§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Commander Eyres Monsell.]2042
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
Hon. Members will have noticed that we have on the Paper a Prayer, which in ordinary circumstances would only be taken after Eleven o'Clock. As a Motion for the Adjournment has been made, that Prayer cannot be formally moved, but I thought, on consultation with the Government, it might be convenient to get rid of it for another night if we debated the substance we want to put to the Government on the Motion for the Adjournment, and, if necessary, divide upon it just as we should if we had moved the Prayer. I hope that will be felt to be for the general convenience of Members. We desire to bring to the Government a very strong protest indeed, first of all with regard to the increasing practice of making new breaches of contract and creating new crimes and penalties by means of Regulation instead of by Act of Parliament. The Minister of Health is given very wide powers indeed for making a whole series of administrative Regulations under the National Health Insurance Act. The necessity for sonic Regulation is apparent, but in the Regulations to which we desire to draw attention, we find that there is a very vital principle involved and one which, I submit, ought not to have been dealt with by Regulation, but ought to have been the subject of amending legislation.
The Regulation of which we complain is found in the Medical Benefit Regulations (No. 2), 1928, which was laid on the Table of the House on 17th April. In these Regulations we find the extra ordinary Clause:Clause 4 of Part I of the Third Schedule to the principal Regulations shall be read and have effect as if the following paragraph were added thereto:'A chemist shall not give, promise or offer to any person any gift or reward (whether by way of a share or dividend on the profits of the business, or by way of discount, or rebate, or otherwise) as an inducement to, or in consideration of, his presenting an order for drugs or appliances on a prescription form provided by the Committee.'I want hon. Members of all parties who are interested in the co-operative movement to observe what that does. It prevents in future any chemist's department of a co-operative society from continuing its co-operative practice in so far as its business is conducted under the terms of the National Health Insurance Act. Any 2043 member of a co-operative society who is also a member of an approved society under the Health Insurance Act, who takes a health prescription to be made up in a co-operative store instead of an ordinary chemist's shop, must on no account be allowed to be given a note to the effect that he has taken goods from that store at the rate of 5d., which is the flat rate allowed to the chemist for his service.
I want to examine the arguments and reasons for this change. In 1925, the Parliamentary Committee of the cooperative movement had overtures made to it by the Retail Pharmacists' Union. They desired that co-operators should undertake that in future they would not allow the value of the prescription made up for their members under the National Health Insurance Act to count as part of their business for the final distribution of the surpluses of the co-operative societies. The co-operative committee said they could not consider such a proposal, because it would cut at the root of the basic principle on which the co-operative movement does business.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
Because the principle of the movement is that each member shares in the surplus of the society in relation to the amount of the business that each individual does with the society.
§ Major PRICE
Surely the idea is that the amount that the individual spends in the society in this connection is Government money.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
It is not Government money that is being spent. The member who is insured under the National Health Insurance Act pays his weekly insurance contribution.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
Secondly, his or her employer pays, and, thirdly, the State pays the smallest part. The person who contributes in that way is so far given freedom to join any approved society he or she may choose. Why on earth does the hon. Member say that it is State money and not the individual's money that is spent? I have indicated that we declined to meet the Retail Pharmacists' Union. At that time I consulted a principal official of the Ministry 2044 on the secretarial side who was dealing with health insurance, not only on account of the overtures of the Pharmacists' Union but because representations were made by some of the health insurance committees. I obtained the assurance from the official that there was nothing in the practice of allowing a member of an approved society who was a member of the co-operative society from sharing in the rightful benefits of his mutual association, and that there was nothing which would be likely to lead to malingering as a result of his obtaining the dividends. What has happened since? We have never received a single word of communication from the Minister of Health. There has been no attempt at consultation, but a circular was issued to the local insurance committees on the 21st April which is obviously a circular from headquarters. It says that the clerk to the insurance committee is directed to give notice that persons applying, and so on,after consultation with the Retail Pharamacists' Union as representative of the general body of those persons.The regulations then go on to do away entirely with the present perfectly genuine trade practice of the co-operative societies in this country. This is not a small matter. There are cooperative branch chemists' departments in a hundred towns and districts. There are some millions of citizens who are not only members of approved societies but members of co-operative societies, and who want to claim the elementary right that, as they are entitled to benefit from their association with the State in the insurance scheme, so they are equally entitled to any benefit they can obtain in the mutual association scheme of their co-operative society. What is the reason for the Retail Pharmacists' Union bringing pressure on the Government? It is simply to get the Government to take sides against the body that they regard as a trade competitor.
