§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to move, in page 4, to leave out lines 8 to 13.
In 1920, a Bill passed through this House which, in effect, embodied in an act some of the ideas which prevailed in this country during the War, and this afternoon I am moving that that Act, the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, 1920, which is a relic of the War, be removed from the Schedule of this Bill. An Amendment of this kind has been moved in this House almost every year for the last three or four years, at any rate. I have no doubt that I shall be asked in the usual fashion by the representative of the Government who will reply to this Debate, "Why did not the Labour Government repeal the Act when they were in office?" I want to deal with that question right away. Hon. and right hon. Members who represent the Government to-day will not be able to get away with it by asking that question at this moment, and I will tell them why. They know as well as I do that neither of the two Labour Governments ever had the power to do anything in this House unless they had the support of the Liberal party, and I am not so sure that on this issue whether hon. Gentlemen belonging to the Liberal party would have been unanimous in support of this Amendment.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I do not know, because I was not in the last Labour Government, but I am sure we would have asked if I had been there. But even if they had been asked, it would not have followed that they would have acceded to the request, and even if they did accede officially to such a request 1812 their decision might not be unanimous. Even this moment we are not certain to which section of the Liberal party we can turn for support. I hope we have now settled that thorny problem and made it perfectly plain to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that he cannot succeed with that argument anyhow. He belongs to a Government which can do just what they like; they can remove this act from the Schedule of the Bill if they so desire without even asking the Liberals who are in the Government to support them. They can carry anything they please through this Parliament without any Liberal support of any kind.
This is, indeed, rather a serious problem to the people who are affected by the Measure. I do not propose to take too much of the time of the Committee in dealing with it, but I will put it in this way. It has got to be made clear that when this House passed the Act of Parliament of 1920 to which I have referred this country slipped back at one stroke to a secondary position in relation to factory legislation. Up to the passing of this Measure in 1920 it was true to say, I should imagine, that this country was probably the best in the world as far as factory and workshop legislation was concerned. I am not so sure however that as long as this Act of Parliament remains on the Statute Book we can lay claim to that distinction.
Let me see exactly what has happened here. It is understood, of course, that a provision of the Act referred to makes it possible for women, young persons and children to be employed at night; and the argument is put forward by those who have studied and who know this problem best that the natural thing for all human beings is to be employed during the day. It ought to require a great emergency to warrant calling upon people to he employed at night at all, especially women, young persons and children. The strange thing to me is, that the Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories for 1931 tells us many things about these Orders, but does not inform us how many persons are affected by them. I would therefore like to ask the Home Secretary to inform the Committee how many Orders are actually in operation at the moment and how many persons are employed within the ambit of the Orders that are still in operation.
1813 Some of us are very apprehensive as to the increase in the number of these Orders. Let me quote one sentence used by the Chief Inspector of Factories in his 1931 Report, in relation to the two-shift system. The Committee will see how easy it is for some employers of labour to secure an Order for the employment of these people during the night. It is stated on page 54 of the Report:Orders are also required for temporary use in seasonal trades such as making of ice cream wafers.Just imagine an employer of labour in this great country, with probably the best factory laws in the world, seeking from the Home Secretary, in the year 1932, an Order to allow him to employ women, young persons, and children at night on the manufacture of such trivial things as ice cream wafers. It is indeed preposterous that that can be done. I am not arguing that that is the only Order that has been issued, because there are very many of them indeed. We are told also in the same Report that:Manufacturers, worsted spinners and hosiery manufacturers in particular, found it necessary rapidly to increase production in order to deliver orders already in hand and to secure new contracts for goods previously imported, for which early delivery was essential.Then the report refers to going off the Gold Standard, and dwells at length, in a political way, with the introduction of the two-shift system to certain industries where it did not apply before. Orders were granted by the Home Office because we went off the Gold Standard and because, apparently, demands came along for the production of goods for export purposes. In other words, employers wanted to keep their machines going day and might to meet those demands for export purposes. Is it not a fact that the exports in some of these trades covering the commodities manufactured under the two-shift system have actually declined since these Orders were granted? If the right hon. Gentleman will pay attention for a moment, I will repeat the question. If these Orders were used, especially in the textile industry, in order to cope with orders from abroad, is it not a contradiction to continue the Orders that were given in those emergencies when exports from those industries have declined since? I think it can be proved from the report of the Board of Trade that exports of 1814 these commodities where the two-shift system is in operation in some industries have actually declined since the Orders were put into operation.
I want to tell the right hon. Gentleman quite frankly that I do not think the report of the Chief Inspector of Factories indicates quite as clearly as he appears to believe, that the workpeople involved are in agreement with the two-shift system. The report states, at the foot of page 55:In one case the management, having explained the position to the workers, left thorn to discuss the matter amongst themselves, and the workers' secretary to the Workers' Committee subsequently informed the inspector that they were in favour of the proposal.The right hon. Gentleman knows full well that with the volume of unemployment that prevails to-day it would be almost fatal for any set of workpeople in any factory to raise their voice against the introduction of the two-shift system. Do the inspectors of the Home Office take into account the silent pressure that can be brought to bear upon the workpeople to give a decision in favour of the employers' request?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Oliver Stanley)
Read the statement on the next page.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I think the hon. Gentleman is referring to the paragraph in the report which states:In another case there was a certain amount of opposition to the system, and the workers appeared to be reluctant to refuse to sign the application. The inspector suggested that a ballot should be taken, and, the necessary majority being obtained, an Order was granted.
§ Mr. DAVIES
I will avoid that argument for a moment. At any rate, I think it is true to say that it is a contradiction in the life of our people that, whilst unemployment is increasing, the number of Orders permitting work at night increases, too. I should imagine that it is not correct to assume that you are adding to the number of workpeople in employment merely because you introduce the two-shift system in a factory. I know the argument is put forward by the inspector that the number of people is 1815 increased in a particular factory by the introduction of the system, but I venture to say that if they were not employed at nights in that particular factory, and if there was a demand for goods similar to those manufactured there, they would have been employed in another factory during the day instead.
I do not wish to dwell unduly on the subject, because it has been debated here so many times, but I want to put before the Committee a better argument than I can command, because it comes from employers themselves. This is what some of them say:Several employers, more particularly some of those who have only used the two-shift system as a means to meet some special emergency, are not in favour of the system. The reasons usually given for this are (1) the difficulty in providing adequate supervision for both shifts without practically duplicating the managerial posts; (2) bad timekeeping by the workers on the morning shifts; (3) reductions in workers' wages corresponding to the reduction in hours as compared with those of a normal day causes discontent amongst the workers.Those are very cogent arguments against either the adoption of the two-shift system, or indeed its continuance by any employer. But there is another and more powerful case against the system than anything I have already stated, to be found on page 58 of the report:All the reasons given"— That is, against this system by the work-people, I think—have been of a domestic or social nature.Let me say, very definitely, that I am not opposing this two-shift system merely because I am a trade unionist, and I am not opposing it on purely industrial grounds either. I think the opposition to this system must rest finally on domestic and social grounds. That is to say, that whilst some members of a family work nights and some during the day, the arrangements for running the household must be affected very adversely indeed. I think hon. Members can be appealed to on that score, at any rate, whether or not they agree with the opposition being put up from a trade union aspect.
Finally, I have the best argument of all against the two-shift system, and if I have failed to induce any hon. Member to agree with me up to now, I may be able to carry them with me on this argu- 1816 ment, which is given by the Chief Inspector:In one district in the North the sequel to the revival in trade and the two-shift system was the interruption of the attendance of young workers at technical institutions and evening continuation classes. Indeed, in one technical college four classes had to be closed down, the minimum number of students not being available.That was presumably because of the two-shift system. The Inspector goes on to say:Fortunately in this college the principal arranged that in weeks when the students were working the afternoon shifts they could attend the morning session classes.That may be all very well in one or two cases, but I doubt very much whether other educational institutions in this country would rearrange their classes in respect of a few young people who might be employed at nights under the two-shift system. I think the system is bad in itself. We ought really to be ashamed to keep this Act on the Statute book at all. To say in these days, when exports are declining and when nearly 3,000,000 are unemployed, that it is necessary to carry on this system to allow women, young persons, and children to be employed for profit during the night, in order to meet the requirements of trade and industry, is not convincing. I have, therefore, much pleasure in moving for probably the sixth or maybe the seventh time, I think, in this House, the deletion of the Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act, 1920, from the Schedule to this Bill.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Gilmour)
I do not propose to enter into a discussion as to what did or did not influence the late Labour Government in their negotiations and arrangements with the Members of another party. All I would say is that it appears that, for good and sufficient reasons at that time, the Labour Government continued this power in force, and I would say to the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) and to the Committee that I believe that at this time and under existing circumstances it is right that we should still continue this power. What in fact is the case? We know that in the past these powers and the Orders made have materially helped a large number of 1817 people to obtain employment at a time when it was extremely difficult for work to be obtained. We had some special reports in 1929 as to the position at that time. There were 852 Orders, and of these, 148 were being continuously and 185 temporarily used. It was estimated at that time that 10,000 workers were employed under the 148 Orders, and whatever figures were estimated in 1929, it is likely from the circumstances, although we have no definite figures, that more than the 40,000 estimated as directly or indirectly affected in 1929 are affected now.
The hon. Gentleman asked me about the number of Orders. In 1932 the quarterly figures up to the end of November have been 60, 74, 81, and 60, making 275 in 11 months. As to the effect upon the people themselves, it is perfectly clear from such evidence as I have read in the reports or received in discussion with those in the Department, that these matters are fairly and honestly put before the workpeople who are concerned, and that no undue pressure can be said to be exercised upon them. Naturally, of course, one understands that these people, facing the difficulties which they have to face, realise that it is of advantage to them and to their friends that these arrangements should be made. Let me give one or two cases where they are of material advantage. I have a case of a hosiery company which has been using an Order regularly, they started with something like six workers and are now employing 244. A firm manufacturing electrical apparatus has been employing anything from 140 to 400 workers in shifts according to the state of trade. In many of these industries the trade varies from time to time, and it is of material advantage to the people concerned that they should have these powers continued. I hope that the Committee will agree, in view of the present conditions of trade and industry and in view of the whole position, to continue this Act.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
I beg to move, in page 4, to leave out lines 14 to 17.
