§ Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND
I beg to move, in page 10, line 10, after the word "Minister," to insert the 2184 words, "after consultation with the Minister of Labour."
This is a very simple Amendment, and I am inclined to think that probably the Minister will agree to it. If he is prepared to do so, I do not wish to 2185 waste time upon it. At present, if the Minister is satisfied that any person whom is unemployed desires to lease a smallholding and so on, he has the power to provide him with one. We wish the words to read:If the Minister after consultation with the Minister of Labour is satisfied.The reasons for the Amendment are perfectly plain. The Minister himself cannot properly, without consultation with the Ministry of Labour, determine whether the bulk of the people, at any rate, are unemployed or not. There is no definition of "unemployed" in the Bill. He will most certainly, as far as insured persons are concerned, have to use the Ministry of Labour Employment Exchanges, and, therefore, consultation with the Minister of Labour ought to be a matter of course. In the next place, the Minister of Labour is a person who, if the Minister wished to know, would be able to advise him as regards the individual capacity of the different persons, more particularly those who had been through a training college. We think that under those circumstances it is only right that the words "after consultation with the Minister of Labour" should be added in line 10. We have had, if I may refer to Scotland, some experience of what trouble can ensue in smallholdings in different parts of the country where, apparently, adequate consultation has not taken place, and it is for that reason that an Amendment of this kind cannot possibly be objectionable from the point of view of the Minister himself and can only be advantageous by ensuring that the knowledge, advice, and experience of the Minister of Labour would aid him in determining who among the unemployed were suitable people to be put on to smallholdings.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
Of course, everyone will agree that naturally the Minister of Agriculture in this work will be closely in consultation with the Minister of Labour on many points, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, but it is a different thing altogether to make it mandatory. The matter was discussed at considerable length upstairs in Committee and eventually the Amendment was withdrawn. If one looks at the whole of the Clause, he will see that the Minister has to be satisfied upon a number of things. He has to be satisfied with regard to some 2186 things on which the Minister of Labour, naturally, should be consulted, and with regard to others on which he should not be consulted. While one wants full consultation between the two Ministers, and it is entirely desirable that the experience of the Minister of Labour should be put at the disposal of the Minister of Agriculture in this work, the Minister must primarily take responsibility in this matter, because the Minister has to be satisfied that a person is suitable from all angles. I do not think that you should divide responsibility in this matter. The point is very often stressed that you should put on to the land people suitable for the land, and, therefore, you have to keep the agricultural point very strongly in view. The view at the time was, and the view which we still hold is, that while, of course, there will be this consultation, it is not necessary to make it mandatory that in every case dealing with every person there should be prior consultation with the Minister of Labour.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
May I, very briefly, put these considerations to the Minister, because the objections which he urges have really no foundation or substance. He has said that quite naturally the Minister of Agriculture would consult with the Ministry of Labour. No doubt he ought to do so, but there is no security unless it is in the Bill, that he will do so. As everyone knows, it is precisely that lack of liaison between Departments which sometimes occurs, even in the best regulated Departments, and which causes failure to occur which otherwise would be avoided. As regards the other two points which the Minister has just made, the case is also quite clear. It is true that the Minister of Agriculture has to satisfy himself on a series of points—"A," "B," "C" and "D"—but if the words which I propose are inserted it would not be made mandatory for him to consult with the Minister of Labour on all those four points. He would only consult with him on the one point in which the advice and experience of the Minister of Labour, through his officials, would be of the greatest value to him.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
If the right hon. Gentleman will read the Clause, he will see that the condition of the Minister having power to provide a smallholding is that 2187 he has to be satisfied that a certain person has various qualifications. The Amendment adds another qualification—that the Minister after consultation must be satisfied—he will not have the power unless he has satisfied himself after consultation—about a person. Therefore, if you have an agricultural labourer out of work, the Minister will have to consult the Minister of Labour, who knows nothing about him, before he has the right to put him on to the land.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
That was the second point which the hon. Gentleman made, and, if he had waited a moment, I would have satisfied him on that also. If he wishes to safeguard the matter entirely, he can perfectly well add—and I would at once be prepared, and I would ask my hon. Friends to be prepared to agree—the words "in the case of persons insured against unemployment." If he wishes to put in those words, I will gladly assent to them at once. That would confine it to the persons insured against unemployment and would free him in the case of all agricultural labourers who are not insured. Bearing those considerations in mind, I am sure he will see that the Amendment, with the addition, if he wishes it, which I have just mentioned, is entirely unobjectionable and one which we should prefer to see inserted.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
The hon. Gentleman says that he has to satisfy himself by consultation with the Minister of Labour. In the case of agriculturists and people of that kind the Ministry of Labour know nothing whatever about them. Therefore the Amendment is only an addition, and the question of con-
§ sultation, clearly and obviously, only has reference to cases where the Minister of Labour knows something about the man. If the Minister consulted the Minister of Labour, through the departmental routine, about an agricultural labourer, the Minister of Labour would say that they knew nothing about him, so obviously that washes that matter out. The fact remains that the present Ministry are so much departmentalised that they cannot bear to put in an Amendment of this kind. The hon. Gentleman who is at present in charge of the Bill said that the natural thing was for the Minister to consult with the Ministry of Labour where possible. Of course, it is the natural thing for any normal Government, but for an abnormal Government, such as this, it is the natural thing to do nothing of the kind. We are desirous of inserting these words because of the extreme lack of knowledge on the part of the present Minister, and the hopeless incapacity of the Government for dealing with these things. We desire to insert the Amendment in order to give them some guidance and to lead their lack of knowledge into right channels. The Minister would be wise to accept the Amendment. I would urge him not to bring forward the sort of excuse that he has been making, but to look at these Amendments from the point of view that we are doing our best to make this Bill better in the interests of all. It is a difficult thing to do. If the Minister will not help us, I fail to see how the House of Commons can play their part.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 157; Noes, 244.2191
|Division No. 129.]||AYES.||[6.47 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Albery, Irving James||Boyce, Leslie||Clydesdale, Marquess of|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Bracken, B.||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Braithwalte, Major A. N.||Colville, Major D. J.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Brass. Captain Sir William||Courtauld, Major J. S.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Briscoe, Richard George||Cranbourne, Viscount|
|Athoil, Duchess of||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks,Newb'y)||Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Buchan, John||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Bainiel, Lord||Butler, R. A.||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Campbell, E. T.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Castle Stewart, Earl of||Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovill|