When the Trade Disputes Bill was under discussion early last year, Members of the House will remember that I moved an Amendment to apply to certain employers' federations and the price fixing associations the same pains and penalties that the Conservative Government were inflicting upon Trades Unions if they withheld supplies from the market for the purpose of raising 2045 prices. We have to-day the retail pharmacists nearly all linked up with the Proprietary Articles Traders' Association, which was founded by the Pharmaceutical Society with the aid of the late Sir William Glyn-Jones. They have some thousands of articles to-day which they will refuse to supply to any of the 1,400 Co-operative Societies in this country unless they first agree either to add to their retail prices whatever rebate is given by the Co-operative Society or else agree to refuse to give any rebate upon the retail price. Do not let the House forget that these are one and the same people in fact. The Retail Pharmacists' Union are to be taken with the others. A note appeared in the Labour paper, the "Daily Herald," the other day to the effect that this matter was to be raised in the House of Commons, and I have a letter here from Mr. Corrall, a member of the Retail Pharmacists' Union, who takes exception to the attitude which we are putting to the House to-night. He says:It is the old Proprietary Articles Traders' Association's principle again that no personal dividend may be allowed on proprietary articles.This gentleman who writes to me is not only a member of the Retail Pharmacists' Union but a member of the Pharmaceutical Committee for Middlesex under the National Health Insurance Act, and doubtless he is one of the persons who have been bringing pressure to bear on the Government. Please observe that we have, of course, no redress in law, although we feel that we ought to have redress in law against great bodies like the Proprietary Articles Traders' Association who act in restraint of trade by withholding supplies from the market under such unreasonable conditions. We have often urged the Government to give protection against what I regard as a malpractice, but when it comes, not merely to failing to get redress of that grievance by legislation, and the Government taking the side of those people by introducing a Regulation and laying it upon the Table of the House, it is going too far. What has already been perpetrated with regard to chemical proprietary articles is also to be enforced on Co-operative Societies by the dictates of the Government in respect of the prescriptions which have to be obtained by the poorest of the poor and 2046 the general members of approved societies through the Co-operative movement. I regard this action by the Government as an amazing breach of what the attitude of the Government ought to be in such a circumstance as that.
I imagine that about the only real ground of defence that the Parliamentary Secretary can possibly find is that it has been stated that considerations are given for prescriptions to be taken to certain chemists, and that then corruption is likely to result, malingering may take place, and so on. I wish the Members of the House would examine that in advance. I have already indicated that in respect of these prescriptions there is a flat rate scale. It was at one time 6d. per prescription. It has been reduced to 5d., so that where a dividend check is given by the Co-operative Society upon a prescription made up under the Health Insurance Act, the dividend check for the sale of 5d. is handed to the person getting the prescription. How many prescriptions will have to be used up by a person under the Health Insurance Act before he can get any substantial monetary advantage to the extent of leading to malingering.
