised, and recognised very boldly and sincerely, by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. It has been my business since 1921 to make various investigations throughout Europe 336 of the conditions of industry and the variety and quality of organisations against which we in this country have had to compete in the world markets. Everywhere one visited one found these powerful organisations directed by great business men, and supported by the great trade union organisations. I remember making a careful investigation of the conditions of organisation affecting Krupps in 1922. An hon. Friend, a Member of this House, and myself, were afforded every facility for examining for ourselves the relationship between the great combine which Krupps even then, and still more now, stands for, and the whole series of trade union organisations in which the workpeople of Krupps are embodied. We found that this great organisation was in constant touch with the heads of the groups of its own workpeople so as to establish a continuous working relationship. A perfect understanding was maintained and fair play was meted out to those who work with their hands and who contribute to the material success of the whole concern. We found the same all over Germany.
I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley will agree that the efficiency of Germany industrially before the War was largely the result of two things. The first was the way in which great aggregations of enterprise had been brought together to cheapen production, control markets, inspire research and give incentive and help to new inventions and new devices in trade. The second was the continuous co-operation between the great financial corporations of Germany and these industrial combines to which I have alluded. We may make up our minds that, whether we like it or not, in face of a limited world consumption and a steadily growing world production, our competitive effectiveness can only be raised to its highest level by the continuous extension under wise and careful provisions of these greater combinations. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, head!"] I am delighted to receive the approval of hon. Members opposite and I agree with my hon. Friend the Mover of the Amendment that no Member on this side of the House and certainly no one of His Majesty's Ministers, would suggest facilitating the establishment of these great enterprises if, in their operative effect, they were for a moment to injure the position of the workpeople.
§ Mr. HANNON
I have already said I had the opportunity of examining the relationship between these combines in Germany and their workpeople. I had the opportunity of finding out the facts from the workpeople themselves. The hon. Member for West Lewisham (Sir Philip Dawson) and I came face to face with the group committees of the workpeople and we were assured by them that, as between themselves and those responsible for the direction of these great combines all the cards were placed on the table. The full facts relating to the conduct of the industry, its earnings, its productive costs and the various elements which entered into the efficient maintenance of marketing power were all placed before them. Therefore a friendly understanding had been established. You find the same thing in the Rheinmetal, Dussel-dorf group, the Thyssens, Mannheim group and the great chemical group as well as the electricity group. I have had the opportunity in conjunction with some of my colleagues of examining the whole structure of industrial organisation on the Continent and I am satisfied that the only means to be adopted by this country is to take the example and to build up similar combines, subject of course to any reasonable limitations which will safeguard the interests of the consumers and the workers.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley will recall that recently the Belgian Government, with whom I know he is in great sympathy from many points of view, appointed a National Commission on Industrial Production. I think my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) knows something of the work of this Belgian Commission, which has been sitting for the last two years. It was appointed to examine the various direction in which Belgium could develop its competitive effectiveness in relation to the countries surrounding it, and particularly in relation to ourselves. One of the most striking recommendations of this important Commission is that the only means by which Belgium can maintain its high level of competitive strength, vis-a-vis, with surrounding 338 competitive countries is by the Government giving every possible facility for the establishment of large industrial groups. It says that these groups must be formed, first, for the purpose of cheapening production and, secondly, for the purpose of organising distribution, reaching markets, collecting information and doing the thousand-and-one things that are essential if industrial vitality is to be maintained in the highly competitive world of to-day. They have made conditions in Belgium that in the case of public contracts these should be arranged with large industrial groups so as to exclude the possibility of any foreign firm securing a contract. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) will approve, I hope, of the recommendations of this Belgian Commission when I tell him that they have asked their Government not to give a single public contract to a foreign tenderer unless there is such a substantial margin between the foreign and the Belgian tenderers as would inflict injury on the Belgian Treasury. That recommendation should have some interest for those hon. and right hon. Members who still profess unqualified attachment to the doctrines of Free Trade.