|Bird, Ernest Roy||Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)||Dugdale, Capt. T. L.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Chapman, Sir S.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Christie, J. A.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Macdonald, Capt. P, D. (I. of W.)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Fison, F, G. Clavering||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Meller, R. J.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Gronfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Moore, sir Newton J. (Richmond)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Gunston, Captain D. W,||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Muirhead, A. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Hanbury, C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn.W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Haslam, Henry C.||O'Connor, T. J.||Train, J.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||O'Neill, Sir H.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Peake, Capt. Osbert||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Pownall, sir Assheton||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Ramsbotham, H.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Kindersley, Major G. M.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Rodd, Rt. Hon. sir James Renneff||Womersley, W. J.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Ross, Major Ronald D.||Wood. Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Worthinqton-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Little, Sir Ernest Graham||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Liewellin, Major J. J.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir[...]|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||George Penny.|
|Long, Major Hon. Eric||Savery, S. S.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Dukes, C.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Ede, James Chuter||Isaacs, George|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Edmunds, J. E.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Johnston, Thomas|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Edwards, E, (Morpeth)||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)|
|Arnott, John||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Foot, Isaac||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Forgan, Dr. Robert||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)|
|Ayles, Walter||Freeman, Peter||Kelly, W. T.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Car'vn)||kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.|
|Barnes, Alfred John||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Barr, James||Gibson, H. M. (Lanes, Mossley)||Knight, Holford|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Gill, T. H.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Glassey, A. E.||Lang, Gordon|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Gossling, A. G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Benson, G.||Gould, F.||Lathan, G,|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Law, Albert (Bolton)|
|Blindell, James||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Law, A. (Rossendale)|
|Bondfield, Rt, Hon. Margaret||Granfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lawrence, Susan|
|Bowen, J. W.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Groves, Thomas E.||Lawson, John James|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Grundy, Thomas W.||Lawther, w. (Barnard Castle)|
|Bromley, J.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Leach, W.|
|Brooke, W.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hall, Capt. W. P. (Portsmouth, C.)||Lees, J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Buchanan, G.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Burgess, F. G.||Harbord, A.||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Hardie, George D.||Longden, F.|
|Cameron, A. G.||Harris, Percy A.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Lunn, William|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Haycock, A. W.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Chater, Daniel||Hayday, Arthur||McElwee, A.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Hayes, John Henry||McEntee, V. L.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||McKinlay, A.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Compton, Joseph||Herriotts, J.||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)|
|Daggar, George||Hirst, G. H. (York, W. R.,Wentworth)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||MacNeill-Weir, L.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hoffman, P. C.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Day, Harry||Hopkin, Daniel||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Denman, Hon. R, D.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Mansfield, W.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Horrabin, J. F.||Marcus, M.|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Markham, S. F.|
|Marley, J.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Marshall, Fred||Raynes, W. R.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Mathers, George||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Matters, L. W.||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Maxton, James||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Melville, Sir James||Ritson, J||Strachey, E. J. St. Loe|
|Messer, Fred||Romeril, H. G.||Strauss, G. R.|
|Middleton, G.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Mills, J. E.||Rothschild, J. de||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Mliner, Major J.||Rowson, Guy||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|Morley, Ralph||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Thorne, W. (West Ham Plaistow)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Samuel Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Sanders, W. S.||Townend, A. E.|
|Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Sandham, E.||Vaughan, David|
|Mort, D. L.||Sawyer, G. F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Muggeridge, H. T.||Scott, James||Walkden, A. G.|
|Murnin, Hugh||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Walker, J.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wallace, H. W.|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sherwood, G. H.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Shield, George William||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Oldfield, J. R.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Shlliaker, J. F.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Simmons, C. J.||Westwood, Joseph|
|Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||White, H. G.|
|Palin, John Henry||Sitch, Charles H.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Perry, S. F.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Phillips, Dr. Marion||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Winterton, G. E.(Leicester,Loughb'gh)|
|Pole, Major D. G.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)||Wise, E. F.|
|Potts, John S.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Pybus, Percy John||Snell, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Paling and Mr. Thurtle.|
I beg to move, in page 10, line 12, to leave out the word "either."
This Amendment is introductory to the real point, which is covered by the further Amendment which stands in my name—in page 10, line 14, to leave out from the word "employment" to the word "and" in line 20.
The paragraph which I seek to delete limits the eligibility of agricultural workers to those who have been thrown out of their employment owing to the acquisition of land on which they were working, in connection with these schemes. The Committee inserted a new Clause, now Clause 7, on the initiative of the hon. Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George), without any resistance from the Government, because they saw that the majority of the Committee was very strongly in favour of the principle laid down in Clause 7, which affords equally favourable opportunities to all agricultural workers to obtain smallholdings, regardless of any question of unemployment. The greater obviously includes the less, and it is now necessary to cut out from the Bill the much smaller concession to agricultural workers which was contained in the Bill as originally drafted. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman can very well justify the maintenance of the particular proposal which I propose 2192 to leave out. It will remove all doubts if he completes the concession to agricultural workers by taking out the limitation which was originally in the Bill.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The right hon. Gentleman reminds me that the greater includes the less, and that we have inserted Clause 7, which applies to all agricultural labourers, whether they have been displaced from their employment or not. I agree that it would be redundant to leave in the words which are the subject of the Amendment. Therefore, I propose to accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 10, line 14, to leave out from the word "employment" to the word "and" in line 20.—[Mr. Guinness.]
