That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any expenses incurred by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or remuneration payable in connection with any valuation of land for the purposes of any tax on land value charged under any Act of the present Session relating to finance.
§ Resolution read a Second time.
§ Captain BOURNE
I beg to move, in line 1, after the word "payment," to insert the words:of a sum not exceeding four hundred thou-sand pounds in the financial year nineteen hundred and thirty-one-thirty-two.I have chosen this sum, because in his original speech on the Financial Resolution, the Chancellor of the Exchequer estimated that the total expenditure of the valuation in the current financial year would be somewhere between £300,000 and £400,000, and I thought it only right to give him the extreme limit of the Estimate. I must admit that I am extremely puzzled as to how the right hon. Gentleman arrived at this figure, and at the figure of the total amount of expenditure, somewhere between £1,000,000 and £1,500,000. If we look at the records of the previous Land Tax, we get some idea as to what the valuation cost in 1910–15. It took a great deal longer than the Chancellor has estimated on the present occasion, because under this Bill he proposes to impose his tax in 1934, and he stated in the course of his preliminary observations on the Financial Resolution that the total number of land units which would come into this scheme was somewhere between 10,000,000 and 12,000,000.
It is interesting to observe that in 1909–10 they spent a rather less sum than this. The first valuation started in August, 1910, and I see that this time the Chancellor proposes to start somewhere about September of this year. At the end of the financial year 1911, the number of valuations made was 298,000 odd, while the number of hereditaments valued was 396,000. I must admit that I am a little puzzled at the discrepancy. The total 1770 number of people employed was 1,428, at a cost of about £130,000 for salaries. This Resolution, of course, goes a good deal beyond that. The cost was £130,000, but it rose very rapidly the next year to £282,000, and for the two subsequent years it was over £400,000. Then it began to drop until the total was well over £2,000,000. The total number of hereditaments valued was 10,000,000, which was less than the Chancellor estimates, and the total number of valuations made was 7,000,000. I do not know whether it makes any difference to the estimate, but, after all, this is the only chance we shall probably get under the time-table of discussing the cost of the valuation.
I do not know on what basis the Chancellor of the Exchequer is making his estimate, because he has set out in Clause 8 a rather complicated arrangement on which the valuation is based. It is not a very easy form of valuation to make, and, therefore, presumably, it is necessary to look rather carefully at each hereditament and consider what would be the position if the building which now happens to be upon it is assumed to be torn up and removed bodily as by some genii. I do not think that even a very able expert valuer would be able to go down a whole street and say, "These are similar houses. I value No. 1 at such a figure, and make the site value the same for the others." I do not think that the valuation is going to be made easier after the statement which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made last night in regard to a Schedule A valuation. It is going, somehow, to be linked up with the site value valuation. It seems to me that the work will be somewhat delayed. Therefore, it would be very interesting to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, when he replies on behalf of the Government, exactly on what estimate the cost is based, what the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought he could do, and would have to do, if he is to get through the work by 1934. A very great deal of valuation will be needed in the current financial year, and far more than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) did in the previous valuation, if the whole work is to be completed in the time mentioned.
1771 Tins Estimate gives no information to the House. It is one of those undesirable Financial Resolutions to which we are getting so accustomed in this House, where a blank cheque is given to the Government. We have no control over the total expenditure. This is a particularly bad Resolution, and I want to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether, in point of fact, any very careful estimate has been made of the number of valuations that will be required and the number of trained valuers who are available, because Mr. Harper, in giving evidence in 1920 before the Commission on the Land Taxes, stated categorically that trained valuers are absolutely essential for the work. I want to know whether the right hon. Gentleman thinks he can spend even the sum up to the limit I am suggesting in this Amendment in the course of the present financial year. I think myself it is doubtful whether he can spend this sum. If not, the Government ought to make no objection to this Amendment-After all, it is their own estimate, and I do not know why Governments, and this Government especially, so persistently refuse to accept a limitation on a Financial Resolution which is, in point of fact, their own estimate of the expenditure.
I quite admit that to me, or to any Member of the Opposition who has not accurate details on which the estimate is based, it would be very difficult to put down a proper limitation to a Resolution of this kind, but we must presume that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was speaking in this House a month or so ago, was speaking after careful consideration of the number of people who were available and the number of valuations he hoped to make in the course of the current financial year, and, therefore, was giving an approximate figure, although I admit a somewhat elastic estimate, of what he could possibly spend between now and 31st March. I do not know whether he hopes to get the total valuations through at a rather lower cost than was the case in 1910–15 on the assumption that there are a certain number of land units which will not need to be valued either in cases where the tax will be obviously below the 10s. exemption, or else the cultivation value is equal to the site value, and does he not con- 1772 sider that is bound to reduce the expenditure very largely? I do not know whether that is in his mind, but I do feel that the House is entitled to a very full explanation as to the costs. I admit that we could not, on this occasion, ask him what it would yield, but it seems to me it will not be a very heavy amount, at any rate, in the early stages; but we are entitled to know what burden will be put upon the taxpayers, and also whether a Supplementary Estimate will be necessary in the event of this Bill being passed.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I have been consistently opposed to the proposals on which the Resolution is based, and therefore it is not inconsistent on my part to support the Amendment. The Debates that we have had on the Bill have made it abundantly clear beyond all question that the figure given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the expenditure which will be incurred in the valuations has been hopelessly under-estimated. The exemptions which the right hon. Gentleman has promised on Clause 19, instead of reducing the expenditure will tend to increase it. Normally, without those exemptions, it would be easy to value a great many of the units, but the question will now arise whether or not those units are to be exempt, and that will undoubtedly mean more work and more expenditure. We have another reason for thinking that the estimate of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is too low, and that is the experience we had in connection with the valuations which took place under the Act of 1910. In the four years during which those valuations were in progress a sum of approximately £5,000,000 was expended. The Chancellor of the Exchequer now estimates that the expenditure on the valuations will amount at the utmost to £1,500,000.
It is estimated that under the Bill there will have to be valued units numbering, approximately, 10,000,000. Does anyone seriously imagine that the average cost of valuing those units will be no more than half-a-crown? That estimate will be found to be much too low. I am of opinion that the average cost will be much more in the neighbourhood of £l per unit, which will mean 1773 an expenditure not of £1,500,000, but of £10,000,000, or more than six times the sum that the Chancellor of the Exchequer estimates. It is with a view of avoiding excessive expenditure during the early years of the valuation that the Amendment has been moved to restrict the expenditure during the first year to a sum not exceeding £400,000. To do otherwise than to put a limit on the expenditure would be to give a blank cheque to the Government. In these times of financial stress it is a mistake to give a blank cheque to any Government, especially a Labour Government. Therefore, with a view of restricting expenditure during the first year of the valuation, I second the Amendment.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. William Graham)
The hon. and gallant Members who have moved and seconded the Amendment have made reference to the cost of the valuation and to the estimates given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at an earlier stage in our proceedings. The House will remember that when the Committee stage was reached the Resolution was passed under the time-table, as I prefer to call it, and there was no discussion. Accordingly, there can be no complaint that rather fuller details should be supplied at the present time. The Amendment seeks to restrict the expenditure for the purposes of the valuation and other purposes to what hon. Members conceive to be necessary within the present financial year. On that, I think it will be in order to refer to the costs which will be involved, because what falls within the present financial year is really part of a wider and longer plan.
The hon. and gallant Member who moved the Amendment took exception to the general form of the Resolution, but there is nothing new in it as regards Financial Resolutions in this House. No doubt if we were very strict it would be better that Financial Resolutions should specify the precise sums which are to be expended, but very often that is not practical politics. In any case, there is this reply, for what it is worth, that hon. Members in all parts of the House have an apportunity in succeeding years, when the Estimates for this or that Department are presented, of raising questions on the sums proposed, and, if they so desire, of voting against the Estimates. That is the protection that is 1774 normally afforded. Let us observe what is really involved in this proposition. It has been estimated that the valuation will cost at least £1,000,000 and may cost as much as £1,500,000. Part of that outlay which will fall within the present financial year will be something between £300,000 and £400,000. On what form of service does that outlay rest? Clearly, the greater part of the expenditure will relate to the valuation itself.
No one suggests that an outlay of this kind should fall on other than public funds. It is estimated that the services of at least 2,000 additional people will be required for the task. Hon. Members have already been informed that the staff of the Inland Revenue Department is closely approximated to current needs, and certainly the staff of the Valuation Office, and it would be quite impossible and utterly out of the question to embark upon an effort of this kind with the existing machinery. As regards the additional staff of 2,000 people, it is estimated that approximately one-half will be professional and the other half will be clerical staff. Of the professional servants for this purpose many will require considerable technical and other skill. All that staff will be recruited on a temporary basis. I do not think it is possible to establish any kind of effective comparison between what is now proposed and the circumstances that followed the Act of 1909–10.
We have borne carefully in mind the classes of exemption under the Bill and I can only say that, in looking to the two years over which the valuation will take place and taking everything into account, as far as we can estimate at the present time, and it is by no means an easy matter, we believe that an additional staff so recruited of 2,000 people will be sufficient for the purpose. There are, of course, certain other duties which have to be undertaken. For example, under the Bill certain particulars have to be obtained regarding the instruments relating to the land under, I think, Clause 23. Then there is the question of the referees to whom people who are dissatisfied with their valuations may go. The referees will be appointed under Section 33 of the Finance Act, 1909–10. These are additional services. There is also the service of office accommodation, and there will be the provision of maps and many other things, over the whole 1775 field. That is the kind of expenditure we envisage.
The Amendment amounts to this, that hon. Members opposite would place a limit on the expenditure of £400,000. That might involve us in very great difficulties. If by any chance that sum were exceeded, the task of valuation might be held up while we came back to Parliament for an additional sum, and I submit that that is not really practical politics in this connection. Hon. Members will have adequate opportunity on the Estimates in succeeding years of discussing the precise amounts which are provided for this purpose. We have given the estimate in the best possible form at this stage, and I am afraid that for these reasons we must ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ Captain BOURNE
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my question? Will this necessitate a Supplementary Estimate in this financial year?