In connection with the question of combines I would direct attention to a remarkable article in the March issue of "The Banker" by an outstanding authority on finance in the City whose name is familiar to many hon. Members, namely, Mr. W. W. Payne. Mr. Payne writes with his usual clearness and conciseness in pointing out certain defects in our financial and industrial organisation. The principal defect to which he draws attention is the want of some means whereby new inventions, new discoveries, new efforts for the advancement of industry in this country can receive sympathy and practical support at the most difficult and embarrassing stages in their development. The great trust, the great combine, the highly organised group of business productive organisations is the great means whereby we can carry out scientific research, extend investigation to all the possibilities of an enterprise, find means of starting new industries or of re-vitalising industries which are in danger of going out of existence. By no other means—except the direct intervention of the 339 State, which everybody with experience of industrial organisation condemns—can we afford facilities for the development and expansion of industry and enterprise. Take the dye industry, for example. Seventy years ago the basic principles on which the great dye industry of Germany has been built up were discovered by a Glasgow chemist. My hon. "Friend behind me is always ready to advertise a Glasgow man whenever he gets the chance in this House—a very good thing to do. That chemist discovered the process by which the highly technical fabric of the dye industry has been built up in Germany, and at that time there was no organisation, no means whereby you could get the financial, the practical, support to develop it in this country.
§ Major CRAWFURD
Surely it is a fact that W. H. Perkin, who discovered the aniline dye, made repeated efforts to get it taken up in this country?
§ Mr. HANNON
That is precisely my point; I am very much obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend. He took his process round from factory to factory, from financier to financier, from public man to public man. There was no organisation with the necessary means behind it to help him to get it effectively established in this country, and, consequently, he had to take it to Germany, where it became the sub-structure for the gigantic industry which has been set up in that country. In supporting this Amendment. I am satisfied that not merely must we have great combines in this country, but we must have great international combines as well. I do not mind confessing in this House that I was responsible for bringing about quite recently what is commonly known as the Broadlands conference. That may be a wicked act in the judgment of some hon. Members opposite, but I am as convinced now as I have been at any moment during the past seven years that it is prejudicial to the interests of the workpeople of this country if we have great German industries and great British industries cutting each other's throats in the outside markets of the world. I will give an example of what I mean. One of the Baltic States in 1924 agreed to a contract for coal for its railways, and as soon as it became known that that con- 340 tract was a very substantial one which was going to the North of England, the German agent in the capital of that particular Baltic State set to work and offered Ruhr coal at, I think, 1s. 3d. a ton less than we could deliver it. All that the North-Eastern coal exporter was getting out of that coal was 3d. a ton. The German got nothing out of it, and the particular State was perfectly prepared to pay a not unreasonable price which would give some profit to the coal producer in one country or the other. Would it not be better for the two countries to have an understanding, get a reasonable profit out of the coal, and divide it between the people in the North of England and those in the Ruhr,, than to supply another country with coal at no profit at all? You have that sort of thing continuously happening, and I believe the sooner we can come to an understanding with our German friends—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, I am not afraid to say in this House that the sooner we come to an understanding with the Germans, the French and the Belgians—[HON. MEMBERS: "And the Russians!"] I am perfectly prepared to be friendly with Russia when Russia—[Interruption.] The sooner we come to an understanding with those countries in the steel industry, and get our quota of steel predictions recognised, the better it will be far the steel industry in this country and the better for the steel-workers of the whole of Europe.
This topic might be indefinitely extended, but I do not propose to take a moment longer, except to say that I cordially support the Amendment, and sincerely hope the Motion will be rejected. I believe it would be to the advantage of this House, the country and everybody engaged in industry, if who could only have some more generous and friendly understanding with hon. Members opposite on these questions. Why are we always quarrelling and squabbling one side with the other on questions which vitally affect the country? I am all for peace in industry. Peace in industry can only be accomplished by understanding economic facts. The hon. Gentleman himself is an economist, and ought to recognise the economic facts. That kind of friendly relationship will never be brought about by madcap Motions of this kind.
§ Mr. TOWNEND
I was very interested in the remarks of the last speaker as to the conditions he found in Germany. I observed that his first references to the conditions there appeared to centre round the necessity of co-operation between industrial combinations and financial corporations, and it was not until his attention was drawn to another factor essential to the life of industry, namely, the working sections, that he bestowed a very interesting commentary on that side of the development.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. Member is a little unfair. I was proceeding to show where the workpeople came in at the time that the interruption was made.
