§ [20TH ALLOTTED DAY.]
§ REPORT [6th July].
§ Resolutions reported:
§ CIVIL ESTIMATES AND ESTIMATES POE REVENUE DEPARTMENTS, SUPPLEMENTARY AND ESTIMATE, 1932.
§ CLASS VI.
§ 1. "That a sum, not exceeding £45,964, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Transport, under the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919; Expenses of the Railway Rates Tribunal under the Railways Act, 1921; Expenses under the London Traffic Act, 1924; Expenses in respect of Advances under the Light Railways Act, 1896; Expenses of maintaining Holyhead Harbour; Advances to meet Deficit in Ramsgate Harbour Fund; Advances to Caledonian and Crinan Canals; and for Expenditure in connection with the Severn Barrage Investigation."
§ CLASS III.
§ 2. "That a sum, not exceeding £304,123, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department and Subordinate Offices, including Liquidation Expenses of the Royal Trish Constabulary and Contributions towards the Expenses of Probation."
§ CLASS I.
§ 3. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,220,544, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class I of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. House of Lords Offices||25,695|
|2. House of Commons||226,724|
|3. Expenses under the Representation of the People Acts||150,000|
|4 Treasury and Subordinate Departments||180,717|
|5. Privy Council Office||6,455|
|6. Privy Seal Office||1,782|
|7. Charity Commission||26,154|
|8. Civil Service Commission||15,395|
|9. Exchequer and Audit Department||89,250|
|10. Friendly Societies' Deficiency||6,065|
|11. Government Actuary||21,815|
|12. Government Chemist||44,266|
|13. Government Hospitality||6,000|
|14. The Mint||100,000|
|15. National Debt Office||687|
|16. National Savings Committee||55,682|
|17. Public Record Office||24,448|
|18. Public Works Loan Commission||90|
|19. Repayments to the Local Loans Fund||38,890|
|20. Royal Commissions, etc.||42,140|
|21. Miscellaneous Expenses||708|
|22. Secret Service||100,000|
|23. Scottish Office||51,860|
|24. Repayments to the Civil Contingencies Fund||5,721|
§ CLASS II.
§ 4. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,904,279, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class II of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. Foreign Office||114,927|
|2. Diplomatic and Consular Services||593,456|
|3. League of Nations||76,000|
|4. Dominions Office||33,525|
|5. Dominion Services||57,824|
|6. Empire Marketing||220,000|
|7. Oversea Settlement||41,400|
|10. Colonial Development Fund etc.||450,000|
|11. India Office||81,110|
|12. Imperial War Graves Commission||236,037|
§ CLASS III.
§ 5. "That a sum, not exceeding £7,542,184, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class III of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:—
|2. Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum||42,585|
|3. Police, England and Wales||4,906,025|
|4. Prisons, England and Wales||394,110|
|5. Reformatory and Industrial Schools, England and Wales||98,684|
|6. Supreme Court of Judicature, etc.||90|
|7. County Courts||90|
|8. Land Registry||90|
|9. Public Trustee||90|
|10. Law Charges||73,064|
|11. Miscellaneous Legal Expenses||6,428|
|13. Prisons Department for Scotland||70,127|
|14. Reformatory and Industrial Schools||32,643|
|15. Scottish Land Court||4,868|
|16. Law Charges and Courts of Law||28,785|
|17. Register House, Edinburgh Ireland.||90|
|18. Northern Ireland Services||5,677|
|19. Supreme Court of Judicature, etc., Northern Ireland||2,111|
|20. Land Purchase Commission, Northern Ireland||1,039,175|
§ CLASS IV.
§ 6. "That a sum, not exceeding £32,137,161, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class IV of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:—
|1. Board of Education||26,892,676|
|2. British Museum||82,982|
|3. British Museum (Natural History)||58,530|
|4. Imperial War Museum||7,615|
|5. London Museum||3,674|
|6. National Gallery||14,702|
|7. National Portrait Gallery||4,744|
|8. Wallace Collection||6,961|
|9. Scientific Investigation, &c.||122,541|
|10. Universities and Colleges, Great Britain||845,000|
|11. Public Education||4,092,771|
|12. National Galleries||4,660|
|13. National Library||305|
§ CLASS V.
§ 7. "That a sum, not exceeding £88,775,369, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class V of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. Ministry of Health||13,336,320|
|2. Board of Control||81,715|
|3. Registrar-General's Office||87,060|
|4. National Insurance, Audit Department||108,610|
|5. Friendly Societies Registry||30,554|
|6. Old Age Pensions||24,778,000|
|7. Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions||7,000,000|
|8. Ministry of Labour||39,458,000|
|9. Grants in respect of Employment Schemes||2,300,000|
|10. Department of Health||1,572,002|
|11. General Board of Control||11,120|
§ CLASS VI.
§ 8. "That a sum, not exceeding £8,877,666, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March. 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class VI of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. Board of Trade||84,690|
|2. Bankruptcy Department of the Board of Trade||90|
|3. Mercantile Marine Services Department of Overseas Trade||239,450|
|4. Department of Overseas Trade||252,773|
|5. Export Credits||90|
|6. Mines Department of the Board of Trade||144,595|
|7. Office of Commissioners of Crown Lands||22,190|
|8. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries||1,195,918|
|9. Beet Sugar, Subsidy, Great Britain||2,350,000|
|10. Surveys of Great Britain||74,340|
|11. Forestry Commission||287,000|
|13. Road Fund||2,750,000|
|14. Development Fund||225,000|
|15. Development Grants||550,000|
|16. Department of Scientific and Industrial Research State Management Districts||315,399|
|17. State Management Districts||90|
|18. Department of Agriculture||336,647|
|19. Fishery Board||49,394|
§ CLASS VII.
§ 9. "That a sum, not exceeding £5,255,101, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class VII of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. Art and Science Buildings, Great Britain||237,600|
|2. Houses of Parliament Buildings||64,410|
|3. Labour and Health Buildings, Great Britain||412,720|
|4. Miscellaneous Legal Buildings, Great Britain||100,400|
|6. Office of Works and Public Buildings||382,170|
|7. Public Buildings, Great Britain||757,540|
|8. Public Buildings, Overseas||96,140|
|9. Royal Palaces||46,900|
|10. Revenue Buildings||842,300|
|11. Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens||126,120|
|12. Rates on Government Property||1,021,730|
|13. Stationery and Printing||1,060,751|
|14. Peterhead Harbour||18,000|
|15. Works and Buildings in Ireland||78,350|
§ CLASS VIII.
§ 10. "That a sum, not exceeding £31,048,860, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in Class VIII of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. Merchant Seamen's War Pensions||223,523|
|2. Ministry of Pensions||29,743,800|
|3. Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions, etc.||169,804|
|4. Superannuation and Retired Allowances||911,733|
§ CLASS IX.
§ 11. "That a sum, not exceeding £27,546,459, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for. Expenditure in respect of the Services included in. Class IX of the Estimates for Civil Services, namely:
|1. Exchequer Contributions to Local Revenues, England and Wales||23,860,000|
|2. Exchequer Contributions to Local, Revenues, Scotland||3,686,459|
§ REVENUE DEPARTMENTS ESTIMATES, 1932.
§ 12. "That a sum, not exceeding £45,977,785, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Services included in the Estimates for Revenue Departments, namely:
|1. Customs and Excise||3,430,200|
|2. Inland Revenue||4,859,585|
|3. Post Office||37,688,000|
§ NAVY ESTIMATES, 1932.
§ 13. "That a sum, not exceeding £32,529,300, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of pay- 646 ment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Navy Services, namely:
|3. Medical Establishments and Services||380,700|
|4. Fleet Air Arm||1,025,000|
|5. Educational Services||218,400|
|6. Scientific Services||473,800|
|7. Royal Naval Reserves||350,000|
|8. Sec. 1. Shipbuilding, Repairs, Maintenance, etc., Personnel||6,324,700|
|Sec. 2. Shipbuilding, Repairs, Maintenance, etc., Materiel||4,464,750|
|Sec. 3. Shipbuilding, Repairs, Maintenance, etc., Contract Work||5,193,200|
|9. Naval Armaments||3,488,200|
|11. Miscellaneous Effective Services||641,250|
|12. Admiralty Office||1,104,300|
|13. Non-Effective (Naval and Officers||3,093,500|
|14. Non-Effective Services (Naval and Marine), Men||4,727,800|
|15. Civil Superannuation, Compensation Allowances and Gratuities||1,043,700|
§ ARMY ESTIMATES, 1932.
§ 14. "That a sum, not exceeding £16,722,100, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Army Services (including Ordnance Factories), namely:
|2. Territorial Army and Reserve Forces||4,001,000|
|3. Medical Services||895,000|
|4. Educational Establishments||769,000|
|5. Quartering and Movements||1,287,000|
|6. Supplies, Road Transport, and Remounts||3,896,000|
|8. General Stores||1,166,000|
|9. Warlike Stores||2,000,000|
|11. Miscellaneous Effective Services||879,000|
|12. War Office||810,000|
§ AIR ESTIMATES, 1932.
