§ (1) For the purposes of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, lands and heritages shall not be deemed not to be occupied and used as a factory or workshop by reason only of the fact that the owner or occupier of the lands and heritages is the only person working therein or that no other person working therein is in his employment.
§ (2) For the purposes of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, the following lands and heritages shall be deemed to be industrial lands and heritages occupied and used wholly for industrial purposes, that is to say: 1239
- (a) Salmon fishings, so far as the right thereto is exercised by net or cruive, where such right of fishing by net or cruive is regularly exercised throughout that part of the year during which that method of fishing is permitted by law and where no revenue is derived by the owner or occupier from any other method of fishing in the said part of the year;
- (b) Minerals which are let notwithstanding that they are not being worked at the time."
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, to leave out Sub-section (2).
We are certainly in favour of the provision in Sub-section (1) that the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, shall include the one-man business, such as that of the village blacksmith and so on, but we on this side of the House are not prepared to accept Sub-section (2), which would include salmon fishings and unwrought minerals.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I beg to second the Amendment.
I think it will be clear, from what has taken place this morning, that we on this side are quite definite as to the need for separation in a case like this. It-makes the matter very difficult—and I think it is purposely done—when, with one matter that may be said to be agreed, other matters are put in which may be contentious. That may be good political strategy, but it is not a very honest way, if I may say so, of carrying out the opinion of the House. The Lord Advocate, in referring to my earlier remarks, was very unconvincing to me. I asked him to face the possibility that things which could not mature in production would now receive some form of relief. It is no answer to say that rates are being paid on that which is not worked, because examination of the accounts of a colliery will show that these sums are chargeable to that which is being produced. This has a direct effect on the wages of the miners, because any payments in respect of coal that is not worked, and not likely to be worked, will come on to that side of the balance sheet where the miners' wages are determined. If the colliery is now paying, or said to be paying, on coal that may be 1240 worked 50 years hence, that is being met to-day by putting it as a charge against the miner in the costs which determine what he is to receive, and this is an indirect way of bringing about a reduction in the coal-getters' wages.
On the one side of the ascertainment is included everything that is laid down by law as a cost, and this is one of the costs, but it is not to be, under this Measure, a simple cost based on the number of tons produced; it is going to be a cost which relates to minerals that may never be brought to the surface. There could be nothing more unfair and ill-conceived than such an alteration in the law—and I still insist that it is an alteration in the law—and, if we were fairly dealt with as the House of Commons, the other House would not be allowed to change the law on the last day of the Lords Amendments to a Bill. This is the first intimation of this alteration of the law so far as Scotland is concerned.
The ascertainments at coal mines are affected in a hundred different ways, but who is going to say in the mining areas how this is going to affect the wages of the miner? As an illustration, take a combination of 10 companies. When the single companies are working as units, the costs, so far as regards the areas they agree to work within their district, are the costs chargeable in the ascertainments; but when, as is happening all over the country, you have a combination of all these collieries, it means that, instead of 10 ascertainments, there is only going to be one, and that means that what is a matter for the future in relation to the actual returns is now going to be placed upon the ascertainment sheet which determines the miners' wages.
The Lord Advocate did not meet my argument about payment in anticipation for something that may never be worked, but the cost of that anticipated working of a certain amount of coal is put on to the charges of the current year, because the assessments are included in the ascertainment which decides the miner's wage. When we were dealing with the earlier Amendment to the Title, I hoped that between then and now the Secretary of State, having heard our unanimous views on this side, might have got some information with reference to what was put forward in argument, or might have seen someone of authority in the other House 1241 in order to ascertain whether it would not be possible to delete that part of the Amendment which alters Scottish law and custom. I understand, from those who have had longer experience in this House than myself, that there is no indication anywhere that any suggestion has ever been put before this House such as is contained in this Amendment, not only to disturb Scottish custom but to alter the Scottish law.
