§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [13th November], "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ Which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."—[Mr. Guinness.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Colonel Sir GEORGE COURTHOPE
The debate on this Bill last Thursday covered a good deal of ground, which will enable me to put what I have to say on the subject quite briefly. I yield to no one in my desire to see an improvement in the economic production of our land, land which, I think, has as fine possibilities as any agricultural land on the world. Again, I share the genuine desire to see more people living on the land and by the land. But after studying with great care the provisions of this Bill in order to see the methods by which the Government propose to achieve these two very laudable objects, I am filled with the very gravest misgivings. The House, before giving a Second Reading to the Bill, ought to consider very carefully whether its provisions offer a reasonable prospect of success, and whether they are economically sound. Personally, I fear they offer a reasonable prospect neither of improving the production of the soil nor of enabling a larger number of people to live on and by the land.
I invite the House to look at some of the provisions of the Bill in detail. The first proposal is that the State should engage in the experiment of "large-scale farming." That is a delightfully vague phrase, and it may mean one of three things. It may mean, and probably, in the Minister's mind, does mean, farming according to local custom, farming as other people farm, but on a larger scale. We have many examples of large-scale farming of this kind, going on with varying success, in our country to-day. There are many very highly-skilled farmers, men who have scientific knowledge and the 276 experience to put that knowledge into practice, farming 3,000, 4,000, or 10,000 acres or more; and, in addition, we have the knowledge that the State has embarked on these experiments before. I do not want to labour the question, but the experience has not in general been a happy one. My interpretation of the State's experience in these matters and my knowledge—not very great perhaps—of what private enterprise is doing, and has done, in the same direction convince me that the nation will get far better results from large-scale farming by studying the efforts of private enterprise rather than renewing State enterprise, which has been generally unfortunate in the past, and occasionally disastrous
There is a second kind of large-scale farming which may be in mind, and that is mechanised farming, if I may apply a word which has become common in connection with military operations—mechanised farming on a very large scale indeed. It has been attempted with varying success in Canada, in the United States, in the Argentine, and possibly elsewhere. A scheme of the kind was started in this country some two years ago—I cannot say how far it has gone—in the neighbourhood of Wallingford, with the advantage of very highly skilled assistance from the Oxford School of Agricultural Engineering. I hope it may achieve success but, how ever successful it may be, I am sure I am right in saying that the land of our country is not generally adapted to this form of farming. We do not possess great stretches of uniform land. The bulk of our agricultural land is broken up into relatively small enclosures by hedges, ditches and so on, and however foolish we may, at first sight, take the small enclosures to be, we have generally found, when we have tried to do away with the hedges, ditches and so on, that it has led only to the waterlogging of our land, and that the hedges and ditches which our forbears created had some very sound and solid reasons for their existence. But, apart from the conviction which I hold that there is very little land suitable for this kind of farming—possibly a stretch round Wallingford may be the best, if not the only one, suitable for an experiment of this kind—the sole object of this 277 mechanised farming is to eliminate to the maximum extent the payment of labour. Agricultural labour, underpaid though I consider it to be, is far too heavy a burden for the general profit and loss account of our farmers to-day, situated as they are with a very highly competitive open market, and the sole object of these experiments in mechanised farming is to eliminate the labour costs. If you have a successful mechanised farm, it is a farm not employing a lot of men, but a farm run by a very small number of highly skilled mechanics.
Is this the time for a Government, faced with the problem of between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 unemployed, to embark upon an experiment the sole economic object of which is to eliminate labour from the land? I very much doubt it. I am not trying to make that point for a partisan reason. There may be a justification for a great landowner trying to keep his estate together by embarking on a big experiment, but there can be no justification for the State doing so when one of its principal concerns is the employment of more of its people. [Interruption.] I am not comparing the experience of one Ministry with the experience of another. I am thinking of the general prospects of the State, and the desire to improve its land and employ its people.
There is a third form of large-scale farming which may, possibly, be in some people's minds. I do not think it is in the mind of the Minister. I refer to the large industrialised agricultural estates which were relatively common and relatively prosperous in pre-War days in many parts of Europe—Poland, Russia, Austria and other countries. There are some in Poland I know. There may be some still in other parts of Europe, but they are far less common to-day than they were before the War. They were estates where the whole population was employed by a great landowner, who owned his own sugar factories, his mills, his creameries and the other industrial additions of his industrial estate. But the essence of their success was that the scale of wages paid depended entirely upon the price obtainable for the produce in the market. It went up and down, and in bad years, if you look at the records of these estates, you will find 278 that the estate was providing a bare living for its people in kind, and paying to them no cash at all. You cannot do that kind of thing in this country, and it is futile to imagine that you can start these great industrialised estates when the whole situation is compromised by a minimum wage, low though that minimum wage may be. It cannot be done.
I do not know of any more than these three alternative forms of large-scale farming. Whichever is in mind, I am convinced that it would be the height of folly for the State to embark on large capital expenditure for the purpose of any one of the three. We have had, as I said before, unfortunate experience of State experiments of this kind. Without the risk of the nation's capital, we can get the result of the experience of large-scale farming al ready, because relatively large-scale farming is going on in a great number of places, and it is in the hands of people who are competent to make some economic return. Let me mention one or two. A former Member of this House, Mr. A. T. Loyd, has farmed 5,000 to 10,000 acres of arable land where the great international tractor trials took place six weeks ago. I have not asked him, but I have no hesitation whatever in saying that any results, good or bad, that he may have found from his very large agricultural enterprise, extending back now for a number of years, would be made available for the Minister of Agriculture. Then there is Sir Frederick Hiam, a very large agriculturist in the Fen District, with great experience, a man who cultivates more than 1,000 acres of sugar-beet every year, who grows 1,000 acres of carrots, goodness knows what acreage of barley, wheat and other crops—a very big man in the more intensive type of arable farming. I have no doubt whatever that his results are equally available, if they are asked for, as those of Mr. Lloyd, and many others one might mention. Why waste the nation's money in seeking for information which is available already? You will find, if you collect this information, that while it is true that it probably pays infinitely better to farm on a relatively large scale than on a relatively small one, unless that scale is so small that no wage is paid at all, still none of these large-scale farms are 279 paying m the present state of our markets.
In these circumstances, it would be the height of folly to invest the nation's revenue as capital in an enterprise for a very small purpose, and with the prospect of no economic return at all. I do not suppose that the arguments I am making will have any effect, but if the House goes on and does this, I want to ask the Minister this question: Are these subsidised experimental farms to compete with the struggling farmer in our unprotected market? If so—and I imagine that the answer can only be yes—you are doing, by a Measure of this kind, the greatest possible harm to the farmers of this country, particularly the arable farmers who are struggling against adversity, against the competition of a world which is producing more than it can consume.
Let me turn from large-scale farming to the second idea of the Bill—the reconditioning of land. Under this Bill, it is proposed to authorise the Minister to expend large sums of money on purchasing land which is in need of reconditioning, reclamation, drainage and so on. But why on earth buy it? Surely it would be a very much sounder proposition to secure the employment of your people by encouraging, by grant and so on, the work of catchment boards? We have passed a Land Drainage Act setting up catchment boards to deal with one at least of these problems. Surely it would be better business, by a relatively small expenditure, to seure that this work is done by other people with a moderate amount of State assistance, than to throw away, as it would be throwing away, in my opinion, the money of the State in first of all buying land which ex hypothesi is partially derelict, and, secondly, by spending large sums to bring it into condition? We know quite well that unless you provide a market for this produce, it will be worth less in that condition than the money spent on it. There can be no justification for expenditure of that kind.
§ Sir G. COURTHOPE
I think not. Surely under the Land Drainage Act, 280 and with the need there is to protect a great deal of land which is not derelict but very productive, and is in danger from the invasion of the sea, and so on, a better opportunity could be given for useful expenditure and useful employment at a relatively small cost than the purchasing by the State for the State of a great deal of land which, under present conditions, can never give to the State an economic return? I cannot help feeling that in putting all these proposals before the House the Government are rather putting the cart before the horse. It is useless, it is folly to expend the nation's revenue, which is short enough and badly needed, on capital commitments of this kind which can never make a return unless you have a secure market. It is folly to do it unless you provide a secure market, but if you began by providing a relatively secure market, this work could he done without the expenditure of this money, and I submit that, if you begin with the market, you will find that it is quite unnecessary to spend the money on either the purchase, the reclamation or the reconditioning which this Bill provides. So much for the reconditioning proposals upon which an expenditure of £5,700,000 is proposed.
I come now to Part II of the Bill dealing with smallholdings and allotments. I will take smallholdings first. The Financial Memorandum contemplates an expenditure of £640,000 on smallholdings. That is capital expenditure, but, in addition, there are different subsidies and grants, and the Minister is somewhat optimistic when he says that there will be a net return of 2 per cent. in this country and 2 per cent. in Scotland. I am a great believer in smallholdings, but I think anyone who has studied smallholdings will agree with me when I say that their chance of success depends almost entirely upon the selection of the individuals who are to occupy them. As a rule, the successful individual is a man who has had not simply a few months nominal training, but a man who has a lifelong experience of the soil and of the stock that lives on the soil, or who has a wife who is one of those relatively rare persons who has a natural flair for that kind of work.
If anyone imagines that you can give a man six months' training in the use 281 of tools and conclude that that fits him for a successful smallholder it is a great mistake. You want something more than that. I believe that you can substantially increase the number of smallholdings, and, as agricultural unemployment tends to decrease, I believe you will have a flow of people who have lived all their lives on the land, and who have the knowledge of what the land can do. I refer to those people who have had experience of handling stock, including everything alive on the land. It is not everybody who can make hens lay eggs, and it is not experience which is achieved after a few weeks' training. In order to make smallholdings pay you want to catch those men with a lifelong experience of this sort before they become unemployed and keep them on the land. By adopting that course smallholdings might be a success, but to imagine that you are going to make them successful by bringing large numbers of the unemployed from our industrial centres and placing them on the land is a great mistake, because it cannot be done.
It is only a relatively small number of countryfolk who are suitable for this work, and they would have to work day in and day out, and become slaves of production on the land in order to make a success of it. You must have men with a knowledge of what the land can do; they must know how to tend to their chickens and pigs and so on, and you will not find that class of men among the unemployed in our great industrial towns. If you attempt to increase the number of smallholdings to any very large extent you are courting disaster and throwing away the money of the nation. At the same time, you will be doing nothing to help the unemployed. There is nothing more heartbreaking than that a man should be led to believe that he is going to make a living out of a pretty little house and a few acres of land, with a couple of pigs and a dozen hens, and then to find that he does not understand the work, and that he begins to go downhill instead of uphill. That will break the man's heart, and it is no kindness to an unsuitable man to place him upon work of that kind and encourage him to think that he is going to make a living out of it, because he will not. I am quite sure that it will be sheer waste for the State to 282 embark upon a big smallholdings scheme of that kind.
I do not want to enlarge upon that, but I must say a word or two about allotments. This is the one good point in the Bill, although it is not without its difficulties. I had the privilege this morning of listening to the Prime Ministers speech at Caxton Hall, and I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman said that it means a tremendous lot to a man who is down and out to get work again. It is a good thing for all of us, whether we are unemployed or overworked, to borrow a spade, or a fork, or a hoe, and dig. It is good for everybody to do work on the land. I quite agree with the Prime Minister that in so far as you can give work of that kind to men who are unemployed you are probably doing them a good deal of good both physically and morally, whether the thing pays or not. I do riot think it will pay, but it will be justified by the physical and moral good that will result.
I want to say a word of warning, although I am aware that the dangers of this Measure are mostly present to hon. Members. The extension of smallholdings in the immediate neighbourhood of big industrial centres is not an easy thing, because it is extremely difficult to provide any sort of security of tenure, and er hypothesi the land which is most convenient for this purpose is very often land wanted for building, and you cannot be moving your allotments further out of the town every couple of years. That is one of the difficulties. I also see another difficulty. If the movement for providing allotments for the unemployed is widely extended, there is a distinct risk, which must be foreseen and guarded against, that it may come to many people's minds that the cultivation of subsidised allotment plus the dole is the whole duty of man. I am not quite certain how you could stop that. I do not suggest that that would become general, but there may be many people who think that by working an allotment and drawing the dole they are doing their job. That is a risk which the Minister of Agriculture must provide against. [Interruption]. I hope the dole will become very much less general, but I fear that there is a danger—I think the hon. Member sees what is in my mind—that it may satisfy the ambition of citizenship of some in- 283 dividuals if they feel that they can live on their little allotment with the help of the dole.
Apart from those details, there are two features of this Bill which cause me great misgivings. One of them is the very wide powers which it is proposed to give to the Minister. There are something like nine or ten Clauses which propose to give the Minister new powers of overriding local authorities or acting concurrently on the same lines. Both those things are thoroughly bad. We have deliberately created our system of local authorities, and conferred upon them certain powers, and we must be very careful in extending the rights of any Minister to over-ride those local authorities, or we are apt to destroy the whole system of local government and its efficiency. I think the Bill goes too far in that direction, and it would be the gravest mistake to give the Minister or any Minister one quarter of the powers which are proposed in this Bill.
