§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the, Bill be now read a Second time."—[Mr. I. M. Samuel.]
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
I beg to move to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words:this House, whilst willing to render financial assistance to meet the deficit in the Unemployment insurance Fund of Northern Ireland in order to safeguard the rights of unemployed insured persons, cannot assent to a Bill which would establish permanently an unfair differentiation in the, methods of dealing with the respective deficits in the Unemployment Insurance Funds of this Country and of Northern Ireland.During all the years of this Parliament I have imagined that there was nothing worse than having to deal with a Tory Government, but since I have read this Bill I have come to the conclusion that I was mistaken. There is something worse than having to deal with one Tory Government, and that is having to deal with two Tory Governments. These two Tory Governments seem to me to have a number of points in common. In the first place they are under the illusion that they are fit to govern and that, no one else is. In the second place, they have both succeeded in bringing the industrial affairs of the country they govern into a perilous condition. In the third place, when their working people need relief both these two governments look to the charity of other people to put the matter right. This particular Bill is a kind of conspiracy between these two Tory governments, and we can well imagine what is, in fact, the case, that it is worse than either of them separately.
What has been the song of the Ulster Tories all along? They have dinned into our ears for generations past that they did not wish to be associated with the government of the people of Southern Ireland, because although delightful personally they were so unbusinesslike. In financial matters they were mere 2348 children, whereas the people of Northern Ireland were shrewd, common-sense business men, and so the people of Southern Ireland could be counted upon to land a united country in a position of financial ruin. In order that the position in Northern Ireland might be safeguarded and their businesslike qualities not interfered with they could not associate with the people of Southern Ireland. When the separation took place the Northern Ireland Tories told us privately and publicly, "You have only to wait a little while and you will find the finances of Southern Ireland on the rocks, whereas our position is impregnable." The position to-day reminds me of a famous passage in Goldsmith's poems, and I would say to them:But soon a wonder came to lightWhich showed the rogues they lied;The man recovered of the bite,The dog it was that died.At the present time, we have this position, that the Free State is going along very happily but the Ulster Parliament is coming to the British Treasury and making this ad misericordiam appeal which is embodied in this Bill. They tell us that they are the business like section of Ireland. We can only say that, as a matter of fact, it has not worked out in the way they suggested. The Ulster Government have to come to the British Government for a dole. What is the attitude of the British Government when some unfortunate persons in this country, through no fault of their own, find that they are not able to make ends meet, that their wife and children are in straitened circumstances, and short of the necessaries of life? They say, "It may be it is not your own fault. It may be we have to help you, but there are certain things we insist upon. In the first place, we are going to have a long inquisition into why you have got into this position. We are going to ask you all sorts of questions, and investigate your position to the full. In the second place, we can only dole out a few shillings at a time. We shall make rigid conditions as to the future, and if you are an able-bodied workman you are only going to get relief in the form of a loan. We will make no promise as to the future." I should like to contrast the attitude of the British Government towards the unfortunate people in our own country with 2349 their attitude towards the government of Ulster. In the first place, they ask no questions as to what steps have been taken in the past to relieve unemployment. We have spent a great deal of money in this country, a very large amount, in order to prevent unemployment arising. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer has in many cases interfered with some of the developments we should like to have seen under the Road Fund, but, nevertheless, whatever Government has been in power considerable schemes have been undertaken. What steps have the Government of Lister taken on a scale commensurate with those in this country? I see little signs that they have put through any inquiries as to schemes of this kind. In the second place, the Government, instead of putting the amount in the form of a loan, are proposing to make a free grant and with a kind of lordly gesture they scorn to ask for the money back, because the Ulster Government are not able to afford it. With regard to the future they make no conditions as to the particular methods the Government of Ulster will take to deal with the matter of unemployment. I am not saying that they do not, as far as the actual unemployment insurance scheme is concerned, say that it shall be administered in the same way; that is part of the bargain. I am referring to other action.
Then there is the astonishing provision, the most outrageous provision of all. They give a promise to go on paying this money for ever, not merely for a certain number of years. Not merely is it to be a free gift, but it is to go on indefinitely, and, to make sure that it shall, they tie it up in the form of an agreement which they believe will be proof against any alteration by any of their successors. That is a most outrageous thing to ask this House of Commons to do. This Government, which is admittedly approaching the time when it will have to seek the suffrages of the electorate, is like the unjust steward, at a time when it knows its dismissal is imminent; it is proposing to deal improperly with its master's property, the master of the Government being, of course, the nation which it professes to serve.
What is our position with regard to this matter? In the first place I would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that we 2350 here are not responsible for the muddle with regard to Ireland. We, unlike some of them, did not foment the feud between North and South Ireland; we did not create the settlement which resulted in segregating a small territory which the Financial Secretary told us was inadequate as a basis for this insurance fund; we did not carry out the financial policy either in this country or in Northern Ireland out of which has come the industrial stagnation that is seen in the shipping and textile industries of both parts of the British Empire. Nevertheless, when Ulster comes to us and says; "We cannot find the money, our workpeople will starve or go without their benefit unless some additional money is found," we on these Benches do not for a moment say that that money must; not be found. We recognise that, whoever is to blame for the present situation, whatever the circumstances which have been its origin, it is essential that the money shall be available in order that the workpeople who are out of work through no fault of their own—we have equal feeling for these, whether they be in Ulster or in the industrial areas in our own country—may receive benefit.
We say that money has to be found, and that if there is no one else to find it, it must be found out of this Exchequer, but we are not prepared to find it on the conditions which are set forth in this Bill, because those conditions are thoroughly unjust to the taxpayers of this country. We see no reason why this money should be made a free gift. We do not make a free gift to our own unemployment fund. We provide the money on loan and there is no reason why the taxpayers of this country, who lend their money to the Unemployment Insurance fund of this country, should be called upon to give their money to the Unemployment Insurance fund in Ireland. We regard such a proposal as fundamentally unjust. In the second place, we are entirely opposed to making this agreement in perpetuity. It seems to us an outrage upon the rights of Parliament that we should be precluded, through the form in which this thing has been done, from deciding in future how the money should be found. It may be that in days to come and for some years ahead it will be necessary to go on pay- 2351 ing, out of our Exchequer, money to help the distressed position in Ireland, but it is absolutely unconstitutional to tie down our Exchequer and to pay money out of the Consolidated Fund for an indefinite period in order to meet this charge. We point out also the very great dangers of this course of action.
