HC Deb 01 May 1928 vol 216 cc1528-33

4.0 p.m.


I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921. I move this entirely on my own responsibility, and in no sense of hostility to the present Government. Owing to recent inquiries which have been held under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, I have come to the conclusion that if safeguarding of industries is to be carried on at all, it should be on a practical basis. The trouble at the present time is that industries, owing to the detail of the White Paper, have the greatest difficulty in obtaining the safeguarding for which the Act was devised. Therefore, this Bill will deal with three things which are very shortly these: First of all, there will be a new definition of dumping, in regard to which I have no doubt I shall have the sympathy of the Labour party, namely, that all goods shall be regarded as damped goods when they are produced abroad under conditions where wages are less or hours worked are longer than those prevailing in this country. I shall be very interested to see how many members of the Labour party go into the Lobby to support this Clause. The second Clause deals with the powers of the Board of Trade. Under the present White Paper, and under the present Safeguarding of Industries Act, although an industry has satisfied every condition in the White Paper, the Board of Trade has the power, at its discretion, to refuse to allow that particular industry to go to a Committee of Inquiry under the Act. I suggest that if an industry satisfies the conditions of a very difficult White Paper, and goes to all the trouble of taking up the matter, it should, as a matter of course, be entitled to go to the Committee of Inquiry under the provisions of the Act.

The third point is that dealing with the White Paper itself. I feel positive that all fair-minded people will support this, because whether they like Safeguarding or not, they will agree that if you have a form of legislation such as Safeguarding, people ought not to have to waste time and money to go before committees of inquiry and then be turned down on the ground, for instance, of not being a substantial industry. There is the case of the iron and steel trade. That trade has satisfied every condition of the White Paper, but has been turned down by the Cabinet Committee, because it is too substantial an industry. Then take the granite trade. In spite of the fact that it satisfied every condition of the White Paper that it was suffering from foreign competition, it was turned down on the one ground that it was not a substantial industry. Members of the House of Commons must surely come to the conclusion that such a procedure is absurd, and I do ask with great confidence, that to whatever party they belong Members will support the introduction of this Bill, which is a fair and proper Bill.


I rise the purpose of opposing the introduction of this Bill, and I do so on two grounds. The first is concerned with the merits of the Bill, and the second with the circumstances under which it is brought before the House. The hon. Member who introduced the Bill said it contained three Clauses. He described the first two, but he omitted to describe the third, much to my regret. He told us that, with regard to the second Clause, he proposed to dispense with the powers which the Board of Trade at present hold under the terms of the White Paper. He said that at present, even if an industry could satisfy all the conditions of the White Paper, the Board of Trade could still prevent it from going to an inquiry. I think he is a little confused. May I ask him how the Board of Trade can know whether an industry has satisfied all the conditions of a White Paper until it has been to the inquiry? What, of course, does happen is that the Board of Trade has to be satisfied that the particular industry can make out a prima facie case for an inquiry.

My principal objection to the Bill on its merits is contained in what the hon. Member has told us about Clause 1. As far as I understand, he is going to alter the definition of dumping, so that in future goods will be regarded as dumped if they are produced in countries where—to put it in a phrase—conditions of labour, hours and wages, are worse than they are in this country. In other words, the hon. Member, as far as I can understand, invites us to take measures of a protective nature which will produce in this country conditions similar to those in other protected countries, which, by his own showing, have conditions of life worse than here.

Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that that is the exact phraseology used by the official Opposition in regard to this question?


The hon. and gallant Member will not expect me to carry in my head all the phrases used by the official Opposition, but I would very briefly remind the House that the best conditions in the world are in the largest free trade areas of the world. If you take European countries, just as those countries are Free Trade, you will find conditions of life are high, and as they become more Protectionist, the conditions of life become worse and worse. [HON. MEMBERS: "Australia!"] I said Europe. To be logical the hon. Member should have said that the safeguarding duties should have been higher as the country grew more Protectionist. On its merits, I think there is no case in this Bill, but if there were I think the House would be justified, and, in fact, as a duty would have to reject this Bill for this reason. We all know where the hon. Member stands, but we do want to know where the Government are. We are prepared to meet the Government if they go to the country on a Protectionist policy, but I, personally, object to Protection being brought in, or an attempt being made to bring it in, by private Members. We want to know where the Government are. We know, of course, to some extent. We know that the question has become more urgent. The position is rather like that described by Macaulay: Those behind cried 'Forward!' And those in front cried 'Back!' It seems to me that on a question of this gravity this House should be entitled to

expect a policy from the Government, and not from a private Member. Therefore, on these two grounds I ask the House to reject the Motion.