The last point I desire to make is upon the question of the extension of the employment of Government officials. We do not know to what extent those officials will be increased by this Bill, but the explanatory Memorandum which is attached to the Bill informs us that the increase of staff "will clearly be large," and I think it will be very large. This House, which is the guardian of the nation's finances, must not vaguely pass a Measure to create a large increase of staff without knowing where its responsibilities will end. At present, we have not the least idea, and we cannot get the information from the Minister or anyone else as to what will be the limitations of this increase of staff. This increase is going to take place at a. time when we want to reduce the expenditure of all Government Departments, and I think it would be quite wrong for this House to grant these vague powers without knowing definitely what their maximum cost will be.
I fear that, in my desire to he brief, I have dealt with these points very inadequately. To sum up, I would say that, viewed from the standpoint of economy, the only possible merit of this Bill is that it gives an opportunity for the waste of further millions. It may have a value from a party point of view, and I rather suspect that the dressing 284 of the party window for electoral purposes may have something to do with its provisions. For that I care nothing; the party who are responsible for it will want all the help they can get, and I do not grudge them a bit of window dressing if they can find it in this Bill. From the point of view of unemployment, I think the benefits of the Bill are extremely doubtful, and from the point of view of agriculture I am quite convinced that the Bill is a delusion and a sham.
§ Mr. GOULD
The debate so far has given the House just two bright spots in a very dark picture. One of the Scottish Members opposite reserved his opposition to Part II of the Bill, but generally was in opposition to the major part of the Bill. During the debates on the Colonial Development Bill early last Session, I heard from the Opposition benches a principle that impressed me very much. It was that a Government could and should make ventures and take risks which no private individual or company could be expected to undertake. I regarded that as a very bold and sensible statement, and, when I came to read this Bill and consider its provisions, I thought that that principle could be applied very wisely to the basis of this Bill.
The Minister is facing a very big task in relation to land settlement and the experiments which he foreshadows in the Bill. As representing the interests of my own county of Somerset, I regard Part II of the Bill as the most important, and, after a conference which took place during the week-end, and at which the contents of Part II were discussed, I am more than ever strengthened in my view that the Minister will be staggered, when the Bill becomes an Act, to find what a number of claimants will embarrass him for holdings under this part of the Bill. I have no doubt as to the nature of the applicants and their suitability. Some of us have a very close relationship with and experience of these men and their homes, and we know that the women are as adaptable as the men to this particular task. I regretted to hear the hon. and gallant Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope) say that he thought that the Bill was mere electoral window dressing. We have very much to learn from the Opposition in relation to that matter. I have in 285 my hand a leaflet, and, when the hon. and gallant Member spoke of "a pretty little place," I thought he must have been acquainted with this leaflet. It reads thus:
§ "WHAT A PRETTY LITTLE PLACE!
§ "An acre or so of land, a cottage, a small barn, a toolshed, a pigstye, a fowlhouse, and a liking and ability for the land.
§ "One can then be very happy and contented.
§ "The Unionist party believes in cottage and smallholdings.
§ "It is the only party that does.
"If the Unionist party gets in at this Election, it will push along the smallholding and cottage holding movement, and will give facilities—
for occupation if you don't want to buy;"—
that is very accommodating—
for ownership when you do.
I have heard gibes flung about regarding bribes and I would like to ask whether this last sentence is not near to a bribe:
The chance of becoming a smallholder is yours if you vote Unionist.
§ I have been through the county of Somerset, north, south, east and west, and have been looking for these pretty little places. I have two brothers who have spent their lives in this sort of work, and I have many very enlightened farmers in my constituency who are keenly interested in, this work. Some of them are so enlightened that they are even voting Labour, and I believe that the indictment that has been put forward against this part of the Bill can be falsified by data in hundreds and thousands of cases. If the Minister of Agriculture, after this Bill passes into law, gets two years of experience under it, not only will there be useful window dressing, but we shall have men and women on the land who are now dragging out an existence in unemployment and on smallholdings of such a nature that they are not able, at least at present, to maintain their families and their homes on them. I believe that it is wise for the Government to risk public money in this great industry, and particularly in the smallholdings and allotment sections. I believe that it will be money well spent, and that the country will endorse it to the extent of 100 per cent. If there is anything that the county of Somerset will endorse, it is a bold and courageous 286 expenditure of public money—wisely, yes; in selected cases, yes.
We can find at the Exchanges numbers of men and women who are living in semi-rural distracts, within a low miles of the main agricultural areas, with perhaps a factory here and a factory there. These men and women have an inclination and a desire to go on to the land, despite the taunt of slavery. If the House will not mind a homely note, I would mention that a twin brother of mine and myself started out together on a holding, and, although he is youthful in age, he has been able, out of a holding of 60 acres, to put the whole of his savings either into the farm or into reserve, and he is now released from the whole responsibility of the holding and has sufficient to retire on. If that is the form of slavery to which the party opposite objects, I would say to the Minister, get on with this form of slavery and let our men have an opportunity. I can give him more cases than one. I know men who are keenly desirous of getting into these holdings, and I believe that they are eagerly awaiting this Bill, which I hope will speedily become an Act of Parliament. In the light of the circular from which I have quoted, I looked up what resulted from that election, and how many holdings the Act of 1926 pushed through. I found that in 1926 Somerset boasted of one new holding, and that rather disappointed me. Referring again to the sentence:
The chance of becoming a smallholder is your if you vote Unionist,
surely more than one voted Unionist who might have had an inclination to take up such holdings. There are over 500 on the waiting list to-day. The party opposite cannot escape from the position which they took up during an election in the days when the Labour Government is asking them to fulfil one of their pledges, and we ask them to join with us in honouring a pledge which was given so long ago. In 1927 six of these holdings were established; in 1928, nine, in 1929, four, and there is a long list of disappointed applicants who welcome this Bill. I do not ask that they should transfer their political allegiance, but they will at least see that my pledge is being fulfilled. It was a very small one, because I doubted whether the opportunities would come to us to put forward
a bold, comprehensive scheme. This is far bigger than I anticipated when I was a candidate in the election, and I can only hope that, When the Minister has this power and applications come forward, we shall transfer these people from the Employment Exchange and the Unemployment Insurance Fund to the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture, and spend money in making independent citizens on the land rather than allowing them to eke out their existence at the Exchange.
§ A point that has often been stressed is that of the relationship of the folk across the sea who send us great bulks of commodities. One cannot face an issue like this without taking the wider view, and asking whether all parties in this House regard the balance of trade as satisfactory. I know what the answer will be; it will be in the negative. None of us are happy as to the question of exports and imports, and £300,000,000 of our imports are food and the essential things on which our people live. That is putting aside manufactured articles or raw materials. Our imports of food include £55,000,000 worth of pork products, £14,000,000 worth of cheese, £54,000,000 worth of butter, £8,000,000 worth of lard, and £20,000,000 worth of eggs. Think of the potentialities of counties like Somerset in relation to these articles. As regards the Danes, whose land is not as good as ours, if you ask whether the skill of our men is equal to theirs, we answer "Yes." Is their market protected or subsidised? Not at all. Are we prepared to admit that, with better soil, with men and women equal, with a better market nearer to the holdings, these articles, which I find on farmers' tables, cannot be produced here? I go to breakfast at a farmhouse, and I find Danish bacon on the breakfast table of a farmer in the county of Somerset. It is a question of organisation, good will, specialisation and selection. We can feed the British bacon-buying public, we can meet the egg market, the butter market and the cheese market, and we can lessen our imports by £100,000,000 worth of food, if this Government has the will to go through with it.
§ I mention that as one of the contributions that will at least ease the balance of trade between this and other countries 288 of the world. The cry is that it is not opportune, that it will cost money, that it is so difficult to get the right men. None of these are sound reasons why we should not go on as speedily as we can with this scheme. I compliment the Minister, and I believe that the House and the country are ready to give him an endorsement of his policy. Certainly, minor Amendments will be necessary in a big Measure such as this, but I hope that the Minister, when he has got the Financial Resolution, will get the Bill into Committee as speedily as possible and hasten its passage to the Statute Book, thereby giving new hope to thousands of our men and women in this country, who will regard his work as a boon to them and to the country at large.
§ Colonel LANE FOX
If the Bill which we are considering were to do the things to which the hon. Member has just alluded, if it were really going to help marketing, to improve organisation and generally to benefit farming, it would have very general support on this side of the House. If, later on, the Minister produces a Bill with these objects, he will find a very different attitude towards those problems from that which he will find towards this Bill. It is because the Bill does nothing very useful and does a great many things that are seriously considered harmful rather than advantageous to agriculture and to unemployment that we are opposing it. I am not going to argue whether it is a Socialist Bill or not. I want to argue it on its merits. Merely to say it is a Socialist Bill is to encourage hon. Members opposite to support it, and I do not see any reason for doing that. There is a great deal to be said against the Bill on its merits, and it is quite unnecessary to attack it on the ground of it being Socialist.
The question we are all asking ourselves is: Will it relieve unemployment, will the money that is to be spent be wasted, and will it help agriculture? In the first Clause, the Minister suggests an Agricultural Corporation. I need not dwell long on that, because there are plenty of indications already that that part of the Bill is not likely to go through. It has been pretty well criticised on all sides of the House. The Minister himself spoke of it with no enthusiasm. He 289 mainly supported it on the ground that it had been suggested by an agricultural Commission a great many years ago, when conditions were different, and I think the general feeling of the House is that it is certainly part of the Bill which may very well be dispensed with. It is certainly not worth a million of money. It is true that big-scale experiments have been tried with varying success under different conditions. We have quite sufficient experience to guide us, and for the Minister to spend £1,000,000, which is badly needed in other directions, on experiments of this sort would be a very serious mistake.
I should like to come to the question of demonstration farms and smallholdings, on which the Minister wishes to spend a very large sum of money. We already have all over the country a great number of demonstration farms. There is hardly a single county council or university which is not in some way linked up with demonstration, experiment, and research. A vast amount of invaluable work is being done already. But far the best demonstration you can have is the demonstration of the successful farmer and smallholder. I should like to compare the method suggested with that employed in Yorkshire, which has proved eminently successful. We have found that far the best way of carrying on experiments is to carry them on on actual farms. There are plenty of farmers who are very enthusiastic about these things, and who are prepared to have experiments on their farms. The whole of the West Riding is mapped out in areas, and in the centre of each we have an officer who conducts, reports on, and helps these experiments. Every farmer who has a successful experiment on his farm is an actual propagandist. He goes to market, and tells his friends what is happening, and that is far the best way of spreading science, far better than to spend large sums of State money. It can be better done by private owners who are making a success of these things. All over the country you will find farmers who are most anxious to have these experiments conducted on their own farms and who will be most ready to give the results of the experiments for the advantage of their neighbours and the country.
290 May I again illustrate the question of demonstration in smallholdings conducted by committees in the West Riding. The Yorkshire Committee wished to start a demonstration of smallholdings on 35 acres of exceptionally good land, and it seemed a fairly easy proposition. They tried it, and they could not make a financial success of it. Whereupon they handed it over to one of their number to carry it on himself. After a few years he is making a very large profit and has effectively proved that he has been able to do what a committee could not do. I believe that is a case the Minister knows about, but I should be glad to give particulars to anyone who wants them. That is a case where a committee lost money regularly, but one capable, experienced man who understood his job was able to make a very considerable profit. It is a great mistake to assume that all farmers are against science and scientific methods. It is the sort of thing people have read in books and think it is a fact. People who have not much experience of the subject do not realise, even if those things were true in the past, how utterly things have changed now in the attitude that farmers take towards science, the scientific application of chemicals and so on, to agriculture. In Yorkshire, the old type of stick-in-the-mud farmer, who is supposed not to believe in anything that his father did not do before him, is practically extinct. A new generation has arisen.
I remember very well years ago the opening of the first demonstration farm in Yorkshire and the amount of scepticism among the farmers as to what it would do. The enthusiastic gentleman who took the chair at the luncheon did not improve matters by telling the farmers of the various experiments that were being conducted, and talking of feeding calves on skimmed milk and castor oil instead of skimmed milk and cod liver oil. All that sort of thing is changed, and in Yorkshire certainly the assistance of the Leeds University and the admirable professor of agriculture we have there has been clearly appreciated and generally used. My own farm has been running in constant touch with Leeds University for years, and all round me I find that the professors and their assistants are going round and the farmers are making the greatest use of 291 them in every direction. In the West Riding, we have made smallholdings a great success, and I am an enthusiastic supporter of smallholdings.