The effect of the Amendment will be that the Dyestuffs (Import Regulations) Act, 1920, will lapse at the end of the year. It is essential that we should look care- 1818 fully into the history of this Act. I want to make it clear that, in moving the Amendment, I am not doing it with any political purpose, nor do I want to treat this question from purely an industrial point of view. At the outbreak of the War, the textile people found themselves in a difficult position with regard to the supply of dyestuffs. The sources of dyestuffs were cut off at once when war broke out. In 1913 Germany and Switzerland produced practically 90 per cent. of the total world production of dyestuffs, and 80 per cent. of the dyewares used in the textile trades were imported from Germany. They represented one of the raw materials necessary for the production of textile goods, which in 1913 amounted to about £200,000,000. This trade represented from 30 to 35 per cent. of the total of wholly or partly manufactured goods which were exported from this country. That was a disadvantage, On the other hand, there were advantages in these cheap dyewares. The advantage was that we bought these dye-wares at the lowest world prices, and all the makers of dyewares were very keen to send to this country because it was their chief market. There was another serious handicap at the outbreak of the War in the manufacture of explosives and in the lack of provisions for chemical research. Arising out of these difficulties, a Government committee was appointed in January, 1919, consisting of makers and users, and I want to bring to the notice of the Committee a pledge that was given during the ensuing negotiations. It was this:It is the settled opinion of the Government that for national security it is essential that synthetic colour-making factories should be in existence and he maintained in operation with their staffs of chemists and other experts in this country, and that the equipment should be equal in extent to that of any other possible hostile nation. It is the settled opinion of the Government that this should be brought about without placing the textile and other colour-using industries in an unduly disadvantageous competitive position.That pledge was accepted in good faith by colour users generally. The result was that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) introduced this Act in December, 1920, and it came into force on 15th January, 1921. It was specifically stated in the Measure that it was to last for a period of 10 years. I believe that the House then 1819 thought that 10 years would be a sufficient time for an efficient dye industry to be built up. I want to draw the attention of the Committee to two statements that were made in the Debate on the Measure. The then President of the Board of Trade used these words:Under prohibition and licences there must be some competition. If hon. Members will remember what I said in the earlier part of my speech, under any licensing system dyes will certainly be imported from Germany, and the dyes produced here will consequently be subject to German competition."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th December, 1920; col. 1964, Vol. 135]The second statement to which I wish to draw attention was made by Mr. Asquith in that Debate. He said:It is of the highest importance that every possible security shall be taken against what I may call unlimited private profits."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th December, 1920; col. 1993, Vol. 135.]Arising out of the Bill, a committee was set up called the Dyestuffs Advisory Licensing Committee. Broadly speaking, two sets of circumstances constitute good grounds for the granting of licences. The first is the lack of a British equivalent. The second, to which I want to draw particular attention, is where there is a British equivalent but the price is higher than the foreign colour. Great difficulty was experienced in applying the second condition, and the solution of the difficulty was found by the introduction of a factor ratio over pre-War prices. The point I want to put before the Committee is that the users of dyestuffs were responsible for the suggestion of a factor ratio. This ratio ranged from three times pre-War prices in 1922 to one-and-three-quarter times pre-War prices in 1929. It is perfectly true that since these dates and during that period British prices have in certain instances been lower than that particular price, but even if a foreign maker could supply at the pre-War price, the licence was only granted if the British maker's price exceeded one-and-three-quarter times the pre-War price.
A great deal was said in the Debate of 1930 with regard to dumping, but there has never been an opportunity for the foreign manufacturer of dyes to dump dyes into this country, because as soon as his price became lower than one-and-three-quarter times pre-War prices no licence was granted. For 10 years this Act has run its course. There have been 1820 complaints from time to time as to price, quality, delivery, etc., but on the whole I think that I am merely stating the truth when I say that the relations between producers and users have been of an amicable nature. Both the users and the makers have been determined from the very beginning to build up an efficient dyestuffs industry, but the cost of the building up of this industry to the users cannot be assessed. It certainly runs into millions of pounds. I want to make it clear again that I am not opposing this Measure on political grounds, but purely in the interests of the users of dyewares. I admit at once that an efficient industry has been built up. Anyone reading the third report of the Development Committee must admit that a remarkable effort has been made by producers in conjunction with the users, and that that great effort has to a large extent succeeded. It has succeeded to the point that 90 per cent. of dyewares used in this country are produced here. A very substantial export trade has also been built up in the dyeware industry. In 1920, within a few months of the time when the Act had been in force for 10 years, a report of the Development Committee was received. That committee did not seem to me to give any definite decision whether the Act should be continued or not. The report was submitted to the Board of Trade, and Mr. Graham, who at that time was President, in answering a question on 19th November, 1930, used these words:There is in present circumstances no justification for the continuance of the Act beyond the period originally contemplated.He also said:The opinion of the framers of the Act was that a period of 10 years should be sufficient to enable the industry to become firmly established and thereafter to meet international competition unaided."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November. 1930; col. 434, Vol. 245]The report uses these words:That the main object has been achieved, that the achievement of that, object has admittedly laid a serious burden upon colour-using industries and that any form of restriction is a hindrance to the consuming trades.Mr. Graham in that Debate also used the argument that the industry did not need the protection of an Act because it was able to give a promise to the dye users that they could get licences quite freely 1821 if they would supply them at a world price and of a quality equal to world quality. On 4th December, 1930, a very full Debate took place in this House on whether the Act should be continued or not, and the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) took a very prominent part in it. I think everyone will admit that he paid a very great compliment to the dye-makers. He felt that sufficient time had elapsed to enable them to build up an efficient industry, but although he paid a compliment to their great initiative in doing so he thought it, was time the Act should lapse. I have read almost every word of that Debate, and I was interested to note the words used then by the present Foreign Secretary. In supporting the continuation of the Act he said:My right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen, if I understood him aright, says that if this Act were to he continued somewhat longer we might have to face world combinations and cartels and I do not know what else."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th December, 1930; col. 2463, Vol. 245.]I hope to prove that the fears and suspicions of the right hon. Member for Darwen were quite justified. The present Secretary of State for the Colonies, who I am sorry to see is not present, was probably more active in that Debate than any other individual, and I have one or two words to quote from what he said.No user can possibly complain if all that he is asked to do is to buy British dye of equal quality at the same price at which that dye is available to the user in Germany or Switzerland.… The offer which the dye-makers are making to the dye-users is that if they cannot produce a dye which is just as good and just as cheap, then the foreign dyes may come in."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 4th December, 1930; cols. 2421 and 2127, Vol. 245.]He spoke in that Debate of the German monopoly, and of the exorbitant prices demanded when they enjoyed that monopoly, and how prices came down when they were subjected to competition. I hope to convince him and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, who I think is to reply, that there is now a British monopoly, and I ask them to support me in subjecting that monopoly to competition in order that prices may be reduced. The Secretary of State for the Colonies also said on that occasion that the most representative and most experienced user of dyes was Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith, who is not only a director 1822 of Bradford Dyers, but has been for 10 or 11 years president of the Colour Users' Association, the official body most concerned with this matter. He quoted words used by Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith. I am bound to admit that at that time there was some difference of opinion in the Colour Users' Association as to the continuation of the Act. I believe it is true to say that the majority thought the Act should be discontinued, but I want to be fair and must say that the president thought at that time that it should be continued. Referring to the president, the Secretary of State for the Colonies said he had used these words:It would be little short of a disaster to bring this Act to an end at present."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th December, 1930; col. 2427, Vol. 245.]I want to ask whether the same attention is to be paid now, in 1932, to the words of the president of the Colour Users' Association as was paid to them in 1930. Are the Committee fully aware of what is said in the minority report of the Development Committee issued a few days ago, and have they taken notice of what Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith says at this moment? I do not think any person in this country speaks with greater knowledge and greater authority than this particular gentleman. I have in my possession several letters from him objecting to the further continuation of the Act, and because his opinion is now different from what it was in 1930 I appeal to the Government that there should not be a change of attitude on their part towards his opinion. The Parliamentary Secretary ought to pay attention to the opinion of the man whom the Government acknowledge to be the greatest authority in this country.
There is in that report a memorandum prepared after consultation with the Council of the Colour Users Association. That memorandum expresses the view of the official body which has been recognised under the Act as speaking for the users of dye-stuffs. The Colour Users Association represents all sections of the consuming trades and is the responsible negotiating authority between the Government and the dye users. It represents some of the greatest trades in this country—calico printing, wool dyeing, cotton dyeing, silk dyeing, garment dyeing, hosiery dyeing, wall-paper and lithographic printing, straw plait and felt dye- 1823 ing, paper makers, woollen piece dyeing, and other industries. Every member, probably, has received a circular from the Joint Committee of the Cotton Trade Organisation—there is a tremendously long list of bodies, covering practically the whole of the cotton textile associations. I must draw attention to the second sheet enclosed with that protest, because we have there the words of a body which represents not only employers but the trade unions in those particular trades:This meeting, representing organisations in every section of the cotton industry, strongly urges His Majesty's Government to allow the Dye-stuffs (Import Regulation) Act, 1920, to lapse at the end of the present year. If it is urged that national interests demand special provision for the maintenance of research in this field, the textile industries see no reason why the cost should be borne by dye-users alone and not spread among all taxpayers. They equally fail to see why an Act intended to promote the growth of an independent dye-stuffs industry should be continued after that industry has entered into an agreement with its foreign competitors which, whatever its objects may have been, has undoubtedly resulted in an increase in prices to the consumer, and the withdrawal of all competition.At a meeting of the Council of the Colour Users Association held in October of this year the following Resolution was passed:The Council of the Colour Users Association are of the unanimous opinion that under the existing conditions the Act should not be extended after the end of the year.I want to analyse the conditions of which they speak. The first condition is that they are subjected to a prohibition of the importation of any dye-stuff of a kind which is made in this country. That prohibition applies to 90 per cent. of the dyes used in this country. The second condition is that there is a tariff of 10 per cent. on imported dyes, that is to say, dyes not made here. That tariff on imported dyes simply increases prices without giving any employment whatever to our own people. It is simply an extra charge on the cost of production. The third condition is the increased price of dyes due to the depreciated exchange. Those dyes which are not made here and have to be imported from abroad cost at least one-third more because of the depreciated exchange. The fourth condition—and this the most serious thing of all, on which I would lay special 1824 emphasis—is that they are suffering because of the formation of a cartel which eliminates competition and enables a particular combine to take advantage of all the sacrifices which the dye-users have made during the last 12 years. I will deal more fully with that point a little later.
The fifth condition is the heavily increased price of home-produced dyes. As is I think fairly well known, in February last it was announced that an agreement had been concluded between the German, Swiss, French and British dyestuff manufacturers. It is one of the evils of monopolies and cartels that it is impossible for the public to know the terms under which they are working. I do not suppose the intimate terms of the agreement drawn up in February last are known either to any member of this Committee or to any user of dyes, but it is understood that the arrangement is on similar lines to that arrived at in 1929 between the German, Swiss and French industries in order to develop co-operation in sales and eliminate destructive commercial competition—in other words, it is a price cartel. In the majority report issued by the Development Committee we are told that during recent months —and I want this Committee to take note of this point, that being the committee which suggests the continuation—it is stated that during recent months the price of dyestuffs has risen appreciably and the average price, during the first six months of this year, again reached the level of price in 1928. It is estimated that the prices of individual dyestuffs, disregarding the quantity sold, have been raised on the average by about 22— per cent. Those are the exact words of the majority report. I want to be fair, and I know that the report goes on to say that the dye-makers contend that in consequence of unrestricted competition prices had reached an uneconomically low level during the latter part of 1930, and that they found it necessary to increase prices to the level ruling prior to the reductions made in that year; but I am puzzled to know how that statement can be substantiated, because if we turn to paragraph 16 of the majority report we read this:During recent years imports of dyestuffs consisted almost entirely of dyestuffs which are not made in this country.1825 So in the case of 90 per cent. of the dyes used there has been no competition. In the appendices on pages 15 and 16 of the report it will be found that if the prices which are given there are totalled, and an average is struck, in the case of British dyestuffs prices have risen, talking 100 as being the pre-War price, to 168 in 1931 and 222 in 1932. The Appendix on page 16, giving examples of the increases in the prices in foreign dyestuffs, shows that those prices have increased from 181 in 1931 to 245 in 1932 The difference there is practically the same as before, which suggests to us that there is a certain definite price fixed by this cartel. While the Board of Trade wholesale commodity index figure in September, 1932, is 102, the index figure for dyestuffs is 200, an increase of about 100 per cent. over pre-war prices. I know that we are told in that report that there is TAO price arrangement, but the dye users have no method of checking that statement.
If a dye user to-day asks a foreigner to quote for certain dyestuffs, he cannot possibly get a quotation. It is impossible for us to know whether we are actually buying at the lowest world price for equal goods. We suggest that the statement, made in 1930, that we were to be placed under no disadvantage, cannot be substantiated at the present time. The only thing that the dye users know is that their experience is that, subsequently to the formation of the cartel, prices have risen considerably. The only quotations that users can get from foreign suppliers are for new colour. It was never anticipated, when the extension of the Act was agreed to, that British makers would enter into a cartel controlling the prices with foreign makers, whereby the users lose the benefit of access to the world productions and the world's lowest prices. I do not think that anyone will dispute the fact as to the mutual interests of makers and users The makers would probably be willing to acknowledge the wonderful patience and financial sacrifices made by the users of dyes during the last 12 months.