§ Mr. TOWNEND
I am prepared to accept that, and will follow on with the train of thought into which his words drove my mind. He suggested, nay, he definitely stated that the group conditions in the various organisations, along with those who control the industry, met together face to face. and across the table, with the full cards displayed thereon, arrived at a solution satisfactory to the whole of the interests concerned in the industry. I want to ask him whether he implied by that, that not only simple questions of management, the application of trade union regulations and the like, but were the bigger questions introduced into those discussions? Were the real cards laid upon the table? I venture to suggest that that perfect picture of understanding between capital and labour, that he endeavoured to suggest applied in Germany, does not square with the facts, and we have a long way to go, even if it did, before we in this country can arrive at the stage suggested in the solution he applies to the industrial problems surrounding the development of trusts and combines in this country. I know that the industry with which I am connected, the railway industry, approached this very same question, and, although we have been able to do a great deal in the way the hon. Member suggests, in removing slight causes of friction, the inner development, the real essential factors of the railway industry, are still a sealed book to the labour side, and are a long way from the stage that the hon. Gentleman suggested. We have in that industry to-day an indica- 342 tion of how far we are prepared to go along these lines.
May I tell him that, following upon the operation of the Railways Act, 1921, when the railway industry was concentrated into four groups, there was an opportunity, such as he visualised, when there might have been better relations established, reacting upon the subsequent success of the railways, but no such opportunity was offered. Just in the same way as obtained in previous periods, when the railways were divided into different sections, the working classes were entirely ignored. I was interested in the remarks which were made by the Mover of the Amendment. He made reference to some poetry. Might I draw his attention to the lines which say thatAll the world's a stage,andOne man in his time plays many parts.He has played at least two parts to-day which I think he will have the utmost difficulty in reconciling. As an advocate of private enterprise, he condemns proposals such as are contained in the Resolution, but I have not the slightest doubt that he walked into the Lobby in support of the Government's action in reference to the film industry. When he makes attacks on possible Government control as suggested in the Resolution, he should bear in mind that what he does comes home to roost. I only rose to give to the House what the Mover of the Resolution was unable to find. He pointed out that, as a result of combines and trusts, certain reactions take effect upon the lives of the workers. The firm of Knight and Company were referred to. May I read what the Mover of the Resolution had intended to refer to, which is that trusts do not altogether conduce to cheaper prices for the consumer, and better conditions for the workers? Instead of improving the conditions of the workers, instead of the consumer benefiting as a result of trusts, all the benefits go in increased dividends. This is what the chairman of that company said:Considering the very strong and satisfactory position of the company and its prosperity, I feel it is my duty to point out to the ordinary shareholders that, under our existing constitution, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to pay a dividend of 25 per cent, on the ordinary shares, 343 and, in y opinion, the shareholders would be well advised to take advantage of what was neither more or less than a guaranteed 25 per cent., a perpetual 25 per cent. to the shareholders of John Knight, Limited, as a result of the taking over of the shares in that company by the great combine of Lever Brothers.The African and Eastern Trade Corporation followed the same line. At a meeting of the shareholders it was recommended to the shareholders to accept terms very similar to those offered in the case of John Knight, Limited. The chairman said:Althought a dividend of 30 per cent. had been paid in the most prosperous year ever experienced in that trade, the offer of Lever Brothers provided a dividend of 37½ per cent. to be continued to the shareholders of the Corporation, so far as it is humanly possible to foresee, in perpetuity.
Mr. ROY WILSON
The African and Eastern Trade Corporation have nothing whatever to do with Lever Brothers, Limited.
§ Mr. TOWNEND
The point I am endeavouring to emphasise is that the main consideration of all those who take part in these combines and trusts the first thing they consider is not improving the conditions of their workers, it is not the interests of the consumers, but what return can be got for the capital invested, and if they can get 25 per cent. or 37½ per cent. in preference to the smaller dividends, which they got as a small company, they are eager to jump into the large combines and trusts. The main factor that influences us in our attitude towards the corporations is not that corporations as such are evil. They may be a necessary development of the capitalist system, but they render the transference from that system to the Socialist system far easier to bring about. What at the moment we are largely concerned with is the motive that prompts their formation and the evils which follow in their train. If those could be eliminated, I am confident that the attitude we have hitherto taken up with regard to them might be varied. Meanwhile, because of the misery and degradation that are the result of forming these huge corporations, we support the Resolution.