It is suggested that we do not want men to go back on the land. Obviously, anyone who is interested in the country must want to see the greatest number of successful and prosperous men for his own private advantage if for no other reason. But we want to see these things successful. We do not want the Minister to take unsuitable men and put them in a position in which they cannot possibly make a living and must starve. The West Riding smallholdings have been so successful because we have been very careful to put the right men on to the holdings, and to give them good land. It is ridiculous to put a man with no real experience on bad land, because he cannot possibly make a success of it. Practically all the smallholdings in the West Riding are doing well, and we want more of them. I do not mean to say there is no waiting list. One great advantage the smallholder has is that he is free from the labour trouble. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I do not suggest that the agricultural labourer's wages should come down. I agree that they are too low already. What has really made farming difficult is the rigidity of hours, because frequently a job that could be finished with another half-hour's work is left undone and men and horses have to go back to finish it on the following day. There is no doubt that this want of elasticity has troubled the average farmer very much. The smallholder is free from that. On occasion, the smallholders in the West Riding work night and day, men, women and children. Of course, it is their family job. That is an advantage which the smallholder will always enjoy under present conditions over the ordinary farmer.
I do not think the hopes of this Bill can he based on the successes of smallholdings which have been reported, because in so many cases they have simply been the result of men of experience being put on to good land and suitable conditions being provided in every way. The trainee class of smallholders has been almost entirely a. failure, certainly in Yorkshire, and I believe it has been the same all over the country. 292 Our past experience will riot justify us in thinking that those who have not much knowledge, and who are going to be put through a course of training, will make the same success as experienced men. It is no use saying in the Bill that you are only going to have suitable men. There will be thousands of applications if the State offers money and land free. The urge will be to get the unemployed on to the land, and it will be extremely difficult for the Minister to refuse to put them there, and large sums of money will be wasted and thousands of men put to do a job at which they cannot make a success. But there is something worse. It is going to be extremely unfair to existing smallholders who have risked their capital and are making good. You are going to put these other men there merely because they are unemployed, and you will be subsidising competition with those who are finding it difficult enough to make smallholdings pay at all. It is most unfair to them.
What is going to be the value of the subsidy to the nation? The Bill does nothing that is going to make agriculture pay. If agriculture were paying properly, many of the difficulties would not occur. For instance, no one will spend money on draining land which it does not pay to cultivate. If it were made possible to make a living out of agriculture, its difficulties would disappear. It is a, waste of money to use this subsidy merely to put men on to the land without assuring them that agriculture will be assisted. The way to get more men back on to the land is to make it worth while for them to go there. You will soon get many men on to the land and you will prevent men from going off the land you do something which will give them a chance of making a livelihood. As long as dumping is allowed to go on unchecked and the present rate of prices stands, how can you expect men to go back on to the land? How can they possibly live? Day after day and week after week men are flocking away from the land. Land is being allowed to go to grass. The way to get these men on to the land is to make the conditions good and give them a chance of making a livelihood.
The Government are deceiving the unemployed by this Bill. They are going 293 to put the unemployed on to the land and tell them that they will make a livelihood, although they will have no chance of doing so. The Bill is exactly on the same lines as the Education Bill in connection with which they are telling the children that they are keeping them out of employment in order to give them a further year's education although they have not made preparations to provide that education properly. It is a very unfair thing to deceive your unemployed in this way by subsidising competition against the existing smallholders.
Earlier in my speech I asked whether this Bill was going to relieve unemployment, whether the money which was to be spent would be well spent, and whether the Bill would help agriculture? I do not believe that any of these questions can be answered in any other way than by the answer "No." I believe that this Bill is not going to help employment, and I am certain that it is not going to do anything to help agriculture. An hon. Gentleman, speaking on the opposite side of the House, gave the pedigree of this Bill as being "by unemployment out of agricultural depression." Surely that is a depressing pedigree. Such a Bill is not likely to have much success. I suggest a better description of this Measure, namely, that it is "by ignorant extravagance out of ignorant election promises." A Bill which is brought forward in that manner will have no support from me. If I thought that it was going to help employment, I would do something to help it. If I thought that it was going to help agriculture, I would do something to help it. But believing that it will do nothing in this direction, that it will do harm to the country, be a great waste of public money and of no real relief or help to employment, I certainly cannot vote for it.
§ Mr. QUIBELL
I desire to express appreciation of this Measure and of the attempt which the Minister for Agriculture is making to help the countryside. I cannot say that I am as enamoured of Clause 1 of the Bill as I am of certain other Clauses. I think that the money to be allocated to that part of the Bill could be far better spent in another direction. There are plenty of demonstration farms already, and I think, as some 294 speakers have said, that, as far as production is concerned, a large number of the agriculturists in this country have very little to learn from other people in the production of cereals, etc., and in general farming. Further, I agree very largely with the speech which was delivered last week by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Perth (Mr. Skelton), that the real object of this Bill is to get more people back to the land; more people employed on the land.
Mechanisation and rationalisation are terms which are used very frequently in this House, but, as far as the countryside is concerned, I believe that the finest type of farm that we could have is the 350 to 400-acre farm. I do not agree with the demonstration farms of 2,000 or 3,000 acres. I can remember 400-acre farms where there were 10 men and two boys employed regularly. The same class of farm to-day would employ about half the number of men. As far as the unit is concerned, the most successful farm, at any rate in the part of the country to which I belong, seems to be the 350 acre or the 400-acre farm. The main object of dealing with agriculture is to bring prosperity to the countryside and to increase the number of men who can be employed successfully in the countryside. We want more intensive agriculture. I am not unmindful of the point which was put by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Barkston Ash (Colonel Lane Fox), that whatever the state of agriculture, we must, through the results of the Imperial Conference or the establishment of import boards, deal with the question of prices. I can understand that, whatever we do with regard to agriculture, there will be difficulties unless we have something like the fixation of prices, or, at any rate, assured prices. I think that that will be admitted by hon. Members in every part of the House.
But we must not forget the fact that the Selborne Commission which was set up by the Coalition Government reported that in Germany they employed 18 on every 100-acre farm, whereas in this country we employ only five per 100-acre farm. The point I wish to make is, that as far as the countryside is concerned, if it is reconditioned or if we deal with the economic side of the industry, it can absorb far more men that those who are employed at the present time. Until we 295 deal with the economic side of the industry, we cannot really put agriculture on to its feet.
The questions of reconditioning and reclamation are points which are dealt with in this Bill, and I think they are very good points. We are not without some experience in the Valley of the Trent where a large part of the Gains-borough Division was reclaimed by the Dutch engineers. It was reconditioned and now consists of some of the most fertile land to be found in the kingdom. During my lifetime the reclamation has gone on, and there are still hundreds of thousands of acres which can be made the richest land in the country by such a process. In so far as this Bill deals with that side of the question, I commend it to the attention of the House, and I also commend the Minister of Agriculture for its introduction. Reclamation is worth while, apart from the economic reason, because it extends the area within which a certain number of human beings may be allowed to live. There is a quotation from Voltaire which puts the position very nicely so far as the neglect of the industry is concerned. He said that they, the politicians, had discovered in their fine politics the art of causing those to die of hunger who, by cultivating the earth, gave the means of life to others. That, so far as the countryside is concerned, is true. We on this side, and I hope many hon. Members on the other side, feel very strongly that the men who are suffering most in agriculture are the poor agricultural labourers. Many of them are looking for work and there is none to go to, and, even when they find work, the wages that they receive are so miserable that they are unable to put something aside for a rainy day. They can only go to the public assistance committees for aid when they are out of work. It is to their interest, as well as to the general interest of the country, that the general problem of agriculture should he dealt with in the way indicated in this Measure.
Some remarks have been made as to the suitability of a prospective tenant for a smallholding. There are a large number of smallholdings in Lincolnshire, and from my experience I cannot say who ought to be the judge of the suitability of a tenant. How can one judge 296 fairly until they have been given a trial? Members of the Opposition have had some experience in this matter, and no doubt it makes them feel a little sure. I have been looking up some figures relating to one of their experiments with regard to a holding and settlement scheme. They established 150 holdings in their grand scheme. The income from those 150 holdings is £8,000 per annum, and the actual cost to the county council concerned is £21,000, or a loss of £113,000, or something over £80 per holding per year. I hope, as the Minister of Agriculture said, we are going to take their experience to guide us as to what we should do in the circumstances. A sum of £1,500 was paid for one holding alone, although it was previously let at £30 per year. immediately the holding was bought—and it had to be bought—the house had to be reconditioned, and the rent to the smallholder was fixed at £80 odd. This unfair burden was placed upon the shoulders of the smallholder. The landlord, as a matter of fact, sold the holding for £1,500 when it was worth only £600, and 6¼ per cent. interest was charged to the holder who could not make a living. Many of the smallholders in that area whom I know very well have lost all their savings in their smallholdings. They did not lose their money because they were not fitted to cultivate the holding, because of the amount of money they were charged. The difference between what they paid and the rent the farmer paid was so great that many of them lost their money in attempting to make a living on the smallholding.
Sitting here, I sometimes agree with many things which are said by hon. Members on the other side, because there is no side or party which is 100 per cent. wrong or 100 per cent. right in any of these matters. I have a paper in my hand, which was printed in 1819, showing that the same kind of appeals were made on behalf of the farm labourer in those days. The farm labourer was in precisely the same position. We are lamenting the same conditions to-day. Numbers are going out of agriculture year after year, 100,000 fewer being employed today than was the case in 1921. They had a conference similar to the conferences which Members of this House have addressed, and appeals were made to the Government of that day that they 297 should do something for agriculture. In those days they wanted Protection or, if you like to call it by the name, import boards. Unemployment and poverty were rife and the landlords and the best farmers called a conference to petition the Government to do something to relieve the poverty which existed on the countryside.
If this Bill is going to make a contribution, and I hope it is, I trust that it will be strengthened in Committee, I hope that so far as the farming side is concerned in regard to reconditioning the Minister of Agriculture will be strong and firm. Recently, I had to do certain work on a big estate. I am now a builder and contractor. It is not a very good game, hut it is a better one than farming. I visited an estate in a part of North Wales well known to hon. and right hon. Members, and I looked round some of the farms. To the farmer the farm buildings arc the tools of his trade, just as a spade and a trowel are the tools of my trade. I found the most abominable conditions prevailing. Such conditions could not he fittingly described in this House. Hon. Members would have to see them to believe them. I found dairy farms without water supply, shippons without floors, farms without proper rooms, farm servants having to sleep over the shippons, in the hay-loft. I said to an agent in one case: "This dilapidation is due to lack of painting." He turned to the farmer and said: "How long is it since it was painted?" The farmer replied, "Well, I have been here 47 years and it has not been done in my time." From what I could see of the place, I should say that that farm had not been done up for a century. If it was not paying the landlord, at any rate the landlord was taking everything out of it and putting nothing into it.
I repaired some of these places, botched them up if you like to call it so. In places where there was no water supply I found farmers sending milk to town, and carrying on with very great difficulty. If this Bill will help to remedy such conditions, in the interests of public health and in the interests of the countryside it ought to be done. I hope that the Bill can be amended so that reconditioning will apply in such a way as to compel the landlord to do the work, and if he cannot do so provision ought to be 298 made for the Government doing the work and charging him in the same way that is done in other cases. If we do that we shall do a good deal to help agriculture, the tenant farmer and the countryside. The conditions to which I have referred do not apply merely to one part of the country, although I must confess that the worst experience I have had is in the country represented by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), that beautiful country of Wales. Such conditions may relate to the worse kind of landlordism. If they are to be tackled the sooner they are tackled, the better it will be for agriculture. I trust that the Bill will receive a big majority on its Second Reading and that it will quickly pass into law to bring help and hope to the countryside.
§ Mr. HURD
Some of the arguments used by the hon. Member for Brigg (Mr. Quibell) make a strong appeal to those on this side who look upon agriculture with deep sympathy. His is not the only speech in which there has been expressed a wish that we should be able to regard agriculture and its difficulties more apart from party differences than we have done in the past. If only we could find some common ground and some reason to hope for a continuity of policy in respect to agriculture from Parliament to Parliament and from Government to Government we should be doing a great service to this industry to which we are so devoted. The present methods only produce chopping and changing which is most disastrous to the best forms of agriculture, most disheartening to those who are best qualified to carry through with success and also most disturbing to all concerned. In agriculture you cannot hope to achieve success if you are merely looking to to-morrow; you must have longish views, and if you are not in a position to take those longish views then nine times out of 10 you will fail. If you have this non-continuity of policy, this chopping and changing about from party to party and Parliament to Parliament you are doing agriculture a very grave disservice.
