§ Postponed Proceeding resumed on Question, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Question again proposed.
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
Before this Bill goes through, I want to point out a serious lacuna in Clause 13, where it is explained that the expression "Bank" means the Bank of England and the expression "issue department" means the issue department of the Bank. It has been forgotten to say that where the word "silver" is used in the Bill it means, not silver, but the present alloy. I notice that part of the reserve provided for by the Bill may be in silver. Now silver is no longer currency in this realm, except, in small and dwindling proportions, for the Victorian coins which have not yet been got back. What we have at present cannot be called silver. Supposing a grocer mixed 50 per cent. of sand with 50 per cent. of sugar you could not call the mixture sugar. Supposing he 1821 has a bottle of oil, and 50 per cent, of water is infused, you cannot call it oil. So it seems to me that as we have no longer silver currency, or only silver currency of which a bare half is of precious metal, this phrase should have been inserted in the last stage of this Bill and where the word "silver" occurs it should be read,The present debased currency, partly consisting of silver, current in the United Kingdom.Surely that should be definitely stated, for otherwise we might be believing that the silver spoken of in the Bill represented something definite in the form of value. Supposing it had been the old Victorian silver, it would have had a certain value, though infinitely less than 27 pence per ounce, but still an appreciable value of some sort. Now that the currency has been debased with 50 per cent. alloy, this so-called reference reserve is only half what it was in value when the original arrangement was made by the Bank many years back. Therefore, since this so-called silver no longer represents more than one-half in value of what it did 20 years back, it would have been an excellent thing to say that where the word "silver" occurs it should mean the present debased currency of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
We have now come to the last stage of this Currency Bill, which has occupied the attention of this House for some time. I do not propose to follow the last speaker on the small but perhaps important point to which he has drawn attention, but wish to address myself to the larger issues involved in the Bill. I fear it is useless to expect that this House will reject this Measure, but I am bound to say that the Debates we have had from time to time in the House and in Committee and the defence or lack of defence which the Government have put up for its provisions, have convinced me more firmly than ever of the injurious character of this Bill for the future conditions of this country.
This Bill, on the face of it, is purely financial, but, as a matter of fact, it most intimately concerns industry and labour, jeopardises the recovery of industry from its long depression and jeopardises the absorption of the great army of unemployed. I fear that large 1822 numbers of people do not appreciate the importance of this Measure. Nevertheless, it will affect the lives and fortune of the greater part of the people in this country. I cannot help drawing attention to the very sorry figure that the industrialists have cut in these Debates and Divisions. I know that large numbers of men and women engaged in industry all over the country realise the injurious nature of these proposals. I know that quite a considerable number of Members of this House sitting on benches other than these, do not agree with all the provisions of the Bill, but what has been their contribution? We have had one very short speech at a late hour in our proceedings from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), and we have had one very brief interjection from the hon. and gallant Member for Uxbridge (Lieut.-Commander Burney).
With the exception of those two short speeches, we have had no real force put into anything in the way of opposition, or even questions, by the captains of industry in this House. The fact is that the captains of industry have entirely failed in their duty. Like the man with the muck-rake, their eyes have been cast down to their feet to the things that they find there, and they have never lifted them up to the larger issues which were above their gaze. It has been left to the representatives of Labour, and to them alone to put up a fight against this Bill. Had hon. Members on the other side of the House not supported those things they do not agree with, but supported those Amendments with which they were really in sympathy—had they done that alone—they might have obtained considerable improvements in the Bill. They have failed to do so, but their convictions have been on one side and their votes have been given on the other. As we have been quite unaided, the Government have steamrollered our opposition and are carrying through the Bill in substantially its original form, and all the Amendments that we have put forward have been defeated.
In the first place, this Bill hands over to the Bank of England very wide powers. They are not exactly new powers; it is a resumption of powers that it had before the War. These powers are given 1823 back to the Bank under almost entirely new conditions. No one, I think, can seriously deny that the powers which this Bill gives to the Bank are very extensive—so extensive that it is hardly too much to say that they enable the Bank to make or mar the destinies of this country. Nor can anyone deny, I think, that these powers are being given back to the Bank under conditions totally different from those obtaining when it had them before the War; and I think no one can deny, either, that occasions may arise when the private interests of the shareholders of the Bank may be in direct conflict with the public interest in matters which the Bank is called upon to decide. We proposed, in our Amendment to the Second Reading and by our criticism of the Bill, that there should be an inquiry into the constitution and policy of the Bank, and into the powers that it was proposed to give to it, before this Bill was passed into law. That proposition of ours, in spite of the support which I am sure it has among many Members, was contemptuously rejected.