§ 15. "That a sum, not exceeding £3,997,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for Expenditure in respect of the Air Services, namely:
|2. Quartering, Stores (except Technical), Supplies, and Transport||1,590,000|
|5. Medical Services||295,000|
|6. Technical Training and Educational Services||423,000|
|7. Auxiliary and Reserve Forces||516,000|
|9. Meteorological and Miscellaneous Effective Services||242,000|
|10. Air Ministry||645,000|
|11. Half-Pay, Pensions, and other Non-Effective Services||286,000|
§ First Resolution read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
We desire to refer to a very serious question which has arisen with regard to the action of the Minister of Transport as to certain pooling arrangements which have been suggested by some of the amalgamated railway companies. In May last, the London and North Eastern and the London, Midland and Scottish Railways proposed to the Minister that certain pooling arrangements should be considered by him under the provisions of Section 19 of the Railways Act, 1921, and those arrangements were set out in some very vague heads of agreement which were published in the Press by his order. He referred the matter to the Railway Rates Tribunal, or rather to a committee consisting of identic membership with the Railway Rates Tribunal, in order that they might report to him before he decided what action he should take upon the matter, and it was not until the first or second day of those proceedings that the railway companies disclosed in their evidence the very large measure of virtual amalgamation which would be brought about if these pooling arrangements came into force.
In order to appreciate the position which has arisen, perhaps I may take the liberty of reminding the House of the situation as regards the railways in this country both before and after the 1921 Act. Before the Act of 1921, as the House will recollect, there were a great number of independent railway companies in this country, many of them running in competition one with the other. They were running by virtue of monopolies which had been granted by this House, subject to certain very 648 elementary safeguards for the consumers of their facilities and for their competitors. It was not, indeed, necessary to have any very formidable array of safeguards, as competition itself between the different units safeguarded the interests of both competitors and users. But, after the War, there having been a virtual ownership and control by the Government of the railways during the period of the War, it was canvassed as to whether that complete amalgamation of the railway companies should be continued, or whether, instead, they should be organised into certain groups, and it was decided by this House, after a very long and an intricate discussion, that they should be amalgamated into the main four groups which now exist.
In the Act of 1921 there were inserted very specific protections for both the users and the competitors, which enabled those persons to see that they were not unduly influenced by reason of the provisions of the Act, and at the instigation particularly of the private docks and harbours of this country—and when I say "private" I refer both to those municipally owned and those privately owned—protective Clauses were inserted, but those protective Clauses were naturally only made commensurate with the fresh monopoly which the amalgamated companies were getting. The whole basis of that scheme of 1921 was not a basis of complete amalgamation, but was a basis of limited amalgamation, still leaving many alternative routes, especially so far as the ports of this country were concerned. But part of that Act was designed for the amalgamation and did, in fact, amalgamate what were substantially port or harbour owning authorities with the railway companies. So that, under the Act of 1921, so far as docks and harbours were concerned, docks and harbours, representing roughly £150,000,000 of capital, were left in non-railway ownership, while, in railway ownership there were docks and harbours representing £65,000,000 of capital, and the competition which had existed previously in such an area, for instance, as the Bristol Channel, was, of course, very much altered in its incidence. The Great Western Railway, for instance, own all the South Wales ports as a group, while the only independent port of any size remaining is that owned by Bristol Corporation, for which, among others, my 649 constituents pay if there are any losses. Therefore, although I am concerned with the whole scheme, I am particularly concerned with the position of the independent ports, and Bristol itself.
Under the Act of 1921, as I have already said, there were two provisions whereby, if pooling arrangements were desired to be entered into by the railway companies, they could enter into them with the consent of the Minister of Transport. That Section apart, it, would have been necessary for the railway companies to come to Parliament in order to get such powers. It was a substitution for procedure before Parliamentary Committees of an administrative decision by the Minister. I think it is clear from the provisions of that Act, and, indeed, from the whole history of the railway amalgamation, that it was never the intention of Parliament, by Section 19, to set up a procedure by which a virtual re-amalgamation of the whole of the railway companies of this country would come about without any Parliamentary control whatsoever. If one is to believe, as of course one does, the evidence which has been given before the tribunal which is at present sitting listening to the arguments with regard to one of these pooling agreements, this amalgamation or pooling is going to result inevitably in an amalgamation of all the railways of the country into a single unit. It is because of the seriousness of that position that we desire to draw the Minister's attention to certain considerations which we want to take this last Parliamentary opportunity of bringing to his notice before it is too late. As we have heard, Parliament is adjourning until the 27th October, and it may well be that after the 27th October it will be too late.
The criticisms of the procedure fall under two heads. In the first place, we submit to the Minister that the vagueness of the proposals put forward has made it practically impossible for anybody definitely to put forward a case against this so-called pooling, which will eventuate in amalgamation. Sir Josiah Stamp and Sir Ralph Wedgwood, who were among the witnesses, have themselves stated that these proposals are in a form which did not enable even them to say what in fact is likely to happen under this agreement; they have been unable to specify any precise effect that will flow from it. On the other hand, it 650 has also been stated in reply to questions that the pooling arrangement inevitably will have to a great extent the same results as amalgamation would have.
A number of questions were put on that basis, and it was admitted that the results would more than possibly be precisely the same results as would eventuate from amalgamation. Supposing that this matter had been left, not to the administrative action of the Minister, but had been dealt with in the old manner in which these matters have always in the past been dealt with, then, undoubtedly, it would not have been possible for the railway companies to come forward with such a vague proposal; they would have been bound to specify with some precision, not only the powers that they wanted, but the way in which they intended to use those powers, in order that those members of the public who were entitled to come before any tribunal or before a Committee of this House and protest might be in a position to calculate what the effect of those powers would be upon their particular undertakings, whatever they might be, and put forward the case that was necessary in order to meet it.
We suggest that, with such a vague proposal as this, the hon. Gentleman ought not to have been satisfied, until he had got a more specific statement, to refer it at all to any committee for decision, and, especially in view of the fact that it has now been made clear that other similar proposals are coming forward, we ask that the hon. Gentleman, if any further proposals come forward, will see that, before they are submitted to anybody to inquire into, the railway companies put forward specific proposals, and not mere vague, general heads of agreement. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is as well aware as any Member of the House of the extraordinary difficulty in which, for instance, the dock and harbour authorities, or the local authorities, or anyone else who may be interested, has in considering proposals of that type, if they do not know exactly what it is that is proposed, or what reaction it is likely to have upon their own particular interests.
I mentioned a moment ago the evidence that had been given as regards the size and importance of this amalgamation, and I should like to remind the House of what it is that has been said. So far as this 651 particular pooling arrangement is concerned, it will cover over £50,000,000 of traffic receipts of the London and North Eastern and of the London Midland and Scottish Railways. A second amalgamation agreement is now being worked out, and is likely' shortly to be submitted to the Minister by the London Midland and Scottish and the Great Western Railways. If that pooling agreement is on the same lines, then, according to Sir Ralph Wedgwood, over 75 per cent. of the total traffic receipts of the railways of this country will come under a single pooling arrangement. If one bears in mind the fact that, as of course the House is aware, under the old arrangement of the London and South Western and the Great Western Railways there is already a large measure of pooling as regards the South-West of England, the virtual amalgamation into a single non-competitive system becomes absolutely apparent as the end to which this pooling will inevitably lead.
I have not the knowledge, and I am not concerned, to argue whether that would be wise or not at the moment, but I am concerned to point out to the hon. Gentleman that the change which is being brought about by these pooling arrangements is as great as, if not greater than, the change which was brought about by the Act of 1921. The Act of 1921 was considered for many weeks by this House, both in Committee and on the Floor of the House, and there was the most careful and meticulous argument as regards every single safeguard that it was necessary to include. As the House knows, a number of safeguards, some of which proved effective and some ineffective, were inserted in the Act of 1921. The first point, to which I have referred, is the general vagueness of the agreement.
The second point to which I desire to refer is with regard to the tribunal to which the hon. Gentleman has referred this matter. It so happened that, when Clause 15 of the 1921 Bill, which is now Section 19 of the Act, was being discused in the Standing Committee, this very point was raised as to the tribunal to which such a matter should be referred. It was raised by an Amendment brought forward by the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon), which is set out in Column 994 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of Standing Committee B for the 7th July, 652 1921. The proposal made in that Amendment was that such a matter should be referred to the Railway Rates Tribunal, and Sir Eric Geddes, speaking for the Government, said—following an argument by several hon. Members, some of whom had stated that the Rates Tribunal was a wholly inappropriate body:I agree that the Rates Tribunal is quite an unsuitable body, and the expression in the Amendment, if any person objects,' is a little extreme, too."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Standing Committee B), 7th July, 1921; col. 997.]He then proceeded to suggest that the present wording of the Act should be inserted, that is to say, that the Minister should have the power to refer the matter to a tribunal of persons selected from the panel under the Ministry of Transport Act. That panel, of course, is a panel of experts and of impartial persons of wide commercial and trading experience, appointed front nominees after consultation with the various undertakings affected by the Act, and with Labour, trading interests, local authorities, and such other interests as the Minister may deem desirable. It exists to-day, and has existed ever since, and it is from that panel that the hon. Gentleman has drawn three persons, who happen to be the Railway Rates Tribunal; so that what he has done has been to select the very body which Sir Eric Geddes agreed was unsuitable for considering such a matter.