There is a further point to which I wish to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, because I think it is a question that ought to have particular attention, and that is the increase in the importation of intermediates. That is dealt with 1826 particularly in the committee's Report, but there are legitimate fears in the trades represented by the users of dyes that the new cartel will limit the development of the British dye-making industry. If you read that Report carefully, you will find that from July to December, 1931, covering a period of six months, 87 tons of intermediates were imported into this country, but that from January to May, 1932, five months, under the cartel, 2411 tons were imported. If we are to hand over to foreign makers the making of intermediates, the dye industry is going to be in exactly the same position as it was when war broke out. The Report states—I want to be quite fair—that the importation of intermediates was due to an increased demand for dyestuffs. I admit that. I do not think that there is the slightest difference of opinion among hon. Members that there should be an efficient dye-making industry. Because of some arrangement entered into between the four big producing countries, there should be no danger of taking away a fundamental part of the industry.
I ask the Committee to say that the dye industry is no longer an infant industry and that it should stand on its own feet. I do not, wises to introduce anything polemical into this discussion, but I remember on the question of the Ottawa Agreements that we were concerned about certain guarantees as to our rights to appear in front of a tariff board, and our suspicion at that time was that it would be very difficult indeed to say when an industry was grown up. Our difficulty with this industry is that we think that it has at least reached the age of adolescence. Twelve years cannot be said to be an unreasonably short time for its development.
I want to say a word with regard to the export trade. I read the Debate which took place when the then President of the Board of Trade introduced this Act, and I remember that he said that one of the great features since the War had been the recovery of the textile trade. We all regret that that great recovery in 1920 has not lasted up to the present time. The textile trade is a great exporting industry, and we who are interested in it feel that nothing shuld be put in the way of an absolute recovery of its export trade. That trade must have its raw materials at the lowest 1827 possible price. I am not making any specific charge, but I am simply asking for information on the point, when I say that it would be interesting to know if foreign users—or, to put it in another way—whether foreign competitors in the textile trade are being supplied with dyes at a lower cost than our own people are being supplied? I do not wish to mention any particular country, although I have one in mind. Some of the eastern nations, as hon. Members know, have become great campetitors of ours in the textile trade. Some of those nations have not a dye-making industry. The danger always to be found in a cartel is that they will sell dyes to those people cheaper, in order that the buyers shall not build up a dye-making industry. I wish to ask the Government if they are prepared to endanger our own textile trade by action taken on those lines.
I suggest to the Committee that the purpose of this Act has been achieved, and that it is no longer necessary. The trade have mapped out their market. Why they should want an Act prohibiting the importation of dyes when they have already parcelled out the great markets of the world is beyond my reason. The users throughout that 10 years' acquiescence in and support of the Dyestuffs Act, visualised the establishment of a virile British industry able to face world competition and, eventually, to supply British users with their full requirement of dyestuffs at the lowest possible cost. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary. Is there to be no reward for the tremendous loyalty and sacrifices which the users of dyestuffs have made during the past 12 years? I believe the House of Commons voted a sum of money —I am not quite certain whether the House, as such, voted it, but there were invested in the British Dyestuffs Corporation £1,750,000. Part of that was done by agreement with the Government, and it is true to say that the dye-making industry has received financial help from the Government. They have received tremendous help in every way from the users. After that help, given by the Government and by the users, is the industry to be handed over to a monopoly to charge what price it likes for its production? 1828 Both in the majority and the minority reports, mention is made of the high prices of benzol. If the Committee will forgive me, I will read two paragraphs relating to the selling prices of the post-War years. The first says:In this connection the effect of the high prices of benzol and toluol in this country on the costs of dyestuffs is a matter which the dyemakers consider requires serious consideration. Although benzol and toluol of indigenous origin are not subject to the hydrocarbon oil duty of 8d. per gallon, their value is largely governed by the ruling prices of petroleum spirit.Paragraph 25 says:The dyemakers therefore suggest that steps should be taken to remove this disability either by an alteration in the system of taxation of motor vehicles or by some other means whereby they may be able to purchase benzol and toluol at prices not higher than their foreign competitors.The majority report contains this recommendation:Arrangements should be made"—the recommendation is also in the minority report—for example by an alteration in the method of taxation of motor spirit whereby British dyemakers should be able to obtain their supplies of benzol, toluol and xylol at prices corresponding to those paid by their foreign competitors.In other words, the dyemakers should procure raw materials at the lowest world price. Both the majority and the minority reports recommend that the dyemakers should have their raw materials at the lowest possible world prices. I am asking that the same principle should be extended to the dye users, who should have their raw materials at the lowest possible price. I want to conclude by making an appeal to those Members of the Government who were Members of the House when this matter was debated in 1920, and who opposed the continuance of this Act. The hon, Gentleman who is to reply will, I know, be perfectly consistent in his voting on this question. Among those Members of the Government who opposed the continuance of the Act, I find the Prime Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for the Dominions. the Secretary for Wines, his Parliamentary Private Secretary, the Minister of Health, the Lord Advocate, the Assistant Postmaster-General, the Secretary of State for the Dominions, and many others of the Parliamentary Private Secretaries and supporters. There was a 1829 meeting yesterday of representatives of the users of dyes with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, and have received a long telegram from one gentleman who was present, expressing their dissatisfaction at the result.
I understand that we are to be told—I hope I am not transgressing any rules of courtesy in saying this before the Parliamentary Secretary speaks—that a committee is to be set up to inquire into this question, that the Government are asking that this Act shall not go on for longer than another year without further consideration, and that the majority report is not to be accepted in its full terms. But no committee that can be set up can be satisfactory to the users of dyes if they are only to have two representatives out of about 12, as they have at present. It is an unfair representation. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to say that there is no further need for this Measure, and I would also ask that there should be a free vote on the matter. It is a matter on which we shall probably find differences of opinion in all parties, but. it is not merely a political question, and it is not a fiscal question; it is a question that vitally affects one of the greatest industries in this country, and I appeal to all hon. Members to support the Amendment, which I intend to carry to a Division, because I want to express to the Government the absolute dissatisfaction of those Members who are particularly interested in this question.
§ 5.18 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
My rising to support an Amendment proposing that the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act should now come to an end may seem to be somewhat novel on my part to those hon. Members who have been in the House since 1920, when I was one of the protagonists of the Measure, and fought for it continuously year by year; and I am sure that I shall have to give some very cogent reasons, some cold, hard facts, in order to make hon. Members realise why I have now changed my opinion. The Committee will remember that in 1920, when the Act was brought into operation, it was brought into operation for two reasons. In the first place, when war broke out, we had practically speaking, no colours produced in this country except those produced by the British Alizarine Company. Secondly, 1830 we had none of those dye works which Germany used so largely for making poison gases during the War, and it was resolved that never again should that happen, but that we should be able to produce our own dyestuffs in this country.
It was considered by all of us that, if prohibition was granted for 10 years, this country, at the end of 10 years, would be in the position of producing practically every dyestuff that it required. I think it was the late Lord Moulton who said that, if an industry in this country was given five years' prohibition and could not then produce what another country was producing, the claim for prohibition should go. I want it to be clearly understood that, in desiring that the Act should come to an end, I am still in favour of the substitution of a tariff. A tariff is more elastic; it can be raised or lowered from day to day; but with total prohibition it is not possible to do anything of that sort.
The Dyestuffs Corporation were given 10 years in which to manufacture the essential colours required in our trade, but, as a dye-user of 35 years' standing, I make bold to say that practically speaking there has not been manufactured in this country any of what I would describe as the real essential dyestuffs that are needed for our home market and for the market abroad. It is true that the statistics show that the production of dyes in this country has increased enormously, but I would like hon. Members to realise that that production has not been augmented by these essential dyes which are needed, but has been production of the basic and direct colours, as they are called, which we were manufacturing before the War. As far as that goes, the Act has allowed the Dyestuffs Corporation, as it was then, to manufacture more of these colours, but now the position has changed. What I am about to say may be rather technical, but it is just as well that hon. Members should have a grasp of the position.
We have to use three essential colours, namely, chrome colours, vat colours, and naphthol colours. None of these colours were manufactured in this country before the War. I will deal later on with the chrome colours, but I should like now to mention that chrome colours, vat colours and naphthol colours are fast to light and washing, while all other 1831 colours are fugitive colours. What is our position to-day? We have been putting on the market goods dyed with chrome colours—which are demanded, not only in the home market, but all over the world, and which Japan especially is using to-day—of a quality that is the fastest of any; but the price of these colours has, as I shall show, gone up so enormously as to put us out of the market, and today we have to use a basic colour with a tannic acid mordant, which will give us the required brightness of tint, but, when it is hung up in a window for a month or two, or washed, the colour goes, and the result is that, if we supply goods dyed with these colours, we get the goods thrown back on our hands. If they are sent to foreign countries, the same thing happens, and, what is worse, our customers in those countries will never come back to us, but will go to our competitors in Japan and other countries where these colours are obtainable at a lower and more reasonable price than we have to pay at the present time.
Again, when the Act was passed, I think I am right in saying—no doubt the Parliamentary Secretary will correct me if I am wrong—that it was understood that there would be on the Development Committee an equal representation of dye makers and dye users, with two independent members appointed by the Government. I should like to state the present composition of the committee, in order to show the degree of weight or advantage that the users have on it. The names of the members are set out in the Third Report of the Dyestuffs Industry Development Committee.
Mr. Woolcock, the chairman, is a member of Imperial Chemical Industries. Mr. Blundell is a dye maker. Mr. Cronshaw is a member of Imperial Chemical Industries. Mr. Forrest Hewit is a dye user, and a director of the Calico Printers' Association. Major Holliday is a dye maker. Then we have Professor G. T. Morgan, and, next, Mr. James Morton, who is a dye maker. Mr. Palmer represents the Board of Trade. Then we have Mr. Davidson Pratt; and Mr. J. Rogers is a member of Imperial Chemical Industries. Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith represents the Bradford Dyers—another dye user. Mr. Thomas Taylor is a member of Imperial Chemical Industries; and 1832 then we have Professor J. F. Thorpe. Mr. G. S. Whitham represents the War Office, and Mr. T. M. Willcox is a member of Imperial Chemical Industries. Thus there are only two members of one of the largest trades in this country who sit on the Development Committee, as against a whole host of members of the dye-making industry. Is it fair that the dye-makers should have all the say, and that the colour-users—those of us who are finishing the Lancashire goods to send abroad and into our home market—should be in that painful minority, and should never be able to have any voice in regard to colour making in this country?
We know that the Dyestuffs Corporation was a ghastly failure from beginning to end. I happen to know, and other Members of the House may know, its whole history—how it took over a, practically derelict works, where no colour had ever been manufactured at all; how it was financed partly by the Government and partly by shareholders; how gentlemen were appointed directors who had never made dyes and knew nothing about them. The whole thing was a hopeless mess from start to finish. Now we have to face Imperial Chemical Industries. I have no quarrel with them; they are a brilliant firm, and are doing excellent work; but we, as users, have to face the fact that Imperial Chemical Industries to-day have not only a practical monopoly of the whole dye industry in this country, but have arrangements with the Interessen Gemeinschaft and other Continental dye-making firms, and they have such a. cartel that, even if they cannot now, they will in time be able to say to us that we must pay such-and-such prices for our colours, and there will not be the slightest competition at all.