In the second place, we demanded that, before this Bill should be brought into operation, the proposals put forward at Genoa should be implemented. The Government, and least of all the Secretary of State for War, who has been the chief spokesman for the Government in these Debates, cannot afford to ridicule what was done at Genoa. One of the principal proposals made at Genoa was that there should be a conference of central banks, and that that conference should be convened by the Bank of England. The right hon. Gentleman tried to ride off from the demand for the fulfilment of that proposal by saying that it was not the Government, but the Bank of England, which was expected to call that conference. That is, of course, in the letter, strictly true, but there would be nothing in the least unreasonable in saying that, before all these great powers are entrusted to the Bank of England, it should at least carry out this suggestion of the conference at Genoa. It might be undesirable, from the right hon. Gentleman's point of view at any rate, and possibly from the point of view of Genoa, that the Government should intervene and interfere in the methods by which the Bank conducts its operations, but there was nothing at Genoa to suggest 1824 that the Government should not prompt and push forward the Bank in holding the conference adumbrated at Genoa. As a matter of fact, the authors of the Genoa resolutions, which were passed by the representatives of the central banks and by the representatives of the Government, including the right hon. Gentleman himself, did impose upon the central banks this obligation of holding such a conference, and there would be nothing in the least inconsistent with the freedom suggested at Genoa if that had been made a condition precedent to the handing over of the wide powers which this Bill proceeds to give to the Bank.
One of the other essential features of Genoa was that the controllers of currency should steer a middle course between inflation and deflation, and thereby obtain stability in the level of prices. Stability of the level of prices is the only sound course for Governments and banks to pursue. Without stability of prices, the whole basis of industry is uncertain. No industrialist can judge how to proceed with his business unless he knows that prices are going to remain stable, and, whether prices are rising or whether they are falling, it is equally injurious to the proper conduct of business. A rise in prices leads to the folly of the years 1916 to 1920, and a fall in prices leads to the disasters which have taken place in this country since 1921. There is no doubt whatever—the right hon. Gentleman admitted it himself when he was at Genoa—that a fall in prices, that is to say, deflation, was responsible for the grave industrial depression and the grave unemployment.
The right hon. Gentleman, who has supported this Bill, and who, in fact, is its only serious defender, was a, violent inflationist between 1916 and 1920, and, like a poacher turned gamekeeper, he is the man now who defends all these provisions against expansion of the currency in the future. In the first place, I think that he mistakes expansion for inflation; and, in the second place, the safeguards which are erected in this Bill would, in my opinion, be entirely valueless if anything like the same crisis were to occur in the future which brought about inflation in the past. Our objection, however, is that they are entirely unilateral. The safeguards, such as they are, against expansion in the currency, which are 1825 contained in this Bill do not figure equally when it is a case of contraction in the currency; and undue deflation is, in our opinion, at least as dangerous, as inimical to the welfare of the State, and as injurious to industry and employment, as undue expansion can be. Therefore. we hold that still more rigid safeguards ought to have been imposed in this Bill to prevent the Bank of England and the Treasury from conniving at indefinite contraction.
The right hon. Gentleman defended himself against our Amendments by arguing that temporary circumstances might arise in which deflation would be justified, but the Amendments that we endeavoured to get grafted on to this Measure did not in any way prevent a purely temporary contraction if such should prove desirable. What we aimed at was to secure that alterations in the nature of contraction of the currency which might temporarily be decided upon should not degenerate into permanent contractions which would gravely injure industry and bring about increased unemployment. No reason whatever, no real argument of any kind, was put forward by the right hon. Gentleman or by anyone else—for no one else has defended the Bill—against the Amendments to Clause 2 which we proposed.
But, after all, our main criticism of the Bill, the main objective of our attacks, was to show that this Bill would injure the prospects of trade in the future. Expansion of trade requires expansion of currency, the re-absorption of the unemployed requires more cash to pay their wages, and, if this Bill allows of further deflation, and prevents expansion when expansion is necessary in order to meet the requirements of industry, then the Bill will have inflicted a severe blow upon trade, and will have prevented the men who are without work from obtaining anything to do again. In fact, when the spring of industry begins to show itself, the bankers' frost will nip industry in the bud, and the fiat of the bankers will prevent men from obtaining re-employment.
In the course of these Debates one hon. Member attempted to throw cold water upon our point of view by saying that it was entirely illusory to imagine that an increase in the currency necessarily meant further oil for the wheels 1826 of industry. He argued that, unless the currency were taken up, it did nothing to promote industry. He forgot, I think, the fact, which has been admitted by the right hon. Gentleman, that further currency means a further basis for credit, and that you cannot define and limit the effect of currency by neglecting the increased credit which an expansion of the currency involves. Credit and currency go together, and, like peas in a pod, you cannot say which of them is dependent on the position of the other. I am aware that large numbers of traders, manufacturers, and industrialists, and the great bulk of the workmen of this country will never realise, when their prospects are low, that their evil genius has been the provisions of this Bill. It will be possible for right hon. Gentlemen who have carried this Bill to put their hand upon their heart and say that they have done nothing to injure industry or to prevent the recovery of trade, but the fact will be that they will bear a very severe responsibility for their action in promoting this Measure, and that responsibility will be shared by all those Members on the opposite benches who, knowing better, have gone into the Lobby in defence of this scheme. When industry fails to recover and when the unemployed are not absorbed, I should not like to be in the shoes of those who, in carrying out this measure of finance, have prevented the recovery of this country.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
This Bill is really rather a simple Bill. It is to vest the management of the currency notes, in law as well as in practice, in the Bank of England. Of course, it does raise some important questions, but in itself it is reasonably simple. The first important question is whether that power should be vested in the Bank of England as now constituted, or whether it should be confided to a public corporation such as was sketched, but not fully described, by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), and afterwards referred to by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith). I am not going to repeat the quotations that I made on the Second Reading from the authoritative books issued by the party opposite, showing what is, or at least was, their policy, that is, the nationalisation of banks. The hon. 1827 Member for Keighley, with great skill and much charm, exercised his soothing grace and tried to reconcile the two statements—the nationalisation of banks and the public corporation referred to by the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. He did his best, and according to him there was nothing in it. It was all the same. Everybody on that side, though not quite so much on the Front Bench as on the back benches, was agreed that it did not matter. Whether it was a Government Department or whether it was a public corporation, it really meant the same thing. I am much indebted to the hon. Member, because he really does establish this, upon which I had been in doubt since it was denied earlier in the Debate, that the Labour party mean the nationalisation of banks. Not only is there no difference between them, but they are all agreed, notwithstanding the denial of the right hon. Member for Colne Valley. That is one question, and we answer that question by this Bill, in which we say that we intend to entrust these powers to the Bank of England and not to either a nationalised bank or a public corporation.