There is this further point: This agreement professes to be bilateral. Everyone who knows anything about the practical working of the scheme knows that in practice it is not bilateral at all. The bilateral form of the agreement is a sort of consideration in the contract. If it was not bilateral in form it would be recognised for what it is—a dole to the Ulster Government. It may be necessary, but it is a dole nevertheless. But because of the bilateral form, it appears to have a certain amount of give-and-take in it. It has no bilateral character in reality. When this subject was before the House in 1926, the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted, when driven to it, that it was only in form chat this was bilateral, that in fact it was unilateral, and that this country was never likely to get any of the return advantage which this agreement professes to give.
There is a final point. People are under the impression that this agreement operates only when there is actually a loss on the Irish Fund. As a matter of fact the agreement will continue to operate even when the Irish Fund is paying its way, provided that the unemployment in this country is less than that in Northern Ireland. The Irish Government may be actually in funds over this thing and yet receive a dole from the Government of this country. That was dealt with when the original Bill was before the House, and it is not necessary to go aver the technical details again. To sum up, we are not prepared on this side of the House to tolerate the unconstitutional and disgraceful bargain which our Government has made. If the workpeople of Northern Ireland require this money, they must have it. If the Ulster finances are in such a position that the money cannot be found, we recognise that rather than starve and keep out of benefit the workpeople in Northern Ireland, we in this country must put our hands into our pockets and pay what is necessary, but 2352 we are not prepared to do it on the terms and conditions which are set out in this Bill.
§ Mr. KELLY
I beg to second the Admendment.
I do so although I represent a great many men who work in the factories and yards of Northern Ireland. I have wondered why it is that this Government differentiate between Unemployment Insurance in this country and Unemployment Insurance in Northern Ireland. When on occasions we have asked for some aid for this country, we have been told that the Exchequer cannot find the money, or that we can have the money for payment of benefit only on condition that we are prepared to pay back principal and interest. In fact the bargain is one that could he secured from any moneylender in the City of London. When it comes to Northern Ireland, quite a different attitude is taken up by the Government, and for some reason that we have not had explained to us, the Government are prepared not only to pay over the money, but actually, whilst the agreement is in operation—an agreement which does not expire for nearly 13 months—they are prepared to wipe out part of the liability, amounting to £424,000, so far as Northern Ireland is concerned.
I hope that we shall be told to-day why there is this different treatment for the people of this country and the people of Northern Ireland. Not only are they prepared to begin the wiping out of this liability, but they are not prepared to do something for Northern Ireland which they have refused to do for this country. In March of each succeeding year until that liability of £3,424,000 is wiped out, the Exchequer is prepared to pay a sum of £100,000. If the industries of Northern Ireland, if the people of Northern Ireland, require assistance the Government might at least be straightforward in the matter. They might say that they intend to make a grant to Northern Ireland in order to help in relieving distress there. But they are not prepared to deal with the matter in that straightforward manner. They propose to give this assistance to the insurance fund of Northern Ireland by a method which is refused to us in this country. I recognise to the full the difficulties which are to be found in Northern Ireland. I know 2353 of the depression there, but I ask the Financial Secretary what effort has been made by the Parliament and Government of Northern Ireland to meet a situation with which they knew they would be faced.
As one who has never agreed with the contributory system of unemployment insurance I cannot understand why the imposition of this cost upon industries is continued. I have not had time to go into the figures with regard to shipyards, engineering shops, tobacco factories and the artificial silk factory which is now I believe reaching production stage if it has not already reached that stage. I have not been able to ascertain what these industries in Northern Ireland pay in the matter of contributions, but I know what is paid in this country, and I ask why the Treasury which is so anxious to help Northern Ireland, cannot ease the burden on some of our own industries here? I take, for example, the textile trade of which we heard so much when the Financial Resolution was before us. We find that contributions for unemployment insurance, so far as the textile trades are concerned, amount to over £1,000,000 or nearly £1,500,000, but when we ask for assistance it is refused to us. In the woollen and worsted trades over £600,000 is taken in contributions from employers and employed. Of course, I realise that it all comes out of wages. When I ask for an advance of wages I am refused it because of the heavy cost which the employers find imposed upon them by the payments towards the unemployment insurance scheme. In the engineering trade at least £750,000 a year is paid. But there is a differentiation. The Government refuse to help those industries in this country, but is quite prepared to help the industries in Northern Ireland. We have been told, time and time again, by the Government and by supporters of the Government that the scheme is an insurance scheme. Is it still to be called an insurance scheme, now that the Government have to find £400,000 this month, to be followed by £100,000 a year?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Arthur Michael Samuel)
I am not quite certain that I follow the hon. Member's statement. 2354 What exactly does he mean when he says that we have to find £400,000 this month?
§ Mr. KELLY
Is the suggestion made by the representatives of Northern Ireland that there is no money being paid by the Exchequer of this country? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Is the suggestion that we are engaged in passing a Bill which does not transfer any moneys to relieve this excess liability? Is it suggested that no money is to pass from the Exchequer of this country to Northern Ireland for the purposes of unemployment insurance?
We do not make any such statement. What we say is that there is already a debt of £3,400,000, in round figures. That debt has been incurred by the Northern Ireland Government and every penny of that sum has to be paid back. A sum of £400,000, roughly, is to be paid off at once, and the £3,000,000 remaining is to be paid off at the rate of £100,000 a year for the next 30 years.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
But is it not the fact that the Imperial Exchequer is making a contribution of £113,000 a year towards the interest upon this?
