The following Amendment stood on the Order Paper in the name of Mr. LANSBURY:
In page 1, line 23, to leave out the words "Parts I and II" and to insert instead thereof the words "Part I.
I have given some consideration to this Amendment and I have come to the conclusion that it should come on the Schedule and not on the Clause.
§ Captain BOURNE
I beg to move, in page 2, line 12, to leave out the words "twenty-fifth day of December," and to insert instead thereof the words "first day of August."
1232 As the Committee will realise, the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill proposes for the first time to include the Rent Restrictions Act, and I have put down this Amendment in order to make an appeal to the Government that we shall not have this very important Act embedded in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill indefinitely. One of the drawbacks of this procedure is that when an Act is included in this Bill it is impossible to amend any of its provisions. We are not permitted to discuss or amend the provisions of an Act which comes into the Schedule of this Bill. The Rent Restrictions Act does create very great hardship on many individuals at the present time. I am not prepared to suggest that the time has yet arrived when it should be swept away, but there are many hard cases of people who are unable to get possession of the house they own, and if they have undesirable tenants or sub-tenants, who may not be quite in the position of being a nuisance to their neighbours, they are not able to get rid of them under the Act and have to put up with them. Even in the case where a landlord wishes to occupy the house himself, the question largely depends on whether there is alternative accommodation and whether in the opinion of the Court greater hardship will be inflicted by refusing or granting the application.
1233 Anyone who has sat on a tribunal administering this Act knows that there is nothing more impossible for that court to decide than the question as to whether greater hardship is caused by one course of action or another. It is almost beyond the competence of the court, however anxious they may be to deal justly, and I am sure from my own experience that they do go to an immense amount of trouble over these cases. There are many cases of hardship even in those parts of the country where the supply of houses is nearly up to the demand. I fully realise that there are other parts of the country where the demand for houses is still much greater than the supply. Suggestions have been put forward that you might decontrol by local areas and permit those parts of the country where conditions have become somewhat nearer the normal to be decontrolled first and leave those parts where the conditions are still abnormal to remain under this Act for some time to come. But as long as this matter remains in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill it is perfectly impossible to put forward any Amendment.
I fully appreciate that the pressure of work this Session has made it impossible to bring in a Bill dealing with this matter with any hope of getting it through the House before the existing Act expires. That is the position, but I hope the Government, because they have done nothing this year, will not think that we can allow this matter to go on year after year in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. There are cases of great hardship in rural districts and in some of the smaller urban districts where the pressure of housing is not so great as it was five years ago, and I hope that they will reconsider this matter and see if some amending legislation, or at any rate legislation giving relief where the pressure is not so great, can be introduced next Session. I have chosen the date, 1st August, because that appears to me to be about the time when the first part of the next Session will be coming to an end, and I hope it will be possible to bring forward a Bill and carry it by that time, giving the House ample opportunity for dealing with it. I have left out any reference to Scotland in my Amendment because the Scottish situation is, I believe, worse than the English, and I have no knowledge of the conditions there. I have some knowledge of 1234 the conditions in the South of England, and I have had a great deal of pressure from members in my own constituency who say they are suffering great hardship owing to the continuance of this Act.
Lieut.-Colonel LAMBERT WARD
In a few words, and without taking up any necessary time of the Committee, I desire to ask the Minister who is to reply for the Government on this particular subject whether he can give us some definite statement as to how long it is proposed that this Act shall be maintained and continued in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. We have heard a great deal in various housing Debates during the past nine months of the number of houses that have been built during the past four or five years. I think no less than 1,000,000 houses have been built, under subsidy or otherwise, during the past five or six years, and a great parade is made of the fact that during the last 12 months no fewer than 275,000 houses, nearly 300,000, have been built. If that rate of building is continued for another three years it means that a second million houses will have been added to the million already constructed, and that must go a long way towards reducing the need for the accommodation which was so acutely felt during the years immediately succeeding the War. But that is not all. Not only has this gigantic number of houses been constructed during the last five years—
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, I should like to ask you if it is not necessary, as this discussion affects Scotland so much, that there should be a representative of the Scottish Office on the Treasury Bench. This Measure affects Scotland, and is it not necessary that we should have a representative of the Scottish Office present?
This is rather an important question, so far as Scotland is concerned. Can we not ask that some representative of the Scottish Office should be present?
Lieut.-Colonel LAMBERT WARD
Over 1,000,000 houses have been constructed during the past five years, most of them to provide accommodation for what is customarily called the working part of the population, but which I prefer to call the less favourably endowed members of the community. But in addition, in London and other large centres it has been the case that large numbers of large houses have been converted into flats, which has provided a very large amount of additional accommodation for what one might call the middle classes. In these circumstances, is it so necessary; and if it is, I should like to hear the representative of the Government say how long it will be necessary to include this particular Act in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill? As the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) has said, this Act undoubtedly does cause hardship to a certain number of people, not a very large number, who through their very lack of number do not receive that sympathetic consideration from hon. Members of this House to which, in my opinion, they are entitled. But there is no doubt that large numbers of people have suffered hardship and inconvenience through being unable to obtain possession of their own houses for their own residence or for the use of members of their own family. I quite agree that at the end of the War it was necessary to conscript property of this kind to provide accommodation for the people, but it is unfair to conscript only one form of property. It is quite true that there are parties in the community who to some extent have had their property conscripted at the call of the taxpayer and the ratepayer towards providing accommodation for their less fortunately placed fellow-subjects. In addition to that, these rather unfortunate house-holders have also been deprived of the use of their houses. Therefore, in my opinion, the time, if it has not already come, is rapidly coming when a more equal form of treatment should be adopted for all concerned. I suggest that, perhaps not this year, but in the immediate future, this Act should be closely scrutinised to see if it is not 1236 possible now to dispense with some of its provisions. I therefore ask the hon. Gentleman who is to reply on behalf of the Government if he can give an answer to these questions. First, how long do the Government intend to continue this Act in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, which entirely precludes any amendment and, to a large extent, any discussion or alteration of its terms; second, whether, in the event of more time being available next Session, it is proposed to bring in an amending Bill, and, finally, whether it is proposed to drop this particular kind of legislation altogether?
Mr. WILLIAM ADAMSON
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I move this Motion to draw attention to the absence from this Debate of any representative of the Scottish Office. Hon. Members from Scotland will wish to discuss this question from an, angle which has not been indicated up to the present because the problem in Scotland differs from the problem in England to which the previous speakers have been referring. We consider it to be of the utmost importance that a representative of the Scottish Office should be here to reply to the points which will be put forward by Scottish Members in the course of the discussion.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I wish to emphasise the fact that the question as it affects Scotland is quite different from the question as it affects England. It is ridiculous, on the face of it, to think that a most important Measure of this kind affecting Scotland should be discussed in the House without a single representative of the Scottish Office being in attendance. This is the same attitude that has been taken up by the Government on other matters and the country is bound to see it. The Prime Minister yesterday treated Members on these benches and the House with contempt and the idea is to follow that up in connection with Scotland. But they need not try it. They are not going to be allowed to do it. We do not pay the Secretary of State for Scotland his wages for neglecting to pay attention to his work and he ought to be here, or else the Parliamentary Secretary or the Lord Advocate. They ought to do their jobs or else get the bag. We would be suspended if we did not do our jobs and 1237 they ought to be treated the same way. As showing the difference between Scotland and England in this matter, I would point out that in the Bill it is stated distinctly that the date as regards England is to be 25th December, but as regards Scotland it is to be 28th May—six months of difference. I protest
§ against the absence of a Scottish Office representative.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 106; Noes, 176.1239
|Division No. 349.]||AYES.||[8.20 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Sexton, James|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hirst, G. H.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hirst W. (Bradford, South)||Short, Alfred (Wednssbury)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Baker, Walter||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smillie, Robert|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Batey, Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Bromley, J.||Kelly, W. T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kennedy, T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kirkwood, D.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buchanan, G.||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Strauss, E. A.|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, F.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lindley, F. W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Mackinder, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dennison, R.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Duncan, C.||March, S.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dunnico, H.||Maxton, James||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Webb, Rt. Hon Sidney|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morris, R. H.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gosling, Harry||Murnin, H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, T. E.||Westwood, J.|
|Greenall, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Whiteley, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Windsor, Walter|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Riley. Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.|
|Hardie, George D.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hayday, Arthur||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A. Barnes.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Rose, Frank H.|
|Henderson. Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Colfax, Major Wm. Phillips||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Couper, J. B.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Bethel, A.||Drewe, C.||Harland, A.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Edmondson, Major A. J||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Ellis, R. G.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Erskine Lord (Somerset, Weaton-s.-M.)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd,Henley)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Barks, Newb'y)||Fermay, Lord||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Fielden, E. B.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Burman, J. B.||Finburgh, S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Cassels, J. D.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Hilton, Cecil|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Christie, J. A.||Gates, Percy||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Goff, Sir Park||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W H.|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Pennefather, Sir John||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Long, Major Eric||Philipson, Mabel||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Pilcher, G.||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Power, Sir John Cecil||Templeton, W. P.|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Price, Major C. W. M.||Thom, Lt. -Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Lumley, L. R.||Raine, Sir Walter||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Lynn, Sir Robert J.||Remer, J. R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Remnant, Sir James||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|MacIntyre, Ian||Ropner, Major L.||Wells, S. R.|
|McLean, Major A.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Rye, F. G.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Salmon, Major I.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Sandon, Lord||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Savory, S. S.||Withers, John James|
|Mansell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon B. M.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Weimer, Viscount|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Shepperson, E. W.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Oakley, T.||Smithers, Waldron||Major Cope and Mr. Penny.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
On behalf of these benches, I want to oppose the expiring of the Rent Restrictions Act here, the reason being that it is bad enough at the moment in the country from which I come under existing conditions, without all barriers being removed which will enable those who own the houses where the people live to exploit them to the very uttermost. You must remember that it was sheer force of circumstances—
Lieut.-Colonel LAMBERT WARD
On a point of Order. The Amendment now before the Committee cannot apply to Scotland under any circumstances, because the date is different.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
It is evident that it does apply. If the House will bring itself down to hard facts, which we who come from working-class districts and live among the workers have to face, where they are faced now with the conditions which forced the then Government to pass those Rent Restrictions Acts, it will see that it was because those who owned the houses were taking advantage of the conditions of that time to wring from the people excessive rents, .because of the scarcity of houses, because there were no houses being built, because 1240 all the house builders were at war, either in the trenches or making munitions of war. Hence there was a scarcity of houses, and in the case of my own trade, the engineering trade, we were not allowed to take advantage of the law of supply and demand that usually determines the cost of an article. The same Government passed what we termed "Dora," the Defence of the Realm Act, which took from us engineers and shipbuilders the right to leave one employer and go to another—that is, the right to sell our labour in the highest market to the highest bidder. We were tied up. The same thing had to be done with the house owners, because at the beginning of 1915 the Sheriff Court in Glasgow was crowded out with nearly 600 people, who were brought there because they could not afford to pay the increased rents. They were brought there in order that the Sheriff might give the factors the right to eject those people from their homes, and among those 600 there were 200 whose husbands or sons were in the trenches at that time in Flanders, so you can understand the type of individual that we had to deal with at that time in Glasgow.
