§ Bill reported, without Amendment.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."—[Mr. Isaac Foot.]1428
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day three months."
The Bill is a very curious one. The first part of the Bill constitutes an open confession that unregulated competition is a hopeless failure. Therefore, Part I of the Coal Mines Act, 1930, is to be extended—I think quite rightly—in order to replace the internal and infernal competition between coalowners which has brought utter disaster during the last 10 or 12 years. With that part of the Bill we are in entire agreement. We think that not to have extended Part I of the Act would have been disastrous to the industry. Rather than oppose the continuance of it we should have preferred that Part I had been extended. We should have liked to have seen district selling agencies established so that the devious practices in some parts of the coal mining areas could have been obviated in future. We should have preferred to leave every door open to such recalcitrant owners as the Scottish owners so that organisation could proceed 1429 apace and all sorts of unnecessary and useless competition could be avoided and the maximum advantage obtained by the owners and the men. We recognise that exporters, merchants, middlemen, public utility societies and the rest, all of them interested in cheap coal, have been hostile to the operation of Part I of the Act of 1930, but those of us who are connected in some way with the industry are convinced that had production gone on indiscriminately without regard to demand there would have been another catastrophic fall in prices, wages would have fallen and the demand for coal would not have expanded. It would have been mid-summer madness for the Government not to have extended Part I of the Act. I do not propose to go into an explanation as to why we are satisfied that we can afford to support Sub-section (1) of Clause 1 while opposing Sub-section (2). One of the most prominent owners in Yorkshire, a short time ago, said in reference to the Act of 1930:The Act has brought the districts into closer touch with one another and established an understanding and adaptability which, although falling short of what is required, was previously non-existent. It is not to be forgotten that this organisation is only in its infancy and that it is as yet impossible for it to obtain the great benefits of Part I of the Act. That these are great benefits is, I submit, unquestionable.The same gentleman, who is the Vice-Chairman of the West Yorkshire Coal-owners, proceeded in the course of the same speech to say:Examining the whole position as showing how it has operated for the benefit of the collieries, namely, regulated hours, when Great Britain went off the Gold Standard and Northumberland received an increased number of inquiries from foreign countries for coal"—I am Sorry that the Northern group of Members are not in their places—the Central Council immediately granted an addition of 450,000 tons to its allocation for the December quarter so that any increased demand might be met.The machinery in the first few weeks may not have been perfect but as time has gone on the arbitration proceedings have been better understood by the districts, the combines and the collieries, improvements have been persistent, any flexibility in demand in different parts of the country has been catered for, and a good deal of organisation has been imported into the industry. I could quote 1430 from merchants whom one would expect to be hostile to what has been described as restriction, restraint and strangulation, and they not only approve the operation of Part I but declare that Part I will have to be supplemented by district selling agencies very shortly if the maximum advantage is to be obtained from that part of the Act.
For the edification of the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dickie), who made such play with the 12,000,000 tons of lost exports, may I quote a few figures which probably to some extent will satisfy him that it was not so much the quota in operation that brought about the reduction in our export trade but certain other incidents over which neither this Government nor this country had any control? In Germany in March, 1930, there were 3,091,000 people unemployed, compared with 5,843,000 in March, 1932, an increase of over 2,750,000. In Italy in March, 1930, there were 385,000 people unemployed, and in March, 1932, 1,053,000. In France in March, 1930, there were 10,839 unemployed and in 1932, 337,386. In those three countries between March, 1930, and March, 1932, the number of unemployed had increased by over 3,750,000. Obviously, that implies that industrial paralysis was well nigh complete in those countries, and instead of purchasing the normal quantities of British coal for industrial purposes their sales automatically decreased, on the top of which we have witnessed during this year certain reactions to the Customs Duty imposed in this country. So far as 1931 was concerned it was world industrial collapse that very largely brought about that serious reduction in our export trade.
So far as Part I is concerned we agree to its continuation. We want to see Part I improved upon, and I hope that the Secretary for Mines will apply his mind to all the suggestions that have been made by the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, and the many suggestions that I know have been made to him or to his Department by the coalowners. They want to close certain doors that still remain open. The Scottish coalowners, who are still in the dark ages and in the jungle so far as business capacity, outlook and vision are concerned, ought to be compelled to subordinate their personal interests to the interests of the whole nation. I hope that such things as sell- 1431 ing agencies will be considered, also a levy. May I remind the hon. Member for Consett, who made such play of the lack of a levy in the Mines Act of 1930, that it was the Liberal party who in 1930 eliminated the levy. They were responsible, by co-operating with the Tory party, for eliminating the proposal made by the Labour Government. Therefore, if the lack of a. levy is detrimental to the exporting districts, the hon. Member must thank his own party for any results that have accrued from the loss of that levy.
The second part of the Measure deals with the question of hours. That question has been debated almost ad nauseam. I heard the Secretary for Mines make certain statements relating to hours which were not strictly in accord with each other. I will remind him of some of the statements that were mutually contradictory. It would seem that seven and a-half hours are being fixed for all time. I am by no means a pessimist, but I am by no means hopeful of anything that may come from Geneva while this National Government is in office. I am not hopeful of anything in regard to the Washington Convention. It may be argued that there will be a Convention to-day, to-morrow, some day, or never, but I am not hopeful that during the life of this Parliament anything in the nature of a Convention will be produced at Geneva. We regard this extension of the period during which the seven and a-half hours shall operate as a concession to the stupidity of the Scottish coalowners. We are convinced because of our contact with coalowners in many other districts that they would not only have been willing to meet the mine workers on this point but that they would have been willing to stand solidly behind the Secretary for Mines in his effort to obtain anything which Geneva can do in the way of a Convention. The mineowners have been given seven and a-half hours in perpetuity. Is it therefore to be expected that the Scottish coalowners or the coalowners in any part of the country are going to become really enthusiastic for a Convention?