§ Mr. KELLY
As recently as Monday of this week the Financial Secretary was asked if, in view of the position of unemployment in this country the Treasury were prepared to consider the cancellation of any part of the debt which is so burdensome upon industry. His reply was very definite. It was that as far as Great Britain is concerned the Treasury is not prepared even to consider legislating for the purpose of cancelling any of the debt which has to be found by the various industries in this country. I wonder whether the Treasury has satisfied itself as to the real position with regard to unemployment insurance in Northern Ireland. I hope it will. Recently, in making an inquiry with regard to unemployment insurance in Belfast, I found that there were no signatures at all obtained by the Department and that the word of employers was taken as to people being unemployed. In this country, benefit is not paid on such flimsy statements as those. In fact, we are harassed by the many signatures which are required, and I wonder whether or not some of this money is being used for the purpose of subsidising industry in that particular part of the world, Why has there been this unseemly haste in entering into this agreement? I notice that this draft agreement was signed in December last, despite the fact that under the Act of 1920 that agreement of 1920 should continue until the end of March of next year. This Government does not usually help us, with regard to finances dealing with workmen's problems, by removing our anxiety 12 months ahead of the time when an agreement should expire, but in the case of Northern Ireland, for some reason which I think the Government will find it difficult to explain, except on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence), they have decided, in 31st March of this year, to enter into an agreement which will enter into operation after. March 2356 of next year. I hope that now they are thinking of relieving the anxieties of Northern Ireland they will have the decency to consider relieving the anxieties of industry and of the unemployed in this country, by helping us with regard to the benefits that ought to be at the call of those who are unemployed.
In Great Britain everything possible is done by the Department to drive people out of benefit, but when it comes to Northern Ireland, without having any control over that Fund, without understanding the method of its administration, without Northern Ireland being bound down by the decisions of the umpire in Great Britain, having, I believe, its own umpire—at least, it had —they are quite prepared to enter into this agreement. I think it is for fear lest there might be another Government in power in this country within a few months, which would deal with that; problem, I hope, in a sensible way. For all of these reasons, although, as we say in our Amendment, we are willing to render financial assistance to meet the deficit, so as not to deprive the unemployed of their benefit, yet, because of this unfair differentiation between the methods in Ireland and in Great Britain, we hope the Second Reading of the Bill will be refused by this House to-day.
§ Mr. JAMES HUDSON
I am naturally surprised that there has not been anyone on the other side willing to meet the arguments that have been so well put forward by my two hon. Friends. I thought that someone, at any rate from the Northern Irish constituencies, would have been willing to put the case in reply, but as that is not so, may I say a few words in reinforcement of the arguments used by my colleagues? I have been interested to observe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was, for a few short moments, on the Treasury Bench, watching the troubled waters and the possibilities of further fishing expeditions, but that, looking over on to these benches and seeing that there are no more fish left to catch, and that it is hardly likely that we shall spring again to the fly that he threw, he has departed on his way and left us and his colleagues to deal with the situation.
The position that we are faced with is this, that there is a large body of unemployed in Northern Ireland. We know 2357 the condition of the linen industry and of the shipbuilding industry, and we realise that the lot of those workers is one that commands, and must command, the attention of this House and that they ought to be properly provided for by an effective insurance scheme. We, on these benches, are fully prepared, as indicated by our Amendment, that their proper maintenance should continue and we are desirous that the loan that is applied in connection with our scheme in England should be applied to the scheme in Ireland and that, as long as those men's or women's needs are not met, the loan should continue to be raised in order to assist those workers in Ireland who are so badly placed by the industrial situation there. But I would say, in passing, that that industrial situation in Ireland is closely wrapped up with the political agreement that has been arrived at. Ireland is one of the nations, in common with many other nations in Europe, that have had to suffer partition. Its economic interests are very badly divided, and it is very probable that Ireland will never effectively get out of its present economic distresses until Ireland, particularly Northern Ireland, learns to look in new directions for a settlement of her difficulties.
What hon. Members opposite are doing to-day is to press the Tory Government to bolster up, by unjustifiable and outright grants, a system which, if the people and the Governments of Ireland were left to face it, might more quickly readjust itself to the economic conditions that prevail there. It was suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) three years ago, when this matter was then being discussed, that the basis of the Insurance Acts in Ireland might be extended. For example, there are certain industries in Northern Ireland that are not now included in the Insurance Acts of that country, and very probably, if we insisted on the Northern Government meeting the consequences of the loan which we are willing should continue to be paid, the Northern Government would then be more willing to spread the burdens; upon other parts of the Northern Ireland population than is the case at the present time.
2358 As I tried to indicate the other day when we were discussing this matter, the Northern Government, by getting outright grants, by dodging the responibility of providing the interest upon the loan, are letting off from taxation certain elements in their country who ought to be bearing the burdens which they are foisting on to us by this particular process. Mark that they are putting this burden upon us at a moment when our Fund is bearing a debt of £40,000,000, a debt which, if this Government were to continue much longer would be likely to increase rather than decrease. At the same time that this is happening here, we make an arrangement by which the. Government of Northern Ireland may continue year after year dodging the responsibilities which that Government ought to face. It is highly likely that in this country, after the next General Election, we shall have a Government in England which, by the provision of effective schemes of reconstructive work, will take off the Unemployment Fund large numbers of men who now are drawing from that Fund; but if the Government of Northern Ireland fail to keep step with the progress which we anticipate will be made here, they will continue with this special benefit that we are making to them as an incentive not to do the things which, I believe, we in this country in a year or two from now will be carrying through.