If one asks oneself why it is unsuitable, the answer, I think, is perfectly obvious. Under the Railways Act, if an ordinary case is going before the Railway Rates Tribunal, any party who is appearing has the right to ask the Minister to appoint extra members of the Rates Tribunal representing particular interests. For instance, if the dock and harbour authorities were coming before the Rates Tribunal with a particular case relating to dock rates, they could ask the Minister to add to the tribunal someone representing docks, because, of course, the tribunal has upon it a direct representative of the railways at present, namely, Mr. Quirey, who until quite recently was Vice-President of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. But, in the case of this tribunal which has been appointed by the Minister, no one can ask him to add any particular person to it, as they would be able to do if it were the Railway Rates Tribunal. By appointing the Railway Rates Tribunal 653 personnel, he has made matters even worse than if the question had gone to the Rates Tribunal itself, because no one has the power to ask him to add anyone to it.
In a case of this vast importance, we suggest that it is obvious that there should have been put upon such a tribunal at least someone to represent the independent competitive interests, which have no representative at present, and someone to represent Labour, because one of the important things that is going to follow from this pooling arrangement, as has been admitted, is the same effect as regards economies and cutting down of staff which followed from the Act of 1921. As hon. Members will appreciate, in the Fifth Schedule to the Act of 1921 the most careful provisions were inserted by the House in order that no one should suffer merely because an amalgamation took place and, in the resulting economies, they were deprived of the work which they would otherwise do. We ask, if another case is coming forward, as we now know it is, that the hon. Gentleman will, when he appoints the committee to consider that other case, see that it is expanded so as to include representatives of other interests than merely the railways and the traders, who are represented at the present time by Mr. Parkes.
It is not only a question of the tribunal having the advantage of the skilled assistance of someone who is thoroughly conversant with the other side of the picture—say the independent docks and harbours side of the picture—but there is also the fact that a decision given or a recommendation made by a tribunal having on it persons representing those other interests will carry far greater weight, because people will be more certain that they have been dealt with fairly, and that the whole of their views have been considered. I am sure the hon. Gentleman realises as well as any of us how important it is that people should be satisfied as regards inquiries of this sort, and that they should not be able to feel that their particular interest. when it is a very large and vital interest—I am not, of course, speaking of every little interest—such as Labour, or the independent harbour authorities, has been considered, by virtue of the presence of some representative on the committee which is inquiring into it having the 654 special knowledge that is necessary in order that its views may be fully appreciated.
The third question on which we want to make a criticism is that the railway companies ought, if they did not, to have disclosed to the hon. Gentleman, before this inquiry was initiated, the fact that they proposed to have a second agreement with regard to a further pooling arrangement, because it is quite obvious that whatever is recommended by the committee on this pooling arrangement will have a very great effect upon their recommendations as regards another similar pooling arrangement between two other railway companies. But it is not only that. It is that the 4.30 p.m. aspect of this problem is rather different where you have a combination in effect of the three great railway companies—the Southern is already attached to the Great Western—from where you merely have two entering into an arrangement. It is impossible for those people who are interested only in the second to appear before or be heard by the Committee when they are considering the first. Indeed, the Bristol Docks and Harbour Authority attempted in the present proceedings to intervene in order to guard themselves zagainst any possibility of the results of the first inquiry prejudicing their case in the second and the Chairman, after conferring with his colleagues, took the view which of course he was hound to take and said, addressing counsel appearing for the Bristol authority:The only thing that you could do, as far as I can see, is to be supplied with a copy of the notes of the proceedings as the.y go on from day to day and take what course you think right, whether by making further representations to the Minister or in such form as you think you ought to make them, to effect the purpose of hearing, as far as I understand, the two pooling agreements together, or the decision of one not to be given before the decision of the other, but I am quite powerless to help you in that direction.Through me at the moment the Bristol people are taking the opportunity of doing what they were invited to do by the Chairman of the Committee, that is, making representations to the Minister that either these two cases should be heard together as regards the two pooling arrangements or that the decision of the first should be definitely postponed until the hearing of the second has taken 655 place. That would mean that the hon. Gentleman would then have an opportunity of considering the whole picture in all its magnitude and considering whether in the circumstances this was really a case for administrative action at all, because he is at perfect liberty, of course, to say, "I do not approve the pooling arrangement," and then the railway companies are left to the ordinary course which they would normally pursue. There is nothing in Section 19 of the Railways Act to bind him in any way to approve of this pooling arrangement, or indeed to disapprove of it. He may merely say, quite properly, and as we suggest more than quite properly, it is the proper and only thing to suggest that in a case of this magnitude he is not prepared to exercise powers under Section 19 but he would rather leave it for the matter to be brought in the ordinary course by the railway companies before Parliament in order that some Committee of the House may consider the matter in its full details.
There is one other observation as regards this matter that I should like to make. The time that has been selected by the railway companies for this application is a very unfortunate one, because they have selected the time so that the Committee's report will never be available while the House is sitting if action is taken rapidly upon it. The Committee will not report before the House rises. The House will then be adjourned until 27th October and, therefore, if action is taken before 27th October it will be impossible for any Member of the House to raise any question as regards representations to the Minister or any other matter. We suggest that the Minister should at least give us the assurance that this matter will not be finally dealt with until Parliament has assembled again, and Members of the House who are interested to support the views of various sections of the population may have had an opportunity of making representations after they have seen the report of the Committee, because I assume that the hon. Gentleman is going to publish the report of the Committee immediately he gets it. I would ask him to give us his assurance that he will make it available immediately it is given in order that various interests may be able, after considering it, to make to 656 him such representations as they think right., because I feel sure he will desire their assistance in considering it just as much as at any other time. I would also ask him to give us this assurance that, if the Great Western Railway and the London Midland and Scottish are going to bring forward a, similar arrangement, he will postpone any action as regards the first pooling agreement between the London and North Eastern and the London Midland and Scottish until that second pooling arrangement has been considered and he can see the whole picture.
I do not want to encroach on the larger aspect of the case, except to say that we do not oppose any measures which are necessary for the purpose of the railway companies becoming more efficient in their service to the community. We believe there are certain ways in which that can be done which it would not be in order for me to develop at present, which might shortly be covered by the word "nationalisation." But, short of that, if the present companies desire as private monopolies to get this extra advantage, we feel that it is perfectly right and fair that other private interests should be safeguarded, and that, where you have a large and influential body of ports and docks in competition with the railway companies' ports and docks whose business may be diverted or vitally affected by reason of this pooling arrangement, which will no longer give particular railway companies the interest in particular routes which they have had in the past, you must be extremely careful in doing away with that measure of competition which exists—for instance, between Bristol and South Wales, between Liverpool and Hull and London and all the other ports—to see that you safeguard the interests of those people, whether municipal or otherwise, who have vast sums of money invested in businesses which have been built up on the basis of certain commodities passing through those ports. The hon. Gentleman knows the trouble there was, for instance, about sugar passing between South Wales ports or Bristol. Such instances as that show how an amalgamation may upset the flow of traffic. I am not saying it is done viciously or for any other reason, but the mere fact of the pooling of rates in amalgamation may, unless there are 657 safeguards, lead to that most wasteful diversion of traffic, because nothing is more wasteful than to divert traffic from a port which is fully equipped to another port where fresh equipment has to be built in order to deal with the same traffic, and that is a point which I am sure the hon. Gentleman will have in mind.
May I say one word on the question of labour. During the last 20 years there has never been a Bill for the amalgamation of railways where there has not been protection inserted for those who will be displaced by the amalgamation.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I understand in the case of amalgamation. Obviously legislation would be necessary before it could be adopted.
Sir S. GRIPPS
Perhaps I was using the word "amalgamation" in a non-technical sense. I was using it because the witnesses in the inquiry that is proceeding have stated that the results of the pooling agreement will be identical with amalgamation. Let me call it pooling. But where you have had any measure, whatever one likes to call it, which has been for the purpose of reducing redundant staffs amongst others, you have always had inserted some provision as regards compensating the redundant staff so displaced, and the classic case, of course, is Schedule V of the Railways Act, 1921. In this agreement there is no such clause inserted, and I want to ask the hon. Gentleman to give us an assurance that he will see, as there is no one on the Committee representing Labour, that before these agreements are allowed to proceed, adequate provisions are inserted for the protection of any staff which by virtue of the operation of these agreements may lose their jobs. I think that is a measure of protection which everyone in the House will agree was always awarded when such an end was obtained by the passing of a private Bill through this House, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman would not desire any less measure of protection to be afforded in a matter in which he was exercising, as an administrative officer, some of the functions which clearly otherwise would be exercised by a Committee of the House.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
The hon. and learned Gentleman has frankly stated that, 658 although he intended to put this matter upon general grounds, he was very largely actuated by his proper interest in the Bristol docks. I am the last person in the House to desire that anything should be done which would prejudice in any way the prosperity of the Bristol docks, in which I take so great an interest, as docks belonging to my native city, docks about the same age as myself, in whose fortunes members of my family and myself have been largely concerned. But in his later sentences he rather indicated that one of his anxieties was as to the position of those employed in the railway companies themselves. In other words, he was not looking at the matter from the point of view of the customers of the railways, or persons interested in the way is which their traffic was managed, such as the Bristol docks, but he was interested in the welfare of the people employed by the railways. Perhaps I may say a word, first of all, as to the legal position. The hon. and learned Gentleman began by emphasising it a little. He suggested that this pooling agreement is so far-reaching as to amount in substance to an amalgamation. In his later observations he appeared to leave the legal question and to make certain requests to the Minister of Transport. He invited him to give a number of assurances as to what he would do when the report of the Advisory Committee is received, and what he would do in regard to another agreement for pooling traffic receipts which he understands is in contemplation.