That was the reason why this Act was passed. The Clyde at that time stopped work, and we stopped work because the property owners were increasing the rents of the soldiers' wives while the soldiers were fighting in the trenches—[An HON. MEMBER: "What were you 1241 doing?"]—I was defending the women and children, just as I am doing now, and I am prepared to defend them with my very life. Make no mistake about that. That was the situation then. It was because of the economic circumstances then, and you have to remember a very strange thing, and that is that the same thing happened in every country that was at war. Every country, including that of the Huns, as you called them, the Germans, had to pass a Rent Restrictions Act. I can still remember that the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and I visited Vienna, and found a rent strike on there. It was the same crowd. Nationality has nothing to do with it, and the same crowd had cut off at that time the electricity and the gas. This is what they had been doing, but war time is supposed to be past, and we are settled down now to peace. Oh, peace, where is it? Oh, peace, where is thy sting? I want to know where the peace is. I am searching for it. It is a case like the dove that Noah put out of the Ark when the world was flooded. It came back home because it found nowhere to set its foot, nowhere to rest, and it turned back to the Ark. The same thing we have here. Peace is a "wash-out." There is no peace, and there can be no peace while conditions exist such as we know do exist in our country at the moment. What are the conditions now? Take my own constituency—and it is not a foreign constituency. In my own constituency—
The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN
The Amendment before the Committee will not, in any event, refer to the hon. Member's constituency, because it does not refer to Scotland.
I am afraid I cannot allow the hon. Member to continue as if this particular Amendment referred to Scotland.
Illustrations can go on too long. The hon. Member has been speaking of Scotland for a considerable time.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
On a point of Order. We are the official Opposition, and we decided that this was a matter of grave importance as far as Scotland is concerned, because we divided the House on the fact that there was no representative of the Scottish Office here. Therefore, I think it is permissible to illustrate my point. In my own constituency in Clydebank are two-apartment—
Really, the hon. Member must not continue when I told him he must not speak about Scotland on this Amendment.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
May I put this point of Order? It is true that this Amendment only applies to England. If the Act expires in England, the houses will be decontrolled, and if the hon. Member can show by an illustration in his own constituency, which is similar to other constituencies, the effect of that, surely he is in order in using that illustration as a typical example of what will happen in every industrial city?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
May I submit that he has not done it already. What he has done is to trace a history of the Rent Restriction Acts which originated in Scotland. He has not used anything in Scotland as an illustration, and it is perfectly permissible, if you can show that houses decontrolled in Clydebank are excessively rented, to use that as a good illustration for the rest of the country.
I think I have allowed the hon. Member to go too far already, and I am merely asking him to desist now.
Mr. W. ADAMSON
On that point of Order and the rulings you have given that the Amendment only applies to England, may I direct your attention to this fact, that the Rent Restrictions Act in Scotland is practically the same as the one in England', the only difference being that in Scotland it will expire a few months later than in England; and nobody has any doubt that, in the event 1243 of this Amendment being given effect to as far as England is concerned, the same course will be followed in regard to the Rent Restrictions Act in Scotland. Therefore, my colleague is anxious that we should have every opportunity of discussing the Scottish situation as freely as the English Members are discussing the English situation. The two are harnessed together. I do not think there is a single Member in the Committee who does not believe that, in the event of this Amendment being given effect to as far as England and Wales is concerned, it will have its repercussion in a similar thing being done with regard to Scotland. Consequently, I think we are perfectly in order in discussing the Amendment and discussing the application of the Amendment to the housing situation in Scotland. It may be that my hon. Friend in some of the things he has said has been outside the limits of order as applied to this Amendment, but I do not think there is any doubt, if you will examine the situation carefully, that we are entitled to take part in this discussion and to examine the housing situation in Scotland from the point of view of the Amendment.
§ Major COLFOX
Is it not the case that the Members for Scotland can easily put themselves in order by moving a manuscript Amendment with regard to the date as it applies to Scotland and move to shorten up the time of the application of the Act to Scotland, after this Amendment has been disposed of?
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On this point of Order. I do not think there is any disposition to get into an impossible position, but I think the views of some of us on this side were that if this Amendment were carried, there would be a consequential limitation of the Scottish period, and that, consequently, instead of having the discussion on Part IV of the Schedule, we took it that it would expedite business if there was a general discussion on the whole position. But I am sure if it be preferable, my hon. Friend would be able to have the discussion on the general question on Part IV of the Schedule.
With regard to the point of Order which has been raised by the right hon. Gentleman 1244 the Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson), I am afraid I cannot accept that principle. If I did, there would be no end to the discussion. I am afraid I must confine this Amendment simply to its application to England.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Could we not have an answer to the point of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) that an opportunity should be given to raise the question on the discussion of Part IV of the Act?
The hon. Member has several courses open to him. He can either move an Amendment to that part of the Clause which refers to Scotland, or he can refer to the question on the Schedule.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Very good. We have no desire to fall foul of you, Sir, and we desire to obey the ruling of the Chair. The same conditions apply in Lancashire and London, and I was using my own constituency as an illustration because I know that best. We find £26 a year being charged for two-apartment houses, two-roomed houses, while this Act is still in operation, because landlords have taken advantage of the opportunity to decontrol houses. There are single-apartment houses in London, in Lancashire, in Derbyshire, and all over England, aye, even unto Wales, and also Scotland, in which every function of life has to be carried out, from birth until death. Whole families live in those single-apartment houses. In the West of Scotland we have cases where there are two families living in the one apartment, and the rent which is being taken for it is now £18 a year— of course including taxes. When conditions such as those exist, is it any wonder that we use what powers we have to trammel the voracious appetites of the landlords for profit? It is a case of the horse leech's daughter—give, give, give! They are never satisfied.
I wish it were possible for us to get hon. Members opposite really to understand what it is that is involved here. It is proposed to take off this Rent Restrictions Act, which would empower landlords to raise rents at a time when the whole tendency is towards reducing the means of those who have to pay the rents. Wages are being reduced all round. This nice, kind Government—[Laughter]. It is no use my calling them names any more. I am tired of 1245 calling them murderers and robbers and all the rest of it. It is like pouring water on a drowned mouse. But the fact remains that this Government, composed of men who are supposed to understand, even they, with all their understanding, with all their power, the most powerful Government in the world in my opinion—[Interruption]. Well, that is my opinion. I believe the, British Government is the most powerful Government in the world, and yet that powerful Government is using all its might, the might of Britain at the moment, to crush the unemployed. That is how it strikes me. They are even reducing the means of existence of the unemployed. This has to do with the paying of rent, Captain FitzRoy. They are reducing the income of the families who have to pay the rent. The general standard of life of the workers who live in those houses is being lowered. At this moment along comes the landlord and wants his power increased, he wants more rent. In that way you will be making it harder for people to live.