The next question that has been asked in these Debates, and has been the subject of a good deal of discussion on various Amendments, was what cover there should be to the bank note issue and what amount should be fixed for the fiduciary issue. This Bill follows the advice that was given by the Cunliffe Committee, advice which, after a very patient investigation at Genoa, was repeated by the Bradbury Committee, which sat some two years after the Genoa Resolutions. Those Committees, after full investigation, came to the conclusion that there should be a fixed fiduciary issue and that it should be fixed at such an amount as would be expected to leave at least £150,000,000 of gold as support for any other notes that were to be issued. While the Cunliffe Committee did not actually fix the amount of the fiduciary issue, they laid down the principles upon which it was to be fixed, and in effect, therefore, they settled that the fiduciary issue should be £260,000,000. There is now a gold holding in this country of £160,000,000, as against the £150,000,000 recommended by the Cunliffe Committee, and so the total note 1828 issue, fiduciary issue, and issue covered by gold can be £420,000,000.
We think, on the advice of those Committees, that we are right in fixing £260,000,000 and that on the experience that we have had in the last few years the fixing of it at that sum will enable a gold holding of £150,000,000 at least to be kept; but, of course, I do not pretend to be a prophet, I do not pretend to know what is going to happen. All that I can say is that there is no automatic method of fixing a currency, that there is no method so automatic that we can fix it and leave it to take its chance. There never has been. It was thought that there was in 1844, and under the Bank Charter Act there was no provision for extension whatever, but it broke down, in the sense that, there being no provision, the common sense of the people had to find a provision, and they did find a provision in the Crisis Letters which were extra-legal, extra-statutory, and only used because of the great emergencies which would otherwise have shattered the financial system of the country. We are benefiting by the experienc1e gained under the Bank Charter Act. We know that when we fix the fiduciary issue we must not fix it in an immovable fashion, because otherwise we should risk that same breakdown.
Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have, not unnaturally—I do not blame them in the least—painted the horrors of so rigid a restriction of credit that trade would be interfered with and employment harmed. It is because we realise that any fixed issue might have such an effect that Clause 8 is put into the Bill. Clause 8 is the safety valve. Should the pressure be too great, Clause 8 will relieve it. I will deal with the circumstances in which it can be used.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I understand. The hon. Member no doubt would like a national bank to sit on the safety valve. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) could sit on the safety valve. What a picture! [Interruption.]
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON - EVANS
Much more. But perhaps hon. Members will allow me to proceed. If hon. Members opposite do not really believe that Clause 8, which I call the safety valve, will operate, then I can understand their objection. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley obviously, in his speech on the Second Reading, did not understand the operation of Clause 8, because he said that the fiduciary issue could only be increased if more gold were obtained as cover for that issue, and he pictured, on an increase, a scramble for gold. Of course, if that were really the case, then Clause 8 is no safety valve at all. The increase would merely mean a further competition for gold and that gold would be restrictive of credit. I was so surprised when the right hon. Gentleman made that statement that, when I was replying to it, I asked him if it was correct. He told me it was, but I might not have understood him clearly in the first instance, and so he said that he thought the fiduciary issue would have to be supported by notes covered by gold. That is precisely the same thing.
Even now I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) when he was speaking, was quite clear that the fiduciary issue was not to be covered by gold, because he made an observation which seemed to suggest that at least mercantile bills or foreign bills in lieu of gold would have to be used as cover for the fiduciary issue. That is not the case. If the Bank of England apply under Clause 8 and ask for an addition to the fiduciary issue and the Treasury agree, the increase can take place against security and not against gold. There is no competition for gold excited by the increased fiduciary issue. Not only is that so, but gold to the extent of the increase in the fiduciary issue which otherwise would be locked up is set free, and so, in fact, the exact reverse of what the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think is the case.