Moreover, if there exists a real danger of considerations being offered to aid malingering, what are the doctors doing? I understood that it was the duty of those who administer the National Health Insurance Act to see that no prescriptions were given unless there were proper cases of illness to be treated. Surely, it is the duty of the doctors upon the panel to see that they give prescriptions only where there are genuine cases to be treated. These conditions ought not to be laid upon us in such a way that we cannot give a proper share of our cooperative mutual benefits to any of our members who have a legitimate right to them. I could say a great deal more on the subject, but other hon. Members desire to speak. I regard the action of the Government in dealing with this matter by regulation as very undesirable, if not reprehensible, and I regard the further fact that they should do it upon consultation with the Retail Pharmacists' Union alone, and in spite of the conversation between myself and the officials of the Ministry in 1925, without any consultation with a movement covering 5,000,000 of people who are affected by 2047 this regulation, and who are the only people who are got at by the regulation, as being even more reprehensible.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think that I shall be able to satisfy the House that my right hon. Friend and my Department have brought forward a regulation which is not directed against any particular body, association or individuals, but is in the true interests of the proper administration of the National Health Insurance funds. I would direct the attention of the House to the terms of the regulation:A chemist shall not give, promise or offer to any person any gift or reward, whether by way of a share or dividend on the profits of the business or by way of discount or rebate or otherwise, as an inducement to or in consideration of his presenting an order for drugs or appliances on a prescription form provided by the Committee.Anyone who is interested, as the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) is, in the question of National Health Insurance, knows full well that the position of the administration of the drug fund in connection with National Health Insurance has given serious anxiety to the Government and the approved societies. There are some 11,000,000 of people in England and Wales who come under the ordinary drug arrangements with chemists. The average cost of drugs and appliances, so far as the National Health Insurance Act is concerned, has very steadily and very seriously increased. For instance, in 1916 the total cost of drugs and appliances supplied by chemists was £634,651. In 1926, that figure had risen to a sum of £1,729,078, and my Department have been driven to the conclusion, which I think is shared by those people who have been concerned with the administration of National Health Insurance, that whilst a certain increase was, no doubt, due to increased sickness, there was considerable evidence of what is called extravagant prescribing.
The difficult situation was accentuated because under the National Health Insurance Act there was only a certain sum which was permitted for the cost of drugs. Directly that sum came to be exceeded a very serious question arose as to where the increase in cost was to come from.
2048 The question that confronted my Department was whether there should be a revision of the drug tariff or whether the fees ought to be reduced. If either of these matters were to be taken in hand, it would undoubtedly be very serious, especially as far as the smaller chemist businesses were concerned. Therefore, my Department had several consultations with the Retail Pharmacists' Union. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last complained of that, but when I tell the House that this union represents some 8,000 chemists up and down the country—and I think the hon. Member himself mentioned that there were about 100 chemist businesses in connection with the cooperative societies—I think it will be felt that the Ministry of Health, in approaching the responsible union representative of the great mass of the chemists of the country, was doing the right and proper thing. I should have thought indeed it was a course which would have commended itself to the hon. Gentleman opposite.
We said to this union, "Now obviously this case has to be met. Are you prepared yourselves—because that undoubtedly is the best thing to do—to take the matter in hand and set your own house in order." The representatives of the Retail Pharmacists' Union gave an undertaking to my Department that they would be responsible for the proper administration of this fund for the amount specified in the Statute—in other words, that they themselves, subject to proper conditions to which I shall refer later, would see that the administration of the fund was conducted within its proper financial limits and that the service was adequate for its purpose. But, as was perfectly natural, they said that if they were going to take this unlimited liability, proper conditions must be laid down as to the administration of this drug tariff. They said, "We are considerably concerned with the improper practice, because there is no other word to describe it, of certain chemists who offer inducements to insured people who come to them for prescriptions—who offer such people certain presents or gifts in money." Here, may I say that so far from this proposal being directed against the co-operative societies in particular, it is an endeavour to deal with an evil in the administration of this fund, and to show the House that there is no attack upon the co- 2049 operative societies. I wish to cite certain instances of what occurs in relation to this important benefit. I have here a leaflet which was distributed broadcast in a particular area of London. I will not give the name, but the leaflet is to this effect:Insured persons will receive a free gift, value 6d., for two weeks only, 19th September to 3rd October, 1927. Every person bringing a panel prescription to be dispensed at the above address will receive, free of charge, certain items value for 6d.Then there is the further statement:No matter where you live or who your doctor is, you are quite free to bring your prescription to Mr.—. He is the most reliable chemist in the district.This is the gentleman who is offering 6d.He is really interested in your particular case, and will give free advice to patients if required. Please bring your prescriptions as early in the day as possible. Note only address. No branches.I hold in my hand another leaflet, issued by a chemist, who offers in the same way another inducement to insured persons to go to him for a particular prescription: and I have another here of a draw among insured persons, and stating that the insured person who took his prescription to the particular chemist, if he got the winning number, would receive a solid gold wristlet watch.