We all know what happens in this House. A Ministry comes in and in an endeavour to fulfil its election pledges it brings forward a large Measure of agricultural reform. We spend weeks in the 299 discussion of that Measure, some party feeling is displayed and in the end the Measure is passed, Surely, common sense would suggest that we should be able to watch the development of that Measure in operation, see what mistakes are in it and how those mistakes can be amended and see whether we cannot on that basis build up a better arrangement than that which existed before the new method came in. That is not the course we adopt. Another party comes in and it, too, has its election pledges to carry through. It throws over the existing method, over which we have spent so much effort, and starts new ideas, with the result that you get confusion, the absence of progress and agriculture suffers every time, while Parliamentary methods fall very largely into disrepute.
I have some personal association with the Minister of Agriculture. He and I are Wiltshire men by adoption, and it is my good fortune to be in his company on occasions in the genial atmosphere of agricultural gatherings. I had hopes that when he succeeded to his present position we should be able to find in various sections of this House some considerable measure of agreement in respect to agricultural policy, under his guidance. My hopes were strengthened by his attitude towards marketing reform. Unquestionably, the right hon. Gentleman has done a very great service to agriculture by the way in which he has continued and strengthened that measure of reform. I hope he will go a little cautiously and remember that the agricultural mind is slow to move and will not be "dray." He will bear in mind that it is said of the Wiltshire man, "You may coax him, but he will not be 'druv'" That applies to a large section of the agricultural community, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will remember it in his marketing reform scheme. Enormous progress has been made with the scheme and I hope that the progress will continue. In regard to the present Measure I was hoping that we should find grounds of agreement and progress in respect to some of the matters dealt with. Reclamation has been spoken of, a most important matter, on which there need be no party disagreement. I was hoping that we might find some ground of agree- 300 meat with regard to smallholdings, allotments and farm research.
Some of us have made persistent efforts to find common ground of action in regard to matters of agricultural progress but it is obvious that there is an unbridgeable gulf between us in some matters. We cannot work together in regard to tariffs or in regard to import boards so far as they rely upon State Socialism, as we regard it; but there has been in these informal discussions a surprising measure of agreement in regard to some matters which are dealt with in the Bill. The debate shows that to be so. There is a keen lesire, for instance, that every man who pants allotment and is proved to be qualified should have an allotment, and that every man who wants a smallholding and is shown to be qualified should have that smallholding, and that we should use every possible means to find in this way a new outlet for the unemployed men who are so hopeless in their outlook and to whom a Measure of this sort may very well bring new hope and new confidence.
I was very much interested in the speech of the hon. Member for Frome (Mr. Gould). He has beaten me at elections and I have beaten him and we are both here to-night finding a large measure of agreement in some of these agricultural matters. His knowledge of Somerset and my knowledge of Somerset miners coincides in this, that it is not true to say that there are not many men engaged in industrial pursuits who are not well fitted to occupy the land and make a success of it. I know, and he knows, that in opening flower shows and other horticultural exhibitions in the mining districts of Somerset it has been our privilege to hand the prize for the best cultivator of the soil to a miner who, in his spare time, has devoted himself to the land. Many of these men are well qualified to become successful smallholders, in spite of the great difficulties attending that occupation. Some of the most successful settlers in the Canadian North West, the prairie country, have, you find out when you visit them, antecedents who were English townsmen. You will have to go to the Midlands of England to find the man. Mr. Wheeler, who produced the prize wheat for the North American Continent. A townsman, a craftsman, an artisan, he got the flair and had the aptitude and he has made a great 301 success of his farming life. A good pro portion of Mae men now employed in our towns—I do not say the large proportion—have zest, adaptability, love of hard work and quickness of understanding, and where they have proved the capacity we should do what we can to put them on the land.
Why has there not been more rapid progress in this matter? A good deal has been said about Conservative legislation, and brickbats have been thrown. I am not interested in that, but I am interested in finding some ground on which we can make more progress in the future than in the past. We are all agreed that the main cause which has held up the development of allotments has been the want of security: the advent of the builder and encroachment upon the allotment land. A man puts his best into his allotment, it pleases his wife very much and he is happy about it, then along comes the grasping hand of the man who has the power to displace him in order to put up houses there. Surely it is possible to obtain that security by common agreement. We can do so by giving more power to local authorities but not by supplanting them. If you once start supplanting local authorities in local affairs you are taking a step which will be most detrimental in matters of local government.
Take smallholdings. What is the difficulty there? There is, first of all, the difficulty of finance; and it is a very real difficulty in Wiltshire and in the county of Somerset. It is the fear of the burden of the rates which has led to hesitation in developing the smallholdings system. But a more important deterrent has been bad markets. I will not dwell on the remedy for had markets at this time, but I am quite sure that if the Government take measures to deal with the question of bad markets and the question of finance the Minister of Agriculture will be surprised at the pace at which the smallholdings and allotments provisions will be operated. I am proud of our smallholders in Wiltshire. I have had a long experience of the farmers and smallholders in the West country and I have never seen finer occupiers of land than you will find in parts of my own Division of Devizes. But of what avail is it for them to turn out their finest vegetables and foodstuffs if the smallholder, when he sends it to Bristol, finds 302 that there is no market there for it. Until we deal with the question of bad markets we shall leave the smallholders in a more or less perilous position.
It must not be said that the hesitation to deal with the question of smallholdings has been due to any lack of enterprise or capacity on the part of the smallholder himself. It is not true. It is obviously our duty to give these men a better chance and fair play as against those who are destroying the markets which should be theirs. There arc new men coming along. In my own county we have new complements of men coming forward, and they too should have a chance. Is the Minister of Agriculture satisfied that this Bill is really going to give them a chance when it proposes to uproot methods which have worked well in the past in spite of so many difficulties? In my own county of Wiltshire the relations between the smallholder and the county council, under the progressive policy which has been adopted, have been of the most amicable nature. There is mutual confidence and they work very well together; and if the difficulties of finance and markets could be met you could not do better than preserve that relationship of confidence, that local knowledge, and build on it an extension of the smallholding system. Is it really imaginary that Whitehall will do better than the method which is now working with so much success in spite of all the difficulties? Looking at the gigantic losses of the past how can we contemplate anything better coming out of Whitehall than what has already been achieved I Sir Lawrence Weaver says:I am forced by my experience, a pretty long one, to conclude that a commercial undertaking, such as farming must be, cannot be managed from Whitehall.Unless I misread this Bill Whitehall swoops dawn and displaces the county council. [How. MEMBERS: "No!"] Oh, yes, the county council is to be eliminated and to become merely the agent of the Ministry of Agriculture. We know what that means. We have had experience of that in the matter of the roads, in which the county council has become the agent of the Ministry of Transport. Take the widening of the Great Bath Road, the county council dare not move a finger, the direction is entirely in the Ministry of Transport. The same thing will happen here. The county councils will 303 become the mere lackeys of Whitehall and you will lose all that interest and initiative which has existed in the past. Much the same is true of demonstration farms. What is the necessity for this vast proposed expenditure of public money on demonstration farms? Come down to Wiltshire and see what happened only last week. The Council Council of Wiltshire, through its excellent agricultural officer, were anxious to test a new plant in Wiltshire soil which produces a fibre and which if it succeeds will enable us to grow in our own land a great part of the hemp which we now import from abroad in such huge quantities. They have been testing this on three of the best farms in Wiltshire. It does not need a demonstration from Whitehall. They have done it through the local people and the consequence is that as the local farmers see the tests for themselves they carry far more conviction to them than is ever the case when listening to the theses of a Whitehall expert.
Much the same thing is happening in regard to another matter. We wanted tests to be made as to what breed of sheep is best suited for grazing on the Wiltshire Downs. It does not cost much. A small grant to the county council and the test is carried out in co-operation with the farmers and produces results which are more convincing to the farmers than would be the case if it was carried out from Whitehall. All these tests are carried out at a minimum cost. What sense is there in pouring out £5,000,000 of public money to do what is so much better done by local arrangements. All this costly machinery, and the upheaval which must follow, will not correct what is wrong. Really it is difficult to find an explanation. What is behind it? Is it political tactics? Cannot we find enough ground of common agreement to get a Measure which everybody will accept, dealing with smallholdings, allotments and reclamation of land, on lines which have hitherto proved successful?
§ Mr. HURD
Is this the time for the Government to bring in such a Measure? How does the Government know that it is going to be alive next week? This Government is living from day to day; it is gasping for breath. It has to go to 304 the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) to know whether it may live another week. Are these the circumstances, is this the atmosphere, in which we can hope to produce a Measure which is going to be of much benefit to agriculture? Certainly not a highly contentious Measure. If the Minister of Agriculture succeeds in getting this Measure on to the Statute Book—he will not—the finances are so colossal that any Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer considering the present financial crisis would have to say "Well, at least this expenditure has to go; it is non-productive to a large extent and it is waste." It is a deplorable thing, when there is so much ground of common agreement when we could get a Measure which would be of some benefit to agriculture, that we should be wasting our time on a Measure like this which will not succeed and which will only bring dismay to agriculture.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
Having inflicted a fairly long speech on the House yesterday I ought to apologise for speaking again to-day, but this is a Measure, I say at once, after my own heart. I have taken an interest in agriculture and agricultural reform ever since I entered public life, and I was looking forward to someone who would bring in a Bill of this kind. I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has had the boldness, courage and enterprise, to introduce it, and, as far as I am concerned and my Friend's also, I will give him whole-hearted support in any measures he takes for the purpose of carrying it through. I hope he will take them. That is important. It is no use bringing in a big Bill and getting a satisfactory Second Reading and not to take the necessary steps to put it through Parliament on to the Statute Book and, afterwards, the necessary steps to see that it is applied. I feel confident, however, that the right hon. Gentleman will do his best. I know that he is as enthusiastic about it as anyone. If the Government are in a state of bad health, gasping for breath, all I can say is that they could not have a better cylinder of oxygen than a Bill of this kind, which will revive and stimulate and, I hope, really cure them.
The reception which has been accorded to this Measure ought to have an effect 305 upon the whole of the Members of the Treasury Beech. It shows that when a Minister takes his courage in both bands and really grapples with a problem that he gets support behind him and from this quarter of the House and from the country, because there is a general sense that something is being done. There is a saying about hitting at the post in order that the parapet should hear. I am hitting the post here in order that the whole of the parapet there should hear. I had hoped that when something really was being attempted for agriculture, that whatever criticisms there may be—and naturally there would be some—it would be accepted in all parts of the House as an honest attempt to make some contribution towards the solution of what I conceive to be the most important aspect of our economic problem; the restoration of the equilibrium between the cultivation of the soil and the rest of industry.
I have been profoundly disappointed by some of the speeches delivered by hon. Members above the Gangway. The hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hurd) started pretty well, but he could not keep himself in hand very long. At first I thought that he was going to bless the proposals, and he did; but he suddenly remembered that after all he was a Conservative and that that was not the sort of thing which was expected from him. He talked about the smallholders and allotment holders in Wiltshire and then remembered that there were also landlords in Wiltshire; and the end of his speech was rather an appeal to them. The hon. Member talked about taking away the initiative from the county councils. You cannot take away a thing which does not exist. I have been for 42 years a member of a county council and I know something about county councils, and their record in regard to smallholdings. Their record is not a creditable one. There are a few counties which have done well. I think Somerset is a good example and Devonshire another.
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman apparently guarantees that. But there are not many with a creditable record. Where the record is good the explanation is generally that there is 306 some one man, some enlightened person there who takes the thing in hand. know that there is in Somersetshire, for instance, and in the East of England there is something of the same sort. If you had the county councils of England and Wales following the example of two or three counties which I could name in England and one in Wales, you would have at the present moment three or four times as many smallholdings at there are. The vast majority of the county councils are not moving. There is a distrust, a dislike of smallholdings, and there is no use in talking as if the facts were otherwise. I think the Minister of Agriculture is taking absolutely the right course in indulging in what used to be called direct action. All this talk about Whitehall dictation and the clerks of Whitehall is of no use. Of course, the county councils will be consulted about local conditions. You will utilise their knowledge, their experience, and their organisation, but you will also push them along, drive them along, and, more than that, there will be the inducement of the millions to attract them. I think that that is the right course.
I was a member of the Ministry that started the first real experiment in smallholdings 22 years ago. I forget the exact number, bat I believe there were 20,000 holdings established under that Act. I was also head of a Government which started another experiment when a little over 20,000 smallholdings were started. But since then the number of smallholdings has gone down, even if one includes figures representing what has been done by the county council. The figures have gone down, down, down. There are the parishes where the population is gradually disappearing, because whenever a smallholder dies there is no one to take his place and his holding is added to the nearest farm. A Presbyterian Minister the other day told me that he went to a church in the hills to which he had not been for 20 or 30 years. He was surprised to find very few people there, whereas on his former visits the church was usually fairly crowded. He said to me, "There is no population. As each farmer dies nobody is there to be put in his place and his holding is added on to the rest." It is no use talking of leaving the initiative, under these conditions, to the county council, Action 307 must be taken in this House and by the Government as the only means of restoring the equilibrium in the country.