§ Lord ERSKINE
The remarks of the President of the Board of Trade have not in any way convinced me that the Amendment should not be accepted. The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by saying that every party at one time or another sins against the light in bringing forward this kind of Resolution. I have no doubt that precedents can be adduced with regard to various occasions showing that that is so. Nevertheless, two wrongs do not make a right. It is proper that the Opposition to-day should point out that we are once again giving to the Government a blank cheque and that there should be some limit on what the Government can spend on these particular services. The House of Commons originally was the guardian of the taxpayers against the Government of the Crown, but of late years it seems to have become an engine of taxation, driven hard and every year driven faster by the officers of the Crown who sit here as Ministers. For that reason, there is a great deal of force in the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford (Captain Bourne) that we should put a limit of £400,000 this year upon this particular service, all the more so because I understood the President of the Board of Trade to say that he did not believe that this particu- 1776 lar sum or more than this particular sum of £400,000 would be spent this year. When the right hon. Gentleman said that we should have a chance of discussing how this money has been spent on the Estimates each year he was really, in a way, misleading the House, because when we come to discuss the Estimates the money will have been spent, we shall be discussing the matter after a good deal of the money has been spent on the valuations.
There is one other question I desire to ask. There is an impression among valuers throughout the country—probably it is totally incorrect, and I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will put me right—that many of those who will be employed on this service will become established civil servants, with a right to pension. I do not think this is true, but it would be appropriate on this Financial Resolution if the Government would say whether we are going to create a new staff of permanent civil servants who are to qualify for pension in the ordinary way. If it is not so, then I have no doubt that the remarks of whoever replies for the Government will come to the ears of those who are thinking that they may be engaged and become established civil servants as a result of this valuation.
The House should remember, when we are finding this unnamed sum for this valuation, that it is not the only cost. It may be true that it is the only cost which will fall upon the taxpayer, but there will be a great many appeals and private owners of property will have to go to solicitors and enter into all sorts of legal expenses, it may be true to say that the Government are not going to spend more than from £1,500,000 to £2,000,000, but, if you take the expenditure to which private persons will be put into consideration, it is going to cost a great deal more than that. In 1909 many hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent by private owners of property in getting advice and in appealing against their valuation. Therefore, the country is not only spending this £1,500,000, but it is also spending the amount of money which private owners will have to spend on legal advice, which otherwise they might have put into industry or the purchase of goods, thereby finding work for men who are now un- 1777 employed. We cannot say that the only cost of this valuation is the cost to the Government. I hope the House will accept the Amendment. It is not one which really restricts the Government. The President of the Board of Trade has said that he does not think they will spend more than £400,000 in the present financial year, but, if they do, they can always come to the House—I presume it will be sitting in the autumn—and ask for more money. Bather than give a blank cheque to this very expensive Government, I hope the House will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
I desire to support the Amendment. We should pin down the Government to this figure of £400,000. I listened very carefully to every word which the President of the Board of Trade has said. He gave us many facts but no justification for refusing to accept the figure mentioned in a previous Debate. I am totally against giving a blank cheque to any Government, and we should not allow this Resolution to go through without putting some figure in. Let us do a simple sum in arithmetic and pin the Government down to the figure of the likely expenditure. I do not think that the amount which the right hon. Gentleman has in mind is likely to be the limit of the expenditure by any means. That is the reason why we are anxious to see that it shall not exceed the figure mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a previous occasion. The President of the Board of Trade has said that the valuation may cost £1,500,000 or £2,000,000, and that £400,000 will be enough for the present financial year. He has told us the number of valuers that will be required. They will not be ordinary second-class clerks, or first-class clerks, some of them will be highly-skilled expert men, who will have to be paid large fees; and on the top of that he told us that there will have to be referees and that the existing machinery is inadequate to deal with this valuation.
When the right hon. Gentleman comes down with a request for this blank cheque to-day we at once make, the inquiry as to how he is going to make the figure mentioned in the Financial Memorandum last for three years. The existing valuing machinery is inadequate for men will be 1778 required not only for every valuation but for every exemption. You cannot exempt until you have valued. It is not enough to say that a large body of taxpayers will be excluded if their liability is less than 10s. because you will have to value their property before you can exempt them. There are between 10,000,000 and 12,000,000 hereditaments to value, and that mere fact alone shows how necessary it is to nail down the Government to the figure proposed by the Amendment. There are, as I say, from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 hereditaments in this country and you cannot carry on all the correspondence, the examination of documents and provide the paper, postage stamps, clerical work, office accommodation, printing and travelling expenses for 3s. per hereditament.
The financial statement gives a total of £1,500,000 for three years. I do not wish to impugn the veracity of the President of the Board of Trade but I do not believe those figures for a moment. The total cost of this valuation in my opinion will be nearer £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 than £1,500,000. Therefore when the Government come down and ask for a blank cheque I think it is very necessary that we should fix a limit to the expenditure. There will be appeals, there are bound to be appeals. The large number of men who hold small properties will come to look upon this Bill with bitter hostility and will consider that a great injustice is being done to them. They will fight tooth and nail against any valuation which they consider unjust and a violation of the principles of freehold. Not only will the expense of these appeals fall upon those who make them but the Treasury will have to bear the costs in opposing the appeals and they will be in addition to the costs of the actual valuation. For these reasons, I think the cost of the valuation will be much nearer £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 to the Treasury, perhaps as much as the tax yields. I do not for a moment believe that it will be anything like £1,500,000 as stated in the Financial Memorandum. Finally I think we are bound to pin the Government down to the figure that they themselves put in and not allow them to go beyond it.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I have considerable sympathy with the effort of the Opposition to place a financial limit to the ex- 1779 penditure to be incurred under this Financial Resolution. I have watched with increasing regret the lifting of the check on expenditure by a limit in the Financial Resolution. In my opinion, it is withdrawing from the House some part of its financial control. I am tempted to vote for the second Amendment on the Order Paper which limits the total expenditure to £2,000,000. The present Amendment says that not more than £400,000 shall be spent in the present financial year. In regard to the expenditure of the present financial year this House will have full control, because a Supplementary Estimate, must be brought in by the Government, and they will have to state the amount they propose to spend by 31st March next. We shall have an opportunity of debating it. But it is rather a doubtful expedient to tell the Government that they must not go too fast in their work. I want the valuation to be made as quickly as possible and, therefore, if the Government can tell me that they can spend the money within the present financial year, I am willing to grant the money that they can spend, but I am not ready to grant them money which they cannot spend.
I shall not vote for the present Amendment, but, unless the Government can show good reasons against the second Amendment, I am inclined to vote in favour of placing some limit on the expenditure in coming years. I think we should get some estimate of the expenditure which the House and the country will have to face. That is not beyond the capacity of the Government; they should be able to bell us fairly accurately what the expenditure will be. Unless they do so, they will be driven to bring in a further Estimate authorising further expenditure. We ought to know how far we can go. I shall await the Supplementary Estimate before opposing the Government in regard to this matter, because I want them to get on with their valuation, but I shall support a proposal to place a limit on the amount to be spent on the valuation in coming years.
§ Mr. LOCKWOOD
I support the Amendment. The President of the Board of Trade and the Solicitor-General in their observations on this Bill have been very vague. In his statement to-day, 1780 the President of the Board of Trade spoke at some length, but he gave us nothing more than generalities; he gave us no details. With regard to the Solicitor-General, I have been waiting for an opportunity of referring to his statement that this valuation can be accomplished by the addition of 2,000 employés in the Valuation Department at an expense of from £1,000,000 to £1,500,000. The President of the Board of Trade says that, in considering this matter, we should not go to the valuations made under the Finance Act of 1909–10, but, if we are not to take into consideration the facts which appertain to that valuation, what are we to take into account? We must go to the experience of previous years. I had a large experience of the 1909–10 Act and of the work which was entailed by the valuations under it.
It is preposterous to say, either that it can be accomplished by an additional staff of 2,000, or that it can be accomplished within the time or within the expenditure stated. It has been suggested that the Department will be able to utilise the present staff. Those of us who have had business connections with the Department, know that at the moment it is occupied fully with valuations which arise on probate and so forth. All the valuations under this Bill will have to be separate and independent valuations made as at a particular time. I remember perfectly well that when the valuation was made under the 1909–10 Act, valuation officers were established throughout the country in every town of any size, offices were taken, telephones were installed, stationery had to be obtained, and it was generally doubted whether there would be sufficient valuers available in the country to do the work required. As a matter of fact, speaking from definite instances, the Government could not obtain trained and professional valuers to do the valuation, and ex-clerks in valuers' offices were appointed to posts for which they were not fit.
I feel very strongly that those responsible, like the President of the Board of Trade, and particularly the Solicitor-General, who seems to be taking a great interest in this Measure, should make a close study of the matter and come down to the House with some facts. They should give us the number of valuers employed in the old days, the number of 1781 offices they had to occupy, and give us all the facts as to the expenditure during any particular period in connection with that valuation. I would impress upon the House that the only thing we can take for our guidance is what accurred under that Act. Those of us who had practical experience of its working, know perfectly well that the number of men to be employed, the time to be taken and the expense to be incurred, are not only understated, but grossly understated. For that reason I support and impress on the House the necessity of supporting this Amendment.
§ Sir ARTHUR STEEL-MAITLAND
I wish to ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he can give us any information about the Supplementary Estimates?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence)
I understand the right hon. Gentleman to ask whether there will be a Supplementary Estimate. The answer is "Certainly." Assuming that this Financial Resolution is carried and the Bill is carried, as soon as there is a need for any substantial amount of money to be spent, there will have to be a Supplementary Estimate, and assuming that the Bill is in its final form, the Estimate will be precisely the same as now; about £400,000 will be put forward in the Supplementary Estimate. Should it be found, as the year proceeds, that that was a considerable underestimate and that more money was not available, of course a further Supplementary Estimate would have to be introduced. Therefore, really, the object of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite is fully safeguarded, because they will have an opportunity of voting the amount on the Supplementary Estimate, and if that proves deficient, they will have a further opportunity in a further Supplementary Estimate which would be introduced.