§ Mr. WADDINGTON
The Mover of the Motion stated that the cotton trade 344 was a combine which had held up employment in the industry, to the detriment of the workers in it. Certainly it is news to anyone with any knowledge of the cotton trade that there is a combine in that trade. What is considered to be an evil in Lancashire is the absence of a combine, and a great many people consider that the trade would have been more prosperous for both workers and capitalists had there been a nearer approach to a combine. Another point made by the Mover of the Motion was that the employers in the combine had reduced the employment to 30 per cent. of the possible output and thereby impoverished the workers. That is also a misunderstanding on the part of the hon. Member. The short time movement in the cotton trade has only dealt with 26,000,000 spindles out of 57,000,000, and there has been no attempt at short time in the other section of the trade. So far as the manufacturing side is concerned, that is, the great producers of cloth, with the 800,000 looms which there are in Lancashire, there has been no attempt whatever to have any organised short time. All those individual cotton manufacturers have had to stand on their own footing, they have had to fight their own battles, and they have just run as well as they could, or they have stopped when they could not run their machinery. It has not been a question in Lancashire of extracting high profits by short time amongst that section which has been running short time. It has been due to the impossibility of selling the commodity in the markets of the world. The high price of cotton has been one of the determining factors.
The Seconder of the Motion made a most remarkable statement when he said that a paper called the "Cotton Times" had published some facts about the curtailment of the acreage, and that the acreage was curtailed in America to suit financial operations. To what was he referring? He must have been referring to last year's conditions, because he spoke of the crop having been sown and afterwards acre after acre having to be given up, because there was no money, and because the banks had refused to finance the farmers. He cannot have referred to the current season, because the sowing has not yet begun. As to the statement in regard to the curtailment of a[...]re- 345 age, the facts are totally against him. There was the largest acreage in America last year that there ever has been, and there was the greatest crop that there ever has been, so that, so far from any combination having resulted in reducing the acreage, there is no evidence whatever to justify it.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
Is it not a fact within the knowledge of the hon. Member that last year there was an abnormal cotton crop, and is it not true within his knowledge that the American cotton growers burnt 4,000,000 tons of the cotton crop to keep up the price?
§ Mr. WADDINGTON
That is an extraordinary statement, and I am very much surprised that it should be possible for an hon. Member of this House' to be so lacking in knowledge of what constitutes the cotton trade as to venture to make such a statement as that, in such an Assembly as this. Four million tons of cotton to be burnt! There are four and-a-half bales of cotton to the ton—large size bales. There is a crop of 18 million bales. The hon. Gentleman has suggested that 4,000,000 tons have been burned out of a crop of 18,000,000 bales! A suggestion was made in America, it was a very foolish suggestion, that 4,000,000 bales—not tons—should be burnt, but nobody in authority in America would ever dream of carrying out such a suggestion.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
I accept the correction between bales and tons. [Laughter.] Perhaps I am not the only hon. Member who sometimes makes a slip. But I was in America last year, and that was in the American Press—not only in one part of America but throughout that Continent, because I went right across; and that was accepted as information by the Press of the United States.
§ Mr. WADDINGTON
Whatever may have been the rumours circulating in newspapers they have not been justified by any burning of bales of cotton. Although there was this huge crop last year, and although every effort has been made to induce the American farmer to curtail his acreage, he is so individualistic, and there are so many thousands of them cultivating cotton, that it is not expected that there will be a reduction of more than 10 per cent. in the acreage during the current season. I just wanted to 346 draw the attention of the House to these facts in connection with a trade of which I know something, because I did not think it was right for the House to come to a judgment on the inaccurate statements which had been made by the Mover and Seconder of the Motion.
§ Mr. WILLIAM GRAHAM
In some quarters it might be contended that we have been engaged to-night in an academic Debate, though no doubt on a subject of great industrial importance; but I think the House will agree that attention has been drawn to a large number of concrete facts in industry and commerce which have made the discussion of a very valuable character. Certainly we on this side at once admit that our Motion dealing with trusts and combines raises the whole question of the Socialist issue as between some form of public ownership and control on the one hand and what remains of what is commonly called the competitive system on the other. Before we can understand a problem of this kind accurately we must first survey the facts; in the second place, find out what has been the broad influence, of the trust and the combine up to the present day; and, lastly, ask ourselves what the future industrial organisation is to be. Whatever be our political or economic views, I think the hon. Members will agree that in the national interest there should be much clearer thought on these questions and, if we can humanly achieve it, some agreement as to policy.
The facts have been admitted in the course of the Debate. There is no doubt that, following the industrial revolution, there was a great wave of free competition in this country. In the last quarter of the last century that was modified from many points of view, and during the past 25 years there has been a rapid increase in the growth of combines and trusts, with the objects inter alia of getting rid of waste of competition and achieving the stabilisation of prices, all of them professing to be in the interests of efficiency in industry and commerce. The most recent work by Mr. Fitzgerald calls attention to these combines and syndicates in practically every important branch of British industry and commerce to-day. There are two or three instances which are important from the point of view of a Debate of this kind. Hon. Members are familiar with the steps in 347 this direction which have been taken by the Imperial Chemicals combine. We have been told that the main object of that combine was that it should be able to offer in this country a united front to the competition of Germany, on the one hand, and to a less extent to the competition of the United States, on the other.