That is the problem. You cannot get this fact too often into the minds of the public. The general public do not know what is going on in the countryside. Over 90 per cent, of the population are not on the land, and of those more than half live in villages which have become towns, like the Rhondda. Valley and similar places. A very small percentage of the people in this country really live in the countryside. There is the problem. Because they are ignorant of it people are rather suspicious. They think it is all a question of farms. It is not; it is a question of the life of the nation. There is no country on the earth to-day where you have such a small percentage of people on the land. In France 40 per cent. of the population are on the land. That is why France is so stable. You cannot knock her over by disaster. She has been invaded three or four times within a little over 100 years; she has been trampled upon by foreign armies time after time. Still 40 per cent. of her people are rooted in the soil. In Germany the percentage is over 30, although Germany is an industrial country. In Belgium, which is in many respects the most industrialised country in the world. they manage to keep 18 to 19 per cent. of the population on the soil. In this country you have only 7 per cent. That is a danger to the country. You are getting hot-headed. You are depending upon foreign markets. No amount of Protection will make up deficiencies if the foreign markets go, unless you have a large proportion of the people on the soil. We are running a great danger in allowing this state of things to continue without making a real national effort to put it right—a real national effort. I would rather have a Bill that may be full of possibilities of criticism, hut one making an honest effort than have nothing at all. That is why I rejoice that at any rate a real attempt is to be made to put that matter right.
There is the point of view of security. The Minister of Agriculture was with me in the Government during the War. Anyone who sat in that Government and had reports coming to him that there were only six weeks' supply of food in the 308 country, and that submarines were sinking hundreds of thousands of tons of our shipping, realised that the problem of producing food in this country by our own people is a problem of national security, and that it is as important as the Army and the Navy and the Air Force. We are spending £100,000,000 on that branch of security. Then why should anyone come here and hold up his hands in horror when a few millions are to be put up for the purpose of remedying the greatest weakness we had in the War? Anyone who does that shows no sense of proportion—none.
There is no doubt at all that the Bill will cost money. It would be a mistake for the Minister to say that for every penny piece he is to put into this enterprise he is to get back 5 per cent. and sinking fund. The fact must be faced that this enterprise is bound to cost something. Yesterday we discussed the development of Palestine. Everyone realises that when a country has been let down a lot of money must be put into it. It is like pile driving in the mud, before. you lay your foundations. The piles you drive you never see again. But you see the bridge. It is the same here. I have no doubt at all that if the Minister of Agriculture does this on a large scale—it is not worth doing unless done on a large scale—there is a great deal of money which the Treasury will not see again. Does the landlord see his money again when he spends it for the purpose of improving his farms? As a matter of fact, one of the complaints of the landlord is that he cannot get more than 2 per cent. upon the money which he spends on improvements. He puts in money for building houses, for repairing or building cottages, for the purposes of farm buildings or for drainage. He sinks capital. It does not pay 5 per cent. to himself. He will often not get 2 per cent. for it. If a landlord said, "I would rather put my money into the Funds and get. 5 per cent than have merely 2 per cent by improving the estate," what would happen? He would do very well for a few years; his income would look very much better; but gradually his property would depreciate and deteriorate, and he would hand over to his descendants something which would be of not half the value. I am not depreciating the landlord. He is spending his money as a patriot and be- 309 cause he has a sense of duty. I am talking of the good landlord. But more than that he is a good business man in doing it.
If that is true of the landlord, is it not true of the community which, after all, is the great landlord of all the land in this country? Suppose that you put £100,000,000 in to restore agriculture, to recondition the land and to get better houses, something better than what the hon. Member for Brigg (Mr. Quibell) referred to. I am sorry that he had the experience he mentioned in Wales. I could take him to parts of England where things are just as bad. Take that sort of thing. If you improve your farm buildings so that you can get better cattle, cleaner milk from the marketing point of view—that is very important—a better water supply; if you spend all all the money on that sort of thing, very likely you will get 2½ per cent. for the Treasury. But you will get something infinitely more. After all, the State has more than one ledger, and the Treasury does not keep them all. The Ministry of Health has one. The Ministry of Labour has a ledger. Every Ministry has an account. Improvement of the health and the strength of the community, its security, the restoration of the countryside, would do something, I shall not say to restore but to improve the moral of the people. A people brought up in the countryside are much more dependable in the long run, whatever crisis a country goes through. I observe that there is not much cheering for that statement. Probably most of my hon. Friends have come from the towns.
Let me say something further about cost. Reference has been made to the 1919 buildings. Any hon. Gentleman why criticises them forgets that his party were just as responsible as either the Minister of Agriculture or myself. As a matter of fact, this work was not done by my right hon. Friend in 1919, and there is no use in attacking him. On the contrary, as far as this expenditure upon settlement is concerned, it was either Lord Ernle or Lord Lee who was responsible. They were able and experienced men. I am sure that no one could have spent the money to better ad 310 vantage than one or other of those men. Why did it cost so much? Because building at that time cost two and a-half times as much as it costs to-day. Anybody who has any experience of building knows that building materials were very expensive at that time. But, suppose that in 1919, after having promised to put ex-service men on the land we has said: "We are very sorry, but the building costs are so high that you must wait for another 10 years until they come down." What would have been said by hon. Gentlemen on this side above the Gangway in that case? We had. to go on then in spite of the expense. I think it was the late Minister of Agriculture who said that the total amount was £18,000,000 or £19,000,000. Suppose that £9,000,000 were written off. But 25,000 people were settled on the land. Either those men would have been out of work, or they would have been keeping somebody else out of work during all that period, if they had not been settled on the land, and it would have cost £12,000,000 to maintain those people. Was it not far better to spend £9,000,000 on putting them on the land, where the vast majority of them have been very successful, than to spend £12,000,000 on maintaining them in enforced idleness?
No, this scheme will cost the State money, and you probably will not get back more than 2½ per cent. of the money which you put into it, but if it costs £5,000,000 a year, that is on the assumption that you do it on a very large scale, It would only cost £5,000,000 a year if you spent £200,000,000 on reclamation, on reconditioning, on building, on equipment. That is all. But you have a debt of £7,000,000,000 for destruction. The French spent from £1,000,000,000 to £2,000,000,000 on repairing the devastation of the War. Cannot we spend £200,000,000 on our devastated area in the countryside without having it said that the Government which does so is profligate and is guilty of ruinous extravagance in restoring an industry which has been neglected and jet down for 50 or 60 years. I trust that the House of Commons will take a much more liberal view—in more senses of the term than one—of its duty in this respect.
311 I have been very careful to listen to a great part of this debate and I have read very carefully those speeches which I did not hear. There were one or two remarkable speeches such as that of the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Skelton) which showed great courage and enlightenment. He wanted to know what was the alternative to this proposal. Are we to do nothing, while the population on the land is going down? It has gone down 100,000 within the last 10 years and it is still going down. Are we to do nothing, or if we are to do something, what is that something? The Government have put forward their proposals, which must be taken together—the marketing proposals and this scheme. They are two bold schemes and the Government have thrown this on the Floor of the House for criticism and suggestion. It is the thing which I have been begging them to do, and when they have done it, I am not going to turn back upon them. That is not because I do not think that, in some respects, I might have done it in other ways. Everybody thinks he could do better, but I will make my suggestions later on, and I hope that the Minister will consider them as being offered in a friendly spirit, rather to improve and strengthen the Bill than to destroy it.
What is the alternative? To have a secure market. What does that mean? There are two phrases which I have noted in this debate. One was used by the hen. and gallant Member for Bye (Sir G. Courthope) who made as he always does on agriculture a very well-informed speech, and one with a good deal of which I certainly agree. He said that it was no use doing this sort of thing unless you had a secure market. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Well, I want to know what he means. He may mean something totally different from what I mean by that phrase, and I should like to know what it is. These things ought to be explained. The next phrase is that there must be a readjustment of prices. What does that mean? Does it mean raising prices? If it does, most people even if agriculture is restored, will still be consumers and not producers and they are entitled to know. There are two ways in which you can raise prices for the producer. I am not against that, but as I say there are two ways in which you 312 can do it, and we are entitled to know which of these two way's is suggested by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway. They say that it can be done without raising the price to the consumer. think you can raise the price for the producer without raising it to the consumer but you can also do it by raising the price to the consumer and leaving the consumer and the producer to settle it between themselves as to who shall get the swag, and I know who would get most of it.
I am for the first way, and I think the Government are on the right lines in saying that it can be done by Unproved marketing arrangements, but in my judgment it can only be done by improved marketing arrangements if they also do something in regard to transport. I think that somehow or other it will be necessary to get the railway and the road transport systems together, and rope them into the marketing organisation in order to see that the material carried to the farm and the produce carried from the farm are carried under conditions, with regard to rates and otherwise, which will, if anything, give a preference to the home producer. I say so without any hesitation. I think you can do all that in such a way that a reduced cost to the consumer will at the same time improve the position of the producer, but that really is not what is meant by hon. Members above the Gangway on this side. They have not said so here but they say in their own constituencies to the farmers that there are two ways by which they propose to do it. Both those ways would increase the cost of the commodity. One is the quota, plus a barley subsidy, and there, I think, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition haw committed himself. The next is a tariff. The official Conservative party have not yet committed themselves to a tariff but individual members in the agricultural districts have.
Let us examine these ways. What would a quota mean? I would like to see this matter gone into very carefully. I do not want anybody to imagine that it is not going to cost something. If you have a quota of 15 per cent. of British wheat in your bread, if you say to the miller "You must, put 15 per cent. of British wheat into every sack of flour" 313 —that is not quite how it, would work out but 1 am putting it roughly—if you say "There must be 15 per cent. of British wheat in all your millable stuff," he is at the mercy of the seller, and therefore the next step is that you must fix the price. Otherwise, he could ask any price he liked. Thus, that method must always be accompanied by a. provision for fixation of price. What would that mean? I have never heard a farmer put it at less than 55s. and I have never heard anybody who advocated it saying that we would get off without 45s. Fifty-five shillings would mean practically doubling the price of wheat at this moment. Even 45s. would be an increase of 55 per cent.—and who pays? The consumer. It is an increase of anything from £5,000,000 to £10,000,000 upon the burdens of those who have to purchase food for themselves and for their families.
I want to point out that these hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, whatever else they may do, are not proposing that no money shall be spent upon agriculture. They want to spend it by way of raising the cost of the product to the consumer. The beet subsidy this year is £5,000,000. If you had the quota you would have to add £7,000,000, making £12,000,000. I venture to say that if the right hon Gentleman puts this Bill into operation at the outside he will not lose £5,000,000 a year. The other project would, at any rate, put on £12,000,000 a year, but that is not enough. If you did it for wheat and beet between them you would only be dealing with 5 per cent. of the total output of the farms and gardens of the country. What is going to be done about the other 95 per cent—and remember that the producers of the other 95 per cent. are mostly purchasers or this stuff and they want it cheap for farming purposes. What are you going to do for those? Scotland would not be much concerned about wheat nor Wales, nor the West of England. They are more dependent upon oats and barley and upon meat, and other agricultural products. Is nothing to be done for 95 per cent. of the produce of this country while £10,000,000 to £12,000,000 a year is spent on assisting 5 per cent. of it? You could not do it. The moment you do the one thing you are bound to do the other. If you put on a 10 per cent. tariff or the equivalent in a subsidy, it means adding 314 £50,000,000 to the burdens of this country. But £50,000,000 to £60,000,000, distributed over the whole of the consumers of this country, is, according to hon. and right hon. Gentleman, a trifle, while £5,000,000 would ruin us. A great scientist has discovered that there is a mathematical mind behind the universe. I wonder what kind of mind there was behind the creation of hon. Gentlemen who put forward the theory, that £50,000,000 or £60,000,000 is nothing, but £5,000,000 is profligate expenditure.
Let me put one other point. I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has taken full powers to deal with reclamation and reconditioning, and I hope he will use them. I am very glad to find that, as I understand it, he has put no limit in the Bill. That does not mean, as someone here suggested, that the Minister can go on, without consulting the House, spending anything he likes. He has to put down his Estimate and tell the House what it is that he proposes to spend, but he need not bring in another Bill. That is the point, because, after all, these Bills take a very long time. He has had his chance now, and then another Minister will want his chance, and he will not get another opportunity. I know how these things work. I do not mean with this Government merely, but with any Government. Therefore, the Minister has to take his powers, and then he puts his Estimate down, but I am glad there is no limit except the Vote of this House and that he has got his power.
They say, "What need is there? Is there such land?" I should not be surprised at a townsman talking like that, but when I heard lion. Members who really know the country talk in that sense, I was rather interested. The Minister of Agriculture has already reported that there are nearly 2,000,000 acres of water-logged land in this country, very largely so since the War, because of the neglected drainage, and that is practically all due to arterial drainage. It does not refer to the vastly greater tracts of land there are, or rather lots of land which in the aggregate amount to huge tracts, where the land is waterlogged because the local drains, the farm drains, the field drains, have not been attended to, because the landlord has not had the means, owing to taxation, to deal with them.