I should like to put the following point: We happen to have a range of 18 chrome colours. Imperial Chemical Industries have manufactured only two of those chrome colours, but, in the case of those two chrome colours which they have manufactured in this country, presumably for British use, they have, under an agreement with the Dyestuffs Corporation, to send those colours over to Switzerland, and to say that we must buy those colours, which have been manufactured in this country, from Switzer- 1833 land, at a price which, owing to the fall in the £, is 40 to 50 per cent. above the price of the colours that we can get here. When a state of things like that has come about, it is time that this Act went out of existence altogether. If we can get some competition to bring prices down, it is about time that we had it. There has been a good deal of talk about increase of prices, but whatever may be said about statistics, my figures cannot be denied, because I am buying these colours practically every day of my life. I spend about £50,000 a year in colours, so I know what the price is to my cost. Imperial Chemical Industries put up the price of one colour from 4s. 4d. to 6s. 1½d., of another from 5s. to 7s. 6d., another from 3s. 7d. to 6s. 1½d., another from 3s. 8d. to 5s. 3d., from 4s. to 5s. 9½d., from 3s. 8d. to 5s. 2½d., from 6s. to 8s. 4d., from 4s. 4d. to 5s. 11½. and from 2s. 5d. to 3s. 1½d. I just give those as examples of vital colours that we have to put into our work.
When world prices for our goods are falling, we should not be asked to pay these increased prices. There is no reason, as far as I can see, why they should be put up. We in Lancashire should not be asked to be penalised by paying them when world prices are falling. The Calico Printers' Association are paying an increase this year of 290,000 increase for colour alone to be put on the whole of their production. In my works, which is a works of 12 machines, I am paying an extra £8,000 a year for my colour alone. With severe competition from Japan, such as we have never known before, I would ask the Committee what chance we have. It is obvious that the cartel wish for the prolongation of the Act in order that they can control the price of every colour sold in this country and abroad. An hon. Member below me mentioned that dyes were being sold to foreign countries at a lower price than they are being sold in this country. When we make allowance for cheaper labour and longer hours in Japan, there is still a discount—they produce at 30 per cent. below our cost of production—and I am forced to believe that colours are being supplied by this cartel to foreign nations at lower prices than they are supplied to us. We know that Japan must be buying at the very lowest point of the market, if not below it. The goods that Russia was sending 1834 to this country were produced at 70 per cent. below our cost of production. How is the Lancashire cotton trade to compete with countries like that? If our surmise is correct, they are able to buy their raw material at a lower price they we can.
There is some talk of setting up another committee. What good can another committee do? We know what time it takes them to come to a decision. If the committee sits for six, nine or 12 months, what is to become of the cotton trade? I implore the Board of Trade to bring the Act to a termination. I know my past speeches may be quoted against me, but at that time we had an enormous trade with India, Java, the Straits Settlements and South America. The trade with India, Java and the Straits Settlements is finished, and until recently we have done nothing for years with South America. I have been speaking about cotton. If you come to woollens, the percentage of dyes comes to about 30 or 35. Taking it over the whole range, a matter of £90,000 means not only the difference between a profit and a loss, it may mean bankruptcy, and for a smaller concern a figure of £8,000 may mean absolute bankruptcy. When we are doing everything we can in Lancashire to bring down our overhead costs and to try to compete with the foreigner and get back the markets that we have lost, I would in all seriousness ask my hon. Friend if the Government will not bring the Act to an end. I have spoken simply and solely from a business and trade point of view. If it was political matter, there would be some reason for putting on the Government Whips, but as it has simply to do with the trade of Lancashire—and if the trade of Lancashire revives every other trade will revive—I would ask if the question cannot be left to the free vote of the House.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. RAMSDEN
I hope that the Government wll resist the Amendment and that the Dyestuffs Act will be extended for another year. Whether the Whips are put on or not will not make the slightest difference to me, and I shall vote for the continuation of the Act. I speak as one interested in the use of dyestuffs and not in their manufacture. I also have experience not only of the manufacture but of the sale of woollens 1835 and cottons in this country and in the different markets of the world. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman speaks of the competition from Japan, which undoubtedly has had the effect of cutting our goods out of a number of markets, I think he is attaching more importance than he should do to the part that dyestuffs play. Whether in fancy cottons or in plain goods, the Japanese rates of labour are so very low that, even if you eliminated completely the cost of the dyestuffs, we should still not be able to bring our goods to the same price as that at which they sell them. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to a certain type of dyestuff as being made here, then going out of the country and coming back and being sold to the British users. As a matter of fact, that is not the correct story. I understand that the dyes are produced in this country and are sold by a certain Swiss firm in this country, but they do not go out of the country. The advantage to us is that they are actually being made by a British maker.
§ Mr. RAMSDEN
The fact remains that they do not leave the country. With regard to price, if you convert pounds into Swiss francs and convert back again, the exchange can balance itself in the process. I am desirous of supporting the continuation of the Act because I consider that it has been so very useful in building up this splendid dye-making industry and that it would be very dangerous to take any steps that might endanger it. May I remind the Committee of the very substantial increase in production that has taken place in the manufacture of dyestuffs. In 1913 we manufactured 9,114,134 lbs., representing something like 22 per cent. of the total dyestuffs used in the country. Last year the production increased to 47,980,700 lbs. or 90 per cent. Probably an even better test is the fact that since the Act has been in operation we have been able to build up a very substantial export trade in dyestuffs. Before the war that trade was negligible. In 1931 we exported 13,134,400 lbs., or a value of 81,016,218. There is a substantial export trade in dyestuffs. I feel that we are dealing with an industry which has been built up to 1836 a very efficient standard through the aid given to it by the Act which we are discussing. Reference was made by the two previous speakers to the Report of the Dyestuffs Development Committee, and I will read a paragraph from the Report which shows the standard which has now been attained.Many new dyestuffs have been put on the market, and as regards quality there is now little room for criticism of the standard maintained by the British output.They also give a very great deal of praise for the technical co-operation given to the industry. There is at the present moment a good deal of opposition in certain quarters to the continuation of this Act, and it is led by one for whom I have a great respect—Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith. I am only too glad to have an opportunity of paying a tribute to the excellent work which he has done on behalf of the dye users, and also the dye industry in this country. However, at the present moment I feel that he is certainly in the wrong, and I am not prepared to follow his advice. To suggest, as they do, that the objective laid down in the original Act has now been attained is to lose sight of the fact that, if we were to do away with the Act, we might endanger the position of the industry very seriously. In fact, there might be the very serious danger that its position would return to the very unfortunate one which existed before the War. Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith and the Colour Users' Association published a report some time ago, which I had the pleasure of reading, and in which they make it very clear that they would like to get rid of this Act. Out of a membership of 36, at the particular meeting at which they discussed the question of the Act, only 18 were present. A number of interests such as cotton, the garment and the wool dyers, as well as the representatives of the paint industry, who use a substantial quantity of dyestuffs, were not present so that really in effect the views which were expressed represented those of the dyers and finishers in this country. That is quite a different thing from speaking for the whole of the users of dyestuffs.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that because they were not present they were in favour of the continuance of the Act? They have not given expression to that effect. Does he 1837 suggest that because they were not there they want the Act to go on? The members who were not at the meeting have not expressed views to show other than that they are absolutely in agreement with the report of the Colour Users' Association.
§ Mr. RAMSDEN
I said that at the meeting, out of 36 members of this committee, only 18 were present. I think I made it very clear indeed that I did not say what opinion was held by the other people. I believe that if their thoughts could be placed before us at the present moment, we should find a certain number of them in favour of the removal of the Act from the Statute Book, and, on the other hand, we should probably find some of them in favour of continuing the Act. As they were not present at the meeting, I do not think that we can bring them into the picture.
Reference has been made to the fact that as a cartel is now in existence, it is -impossible to obtain competitive prices from any makers outside the country. I do not think that the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) and the hon. and gallant Member for West Salford (Lieut.-Commander Astbury) would like the Committee to understand that there are no other substantial manufacturers of dyestuffs left in the world, because, if so, they would not be correct. In. the United States of America there are very substantial manufacturers of dyestuffs. There are some 50 manufacturing companies with a capital of over £20,000,000. Among others are the Allied Chemical Company, the Pont du Nemours Company, and the Celco Company, all of them very important manufacturers of dyestuffs. It must not he forgotten that we have in England also the firm of Holliday and Company, in Italy the Colori Nazionale, in Holland the Chemische Fabrik Schiedam, and in Germany an important organisation, the Verein fur Chemische and Metallurgische Production.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
The hon. Member proves my case. My case is that we should have competition, but under this Act we cannot get their dyes into this country to compete.
§ Mr. RAMSDEN
The hon. and gallant Member should give me an opportunity of making my case. I would remind him 1838 that I did not interrupt when he was speaking, although he said many things with which I was in complete disagreement, and I should like him to allow me to develop my own argument in my own way. I wish it to be realised that there are a number of very substantial firms in existence in addition to those belonging to the cartel of which we have heard today. My hon. and gallant Friend opposite intervened and said that in the present conditions it is impossible for us to get into this country the dyestuffs which those non-cartel members are producing. With that I entirely disagree.
I will tell the Committee something about the composition of the Licensing Committee which deals with the permits which are granted to import dyestuffs into this country. The committee consists of five members of the colour users, three representatives of the colour makers, and three independent members, one of whom has to be the chairman.
It means, in effect, that if the colour users in this country want to import certain dyes because they think that they are necessary, all that they have to do is to convince one of the independent members, and they get their own way. Therefore, I do not think that anybody can possibly say that the Licensing Committee is one which is weighted against the users. They start out by having a perfectly fair tribunal, and, in fact, one which is in their favour rather than otherwise, which will give them justice when justice should be applied to them. If you have a tribunal of that kind willing to listen to the views of the users and to admit dyestuffs, not upon any arbitrary price level, but if it can be shown that the foreigner is able to offer dyestuffs at a cheaper price than those offered by the British manufacturer, dumping excepted, there can be no cause for complaint. Naturally the committee would not allow goods to come into this country where a dumping price was being used. There is nothing in the present Act which can possibly prevent any dye user in this country from importing any dyestuff which may be necessary for his trade if it is offered to him by a foreign manufacturer at a price lower than that at which he can obtain it from the British producer, or if it is a dye which is not made in. this country but which he needs in order to manufacture his goods.
1839 In reading through the report, and in particular the minority report signed by Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith and one other member, I notice that they gave a table of prices showing how certain dyestuffs have increased during a comparatively recent period. I suppose all of us, at some time or other, have been accustomed to prepare tables which were likely to support the case we were trying to make, and this appears to me to be a singularly good illustration of a table which has been prepared to support the case of those who are objecting to the continuation of this Act. It would rather appear from this table that the whole range of dyestuffs has been increased. As a matter of fact, this is not the case. If you examine the more detailed tables also given in the same report you will find that a number of prices have actually been decreased during the same period. That is something which the Committee ought to realise and to understand. With regard to the question of prices, we must remember that there has been, as far as the textile industry is concerned, a distinct change with regard to the type of dyestuffs used during the past few years. There has been a steady demand for a better type of dyestuffs, for a faster dye and something which will stand the test of time better than the type in use before the War. So that when you compare prices in 1913 and those of to-day, that is in 1932, you are not comparing like with like. To-day, in practice, the average type of dye used is a very much superior quality to the dye which was used in our dye houses before the War. That is another point which we ought to keep in our minds.