I should think it was apparent to every Member of the House that that is a most undesirable practice in the administration of the Insurance Act, and we have laid down in this Regulation that these inducements and gifts are not to be given. I do not think I need state any further the reason for this Regulation. Any gift or inducement of that kind, whether by a co-operative society or under circumstances of this kind, undoubtedly interferes with the freedom of choice of the particular person concerned, as it gives a bias against those who do not offer such gifts or inducements, and I think that everybody will agree that once we direct a Regulation of that kind against this particular practice, we obviously cannot, in fairness to the other chemists who administer the Act, permit inducements to be given by co-operative societies in the same connection. In other words, we want to be perfectly fair so far as the administration of this Act is concerned, but we desire to prevent what I think will be agreed is a very reprehensible 2050 practice, and that is the sole reason for our making this particular Regulation.
§ Mr. BARNES
It was quite unnecessary for the right hon. Gentleman to read out cases where private pharmacists have abused their responsibilities to the public. We are quite familiar with practices of that sort. Trade and industry of every character are honeycombed with them, and it is because we realise that that we have started our co-operative societies. Further, the specific instances which the Parliamentary Secretary has quoted are not covered by the Regulation which he previously explained. The paragraph, reads:Whether by way of a share of or dividend on the profits of the business or by way of discount or rebate or otherwise.The cases of wristlet watches and things of that sort, which we condemn very strongly in practice, are not covered by that Regulation. We do not quarrel with the Pharmacists Union. We are quite prepared to allow the Ministry of Health to deal with any cases of abuse that may occur among the pharmacists of this country, and if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to negotiate with that union let him do so. Our objection is that, under cover of negotiating with that union, he should introduce a Regulation that strikes right at the very root and foundation of our co-operative trade in this country.
As a matter of fact, the only bodies that would really be seriously injured in connection with these Regulations,, are the co-operative societies; and I want to tell the Parliamentary Secretary that it does not matter whether the Pharmacists' Union has 8,000 or 80,000 members, the fact remains that the principles upon which the co-operative movement is conducted are entirely different from those of the Pharmacists Union. We claim the right of any person who cares to associate with the co-operative movement, which is perfectly legal and has not yet been brought within the bounds of illegality in this country, to be entitled to the financial benefits. It is as well that the Financial Secretary should realise that on this occasion he cannot get away with an explanation of that sort. This process of eating into the trade of the, co-operative movement, first in respect of: one article and then of another, is growing too rapidly for us to permit it to go on much longer; and those of us who 2051 represent the co-operative movement, and the movement as a whole, mean to take a very serious view of these things. In recent years, the policy of the Proprietary Articles Traders' Association is being extended in a variety of directions, but we at least are entitled to come to a Government Department and see that that Department gives fair play to an organisation like the Co-operative Society. I want to ask the Minister this question: Can he quote any case where a co-operative society has abused the responsibility that they have under the National Health Insurance Act? Have these abuses, which he says that the Department has now to tackle, occurred in the co-operative societies engaged in this business?
§ Mr. BARNES
We are quite prepared to meet the hon. Gentleman in his own division if he says the Co-operative movement adopts unfair practices, and the people of Leyton will soon give him his answer. The point I want to emphasise is that the Parliamentary Secretary has built up his case on the ground that the cost of this particular service has been artificially increased by malpractices on the part of the profession. I would ask him, in return, whether those malpractices have occurred inside the Co-operative movement, and if it has not, and in so far as there is a separate body, separate in principle and practice from the Pharmacists' Union, I want to ask him why he should bring the Co-operative movement into these Regulations? We shall resist in every possible way the Regulations, which are going to injure our trade.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary has not said the last word on this subject, and that this does not mean that the decision is final regarding these Regulations, because, if it does, in all probability the Parliamentary Secretary has made a speech to-night which will cost him his seat at the next Election. The Parliamentary Secretary said 8,000 chemists are members of the Pharmacists' Society, but there are 5,250,000 members of co-operative societies, and I am not sure that 2052 the majority of the constituents of the right hon. Gentleman are not members of co-operative societies. Hon. Members will realise, whether they are in favour of the co-operative movement or not, that it is a very effective and efficient organisation, and that organisation will be used to bring to the knowledge of its members what has happened to-night in connection with this matter.