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I beg to move, in page 10, line 32, after "1908," to insert the words:or under the provisions of this Act relating to compensation for loss of employment.This Amendment is to bring into conformity with the other Act the provisions in regard to a man being eligible for compensation where displaced from small-holdings. It is in order to bring it into conformity with what is included in the Act that we wish to put in these words.
§ Captain BOURNE
As the Minister has taken out the provisions in this Clause relating to agricultural workers, I am not quite certain that the drafting of this part will not have to be looked into, because anybody can prove compensation is possible under the Act. I think the Sub-section needs looking into.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I beg to move, in page 11, line 7, after the word "for," to insert the words:enabling him to undertake the business of a smallholder, including sums for.This is in order to make clear the definitions of stock and breeding stock to enable the man to undertake the business of a smallholder.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
I beg to move, in page 11, line 19, at the end, to insert the words:No such stock or articles as are referred to in this section shall be made the subject of a charge under the provisions of the Agricultural Credits Act, 1928.This Amendment was moved in Committee, and I should like to call attention to the words which the Lord Advocate used on that occasion. He said:I think it is impossible to say that there is not some substance in this Amendment.For a cautious Scotsman that is as much to say that the Amendment is important. He went on further:There is a great deal to be said for the view that there should be some provision against such stock being made the subject of a charge under the provisions of the Agricultural Credits Act, 1928.At the end of his speech he said:We do not feel able to take the Amendment in the form in which it is proposed but I have the authority of the Minister to say we shall be very glad, in consultation with hon. Gentlemen opposite, to consider this point between now and Report."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 9th December, 1930; cols. 461–462.]I would like to make a protest at the fact that since then we have heard absolutely nothing as to what steps have been taken. Members on this side have often heard the statement from the Front Bench that a Minister will consider it and consult us, but there the matter ends. I think it 2194 is time a protest was made about the number of occasions on which that has been done and nothing has eventuated. We think the Minister should at least have made some communication to us about this matter. I therefore move the Amendment in order to give the Minister an opportunity of saying something on the point. It is obvious, as far as the substance of the Amendment is concerned, that it would not be fair to people who are likely to be affected by the Agricultural Credits Act, and who lend money on it that they should lend money on stock that is not actually in the possession of the smallholder. If there is any danger of that, I suggest that these words, or similar words, should be inserted.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I am sorry I cannot accept the Amendment, and I am quite sure the hon. and gallant Member is not aware where it would lead us. I find that if these words were inserted and a smallholder had acquired stock and a capital loan was made under the Bill he would not, although he might have repaid the loan, be able to use that capital for the purpose of obtaining advances under the Agricultural Credits Act. That would be absurd. In the case of an ordinary loan by a bank, if the stock was had on loan or was being paid for by the Government, it would be improper for him to borrow on it while it was mortgaged to the State. As far as the Agricultural Credits Act is concerned, I am advised that the result of the insertion of these words would be that, although he might have had certain things on loan at the beginning and actually have paid for them, he would not be able thereafter, on discharge of the loan, to use these articles if he wanted advances under the Agricultural Credits Act. Therefore, there is no advantage in the Amendment, and it might lead to hardship.
I would suggest that the solution of the difficulty would be to amend the Amendment so as to limit the disability involved by the loan on those forms of agricultural stock to the period during which instalments are due. If that were done, it seems to me the Amendment could be accepted without any hardship to the borrower and with advantage to the lender. It does not seem to me to 2195 be honest for people to charge with an agricultural mortgage property which is not really theirs but which in a sense really belongs to the public. I cannot see from what the right hon. Gentleman has said that under the law as it stands there will be anything to stop such a charge. The man should disclose it to the bank, but I do not gather there will be any compulsion, and I should think it would be merely an improvement of this provision to say that while this stock which was advanced out of public money had not been paid for it should not be charged. It is essential that once it becomes the property of the smallholder it should be free from all other charges and be made the foundation for further credit. I suggest to my hon. Friend that he should find some form of words to limit the Amendment in the way that I have suggested.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
I am in some doubt about this matter, and, as I observe the Minister is without any legal assistance, I cannot help pointing out that the situation we seem to be getting into is one of much difficulty. The proviso makes it quite plain that the articles which are supplied to the smallholder become the smallholder's property. The purchase price of these articles is deemed to be a loan, and, that being the position, those articles which then become the property of the smallholder are articles which he is in a position quite lawfully and legally to claim. In these circumstances, I find myself in the exceptional position of agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman that, if the Amendment were inserted, there would be real legal difficulties in the working of it. At the same time, I cannot help commenting on what I have heard as a result of a Debate which took place upstairs, namely, that this question, having been raised in Committee, it ought to have been considered, that we on this side ought to have been consulted, and that it should not be left now to the Minister to have to get assistance from the legal Members on this side in order to make the situation quite plain.
Could we not have an answer from the Minister as to the possibility of further Amendments and adding at the end the words:While any instalment payments are still outstandingor words to that effect?
§ Dr. ADDISON
I cannot imagine any advantage would follow from the insertion of such words. The first thing the bank will do in the case of a, smallholder who goes to it for an advance will be to inquire what are his assets and his position and whether the assets are on loan or not. If the man has paid, why should he be prevented from obtaining a loan? Those who direct the work of the agricultural groups will take good care that they do not lend when there is a loan upon it from somebody else.
§ Sir DENNIS HERBERT
I am not quite sure I follow the right hon. Gentleman. I think we must press this matter unless the right hon. Gentleman does get legal information in support of his views that some Amendment here is unnecessary. The position is that his man is to be the possessor of these assets for which he has not paid and that his creditor, the State, to whom he has to pay for them has not any charge upon the assets. Is that correct?
