HC Deb 10 June 1931 vol 253 cc1029-77

Amendment proposed [9th June]: In page 5, line 3, at the end, to add the words: Provided that the tax shall not be charged in respect of any agricultural land constituting or comprised in a land unit so long as such land continues to be used for agricultural purposes only."—[Captain Bourne.]

Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."


I rise to support this Amendment. The Solicitor-General yesterday made, as he always does, a charming and admirable speech. It had only one defect, namely, that it did not deal with the problem raised by the Amendment and so ably explained by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne). I was very disappointed, particularly because the Solicitor-General is the only Member on the Government side of the Committee who has made any attempt to explain to us how these schemes are going to work. He has discarded the ridiculous cant about God giving the land to the people. He knows as well as we do that that is merely an attempt to gain divine sanction for a gross and inequitable fallacy. The hon. and learned Gentleman has discarded the travesty of Mohammedan doctrine, that the Creator is great and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is his prophet. He has made an attempt to explain how these taxes are intended to function, but in his speech yesterday he entirely missed the important point with regard to the application of these taxes to agricultural land. What he said would be all right, if agricultural land could suddenly, by some magic process, become ripe for development and if the increased value accrued in one night. Unfortunately it does not. Like all other things that ripen, it ripens slowly and there is a long intervening period when agricultural land has a somewhat sketchy value over and above its pure value as agricultural land. It is a value very difficult to ascertain, steadily increasing and practically un-realisable, and that is the point to which I wish to address myself.

What is to be the position of land used for agricultural purposes which, owing to its nearness to a town or a main road or for some other cause gets a value definitely in excess of its pure value as agricultural land, which additional value is unrealisable in the open market? Since nothing can be wholly bad, even this vicious tax will have one beneficial effect. I think it will check land speculation, but it will also have the effect of making it even more difficult than it is at present to realise upon land. What is to be the position of a man who owns a farm on a main road? The land along the main road is valued, possibly for building purposes or for widening purposes over and above its value as agricultural land. But if he puts his land into the open market, he can only get its agricultural value and he will be very lucky if he gets that. Is he or is he not to pay this tax, and if not, what is there in the Bill to enable him to get out of it?

What is to be the position of land in absolutely rural areas? I give a concrete case. There is a point at which four roads meet. At that cross roads, on one side or the other—it has not yet been decided which—it is proposed to build some police cottages. The land there has an additional value, but to which of the pieces of land around that cross roads is the additional value to attach and which is going to pay the tax? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has left this matter in the air and I hope that the President of the Board of Trade will explain it. There is no such thing as land used for agricultural purposes with no value whatever, over and above its value as agricultural land, and capable of being distinguished from land which is ripe for development. The land of this country which is used for agricultural purposes is in a transition stage. You cannot tell from one year to another, or even from one week to another, how its value is going to change. If it is intended to exempt agricultural land, then an Amendment such as is now proposed will be necessary. Either all this varying land, the increased value of which very often is never realised, escapes the tax altogether, or else your exemption for agricultural holdings is not worth the paper on which it is written.

We want to know very clearly which is the intention of the Government in this matter. It is not only estates near the towns which are affected; there is the big question of allotments near a road. I can give a case, again in my own constituency, of a large acreage of allotments on a main road extending back from a quarter to half a mile. The road frontage which will comprise the allotments nearest the road may, under this Bill as drafted, have to pay tax, but the backlands may not. Are the people who own the allotments—because there is nothing in the suggestion of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) that this tax cannot be passed on, because it can and will be passed on—on the frontage to be charged increased rent for their allotments and the people behind to be left at the same rent? What is to happen?

I appeal to the President of the Board of Trade and the Solicitor-General to clear up the point. There are two conflicting positions. There was the original speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which he said that agricultural land was to be exempted, and there was the speech of the learned Solicitor-General last night, in refusing this Amendment, which made it clear that in fact the majority of agricultural land is not to be exempted, because it has an extra value. I appeal to all hon. Members who have anything to do with agricultural constituencies, if this Amendment is not accepted, or if a satisfactory explanation is not given as to how these very real points are to be met, to go into the Lobby for the Amendment as the only possible way of carrying out the Government's pledge not to put a tax on agricultural land.


When the Chancellor of the Exchequer originally made his speech, I think most agriculturists were reassured because they thought, from his remarks, that agricultural land was going to be left free from the imposition of this tax, but as these Debates have proceeded and as soon as the Finance Bill was published and the position became clearer, it became obvious that a very large amount of agricultural land or land now used purely for agricultural purposes would come within the purview of this tax. I would like to say a word or two from the point of view of my own constituency. That constituency happens to be near Bristol, and there are two great main roads running through it, one from Bristol to Weston-super-Mare and the other the northern portion of the Bristol-Exeter main road. I suppose that about 30 or 40 miles of pure main roads run through that Division.

There are villages on both those roads all the way along, and the land on each side of those roads is owned, not by large landowners, but by small cultivators and smallholders; in fact, that portion of England is one of the few portions where the old yeoman farmer is still in existence, because he has never been economically knocked out, and you get many hundreds of small, independent owners who have grazing land all along those roads and who, so far as I can see, under this Bill will certainly be called upon to pay a very heavy tax. I do not think anyone, no matter in what quarter of the House he may sit, will say that agriculture to-day is in a flourishing condition. It may be in a better condition in the West Country than it is in the Eastern counties, but whether or not it is flourishing, whether or not the farmer is making money, this tax will come down at the same level.

I was rather horrified to notice some few months ago that 300 acres of land at Haverhill, on the borders of Suffolk and Essex, were sold for the astonishing sum of 4s. an acre. That meant that for cultivation purposes the land was practically useless, and really that it was of no value whatever to the individual who was farming it. I have no doubt that a certain part of that land will, under the Government scheme, be valued as potential building land, and whether or not the farmer is making money, that imposition will be placed upon him. After all, it is an impossible thing to say when land is going to be ripe for building. I know of one case, in 1909, of an estate belonging to Lord Hastings in Northumberland, where seven or eight acres of land up there was Valued for building purposes at £800 an acre. He protested, but the valuation stood, and as a matter of fact from that day to this not a single house has been built on that property. I think that example shows that the valuation in that case was completely wrong. The land was not worth £800 an acre, and it was simply an arbitrary valuation put on by a valuer. I do not think that anyone will say that if you have had no houses built on that property for 30 years, a valuation of £800 an acre in 1909 was a fair and correct valuation.

The same sort of thing, so far as I am aware, will happen all over the country under the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman, because these Government valuers will come along, they will be given a very difficult job, and they are going to put arbitrary values, from which there will be very little appeal, on a great deal of land which really has very little building value at all. I would like to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, as far as I can see from reading the Bill—I may be wrong—the only person who is going to say whether agricultural land is to be valued or not is to be a valuer employed by the Inland Revenue, and I suggest that that is not a proper procedure. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that if a tax is to be imposed, it should not be left to a Government official to say whether or not the tax should be paid on a particular portion of land. The law should lay down quite clearly, as I believe it does in the case of all other taxes, whether a tax is chargeable or not, and it is not in these other cases left to the sweet will of a Government official to decide. From whatever point of view you look at these duties, the very fact that a possible tax or "get-off" is left to the sweet will of an individual who is employed by a Government Department is really a very wrong thing for the Government of this country to do.

I would like now to say a word or two about the allotment question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his opening remarks, gave us, quite unintentionally I am sure, rather a false impression about allotments. He said, so far as I remember, that in his view there were more allotments held by public authorities than by private landlords, but the figures that we have since been able to obtain from the Ministry of Agriculture show that that is a complete delusion, and that, as a matter of fact, a great many more allotments are under private landlords than under public authorities. I quite agree that a great many of these allotments under private landlords may be in the vicinity of villages and not of great towns. Nevertheless, these allotments will have placed upon the area of land which they occupy a heavy duty in the shape of a land tax. Personally, I am certain that the result of this duty on allotments, unless they are exempted, if they are in the hands of private landlords is either going to be that there will be none, or that the rent of the allotments to the allotment holders will rise.

I would like to give an instance of an estate with which I am connected in this matter of allotments—these allotments happen to be outside Brighton—because it is rather an extraordinary story. These allotments, some few years ago, were in the hands of a private landlord, and the allotments were let in the ordinary way.


At what rental?


I think £l an acre. [An HON. MEMBER: "A very low rent."] Exactly, but a very large number of allotments are let at a very low 4.0 p.m. rent. This happens to be a case with which I am acquainted. As I said, these allotments were in the hands of a private landlord. The corporation came along and said, "We desire the land on which those allotments stand in order that we may have a housing scheme." The landlord replied," I am quite prepared for you to have the land in another place not very far off, but I do not want to turn out my allotment holders. They have been there a long time, and I do not want to disturb them." However, that argument did not appeal to the corporation, and they said that unless there was a voluntary sale, they would put into operation the Compulsory Purchase Act, whereupon the landlord said, "All right; if you must have this land, you must." Thereupon the area on which these allotments stood was taken over by the corporation, but, for some reason or other, the housing scheme for the moment fell through. What did the corporation do? They continued the allotments to those holders, but they raised their rent to five times the amount.

As a rule, allotment holders prefer to hold land from a private individual than from a public corporation, for the simple reason that they usually get the allotments at a very much lower rent when held from a private landlord than from a public corporation. As a matter of fact, I rather believe that by Act of Parliament a corporation which holds allotments is bound to charge a rather higher rent than a private landlord because it is supposed to make the allotments pay, but a great many private landlords let allotments round villages and towns because they desire the allotment movement to prosper, and all of us, on every side of the House, desire to see that movement prosper. But I am certain that by passing this Measure the price will be raised to the allotment holders, or you are going to see allotment holders kicked out of their present holdings and made to go a great real further out, where it will be for more inconvenient to carry on their allotments.


unwittingly, the Noble Lord has omitted a material figure. I understand that in the case he has mentioned the local authority acquired the allotments, but he has not mentioned the figure at which they acquired them.