We are standing here to-day pleading on behalf of the working folk of this country, pleading with the Government, who, have the power, if they will exercise it, to make things just a little easier. Every individual who goes to the Government with a plea for an attack on the working class has the support of the Government. There is no denying that fact. It can be proved up to the hilt, and particularly against the Secretary of State for Scotland, whom I am glad to see in his place. It is asked why we have a special quarrel with him. It is because when the factors of Scotland came to London and asked for an increase in pay for collecting the taxes, the present Secretary of State for Scotland was pre-pared to give them that increase. I will do him the credit of saying that I do not think he was aware of the circumstances or of what was going on in Scotland. It was something which had escaped the 'eye of those who keep him informed. Again it was left to these benches to put him right, and to save him from the lions. The factors are getting more, as the result of collecting these taxes, than they ever got in their history. They never were as well off and yet the Secretary for Scotland was prepared to bring in a Bill to suit them, if we had been soft enough to allow it.
1246 To come to England on this. Our special grievance here can be relieved if Clause 6 be taken out of the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Act, 1923. It reads:The County Court, if satisfied that any error or omission in a notice of an intention to increase rent, whether served before or after the passing of this Act, is due to a bonâ, fide mistake on the part of the landlord, shall have power to amend such notice,Let those who understand the implication of words consider this.by correcting any errors and supplying any omissions therein, which, if not corrected or supplied, would render the notice invalid, on such terms and conditions as respects arrears of rent or otherwise as appear to the Court to be just and reasonable, and if the Court so directs, the notice as so amended shall have effect and be deemed to have had effect as a valid notice.That simply means that landlords and factors in this country are in a position to do what they jolly well like. If they had been reasonable individuals of a give-and-take disposition, anxious to treat sympathetically those in straitened circumstances, it would have been much different. The only income these poor people get comes either from the employers in the shape of wages or from the Government as unemployment pay. In both these respects the pay of these people has been reduced, and those who own the homes of the people are anxious to wring more out of them. That is why we are objecting to this Clause.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I want to say a few words with reference to the renewal of the Rent Restrictions Act. I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health to reply. I shall put the points very briefly and in a businesslike way, and I hope I shall get an equally businesslike reply.
Section 2 of the Rent Restrictions Act provides that if a landlord does not carry out reasonable repairs the tenant or the sanitary authority may apply to the County Court for a suspension of the increased rent which has been allowed under the Act. I have been spending a large amount of time in visiting houses in my own constituency, and I can honestly tell the Committee of a state of affairs which is truly appalling. In some cases I found windows falling 1247 out of their frames, plaster falling from the roof, no latches on the door, the damp coming in, and as many as seven and eight people living in one room. I can honestly say that the state of affairs is appalling in the districts of London Fields and Hackney Wick which I have the honour to represent, and it is perfectly obvious that whatever safeguards are accorded to the tenants under these Acts they are not able, either through ignorance of the law, or from some other reason, to avail themselves of those safeguards. They do not apply to the County Court for relief from excessive rent.
It is true that the sanitary authority is empowered to take proceedings if they fail, but the sanitary authorities are not doing this. I have said to these people: "Do you ever get the sanitary inspectors here?" and they say: "Yes, occasionally; but they do not do anything. They cannot get overcrowding orders when there is nowhere for the people to go? "
I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether he has in view any steps to deal with this problem. I know that houses are being built, but they are being built for the people who can afford to pay high rents.
I do not claim that my own experience in regard to these matters is unique, but scores of hon. Members of this House know that there are hundreds of people in their constituencies who are unable to move to the new housing accommodation because they cannot afford to pay the excessive rents which are being demanded. The ironical part about this business is that it is the very people who cannot afford to pay these rents who need this Act the most. Is the Government content with the attractive picture which has been drawn as to the large number of houses which are being built all over the country? Is that being used to hide the more serious side of this question?
There is one other point which I wish to raise. The repairs under the terms of the lease are supposed to be done by the tenants. I have been examining the facts, and I find that landlords in the East End of London are bringing the most tyrannical pressure to bear upon 1248 their tenants to make them expend large sums of money on the improvement of their premises.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I think my points are perfectly relevant as to whether the Act should be renewed and in what form.
I do not intend to pursue that line of argument, and I will come to my final point. There is in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill a provision that the Act shall be renewed for one year more. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to give us something a little more definite. There are hundreds and thousands of people in every part of the country who do not quite understand what is going on in politics, and they are suffering the most serious anxiety as to whether they are going to have their rents raised or not. The other day I saw an auctioneer's poster dealing with a de-controlled house which had just been let at four times the rent of a similar kind of house next door.
I suggest to the Committee that it is not sufficient to renew this Act year after year. There are hundreds of thousands of tenants who cannot afford to pay an increased rent, and they are entitled to some definite understanding as to how long they are to have the security of this Act. Until the demand for houses has been fully overtaken it would be most unjust to remove the Rent Restrictions Act from the Statute Book.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
At the earliest possible moment I desire to make plain the position of the Government so far as the Rent Restrictions Acts are concerned. After listening to some of the speeches I do not think the intentions of the Government in renewing this Bill are quite clearly understood. We propose that the Rent Restrictions Acts shall be continued in England for another year. I welcome the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones) who represents one of the divisions of London, because he has put before the House the anxieties and doubts which so many people are entertaining about the Rent Restrictions Acts. I may say, speaking for myself, that I do not 1249 regard this matter as a matter of humour, or as affording any occasion for delaying the House, but rather as a matter of seriousness which ought to be faced, and as to which a proper statement ought to be made. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken has referred to the present housing position, and I want at once to make the position of my right hon. Friend and myself, as representing the Department which is concerned with housing, perfectly plain. It is perfectly true that during the last few years an unprecedented number of houses has been built in this country. The figure for England and Wales is well over a million. It is also the case that in September last the number of houses completed was the largest number that has ever been completed in a single month in this country, namely, 52,000. The highest previously recorded figure in this country for the number of houses completed in one month was 18,000. Therefore, I think that everyone must regard that which the Government—
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. When my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton (Mr. Kirkwood) was speaking, you, Sir, ruled somewhat strictly with reference to the limits of the Debate, and I understood you then to say that discussion must be limited to the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne). Is that still the position, or are we having a general statement on the whole housing question in England and Wales?
§ Sir K. WOOD
If I may say so at once, I am addressing myself to the Amendment dealing with England only, and am stating the position—
§ Mr. MAXTON
With the hon. Gentleman's permission, I still regard the Chair as being the proper quarter from which replies to questions on points of Order should be received.
As I understood the hon. Gentleman, he was quite in order, because I understand that the number of houses has a considerable bearing on the question of rent restriction.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
Further on the point of Order. Should we be able to raise the question of how many houses 1250 were built to rent, and how many to the owners' specifications?
Only to the extent to which the numbers might have a bearing on the question whether the Rent Restrictions Act should continue for a longer or shorter period.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Further on the point of Order. Surely, if it can be demonstrated that very large numbers of these houses are built for persons who need not bother about the Rent Restrictions Act, we are entitled to point to that as a reason why this Amendment should not be carried. I respectfully submit, Sir, that if you allow—I have no objection to its being done—if you allow the hon. Gentleman to pursue the argument he is putting forward now, some .of us will want to follow him and show that, in spite of everything that has been done, it is totally inadequate.
I should like to hear what various hon. Members have to say, and what arguments they use, before ruling upon them. They may have a bearing on the Amendment, or they may not.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am endeavouring to put forward what I venture to think is a relevant argument on this Amendment. I suggest that, in coming to a conclusion as to whether we should shorten the period of control—which is the Amendment that is being moved—or whether the proposal to continue the Act for one year should be approved of by the Committee or not, it is relevant to consider what exactly has been done, and what ought to be done, in regard to housing in this country. I may say at once that I am resisting this Amendment, and am asking the Committee to confirm the proposal of the Government to continue the Rent Restrictions Acts for another year. Before the points of Order were raised, I was surveying the position in regard to housing, and was saying that, while it is true that over a million new houses have been erected since the Armistice, and while it is also true that in September last 52,000 houses were erected in England and Wales—which is a record for this country, the highest previous figure having been 18,000—I was about to say that the Government recognise that, notwithstanding that great advance, still a great deal more remains to be done in 1251 regard to housing. It is for that reason particularly that I am resisting my hon. and gallant Friend's Amendment, which seeks to restrict the continuation of these Acts to a shorter period than the Government are now proposing. I myself acknowledge, and I think everyone who is connected with this endeavour to meet one of the greatest social difficulties of the time will at once admit, that a great number of these new houses have undoubtedly been built for what may be called the better-paid artisans of the country. I recognise, with the hon. and gallant Gentleman who spoke just now, so appropriately, if I may say so, to the matter under discussion, and I am sure my right hon. Friend the Minister recognises, that, particularly in connection with what I may call the lower-paid workers of the country, the local authorities and others interested in housing have undoubtedly to make renewed and, I hope, strenuous efforts to meet that position and that demand.
