§ Mr. HARDIE
I beg to move, in page 9, line 4, after the word "shall," to insert the word "not."
Since this Bill has been printed, quite an abundance of reasons have been given why this Measure should not apply to Scotland. The Convention of Royal Burghs in Scotland, comprising 201 burghs, has met in Edinburgh to deliberate upon this subject, and the result 1650 of its deliberations has been forwarded to the Secretary for Scotland. In case the right hon. Gentleman may not remember that communication, I will quote two lines from the second paragraph:The Convention is specially desirous that a matter of such importance as the position of Scotland in regard to this Bill should be made clear and distinct.You cannot have legislation clear and distinct when it takes such a form as the provisions contained in Clause 9. To 1651 show that the Government could not make Clause 9 complete in its application to Scotland I need only point out that Sub-section (1) begins by saying:Sections one and two, and Sub-section (1) of Section four, and Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section six shall not apply.I think that Sub-section in itself is an admission that Clause 9 is absolutely inadequate to express what is intended to be conveyed in this Bill. If that were all, we might get through all right, but when you begin by reading Sub-section (2) you find that you are referred to the Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act, 1854. In another part you are referred to the Eating (Scotland) Act, 1926 and other Acts, with the result that anyone who wishes to find what Clause 9 means must have copies of all these Acts in front of him before he can make an intelligent interpretation. I move this Amendment with a full knowldege of what it means. If we had had the same conditions obtaining in Scotland as in England in relation to rating, Clause 9 would not have been necessary. It is the differences existing between the two countries which have brought about Clause 9, and that is why we are now faced with this complicated Clause. If the systems of rating had been the same, one Bill would have done, and the reason why separate legislation has always been required for Scotland is because so many things are different.
In England the owner pays no rates, but in Scotland he pays rates. That is a tremendous difference, because it means that in England the relief goes in one way and in Scotland it goes in quite a different direction. In Scotland the owner pays the rates, and, consequently, any relief goes to the owner as well as the tenant. Why should the owner get any relief because his income from rent is not affected by good or bad trade? It is because of these anomalies and difficulties that we are moving these Amendments, in the hope that the Government will find more adequate means of expressing what is contained in the general conspectus of the Bill now before the Committee. Take two buildings, one on each side of the street owned by the same owner. The one which is used as a factory gets relief, but the other which is not used as a factory gets no relief. What is going to happen in Scotland is 1652 that the difference between that relief on the one side and the other will mean, an increase in the rent of the man who-is getting relief from the rates. We know that in Scotland every time any relief has been given in this way it has always found its way into the pockets of the landlords. Now I come to the question of the block grants.
§ Mr. HARDIE
If I said block grants, it was a mistake. What I meant was the allotment that has to be made in consequence of the apportionment. As far as I can sec, any increase in the valuation is not provided for, and increases in valuation have not been explained at all. I wonder if the Secretary of State for Scotland has received from the local authorities in Scotland memoranda calling attention to what is likely to take place with regard to the application of this Bill to Scotland. Has the right hon. Gentleman any knowledge at all of the difficulties that will be created by this proposal? I would like the Secretary of State for Scotland to explain exactly how Clause 9 is going to apply in relation to the powers of the local authorities. I understand that we shall not be in order if we discuss the White Paper adumbrating the changes which are contemplated in local government in Scotland, but it is a fact that those proposals cannot come into operation until the Bill we are discussing has become an Act of Parliament, and I presume we shall not be allowed to discuss what is contained in the White Paper.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
I would like to ask you, Mr. Hope, if we shall be out of order if in discussing this Measure we make references to the consequences in Scotland of what is proposed in the White Paper?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That will be out of order, unless it arises out of the apportionment proposed in this Bill. It may be argued that this or that result will take place in certain respects in regard to the assessment. So far it will be in order to discuss the whole question as applied to Scotland, but the other questions dealt with in the White Paper will not be in order.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
This Measure is the basis of the now scheme of local government which is contemplated for Scotland, and it depends entirely upon what is proposed in the Bill we are now discussing.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That would open up a very wide discussion, and I do not think I can allow the hon. Member to go further than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) went when he took part in the discussion.
Mr. ROSSLYN MITCHELL
As this Bill we are now discussing is the basis upon which the new scheme of local government for Scotland is to be operated, should we be in order in bringing to the notice of the Committee the different effects which are produced by the same scheme in Scotland and comparing them with the effects produced in England? To do that, we must refer to the new scheme.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. William Watson)
It is a very general phrase to speak of different effects, and I think it will be necessary to define a little more clearly what the hon. Member wishes to discuss.
We have in mind the intentions stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to the whole scheme. We may find that certain consequences flow from that Bill, and they may be different in Scotland from what they would be in England. In so far as Scotland is concerned, they are in direct contradiction of what the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed in regard to his intentions. We could not deal with that question unless we were permitted to say something outside the scheme itself.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The purposes of this Bill are clearly set out in Clause 1. Certain hereditaments are distinguished, namely, agricultural hereditaments, industrial hereditaments, and freight-transport hereditaments. If the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) or any hon. Member can show that the application of that proviso to Scotland will result in anomalies then he will be in order. As I understand it, there is a good deal in the White Paper which adumbrates the intentions of the Government in respect 1654 of a future Bill, and that will not be in order. I can only suggest the general lines of the discussion, and I must decide these points as the discussion develops. The main question is that we must confine ourselves to the consequences of this Bill in Scotland as apart from England, and to the extent to which the main principles of the Bill have been modified by Clause 9.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
When we were discussing the Scottish Rating Bill, the Lord Advocate took up the same attitude, and we shall be placed in a similar position unless we are allowed to traverse the whole ground of rating organisation in Scotland.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Quite obviously, to discuss the question of the abolition of the education authorities could not possibly be in order; that is quite clear. As regards the Scottish Rating Bill, I am afraid I am not sufficiently familiar with it to be able to draw a parallel between the rulings given upon it and the ruling that I am giving now.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
May I ask whether it is your intention to prevent references—and, if necessary, detailed references—being made to the different effect which the proposals necessarily following on this Bill will have upon agriculture in Scotland from what they are having in England?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Yes. As far as regards the apportionment of the value of the heritages and so on, and the distinguishing of agricultural subjects from others, that would be quite in order, but references, for example, to new boundaries would not be in order, any more than it would be in order, on the English part of the Bill, to talk about the abolition of boards of guardians. The same thing would apply to education authorities, although their powers and areas may he modified in the future Scottish proposals.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
For the sake of future guidance in the course of this Debate, may I point out that the title of the Bill says that it is:To make provision with a view to the grant of relief from rates in respect of certain classes of hereditamentsor heritages, as they are in Scotland, and that it is obvious that this is 1655 only a preliminary stage of a complete change in our system of local Government in Scotland, which cannot take place without this Bill; and, if block grants are necessarily involved—the Lord Advocate shakes his head, but we have the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that block grants necessarily follow, and that the reorganisation of areas of local government administration in Scotland, in the opinion of the Government, necessarily follows—are we barred in criticising, or attempting to criticise, the initial stages of this revolution, from making references to the consequences which will follow from the initial stage?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member is now asking—and I do not blame him for asking—for a certain freedom on behalf of Scotland which was not asked for by English Members, and which I should have had to deny if it had been asked for. For example, so far as I know, no reference has been made, in the discussions on the English part of the Bill, to the county councils becoming responsible for the roads, or to the abolition of boards of guardians, or to the merging of rural district councils in larger areas, which are all, I understand, contemplated in a further Bill. On this Bill we can only discuss, as I said before, the effect of distinguishing the classes of hereditaments or heritages and apportioning their annual value. I cannot suggest that the hon. Member should go farther than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who, with considerable ingenuity, contrived to keep just within the bounds of order.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
May I take it that we may be allowed to use the tables in the White Paper in so far as they illustrate the difference between productive, distributive and retail businesses and freight transport businesses in various districts, whether they be mainly agricultural, industrial or distributive, as illustrated in the White Paper?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member may found an argument on the degree of relief which the wharves and docks in Leith will get.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Further on the point of Order. In reply to one hon. Member, you referred him to Clause 1 as being the basis. Might I ask why, since Subsection (1) of Clause 9 says that Clause 1 shall not apply to Scotland?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The objects of Clause 1 are to be found in later Subsections of Clause 9, in which the same principles are, at any rate, sought to be carried out, though perhaps, from the hon. Member's point of view, imperfectly.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am glad that the point has been discussed in relation to the White Paper, because it would seem that, while it is not going to be in order to discuss these matters fully, they are nevertheless at the back of the mind of everyone who is taking part in this discussion, and, if little inaccuracies so far as order is concerned creep in, they must be credited entirely to what is at the back of people's minds in regard to the proposals for reform in Scotland, because nothing more drastic has appeared for many years so far as the government of Scotland is concerned. Indeed, it would seem that the design is to get through Clause 9 before it is possible to discuss what is contained in the proposals, although these cannot come into being until Clause 9 is in being. I think that that is a cowardly attitude on the part of the Government. Of course, it is quite characteristic of the Secretary of State for Scotland. When it comes to anything really Scottish, he is always playing the coward behind some screen somewhere.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that the hon. Member meant more than to use a Parliamentary quip, but he cannot be allowed to use such an expression as that, which is foreign to Parliamentary usage.
§ Mr. HARDIE
If anyone is annoyed about the word "coward," I will withdraw it, and had the Secretary of State for Scotland been an Englishman I should never have thought of saying that; but we claim the right, as Scots, to deal with each other as we feel.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I did not quite catch that, Mr. Hope. Having said that about our difficulties, I want to continue with regard to Clause 9. I cannot see why there is this terrible rush and push in regard to trying to get Scotland tied up as in Clause 9. I would ask the Government to consider delaying this matter, because of the anomalies that I have pointed out, and I have only pointed out a few; the rest will be pointed out by others who take part in this discussion. We ask for delay because we know that Clause 9 does not and never can take up the rating system of Scotland as it is to-day as a working part of the Bill, and the proof of that is in this White Paper. If it could have been done by Clause 9, there would have been no need for producing this White Paper in anticipation. Behind Clause 9 is the idea of destroying in Scotland all that belongs to Scotland's history in regard to burghs and the experience of rating authorities in Scotland in burghs and counties, The idea behind Clause 9 is to wipe out all these things that belong to Scotland, and to try to Anglify us a little more through the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is a Scotsman. I am often surprised, in looking back upon history, at the things that have been done by Scotsmen against the interests of Scotland. The whole idea, as I see it, underlying Clause 9, is to destroy every local authority in Scotland, and to get that centralisation where everything that has characterised Scotland's administration of her own local affairs is to be destroyed. I had honed that there would have been some idea of getting this properly applied to Scotland, if it is to be applied, and I notice from the Order Paper that the Secretary of State for Scotland, evidently feeling—perhaps from representations that had been made to him, if not from his own opinion—that there is something wrong, has an Amendment down to Clause 9, at the end to add two new paragraphs:(12) The assessor shall be entitled at any reasonable time of day, on giving not less than 24 hours previous notice in writing to the occupier, to enter, survey, and value for the purposes of the Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act, 1854, and the Acts amending that Act, including this Act, any lands and heritages within the county or burgh or district for which he acts as assessor, and if any person refuses to admit the assessor to enter any lands and heritages or obstructs him in making his survey or 1658 valuation he shall be liable on conviction by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction to a penalty not exceeding 20 pounds:(13) As respects the valuation of lands and heritages for the year beginning on the sixteenth day of May, nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, the following provisions shall have effect:—
- (a) Any officer or person employed by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and authorised by them for the purpose shall for the purpose of carrying out his powers and duties under this Act have the like rights as the assessor to enter, survey, and value any lands and heritages to which he has reason to believe the provisions of this Act may apply, and any person refusing to admit such officer or person or obstructing him in making his survey or valuation shall be liable on conviction by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction to a penalty not exceeding 20 pounds;
- (b) The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring the assessor to consult with any such officer or person employed as aforesaid as regards any particulars required by this Section to be shown in the valuation roll, and generally for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Act, and such regulations may modify and adapt the provisions of the Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act, 1854, and the Acts amending that Act. The regulations shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made:Provided that if an address is presented to His Majesty by either House within the next subsequent 21 days on which that House has sat after the regulations are laid before it, praying that the regulations may be annulled, the regulations shall thenceforth be void, without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.I would like to draw his attention to paragraph 13 (6), which deals with the Regulations requiring the assessor:to consult with any officer or person employed as aforesaid"—and so on. He is bound to be aware of the fact that already the Inland Revenue have power to object on the same standing as an owner or an occupier. That seems quite reasonable, and it is already provided for; but to ask now for the powers given in paragraph 13 (6) seems to me to be an unwarrantable interference with the assessor, whose decisions are already subject to two Courts in Scotland. When the Secretary of State for Scotland has already the whole of the actions of one man under review by an Inland Revenue officer, who is put in the same position as an owner or tenant who 1659 is having rates put upon him, why should he seek to superimpose these powers, when already under the Scots law he has the assessor bound down by the review of two Courts? I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland, in putting forward this paragraph 13 (b), will be kind enough to go into the matter, if not for his own sake, for the sake of the organisation of the work that is to come. We must not forget that, no matter what Bills or enactments we pass here in regard to Scotland, we are, in this relation, entirely dependent upon men with combined experience and ability in these subjects. Everything that is being done now is in the direction of trying to get centralised control, to destroy the native ability that belongs to these areas, and to destroy the rating system of the burghs of Scotland, which is, perhaps, the envy of the world. Here we have the Secretary of State for Scotland simply inviting us as Scottish Members to allow ourselves to be crushed up and misrepresented in Clause 9, and thereby to become part and parcel of something that cannot be worked. It has not got on to the Statute Rook yet, but men who understand these things as assessors inform me that, just as soon as it gets there, the difficulties will arise, and just as soon as you try to impose the proposals contained in this White Paper, just so soon will you have another revolution in Scotland.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I do not propose to detain the Committee at any great length on this Amendment, as I ventured last week to offer to the Committee a few remarks giving my views on the inclusion of Scotland in a Bill of this kind. I still hold the same views, and I corroborate a good deal of what has been said by the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) in moving the Amendment. It is quite clear that this Bill is a basis upon which a superstructure is to be built in the near future, and the people of Scotland do not realise what is in store for them. When that Bill comes to be introduced, I know perfectly well what the argument will be from the Front Bench. The Front Bench will then say, "We have already passed this Bill; the system of rating has been altered; and, seeing that the system of rating has been altered in Scotland, we must 1660 have these new authorities." I think—and I am corroborated by the quotation given by the hon. Member of the Resolution passed by the Convention of Royal Burghs which makes it perfectly plain—that the people of Scotland do not yet realise that, in six months' time, it is contemplated that all the well-known local authorities, whom they have grown accustomed to love and venerate, will be abolished. Do the people of Scotland realise that in six months' time that argument will be used? By passing this Clause, we are making it impossible for the local authorities to offer any resistance to the proposal to be made in six months' time by the Government to abolish them. That is one of my main arguments for opposing the Clause.