Let me repeat again that Clause 8 is not intended to be used as a substitute for the Crisis Letters. The Crisis Letters were used only at the time of crisis to save a crash. The intention is quite otherwise. It is to use Clause 8 to enable any demands not induced by undue speculation to be met. Speaking on the Second Reading, I gave some possible 1830 contingencies in which that Clause could be used. Not unnaturally, commentators outside this House and, I think, some hon. Members inside this House said to this effect: "It is all very well for the Secretary of State for War to say that that Clause will be used in that way, but who is the Secretary of State for War? He is neither the Chancellor of the Exchequer nor the Governor of the Bank, and this use of Clause 8 depends, first, on the initiative of the Bank, and, secondly, upon the assent of the Treasury." I am authorised to say that the Governor of the Bank has read what I said on Second Reading. For fear that I should pledge him too much, and to be more specific, he has read what I said in columns 744 to 746 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, and he has authorised me to say that that does represent the general intentions of the Bank. That, then, is the policy of the Bank. I think on that that hon. Members can be satisfied that this Clause is in the Bill not for the purpose of being used in a crisis but to prevent a crisis arising.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The hon. Member for Keighley put very forcibly before the House the proposition that we had £160,000,000 of gold and that under this Bill £110,000,000 was being locked up to support an internal currency, for which purpose it never would be used or never would be wanted, and £50,000,000 of it only was being earmarked and set aside for the purpose of meeting foreign obligations, for which it certainly would be required. He asked, "Why lock up so much as £110,000,000 for internal purposes; why not put it all for the purposes for which it could best be used—for internal purposes?" I think that was broadly the argument which the hon. Gentleman addressed to the House, following Mr. Keynes. Does the hon. Gentleman really understand Clause 8, because, although that £110,000,000 is locked up, it is not inaccessible. The Governor of the Bank has a key to that safe, and the Treasury has another key, and, when they both turn those keys, that £110,000,000, or so much of it as may be necessary, can be released by increasing the fiduciary issue so that it can be released for external 1831 purposes. While it is true to say that it is locked up, it is not inaccessible, as it is there for the very purpose for which the hon. Member says that it should be used. This Bill, notwithstanding the very friendly criticisms which have been made against it, does seem to me to have received general acceptance by the House.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman for one moment? The right hon. Gentleman has explained very carefully two reasons for Clause 8. One was for a crisis and the other was a possibility of a foreign demand for gold. I should be very much obliged if he could explain also exactly how he regards this Clause 8 in the possibility of a persisting and permanent expansion of British trade.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
So long as gold is wanted, not, for speculative purposes or for inflatory purposes, but so long as it is wanted for, and if a case is made for, an increase of currency owing to better trade and better conditions of living, then that is one of the occasions in which, if currency is to be increased, Clause 8 is available. A case could be tentatively made for six months and for another six months, and, should it prove to be necessary permanently to increase the currency, as indeed currency would have had to be increased under the Bank Charter Act if cheques had not come in to take off the strain—if such a thing as that occurs, this Clause would open the way to it being permanently increased. I am not sure still that the use of cheques among the wage-earners will not increase in the course of years almost as greatly as it has increased among other classes.
The Bill really has received a considerable amount of acceptance generally. It has been curious to me to listen to the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) telling the House that really Government supporters, especially the industrialists, have been very slack. They ought to have moved Amendments. They ought to have supported him. He lectured the supporters of the Government and seemed to assume that he could speak for them. Curiously enough, they are very competent people. They can speak for themselves. Surely the 1832 fact that they have not supported his Amendments, and have not moved Amendments of their own, supports my contention that the Bill has received general acceptance. Of course, there are those who believe in a managed currency unrelated to gold. I cannot convince them now. We have definitely and deliberately rejected that form of currency. We have deliberately followed the advice of the highly important Committee which considered the matter. We have adopted the method of a fiduciary issue with an additional currency fully covered by gold, and although we have a fixed fiduciary issue we have provided the elasticity which the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised in his Budget speech by enabling that fiduciary currency to be increased upon a proper case being shown by the custodians of the keys of the gold to which I have referred.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
The right hon. Gentleman is always a great delight to listen to. He was particularly delightful and particularly adroit just now. He always shows himself very quick at answering questions or interruptions, and he is particularly prudent in avoiding those for which he has no answer. When he was speaking I took it upon myself—a thing I very rarely do—to make a slight interruption which I thought was relevant. He read out an extract from a letter from Mr. Norman, the present Governor, saying that what he had said on the Second Reading was the policy of the Bank.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
In case there should be any misunderstanding, I not only did not say I read a letter but I did not in fact read a letter.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
That is of no importance. There is no quarrel between us. The right hon. Gentleman drew a piece of paper from his pocket. He does everything so precisely that I thought it must be a letter. I thought he had fortified himself with it for greater accuracy. The point is that the Governor had authorised the Minister to say that represented the policy of the Bank. The present Governor will one day retire. New directors will be in their place. We may have a Labour Government in power. [Interruption.] 1833 I make the hon. Baronet a present of that — a Socialist Government. It strengthens my argument. How do we know what the policy of a future court of the Bank of England will be? That is the interruption to which the right hon. Gentleman, though he heard it very clearly, was careful not to reply, because he had no answer. There is no reply, and that is the crux of our opposition to the Bill. Here you have a Bank of Issue which under the Bill is given a monopoly of the issue of the present-day currency which has taken the place of the old coin of the realm, the 10s. and the £1 notes. You also so arrange that the Bank can force purchases of gold. You sweep away all property rights in bullion. You give a monopoly to the Bank to create an artificial trade boom according to the considered opinion, supported, I admit, by the best financial experts available in the City, of the court. You give all this power to this private company governed by its shareholders, its Governor and its directors, elected by a handful of people who happen to hold shares of the Bank of England.