I will mention the figure, though, as a matter of fact, it is not strictly relevant to this Debate. It is somewhat astonishing, and shows how the Compulsory Purchase Acts work. When this individual landlord was approached by the corporation about the land, he said, "You can have it at £400 an acre," but the corporation said," No, we do not think that price is a fair one, and we will go to arbitration." They went to arbitration, and the arbitrator gave the landlord £590 an acre. I am, therefore, very glad that the hon. and learned Member interjected his remark, because it has made my case rather stronger.


Does the Noble Lord still represent that this land was let at its true value?


I never said anything of the sort, I said that the land was used for allotments, and would have continued to be so used, and I should have thought that anyone in this House would have preferred that those allotment holders should continue to hold their allotments there at a normal, reasonable rent. Of course, if the hon. and learned Member desires to see allotment holders driven out of their holdings, and their rent raised, he will, of course, support the Government.


I am sure the Noble Lord does not desire to misrepresent me. I was dealing with the point which I understood he was putting, and I was suggesting that this land, which was dealt with as agricultural land, and let at a nominal rent to allotment holders, was, in fact, building land, and exactly the sort of land contemplated in this Bill.


I really think that I can leave the observation of the hon. and learned Member to the Committee. I "would like to conclude by saying that there must be, and in fact there are, all over this country, in every county, and particularly in Somerset, large numbers of owner-occupiers with small amounts of land which may be said by a Government valuer to have a value in excess of the cultivation value. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced his proposals, he gave the impression to many thousands of people that this tax would not be charged on their agricultural land, but it has become quite clear as these proceedings have gone on and as the Bill reads, that this land will be chargeable to this tax. It will be chargeable to the extent of 1d. in the £ on some capital value which some valuer, who may not know the district, may think it has, and I am sure the Government will find, if these proposals go forward, and as these millions of buff forms are sent to these unfortunate people, that they have backed the wrong horse.


I venture to intervene because the Noble Lord is such a fair controversialist, and the matter which he put before the Committee did not seem to bear on the question at issue. He was speaking to an Amendment which seeks to exclude from the operation of this tax land which, in his own submission, is not agricultural land. It is perfectly clear that these are matters which have been under public discussion, to my knowledge, for two or three generations, and they are quite familiar now. No one in this House desires to place any further impediment on the use of agricultural land, but it must be admitted that there are border-line cases where there is extreme difficulty in ascertaining whether or not the land in question has a value in excess of agricultural value, and all that this Bill does is to follow the ordinary, reasonable line which has been advocated in these matters, that where land has a value in excess of agricultural land, that excess value should be within the operation of this Bill. The Noble Lord cited a perfectly familiar case that can be met with in the vicinity of any growing town. The case of Brighton which he mentioned is one that must be familiar to everybody. Land was let to allotment holders at a nominal rent by an owner, who, I assume, with some knowledge of these matters, was an acute gentleman, with an eye to prospective developments. The land had not a sufficiently high value to warrant its sale. He could not obtain the price for the land for building purposes, and he was content to allow the land to be used for allotment purposes.


When the corporation wanted to buy this land for building, the owner did not want to sell it, because he wanted the allotment holders to remain.


I can well understand that the owner of the land, which was used for allotments, desired, for sentimental reasons, to retain the land for that purpose, but the Noble Lord does not seem to appreciate, though I think the Committee does, that in that admission he has given away the whole of his case. His case in supporting this Amendment was that the land in question, which he cited as an illustration, was not land which ought to be brought within the operation of this tax, on the ground that it was not agricultural land. The more this discussion proceeds the clearer it becomes that the land was not agricultural land but building land, and the short question is—it is a matter of controversy, and I merely rose on the spur of the moment—whether land admittedly having a building value could be brought within the operation of this tax. That is simply a question of fact. The Noble Lord, to my astonishment, queries the work of the valuer. Clearly, the ascertainment must be made by a valuer, and it is extremely unfortunate that the Noble Lord should cast this reflection upon the integrity or honesty of the valuer.


I never said anything of the sort.


I am certain I misunderstood the Noble Lord, but he certainly did let loose an innuendo which suggested that the valuer, whose duty it would be to ascertain the value of this land, might be influenced by other considerations than his duty. It will be the duty of the valuer to ascertain whether this particular parcel of land should be subject to the tax, to ascertain its value, and to find if it has a value in excess of agricultural land. The suggestion is that his duty under this Bill would be to find that value, and report it as the value on which the tax should be levied. If there were any question that the land was agricultural land, everybody here would desire that that land should be withdrawn from the operation of this Bill. That is the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But the question of fact has to be ascertained, and in the ascertainment we must trust the valuer. If the valuer's view is not accepted, the person against whom the valuation is made will have his normal right of appeal and he can be heard to show reasons why this value should not be accepted. I think that the Noble Lord has rather exaggerated the difficulties of the case, and we may leave it there.


My first duty will be to congratulate very sincerely the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight). I should not have believed, unless I had heard it from his own lips, that he had, of his own knowledge, experience of two or three generations. Therefore, I wish to congratulate him. I rise to support the Amendment, because it states early in the Bill quite clearly that agricultural land shall be exempt from this new form of taxation. Those of us who represent agricultural constituencies and the interests of agriculture, want to know at once whether we can have an assurance that agriculture will be exempt. I submit that it is better to accept the Amendment than the rather cumbersome method of Clause 19. The Government and every Member on that side of the Committee are fully aware of the position of British agriculture. The industry is a primary producer and has to sell at the world prices; it is the first to feel the drop in world prices, and the Government know that it cannot bear any increase whatever of taxation.

The Government propose that agriculture, as agriculture, is to be exempt from this taxation. Will this principle of the relief of agriculture from taxation be a fact under this Bill, however? That is our doubt. Farms many miles from villages and long distances from the high road may be exempt under Clause 19, but even in those cases it is possible at some future time that industrial development may take place in those distant areas, and the agricultural land around that development may have an increased potential site value. Therefore, they may not eventually be free from the land tax. A large proportion of agricultural land is not situated long distances from the high roads and villages, however. A great deal is situated adjacent to them, and practically all that land will come under this Bill and will have to submit to taxation.

What is the type of agriculturist who will suffer? The man who will suffer is the smallholder. For many years I was a member of the smallholdings committee of a county council, and had a great deal to do with the settlement of ex-service men on the land. In considering what land would be suitable for the ex-service man and smallholder, we had to consider two factors. One was that the land should be in proximity to a village so that the men would not have far to go; and the second was that it should be close to the highroad so that the men should not have the inconvenience of bringing their produce long distances. These men will all be subject to this tax because they occupy land close to villages and highroads in many cases, in my experience, these smallholders become owners of their land and build their own houses and the buildings on their smallholdings. What is their position to-day? In some cases to my knowledge land on one side of them has been sold for £150 an acre for building. The cultivation value of the smallholding land next to the land which was sold for £150 will not be worth more than £50 an acre. The valuer will be obliged to assess it at £150, and the smallholders will have to submit under this Bill to a tax of a penny in the £ on £100, or 8s. 4d. per acre.

When land is valued for the purpose of this Bill, will that increase the value for Schedule A purposes? Will the Inland Revenue authorities take into consideration for Schedule A purposes the value which is fixed under this Bill? The Government may say that the smallholder does not pay Income Tax at all, and that therefore the Schedule A valuation will not affect him. Have the Government considered this point, however, and I may be a little out of order in asking it: Have they considered the effect of the increase on the Schedule A valuation in connection with the Land Drainage Act which we passed last summer? Under that Act——


I am obliged to the hon. Member for warning me that he might be out of order. He must be careful.


My only point is that the precept upon the smallholder under the Land Drainage Act is to be so much in the £ instead of so much per acre, and, if this Bill increases the Schedule A valuation, it will increase the amount he will have to pay for land drainage. Have the Government considered that point? The Solicitor-General Said last night that we are dealing with two values, one of them a cultivation value, and the second a value because the land is ripe for development. He stated: One is assuming that the genuinely agricultural land which was spoken of by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that is land which only has an agricultural value and nothing more, will be excluded under the Bill as it stands. Therefore, this land which it is now proposed to exclude, in addition to the land with only an agricultural value, must be the land on the outskirts of towns which is still used for agricultural purposes but which is ripe for development. If it is not ripe for development there is no point in the Amendment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th June, 1931; col. 954, Vol. 253.] I suggest that the Solicitor-General is not correct in his view that land has two values. There is another value in between the cultivation value and the value it has because it is ripe for development; it has a potential value because it might be ripe for development in five, 10 or 20 years' time. Certain land in a certain area may have a cultivation value of £20 per acre, and building land in the vicinity may have a value of £200, but there is a great deal of land in between which may have another value, say, of £100, because it will be possible to develop it in five, 10 or 20 years. Under this Bill, this land will have to pay on that potential value of £100. If you deduct the £20 for cultivation value, the agriculturist occupying the land will have to pay 6s. 8d. per acre for the whole period until the land is ripe for development. Therefore, I submit that under this Bill it is possible and probable that agricultural land will be taxed. In the interests of agriculture, I make an appeal, even at this late stage, to the Chancellor and to the Government to accept this Amendment, which makes the position clear, I ask all hon. Members who are concerned in the industry to join with us in the Division Lobby and to vote, in the interests of British agriculture, that it shall not be subject to a tax of this character.


I should like to pick up one point which was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Sir E. Shepperson). He mentioned the possibility of there being factories right out in the middle of the country. In the division which I have the honour to represent, which is one of the largest in the country—60 miles by 40—we have instances of that kind in the beautiful dales. One can motor up the dales and suddenly come across chimneys and a factory, with a little village around. All round that factory are farms, many of them fell farms. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knows the district as well as I do, and I can imagine his saying, when motoring up these dales, possibly with the mind of a valuer, "What a beautiful building site!" and feeling how he would like to be there in a little cottage instead of sitting in this House. That may well be the attitude of mind of some of the valuers who have to be trained for the purpose of making the valuations under this Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in introducing the Budget, admitted quite frankly that there were not enough valuers in this country to make the valuations, and that many of them would have to be trained. I am certain that men trained for the special purpose of making valuations under this Bill will not make them on the same rules as the ordinary valuer who has been brought up to the work and done it since he was articled in a surveyor's office.