§ Sir D. HERBERT
That may be so. I do not profess to be a lawyer in the strict sense of the term, but I venture respectfully to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman clearly knows less about the law than I do. It is no use to say that, because you have lent money to this man in order that he may get these things which become his property therefore you have a charge on him.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The hon. Gentleman should read the text, and he will see that this relates to the advance of certain goods, stock and so on. The hon. Gentleman's criticisms are really quite beside the point, and he should read the Bill.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
The right hon. Gentleman still has not answered my question. I will put it in the form of a statement. The State, which is this man's creditor, has no charge on these assets. If the right hon. Gentleman lends me £500 to buy a motor car and I go and buy it, the right hon. Gentleman has no charge on that motor car, and 2197 there is no reason why I should not go and sell it for £400 and spend the money on my own enjoyment.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
But we should prevent the man being able to borrow money from some other source on the security of these assets in such a way that if he fails it is the subsequent lender who is able to sell these assets and get what he can for them, while the State gets nothing. I say definitely that that is the fact; and it is a most ridiculous thing to put into an Act of Parliament. No Government should lend money to a person to enable him to buy certain goods and have no charge whatever upon those goods. Surely, there should be some security for this kind of advance. This is not a party matter at all. The right hon. Gentleman must answer this case in some way or admit that some amendment is required. Up to the present he has not answered it, and I still ask him to accept a revised Amendment or give a perfectly definite undertaking that he will see that the attention of another place is drawn to the matter. I feel certain that their attention will be given to this matter without it being brought to their notice, and that they will do something to alter it, but it would be much more to the credit of the right hon. Gentleman if he put it in proper order before the Bill goes to another place.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
The criticisms of the right hon. Gentleman, I should have thought, would have been, not that we ought not to have these words because they do not do enough, but that we ought to have much stronger words. Let the House observe the position into which we have got. We are giving to these men implements as an alternative to making a loan. If the State makes a loan then there is an obligation to repay the purchase money, but here, instead of the State making a loan, it provides the man with these particular articles. The Minister of Agriculture says, "What is the good of putting in any words at all, because the man might be able to sell these articles." Is it or is it not intended that the State shall have some lien upon the articles which the loan will provide, and which in this case are provided by the State until the 2198 purchase price of the articles has been paid off? Is it intended that there should be any security at all? If that is not the intention then I think it should be. If, instead of making a man a loan, you give him articles there should be some lien for the State upon the articles. A man should not be at liberty to get £100 worth of equipment one day and go and sell it the next, leaving the State £100 out of pocket.
All that the right hon. Gentleman does is to say that it is no good putting in these words. I think it is, because they prevent the man dealing with these articles in a way which will secure him a further loan. If he does raise such a loan the bank, if he should fail, would be able to realise these articles and repay their loan. In that case the State would lose the money and the only people who would get any advantage would be the bank. So far from these words being unnecessary I think they should go a good deal further. The State should have some security not only for the loan but that the security is put to its proper purpose, otherwise the unscrupulous smallholder could behave in exactly the same way as the Russian Government does with the advantage which the British Government gives them at present. They pay for goods with credit and at once sell them for cash.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
All over the world. I could give the hon. Member half a dozen examples. But because we have been futile in one direction do not let us be futile in another. It is perfectly plain that the smallholder, who has received a gift of these articles from the State, should have the use of them until such time as he has paid off the purchase price, and if he does not pay back the full value that he should not have the right to sell them. A much more drastic Amendment is necessary in order to give the State absolute security in this matter.
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, at the end, to add the words:until such purchase price has been paid off.This will cover the difficulty mentioned by the Minister of Agriculture, in regard 2199 to cases under the Agricultural Credits Act. It will not prevent the man selling his stock and using the proceeds to pay off his debt.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The right hon. Member for Hendon (Sir P. Cunliffe-Lister) is suffering under the same disability as the hon. Member for Watford (Sir D. Herbert)—he has not read the Bill. If he had his criticism would have been a little more valuable.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
That is the second or third time that the right hon. Member has said that I have not read the Bill.
§ Dr. ADDISON
If hon. Members will look at Sub-section (2) they will find these words:Where under the powers conferred by this section the Minister provides a small holding for any unemployed person, the Minister may, in accordance with regulations made by him with the approval of the Treasury"—
§ Dr. ADDISON
In that case the hon. Member must have read it without comprehending what it means. It means that the Treasury will make regulations governing the advance of loans. Is it imagined that the Treasury or the Ministry will make regulations affecting advances to smallholders in such a way as to facilitate smallholders taking them to the next market and selling them to the first purchaser? I have never heard of such a thing. Consider what the smallholder has to do. He has to go through the network of tests of character, capability of training, and all the rest set out in the Clause, and the right hon. Member for Hendon—whether he derived his illustration from Siberia or elsewhere I am not clear—is under the impression that the smallholders will rush to sell their stock the next day without let or hindrance. It never seems to have occurred to the right hon. Gentleman that the Treasury and the Ministry in advancing these people money would act as people with elementary common sense.
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
That is exactly what is happening with the loans you are giving to Russia at present.