This is the Bank which is having also the monopoly of issuing 10s. notes north of the border. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is looking extremely comfortable on that bench. Would he be so comfortable if he were defending in his own constituency the denial to the Bank of Scotland to issue 10s. notes? The Bank of England is a private company, an anachronism, a survival of the days of 1844, when it was created and given this monopoly, and when the Bank of Scotland had the power to issue £1 notes, and that power has been undermined first by the Treasury issue and secondly by the issue of the 10s. notes which only the Bank of England can issue in Scotland under the terms of this Bill.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Major Elliot)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has invited me to reply. I should warn him not to trespass in the sacred realm of Scottish banking unless he has much greater knowledge than he has yet been able to display.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Mere adverse reflection is not argument. Knowledge is not exclusively held by the 1834 hon. and gallant Gentleman. How does he know what I know of Scottish banking? I had a Scottish grandmother, and the first banknote I held in my hand was a note of the Scottish Bank. I have some knowledge of the matter and I have reinforced my knowledge from full-blooded Scotsmen. There are no finer bankers in the world. The Scottish representatives on the Conservative side are losing their patriotism. The Irish Members have been satisfied. They have their own separate 13111. The real problem is that Parliament has no control over this private company. It is true that, under Clause 8, if the fiduciary issue is to be increased Parliamentary consent ought to be sought. That is what the right hon. Friend describes as a safety valve. He describes me as sitting on the safety valve. He pictures me at the Treasury, which God forbid, sitting on the safety valve and forbidding the elected Governor, elected by the shareholders from increasing the fiduciary issue to meet the needs of the country. That is his picture. But my picture is this. I have a picture of the Bank of England, through its Governor, pulling up trade and letting out the fiduciary issue under Clause 2, because under Clause 2, after some secret conclave, some secret meeting with some unknown official of the Treasury, the Bank can reduce the fiduciary issue.
Look what may happen. We will suppose that a Conservative Government are in power. They are tottering to their inevitable fall. They always do fall. They always totter to their fall also. They are hanging on, but they know that their time is up. They are about to be defeated. Their time has run out. There is about to be an election. The Treasury without the leave of this House—Parliament has no control in the matter at all under Clause 2—can reduce the fiduciary issue in order that there shall not be much currency and that money can be made tight for an incoming Labour Government, which Government will mean, as it has meant in the past—I do not want to prophesy—we are hoping, greater employment, greater prosperity, a wise dispersal of spending power, and command over more money. But the fiduciary issue has been reduced. I am not exaggerating. This is in the Bill. The Chancellor of 1835 the Exchequer—my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) will be with us—
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
He goes to the Bank and says we have not a sufficient note issue, the cheques do not cover it; and we have the Treasury officials instructed by him pointing out that there should be an increased note issue. "Oh," say the Court, "not at all. The initiative rests with the Bank. The Bank must come to the Treasury first before the fiduciary issue of notes can be increased." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) is a successful industrialist. He does not come here for doles and subsidies. This is what he calls the lifeblood of industry—the currency issued under the fiduciary powers under this Bill. I say that a hostile Court of the Bank can sabotage a future Labour Government or even a Liberal Government, if they ever have one. What are the Liberals doing in this matter. What is the answer? It is that in the great national bank of issue, which, of course, must be the property of private shareholders, there shall be no politics. Keep politics out. Keep the dirty hands of Members of Parliament out of this sacrosanct institution, this Holy of Holies. When I hear men who come to speak for Employers' Associations, Chambers of Shipping, Chambers of Commerce and Federations of British Industries that are non-political, I know what it means. It means only one thing. It means that they are in favour of the continuance of the existing order of things, only a little more so. They are in favour of monopoly, and they are in favour of this immense financial power of manipulating the Bank rate, of refusing credits, being in the hands of their friends. That is what politics mean to them, and that is what no politics mean to them. But politics to us means anything which concerns the livelihood and welfare of the people and the good of the nation. Nothing is more critical than the control of the central bank of issue, the greatest financial stronghold in the world, and we say that 1836 Parliament should have properly-guarded constitutional powers over a body which has such immense powers for good or evil. That is our case.
I am going to quote one case of maladministration on the part of the Bank of England in very recent times. Before the break of relations with Russia it was difficult for firms wishing to sell British Goods to Russia on credit, to obtain bank credits. The actual reason was that an attempt was being made on behalf of an association of foreign bondholders and the City generally and all those whose god is mammon—[Interruption]. If I use picturesque language, so did the Secretary of State for War, once or twice. Let us have a little give and take, and keep our tempers. Hon. Members opposite have had their way with Russia. I am talking about the recent past. At that time, it was extraordinarily difficult to obtain credits from the banks for perfectly good business with Russia, although there was no question of the Russian trading corporation defaulting. The common knowledge, the common talk, and I can bring witnesses of repute to prove this, was that the banks, especially the smaller banks, dared not give credits to reputable British manufacturers to enable them to sell their goods of British manufacture on short term or long term to the Russian Government trading organisation, because of the veto of the Bank of England. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense!"] It is not nonsense. It cannot be denied; it is common knowledge, and hon. Members opposite who deny it are either ignorant of City knowledge or else they are deceived.