This is a much more important Debate than most Members realise and the consequences will be much more far-reaching. There is not a Member of the House who has not got a branch of a co-operative society in his constituency, and as the co-operative movement has 5,250,000 members one can reckon that something like 17,000,000 people are now attached to co-operative societies. The Parliamentary Secretary has replied to the case by reading out hand-bills which, on his own admission, have no application to any co-operative society. The hand-bills about prize competitions are issued by private enterprise. I think every co-operator would join with the right hon. Gentleman in agreeing that there has been, as revealed by him, malpractices in this connection, but not on the part of co-operative societies. If there had been it was the right hon. Gentleman's business to bring forward some evidence of it. He has not produced any evidence up to now. He said the Ministry has consulted with the 8,000 members of the Pharmacists' Union. We do not complain of that, we think the Ministry were wise to do it, but we think the co-operative movement is now big enough and important enough not to have been ignored—at least it might have been consulted. If regulations were found to be necessary in order to prevent malpractices, and the co-operative movement was not in question—and it is not alleged by the Minister that any co-operative society has been guilty of any malpractices—why alter ale regulations to their definite detriment without even consulting them or informing them?
The House is entitled to some further explanation on this matter. Occasionally in this House questions are asked by hon. Members opposite who are alarmed because co-operative societies, and the members of the societies as well as the societies as organisations, are showing some indications of taking political 2053 action. This action of the Ministry of Health will be of considerable help in forcing the members of co-operative societies to take political action. [HON. MEMBERS: "Then why do you object to the action?"] Because it is an unfair action, because it is an action which the Parliamentary Secretary himself has described as not being directed against co-operative societies, though the net effect of it is to handicap and cripple co-operative societies by preventing their members—
§ Mr. MORRISON
The hon. Member who is so excited on this matter might tell me why a member of a co-operative society, who buys his goods, his furniture, his clothing, his bread and all the commodities ho can get from his own cooperative stores, which he with other members owns, and gets a, dividend as the result of that collective buying, should be debarred from making purchases of his medicines.
§ Mr. MORRISON
I always understood that a man had a free choice of doctor and a free choice of dentist, and there has never been any suggestion, either by the Parliamentary Secretary or anybody else, that those who go to co-operative societies for their medicines under the National Health Insurance Act do not get as good value as they get from other chemists. Therefore, this action will deprive insured people from going to the place where they think they will get the best value. It will handicap the business of co-operative societies, because the whole of their business is arranged on what is called the dividend system. I think before many months are over the Members of this House will realise that this matter is much more important than hon. Members opposite seem to think. The co-operative movement does not desire to pick a quarrel with the Minister of Health. On the contrary, in many health matters the co-operators have been pioneers in this country. The co-operative dairies are the finest equipped, from a health point of view, in the country, and we have for years been 2054 pioneers in the early closing movement. I was hoping to hear that the Parliamentary Secretary would not have said a final word on this question to-night, but would have waited to receive detailed representations in regard to this question. I ask the right hon. Gentleman is he prepared to receive representations as to the effect these Regulations will have, and is he ready to consider whether any modification is possible in order that co-operative societies will not be handicapped? If the right hon. Gentleman will not agree to that modest request, we can only say that what he is doing is a method of attacking co-operative societies.