That is one of the difficulties which a person who is to be taxed will have to contend against. Unless an Amendment which I have on the Paper to put the cost of bad valuations on to the Government is accepted, then if an incompetent surveyor, or, shall we say, a too enthusiastic and optimistic surveyor of the Department, puts too high a value on the land the poor farmer who contests that valuation will have to meet the expense of doing so whether he is liable to pay the tax or not. Along the miles of road running through my division there are many sites which admittedly are marvellous building sites, but there is no demand for them at present. The boards erected advertising "This eligible freehold site for sale, ripe for immediate development," have been up so long that the announcements have become almost illegible. In the mind of the owner the land is ripe for immediate development, but he has found by experience that he cannot get anyone to buy it. [Interruption.] "At his price," says the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Those unfortunate farmers would take almost any price. In many cases they bought their land at an excessive figure, and if they could sell off some of their building frontage to help them to pay their way they would be only too willing to take a reasonable price, any price which would give them some return and help them to reduce their overhead charges.

Here is another point which I should like to put to the Solicitor-General, to see whether it could be regarded as rendering any of the land along those main roads building land or land with something other than a cultivation value. Most of the traffic along those main roads is motor traffic, and at some point or other in the 60 miles most of the cars need petrol, so there are a good many petrol stations. All the land has to be valued as though all the surrounding area was vacant. The surveyor may say, "This is a good site for a petrol pump," although all the sites for petrol pumps in places where there is likely to be a public demand are already occupied and I should like to have some assurance from the Solicitor-General that when the valuer comes along between Skipton and Settle and says, "I think a petrol pump would do well there," it will be borne in mind that there is a petrol pump at Long Preston and another one at Hellifield, in between.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Stafford Cripps)

If the hon. Member will not mind my interrupting him, I can tell him now that both those petrol pumps will have to be taken into account—everything that is existing on the neighbouring units in the state in which it is at the date of valuation.


I know that to be the fact, but the point is that in the mind of the valuer there may not be sufficient pumps. Suppose he is going along on the day on which Morecambe holds its fete. Possibly he will find people having to wait at a pump. Possibly the valuer himself is waiting for petrol, and he says, "This is preposterous. Along here there are plenty of vacant sites which would be suitable for petrol pumps." If the Government are honest in their intention to exempt agricultural land it will not hurt them to accept the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend. They ought to take agricultural land out of the Bill altogether, and go so far as to say that it will not be valued, so that the farmer will not be bothered with these buff forms. As a farmer I myself am bothered almost morning, noon and night with forms which have to be filled up, forms dealing with the number of cows, the number of eggs which the chickens have produced and the like. If the farmers could be relieved of only one more form, and one which they will not be able to fill in without expert advice, agricultural Members sitting on these benches will be very grateful, and those among the constituents of hon. Members opposite who are farmers but who do not vote for them will also be grateful.

Colonel LANE FOX

As this Debate goes on the Committee must be more and more convinced that there is a great deal of genuine agricultural land which will have to pay land tax under the proposals of this Bill. All that we ask is that land which is genuinely being used for agricultural purposes should be exempt from that tax. All round our towns are tracts of land which represent a very valuable source of food supply for our great cities. The agriculture carried on there is not a form of agriculture which we want to discourage, rather it is one that we ought to encourage; yet this is the way the Government propose to encourage it! It is not very often that we have had the benefit of the advice and assistance of hon. Members opposite in this Debate, and perhaps after the speech delivered by the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) the Chancellor may not always be very grateful for the assistance when it comes. The hon. and learned Member did succeed in bringing out some valuable additions to the story which the Noble Lord the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Lord Erskine) told about allotments. The hon. and learned Member has been of great service and we ought to be most grateful to him. The immediate result of this taxation will undoubtedly be to cause land which is now used as allotments to be sold for Building purposes, or, if it is retained for allotments, the rent to the allotment holders will have to be increased. The hon. and learned Member assumed that we did not understand that this land had a higher value than its agricultural value. Of course we understood that. That was the whole point of the Noble Lord's story. It is that very fact which is the cause of the grievance we have.

The Government do not realise what an enormous quantity of land there is in the country which cannot be considered ripe for building but which is certainly ripening for building, and for a very long time many pieces of agricultural land may have to bear a tax which it is utterly beyond the capacity of that land to bear, simply because the actual moment for its development has not come along. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that it was his desire to tax dukes. The time may come when we shall find dukes living on allotments, owing to the taxation which the right hon. Gentleman will have imposed on them; but hon. Members opposite who think they are merely taxing great landlords and great estates are very much behind the times in their ideas. In the last 20 or 30 years large estates have been broken up and land has come more and more into the hands of smaller people, and there is a great deal of advantage in that in many respects. Round the West Biding towns which the Chancellor of the Exchequer knows so well there are many small men producing milk or vegetables or rearing poultry who are certainly nothing in the nature of dukes, and there is no reason why they should have to pay this special tax. A great deal of the genuine agricultural land held by such men will have to pay this tax. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer may realise even now the very serious harm which this may do.

I have always been a scrupulous politician and have been careful to say in my constituency only what I believed to be absolutely true, but, without departing at all from the truth, think of the story I shall be able to tell, in a constituency like mine, in describing the effect of this tax! I have only to explain the situation to the people and point out the risk they run of having to pay the tax when it is imposed two years hence—there is no need to extend myself to the limits which some greater political artists might achieve—in order to raise great unpopularity against the Government. Hon. Members opposite believe this tax will be a tremendous asset to them. I do not know what effect it may have in the town areas—is Gateshead an illustration?—but I know that in any agricultural constituency such a number of small people will have to pay this tax that it will certainly do nothing to help the chances of the Government at the next Election.


I should like to say a word or two in defence of the country squire. A good deal has been heard about the allotment holder and about the farmer, but nothing has been said about the small country squire and how this tax will hit him. I know that he is not a popular figure amongst hon. Members opposite, he is the man who gets all the kicks, but in the past he has done his job. I would ask the Solicitor-General, who is going to reply, whether he does not agree from his own family experience that the country squires have done their job properly. When land is valued any bit of land which has water laid on will naturally be put down as a possible building site, although it may not be built upon for years to come. Agricultural land round the little town where I live is worth probably about £70 an acre. Building land there is worth anything from £300 to £350. If we take £70 from that it will leave somewhere about £240, and the tax on that will be £1 per acre. Is that fair or just? I suppose the Solicitor-General will try to make out a good case for a tax of this kind.

There is one other point which has been mentioned, and that is the ease of accommodation land rented, say, by a butcher, which occurs in every little market town. It is true that such land fetches a high rate because it is building land, and the difference between its agricultural and building value will be very large. Either the land will have to be sold immediately, or the owner will ask a higher rent, and who will pay that increase? Why, the butcher will pay it. Therefore, the people pay it, to whom God gave the land. The Government ought not to impose this tax until the land is actually ready for building. To say that agricultural land is exempt from this tax is simply throwing dust into the eyes of the farming community, and I hope that every hon. Member representing an agricultural constituency will rub in that argument.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

Speaking last night the Solicitor-General said, that if this Amendment were carried, it would destroy the whole object of the tax. I always thought that the point of a tax was to raise money towards the revenue of the country, but that does not seem to be the object of the Land Value Tax. I think we are quite justified in coming to the conclusion that this tax is intended to be a very large step in the direction of nationalisation. I hope that the Liberal supporters of the Government—who at the moment are completely absent—will realise that in supporting this tax they are supporting the nationalisation of the land. It is true that agricultural land only pays upon the difference between the cultivation value and the value put upon it by the valuer. I take it that if that difference is under £120 the land will not have to pay the tax. Is that correct?


If that is the sole unit that a certain person owns it will not be subject to the tax, but of course if he owns a number of units it will be taxed.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

There is therefore some agricultural land which will not come under the tax, but, on the other hand, there is a very large amount of agricultural land which is bound to come under the tax, and it is impossible for us to say what will come under the tax and what will not, because the value put upon it by the valuers may be a fancy value. They may say that every yard of land along the main road has a potential value for building purposes, and has a value other than the cultivation value. They may say where land is far away from the road and commands a beautiful view that somebody would like to buy that land and build a house upon it, and therefore it has a potential value above the agricultural value. In such cases the owner would have to pay the tax.

I want to draw the attention of the Government to the case of smallholders near towns. A smallholder renting from a county agricultural committee is in a more fortunate position than a smallholder who has bought his land, because the latter would have to pay the tax, and I think that is very unfair. We all wish to encourage smallholders. Members of the party opposite talk about giving security of tenure, but the most secure tenure you can give is to allow a man to own his land. In the case I have mentioned the man has bought his own land. Therefore, he will have to pay this extra tax, which is not paid by his neighbour simply because in the case of his neighbour the land is owned by the county council. I do not think a man in that position ought to be handicapped in that way.

What is going to happen under the Town and Country Planning Bill? Under the Act of 1927 the local authorities can recover charges for betterment against the owners, and they can charge the owner with expenditure on improvements. In the case of agricultural land the charge does not have to be paid at once but the interest on it accumulates. The unfortunate owner occupier is charged with betterment and with the value of improvements which are made without his consent and in addition he has also to pay land tax on the increased value caused by those improvements. Surely no one will contend that that is fair. This particular Amendment would ensure that agricultural land would not have to pay a tax, and, if the Government are sincere in their statement that they wish to relieve agricultural land of this tax, they will accept the Amendment, and I hope the Committee will carry it.