I submit that that, in a way, is perhaps the worst part of the dodge that is now being played off the House of Commons. Both the Tory Government in Northern Ireland and the Tory Government in England know that we are facing a period in England and Scotland in which we are likely to face constructive work for our unemployed, and here we are giving carte blanche to the Northern Government of Ireland to enable them to go on with the same ineffective economic organisation that now exists in that country. I repeal that we are willing, nay anxious, that the unemployed, wherever they be, whether in this country or in Ireland, shall have provided for them an effective arrangement by which they can get either work or proper maintenance. We have drawn our Amendment, with that point of view in our minds, but have to consider the sort of process that this Government adopt, towards our own unemployed. I 2359 have received this morning information of a man in my own constituency who has paid year after year to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and who, for the first time, comes on to that Fund hoping to receive from it, as the Fund provides, certain help for himself and his wife, and because there happens to be in his household a relative who is paying for lodgings in the house, a judgment is given that the wife's maintenance shall be withdrawn. That incident is repeated a thousandfold throughout our country at the present moment. Our own people have been paying into the Insurance Fund. It is no question of making them a loan. It is no question of making them a grant. It is a question of their receiving back from the Insurance Fund money which they have paid into that Fund, but their rights are disregarded by a Government who are glad to pay over millions 'to this friendly Government in Northern Ireland to help them to avoid the responsibility which they ought to meet. I have very much pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
I do not complain that hon. Members opposite have taken the opportunity of using the subject we are discussing to-day as a peg on which to hang a Home Rule Debate. They have not very many opportunities nowadays of discussing Irish affairs, and when they get such an opportunity, I observe that they invariably make use of it to drag in the Home Rule question. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment took us away into comparisons between what is happening in Ulster and in the Free State. I say that that has nothing whatever to do with the matter before the House to-day, and I propose, in the few remarks I make, to leave such questions severely alone. First of all, I may say that one reason why none of my colleagues or I have risen before now is that the Debate we have had to-day is almost a repetition of the Debate we had a few days ago on the Financial Resolution on which this Bill is founded, and, really, anything that is said to-day is only a waste of time. It has already been said in this House. However, hon. Members have insisted on having a repetition. I would like to ask the House to remember 2360 what has happened in this Debate. There is general agreement, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has himself admitted, that it would be much better, and much fairer, to everybody if unemployment insurance had been made a reserved service when the Act of 1920 was passed.
That, I maintain, is a sufficient justification for everything for which we have asked. Unemployment insurance was, unfortunately, not made a reserved service. It was not our fault that this was not done. I do not say that it was the fault of anybody, because, the position with regard to unemployment insurance in 1920 was quite different from what it is to-day. In those days there were far fewer insurable people, and the outlook, from the point of view of trade, was very different from what it has been since. With whomsoever the fault lay, it was arranged at the time that unemployment insurance should be handed over to the Northern Irish Government. Everybody has since admitted that that was a mistake, and the people in Northern Ireland and the Government of Northern Ireland have suffered severely for that mistake. It is generally agreed, as I have said, that it was not their fault—certainly not their fault any more than that of anybody else, because we had no opportunity at the time of knowing the effect of handing over unemployment insurance to them, nor had we the statistics on which to base a proper judgment. The fact remains that it was handed over to them. Unfortunately, as trade began to go down, the effect of having to finance their own unemployment insurance was very severely felt, and, to put the matter very shortly, the result of a few years' working before the agreement of 1926 was entered into, was that the Government of Northern Ireland had contracted a debt of £3,400,000.
I would ask the House to remember that if what the Ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer now says ought to have been done when the Act of 1920 setting up the Government of Northern Ireland was passed, had been done, Northern Ireland would not have been responsible for that large sum. She is now in somewhat the same position as England in the matter of unemployment insurance, but owing to a mistake that was made eight 2361 years ago site finds herself saddled with a debt of 23,400,000. Everybody agreed that that was unfortunate, and that the Northern Irish Government could not go on piling up a debt at the rate at which that debt had accumulated. Something had to be done, and the Northern Ireland Government represented to the Treasury the condition of affairs. Everybody felt that it was a misfortune that unemployment insurance in Northern Ireland had been separated from that of Great Britain, and they also agreed that in Ireland the same benefit should be given to the unemployed as in this country. Since the Northern Ireland Government was set up, it has always been its desire to treat workmen, and indeed everybody else in the matter of legislation and benefit, precisely on the same level as similar people are treated in this country, and all their requests to sod negotiations with this country in this matter have been with that object in view. Everybody knows that if the Northern Ireland Government do not get the help which they are asking, it will be impossible to go on paying at this rate, and that a lower rate of benefit will have to be paid to the unemployed in that country, a state of affairs which the House of Commons would he very sorry to see.
That being so, what are the main objections of hon. Members opposite? They hope that the unemployed in Northern Ireland will continue to receive benefits as at present, and at the same rate. One of their main objections is apparently that this country is making a further grant to Ireland. It is making a grant to a certain extent, but not so much as is thought by hon. Members. We have incurred a debt of nearly £3,400,000, and that debt is to be paid off in 30 years. The right hon. Gentleman reminds me that £113,000 is to be paid as interest on that sum by this country; that is true, and I suppose that we must look at that as a further grant, but hon. Members must remember that the £3,400,000 is a diminishing quantity. It will be diminished by £400,000 on the passing of this Bill, and at the late of £100,000 a year afterwards. At the end of 30 years, there will be no interest to be paid, and the amount of interest will diminish every year. Northern 2362 Ireland, on the other hand, will be paying £100,000 a year to liquidate that debt. I admit that the Imperial Exchequer is bearing the interest, but we are paying off a debt which everybody admits that we should not have had to pay at all if this matter had been handled properly when the Northern Ireland Government was set up.