§ Dr. ADDISON
It may be some comfort to the right hon. Gentleman to know 2200 that these loans will not be given to Russia, but to British smallholders and, therefore, that particular ground of uneasiness is removed. If he thinks that the British smallholder is akin to the Russian he is mistaken in the British smallholder. [Interruption.] I prefer my own countrymen. [Interruption.] If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the proviso to Sub-section (2) he will see these words:Provided that the Minister may, in accordance with such regulations as aforesaid, in lieu of making a loan to any person …. supply to that person any such stocks ….That clearly means that the regulations we make will imply that when you make an advance of goods instead of cash they will take the place of a loan, and in either case this Amendment is of no use if you have the kind of person which the right hon. Gentleman seems to visualise. The Amendment, even if it were in the Bill, would not stop such a person. It would have no effect at all. It does not bear any relation to the transaction and, therefore, I say once more that it will serve no useful purpose.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
The Minister ought to have had one of the Law Officers to reply to the Debate in view of such non-sense as that to which we have just listened. I use the word "nonsense" definitely because the right hon. Gentleman was so discourteous to my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Sir D. Herbert). My hon. Friend, of course, has read the Bill and he has read it aright, and it is no use the Minister of Agriculture trying to mislead the House of Commons. The House may, if it pleases, do what I think is a foolish thing. The position is beyond dispute. Under the Bill the Minister is going to provide a house and smallholding for the unemployed man. In addition to that, in cases where it is necessary—as these men are unemployed it will be necessary in almost all cases—he is going to provide him with the stock, or he can make a loan to the smallholder for the purpose of buying the stock. In either case the smallholder is in a position to deal with the stock and he can sell it to anyone he pleases. Why on earth, in addition to doing all these things, should the State run the risk of the smallholder raising a loan on stock that really does 2201 not belong to him and for which he is indebted to the State in full? Why should the State run the further risk of the smallholder being in a position to go to his banker and get a loan on the stock? As an ordinary matter of business the House ought not to agree with this proposal.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
I am sure the hon. and learned Gentleman appreciates the fact that the banks would be in a very delicate position. Does he think that in such circumstances the banks would advance the money?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
I cannot say whether they would or not. [Laughter.] It is not a matter for laughter. If the bank made an advance under the Agricultural Credits Act it would get an actual security. Therefore in all probability the bank would make an advance in many cases. In addition to giving the smallholders, under this part of the Bill, these enormous advantages, providing them at the public expense with houses and smallholdings and finding them loans—during the Committee stage the Minister said that the total would average £275—and having provided them with weekly allowances of 30s. a week—no doubt there are many deserving cases—why should we in cases that are undeserving put a man in the position of being able to raise money without his having paid back a single penny of his loan from the State?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
Under the Agricultural Credits Act the bank gets an absolute security in preference to anybody else. I disagree with the wording of the Amendment to the proposed Amendment. I think it is unworkable. The original Amendment is the one that ought to be accepted. For practical purposes it prevents a man raising a loan on these articles.
§ Mr. SKELTON
I would like to deal with the matter from the point of view of the smallholder. Everyone is agreed that the smallholder has to be extraordinarily careful, at all stages of his career, about his finance. Laxity in financial arrangements pulls him down more quickly than anything else. I agree 2202 that if we set up this class of smallholder there must be assistance from the State, but in the interest of the smallholder himself he should not be given the opportunity of trying to raise a second loan on articles for which he has not paid. It really is a temptation which is not to be pooh-poohed by simply saying that most British people are honest. Of course, they are honest, but the difficulty is that when they get into a bit of financial trouble they might be tempted to raise a double loan upon their stock. One of my hon. Friends expressed doubt whether the Amendment in the original form would cover the whole ground of anxiety. I agree with the Minister that it is almost impossible to get a watertight Amendment.
Are the facts of the situation not these Since the Agricultural Credits Act of 1928 the only practicable and available source of ordinary credit is that Act. If you exclude the smallholder from raising a double loan under that Act you take away 99 per cent. of the temptation to raise loans upon stock which truly is not his. I am not tremendously concerned with making the Amendment 100 per cent. watertight. I should like to see it 99 per cent., or whatever percentage you like, watertight. It is of importance to the smallholder not to be given an opportunity of raising money upon stuff for which he has not paid. I am not tremendously impressed with the fact that there may be even £274,000 paid by the State in this respect, or with the possibility of some of that money being lost, but I am tremendously impressed with the necessity of preventing the smallholder from raising a double loan. I am sure there is a matter of substance here which well merits consideration by the Minister.
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
I have listened with great care to the speeches. I suggest, with all respect to hon. Members opposite, that there is no substantial disagreement raised by this matter. The Clause makes provision for a loan to these people, and that loan is to be carried out under regulations approved by the Treasury. The Minister says that the difficulties seen by hon. Members opposite will be taken into account when the regulations are framed by the Treasury. Is it credible that the Treasury would pass regulations which would allow a man to raise a charge on his stock before he 2203 had paid for it? The matter can safely be left, as the Minister suggested, to be covered by the regulations of the Treasury.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
I would call the attention of the Minister to a matter which I think he has overlooked. He has suggested, and the last speaker said, that the State is protected here, because the loan will be made under regulations. The last speaker said that it was unthinkable that the regulations would not create a charge on these assets. In order to show the Minister that I have read the Bill, and read it probably with a little more care and a little more apprehension than he has himself, I call attention to Sub-section (3), where it is set out that the regulations made for the purpose of this Section shall prescribe certain things. But it does not say that the regulations shall prescribe that there shall be a charge. Indeed, there is at least an indication to the Treasury, if nothing more, that they are not to ask for a charge and are not to require a charge.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
The hon. Gentleman has had long experience of Treasury regulations, and I ask brim, is it credible that the Treasury would frame regulations that did not make such a provision?
§ Sir D. HERBERT
If the hon. and learned Member had waited one minute longer he would have heard me telling the Minister why I think it is not unthinkable that the Treasury would make regulations which did not create a charge. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman of a definite and very serious case in which the Treasury lent very large sums of money for certain purposes without taking a charge, and lost large sums of money. The right hon. Gentleman is probably aware of the arrangements which were made in the early days of the War, under which the Government lent, through the Bank of England, enormous sums of money to holders of South American bills. They lent those sums of money to approved houses with the intention that the debt should be repaid out of the proceeds of those bills when the bills came to be collected. The Treasury did not take the precaution of putting into the memorandum which was signed by the borrowers, the few short words necessary to say that that money 2204 should be a charge upon those bills. I myself acted in the case of a large firm of merchants who owed large sums of money to the Bank of England, advanced in this way, and the Bank of England did not even rank as preferential creditors. They had no charge whatever on the assets of those bills and they lost their money, and it would have been perfectly competent for that firm, if they had chosen to do so, to have raised money—if they could have done it—from other sources on the security of those bills against which money had been advanced by the Government.