Undoubtedly, in very many areas in England and Wales, there is, as everyone knows who represents districts such as I myself represent, a very large number of applicants who are registered for houses, but have been unable to obtain them for a very long time. With that position confronting the Government, the question arises as to what is to be done. There are three or four courses which the Government might adopt at this moment. They might repeal the Rent Restrictions Acts altogether; they might allow Part II of the Act to operate automatically, in which event all the rents of the country would become unrestricted, and owners would be allowed to recover the control of their property, subject to certain restrictions which would subsist for a further period of five years, and were designed to deal with cases of exceptional hardship; or, on the other hand, we might introduce an amending Bill which would prolong the existing law but which would subject it to amendment in certain respects; or, lastly, we might adopt the course which we have adopted in this Bill, namely, the course of continuing these Acts in their present form for a fixed period.
It is perfectly true, as my hon. Friend has stated, that there are two very considerable bodies of opinion in this country in regard to the present Rent 1252 Restrictions Acts. There is a body of opinion which holds, and holds very strongly indeed, that all forms of restriction should be abolished, and which to a certain extent regards these restrictions as interfering with building operations in this country. Certainly it is the case that the Ministry of Health has received representations from many influential bodies in that sense. On the other hand, as has been stated here to-night, there is an equally strong body of opinion which urges that the restrictions at present contained in the Rent Restrictions Acts cannot be safely removed at the present time. The Ministry of Health is bound to have regard to the opinions of many of the most enlightened local authorities of the country, including the London County Council, who hold, and very strongly hold, the view that it would not be safe at the present time to do away with or amend these Acts. I think every thoughtful person in every part of the House will agree that it is no doubt desirable that all these restrictions should be done away with and completely removed at the earliest possible moment if that can be done without exposing tenants to exploitation and injustice, but the opinion of the Government is that the time has not yet arrived when the Acts can be swept away. They are also of opinion that the rapid construction of new houses is constantly bringing nearer the time when the position will be such that the total abolition, or at least a drastic amendment of these Acts, would be possible.
When you come to consider the question raised by my hon. Friend, that certain Amendments should be made to the existing Rent Restrictions Acts, again anyone who has had any experience of these Acts will probably agree with that conclusion. Speaking again quite personally, I have a good deal of sympathy with people who have bought houses for their own occupation, and for no other purpose, and have for so many years been unable to obtain possession of them. I have also a good deal of sympathy with people who are suffering grave injustice from sub-tenants and from the profiteering that is undoubtedly going on. But in the first place all these matters would be highly contentious, and in the second place there is very little Parliamentary time available to discuss them. The con- 1253 tinuance of this Act for another year will allow time in which, I think, the present housing situation so far as this country is concerned, and I believe also so far as Scotland is concerned, will be found to have improved by the continuation of the high rate of housing production that is now going on and by the gradual extension of automatic decontrol that is undoubtedly taking place. The hon. Member who spoke last gave an example which, so far as my experience is concerned, is not very frequent, of a house which, as I understand it, was out of control and which was next door to a house that was under control. We have no exact estimate in my Department of the number of houses which have automatically gone out of control, but they must be a very large number indeed and, if you compare the number of cases of complaint and of instances that are given of profiteering or high rents being charged, they are very small indeed. In any event, another year will give a full opportunity for the subject to be reviewed.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
This is a subject that some, of us have very much at heart. Can the hon. Gentleman give some explicit assurance that in those areas where overcrowding is still rampant the Rent Restrictions Act will not be removed?
§ Sir K. WOOD
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is giving me very much credit if he thinks I am going to prophesy what the Government will or will not do 12 months hence. Tenants may be assured that for the next 12 months they can sleep safely in their beds, and the situation can be carefully watched and reviewed during that period. At the end of that time the Government will again come to a decision and make proposals. But it will be very rash for anyone to venture to announce to-night the policy of the Government in relation to rent restriction, or almost any other matter, 12 months in advance of the time.
My hon. Friend proposes that the period should be limited to 1st August. I think he would be the first to recognise that it would be unreasonable to extend the Act for so short a period, and certainly it is only reasonable that tenants should have an explicit assurance that protection will be afforded them 1254 until December, 1928. I am glad to think that no Amendments have been put down by hon. Members opposite. Notwithstanding the difference that has arisen in connection with rent restriction, it is the judgment of the great body of people that the present Rent Restrictions Acts should continue for a certain period. Only a little time ago the Labour party introduced a Bill to block the Acts for a further period. It is true it was a much longer period than is proposed to-night. There was no suggestion by any Member of the party opposite, so far as I know, that they proposed to make any Amendments of the Acts. At any rate, that is something on which we can all agree, and the only difference, it seems to me, that can arise, at any rate between the Government and the Opposition, is as to the period for which the Act should continue. In this Bill, which has the authority of the Labour party, and which has on the back of it the names of many of the Ministers in the Labour Government, there is no question of amendment of the Acts.
What the Government are proposing to-night, and which, I hope, will receive the approval of all Members of the House, is to continuo this Act for a further period of 12 months and then, at the end of that period, as all reasonable men should do, review the situation, and, of course, make proposals to the House, when the House will be able to come to a decision on the matter. I hope that in those circumstances, as far as this portion of this particular Bill is concerned, hon. Gentlemen in all parts of the House will accept the proposals of the Government, who feel, notwithstanding the very great progress that has been made in connection with housing in this country, at any rate, that this Act must be continued. We hope that the progress of building may still continue and that we shall soon see the period arrive when these Acts will no longer remain on the Statute Book and when it will be possible to do justice to landlords and tenants alike by removing from the Statute Book an Act of Parliament which, undoubtedly, is causing very great difficulties in many directions to day.
§ Mr. GILLETT
I do not share the hope that the Minister has expressed that there is any likelihood in the near future of seeing the housing problem in some of our great cities restored to the position 1255 to which he evidently thinks it is going to be, that is, the position in which it was in the days before the War, when it was purely a matter of private owners and their relationship with their tenants. The Minister has really intimated that he hopes some of these things will come again. It is on that account that I believe fundamentally he has hardly realised—though I know he must be acquainted with them—the difficulties with which we are face to face in Central London. I do not see how you are ever going to provide suitable housing accommodation for the working classes in some of these central districts of London in view of the value of the land for business purposes, in view of the necessity for many of these men and women to live in those places in order to get to their work, and in view of the difficulty of housing these people in the outskirts of London, not alone because of the question of work, but also on account of the cost of travelling to and fro if the family is of any size whatever, or even if it only consists of the man himself. I believe that, far from coming to the conclusion that some day we shall go back to the old order of things, houses will have to be provided to a larger extent by the giving of grants, or that there will have to be some relief given in regard to the mode of transport.
It is very dangerous to embark on a discussion on housing on this particular Amendment.
§ Mr. GILLETT
I would point out to you, Captain FitzRoy, that the whole of the theme upon which I was speaking has been touched upon really in its main points by the Minister. I was only challenging him in respect of his optimistic idea that we should return some day to what was the old system of housing. I was trying to point out that I did not believe that to be possible, because I believe his outlook has a profound influence upon what he has said to the House in connection with this matter now before us. He hopes some day, fairly soon possibly, that this Measure can be done away with, but I do not think you are going to get away from this Measure so easily. At any rate, if you do, it will impose enormous hardship upon those who are dwelling in the centre of London. The Minister has talked about 1256 the large number of houses that have been built—I am not disputing the figure—but what I want to tell him, from my experience as the Member for one of the central districts of London, is that, as far as I can see, practically speaking, all that he has done has hardly had the slightest effect upon the housing position in Finsbury, which is the most overcrowded part of the whole of London. While the Minister tells us that 52,000 houses were built a month or two ago, I believe, at the same time, owing to the reduction of the Government's assistance, it is doubtful whether that number of houses is going to be built in the future. That indicates to my mind that the Minister, really, has not gone into the condition of the housing problems in Central London. The Finsbury Borough Council are finishing a number of flats which are to provide accommodation for about 200 families. They have received applications from something like 1,000 people, and they have refused to receive any more applications. We do not know what the number of applications might have been if the Town Hall had kept on receiving applications for this accommodation.