In reply to the right hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones), of course we are not discussing the later Amendment, but, assuming that some such Amendment were carried, the position would be that on the unlikely assumption that the £2,000,000 figure came to be introduced, we should in any case have to acquaint the House with it by the introduction of a Supplementary 1782 Estimate, and the only object of inserting such provision in this Financial Resolution would be that at that particular time there would have to be an alteration of the Financial Resolution and a Supplementary Estimate, but the Supplementary Estimate then would provide ample opportunity for the House to discuss the point. It would be quite impossible for the valuation to be stopped in the meantime by the provision of the Financial Resolution.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
We are not satisfied with what the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has said. We are glad to know that we shall have a Supplementary Estimate brought before, the House, and that it will enable further consideration to be given to the subject before the House rises for the Autumn Recess.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
No. I would not like to mislead the right hon. Gentleman. I did not say that; what I said was that substantially, after the passing of the Bill, there would be a great deal of preliminary work which would have to be done, and that the passage of the Bill and this Financial Resolution would be sufficient to justify the cost, but that before any substantial amount of money is spent a Supplementary Estimate would be required.
§ Sir A. STEEL-MAITLAND
We want to know what is meant by "substantial." The information that we have so far is that a Supplementary Estimate round about the figure of £400,000 will be brought in at some time, and before any substantial sum is spent. What sort of figure is a "substantial" figure? We would like to have some sort of limit. What is likely to happen? Here we are with the Bill coming into force on 1st August. No doubt the Government are going to press ahead as fast as they can with the valuation. I see that the Financial Secretary nods his head. We rise in August for some time, if nothing else happens in the meantime. All the work is to be pressed forward as fast as possible. I do not know the date on which it is expected that Parliament will reassemble, but if we are not to have a Supplementary Estimate before 1783 the Autumn Recess, we are going to have two or possibly three months of valuation work going ahead at full pressure after the engagement of the 2,000 officials. Clearly the work must be done as quickly as possible if the Government hope to impose the payment of the tax on the date already stated.
Therefore, I submit that this vague language about a Supplementary Estimate of an unspecified amount is altogether unsatisfactory. We are not told that it is to be limited to £400,000, which was the amount that the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave on a previous occasion as the outside limit; he said £300,000 to £400,000. In view of the vagueness which surrounds the matter, the House is not only amply justified in pressing for a limit to be placed in this Financial Resolution, but every supporter of the Government on the Liberal benches is justified in voting with us now. The only further thing that I would press upon the President of the Board of Trade is this: The right hon. Gentleman referred to the figure in this Amendment as being what those on this side of the House conceive to be necessary for the financial year. The figure of £400,000 is not in the least the figure that we conceive to be necessary for the financial year. It is not our estimate; it is not what we think is either necessary or desirable. We want none of it. The right hon. Gentleman appreciates that fact. But at any rate he fathered the estimate upon us as to what we thought would be necessary. What we put in was the outside limit of expenditure stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who gave the figure of £300,000 to £400,000. Therefore, when we inserted £400,000, we were inserting what we thought almost the limit of generosity, and even went beyond it, if we were to judge the figure by the principles of economy proposed from the Liberal benches.
I ask the House to consider the question on its merits and to press the President of the Board of Trade to meet what is quite clearly the wish of his Liberal friends, even if he has no particular regard for our wishes. Here we have a Financial Resolution in the usual rather vague terms. The President of the Board of Trade in commenting on it made this observation, of which I took a note: 1784In strictness it would be better that these Financial Resolutions should specify the precise sums to be expended.If ever there was an occasion on which strictness was desirable—I commend this view to the Liberals—it is on the present Financial Resolution. We have a tax about which we know more than we knew before and about which we have had many statements made to us. What we think will be very considerable expenditure, the Government think will be comparatively nominal expenditure. We ask them to stand by the information that they have put before the House and to be willing to limit the year's expenditure. If they exceed the amount, they can come back to the House with another Financial Resolution. That is the procedure that has been followed in principle in Acts of Parliament continually, for instance in regard to the borrowing powers for the Unemployment Insurance Fund. That is done because the House wants to keep control over expenditure. The House wants to keep control over this expenditure, and if there is any genuineness in the Liberal desire for economy, this is precisely the sort of control which they ought to maintain with the utmost rigour. On a point of this kind we should naturally expect to have their support, for it would be in accordance with the general principles of financial propriety which they express.
One reason for our putting down the Amendment is that we do not believe in the correctness of the amount named by the Government. We cannot believe that if this valuation is to be carried through with the speed that the Government propose, the work can be done for an amount as small as this. The Government have said that there is much information already in the Department with regard to valuation, and that they can go ahead with more speed—that a lot of that information has remained over from the previous valuation. If so, it means that they can go ahead and get their valuations out and serve them on the parties interested. They have to do so at once if they want to be able to impose the tax at the date indicated. Therefore the machinery will be set in motion very quickly and that means that the expenditure in any case will be much greater. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put forward this amount as 1785 the outside limit of what he expects to be spent in this year the Government ought to consent to the insertion of that amount in the Financial Resolution.
§ Sir DENNIS HERBERT
If a man promises to carry out a certain work for a certain sum of money, and, when asked to bind himself not to exceed that amount, refuses to do so, then, if one is an ordinary sensible business man, one will say to that man, "You shall not have the job at all unless you do bind yourself to this amount." If the Government are not prepared to accept the Amendment, surely the implication is that they anticipate exceeding the amount and that ought not to be done without some sufficient explanation from the Government. We were informed yesterday that the Government proposed to adopt a certain course, in regard to a very radical alteration of the whole system under this part of the Bill. I think I am right in saying that, if they do so, it will result in the valuation costing a great deal less, because there will, probably, be a number of properties which, in those circumstances, it will not be necessary to value at all. Surely that is another indication that, even with this Amendment we are allowing the Government a very considerable margin by accepting an estimate which was made before they had decided to accept the alteration to which I have just referred. I understand the point has already been raised as to the terms upon which these valuers are to be engaged. I should like to know whether they are to have any pension rights.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I have already explained to the House that all the 2,000 staff will be recruited on a temporary basis and that means, of course, without Civil Service superannuation.
§ Sir D. HERBERT
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I was anxious to have that point made quite clear. The only other remark I wish to make in that connection is that if the valuation is to be pressed on with in a tremendous hurry, the number of valuers, fit to do the work, who will have to be engaged, will be very considerable and the Government should remember that the remuneration of professional people of this kind is to some extent governed by supply and demand. If the Government mean to employ an 1786 enormous number of valuers at once they will find, if they are not careful, that the remuneration which they will be required to pay will be more than what one would describe as the normal market remuneration. In all the circumstances, I think we have a very strong case for putting some limit on the amount involved in this Resolution. As far as I can make out there is no answer to our request except that the Government tell us that there will be Supplementary Estimates and that we shall have another chance. But some of us have learned that if you miss one chance, the second chance is sometimes not forthcoming, and we do not propose to miss this chance, if we can help it, of confining the Government to the limit which they themselves have described as sufficient. I hope that the House will pass this Amendment limiting the powers of expenditure under this Resolution.
§ Sir WILLIAM DAVISON
I understand that the Government's excuse for the vagueness of this Financial Resolution is that it is in the usual form, but may I remind hon. Members opposite that the Budget which has necessitated this Resolution was not in the usual form, nor was the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in introducing the Budget at all a usual speech. He warned Members of the House of Commons that the Budget was a bare estimate, providing for certain expenditure referred to therein; that there would be no surplus of any kind on the Budget, and that any expenditure outside it would have to be provided by economies. The right hon. Gentleman indicated certain economies in connection with Unemployment Insurance. It would not be in order to discuss those economies now, further than to say that there is no indication at present on the part of the Government, that those economies will, to any substantial amount, be effected. Therefore as it is an exceptional Budget and as these are exceptional times of stringency all round, it is essential that this House should not pass a vague Resolution authorising this expenditure but should definitely circumscribe the extent of the expenditure. This is a reasonable Amendment. It merely asks that before losing control of this Resolution we should put a limit upon the amount involved. If the Government say that £400,000 is not suffi- 1787 cient, then let them say what limit they would regard as sufficient. The House of Commons should not part with this Resolution without limiting the expenditure. It would be gravely departing from its duty if it did so.
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
I am sure there is no one in this House who is more concerned about placing a limit on public expenditure than my right hon. Friend who presides with such distinction over the Board of Trade and who is in charge of this discussion. If it were possible on this occasion to place exact estimates before the House my right hon. Friend would, no doubt, do so. I ask hon. Members to consider the reasonableness of this suggestion. In some other places it is customary to say that a man is expected to contemplate the inevitable consequences of his actions. This House has discussed and in large part adopted, a series of proposals which require a valuation. We are now called upon to make financial provision for the purposes of that valuation. Hon. Gentlemen opposite who have resisted these proposals, naturally want to prevent any financial provision of the kind being made at all and, if such provision is made, they want it to be cut down to the lowest possible figure. I think I am not doing them any injustice in saying that their object is, so to limit the financial provision for this valuation, as to cripple and hamper the valuation to the greatest possible extent.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
It is quite true, as was said by the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Lockwood), that in this matter we have to be guided by the experience of the 1909–10 legislation, and we know that if the purposes of this Bill are to be effected, we must contemplate the engagement of a considerable staff. Hon. Members who do not want this valuation to be made, naturally resist any step which is being taken to promote it. Those of us who want to see the valuation effected, as the foundation of a new and long-required system of public finance, wish to assist the proposal of the Government in every possible way. 1788 Whether or not it is reasonable at this stage to expect exact estimates in this matter is a question which can be answered quite readily by hon. Members who remember what occurred from 1909–10 onwards. In those days if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) had been asked to give an exact estimate of the cost of the valuation he could not have done it. Probably if an estimate had been given it would have been falsified by the expansion of the work necessitated by that valuation.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
I am suggesting that such a request would be unreasonable. This Government cannot give an estimate of the cost of the valuation. All it can do is to ask the House to make certain financial provision—
§ Sir D. HERBERT
The hon. and learned Member says that we are being asked to allow the Government "certain financial provision." That is what we on this side wish to do, but he is arguing in favour of an uncertain and unlimited financial provision.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
Perhaps I was misled by the eloquence of my hon. Friend opposite. I ought not to have used the word "certain." What I intended to say was this. All that the Government can do, to carry out the purposes of this valuation, is to ask the House to make financial provision for it, and, then, if necessary, come to the House again for further provision. I appreciate that for the reasons given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones) it is desirable, if possible, to have exact estimates, but in this case we are entering upon a great new field of public valuation, and it is entirely unreasonable in the circumstances to ask for exact estimates.
The hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) has fallen into two errors in connection with the Amendment. In the first place, the Amendment does not ask for an exact estimate of the amount to be spent. What it does is to seek to limit the amount which may be spent or 1789 may be authorised to be spent up to the end of the financial year. In the second place, the hon. and learned Gentleman is equally mistaken in the motives which he attributes to the Opposition in putting down this Amendment. It is true that we oppose these proposals from beginning to end. We do not wish to see them carried out, but that is quite a different thing from the motive which prompts us in putting forward this Amendment.
I am astonished at what seems to me to be the unreasonableness of the President of the Board of Trade and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in opposing this obstinate resistance to a common-sense proposal. Consider what is the procedure proposed by right bon. Gentlemen opposite and the procedure which we propose. The right hon. Gentleman opposite says: "Let us start the work and go on with that work until we have spent a substantial sum of money, and then we shall come to the House and ask for a Supplementary Estimate, and if the House does not approve it has the right to vote against the Supplementary Estimate." That is a very illusory right under present conditions in the House of Commons. But that is not all. What is the right hon. Gentleman going to do, supposing the House does pass his Supplementary Estimate? He then goes on to spend a further substantial sum and comes with another Supplementary Estimate, and so he may go on indefinitely.
What is it that we propose? The right hon. Gentleman attempted to alarm the House by suggesting that the whole work of valuation would have to be held up if, by any unfortunate mischance, it were found that the expenditure was going to exceed the amount provided for in the Financial Resolution. That is a fantastic suggestion. Of course, the Government would know long before hand whether or not they were getting close to the end of their tether and would come down long before that and ask this House to pass another Financial Resolution. Indeed, I think that would be the proper thing for them to do, because it is the only way in which I think this House can keep any check upon the expenditure which hon. and right hon. Members opposite desire to incur.
I want now to make one or two other points and to indicate some reasons why it seems to me that the circumstances of 1790 the present time are peculiar and demand that a definite limit should be put on the amount that is authorised to be spent in this connection. In the first place, I do not at all like the suggestion which comes from various parts of the House that this valuation is to be hurried on, helter-skelter, at lightning speed. A valuation which is done in that way is sure to be badly done, and while we here object to a valuation at all, yet, if we are to have a valuation, we desire to see that it shall be properly and effectively done.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Lockwood) has already pointed out, on the last occasion when it was attempted to make a valuation of this kind, it was found that there were not available sufficient valuers with the necessary experience and skill to be able to carry it out, and the result was that the Government of the day had to go into the highways and by-ways and scrape up substitutes, who were not efficient and did not carry out the work as it should have been carried out. I am very anxious that we should not do that, and that the Government should not carry out this valuation with desperate haste, but that they should lay their plans with proper forethought, that they should see that their staff is sufficiently equipped, mentally and otherwise, for the work which they are putting on them, and that they should feel that it is necessary not to take people not in a position to carry out work of this highly technical character. That is my first point.
The second point is one to which my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) has already drawn attention, and that is that we are in the presence of an unbalanced Budget and of an unknown quantity. The right hon. Gentleman has budgeted for a surplus of £134,000. He himself estimated that he was going to spend £300,000 to £400,000 upon this valuation in the course of the present financial year. It is all very well to talk in this airy way about bringing in Supplementary Estimates, but the revenue of the country is not estimated to produce the money that is necessary. There is only one way in which it can be got, and that is by economies, and although we have heard a lot of talk about committees which are to bring about economies, we have not seen any of 1791 the economies yet. In those circumstances, I submit that it is specially necessary to be careful that this valuation is not carried out extravagantly, that the Government should be warned by the fact that they have a definite limit set to what is authorised, and that they must exercise every possible care not to spend more money than is necessary.
There is another consideration. After all, if one looks upon the whole transaction which we have been discussing, it is a valuation that is proposed to us for the purpose of imposing a tax which is to bring in revenue, and although up to the present the Chancellor of the Exchequer has persistently refused to give us any, I will not say exact estimate, but any rough estimate, of the amount of revenue that he expects to get for a valuation which is to cost up to between £1,000,000 and £1,500,000, I think we have a right to look at that again in the light of the discussion which took place at the close of our proceedings yesterday.
What has happened since this Bill was first introduced? There has been a new arrangement come to, under which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has undertaken to accept a new Clause moved from the benches below the Gangway here. I confess that I have not been able to make either sense or grammar of the Clause which is put down on the Paper, but I may assume that any little defects of that kind will in time be put right by this party which is a master in the art of trial and error, and by making two or three more shots probably they will get it into a form in which it will be at least intelligible. I think we can at any rate see this, that it has completely knocked the bottom out of the revenue-producing qualities of this proposal, and if it had not been for the limitations imposed by the muzzle which has been put upon us, we on this side should have asked that the proceedings on the Bill should be interrupted until we had had an opportunity of hearing from the Chancellor of the Exchequer some statement of the effect upon the revenue of the Amendment which he has agreed to accept. Once again I say that that means that we are in the presence of special circumstances at the present time which do involve the necessity of 1792 the greatest possible circumspection before we grant permission to the Government to go spending money right and left and before we give them a blank cheque.
I want to put this to the right hon. Gentleman: In our opinion it is essential that there should be a limit. In choosing the limit, my hon. and gallant Friend put down the sum which the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself had named as the outside maximum of what he expected to spend in the present year. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Oh, but accidents will happen in the best regulated families, and even that outside maximum may be increased." Then will he say himself what limit he will accept? Will he tell us? Will he take £500,000—£600,000? Surely there must be some limit even to what the right hon. Gentleman thinks he is going to spend between now and the end of March. Are we really to take it then that the Government are not prepared to put any limit upon what they are going to spend? In face of that refusal to put any limit whatsoever upon the amount of money which the right hon. Gentleman desires this House to authorise him to spend, I think the right hon. Gentleman below the Gangway must, according to his own principles, go with us into the Lobby in support of the Amendment.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
I am not sure whether the House need be really surprised at the right hon. Gentleman not making an answer to the question as to what limit he would accept, because naturally the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having comparative wisdom in these days, does not really mean that the right hon. Gentleman, or the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, or the Solicitor-General should be allowed to accept offers across the Floor of the House of Commons. It was a great relief to some Members of the Opposition that, although we could not get any answer out of the Government, and although we were sorry when we saw the Attorney-General leave the Chamber, we did get a highly interesting speech from the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), but I think it is a pity that the Prime Minister was not here to be able to hear it, because it might have been an opportunity for the future if that had taken place.
1793 The really vital speech which was made this afternoon was that of the right hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones), who, as usual, laid down what I regard as the right position in connection with finance, and that is that the House of Commons should have control. He laid down that definite principle, as he always does, with very great clarity indeed, but he said, to summarise his remarks, that however important the principle was, there was always a risk. Is the risk so very big? The risk that he fears on this occasion is, I gather, that the valuation might be held up for want of money. He does not want an extravagant valuation; neither do I. He does not want the Government held up simply because there is a lack of money, but surely if we look at the Financial Memorandum in connection with the Bill, we shall find that the sum laid down there is somewhere between £1,000,000 and £1,500,000, and if we look at the Amendment we shall find that the sum mentioned is £400,000. During the current financial year already several months have passed, and the Bill cannot come into operation just yet, so that it looks at present as if the Treasury would have plenty of money with which to carry on during this year. Surely, under these circumstances, we might stand by our principles, run a very small risk on behalf of them, and lay it down in this case that the limit of £400,000 should be accepted.
The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has laid it down that the staff is to be temporary. There will be a staff of 2,000 people, half of whom are to be professional valuers and half clerical helpers. It has been admitted that most of your so-called experts, or a certain number of them, will have to have some training as a preliminary. You keep them on for three years, and I presume that the valuation will take a few years. At the end of those three years—because we have been told very clearly that the valuers are only temporary—you will throw them all overboard, and some two years afterwards, or whenever the time comes, you will collect a new lot for the quinquennial valuation. Would it not be better to appoint a more or less permanent staff, who will gradually carry out your valuation, instead of getting your valuers, training them, and then throwing them on to the market?
1794 There is a further point, which has never been answered, in connection with this matter. Is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House if this valuation is intended primarily for the purpose merely of getting a valuation, or for the purpose of collecting taxes? You have your Customs authorities for the collection of taxes, and not for any specific purpose. Are these valuers simply to enable you to collect taxes, or are they for any further purpose? If they are merely for the purpose of collecting the tax, is it necessary for them to value the exemptions which will be made? Take, for instance, the exemptions which we are told are to be given, after the pressure on the Government from this party, to the great friendly societies. Are the Government going to value their land? If the exemptions are not to be valued, the Government do not need so much money for the valuations. As the exemptions grow, less money for valuation will be needed.
I can understand the Government wanting to value all land, because this is the nearest thing they have done to employ anybody since they came into power. The only argument that they could use for this expenditure is that it will give employment. They are, however, expending it in the worst possible way, for it will create disturbance and friction, and will place an additional burden on the taxpayers. My real object in rising is to offer some light criticism, of the Government, and to try without any great hope to extract some information on these two points. It is essential in these days to keep the strictest and tightest hand on the Government on every occasion in matters of finance. It is fashionable in some quarters to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is very hardhearted and cannot easily be squeezed. I have seen no Chancellor, and I have never heard of one, who can be squeezed more easily than the present Chancellor. Any party can always get him to add a little bit mono to the national expenditure. I want to see a definite limit, whatever the Government in power, put on expenditure, and I want to see Financial Resolutions always strictly limited by the House of Commons. That is the primary duty of the House.