Although I support this Act to-day, I shall certainly be glad indeed if next year the question can be dealt with in a different way. It is a very unsatisfactory method of handling this problem for the Act to be renewed for only one year. It does not give anybody an opportunity, whether users or manufacturers, of doing their best. I hope that next year there will be an opportunity, after an investigation either by an impartial committee or in some other way, to bring in an Act which will last three or five years, whichever may be considered the more suitable. It would be a much more practical thing to do. It is wrong to allow the Act to 1840 be at the mercy of a decision which effects a number of other Measures at the same time. I believe that it would be possible to amend the Measure very considerably. It could be amended in certain ways so that the dye users would probably find a considerable number of their present objections removed. In any case, until we have another Measure to take its place, I hope that the Government will insist upon the present Act remaining on the Statute Book.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
While I hesitate very much to follow hon. Gentlemen who know the technique of this problem very much better than I do, there is a point which must be put on behalf of the Labour party. We view this primarily as to whether more employment will accrue in our country if this Act of Parliament is continued than if it is repealed. We have come to the conclusion, after looking at the problem carefully, that more workpeople would probably be employed in the colour-using industry in this country if the Act were repealed. I wish to make an observation on one point which was made by the hon. Member for North Bradford (Mr. Ramsden). It has been made in this House constantly for many years. He referred to the point in speaking of the colour-users in this country. I am, by the way, speaking to-day because I represent a Lancashire constituency, where there is some bleaching and dyeing carried on. That argument used by the hon. Member about Japanese rates of wages being low in the textile industry must be corrected. It is always assumed, as he has done, that the rates of wages paid in a country determine to a much greater extent the price of the commodity produced than it really does. I speak from memory, but I think I am right in saying that the textile trade unions in Lancashire sent a deputation to India to study this particular problem of the price of the commodity in relation to wages and hours of labour. What they reported in effect was that four spinners in Bombay working on exactly the same machinery using exactly the same raw material could not produce more of the same kind of commodity than one spinner working in Bolton, Lancashire.
§ Mr. RAMSDEN
May I ask how it is that the Indian Government have im- 1841 posed a special surtax on the importation of cotton goods produced in Japan?
§ Mr. DAVIES
That is another problem. What I am trying to prove is that the hon. Member is wrong in claiming, because wages are low in Japan that, of necessity, the commodity itself competes unfairly in the markets of the world. Therefore, I want to repeat the statement made by representatives of the Lancashire Textile Union when they came back from India that it takes four spinners in Bombay operating exactly the same machines and using exactly the same raw materials to turn out as much of the same commodity as one spinner employed in Bolton, Lancashire. The Indians have not the skill behind them, they have not the technique and they have not the nimbleness of fingers that have come down for generations among the spinners and weavers of Lancashire. I hope, therefore, that the hon. Member will not pursue that line of argument.
§ Mr. RAMSDEN
I am reluctant to interrupt the hon. Member, but I cannot accept the argument that he has advanced. I happen to have definite practical experience of the cost at which Lancashire cloths are being sold, and the price at which Japanese cloths are being sold. I know also that the result of cheaper labour in Japan reflects itself in the charge they make for similar cloths to those that can be produced in Lancashire; unfortunately, the price is very much lower, and that is due directly, and to nothing else, to the fact that they pay very small wages.
§ Mr. DAVIES
As I have said, I do not claim to know as much about the technique of the trade as the hon. Member, but I have heard it argued on the Floor of this House that this particular cheapness of Japanese textile goods is due not only to the fact that the price of labour is lower than ours but that the Japanese Government subsidise the ships carrying those commodities.
Let me deal with one or two other points made by the hon. Member, because he is the only one as yet who has opposed the Amendment to repeal the Act. He says that the Act has already built up a successful dyestuffs industry in this country. That is exactly what the Mover of the Amendment has already said. The Mover stated, too, that it has had 10 or 1842 11 years to operate, that it has built up a successful industry in this country, but he also pointed out that in building up that industry for the production of dyestuffs it has at the same time created a monopoly, to which we on these benches object. That is the pivot on which the whole argument against this Measure, turns. If it be true that the home industry has succeeded to such a point that it is at last safe against foreign competition, how long are we going to bolster it up while it operates against the interests of our own colour users? That is the issue before the Committee to-day.
The hon. Member made another point. He said that we had built up a successful export trade in dyestuffs. That is all to the good, but the colour users in this country have legitimate complaints on that score too. They are, I think, the most representative body that has ever come before Parliament in opposition to this Act. I agree entirely with the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment that we are dealing in this matter not with a partisan or a political issue, but with a business proposition. So far the case has been put from that angle, and I am not going to run away from that business proposition. I say that it is possible to increase your export trade in a certain commodity by exploiting your home consumer. I do not say that that is done in relation to dyestuffs, but it is known to have been done in other commodities not only in this country but in other countries too. That is to say that you can increase your exports by selling your commodity at a reduced price abroad merely because you charge higher prices for the same commodity in your own country. I do not say that that has been done with dyestuffs, but if you have a monopoly there is always a danger of it being done.
The hon. Member agrees, and I think Members of all parties agree, that if the Government wish to continue this Act they ought at any rate to review the whole position again. I think the suggestion made to that effect by the hon. Member is a good one. If we pass the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill with this Act in the Schedule, the Government ought to go into the matter once again. I cannot conceive that a large body of colour users in Lancashire who know no partisanship on this score, the vast majority of whom are probably supporters of the Govern- 1843 ment on other issues will have come to the House of Commons with a request for the ending of the Dyestuffs Act without really very strong business reasons for so doing, reasons very much stronger than even the hon. Member for North Bradford has put this afternoon. It always takes time to get up a case against any Government but they have got up theirs on this occasion in a very formidable manner. I have seen many deputations from Lancashire but the one on this question was about the most representative I have ever seen.
Let me deal with another point in the hon. Member's speech, namely, that the cartel does not destroy that form of competition that ought to give to the British colour users their rights. Let me see what the late Lord Melchett said some years ago about his own company He said:I can state emphatically that I do not consider the British chemical industry to be in any way inferior to that of the Germans.That is a great achievement. It was said during the War that we had lost control over dyestuffs, that we could not produce them here, yet we had one of the greatest scientists this country has ever known, saying some years ago that we were even then no longer inferior to Germany in this connection. He went on to say:The costs of our production of chemical products are as low as, if not lower than, in any other country.Conditions must have changed very much since that statement was made, otherwise the complaints we have heard to-day would not have been made. Let me sum up what is said by these people who know the case best. They have discussed this matter from the business point of view only, and I can recollect a very strong statement made by one who represented a body of colour users in Lancashire that because of the monopoly created under this Act the dyestuff users he represented have had to pay at the rate of £90,000 per annum more than they would have had to pay but for the monopoly. If that be true, and I think it is to be found in a statement produced by these people, it is a very serious situation indeed for the colour users. This is how they put the point:The dye-making industry has enjoyed a period of 12 years' prohibition of the goods they produce.1844 and they have built up a successful industry.The objects of the Act have been achieved and a substantial dye-making industry established. The formation of an international cartel has entirely changed the outlook, and it can be stated that the parties comprising the cartel represent substantially a world monopoly.We have to remember that. While we gave protection to our own dye-producing industry at home, it was never thought by any Member of this House that we were giving the right at the same time to the home producer to build up a cartel for the production of dyestuffs in Europe. The hon. Member mentioned American dye producers, but America is 3,000 miles away, and that makes a vast difference. It is only a few hundred miles from here to Germany. The statement of our colour users proceeds:The British makers took immediate advantage of the conditions created by the cartel to exploit the consumer, and domestic dyestuff prices were drastically increased at a time of national crisis and when the Government were insisting that no justification existed for the raising of internal prices.So far as we as Labour Members of this House are concerned, we are satisfied on balance, looking at the problems from the broad point of view, that there would be more employment in this country, especially in Lancashire if the colour users were able to buy their dyestuffs at a cheaper rate than they are doing now. It would obviously enlarge employment in Lancashire because the users say that the cost of the dyes enters so largely into the cost of the product, when they put it on the market at home and abroad. For these reasons we shall to-night, as we have done before for several years past, vote for the deletion of this Act from the Schedule, and we trust that whatever happens to-night the Government will go into this matter very seriously, more particularly as it affects colour users in Lancashire.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Dr. Burgin)
As I have an announcement to make in the course of the observations that I shall address to the Committee, it may be convenient that I should intervene at this stage. The Government are impressed now, as always, with the necessity of maintaining in this country a flourishing 1845 dyestuffs industry, and if, as a result of Government policy, it has been decided to ask the Committee to vote for the continuation of the Dyestuffs Act for a Further 12 months, I hope that none of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Members will think that the Government are, not fully alive to the woes and troubles of the textile industry. The matter must be looked at as a whole, and I want to review the subject in a short compass.
We have had a very temperate speech from the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), which was in the nature practically of an appeal. The hon. and gallant Member for West Salford (Lieut. - Commander Astbury), who seconded the Amendment, did not seem to take quite the same view. The hon. Member for South Bradford would have liked the Act to come to an end, and not to be replaced by any alternative method of control. The hon. and gallant Member for West Salford indicated that if the Dyestuffs Act came to an end he hoped that a tariff would take its place, while the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) looked at the matter solely from its effect on employment.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
I made it quite clear that I am in favour of a tariff; that it would be far better to deal with it by a tariff than by total prohibition.
Dr. BU RGIN
I am not contravening that statement. I am pointing out that the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment spoke from different angles. The hon. Member for Westhoughton looks at it from its effect on employment, and says, without giving us any evidence, that if colour users were able to obtain colours at lower prices, they would be able to enlarge their works and employ more workers. He did not continue his argument and say whether the dyemakers would suffer from increased competition and would have to discharge workers; but, I think, his argument meant that on balance the colour users would employ more men than the dyemakers. The hon. Member for North Bradford (Mr. 1846 Ramsden), speaking with considerable knowledge of the industry, put the other case.
Let me take the Government's attitude on the matter. I need not remind the Committee how the Dyestuffs Act came into existence. I need not remind them that a Departmental Committee was set up several years prior to the passing of the Act of 1920 to investigate the whole matter of the essential importance to this country, in the interests of national defence among other matters of a flourishing, efficient and modern dyestuffs industry. I mention national defence because some hon. Members have suggested that this is purely an industrial matter, that it can be dealt with merely on business lines, more as a matter of economy than a matter of policy. It is necessary to enter a caveat that important considerations of national defence enter into the question. Obviously, the Government would be faced with a different position if the reports made by the Dyestuffs Industry Development Committee had ever been unanimous. The hon. Member for Westhoughton has paid a glowing tribute to the character and composition of the deputation and has congratulated the colour users on the way in which they have assembled facts, figures and arguments, and laid them before this House. How much greater value the arguments would have possessed, had they been arguments from a united committee instead of arguments put forward in a minority Report of the Committee. When the 1920 Act was reaching its normal termination of 10 years a report was published by the Dyestuffs Industry Development Committee. They were not then agreed; there were differing views. But the Act in the meantime was continued, and a year later in 1931, a further extension of the Act took place, without a Division. We all remember how the Government were constituted at that time, and I repeat that it was without a Division n 1931 that the Dyestuffs Act was continued for a further period of 12 months.
Now the third report of the Dyestuffs Industry Development Committee is before hon. Members. It is dated 25th October of this year, and is Command Paper 4191, dated November—quite a recent date. What does the committee recommend? The majority report recommends that the Dyestuffs Act be extended 1847 for three years, but two members of the majority recommend that it should be five years instead of three. There is a minority report signed by two members of the committee, Sir H. Sutcliffe Smith and Mr. Forrest Hewit, both users—I want to be absolutely fair—and they express the view that there should be a discontinuance of the Act. The difference of opinion which existed in 1930 is now shown by this third report in 1932 to have extended into a perfectly definite cleavage, one party recommending a long-term extension and the other no extension at all.
I ask hon. Members to reflect as to what any administration would do faced with the competing views of experts within the very body set up under the Act to advise the Government as to the way in which the Act should be administered. The output of synthetic dyes has increased 530 per cent. between 1913 and 1931--the figures were given by the hon. Member for North Bradford—or from 9,000,000 lbs. to 48,000,000 lbs., a very gratifying increase. Imports have fallen from 32,000,000 lbs. in 1913 to 5,000,000 lbs. in 1931. In other words, the output has been multiplied by five and the imports have been divided by more than six, an extremely important observation. In quality a marked improvement, a great service, excellent co-operation, excellent technical advice—matters of great importance in dealing with the development of an industry which the Committee will agree is one of national importance. In research, no slackening of effort. Many important novelties have been introduced, representing a policy of development rigorously followed.