There is no doubt at all that in Section 19 of the Railways Act, 1921, Parliament contemplated and provided for the pooling of receipts. The Section laid down the conditions of the consent of the Minister before such agreement could be made, and if any such agreement was made and submitted for the consent of the Minister, Parliament directed that certain procedure should be followed with a view to carrying out the proposals for such pooling. My hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has followed the directions of Parliament precisely. He has done nothing more than what Parliament obviously intended that the Minister should do. Parliament set out in Section 19 that no arrangement or agreement for pooling of receipts should be carried out without the consent of the Minister. Parliament then provided that before 659 giving his consent the Minister should—he had no option—refer the matter for consideration to a committee selected from a particular panel, unless he thought that the proposals were of such minor importance as not to require that course to be taken. I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that these proposals are obviously not of minor importance. That was the whole burden of his observations.
The Minister was under a Statute duty, therefore, to refer the matter to a committee drawn from a panel which had been set up under the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919. The Minister has selected from that panel three gentlemen. They happen to be the three members of the Railway Rates Tribunal, but the hon. and learned Gentleman is the last person in the world not to recognise that many persons act in different capacities. He himself appears here and he appears there. Sometimes he is an eloquent and a persistent politician, and at other times he is an ingenious and a persuasive advocate. It does not follow that because three gentlemen in a certain capacity, being charged with certain duties, form what is, in substance, a court of law, the Railway Rates Tribunal, they are not, in their individual capacities, suitable persons to consider the matter of the pooling of receipts. Those gentlemen have great experience. It would be very difficult indeed, unless you had to have regard to sectional interests, to select three persons of greater experience and capacity and in whom the public would be more likely to have greater confidence.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to what Sir Eric Geddes said in Committee upstairs. I well remember the prolonged discussions in two Committees sitting at the same time upon the Bill, and it was certainly contemplated that the agreements for pooling receipts in proper cases should be facilitated. Some question arose, as the hon. and learned Gentleman suggested, as to an Amendment providing for the reference of an arrangement for the allocation of traffic, as the words then were, to the Rates Tribunal. All that Sir Eric Geddes said was, "This is a question of policy." The Railway Rates Tribunal is, in a certain sense, a court of law. It is not proper to refer a question of policy to a court of law. Sir Eric Geddes certainly 660 did not say that the gentlemen who rightly constitute the Rates Tribunal would, in their individual capacities, be unsuitable, if they were on the panel, to consider such questions as should be submitted under the proposed legislation to an advisory committee. The observations of Sir Eric Geddes have been taken from their context, and all that he could say was, "This is a question of policy. Do not let us refer it to a court of law, which, I agree, is unsuitable, such as the Rates Tribunal."
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I did not continue reading the extract. Does not it show clearly where he refers to the panel set up under the Ministry of Transport and says,and which is a very representative body"—that what he is dealing with is a body chosen from a panel representative of all the interests, and not merely of those who are dealing with the particular railway rates.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not read the language of Sir Eric Geddes in that way at all. Sir Eric Geddes says that the panel is a very representative body. Obviously, he did not intend or contemplate that every member of the panel should be chosen to form any advisory committee. He said that the panel was a very representative body and that from the panel they would be able to select persons who were suitable to consider in their individual capacity questions submitted to the advisory committee. I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree with me that we cannot settle any question to-day by reference to anything which Sir Eric Geddes said in 1921. He was a great authority then, and he is a great authority now, but we must take what Parliament has said, and the only duty of the Minister is to act in accordance with the Section of the Railways Act, 1921, which gives him these directions.
The hon. and learned Gentleman again, I think, is in error in suggesting that the Minister has acted in any way either against the letter or the spirit of the Act of Parliament. I do not suppose that anybody can be found to support that suggestion. The Minister has acted strictly in accordance with the directions which Parliament has given to him. I am glad to have the hon. and learned 661 Gentleman's assent to that point. The next question which arises is: What is the action the Minister will take when the advisory committee has reported? It is upon that point that the hon. and learned Gentleman asks for assurances. It is not very convenient, while the advisory committee is sitting and witnesses are appearing before it, that the hon. and learned Gentleman, no doubt with complete accuracy, but, at any rate, in rather an ex parte manner, should make statements as to what witnesses said. He has quoted an expression which the witnesses used, and which I have no doubt is quite accurate, namely, that the effect of the pooling agreement is substantially amalgamation. Because a witness says a thing, it does not follow that it is either true or accurate. I should have thought that there was a great distinction between an agreement for pooling receipts and an agreement for amalgamation. Amalgamation presupposes or requires the community of ownership and community of management, at least. This is neither community of ownership nor community of management. It is, in fact and in truth, a pooling of receipts with independent ownership and independent control.
If witnesses made those statements, I venture to think that the context in which they made them would have shown that they would hardly have the effect which the hon. and learned Gentleman seeks to give them. It is an agreement for pooling receipts. When the evidence is completed and the Advisory Committee have made their report, my hon. Friend the Minister of Transport will be under a public duty to give his consent or to withhold it, but he really cannot be asked to prejudge the issue. [Interruption.] If the hon. and learned Gentleman says that he does not ask the Minister to prejudge the issue, perhaps the best and most effective answer which I can give to him is to say that his representations, which were clearly made this afternoon, will have due weight. I understood that the hon. and learned Gentleman was asking the Minister to give assurances. He more than once said, "Will you give an assurance?"
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. and learned Gentleman will appreciate that I did not ask the Minister to give here or anywhere else any assurance as to what 662 his decision would be. First of all, I asked that he should not give a decision before the second report came out, and, secondly, that the matter should not be finally disposed of before Parliament again assembled.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. and learned Gentleman has asked the Minister to give definite assurances before he receives the report of the Advisory Committee.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Then I repeat what I said, and what I think was accurate, in the first instance, that the hon. and learned Gentleman was asking the Minister to prejudge an issue which is at present before the Advisory Committee.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. and learned Gentleman has asked him to do what he calls postponing his judgment. If the Advisory Committee say, "We think that this is an agreement for pooling receipts and cannot be considered apart from other proposals," the Minister in that case may quite properly act upon the report of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee, to take another hypothetical case, may quite possibly say, "We think that this is an interesting experiment which should be facilitated at the earliest moment, and we think that the Minister may give his consent upon certain conditions." The Minister may accept the advice if it is so given. The hon. 'and learned Gentleman wants the Minister to prejudge that issue, and to give an assurance that he will not give his consent to the agreement for pooling receipts until some other proposals which have not yet been before the Minister, and as to the nature or details of which he has no information, have been reported upon. The Minister is not in a position to give any assurances. The matter is, I think it is accurate to say, sub judice. It is before the Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Committee are going to give the Minister their help. The Minister will receive the help which the Advisory Committee will be able to give him, and he will, to the best of his powers, act accordingly. I am sure that if I had any influence I should desire everything to 663 be done that would assist the Bristol docks. Other persons, no doubt, will make other representations to the Minister publicly, or privately for all I know, but the Minister cannot give any assurances to postpone his decision and do over again what the Advisory Committee is by Parliament required to do. The Advisory Committee is the body to hear the evidence. The Minister cannot undertake to give an opportunity for further investigations and further representations.
The hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned the interests of labour. The railway unions I am told—and I believe that it is true—have made and are making their representations to the Advisory Committee. Is not that the proper opportunity for bringing the needs of the position of the railwaymen before the Minister? The Advisory Committee is the channel by which all these representations and considerations reach the consideration of the Minister. It would be quite impossible for any head of a Department such as a Minister to act in these matters unless Parliament had given him the assistance which is so familiar a feature of our modern Acts of Parliament in the shape of an Advisory Committee. It would be a farce to pretend that the Minister, with all his duties, should go over the whole ground again and hear all the representations, arguments and evidence and make a report as if the Advisory Committee had never considered those matters. I cannot believe that the House would expect anything so unreasonable as that to be promised by my hon. Friend the Minister. The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to suggest—I hope that he did not suggest it deliberately—that an unfortunate time had been selected. I hope that the suggestion was not that it might have been selected with a view to cheating Parliament of its proper rights. There is no foundation for it.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I suggested that it was unfortunate that the Committee would not, in fact, report until after Parliament had adjourned.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If all that the hon. and learned Gentleman meant was that it was unfortunate that the present time should be the time the matter should come up, I do not com- 664 plain in the least. I understood him rather to suggest that an unfortunate time, to use his expression, had been deliberately selected. [Interruption.] All times are possibly inconvenient for somebody or some interests. The Minister will do his best with the information given to him through the Advisory Committee at a time which, I venture to think, is no more unfortunate than any other time. The railway companies are charged with a very difficult duty at the present time. I do not know whether some of those who made representations to the hon. and learned Gentleman from the City of Bristol would go with him in all the statements which he has made. He suggested that his party have a solution for all these difficulties—nationalisation. In his next sentence he protested against the elimination of 5.0 p.m. competition which this agreement for pooling receipts would effect. I cannot see any consistency between his statement that his party's policy would be a solution for all these difficulties and his protest against the abolition of competition. His solution would finally abolish all competition, but I will not attempt to go into that. The hon. and learned Member described the railways as private monopolies. I cannot imagine a more inapt description. The railways are in competition with other forms of transport, which have made their position very difficult indeed, and I think that this House and everybody should be glad that Parliament showed sufficient foresight in making provision to facilitate the pooling of receipts. This may be a method of securing that economy which will be the precursor of the return of prosperity to the railway companies.