I must, of course, accept the Ruling given from the Chair this morning on the question of altering the Eating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, by a simple Amendment from the other House on the last day on which we can consider it, but such an alteration seems to me to be entirely outside the common practice of this House. I always understood that, in amending an Act of Parliament, we were dealing with something direct, that is to say that, if it were a question of another Bill dealing with rating and valuation as a single subject, it might be possible; but to bring in at the last moment an alteration of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, is something which, as I understand from those who have had long experience, is unknown as a matter of practice. For these reasons, we move the deletion of Sub-section (2) of the Lords new Clause, and I hope that, if for no other reason, Scotsmen in this House, no matter to what party they belong, will combine and show that we are not going, to allow the other place to come in at the last moment and make an alteration in our laws.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
In reviewing the point under discussion, we should keep in mind that the question of Privilege has been raised, and, keeping that in mind, the importance of the Amendment should be fully realised. It has been advanced by a right hon. Gentleman opposite that the reason why the Amendment was put down was to bring Scottish practice into uniformity with English practice. I want to be quite clear where we are. The English practice is that ungotten minerals are not subject to rating. In Scotland, the opposite practice prevails, and ungotten minerals are subject to assessment for rating. Not only that, but as the law stands, the rental values that it is possible to procure under the rating operations have to be annually ascertained. That is to say, from year to year the 1242 Scottish people know what is the possible rental that may be procurable from these properties where ungotten minerals are to be found. I know of nothing which would rouse the Scottish people to a greater feeling of injustice than this, that if this Amendment is accepted, all the knowledge that we have found from this long practice which, in my opinion, makes the Scottish Rating Law infinitely superior to the English law, will be wiped out. That means another step in hiding from the public view the increases in values which accrue to the natural elements in the soil, such as coal and other raw materials.
I cannot help, in looking at the Amendment, allowing my mind to go back to the old quarrel. Many a night in the gallery have I sat and watched the Chamber whipped into a white heat over the old discussion as to whether we should tax ungotten minerals, and the dear Lords in the other place, who have now sent down this pious and innocent Amendment, are hoping to get away with the old difficulty of any attempt at assessing or valuing or taxing ungotten minerals. That is what this will do. That is what will happen if the Amendment is accepted, that ungotten minerals will be put out of the purview for valuation and to that extent will be hidden. Meantime year after year there will be accretions in value, and by, as it were, abolishing any form of public information the public are wholly unaware of the immense values embedded in the land of this country and of Scotland. It is indeed one of the vaguest of excuses for the Government to say that they are accepting the Amendment merely to procure uniformity in practice.
Let us put it the other way. If the Government is extremely anxious to have uniformity in practice, we who come from Scotland will suggest that the English law should be changed to bring it into uniformity with the practice of the Scottish law. That would mean divulging the value of the ungotten minerals in England, so that the easiest matter for Members of another place is to suggest that we should come into uniformity with the English practice to their advantage. Under the De-rating Scheme, both in England and in Scotland—it should be known more than it is outside this Chamber—this is a gift of £45,000,000 to landowners. 1243 One of the greatest conveyancing lawyers in the country told me the other day that this is a gift of £100,000,000 to the landowners of England and Scotland. This Amendment, if carried, will mean more de-rating. It will mean that ungotten minerals will be exempted from the further impingement of local rates. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) that if such an Amendment as this had been known more widely, if, indeed, the people of Scotland knew that such an Amendment was going to be brought in on a Friday afternoon to be imposed upon them, the Government would have found a very intimidating force in the House to-day. There seems to be an unholy imbroglio as to where we stand in procedure with regard to the whole matter. Let us look at the Bill. We are referred in the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act to the Land Valuation Act, 1854, as to how these ungotten minerals have to be assessed. It is on the old form. This form was copied from the English:Whereas it is expedient that there should be uniform valuation, the assessments leviable may be levied according to the real rent of such lands and heritages as may be assessed and collected and that the provision for the valuation shall be made annually.I want every Scotsman to realise that if the Amendment be carried it wipes out your annual valuation, it abolishes the necessity of the owners of these ungotten minerals from paying a rate, and it leaves them in the beautiful position of going into the open market with their ungotten minerals enhanced in value by the operation of easement and assessment. It is increasing the power of the landowners, as the whole of this Bill does, to extract more money in the open market for what they are pleased to term an asset.