Hon. Members complain that the agreement is being made permanent, instead of our having to come to this House from time to time to ask for the agreement to be renewed. It is not unreasonable, when it is admitted that the condition of affairs is the result of a state of things for which we are not responsible, that this should be put on a permanent footing. It would put the Northern Ireland Government in a very awkward position if they had to come here every year or every second year to have the agreement confirmed and renewed. They could never be certain what attitude the House of Commons would take, or be able to look forward with any certainty, and it would hamper them in many ways. One of the objections to putting this on a permanent footing is that hon. Members are doubtful how the unemployed insurance might be, administered in Northern Ireland, understand that the agreement provides that the Treasury in this country shall have the fullest power of supervising and examining the books and the actions of everybody connected with the administration of the fund in Northern Ireland. I can assure hon. Members that the unemployment insurance administration will be just as good in Northern Ireland as it is here. Neither the Government nor the employers are in the least anxious to administer that fund badly. I cannot see. How they could do so when they would be hurting their own pockets, and as they are a hard-headed people, that is the last thing that they would want to do. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated the other day that he would like to see these two funds amalgamated, and in fact to see unemployment insurance turned into a reserved service. That was, I think, acquiesced in by my right hon. Friend the Member for Calne Valley (Mr. Snowden).
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
I did not commit myself to an amalgamation of the two funds, 2363 but confined myself to saying that, in view of the common nature of employment in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it would have been better if unemployment insurance had been kept as a reserved service when the Northern Parliament was set up.
I did not intend to create the impression that the right hon. Gentleman actually said so, but I thought that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he would like to see the two funds amalgamated again, at least the right hon. Gentleman did not raise any objection to the suggestion. It was pointed out that unfortunately that could not he done for some reason which the non-Treasury mind cannot grasp. There are apparently administrative, financial, and other difficulties that render it impossible, and this agreement, I understand, is the nearest thing to an amalgamation of the funds that can be done. To put the whole matter shortly, the Northern Government have found themselves in a very difficult position for some years, owing to the fact that this fund was not kept as a reserved service. They have suffered to the extent of a debt of £3,400,000 for that mistake. They find—and the House, I believe, agrees that what they put forward is true—that they cannot go on with that enormous debt, and they come to the House to ask them to rectify a mistake, which was a perfectly bona fide mistake, and to put them in as nearly as possible the position in which they would be if the two insurance funds had not been separated.
Hon. Members opposite seem to imagine that the Northern Ireland Government are getting out of this mistake free; not at all. They have to repay this debt, and they have also undertaken to shoulder a burden of a quarter of any annual sum which it may be necessary to get from this country to make up the balance of what is required to meet the needs of the Unemployment Insurance Fund in Ireland. That is a very considerable punishment. I hope that latter sum will not be very large. I do not think the statement of one of the hon. Members opposite that this is a unilateral agreement, and not a bilateral agreement, is fair. Until 1914 Northern Ireland was much freer from 2364 unemployment than this country was, and I see no reason why we should not revert to that happy state of affairs in a few years. The only thing standing in the way at present is the slackness of work in the shipbuilding yards, and the deplorable state of unemployment in the linen trade.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
The point that this agreement is, in effect, unilateral does not rest on the supposition that unemployment in Ireland is never likely to be less than unemployment in this country. It depends on the fact that in England we meet our unemployment burdens by way of loan. So long as we do that, this agreement can never become operative in favour of this country, and if the right hon. and gallant Member doubts that I would refer him to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in the Debates of 1926.
I am afraid the hon. Member has more of what I call a "Treasury head" than I have, and I do not quite follow his remarks. I have not much of a "Treasury head," but I can see the rights and wrongs of this question, and I am very certain that in what we are asking we are not unreasonable. I hope that it will not be many years before the linen trade is again in a prosperous condition, and when that state of affairs arrives we shall be no burden on this country at all, so far as annual payments are concerned. I hope the House will not accept the Amendment.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
The right hon. and gallant Member for Antrim (Capt. Craig) is, if he will allow me to say so, a very seductive speaker. When he tells us that he has not got a "Treasury head" I am reminded of a certain type of artistic gentleman who always says that he is no business man —until it comes to the presentation of his bill. Then, if there is any sort of delay in paying the bill, or we do not meet his exhorbitant charges in full, we very soon find out that he is a very acute business man. When the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is discussing these matters behind the Speaker's Chair, or wherever they are discussed, those who have to bargain with him will not, I think, subscribe to his description of himself. He did not answer one or 2365 two of the questions put by my hon. Friends, and perhaps, if I repeat them, one of his colleagues may care to reply later. We are told that it is against the interests and the dignity of the Northern Ireland Government—or words to that effect—to come to this House for assistance of this kind time after time and, therefore, that the arrangement should he made permanent. Everyone would like that kind of arrangement. It is very nice that the allowance made by a generous father to his son should be fixed in perpetuity—very nice for the son: but what objection is there to the Northern Ireland Government coming to the British Treasury from time to time and making this kind of arrangement'? Why should this arrangement be a fixed one for all time. We have had no answer to that question, and no answer in any of the previous speeches made in the—
I do not think it is quite fair to say that no answer was given. I think my answer was quite plain. I said no Government could view with equanimity the fact that they were unaware at the beginning of each year where a very large sum of money which they would be responsible to pay during that year was to come from. Each year the Northern Ireland Government would be saying, "Can we count on getting this sum which we require from the British Government? "They would riot know, and that is not a desirable position in which to put a Government. I do not say it will he the case, but this may be one of the largest items of expenditure which the Northern Government have to face during the year, and if they are unaware at the beginning of the financial year whether they can depend on the British Government meeting them in this matter it may upset the whole of the financial arrangements for the year. That is the reason why I think the arrangement we are advocating is necessary.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
From the point of view of the Belfast Government, that reason is, of course, unassailable. It is a very nice arrangement for them, but no reasons have been given as to why we should agree to it. Every Government would like to be in the position of knowing exactly what their liabilities are in connection with 2366 the unemployment insurance or any other fund. We would like to know what the taxes are to be next year, but we shall not know until the Budget is introduced. I can sympathise with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, but he has not convinced us that we should agree to this bargain. May I also respectfully point out to him that there is no question of our raising the Home Rule issue here? I have taken part in a few debates on the Irish question, debates which have been led by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman and his friends, but there is no question of those old feelings coming up now on these Benches. We make no sort of charge against the Ulster Government because of what happened in those troubled years. That is not the point. We are trying to watch the interests of the British taxpayers in this matter, and we feel that the present Government have been far too generous. They have committed future Parliaments in an improper manner. I am afraid this is a part of their policy of distributing the loot wherever they can—now politically, now financially and now in business; now to their supporters in Northern Ireland, now to the City of London, now to the cable companies—while they have the opportunity.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
No, it is not to the unemployed. We are doing this in order that the Belfast Government shall not have to raise taxes in Ulster.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
The Northern Ireland Government raises its own taxes. It can raise the money. As this point has been raised, I would like to say that I think Northern Ireland has done extraordinarily well out of the Local Government Bill. I am told we are making what is practically a free gift to Northern Ireland, especially to 2367 the farming community. They have done extraordinarily well out of it; and now we have this on the top of it. [Interruption.] I did not catch what the hon. Member said.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Certainly Northern Ireland pays its share of petrol duty, but, as things are, I think it is on the whole doing far better out of the Local Government Bill. The people there will get very much more back, especially the land owning community, than will anyone else in England, in comparison with the taxes they pay. If the representatives of Northern Ireland tell us that they cannot raise any taxes, how are they going to repay these loans of which the hon. and gallant Member has been speaking? Of course there is plenty of money if they can raise money as other Governments have to do.