I am unwilling to do anything or to say anything to prejudge any of the questions that have been raised. I recognise the desirability of securing to the docks the facilities which proper railway services can give them. I desire fully to recognise the desirability of securing that nobody is unfairly treated in any rearrangement of their services which the railway companies may desire to make. Now that I have the hon. and learned Member's assurance of agreement with me that the Minister has acted with complete legal propriety, my task is done. I cannot on behalf of the Minister give any 665 assurance as to what he will do when he comes to act in a capacity which is really a judicial capacity, as the result of the report of the Advisory Committee. I hope that the hon. and learned Member's fears in regard to Bristol are ill-founded. All I can say is that the three gentlemen, with the legal assistance of the advocates, who are considering this matter know full well all the difficulties and complexities and they will give the Minister that advice and help which Parliament intended he should have, and the Minister will exercise his capacity and his discretion in the best way he can. He will take note of the hon. and learned Member's fears, doubts and suggestions, but he cannot to-day give any assurance. I hope the House will not think that the hon. and learned Member is asking what is at all convenient seeing that, while the matter is actually under consideration, he comes here and repeats some of the evidence and asks the Minister to give promises and undertakings which are only proper to be considered when the matter has had the fullest consideration before the Committee.
§ Mr. THORNE
I was going to ask, Sir, if you would be prepared to give some little latitude in regard to the question before the House. I am not sure whether any other hon. Member from these benches will follow me in the discussion, but it may be rather difficult to confine oneself to the question before us. We have had two very interesting speeches. I know nothing about the legal side of the question, but I do know that when this matter was debated in 1921 I heard the Minister say that if anything happened in regard to amalgamation—I am not sure about pooling—and any men were displaced, consideration would be given to them in the way of compensation for the loss of employment or emoluments. I want to make a very energetic appeal to the Minister of Transport. The railway companies whose proposed pooling arrangement we are now discussing have been driven to seek this pooling method in consequence of what I would call the wicked and foolish competition that is going on between the railway companies and the road transport companies.
The position in which the railway companies find themselves is due to the very large decrease in receipts through various 666 causes which I understand we are not entitled to debate to-day. There have been many wage reductions throughout the country and people have not the money to spend on travel as they had in days gone by. In addition, there is fierce competition from the road transport companies, and I say without hesitation that the railway companies are very heavily handicapped in consequence of this fierce competition. The Attorney-General said that if this pooling arrangement is agreed to the directors will operate in exactly the same way in the future as the present time, and that the only difference would be that they would have a pooling of their receipts. I am not sure whether that statement is on all-fours with the statement made in the newspapers, by those responsible for the running of the railways and those responsible for the inner workings of the Railway Workers' Union. Statements have been made, rightly or wrongly, that when this pooling arrangement is brought about instead of there being three directorates for the three companies there will only be one board of directors to run the railways. It is evident to me that this pooling arrangement is contemplated with the object of cutting down expense. Otherwise it would be no use doing it.
They have already made a declaration that if the pooling of receipts is brought about it will eventually mean the discharging of a very large number of men who are now working on the different railways. When the railwaymen's representatives had an interview with Sir Josiah Stamp they said that, as far as they could judge—and it appeared they had gone very minutely into the matter—the arrangement would mean that between 30,000 and 40,000 employés on the railways would eventually be dismissed, and they asked the management whether there was any possibility of coming to an arrangement whereby the railway clerks and other railway workers would be compensated. [Interruption.]
§ Earl WINTERTON
I beg pardon. My remark was about the attempt to bring a premature end, an allotted day.
§ Mr. THORNE
An effort was made to get an agreement that if a number of men were dismissed compensation would be paid to them for loss of work and 667 emoluments, but the management would not consider the matter at all. The men representing the railway clerks, the locomotive men and the general workers on the railways have put their case before the Tribunal, and I understand that they have urged upon the Tribunal that when they are about to make their final decision for submission to the Minister of Transport they should make it a condition that if a number of employés are discharged they should have some compensation for loss of work and emoluments, and so forth. If the railway companies had not proceeded by this method of pooling receipts to cut down expenses they would have been compelled to have promoted a Bill in Parliament to bring about what they are doing now. The railway workers say that this is a back-door method of bringing about, to all intents and purposes, amalgamation without having to promote a Bill. If they had been compelled to promote a Bill hon. Members on these benches and in other parts of the House would have had a chance of getting a Clause inserted in the Bill providing that displaced employés should receive compensation. The Minister of Transport knows that there have been a number of Bills passed through this House for bringing about amalgamations, and Clauses have been inserted in those Acts of Parliaments to see that justice was meted out to the rank and file of the workpeople.
The Minister of Transport is well acquainted with the Clauses that were inserted in the Electricity Acts of 1919, 1922 and 1928. Under those Clauses, if amalgamations are brought about or if any of the sub-stations are shut down in consequence of the erection of super-stations and large numbers of men and women are deprived of employment, they are entitled to receive compensation for loss of work. If the management is not prepared to give fair consideration to their case they are entitled to go to a tribunal and get what they think is reasonable compensation. There is an arrangement, it is not obligatory but a moral agreement, between the Gas Light and Coke Company, and their employés, which provides that under the merging and amalgamations that are going on between the various gas companies, which are inevitable, whether we like it or not, if men or women are dismissed, compen- 668 sation shall be given to them for loss of employment. There is also a moral understanding between Imperial Chemical Industries and their workpeople. A mutual agreement has been arrived at so that if men are displaced compensation shall be given, but if not they are to be given an opportunity of moving from one place to another. I think the management will give people who are about to be dismissed an opportunity of moving from one district to another, but when a man has lived in a particular area practically for the whole of his life and all his social connections are there and he is asked to transfer all his belongings from one town to another, it is a very serious position for him. We say that where men say that they cannot see their way to accept a proposition of that sort, some compensation should be given to them.
I appeal to the Minister to do something. The obligation is entirely upon his shoulders. When he gets the report from the tribunal it will be for him to sanction this pooling arrangement, and, therefore, in the name of thousands of men working on the railways I appeal to him in any case to make representations to the management of these particular railway companies that if any men are dismissed they will be compensated for loss of employment. As far as the higher paid officials are concerned, they will get compensation, and the interests of the clerks will also be protected, but when it comes to the railway porter and the locomotive men they are usually shunted into a siding and nobody takes any notice of them at all. I hope the Minister will see that these workmen are protected if they lose their employment in consequence of these pooling arrangements.
I am a little disappointed that the Attorney-General has intervened so early in the Debate. No doubt it was the result of the pressure of business at the moment, but it is a little unfortunate. This is not a party question; it is not a matter on which the Government and the Opposition are opposed merely because they are the Government and the Opposition. The Attorney-General referred to the difficult duty which faces the railway companies at the present time. I entirely agree. They are undoubtedly faced with a very 669 difficult duty, and I have the greatest sympathy with them in their efforts to achieve economies and to return once more to profitable working. I represent a division which includes 20,000 trade unionists, most of whom are railway men. It was represented for some time by a very respected Member of this House, the general secretary of the Railway Clerks' Union, and I do not desire anything that I may say to be taken as hostile to the railways. I represent the city and port of Bristol. The Port of Bristol is a municipal undertaking conducted by a committee of the City Council. It is one of the great independent docks in the country, and in this matter its interests are the same as those of the Port of London, the Port of Liverpool and the Port of Manchester.
In the same way that railway companies have been competing with the roads so the independent docks have had to face the tremendous difficulties created by the competition of railway-owned docks; and the port of Bristol has had to meet that competition. They have been so successful that last year they had a record year. They managed to go ahead against the competition of railway-owned docks, but they view with great concern the extent of the present scheme which is now before Sir Walter Clode's committee. The Attorney-General says that it is not amalgamation. It is, at any rate, a scheme of very large extent, which covers more than half the railway capital of the country, over £50,000,000 of railway receipts, embraces two-thirds of the railway population of the country and 100 per cent. of the mileage of two of the largest railway companies. It is a scheme which, if it is sanctioned, will be in operation for not less than 50 years. I do not desire to draw down upon my head the strictures of the Attorney-General by referring to the evidence given before the tribunal, but I have read every word of the shorthand note and it is no use quibbling about words. There is no doubt that this scheme, as Sir Josiah Stamp said, will have the same results which you get from amalgamation. In answer to a question Sir Josiah Stamp said:The economies which the railway companies are aiming at by this pooling scheme are of the same order of magnitude as those economies aimed at in the 1921 scheme.After we are told that this is such a large scheme we are now told that a 670 similar scheme is in process of preparation between the London Midland and Scottish Railway and the Great Western Railway. That is a feature which gives us such alarm; the fact that another such scheme is in preparation. After all, there are only four main line railway companies and it only requires six such schemes as this to achieve: the same effects as you would get from amalgamation; and to, get them behind the back of the House of Commons and with no safeguards for the people of the country except the report of the committee and the Minister's discretion. I do not speak disrespectfully of the tribunal or the Minister. I do not join with the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) in his strictures on the tribunal. I have not considered that matter at all, and it may be that the Railway Rates Tribunal is the best for the purpose. What I am concerned with is the position of the Port of Bristol.