Then with regard to the method by which the Amendment has been brought in. It seems to me that the Amendment is one to the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act. It is not really an Amendment to this Bill. It is jerrymandering the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act to suit the landowners under the Scottish De-rating Bill. It will mean this, because the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928, clearly states that whereas in the English Bill the word "hereditament" is used to 1244 designate the subjects for de-rating, in the Scottish Bill we have to substitute the words "lands and heritages." If we review the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, under the term "hereditament," ungotten minerals are not subject to assessment. If we substitute "lands and heritages" for "hereditaments" and apply it to Scottish law, ungotten minerals, undeveloped minerals, unused minerals are subject to assessment. It seems rather sharp practice that in order to procure this easement of an annual imposition of a rate on ungotten minerals, and the Scottish interest in land and the interests in these ungotten minerals, we should widen the terms of an Act which is the governing Act of the De-rating Bill. The Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act is the governing Act of these two cumbrous Acts which follow. Time after time in attempting to discuss Amendments and changes in the Derating Bills we were referred back to the governing Bill, the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill. We were precluded, and rightly so, from attempting to introduce into the De-rating Bills any change in practice which would necessitate any Amendments in the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act. This morning we find that an Amendment has come down from the Lords which in substance means an Amendment of the definitions in the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act. They are to be allowed to embody a change in the Local Government (Scotland) Bill which in effect changes the definitions embodied in the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Bill.
I come back to the main principle. If there is anything of which the Scottish people should approve it is the fact that there should be some form of assessing or of appreciating the value of the ungotten minerals of their country. The more ungotten minerals and land are kept out of use, the more difficult it becomes to provide employment, and, indeed, to reduce the costs of production. The more we can make it difficult for men to keep these natural elements out of use the better it will be for employment generally. The imposing of a sort of penalty upon owners and others compelling them to pay on the assessment of these ungotten minerals is thought to be of use in getting the 1245 owners of these properties to exploit and use the minerals. Absolving them from payment will have the opposite effect. This proposal has been brought forward in an empty House, but the benches opposite will be packed when the Division bells ring. The arguments that we are advancing are not appreciated, and the Scottish Bill will be carried by a majority of votes given by hon. Members representing England, who do not understand the significance of the question involved. It seems as though we are now beating the air. I have attempted to make clear the very great importance which the Scottish mind attaches to the principle embodied here. We want to know the extent of the ungotten minerals in our country. We want to know the year to year value of these minerals. We are anxious to impose an annual assessment on these minerals with a view to forcing the holders of these valuable natural assets to put them into use.
I would challenge the Government. I would challenge any sportsman who now sits on the Government Benches to go with me into any Division in Scotland after Monday next and argue in favour of this Amendment, even in their own Divisions. To think that under a question of Privilege this House has been winged in its attempt to deal with the taxation of this country! The Government are responsible for supporting an Amendment which will have the effect of appreciating the values of property and wiping out the necessity for an obligation being imposed upon the owners to make an annual return as to the value of the ungotten minerals which they hold. They are intensifying the value of land. It should at least be patent to anyone that when you make it more difficult to get at the land you are also increasing the difficulty of producing wealth and solving the question of unemployment. To think that this is being done under the pretext that this Bill will provide more employment and result in reducing the cost of production! Such an Amendment as this is bound to have an opposite effect. There is nothing in which I would revel more than taking any Member of the Government to heel on this matter in his own constituency.