Question put, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Safeguarding of Industries Act, 1921.

The House divided: Ayes, 159; Noes, 133.

Division No. 93.] AYES. [4.12 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Grotrian, H. Brent Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Albery, Irving James Gunston, Captain D. W. Power, Sir John Cecil
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Preston, William
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hamilton, Sir George Price, Major C. W. M.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Hammersley, S. S. Radford, E. A.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Raine, Sir Walter
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Harland, A, Ramsden, E.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Harrison, G. J. C. Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)
Berry, Sir George Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Remnant, Sir James
Bethel, A. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Rice, Sir Frederick
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley) Roberts. E. H. G. (Flint)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ropner, Major L.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hills, Major John Waller Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hilton, Cecil Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy Salmon, Major I.
Buckingham, Sir H. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Sandeman, N. Stewart
Burman, J. B. Hopkins, J. W. W. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Sanderson, Sir Frank
Campbell, E. T. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Sandon, Lord
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hurd, Percy A. Shepperson, E. W.
Christie, J. A. Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Skelton, A. N.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Iveagh, Countess of Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Couper, J. B. Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Jephcott, A. R. Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Kinloch-Cooke, sir Clement Sprot, Sir Alexander
Crott, Brigadier-General Sir H. Knox, Sir Alfred Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Lamb, J. Q. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Long, Major Eric Templeton, W. P.
Dixey, A. C. Looker, Herbert William Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Drewe, C. Lougher, Lewis Tinne, J. A.
Eden, Captain Anthony Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Edmondson, Major A. J. Lumley, L, R, Waddington, R.
Ellis, R. G. Lynn, Sir R. J. Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Everard, W. Lindsay Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Falle, Sir Bertram G. MacIntyre, Ian Watts, Dr. T.
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. McLean Major A. Wayland, Sir William A.
Fermoy, Lord Macmillan, Captain H. Wells, S. R.
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Fraser, Captain Ian Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Frece, Sir Walter de Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Winby, Colonel L. P.
Ganzoni, Sir John Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Glyn, Major R. G. C. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Womersley, W. J.
Gower, Sir Robert Murchison, Sir Kenneth Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Grace, John Nelson, Sir Frank
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Nield, Rt. Hon. sir Herbert TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Perkins, Colonel E. K. Major Braithwaite and Mr. Smedley Crooke.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Bondfield, Margaret Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel
Amnion, Charles George Briant, Frank Cape, Thomas
Baker, Walter Broad, F. A. Charleton, H. C
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Bromfield, William Cluse, W. S.
Barnes, A. Bromley, J. Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips
Barr, J. Brown, Ernest (Leith) Compton, Joseph
Connolly, M. Lawson, John James Smillie, Robert
Cove, w. G. Lindley, F. W. Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Livingstone, A. M. Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lowth, T. Snell, Harry
Day, Harry Lunn, William Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Dunnico, H. Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon) Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Edge, Sir William Mackindar, W. Stamford, T. W.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) MacLaren, Andrew Stephen, Campbell
England, Colonel A. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Gardner, J. P. Malone, Major P. B. Strauss, E. A.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. March, S. Sutton, J. E.
Gibbins, Joseph Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Palsiey) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Gillett, George M. Montague, Frederick Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Gosling, Harry Morris, R. H. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Murnin, H. Thurtle, Ernest
Griffith, F. Kingsley Naylor, T. E. Tinker, John Joseph
Groves, T. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Tomlinson, R. P.
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Oliver, George Harold Townend, A. E.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Owen, Major G. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Hardie, George D. Palin, John Henry Viant, S. P.
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Wallhead, Richard C.
Hayday, Arthur Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Ponsonby, Arthur Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Potts, John S. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Hollins, A. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wellock, Wilfred
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Riley, Ben Westwood, J.
Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Ritson, J. Whiteley, W.
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) Wiggins, William Martin
John, William (Rhondda, West) Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Scrymgeour, E. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Sexton, James Windsor, Walter
Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Kelly, W. T. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Kennedy, T. Shinwell, E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Mr. Crawfurd and Sir Robert Hamilton.
Lansbury, George Sitch, Charles H.
Lawrence, Susan Slesser, Sir Henry H.

First Resolution read a Second time.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Dixey, Major Holt, Captain Streatfeild, Major Braithwaite, Mr. Everard, Mr. Thompson, Sir Frank Sanderson, Mr. Crooke, Lieut.-Colonel Shaw and Mr. Lloyd.