There is an important question of principle involved. I agree that the Minister has acted in accordance with his statutory duty. He was bound to refer the matter to a tribunal for consideration and report, but there is nothing in the Act to show to what sort of considerations he must apply his mind when he is considering the report of the tribunal and there is nothing in the Act to show what sort of considerations shall be taken into account by the tribunal. That is why the matter has to be raised on the Floor of the House of Commons. I understand that the report will not cover questions of policy, it will only deal with the merits of a particular scheme, and say whether it is or is not a good scheme. On questions of policy, on the important questions of public principle involved, the only safeguard we have is the discretion of the Minister. If he takes this one scheme and regards it by itself there is really no safeguard at all when we come to the consideration of the second scheme. If the Minister sanctions the first scheme he will find it extremely difficult to refuse sanction to a similar scheme between two different railway companies.
The Port of Bristol are not directly concerned in the present application. They appeared before the tribunal and were told, quite properly, that they had no locus standi and must make their representations to the Minister. Pursuant to that they applied to the Minister 671 to hear them. The Miniser refused to receive a deputation, because he said the matter was sub judice. Was he right in that decision? The Port of Bristol is not directly concerned with the present application but they are concerned with the second application which we know is going to be made by the Great Western Railway Company. It has not yet been submitted to any tribunal, and I ask the Minister whether he will not reconsider his decision and receive a deputation from the Port of Bristol who are vitally interested in the matter of railway amalgamation. I know that he is a busy man and that these are difficult times, but after all the Port of Bristol is not unimportant and I ask him to reconsider his decision and receive a deputation.
Let me say a word or two as to the actual effect of the scheme on the Port of Bristol. I may be asked how it affects the Port of Bristol. It is rather a difficult question to answer. The general public is not at present in possession of the details of the railway company's scheme, and we have been told in the evidence given before the tribunal that it is not possible to say exactly what is going to be done. Sir Ralph Wedgwood has said that there is no cut and dried scheme. In fact, the railway companies are asking for a roving commission. I am anxious that the railway companies should make economies and save money, but I am also anxious that they should not make those economies at the expense of the independently owned docks of the country. It is obvious that a pooling arrangement of this sort may seriously affect the ports of the country. They are safeguarded in the Act of 1921 by the operation of Section 58, Sub-section (4), although this Section has not been entirely satisfactory. If protection was necessary in 1921, when amalgamation was proposed, it is still more necessary in 1932 when by the process of this pooling scheme you are getting a clandestine amalgamation between railway companies behind the back of Parliament.
We ask for some protection for the docks. I have been reading the Debates in this House on the 1921 Act and I was interested to see how hon. Members who then sat for the City of Hull took an active part in the interests of the Port of Hull, which was then an independent port. To-day, however, the Port of Hull 672 is no longer an independent port. It is now owned by the railway company. I was also interested to observe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made an eloquent plea for the protection of canals and waterways, which were then in exactly the same position as privately-owned docks. They required protection against the competition of the railway companies just as in another way the railway companies are asking for protection against what they conceive to be the unfair competition of the roads. The first request I make to the Minister is that he will reconsider his decision to discuss this matter with the authorities of the Port of Bristol. The second request I make is this, that when the Great Western Railway application comes to be discussed he will exercise his authority to see that greater detail is available to those who may want to raise objections and put their point of view in opposition to the application.
I do not make these observations in any sense hostile to the Government. I hope that the Minister will deal with these two schemes together. It may be that this is the first time he has heard of the Great Western Railway scheme, but now that he knows of it will he not undertake to reserve his decision on the first scheme until he has had a report on the second and consider them both together? If it is not possible to do that, will he send the second scheme to the same tribunal as the first and ask for a joint report? One scheme may not be vital, but when we are told that we are to have two pooling schemes of this magnitude is it not obvious that the Minister should exercise greater care and skill in dealing with the matter? The hon. Member is not only Minister of railways but Minister of Transport, and he must remember that he has a duty not only to the railways but to the docks and harbours of the country. In view of the importance of this question, I hope he will give an assurance that the House of Commons will have an opportunity of discussing the whole question before he takes any definite and final step. It will not be very long before the Salter Committee reports, and he may have to reconsider the whole question of the reconstitution of the railway system of this country. Does he not think that these two pooling schemes raise questions of such great importance that no action should be taken 673 on them apart from the greater question and without giving an opportunity to this House to discuss the whole matter?
§ Mr. CULVERWELL
I rise to support the plea just made by my hon. Friend, and by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). 5.30 p.m. I would like to thank the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol for having given us an opportunity of raising this important question by asking that the Ministry of Transport Vote should be put down for this day. I think that this Debate has shown the surprising character of these proposals. There was no suggestion at all, when the notice of the pooling arrangements was put forward by these two railways, that they were of the vast and revolutionary character that they have since turned out to be. The Debate has brought out before the general public what an extraordinarily huge undertaking this committee of inquiry is now embarking upon, because in effect what is proposed is an amalgamation or unification of these two railways, a unification which will bring the companies together without their having any special responsibility to Parliament, to the travelling or trading public, to the public dockowners or to labour. I think that we have a right in this House to discuss proposals of such a character. Public docks are intimately concerned with this proposal, and particularly the Port of Bristol docks. The public docks or privately-owned docks of this country have a capital of something like £150,000,000, and it is only within the last few days that they have awakened to the possibilities which this scheme envisages.
The learned Attorney-General said that this action on the part of the Minister was perfectly legal under the Act of 1921. No one disputes that. The Minister is within his legal rights in submitting this vast scheme to the consideration of a committee which will advise him and make recommendations in order that he may come to a decision. What I and other hon. Members dispute is that the Act of 1921 ever envisaged such a vast scheme as this. The Act of 1921 effected amalgamations on a territorial basis, but this is quite a different scheme altogether. It departs entirely from the territorial basis 674 which split the country up amongst four great groups of companies. This, however, is the beginning of a complete amalgamation of four big railways in the country. We contend that such a vast scheme should not be brought forward without Parliament being given an opportunity of examining it carefully and imposing such limitatons and safeguards as the public interests may demand.
There has been no opportunity, during the course of the inquiry, for the various interests which are affected to put forward their opinions and recommendations. It was only on 28th June when the heads of agreements were discussed, and when it became apparent that the scheme was a revolutionary scheme. It was only on the following day that we became aware that the City of Bristol might be affected by reason of the fact that another scheme vas foreshadowed for the pooling of receipts between the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Great Western Railway. The Bristol Corporation immediately employed counsel to safeguard their interests, or to endeavour to do so, before the committee of inquiry. The Bristol Corporation also asked the Minister to receive a deputation in order that he might be made aware of the fears which are felt in the City of Bristol. As my hon. and learned Friend said, the Minister refused to see the deputation because the case was still sub judice. In his own words he said:I would not feel justified in receiving a deputation of interested persons whose object would naturally be to endeavour to influence my judgment in the matter.I would point out to the Minister that Bristol is in no way directly affected by the scheme which is the subject of inquiry; Bristol is affected only in so far as any future scheme may affect the City. It is affected in so far as the Minister's decision and judgment on this particular scheme will necessarily prejudice his decision on any subsequent scheme. Indeed the hon. Gentleman admits that in his letter to me. No one disputes that the case of Bristol is not sub judice, and unless the Minister's opinion is going to be affected by his decision on this particular case there is no reason why he should not have received a deputation from the Corporation of Bristol. The Minister falls between two stools if he tries to sustain that argument.
675 The purpose of the deputation was not to discuss details of the proposals, but to protest on broad principles against the Minister assuming such a great responsibility in this matter. As I have said, I do not believe that the Act of 1921 ever contemplated such vast schemes as this; it never contemplated that the Minister of Transport would shoulder such great responsibilities; and we contend that the matter calls for full Parliamentary discussion and decision. Parliament rises in a few days, and when we return the whole matter will be a fait accompli. The first agreement between the London Midland and Scottish Railway and the North Eastern Railway will probably have been decided by the Minister, and he will thereby have set a precedent for his decision and ruling in the case that is foreshadowed, of an agreement between the London Midland and Scottish Railway and the Great Western Railway. Not only the Bristol authorities but the Dock and Harbour Authorities Association suggest that the Minister should postpone his decision for at least three months. Furthermore, we have had protests and representations from the National Union of Railwaymen, who are interested from quite a different angle.