The Division bells will be rung and the Government will bring in their factotums to vote. If this proposal is carried to-day 1246 the Government will know in their heart of hearts that they have done it by virtue of the votes of men who do not understand what is behind it. I can assure them that the Scottish people will realise the position when Scottish Members on this side of the House go among them and make it known that this is another present to the landowners, and that it is an effort to hide Scotland's national assets from the people. The late Lord Advocate of Scotland who has just left the House openly confessed that all the advantages under this Bill, whatever they might be, whether it was the de-rating of hereditaments, industrial or agricultural, or of freights, would go to the owner of the land, he being the permanent possessor of the property.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I heard an interjection from an hon. and gallant Gentleman for whom I have the greatest regard. I am sure that he has not said that merely to provide a sort of comic interlude in regard to what I am saying. Does he say that I am speaking nonsense? Does he say that the Lord Advocate was speaking nonsense, or does he say that I am say-what the Lord Advocate did not say? I want an answer.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I am told that the Lord Advocate did not say what I am saying. I am sure that I shall be allowed to meet that charge that I am misquoting the words of a very responsible Member of the Government. These are the words used by the late Lord Advocate:I made it quite clear that I thought there could be no difference between us as to the first point "—that was a point which he and I were discussing across the Floor of the House—because"—notice the words—the tenant comes and goes and the landlord is the only permanent person; he is the owner of the property. Therefore, it is perfectly true to say that the benefit which follows on the land must come back to the landowner.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
There you are. The hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Major Elliot) knows, as a student of Scottish reasoning, what are major premises. That is the major premise. Having got the major premise, I will read the rest of what the Lord Advocate said, which the hon. and gallant Member thinks qualifies the major premise. Perhaps for his benefit I had better repeat the major premise:Therefore, it is perfectly true to say that the benefit which follows on the land must come back to the landowner. But I also said that the later stage is the interesting stage, as to whether or not when a fresh tenant comes that fresh tenant gets any benefit out of it.Clearly, the Lord Advocate was suggesting there that the good landowner might consider sharing some of the benefits with his tenants. No one doubts that, but the major premise is the thing that I am after. The economic law of rent, as the hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove knows perfectly well, operates like sunshine; you can no more stop it than you can shut out the sunshine in this room. The quotation is nothing more or less than a statement by the late Lord Advocate of the law of rent, that as the landowner is the permanent owner of the property, any benefits coming through this Act would adhere to the land, and that with tenants coming and going and leases falling in and new leases having to be made, the benefit undoubtedly goes to rent. Therefore, it is the benefit of the landowner. I am not going to ask the hon. and gallant Member to be good enough to withdraw what he said, but I think he will admit that he was rather rash in making his interjection. He said that I was speaking nonsense. Does he say so now?
§ Mr. MacLAREN
The Lord Advocate said that the whole of the benefits would go to the landowner. Does the hon. and gallant Member deny that the Lord Advocate said what I have quoted?
§ Major ELLIOT
No, but what he quite clearly said was given in the whole of his statement, and that, and not the half of it which the hon. Member has quoted as the major premise, is the whole premise.
§ Major ELLIOT
He was talking of the earlier portion, on which the Lord Advocate repeatedly challenged hon. Members opposite, and I cannot allow the hon. Member's challenge to go today, now that my right hon. and learned Friend is no longer a Member of this House.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I will leave it to any unbiased readers of the words, and I would ask them to weigh in their minds what I have said in regard to the major premise.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I will read it again:I made it quite clear that I thought there could be no difference between us as to the first point, because the tenant comes and goes and the landlord is the only permanent person; he is the owner of the property. Therefore, it is perfectly true to say that the benefit which follows on the land must come back to the landowner.Then comes a statement of pious hope:But I also said that the later stage is the interesting stage, as to whether or not when a fresh tenant comes that fresh tenant gets any benefit out of it. It is there that the hon. Member is not quite fair to my argument."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1929; col. 1249; Vol. 225.]That is what the Lord Advocate said. The latter part was a pious hope or wish that the landowner, out of the goodness of his heart, might divide what in reality is his under these Acts. No one questions that some landowners might do that, certainly I do not question it for a moment. The major premise is the thing that I am after, and that is that the benefit under these Acts will go to the landowner. I hold by those words. The Lord Advocate used them, and no 1249 Scottish student of economics would dare to get up in this House and deny that those words are true.