Although this money is purely for valuers, the Government have at no time 1795 informed the House how they will get these valuers. Some of us can remember the appalling ramp which took place after the 1910 Budget, when we saw people dragged in to act as valuers who had no knowledge of the methods of valuation. They were a perfect scandal and a laughing stock wherever they went. The result was that we had a valuation which was almost worthless. The same thing is likely to happen in this case. The sum mentioned in the Amendment is far too high; £200,000 would have been quite adequate, for there will be only three-quarters of the year in which to spend the money. Moreover, we should have a proper estimate before we are asked to spend anything. When we had a valuation of this kind before, incompetent people, to a large extent, were appointed to make the valuations, and, if a thing has been done badly in the past, we can guarantee that this Government will do it a thousand times worse.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
I wish to make an important point, and I wish that more people, and indeed the whole country, were here to hear it. My right hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston (Mr. Chamberlain) said that the President of the Board of Trade and the Financial Secretary, who are on the Front Bench, are unreasonable in their attitude towards our demands. I am afraid that I must disagree with my right hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench are not unreasonable; they have no power, and if any great point of policy arises, apart from the ordinary machinery of the Bill, they have to send outside to their master to get orders. No one deplores more than I do the illness of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a man—we are all sorry for his illness—but it is not fair for a man who cannot attend to these Debates diligently day by day to be in charge of the finances of the country. It is not right, for instance, that when my right hon. Friend asked the President of the Board of Trade if he would accept £600,000 as a minimum, the right hon. Gentleman should apparently have to go out and ask. I ask the right hon. Gentleman now definitely whether he is in a position to say "yes" or "no" to the proposition of my right hon. Friend. When these great decisions 1796 are to be taken, it is quite wrong not to be able to have someone here who has completely authority to give an answer to a concrete question such as the question we have put to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
By the leave of the House, I intervene only to say that I regret that my hon. Friend has made that statement. I outlined the policy of the Government in this matter—I trust very clearly—immediately after the Amendment had been moved and seconded. It is not a matter of bargaining across the Floor of the House. I adhere to the policy that I outlined, and that is the policy of the Government.
§ Commander SOUTHBY
I must protest against the repeated refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to give any answer to the question of my right hon. Friend. Indeed, his refusal to accept the bid of the right hon. Gentleman must be foreign to his national characteristics. The instinct of his race being to accept a figure when they get the chance. The House should realise that we are to stand committed to an expenditure which has no limit. There has been only one speech from the other side of the House, and that came from the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), who gloried in the idea of going ahead and spending a sum with no limit—
§ Commander SOUTHBY
I understood him to defend "no limit," to use the slogan of a distinguished turf accountant, Mr. Douglas Stuart. That is what his speech meant from first to last. He accused us of wanting to prevent the spending of any sum of money, because we do not like the Land Tax. He said he was anxious that the Government should go forward with the valuation, and his was the only speech from the other side, from which no voice has been raised urging that there should be some limit put on the expenditure.
§ Commander SOUTHBY
I have listened to a great portion of the Debate. 1797 If the hon. Member has been listening the whole time, he should be the more qualified to rise and deliver a speech. I must protest against the refusal of the President of the Board of Trade to answer a question which has been put across the Floor of the House. He has been asked a specific question. Will he now state if there is to be any limit put to the expenditure, no matter how high?
§ If he will not say that, when we part with this Resolution, the House and the country will stand committed to an expenditure to which there is no limit whatever.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 147; Noes, 263.1799
|Division No. 315.]||AYES.||[5.42 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Albery, Irving James||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Peake, Capt. Osbert|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Penny, Sir George|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Atkinson, C.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Greaves-Lord, Sir walter||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Remer, John R.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Guinness, Rt. Hon. walter E.||Reynolds, Col. Sir James|
|Bowyer, Captain Sir George E. W.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C (Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Buchan, John||Haslam, Henry C.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col Arthur P.||Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)||Savery, S. S.|
|Butler, R. A.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Hurd, Percy A.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Inskip, Sir Thomas||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)||Thompson, Luke|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby. High Peak)||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Cowan, D. M.||Llewellin, Major J. J.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lockwood, Captain J. H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Long, Major Hon. Eric||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Cunliffe-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davies, Ma|. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Macquisten, F. A.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Marjoribanks, Edward||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Meller, R. J.||Windsor-dive, Lieut -Colonel George|
|Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Elliot, Major walter E.||Morris, Rhys Hopkins||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston- s.-M.)||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Muirhead, A. J.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||O'Neill, Sir H.||Captain Margesson and Captain Wallace.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Barnes, Alfred John||Brockway, A. Fenner|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Barr, James||Bromfield, William|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Batey, Joseph||Bromley, J.|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Beckett, John (Camberwell, Peckham)||Brooke, W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||Benn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Brothers, M.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Buchanan, G.|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Benson, G.||Burgess, F. G.|
|Arnott, John||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Caine, Hall-, Derwent|
|Ayles, walter||Bowen, J. W.||Cameron, A. G.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cape, Thomas|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Broad, Francis Alfred||Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)||Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Chater, Daniel||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Ritson, J.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Law, A. (Roesendale)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Romeril, H. G.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Lawrie, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Cove, William G.||Lawson, John James||Rowson, Guy|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)|
|Daggar, George||Leach, W.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Samuel, H. walter (Swansea, West)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lees, J.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Day, Harry||Leonard, W.||Sandham, E.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lloyd, C. Ellis||Sawyer, G. F.|
|Dukes, C.||Logan, David Gilbert||Scott, James|
|Duncan, Charles||Longbottom, A. W.||Sexton, Sir James|
|Ede, James Chuter||Longden, F.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lunn, William||Shield, George William|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shillaker, J. F.|
|Egan, W. H.||Mac Donald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Elmley, Viscount||McElwee, A.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||McEntee, V. L.||Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Foot, Isaac||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)||Sinkinson, George|
|Freeman, Peter||MacLaren, Andrew||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)|
|Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)||Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Smith, Tom (Pontefract)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Manning, E. L.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)|
|Gill, T. H.||Mansfield, W.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Gillett, George M.||March, S.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)|
|Glassey, A. E.||Marcus, M.||Sorensen, R.|
|Gossl[...]ng, A. G.||Markham, S. F.||Stamford, Thomas W.|
|Gould, F.||Marley, J.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Marshall, Fred||Strauss, G. R.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Mathers, George||Sullivan, J.|
|Gray, Milner||Matters, L. W.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maxton, James||Taylor, R. A. (Lincoln)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Messer, Fred||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Middleton, G.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mills, J. E.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Milner, Major J.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Montague, Frederick||Tillett, Ben|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Harbord, A.||Morley, Ralph||Toole, Joseph|
|Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Morrison, Ht Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Tout, W. J.|
|Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Mort, D. L.||Townend, A. E.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Muff, G.||Turner, Sir Ben|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Muggeridge, H. T.||Vaughan, David|
|Haycock, A. W.||Murnin, Hugh||V[...]ant, S. P.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Nathan, Major H. L.||Walker, J.|
|Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Naylor, T. E.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Noel Baker, P. J.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Herr[...]otts, J.||Noel Buxton. Baroness (Norfolk, N.)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Oldfield, J. R.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hoffman, p. C.||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)||We[...]sh, James (Paisley)|
|Hollins, A.||Oliver, p. M. (Man., Blackley)||West, F. R.|
|Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)||Westwood, Joseph|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Palin, John Henry.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Isaacs, George||Paling, Wilfrid||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Jenkins, Sir William||Palmer, E. T.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Perry, S. F.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Jones, Llewellyn-, F.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Phillips, Dr. Marion||Williams, T. (York, Valley)|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Picton-Turbervill, Edith||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Pole, Major D. G.||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Price, M. P.||Winterton, G. E.(Lecester, Loughb'gh)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Quibell, D. J. K.||Wise, E. F.|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Kinley, J.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Raynes, W. R.|
|Knight, Holford||Richards, R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Lang, Gordon||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Hayes.|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)|
§ Mr. OSWALD LEWIS
I beg to move, in line 4, at the end, to add the words:Provided that the total expenditure so incurred shall not exceed two million pounds.1800 I should have liked this matter discussed at an earlier stage, but though I put down an Amendment in identical terms for the Committee stage of the Financial Resolution, not merely was it 1801 not possible to discuss that Amendment but it was not then possible to discuss even the Financial Resolution itself, owing to the operation of the severe Guillotine under which we are proceeding; and I would remark that though the President of the Board of Trade seems to think the word "timetable" sounds pleasanter, it is equally objectionable in its operation. This being the earliest opportunity of moving this Amendment I was naturally heartened by finding that before I had even risen to move it I was assured of support from the right hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones). I value his support for two reasons; first, because of his long experience in this House, and, secondly, because he is more friendly to the Government's proposals. It cannot be said of him, as it might be said of me with some show of colour, that he is supporting this Amendment with a view to preventing or hampering the carrying out of the valuation. The fact that I have enlisted that distinguished support should convince the House that the Amendment is moved purely with the object of retaining a proper control over expenditure by this House, and that it does not raise the question of whether the valuation should or should not be made.
Those Members who were present when we were discussing Clause 7 of the Finance Bill in Committee may remember that the Solicitor-General told us that in making their estimates of the machinery required to carry out the valuation and the cost of the valuation they had not had regard to the experience of other countries. On the face of it that may seem curious, in view of the large amount of experience upon which they could draw, but the Solicitor-General told us quite definitely that the Government disregarded it, on the ground that it did not apply to their proposals and that they preferred to base their estimate, of the cost upon the expert evidence at their disposal. The Solicitor-General further said that the Government were of opinion that an extra staff numbering some 2,000 would be engaged, and that the calculations had been made on that basis. The Memorandum on the cover of the Finance Bill states:The amount required to provide additions to professional and clerical staff, office 1802 accommodation, equipment and supplies and remuneration payable to the panel of referees (the appeal body) is expected to be not less than £1,000,000 and may approach £1,500,000.The important words are that it is expected that the cost will not be less than £1,000,000 and may approach £1,500,000. I think I may say without fear of contradiction that there is a very considerable amount of public anxiety as to whether these estimates are reasonable, as to whether it is possible to make such a valuation for anything like that figure. If the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of this Resolution this afternoon will accept my Amendment, he will immediately allay that anxiety, because though the figure in my Amendment is considerably higher than the maximum suggested in the Financial Resolution it is very much lower than what many people think will be spent on the valuation. There will be considerable public relief if it is known that, whatever the Government spend, they cannot exceed the figure of £2,000,000. The hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) told us that whatever estimate was put forward was sure to be falsified. I shall be interested to learn from the President of the Board of Trade whether he accepts that as a reasonable prophecy on the estimate he laid before us. It seems rather an extraordinary statement to make, having regard to the opportunities the Government have for obtaining the very best advice on this question.