315 But apart from that altogether, there is no doubt at all that there is a very considerable proportion of land in this country which is uncultivated which in other countries would have been cultivated, either by afforestation or by reclamation, and a still larger quantity which is under-cultivated. I know it is said, "You are attacking the farmers." I am not attacking the farmers. I have known farmers all my life, and I come of a race of farmers. I am not going to attack the farmers, but farmers are just like other people in every vocation. They are neither worse nor very much better. In every vocation you get men of great excellence, you get other men who are quite good and do their work well, and they are the bulk and the average, but then you have a great number of people who do not; and an average means that you have got some people of supreme excellence and a number of people who are supremely indifferent. That is really what it means. Even in the House of Commons, if we started dividing ourselves—if anybody wants to know he had better consult the Whip of his party, and he will tell him! And we have 610 picked men, picked from among over 40,000,000 of people, and yet there are all sorts. Farmers are just the same, and to say that there is a considerable quantity of land in this country which is under-cultivated is not attacking the farmers as a community. There are some of the best farmers in the world here, and there are also some of the worst. That is so, but here is the fact that we must not overlook.
Take two countries, and I have chosen two Free Trade countries for the purpose, so as to avoid the argument that it is due to Protection. Take Holland and Denmark. The quantity of cereals produced per acre in Holland and Denmark upon the land there is considerably higher than it is here. It runs from 20 up to 40 or 50 per cent. above what is produced here. Take the stock on the land, and the same thing applies. Why do I choose Free Trade countries for that purpose? In the first place, I do so because, if I chose the others, it would be said that it was Protection that enabled them to do fit, and secondly, because the Free Trade countries are the best. As a matter of fact, we are now beating Germany, a Protectionist 316 country, and we are beating France, a Protectionist country. The only two countries that are beating us in the productiveness of the soil, whether in cattle units, cereals, or potatoes, are too great Free Trade countries that have no factitious and artificial stimuli, but which have to depend upon their own intelligence for that very reason; and the productiveness is greater.
If that can be done there, why cannot it be done here? The right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to give me some figures for which I asked the other day as to what has happened with smallholdings. I had a good many returns myself, but he has given me some very striking figures. I asked him if he could tell me what has happened as a result of experiments in converting estates into smallholdings. He gave me one great estate where there was an increase in the population of workers of 121 per cent. as a result, and in another the number of workers has been quadrupled, and they are doing well. I ask any hon. Gentleman, on this side of the House or on that side, Does he know any cases where, as a result of the setting up of smallholdings, there has not been an increase in the number of people who have been working on the land? In every case that has been the result. That is really what you want to do, and I should have thought hon. and right hon. Members above the Gangway, who have a traditional interest in agriculture, would have supported any Ministry that brought forward a really bold, strong Bill, with cash behind it—and you cannot do it without that; you cannot restore agriculture without the community being prepared to make some sacrifices. The right hon. Gentleman has recognised that, and I should have thought that we could all of us have done our best to help him make this a good farm Bill for the purpose of rebuilding the countryside.
I do not know of any problem at this moment which is more vital to the life of this nation than the restoration of the countryside. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will proceed, and that he will get real, honest help from everybody. I agree with the hon. Lady who said that there must be provision to enable women to have their fair share in what the right hon. Gentleman is doing, because anybody who lives in the countryside knows per- 317 fectly well that the smallholding is a failure unless the woman takes her part in it, and I was very glad to listen to her powerful and very sensible and practical appeal upon those lines. But, above all, I would like to say this to the Minister: I should like to have seen this Bill on the Floor of the House, and fought out here, but whatever the Government decide, I say at once that I am concerned only about getting the Bill through, and I shall help. This Bill will depend not merely upon the machinery they put in. It may have first-class machinery and the ideas in it may be admirable, but the right hon. Gentleman must have a survey which will enable him to find where these lands are, and to deal with them ruthlessly. The interests of the community must come first when the life of the nation is at stake, and he must make it clear that he is not going to be satisfied merely by carrying a great Bill. He must afterwards administer it in a great spirit.
§ Sir JOHN GILMOUR
The House has listened to a speech by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) which has covered a great deal of ground on which there may be common agreement, but at the same time appears to have dealt very little with the actual problems which are before us in this Bill. I think it was Mr. Joseph Chamberlain who on one occasion said that part of the democratic creed is that if a, scheme is truly absurd—and unless we are all in a dream this scheme is so—people can he made to understand its absurdity. I am one of those who, in dealing with a subject connected with agriculture, would desire that this House should face realities and that they should eschew mere speeches voicing the aspiration of many of us—and is it not a common aspiration to almost every one?—to have a part, a lot, and an interest in the cultivation of the soil. That is an aspiration which in the history of my own country has been demonstrated a thousand times, whether the men were originally born on the land or whether they were occupied in the great enterprises of the city, but let me come to discuss this Bill.
I should like to rule out at once that part of the proposals which deals with allotments, and to say that, in so far as that part of the scheme is concerned, it will have the support of many of us upon 318 this side of the House. It may be that in Committee a variety of suggestions may be made as to how that part of the Measure can be dealt with, but of this I feel certain, that all of us are convinced, from our practical knowledge, that an increase of allotments is not only a desirable but a beneficial thing for the people of the country. At the same time, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that those who work these allotments are going to contribute very materially either to their own support in foodstuffs or to the general support of the community, but undoubtedly the more we can encourage the allotment system the better it will be for the people of our cities. If the right hon. Gentleman can do anything to help in bringing this about by linking it up with town planning and by assuring a greater fixity of tenure, he will be doing something of material assistance.
I observed to-day that a conference took place at the Caxton Hall of the urban allotment authorities, and that the Prime Minister, speaking there, is reported to have said that a large section of our people, in whose blood and bone and heart there was a reminiscence of the soil, desired to get a part and a share in that soil. They are words with which in a great measure one does not disagree, but it is not so much a reminiscence of the soil that is required, as an active and a close knowledge of the soil and the conditions of it; they are essential for success. Therefore if, either upon allotments or smallholdings, these men and women are to have any measure of success, they must be carefully selected. We could do no greater disservice to the men of this country, whether they come from the agricultural community or from the unemployed, than to make them believe that this is going to be an easy solution of their troubles unless they have knowledge of the circumstances into which they go.
I turn from that to deal with the suggestion of large farms run under Government control. This scheme will, in the long run, not only prove costly, but defeat its own purpose. I cannot believe for a moment that we have not had in this country enough examples of farms of great extent from which all the necessary lessons can be learned. It is the height of folly, to say the least of 319 it, that the Government should endeavour to enter into this arena. I observe with some interest that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, speaking on this subject on the first day of our debate, hinted that, so far as my country—and his—is concerned, it would be extraordinarily difficult to carry out any policy of that kind. I hope not only that it will be extraordinarily difficult, but that the part of the scheme will be abandoned. I cannot believe that any of the examples that we have had of this kind of thing in this country is really of any practical value in teaching the agriculturist or the smallholder anything to his advantage. I know that there are some who have preached this policy and written on it in treatises, but. what has been the effect of dealing with some of these larger farms? I am not going to trouble the House with the failures and the figures of the failures; they are there for everyone to study and read.
If the large farm is to be a success, it must, as one hon. Gentleman said today, be run upon mechanised lines. If it is to be run upon mechanised lines, that must mean the abolition of a great part of the fences, hedges and so on, on the existing land. It will mean the scrapping of many buildings which are used for useful purposes, and the sum total will be that you will have a large area which will be cultivated by mechanical traction, and will cause infinitely less employment than exists at the present time. In the case of my own property, amounting only to between 4,000 and 5,000 acres, if anybody said to me that I should turn that into a large farm and abolish my fences, my service roads and all the things that exist today, I should say that it was the height of folly. The property faces south and has a good outlook and good soil, yet there are such variations in the soil and climate, that it is quite impossible to try the same method of culture or of reaping upon the lower part as on the higher part of the property. There is something like 10 days' difference in the cropping between the lower and the higher portions of that property. Unless you can, as in the great prairies of Canada, get great tracts of country which are very similar in their conditions and circumstances, that policy will fail, and is hound to fail. Any 320 policy of that kind must, I am certain on reflection, be found to be wasteful and useless for the purposes for which it was devised.
With regard to reclamation, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs said—I think truly—that when you go up and down the countryside, you see a great deal of land which would be the better for draining, and a good deal which would be the better for liming, but if you came to me aid said that we should spend, under the methods of this Bill, great sums of money for reclaiming derelict land that is not even today being cultivated at all, I should say that, good and proper as is a policy of reclamation, right and proper as it is to encourage and foster and, if necessary, ultimately to enforce the proper draining and cultivation of the soil, it would be folly to make the country believe that by spending hundreds of thousands of pounds, and even millions, you will benefit agriculture.
We have some interesting experiments in my country, to which the Under-Secretary referred. A policy of exploring this problem by the reclamation of heathlands has been started, and through the generosity of a Scotsman who has made his living in Canada, we are trying out a scheme. Only the other day I visited part of that scheme. While it is quite true that you can improve heath-land, and at great expenditure grow a crop upon that land, I am convinced that it is so costly an experiment that it is not likely to succeed upon any large scale. When I visited the scheme in the last month or two, all the other crops on the island had been gathered in, and the only crop that was standing out was the crop upon that experimental farm. Perhaps this does not close the door to further experiment, but at least it should make us pause when we are proposing to vote large sums of money for this kind of thing.
I had brought to my attention the other day a case of what may be described as a considerable scheme of reclamation at Terrington St. Clements, in Norfolk. There may he some explanation of what has happened there. Something like 500 acres of land were reclaimed from the Wash, partly by German prisoners during the War, and subsequently, I understand, by a company expert in reclamation work. It was then 321 worked, I understand, under some Government Department. The actual fact is that comparatively recently this land thus reclaimed was so much neglected by the Crown that this year the thistles were so high that the cattle could not really make their way through, and the county council of the district had to enforce an order for the removal of the weed. If that be true—and I have no doubt that it is a correct report—does it not make one realise that, with the very best intentions, a Government Department is totally unsuited to carry out large farming schemes or a policy of this kind?
I have heard the right hon. Gentleman say that he does not intend this system to be worked from Whitehall. Under what kind of system does he propose to work it? Where is he going to get his servants and expert people? Under whose control will it be? Will those in control not be answerable, and must they not, in fact, always be answerable to his Department? Must they not always be controlled by the officials who may happen to deal with the particular district in which the farms are situated? I can see no possible reason to think that the condition of affairs will be better than in other circumstances.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Dr. Addison)
The Electricity Commissioners and the British Broadcasting Corporation, which were set up by public authority, are not interfered with by officials in Whitehall.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
The right hon. Gentleman proposes, I suppose, to set up agricultural commissioners drawn from those who have failed to make a success in the industry. What inducement can he, or anyone with the best intentions, hold out to any man who is making a success of farming on his own, to come into Government employment and to run in a team to deal with a problem of this kind? I can only view it with a serious disturbance of mind, because I do not believe for a moment that he will get those individuals to carry out that work.
I notice that when the right hon. Gentleman proposes to deal with demonstration farms, the order of apportionment for their care is, the local authorities, the agricultural colleges and the universities. I know less about the 322 conditions that obtain in England than about those in Scotland, but I cannot conceive any method of apportionment and of management which is less likely to be successful than that order, and I should have assumed that, in the first instance, any demonstration farm which was set up would be apportioned mainly to the agricultural colleges. In listening to some of the speeches in the debate, one might be led to assume that little has been done in this country in the way of demonstration farms or of experimental stations. That, indeed, is very far from being the case. The main difficulty to-day is in interpreting the results of their work by the scientific men in the colleges, and putting it in language understandable by, and bringing it sufficiently closely down to, those who are actually doing the work in the fields. The proposal of the Government to set up a larger number of demonstration farms may be in itself a good thing, but I am a little afraid that unless great care is taken to make use of the existing demonstration farms, and to increase and extend their work, we shall be doing a disservice rather than a service to this problem. In our own country, fortunately, we have been able in the last few years to apportion the study of particular subjects to particular parts and to particular institutions, and at the same time to link up the results of their work and to co-ordinate their inquiries.