This Clause, as it is drawn, negatives rather than otherwise the direction that the Treasury should by their regulations require or create a charge. The Treasury on previous occasions have lent money in this way without creating a charge, and there is no reason to suppose that they would not do it again. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, instead of tinkering with these words, he should, in the next following Sub-section, which sets out that the regulations made for the purposes of this Clause shall prescribe certain things, include "prescribe that the advances shall be a charge upon these assets," or some words to that effect. If he did something of that kind, then we should have a direction to the Treasury to do what, in the Minister's opinion, it is unthinkable that they would not do, but what they actually have done in the past, and what they may well do again.
§ Major GEORGE DAVIES
I am reluctant as a layman to intervene upon the legal points of this dispute at any length, but I wish to draw attention to the fact that the difficulty in which the Minister, admittedly, finds himself, and in which certainly most of the Members of the House find themselves, arises solely from the right hon. Gentleman's neglect to carry out meticulously the undertakings given to us upstairs. This is not the first time that it has occurred in connection with this Bill—
§ Dr. ADDISON
That is a direct personal charge and I resent it. It is not true. I would undertake to say that I gave no undertaking upstairs, to which I have not honestly endeavoured to give effect. I have been through the whole of the undertakings ipsissima verba and I have done my best to attend to every 2205 one of them, and the suggestion that I have done otherwise is entirely baseless and untrue.
§ Major DAVIES
I am entitled to point out—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] Allow me, first, to read an extract from the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Standing Committee when this Amendment was moved in precisely the same words as those which appear on the Paper, by my hon. and gallant Friend who has moved it to-day. On that occasion, the Lord Advocate, speaking upon the Amendment, used these words:We do not feel able to take the Amendment in the form in which it is proposed, but I have the authority of the Minister to say that we shall be very glad, in consultation with hon. Gentlemen opposite, to consider this point between now and Report, believing as we do that it raises a point of substance, with a view to some formula being devised to meet the situation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 9th December, 1930; col. 462.]Those are the words in the OFFICIAL REPORT and our complaint is in reference to that undertaking, given by the Lord Advocate, himself a responsible Minister, and speaking in the name of the Minister of Agriculture, admitting that this was a point of substance and difficulty, and that he would take it up with us on this side of the House, in order to arrive at a formula. In these circumstances, if the Minister still says that I have misrepresented him, and that he did not undertake to meet us, I have nothing further to say. I must leave that matter to the decision of the House.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
May we have a further reply from the Minister on this matter? This is a very definite pledge given in Committee.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I am trying to obtain the details as regards that pledge, because of course I cannot be expected
§ to remember every step in connection with all these matters. I had consultations with my legal advisers in regard to this particular subject, and it is in consequence of the advice given to me that I have taken the course which I have taken on this occasion. I think this is a matter upon which I have consulted hon. Members. [HON. MEMBERS: "On this side?"] I am sure that hon. Members know that I have endeavoured to carry out the undertakings given upstairs, and as far as I know I have not failed to do anything which I undertook to do then, but I could not without notice give the names of the hon. Members consulted or answer as to the details of each particular case. What I do know is that I tried as far as I could to give effect to all the undertakings given.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I must say that, in the cases in which I was personally concerned, the Minister was extremely courteous to me, and wrote me very fully, and I would like to bear out what he has said in that respect. This is a very complicated question, however, and I do not think my hon. Friends here wish to press the Minister unduly. At the same time I think we ought to have some definite statement from the Minister that this matter will be dealt with in another place because it is a most important as well as a most complicated legal question. If the Minister cannot meet us in that way I think it is a matter which ought not to be left without a decision of the House now.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE
As the Mover of the Amendment in the Committee stage, and as the Member who received the assurance of the Lord Advocate which has already been mentioned, may I say that I have been in no way consulted on this matter either by the Minister or by the Lord Advocate?
§ Question put, "That those words be there added to the proposed Amendment "
§ The House divided: Ayes, 142; Noes, 236.2209
|Division No. 130.]||AYES.||[7.54 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W.||Beaumont, M. W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armaqh)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt Hon. Wilfrid W.||Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet)||Bird, Ernest Roy|
|Altor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Ba[...]niel, Lord||Boothby, R. J. G.|
|Atholl, Duchess||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Penny, Sir George|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Gower, Sir Robert||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bracken, B.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks,Newb'y)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Remer, John R.|
|Buchan, John||Hammersley, S. S.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Butler, R. A.||Hanbury, C.||Ross, Major Ronald D.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Haslam, Henry C.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)||Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Skelton, A. N.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Stanley, Maj. Hon. O. (W'morland)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Little, Sir Ernest Graham||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Tinne, J. A.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Todd, Capt. A. J,|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Margesson, Captain H. D.||Train, J.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Marjoribanks, Edward||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Meller, R. J.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L,||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.M.)||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Muirhead, A. J.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Fison, F. G. Clavering||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||O'Connor, T. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||O'Neill, Sir H.||Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir|
|Fremantle, Lieut-Colonel Francis E.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Victor Warrender.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Peake, Capt. Osbert|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Chater, Daniel||Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Cluse, W. S.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Harbord, A.|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hardie, George D.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Daggar, George||Harris, Percy A.|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Dallas, George||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Arnott, John||Dalton, Hugh||Hastings, Dr. Somerville|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Davies, E. C. (Montgomery)||Haycock, A. W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hayday, Arthur|
|Ayles, Walter||Day, Harry||Hayes, John Harvey|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Dukes, C.||Harriotts, J.|
|Barr, James||Ede. James Chuter||Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth)|
|Batey, Joseph||Edmunds, J. E.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon Wedgwood||Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Hoffman, P. C.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Elmley, Viscount||Hopkin, Daniel|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Horrabin, J. F.|
|Benson, G.||Foot, Isaac||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)|
|Birkett, W. Norman||Forgan, Dr. Robert||Hunter, Dr. Joseph|
