HC Deb 17 July 1929 vol 230 cc587-8

Postponed Proceeding resumed on Question, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."


In resuming my speech, which was interrupted by Private Business at Half-past Seven, I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few moments, but I wish to emphasise one point in connection with this Bill which has not been brought forward by any speaker on either side of the House this afternoon. We have had speakers on both sides of the House who have brought forward the interests of the various parties concerned under the Bill. We have had speakers who have brought forward very fairly the interests of the mandated territories and the interests of the Colonies; we have had speakers who have brought forward the interests of the native populations; but no speaker has brought before the House what is perhaps the most vital interest of all, namely, the interest of the British taxpayer, and especially the working-man taxpayer. The point that I wish to bring before the House is that, in the event of these developments being successful, and very considerable developmnts taking place in the mandated territories, there is nothing in the Bill to ensure that the orders that will ensue from this development will be carried out in the British Empire and in British factories. One of the main origins of this Bill is that it is largely intended to assist the depressed industries of this country, and that it will lead to a mitigation of the present unemployment. I am sure that the whole House, irrespective of party, will agree that we must take peculiar care to see that any orders that pass from any developments that may take place as a result of this Bill must be carried out in the British Empire, and preferably in this country; but there seems to me to be absolutely no provision in this Bill to ensure that, and, although, possibly, the right hon. Gentleman may be inclined to think that this is a mere Committee point, it is in my opinion a pont of such importance that it is worth bringing forward on the Second Beading. I trust before the Bill comes up again, he will be able to see his way to put in some words to make sure that this object is carried out, If the Zambesi Bridge, for instance, is thrown open to world competition and if, by some unfortunate chance, this important order goes to a foreign country, which by dint of using cheaper labour cuts out labour in this country, it would be in my opinion a calamity. It will be unfortunate if the interests of the British working man in these developments are lost sight of, and if they do not result in any help being given to the unemployed as a whole, I feel sure all hon. Members will agree that this is one of the most important sides of the Bill which, as the thing is worded, is overlooked. I trust the Under-Secretary of State will look into the point and see that in Committee something is put in to ensure that such shall be kept inside the British Umpire.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for To-morrow. [Mr. Thomas.]