Besides dealing with large farms and research stations, the 13111 also provides smallholdings. Those of us who have been brought into close contact with the machinery of smallholdings know very well, indeed, the difficulties which face anyone dealing with it. I am certain that. I am speaking not only for myself, but for those who belong to my party when I say that we are in favour of a policy of steady progress in establishing smallholdings, but this must be done under circumstances which will give a fair opportunity to the smallholders to make a living. When I had the responsibility for this matter in Scotland, I was satisfied that further inquiry ought to be made into this question of the machinery, and I established an inquiry which I trust those interested in smallholdings in Scotland will follow with some care. I would like to quote the opinion of one of the members of that inquiry, Mr. Joseph Duncan. I know there is a 323 certain dislike of Mr. Duncan's views upon some of these subjects among ardent supporters of smallholdings, but, after all, Mr. Duncan is the accredited representative of the farm servants of Scotland and has studied this question with the greatest care. Mr. Duncan, writing in "Forward"—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, I always read that paper with interesit—put his views shortly in the following words:If the Ministers who are supporting this Bill know of districts where such smallholdings can find a market which will enable unemployed men to earn a living, by all means let us spend some money to set these men up in holdings. The question is not a political one, it is a plain matter of business. Find the markets where the men on the smallholdings can sell their produce prices at which they can make a living and there ought not to he any great difficulty in finding land.The problem is to find the markets which will give a decent living to the-se people. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs showed when speaking on this matter that he had not re-ad the policy which our party placed before the country with so much care as some of us have devoted to his yellow book. I would emphasise one or two facts about smallholdings in Scotland. The hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Skelton) spoke eloquently in favour of smallholdings. In that area, and in some others in the Lowlands of Scotland, we have had some very satisfactory smallholdings, and it is perfectly true that in some cases there has been an increase in the number of individuals on the land and in the amount of stock which is on those holdings. But the Nairne Committee which inquired into that problem, while admitting all those things, went on to say that the increase was secured by a change of production, and that in so far as the creation of settlements led to a change in the direction of production an economic increase might be expected. But, they added:On the whole, however, the settlements have not led to any great change in the direction of production.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Mr. Johnston)
Is it not the case that the appendix to that report gave instances of a considerable increase in production?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
In the south of Scotland, if you pick out certain holdings, undoubtedly you can show an increase; but taking things as a whole J. think the words I have read are not incorrect. Let me return to that part of the country which my hon. Friend the Member for Perth represents. There is a great fruit-growing industry round the town of Blairgowrie. Everybody knows that in past years it has attracted many men and women, and has developed a great and attractive and very useful industry. I think one of the most successful raspberries grow there; it is called after the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs. I grow it in my own garden.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
The point is that one has seen advertisements in the papers inviting the public to go into those very holdings and pick the raspberries because they could not be disposed of. Why? Because of the import of cheap pulp into this country. Those unrestricted imports disturbed and eventually killed the market. If we turn to the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, what do we find? In the Vale of Evesham there are smallholdings which produce fruits and other things which we all like and which are better if they can be obtained fresh from this country, and I believe there are very effective marketing arrangements there; but people there have failed because of the intensive, unfair and unreasonable dumping of produce from other countries. This is a problem which, in the view of men like Mr. Duncan, and of many who speak in this side of the House, can he solved only if the people who are put on the land are given a reasonable hope of finding a market for their goods.
We have a difference of view. The right hon. Gentleman opposite and his friends speak much of improved marketing methods and with that I am in hearty agreement. The right hon. Gentleman said it would he a good thing if we read the report of the Empire Marketing Board, or of some Empire committee, upon the import of Chinese eggs into this country. He gave formidable figures as to those imports. It is clear that, putting Empire and home production together, we produce only something like 325 53 per cent. and that the rest come in from foreign countries. But what hope can there be in putting a man on a smallholding and encouraging him to produce eggs and to rear hens if all that he produces is to be subject to this fierce competition from produce from abroad? How can he hope to make a return upon his property? It would be lunacy to leave him open to such competition as we get in the case of eggs from China.
It is so easy to make an eloquent speech in this House about the desirability of increasing egg production in this country, but everybody knows that the production of eggs and poultry is one of the most highly scientific things to which a man can put his hand. If the hens are on an open field a certain production of eggs is obtained, and one may avoid some of the difficulties of disease which come in the moment you enter upon more intensive production. If semi-intensive production is tried, a man is bound to bring the hens into closer confines and it is necessary for him to be much more careful in his methods. If he goes on from semi-intensive production to highly intensive production, the risk of loss becomes infinitely greater. I emphasise this because I trust the House will not run away with the idea that a six months' training, or even a year's training, will fit a man to make a success at this work; and it is a delusion to suppose that we can benefit greatly our unemployed men by putting them to this work. It is only by knowledge, by intensive work and by close attention that they do any good at it.
Much has been said to-day by the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs about family farming, but I wish the House to realise what it means. Mr. Joseph Duncan, in writing upon another matter, said that if he were advising a boy what kind of father to select he would advise him, in the first instance, to have a large farmer, and that if he were asked about a family farm he should put it low upon the list, and for this reason. A family farm, if it is to be truly a family farm, must be one worked by the man, his wife and his family; and he observed also that in Canada, in Denmark and in any of the Free Trade countries to which the right hon. Gentleman has so freely referred, the family farm necessitates a large amount of boy labour. If 326 that be so, it follows that there must be a large measure of exemption in respect of attendance at school. In Canada, where the school leaving age is 16, I think, the number of exemptions is very large. If the family farm is to be a success, there must be exemptions under the education system; if there are not to be, then undoubtedly the man has been deluded. If he is deprived of that labour, his only alternative is to go into the open market for other workers.
I think that our party are fully justified in the action which they propose to take to-night in going into the Lobby against the Bill. It is a Bill, no doubt, which is full of good intentions and f was, indeed, interested to observe the bouquet which the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs threw to my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench. If the millions, which my right hon. Friend believes are so readily to be found in these days, are to be the bait to solve this problem, why stop here? It is the same kind of thing that happened some time ago, and it was, I understood, the reason why the two right hon. Gentlemen fell apart. As far as we are concerned, we shall vote against this Bill with the feeling and with the knowledge that it is deluding those who are unemployed, that it is doing nothing effective and essential for agriculture, and that it is sufficient to draw the attention of the public to it to condemn it.
§ 7.0. p.m.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY of LANCASTER (Mr. Attlee)
If the attitude of mind expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pollock (Sir J. Gilmour) is really characteristic of the party to which he belongs, then agriculture has not very much for which to hope from that party. There was an underlying current through many of the speeches made on that side of the House that nothing was any good for agriculture unless you dealt with the question of price. When anyone suggested marketing, they suggested going further than marketing and said that you must deal with foreign imports. We have lately had two Members returned to this House, one of whom was disowned by the Conservative party because he wanted to tax foreign food, and another returned in all the odour of sanctity because he 327 declared himself as unwilling to tax food. It is a bad look-out for agriculture from the aspect of the views put forward on the other side of the House, if price is the one thing that is going to do any good for agriculture, and if they are precluded—at any rate, when it comes to fighting elections—from advocating this step. That was the underlying note to many of these speeches, and the difficulty about replying is that so many of the speeches from the other side of the House were about something which is not in the Bill, and, in the nature of things, could not be.
This Bill deals with the utilisation of agricultural land; it does not profess to be in itself a complete agricultural policy. I want the House to consider this Bill in the light of the general declaration of policy which was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the end of the last Session, and in view of the Measures which have been already introduced or suggested with regard to the agricultural situation generally. It is easy to take this Bill and say, "What is the good of putting people on the land when you are not dealing with any of the other matters for agriculture?" Our policy is to get people on the land, and also to get conditions in agriculture which will allow those people to get a living on the land. When one has dealt with those other proposals, one has swept away a great deal of the objections which have been raised to this Bill, except one other form of objection only resorted to when people are gravelled in finding real objections. It is a very easy thing to do—and I back myself to do it with regard to any undertaking in the world unless that undertaking's actual facts were brought up against me—and it is to assume that every kind of undertaking will be run in the worst and most boneless way, that the worst land will be taken, that the worst and most inexperienced people you can get will be put on it, and that there will be muddle in the worst possible way. You can take any institution you like from running a fried-fish shop to running the British Empire and, by examining the constitution of either of those two institutions and assuming that they were run by the worst possible people in the worst possible way, show 328 that neither of them would work. As a matter of fact, both those great institutions do work.
This Bill will be valuable just in so far as it is worked in a real spirit to help the land. We do not want to get into any violent party quarrels over the principle of this Bill. Tins Bill contains proposals which are supported by Members in every part of the House. If we could get this Bill on the Statute Book, then there is a great opportunity for Members with varying points of view to assist in the work of the reconstruction of agriculture. I say that because I notice what a great variety of objections was taken. One Member said that you cannot do very much with smallholdings. Another Member of the same party was almost lyrical in his enthusiasm for smallholdings. Almost everyone was agreed with regard to allotments. One Member of the same party said that there is no land that requires reconditioning. Another Member of the same party pointed oat that we all knew a great many pieces of land which needed reconditioning. What struck me in listening to the various agricultural experts on the benches opposite was what I, in company with one of them, noticed so often in India, that there were a great many different opinions because people came from different parts of the country. I noticed over and over again that there was a speech made by someone from one part of the country which was in direct contradiction with that of someone from another part of the country. That is so in regard to a great industry like agriculture, and it explains why there are various methods in this Bill. It is quite obvious that, in a country where you do not have anything on the scale of large-scale farming, you are not going to introduce large-scale farming. It is quite obvious that, if you are in a country suited only for large-scale farming. you are not going to rush ahead with a mass of smallholdings. That does not mean you must confine yourself to one method or another; the variety of conditions in these islands is enough to make provision for both.
A number of Members criticised the proposals in regard to large-scale farming. The Minister of Agriculture in the last Government and the ex-Secretary of 329 State for Scotland were critical, and so were several other ex-Ministers. That shows that opinion does change in the Conservative party, for in 1918 there were two ex-Conservative Ministers of Agriculture who thought that experiments of this nature in large-scale farming would be extremely useful. It may be that the views then held by Lord Selborne and Lord Ernie are out-of-date, though they have been confirmed since by high authority. One must have a sense of scale in judging this Bill. One would have thought, from certain of the speeches, that the rather modest proposal for making certain experiments in large-scale farming was a rush headlong into wholesale mechanisation of the country, and the general imitation of prairie methods. After all, this is only an experiment on a limited scale, and an experiment recommended to us by some of the best authorities on agriculture in this country. The right hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Guinness) raised a point which I would like to answer. He had a difference as regards figures with the. right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Agriculture; it was only a small point with regard to the amount of failures in smallholdings. The answer to the difference between the figures, which was challenged by the right hon. Member, was that my right hon. Friend was giving the proportion of failures of men among the total number of men placed on the land while the right hon. Gentlemen opposite gave the proportion of failures in relation to the number of holdings, and that those figures, which were queried and which I had looked un, were taken from a report made under the aegis of the right hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds.
Taking this Bill from the broad point of view, let us try to see what we are endeavouring to do. This is not an attempt at starting some small detached experiment with a view either to deal solely with unemployment or to deal solely with a particular problem, such as smallholdings. This is part of the deliberate policy of this Government with regard to the orderly development of the economic life of this country. The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was perfectly right when he stressed the need for a greater balance in our economic life. Anyone who looks at the position of the world 330 to-day will see that this country needs a greater home production, it needs a greater stability, and we must have a far steadier position for the workers on the land. Some people seem to consider that the people who are on the land now are the only people who are interested in the land. That is an entire mistake. There are a very large number of townsmen who have left the land within the last few years. There is a very big body of town workers brought up in the country who have never lost their love for the land. The hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hurd) was right when he corrected the right hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds in the erroneous idea that there were no people who were living in urban surroundings who were capable of producing commodities on the land under the right conditions. There are a large number of people with the natural instincts of the grower who, given the chance, would make good. That is not to say in the least that we are going to take someone who has lived all his life in a town, and put him on unoccupied land and expect him to make good.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I was present and heard those speeches, and my impression was that the case of the right hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds was that you could not find people in the town to go on the land. That was the impression he gave me.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
Yes, that is the impression he gave. I am very glad the hon. Member for Devizes corrected him.
The whole trend of my argument was that you would get people glad to take advantage of these opportunities, but that is was, to a large extent, a waste of money because they would not make good without the necessary experience.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The argument was that they were not people who would make good. We believe there are a large number of people who would make good. It is one of those schemes which gives an opportunity for a man to start in a small way. A man who finds himself in possession of an allotment may be able to progress and ultimately go on 331 to a smallholding and achieve larger things. I remember a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury St. Edmunds in which he indicated exactly the same progress with regard to smallholdings, but you have to get the right kind of men on the land. This country cannot afford to leave the land neglected, and the object of this Bill is to see that the land is properly utilised.