There we had the Bank of England acting against the declared policy of successive Governments—the original Government of the present Prime Minister, the Government of the right hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) and the present Government. At that time it was the officially declared policy of the Government to encourage trade with Russia. It is true that the trade facilities scheme was not accepted, but there was this deliberate hampering of a growing trade and, as the figures showed, a very important growing trade, by the Bank of England. When two of the big five banks did arrange very large credits for British 1837 manufacturers to provide very large quantities of machinery and engineerng products for Russia, the others came in.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
No, but the Government broke off relations with Russia. There is a power in the City that is exercised by certain men in their circle who are connected with the Court of the Bank of England, and while I agree with the right hon. Member for Come Valley (Mr. Snowden) that the present Governor of the Bank of England is respected throughout the world as one of the great financiers of the world and a man of the greatest integrity and honour, and while his Court are undoubtedly men well fitted to do their work, you will have political bias so long as they are elected by shareholders of the Bank of England and so long as their election to the Court is not under the control of this House.
If in the future we are to have Governments of the Left—I use the word in the broad sense—who are not to be hampered by the use of this secret unconstitutional money power, it is necessary that this House should take control of the great national bank of issue of the country, and when we are amalgamating the two currencies this is the opportunity, or this should have been the opportunity that Mr. McKenna and the late Mr. Leith and others expected, to overhaul the whole constitution of the Bank of England. Hon. Members opposite who have been content to support the Government in losing this opportunity, may one day rue it. They may be sorry that they did not ask for a thorough re-drafting of the whole constitution of the Bank. They may regret that they did not give a Conservative complexion to the reconstitution of the Bank, and for some reasons we may be glad that they have not done so, because we shall be able to bring about a different system of control. We have certain things which we feel this country will have to go through. They are to be accomplished in a constitutional, orderly and scientific way, and the Bank of England might just as well try and hold back these necessary changes in the economic system as try to hold back the tide in the North Sea.
§ Mr. DENNIS HERBERT
The hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down will perhaps forgive me if I do not follow him in his knowledge of the Bank of England, which appears to be equal and approximate to the great knowledge he claims of Scottish banks. I have risen, and I make no apologies to the House, in order to make an appeal to the Financial Secretary on a matter which is perhaps a side issue, but which is one of some importance in connection with this Bill. So far it has not been referred to at all. The simple effect of this Bill is to transfer the creation and management of certain paper currency from the Treasury to the Bank of England. An incident of that is that the beautiful and charming pieces of paper which we find so useful at times will have to be produced under arrangements made by the Bank of England instead of under arrangements made by the Treasury. I am going to suggest that here is an opportunity for the Financial Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see that the country saves, or at any rate avoids an extra expenditure of, something like £500,000 a year; and £500,000 a year is no small matter as it is equivalent to interest on something like £8,000,000 or £10,000,000 a year of the National Debt.
The Treasury notes which we have known in the past have been produced in my Division, and for that reason I claim to speak with some knowledge of the subject, at a cost approximately of 5s. 6d. per 1,000. I do not claim to know with certainty what are going to be the arrangements on the part of the Bank of England, but if what is generally supposed to be the case has any foundation whatever, and I think there is good reason for supposing it has, the cost of the manufacture of these notes in future by the Bank of England will be nearer £1 per 1,000 than 5s. 6d. That is where the Financial Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer can persuade the Bank of England to make some use of the existing arrangements in order to produce these notes in the same way as Treasury notes have been produced in the past, and so save the Exchequer a matter of £500,000 a year. For my part, as regards the Bill generally, I am so persuaded of the necessity for this change over of the control of this paper currency from the Treasury to the Bank 1839 of England that I would not for one moment bring up a question of this kind as one which ought to affect any vote on this Bill.
This is a matter in which some money could be saved without great difficulty and I think it ought to be done. There is no question here of any benefit to anybody by reason of the new notes being printed by a more expensive process than that by which the Treasury notes are at present printed. The expense falls on the Government, and any profit or any saving which arises as a result of these currency arrangements goes to the Exchequer. If these notes are going to cost about a sovereign instead of 5s. 6d. for 100,000 the revenue of the country is going to be the loser. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not 100,000!"] I am sorry, I should have said 5s. 6d. a thousand. My hon. Friend the Member for York (Sir J. Marriott) has mentioned that there is some danger in listening to these discussions on currency, and I think he suggested that it might have something to do with lunacy. At any rate, there is the difference between 5s. 6d. and a sum approximating to a sovereign, and the total difference during the year is a matter of £500,000. The record with regard to Treasury notes in the past has been so good that I do not think anyone will suggest that there is any need to attempt to improve upon it, even if the more expensive procedure were likely to be an improvement—which I very much doubt. The loss through successful forgeries or theft has been practically negligible during all the years that these Treasury notes have thus been produced, and I hope the Financial Secretary will give some attention to this appeal and will see whether he cannot, with the help of the officials of the Bank of England, make some arrangement under which that magnificent business which has been carried out so successfully for so many years past may still be made use of for the good of this country and the revenue of the Exchequer.