If the Government do not desire to add any impediment to the use of land for agriculture, they ought to accept this Amendment. I do not know how many hon. Members on the Government side are taking an interest in this question, but I notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) was so busy with his notes that he had not time to applaud the speech of the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight). If the Government have any doubt as to the effect of their proposals in regard to agricultural land, they will have an opportunity of accepting this Amendment. If they do not want to tax agricultural land, qua agricultural land, they will be able to accept either this Amendment or alter their Bill in order that they may achieve the same result.

The harshness of the Government proposal will be felt especially by owner-occupiers around towns. I agree that there are districts all over the country where factories may be built, but the hardship will occur around towns like York, where the propinquity of the people of York has advanced the value of agricultural land. Many men in the boom period of 1918 bought their land and took up farming hoping that after the War they would be able to settle down on the land that was going to be given to the heroes to enable them to earn a modest income for the rest of their lives. They did not settle on the land thinking that one day they would be able to sell it to the building speculator. They settled on the land for their own domestic happiness, and for the advantage of the agricultural industry. The Government by this Clause are going to put upon them a tax in addition to the very heavy taxation that they are now bearing, and the very heavy losses that they have sustained owing to the depreciation of their investments and the lowering of agricultural prices. That is the gravamen of this Bill.

I listened with great attention to the very clear speech of the Solicitor-General to find out how he would deal with cases where the land has an enhanced value owing to its nearness to a town. The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) adduced examples yesterday very similar to the one I have given, and I will quote the reply which was given by the Solicitor-General to those instances. The Solicitor-General said: They must therefore have paid for land for agricultural purposes as least as high a price as the builder was prepared to pay for building purposes, otherwise they would never have succeeded in snatching the land from the builders. If that be so, there is no excess building value of the land over the value for agricultural purposes."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th June, 1931: col. 865, Vol. 253.] Does the Solicitor-General mean by that that the cultivation value, which is the value of the land for agricultural purposes, will be the same value that these men have been forced to pay owing to the competition with the building trade? So far as I read the Clause, I draw the contrary conclusion. The cultivation value, so far as I can understand it, is a notional assessment of what the land would be valued at if only the farmers were competing for that land. In other words, the ex-service man who bought his smallholding in 1018 would be assessed by the Government valuer at the price of his land if the land could only be purchased by fanners and not by builders. The difference in price is enormous, and never was so enormous as it is at the present day. The cultivation value, owing to the policy of the Government towards agriculture, must be extraordinarily low. Perhaps the most anomalous position under this Bill is that when farming is doing badly and when farmers are finding it very hard to pay wages, and keep on with their farming, then the land tax will be heavier than when farming is doing well, because cultivation value diminishes while their land value is increasing as the town grows and as the demand of the builders come nearer to the agricultural land.

I think there is a certain amount of misunderstanding as to what land is going to be assessed to this tax. From what I could understand of 5.0 p.m. the speech of the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), he appeared to assume that only land that is ripe for building would be assessed. I have had green apples and I have had ripe apples, and I have also had apples that were rather like the curate's egg, in that they were not quite ripe and yet not too green to be fatal if you ate them. It is land of that type that will be most grievously hit under this Bill. It is very hard to say when land is ripe for development. My hon. Friend the Member for Skipton (Mr. Bird) told us about land that appeared to be too ripe. The valuer, however—a man who will have had no previous experience in this valuation—will have to decide what land is ripe for development in the sense that it has an enhanced value owing to the nearness of a town.

There are two points on which I would ask for a reply from either the Solicitor-General or the Attorney-General. The first is as to the position of agricultural land which is not held by an owner-occupier. As the Solicitor-General knows, you cannot sell land that you have let to a tenant. You have first to give him 12 months' notice. Therefore, the assessment of such land according to the amount of fee simple with vacant possession, as provided in the Bill, is a purely notional assessment. A landlord cannot sell such land without giving his tenant 12 months' notice to quit, under Section 25 of the Agricultural Holdings Act, and if he gives his tenant 12 months' notice to quit and then tries to sell the land, that notice to quit is null and void under the next Section. What is the position, then, of this agricultural land? The argument put forward from the other side is that the landlord is holding up this land which might be used for building purposes—I am putting the argument as high and as fairly as I can; but this land is not being held up if it is let on a year-to-year tenancy for agricultural purposes, because, under the Agricultural Holdings Act, the farmer must be given 12 months' notice, and, if he is given 12 months' notice, the owner cannot enter into a contract of sale, because that contract of sale will be null and void. The only way in which the landlord could get out of it would be to enter into possession of the land himself, and at the end of the time to put it up for sale. If this be so, such land should be differently assessed from land that is free and can be sold at any time that the owner wishes. I ask this question because I have considered the First Schedule, which deals with the question of restrictions on user, and I would submit to the Solicitor-General that those provisions as to restrictions on user will not apply to the case of land under the Agricultural Holdings Act.

My second point relates to tithe. There is no burden at the present moment, except land tax, that is so grievous to agriculture as tithe. In my constituency there are cases in which tithe goes up to, I believe, 5s. an acre. Under the Bill, this tithe is to be excluded from consideration in valuing the land, but you get a false value if you exclude the tithe. Anyone who wished to buy that land would take into consideration the value of the tithe at 5s. an acre, and, even although the land had a building value, the price offered for it would be lowered by the capitalised value of that 5s. an acre. The Government, however, under their Bill, say that the land value is to be taken into consideration with the tithe excluded, and, therefore, the value arrived at would be higher. To my mind, it is iniquitous that a tithe-payer who is heavily burdened with tithe should be even more greviously burdened by the provisions of this Measure than the man next door upon whose land there is no tithe.

There is one type of agricultural land, of which there are a few instances, which has not been mentioned, and which I think it would be appropriate to mention now. Round all the large towns in agricultural districts there are show grounds which are used, when shows are not being held, for agricultural purposes. One grazes sheep on them and keeps them right for the agricultural shows that take place at this time of the year. These show grounds, being near towns, will have a high building value, and, if a tax is put upon them, it will penalise the farmers who wish to show their products. I have always understood that the Ministry of Agriculture has been very clement towards show grounds, believing that they do a great deal of good for the industry by teaching the farmer how to grow better crops and products, and by stimulating competition among farmers to produce products of a good type.

These show grounds, at the present time, are in very difficult circumstances. In my constituency many shows cannot be held now because the farmers are so badly off that they cannot contribute towards them. The show grounds are also badly off because of late years shows have been making losses, and the funds of many of the agricultural societies are at a very low ebb. I would ask the Solicitor-General as this stage, even if he refuses this Amendment, to give us some help in the matter of show grounds. We do not want to build upon show grounds, and yet they cannot, in these country districts, be town-planned, as I believe the Solicitor-General said the Oxford colleges could put their college quadrangles into a town-planning scheme. These show grounds, although they have a high building value, are under no statutory restriction upon user.

Under this Bill very many questions will arise throughout the country on which farmers will be penalised heavily, and the simplest way out would be to accept this Amendment and give the farmers a rest from the very anxious task of computing the difference between land value and cultivation value. That computation will benefit nobody, and it will cost the salaries of a large number of officials for the purpose of these mathematical calculations. If land usually used for agricultural purposes is excluded, it will save a great deal of bother and will give at least some small measure of relief to the industry of agriculture.

Viscount WOLMER

I think the Committee is entitled to some further reply from the Government beyond the very charming and eloquent speech of the Solicitor-General last night, which, with all respect, I venture to say wholly failed to deal with the very strong case brought forward by my hon. Friends. This Debate has shown the difficulties into which the Government have got by adopting the plan of campaign which the Chancellor of the Exchequer confided to us on the 4th May, when he told us that he was going to base his estimate on a valuation which would he simple and direct and would avoid the complexities of the Bill of 1909. We are beginning to find that the Bill of 1909 had to be complex because we are dealing with a very complex subject. The matter is not anything like as simple as hon. Members opposite have been all too ready to assume from the beginning, and the rough and ready rules which they have tried to apply and have embodied in this Bill are found to have no relation to the facts of the problem with which the House will have to deal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his opening statement, at any rate, gave the impression to the country that it was not the intention of the Government to tax agricultural land under this Bill, and I myself heard the Minister of Agriculture make a speech in the country in which he also gave that impression. But, when we come to examine the Bill itself, we find that exactly the contrary is the ease.

The Solicitor-General had a very simple answer to our criticism. In effect, he tried to present us with a dilemma. In his mind, all land is either agricultural land or land ripe for building purposes. It is either black or it is white; either it pays the tax or it does not. If it is land with no building value, it is land which is not ripe for development, and it is to be excluded from the tax altogether. One would imagine that the Solicitor-General had never been for a walk in the country outside a town in his life. His speech was the speech of a man who appeared to be living in a different world, absolutely divorced from the facts of the case; but the formula with which he provided his followers was apparently good enough for the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), who made such an interesting intervention in the Debate a short time ago. But even the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham admitted that there might be borderline cases. The trouble is, however, that the borderline is about 40 miles wide round every big town in this country, and the result is that there are millions of acres of which at would be impassible to say that they had not some sort of building value.

The Committee must remember that this value is to be assessed by the Government valuer, against whom we make no charge of bias, but whose infallibility we must certainly question. It is impossible for him to say with certainty in what direction building development is going to take place during the next few years. He has to judge on a probability of chances, and in thousands of cases it will be impossible for him to say that such and such a piece of land has no potential building value. But, the moment that land is held to have a potential building value, it becomes liable to the tax under this Bill. The case given by my Noble Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Lord Erskine) was a very typical as well as a very striking one, and I venture to say that there will be thousands of such cases, where land which is being farmed, and which very probably has been farmed by father and son for generations, will be held to have a potential building value of £300 or £400 an acre, and the farmer will be taxed upon that.