That brings me to the cartel. A great deal has been said during the Debate about the cartel and the prejudicial effects resulting from it. I wonder whether the Committee has ever thought of what an international cartel would be if this country had been excluded from it? The case I am making is that the effect of the cartel without Great Britain would have been extremely damaging to this country. But the cartel which has come into existence is one in which this country is included, and, so far from being a disadvantage, is an enormous advantage. What is there left? It is said that the prices of all essential dyestuffs have been increased; the hon. and 1848 gallant Member for West Salford said that the rate of increase was about 222 per cent.
§ Dr. BURGIN
Yes, a good many of these colours are, admittedly, imported One of the effects when you go off the Gold Standard becomes very marked when you import. Whatever advantage there may be on your export trade by something in the nature of a bounty or bonus, becomes marked in the opposite direction when you are compelled to import. I have been impressed by the cartel argument, and have taken the opportunity of making considerable investigations in order to ascertain whether the cartel was operating to the disadvantage of this country. I should like the Committee clearly to understand that the prices of colours that are dealt in by this cartel are gold prices; and these gold prices are not higher in the United Kingdom for the same dyes than prices quoted in other countries. That is an extremely valuable point, and I make it as the result of investigations which I have made personally in order to give that assurance to the Committee. The gold prices of the same colours do not vary disadvantageously to the United Kingdom. Once you have a cartel in which this country is included and under which the dyes sold on a gold basis are available to the users in this country on, terms comparable to those quoted to users in other countries, I think you have removed a large element of any possible grievance.
A good deal of confusion has arisen in the quotation of these prices through not taking into account the effect of the falling value of the pound and the necessity, when paying in sterling for gold prices, that you -have to pay considerably higher than you previously paid. Arguments have been adduced for the immediate cessation of the Act and also for its continuance. The Government, faced with these competing recommendations, are obliged to seek advice elsewhere. The maintenance of the dyestuffs industry is extremely important, because it is an assurance for the textile trade of a continuance of the supply of their raw material. Dyestuffs themselves are required for the uniforms of troops and for 1849 experiments in explosives, and it is a matter of national importance that the dyestuffs industry should not be allowed to disintegrate. When these matters have been before the Committee previously there has been no very easy proposal which the Government could make as an alternative.
In view of the division of opinion inside the committee advising the dyestuffs industry, a committee in regard to the composition of which complaints have been made by the hon. and gallant Member for West Salford, a committee on which it is suggested there are too many representatives of dyemakers and too few of dye users—and it was suggested that this might account for the difference of opinion—the Government have decided to adopt a different line. It is proposed to ask the Import Duties Advisory Committee to inquire into the whole circumstances of the dye industry, and whether interests would best be served in one way or another; to refer the whole matter to an admittedly impartial and extremely knowledgeable committee with all kinds of expert information available to it.
I have little doubt that that committee will, in accordance with its own wisdom, inform itself of the views of makers, consumers, distributors and users, as in regard to any other inquiry which that committee undertakes. The members of the committee have intimated their willingness to accept this reference. So, a strong and efficient dye-making industry being of national importance, the Government propose to ask the Import Duties Advisory Committee, under the shelter of this nominal one year's extension of the Act—a mere temporary prolongation to enable this other committee to get to work—to investigate the whole matter, and when they have reported there will remain the Committee of Imperial Defence to intimate how the essential interests of the defence of this country would be affected by any recommendation. That is the proposed method of dealing with this matter. I thought it would be convenient to make that statement at this stage of the discussion.
There are two other matters upon which I wish to touch. The name of Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith has been mentioned by the hon. Member for South Bradford, who was opposing the continuation of this Dyestuffs Act. Sir Henry 1850 Sutcliffe Smith is such a great figure in the dye-using industry that I think the Committee owes it to him to see that no use is made of his name out of keeping with the whole of the context, and we have had such service and assistance from him in the past that I am sure the Committee may take it that, whatever the ultimate decision of the Government may be, Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith's one desire would be, as always, to see that the fullest co-operation of those whom he represents is always at the disposal of the Government. There is one other matter. There was a suggestion that this question should be left to a free vote of the House, that the Whips should be called off, because, it is said, this is only an industrial question. The decision as to whether the Whips shall be called off does not rest with me, but the Committee will realise that this is not merely an industrial question, and that matters of national defence enter into it. Therefore, to accede to the request of hon. Members would not be possible.
§ Dr. BURGIN
The answer is that, of course, Parliament is always sovereign. Without legislation this Act will come to an end on 31st December, 1932. It is because of that fact that it is included. in the Schedule of the Bill under discussion. It is suggested that it be continued for a, temporary period to enable this further investigation to take place. Nominally, if the Committee pass this Schedule, the Act, subject to what may happen in another place, will automatically be extended for 12 months. There is nothing in that by itself to prevent the Import Duties Advisory Committee from making a recommendation to come into force earlier than 31st December, 1933, but that would require legislation.
§ 6.36 p.m.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
I doubt whether the great industries which consider themselves injuriously affected by the continuance of this Act will be satisfied by the reference of the matter to what is usually known as the May Committee, a body already overworked, having to deal with a vast number of subjects, which will be 1851 unable to give the close and detailed consideration which this highly technical matter requires. I agree that the action taken by the Government is better than nothing. It is better than a mere negative. But at the same time I would much have preferred had an opportunity been given to the House of Commons to eliminate this Statute from the Expiring Laws Bill. This is a subject in the discussion of which I ventured to take a somewhat active part in the last Parliament, as a Lancashire Member whose constituents are very seriously affected by the continuance of the Act. I did not speak, and I do not speak now, as an opponent of the Dyestuffs Act in itself. The Act was in fact originated by the action of a Government of which I had the honour to be a Member during the War, and our action was taken largely on grounds of national defence, on the strategic grounds which have been mentioned today. We did not proceed by the crude and unsatisfactory method of a mere tariff, but we adapted our legislation directly to the needs of the case, and the course taken has been justified by the results.
There has been created a great new national industry which, as has been shown to-day, has developed a large trade at home and abroad, which gives employment to great numbers of people and has carried on most valuable research work. The whole country ought to be grateful to the dye manufacturers for the energy which they have put into the matter, the risks they have been willing to run and the success which they have undoubtedly achieved. But now, after 12 years, we consider that, those results having been attained, the industry ought to be able to take its place with other great national industries and stand on its own feet. We advanced that view two years ago, but then we were met by the contrary opinion of Sir Henry Sutcliffe Smith, the Chairman of the Colour Users' Association, who was then of opinion that the Act ought to be continued for a further period. Now he has signed a minority report strongly urging, and giving the most cogent reasons why, in the interest of the colour users and the nation as a whole, the Act should now terminate.
We have had a most powerful speech from the hon. and gallant Member for 1852 West Salford (Lieut. - Commander Astbury), who previously had held the view that, the Act should be continued, and he says, from his intimate knowledge of the industry, that the time has now come when the Act should be brought to an end. The hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), in a speech fully documented and giving facts and reasons which I believe must carry conviction to impartial Members, has stated a similar case. I do not propose to cover the ground which they have covered, but I would like to emphasise one most important fact mentioned in the majority report:It is estimated that during this year the prices of individual dyestuffs, disregarding the quantity sold, have been raised on the average by about 22½ per cent.That is an exceedingly serious matter. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade said just now, "Ah well, we have gone off the Gold Standard, and we must expect this kind of thing where imported articles are concerned." But it is not only the imported dyestuffs. All those who are acquainted with the facts know that the home-produced dyestuffs have equally been raised in price. That is the grievance, because they represent the great bulk of the quantity consumed. The minority, who represent the colour users, say:The conclusion of the international agreement was followed almost immediately by a substantial increase in the selling prices of domestically-made dyestuffs, with complete disregard for the precarious condition of many of the consuming industries during a period of national crisis.It is at all times, and especially now, of extreme importance to the nation that we should reduce the producing costs of our industries. Unless we succeed in that our international trade cannot recover. For that reason the workers in the textile industries have been pressed, and indeed compelled, to accept lower wages. While on the one hand the workers have had their incomes reduced, on the other hand Measures such as this are passed or maintained, which raise the cost of production of British industry; and the minority say that in their report:It is a strange anomaly that, whilst the Government have been successful in negotiating terms whereby Lancashire operatives have accepted less wages in order that British textile goods may be competitive in world markets, at the same time the dye-makers, by increasing their prices for a 1853 major raw material of the textile trade, are offsetting the objects of the recent wage cuts.But that is not the only point. We have also a tariff of 10 per cent. on these goods when they come in. It is essential that certain dyestuffs should be purchased abroad, because they are not made in this country, and we have the additional 10 per cent. added to the cost of them without any benefit to British manufacturers, because those are goods which are not made in this country and therefore bring no indirect advantage to British employment, but merely add to the burdens on the British manufacturer. It is surely a profound error to put taxes on raw materials, whatever may be said about manufactured goods.
§ Dr. BURGIN
These dyestuffs at present are not on the Free List, so that, quite apart from anything that we are discussing now, whether the Act is continued or not, the 10 per cent. will still remain.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
That is so. It is the accumulation of burdens on the industry of which I am complaining, this 10 per cent. in addition to the effect of the cartel, which is raising the prices of these commodities, whether produced at home or abroad, and further the effect of the depreciation of the pound, which adds another 30 per cent. to the cost of goods imported. It is essential that some of these goods be imported because they are not made here. They are needed to maintain the quality of British goods, and the quality of British goods is fully as important as the question of price. We depend for our markets on quality. Here you have impediments placed in the way of getting the highest quality of goods. Even that is not all, for the colour users complain that the effect of this law and its machinery is that there are frequent delays, that when special dyes are needed for the manufacture of special lines of textiles which have to be completed at once to fulfil an order, they have to go to the committee to get a licence and to prove that the goods are not made in this country, and that frequently that entails a delay of weeks. That is a grave inconvenience to the industry.
Consequently, the whole of the textile trade is unanimous in asking Parliament no longer to continue this Act. The 1854 organisations which have petitioned the Government and have sent a resolution to that effect are these: The Liverpool Cotton Association, the Manchester Cotton Association, the Federation of Master Cotton Spinners' Associations, Ltd., the Cotton Spinners' and Manufacturers' Association, the Bleaching Trade Advisory Board, the Federation of Calico Printers, the Piece-Dyers Association; the Employers' Federation of Cotton Yarn Bleachers, Dyers and Sizers; the Employers' Federation of Dyers and Finishers, the Master Packers' Association, the Shipping Merchants' Committee of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce; the United Textile Factory Workers' Association, representing the trade unions in the spinning and weaving sections; the Joint Dyers' Association and the Joint Board of Inside Warehouse Workers, representing the trade unions in the warehouse and packing sections.
Furthermore, there is the woollen trade for which my hon. Friend the Member for South Bradford has been the spokesman this afternoon. I, therefore, suggest that this Committee of the House of Commons ought to express its clear opinion that the time has come when this matter should not merely be referred to a committee, but when this exceptional Measure ought to be terminated, having fulfilled the purpose for which it was originally established. Almost invariably, if a privilege is given to a particular industry for a term of years, when that term comes to an end, reasons are given why the privilege should not be stopped. I do not know of any case in which an industry has voluntarily surrendered privileges granted to it by Parliament. Originally it was proposed by Lord Moulton, who was one of the originators of this Measure, that it should last for five years and in that time he thought that the industry could establish itself. Parliament in its wisdom in 1920 decided that the industry should be given 10 years in order to complete what was undoubtedly a difficult task and that it should have security during that period, so that this most necessary manufacture might be established for the first time, effectively, in this country.
