HC Deb 17 May 1928 vol 217 cc1389-94

I beg to move, in page 6, line 12, after the word person, to insert the words "in I he United Kingdom."

This is intended to make it clear beyond a shadow of doubt that this Clause is for the purpose of preventing gold hoarding in England. It is not intended to interfere with the holding of gold in England on behalf of foreign banks or persons. That is the intention of the Clause. It is not quite clear and we are adding these words.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."


The "Ayes" have it.


On a point of Order. May I submit to you that there were at least half-a-dozen distinct "Noes" when you put the Question.


The "Noes" were belated. After I had collected the voices, there were some belated cries of "No."


It surely does not follow that a Member must get up to speak in order to oppose a Question. If a number of Members shout "No" we are entitled to a Division.


The hon. Member is quite right there, but on this occasion I think the voices shouting "No" came just too late.


I shouted continuously "No." I did it in such a fashion that all who were willing could hear. The only way you did not hear was that you were not willing to hear.


I am always willing to hear relevant observations. If as soon as hon. Members realised that the Question was being put they said "No" I will give them the benefit of the doubt as to their belatedness.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 161 Noes, 62.

Division No. 137.] AYES. [12.25 a.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Raine, Sir Walter
Albery, Irving James Grant, Sir J. A. Ramsden, E.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Greene, W. P. Crawford Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Hacking, Douglas H. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)
Balniel, Lord Hammersley, S. S. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Harland, A. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Harrison, G. J. C Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bethel, A Hartington, Marquess of Salmon, Major I.
Betterton, Henry B. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Haslam, Henry C. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Sandeman, N. Stewart
Brass, Captain W. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Sandon, Lord
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hills, Major John Waller Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Hilton, Cecil Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Shepperson, E. W.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hopkins, J. W. W. Skelton, A. N.
Bullock, Captain M. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,'C.)
Burman, J. B. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt, R.(Prtsmth, S.) Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Kindersley, Major G. M. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Christie, J. A. King, Commodore Henry Douglas Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Knox, Sir Alfred Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Lamb, J. Q. Storry-Deans, R.
Cooper, A. Duff Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Cope, Major William Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Couper, J. B. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Courtauld, Major J. S. Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Macintyre, Ian Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) McLean, Major A. Tomlinson, R. P.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Macmillan, Captain H. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Curzon, Captain Viscount MacRobert, Alexander M. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Dalkeith, Earl of Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Margesson, Captain D. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Mason, Colonel Glyn K. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Meller, R. J. Wells, S. R.
Dixey, A. C. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Drewe, C. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M, Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Nelson, Sir Frank Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Fanshawe, Captain G. D. Oakley, T. Womersley, W. J.
Foster, Sir Harry S. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Penny, Frederick George Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Fraser, Captain Ian Perkins, Colonel E. K. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colone Francis E. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Ganzoni, Sir John Pilcher, G.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Power, Sir John Cecil TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Preston, William Captain Wallace and Sir Victor.
Gower, Sir Robert Price, Major C. W. M. Warrender.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Saklatvala, Shapurji
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hollins, A. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Sitch, Charles H.
Batey, Joseph Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) John, William (Rhondda, West) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Buchanan, G. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Sullivan, J.
Dalton, Hugh Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Sutton, J. E.
Day, Harry Kelly, W. T. Thurtle, Ernest
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Kirkwood, D. Tinker, John Joseph
Gibbins, Joseph Lawson, John James Varley, Frank B.
Gillett, George M. Lindley, F. W. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lunn, William Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Greenall, T. Mackinder, W. Wellock, Wilfred
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton) Welsh, J. C.
Grundy, T. W. Maxton, James Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Murnin, H. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Oliver, George Harold Windsor, Walter
Hayday, Arthur Paling, W.
Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Potts, John S. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Hayes.
Hirst, G. H. Purcell, A. A.

I beg to move, in page 6, line 23, to leave out the words "four of the Bank Charter Act, 1844," and to insert instead thereof the words "one, sub-section (2), of the Gold Standard Act, 1925."

I would very gladly have dispensed with moving this Amendment at this late hour if I could reconcile it with my desire for enlightenment on what I conceive to be a really important point. Clause 11 lays down the drafting with a view to concentration of the gold reserve and economy in the use of gold. It empowers the Bank of England to acquire gold at a rate of 77s. 9d. per ounce standard as laid down in the Bank Charter Act of 1844. My Amendment changes the Bank Charter Act of 1844 to the Gold Standard Act of 1925; in other words, that the Bank shall be empowered only to acquire this gold at 77s. 10½d. The position at the moment, as I understand it, is that any holder of gold may take it to the Bank of England and demand payment for it at 77s. 9d., but conversely, if any trader or individual wants gold in any quantity from the Bank of England he has to pay 77s. 10½d. for it. May I put a very simple and brief hypothesis which shows the difficulty which I am in? Assume that a firm of brokers or dealers have brought gold on a Monday or Tuesday, and have reason to believe that their Indian or Egyptian market, which may be closed for a religious holiday, will come into the gold market on the following Thursday. Under this Clause the Bank of England may say "No, we want your gold now at 77s. 9d.," whereas, if they had been allowed to wait until Thursday, they might conceivably have got 3d. or 4d. an ounce more. I have nothing but support to give to any Clause which is designed to economise the concentration of the gold reserves, but if by the acquisition is meant an acquisition which gives a profit of 1½d. per ounce, primarily to the Bank of England but in actuality to the State, then it appears to me that we are concentrating our gold reserves at a profit of about 1½d. per ounce standard.


As the hon. Member says, as the Clause stands, the Bank can buy at £3 17s. 9d. and sell at £3 17s. 10½d. If the Amendment stands the broker could buy back his gold at the price for which he sold it, and thus defeat the object of the Clause. I thought I cleared up the point in my Second Reading speech. Clause 11, in line 19, provides for the very contingency which the hon. Member foreshadows. It enables the Bank to buy any holding of gold coin or bullion in excess of £10,000 compulsorily, with the important exception of gold, which is bona fide held for immediate export or which is bona fide required for industrial purposes. I went on to say that this exception is devised to leave the activities of the London bullion market entirely untouched. I think the objection is met by that.


It seems to me that the convertible gold reserves in the possession of a firm, an individual, a bank or a corporation might quite reasonably be held for industrial purposes, and have been held for some considerable number of years. It is rather a negation of what I understand as a free gold market if gold, which is genuinely held for industrial purposes, can be taken over at a profit to the State.


I am very sorry that I have to object to this Clause being passed without this Amendment. The Financial Secretary has treated the Committee very discourteously in getting up at this time of the morning and trying to explain the thing in the way that he has done. It is almost an insult to the intelligence of the Committee to expect us to pass this without some further explanation.

Amendment negatived.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.