The Minister himself, in answer to a question the other day dealing with this problem of housing in Central London, said that they were proposing to clear away slum areas. I believe one of those areas in Finsbury has been under consideration of the local authorities for many years. I understand now that the Minister has some scheme that he is going to put into operation in order to clear one of those slum areas. I should like to know bow in connection with the Measure we are now considering—the Rent Restrictions Act—we can possibly think for many years to come of removing such a Measure. I am amazed at the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne). It is only charitable to him to think that the hon. and gallant Member cannot have any conception of what the housing conditions are in the centre of our great city. [An HON. MEMBER: "And in Oxford!"] I will not go into the question of Oxford. Some time ago I heard that they had some very bad slums in Oxford. At any rate, I know perfectly well what is the condition of many of the houses in Finsbury. My hon. Friend who spoke from 1257 this bench beside me spoke about a part of the country which may not be referred to, but practically the same thing can be said of the conditions of housing in London as were said of Scotland, which is not the subject before us at the present time.
In conclusion, what I want to impress upon the Minister, in spite of his outlook on this matter, is that he is not by any means going to see any solution of the housing problem for many years to come. I view with grave concern the fact that the Government seem to think they are beginning to get near to the solution. We have not had nearly enough houses built. We shall need to have hundreds of thousands of houses built before we touch the problem, and even then the slum problem in our great cities will seem to be barely touched at all. A man came to see me only a day or two ago because he wanted one of those flats. He said he had a family of six or seven, and they were living, I think he told me, in one room in Finsbury. While that state of things is going on, it is impossible for any Government to imagine that in the near future the housing problem is going to be, solved, or that an Act of this kind is going to be removed. I tremble to think what would happen in a division like mine if the Government were foolish enough to remove the restrictions now in force. I tremble to think what it would mean, when I consider the wages that are paid to-day, and with the state of unemployment, if we were to leave these people to the mercy of the landlords—landlords who are anxious, many of them, at the present time to take the land on which houses are standing for business purposes. You can look at some of these houses which are being left to fall to pieces; they look as if they had been bombarded in the War. This is what you see in Finsbury to-day in many working-class quarters. One wonders what would happen to these people if the Government were foolish enough to remove the only safeguard these people have. I tremble to think what would happen to these people if they were left to the tender mercies of the landlords.
§ Mr. RYE
I do not think many Members would seriously suggest that the restrictions should be done away with at present, but I do think that the Government might have considered the 1258 advisability of bringing in an amending Act. There are at the present time a number of anomalies in the present Act. I pointed out a year ago the position of an owner of property within the Acts, upon whom a dangerous structure notice has been served by a local authority, and I drew attention to a case where, following an order of a magistrate at the instance of the London County Council, the whole of the premises with the exception of the ground floor, a shop and parlour, was pulled down and the tenant in that case was enabled to plead the Rent Restrictions Act and—
§ The CHAIRMAN (Mr. James Hope)
I must point out that the only question is whether this Act should be prolonged to August or December. We cannot enter into the details of a housing scheme.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is it not a fact that, when your predecessor was in the Chair, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health detailed the number of houses built each month? In view of that, is not the hon. Member perfectly in order?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It may be that the number of houses being built had a bearing on whether the Act should cease in August or in December, but I do not see how details of a housing scheme can well arise on this question.
§ Mr. RYE
My point was that it would not be wise to leave this matter for a year, as there are very hard cases that might be dealt with. I raised this very point on a similar occasion and then you very kindly allowed me to put it to the House. My point is that an amended Act would put an end to the position that I was going to put to the Committee. Rent restriction would still continue, but a Clause could be introduced enabling the landlord in such a case to go to a County Court and obtain an order for possession.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is not a case of a proposal to amend the existing law; the object of this Amendment is to end the Acts in August instead of December.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
Surely the hon. Member is in order, as this Amendment is the only chance the House has of discussing the policy of the Government and 1259 of discussing whether or not the Act should be extended in its present form or in a different form?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment makes the Act expire in August, and there will be all the next Session to make a further amendment in the law. All that is proposed by the Amendment is that the Act should come to an end in August rather than December. It appears to me the hon. Member is arguing the whole question of the amendment of the law at some future date.
§ Mr. RYE
Might I draw your attention to the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary specially referred to the three courses open to the Government, one being the amendment of these very Acts? If he can discuss the question of a possible Amendment as being the wisest course, it seems to me it is within my rights to draw attention to hard cases and to point out that, if this Act be brought to an end at the date stated in the Amendment, then a new amending Act might be put into operation for a further period in order to enable landlords to get possession of their premises in hard cases. It would, for instance, enable landlords, who are under a covenant to rebuild the premises, to carry out their covenant and so give employment to a large number of people.
§ The CHAIRMAN
We cannot go into the whole working of this Act on an Amendment dealing with the point whether it should end in August or December.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I submit there was a general understanding expressed in the Parliamentary Secretary's speech that the three points raised by him should be the subject of general criticism.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot go into the question of general understandings. If the Parliamentary Secretary has spoken on these matters, I cannot prevent hon. Members from referring to them.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I mentioned the courses open to the Government but I did not in any way discuss any specific amendment.
§ Mr. MAXTON
When the hon. Member was making his speech I raised with 1260 your predecessor in the Chair the question whether it was in order for him to review the whole policy of the Government with regard to building. He continued to make that speech; he first of all reviewed what the Government had done in building during the last year, and then proceeded to say what was the general policy of the Government with reference to rent restriction. I would feel I had been somewhat tricked if an hon. Member is to be allowed to outline the Government's policy and to express his approval of it while I am not to be allowed to express my disapproval and detestation of it.
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Rye) is merely answering points made by the Parliamentary Secretary, I cannot prevent him.
§ Mr. RYE
All I am endeavouring to do is to show that the Parliamentary Secretary was acting quite properly in suggesting the Government might have brought in an amending Measure, and I was endeavouring to show in what way such a Measure was necessary. Since I have begun to raise the point, I am beginning to think I am wrong, since I have the support of hon. Members opposite. [Interruption.] As you have kindly encouraged me, I would like to go on and draw attention to a case which recently came to my notice where certain contractors—
§ The CHAIRMAN
As to what passed before I came in, I understand the Parliamentary Secretary pointed to the number of houses that were being built as having a direct bearing on whether the Acts should be extended to August or December. He certainly did not lay himself open to a discussion on the whole merits of the Acts. On this Amendment it is clearly out of order.
§ Mr. RYE
It is not for me to criticise what the Parliamentary Secretary said, but, frankly speaking, it seemed to me that he rather roamed over the whole question. The hon. Gentleman made an extremely able speech and went far beyond the territory of this Amendment, but it was not for me to raise a point of Order against the hon. Gentleman. If you, Mr. Chairman, think I am out of order, and hon. Gentlemen opposite think I am in order, I do not propose to continue my observations.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I will give some reasons why the Amendment should not be accepted. The difficulty in regard to the Rent Restrictions Act has its basis in the number of families living in less than what is called one house. For the purpose of this Debate I got from the Minister of Health, in reply to a question, some figures that will give good reason why the Mover of the Amendment should not press the Amendment. The figures bear directly on the question before the Committee, and so far as England and Wales are concerned are as follow: The families living in one room are 317,417; the number living in two rooms is 917,958 families; in three rooms 1,358,681 families; in four rooms 2,144,000 families; and in five rooms and over 4,000,000 families. That is a total of 8¾ million families. Those 84 million private families occupy 7 million separate dwellings, of which seven million were occupied by one private family, 597,000 occupied by two families, and 155,007 occupied by three or more families. I ask the Mover of the Amendment what he thinks about conditions such as those. Has he examined the slums in his own town? I have been a visitor there only a few times, but I made myself acquainted with some of the housing conditions and they are such that that great university town cannot boast.
During the Recess I spent almost 10 weeks in London looking for a house. I have lived in and about London for the last 3½ years, and I was compelled by an incident in my home life to seek a new place. I know of a house which before the War was let at £22. To-day, when I make application for a house of that kind in that same street, I am asked for £84. When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health states that there are not many cases of that kind, he shows merely how he lacks contact with the whole subject. In 10 weeks search for a house you find contact, and especially with that thing called the house agent. Everything that points to security, so far as the renter of a house is concerned, depends upon the power of Parliament to restrict the rapaciousness of the house agent. It is not so bad if you get in contact with the actual owner of the house, but whenever the owner gets into the hands of an agent everything is multiplied by four and the bleeding goes on. It is not only the multiplying of the rent. In the de-controlled house you do 1262 not finish there. I have called at 100 places if I have called at one where the rent was £150. When I arrived I was told, "That is the rent, but if you want this house there is £95 for decorations that you have to pay with the first year's rent," or there was some premium for someone's auntie who had a piano in that house. Then you get the demand for payment for "sound furniture." I made strict investigations in some houses about the furniture. I was asked for £148 for three small rooms and no bathroom in Chelsea.. The people who were occupying the house had had a lease at £38.