§ Major ELLIOT
I am sorry for the hon. Member. Of course, having got his beautiful bee out of his bonnet, he is giving it an airing round the House on this subject, and it is very hard on him to try to wing his beautiful thesis. The economic law, which he knows as well as I know it, is that not one of these things can be considered separately. The working of the law of rent is not to be considered separately from the working of our economic burdens. The hon. Member said that we can no more stop it than we can exclude sunshine from this House, but he knows that by reason of the artificial surroundings of the House we have an artificial light shining over our heads, instead of being subject to the direct rays of sunshine all over the House.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
It does not come well from a man who is a very serious student of economics to say that when I am trying to make clear the economic consequence of this Act of Parliament, and to correlate it to a law which he knows is an invincible law, the law of rent, that I am airing a bee about the House. Henry George says:When men cannot argue against your case, they will call nick-names across at you.That is what has happened here. However, I will let the bee go. I would point out, however, that I did not insult the hon. and gallant Member by saying that any principles advocated by him are simply a number of bees floating about. I would simply ask that when he interjects the next time, he will be a little more careful to see that there are no artificial ideas on the top of his head, but that the sunshine of truth will prevail in his brain, and that he will accept what has been said by one of his own colleagues. I stand by the words quoted. May I now come back to the point with which I was dealing when the hon. and gallant Member intervened? A little recapitulation will do no harm. This Amendment, if carried, will absolve the landowners in Scotland from the obligation of paying rates upon ungotten minerals. It will do something which is much worse than that, in that it will abolish the necessity for making a statement as to their annual value which, in 1250 turn, keeps the public blind to the increasing annual value of the national assets. The economic consequences of that is that, instead of forcing raw material into use, by giving these benefits to the owners and absolving them from having to pay a rate or a tax upon the annual value of these properties, to that extent we are hardening the monopoly in these raw materials and making employment more difficult than it would otherwise be. Last, but not least, I would ask whoever may reply for the Government to weigh well the words they say, because they will be quoted against them at length in the forthcoming election. I hope that in the course of the Debate some straightforward honesty will break out, such as came from the lips of the late Lord Advocate, and that we may be able at the forthcoming election to supplement the Lord Advocate's very excellent pronouncement.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I do not intend to make any electioneering point, as has been suggested by the hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren). The hon. Member has founded his argument upon entirely erroneous premises. As I understand his argument, he suggests that in Scotland ungotten minerals are entered into the assessment roll, and are assessed.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
The hon. Member has been referring to ungotten minerals, quite irrespective of whether they were let or unlet. It is only in regard to minerals that are let that there is any assessment. The suggestion, as I understood it, Was that in this Bill there is no longer going to be an entry in the valuation roll in regard to these minerals. That is quite inaccurate. So far as minerals which are let are concerned they will be entered as heretofore in the valuation roll. The position is this. In England, if minerals are let and not worked, they are not assessed, they pay no rates. In Scotland, in the same position, a colliery has to pay rates upon the valuation, and this places collieries in Scotland in an inferior position to collieries in England. This Bill does away with that hardship to a certain extent because, if it becomes law, on minerals 1251 which are let but not worked colliery owners or tenants will only have to pay rates on one-quarter of the valuations. To that extent we approximate to the position in England, where they pay nothing. As I have said before, you will always have these subjects entered in the valuation roll.