I do not say I shall vote for the Amendment for the reason I am going to give. I believe that the proper way to have proceeded in regard to Scottish affairs was to have had a separate Bill for Scotland. I argued that some days ago in this House. I pointed out then, that the system of rating in Scotland is entirely different from the system of rating in England, and I say that by this Clause, which has been inserted in a purely English Bill as an afterthought, you are revolutionising the whole of the system of rating in Scotland. My right hon. Friends on the Government Bench cannot deny it; they know it perfectly well. We have had no exposition of the meaning of this Clause from the Government Benches. We have only had one short discussion on the effect of the Clause. We have had no general exposition of the consequences and the effects of this Clause upon the system of rating in Scotland. We ought to have a separate Bill for Scotland. I know perfectly well there is no time for it now. What reason can my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland give for not having introduced a Scottish Bill upon the same lines at the same time that the English Bill was introduced? He knows, and so does the Lord Advocate know, that you cannot deal with Scottish rating in a Clause of this kind, nor can the Scottish Members deal with it. We are simply gagged. I, for one, and my colleagues tried to draft Amendments to this Clause, and we felt that every Amendment would be out of order, because 1661 it would be quite properly ruled out by the Chair.
The whole thing is quite ridiculous. I strongly object to the inclusion of the whole system of Scottish rating in this way in this Bill. I quite realise we are going to get a certain amount of relief and, consequently, I do not see that I can oppose this Clause. I know that this Clause as it stands will be a very great disappointment to the people of Scotland. They will regret it for many reasons, and they will regret it largely for the reason I advanced at the beginning of my speech. They do not know what this Clause portends. They have not yet realised the difficulties which are in store for them. They do not realise what is in the minds of the Government and of the Secretary for Scotland. They have not yet realised this is merely a foretaste of what is to come. Once this Clause is passed, whether amended or not, the people of Scotland will have to look forward to the new Bill with its far-reaching consequences. The real reason why I am opposing this Clause as it sands is that, if you had had a separate Bill, you would have had an opportunity of getting Scottish opinion reflected in that Bill, time to discuss it thoroughly, and in Scottish phraseology. As it is, we are fobbed off with a mere Clause in a purely English Bill. It is an insult to the people of Scotland and, though I cannot see my way to vote for this Amendment, I am greatly disappointed that my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland has not seen his way to introduce a Bill upon Scottish lines.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)
The hon. Member who moved this Amendment will forgive me if I say that, of course, he must take the responsibility of denying to Scotland the machinery—because this Bill is dealing with machinery—upon which ultimately the relief, which is going to Scotland, will go to Scotland. The complaint is made that this matter should be dealt with separately and not in a single Bill. The kind of complaint that usually comes to me from hon. Members and from my colleagues in Scotland is the delay that often takes place in getting for Scotland, according to them, the benefits which England gets. All I have got to say on that point is that here is 1662 a case of ascertainment of values. It has nothing to do with rating, to which the, right hon. Member referred. This is the ascertainment of valuation, very detailed, it is true.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
It is not rating at all. It is the actual machinery to ascertain the values and, in this particular Clause dealing with Scotland, for dividing up certain subjects and specifically ascertaining the values of certain subjects. Here is this Clause dealing with Scotland, an application Clause, it is true, but if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen will study it and follow the discussion which will take place to-night, they will be convinced that this application Clause is easily applied, and will be perfectly clear. In great measure it has been discussed with those very bodies, the assessors, upon whose shoulders the responsibility would light. They have explained, and said definitely, that they see no insuperable difficulty in carrying out its duties. Further, we have adopted in this Clause in explicit terms—and that is the reason for the Amendments following in my name—Amendments which will meet certain suggestions these bodies have made. I cannot think that Scottish Members as a whole, or even the hon. Member who moved it, will persist in an Amendment which would deny the setting up of the machinery, which is essential in order to carry out the general purpose which underlies this Bill.
Mr. WILLIAM ADAMSON
I want to say, in reply to the brief statement made by the Secretary for Scotland, that he knows perfectly well that my hon. Friend, in moving his Amendment, had no intention of seeking to take from Scotland the relief which is to be granted to England. That is the last thing any Scotsman is going to do. The object of my hon. Friend's Amendment was for the purpose of bringing in a Bill of a similar character, which would be adapted to Scottish needs. The Secretary for Scotland, in addition to pointing out that my hon. Friend was taking upon his shoulders the responsibility of denying to Scotland the relief which was to be granted to England, said that this application Clause 1663 would be easily applied to Scottish conditions. I do not know that there is another Scottish Member in the House who will give expression to the same view that the Secretary for Scotland has expressed, that it can be applied easily to Scottish conditions. That is the difficulty with which every one of us who represents a Scottish constituency is face to face to-night. We do not believe that Clause 9 can be applied easily to Scottish conditions. We believe that, if Scottish conditions are to be adequately met, we would require a separate Bill which would be drafted in such a way as to make it fit in easily with Scotland's system of local government. The right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) said that, while he agreed with my hon. Friend's object in moving the Amendment, he could not see his way to support it in the Division Lobby, because he believed there was no time for the new Bill. If there is no time for a new Bill, and we have to endeavour to apply Clause 9 to Scottish conditions, an enormous amount of difficulty will be experienced by all the local governing authorities in Scotland.
§ Brigadier-General CHARTERIS
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what sort of difficulties he means?
As the hon. and gallant Member may not pay much attention to the statements of those who are not politically in keeping with his views, may I point out to him that Cameron of Lochiel has told us that it will make local government in the Highlands of Scotland an impossibility? Cameron of Lochiel has given expression to that view, and his views are more in keeping with those of the hon. and gallant Member than with mine.
§ Brigadier-General CHARTERIS
Is the right hon. Gentleman following the example of Cameron of Lochiel in all his views about this Bill?
I am simply using the name of Cameron of Lochiel in reply to the hon. and gallant Member who interrupted, in order to show that even men who agree with him politically are convinced that it will have the effect I said, that it will make local government in certain parts of Scotland almost an impossibility. I will carry that argument 1664 a step further and say to him that, in the part of Scotland which he represents, though the difficulties will not be as great as in the Highlands of Scotland, still the difficulties will not be easily surmounted. If there is no time for a, new Bill, the local authorities of Scotland will be face to face with difficulties that it will be almost impossible to surmount. The Secretary of State for Scotland would have been well advised to have introduced a Bill on similar lines-that would have been applicable to Scottish conditions and to our system of local government. However, he has chosen a different way. I think he will find, before he finishes, that his difficulty will be the greater.
I rose for the purpose of putting one-or two broad, general considerations regarding the Bill. The Amendment gives me the opportunity of discussing the date on which the relief will come into force. The Government have told us that their primary object is to give relief to depressed industries, so as to enable them to provide employment. In no part of the United Kingdom is the problem of unemployment more pronounced than it is in Scotland. We have a higher percentage of unemployment than in any-other part of the United Kingdom. If I take as an example the industry with which I am connected, the number of miners employed in Scotland is practically a third less than it was in 1924 and is steadily going down. It has fallen from 102,000 in January of this year to 93,000 in June.
Another example to show how very acute is industrial depression and how great is the need for the measure of relief which the Government have promised to-apply at the earliest moment is to be found in the fact that the export trade, on which the mining industry in Scotland has largely depended throughout the whole course of its history, is in a very-depressed condition. In 1913, we exported 13,352,000 tons, whereas last year we were only able to export 8,590,000 tons, a total reduction of 4,762,000. Another aspect of the same problem is that in the Scottish coal trade we have an agreement which divides the proceeds of the industry in certain proportions between the employers on the one hand and the workmen on the other. So depressed has been the trade during the 1665 last 15 months that the miners' section of the Conciliation Board are in debt to the employers to the tune of £3,500,000.
Other industries beside mining are in a very serious condition. Iron and steel and agriculture are in quite as difficult a position, and, if they are to be saved from greater disaster, will require relief at the earliest possible moment that can be found. The condition of our principal industries is having its effect on our local governing bodies, and the ratepayers are having their burdens increased enormously. If this Measure is to give the large measure of relief which the Secretary of State confidently anticipates, it should come into force at least a year earlier than is provided for in the Bill.
I have an Amendment down, which I understand is not in order, which would have given me an opportunity of moving to leave out Subsection (1).
That would have given me an opportunity of discussing the date on which the Bill is to come into force. It is to come into force after the 1st October, 1929. I am seriously suggesting that the Government should consider the advisability of bringing it into operation at least a year earlier than that date. If some of the heavier industries are to be relieved from the critical conditions under which they are labouring, the benefits of the Bill cannot be too early applied. In my opinion, the proposals contained in the Bill will defeat the object which the Government have in view. The benefits of the Bill within the prescribed areas are evidently, like the rain in the Bible, to fall on the just and the unjust alike. The relief from rates is to be given equally to industries which in some cases are earning handsome profits and to others which are steadily accumulating losses and which in many cases are on the verge of bankruptcy. That cannot in equity be defended, because you are simply taking money from the general ratepayers for the purpose of relieving those in distress 1666 and dividing it with those who are not in distress.
I should also like to point out how unfairly this relief will work out as between persons in the same industry. The total rates paid on agricultural land in Scotland in 1927 and 1928 were approximately £1,500,000. A quarter of the land is owned by the occupiers. Excluding this, we are left with £1,125,000 of rates to be considered. Under the Rating (Scotland) Act, 1926, agricultural land is assessed at half the annual value, the Exchequer making up the difference. Of the remaining half, the landlord contributes three-fourths and the tenant one-fourth. Working upon this basis for agricultural land other than that owned by the occupier, we find that of the total of £1,125,000 paid by the landlords and tenants, the tenants contribute £281,250 and the landlords £843,750.
The effect of these proposals will be that the tenants will be relieved to the extent of £281,250, whereas the landlords will be relieved to the extent of £843,750. It passes my comprehension to understand how, if such a large measure of relief is to be granted to the landlords under the provisions of this Bill, you are going to relieve the acute depression in the agricultural industry of the country. You are, under the terms of this Bill, going to give to the landowning classes of the community a very large measure of relief which if capitalised will amount to a considerable number of millions. I have seen that one authority has suggested that it would amount to £17,000,000 if capitalised on the basis of 20 years' purchase. You are giving, as I have pointed out, relief to that section of the industry which, in my opinion, stands least in need of relief, whereas to that section of the industry that stands most desperately in need of relief, namely, the working agriculturist section, you are going to give a very small measure of relief indeed.
Take another example, and this is from the industry with which I am connected. I have already pointed out that we in the mining industry of Scotland have a wages agreement, an agreement which divides the proceeds of the industry after standing charges have been made on the basis of 87 per cent. to wages, and 13 per cent. to profits. During the course of the 15 months or so that our present agreement has run, we have accumulated a deficiency of something 1667 like £3,500,000. We are £3,500,000 short of being able to pay to the coalowners their proportion of the proceeds. That proportion of the proceeds must be met before the miner can participate in any further advances in wages. We are told in the terms of this Bill that we are going to get a large measure of relief in the mining industry. But here, again, this large measure of relief will, to a considerable extent, be participated in only by one section of the trade, by the mineowner and not by the miner. There are two examples of the manner in which these proposals will work out unfairly as between one section of the ratepayers and other sections. Although I am not an expert on local government, I desire to take this opportunity of discussing the difficulties of fitting the proposals of the Government into our system of local government in Scotland. Our system of rating and our system of valuation are entirely different from the systems of rating and valuation in England, and the same proposals that you are setting up in England and Wales are not suitable for the people of Scotland.
I observe that among others things contained in the White Paper which has been issued by the Secretary of State for Scotland—and I take this as an additional example to the two I have already given of the difficulty of fitting these proposals into our system of local government—there is a statement on page 12, a footnote, which says:The average rental per head of population in Scotland is about 25 per cent. higher than the corresponding rental in England.There you have one of the difficulties that will not be easily surmounted by applying exactly the same principles to Scotland as you seek to apply in England and Wales. These proposals, in my opinion, will entirely revolutionise the system of local government in Scotland. They will revolutionise it in a way that will not reduce our difficulties, but which will increase our difficulties enormously as far as local government is concerned. The distribution of our population in Scotland is not similar to the distribution of the population in England. We shall have only 20 burghs in Scotland that will be independent rating authorities.
I can assure you, Mr. Hope, that I shall try to keep as well within your ruling as I possibly can. I have only one or two sentences more to add. I was just finishing. I was just going to point out that there would be only 20 burghs in Scotland that would be independent rating authorities, whereas the vast majority of our people will be under county council government. That will place Scotland in an enormous difficulty as compared with England.