§ The CHAIRMAN
How can the hon. Member link up these details with the question whether the Act should go on to December or to August?
§ Mr. HARDIE
My object is to try to convince the hon. Member for Oxford that he should withdraw his Amendment. If he knew the facts—
§ Captain BOURNE
If the hon. Member will give me a chance I shall be pleased to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. HARDIE
The reason why I connect these details with what is before the Committee is that it is not only a question of rent in the decontrolled house. You have rent plus key money, plus furniture, plus what are called fittings, plus premiums, plus decorations, plus God knows what, when the house agent is in charge. That is the position. At one place in Chelsea to which I was taken, I asked, "Was this house recently decontrolled?" The agent replied, "What has that to do with it?" I said I was asking only a simple question. We were standing there in this dilapidated place. The admission was made that it had not been painted for eight or nine years. There was a dead rat on the floor. Outside was a square which had been created at the cost of the general public. The agent said, "Look what a fine square there is!" The agent was not charging anything for the rat. That was thrown in. As a Scottish Member I suppose I ought not to intervene, but I happen to be a resident of London. I could give the Chairman some bloodcurdling experiences. I was taken up three stairs into a big apartment, divided by a partition. I asked, "Has this 1263 house been decontrolled?" and the reply was, "Yes." "What is the rent?" I asked. "£185." "Where is the kitchen?" She opened a press door, a place 16 inches deep, with a gas ring in it. That was the kitchen. That decontrolled house had previously been rented at £25 a year, and I was asked £185 for it. I asked for the bathroom, and she pulled back a dirty old curtain in one end of the room, and said, "That is the bathroom." As we were going down the stairs she said, "This would be a nice place for a lady."
§ Mr. HARDIE
If you are going to make any alteration in this Act you must know all the details. I went to another house, and this is my last illustration——
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 171; Noes, 101.1265
|Division No. 350.]||AYES.||[9.58 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Phllipson, Mabel|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pilcher, G.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Hammersley, S. S.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Harland. A.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Hartington, Marquess of||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Balniel, Lord||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Remer, J. R.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Hawke, John Anthony||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Bethel, A.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Henn, Sir Sydney H||Rye, F. G.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hennessy. Major Sir G. R. J.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hilton, Cecil||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Burman, J. B.||Hopkins. J. W. W.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Sandon, Lord|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Huntingfield, Lord||Savery, S. S.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Jephcott, A. R.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. McI.(Renfrew, W.)|
|Christie, J. A.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kinq, Commodore Henry Douglas||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Lamb, J. Q.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Colfax, Major Wm. Phillips||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cope, Major William||Lister, Cunilffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Smithers, Waldron|
|Couper, J. B.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Courtauld, Major .J. S.||Loder, J. de V.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Long, Major Eric||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Looker, Herbert Wi11iam||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Drewe, C.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lvnn. Sir R. J.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Tasker, R. Inlgo|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Templeton, W. P.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||MacIntyre, Ian||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||McLean. Major A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Malone, Major P. B.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Finburgh, S.||Mailer, R. J.||Wells, S. R.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Merriman, F. B.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Forrest, W.||Meyer. Sir Frank||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark. Lanark)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gates, Percy.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Withers, John James|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Nuttall, Ellis||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Goff. Sir Park||Oakley. T.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Penny. Frederick George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Major Sir Harry Barnston and Major the Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hayes, John Henry||Rose, Frank H.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Sexton, James|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, G. H.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barnes, A.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield).||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Batey, Joseph||Jenkins. W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smillie, Robert|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, J. .J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kelly, W. T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buchanan, G.||Kennedy, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lansbury, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Lawrence, Susan||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lee, F.||Townend, A. E.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lindley, F. W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dunnico, H.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty)||March, S.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Maxton, James||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gillett, George M.||Morris, R. H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gosling, Harry||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Murnin, H.||Whiteley. W.|
|Greenall, T.||Naylor, T. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Owen, Major G.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Paling, W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Riley, Ben|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Ritson, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hardie, George D.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
Question "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause" put accordingly, and agreed to.
Mr. W. ADAMSON
I beg to move, in page 2, line 13, to leave out the words "twenty-eighth day of May," and to insert instead thereof the words "thirty-first day of December."
This Amendment has an entirely different object to the one which has just been disposed of. The last Amendment sought to reduce the time provided in the Bill whereas the Amendment I am now moving, in the name of myself and the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) seeks to extend it. We do not think there will be sufficient time within the limitation proposed in the Bill, to provide the necessary amount of housing accommodation required by the Scottish people. A few figures will very quickly put the position before the Committee. In 1917, according to the Report of the Royal Commission on Housing, there were 121.000 houses urgently required, and if the standard of housing was to be raised, then the number of new houses required was 232,000. The total number of houses built since that date until now is 62,867, and this figure includes all houses built by State-assisted schemes, by private enterprise, and the number 1266 of steel houses erected by the Government. But in addition to the shortage of houses which, according to the Royal Commission, was 121,000, or, if the standard was to be raised, a shortage of 232,000, we also required to build annually not less than 20,000 houses if the needs of the people were to be met within a reasonable time, say 15 or 20 years. That means that during the last eight years we required to build 140,000 houses, whereas all that have been built up to date is 62,867.
These figures will, I think, give the Committee a very clear idea of the housing problem in Scotland, and if we are only going to provide for the building of houses up to the date mentioned in this Bill then it is altogether too short in order to enable our people to be provided with adequate housing accommodation. I could go on giving the reasons why this tremendous shortage of houses has occurred in Scotland but I do not propose to do so because a number of my colleagues are anxious to discuss the matter and I am not going to monopolise the time of the Committee. Let me say this, however, that this problem is causing great concern not only to the working classes in Scotland but also to a number of local authorities on whom rests the 1267 responsibility for providing proper housing accommodation. I hope the Committee will agree to the Amendment, so that we in Scotland may have an opportunity of making more ample provision for the wants of our people than we have been able to do hitherto. Bad as is the position in England and Wales, where they have been able since the Housing Acts came into operation to build a bigger proportion of houses for their people, it is not so bad as the position in Scotland. For various reasons we have been unable to build as great a proportion of houses as in England and Wales, and it is absolutely necessary that we should have the time extended so that we may be able to make as ample provision North of the Tweed as has been made South of the Tweed.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I rise to support the Amendment and, at the outset, I wish to state my belief that it would have been better, had the Secretary of State for Scotland, instead of including this Measure in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, introduced a completely new Measure. The situation in Scotland is not comparable with the situation in England. The situation in England is bad, but the situation in Scotland is very much worse. Take what is happening in Scotland under the present Act. As the right hon. Gentleman well knows, the Government definitely excluded certain houses from the scope of the Act. At the moment, large numbers of people, for good or bad reasons, are emigrating from the West of Scotland to the Colonies and the United States. Every house thus vacated becomes decontrolled automatically, with the result that in the West of Scotland there is now a comparatively large number of houses completely decontrolled, and factors and house owners are charging the new occupier practically any rent they think fit. As was pointed out by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) in an earlier Debate the factors in many cases in Glasgow are holding up new tenants to ransom.
The right hon. Gentleman ought also to face this very important fact. In the poorest parts of the city, migration from one house to another is more common than among the better off artisan class. Thus, the very poor who need the pro- 1268 tection of the Act most of all are the people who are not protected by the Act as it is working. The nature of their employment, constantly changing as it does from district to district forces these poor people to change their households, but the moment they try to do so the conditions under which the Act operates are such as to mean that they are rack-rented in the new house. Under the present Act, if a tenant has been evicted for arrears the rent of that tenant's house cannot be increased but the factors or houseowners are not operating that portion of the Act at all. The Secretary for Scotland ought to direct his attention to the fact that in those cases houseowners are taking advantage of the tenants' ignorance of their own position under the Act. I would like to see introduced a Measure stating definitely that all working-class houses——
§ The CHAIRMAN
The question before the Committee is whether the present law should be continued for another six months or not.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I was arguing that instead of the present Amendment we might have a new Act altogether.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Surely a Member is entitled to suggest that instead of the present Amendment it would be better to have a new Act?