The 10 years came to an end and it was then said by the industry, "We want a little more time in order to complete our arrangements and make our Indus- 1855 try quite stable." Parliament was divided on the matter but on the initiative of the other House, not of this House, it was decided that a further year's extension should be given. It was anticipated that during that year further inquiry would be made and the matter finally settled. No such action was taken and at the end of that year a still further year's extension was given. Now we come to the end of the second year and a committee which consists in an overwhelming measure of dye-makers —containing only two dye users and many dye makers—now recommends a further extension of three years. The Government ask us to give one year and meantime promise an inquiry by a committee which is not especially suited, in my submission, to the accomplishment of the task in view. I think many Members will desire to express disagreement with that course and I trust that my hon. Friend will, go to a Division on the Amendment.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ Mr. CLARRY
I have no wish to delay the Committee unduly in coming to their decision on this matter but, having listened to this Debate for three hours, I would like to take up one or two of the points which have been raised. The outstanding feature of this discussion is that in the speeches of those who recommend and support the elimination of this Act from the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, no charge whatever is made that the dyestuff makers have been exploiting either the users or the country. In fact all have joined in praise of the dyestuff makers for having done so much to bring about a stable industry. The most that even my right hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) can say is that there has been a serious matter of 22½ per cent. increase in charges over a year which is generally admitted to have been an uneconomic year. But can that be regarded as a very serious matter when we take into consideration the fact that this industry is providing for extensive research work in all directions and also the fact, that it is not to the interests of the users themselves to have an industry of this kind which is not stable and which is uneconomic.
1856 The hon. and gallant Member for West Salford (Lieut.-Commander Astbury) mentioned a figure of £90,000 as the additional sum which he had paid for dyes—or I should say, which was paid for an association and not for himself. It is not possible to contest or to debate those figures with him but as he has already said that the cost of dyes in the finished product amounts to approximately 5 per cent., I can only congratulate him on the vastly increased amount of money which he has had to spend upon dyes and which is indicative of a largely increased business. The Parliamentary Secretary has largely stultified further discussion of this matter by his suggestion of inquiry by a committee but I do not 'agree that a committee is necessary at this stage. I gather that, the terms of reference are to include the matter of Imperial defence.
§ Dr. BURGIN
No, do not let us have any misunderstanding about this. The reference to the Import Duties Advisory Committee will be on the question of how to deal with the dyestuffs industry industrially. When the industrial report has been received, then it will be for the Government to introduce the element of the interests of national defence.
§ Mr. CLARRY
If we have regard to the circumstances of the time when this Act was originally introduced we find that the necessity for it was very great. In the 12 years which have passed since then we have expanded in our political ideas upon these subjects. In 1920 the word "prohibition" was only mentioned behind closed doors and safeguarding was only introduced in very exceptional circumstances. This Act which constituted total prohibition with the exception of certain licensed importation, went, far beyond even what we have reached to-day, 12 years later, in circumstances of extreme necessity. Yet after all that period of the operation of that Act we find that there is only praise in this Committee to-day for the way in which the dyestuff makers have acted. We must also have regard to the fact that imports 1857 have been reduced from 32,000,000 lbs. to 5.000,000 lbs. and production has been increased in the same years from 9,000,000 lbs. to 48,000,000 lbs. We may therefore say that the operation of the Act for general purposes has proceeded along the lines for which it was originally passed. The matter of prices has been mentioned in several quarters but there appears to be no justification for agreeing to the discontinuance of the Act. Rather, since the matter has been left, in the hands of Parliament, there is a good case for continuing the Act for at least another year.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Mr. REMER
It is not often that I find my name on the Order Paper as supporting the same Amendment as 6.53 p.m. the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) but in this case I think that our reasons for supporting the Amendment are rather different. It is not the first time that the hon. and gallant Member for West Salford (Commander Astbury) and I have debated this question but I think it is the first time that we have agreed upon it. If it comes to a question of consistency I, like him, cannot lay claim to a pure consistency on this subject because in 1930 I spoke and voted in favour of the continuance of this Act. I always held however that the proper way to protect this industry was by means of a tariff and not by means of prohibition and licence. I am willing to admit that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Salford 10 years ago did a great deal to convert me to the view which he held at that time, on the ground that the industry was not fully established and wanted a degree of security which could not be given by a tariff or only by a very large one.
The position has new altered. To-day the British Dyestuffs Corporation has become part of a huge combine. It has large financial resources and is quite able to stand up to any competition. Furthermore, since 1930 we have had the passage of the Import Duties Act under which these dyestuffs are subject to a 10 per cent. duty. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade made a reference to gold prices. I am in business as an importer of foreign timber and I would ask the hon. Gentleman, can he name one other article besides dyestuffs which has gone up as a result of this country going off gold? Practically every commodity is 1858 selling at the same price as it was selling at before we went off gold in September or October last year, except this one item of dyestuffs, and, in that case, the price has been forced up because it is under a cartel. Everybody who is engaged in business knows that every time the dollar exchange falls, dawn comes the price of the goods in dollars, and therefore you are able, as I am, to sell your goods at the same price to-day as before, even under the effect of the duty upon them and the depreciation of 30 per cent. in the exchange.
In this matter there is a great case for the view which we are putting forward. In my constituency there are, probably, some of the largest users of dyestuffs in the United Kingdom. These dyestuffs are used not merely in connection with silk goods but also in connection with the dyeing, printing and bleaching of cotton goods. Those industries have come into that constituency in order to get the benefit of the pure water of the Cheshire rivers. I am receiving no end of complaints upon this subject and one of the chief complaints against the present procedure is this. It is true that the small dyer of cotton goods can go to the licensing committee and get licences to import any dyestuffs he wants. But he has to tell that committee what he is going to use dyestuffs for and some members of the committee may say to him, "That particular dye would not naturally be used for that purpose." He has then to disclose to the committee the chemical analysis and the particular method which he is going to put into operation and members of that committee may be his competitors. He is disclosing to his competitors an analysis which is vital to his own business. I say that the proper method of dealing with this industry is by a tariff. I believe that it is of the utmost importance to the country that an efficient dyestuffs industry should be firmly established, but I have always held that any system of prohibition and licensing is wrong.
Now what would happen if this Amendment were passed? I do not think anything very terrible would happen. The Import Duties Advisory Committee could do as they have done in other industries. They could issue an Order in Council to-morrow night, or on 1st January, which would be more convenient because 1859 that would be the day on which the Act would be discontinued. They have already done that in the case of the steel industry. They could say that there would be a temporary duty of, perhaps, 33⅓ per cent. on imported dyestuffs. As a result of that Order in Council we would find that there would be ample time, in the six months in which the 33⅓ per cent. duty should last, for the committee to review the whole of the circumstances applying to the dyestuff industry, and all the circumstances of the complaints made against Imperial Chemicals. These complaints are not coming from people who in 1930 were not in favour of the continuance of the Act, nor are they coming from Free Trade Liberals. Many of those from whom complaints are coming are among the most violent Conservative Protectionists in the North of England. If this Act is continued, we are going to bring discredit on the whole system of Protection in this country by this ill-advised form of Protection which we have at present; we are going to do great injury to a cause we have deeply at heart. It will be bad for our country and we shall see a very terrible effect upon employment at an early date.
§ 7.2 p.m.
§ Mr. LEES-JONES
I am in the same position as many Lancashire Members, inasmuch as my constituency is affected by the Dyestuffs Act. In my division there is a firm which makes dyes, and I am wondering what will happen to employment in my division if this Act ceases on 31st December. I did not know until to-day that the dye trade could save the textile trade, but it would appear, from the speeches which have been made, that a drop in the price of dyes would employ more people in the various textile trades. I venture to say that I do not believe that. If the Act ceases at the end of December this year there would be an influx of foreign dyes, and there would be an increase of unemployment in this country in dyemaking. Obviously that would be the case, as everyone knows there is intense competition in dyes.
§ Mr. SLATER
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade has said that there is a cartel, and where there is a cartel there are quotas.
§ Mr. LEES-JONES
Nobody would suggest that we would have been asked to 1860 join in a cartel if we still had an open market. We have Protection. Nobody ever asked us to join a cartel while we were a free market. Why should we assume we should have been asked to join if we had no Protection?
§ Mr. LEES-JONES
We should not have been asked to join and the result would be that if this Act did cease, the other members of the cartel would feel perfectly justified in flooding this market with dyes, at cost prices; in other words, dumping would again start. I am sorry that the majority report of the Development Committee has not been adopted and the Act extended for three years. I am very grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade for having promised that the whole question will be reviewed during the next 12 months—not by a body which met twice in the same year and gave no decision. This time it will be under the aegis of the Import Duties Advisory Committee. The whole question of Free Trade and Protection has arisen again to-day. Those who are Free Traders are dead against the continuance of the Act. Although they say they are not against its continuance, because they are Free Traders, there is a certain amount of Free Trade in it. I do hope that, whether the Whips are taken off, or kept on, the Dyestuffs Act will be carried on for at least 12 months.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Sir GERALD HURST
The hon. Member who has just spoken is, like myself, a Member for Manchester, but the views he has expressed, I venture to say, are not found very generally in Manchester. It does happen to be that there is a dyeworks in the constituency which my hon. Friend represents, but in actual fact the great interest of Manchester, and the great interest of Lancashire, is that nothing should be done which could in any way hinder the revival of the great industry in that county which depends for its well-being, primarily, upon the export trade. Any Member for Lancashire must feel a very grave responsibility in deciding how to vote upon this Amendment and, although I have always voted. for the Act on previous occasions, I feel that convincing arguments have been put 1861 forward by the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment in their very cogent and powerful speeches. They are arguments which must persuade anybody who has at heart the interests of the great staple textile trades of the North of England. The greatest interest of the industrial north is a revival of the export trade. It is not only a question of maintaining the value of the pound, or the balance of trade, but it is also wrapped up with the fortunes of the export trade and the employment of the great mass of workers.
It is common ground among those interested in this question that the only way in which any Government can help and further our export trade is to reduce to its minimum the cost of production. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) has pointed out, the justification for the wage cuts in the Lancashire cotton industry has been the wish to lower the cost of production. The great justification for the de-rating of industry by the last Conservative Government was to lower the cost of production. The great argument we have always advanced against the Socialist view that higher taxation does not matter, is that higher taxation means greater cost of production. If you do anything to increase the cost of the raw material of a staple trade; if you do anything to contribute to a rise of cost of our cotton, woollen or silk textile goods, you are adding to the cost of production, and it is in evidence that in fact, in many cases, the cost of dyes has been advanced. Even in the cotton trade, where the cost is less than in the woollen trade, it runs out at something like 40 per cent. of the cost or the finished article. It follows that any artificial increase in the cost of dyestuffs must have a bad effect upon the cost of production, and the higher the cost of production the more difficult it is for our great stable export industries to hold their own against world competition.
I do suggest that the existing law needs to be carefully examined before the Committee assents to its renewal. I should like to show how the circumstances of our time have materially changed from those existing when this Act came into existence. In 1920 there was no efficient dye industry in this country and, from the point of view of the efficiency of that 1862 industry, and of national defence, it was urgent that a prosperous and satisfactory dye industry should be created. The evidence is that such an industry has now been created. The first object of the legislation has been achieved. Secondly, there was Free Trade at the time when this particular form of legislation was introduced. At the present time there is a duty of 10 per cent., and also the depreciated value of the pound. The result is that the British dye industry is protected, and nothing would be more easy than to increase the protection to a, high figure, if the present duty was found inadequate, either from the point of view of maintaining the industry, or from the point of view of meeting the contingencies of national defence.