I had passed from the 20 burghs. I was calling the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to the fact that almost three-fourths of our people would be under county council government.
With your permission, Mr. Hope, I should like to make a suggestion to the Lord Advocate, and then I shall have finished. If the working classes are to have any say in the future government of their country under the conditions that the Government are seeking to lay down, the same provision will have to be made in the next Bill for meeting out-of-pocket expenses and for making wages allowances, as the Secretary of Scotland made in the Education Act of 1919. I pass that on for the right hon. and learned Gentleman's consideration. I hope that the points which I have put before the Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State for Scotland will have their consideration, and that we may look for some improvement in a Measure which we on these benches believe will be very difficult indeed to administer, and almost impossible to fit into our system of Scottish local government.
§ Major Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR
I think Scottish Members of the Committee will be entirely in agreement with the protest against trying to apply the Government's proposals to Scotland merely by one Clause in this Bill. I am sure that we ought to have had at the very beginning—the Secretary of 1669 State for Scotland says it would waste very much time, but not if we had started correctly at the beginning—and at the same time as the English Bill, a Bill for Scotland, and that that Bill should not have been discussed in this Committee but in the Scottish Standing Committee upstairs, and then the whole procedure upon the two Bills could have gone step by step, and in step, until they had come to the Report and Third Reading stages. I wish to say at once, as my right hon. Friend says, that I welcome any proposals made by the Government for relieving in some way and in some degree the burden of the rates upon industry and agriculture in Scotland. Characterised as these proposals are by unnecessary complications which will produce indefensible anomalies, and involve disastrous delay, as some speakers have already pointed out, unfairly as we believe many of them will work out in practice, especially in agriculture as between the different partners in the industry, and as between tenant and tenant, and ill-advised as the Government have been in choosing their tactics, we applaud the objective to which they have directed their attack, and we are anxious to co-operate, if our co-operation is acceptable, in devising fairer, more effective and better directed measures of relief. That is why it is so unfortunate that we have not been given the opportunity which we should have had if Scottish Members of all parties could have collected round the Table in the Standing Committee on Scottish Bills and have thrashed out the details of a Bill.
The Prime Minister claimed the other day that the proposals of this Bill had the universal support of public opinion. That is not true in Scotland. The hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) referred to the opinion of the Convention of Royal Burghs, who have expressed themselves on the proposals contained in this Bill. The Convention is composed of men of the greatest experience in municipal affairs, and men of great sagacity. We, on these benches, are entitled to say that the general colour of the membership is Conservative, for although they are a non-political body, on the whole their outlook would be a Conservative outlook. They have declared that: 1670As yet, the legislative proposals following the Budget have presented no concrete proposal to deal with this burden"—the burden of unemployment—which will persist, if unrelieved, for a number of years.… It is suggested that it would be cheaper in the long run to grant special and direct relief to the areas presently affected.I will not pursue the argument, but it is remarkable that this Conservative-minded body should take the line on this question of rate relief that has been taken by the party to which I have the honour to belong. The Convention of Royal Burghs further say:The problem of the burden of unemployment, which is local and segregated in its incidence, cannot be solved by a redistribution of rating areas.… To mix it up with other problems of high municipal policy will simply add to the difficulties of local administration.In a circular issued by the Convention of Royal Burghs, on the 26th June, before the White Paper was published, they say:The Convention of Royal Burghs of Scotland, representing, a6 it does, the whole of the 201 burghs in Scotland, is naturally must concerned at the proposals of His Majesty's Government.… The first two steps in the Government's proposals, namely, the relief from rates in respect of certain classes of subjects"—and the provisions of the Bill which we are now discussing:
"have caused grave anxiety in the minds of those in charge of burghal administration in Scotland."
That quotation refers to the proposals in this Bill. As the Lord Advocate probably knows, the Secretary of State for Scotland received a deputation from the National Farmers' Union, ten days or a fortnight ago, at which they protested strongly not against the proposals of the Government—nor am I protesting against the main objective of the Government—but against the method by which the objective was to be reached.
I do not wish to deal with the industrial side of the question, because there are other hon. Members who wish to speak on that important matter, but I wish to confine myself to the agricultural side, and I would point out that, according to the speech which the Secretary of State for Scotland delivered on the Second Reading of the Bill, on the 7th June, the methods of distributing the relief to industry on the one hand and 1671 to agriculture on the other hand, in Scotland, were different. In Scotland, the landlord pays half the rates, but in England the tenant pays the whole. In Scotland, in dealing with industrial subjects, according to the Secretary of State, the full relief which the landlord receives is to be passed on to the tenant; but in the case of agriculture only one-half is to be passed on. The first question which I wish to put to the Secretary of State for Scotland is, on what principle is that differentiation justified? I think I can see what the justification may be, but I want to hear from the Lord Advocate or the Secretary of State for Scotland what is their view of the justification. I think it is that the landlord is himself personally associated in the provision of capital in the productive work of the agricultural industry and, therefore, half of the relief is retained by him, in order that he may use it by putting it into the industry and improving the buildings, and so forth, on his farms. That is probably the justification. I want to know if I am right, and, if so, what measures the Government are taking to see that it will, in fact, be carried out.
I am quite sure that the vast majority of landlords who apply for and receive this relief will regard it as an honourable obligation to use the relief for the improvement of their farms and agricultural holdings, but why should other landlords—a small and insignificant minority as they will probably be—be allowed to take the relief and to put it into their own pockets? Why cannot the Government give us an assurance that that part of the relief will be used for the purposes of the improvement of the productive part of agriculture? The right hon. Gentleman may say that there are very few who will not use it in that way, but I know, and other hon. Members must know, that there are certain men who, for example, bought sporting estates since the War and their tenants have been told that the new landlord has paid so high a figure for the sporting properties that he is not going to spend any money on the agricultural side of the estate, and that he has no interest in it. There are also the cases of trustees for bondholders. An immense number of estates in Scotland, in my own county as in others, are in the hands of trustees for bondholders. 1672 How would these trustees regard their duty. Trustees for bondholders nearly always regard their duty as being primarily to the bondholders and they, undoubtedly, will feel that they have to use this money not for the benefit of agriculture or the improvement of the estates of which the bonds are charged, but in order to recoup the bondholders.
I have not referred so far to the one half of the relief that is to be passed on to the tenant. I have been dealing with the half that the landlord retains under the Government's proposal. The other half is to be passed on, but only for existing leases. What a capricious effect that will have as between tenant and tenant. There will be one man who will have entered this year or last year on a lease for 21 years and who will have 20 years or 19 years to run. He will be relieved not only of his own rates but he will get for 19 or 20 years the one-half which is to come from the landlord. There will be another man who 20 years ago entered on a 21 years lease and he will only get a few months advantage of the relief which the Government are giving to tenants through the landlord. It may be that I am misrepresenting the Government's proposal. If so, I can only plead that we have had only one speech on the subject from the Minister and I am doing my best to understand the position. If I am wrong I shall be very glad to be corrected. As I understand it, the effect will be that there will be one man who will for 20 years get the relief and another man who will get relief for only a few months. All sorts of capricious and absurd anomalies in the amount of relief which will be obtained by different tenants will arise.
Moreover, we have a very large number of yearly tenancies in Scotland. I believe they are more frequent in the Highlands than in the Lowlands, but even in the Lowlands there are a great many. What protection is the yearly tenant to get? The landlord can give him notice to quit and he can adjust the new rent at the end of the year, letting, perhaps, the buildings separately from the land. That will be quite a feasible line for him to take. I am not suggesting that a large number of landlords will do that, but are we right to allow any case of injustice of that kind to 1673 occur? Ought we not to devise measures which would ensure that these things do not happen? If such things are to happen agriculture will be back in its old plight eventually, but on a higher level of rent. That is what will happen and you will have, in effect, no relief of the agricultural industry by these proposals. I would quote in my support the views of another rather non-political body and rather conservative-minded body, and that is the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture. I find that they wrote to the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland a letter on the 2nd July in which they declare, in a Motion, thatSo long as the rating relief is given to the landlord, so long should he be required to give half of it to the tenant.Their view was that it should not be a question of the duration of the existing leases, but that so long as the relief is given to the landlord he should be required to pass it on to the tenant. That Resolution was carried by a small majority as against another proposal that the relief should be ear-marked for the upkeep of holdings and the improvement of the farms. It was considered by the Chamber that one thing or the other should be done. The chamber represents both parties in the industry, the landlord and the tenant. It was quite clear that there was a consensus of agreement that the relief should be passed on either in the shape of a reduction of rent or in the shape of improvements of buildings, so long as the relief was received by the landlord. Unless some form of security is given, undoubtedly within a certain number of years the whole of this relief will pass from the tenant.
I am not going to discuss the theory of the economic law of rent, because every hon. Member is acquainted with it, but it is that the surplus after paying the rates and the other outlay goes in rent to the landlord. In practice, what happens is that if the landlord is letting a farm he probably has six or eight applicants. Certain applicants who may have come from a distance are not acquainted with the conditions. Perhaps one of the highest applicants is considered to be a man who would merely farm to leave and then go away. Another applicant might be an ambitious young man, whose judgment could not be trusted. You strike these off the list. 1674 Then you come to the men whose qualifications are, roughly, equal, who have sufficient capital and who are known to be good farmers, any one of whom you would like to have as a tenant. How do you decide as between these men? You take the man who makes the highest offer, and you are right to do that. It is the rule of the game so long as you have a competitive system and it is a perfectly right and proper thing to do; but the effect inevitably over a course of years will be that these men will be offering in competition with one another higher rents because the rates are lower. Therefore the whole of the relief must in the course of years go to the landlord.
There is another striking illustration of this fact, which is afforded by comparing the Scottish level of rent with the English level, as brought out in the Government White Paper. Say that a farm is rented at £100 and that the rates are 10s.; 5s. paid by the landlord and 5s. by the occupier. If the occupier offered to pay the five shillings that the owner had to pay in rates, which is what happens in England, you would expect his rent to be lower, obviously, by 25 per cent. Under those circumstances, you would expect that the general level of English rents would be lower than the general level of Scottish rents, by 25 per cent. I would not have had the hardihood to suggest to the Committee that that was in fact the case, because I should not have had the figures to justify such an assertion, had it not been for the White Paper, which states clearly that that it is the fact and that the average rental per head of the population in Scotland is 25 per cent. higher than the corresponding rental in England, which clearly proves the proposition which I have ventured to put before the Committee.
See how bad this leaves the position of the Scottish tenant compared with the English tenant. The English tenant pays all the rates but gets lower rent; he gets the 25 per cent. lower rent. But he gets the whole of the relief. What he gains on the swings of the rent he loses on the roundabouts of the rates. But in Scotland the Scottish tenant only pays on one-quarter of the rates and he pays a higher rent in consequence. Yet he gets only eleven-eighteenths of relief even during 1675 his existing tenancy. But what is to happen when existing tenancies expire? I have here a copy of a paper which was handed to a member of a deputation of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland which waited on the Secretary of State for Scotland 10 days or a fortnight ago. This paper illustrates the exact position it was handed to me without any indication that it was in any way a confidential document. It sets out how relief is to be distributed as between landlord and tenant as follows:During existing leases one half of the relief to owners is to be paid over to the occupier. The net amount of relief remaining in an owner's hands will, therefore, be 7/18ths of his present rates. As leases expire the 7/18ths relief will gradually increase until it reaches the full 7/9ths.That is an official document of the Scottish Office. It is an admission that, as leases expire, the landlord's relief will gradually increase till it reaches seven-ninths. Does the Government contemplate reaching a position when the general level of rents will have been raised and out of the taxpayers' money we shall be paying a sum of £110,000 per annum to the tenants and £770,000 per annum to the landlords? That is a question to which I hope the Lord Advocate or the Secretary of State will give me a definite reply. In answer to a question which was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) the other day, it was definitely stated that the amount payable to the landlord would be £770,000 a year and the amount payable to the tenant £110,000 a year. I want to know definitely: Does the Secretary of State envisage that in course of time, as leases fall out and rents go up, Parliament will go on paying these sums of money to the landlords and tenants?
Another ill effect will flow from this clumsily-considered scheme. That effect will be greater insecurity of tenure. Many landowners in distress and trustees for bondholders will say: "We shall not be able to get this for long; we must make hay while the sun shines." They will capitalise the relief while they can. Consequently you will have a recrudescence of sales under the compulsion of "buy or quit." The policy of the Government offers this strong temptation to landlords to capitalise this rate relief and to take it right out of the industry 1676 of agriculture. The new owner who buys from the landowner, who will in most cases be the sitting tenant under the buy or quit compulsion, will pay extra interest on the purchase money instead of paying the rates. I suggest that security of tenure must be the basis upon which any sound scheme of rating relief is built. To some extent this was recognised in 1923. In the Agricultural Rates Act of that year, in Clause 14, we find the following:The relief to occupiers of agricultural lands and heritages effected by the Agricultural Rates (Scotland) Acts, 1896 to 1923, shall not be taken into account by the Land Court in fixing a fair or equitable rent for a holding under the Small Landholders (Scotland) Acts, 1886 to 1919, or by any arbiter in determining for the purposes of Section Twelve of the Agricultural Holdings (Scot-land) Act, 1923, what rent is properly payable in respect of a holding.Will the Government apply that Clause or a Clause of a similar character and with similar intention and effect, to the distribution of relief under this Bill? That is one of the questions to which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to give me an answer. I repeat that security of tenure is an indispensable basis of this Measure of rating reform if, as I believe, the right hon. Gentleman's desire is to see that it is directed in a way that will help productive agriculture the most. That is the only way in which he can avoid these sales and capitalisation of relief and the abstraction of this capital from the industry of agriculture. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will consent to recast his scheme in such a way as to provide this indispensable foundation, and if he does that he will find in me one of his most ardent supporters.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
From what has been said it must he clear to the Committee that a Bill of a specifically Scottish character would have avoided the misunderstandings and complications that have arisen and, so far as I can see, are likely to continue for some time. If the Secretary of State had produced such a Bill it would have been simpler in character; it would have satisfied Scottish sentiment, which I suggest is of substantial importance; and it would have contained Scottish terminology, which in the circumstances is very desirable indeed. Therefore I associate myself with my hon. Friend and other 1677 hon. Gentlemen who have spoken in protest against the inclusion of the Scottish section of this Bill in the wider Measure. It has been suggested that if this section had not been included there would have been further delay in meeting the claims of Scottish interests. That appears to me to be rather a lame excuse, for clearly if the right hon. Gentleman, with his influence in Cabinet circles, had cared to push the claims of Scotland, we should have had presented to the House a Bill of a purely Scottish character, and the passing of that Bill could have been expedited, just as this Bill is being expedited by the guillotine and other expedients.