§ Mr. GILLETT
There is one point which has come out in the Debates on this Bill and which has been left rather uncertain. On that point I desire to address a question to the Financial Secretary. In certain eminent quarters reference has been made to the use of com- 1840 mercial bills, and that is a matter which has excited considerable interest in this connection. I moved an Amendment in Committee interpreting the word "securities" as including commercial bills and also bills on foreign firms, by which I meant bills payable in New York in dollars or in some other country in the currency of that country. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War in reply said both these classes of bills were covered by the word "securities." The hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) afterwards rather questioned the statement and asked the right hon. Gentleman if he was quite satisfied that, in the legal sense, the word covered the two classes of securities indicated in my Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) was also rather doubtful on the point, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War then said:I am advised, and quite definitely advised, that 'securities' does cover bills of exchange, but as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) has raised the question, I will certainly endeavour to be fortified in that matter, I will not say before the Report stage, but there is always another stage when it is possible to make any Amendment that may be required."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th May, 1928; col. 1348, Vol. 217.]This is the last stage of this Bill, and I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman whether any inquiry has been made upon the point according to the promise made to the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) or whether we may be satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman's answer to him still holds good, and that he is quite satisfied upon that point. I think the House is letting this Bill go with a good deal of uncertainty, and a good deal of hesitation in many quarters, where opinions have not been very strongly expressed in public. Many of those doubts and hesitations are also held in quarters which the hon. Gentleman may think are quite satisfied with his policy. There are those who are absolutely opposed to any idea of the nationalisation of banks, who think that the policy of handing over of this power into the hands of probably one, or at best two or three, men, who dominate the policy of the Bank of England, is a policy which they look upon with a good deal of hesitation. That is an opinion held by men who in 1841 no way sympathise with the views which we hold about a State bank, or the nationalisation of banking, or anything of that kind. The right hon. Gentleman has said that it is a simple matter. It has been a simple matter for him, because the general impression given of the right hon. Gentleman and of the hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary, from whom, I regret, we have not heard more, is that they have hardly considered the ideas of modern banking and have not gone very deeply into them. If they had, we might have had a larger scheme, which would have met some of the ideas in connection with the problem in a more satisfactory way.
One of the outstanding objections to this proposal is the fact that everything is kept in secret. In the City, to-day, no statement is ever issued of the policy of the Bank of England, although at times other State banks issue statements in regard to the policy that they are following up. I listened with much interest when, for the first time, we had something from the Governor of the Bank of England in a definite form, stating what he proposes to do in future; but in years to come, how is this House to know what is being done in any matter of this kind? The answer from the Treasury Bench will be that they are not responsible, and technically that is correct. Why I view this with an additional anxiety is because of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond). A good many people in this country are hoping for something important to come out of the movement that the right hon. Gentleman has inaugurated with Mr. Turner. The fact remains that those who represent industry in that combination, and those who represent the trade union movement, are concerned about this question which has been before this House, and that is why it is all the more to be deplored that in future it will be almost impossible to know anything about the policy that is governing this matter of currency. That is one of the outstanding objections to the Measure, because you are never going to get industrial peace unless the cards are placed upon the table by both sides. Here you are holding back some of the most important cards, which, the trade union movement believe—though they may 1842 be quite mistaken — will have a profound effect upon industry. And yet the Government, this Government, any future Government, will never be in a position to meet any argument raised against the Treasury on that question. I attach very great importance to the speech of the right hon. Member for Carmarthen, because he was expressing not only the views of the trade union movement but of some of the great industrialists connected with him. This is a fundamental mistake in the whole Measure.
The question of elasticity has been brought before us. Take the matter I have mentioned with regard to bills. If it is absolutely correct that the Bank of England can hold bills on foreign firms payable in other cities, it is an exceedingly important event in our banking history. It will lend itself to enormous possibilities in helping the bank to adjust the exchange movements between this and other countries; but only by accident, almost, have we got the information from the Government. Nothing of this kind was known to the general public. It is an illustration of the secrecy which will enshroud this matter in future years, until some new scheme is introduced. In spite of what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman, we still view with hesitation the provision made to deal with the elasticity of the fiduciary issue; but we have made our protest, and the future alone will show which policy is the correct one. If the Government have made a mistake, the effect of it will be borne not by themselves but by the great industrialists and by the workers. They will be the victims of any mistakes arising from this question, which though so vital and so important is yet so extraordinarily complicated that the great mass of men and women hardly appreciate how intimately it is connected with their lives and with their well-being.