I should like to ask the Solicitor-General what the cultivation value is going to be. In the Bill there is a definition of the cultivation value which leaves it to the valuer to say, as I read the Bill—no doubt I shall be corrected if I am wrong—what sort of agricultural rent he thinks the land would be likely to make, regarded purely from an agricultural point of view. We all know that there is a very great difference in agricultural rents. Land in Lincolnshire fetches a rent of £2, £3, or even more per acre. Land in Essex, because it is poorer land—less fertile soil—fetches a rent of 15s. or 10s. an acre. The result of that would be that, if a piece of land which has a potential building value happens to be in Lincolnshire, where it has a high cultivation value, it will pay less duty than poor land in Essex with a low cultivation value, so that the Lincolnshire farmer, who is the more prosperous of the two, wall be less taxed than the Essex farmer, who is going through a particularly difficult time.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

If I might interrupt my Noble Friend, I should like to say, as a Member from Lincolnshire, that most Lincolnshire farmers are certainly not prosperous.

Viscount WOLMER

I quite agree with my hon. Friend, but Lincolnshire has a different standard of prosperity from Essex and, if you want to see the direst straits of agricultural distress, you will probably find them in such counties as Essex and Suffolk. The case which the Government have to meet, and which up to now they have made no attempt to meet, is that there is a broad belt of strictly agricultural land round every one of our towns and great cities which has always been treated as agricultural land and has been farmed by generation after generation, often of the same families, who could in no way be said to be building speculators. They are as much farmers as any farmer in the country, and yet it will be impossible to say of any one of these farms that it has not a building value in excess of its cultivation value. That is not an isolated case. It is not a rare case. I believe it will be found to apply to the great bulk of agricultural land. If you draw a belt of 40 miles round every great city in Great Britain, there is very little land in these islands that is left outside, and the great bulk of the agricultural land will be liable to pay this tax.

It is not only the big farmers who will have to pay, but the smallholders and the allotment holders as well. One of the essential factors in the success of a smallholding settlement is that it should be near a good market, and 90 per cent. of them are within a comparatively short distance of some big town. They are going to be brought within the category of agricultural land which will be subject to this extra tax. I do not know if hon. Members opposite have any idea of the number of people who are going to be taxed in this fashion. We had a very interesting statement from the Minister of Agriculture on Monday on the subject. The total number of holdings between one acre and 50 acres in England and Wales is practically 255,000 and 26,000 are in the ownership of some public authority. Therefore, you have about 228,000 smallholdings the great majority of which will be brought under the special taxation imposed by the Bill. When the Government were trying to draft their valuation on a simple and direct basis without the complexity of the 1909 Bill, they entirely forgot to face this real problem which has emerged. When you come to allotments, you find the case is even stronger. It is clear from the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 4th May that he had no conception what the Bill was going to do to the allotments, that he was grossly ignorant of the facts and that the case of allotments really had not been considered by the Government at all. This is what he said: If these allotments belonged to the local authorities—and most of them do—they would not be taxed upon any excess value. The facts were given by the Minister of Agriculture on Monday: The number of allotments on land owned by local authorities on the 31st December, 1930, was 207,846, the area being 25,800 acres. The number on land owned by private persons was 739,087 on an area of 116,145 acres."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th June, 1931; col. 612. Vol. 253.]


A number of them are owned by the allotment holders themselves.

Viscount WOLMER

That will not stop them from being taxed. If the Government valuer can prove that the excess value of the total holding of any one person is more than £120, that land will be subject to tax. In the case of allotments particularly, a great many of them are at the very edge of towns. One thing we try to do in making an allotment scheme is to get them as close to the men's houses and work as we can. But that land is all land of a high building value, very likely £500 or £600 an acre. Therefore, you may have a very small allotment and yet go beyond this £120. The cultivation value that is going to be deducted from the land value is a minute sum in the present depressed state of agriculture. It is constantly dwindling and, therefore, you will not be taking at the most more than £50 or £60 an acre, even if that, from allotments close to the town when you are making the deduction. Therefore, the net result of these taxes must be that the great majority of the 739,000 allotment holders will have to pay them, and the great majority of the 254,000 smallholders will have to pay them. In addition to that, the ordinary farmers who are pursuing the industry of agriculture on their family farms in the greater part of England will be called upon to pay this tax.


It is not the allotment holders or the smallholders, but the owners.

Viscount WOLMER

However much the average owner may be anxious to further the smallholdings' movement or the allotment movement, or to give good terms to his farm tenants—and most landowners are—if the party opposite claps a special tax upon him, the inevitable result in the present economic circumstances will be that the tax will have to be passed on to the men who are cultivating the soil.


I had at my home an allotment of a fourteenth of an acre for which I paid £2, or at the rate of £28 an acre. Surely the owner could well afford to pay the proposed tax.

Viscount WOLMER

In that case the owner would have been entitled to ask the hon. Member to bear his share of that taxation. This tax is going to be put on the farming industry. After listening to the Debate, I am beginning to understand what hon. Members meant at the last election when they said farming was to be made to pay. Farming is going to be made to pay the tax in all these cases that I have mentioned. That is a perfectly cruel and unnecessary burden to inflict upon agriculture. The Government record in regard to agriculture has been throughout a most cynical disregard of pledges. They have not lifted a little finger to help the struggling farmers in a time of unparalleled depression. They have done nothing to assist them in their conflict against unfair foreign competition. The effect of the Bill is to put a new and special tax on what, I believe, will be found to be the great bulk of the farms of the country. It is all nonsense to say that this is not an agricultural question. It is going to be a burning agricultural question.

I am very much surprised that the Minister of Agriculture is not here. If he had been, we should have asked him why he had not fought harder for the farmers when the Bill was being drafted. The only reason the Solicitor-General gave why the Amendment should not be accepted was that, in his opinion, it would make the tax unworkable. If that is the considered opinion of one of the Law Officers of the Crown, it is a very strong condemnation of the tax altogether. If it is physically impossible for the most brilliant brains in the Government so to draft a Bill which is supposed to tax land values without dealing this very serious and damaging blow at agriculture, it shows' what an unpractical form of taxation it is, and that it violates all the canons of sound taxation in that it hits an industry which you do not intend to hit, and does damage where damage can least be borne.


May I first correct an impression which seems to have been in the mind of some right hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said when he introduced his Resolution with regard to the Land Value Tax? Nothing can be more clear or precise than the statement he then made as regards agricultural land. I really am in a difficulty in understanding how any hon. Member opposite who either heard it or read it can possibly have mistaken his intention. Let me read the passage again: I do not propose that the tax should apply to agricultural land as long as it has no higher value than its value for agricultural purposes. Why? an hon. Member opposite asks. Because it is not worth while, because it would probably cost more than the effort is worth. Of course if during the Committee stage of the Finance Bill hon. Members opposite who appear to be disappointed that agricultural land is not to be taxed, propose such an Amendment, I shall be very sympathetic to it. Where agricultural land has a higher value than its agricultural value, its cultivation value, it will be subject to the tax, but only on the excess of the value over its agricultural value. In short, purely agricultural value of agricultural land will be exempt from the new charge. That applies to allotments and market gardens, except in so far as they may have a ripening or a ripened building value."—[OFFICIAI. REPORT, 4th May, 1931; col. 52, Vol. 252.] I do not think it is quite fair to accuse the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of that very explicit statement, of having misled either hon. Members opposite or the country as regards his intentions in respect of agricultural land values.

I will deal with one or two of the more salient points without trying to go through the seven or eight pages of questions which have been put to me in the course of the afternoon. I think that one of the difficulties which arises in the minds of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite is that they take an assumption that there is going to be some special way of valuing agricultural land as if each piece of the agricultural land valued were the only piece available for building in the country. One or two hon. Members who have spoken have made that assumption in dealing with particular instances. The actual facts are, of course, that in going to any particular district the valuer will look round to see what units there are upon a site, and will then go to each unit, which will be the unit of occupation. In the vast majority of cases, in an agricultural district it will be the farm of 100, 500 or 1,000 acres or whatever it may be, and he will then put a value upon that unit as a unit. The number of cases in which such a unit will have any value other than its cultivation value will, I am advised, be very small once one gets outside the immediate purviews of the larger towns.


How far are the purviews?


The hon. and learned Member asks how far are the purviews. Which town? The purviews of London, no doubt, will probably reach out as far as Uxbridge, and perhaps even further. It is one of the instances where there is, as everybody knows, a large quantity of land all round London which has some ripening or ripened building value in regard to each unit. There is no question about it. There is another thing which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite also forget with regard to this matter. Agricultural land, when you include market gardens and allotments, has a very much higher value if it is near towns than it has if it is far away from towns. Anyone who has had any experience in London, for instance, of market gardens situated in the Essex district round where Dagenham is now built, will know what extraordinarily high prices are paid there for land for market garden purposes. Owing to its propinquity to large towns, and owing to the special dampness of the soil, there was a very high agricultural value, and one must set against any prospective or ripening building value that high agricultural value where you have allotments with propinquity of markets and extra means of transport, and so on, which add both to the agricultural value and to the building value.


Does that obtain all over the country?


Naturally, I am not suggesting that it obtains all over the country. Everyone will realise that the price of agricultural land varies very much according to what facilities are being served, but one must not assume that the facilities are there for the purpose of building land and not there for the purpose of agricultural land. They are on both sides of the equation.


How does that apply to land which my hon. Friend suggested, the really bad agricultural land? How does it apply in cases like that?


I am sorry that I cannot answer the question specifically because I do not know anything about the value of land in that particular part of the country.


It is not far from you.


I am afraid it is rather a long way off, because I come from between Gloucester and Oxford. It is rather a long way off, and although I have often passed through it, I have never had any cases of valuation there that I am aware of. There may be cases there where agricultural value is low and where there is a high prospective building value. I am not suggesting there will not be such cases. There will be such cases. I am suggesting that the statement of the Noble Lord, that it will apply to the majority of agricultural land in this country, is wholly fallacious and a gross exaggeration of the case. The object of the Amendment is to cut out land, not because of its value but because of its user. I do not think that the Noble Lord repeated quite accurately what I said yesterday. What I said was, not that a Bill should not be drawn to make this exclusion, but that a Bill so drawn would be valueless for the purposes of taxation of land values, because it would exclude everything except the built-up land. It would exclude all the ripening and ripened land that had not got buildings upon it. That, as I stated yesterday, was the one case which even hon. Members opposite had suggested at an earlier stage there might be some cause for taxing.