I pass from that, however, because it appears to me that nothing that we can say will influence the right hon. Gentleman and his associates in their present frame of mind. Therefore I propose to devote what I have to say to the wider considerations which are embodied in this section of this Bill. I cannot speak of agriculture; that has been dealt with very ably by the hon. Baronet who has just spoken. But I confess to some perturbation of mind because of the absence of enlightenment in the provisions that are now before us. As I understand it, the purpose and intention of this Bill is to provide rating relief to industry.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE indicated dissent.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
The hon. and learned Gentleman disapproves, but I would remind him that the Bill proposes to establish machinery, and that that machinery is the basis of rating relief. Clearly, the ultimate intention of the Government, in formulating this machinery proposal, was to provide a measure of rating relief. I see that the hon. and learned Gentleman now agrees. I confess that I cannot see a large measure of rating relief being so provided, so far as industrial operations and processes in Scotland are concerned. The hon. Baronet who has just spoken referred to an expedient that might be devised by landlords when rating relief is provided for agriculture. He suggested, and I think rightly, that landlords might avail themselves of such rating relief to increase rents. I can see a likelihood of that happening so far as industry is concerned. Let me put this hypothetical case which may arise, and, 1678 I have no doubt, has arisen in the past in Scotland. You have in Scotland a variety of small businesses. You have, for example, the owner of a factory who has leased his premises for a short period, say five years. There is paid for the premises a rent that has been fixed when the premises were first taken over. If the Government provides a measure of relief is it not clear, having regard to all the circumstances and in particular the need for obtaining suitable premises in suitable districts, that the landlord of those premises at the termination of the lease will avail himself of the measure of rating relief that has been provided for the tenant, to increase the rent?
The Secretary of State may properly say that that is a hypothetical proposition, but it is a case that may occur, and I invite him specifically to deal with it. Moreover, the purpose of the Bill is to provide rating relief for industry. I shall not enter into the very vexed and intricate question of whether relief should be provided for impoverished and prosperous industries alike. Enough has been said on that head; but I suggest that no measure of relief should be provided for landlords, since they are in no way affected. The landlord has let his premises for a fixed period of years and is assured of his rent. There is no question of any impoverishment, at all events during the period of the lease, and if the lease is renewed there can be no question of industrial depression as far as he is concerned. The Lord Advocate, in his reply, may say that the landlord is taking the risk that, owing to high rates and depressed industry, the tenant may vacate the premises at the termination of the lease. That is unlikely to happen. It may happen in a few cases, but it is hardly likely to be general. Therefore, I think we are entitled to some enlightenment in respect to these two points.
Something has been said about the machinery of this Bill not affecting rating relief in itself. That is a matter that is to come on later, but the Secretary of State will surely admit that this Bill does affect valuation and valuation processes. When I read Clause 9 now under review I am in considerable difficulty. If hon. Members will look at Sub-section (5) they will see that no clear line is laid down for the use of assessors—those concerned 1679 with assessments and valuation—as to the proper distinction that is to be drawn between the landlord on the one hand and the tenant on the other. I observe that a distinction is drawn between premises and hereditaments occupied for industrial purposes and premises occupied for transport purposes. That is a clear distinction, and I can understand it, but there is no policy laid down for the use of assessors as to the kind of distinction that is required as between tenants and landlords in respect of rating relief, and in that respect the Bill falls short of what is required.
This part of the Bill is a Bill by reference, and is not the sort of Measure that should be supported by Scottish Members. We have had quite sufficient legislation by reference. One might understand it in connection with a small Measure, small matters of social reform, but in a Measure of such importance as this, leading to other legislation and, in the opinion of the Government, embodying extraordinary reactions and repercussions, we should have had a Bill of a specific character, one that could be easily understood, with Scottish terminology, and one that would have conveyed no difficulties whatever to landlords, tenants, or assessing authorities. Lastly, I join issue with the Secretary of State in the representations that have been made by hon. Members regarding the need for a separate Scottish Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has said that no assessors have complained, no licensing authorities have complained of this Measure being included in a wider scheme. I put it to him that he has not received any representations from authorities in Scotland in support of this Bill. If he has, Scottish Members are entitled to hear of them.
On the other hand, we have received representations from responsible bodies in Scotland, from people who have a vast knowledge of rating and assessment matters, and surely their opinion is worth consideration. Representations have been made to hon. Members on this side, and presumably to hon. Members opposite, as to the general provisions of this Measure. I associate myself wholeheartedly, and I am sure other hon. Members on these benches do so as well, with the protest of the hon. Member for 1680 Springburn (Mr. Hardie) against the inactivity of the Secretary of State in not pushing the claims of Scotland in the Cabinet. I should not care to associate myself definitely with the somewhat harsh expressions which have been used, I would rather put it in this way, that the action or inaction of the Secretary of State denotes a lack of courage. That cannot be said of Scottish Members in this House; they have the courage to put their point of view, and we suggest that the Secretary of State and the Lord Advocate might put the claims of Scotland more properly, more definitely, more thoroughly, and with greater courage, before their associates in the Cabinet in the future than they have in the past.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I answer some of the points which have been raised since the Secretary of State for Scotland addressed the Committee. There have been repeated referencs to the suggestion that there should be a separate Bill for Scotland. I think that proceeds from a certain misunderstanding or misapprehension as to the effect of Clause 9. In effect we are having a separate Bill for Scotland. With the exception of Clauses 1 and 2, Sub-section (1) of Clause 4, and the first two Subsections of Clause 6, the whole of the Bill applies to Scotland, plus Clause 9. I suggest that it provides a simple and effective code to produce all that is required to be produced in this Bill. It has nothing to do with the granting of relief in any shape or form, it has nothing to do with the powers of local authorities. All it does is to provide for the splitting up of heritages in the valuation roll. There is not a word which affects rating in Scotland. These are only valuation provisions.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Assuming that any further measures were in contemplation, would this Measure be of any value at all?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
The hon. Member has not appreciated my point. I am dealing with the point of whether there should be a separate Bill for Scotland in regard to this matter or not. I am not dealing with the point of whether this Measure will require a subsequent Bill or not. The complaint as I understand it is against the fact that 1681 the provisions affecting Scotland should be coupled with the English provisions. That is not the same as the point of whether this Bill is only rendered necessary because of other Bills which are to follow it. Unless there had been the general proposal for rating relief which will be given operative effect by the later Bills, this Bill would not be necessary. It is dealing with the valuation roll and is doing nothing more than providing separate entities there. [Interruption.] The right hon Gentleman the Member for Boss and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) must excuse me, but rating and valuation in Scotland are two entirely separate subjects. The assessor who makes up the valuation roll has nothing to do with rating at all. His sole duty is valuation, and the only person we are dealing with in this Bill is the valuation assessor. Rating is a separate topic and a separate branch of the law.
The provisions of Clause 9 plus the remaining provisions which are left, after giving effect to Sub-section (1) of Clause 9, form a very simple code, and my right hon. Friend has already made quite clear the reasons of urgency which render a single Bill dealing with these matters preferable to two separate Bills. There is another point of great importance. On the questions of industrial hereditaments and freight-transport hereditaments it is very important that we should have identical provisions in England and in Scotland, so that there should be no material distinction. It would have been difficult had these definitions to be discussed by the Scottish Standing Committee in their relation to Scotland, and also by the Committee of the Whole House, and it is much better that these points, in which we have a common interest as regards uniformity, should be discussed in the same Bill. I suggest that the most useful method from every point of view has been adopted in this case. I do not need to say more about delay that would have resulted from a separate Bill because we have been rather blamed for not getting on more quickly and not putting more quickly into operation the ultimate relief. I do not say anything more about that point because I do not think it is necessary.
I propose, first, to deal with what I may call the agricultural points raised 1682 by the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair). The first question which he asked was why was only half of the landlords' or owners' relief to be passed on to the occupier in the case of agricultural subjects, whereas the whole is to be passed on in the case of industrial subjects? The hon. and gallant Gentleman foreshadowed my answer, namely, that it is because the landlord, according to the ordinary form of lease, is an active partner in the agricultural industry. A great many of the detailed questions as to how that relief should be dealt with, as between landlord and tenant, are more suitable for discussion when we come to proposing the actual relief itself. It; is fair, however, that I should give a general answer to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. One of the considerations or elements that enter into the fixing of rents by the owner is the average or probable liability for owners' rates—not in pounds, shillings and pence exactly, but taken generally as an element which must be considered.
We have taken the general view that, whereas existing leases have been concluded on a basis different from that which will obtain after the passing of such relief measures as will be proposed in the subsequent Bill, that element would cease to operate as soon as the leases come to an end and when the parties will be free to contract on the basis resulting from those measures of relief to be proposed in the next Bill. My right hon. Friend does not, of course, desire to exclude any relevant suggestions or considerations which bear on the question of what is the fair thing to do in that respect. The hon. and gallant Baronet is quite right in understanding that our object is the relief of the industry itself, through whoever it may be rendered, and we shall be anxious to see that this relief is secured in the fairest and most effective way possible. I rather demur to going into precise details at this stage as regards this Bill, and I trust the hon. and gallant Baronet will accept this statement of the principles on which we propose to proceed in this matter. He referred incidentally to the 12½ per cent. difference in standard of rent mentioned on page 12 of the White Paper.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I beg the hon. and gallant Baronet's pardon; I meant the 25 per cent. which resulted in the £12 10s. That, of course, is a general rental question and not an agricultural rental question—which suggests the danger of utilising such figures in a discussion of this kind.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
The difference in rental applies over the whole field of agriculture and industry but in both cases, whereas the tenant pays the whole of the rates in England, the landlord pays half in Scotland, which inevitably has the effect of raising rents by 25 per cent.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I do not agree with that at all. The hon. and gallant Baronet seems to be taking an average which is applicable to a much larger area, and applying it to a part, and that is a very dangerous thing to do.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Is the difference in rental not to balance the absence of what would exist if the owners paid the rates?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I agree that that is probably an element in the matter. You cannot say specifically, but there are undoubtedly other elements.
§ Mr. HARDIE
On the question of the five-year valuations, what is to happen in between those valuations?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
The hon. Member is mistaken. These valuations will be every year in Scotland. There is no provision for five-year valuations as regards Scotland in this Bill.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Is it the case that the payment will be on the valuation of the year in which the five years' payment has accrued? Is it right to say that what comes in between the five-year periods has to stand over?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I do not quite follow that point. Of course, payment will be made to the actual tenant at the time when the relief is made.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
The right hon. and learned Gentleman was good enough to reply to my question about the half of the relief, the rate relief, to the landlord. Could he not give me a general 1684 reply—I do not want to press him at this stage for a detailed reply—on the point which I raised as to the remaining part of the relief being passed to the tenant only during existing tenancies? I would like to remind him that these points were dealt with by the Secretary of State for Scotland in his speech on this Bill on 7th June.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
My right hon. Friend dealt with them in the same general way as I have. The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell) seemed to have some difficulty about the absence of Scottish terminology from the Bill, but I do not understand what particular Scottish phrase or dialect he thinks is missing from the Bill.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
I would point out that the first and second Sub-sections—and there are others—contain references to the main Bill and speak of hereditaments, and generally contain legislation by reference. That is what I meant, that there were such terms in a purely Scottish Measure.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I thought Sub-section (2) made it quite clear. We there substitute for any reference to hereditaments a reference to lands and heritages. Is that a very difficult substitution?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
If it is not so very difficult, can the Lord Advocate tell the Committee why it was that a separate Bill was not presented? Surely, if this contains all that is required, with the exception of these deep references to other parts of the wider Bill, he might have presented to us a separate Measure, which we could have dealt with as ex-peditiously as we are dealing with this Bill.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
No; we could neither have dealt with it as ex-peditiously, nor could we have got the identical definition for industrial hereditaments and for freight-transport hereditaments, which is essential if you are going to have unity of administration or similar administration of the relief in the two countries. The hon. Member for Linlithgow suggested that there was an absence of any direction to the assessor, I think he said, to make the necessary distinctions between the landlord and the tenant as to the 1685 measures of relief, and he referred to Sub-section (5) of Clause 9 as illustrating the point. The answer is that, first of all, that relief would be a rating relief, and that the assessor has nothing to do with rating at all. He is not the person to administer it in any shape or form. He deals only with valuation, and therefore this is not the place for any such thing.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
Surely it is obvious. What is in the hon. Member's mind is, for instance, a landlord who has to pass on half of his relief to the tenant, but the valuation assessor has nothing to do with that. That cannot appear on the valuation rolls, which is all that we are dealing with here, and what is the use of giving directions to a man who cannot give any effect to them?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I quite agree, because in England there is not the same distinction as we have in Scotland.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
That is the reason why Scotland is excluded from the operation of Clause 1, because in Scotland we have already a complete and separate valuation system.