That combine emphasised the question of efficiency. They believed that federation of capital was necessary. While it is true they suggested that the object of this combination was to meet competition, it must be plain to the whole House that this undertaking can only succeed if they get also that complete control of finance of the constituent organisations which will make their trust a reality, especially on the Continent of Europe. Almost immediately it is most likely the next step will be some suggestion of fusion with a similar organisation in Germany for the purpose of getting rid of the competition which is supposed to be the fundamental faith of hon. Gentlemen opposite at general elections in this country. Another illustration that was mentioned was that of the International Steel Pact, under which four European countries have combined and pooled their resources for the production of steel. A controversy has arisen as to whether the British steel industry should become part and parcel of this very important body. According to the latest information the chief point has been the determination of the quota to be allotted to this country. Whether any agreement up to the present has been reached, I cannot say, but the important point is that here in regard to steel you have a profound change from the point of view of the old free competition in the direction of a combine and trust and a further disappearance of that great cardinal article of faith which is supposed to be held by all those who oppose Socialism.
Beyond doubt these are very important changes, but I beg hon. Members opposite to-night with perfect impartiality to look at the other changes which have taken place under the auspices of the Government which they themselves have supported since 1921. The hon. Member for Lichfield (Mr. Roy Wilson) who proposed the Amendment, said he was hostile to all forms of State regulation and con- 348 trol I think we are bound to recognise that the speech delivered by the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) stands in a different category because he believes in strengthening trusts as much as possible, but he wished to make it certain that they would not be so powerful or complete as to dominate the interests of consumers, workers and the people at large. How that domination is to be modified, other than by some kind of State intervention or some form of anti-trust legislation, most of us on this side would be quite unable to understand. You have, therefore, a marked divergence between the speech of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment and that of the hon. Member who seconded it. Be that as it may, the point that I want to bring out in this connection is this, that it really does not lie with hon. Members opposite to lead any argument that is worth while about State interference or legislative regulation at the present time, because they themselves, within recent years, have been driven by the force of economic circumstances to adopt very large measures of that kind.
Let us take three illustrations, and I have only time in this Debate to mention three. In 1921, for the express purpose of getting rid of what Sir Eric Geddes himself called the waste of competition, so far as it survived in the railway world, an Act was passed which gave us four great railway amalgamations or trusts; and, while it is true that a certain competition on a geographical basis remains in the railway world, no hon. Member will dispute that the object of that legislation, whether it has been achieved or not, was to wipe out the surviving competition of one hundred or more railway undertakings, and to replace that by all the efficiency and economy in working which the promoters of that Measure believed would come from combination. Let us be perfectly fair in this discussion. Five or six years of industrial depression have made it impossible for that Act freely and beneficially to express itself in the industry and commerce of this country; but that does not for one moment alter the principle upon which it is founded, which is the principle of combination, and Sir Eric Geddes, who certainly has no sympathy with Socialistic ideas, used, during the nine weeks of Debate in 1921, precisely the arguments which have been 349 used by the Fabian Society and other sections of the Labour and Socialist movement in this country for 25 or 30 years. That is one act of regulation, and I beg hon. Members opposite to remember also that you regulate the earnings of these undertakings under this Act of Parliament, because specific direction was given to the Rates Tribunal so to fix rates and charges as to give, as nearly as may be, compatible with efficient and economical working, the standard revenue of 1913, and a great mass of other machinery was set up, all of which you were driven to do because you recognised that no longer could competition remain free in that industry.