The question that next arises is with regard to town planning, and I will deal with that generally. The present position as regards town planning is, that when the present Bill goes through Parliament, it will be possible to town plan the whole of the country. There is no question of not being able to town plan rural districts or small country towns which hon. Members suggested could not be town planned. There is, moreover, provision in the Town and Country Planning Bill which makes it possible for any owner of land to enter into an undertaking with a local authority as regards the use of his land. When an undertaking is so given, it becomes binding on the land, and therefore will be an encumbrance which will be within the purview of Schedule I of the present Bill. That provides means for anyone who desires to do so to go to the local authority and say, "I want to continue using this land as allotments, or as farm land or as anything else. I will give you an undertaking that it shall not be used for any other purpose." If the local authority are willing to accept that undertaking, then that fact will have to be taken into account in the valuation of the land. It will afford a perfectly efficient means for any owner who wishes it to put it out of his own power to make a large profit by selling it as building land, and at the same time avoid having to pay the tax.


Will that apply to land in respect of which there is a variation or revocation of a town planning scheme either by the local authority or by the Minister?


The present form of the Clause is that anybody who has passed a resolution to make a town planning scheme may accept such an undertaking. There is a proposal, I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, to extend that to any local authority which has power to make a resolution. It appears from the present form of the Bill that it might be necessary to wait until after the resolution has been made. The proposal now is to give any local authority which has power to make a resolution power to accept such an undertaking, and if that undertaking is once accepted whatever happens afterwards will be immaterial.


This matter is of some little importance in connection with the Town and Country Planning Bill. As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows, there are Clauses in the Bill which give very wide powers of revocation and variation of a town planning scheme. The hon. and learned Gentleman, I am sure, is not suggesting that the undertaking given as to the use of land in connection with a pending or an approved scheme will stand for all purposes as affecting that land even when a scheme has gone by the board already. I refer to the hon. and learned Gentleman's great knowledge of that Bill, and I suggest that that cannot be the position.


I think that I am right in saying that it will be the position provided, of course, the local authority does not release the undertaking. If the local authority desires to release an undertaking, there may be some circumstances in which it can be done. The hon. and learned Member will appreciate the reason for it. It was an attempt by the London County Council in a case not very long ago to enforce restrictive powers, and owing to the local authority having no power in the land, it was held that they could not enforce. The Clause has been put into the Town and Country Planning Bill so as to give, in such cases, the local authorities power, where an owner had given an undertaking, to enforce it against a subsequent purchaser. That power will enable anybody who desires that their land should be devoted to a particular purpose and should remain devoted to that purpose to give that undertaking, and that undertaking will then have to be taken into account by a valuer. I am not suggesting that if someone gives an undertaking, say for five years, if local authorities will accept it, that certain land will not be used for anything except allotments, that that would entirely destroy the value. It would mean that the prospective building value would be deferred for five years according to the principles of valuation. But if the undertaking were given for a period of 20 years or more, that, strictly speaking, would wipe out any element of building value and would reduce the value of the land simply to allotment value, and then its cultivation value as allotments would be equal to the land valued under Clause 8 of the Bill.


Will that refer to agricultural show grounds, race courses and golf courses?


I cannot say whether local authorities will accept undertakings with regard to race-courses. I should think that it is extremely unlikely. That would not be in order to advance town planning, but in order to avoid land tax. Where it is a case of local authorities making it desirable to have allotments or open spaces and things of that sort, I do not know whether they will accept undertakings, but one imagines that they would be only too pleased to accept undertakings from people who did not wish to develop their land. Certainly, I should think that with regard to agricultural show grounds, they would probably be prepared to accept such undertakings.

I will proceed to deal with one or two of the other points to which reference has been made. A suggestion was made with regard to the Yorkshire dales by the hon. Member for Skipton (Mr. Bird) that a good many of them would provide admirable building sites for bungalows, and that if the valuer came along he would say, "Here is a nice spot for a bungalow. I will put on it a building value." That, again, is a complete fallacy with regard to the principle upon which the valuer works. He goes into a Yorkshire dale and saye that in the past 10 years 10 bungalows have been built. He also says that the probable average of building is one bungalow a year. He looks at the 1,000 acres or so which he is valuing, and asks, "Does it add anything to the value of the 1,000 acres if there is the prospect of one bungarlow a year being built?" The answer is "No." Therefore, it really is not making any proper test in consequence of this provision by taking isolated instances which never can occur, and which really are contrary to all the practice of valuation.

The hon. and gallant Member for Tiverton (Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte) raised the question of betterment under the Town and Country Planning Bill; With regard to betterment, he said that the betterment value will be taken away from the land and will then be taxed. I think the hon. and gallant Member will appreciate that the whole principle of betterment is that it adds to the value of the land, not that it is taken away but that the land gets extra value by reason of the betterment. That additional value, which I am sure the hon. and gallant Member had in mind, is charged against the owner of the land in the form of betterment. It really does not matter whether the man pays for his land to the local authority in betterment or to the private owner from whom he bought it. It is all part of the purchase price of the land as it eventuates, and there is no distinction between that betterment part of the purchase price and the ordinary part of the purchase price. They are both parts of the purchase price of the ultimate unit of land, and for that reason there is no distinction made.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

But he has to pay land tax on the improved value, from which he does not get any benefit.


Ex hypothesi the land is bettered. That is why it is called betterment. He buys the land and he is taxed on the bettered value of the land. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the land is worth £100 an acre. A road is made through the land, and it is decided by the arbitrator that the land has been improved, in consequence, by £20 an acre. The value of the land before the betterment is arrived at is £100 an acre. The sum of £100 was paid to the original seller of the land and £20 is paid to the local authority in betterment. They are both parts of the purchase price of a land unit which is then worth £120. There is no distinction whatsoever in regard to the portion which is paid to the local authority for increasing the value of the land or the portion which was paid to the original vendor of the land when it was bought.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

He gets no advantage from the betterment which has been caused by the local authority, but he has to pay land tax on the increased value.


I am afraid that we are at cross-purposes. The advantage he gets is that next day he sells the land for £120 an acre. [HON. MEMBERS: "What if he cannot? "] If he cannot, then the valuation has been made badly upon which he has paid the betterment.


It is a fact that he has to pay £20 straight back to the local authority, and he gets only £100 himself while he is taxed on £120.


Let me make myself more specific and clear. It may be my fault in explaining the matter badly to the Committee. Let me say that "A" purchases property from "B" and pays him £100. The local authority then come along and make a road through "A's" land. There is an issue as to whether there is any betterment, and the arbitrator decides that when the road has gone through, the land is worth £120. Therefore, the betterment is £20. If it is not agricultural land, the £20 is levied at once, but if it is agricultural land it becomes a charge upon the land which is not payable at once. In either case, immediately the road has gone through "A's" land he possesses land which is estimated to be worth £120 and for which he has paid £100 to the original seller, "B," and £20 to the local authority in betterment. Hon. Members opposite say: "If he can sell it." The whole assumption of the valuation at £120 is that it is for a sale.



Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE

The local authority takes £20.


Certainly they do, in just the same way as the contractor who put up a house on the land would take money for the cost of building the house. I am very sorry if I have not made myself clear to the hon. and gallant Member. Perhaps it is my fault in trying to explain the matter to him. Another case was put forward by the Noble Lord the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Lord Erskine) as regards land that had been let for allotments close, I think he said, to Brighton. That land was ultimately sold at the high price of £590 an acre. As regards that land, I am not quite clear what the Noble Lord suggested would have been the alternative to the letting of it for allotments. Let me assume that the Noble Lord's friend was disgruntled by the Land Tax, which I am sure he would not be, and as a result he said "I am not going to let this land any longer for allotments." What is the alternative? He has either to sell it for building or to leave it vacant. Clearly, if he is outside a lunatic asylum he will not leave it vacant. He will at least obtain the benefit of the cultivation value, and therefore he will let it for allotments.


The answer is that he will let it for building and kick his allotment holders out.


I am obliged to the Noble Lord. I thought that was the answer. The result of that is that that particular piece of land will come into the market as building land.


Yes, and the allotment holders will go out.


One cannot talk about the effect of a Land Tax on a particular piece of land or a particular class of land. The question is not that, but what is the effect on the country as a whole. The Noble Lord, or some other hon. Member opposite, admitted that one of the effects of the Land Tax would certainly be to reduce the price of land. The example which the Noble Lord has given illustrates that fact admirably. If that land is thrown on to the market—I assume that the Noble Lord's friend is not the only one in that position—obviously the market will have much more supply of land than there is demand, unless you are going to assume that, suddenly, all the builders in the country, as the result of the Land Tax—which the right hon. Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) told us was not the case—would clamour for land. If the result of the Land Tax is going to be to throw vast quantities of land into the market, then it will have the very desirable effect of cheapening land, which is very much needed, especially in the vicinity of towns.


Will the Solicitor-General explain exactly how that will be, when the same type of tax as this on undeveloped land stopped all building in 1909?


It was not the same type of tax. It was a tax which was payable upon the realisation of the sale price. People did not want to sell, because they thought that they would be liable to the tax if they did so. They had a very natural reluctance to sell and they withheld their land. I do not think that I should be justified in detaining the Committee any longer by going through other questions that have been asked me. I hope that I have made it sufficiently clear that there is a real and solid case for not excluding all land used for agricultural purposes and that, in the circumstances, we cannot accept the Amendment.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL

I am in the position of being interested in allotment land contiguous to London. I refer particularly to Dulwich. There, we have a considerable amount of land which is let for allotment purposes and has been in the occupation of the allotment holders for many years. According to the statement of the Solicitor-General, there is to be no consideration in any shape or form given——

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

In order that we may hear the hon. and gallant Member, may we ask hon. Members opposite to be a little quieter?