Is it not the case that the local authority is the appeal court for the valuation, and determines how much is to be the valuation?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
There is an assessment committee formed by each local authority, to which the parties can appeal in the first instance from the assessor on any question of valuation. The hon. Member is quite correct, but that again, I say, has nothing to do with rating. It is true that the value in the valuation roll and the description of the subject are the basis of rating, but rating in Scotland is quite a separate topic. The right hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson) 1686 raised certain points with which I should like to deal. First of all, he said that Clause 9 could not be applied to Scottish conditions. I cannot see why it cannot be applied quite easily, and the assessors themselves see no difficulty in applying it. He first of all referred to the question of unemployment in Scotland, which, of course, we all deplore, but that is all the more reason for hurrying on with this Bill, so that we may get to the other Bills. [Interruption.] We must get on with this Bill first. The right hon. Gentleman gave certain illustrations of unfairness, and I do not know how far I should go into them, but as they were given, I should like to say a word about them. He took first the case of agriculture, and he said the landlords' relief would be £800,000 as against the tenants' £200,000; but if the landlords are to hand over half, the result will be that the tenants' relief will be £600,000 and the landlords' relief £400,000. Then take mining. There, again, they are industrial hereditaments, and the mineowner would be under the obligation to hand over the whole of the relief to his lessees.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
The hon. Member has only to apply Sub-section (2) of Clause 9, and he is quite at home with it at once.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
It is quite familiar in many Acts which apply to Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman also referred to that question of the 25 per cent., which I have dealt with in answer to the hon. Baronet. I think that I have dealt with all the points that have been raised, and I would submit that this Clause is really the most practical way of dealing with what, after all, as regards this stage, is not a very big matter. It is the basis, I agree, of very important changes; but the change in the machinery with regard to the valuation rolls will neither be so difficult nor so very extensive as regards alterations—there will be many alterations, of course, but as regards the nature of the alterations—as many hon. Members appear to suggest.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
It is idle for the Lord Advocate to pretend that this Bill is simply a valuation Bill. The title of the Bill is Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill. The Secretary of State for Scotland, although not a lawyer, had a keener appreciation of the essential facts than the Lord Advocate seems to have, because he was at some pains on 7th June to declare that this Bill is a necessary part in the evolution of the Government's scheme. It is idle for the Lord Advocate, or any other lawyer, to pretend that you can isolate this Bill, and declare that you must only discuss this Bill under the few legal terms which are in it. In having regard to this Bill, we must consider the other Bills to which it has immediate relationship, and it is idle for the Lord Advocate to pretend that it is a mere matter of a few legal terms, and that the Bill stands isolated. The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Shinwell) drew attention to the fact that there was no demand for this business at all. I asked the right hon. Gentleman yesterday how many local authorities in Scotland had ever petitioned the Scottish Office in order to secure what is the ultimate result of this Bill, that is, the enlargement of areas to such an extent as will mean the destruction of local government in Scotland. He said that there was not one. If that be so, all this scheme, of which this Bill and Clause 9 is a necessary and essential part, has emanated from a Government Department, from a permanent official, from the bureaucracy, of which the right hon. Gentleman is always crediting us on these Benches with being the friends. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) went at length into the effect that the proposal will have on agriculture and landlordism in Scotland, and the Lord Advocate never attempted to answer his facts. He never attempted to dispute his essential proposition, that this Bill will in some places mean an increase in land rents and in the profits that are taken by the owners of the soil in Scotland.
I should like to put before the Secretary of State for Scotland one illustration of how Scotland, in an agricultural sense, differs materially from England, and therefore ought to have been considered in a separate Bill. In Scotland, in the majority of cases, agricultural land and 1688 buildings are valued as a unit. In England, they are not valued at a unit; land is valued separately from the farmhouse, the cottages and so on. What will happen in Scotland is clearly this. The tenant, that is the farmer, before the passing of this Bill, has already relief in respect of his local rates. Under the Government's proposals, the owner is to be relieved of his local rates. At present, the farmer pays 75 per cent. and the owner 25 per cent. Under the proposals, the landowner is to get relief, provided that he hands back one half of the relief which he gets to the farmers The farmer having already been relieved entirely of his rates will now have a dividend on the business. So far from paying any local rates, he is to receive a subsidy. It is to be of a temporary nature; the Government admit that, because it is only to be for the duration of existing leases. When the existing leases expire, the entire amount of rate relief which the landlord receives will be retained by him, and will no longer be passed to the tenant. On any consideration of the law of rent, on any consideration whatever of the historical economic facts with which our country has been faced for hundreds of years, I see no escape whatever from this conclusion, that, so far as agriculture is concerned, what the Government are doing by their present scheme is to make a present, to give a subsidy or subvention to landlords in Scotland. So far as I can see, that is not freeing industry from the burdens of taxation. It is in no wise assisting agriculture, and, unless the Government are prepared to do as a previous Government did under the Corn Production Act and prevent the raising of rents, then obviously whatever is given to the farming class as a subsidy or subvention will ultimately fall into the pockets of the landlord class.
I pass from that to say a word about another class of fortunate beneficiaries about whom nothing has been said in the course of all the discussions since this Bill and cognate Measures have been before the House. Is it conceivable that the people of Scotland would tolerate a proposal to give mineral royalty-owners a subvention at the expense of poor tenants, shopkeepers and hundreds of thousands of other people? Let me draw the attention of the Secretary of State for Scotland to what this is going to 1689 mean in the Glasgow area. Is he aware that in the City of Glasgow an owner of mineral royalties is already allowed a deduction of 47½ per cent.? Supposing an owner of mineral royalties has an annual income of £100 from them. He receives a deduction of 47½ per cent. on that £100 before he is subjected to rating. If this scheme of the Government goes through, he is not to be rated on £100, not even to be rated on £52 10s., but only to be rated on £15 10s. Who is going to relieve these fortunate owners of mineral royalties? Hundreds of thousands of poor tenants in Glasgow. I have the official figures here. The gross valuation of Glasgow amounts to £11,500,000. Properties representing only £2,705,000 of that sum will obtain any of this relief; the remaining £8,500,000 will not be relieved to the extent of a penny piece under the Government's proposal. Tenants of house property, shopkeepers, and so on, are not to receive a penny piece of the subvention, but they will be amongst those who are to find the money with which we are reducing the rates paid by the owners of mineral royalties. I am perfectly certain that when the people of Scotland understand who the actual beneficiaries are to be the Secretary of State will find that not only are there no local authorities petitioning in favour of the scheme but that every local authority and every citizen who knows what is going forward will be protesting against at least some of the proposals in this Bill.
Before we pass from this Clause I wish to draw attention to a certain aspect of affairs of which I have had personal experience. I know that there are permanent officials in the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, as in Whitehall, who have worked for years to get local government as we understand it scrapped in favour of the creation of big areas. They have succeeded with education, the county being now the area for education purposes. The larger area has meant no increase in efficiency; whatever changes for the better have taken place in education could quite well have been achieved without increasing the area, and were not achieved as the result of enlarging the area. You have destroyed democratic control of education as you are destroying burghal government. I 1690 know that a good case may be put up, and indeed this was proposed by the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, for a commission to go about the country to delimit fresh areas as a sequel to the industrial developments of the past quarter of a century. But behind this proposal, and as an inevitable result, we have the destruction of democratic government. Our affairs will be handed over to county councils, making it impossible, as it is already impossible in certain counties, to have working class representation. What a farce it is to talk about democratic control for Argyllshire or for Inverness-shire, when it takes three or four days for representatives from the outlying districts to get to the meeting of the Council and to return home. It is a week's journey to attend a day's meeting. In the county in which I live, and I live in the eastern part of Dumbartonshire, it is 3½ hours' railway journey to get to the meeting of the county council in Dumbarton town and 3½ hours' journey back, and working class and democratic representation, so far as county council areas are concerned, has long ago disappeared.
Under this grandiose scheme of the Government we are going to have the destruction of working class representation. This is a sequel to the Trade Unions Bill. After the attempted destruction of organised working class representation in national affairs, difficulties are to be placed in the way of working class representation in local government. I see this scheme as a whole. I have prophesied for years that this was coming. I see housing being taken away from democratic control, health being taken away, direct contact with the poor being taken away; and, the place of the present system of local government, bureaucrats, officials, dominated, ordered and appointed by the county gentry and the richer classes in the community. Because I see all this I propose to go into the Lobby with my hon. Friends against the application of this Bill to Scotland. We in Scotland ought to have our share of whatever money is to be raised nationally for this purpose, but this is not the way in which we ought to get it. If the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State wants a suggestion I think we ought to 1691 get our share in the form of relieving depressed areas of the burden of maintaining the able-bodied poor.
The Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission recommended a long time ago that we should have the cost of maintaining the main roads taken off our local charges. These things are national concerns and ought to be paid for out of national funds. The Bill we are discussing is only part of a big scheme. That scheme will give certain classes temporary monetary relief and it will give permanent monetary relief to other classes. This in the long run will be a dear day for Scotland, because it will destroy local government control in many areas, and a large sum of public money will be handed over without safeguards and will find its way into the pockets of the landlord class.
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
The more I listen to this Debate the more clearly does it emerge that we ought to have had a separate Bill for Scotland. I think we ought to emphasise that fact, the reason being the essential difference between the rating system in Scotland and in England. It is perfectly impossible, if you are going to alter the rating system in Scotland, to alter it in a Clause in an English Bill which deals mainly with the English system. I would like to refer to the question of agriculture. I am sure that all those who were in the. House when the hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) made his speech were delighted to hear the admirable way in which he put the position. Is it realised that we are going to give a capitalised value of over £15,000,000 to the landowners of Scotland? I do not think it has been realised in this country that the taxpayers of Great Britain are going to subscribe this handsome present to the Scottish landlords. It is true that £770,000 per annum which is going to the landowners has to be returned to the tenant farmers during the existence of the present tenancies. But if you capitalise £770,000 at 20 years' purchase you get £15,000,000, and you cannot get away from the fact that if you take the burden off the land to that extent you add to the value of the land.
I ought to point out that this Measure is only the basis of a larger scheme which proposes to give relief to agriculture as well as to other depressed industries, but 1692 surely there are more simple, reasonable and fairer methods than that of making this enormous present to the landowners. When the present tenancies run out, the landlords can put the whole of the amount contributed by the taxpayers of Great Britain into their pockets, and not one penny of that sum will go for the benefit of agriculture. If the country is going to be subjected to a heavy taxation in order to relieve depressed agriculture, surely we can devise a better method than the one which is proposed in this Bill. The sum going to the relief of tenants under the provisions of this Bill is £110,000 a year, while the sum going to the landlords is £770,000 a year. I know the term "landowners" includes a certain number of owner-occupiers, but they are only a small proportion, amounting to about 28 per cent. The hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness suggested that the good landlord would put a good deal of that money into the farming business. That is what we all hope will be the case, but we have no guarantee that that will happen, and I think from our past experience we are justified in saying that a great deal of that money will not go back into the farming business, but will pass into the pockets of the landlords without being of any benefit to agriculture. I am willing to support any Measure which will really give relief to agriculture, but I am doubtful whether this Measure will effect that object.
The hon. Member seems to be widening the scope of the discussion too far. These matters cannot be entirely ruled out, but they must be related to matter included in this Bill; so far he seems to have devoted the whole of his speech to matters outside the Bill.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
You, Mr. Herbert, have not been in the Chair all night and these matters have been constantly referred to. The questions which have been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) have been referred to in this Debate by the Lord Advocate and at least by two hon. Members on the opposite benches and by a right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition bench. All those speakers have referred to the matters raised by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland and for hours I have been listening to every word in 1693 this Debate. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland judged by all past standards is certainly in order.
What the hon. Member has said is no particular reason why I should not call the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) to order, and the hon. Member for the Orkney and Shetland Division can take care of himself if he thinks I am treating him unfairly. I have been particularly careful to allow the greatest latitude and told the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland that I could allow a discussion on these subjects up to a certain point; but I felt it my duty to remind the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland that he must make his remarks relevant to matters dealt with in this Bill.
§ Sir A. SINCLAIR
May I point out to you, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, that on the Second Reading Mr. Speaker allowed the discussion on this Bill to include the points to which the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) has just been referring. The Secretary of State for Scotland agreed that such matters as the proportions of relief which would be passed on and so forth should be discussed and the right hon. Gentleman covered exactly the same ground with which my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland has been dealing.
I do not want to shut out discussion, but I think that what has just been said by the hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) is, perhaps, all the more reason why these matters, which were discussed on the Second Reading, should not be discussed again now.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
I will, of course, endeavour to abide by your ruling, but perhaps I may be allowed to remark that this again emphasises how much more desirable it would have been that we should have had a Scottish Bill, on which we could have had a Second Reading Debate and which could have been discussed in the Scottish Standing Committee. I will endeavour to confine the few remarks I have to make within the ambit of this particular Bill, and, in doing so, I should like again to refer to the Title of the Bill, which is: 1694To make provision with a view to the grant of relief from rates in respect of certain classes of hereditaments.The remarks that I have made so far I have endeavoured to direct to that particular aspect of the Bill which makes divisions as regards certain classes of hereditaments with a view to the grant of relief, namely, agricultural hereditaments, or, possibly, I should say "lands and heritages," for that is what we should call them under this Clause.