We have taken powers under this Bill, in cases where the land has been neglected, to see that arrangements are made for its proper cultivation. I think that is a very vital principle. I know there are people who still believe that every person has a right to do what he likes with his own, but in regard to the land question we do not believe that that principle should be followed in cases in which it is likely to result in harm being done to the community. We assert with regard to agriculture what we assert with regard to other industries, namely, that the assets of the community should be properly used. Consequently, we are taking powers in this Bill to see that the land is properly used, and, where land has been allowed to go to waste, to see that it is properly cultivated. The hon. and gallant Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope) alluded to the fact that this Bill gave power to take over the land, and spoke about free gifts. I think there has been a good deal too much in this country of late years in the way of making free gifts without getting anything for the community in return, and this applies, not only to agriculture, but to other interest. If the nation provides money for these purposes, we should insist upon getting something for it. I will give an example. I would like to see the community receiving something in return for de-rating, which was a free gift proposed by hon. Members opposite. It was a dole to industry. In every kind of business or industry, it is necessary to see that the community gets full value in the shape of organisation and returns for the money spent. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pollock suggested that the Agricultural Commissioners will be drawn from among the failures in the industry, hut I would like to ask him if he considers that the mem- 332 bers of the Central Electricity Board are a collection of failures? We believe that this Board will be able to deal effectively with matters connected with large-scale farming. Another objection raised to the Measure is that it is contended that it will create a horde of officials.
This is a question which will no doubt come up at election time. Why the managing of smallholdings and farming should necessitate the creation of a horde of officials I cannot make out. There is no reason why under this Bill we should have a horde of officials, but I should like to say at the same time that we do not believe in starving the organisation. I agree that there will have to be a considerable expenditure of money if agricultural work is to be pushed ahead, and there has been a good deal of slackening in agriculture which has got to be overtaken. We want to speed up the creation of smallholdings, but that does not mean that we propose at once to take all kinds of persons who are totally unqualified to go on the land, and put them down somewhere. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury St. Edmunds referred to the gentle progress which had been made in smallholdings. I find that, under the policy of the last, Government 674 smallholdings were established in four years. That is a form of gradualness which may be inevitable, but I hope it is not. There is a great deal of difference between that and a mad rush to put people on the land. We have no intention of putting incompetent people on the land, and we believe that the proposals in this Bill can be carried out with due consideration to economic circumstances with every possibility of success.
It is perfectly obvious that any scheme for getting people back to the land necessitates a very careful selection. That applies to any scheme, and you can turn down any scheme if you assume that ordinary people are not qualified to work it. This Bill provides for the carrying out of a considered policy for agriculture. It is a policy providing for a definite organisation of the economic life of the agricultural community. A suggestion has been made, in regard to allotments, that land should he kept for that purpose, and that our activities should he linked up with town-planning arrangements. I agree that our scheme 333 should work parallel with the efforts of local authorities, but, over and above that, it is necessary that our schemes should be linked up with national planning arrangements. We want to have a definite conception of the future economic life of this community, and this Bill, and others which will be introduced later will form part of a greater whole, part of a considered policy for agriculture.
§ I hope that the Bill will be given a Second Reading, and that all parties in the House will then do their best to pass it quickly and bring it into effect.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 297; Noes, 216.337
|Division No. 8.]||AYES.||[7.26 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Elmley, Viscount||Knight, Holford|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Motton)|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigie M.||Freeman, Peter||Lang, Gordon|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Alpase, J. H.||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Lathan, G.|
|Ammon, Charles George||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||Law, Albert (Bolton)|
|Angell, Norman||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Law, A. (Rossendale)|
|Arnott, John||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lawrence, Susan|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Gibbins, Joseph||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Lawson, John James|
|Ayles, Walter||Gill, T. H.||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Gillett, George M.||Leach, W.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Glassey, A. E.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Gossling, A. G.||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Barr, James||Gould, F.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Batey, Joseph||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lindley, Fred W.|
|Bellamy, Albert||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Gray, Milner||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Midalesbro' W.)||Longden, F,|
|Benson, G.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Lowth, Thomas|
|Bentham, Dr. Ethel||Groves, Thomas E.||Lunn, William|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Grundy, Thomas W.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Blindell, James||Hall. F. (York, W R., Normanton)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||McElwee, A.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||McEntee, V. L.|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Harbord, A.||McKinlay, A.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hardie, George D.||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Bromfield, William||Harris, Percy A.||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)|
|Bromley, J.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Brooke, W.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||MacNeill-Weir. L.|
|Brothers, M.||Haycock, A. W.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Hayday, Arthur||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hayes, John Henry||Mansfield, W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||March, S.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Markham, S. F.|
|Buchanan, G.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Marley, J.|
|Burgess, F. G.||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Marshall, Fred|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks, W. R. Elland)||Herriotts, J.||Mathers, George|
|Calne, Derwent Hall-||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Matters, L. W.|
|Cameron, A. G||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Messer, Fred|
|Cape, Thomas||Hoffman, p. C.||Milner, Major J.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hollins, A.||Morgan, Or. H, G.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hopkin, Daniel||Morley, Ralph|
|Chater, Daniel||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Morris-Jones, Dr J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Clarke, J. S.||Horrabin, J. F.||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield))||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Mort, D. L.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Isaacs, George||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Compton, Joseph||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)|
|Cowan, D. M||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Muff, G.|
|Daggar, George||Johnston, Thomas||Muggeridge, H. T.|
|Dallas, George||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Murnin, Hugh|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Day, Harry||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Noel Baker, P. J,|
|Denman. Hon. R. D.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)|
|Dukes, C.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Duncan, Charles||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Kedward, R. M (Kent, Ashford)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Edge, Sir William||Kelly, W. T.||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Kennedy, Thomas||Palin, John Henry|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Holt. Joseph M||Palmer, E. T.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Kinley, J.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Egan, W. H.||Kirkwood, D.||Perry, S. F.|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Sherwood, G H.||Tout, W. J.|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Shield, George William||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Phillips, Dr. Marion||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Turner, B.|
|Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Shillaker, J. F.||Vaughan, D. J.|
|Pole, Major D. G.||Shinwell, E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Potts, John S.||Short. Alfred (Wednesbury)||Walkden, A. G.|
|Price, M. p.||Simmons, C. J.||Walker, J.|
|Pybus, Percy John||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Sinkinson, George||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Sitch, Charles H.||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Raynes, W. R.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Richards, R.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|
|Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||West, F. R.|
|Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Ritson, J.||Snell, Harry||White, H. G.|
|Romeril, H. G.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Rowson, Guy||Sorensen, R.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Stamford, Thomas W.||Williams Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Stephen, Campbell||Williams. T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Samuel. Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West)||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Sanders, W. S.||Strauss, G. B.||Wilson, n. J. (Jarrow)|
|Sandham, E.||Sullivan, J.||Winterton, G. E.(Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Sawyer, G. F.||Sutton, J. E.||Wise, E. F.|
|Scrymgeour, E.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Wood. Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Scurr, John||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)|
|Sexton, James||Thomas. Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Tinker, John Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Toole, Joseph||Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Albery, Irving James||Cranborne, Viscount||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Allan, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Harvey, Major s. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopoid C, M.S.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Ashley. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Balniel, Lord||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.|
|Beamish, Rear-admiral T. P. H.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Berry, Sir George||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Dixey, A. C.||Iveagh, Countess of|
|Birchall, Major sir John Dearman||Duckworth, G. A. V.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Eden, Captain Anthony||Lamb. Sir J. O.|
|Bowater. Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Boyce, H. L.||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)|
|Bracken, B.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Ferguson, Sir John||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Brown. Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Fermoy, Lord||Llewellin, Major J. J.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Fielden, E. B.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Fison, F. G. Clavering||Lockwood, Captain J, H.|
|Butler, R. A.||Ford. Sir P. J.||Long, Major Hon. Eric|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macdonald. Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Campbell, E. T-||Ganzonl, Sir John||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Margesson, Captain H. D.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Marjoribanks, Edward|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Meller, R. J.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatnam)|
|Chadwick, Capt, Sir Robert Burton||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Chamberlain Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birn., W.)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Mond, Hon. Henry|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)|
|Christle J. A.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. H. (Ayr)|
|Churchill Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Morden, Col. W. Grant|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Morrison, W. S (Glos, Cirencester)|
|Cockerill, Brig,-General Sir George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Colville Major D. J.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hanbury, C.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Todd, Capt, A. J.|
|O'Connor, T. J.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Train, J.|
|Oman, sir Charles William C.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|O'Neill, Sir H.||Savery, S. S.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Peake, Capt. Osbert||Simms, Major-General J.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Penny, Sir George||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Smithers, Waldron||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Somerset, Thomas||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Williams. Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Reid, David D. (County Down)||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Remer, John R.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thomson, Sir F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Salmon, Major I.||Tinne, J. A.||Sir B. Eyres Monsell and Major Sir George Hennessy.|
Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Comittee
|Division No. 9.]||AYES.||[7.38 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Ford, Sir P. J.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Mitchell-Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)||Mond, Hon. Henry|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gower, Sir Robert||Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)|
|Balniel, Loru||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Morden, Col. W. Grant|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Morrison, W. S, (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Berry, Sir George||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Boyce, H. L.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bracken, B.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hanbury, C.||O'Connor, T. J.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hartington, Marquess of||O'Neill, Sir H.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Butler, R. A.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Penny, Sir George|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Remer, John R.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hurd, Percy A.||Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Iveagh, Countess of||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby. High Peak)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dalrymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Savery, S. S.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Skelton, A. N.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Macquisten, F. A.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Marjoribanks, Edward||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Meller, R. J.||Stanley, Ma). Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
§ of the Whole House."—[Sir L. Worthington-Evans.]
§ The House divided: A yes,169; Noes, 275.341
|Stuart. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wardlaw-Milne, J. S.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Wayland, Sir William A.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Thomson, Sir F.||Wells, Sydney R.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Titchifield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Todd, Capt. A. J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Train, J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Captain Wallace and Sir Victor|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Withers, Sir John James||Warrender.|
|Turton, Robert Hugh||Womersley, W. J.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gillett, George M.||Macdonald, sir M. (Inverness)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Or. Christopher||Glassey, A. E.||McElwee, A.|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Gossling, A. G.||McEntee, V. L.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Gould, F.||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Alpass, J. H.||Graham, D, M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Angell, Norman||Gray, Milner||MacNeill-Weir, L.|
|Arnott, John||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon, James I.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mansfield, w.|
|Ayles, Walter||Groves, Thomas E.||March, S.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Markham, S. F.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Marley, J.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Marshall, Fred|
|Bellamy, Albert||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Mathers, George|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Matters, L. w.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Harbord, A.||Messer, Fred|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Hardie George D.||Milner, Major J.|
|Benson, G.||Harris, Percy A.||Morgan, Dr. H. B,|
|Bentham, Or. Ethel||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Morley, Ralph|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Haycock, A. W.||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)|
|Blindell, James||Hayday, Arthur||Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Hayes, John Henry||Mort, D. L.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Mosley, Lady C. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Mosley, Sir Oswald (Smethwick)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Muff, G.|
|Bromfield, William||Herriotts, J.||Muggeridge, H. T.|
|Bromley, J.||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)||Murnin, Hugh|
|Brooke, W.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Brothers, M.||Hollman, P. C.||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Hopkin, Daniel||Noel-Buxton Baroness (Norfolk. N.)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Oldfieid, J. R.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Horrabin, J. F.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Buchanan, G.||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Burgess, F. G.||Isaacs, George||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Palin, John Henry.|
|Calne, Derwent Hall-||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Johnston, Thomas||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)||Perry, S. F.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Charleton, H. C,||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Phillips, Dr. Marion|
|Chater, Daniel||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Clarke, J. S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Potts, John S.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Price, M. p.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour.||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Compton, Joseph||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Cowan, D. M.||Kelly, W. T.||Ramsay, T. B, Wilson|
|Daggar, George||Kennedy, Thomas||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Dallas, George||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Raynes, W. R.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Kinley, J.||Richards, R.|
|Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Kirkwood, D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lang, Gordon||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Dukes, C.||Lathan, G.||Ritson, J.|
|Duncan, Charles||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Romeril, H. G.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Rosbotham, D. S T.|
|Edge, Sir William||Lawrence, Susan||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Samuel Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lawson, John James||Samuel, H. W. (Swansea, West)|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Leach, W.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Egan, W. H.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)||Sandham, E.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lindley, Fred W.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Freeman, Peter||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Scurr, John|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Logan, David Gilbert||Sexton, James|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Longbottom, A. W.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||Longden, F,||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lowth, Thomas||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anylesea)||Lunn, William||Sherwood, G. H.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Shield, George William|
|Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shiels, Or. Drummond|
|Gill, T. H.||Mac Donald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Sutton, J. E.||West, F. R.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)||White, H. G.|
|Sinkinson, George||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Bircn., Ladywood)|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Thurtie, Ernest||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||Tinker, John Joseph||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Tout, W. J.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Smith, Rennie (Penistono)||Turner, B.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Vaughan, D. J.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Viant, S. P.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Snell, Harry||Walkden, A. G.||Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Walker, J.||Wise, E. F|
|Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Wallace, H. W||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Sorensen, R.||Wallhead, Richard C.||Wright, W. (Rutherglen)|
|Stamford, Thomas W.||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Tudor||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Stephen, Campbell||Watkins, F. C.|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Strauss, G. R.||Wellock, Wilfred||Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.|
|Sullivan, J.||Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)|