As a rule I am able to make myself heard. It is the first time that it has ever been suggested that I have not spoken sufficiently loud to enable hon. Members opposite to hear me. I am grateful to the hon. and gallant Member for the attention that he is desirous to pay to what I have to say. I am particularly interested in the question of allotments around London. The Estates Governors of Dulwich, who are among the largest private owners of land in the vicinity of London, own a large amount of land in the vicinity of Dulwich, and the whole of the income from the property is used for two purposes, A certain amount is used for a small number of eleemosynary pensions, and the balance is used for the education of students from various institutions in and about London. To-day, Dulwich College educates over 3,000 pupils. The money is obtained from the properties which have been built there. It would be inadvisable, and I should not be allowed, to go into the general question of the detrimental effect which the proposed tax will have upon an institution of that nature, but it is important to note that the tax is to be imposed on land which has a ripened or a ripening building value.

For many years the Estates Governors of Dulwich have been utilising land for the benefit of smallholdings and allotment holders. What is going to happen? I am not going to suggest that the income that is received is anything like the value of the land itself. If the proposed tax is placed upon that land, which has not been built upon because it has been held for the benefit of the allotment holders, I can well understand, having regard to the manner in which the money is utilised, that the Dulwich estates authorities will have to consider whether they are going to be taxed on that land, of a ripening or ripened value, and whether it will be necessary, in the ordinary course of events, for them to say to the allotment holders: "You have been allotment holders for 25 or 30 years but, owing to the action of the Government in imposing a heavy burden of taxation upon the land, we are compelled to ask you to clear off the land. It is going to be valued in such a way that we cannot allow it to continue as allotments." At the present time the land to which I am referring is let for £10, £12 or £14 an acre. Although it is used for the purpose of benefiting the health of the people living in and about that part of London, if the land is to be valued for the purposes of the land tax and regarded as ripened land, or as land ripening for building purposes, it may, perhaps, be valued at something in the neighbourhood of £500, £600 or £700 an acre. The result will be that 6.0 p.m. the authorities will not be able to continue to allow this land to be used as allotments. You are going to cancel forthwith and immediately all the advantages which these allotment holders have had for many years past. Surely that is not the desire or intention of the Government. We have always been told that their policy is to help allotment holders. I have heard statement after statement from the Minister of Agriculture to the effect that they wanted to do all they possibly could to increase the number of smallholdings, but this tax will have the effect of getting rid of these small allotments. I trust that the Government will give very careful consideration to the points which have been put so conclusively and so pungently before the Committee this afternoon and will reconsider this matter, especially in its relation to such properties as I have indicated.

We are entitled to a plain statement from the Government as to whether it is their intention and their desire to do away with allotments so that the country may know that a Socialist Government, who have always advocated the setting up of small allotments, the moment they have the opportunity, bring forward legislation which will not allow owners of land to give the assistance they have given in the past in the provision of allotments. I did not notice during

the election at Gateshead that the Prime Minister in his letter to the new Member drew attention to the results which were likely to happen on the passing of this Measure. Why? The Prime Minister knows that the more the people consider the effect of the land tax the more inclined they are to oppose any such Measure. I am not one of those who flirts with any proposal to tax increment value in any shape or form; I am bitterly opposed to any form of land taxation. The Government have gone out of their way to place difficulties in the way of those who are desirous of remaining on the land, and in the way of owners of land who desire to do what they can for smallholdings and allotments. I hope they will be able to give some consideration to the Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 205; Noes, 276.

Division No. 290.] AYES. [6.6 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Colman, N. C. D. Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Albery, Irving James Colville, Major D. J. Haslam, Henry C.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l., W.) Cooper, A. Duff Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Courtauld, Major J. S. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfred W. Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J. (Kent, Dover) Cowan, D. M. Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)
Astor, Viscountess Cranborne, Viscount Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Atholl, Duchess of Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Atkinson, C. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Baillie-Hamilton. Hon. Charles W. Crookshank, Capt. H. C. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley) Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West) Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cunliffe- Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Hurd, Percy A.
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Dalkeith, Earl of Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.
Balniel, Lord Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Inksip, Sir Thomas
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Iveagh, Countess of
Beaumont, M. W. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)
Bellairs, Commander Cariyon Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Betterton, Sir Henry B. Duckworth, G. A. V. Kedward, R. M. (Kent. Ashford)
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Eden, Captain Anthony Knox, Sir Alfred
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Elliot, Major Walter E. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Bird, Ernest Roy England, Colonel A. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George (S. Molton)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston s-M.) Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)
Boyce, Leslie Ferguson, Sir John Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Bracken, B. Fielden, E. B. Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Fison, F. G. Clavering Llewellin, Major J. J.
Brass, Captain Sir William Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey
Briscoe, Richard George Galbraith, J. F. W. Lockwood, Captain J. H.
Broadbent, Colonel J. Ganzoni, Sir John Long, Major Hon. Eric
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Lymington, Viscount
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley) McConnell, Sir Joseph
Buchan, John Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)
Bullock, Captain Malcolm Glyn, Major R. G. C. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Butler, R. A. Gower, Sir Robert Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Grace, John Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Campbell, E. T. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Marjoribanks, Edward
Carver, Major W. H. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Meller, R. J.
Castle Stewart, Earl of Greene, W. P. Crawford Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Don. John Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.
Cazalet, Captain Victor A Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox, Univ.) Gunston, Captain D. W. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Muirhead, A. J.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Chapman, Sir S. Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld)
Christie, J. A. Hanbury, C. O'Connor, T. J.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry O'Neill, Sir H.
Colfox, Major William Philip Hartington, Marquess of Peake, Captain Osbert
Penny, Sir George Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Simms, Major-General J. Todd, Capt. A. J.
Perkins, W. R. D. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U., Belfst) Train, J.
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Skelton, A. N. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Pilditch, Sir Philip Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Turton, Robert Hugh
Power, Sir John Cecil Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Powhall, Sir Assheton Smith-Carington, Neville W. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Pybus, Percy John Smithers, Waldron Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Ramsbotham, H. Somerset, Thomas Wells, Sydney R.
Reid, David D. (County Down) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Remer, John R. Southby, Commander A. R. J. Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Spender-Clay, Colonel H. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Reynolds, Col. Sir James Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y) Stanley, Hon. O (Westmorland) Withers, Sir John James
Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Stewart, W. J. (Belfast South) Womersley, W. J.
Russell, Alexander West (Tynernouth) Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart Thompson, Luke
Savery, S. S. Thomson, Sir F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Captain Margesson and Sir Victor Warrender.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Edmunds, J. E. Knight, Holford
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M. Egan, W. H. Law, Albert (Bolton)
Alpass, J. H. Elmley, Viscount Law, A. (Rossendale)
Angell, Sir Norman Foot, Isaac Lawrence, Susan
Arnott, John Freeman, Peter Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)
Aske, Sir Robert Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)
Attlee, Clement Richard Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Leach, W.
Ayles, Walter George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Gibbins, Joseph Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Gill, T. H. Lees, J.
Barnes, Alfred John Gossling, A. G. Leonard, W.
Barr, James Gould, F. Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Batey, Joseph Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lloyd, C. Ellis
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Logan, David Gilbert
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Gray, Milner Longbottom, A. W.
Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Colne) Longden, F.
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Benson, G. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Lunn, William
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Birkett, W. Norman Groves, Thomas E. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Bondfletd, Rt. Hon. Margaret Grundy, Thomas W. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)
Bowen, J. W. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McElwee, A
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hall, J. H (Whitechapel) McEntee, V. L.
Broad, Francis Alfred Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.) McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)
Brockway, A. Fenner Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) McKinlay, A.
Bromfield, William Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland) MacLaren, Andrew
Bromley, J. Harbord, A. Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)
Brooke, W. Hardie, David (Rutherglen) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Brothers, M. Hardie, G. D. (Springburn) MacNeill-Weir, L.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield) Harris, Percy A. Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire) Hastings, Dr. Somerville Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Haycock, A. W. Manning, E. L.
Buchanan, G. Hayes, John Henry Mansfield, W.
Burgess, F. G. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) March, S.
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland) Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.) Marcus, M.
Caine, Hall-, Derwent Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow) Markham, S. F.
Cameron, A. G. Henderson, W. W. (Middx. Enfield) Marley, J.
Cape, Thomas Herriotts, J. Marshall, Fred
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.) Hicks, Ernest George Mathers, George
Charleton, H. C. Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworth) Matters, L. W.
Chater, Daniel Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Maxton, James
Church, Major A. G. Hoffman, P. C. Messer, Fred
Clarke, J. S. Hopkin, Daniel Middleton, G.
Cluse, W. S. Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield) Mills, J. E.
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hunter, Dr. Joseph Milner, Major J.
Compton, Joseph Isaacs, George Montague, Frederick
Cove, William G. Jenkins, Sir William Morley, Ralph
Cripps, Sir Stafford John, William (Rhondda, West) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Daggar, George Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.)
Dallas, George Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne) Mort, D. L.
Dalton, Hugh Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Muff, G.
Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. Muggeridge, H. T.
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd) Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston) Murnin, Hugh
Day, Harry Kelly, W. T. Nathan, Major H. L.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas Naylor, T. E.
Dukes, C. Kenworthy, Lt. Com. Hon. Joseph M. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Duncan, Charles Kinley, J. Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)
Ede, James Chuter Kirkwood, D. Oldfield, J. R.
Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Townend, A. E.
Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Palin, John Henry Sherwood, G. H. Turner, Sir Ben
Palmer, E. T. Shield, George William Vaughan, David
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Shiels, Dr. Drummond Viant, S. P.
Perry, S. F. Shillaker, J. F. Walkden, A. G.
Pethick- Lawrence, F. W. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Walker, J.
Phillips, Dr. Marlon Simmons, C. J. Wallace, H. W.
Picton-Turbervill, Edith Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington) Watkins, F. C.
Pole, Major D. G. Sinkinson, George Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Potts, John S. Sitch, Charles H. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Price, M. P. Smith, Frank (Nuneaton) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Quibell, D. J. K. Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley) Wellock, Wilfred
Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Welsh, James (Paisley)
Rathbone, Eleanor Smith, Tom (Pontefract) Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Raynes, W. R. Smith, W. R. (Norwich) West, F. R.
Richards, R. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Westwood, Joseph
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Snowden, Thomas (Accrington) White, H. G.
Riley, Ben (Dewsbury) Sorensen, R. Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Stamford, Thomas W. Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Ritson, J. Stephen, Campbell Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Strauss, G. R. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Romeril, H. G. Sullivan, J. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Rosbotham, D. S. T. Sutton, J. E. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Rowson, Guy Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Salter, Dr. Alfred Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.) Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West) Thurtle, Ernest Winterton, G. E. (Leicester, Loughb'gh)
Sanders, W. S. Tillett, Ben Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Sandham, E. Tinker, John Joseph Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Sawyer, G. F. Toole, Joseph
Sexton, Sir James Tout, W. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 276; Noes, 209.