When we are considering this Bill, which deals with lands and heritages, and having in our minds what is to follow after this Bill, I think it would be impossible, and, indeed, improper for us to pass by without considering what will be the ultimate results of the superstructure which is going to be built on the foundation of this Bill itself. I would only remind the Committee once more that on this foundation is going to be built a superstructure which we think is going to be a very shaky one, because the foundation is bad. As my hon. Friend pointed out, it is going to have a very serious effect on agriculture in Scotland if relief is given in such a way as to interfere with security of tenure. All who are interested in agriculture realise that security of tenure must be the absolute basis of the industry, and anything that is done to interfere with that basis is bad for the industry as a whole. I regret that I was not in the House when the Lord Advocate replied to my hon. Friend, but I am informed that he gave the Committee to understand that the Government have no proposal ready, but that they will be ready to consider what' my hon. Friend said. If the Government have a proposal ready, will they tell us what proposal they have to prevent the whole of this money from going into the pockets of the landowners? If they have a proposal ready, I should be only too glad to hear it.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
I rise to support the Amendment, and desire to give one or two reasons why I think it should be carried. The hon. and gallant Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) both stated that, while they had a large measure of sympathy with the Amendment, they could not see their way to 1695 vote for it. I was most interested by the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Caithness, who described this Clause in stronger language than has been used by any hon. Member on this side. He called it foolish, stupid, and wasteful, but, nevertheless, he says that he is not going to vote against it. I have never heard such a serious indictment of a Clause as he made, and yet, when he is asked what he is going to do on this stupid, foolish, wasteful Clause, he says that he is going to do nothing. I cannot follow his reasons for saying that. He says that it is going to bring a certain amount of relief, and that he wants the Bill to apply to Scotland, but, even if something unforeseen were to happen and our Amendment were to be carried, he knows very well what the result would be. He knows that, when we move to reduce the salary of the Secretary of State for Scotland by £100, we do not mean that we actually want to reduce his salary. What we mean is that that is the only Parliamentary method of expressing disapproval of the action of the Government. Similarly, in moving this Amendment, what we are seeking to do is to follow the only Parliamentary method of expressing in the Division Lobby our disapproval of the action of the Government. If we carried our Amendment, it would simply mean—and the right hon. Gentleman knows this—that the Government, a vote of censure having been passed upon them, would have to do one of two things; they would either have to resign or to bring in a separate Bill relating to Scotland.
If I may say so, I do not quite agree with the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston). He dealt with larger authorities. I am not going to deal with larger authorities. I have a very open mind on that question, and I neither condemn nor support larger authorities. I see tremendous reasons against them, but at the same time I see strong reasons for them, and I am not going to commit myself one way or the other at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman, however, ought to submit definite reasons why this Clause should apply to Scotland, and he has never done that. The Lord Advocate made some sort of attempt, but he never proved to us conclusively that a Bill applying to Scotland 1696 could not be introduced. The only argument against doing so was lack of Parliamentary time, but what time of any considerable amount would have been taken up if a Bill for Scotland had been introduced and sent to the Scottish Standing Committee? Hardly a day of real Parliamentary time would have been taken up. The Bill would have been examined in detail by men who knew Scottish affairs and Scottish interests, largely with the aid and advice of Scottish local authorities. The assertion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson), as to the effect on Scottish local authorities, has been disputed by some hon. Members. They may be right or they may be wrong, but the point is that ordinary Members of the House do not know who is right. If, however, we had met in the Scottish Standing Committee, we should have had there a much better chance of getting the advice, assistance and co-operation of the local authorities than we have here to-night. I do not take much note of whether public opinion is for or against this Bill. My own view is that public opinion does not care whether it is passed or not. I suppose I am as active in my constituency as most Members, and I have never been asked a question about it by anyone; and I should say that, if the truth were told, that would be the experience of a great number of other Members.
I have never heard a note of public opinion either for or against the Bill. I had not even discovered the Convention of Royal Burghs. Apart from public opinion being for or against it, and apart from letters from the Convention of Royal Burghs, what the Secretary for Scotland has got to do is to make his case to us. He has never made a case that he can justify as to why he could not have introduced a separate Scottish Bill, and get it through without any loss of Parliamentary time. That is what he has got to justify, and what he has not done so far. There is every reason why we in Scotland ought to have had a Bill. For good or ill, around the Scottish rating and valuation system there has grown up a whole legacy through countless years in the past, of special Scottish action and work. I have heard the Lord Advocate speaking in the Law Courts many times, but I have never heard him speak from a more opposite 1697 side than to-night. Had the Lord Advocate had freedom, he would have preferred a separate Scottish Bill, and anybody who listened to his speech knew that he would much sooner have had a separate Bill. Had the Conservative Members been free, would they not have preferred that course to the course which has been taken?
This Amendment says that the Bill shall not apply to Scotland. What is the great reason why it should? I have listened to hear a reason why it should. It is true that this Bill is going to give £800,000 ultimately, though not at once, to Scottish landlords. It is quite true that in existing circumstances 50 per cent. is to he handed back to the lessees. Ultimately, be it 10 or 15 years, this Bill seeks to endow Scottish landlordism to the extent of £800,000. Why should we have a Bill for Scotland for that purpose? Will that mean that a single person, outside the landlords, will be rendered better than before the passing of the Act? After all, the purpose of legislation in this House ought to be to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. How can a grant of, roughly speaking, anything up to £800,000 to Scottish landlordism, make Scotland a happier or better country than it was before? I say this Clause should not apply to Scotland, because it will not make the lot of the, great mass of Scottish people one whit better than it was before. It is said that some tenant farmers will get the benefit. What is the case even for them? I have always understood that when people were asking for money from the Government they must first prove that they needed the money. People ask for grants for education and unemployment and in each case they are asked to prove first and foremost the need for the grant. I ask the supporters of the Clause to prove to me what need there is for this Clause to apply to Scotland. Are any of the persons who are going to get the money in social need of it? I could prove that the very people who are not to get a penny in Scotland are the only people who need the money. The Scottish miners are in sheer desperation through lack of food. The social clamour is tremendous for it, but they are not to get a penny. The farmers—and I am not saying that they are not a class of the community which is deserving 1698 in some respect—have no social need for the money, for they are nothing like so hard pressed as the Scottish miners. These other people are by no stretch of the imagination as poor as my constituents. Yet they are to walk away with Government money, and the poor people are to be refused any direct Government aid at all.
Therefore, I say that the Secretary of State for Scotland has to justify this Clause applying to Scotland, and he has not done it. How is the Clause going to make a tangible improvement in the life of the Scottish people? His argument is that the Bill for England gives certain benefits, and therefore certain benefits will follow for Scotland. He has got to prove that this Clause, apart from the English Bill, will mean a desirable improvement in Scotland and he has not proved that so far to-night. Neither has the Lord Advocate. Where is any improvement going to come to the shale-mining industry? Take the landlords who are to get the benefit. Are they poor people? I ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to prove only one proposition, and that is that this Clause will mean for the Scottish people a better state of affairs than has hitherto existed. All that has been claimed for the Clause is that there is something happening in England, and the same thing ought to happen in Scotland. I hope that the hon. Member for Springburn will press this to a Division, so that the country will know that this Government have been, as they always have been, the friends of the landlord, and that to-day we are asked again to grant large sums of money to people who have done nothing to deserve it. I hope at least the minority in the Committee will do their best to carry this thing to the electors outside.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
With regard to the Amendment itself, that the Clause should not apply to Scotland, there will be two opinions on this side. Members on this side will not find it quite so easy to have such a simple and straightforward view as that of the hon. Member who has just spoken. In regard to the main reasons advanced in favour of the Amendment, there will be unanimity on this side that there ought to have been a separate Bill for Scotland. I think that is patent, both on the surface of the Clause, and in 1699 the argument of the Lord Advocate, and for two reasons. First of all the Clause itself begins by admitting through its omissions that there are certain things in the English part of the Bill that cannot be expressed in Scottish terms, and that you cannot apply certain parts of the English Clause in Scottish terms, so that we may know how the two things run together.
Secondly, because the Lord Advocate himself talked about the Scottish Clause being simply valuation and not rating. That appeared to me to be the strongest argument in favour of the Amendment in so far as it is based on a desire for a Scottish Measure separate from the other. But I cannot quite agree with the Lord Advocate that it is not altogether a rating Measure, because in making the assessment for the valuation roll, deciding how you will apportion certain heritages in one way or another, you are really affecting rating, and that is shown by an Amendment later on the Order Paper in the name of two hon. Members on the other side of the House who wish to include in the apportionment things not at present included in Clause 9, for the very good reason that if they desire to do certain things by way of apportionment, in order that when the succeeding Measure comes a greater or less measure of relief may apply to certain kinds of agricultural properties, they are bound to get certain Amendments made that are not now contemplated in the Clause as drafted. That is why this Clause begins by omitting definitions which apply in England and Wales from the drafting of the purely Scottish Clause 9.
I wish to go a little further. I should like some guidance about this, as representing a Scottish industrial seat. Very little has been said about the application of this valuation to industrial Scotland, which, after all, contains the largest proportion of the Scottish population. The Lord Advocate seems to think Clause 9 as drafted applies the English part of the Bill to Scotland and that there is no need for discrimination. I am by no means so sure. In England and Wales the law affecting rating as between landlord and tenant is very different from that in Scotland, and that is not merely true with regard to agricultural law but it is true also with regard 1700 to the law of town property. Does the Scottish Office know what proportion of the industrial heritages, the freight-transport heritages referred to in this Clause, is in the hands of tenants owning the properties and what in the hands of tenants occupying properties owned by other persons? It seems to me to have a very important bearing on the separation of the valuation.
The whole intention of this discrimination in the valuation, both in Scotland, England and Wales, is that certain measures to follow on this basis of assessment are to provide a stimulus for productive industry. I understand we do not use the beautiful old biblical and Scottish legal term "heritage" in regard to this kind of valuation. We have to use the English word "hereditament." Supposing a factory or a shipyard in Scotland is operated by a tenant but owned by someone else. What proportion of the relief given by way of the alteration of the assessment will go to productive industry and what part to the owner of the shipyard or factory or freight transport property when this apportionment is made on the basis of the new assessment? Has the Secretary of State any information?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I will answer that straight away. Anything that is done by splitting up the valuation roll will not affect the proportion. It is just because of that that I have already said this is a valuation measure and not a rating measure. Take a factory, A, we will say, 100 square yards, which is owned by B and let to C. It may be, if it is a factory and nothing else, that no apportionment will be necessary, because the subject is already a separate subject. If a portion of the subject of the lease requires to be carved off into two or more separate entities you will still have the occupiers and owners the same persons in each of these entries. There is no change.
§ Mr. BROWN
I put a question to the Secretary of State on 30th April as to the estimated yield on the basis of the present valuation in Scotland of certain classes of property, and I was informed that houses and shops were estimated, in 1927–28, on the basis of the present valuation, to yield £14,302,000, agricultural land was reckoned to yield £1,498,000, gas undertakings £544,000, 1701 water undertakings £434,000, electricity undertakings £340,000, tramway undertakings £269,000, cemetery undertakings £18,000, sewerage undertakings £68,000, railway undertakings £620,000, docks and harbours £241,000, mines and minerals £449,000, iron and steel works £94,000, blast furnaces £53,000, mills and manufactories £1,995,000, and other properties £675,000. The doubt in my mind is this. Those who sit for English and Welsh seats are at a great advantage in arguing what will be the probable effect of this apportionment over their Scottish colleagues. In answer to questions put and inquiries made, the Minister of Health laid papers which show every single English and Welsh Member precisely what the yield of these classes of property will be in his own area, and it is for that reason that, by applying the figures given in the White Paper, to which you, Sir, referred just now, to the calculations then given to the English and Welsh Members, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) yesterday was able in such a dexterous manner to keep insides the rules of order. We have no such figures.
I put a question asking the right hon. Gentleman whether he would present such a Paper. He said he would not give it in that form, but he certainly led me to understand that we should get a Paper—I have been every day to the Vote Office to ask for it—showing us for each area what the various kinds of property yielded. Estimates have been made as to what will happen as the result of this re-apportionment. Are the estimates based on these totals, because if they are, surely parts of these rates are paid by the landlords of the property and parts by the occupiers. That is not so in England and Wales. In England and Wales the tenant and not the owner of the property pays the rates. The point I wish to have made clear concerning the effect of the application of the industrial part of the English Bill in this Clause is, is the calculation as to the apportionment based on the payments of industrialists or on the payments by way of rates of industrialists and owners of industrial properties? That is the point I wish to have made clear, and I hope it will be made clear before the Debate comes to an end.
1702 A word about the Clause itself. It is perfectly true that this particular principle could have been applied to Scotland in a separate Bill. I think the Committee is entitled to a statement not merely as to the effect of the valuation in agricultural Scotland but as to the effect of the policy and apportionment in Clause 9 as applied to industrial and freight-carrying Scotland. As I understand it the core of Clause 9 is in Subsection (4), which applies to Scotland the three definitions of agricultural, industrial and freight-transport lands and heritages, and that new assessment is to be the basis for the calculation of relief which is to come in the next Bill. It seems to me that by leaving out the earlier Clauses of the Bill in relation to Scotland the Government admit that there is a separate case for Scotland, and there ought to have been a Bill.
I want to say a few words about the speech of the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) before I sit down. The reason we do not find it as easy as he does to dismiss the Amendment as merely a Parliamentary expression may be stated in terms of mines and minerals. Supppoe that a choice had to be made as to whether or not mines and minerals should be excluded from the valuation role, I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife (Mr. W. Adamson) would have been found saying that mines and minerals should not receive their share of relief which is to be apportioned on the basis of the new valuation. I think there would only be one answer to that. We cannot find it as easy to be lighthearted as the hon. Member for Gorbals, while we agree entirely that there ought to have been a separate Bill dealing with the Scottish system.
§ Mr. WRIGHT
I support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie). No Member from the County of Lanarkshire, as far as I know, has taken part in this Debate, and I therefore feel it my duty to make a contribution. There is some dispute to-night as to whether this is a rating Bill or not, although the Lord Advocate has assured us that it is not. But the Debate has proceeded from the beginning, and has been allowed by the Chairman, on the basis that it is. The Lord Advocate has replied to a number 1703 of points raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) on those grounds. It seems to me that there is a very considerable amount of alarm, particularly from the local authorities in the industrial areas of Scotland as to what is going to happen at no very distant date. As the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) has observed, we are gradually losing all local control and all local management over purely Scottish affairs in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland has, I understand, admitted that no appeal has been made to him by any representative body in Scotland on behalf of this Bill. But I understand also that he has received very important communications from the local authorities with regard to this question of the burden of the rates in relation to the problem of unemployment.