I suggest to the Minister that this is such a vast and revolutionary scheme that he should not shoulder the responsibility of coming to any decision in the matter, but should declare that it must be proceeded with either by way of a private Bill on behalf of the railways concerned, or by a Government Bill on the lines of the Act of 1921. No one can suggest that the objects sought in this case are not almost as important as, if not more important than, the objects of the Act of 1921. But if the Minister will not agree that the matter is of such importance that Parliament should be allowed to come to a decision upon it, then we urge that he should reopen the inquiry, or else postpone his decision in order to give interested parties an opportunity of putting forward their case, or that he should submit the two agreements, between the London Midland and Scottish Railway and the North Eastern Railway and the London Midland and Scottish Railway and the Great Western Railway, to the same advisory committee, in order that he can judge both agreements together, because they both have the same prin- 676 ciples. By that means all interested parties, the Bristol Corporation amongst others, will have an opportunity of explaining their position and safeguarding their interests. I urge the Minister to rid himself of a responsibilty which I am sure he does not want to shoulder, which really is more than Parliament ever anticipated that he would be called upon to bear, and to give another opportunity for the discussion of this matter in this House, and for decision by Members of this House.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
There is one thing that the House is practically unanimous about, and that is the appeal to the Minister of Transport at least to postpone his decision, or to give an opportunity for the House to discuss the question before a decision becomes operative. Unfortunately it appears probable that the report will be issued during the Parliamentary Recess, and consequently the Minister may feel that to await the reassembly of the House would mean too long a delay, but I join in the appeal to him to take that course, which I believe will be in the best interests of everyone concerned. Several points have been raised, and I want to speak on that raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Plaistow (Mr. W. Thorne)—the question of protection for the interests concerned. There will certainly be a redundancy of staff under this scheme, and something will have to be done. The report will be put into operation and people will be discharged in a wholesale manner when their services are not required, without an opportunity having been given for the whole matter to be discussed here. That will not be in keeping with former decisions of the House.
This is indeed another railways revolution. It extends in so many directions and affects so many classes that it is fraught with greater possibilities even than the railway changes of 1921. The serious possibilities of the scheme apply not only to railway workers, but to those who use the railways, who have not been given a full opportunity of placing their case before the committee. Where will this sort of thing stop? When these two companies have carried out their proposals will similar schemes be extended to the whole of the railway system of the country? Personally I feel that the ball has been set rolling and that it will go 677 on rolling until the whole of the railway system of the country is affected, and of course that may work a tremendous change for good or bad.
It appears that the present Government really have no transport policy. They are leaving it for the capitalist interests to impose their will on commerce and upon the workers in industry. Evidently this is a fight to preserve capital and profits and the very existence of privately-owned corporations. What of the people working in this railway industry, and those who are compelled to use the railways in connection with commerce? No matter what position people hold, if they are employed by the railways concerned they are subject to insecurity, just as they would be under any other kind of amalgamation or pool. No one can object to the statement that "amalgamation is in the air," because when we look at the position at the present moment we must see that this common pooling arrangement is neither more nor less than the forerunner of amalgamation. The purpose of the two railway companies is set out in paragraph 6 of the joint memorandum issued by them in which they state:With this pooling of receipts the companies will be enabled gradually to effect appreciable economies in the provision of capital and in working expenses as there will be a unity of interest in all the many streams of traffic concerned. The resources and equipment of both companies can be used for their common interest between places where their interests are now divergent and, apart from the avoidance of outlay on duplicate services, economies will inure in respect of advertising, town office arrangements, canvassing, cartage work and other outlay which accompanies competitive services.That statement makes clear the object of the companies—which is to secure economies wherever possible at the expense of anybody so long as they themselves are securing the benefit. There is not one word in that paragraph about protecting the interests of the people who are compelled to use the railway services in connection with heavy industries and commerce. There is not one word in it about the protection of the workers. What is meant by "appreciable economies"? That term may mean many things but in this particular case it can only mean the displacement of a number of employés, 678 possibly members of the lower grades, though, as I have said, it may apply to the higher grades as well. There is no line of demarcation and it is possible that this economy may range over services in which its operation is not yet foreseen, in order that the companies may be able to preserve capital. The reference to economies in town office arrangements probably means the discharge of many agents, clerks, porters and carters. Unification in operation and administration is bound to have that result.
The pooling arrangement is probably a preliminary to something much more drastic in the form of economy. In great services such as this there is such a wide field of operation that it will be impossible for anybody who is to-day employed by these two companies to say that his employment is secure or is guaranteed in any way. The companies are economising to preserve capital, but apparently no thought is being given to the human side of the question. After all, there are two aspects of the ease. If it is a question of economising in order to give a greater return on the financial capital invested, something ought to be done also to protect the human, capital which is invested in the railways. Human lives are invested in this work, and, as the hon. Member for West Ham has pointed out., if these workers are compelled to leave the districts in which they are situated and cart themselves and their belongings to some other area, perhaps miles away, there ought to be some compensation for them.
This pooling arrangement may be a case of preserving capital, but at the same time it is a case of discarding labour. The discarding of labour brings with it very heavy hardships which are directly felt by the people concerned, and ought to be a consideration as well as the preservation of capital. I hope that the Minister will see that the interests of the people discharged will be secured and that some kind of compensation will be provided for them. That is a problem to which the Minister can apply himself. The ramifications of the inquiry are wide. Many points have been mentioned at it, and, in the course of the present hearing, there have been come very interesting admissions by the companies' witnesses.
First, we find that the two companies now concerned own more than two-thirds 679 of the railways of the country, judged either by mileage or revenue or staff employed. That makes them practically the controlling interest of the railways of the country. Secondly, the pooling arrangement will affect the whole of the mileage of these two companies because all their stations will accept what is now competitive traffic. Thirdly, the gross revenue of the two companies is £107,000,000 per annum, and the traffic subject to the pooling arrangements represents approximately 50 per cent. of that, or £50,000,000 odd. Fourthly, their witnesses have also admitted that the proposed pooling will produce results similar to those of an amalgamation. At the inquiry Mr. Bensley Wells, on behalf of the National Union of Railwaymen, asked Sir Josiah Stamp whether, if this were a scheme for effecting the amalgamation of the London, Midland and Scottish with the London and North Eastern Railway, Sir Josiah would be objecting to the protective clauses, in principle, which those unions sought to have inserted. Sir Josiah's reply was:Probably, yes. It would depend very much how the principle was expressed.Sir Josiah added that one of his main reasons for objecting to the protective clauses was that there would be great practical difficulty in distinguishing when a man had lost his job as a result of the pool or for other reasons. The employer, I may say, has always more than one reason for discharging an individual. Sir Josiah Stamp also said that there would be considerable doubt as to whether the bulk of the reductions which might be effected if the pool were approved would be due to the pool. Mr. Wells then put the following question:Notwithstanding the 1921 Act and the compensating Clauses in that Act your company were able to save £17,000,000 over the period of nine years?Sir Josiah's reply was, "Yes." Then follows a very interesting question. Mr. Wells asked:In the light of your experience of the 1921 Act do you really suggest that the existence of the compensating Clauses if they were inserted would take an undue proportion of the savings you hope to effect?Sir Josiah's reply to that question was:I still hope that we should be able to do most of our economies within our own natural contraction.680 That is the position of the chairman of the London, Midland and Scottish. There has also been very remarkable evidence by Sir Ralph Wedgwood of the London and North Eastern Railway. Indeed the evidence that has been given is such as to condemn the policy of the Government, or at least the policy which it has carried out during the last two or three months. I learn the following from the Press:The evidence of Sir Ralph Wedgwood the London and North Eastern general manager before the Railway Rates Tribunal seems to carry the matter one step further. He is stated to have declared that tariffs had not stimulated local production and that the revenue which the company used to derive from the conveyance of foreign imports had been cut down in certain trades, as much as from a-half to two-thirds; This apparently without increasing in any degree the corresponding local industry.I do not follow up that point but it is evident that the conclusion of this inquiry is going to be a pooling arrangement between the two companies and, whatever may be agreed upon, we say that the other people interested in this arrangement, namely, the people employed ought to be considered. We appeal to the Minister to take particular care that the interests of these people are safeguarded and that they are not cast upon the scrap-heap to increase the volume of unemployment. The Minister has an opportunity in this matter and there are precedents for action such as I have suggested. In many Measures passed by the House of Commons provision has been made for such safeguards. When the Minister gets this report Parliament will not be sitting, and he will have plenty of time in which to give it careful consideration. We hope that he will give it that careful consideration and that he will not issue a decision until the House of Commons has met again and until there has been a full discussion on all these points. I think that in taking that course, the Minister will enhance his reputation as a Minister and will be doing something which 90 per cent. of the Members of the House of Commons wish him to do. Therefore I add my appeal to those which have already been made to him, that he should not put his decision into operation during the Recess, but that an opportunity should be given to hon. Members to raise it in the House of Commons and have a full discussion upon, 681 these matters before any decision operates.