There is another question which I think must be put and pressed. What are the Government of Northern Ireland doing to deal with the abnormal unemployment which we are told is making this arrangement necessary? What action are they taking? You have a small compact area with a Government in Belfast that has a large majority, and they are in close touch with the people. I want to know what steps they have taken to relieve normal unemployment in Northern Ireland. We are told that the shipbuilding industry and the linen industry are suffering, but that has been the case for a good many years. In this matter, I agree that the present Government have not set a very good example, but what have the Belfast Government done? Have they tried to find work for the men who are out of employment in the shipbuilding and the linen industries? Hon. Members representing Northern Ireland always give faithful support to the Government, and they seem to me to depend a good deal upon arrangements made outside this House. I would like to ask if any steps have been taken to modernise the shipyard in the way of turning out—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. and gallant Member is getting a very long way from the Bill under discussion.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I was putting those questions because I was anxious to know if the Government of Northern Ireland were following these matters up. My view is that so long as the Treasury allows itself to be influenced by appeals of this kind from Northern Ireland that Government will drift along without trying to get itself out of its own difficulties. I think the Opposition are doing right in resisting this Bill.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
Before this business is disposed of, I think we ought to receive a reply from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. It is perfectly true that on this question there has been a good deal or repetition of argument, but that is inevitable when a Financial Resolution has to be proposed. The first discussion on a question of this sort is always in the nature of a preliminary canter, and the Government can always move to report Progress at an early stage of the Debate in order that they may be able to reconsider the position. No Government ought to be more grateful for having an opportunity of reconsidering these things than the present Government, and this will be especially important when we come to the next item of business. The nature of the Debate is the same as it would have been if we had moved to report Progress when the Financial Resolution was before us.
May I summarise what we want to know? First of all, why is this Bill introduced now? The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has announced that the agreement which is now running holds good: until March next year. If that be so, why have the Government in the last days of its life proposed to bind its successors in this way? Is this not of the nature of a testamentary gift or of a clause in the will of a dying person to make sure that there will be no doubt about how the money is to go after its own head cannot control its disposition? That is a very serious question. This seems to be one of the dying acts of this Government, and what they are doing is not done in the national interest but it is being done in exactly the same benevolent frame of mind as a person on his deathbed regards those to whom he owes something when making his will.
2369 The second point I wish to put is: why should this be a gift? We are not opposed to keeping this fund sound in Ireland, but why should this proposal not take the form of a loan instead of a gift? That question has not been properly answered. The nearest answer to it has been given by the right hon. and gallant Member for Antrim (Captain Craig) who confesses that he has not the Treasury mind. This, however, is a Treasury problem, and the justice of the case does not concern itself with the relative merits of a gift or a loan. All the justice of the case is concerned with is that the money should be found. I agree that the money should be found, but we disagree with the right hon. and gallant Member for Antrim and the Government that it should be in the form of a gift and not a loan. We are told that this proposal takes the form of a gift, because Northern Ireland is a small and uniform industrial area. You have two important industries in Northern Ireland, the linen and the shipbuilding industry. Everybody who understands insurance knows perfectly well that an insurance scheme is very difficult to devise and make self-contained and self-supporting unless you have a considerable variety of risks. Uniformity comes in as a characteristic and the interests to be covered by insurance are very difficult indeed to deal with, because it is not so much a question of distribution as of crises following crises.
Northern Ireland comes to us and says that the conditions make it especially difficult for them to maintain a sound insurance fund upon the uniform industrial system which we alone possess in this country. Again that is not sufficient. The question now arises: Is there any reason why this simple industrial area, this uniform industrial area should be segregated from the more complicated industrial area of these islands? Three years ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer addressed himself to the problem, and I understand from the speech which the right hon. Gentleman made on that occasion that he is in favour of the segregation, but that there are certain administrative difficulties attached to maintaining the original uniformity of the fund.
Let us see where we are. We now propose, in order to meet that difficulty, to give a gift. Are we going to give a gift to a fund for the administration of 2370 which we are not responsible? The responsibility for administration, if there is any Treasury mind left at all, is common to uniformity of administration, to a common fund, and to a fund that is kept financially sound by annual gifts from this House. We cannot go to the Government of Northern Ireland, whatever amount of confidence we may repose in them, and say, "You can administer your Unemployment Fund as you like; you can pursue any policy you like regarding the handling of your unemployment problem; all that, we are interested in is your accounts." Hon. Members from Northern Ireland must surely see that that would be putting this House in a most unjust, unfair and unbusinesslike relationship with the Government of Northern Ireland.