It seems to me that the hon. Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. Morrison) has made a clear threat of blackmail in regard to these Regulations, and I do not think a threat of that kind should he allowed to pass unchallenged. When that kind of argument is used we are prepared to say that there are people ready to spend the dividends of co-operators in political propaganda in defence of a cause which has no natural sympathy for the cooperative movement, and those funds are being used for the purpose of damaging a party for whom co-operators ought to have a great deal of sympathy. Co-operators on this occasion are not doing themselves justice. I can appreciate that when a man goes to a co-operative store and pays 5d. for an article of which 4d. is its value and 1d. represents the profit, he is entitled under the system of mutual trading to receive subsequently either 1d. or a portion of it back again. That is not the case we are discussing. Here the case is that a man who is sick goes to a co-operative store and obtains something for which he himself does not pay, and the profit on the transaction is a profit which properly belongs not to him but to various other parties, including the State and his employer.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
What happens to the profit on the transaction if he goes across the street and makes his purchases from Mr. Smith?
In that case, the State ha-s some interest in the transactions. If the contention of the hon. Member was that the profit which was being made should be returned to the 2055 State I could understand it, but to suggest that this profit should be returned in the form of a dividend to the person who is receiving medicine for which presumably he stands in need seems to me not only to be taking something of the unpalatable nature of the medicine away, but it is putting a positive inducement before persons to go on taking medicines which they otherwise would not take, in order that ultimately they may find themselves with the consolation of some form of dividend. For these reasons I trust the Minister of Health will remain firm in his Regulation, and that no one on this side will be deterred by threats of political blackmail from whatever source they may come.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
The few words I have to say will be in the nature of an appeal. I would not like an insured person who cares to go to a co-operative chemist not to have a right to go through the enforcement of this Regulation. This Regulation has been issued under Section 93 of the Act of 1924. Under Section 94 of the same Act the right hon. Gentleman is bound to receive any objections stated in writing from any body of people who object to the Order. He has met deputations before, and I would ask him whether, in view of the fact that my hon. Friends this evening have stated what is a really very strong case against the Order, he is not prepared under Section 94 to receive a deputation? The co-operative representatives will be very glad to state their case in writing to him, but may I ask whether it is not possible to receive a deputation in order to clear away this difficulty? Whatever the hon. Gentleman may say, the effect of this Order must mean that not a single insured member in the country will be entitled in law any longer to go to any co-operative chemist. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] The right hon. Gentleman has explained that the draft Order used the word "dividend," and as far as the Order goes the inducement of a dividend however small must not be allowed. Therefore, I say, whatever the intention of the Minister may be—and I may admit that I do not think it is the intention of the Minister that these people shall not go to a co-operative chemist—but whatever is the intention of the draft Order, undoubtedly it will prevent any insured 2056 person going to a co-operative chemist with an insurance prescription.
Therefore, I do ask if it is not possible to proceed in the way provided under Section 94. He has another alternative. If he cannot proceed in that way, I am not sure whether there is not the right under law to ask for a public inquiry under Section 94 (a). He would do good service to get away from this quarrel between private enterprise and the cooperative trade, and to remember that the National Health Insurance Scheme was established for the purpose of helping people who are in sickness and disease.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
I think it is a very great pity that this question should he made the subject of a faction fight at all. It is a misfortune that the Co-operative movement should be used on either side for propaganda or for political party purposes. It seems to me that this question is purely one for the House to decide, on considerations of fair play and nothing else. I listened very carefully to what the right hon. Gentleman said, and it seemed to me that he made out a complete answer to the point to which he addressed himself, but it was not, the point that was raised by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander). If hon. Members will bear with me for a moment while I read the regulation again, leaving out words that do not matter, the right hon. Gentleman will see exactly what I mean, and perhaps he will say if I leave out any relevant words. The regulation says this:A chemist shall not give promise or offer to any person any gift or reward … as an inducement … to or in consideration of his presenting an order for drugs or appliances on a prescription form provided by the Committee.The exhibits from which the right hon. Gentleman read were appeals made by certain druggists to people under the National Health Insurance scheme, to come to them with prescriptions or orders for appliances based on prescriptions; that is to say, they were inducements offered to these people, and not offered to the ordinary clients of the chemist. Is that so?