Speaking as the representative of a constituency in Lanarkshire, a meeting was held recently in Glasgow representing all the important industrial areas in Lanarkshire. A copy of the proceedings was sent to the right hon. Gentleman from Hamilton on 30th June making a very strong appeal upon these very questions. It concerned all the important industrial areas, some of which are in a very grave state of destitution. In some particular cases men are actually in danger of dying of starvation. I have sent some instances of these conditions to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland, and I am bound to confess that a feeling of despair is spreading over the administrators of local government in Scotland with regard to the appalling conditions. They are hoping for some relief from this burden of the rates which affects these great industrial areas. We are drifting from bad to worse, and many people who are not working, but are receiving a very small amount of wages, are being compelled to meet this heavy burden of the rates. It is impossible for these conditions to prevail for very much longer. Therefore, I make a very earnest appeal to the right hon. Gentleman and to the members of the Cabinet to take this question into their very serious consideration without any further delay.
1704 I want to stress this particular point. It has been stated, and not contradicted, that certain beneficiaries will gain very considerably as the result of this Bill. It seems to me that the landlords and the landowners are being offered very alarming sums of money, that this money is to go to those who have no special claims and whose needs are not nearly as great as the needs of other sections of the community. We are here representing great industrial areas, about which little has been said in this Debate this evening. I hope the Amendment will be, carried, because I am quite sure that what I am saying with regard to the dismay which exists in all these great industrial areas is very real. I am appealing, as their representative to-night, that their petition to the right hon. Gentleman shall not be ignored or turned down, and that he will endeavour to do something in order to benefit the great bulk of the people in Scotland who are suffering under the horrible conditions which prevail industrially.
Mr. R. MITCHELL
I do not want to take part in the discussion upon this Clause, but I am very anxious to have my mind cleared of some doubts. In the first place, Clause 9 in this Bill referring to Scotland is a bad example of legislation by reference, but this is only a preliminary Bill to a much more important Measure which is to be laid before the House. It is a sort of preliminary canter, and what I am anxious to know, first of all, from the right hon. Gentleman is, as he has issued two memoranda, one regarding England and Wales, and one regarding Scotland, does he propose in laying the Measure before the House to do it in the form of two Bills, one applying to England and Wales and the other applying to Scotland? I cannot contemplate a proposition such as is contemplated by this Measure being laid before the House in which by reference only Scotland can be treated properly. The Bill goes right down to the roots of the Scottish system of rating. It will involve a completely new outlook. It will to a large extent affect every burgh and county in Scotland, certainly for a period of five years. If the Bill is to alter not only the machinery but the principle of the law of rating in Scotland, I suggest that it should be done in a Scottish Bill and that the House should have the 1705 opportunity of discussing the new proposals as they affect Scotland, not tacked on to an English Bill, but in a definite Bill, which can be either discussed in Committee of the whole House, or before the Scottish Standing Committee.
The second point—I hope the right hon. Gentleman will excuse me if I am going, perhaps, a little bit ahead of what is contained in the Bill—is that I should like to ask whether the next proposal, of which this Bill is the preliminary, is going to do anything to give to the manufacturer in Scotland the full benefit of the relief which the manufacturer will receive in England?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot see how the right hon. Gentleman can answer that question. The hon. Member appears to be making some inquiry as to a future Bill.
With great deference, I am asking whether the Preamble of the Bill, which states that this isA Bill to make provision, with a view to the grant of relief from rates,is to apply in Scotland as it applies in England. The purpose of this Bill and of the future Bill to be introduced is that there may be given an impetus to manufacture, to production. In England where a reduction of rates is given to a factory, the producer, the manufacturer, the occupier of the factory will receive the whole benefit, but in Scotland the position is quite different. We have in Scotland a great many cases of yearly lets. We have a great many cases of factories let on short leases, and we have a still greater number of cases in which the proprietor of the building lets the ground floor for a shop and the upper storeys for a factory. According to the White Paper and according to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the whole purpose of these Bills is to give the whole benefit of the relief to the persons who are engaged in productive industry. Take the instances which I have mentioned. In regard to the yearly let, there is nothing in any statement that has yet been made to prevent the proprietor taking the whole benefit of the relief of rates by increasing the rent, and in any event, unless we can have an assurance that in the new Bill that will be guarded against, the producer, who if he were in England would 1706 get the benefit of the whole of the rate relief, will not get the benefit of the whole of the rate relief in Scotland, but the proprietor will get the benefit of his rate relief.
There is no encouragement to industry by relieving of rates the proprietor of premises which are let to a producer. The only encouragement which can come to industry will be if the producer is to receive the benefit of the relief in Scotland, as he does in England. In the event of short lets, until the short lease expires during the period of the lease, unless we have an assurance to the contrary, the proprietor of the business place in which production is carried on is going to be relieved of three-fourths of his rates. If that is not to be deducted from the payment made by the occupant, the real producer, this relief of rates which has been promised to the producer is not going to the producer at all; it is going to the landlord. In the third instance which I have quoted, which is personally known to me, the owner of premises in Argyll Street in Glasgow lets the ground floor as a shop and the upper storey as a factory. The occupant of the shop is to receive no relief from rates. The proprietor of the shop, as proprietor of the shop, will receive no relief from rates, but directly we go upstairs, because the upper part is used as a factory, the proprietor is to be relieved, as far as I can see, of three-fourths of the rates which he has to pay, and he will get that relief not for anything that he has done or is likely to do to aid production, but because, by chance, the upper storeys happen to be let to a person who is engaged in a productive industry.
I am not going to say whether that is good or bad, but I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is in the contemplation of the Government, and if not whether he will use his powerful influence to bring it to the contemplation of the Government, that in the Clauses which are contained in the Bill affecting Scotland, provision will be made that the actual producer in Scotland shall receive the benefit of rate relief which his brother in England receives, and that we in Scotland are not going to be put in the position of having a so-called rate relief for the benefit of 1707 industry, being used not to benefit industry but to benefit the owner of property which is used for industrial purposes. I hope that I have made myself clear. These are questions which I have taken the opportunity of bringing forward on this Amendment because this Clause making this Bill applicable to Scotland is the preamble, the forerunner, of another Bill, infinitely more important, and one in which, unless the greatest care is exercised—I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will do that—we may find ourselves having the industrialists of Scotland very much prejudiced compared with the industrialists of England because of the different basis, the different principles and the different machinery which we have in Scotland for valuation and rating purposes.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I will answer the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. R. Mitchell) first. The hon. Member, like other hon. Members, has complained that Scotland has not a separate Bill and he asks me whether when we come to the next stage after this Bill it is the intention of the Government to introduce a separate Bill for Scotland, on the same lines that we have introduced a separate White Paper. I may say at once that it certainly is the intention of the Government to introduce the next stage in a separate Bill for Scotland. That, I think, is the best method of dealing with it. Of course at this stage it would be out of order for me to go into details of what will be in that Bill, but the Committee may take it from me that the intention of the Government is to relieve productive industry, and that the Bill will provide as nearly as is humanly possible the same relief in Scotland as in England. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) reiterated the statement that no demand had been made from Scotland for any change such as that for which this is the machinery. The County Councils Association have for a long period been advancing proposals for dealing with these very problems. These authorities are seized of the necessity for certain fundamental changes, some of them even more drastic than those with which we are dealing in this Bill or with which we shall deal in the later Bill. In addition to that, one if not two Royal Commissions, some of them including 1708 hon. Members of the Labour party, have advised that these changes should be made.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Is it not the case that the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, while advocating the break-up of the Poor Law, recommended that the functions now undertaken by parish councils in Scotland should be split up amongst existing authorities'—municipal authorities for the Poor Law and the education authorities for the child, and so on—and that what the Government are proposing to do is not to break up the Poor Law and to distribute the functions of parish councils amongst existing authorities, but to widen the area of the Poor Law and to render it free from any possibility of democratic control?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I cannot see the relevance to the Clause under discussion either of what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman or what has been said by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston).
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
It was only in answer to what had been said that I drew attention to the matter, but I shall not pursue the subject. The hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) drew my attention to a return which had been promised but was not yet available. I regret very much the delay that has been caused. I have tried to expedite the production of these figures. I realise that it is very unfortunate that we have not been able to get the return from the printers, and I am doing what I can to expedite it, for I am not satisfied that all expedition has been made in the production of the return. I do not think I need say more at this period. I do hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite, however much they may like to register their vote and opinion on this Amendment, will do nothing really serious to deny to Scotland what I am sure will be of benefit to her.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
We have had what might be described as a chorus of condemnation of the procedure adopted by the Government. As Scottish Members we certainly ought to have respect 1709 for the country which we endeavour here to represent. The local authorities have been referred to by the Secretary of State for Scotland, and he has indicated that so far as county councils are concerned some representations of a limited character have been made. But we are not going to forget his ready assent to the point put by my colleague in the representation of Dundee (Mr. Johnston) that no local authority had made any request for legislation of this kind. The general body of the people in Scotland are only just beginning to get familiarised, through their representatives on the local authorities, with the meaning of this Bill. We have had an admission from the Secretary of State that we are to have a separate Bill for the adjustment of the authorities and the powers which they will wield. That is so far satisfactory. But in the Clause to which we are at the moment taking exception an outstanding fact is that there will be imposed, as an outcome of this particular adjustment, the position that those who are well able to bear the burden of rates will have relief, while the general body of people will not get relief.
There is no doubt that local authorities if they had been consulted would have been opposed to this Measure. A heavy burden of rates is resting upon the mass of the people at the present time and nothing is being done in their behalf. All that this Government does is to help those they represent, and their attitude in this respect calls for condemnation. We oppose this Clause more particularly because Scotland is simply being dragged into this scheme. We do not know what its ultimate effect will be. Hon. Members who sit behind the Government Front Bench do not I suppose understand much about it, and it would be rather interesting to hear their views. As far as Scottish Members on the other side of the Committee are concerned, they represent a deaf and dumb institution at the moment. A handful of Scottish Members on this side are putting forward reasons against this proposal of a very effective character, some of them very effective legal reasons, and the Government, even with the assistance of the Lord Advocate, have great difficulty in maintaining their position. I agree with the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) that I believe the Lord Advocate would have preferred a separate 1710 Bill for Scotland. In that case we should have had the advantage of his cogent reasoning and legal skill.
I desire to emphasise the fact that there has been no consultation with local authorities. No regard whatever is being paid to their position, although the White Paper says that the proposals which are put forward are fraught with immense significance and are of very far-reaching import. To be asked to push through this Clause in a few hours simply means that the Government says: "Well, we have to recognise that there is a portion of the nation known as Scotland, but we need not trouble very much about it. A few hours during an evening will be enough for its consideration." The Government I suppose are able to give their supporters a few hours' rest from attendance at the House, they can come back in time for the Division. I hope that special cognisance of the proposal is being taken by all concerned in the interests of Scotland.
It has been said from the Liberal benches that there is not going to be the benefit from this Measure which is intended for the agricultural proprietor and tenant. Liberal condemnation has been unanimous but with that wonderful logic which is shown by the Liberal party, they, having expressed their condemnation, are going into the Lobby to support the proposals. It is certainly a triumph for revived Liberalism. The Secretary of State for Scotland has expressed the hope that his colleagues from Scotland will not go in for self-denial. We do not admit that it is a matter of self-denial. All that is involved in this Measure is a mere preamble to something which is to follow. What we have to face in Scotland is the fact that any little benefit that may arise from the industrial point of view is not worth while There will, indeed, be little if any advantage to industry from this adjustment. There will be no advantage to those whose interests the Government say they have at heart. It will not be effective in giving any impetus to industry.
I am in agreement with my colleague the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) in the view that this proposal has originated with the powers that be behind the Government Front Bench. I do not mean those who are behind the 1711 Front Bench just now. I could say some strong things against the Government but I would not go that length. I mean those who are further behind the Government—out in Whitehall. While members of local authorities denounce this proposal, officialism is not denouncing it. Officialism will not be inclined to oppose it. Undoubtedly there is a desire to secure a wider range of control for those who handle our affairs locally and nationally but our claim in that connection is something different. We say that you ought not to deal in this patchwork fashion with Scotland. There is a line at the end of the Bill:This Act shall not extend to Northern Ireland.My contention is that Scotland ought to be in a position to say that and not merely to cut out this Clause, but to cut out endeavours by any Government to continue to drag Scotland along in the pitiable fashion in which she has been dragged for years. What Labour Members and Liberal Members and even Conservative Members from Scotland—when they wake up after the day's rest and quietude—want, is to come to the real issue, namely, that we should have a thorough-going Government in Edinburgh that will deal with these affairs and put Scotland in a better position than she occupies at present.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
The two outstanding features in connection with this Debate will be particularly noted in Scotland to-morrow when they read it. The first is this, that in listening to the Lord Advocate I found that he had a most difficult job, that he was not carrying through his work in his usual clear and lucid way, and that he had absolutely no enthusiasm of any kind for the task in hand. The second feature of the Debate has been the fact that not a single rank and file Member of the Tory party has taken part in it. It is rather interesting that there are only two individuals on the Tory benches who have taken part in the Debate. First of all, there is the Secretary of State for Scotland, who has the only safe Tory seat in Scotland at the next general election. Even that may be in doubt, but some of us think it is the only safe Tory seat, and consequently the right 1712 hon. Gentleman thinks he can do anything he likes with Scotland, but——
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
The second point that I want to make is this, that the only other individual who has taken part in the Debate from the other side is one who represents an English constituency. I want to give four reasons why this Clause should not apply to Scotland The first is that it will not give effect to the purposes desired. I think it is the purpose of the Government to deal with the enormous rates that apply in connection with industrial areas in Scotland and England, and this Bill is to create machinery for giving effect to some of their other proposals. I do not think this Bill will give effect to the proposals of the Government in the way of relieving necessitous areas, agriculture, and mining in Scotland.