It is not a question of our stake in the expenditure of the money—let hon. Members remember that; it is a question of the unemployment policy. I see below the Gangway the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir II. Croft), whose presence always reminds one of Safeguarding. Supposing that we adopted Safeguarding as one of the many false cures that we have been trying to adopt for unemployment, arid that the result was that our unemployment went up, or it might be, by accident and temporarily, that it went down, has that no relation to the administration of the Unemployment Fund in Northern Ireland? Let me take something more germane and definite in relation to what is now going on. We are now trying to ease our unemployment problem by the transference of a derelict population, as people say, or perhaps it will be a little more accurate if I say that the transference of population from derelict industrial areas. Part of the argument of hon. Members from Northern Ireland is that the industries of linen and shipbuilding are so bad just now that, at any rate for a substantial length of time, there is no hope that by a revival of those industries the Unemployment Fund is going to be put in a better financial position. What are they doing with regard to transference? That is very important, and it illustrates what I am saying.
Whether we amalgamate the two funds again and make a common fund, such as existed before the Northern Ireland Government was set up, or whether we make 2371 the Northern Ireland Unemployment Fund sound by a block grant, in either case this Government must somehow or other interfere in, or accept responsibility for, not the administration of the Northern Ireland Unemployment Fund, but the policy of the Northern Ireland Government with regard to unemployment. That is our case, and I think it is a very important one. I am not going over certain consequential observations that must be made as a result of what I have said. For instance, our Unemployment Fund has to bear the burden of loans; why should not the Northern Ireland Fund have to bear the burden of loans if it wants assistance? I regard these as secondary considerations. The main considerations which in my opinion we have to take into account today are those that I have just mentioned, and the House really must have a Government reply to the arguments which have been brought forward. I would conclude my observations in this way: Have the Government considered a re-amalgamation of the two Funds? If they are not considering a re-amalgamation of the two Funds, what active responsibility do the Government propose to take on the lines I have indicated so as to justify the giving of a grant? I hope that before we give the Bill a Second Reading the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will make a statement on these points.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition placed the position in a nutshell when he said that there must he in any reply a certain repetition of argument. For that reason, I rather feared that I might be wearying the House if I went over to-day's arguments as they were placed before it the other day. The right hon. Gentleman, however, put some definite questions to me, and, as the Government have not in any way varied their views since the last Debate, I will answer him, not in a partisan spirit, but as though I were addressing colleagues in a board room who were dealing with a balance sheet. In the first place, we are not considering an amalgamation of the two funds. The right hon. Gentleman asked me why the Bill is being introduced now. It is being introduced now for a very cogent reason. If we get it through here so that the 2372 Northern Ireland Government can get their corresponding Bill through before the 31st March of this year, we shall be in the position of seeing in a few weeks the Northern Ireland Government extinguish, off their own bat, £424,000 of the excess debt on the Northern Ireland Fund. That amount will then be written off by the 31st March next. That is a very important reason. Then the right hon. Gentleman asks why it should be a gift and not a loan. He talks about the Treasury mind, but one does not need the special qualities associated with the Treasury in order to handle this problem. Thirty years in trade have enabled me, as an ordinary average business man, to look at accounts in an ordinary average business way, and I look upon this as a counting-house matter and one such as would be dealt with by business people by elementary counting-house methods.
The hon. Member for West Leicester (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) does not face the problem as a problem of accounts. He makes gibes about two Tory Governments, and quotes from Goldsmith, hilt he does not get down to the problem. He talks party politics. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), and the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), did get down to the problem. They read a lesson to their Front Bench. What is the problem? This is not a question of a Tory Government in Northern Ireland or a Tory Government in England, nor is it a question, as urged by the hon. Member for West Leicester, of the Irish Free State being more capable of looking after matters of this kind than is Northern Ireland. The hon. Member for West Leicester went off at a tangent and talked about the Irish Free State having managed its affairs better than Northern Ireland. That is another fallacious method of arguing, and one which I should like to nail down. In Northern Ireland, the benefits are 17s. for a man and 7s. for a wife. In the Irish Free State the benefits are 15s. for a man and 5s. for a wife. Again, the Irish Free State gets from the employer 10d., and from the workman 9d., or a total of Is. 7d., whereas in Great Britain and Northern Ireland the contribution from the employer is 8d. and from the workman 7d., or a total of is. 3d. Therefore, 2373 so far from the Irish Free State being a better place as regards contributions or benefits, it is, on the whole, not so good.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
Assuming that Northern Ireland did not get a dole from this country, what would the contributions and benefits be in Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
The hon. Member said the Free State managed their affairs better than Northern Ireland. I have answered the statement of the hon. Member for West Leicester. The Leader of the Opposition put one or two questions which I will answer. The reason we are making a grant and not a loan is this is. The debt is approximately £4,250,000. Of that amount £3,424,000 is going to be dealt with by the Government of Northern Ireland at once as to £424,000 and as to the other £3,000,000 at the rate of £100,000 a year until the amount is extinguished. That leaves a post-1925 debt of 790,000, which corresponds to the existing debt on the British Fund. The arrangement we have made will ensure that the Irish Fund will remain on a parity with—neither better nor worse than—the British Fund. That is what we propose to do, and we propose to deal with the debt in the way set forth in the Bill. If Northern Ireland continued with a debt of £4,250,000 as desired by the Opposition, the debt, moreover, growing, as we fear it will, on account of the restricted size of their insured population, it would mean that the Northern Ireland Fund would carry a debt at a ratio which if applied to the British Fund—this will show how terribly overwhelming the ratio of debt is on the Northern Ireland Fund —would mean that the debt on the British Fund would no longer be £33,500,000 but £200,000,000—an unthinkable amount. This ratio would paralyse, and sooner or later bankrupt, the Northern Ireland Fund. A grant such as we are making now will establish parity, whereas a loan would bankrupt the Fund. May I take the broad analogy of the cotton trade till recently overwhelmed with loans and over capitalisation and burdened down with debt. If it continues with its great load of debt, the industry will never rehabilitate itself. That is, in effect, the position with the Northern Ireland Fund. A loan is worse than useless; it would increase the difficulties.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that this debt should be unshipped by allowing small competing businesses to go on or is it essential that they should be amalgamated?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
The way the cotton industry has been relieved of part of its debt is an established fact. Private lenders, banks and others, have actually forgiven, or wiped off, a part of the money due to them which had been lent to the mills or put into the trade as capital, because, with the recent total of debts or loans upon the industry, there was no possible hope of the industry rehabilitating itself, reorganised or not. Reorganisation had involved the shifting off of these very loans. That is what this Bill proposes—getting rid of an unbearable load of debt.