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
Yes, but they were public only to people under the National Health Insurance Scheme; that is to say, they were not inducements offered to ordinary members of the public who were clients of the chemist. That seems to me to be a very important point, because the inducements offered in these publications were special inducements to National Health Insurance patients. As I understand it, the advantages given by the co-operative movement are not special advantages given to those who happen to be National Health Insurance patients; all that they get will be the normal advantages given to any member of the co-operative movement. [Interruption.] It does seem to me that this point is important. It does not really matter, from the point of view of the argument I am trying to put forward, whether they are formal members or members of the general public. To members of the society they are not offering any special inducement because they happen to be National Health Insurance patients, and it seems to me that this regulation as it stands, especially if it introduced the word "special" before the word "inducement," could be so read, and should be so read, that no one should be penalised if they take advantage of the facilities offered by the co-operative movement.
§ Dr. VERNON DAVIES
This Order of the Minister raises a very important question, and the remarks of the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr.
§ Crawford) need, I think, a little clarification. The co-operative societies do not deal only with their members. They are perfectly prepared to deal with the ordinary public, but, as a rule, they charge them lower prices. This was brought home to me very early in my career, in a transaction which I had with a co-operative society. I was not a member of the society and, having ordered a certain material during the time I was in practice, I got a bill which I thought was excessive; and, when I inquired into the matter, they said, "Oh, but you are a member of the society, and so we charge you more, because your money pays the dividend." [Interruption.] I will give the actual circumstances. I was buying oats for my horses, and the ordinary price of oats at that time was 18s. a sack, but they charged me 21s. I went across to the co-operative society and asked them why they charged me 21s., and they said, "Because you are a member." I said, "You only charge 18s. to the public," and they replied, "Yes, 3s. goes to the dividend." Therefore, I was helping to pay the dividends of the society. What is going to happen in this case is that the co-operative society will be offering a definite bribe to the public to go to them and have their prescriptions made up.
§ Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 200; Noes, 97.2059
|Division No. 110.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Campbell, E. T.||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.Derby)||Cassels, J. D.||Ellis, R. G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Applin, Colonel R, V. K.||Cecill, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.|
|Apsley, Lord||Chapman, Sir S.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Clayton, G. C.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon, Stanley||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Forrest, W.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Cooper, A. Duff||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cope, Major William||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony|
|Bethel, A.||Couper, J. B.||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gates, Percy|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton|
|Brass, Captain W.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Goff Sir Park|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Gower, Sir Robert|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Buchan, John||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Burman, J. B.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Savery, S. S.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Hacking, Douglas H.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst.)|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Skelton, A. N.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Harland, A.||Meller, R. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Smithers, Waldron|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Nuttall, Ellis||Templeton, W. P.|
|Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Pennefather, Sir John||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Penny, Frederick George||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Philipson, Mabel||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Pitcher, G.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Preston, William||Watts, Dr. T.|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Raine, Sir Walter||Wells, S R.|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Ramsden, E.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Long, Major Eric||Rice, Sir Frederick||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Lougher, Lewis||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Ropner, Major L.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Lumley, L. R.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Womersley, W. J.|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Salmon, Major I.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|MacIntyre, Ian||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|McLean, Major A.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Major Sir George Hennessy and|
|MacMillan, Captain H.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Captain Margesson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hardie, George D.||Scurr, John|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayday, Arthur||Sexton, James|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hollins, A.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Baker, Walter||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smillie, Robert|
|Barr, J.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Batey, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snell, Harry|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Bromfield, William||Kelly, W. T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kirkwood, D.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Lawrence, Susan||Sutton, J. E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawson, John James||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lee, F.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Connolly, M.||Lunn, William||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Mackinder, W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Viant, S P.|
|Day, Harry||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Duncan, C.||Montague, Frederick||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Dunnico, H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Murnin, H.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Naylor, T. E.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Palin, John Henry||Windsor, Walter|
|Gillett, George M.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Greenall, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Potts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. A. Barnes.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Ritson, J.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
§ Adjourned accordingly at Nine Minutes after Eleven o'clock.