Another illustration is much more recent in character. We have heard an hon. Member opposite solemnly—I speak with perfect respect; I listened with great regard to his speech—proposing an Amendment to our Motion on the ground that he is hostile to State interference or State regulation of industry; but what was done in the case of the Electricity Bill? A few weeks ago, a Bill was passed which set up a central electricity authority, which, according to some hon. Members on the other side of the House, put this industry into a strait-jacket, or tinder a very large measure of regulation, which gave you your gridiron and your centralisation policy with large selected stations, all because the Weir Committee had recognised that the form of competition among the 400 or 500 stations that were then in existence had broken in their hands, and could no longer be tolerated if industry and commerce in this vital service were to have a chance. Hon. Members opposite supported that. Last of all, a few weeks ago, the Postmaster-General, in what is believed to be an individualist Government, came along with a scheme which made broadcasting—and I admit that it must be a monopoly in this country—which made broadcasting a public corporation. That proposal, which was embodied in two agreements of a most Socialistic character, was passed unanimously by this House. All this argument about no legislative interference and no State support or intervention is so much idle matter, when we bend our minds to the plain economic facts of the situation. Hon. Members opposite talk about State intervention. 350 The lobbies of the Board of Trade are crowded with people who want their industries protected and regulated, and other Departments are crowded by people who want subsidies for new industries. They will take State assistance every time when it is something they need but the moment it comes to an economic undertaking run successfully they say that is for private enterprise. Hon. Members cannot have it both ways.
The second point is this. I will mention it only in passing, because time does not permit to do more. What about the effect on prices of the great trust movement in this country, and indeed other countries? Some of us have been condemned in one way or another to make a good deal of analysis of this problem. Some of the larger trusts which have the whole market at their feet are undeniably in a position to charge very much what they please, and it is beyond doubt, as their profits show, that they have made a large return and are making even larger returns year by year, I imagine, at the public expense. But I do not want to press that argument too far to-night because the analysis tends rather to run on these lines, that if the great trusts charge a very low price it will bring a volume of demand which it does not pay them to lay down the capital expenditure to cover; in fact they will turn away trade. If they charge a very high price and make for a certain time an exaggerated profit, that will tend to encourage competition and the use of substitutes. Be it noted that a trust does not want competition, though it is usually manned by believers in the competitive system. So what generally happens in the average trust operation in this country is to choose a kind of intermediate price which is not too low or too high, but the broad effect of which is to keep the market and to get the maximum net return for the trust operation. There is a case that can be made from the point of view of prices, and my hon. Friends behind have put it clearly and definitely, but the real charge which we bring against this policy and this tendency is the charge of concentrated control, the kind of power which is centred in these great federations of capital and the difficulty of reconciling that federation and combination with the public interest.
351 That leads us naturally and easily through two points to the only one that I dare take time to mention in conclusion. What is the future organisation of industry going to be? What are we going to do with the trusts and combines in Great Britain and in other parts of the world? There are certain hon. Members who will say, "Let us have a series of Acts of Parliament, at all events, for the purpose of regulating prices and, therefore, protecting the consumer." I agree that legislation of that kind is very abundantly required to-day. Of course, we on this side make it perfectly plain that, as industry is organised, and more particularly as trusts are powerful, they will be able to get round a good deal of that legislation, and for all practical purposes it may not take you very far in the protection of British or other consumers. In the next place, hon. Members opposite may say, in the terms of the hon. Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham: "You may be driven"—he did not use this actual phrase—"to some form of trust regulation" or, as I have heard hon. Members on the Liberal benches say: "You may be driven to anti-trust measures in this country," just as the Americans have been driven to that class of legislation. I ask hon. Members opposite to review with perfect impartiality any anti-trust legislation in America and to tell me that it has had more than an infinitesimal influence upon the great trust movement in the United States. The plain truth is, that they can drive a coach and four through any Act of Parliament that was ever passed. They can find ways of getting round what is, on paper, the most extreme anti-trust legislation. All that kind of legislation perishes in practice.