Division No. 291.] AYES. [6.16 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Cluse, W. S. Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Adamson, W. M. (Start., Cannock) Cocks, Frederick Seymour Haycock, A. W.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Compton, Joseph Hayes, John Henry
Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M. Cove, William G. Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro') Cripps, Sir Stafford Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)
Alpass, J. H. Daggar, George Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)
Ammon, Charles George Dallas, George Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)
Angell, Sir Normen Dalton, Hugh Herriotts, J.
Arnott, John Davies, E. C. (Montgomery) Hicks, Ernest George
Aske, Sir Robert Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd) Hirst, G. H. (York W. R. Wentworthl
Attlee, Clement Richard Day, Harry Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Ayles, Walter Denman, Hon. R. D. Hoffman, P. C.
Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Dudgeon, Major C. R. Hopkin, Daniel
Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley) Dukes, C. Hudson, James H. (Huddertfield)
Barnes, Alfred John Duncan, Charles Hunter, Dr. Joseph
Barr, James Ede, James Chuter Isaacs, George
Batey, Joseph Edmunds, J. E. Jenkins, Sir William
Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham) Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood Edwards, E. (Morpeth) Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central) Egan, W. H. Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)
Bennett, William (Battersea, South) Elmley, Viscount Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Benson, G. Foot, Isaac Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Freeman, Peter Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)
Birkett, W. Norman Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Kelly, W. T.
Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.) Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Bowen, J. W. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Gibbins, Joseph Kinley, J.
Broad, Francis Alfred Gill, T. H. Kirkwood, D.
Brockway, A. Fenner Gossling, A. G. Knight, Holford
Bromfield, William Gould, F. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Bromley, J. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)
Brooke, W. Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Law, Albert (Bolton)
Brothers, M. Gray, Milner Law, A. (Rossendale)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts, Mansfield) Grenfell, D. H. (Glamorgan) Lawrence, Susan
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (South Ayrshire) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.) Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)
Brown, W. J. (Wolverhampton, West) Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Lawther W. (Barnard Castle)
Buchanan, G. Groves, Thomas E. Leach, W.
Burgess, F. G. Grundy, Thomas W. Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)
Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)
Caine, Hall-, Derwent Halt, J. H (Whitechapel) Lees, J.
Cameron, A. G. Halt, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.) Leonard, W
Cape, Thomas Hamilton, Mary Agnes (Blackburn) Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland) Lloyd, C. Ellis
Charleton, H. C. Harbord, A. Logan, David Gilbert
Chater, Daniel Hardie, David (Rutherglen) Longbottom, A. W.
Church, Major A. G. Hardie, G. D. (Springburn) Longden, F.
Clarke, J. S. Harris, Percy A. Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Lunn, William Perry, S. F. Stamford, Thomas W.
Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Stephen, Campbell
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Phillips, Dr. Marlon Strauss, G. R.
MacDonald, Malcolm (Basset law) Picton-Tubervill, Edith Sullivan, J.
McElwee, A. Pole, Major D. G. Sutton, J. E.
McEntee, V. L. Potts, John S. Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)
McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston) Price, M. P. Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)
McKinlay, A. Quibell, D. J. K. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
MacLaren, Andrew Ramsay, T. B. Wilson Thurtle, Ernest
Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.) Raynes, W. R. Tillett, Ben
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Richards, R. Tinker, John Joseph
MacNeill-Weir, L. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Toole, Joseph
Malone, C. L'Estranga (N'thampton) Riley, Ben (Dewebury) Tout, W. J.
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees) Townend, A. E.
Manning, E. L. Ritson, J. Trovelyan, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Mansfield, W. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Turner, Sir Ben
March, S. Romeril, H. G. Vaughan, David
Marcus, M. Rosbotham, D. S. T. Viant, S. P.
Markham, S. F. Rowson, Guy Walkden, A. G.
Marley, J. Salter, Dr. Alfred Walker, J.
Marshall, Fred Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen) Wallace, H. W.
Mathers, George Samuel, H. Walter (Swansea, West) Watkins, F. C.
Matters, L. W. Sanders. W. S. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Maxton, James Sandham, E. Watts Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Messer, Fred Sawyer, G. F. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Middleton, G. Scurr, John Wellock, Wilfred
Mills, J. E. Sexton, Sir James Welsh, James (Paisley)
Milner, Major J. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Welsh, James C. (Coatbridge)
Montague, Frederick Shepherd, Arthur Lewis West, F. R.
Morley, Ralph Sherwood, G. H. Westwood, Joseph
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Shield, George William White, H. G.
Morrison, Robert C. (Tottenham, N.) Shiels, Dr. Drummond Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)
Mort, D. L. Shillaker, J. F. Whiteley, William (Blaydon)
Muff, G. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Muggeridge, H. T. Simmons, C. J. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Murnin, Hugh Simon, E. D. (Manch'ter, Withington) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Nathan, Major H. L. Sinkinson, George Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Naylor, T. E. Sitch, Charles H. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Smith, Frank (Nuneaton) Wilson, J. (Oldham)
Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.) Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Oldfield, J. R. Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Winterton, G. E. (Leicester. Loughb'gh)
Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston) Smith, Tom (Pontefract) Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)
Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon) Smith, W. R. (Norwich) Young, R. S. (Islington, North)
Palin, John Henry Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Palmer, E. T. Snowden, Thomas (Accrington) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Sorensen, R. Mr. Paling and Mr. B. Smith.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Castle Stewart, Earl of Ferguson, Sir John
Albery, Irving James Cautley, Sir Henry S. Fermoy, Lord
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l. W.) Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Fielden, E. B.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.) Fison, F. G. Clavering
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfred W. Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.) Galbraith, J. F. W.
Astor, Viscountess Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Ganzoni, Sir John
Atholl, Duchess of Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton
Atkinson, C. Chapman, Sir S. Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey & Otley)
Baillie-Hamilton, Hon. Charles W. Christie, J. A. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley) Cobb, Sir Cyril Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cohen, Major J. Brunel Gower, Sir Robert
Balfour, Captain H. H. (I. of Thanet) Colfox, Major William Philip Grace, John
Balniel, Lord Colman, N. C. D. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Colville, Major D. J. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Beaumont, M. W. Cooper, A. Duff Greene, W. P. Crawford
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon Courtauld, Major J. S. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)
Betterton, Sir Henry B. Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Bevan, S. J. (Holborn) Cranborne, Viscount Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Crichton-Stuart, Lord C. Gunston, Captain D. W.
Bird, Ernest Roy Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Crookshank, Capt. H. C. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W. Culverwell, C. T, (Bristol, West) Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Boyce, Leslie Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Hanbury, C.
Bracken, B. Dalkeith, Earl of Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford) Hartington, Marquess of
Brass, Captain Sir William Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)
Briscoe, Richard George Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Haslam, Henry C.
Broadbent, Colonel J. Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Dixey, A. C. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Duckworth, G. A. V. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Buchan, John Eden, Captain Anthony Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)
Bullock, Captain Malcolm Edmondson, Major A. J. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Butler, R. A. Elliot, Major Walter E. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward England, Colonel A. Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.
Campbell, E. T. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.) Hudson. Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Carver, Major W. H. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Hurd, Percy A. Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hutchlion, Maj.-Gen. Sir R. Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld) Southby, Commander A. R. J.
Inskip, Sir Thomas O'Connor, T. J. Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Iveagh, Countess of O'Neill, Sir H. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Peake, Capt. Osbert Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Penny, Sir George Steel-Maitland. Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Kindersley, Major G. M. Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Stewart, W. J. (Belfast south)
Knox, Sir Alfred Perkins, W. R. D. Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.
Lamb, Sir J. O. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Lambert, Ht. Hon. George (S. Molton) Pilditch, Sir Philip Thompson, Luke
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Power, Sir John Cecil Thomson, Sir F.
Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak) Pownall, Sir Assheton Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ramsbotham, H. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Lewis, Oswald (Colchester) Reid, David D. (County Down) Todd. Capt. A. J.
Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Remer, John R. Train, J
Llewellin, Major J. J. Rentoul, Sir Gervais S. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey Reynolds, Col. Sir James Turton, Robert Hugh
Lockwood, Captain J. H. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'te'y) Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)
Long, Major Hon. Eric Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert
Lymington, Viscount Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell Waterhouse, Captain Charles
McConnell, Sir Joseph Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wells, Sydney R.
Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness) Salmon, Major I. Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham) Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Savery, S. S. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Marjoribanks, Edward Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Meller, R. J. Simms, Major-General J. Womereley, W. J.
Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S. Sinclair, Col. T. (Oueen's U., Belfast) Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Skelton, A. N. Wright, Brig.-Gen. W. D. (Tavlst'k)
Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton
Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Moore. Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Smith-Carington, Neville W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Muirhead, A. J. Smithers, Waldron Captain Margesson and Sir Victor Warrender.
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Somerset, Thomas