The second objection that I have to this Bill being applied to Scotland is that we have had far too much legislation for Scotland being negotiated through this House merely as an appendage to English legislation. I noted that when the Lord Advocate was dealing with this question he sought to emphasise the point that there was very little English legal terminology used in the Bill, but that is not correct. He informed the Committee that the Bill would apply as from line 25 of Clause 3, but I find that, starting from line 25 in that Clause, we have English legal terms used that theoretically we know nothing at all about in Scotland. They are just as foreign to us in Scotland as are Scottish terms to people in England. There is a phrase about a place being "situate within the close." What does a close mean? It is an English legal term, not a Scottish legal term, although I know that in some of the cities a close is an entry that leads to some bad dwelling or slum. Then the Bill deals with a curtilage, and I will give way to the Lord Advocate if he is prepared to say that a curtilage is a Scottish legal term.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I am prepared to say that these words come from the Factory Act, which applies equally to Scotland.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
That, is rather astute of the Lord Advocate, but we are dealing with rating and valuation, and these terms do not apply to Scottish rating and valuation. The third reason which I want to give is that this Bill is the basis on which rests the introduction of other Bills. The Lord Advocate emphasised the fact that the need of getting this Bill speedily through the House was urgent, so that the House could get on with the other Bills. Although I cannot discuss those other Bills, I am entitled to ask what they are, and what they are going to do? The fourth reason that I give against this Bill being applied to Scotland is, that instead of giving effect be those purposes which are claimed for it, it will merely be a Bill to create machinery for carrying out acknowledged Conservative and Tory policy. No one should know better than the Chancellor of the Exchequer what that policy is. On one historic occasion he said:The policy of the Tory party was to have an open hand at the public; Exchequer, and an open door at the public-house.Instead of giving real benefit in the way of reduction of rates to those industrial concerns which require assistance, it will merely create machinery for placing tens of thousands of pounds into the hands of those who are not entitled to get it; it will benefit the landlord class of Scotland, and in many instances industrial concerns that do not require assistance. This machinery will make the householders of Scotland bear heavier rates than they have been called upon to pay at the present time. It is the means by which the Government are actually going to destroy the whole local government of Scotland, and I hope that we shall have the support of the rank and file of the Conservative party, who have not been behind their leaders in this Debate, and who know what the view of the Scottish people is in connection with the Government proposal to destroy local democratic government in Scotland. I trust that there will be a rebellion on their part to-night, and that they will go into the Lobby with us.
§ Mr. W. M. WATSON
It must be very monotonous for the Secretary of State for Scotland to listen during the whole Debate to the same story from only one side of the House. I venture to say that, 1714 even if the other side of the House had spoken, they would have had to say what has been said from this side. It is true that a few minutes ago the Secretary of State claimed that he had the backing of the County Councils' Association for taking a step of this kind. There is just a possibility that he will get a certain measure of support from the county councils, both for this scheme and for the scheme which is coming along, but he will not have the same support from the boroughs, and, after all, the higher valuations and the greater populations lie in the boroughs. He cannot claim the backing of the Convention of Royal Burghs for this scheme. We on this side are perfectly justified in saying, as hon. Members opposite would have had to say if they had spoken, that this scheme ought to have been applied to Scotland by a separate Measure, and that Scotland ought not to be dealt with in an English Measure. Enough has already been said about the alterations made in this Clause to show that we have a strong case in support of our claim for a separate Bill for Scotland.
This legislation has been introduced ostensibly to give relief not only to necessitous areas but to all areas, whether necessitous or non-necessitous. What the Government ought to have done was to relieve necessitous areas of the burdens which they ought never to have been called upon to bear. By holding out the promise of relief to non-necessitous areas as well as to necessitous areas they are hoping to get the Measure through the House. The Secretary of State may not have met with any opposition to his scheme so far, but before long he will find plenty of opposition from Scotland. He may be able, as I have said, to get the county councils on his side to a certain extent, and he may even get the backing of the larger boroughs, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen——
§ Mr. WATSON
—but I venture to say that he will get no support from the education authorities and the parish councils in those areas. He may even get a certain measure of support from some of the town councils in what are called the smaller boroughs because—and this is especially true of the larger 1715 boroughs—this scheme is going to increase the powers of the local authorities in their areas. But the views of some of the county councillors who will be pretending to support this scheme will not be the views of the county electors, and among the electors of the smaller boroughs he will not get support. It is interesting to see how this business has developed. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) said, first we had the wiping out of the old parish school boards and the creation of wider education areas. More recently, in 1926, we had a Rating Bill, the forerunner of the Bill we are now discussing, which cut out a large number of rating authorities. The parish council was wiped out as a rating authority, and we now have in Scotland only one rating authority in an area. As the Secretary of State said in an earlier speech, that was part of the Government scheme for creating wider areas. I am certain that before we are very much older the Secretary of State will hear a great deal more about this particular scheme from the people of Scotland.
The Government will not find a great measure of support for these proposals among the ordinary ratepayers in Scotland. They may get a certain amount of support from county councillors who see a possibility in this Bill of getting greater powers in the future, but so far as the ordinary ratepayers are concerned I am sure this Measure will be condemned wholeheartedly in Scotland. The people of Scotland are opposed to a very successful system of local government being scrapped because the Secretary for Scotland cannot lower the rates. The supporters of the Government say that we shall get lower rates in particular areas if the people of Scotland will only accept the scheme contained in this Measure, but I do not think they will accept that scheme. The Government will find that this Measure and the Measure which has been promised will not constitute a good case to place before the electors at the next election as an election cry. When the next General Election comes I am sure this question will be very much in the minds of the people of Scotland. The hon. Member for the Gorbals Division (Mr. Buchanan) said he had never heard anybody discussing this question in Scotland, but 1716 when the election takes place I think the hon. Member for Gorbals and the Secretary of State for Scotland will hear a great deal more from the people of Scotland on this subject than they have heard up to the present moment.
§ Mr. STEWART
I rise to call attention to some anomalies connected with this Bill. We have been dealing with the question of agricultural lands and heritages, but the question of rating seems to have been mentioned only incidentally. Take as an illustration the City of Glasgow and the valuation there. The gross valuation of the City of Glasgow is something like £11,000,000, and under the 1926 Rating Act that valuation was reduced by percentages granted to various industries and various proprietors by £2,800,000. Under this Bill the valuation is going to be very considerably decreased on the top of the 471 per cent. which has been granted to minerals and the 75 per cent. granted to agricultural land within the City of Glasgow. All this is to be followed by a reduction of three-fourths of the rates. We have already got a reduction in the valuation of £660,000 in the rates, and that is to be followed by a still greater decrease in the valuation. While, as I have mentioned, the total valuation of the city was £11,000,000, there has been between £8,000,000 and £9,000,000 left to get no advantage at all. The 240,000 householders in Glasgow will get no relief of any kind whatever, no matter how distressed they may be, no matter how difficult it may be for them to find the rates or the rents themselves. There will be no valuation for them; there will be no valuation for offices: there will be no valuation for the shopkeepers, and they, who got nothing under the last Rating Act, are now once again to be left with nothing except the right to bear their proportion of the reduction that has been made to other people. It is true that the Government are proposing, in this new valuation, to pay the rates that would otherwise have had to be imposed by the local authorities, but, at the same time, I think it must be apparent that these people will get no benefit whatever except, as is claimed, indirectly because of the relief to industry.
On the top of that, there are anomalies in the proposals themselves. The Government 1717 are purposing to give a relief of 45 per cent. to both owner and tenant on landlord's and occupier's rates in the case of a property that is let for productive industrial purposes. Take the case of two owners of property, one of whom lets his property for the purpose of carrying on an industrial productive concern, while the other lets his property as a warehouse for a distributive concern. The landlord who has let his property for the purposes of a productive industrial concern gets a reduction of three-fourths of his rates, while the other, who has let his adjoining property for a warehouse for a distributive concern, gets no relief whatever. I submit that a Valuation Bill to deal with rating which creates anomalies such as that cannot be dealing with rating in a fair and proper way. If the claim be made that there is no indication of any lack of support for it, as has been suggested by previous speakers, I can assure the right hon. Gentleman and those who support this Measure that when its inequity, its anomalies, and its unfairness have been made apparent to the people who will ultimately have to find all the expenditure with regard to the rates, there will undoubtedly be an outcry against this valuation and the accompanying rates. In the City of Glasgow shop keeping is a depressed industry, for at the moment trade is [...]anguishing, and the general depression of trade is beginning to affect distributive industries that up to now have suffered comparatively little from the depression of the last few years. Production and distribution are two parts of one whole, and cannot be separated, and to try to separate them in a Valuation and Rating Bill will only cause that which the Government claim will not happen, namely, a feeling of disappointment in the first place, followed by a feeling of resentment. There is in the First Schedule of the Bill:a direction that the occupier of any hereditament who claims that his hereditament is an agricultural hereditament within the meaning of this Act shall within the prescribed time send to the rating authority a claim in the prescribed form containing the prescribed particulars.Then it says:As soon as any such claims are received the rating authority shall consider them and shall begin the preparation of a preliminary draft special list in the prescribed form.1718 Then follow other words. I should like to know the meaning of this. Does it mean that the local authorities——
§ Mr. STEWART
It may not apply to Scotland, but it surely will be granted that in Scotland we must make preparations on somewhat similar lines to build up the necessary forms that will be sent in by the people in regard to their claims for relief of rates. Scotland, surely, is not so situated just now, that, in cases where there is a factory which has some plant that is separated from it and is not used for industrial purposes, it is so provided in the Bill that the assessor can, immediately the Bill becomes an Act, make a statement of what is industrial, what is distributive and what is used for non-industrial purposes. Consequently I submit that it will of necessity require some forms, and if that is so, there will be bound to be, in a city like Glasgow and in all the industrial centres of Scotland, some considerable expenditure Who is going to bear that? The people who will bear it are the people who are not going to get off with their rates. You are going to give us by a system of block grants something that is going to relieve us, but while that is to take place, it is based on the present expenditure. We in Glasgow will in the near future have to face the question of a new sanatorium costing £400,000 to build.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member really cannot go into that matter now, though he might on the later Bill.
§ Mr. STEWART
I would not like to take advantage of the kindness that you, Mr. Hope, have shown to myself and others in giving us a little bit of rope in this matter, but I was trying to show, if I was within your ruling for to-night—
§ The CHAIRMAN
This £400,000 for the Glasgow sanatorium, is really a rope sufficient for the hon. Member to hang himself with.
§ Mr. STEWART
I have no desire to hang myself nor any other person at the moment. I am in a particularly humane frame of mind to-night. Consequently, I have no desire to do anything that will 1719 irritate you and cause you to hang me. The point I was trying to make in regard to the £400,000 was this, if you will allow me to say it. We shall have, in the near future, increased expenditure. We had an illustration of that just now. It has been intimated by the Education Authority that we are to have another 1½d. in the £ on the rates, because the classes are to be reduced to 50 and more schools will have to be built and more teachers employed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This cannot arise on the question of the classification and apportionment of heritages.
§ Mr. STEWART
I am accepting your ruling, Sir, and bringing my eloquence to an untimely end. I hope the sense of the Committee will be against this. I believe it is a bad Bill. I believe it will not do what it has been suggested it will do in promoting the interests of the industry of our country. On the contrary, I believe it will help to deepen the depression. Consequently, I hope the Committee will reject this proposal and let us get to something better than has yet been suggested.
§ Question put, "That the word 'not' be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 94; Noes, 185.1721
|Division No. 253.]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hayes, John Henry||Riley, Ben|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Ritson, J.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, G. H.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barnes, A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Barr, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Scurr, John|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sexton, James|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kelly, W. T.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Broad, F. A.||Kennedy, T.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bromfield, William||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bromley, J.||Kirkwood, D.||Smillie, Robert|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawrence, Susan||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Lawson, John James||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, F.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lindley, F. W.||Snell, Harry|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dennison, R.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Duncan, C.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Dunnico, H.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Viant, S. P.|
|Gardner, J. P.||March, S.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maxton, James||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gillett, George M.||Montague, Frederick||Westwood, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Murnin, H.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Greenall, T.||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Palin, John Henry||Windsor, Walter|
|Grurdy, T. W.||Paling, W.||Wright, W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hardie, George D.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Potts, John S.||Whiteley.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George|
|Albery, Irving James||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Briscoe, Richard George||Cope, Major Sir William|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman||Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Couper, J. B.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Courtauld, Major J. S.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)|
|Apsley, Lord||Buchan, John||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Bullock, Captain M.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Burman, J. B.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)|
|Atkinson, C.||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Davidson, Major General Sir John H.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cassels, J. D.||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Dixey, A. C.|
|Bethel, A.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Ellis, R. G.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Loder, J. de V.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Long, Major Eric||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Looker, Herbert William||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Lougher, Lewis||Savery, S. S.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Lumley, L. R.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Gates, Percy||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Skelton, A. N.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dlne, C.)|
|Grace, John||McLean, Major A.||Smith-Caringtan, Neville W.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Mac Robert, Alexander M.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Margesson, Captain D.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hacking, Douglas H.||Meller, R. J.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Harland, A.||Moore Sir Newton J.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (ptrsf'ld.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nuttall, Ellis||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Oakley, T.||Waddington, R.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Penny, Frederick George||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Hilton, Cecil||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Perring, Sir William George||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Pliditch, Sir Philip||Wells, S. R.|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Raine, Sir Walter||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Iveagh, Countess of||Remer, J. R.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Lamb, J. O.||Salmon, Major I.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Leigh, Sir John (Crapham)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Captain Viscount Curzon and|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Captain Wallace.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed.
§ 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 upon Monday next.