If the Government accept this Amendment anxiety about the unlimited cost of this valuation will be immediately allayed; but what will be the position if they refuse to accept it? Obviously they will confirm in their fears those members of the public who are already of opinion that the estimate is grossly inadequate; and I venture to say, further, that such a refusal will cast very grave doubts upon the good faith of the Government in this matter. If, after careful consideration, and taking the best expert advice, the Government come to the House and say, "We can assure you that we shall spend not more than about £1,000,000 or at the outside £1,500,000," and yet refuse this Amendment, the public will feel they are thinking, "We do not really know; we may spend £2,000,000, £3,000,000 or £4,000,000." That is a risk which the 1803 right hon. Gentleman ought not to run. He ought not to let the Government lie under the imputation that the figures in the Financial Memorandum are not serious estimates at all, but put there only to deceive, only to allay the public anxiety as to the cost of this experiment, and that the Government themselves do not believe them.
It is for that reason that I have taken even a higher figure than that contained in the Financial Memorandum, and I have added £500,000 to allow for any possible reasonable error. I take it that the President of the Board of Trade will not deny that with an estimate of cost placed at between £1,000,000 and £1,500,000, no reasonable variation in that cost should take it over £2,000,000. I am allowing a margin of 33⅓ per cent. on the maximum estimate. If the President of the Board of Trade refuses to accept this Amendment, he will be casting the reflection upon the Government that their estimate is not a serious one. The hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Smithers) made some observations as to the extent of the responsibilities of the President of the Board of Trade, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I do not share the anxiety of the hon. Member for Chislehurst on that point, and I assume that, as Minister in charge of the Financial Resolution, he is perfectly competent to accept or reject this Amendment. Accordingly, I ask him to accept it.
§ Mr. MARJORIBANKS
I beg to second the Amendment.
We ought to place some sort of limit on the amount of money to be spent during the time that the valuation is taking place. I think that the arguments put forward in favour of this Amendment are unanswerable. We are glad to have the support, on this occasion, of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones), who, I presume, is speaking for the Liberal party, who have put themselves in the unenviable position in which advance means disaster and retreat means disgrace. Although we are doubtful as to the position of the Liberal party with regard to the rest of the Finance Bill, I am glad that they are going to support this Amendment to limit the expenditure to £2,000,000.
1804 There is one particular aspect of this Finance Bill which I do not think has been noticed, and which makes it quite different from other Finance Bills. This is not a Finance Bill for one year, but is really the anticipation of Finance Bills for a number of years. Therefore, it is more essential and necessary, on this occasion, to set a limit to the financial expenditure. After all, we are not asking very much from the President of the Board of Trade, but we are asking him to have the courage, if not of his convictions, at any rate of his mathematical calculations. We are asking the right hon. Gentleman to have the courage to support his own estimate. It was said during the War that there was a particular aeronautical manoeuvre, which was disastrous to our airmen, which they were unable to achieve successfully, and a mathematical professor formed a purely mathematical idea that the thing was being done wrongly. After a little calculation he went up and performed it rightly. That professor really showed courage in regard to his mathematical calculation, and we are asking the President of the Board of Trade to do something of the same kind, and have the courage to put a limit on his estimate. I ask the President of the Board of Trade to consider whether he cannot accept this very reasonable proposal, because I think my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. O. Lewis) has been very generous in his Amendment by allowing the right hon. Gentleman £500,000 over the estimate which has been given to the House on behalf of the Government.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
The last Amendment we discussed related to a limit of the cost of the valuation for this financial year, but what is now proposed is a limit of £2,000,000 on the cost of the valuation, whatever period that valuation may cover. The arguments which have been used in favour of this Amendment seem to be based on some misconception as to the powers and opportunities that members have if they choose to exercise them in a proper way. After all, a proposal of this kind, or any expenditure relating to valuation, would, in an ordinary financial year, have to be submitted to the Treasury, where I can assure the House that it would be very carefully scrutinised. After that scrutiny 1805 is completed, it is included in the Estimates which are submitted in the Spring to hon. Members, and which are open for discussion within the 20 days of Supply. I think that is a real protection, and hon. Members will get, year by year, during the process of this valuation, as exact an estimate as is possible of the sum which will be required within that financial year for this purpose. In the course of the Debates in this House hon. Members are entitled to ask the Minister all sorts of questions, and they can move the rejection of the estimate if they consider that it is inconsistent. That seems to me to be a real protection for this purpose. I do not want to make other than a passing reference to the other two parts of our machinery which exist for the protection of hon. Members. There is the analysis of the Estimates Committee, and there is, of course, the review of the public Accounts Committee. There is also the machinery for criticising the estimates which exist on the Floor of the House.
I would like to ask, Is there any real' protection at all in having a statutory limit? All that is imported into the Act of Parliament is a declaration that the annual expenditure is not to exceed £2,000,000. We have already stated to the House that the estimate we have formed of the cost is not less than £1,000,000 and may approach £1,500,000, and that is as near as we can go on all the information before us as to the sum that is likely to be required. I hope that it will not be necessary to exceed that sum, but I want to say candidly that, in my experience of financial matters in this House extending over 12 or 13 years, the fixing of a statutory limit very often suggests that that is the sum that is available, and the amount which is going to be spent. I do not want to push that argument too far, but there is at least that side to the question. On the other hand, without a statutory limit, there is the analysis of the Estimates year by year. If by any chance the provision were insufficient, and that sum were exceeded, then, of course, the Government of the day could only come to the House with a new Financial Resolution and a new Act of Parliament, because what has been imported into the legislation is a statutory limit beyond which the Government cannot go. There is really more protection in the annual Estimates. In fact, the annual Estimates are a much 1806 better protection than fixing a limit. For these and other reasons I must object to the Amendment.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
The President of the Board of Trade has not met in the smallest degree the case which has been put forward in favour of this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the Estimates of the year. I agree that the Estimates are usually very accurate, and give to the House a very good idea of the amount of money that is going to be spent during the year, but we are dealing here not with one year but with several years. It is going to take three years to carry out this, scheme. Whenever a wise man enters into an enterprise of that kind, he asks what it is going to cost, not in the next six months but as a whole, and I think the Committee is entitled to know what the Government are going to spend during the whole period. Therefore, I think it is advisable that we should put in a limit of £2,000,000.
The Government know that I desire to have this valuation and to have it well done, but I presume that they have not entered upon this enterprise without having made some estimate of what it is going to cost. The cost of the valuation is an essential element in the consideration of this question. The Government have already stated in the Financial Memorandum to this Bill that they expect the cost will be not less than £1,000,000 and may approach £1,500,000, and this Amendment allows an addition to that estimate of £500,000. In these circumstances, I think that an additional £500,000 is a sufficient margin to enable the Government to carry out their valuation. I do not share the exaggerated estimate of this valuation which has been put forward by hon. Members above the Gangway. I do not think the Government estimate is much too low, but, in any case, the Government ought to be prepared to give us a figure showing what is their estimate of the whole cost of the valuation. The President of the Board of Trade is, in many ways, a model financier, but in this case I am bound to say that I do not think he has made out a good case, and the House ought to be told what this valuation is going to cost. That is an essential element in forming a judgment as to whether the scheme is worth proceeding with, and when the right hon. Gentleman is offered £500,000 1807 more than his own estimate, I think that is a very generous provision. Therefore, I must go, reluctantly but quite firmly, into the Lobby in support of this Amendment.
I think it is only fair to say that in this matter I speak for myself. I am accustomed to speak for myself in this House. I observe that there is a great tendency to say, whenever a man opens his mouth, that what he says represents the view of the party to which he belongs. I have belonged to one party all my life, but I have never put my vote in the keeping of the votes of the majority of the party. I believe that a Member of Parliament is answerable to one set of people only, and they are his own constituents, and I have never regarded myself as answerable to anyone else. That diminishes my value to the party, I am sure, but I speak for myself in this matter, and I vote for myself when I go into the Lobby with hon. Members above the Gangway.
§ Captain EDEN
The issue which arises here is of very much more than ordinary importance. We hear complaints, not only in this House, but outside, of the increasingly slender control that we are able to exercise over the national expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade this afternoon, in reply to this request, made just the ordinary official apologia. He gave a nice little lecture as to the sort of control which we enjoy. He told us that there was a very watchful Treasury. I hope there is. But a watchful Treasury in no sense absolves this House from exercising its responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that we can ask questions—a power which even this Government has not yet removed; but there is a power far greater, or far more certain, than either that of the Treasury or that of asking questions, which Ministers may or may not answer, and that is the power which rests in this Amendment, and which I think this House should exercise. It is hardly to be expected that the House will be willing to accept the right hon. Gentleman's assurance that there are safeguards which might be useful when we have here in our hands a safeguard which would obviously serve the purpose which I believe the House wishes to achieve.
The previous experience which this House has had of these valuations has not 1808 been altogether happy. What the right hon. Gentleman is asking us to do this afternoon is to give to the Government carte blanche to spend as much as they like on this valuation. It is inconceivable that, at a time like this, anyone in a local authority, not to say in a national business, would come forward with a proposition such as this; yet the right hon. Gentleman seems to think that the fact that the Government will do their best not to spend beyond 50 per cent. more than they undertake will be their maximum, should be a sufficient satisfaction for the House of Commons to-day; but it is surely for us in this House, if we care at all for our control over the public purse, to exercise the necessary pressure on the Government of the day. We continually see this tendency of the executive to come here and say to the House: "This is what we propose to do; it is for the best in the best of all possible worlds; we are not quite sure what it is going to cost."