§ The CHAIRMAN
He would be on the Second Reading of the Bill, but not upon an Amendment of this kind.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On that point of Order. I would submit that, when the Second Reading of the Bill was before the House, Mr. Speaker intimated to us, when we wanted to raise such a general question, that we would be able to do it in Committee.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Not to the extent of talking beyond what is in order on the Amendment. It is only a question as to whether or not the existing law, for better or for worse, should be continued for a further six months beyond the period stated in the Bill.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I accept your ruling, Sir, and will try to confine myself to the Amendment. The Secretary of State for Scotland ought to be well aware that 1269 even the six months proposed in the Amendment is not ample, but we ask for this additional time because we think that at least in Scotland the period ought to be continued until the end of December. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman, optimist as he might occasionally appear to be, does not think the problem of housing in Scotland will be solved on the date suggested in the Bill, and I am sure he does not even assume that it will be solved by the time proposed in our Amendment. Things in Scotland are not being solved at all. I know the right hon. Gentleman will quote figures to show that there have been more houses built in the last six months than in the previous six months, that in the last nine months there have been about 20,000 houses built in Scotland, that at no other time has that figure been approached, and that the month of September this year was the best for house building, despite the fact that weather conditions were among the worst. I know he will produce figures of that sort, that will not be able to be challenged from the point of view of accuracy, but even if they were twice as strong, even if the number of houses built was three times as great, even if the Secretary of State for Scotland were building houses four times as rapidly as he is now building them, as a matter of fact the houses he is now building are not for the class of tenant that we seek to safeguard in this Bill. The houses he is building are almost exclusively for the better-off type of person. I support this Amendment in the hope that at the end of the six months at least considerable further progress will have been made in this matter.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
There are at least three grave issues dealt with in this Bill upon which the Secretary of State for Scotland ought to attempt to justify the limitation named for the operation of the Bill. My hon. Friends who have already spoken have dealt with the question of housing, but there are two other subjects upon which I think no one can suggest that the state of affairs in Scotland is satisfactory, and that remedial legislation passed by this House should be stopped as early as the 28th May. Referring to Page 5, there is the question of land settlement and of unemployment. Neither land settlement nor unemployment in Scotland is being tackled by the 1270 British Government at all, and the two Acts which it is sought to extend until May, 1929, may for all practical purposes be abolished. It is quite true that something is being done in housing, and the Secretary of State will be able to give figures showing that house building, while still unsatisfactory, is at any rate being tackled. But what can you say about the Land Settlement (Scotland) Act. What can you say about the depopulation of the countryside?
§ The CHAIRMAN
How does the hon. Member connect his argument with whether the control of housing should cease in May or continue till December?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
The Amendment is not confined to housing, but to the extension of other Acts mentioned in Part 4 of the Schedule.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Part IV of the Schedule, I see, refers only to the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act. There are certain references to Amending Acts, but I think that is the only Act that is continued.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
If that be so, then I have nothing further to say upon that point. I should like just in a word to reinforce what my hon. Friend has already said about houses. It is not only in Glasgow, it is not only in the big cities and the large towns in Scotland, but it is all over Scotland. It is in the rural areas where the Secretary of State and his administrators ought to take every possible step to assure local authorities that they will not be encouraged to slow down their house-building programme, even at the time which is referred to in this Act. The Secretary of State for Scotland must be well aware that so long as he keeps the cancellation of this Act hanging over the heads of the local authorities in Scot-land, there cannot be as much ardour for a speedy development of housing as there would be, at least among some sections of the local authorities, if they were convinced they would not be handicapped financially by the cancellation of this Act. He will remember what happened a year ago, how local authorities had to be assured by special efforts on his part after considerable pressure in this House that their financial arrangements would not be suddenly cancelled, and that they would be encouraged to 1271 go on in their building progress. For these reasons I beg to reinforce what has already been said that the date should be extended from May to December.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On a point of Order. There are some others of us, who are specially interested in this Act, and if the Secretary of State for Scotland replies now, we shall not be able to hear a reply to the points which we wish to bring forward.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Of course, I have no desire to prevent any hon. Members from expressing their views, but I should like to say that when the Government had to consider the question of whether the Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act should be continued or not, it was naturally my duty, as representing Scotland, to make up my mind what measure of advice I should tender to them. Quite frankly I was in favour of extending the period under the Expiring Laws Continuance Act for another year, just as the Minister responsible for the English position has done. I am not going to weary the House by quoting a large number of figures, as a good many have already been submitted, but I think it is clear that in Scotland we have made very material progress with housing.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Of course, it depends on what the hon. Member regards as "material progress." If I take the year in which the hon. Member's party was in office I find that rather over 4,000 houses were completed in Scotland; in the present year we are approaching the figure of 20,000.
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. I want to ask you how far the Government are entitled, on the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, to review the whole of the Government's policy of housing, throwing bouquets at themselves, and making comparison with their predecessors?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman would certainly not be in order in reviewing the whole policy, but I understand that he is showing that material progress has been made, and he has taken as his standard the progress that had been made some years ago.
§ Mr. MAXTON
On that point of Order. After your Ruling with reference to my colleague's intervention, on the consideration of an Act dealing with rent and mortgage restrictions which is to be continued under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, is it legitimate to discuss house building in Scotland, which comes under an entirely different Act altogether?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson) related to the progress of housing, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State is referring to that. Presumably, if sufficient houses had already been built the need for control would cease.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
All I was endeavouring to explain was that, when I had to express an opinion as to whether or not rent restriction was to be continued, obviously I had to take into consideration the possibility of the expansion of the existing number of houses, and the housing of the people both in present circumstances and in the future. It is perhaps unwise to look too far into the future with regard to these matters, and in all the circumstances one came to the conclusion that to extend the operation of this Act for one year was amply sufficient. I will only say with regard to the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson) that I am rather surprised he should have chosen a date which does not coincide in any way with the normal terms in Scotland. If the period were going to be extended it ought, in fairness to the tenants and householders concerned, to correspond with the recognised terms. Be that as it may, I can only say in conclusion that I am satisfied the Government are doing right in extending the Act for one year and we cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I desire to support the Amendment. The Secretary of State 1273 for Scotland has just asserted that this Amendment does not take any notice of the Scottish terms. I would like to point out that the large majority of the people who will be affected do not live in houses which are let upon the Scottish terms, because they are weekly or monthly tenancies. The Minister's statement shows that he has been very careless in regard to this matter, and has not taken into consideration the circumstances which affect the majority of the people. I do not think I am putting it too high when I say that there are 60 per cent. of the houses which come under this Act that are not let on the May or November term, but are let as weekly or monthly tenancies. I think the Secretary of State for Scotland would have been justified in proposing a much greater extension of time for the operation of the Rent Restrictions Act in Scotland. When comparisons are made between the number of houses built in England and Scotland it should be borne in mind that the Scottish housing problem is much more acute and desperate than the English housing problem. On the basis of population the number of houses built in Scotland does not compare favourably with the number of houses built in England.
After all, the length of time that the Rent Restrictions Act should operate is to be determined according to the proposals of the Government by the number of houses produced. According to the Report of the Royal Commission which inquired into the housing conditions in Scotland we find that on the present standard and basis of housing 121,000 houses were required. If we consider the higher standard that is necessary it means that we require 250,000 houses to be built in Scotland without allowing anything for the normal increase which is necessary every year. I understand that the progress this year has been greater, and that the number estimated this year has been so much greater because of the development that has taken place under the 1924 Act. The Government is dependent for further increases on the Act of 1924. If it he admitted that the period for which the Rent Restrictions Act should be continued is dependent upon the condition in regard to housing, the amount of shortage, and the opportunities that people have to get houses, then I submit that Scotland should have a 1274 much longer period than England. Accepting the argument that has been put forward by the spokesmen of the Government, that the scarcity of houses should be the main determining consideration, I think we are entitled to ask for that. The fact that there is this extreme scarcity in Scotland, while it might have impelled the Secretary of State for Scotland to introduce a longer period, there are other factors operating in Scotland that might have suggested to him an alteration also in some of the parts of the Rent Restrictions Act and the amendments thereto. There is the arrangement made——
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I do not suggest that the Secretary of State should make those Amendments now while I am speaking, or while he was standing at the Box, but I do suggest that, when he was tendering his advice and discussing the position in Scotland, he should have said something to this Committee about the peculiar position in which we are in Scotland. The Rent Restrictions Act in Scotland might be continued for a longer period because of the fact that the houses for which the people are paying rent are in such a dreadful condition. I myself have taken other opportunities of trying to make the Secretary of State realise the position in that respect. There are people paying rent in Scotland, under the Rent Restrictions Act, for houses that have been condemned as unfit for human habitation, and some of those houses have been condemned for many years. That seems to me to be another reason why the Rent Restrictions Act should operate for this longer period; the houses are in such a condition, and the people there are getting such poor bargains, that they should have a longer period during which they would not be at the mercy of the property owners and have to pay increased rents for the miserable hovels in which so many of our people are housed. It has been suggested by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in this country that it was obvious that, in spite of the difficulties of the operation of the Rent Restrictions Act, it must be continued until there is an adequate supply of houses.