What is the alternative? No hon. Member opposite suggests that you can wipe out all trusts and combinations. Matters have gone much too far for that. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham that if we are going to compete with other countries in the world upon a highly trustified basis, under post-War conditions, with our £8,000,000,000 of debt and with the burden of post-War obligations which have to be shouldered by Great Britain, you must have a move- 352 ment along the lines of combines and-syndicates; but our case from this side of the House is that that is not the solution and can never be the final solution of the industrial problem in Great Britain. Our solution is not on the lines of State control described by the hon. Member for Lichfield (Mr. Roy Wilson) and others. I would ask hon. Members opposite to turn to the evidence tendered to the Royal Commission on the coal industry by our movement, and endorsed by the Miners' Federation, and they will find that it is proposed to run industry in this country on publicly-owned lines, I admit, but by people who know that industry outside and inside, in its administration, in its, manual and all its other sides, and I suggest to the Government and to all hon. Members opposite that they have a working basis supplied from their own side, in the terms of the broadcasting agreement to which they gave unanimous assent. That is going to be the line of our public ownership, the line of public corporation, and I am perfectly satisfied, with hon. Friends of mine on this side, that it is the play of that great economic and inevitable force in this country that will carry our movement to triumph.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Burton Chadwick)
This subject can only be considered if we keep before us all the time the vital matters which have been mentioned this evening and remember that one of the most important factors in the industrial condition of this country to-day is the absolute necessity to fit and equip ourselves to meet the developing competition in foreign countries in industries in which 40 or 50 years ago we were the leaders and in which we are not the leaders to-day. We cannot hope to meet that competition if our manufacturers and traders are expending unnecessary energy in wasteful competition among themselves. The Motion starts by saying that the economic tendency towards trusts and combines is inevitable in the present capitalistic system, whatever that may be. The combines referred to in the Motion may be considered generally as falling into three distinct groups. First, the consolidations of producers, whether horizontal or vertical. By horizontal I mean firms engaged in producing the same thing, and by vertical I mean the 353 concerns producing commodities in successive processes. The second group is that concerned with producers' agreements in regard to prices, and the third group that concerned with distributors' agreements. The Motion on the Paper seems to be more directed to the third group than to the other two.
With regard to the first class, these came into existence out of a desire to eliminate or reduce competition and also by reason of a desire to secure the advantages resulting from large scale production and the elimination of waste and overhead charges. So far as the tendency towards consolidation is the result of these considerations, and in many cases it is the chief factor, it will be just as pronounced under any other economic regime as it is under the capitalist regime. The desire to eliminate or restrict competition has admittedly played some part in the formation of these combines; it is the avowed purpose in most agreements, whether of producers or distributors. Experience shows that unrestrained competition tends to destroy itself, and it is equally true that this tendency of the elimination of competition is not a characteristic of any particular economic system, indeed it is the avowed object of the alternative which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) has just offered the House as a substitute for the present system. It has not been demonstrated that the removal of the stimulus of individual gain will result in greater efficiency or greater economy, or that we shall be in a better condition to compete with our competitors. It is therefore quite false to ascribe to the capitalist system tendencies which would be equally characteristic of any other system.
The Motion seems to refer to the need of protecting the consumer from the evil consequences of this tendency, and cites the high prices of such commodities as fuel, food and housing material. With regard to food, the establishment of a Food Council is a guarantee that the interests of the consumers are watched at any rate by an impartial body. It is true that price fixing arrangements exist in those trades which are fairly uniform commodities, like milk. The operations of the price fixing organisation in food are carefully watched by the Food 354 Council and they will deal with any action which is considered to be harmful to the consumer. Then the price of bread is regulated by the price of flour. Flour is regulated by the price of wheat. That system has been accepted by the bakers of the country. In the case of meat there is an inquiry, and it is the same in the case of fish and so forth. I think it is relevant that I should point to the value of the watchfulness of the Food Council, in that we have on the Statute Book today a Short Weights Act, after 40 years of effort, by the municipal councils to get this matter dealt with. That is one sphere of action in which the Government have certainly helped in regard to trusts and price fixing combinations which could have possibly harmful results.
One of the chief matters to which the Coal Commission directed its attention was the lack of combination among coalowners. There was admittedly evidence of consultations by coal merchants in respect of coal prices, but the Coal Commission, after quoting the evidence to the effect that nothing in the nature of a coal merchants' ring existed, stated that no serious evidence had been brought before them to impugn the substantial correctness of this contention. The Royal Commission, in fact, emphasised the need for more combination in production and distribution in the interests of distributor and consumer alike.
With regard to building materials, which covers a very wide range of products, the situation has been watched for the past four or five years by Inter-Departmental Committees appointed by the Ministry of Health and the President of the Board of Trade. The Committees have published a number of Reports, and, though they have from time to time criticised certain matters, there is no-evidence in their Report of general or systematic profiteering. Therefore, so far as the commodities mentioned in the Motion are concerned in respect to which there might be combinations of traders which could inflict hardship, in regard to the price of necessities of life, on a large section of the poorer people, the Government are able to take such action as I have indicated in the setting up of the Food Council and by the examination of these matters through such bodies as the Committee on Building Materials, and 355 by these means to secure publicity for, and to provide opportunities for public criticism of, the actions of any combination whether of producers or of distributors. There is general agreement that this method has had a salutory effect. If occasion arises, that method can be pursued, although at present there does not seem to be any evidence except in isolated cases that there has been any abuse of the powers which obtain in the case of such combinations. There have been certain inquiries, but they have failed to find anything more in the case of a negligible number of people than isolated instances of profiteering, although, at the time, conditions were most favourable to profiteering.