See how wide the right hon. Gentleman's figure is. It allows a 50 per cent. margin between the highest and the-lowest estimate, and this Amendment allows another 50 per cent.; but, even then, the right hon. Gentleman says he cannot promise that he will be able to keep within that figure, and anyhow we must not tie him down. I maintain that it is the duty of the House to tie that figure down. The Government must face all the consequences, financial or otherwise, of their legislation. If they cannot estimate them, they ought not to introduce legislation at all. Unless this House is willing to exercise its authority in these matters, we shall have let slip one more of the powers which in olden times it held as privileges which it could never yield. I should be very sorry to see one more triumph of the power of the executive over the power of the House of Commons. If we cannot exercise our authority on so simple an issue as this, then we, and not the Government, will be responsible for the consequences. Personally, I am sorry that my hon. Friend, in his Amendment, has put the figure so high. I think that, if any maximum figure were stated, the figure that the Government themselves estimate would have been the correct one, but the generous allowance made in the Amendment makes it all the more incredible that the Government should refuse to accept it. If they persist in their 1809 attitude, I hope that the House will carry the Amendment, not only because it is vital in the interests of finance, but because it is more than time that executives, of whatever party, had it made plain to them that the House of Commons is an authority greater than they.
§ Sir THOMAS INSKIP
I need add very little to what has been said by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Captain Eden) and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne (Mr. Leif Jones). There are some matters which are so simple, and the issues in regard to which are so direct and plain, that the more one talks about them the more likely, perhaps, they are to be obscured. The President of the Board of Trade has refused to tell the House in a fashion that will bind him what this valuation is going to cost. He treated us to a lecture on the opportunities for considering finance which the House has under its existing procedure, but the fact that he referred to the Estimates Committee and the Public Accounts Committee shows the bareness of his cover. If that were all that he could refer to as an illustration of the powers of the House, he must indeed have been at his wits' end to suggest that the House will have ample control over the cost of this valuation.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
I said that that Was by no means all. I pointed out that those were two opportunities, but that the real opportunity is during the progress of Supply on the Floor of the House.
§ Sir T. INSKIP
The right hon. Gentleman certainly mentioned the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee. If you add nothing to nothing, it makes nothing, and I understand, therefore, from his last intervention, that he mentioned the Estimates Committee and the Public Accounts Committee, not intending that any importance should be attached to them, but intending that importance should be attached to some other powers of the House. So far as the other powers of the House are concerned, he referred to the opportunities which will be presented, on the successive Supplementary Estimates, of checking expenditure, but that will involve the process of considering at any time whether the House should throw good money after bad. We shall get one Supplementary Estimate 1810 for, shall I say, £1,500,000; the valuation will be, perhaps, only half completed; and the House will then have to face the question whether it shall spend some more money to complete a valuation which has far exceeded the estimates deliberately offered to the House by the right hon. Gentleman. The advantage of dealing with the matter here and now is that we have an opportunity of considering whether the game is really worth the candle. If we are told what the valuation is going to cost to-day, and if we put the figure into the Bill, then the House can form its own opinion at the proper time, that is to say, to-day, as to whether the cost of the valuation is likely to exceed the amount which will be collected in the new conditions which have arisen.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he wished to speak candidly, and he said that he found from experience that the insertion of a statutory limit in an Act of Parliament generally resulted in an impression getting about that that was the sum which it was intended to spend. In the preceding sentence, he had told us that matters like the cost of a valuation are very carefully scrutinised in the Treasury. Where is the careful scrutiny in the Treasury Chambers if he tells us that a figure inserted in a Bill as a maximum limit is always accepted as the sum which is to be spent? That does not say much for the public Department with which the right hon. Gentleman was once associated, and I should imagine that the Treasury officials will not be very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the testimony he has given to the scrutiny which they exercise in regard to expenditure, if he tells us that they are so simple and so wicked as, when they see a maximum inserted in an Act of Parliament, to close their papers and say that they need not ask anything, because they are obviously intended to spend up to the hilt. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman really did say that. He said that he wished to speak candidly, and that he could not disguise from the House the result of his experience, which was that, when a maximum sum is inserted in an Act of Parliament, there is a tendency to regard that as the sum which is intended to be spent. I have not parodied the right hon. Gentleman's argument at all. That means that the Treasury 1811 officials are the victims of this extraordinary hallucination, that Parliament has intended a maximum sum to be a minimum sum. The veriest child in finance, I think, would not be guilty of such a mistake as that.
Let the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues face the question which has been propounded by my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment—shall we here and now know what the sum is which this House thinks is the maximum which ought to be spent on the valuation and which will be worth while, having regard to the sum collected? I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Camborne spoke, not only for himself, but for others below the Gangway to whom the cogency of his observations will appeal. I see the Chief Whip of his party beside him, and I hope that the Chief Whip is as intelligent and as courageous as the right hon. Gentleman himself. I hope that, with the assistance of the remarks from below the Gangway as well as from above the Gangway, the President of the Board of Trade will see that he will be doing credit to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's own estimate if he has the courage of his convictions and puts this figure into the Bill, so that the House can know where it stands. I hope that we may be able to go to a Division on this subject, as there are some very important questions to be dealt with in the remaining 15 minutes that are loft to us for the rest of the Clauses which have to be disposed of before 7.30.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
The President of the Board of Trade did not deal at all with the points that I raised on the previous Amendment. He has referred to the normal practice of the House with regard to finance, and on the last Amendment he referred to the normal scope of the Resolution. I pointed out that the finances of the country this year are not normal, and that the Budget is not a normal Budget, so that, while in normal times it might be reasonable to give a Government general powers, in these times all expenditure has to be circumscribed and most closely scrutinised. I will read two sentences from the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in opening his Budget. He then pointed out that the balance sheet of the nation 1812 for the current year would leave a nominal margin of £134,000 only, and he went on to say:I have made no provision for supplementary expenditure…. If prosperity should return it may well be that a margin will be found…. Apart from this, I definitely contemplate that any gap which occurs in the finance of the year should be met by economy."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 27th April, 1931; col. 1408, Vol. 251.]I ask the President of the Board of Trade, where is this £2,000,000 to come from then? Surely, we ought to limit the sum to £2,000,000, which is anything between 50 and 100 per cent. above the Government's own estimate. We always look upon the President of the Board of Trade as an eminently reasonable man, and I cannot believe that he can possibly suggest to the House that it is unreasonable to fix a limit 50 per cent., or perhaps 100 per cent., higher than the Government's own estimate, before the House of Commons allows this Resolution to go through.
§ Mr. WISE
I can conceive of no more ineffective method of enforcing economy than the scheme proposed in this Amendment. I have had some experience, as many hon. Members have, of battling with the Treasury on Estimates for Departments, and on those occasions to put in a figure is to give a standard on which the Department which desires to spend can base its argument. If no figure at all is put in, then the Treasury can fight every item in the most unreasonable and difficult way. They can raise all sorts of troubles, real and imaginary, as reasons why the money should not be spent, and anyone familiar with the methods of the Treasury knows how effective they can be in producing reasons for stopping expenditure. The idea that a Department can get round the Treasury with ease and speed is entirely mistaken. If, however, a figure of this sort is put in, then the Departmental officer who goes to the Treasury, having based his Estimates on this figure, can always reply, "This was the conception which the House of Commons formed as to what the expenditure will be." This Amendment, however, so far from limiting the expenditure, puts the maximum on which the Department can base its argument at, as I understand it, from £500,000 to £1,000,000—from 50 to 100 per cent.—higher than the Department itself at this stage has estimated as likely to be required. 1813 Any more crazy method of enforcing economy than to suggest that the Department should spend twice as much as they now think is necessary I cannot conceive. I hope the Government will resist the Amendment, not because I think the procedure of the House is at all satisfactory in the control of expenditure—it is extremely ineffective and obsolete—but this is not the way of putting it right. This is the way to make it worse.
Lieut. - Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
The new theory that we have heard from the hon. Member seems to be this. We are not prepared to put any limit in the Bill, because that limit means that the Department will say, "We have to spend this £2,000,000; otherwise, the Government will not be satisfied." Such a suggestion is absolutely preposterous.
§ Mr. WISE
What I said was that this gives the Department the opportunity of saying, "This is the conception which the Tory party or the House had as to the amount of expenditure that would be necessary. The Tory party thought it might be necessary to spend twice as much as the Department has already estimated."
Sir F. HALL
From what I know of Government Departments, I believe they go carefully into the various items. I am not satisfied to leave the Government with a blank cheque. I am not satisfied for them to say they can spend any amount they like. The Memorandum suggests that £1,000,000 or £1,500,000 would be required. If the House is to regulate and be master of its own position, it should say to the Government, "This is the amount that we are going to allocate to you for expenditure on a certain object. If you want more, come and ask for a Supplemental Vote," and the House, as a rule, grants it, but it has an opportunity of scrutinising it carefully and seeing exactly how the money that has been voted, has been spent. We are suggesting that we will give them up to £2,000,000 if they find it necessary to expend it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Another £1,000,000!"] It may be another £1,000,000, but hon. Members opposite do not mind how much is going to be expended. It may be £3,000,000, £4,000,000 or £5,000,000. The Government answer is, "You gave us carte 1814 blanche and, therefore, we have been within our rights in expending such and such an amount." There are only six, seven or eight months of this financial year in which to expend the money.