§ Mr. BROAD
I view this Measure with much distrust, not because I mistrust the honesty, the integrity or the ability of the Governors of the Bank of England, but because of the purpose which they must have in view having regard to their position and the manner in which they are selected. One has no need to be an expert in surgery to have a right to select the surgeon who shall operate upon him, 1843 and that is what I feel about this particular matter. In view of our experiences since the War, we cannot feel very confident about the purpose in view. There was a powerful influence in this country in the beginning and in the middle part of the last century which had as its ideal that we should become the workshop of the world. In pursuing that purpose, those people claimed to be entirely unrestrained, and those who know the black page of that period of our industrial history will know what the absence of restraint meant—slavery for the children, long hours, miserable wages. There were to be no restraints, because they had their purpose in view! To-day the most powerful interests in this country are not composed of the industrialists or the workers, but the financiers, and it seems to me that their ideal is not that England should become the workshop of the world, but the ignoble ideal that England should become the pawnshop of the world. The manipulation of currency, combined with the inflation of credit, meant that the Great War Debt was, in the main, piled up in pounds which were only worth 13s. and the financiers, in their greed and rapacity, and desiring to see these pounds worth 13s. made pounds worth 20s. brought about that great deflation, beginning in 1920, which meant 2,500,000 people unemployed in this country in a few months. That was not because of the Great War or an act of God, but because of the cold-blooded deliberate policy of creating unemployment in order to force down the wages of the workers. By that process the employers were able to take £12,000,000 a week from the workers' wages, or £600,000,000 a year, at a time when the figures relating to bank balances showed that the value of those balances had increased 50 per cent. That is what has caused so much suffering in the coal industry and in the engineering and the cotton industry.
We dare not trust a matter of this importance in the hands of those whose
§ only idea is to add more and more to the millions which they have already manipulated. These proposals are framed with the idea of maintaining the power of those who manipulate these things from the point of view of the banker and the financial side in order that this thing which we call money should not be used for the welfare of the people. That is why I do not think this House should pass a Measure giving back to this particular authority, which has proved so incompetent in the past, the management of the financial and industrial affairs of this country. I hope the House will think seriously before placing into the hands of that authority a power which they are incapable of using properly.
§ The Secretary of State for War has said that we must have a body like the Governors of the Bank of England which will act impartially, quite apart from any considerations of politics, and who will be able to come to their decisions in an impartial way. [HON. MEMBERS: "Time!"] I can quite understand the reluctance of hon. Members opposite to listen to something which is unpleasantly true. The Secretary of State for War, as a financial expert, has said that the body to determine the amount of the currency should be an impartial body, and he puts the Governors of the Bank of England on a plane with those who administer justice. We cannot do that on this side of the House because we believe that the body proposed will not be an impartial body. If the Government really desire to have an impartial body they should make it representative of all interests, including industrial and workers' interests as well as financial interests. We could have some confidence in such a body, but we are not justified in placing such a great responsibility in the hands of the body which is proposed by the Government.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 219; Noes, 101.1847
|Division No. 148.]||AYES.||[10.51 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Barnett, Major Sir Richard|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Atkinson, C.||Bennett, A. J.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm, (Glasgow, Cent't)||Ballour, George (Hampstead)||Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Guest, Capt. Rt.Hon.F.E.(Bristrol,N.)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hacking, Douglas H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hamilton, Sir George||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hammersley, S. S.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y.Ch'ts'y)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hartington, Marquess of||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Rye, F. G.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hatlam, Henry C.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Burman, J. B.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt, R.(Prtsmth,S.)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Sandon, Lord|
|Christie, J. A.||Hilton, Cecil||Savery, S. S.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ.,Belfast)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Jones, Sir G.W.H. (Stoke New'gton)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Crawford, H. E.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Smithers, Waldron|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Locker-Lampton, G. (Wood Green)||Strauss, E. A.|
|Davidson, Major-General sir J. H.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset,Yeovil)||Loder, J. de V.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Looker, Herbert William||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lougher, Lewis||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Dixey, A. C.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harmon||Templeton, W. P.|
|Drewe, C.||Lynn, Sir R, J.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Edge, Sir William||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Macintyre, Ian||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||McLean, Major A.||Tomlinson, R. P.|
|England, Colonel A.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Macquisten, F. A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Waddington, R.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Fenshawe, Captain G. D.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Fenby, T. D.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Femoy, Lord||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Forrest, W.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Nuttall, Ellis||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Gates, Percy||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Owen, Major G.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Penny, Frederick George||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Grace, John||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Philipson, Mabel||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Pilcher, G.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E)||Power, sir John Cecil||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Price, Major C. W. M.||Major Cope and Captain Margesson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Cape, Thomas||Grundy, T. W.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Charleton, H. C.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Compton, Joseph||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Connolly, M.||Hardie, George D.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Cove, W. G.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Dalton, Hugh||Hayday, Arthur|
|Baker, Walter||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Barnes, A.||Day, Harry||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)|
|Batey, Joseph||Duncan, C.||Hirst, G. H.|
|Broad, F. A.||Dunnico, H.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Bromfield, William||Gillett, George M.||Hollins, A.|
|Bromley, J.||Greenall, T.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Buchanan, G.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Palin, John Henry||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Paling, W.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. w.||Sullivan, J.|
|Kelly, W. T.||Potts, John S.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Kennedy, T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Riley, Ben||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Kirkwood, D.||Ritson, J.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Lansbury, George||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)||Viant, S. P.|
|Lawrence, Susan||Scrymgeour, E.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Lawson, John James||Scurr, John||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Lee, F.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Lindley, F. W.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Westwood, J.|
|Lowth, T.||Shinwell, E.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Mackinder, W.||Sitch, Charles H.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Windsor, Walter|
|Maxton, James||Smillie, Robert||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Montague, Frederick||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Murnin, H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Naylor, T. E.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Mr Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Oliver, George Harold||Snell, Harry||Whiteley.|
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.