The system of protection is a much more helpful one. Instead of three or four weeks elapsing before you get a licence, every importer would know where he was, and if protection still left it worth while for the dye user to import an article he could do it on the usual terms. The third way in which circumstances have changed is this: The time when this legislation was introduced was a time of competitive prices. As has been pointed out in the reports, the whole assumption was that this dye industry was faced with competitive prices, and that these competitive prices would be maintained. It is pointed out on page 13 that the dye users acquiesced to an extension beyond 10 years when they were given definite assurances by the makers and the Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Trade that prices would be competitive. But once you have a monopoly you cannot continue to have competitive prices and, from the report of the majority of the committee, it is clear that, although there may be some foreign dyemakers outside the combine, there is a general, a world cartel. That is pointed out on pages 8 and 9 of the Majority Report. My hon. Friend who has just spoken did not really appreciate what a cartel means. It is not a case of a State or of Parliament introducing a cartel. A cartel emerges from within the industry. Once you have a cartel you have a monopoly with three definite consequences. First, the atmosphere of competitive prices ceases to exist, and one of the justifications for our present system has passed out of being. Secondly, there 1863 is the liability to a rise in prices. In the present case it is not only a liability—there has been a rise in prices.
One hon. Member said: "Why do you complain about a rise in prices in one year which was only 22 per cent?" That seems to me a very defective argument, because a rise of 22 per cent. in one year is a very considerable addition to the price, particularly in view of the fact that, with regard to many commodities, the dyestuffs represent something like 50 per cent. of the value of the finished article. There is no guarantee, where you have a world cartel, that the prices at which the article is sold in England represent the level of prices at which the same article is sold abroad. It may happen that at present there is no difference, but that is no guarante whatever. The cartel can sell at whatever prices they choose to fix, and in some country where there are still outside firms competing they may sell at a lower price than in England. In my submission, the conditions under which this House voted for this Measure some years ago and last year have entirely changed, and we are faced with the problem as to whether it is really justifiable that these great shipping industries in the North of England, which rely for their welfare on low costs of production, which alone enable them to hold their own in the markets of the world, should be handicapped in the interests of a very small section of the industrial community.
I think we ought to decide this question for ourselves. I do not believe it is a right thing to delegate it once more to a committee. Committees take a long time to decide, and, after all, we have the facts before us. It is for us to draw our own deductions from those facts, and not to delegate the responsibility of this House to some small committee, which, however accomplished and dispassionate, is no more qualified to judge of the facts than we are. These are facts which affect the life and well-being of our constituents, and no Member representing a constituency in the North of England can afford to delegate his judgment to a committee, however distinguished. On these grounds, I say that the decision of the Government in this matter is a decision which loyal supporters, among whom I count myself, will regret, and in my view it is the duty of any Member 1864 representing an industrial constituency in the North, such as I represent, to support the Amendment.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ Mr. ENTWISTLE
I cannot help thinking that most of the speeches which have been made in favour of the Amendment were made from notes which were prepared before the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade expressed the attitude of the Government on this question. What is it that we shall be voting on in a few minutes? It is merely as to whether, before this Act is allowed to expire, the Tariff Advisory Committee should be given the opportunity to investigate the question thoroughly and to recommend to the Government what they consider ought to be done. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) and the hon. and learned Member for Moss Side (Sir G. Hurst) stated that they had no objection to a tariff being put on, if necessary, in order to protect the dye-making industry, and then, finding themselves in difficulties through having made that admission, they say there is plenty of time for them to deal with this matter before the Act expires, if it is necessary to put on a tariff. How absurd to talk of plenty of time. We have been told that this Act will expire at the end of this year. It is now the 8th December, and can anyone imagine that that gives time to the Committee to go into this difficult question and advise whether or not, if this Act is allowed to expire without any protection being given to the industry, all the good results which have been achieved under the Act might be thrown away?
The Lancashire Members cannot have it both ways, and I was rather surprised to hear their disparaging remarks about the Tariff Advisory Committee. I thought the Conservative Members of this House had complete satisfaction with the way in which that Tariff Advisory Committee has justified all the hopes that we have rested in it in the administration of the Import Duties Act. Nobody can doubt its complete impartiality, its efficiency, and the celerity with which it has performed its duties, and I am sure the bulk of the Lancashire Members would be only too happy to repose their confidence in that body and to allow it sufficient time in which to carry out the necessary investigations before this dye- 1865 making industry is exposed to whatever results might happen if this Act were allowed to lapse. The exports of dyes this year have been 9,500,000 lbs. in weight, and the total imparts this year have been 3,750,000 lbs., so that we have exported an amount that has been far more than double the total imports into the country. Therefore, there is a considerable export trade in dyes which might be jeopardised by allowing the Act to lapse before the full consequences of such lapse have been thoroughly investigated.
Nobody has Tend what this report, which has been so often quoted in other respects, particularly by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, says about the cartel. The report says that evidence was given before the Departmental Committee showing that the cartel does notcomprise any selling price arrangements,andthat it does not impose any limitation of the ability of the British Colour Users to obtain new products of foreign manufacture.
§ Mr. HOLDSWORTH
I made it quite clear that. in the Majority report the Departmental Committee said there was no price arrangement. I also said that in fact there was a price arrangement, because already there had been an increase in prices.
§ Mr. ENTWISTLE
A good deal has been made of the point that the majority represent the makers and the minority the users, but I think it is overlooked that there are some independent members of that committee. There are the makers, and there are the users, but there are also three independent members, and they are signatories of the Majority report. I will read one other thing from the report. In their conclusions, the committee say:British makers are still implementing the undertaking to supply at world prices during the continuance of the Act.With what they say about the cartel and with that statement, I think it would be much safer for this Committee to allow the Act to continue until the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the Tariff Advisory Committee.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ Mr. SLATER
Perhaps the contribution of a cotton manufacturer and dyer will not be out of place at this juncture. I feel, like all my fellow manufacturers and dyers, that an increase in the price of dyestuffs of 22½ per cent. is a very definite detriment to the employment of a vast number of people in Lancashire. I am a loyal supporter of the Government, and I believe in giving adequate protection to any industry in this country that commands respect and that is meeting the particular demand of any industry at a price level that is not a detriment to that industry in what we are above all things interested, namely, the export trade. As chairman of a very large undertaking, I feel very definitely that the cartel, though the report says there are no price arrangements, has meant price increases. I know by the bills that we pay every month in our works that they are definitely and regularly showing an increase of from 20 to 30 per cent.
It is very significant, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade put his finger on something which he thought was a point that should strongly impress this Committee, that this international cartel was selling dyestuffs over the whole of Europe at prices that were equal. But let us reflect for a moment on this matter. Before we went off t he Gold Standard and since, these prices have shown the greatest increase, and it is obvious that there is something behind what the cartel have told the Board of Trade. The only difference in their prices internationally has been the change in the price to the English users only. The 22½ per cent. increase has been gradually put on, and now even the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) and others who talk of tariffs as an alternative, may rest assured that that is not a system which would guarantee equal prices to all European consumers.
I commend the Government very much for their reference of this question to the Tariff Advisory Committee, and I do not want to join in the chorus demanding that this Act should not be renewed. The Government have a very serious Committee's report put forward, which they cannot possibly ignore, but I would plead with the Board of Trade to recognise the significance of present dyestuffs prices, which I consider it is entirely unjustifiable to raise by 22½ per cent. in 1867 the period of 12 months. What will be the position of the dyestuff makers? At a time when Lancashire is bleeding and wanting business that the prices should go up 22½ per cent. and literally cut the ground from under our feet in many important markets is not justified, is not common sense, and it will not help the dyestuff producers in this country.
There is another point, which the right hon. Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) made. We are significantly behind in this country in the production of Indantrene dyes of a peculiar character, and of the highest possible importance, and it is a matter of grave interest to me, and to many other manufacturers in Lancashire, that I find, when I am able to produce up to the point of dyeing heavy cloth—I could give the various grades, but I will not weary the Committee—that the German and Dutch makers can undercut me even to-day in the London trade by only the price of the dyestuffs themselves. I would say to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade that I do not believe that this particular cartel is giving equality of price throughout the world. I am not impressed with the figures that arise out of the report which has been quoted by the hon. and learned Member for Bolton (Mr. Entwistle).
I know, with great experience of cartel work throughout the whole of my life, that there are certain things which were mentioned by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) in which, when we were dealing with an aggregate output of an English combine or cartel, we might find it politic to rob the home producer for the benefit of foreign markets. I am rather afraid that in this case the dyestuffs' manufacturers are taking advantage of Lancashire in that respect. It is for that reason that I have intervened in the Debate to appeal to the Government to represent very strongly the claims of Lancashire. Lancashire has lost enough. Lancashire has
§ shown loyalty to the National "Government, and we must not deny their particular claim for some consideration. Do not let Lancashire down in this matter. Tell the dyestuffs people that they are asking too much, and make it as easy as possible for those dyes that we do not produce to be imported. Look upon them as raw material, and let them come in free, so that we may produce goods with those dyes at a price equivalent to the price of foreign producers. We shall never justify tariffs in this country which take a toll from one industry for the benefit of another.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. CAPORN
I venture to think that the dyers of Nottingham must be made of sterner and better organising stuff than the dyers of Lancashire. In my constituency, there are a large number of dyers and finishers. I have visited their works persistently in the last 12 months, and I have never received any complaints of any kind with regard to the working of this Act. I welcome the decision of the Government, because it is obvious that there is great difference of opinion among the users of dyes as to the value of this Act. But for one consideration I should be glad that this matter is now going to be referred to the Import Duties Advisory Committee. That consideration is that the committee is already so heavily overworked that it is impossible to get any decision from it in less than five, six or even seven months. I beseech the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade to use all his influence with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in order that the committee may be increased to five, so that by some means or other we can get decisions on these important matters in a much quicker way.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 196; Noes, 59.1869
|Division No. 22.]||AYES.||[7.33 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Broadbent, Colonel John|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bird. Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.)||Brown, Brig. Gen.H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Blindell, James||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Boulton, W. W.||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Burnett, John George|
|Balniel, Lord||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Boyce, H. Leslie||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Ramsden, E.|
|Cassels, James Dale||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Rankin, Robert|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Jamleson, Douglas||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Jennings, Roland||Ray, Sir William|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Law, Sir Alfred||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Leckie, J. A.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Lees-Jones, John||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Levy, Thomas||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Croft. Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Rosa Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Llewellin, Major John J.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Barnard||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tslde)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Salt. Edward W.|
|Denville, Alfred||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dickie, John P.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Doran, Edward||McCorquodale, M. S.||Scone, Lord|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||McKie, John Hamilton||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Eady, George H.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Magnay, Thomas||Slater, John|
|Elmley, Viscount||Maitland, Adam||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Somervell, Donald Bradley|
|Emrys- Evans, P. V.||Martin, Thomas B.||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Soper, Richard|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chlsw'k)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Mitcheson, G. G.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clara||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Sueter, Rear Admiral Murray F.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Morrison, William Shephard||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Nail, Sir Joseph||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||North, Captain Edward T.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Nunn, William||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||O' Donovan, Dr. William James||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Ormiston, Thomas||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Palmer, Francis Noel||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Peake, Captain Osbert||Ward, Sarah Adelalde (Cannock)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Pearson, William G.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Penny, sir George||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Hartland, George A.||Petherick, M.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Potter, John||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Procter, Major Henry Adam||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Sir Frederick Thomson and Mr.|
|Hornby, Frank||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Womersley.|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Milner, Major James|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Banfield, John William||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Bernays, Robert||Harris, Sir Percy||Price, Gabriel|
|Briant, Frank||Hicks, Ernest George||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Remer, John R.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hopkinson, Austin||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cocks. Frederick Seymour||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Janner, Barnett||Thorne, William James|
|Curry, A. C.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||White, Henry Graham|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lunn, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'. W.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelet||Mr. Walter Rea and Lieut.-|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Commander Astbury.|
Bill read a Second time.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.