I should have thought, no matter how many people they want to employ, they would find it rather difficult to spend judiciously, between now and the end of the financial year, anything like £2,000,000 and, considering how heavily taxpayers are pressed, that the Government would immediately accept the proposal that there should be some limit to the amount required for the purpose of this land valuation. Some of us can remember when we had a similar proposal in 1910 and the vast amount of money that was expended then. The cost was considerably more than the amount obtained, and I am afraid we are going to see a repetition of that when we have a Government in power that does not care a straw what the cost may be so long as they are expending what they consider the money that is derived, not only from the working classes, but from those who happen to be in the position of having a little more money. It has been the policy of this Government to take everything they can possibly get. I trust, after due consideration, the Government will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
I thought the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Wise) a very curious one. He described his experience at the Treasury. I could not help reflecting that I should like to hear Treasury officials giving their experience of him. He certainly laid himself open to the very adequate retort that, if the House refuses to pass this £2,000,000, their conception will be that the House said it did not matter what the limit was. The hon. Member cannot use that argument without being open to that retort. As a matter of fact, I do not think the Treasury will take either view. But the real issue is not that. Let us concede all that the hon. Member desires for himself. Whether the Treasury control is effective or ineffective, whether they take his conception or the one I have stated, why should the House abrogate any power it may take to itself and leave the control in the hands of the Treasury, or any other body out-side the House? The real issue that arises is in terms of controllers. Who is to control 1815 the controllers? I am in favour of the Amendment, because it imposes a statutory limit and because it gives the House an opportunity which it would not otherwise have.
The President of the Board of Trade, with his customary caution, did not stress the Estimates Committee, or even the Public Accounts Committee, over which he presided for five years, anything like as highly as he stressed the Treasury control, and quite rightly. The working of the Estimates Committee is shadowy as a method of control. The Estimates Committee on an average only gets a couple of Estimates a year. This thing may never come up before them for six or seven years. Its work is post mortem. Here we are arranging for a brand new experiment. It may be much more costly than the Government suggest. Alterations being made in the Bill as it goes through Committee may quite easily make it imperative to spend more money than was first suggested.
§ The issue that the House has to vote on is whether or no, in addition to the actual control of the Treasury, of the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee, in addition to Supply, the only other opportunity, which may or may not arise inside the 20 days, it will insist, if more than £2,000,000 is demanded, on having a definite Parliamentary opportunity. The last thing a Chief Whip wants is for a Minister to come to him with a new proposal demanding Parliamentary time, because Parliamentary time is the enemy of all Governments, and sometimes the friend of all taxpayers. I shall support the Amendment because we ought to have a statutory limit. I do not suppose it will be reached, but, if it is, let them bring forward their new proposal for another amount and let the House give a definite decision on it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 264.1819
|Division No. 316.]||AYES.||[6.43 P.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cooper, A. Duff||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Col. Charles||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Albery, Irving James||Cowan, D. M.||Herbert, Sir Dennis (Hertford)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Cranborne, Viscount||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Crichton-Stuart, Lord C.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Aske, Sir Robert||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Cun[...]fle-Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Atkinson, C.||Dairymple-White, Lt.-Col. Sir Godfrey||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley (Bewdley)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Inskip, Sir Thomas|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Balniel, Lord||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Beaumont, M. W.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Jones, Rt. Hon. Lelf (Camborne)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Kedward, R. M. (Kent, Ashford)|
|Betterton, Sir Henry B.||Dugdale, Capt. T. L.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Bevan, S. J. (Holborn)||Eden, Captain Anthony||Lamb, Sir J. O.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Elliot, Major walter E.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-S. M.)||Latham, H. P. (Scarboro' & Whitby)|
|Bracken, B.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Law, Sir Alfred (Derby, High Peak)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Ferguson, Sir John||Lewis, Oswald (Colchester)|
|Broadbent, Colonel J.||Fielden, E. B.||Llewellin, Major J. J.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Foot, Isaac||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hon. Godfrey|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Ford, Sir P. J.||Lockwood, Captain J. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Long, Major Hon. Eric|
|Buchan, John||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Macdonald, Sir M. (Inverness)|
|Butler, R. A.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Maitland, A. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Margesson, Captain H. D.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl of||Gower, Sir Robert||Marjoribanks, Edward|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Meller, R. J.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth, S.)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir. J. A. (Birm., W.)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Milne, Wardlaw-, J. S.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro' W.)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Morris, Rhys Hopkins|
|Christie, J. A.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. walter E.||Morrison, W. S. (Glos., Cirencester)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Muirhead, A. J.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hartington, Marquess of||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrst'ld)|
|Colville, Major D. J.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|O'Neill, Sir H.||Savery, S. S.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Shepperson, Sir Ernest Whittome||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyan|
|Penny, Sir George||Skelton, A. N.||Wallace, Capt. D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield. Hallan)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. Lambert|
|Perkins, W. R. O.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smithers, Waldron||Wells, Sydney R.|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Remer, John R.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James||Stanley, Hon. O. (Westmorland)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Richardson, Sir p. W. (Sur'y, Ch't'sy)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Withers, Sir John James|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral M. F.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Salmon, Major I.||Thompson, Luke||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thomson, Sir F.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thomson, Mitchell-, Rt. Hon. Sir W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sandeman, Sir N. Stewart||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Train, J.||Sir Victor Warrender.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)||Freeman, Peter||Leonard, W.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Lloyd, C. Ellis|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, N.)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Longbottom, A. W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (Hillsbro')||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesea)||Longden, F.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Gill, T. H.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Gillett, George M.||Lunn, William|
|Angell, Sir Norman||Glassey, A. E.||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Arnott, John||Gossl[...]ng, A. G.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Gould, F.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Ayles, Waiter||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McElwee, A.|
|Baker, John (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||McEntee, V. L.|
|Baldwin, Oliver (Dudley)||Gray, Milner||McGovern, J. (Glasgow, Shettleston)|
|Barnes, Alfred John||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||MacLaren, Andrew|
|Barr, James||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maclean, Sir Donald (Cornwall, N.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Groves, Thomas E.||Malone, C. L'Estrange (N'thampton)|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. Wedgwood||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mander, Geoffrey lo M.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Manning, E. L.|
|Bennett, William (Battersea, South)||Hall, Capt. W. G. (Portsmouth, C.)||Mansfield, W.|
|Benson, G.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Zetland)||March, S.|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Harbord, A.||Marcus, M.|
|Bondfield, Rt. Hon. Margaret||Hardie, David (Rutherglen)||Markham, S. F.|
|Bowen, J. W.||Hardie, G. D. (Springburn)||Marley, J.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Harris, Percy A.||Marshall, Fred|
|Broad, Francis Alfred||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Mathers, George|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hayes, John Henry||Matters, L. W.|
|Bromfield, William||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Maxton, James|
|Bromley, J.||Henderson, Arthur, Junr. (Cardiff, S.)||Messer, Fred|
|Brooke, W.||Henderson, Thomas (Glasgow)||Middleton, G.|
|Brothers, M.||Henderson, W. W. (Middx., Enfield)||Mills, J. E.|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts. Mansfield)||Herriotts, J.||Milner, Major J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Montague, Frederick|
|Burgess, F. G.||Hoffman, P. C.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Buxton, C. R. (Yorks. W. R. Elland)||Hollins, A.||Morley, Ralph|
|Caine, Hall-, Derwent||Hudson, James H. (Huddersfield)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)|
|Cameron, A. G.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph||Mort, D. L.|
|Cape, Thomas||Isaacs, George||Muff, G.|
|Carter, W. (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Jenkins, Sir William||Muggeridge, H. T.|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda. West)||Murnin, Hugh|
|Chater, Daniel||Johnston, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Jones, Llewellyn-, F.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Clarke, J. S.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. O. L. (Exeter)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Noel Baker, P. J.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. (Preston)||Noel-Buxton, Baroness (Norfolk, N.)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kelly, W. T.||Oldfield, J. R.|
|Cove, William G.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Oliver, George Harold (Ilkeston)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Kenworthy Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Oliver, P. M. (Man., Blackley)|
|Daggar, George||Kinley, J.||Owen, Major G. (Carnarvon)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Kirkwood, D.||Palin, John Henry.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Knight, Holford||Palmer, E. T.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lang, Gordon||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Day, Harry||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Perry, S. F.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lathan, G. (Sheffield, Park)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Dukes, C.||Law, Albert (Bolton)||Phillips, Dr. Marlon|
|Duncan, Charles||Law, A. (Rossendale)||Picton-Turbervill, Edith|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lawrence, Susan||Pole, Major D. G.|
|Edmunds, J. E.||Lawrle, Hugh Hartley (Stalybridge)||Potts, John S.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lawther, W. (Barnard Castle)||Price, M. P.|
|Edwards, E. (Morpeth)||Leach, W.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Egan, W. H.||Lee, Frank (Derby, N. E.)||Ramsay, T. B. Wilson|
|Elmley, Viscount||Lee, Jennie (Lanark, Northern)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Lees, J.||Richards, R.|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Smith, Frank (Nuneaton)||Walker, J.|
|Riley, Ben (Dewsbury)||Smith, Lees-, Rt. Hon. H. B. (Keighley)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Riley, F. F. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Smith, Rennle (Penistone)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Ritson, J.||Smith, Tom (Pontetract)||Watson, w. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Roberte, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Romeril, H. G.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Rosbotham, D. S. T.||Snowden, Thomas (Accrington)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Rowson, Guy||Sorensen, R.||Weish, James (Paisley)|
|Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)||Stamford, Thomas W.||West, F. R.|
|Salter, Dr. Alfred||Stephen, Campbell||Westwood, Joseph|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Strauss, G. R.||Whiteley, Wilfrid (Birm., Ladywood)|
|Samuel, H. walter (Swansea, West)||Sullivan, J.||Whiteley, William (Blaydon)|
|Sanders, W. S.||Sutton, J. E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Sandham, E.||Taylor R. A. (Lincoln)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Sawyer, G. F.||Taylor, W. B. (Norfolk, S. W.)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Scott James||Thorne, W. (West Ham. Plaistow)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Sexton, Sir James||Thurtle, Ernest||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Tillett, Ben||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Sherwood, G. H.||Tinker, John Joseph||Wilson, J. (Oldham)|
|Shield, George William||Toole, Joseph||Wilson R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Shillaker, J. F.||Tout, W. J.||Winterton, G. E.(Leicester, Loughb'gh)|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Townend, A. E.||Wise, E. F.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Turner, Sir Ben||Wood, Major McKenzie (Banff)|
|Sinclair, Sir A. (Caithness)||Vaughan, David||Young, R. S. (Islington, North)|
|Sinkinson, George||Viant, S. P.|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Walkden, A. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Paling.|
Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution," put, and agreed to.