|Blindell, James||Freeman, Peter||Isaacs, George|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bowen, J. W.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Johnston, Thomas|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gibson, H. M. (Lancs, Mossley)||Jones, F. Llewellyn- (Flint)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Gill, T. H.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Bromley, J.||Glassey, A. E.||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Brooke, W.||Gossting, A. G.||Jowitt, Sir W. A. (Preston)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Win. (Edin., Cent.)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire)||Granville, E.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Knight, Holford|
|Buchanan, G.||Griffith, F. Klngsley (Middlesbro'W.)||Lang, Gordon|
|Burgess, F. G.||Groves, Thomas E.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Grundy, Thomas W.||Lathan, G.|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Law, Albert (Bolton)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Law, A. (Rossendale)|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Lawrence, Susan|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)|
|Lawson, John James||Murnin, Hugh||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Leach, W.||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|Lee, Frank (Derby, N.E.)||Oldfield, J. R.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||Snell, Harry|
|Lees, J.||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Lloyd, C. Ellis||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Logan, David Gilbert||Palin, John Henry||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Longbottom, A. W.||Paling, Wilfrid||Stephen, Campbell|
|Lengden, F.||Perry, S. F.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Strauss, G. R.|
|Lunn, William||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Sullivan, J.|
|Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Sutton, J. E.|
|McElwee, A.||Pole, Major D. G.||Taylor R. A. (Lincoln)|
|McEntee, V. L.||Potts, John S.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S.W.)|
|McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Pybus, Percy John||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|McKinlay, A.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|MacLaren, Andrew||Raynes, W. R.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Townend, A. E.|
|McShane, John James||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Ritson, J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Romeril, H. G.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Mansfield, W.||Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Walker, J.|
|Marcus, M.||Rowson, Guy||Wallace, H. W.|
|Markham, S. F.||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Marley, J.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Marshall, Fred||Sanders, W. S.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Mathers, George||Sandham, E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Matters, L. W.||Sawyer, G. F.||West, F. R.|
|Maxton, James||Scott, James||Westwood, Joseph|
|Melville, Sir James||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Middleton, G.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Mills, J. E.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Milner, Major J.||Sherwood, G. H.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Morley, Ralph||Shield, George William||Wilson R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Winterton, G. E.(Leicester,Loughb'gh)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Simmons, C. J.||Wise, E. F.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smith, Alfred (Sunderland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mort, D. L.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Charles|
|Muggeridge, H. T.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Edwards.|
§ Original Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. HASLAM
I would like to say a word on the subject of the original Amendment. The Minister relies, in rejecting this Amendment, on the fact that the Treasury is certain to make all requisite regulations, but I would like to say that this reference to the Agricultural Credits Act, 1928, is a very important matter in the mind of the smallholder, because it is under that Act that the smallholder raises loans and gets credit, and any smallholder in the position of requiring a loan would be advised by his friends to turn to that Act and see what he could do. Therefore, I would like to say a word in favour of those words being put in the Bill. The speeches on this side have shown that those who are supporting this Amendment are doing so as the friends of the smallholder, to protect him, when he is in difficulties, from turning where he would generally be expected to turn and, in so doing, landing himself in very grave difficulties. There 2210 fore, I urge the Minister once more to consider this point of view and, if possible, to agree to this Amendment. What possible damage could its acceptance do to the Bill? How could it prejudice the Bill? It is impossible to conceive that the insertion of these words could do the Bill any harm whatever or could stand in the way of a single smallholder getting his holding. Therefore, why should the Minister not agree to these very simple words, accentuating this particular Act of Parliament?
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I beg to move, in page 11, line 26, to leave out the word "gradually," and to insert instead thereof the word "proportionally."
This Amendment is in regard to payments made in cases of allowances which are made to smallholders. It is provided in the Bill that the amount of an allowance is gradually reduced during the period in which the allowance is payable. It has been brought to my notice that the word "gradually," in relation with the 2211 words "in proportion to the value of the benefit," might raise some administrative difficulties.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 11, line 28, leave out the words "in proportion," and insert instead thereof the words "having regard."—[Dr. Addison.]
§ Viscount WOLMER
I beg to move, in page 11, line 35, at the end, to insert the words:(c) that no grant, allowance, or loan shall be made under this section to any person who is in receipt of an allowance under the Unemployment Insurance Acts.I cannot believe that the Minister will have any objection to the principle of this Amendment. If he is going, under this Bill, to give an allowance to an unemployed man to work a smallholding, he will want to give such an allowance as is fit for the purpose, and from a mere accounting point of view he would not want the unemployed person to be drawing the dole and at the same time getting an allowance under this Bill. It seems to me that if an unemployed person were entitled to draw the dole from the Minister of Labour and to draw an allowance under this Bill, you would be opening the door for confusion, to say nothing of possible corruption. If a man is given an allowance in respect of a smallholding, he ought to be getting an allowance from no other State authority. Therefore, we hope very much that the Minister will see his way to accept either this Amendment or words to the same effect.
I am sure that if the idea gets abroad that a man can draw unemployment insurance benefit, or uncovenanted benefit and at the same time can get an allowance from the Minister of Agriculture under this Bill, you will not only be adding confusion to the accounts, but you will really be giving a stimulus to some people to subsist on a subsidised allotment of this sort for as long as they can, instead of seeking to pursue their normal trade. That would be a very unhealthy state of affairs. You have always to remember that these subsidised smallholders will be in a very difficult position when the subsidy comes to an end. The subsidy can only be for a limited period. A man has to learn to stand on his own feet at the end of that 2212 period, and, therefore, we ought to be very strict as to the terms on which this assistance is given.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
The Noble Lord is perfectly correct in assuming that it is the intention of the Government to ensure, by means of the Treasury regulations, that the difficulty in the case which he put forward will be covered. In other cases, which are not covered by the actual form of words which he moves, drafted presumably for the purpose of getting an assurance from the Government, the exact form of words which he has put on the Paper might raise certain administrative difficulties—if, for example, we were barred from giving a grant for farm implements and stock to an unemployed man during perhaps the actual week in which he was still in receipt of unemployment benefit. But it is the intention of the Minister, in accordance with the provisions of Sub-section (2) of this Clause, to ensure that the point raised by the Noble Lord shall be adequately covered, and I hope that, with that assurance, the Amendment will not be pressed.