§ Sir GEOFFREY ELLIS
I wish to put to the Minister a simple question but one of great importance to many people working in connection with the railways. Dismissals are taking place throughout the country in the workshops of the railways and there is a general feeling abroad that steps should be taken to make clear what is to be the future course of the railways in regard to the manufacturing side of their business. The position is difficult for those men who live in railway centres and it is even more difficult for the children of those men. They should be able to look into the future a little in order to see what possibilities there are in industry. I ask the Minister whether care is being taken to put before this Committee the question of the manufacturing side of the work of the railways and whether that question is being considered in relation to the general trade and industry of the country? If no consideration is being given to this question, apart from the effect upon the interests of the railways themselves and of the men working simply as railwaymen, I would remind the Minister that the reaction on trade and industry generally is a very important consideration. If some arrangement could be reached as to the nature of the manufacturing work undertaken by the railways and the amount of that work which is to be thrown back into general industry, the men in the railway workshops would have an opportunity of considering the possibilities of getting work in general engineering. We should have some assurance that the manufacturing side of the railway's work and the very important effect of these dismissals upon it, are matters which are being considered.
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Mr. Pybus)
I have listened with very great interest and with complete sympathy to the views expressed by hon. Members particularly regarding displacement of labour and dismissal of employés, but I am sure that those hon. Members will appreciate the fact that the Minister of Transport, in regard to this matter, is at this moment in a very difficult position. I have just appointed a Committee to hear the case concerning the pool between the two great railways. It has 682 been admitted by the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) arid others, that in taking that course I am acting perfectly within my duties as Minister of Transport. But, having appointed this Committee to advise me and to meet in public and to hear all sides of the case, a very difficult and complicated position is created when on this Vote the Minister has to listen to ex-parte statements by one or two of those interested. One plain duty lies before me. It is obvious that I shall shortly be called upon to give or to refuse my consent to this pooling agreement and I must make it perfectly clear this afternoon that it is quite impossible for me at this stage of the proceedings to express any opinion whatever on the merits or demerits of the proposal or of objections which may be raised to it. Hon. Members have urged that the 6.0 p.m. scope of these proposed agreements is of such a character and so vast that I should not give my consent either to the appointment of the committee or to the scheme being approved. I must, however, remind hon. Members that it has been generally agreed that in appointing this committee I am acting entirely in the manner which the Act of 1921 requires me to act, and the House will appreciate that the bulk of the discussion to-day has really been concerned with an agreement which is not only not before me at all, but which I have no certain knowledge will ever come before me. There is only one pooling agreement before me at the moment, and that is the agreement between the London and North Eastern and the London, Midland and Scottish Railways, and I am urged to hold up a decision concerning that pooling arrangement until another one, which might or might not come before me, is brought officially to me for my consent.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Has the hon. Gentleman asked the London, Midland and Scottish Railway whether Sir Josiah Stamp has not, said that there is another one following?
§ Mr. PYBUS
In a matter of this kind, am I empowered to hold up an agreement which is before me, to delay something which two great railway companies are entirely within their rights in asking me to approve, until a case has been heard which is not before me? Am I justified in holding up a pooling agree- 683 ment of this kind, which may mean a very great increase in efficiency in the working of these railway companies, until another agreement is before me? I am sure I am not justified in deferring a decision on the matter which is before me pending one which is not before me. In any case, however, the argument falls to the ground, because if and when the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Great Western Railway did come before me with a pooling scheme, I should have to judge it on its merits in exactly the same manner as I shall hope to judge the London, Midland and Scottish and the London and North Eastern Railways agreement when it comes to me with the report of the committee.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
It is not a question of waiting for the second demand. We are simply asking that the hon. Gentleman's decision shall be held up and not be put into operation until the reassembling of this House.
§ Mr. PYBUS
I can give no such undertaking, and it would be highly improper if I did. I have neither power nor authority to do it. The hon. Gentleman must accept the fact that I can give no undertaking either to hold the agreement up till the House meets again or to defer a settlement on this agreement until another comes before me. I cannot accept any responsibility of that sort. I accept no responsibility for deferring a decision on one agreement until another comes before me.
I should regret, in common with hon. Members opposite, any loss of employment or displacement of labour which resulted from a pooling scheme. It is impossible for anyone to say whether these schemes will or will not result in some temporary reduction of employment, but the fact remains, and it may be a hard fact, that neither under the Railways Act of 1921 nor under any other Act of Parliament have I power to interfere with the railway companies in the management and staffing of their railways.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
But surely the hon. Gentleman will agree that he has power to insist on the insertion of a clause in the agreement making provisions?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
But the hon. Member can insist on the insertion of any provision in the agreement.
§ Mr. PYBUS
I stick to my point that I have no power to interfere with the railway companies in the management and staffing of their railways.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I am sure the hon. Gentleman does not appreciate the point of my interruption. He is asked to approve an agreement, and he can compel, as a condition of approval, the insertion of any provision that he thinks right and proper in that agreement.
§ Mr. PYBUS
If the hon. and learned Gentleman's suggestion is that I should at this moment listen to his pleadings and to those of other hon. Members, ex parte statements made in favour of inserting some clause for interfering with the management of the railways while the committee is sitting, then all I can say is that my one firm duty here is to listen, if I like, to what is said, but on no account to allow any words which I hear to influence me in my eventual decision. It must be obvious that if I am to take an impartial decision and take that decision on the evidence of the committee appointed for the purpose of advising me, it is not proper for me to be influenced in any way by statements made by the hon. and learned Gentleman or anyone else.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I thought we were in the House of Commons.
§ Mr. PYBUS
Yes, obviously, but a committee has been appointed and is now sitting, and that committee is set up to advise me on the whole question. It has also been urged that I should give some indication as to whether I would hear representations from parties affected after the committee's report is in my hands and before I come to a decision. I can give no such undertaking on this point either, for if one party is heard, every other interested party must, in common fairness, be given a similar opportunity, and I should be covering the same ground as that which the committee which I have appointed is already covering.
§ Mr. CULVERWELL
Bet surely the purpose of the Bristol deputation was to ask the hon. Gentleman to defer his decision in the first case in order to prevent his judgment being warped when he came to decide in the second case.
§ Mr. PYBUS
I replied to my hon. Friend that I had come to the conclusion that I could not see any such deputation, and to that decision I must hold. We have now had our Debate on this subject, and I hope that, considering the importance of the business that is to follow,
§ the House will be good enough to give us this Vote.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 318; Noes, 39.687
|Division No. 293.]||AYES||[6.9 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Albery, Irving James||Davison, Sir William Henry||Janner, Barnett|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Denville, Alfred||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Dickle, John P.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)|
|Apelin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Donner, P. W.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Doran, Edward||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Dower, Captain A, V. G.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Duckworth, George A. V.||Knight, Holford|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Eastwood, John Francis||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Eden, Robert Anthony||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Edge, Sir William||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Law, Sir Alfred|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Leckie, J. A.|
|Beaumont. Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Eimley, Viscount||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lees-Jones, John|
|Bernays, Robert||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Levy, Thomas|
|Bossom, A. C.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Lewis, Oswald|
|Boulton, W. W.||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Sower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Falle Sir Bertram G.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest|
|Bracken, Brendan||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lloyd, Geoffrey|
|Briant, Frank||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn, G.(Wd.Gr'n)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R,||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Brown, Brig-Gen. H.C.(Berks.,Newby)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mabane, William|
|Buchan, John||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Glossop, C. W. H.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Burnett, John George||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McConnell, Sir Joseph|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||McCorqundale, M. S.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Goldie, Noel B.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Calne, G. P. Hall.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Gower, Sir Robert||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||McKeag, William|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Graves, Marjerie||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||McLean, Major Alan|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Macmillan, Maurice Harold|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Grimston, R. V.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Chotzner, Alfred James||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Magnay, Thomas|
|Christie, James Archibald||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Maitland, Adam|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Making, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Clarke, Frank||Hanbury, Cecil||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hanley, Dennis A.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Harris, Sir Percy||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hartington, Marquess of||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Meller, Richard James|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey||Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Colville, John||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Heilgers, Captain F, F. A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henoage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hornby, Frank||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Cowan, D. M.||Horobin, Ian M.||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Horsbrugh, Florence||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howard, Tom Forrest||Munro, Patrick|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Nall, Sir Joseph|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Nicholson. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Normand, Wilfrid Guild|
|Cuiverwell, Cyril Torn||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Curry, A. C.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Nunn, William|
|O'Connor, Terence James||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Templeton, William P.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A.||Salmon, Major Isidore||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Salt, Edward W.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Peake, Captain Osbert||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Pearson, William G.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Penny, Sir George||Scone, Lord||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Petherick, M.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Pickering, Ernest H.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Pike, Cecil F.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hall)|
|Pybus, Percy John||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Smithers, Waldron||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Somerset, Thomas||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Ramsden, E.||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Ray, Sir William||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Rea, Waiter Russell||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Reid, David D. (County Down)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J||White, Henry Graham|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Remer, John R.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Stones, James||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Robinson, John Roland||Stourton, Hon. John J.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Rosbotham, S. T.||Strauss, Edward A.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Rothschild, James A. de||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'y'noaks)|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Summershy, Charles H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Sutcliffe, Harold||Captain Austin Hudson and Mr.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Groves, Thomas E.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Healy, Cahir||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Leonard, William|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr.|
§ Mr. SPEAKER then proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House this clay, to put forthwith the Questions, That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the outstanding Resolutions reported in respect of the several Classes of the Civil Estimates, and of the Navy Estimates, the Army Estimates, the Air Estimates, and the Revenue Departments Estimates.