Departmental and other Committees and Commissions which have inquired into the subject have been impressed by the great advantage accruing to Germany and the United States from combinations of capital and administration, in regard to the purchase of raw material and the
§ marketing of produce, as for example in the engineering and shipbuilding trades, have suggested that the creation of strong combinations would be of advantage to Great Britain. It is an important consideration that there is now much greater opportunity for watchfulness on the part of Parliament and for hon. Members to bring pressure to bear on the Government through the various inquiries and Committees that make public all the details of particular trades. There is, too, a greater appreciation, I am sure, on the part of the administrators of these great combines of the necessity for so administering their businesses as to keep the confidence of the great British public. I conclude, as I began, by saying that not only are we not keen enough about combination, but that We do not go far enough with it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 109; Noes, 233.357
|Division No. 55.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hayes, John Henry||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Amman, Charles George||Hirst, W. (Bradford. South)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Scurr. John|
|Baker, Walter||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sexton, James|
|Barr, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Bate[...], Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Smillie, Robert|
|Bromfield, William||Kelly, W T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bromley, J.||Kennedy, T.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute]||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Kirkwood. D.||Sneil, [...]arry|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, George||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawrence, Susan||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Clowes, S.||Lawson, John James||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lee, F.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lindley, F. W.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Townend, A. E.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacLaren, Andrew||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dennison, R.||March, S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Maxtor., James||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dunnico, H.||Montague, Frederick||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morris, R. H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|G[...]bbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Gillett, George M.||Murnln, H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, David (Swansea. E)|
|Greenall, T.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Groves, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Grundy, T. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Young Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Halt, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Potts, John S.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pureed, A. A.||TELLICRS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. A. Barnes.|
|Hardle, George D.||Riley, Ben|
|Heyday, Arthur||Ritson, J.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Allen, J. Sandoman (L'pool, W.Derby)||Apsley, Lord|
|Agg-Gardner. Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Athoil, Duchess of|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Greaves -Lord, Sir Walter||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Bainlel, Lord||Greene, W. P. Crawford||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Ho[...]. John||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Barnson, Major Sir Harry||Grotrian, H. Brent||Penny, Frederick George|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hall, Lieut.Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Perring, Sir William George|
|Bethel, A.||Hall, Vice-Admiral sir R. (Eastbourne)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Pllcher, G.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Hammersley, S. S.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harland, A.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Radford, E. A.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harrison, G, J. C.||Raine, W.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hartington, Marquess of||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hawke, John Anthony||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Richardson, sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J,||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Burman, J. B.||Herbert, S.(York,N.R.,Scar. & Wh'by)||Runciman, Rt. Hun. Walter|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hills, Major John Waller||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hilton, Cecil||Salmon, Major I.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sandon, Lord|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.S.)||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Savery, S. S.|
|Chad wick, Sir Robert Burton||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W)|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hume, Sir G. H.||Slancy, Major P. Kenyon|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.||Jacob, A. E.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Jephcott, A. R.||Somervllie, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cope, Major William||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Couper, J. B.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lister, Cunilffe-. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Little, Dr E. Graham||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Crooke, J. S[...]edley (Deritend)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Loder, J. de V.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Cookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Looker, Herbert William||Tasker, R Inigo.|
|Cuozon, Captain Viscount||Lucas-Tooth. Sir Hugh Vere||Templeton, W. P.|
|Davidson,J.(Hertl'd. Hemel Hempst'd)||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Lumley, L. R.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen. S.)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Duckworth, John||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McLean, Major A.||Waddington, R|
|Ellis, R. G.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|England, Colonel A.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Macquisten, F. A.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Margesson, Captain D.||Wells, S- R.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Forrest, W.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Merriman, F. B.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Meyer, Sir Frank||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Fremantle, Lieut-Colonel Francis E.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Windsor-Cllve, Lieut.-Co[...]nel George|
|Gates, Percy||Monsell. Eyres. Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gauit, Liaut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Moore-Brabazon. Lieut.-Col. J. T. C||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Morrison-Bell. Sir Arthur Clive||Woodcock. Colonel H. C.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph||Wragg, Herbert|
|Grace, John||Neville. R. J.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grant, Sir J. A.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Mr. Roy Wilson and Mr. Hannon.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
§ Question proposed, "That those words he there added."358
§ It being after Eleven o'Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.