§ Viscount WOLMER
This Amendment merely seeks to give directions to the Minister and the Treasury in regard to the regulations that they are to make, and we are using the same machinery that the Minister wants to use. We are merely giving the instructions, as it were, to the person who has to draw up the regulations. We are not trying to put them into the Act, and surely we want to have some words to make it clear that the regulations do provide for this point.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
It seems to me that this is really a very important point and that the Minister might well accept these words, or words which have the same meaning. If the Minister says that all these various points will be prescribed by the regulations, it is only logical that they should be set out here. It is already laid down that the regulations shall prescribe "(a) such scale of allowances" and so on, and "(b) the rate of interest payable on any loans" and so on. These are laid down by Parliament, and now my hon. Friend raises a point of importance which he wants Parliament to insert. I cannot see why, if the Minister agrees that he will do it and that it is an important point, he 2213 cannot accept the Amendment as one of the things to be embodied in the regulations. If he refuses to put it in the Sub-section, we must think that there is some snag in the assurances which the Under-Secretary of State has given.
§ Mr. McKINLAY
The unemployed man needs protection under the regulations, because the moment he qualifies for a grant or a loan he ceases to be available for insurable employment and automatically ceases to be a charge on the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The difficulty is that the unemployment insurance administration will know nothing about the administration of this Measure; it will not be their business, and the unemployed person is in danger of falling between two stools. The moment he becomes a smallholder he ceases to be available for insurable employment. He also automatically ceases to be entitled to transitional or any other benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act. Consequently, the Government should protect a man in the transitional period between his becoming an allotment holder and his ceasing to draw unemployment benefit. I do not want any person to draw twice from public funds, but I can see the difficulty here from my experience with unemployment insurance. The moment a man ceases to be available for employment, and even supposing a year elapses before he gets any return from his allotment, his benefit ceases and what happens to a man under this Bill is no business of the insurance administration.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
In substance, what my hon. Friend the Member for Partick (Mr. McKinlay) has said is our point of view. There is a difficulty in accepting precise words, because of the limitations and difficulties in administration which might result if those precise words were accepted. We would much prefer that the Treasury regulations should be laid down in the way that I have indicated, and I hope that the Noble Lord and his friends will see their way to accept the definite assurance that the Minister has authorised me to give.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.2214
§ Sir D. HERBERT
I beg to move, in page 11, line 35, at the end, to insert the words:and(c) that the loan shall be a charge upon such stock, feeding stuffs, fruit trees, seeds, fertilisers or implements as aforesaid.We have already discussed this subject, and I would only remind the House and the hon. Gentleman in charge of what took place just now, when the Minister suggested that the regulations to be made by the Treasury in connection with these loans would naturally provide that the loans should be a charge upon the assets purchased with the money. I pointed out then that, as the Bill stands, it prescribes that the regulations shall contain certain things, but it does not prescribe what the Minister wants, namely, that the loans shall be a charge upon the assets. I therefore move this manuscript Amendment in order that the Minister's intention may be carried out.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
The hon. Gentleman and his friends know that this point has been thrashed out for the last hour or more, and they are aware that there are legal difficulties and complexities, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman would be the first to admit. It is not an Amendment which a Government ought to accept in manuscript form without the legal officers being given every opportunity of considering its implications. We have had some recent experience in dealing with the Agricultural Credits Act, and we have to be exceptionally careful. The banking corporations in Scotland so far have not seen their way even to operate the Act of Parliament which both Houses have approved. I shall be glad if the hon. Gentleman and his friends will accept my assurance that the most careful consideration will be given to the form of words which he has handed in, and to the point which he has put, between now and the consideration of this Measure in another place. He will be communicated with so that he or his friends will lose nothing in the way of any political discussion which we may be called upon to have in the matter.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
After the courteous way in which the hon. Gentleman has met me, I would ask leave to withdraw the 2215 Amendment, on the understanding that careful consideration will be given to an Amendment in this form with a view to an endeavour being made to insert it or words which carry out its effect in another place, subject of course to its being found that it would involve no unfortunate implications or entanglements. I have every sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's unwillingness to accept an Amendment of this kind at short notice as a manuscript Amendment. I would only repeat that after a long discussion we arrived I think at a method of meeting what is in the minds of both sides here, but, as I do not want to be dogmatic about it and say that I am perfectly certain that I am right and that this Amendment will do, I am, after the assurance I have received from the hon. Gentleman, quite prepared to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I should not like there to be any dubiety about what I promised. It is better that it should be stated now. I am only promising that the whole matter, not only this form of words which the hon. and learned Gentleman has handed in but the whole subject matter of the discussion which has taken place during the past hour or more, will be very carefully considered by our legal advisers, and the hon. and learned Gentleman will be communicated with. I have not promised that any steps of one kind or another will be taken by the Minister or through the Minister in another place. I am only saying that the result of the examination of the whole situation will be communicated to the hon. and learned Gentleman, so that he or his friends may then be in a position to take whatever steps they may think necessary or desirable as the result of that examination.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
I think what the Under-Secretary has said is very reasonable, provided that it means reconsider with a view to preventing the persons for whom such things have been provided being put in a position to raise money on them to the detriment of the Government's security for the loan.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Obviously, all the discussion that has taken place will be considered in view of the statement the Minister has made, but I am promising 2216 nothing further than that the hon. and learned Gentleman himself will be communicated with.
Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Robert Young)
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say he will withdraw his Amendment?
§ Sir D. HERBERT
Yes, to save time I will ask leave to withdraw, but I think the Under-Secretary might have gone a little further and have said that if he were satisfied that something of this kind could be done he would use his best endeavours in another place to that end; but I may almost assume that he will do so, and, under those circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.