§ Mr. SAMUEL
Let us take the broad point and not these political and petty debating points. We are proposing to take off the shoulders of the Northern Ireland Fund a burden which, if allowed to remain on it by means of loan, must bankrupt the Fund. What would be the result?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
The workmen in Northern Ireland will not thank the Socialists opposite for allowing the Fund to become bankrupt. The Ulster working people would be deprived of the benefits they are entitled to. If the Fund became bankrupt no money could be taken out for these poor men who are out of work or, if it became partly bankrupt, only a small benefit would come out. To prevent that it would be necessary, if this Bill is rejected, that the contributions should be raised by further rates upon Ulster men, which means a further load upon the poorest. Then you come to the point which most hon. Members opposite have not faced. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston and the hon. Members for Gorbals and Dumbarton Burghs have seen the danger. They say, if the benefits at Belfast are reduced, or contributions raised, a number 2375 of the unemployed workmen in Northern Ireland belonging to English trade unions will be coming over to the Clyde, the Tees and the Tyne, where the benefits are better and the contributions not likely to be so high as they will be in Belfast; and they would flood already distressed areas on this side of the Channel. If hon. Members opposite are prepared to go to Belfast and tell the unemployed workmen that they wish their benefits to be reduced or their contributions raised, I leave that unenviable course to them. We are not prepared to see unemployed benefits in Ulster reduced, neither are we prepared to see a further burden put upon the Northern Irish Fund already overweighted with great debt. For these reasons we ask the House to agree to the Bill.
I am very disappointed that the hon. Gentleman could give us no better arguments in defence of this gift to Northern Ireland than those which he alleged to have been enunciated last week by friends and colleagues of mine from these benches. It is rather an amazing thing to find the Government sheltering behind the Clydesiders, telling us that they are the only people who look problems in the face. If we read their press and listen to their speeches, they are never weary of holding up to the country the dreadful fear that my right hon. Friends in front are going to be dominated and driven into some kind of wild and perilous adventures by these Clydesiders, who have no common-sense of any kind. If that is the argument of the Government—and they cannot deny that it is—that the Front Bench is the voice and the Clyde is the tail that wags the dog, and that it is wagging the dog in all kinds of dangerous courses, they cannot suddenly get up on one issue, where it happnes that my Clyde-side friends to a certain extent agree 'with them, and say that although they are wrong in every other particular they are right in this.
As a matter of fact, I should think the great condemnation of this Bill in the eyes of their own supporters, would be the fact that an unholy alliance has been concluded for this purpose between the right hon. Gentleman the Member 2376 for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) and the hon. Gentleman who has just replied. From the point of view of the right hon. Gentleman, who is a friend of mine, it seems to me a most unsatisfactory alliance, because he is merely to be used to shelter a Government which cannot defend itself on one particular issue, to be told that they are very sensible on this issue and not on the others. As a Member representing a Tyneside constituency, I do not think that there is any fear at all of a drift of Belfast shipbuilding workers into the Tyneside area. We have no work on the Tyneside for them. We have thousands of highly skilled men unemployed, and, if they think that they are coming to the Tyneside to get unemployment benefit, then they do not know the Minister of Labour in the present Government. It is more than our own men can get, so I do not think that there is much fear of men coming over from Belfast to try and get it. The hon. Gentleman has endeavoured to frighten the House with a complete bogy. The meanness of this Government, the determination with which a Government of rich men has steadily devised schemes to rob the poor is known freely outside this country, and in Northern Ireland. The only possibility of a drift into this country would come with a change of the present Government.
As far as I can see, there is no case at all for believing that we should present this very large sum of money to the Northern Ireland Government. It is merely being done at the behest of a certain group of Members on the opposite side of the House, and, in my opinion, it is a party bargain which the House should not honour. If it is necessary that the money should be found for the purpose of paying immediate unemployment relief, if the Northern Ireland Government are not in a position to find the money, then I think there is a strong case for a loan of cheap money at a low rate of interest. I see no case for a gift which is going to be a permanent burden upon the British taxpayer, and I hope the House will not accept the proposal.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 124; Noes, 38.2377
|Division No. 248.]||AYES.||[12.58 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Allen, Lieut,-Col. Sir William James||Goff, Sir Park||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Ross, R. D.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Hamilton, Sir George||Rye, F. G.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hammersley, S. S.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Berry, Sir George||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. Sir Vivian||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hilton, Cecil||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Sandon, Lord|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D.Mcl-(Renfrew,W.)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hurst, Gerald B.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Buckingham, Sir H||Iveagh, Countess of||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.SirJ.A. (Birm.,W.)||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Tasker, R. Inigo.|
|Christie, J. A.||Loder, J. de v.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Looker, Herbert William||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Couper, J. B.||McLean, Major A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Macquisten, F. A.||Watts, Sir Thomas|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M,||Wells, S. R.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Nelson, Sir Frank||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Nlcholson,Col.Rt.Hon.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fermoy, Lord||Nuttall, Ellis||Major Sir William Cope and Captain|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Margesson.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Rennle (Penistone)|
|Batey, Joseph||Kennedy, T.||Snell, Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bellamy, A.||Lawrence, Susan||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Lindley, F. W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Cape, Thomas||MacDonald, Rt. Hon.J.R. (Aberavon)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Charleton, H. C.||Mosley, Sir Oswald||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Day, Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Richardson, R. (Houghton le-Spring)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Shinwell, E.||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House for Monday next, 4th March. —[Mr. Samuel.]