When a company is proposing to develop a colliery where there is a mineral field, and if they are fortunate enough to have an owner who owns the whole of the ground in which they propose to work, they take a lease from him of that ground. That case would fall within the original Bill. But if the company which is going into this venture find that one portion of the ground they want belongs to one owner and another portion to another owner the matter is then different—they do not intend to sink pits over both grounds-they sink one pit in the land of one owner; and that is the mine. With regard to the case where the lease is from one single owner it will be considered a mine for whole venture; if you work one part you are working the whole, and there would be relief to that particular colliery. But in the case where there are two landlords and you only work in one part and not in the other, then, under the Bill as it originally stood, there would be relief to the company only with regard to the valuation of the mine in the particular area of the one landlord, and as regards the ground of the other landlord there would be no relief at all, although the lease was taken as a single venture. It is to meet that hardship that the Amendment has been introduced. There is no sinister design behind it, as suggested by the hon. Member for Burslem. It is simply a matter of fairness, justice and equity, and I hope the House will support it.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
I think the Lord Advocate has recognised the point made on this side of the House and has stated a case from his point of view. But when an Amendment of this kind comes from a quarter which is known as "another place" it is necessary for us to recognise the composition of that body, and there is no doubt that there is an element of landed proprietorship in this matter which makes hon. Members on this side 1252 of the House naturally squeamish when such a proposal comes before them. The arrangement with regard to salmon fisheries in this Amendment is not to the credit of those who occupy positions in the other place. They have no particular anxiety for the individual salmon fisher and his industry. This is a plea for specific interests which have established themselves so effectively that they can exercise power in Parliament without having any authority from the people of the country. In my view there are strong reasons why we should resent anything of this kind and it is not fair to the hon. Member for Burslem to describe him as having a bee in his bonnet. What I am concerned about is not the bee, but what is below the bonnet; what is in the man's head. My hon. Friend is prepared to debate this question upon any platform and in any constituency. Although he may be in charge of a bee-hive he is certainly not a drone. This proposal has come from the house of drones. I pay special attention to any man who puts forward a specific case with a clear knowledge of what he is talking about, and it is exceedingly poor business to come away with this stale old jibe about a man having a bee in his bonnet. Where would any of our great inventions have come from if there had not been men with bees in their bonnets? There are too few people with bees in their bonnets at the moment. It is at any rate an evidence of vitality. It is well that there should be men on this side and also on the Government side of the House who can put forward their case, and defend their arguments, providing the thing is done conscientiously. Landed interests are undoubtedly involved in this matter, and on Friday afternoon, when there is a scarcity of Members and a likelihood of such matters being shuffled through, the House is asked to consider complicated and intricate issues. It is well that we should have the advice and counsel of those who have gone into these matters. I think we have every reason for taking our stand against anything of the kind emanating from the other House.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Lords Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 114; Noes, 49.1253
|Division No. 285.]||AYES.||[2.6 p.m.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Russell, Richard (Eddlsbury)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Berry, Sir George||Hills, Major John Waller||Sandon, Lord|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hilton, Cecil||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Brail, Captain W.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belfst.)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Brocklabank, C. E. R.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Brown, Brig. Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Long, Major Eric||Strauss, E. A.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Templeton, W. P.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Lumley, L. R.||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Cope, Major Sir William||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||MacIntyre, Ian||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||McLean, Major A.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Edge, Sir William||Macquisten, F. A.||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Ward, Lt. Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.M.)||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Margesson, Captain D.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wells, S. R.|
|Gates, Percy||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Pilcher, G.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sirs H. (W'th's'w, E)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Preston, Sir Walter (Cheltenham)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Grotrlan, H. Brent||Radford, E. A.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Hamilton, Sir George||Remer, J. R.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Harmon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Sir Frederick Thomson and Mr. Penny.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shinwell, E.|
|Barnes, A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Snell, Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Kelly, W. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Lansbury, George||Viant, S. P.|
|Broad, F. A.||Lawrence, Susan||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Bromley, J.||Lawson, John James||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Lee, F.||Welsh, J. C|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lowth, T.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Dalton, Hugh||MacLaren, Andrew||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Dannison, R.||Maxton, James||Windsor, Walter|
|Dunnico, H.||Naylor, T. E.||Wright, W.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Potts, John S.|
|Gosling, Harry||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Hardie, George D.||Scrymgeour, E.||T. Henderson.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Sir J. Gilmour.]