1275 The position has been growing worse until the last two years. Ten thousand houses are required for the normal increase and 14,930 were produced. That was only 4,000 additional. I know there has been an increase of houses for better-off people in the right hon. Gentleman's division, but the position is worse so far as the ordinary members of the working class are concerned, and if on the original introduction of the Rent Restriction Act a term of years was given, if the present Secretary for Scotland had been even as conscientious as his predecessor in those days he could have suggested to the Government that they were still in need of this Act to-day as much as they were when it was first passed through Parliament. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should agree to a longer term because it will allow the local authorities to go on with their programme with more confidence, it will allow the tenants to understand that the Government is coming to realise the difficulties under which ordinary working people have to live and the special difficulties that they face in connection with housing, and I believe also it will be better for the property owners to know that this Government, much as it has done in the interests of capitalism and property owners, much as it has done on behalf of the great trinity, rent, profit and interest, is still sufficiently aware of the desperate circumstances of the majority of the Scottish people that at least they are going to do something to allow them to maintain a roof over their heads.
§ Mr. STEWART
If the Secretary of State for Scotland had amplified his remarks it would have been interesting and, I think, informative. During the whole period since the last Rent Act was passed the position of property-owners—when I say property-owners I mean the owners of houses—has been strengthened. They are no longer, and they have not been for years, even prior to the passing of the last Rent Restrictions Act, doing the work that is commonly recognised as being part of the necessary maintenance and keeping a house in good order It was recognised that it was the function of the landlord, so called, to keep the house in decent habitable condition by painting and papering and work of that nature—what might be called minor 1276 repairs. Owing to the conditions that have developed, that part of the work has been entirely thrown upon the tenant. Under the Rent Restrictions Act which gave an increase of rent, a considerable proportion of the increase so allowed was in respect of repairs. They are repairs which have not been executed. It is true, as I have said already, that the landlord's position has been strengthened. In 1911, in Glasgow alone, we had 22,000 empty houses, and in 1914 the number had decreased until there were only 7,000 empty houses. In the course of 1914, prior to the War and subsequent to the beginning of the War, rents were increased month after month, and it has to be remembered that, so far as the working classes of Scotland were concerned, under the Shopletting Act, which was passed some years previously, houses of a less rental than £21 were let on a monthly occupancy and could not be let for a longer period. The extension of the present Act to the 31st December, 1929, would not inflict any hardship on the letting conditions as they obtain in working-class houses throughout Scotland. There is this further fact to be remembered, that under this decontrol business the rents of these houses have, been increased, in some cases, very considerably. I am quite sure the Secretary of State for Scotland has read the statements made by the State Assessor in Glasgow from time to time calling attention to the extraordinary increase that has been made in rents because of houses becoming decontrolled. The public conscience of the city, apart from the people who are directly interested in the matter, is somewhat annoyed—this is a very mild word—at the intentions of the Government. We have now the position that the landlords of Glasgow are in a more favourable position in regard to their profits and their rents than they were before. The Secretary of State, in the course of his remarks, threw some blame upon the Labour party that was in office for something like eight months with regard to the number of houses that were built and drew a favourable comparison between the Acts of this Government and the laws of the preceding Labour Government. He said that they had built only 4,000 houses. The Secretary of State for Scotland will admit that, if it had not been for the Labour Government at that time taking the neces- 1277 sary action to prevent the builders of Scotland from increasing the cost of building, bad even as the housing conditions in Scotland are to-day, they might have been worse. We did not hold up those houses, not because we were not desirous of going on with them, but because, in the interests of the tenants of Scotland, we were forced to prevent those builders running away with the profits they were then trying to get. The Government got the advantage in the latter part of 1924 and in 1925 of the action which the Labour Government then took.
It is true that the housing condition in Scotland is to-day worse than it was in 1925. The number of houses required grows from year to year. In Glasgow 12,000 houses have been built, but in 1919 it was estimated that there were 57,000 houses required in the conditions that then existed. There are now required not 57,000 but nearly 80,000 houses. There are now 43,000 single apartment houses in Glasgow; in 1925, there were not 42,000. There are now 114,000 room and kitchen houses. Despite the Government's contribution of something like 20,000 houses this year, they have made no impression so far on the housing conditions of Scotland generally and of
§ Glasgow, Dundee, and other industrial parts in particular. The housing condition is worse, and, if you grant this extension, it is only carrying on and saving the time of the House from year to year. Not in the next generation, under the present rate of progress, is Scotland going to be rid of what is its particular infamy, the housing condition. There is no part of the world that is more held up as a glaring example of rotten housing conditions than my own country of Scotland. There is not a Scotsman in this House who is not ashamed of the notoriety of Scotland in regard to housing. It is up to all of us, who love their country and who are ashamed of the conditions in our country, not to make excuses for it or to say what we have done, to set our backs to it and give housing a better chance than it has had. The House ought to allow this extension that is now proposed.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 99.1279
|Division No. 351.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Dixey, A. C.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd,Henley)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Ellis, R. G.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s.-M.)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fairfax, Captain .J. G.||Hilton, Cecil|
|Balniel, Lord||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Fermoy. Lord||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Fielden, E. B.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Bethel, A.||Forrest, W.||Hume, Sir G. H|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Gates, Percy||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Burman, J. B.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Burton. Colonel H. W.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Goff, Sir Park||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gower, Sir Robert||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Grace, John||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Christie, J. A.||Greaves-Lord. Sir Walter||Long, Major Eric|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Looker, Herbert William|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vera|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Cope, Major William||Hammersley, S. S.||MacAndrew Major Charles Glen|
|Couper, J. B.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Harland, A.||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Harrison, G. J. C.||McLean, Major A.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hartington, Marquess of||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Marriott, Sir J. A.R.||Ropner, Major L.||Tasker, R Inigo.|
|Meson, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Meller, R. J.||Salmon, Major I.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Vaughan-Morgan. Col. K. P.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C||Sandon, Lord||Wells, S. R.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Savery, S. S.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D.McI.(Renfrew, W.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Shepperson, E. W.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Oakley, T.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ormsby-Gore, At. Hon. William||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Smithers, Waldron||Womersley, W. J.|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Storry-Deans, R.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H|
|Raine, Sir Walter||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Remer, J. R.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Major the Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hirst, G. H.||Scurr, John|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sexton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barnes, A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Batey, Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smillie, Robert|
|Broad, F. A.||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bromley, J.||Kennedy, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kirkwood, D.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lansbury, George||Sutton, J. E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawrence, Susan||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, F.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lindley, F. W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dunnico, H.||Mackinder, W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gillett. George M.||March, S.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Gosling, Harry||Maxton, James||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Graham, D M. (Lanark. Hamilton)||Mitchell, E. Rosalyn (Paisley)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Greenall, T.||Murnin, H.||Westwood, J.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Owen, Major G.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Palin- John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Paling, W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, G. H (Merthyr Tydvil)||Potts, John S.||Windsor, Walter|
|Hardle, George D.||Riley, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Ritson, J.|
|Hayes. John Henry||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."1280
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 179; Noes, 98.1281
|Division No. 352.]||AYES.||[11.8 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Betterton, Henry B.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Alexander, E. E. (Layton)||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Burman, J. B.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Cope, Major William|
|Atholi, Duchess of||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Couper, J. B.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Courtauld, Major J. S.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Bethel, A.||Christle, J. A.||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Huntingfield, Lord||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Jephcott, A. R||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Lamb, J. Q.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Fermoy, Lord||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sandon, Lord|
|Fielden, E. B.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Savery, S. S.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Forrest, W.||Loder, J. de V.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI.(Rentrew, W.)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Long, Major Eric||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Looker, Herbert William||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vera||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Gates, Percy||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Lumley, L. R.||Smithers Waldron|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||MacIntyre, Ian||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Grace, John||McLean, Major A.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Malone, Major P. B.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Greene. W. P. Crawford||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Meller, R. J.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Merriman, F. B.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hammersley. S. S.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kineston-on-Hull)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Harland, A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-col. J. T. C.||Watts. Dr. T.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Wells, S. R.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Neville, Sir Reginald .J.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nuttall, Ellis||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Oakley, T.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Pennefather, Sir John||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Penny, Frederick George||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Henn. Sir Sydney H||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Philipson, Mabel||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Pilcher, G.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Yerburgh Major Robert D. T.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Raine, Sir Walter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Remer, J. R.||Captain Bowyer and Major the Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scurr, John|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, G. H||Sexton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, Walter||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Barnes, A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Batey, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smillle, Robert|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bromley, J.||Kelly, W. T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Buchanan, G.||Kirkwood, D.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawrence, Susan||Townend, A. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lindley, F. W.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dunnico, H.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rho-|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||March, S.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maxton, James||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gillett, George M.||Murnin, H.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gosling, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Westwood, J.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenall, T.||Owen, Major G.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercilffe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Windsor, Walter|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Riley, Ben|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hardle, George D.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Mr. Hayes and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.