§ Mr. SHINWELL
I wish to raise a point in connection with Sub-section (1) of this Lords Amendment. The point was raised earlier in the proceedings as to the number of persons who may be affected by the Amendment in respect of one man businesses.
(Mr. James Hope): I am not clear to what the hon.
1254 Member is referring. Is he referring to the original Clause of the Bill?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
No, I am referring in Sub-section (c, 1) of the Lords Amendment. The matter arises in this way: The hon. Member for Peebles (Mr. Westwood), when the Amendment was first mentioned, moved to delete Sub-section (2), and that clearly precluded an opportunity of raising the points that I wish to put before the Secretary of State on Subsection (1) of the Lords Amendment. I desire not to oppose the Amendment, but 1255 to ask one or two questions regarding it. Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many persons are likely to be affected by this provision, and what is to be the total cost? Can he give an assurance—this is very necessary—that these persons will not require to make constant requisition to the assessors in respect of their right to rating relief? Unless there is some definition of the persons who come within the ambit of the Clause we shall have constant litigation arising from appeals to the assessor. Will the agricultural blacksmiths, the joiners, and the persons referred to by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir Robert Hamilton) be included? I appreciate the difficulty at this stage of giving a definite answer because the matter has just come from the other place, but I think it will also be appreciated that many persons are uneasy as to whether they come under this provision or not and it is very important that those persons should be informed on the matter. It is very important that they should know that it will not be necessary for them to go to litigation. Indeed they would be precluded from doing so because of limited means. I take it that the intention of the Government is that the persons affected by this provision should be properly treated and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give some assurance to the people concerned that they will be brought within the scope of the scheme without being compelled to have recourse to appeals to the assessor or other litigation.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
This Amendment was introduced with the sole purpose of trying to make perfectly clear the intentions of the Government on this matter. I have not any estimate and I cannot give any forecast as to the numbers who may come under this provision, nor is it possible for me to say more than this—that these cases, like other cases dealt with under the valuation provisions, will have to be dealt with by the assessor, and all the arrangements as to appeal and so on will be available to individuals under this provision just as to other interests. I think it is clear that there is lying within the provision made by this Amendment a direction or a pointer to these assessing authorities as to the intention not only of the Government but of the 1256 House. As to the individual cases, obviously they must be judged on their individual merits.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
May I take it then that this is intended merely as a guide to the assessors as to what businesses are to be included in the scope of the scheme—that it is a mere signpost and not a general instruction?
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
It has to be shown that the businesséis a factory or workshop, but the mere fact that there are no employés will not under the Amendment exclude them. The assessor, however, has nothing to do with that question. The further question will then arise as to whether they are primarily carrying on that business in that particular place, and the assessor will have to deal with that question.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Then the only businesses that will be brought under review are those businesses which come within the scope of the Factory Act. If an industrial establishment is under the provisions of the Factory Act for certain purposes then it may be included for other purposes in respect of rating relief. But take the case of a business owned and operated by one person without any assistants. Such a business might not come under the Factory Act, and, in such a case, it would not be included for these purposes.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
It would not, as the law stood prior to this Amendment. It would not have come under the Factory Act because there were no employés. That was the law fixed by judicial decision. The law might have been otherwise, but the definition of "factory or workshop" was so construed as to imply that there must be employés engaged in it. If we had left the Bill without any Amendment, and, as it stood, when it left the House of Commons there would have been an exclusion of industries such as the business of a blacksmith who worked alone or had partners.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
If there is machinery and so on in it, it is, but if there is not it is not a factory. It might, however, fall under the definition of a workshop. If you take the definition of a workshop as well as the definition of a 1257 factory you get within the Factory Act practically all kinds of industries. The case mentioned by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) would not be a factory, but might be a workshop.
§ Sir R. HAMILTON
I gather that it will be left to the assessors to decide in the individual cases as to whether a business is a factory or workshop within the meaning of the Act.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I shall cause a special entry to be made in the Journals of the House in reference to the question of Privilege.