Has it not been the experience of every Government representative at the Mines Department, the Ministry of Labour and other departments" that almost without 1432 exception at Geneva the employers have been hostile to any reduction in hours, and is it not a fair assumption that now that hours are stabilised at seven and a-half, thus robbing the miner of half an hour that he ought to be enjoying at home, the hon. Member has stiffened the backs of the coalowners in this country? You cannot expect them to come out into the open and declare for a shorter working day, even if it might be brought about by a Geneva Convention. He has placed every bit of bargaining power in the hands of the mine-owners, and with mineowners, as with any other body of employers, it is not always the best that one has to guard against. It is the sinner that compels the saint almost every time. If the Scottish coalowners at the end of 12 months do what we fully expect they will try to do, namely, reduce the wages of their workpeople, because they have the power so to do, and try to undersell their competitors, unless Part I is amplified and tightened up, the coalowners in other districts, who otherwise would object to increasing hours or reducing wages, will feel obliged to follow the example set by the other coalowners.
I am convinced that instead of the coalowners from now on helping to produce a Convention at Geneva which will bring about a working day of seven and three-quarter hours bank to bank, they will throw every bit of grit that they can collect into the wheels of the Act. There are the coal exporters, who are interested in cheap coal, no matter how many hours the miner has to work. They do not mind what the output is so long as it is the highest possible. Can we expect that they will be helpful towards producing a Geneva Convention to reduce the hours of the mine workers? Part II of the Bill represents seven and a-half hours, plus one winding time, meaning a working day in excess of eight hours.
Every sort and kind of person interested in cheap coal in association with employers abroad will bring their influence to bear to prevent any Geneva Conference fructifying. To that extent we see no hope from this Measure. The Government having put the power in the hands of the employers we shall have applications here and there in 12 months time for reductions in wages. They may 1433 start north or they may start south, and it is no comfort to mine workers or their representatives for the hon. Member to say that difficulties can only arise if the owners make applications for reduction in wages or the miners make application for increases in wages. From our past experience we know that this will take place. In his statement this afternoon the hon. Member said that the most fatal thing we could do would be to put 8th July on the calendar of every coalowner and the Miners' Federation. He was full of emotion when he made that statement, and full of common sense, and we were inclined to agree with him, but if 8th July, 1933, must not go on the calendar in regard to hours why should it go on the calendar in regard to wages? If the fixing of a date on the question of hours is dangerous obviously the fixing of a date on the question of wages is equally dangerous.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
In the one ease you have an Act of Parliament and in the other case you have a possibility, which I admit may arise. I hope it is a remote possibility. If you legislate for the 8th July, 1933, you have a certainty.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
From the very commencement of these Debates we have been content with the status quo. We were entitled to a seven hour day, but we appreciate the industrial position. If a temporary arrangement is to be made for wages then surely it should be a temporary arrangement for hours as well. The hon. Member uses one argument when it is a question of hours and a totally different argument when he talks about wages. Is he aware that this alleged guarantee of wages for 12 months does not mean anything to the Yorkshire miner? If the coal-owners were to take the earliest possible opportunity of terminating their agreement to pay the present minimum wage it could not cease until July, 1933, so that the alleged guarantee of wages does not mean anything at all in the case of the Yorkshire coalowners, to whom the miners owe at present £4,220,000 under their agreement. They are taking no steps to give notice that the present agreement shall expire, and if they remain stolid and do not insist on breaking that agreement and reducing wages then other counties can do likewise, if they have the will. We feel that the best type of coalowner, who 1434 would really be decent in all circumstances, is going to be driven by the worst type of coalowner into doing things which otherwise they would not dream of doing. I suggest that this is handing over the maximum bargaining power to the coal-owners and is not in the best interest of the industry or the nation. To talk about the convention being helpful when it comes we have only to read the hon. Member's statement on the Second Reading of the Bill to see how remote it is from being an actuality. He said that it might be months and months before the Convention could meet; that we have to get six Governments to agree before we can ratify simultaneously, and that we shall want six months after ratification to apply the convention. That is going to take years on the basis of the hon. Member's own statement. What does it mean if we have to wait until we can secure simultaneous ratification? It means that we have to have a National Government here before we can secure a convention. We have got to get six Tory Governments, or six National Governments or employer-managed Governments, with a possible dictatorship on one or two occasions; six Governments which would be dominated by the employers' interests to agree on ratification before we can hope for ratification. In these circumstances we do not see much chance of it. We see a perpetual loss of that half an hour on the working day; we see all the bargaining power in the hands of the employers and, therefore, while we are willing to support Part I we are obliged to oppose Part II, which we regard as merely providing the worst kind of employer with a bargaining power to which he is not entitled.
The Bill appreciates co-operation as a means of self defence for a section of the community; and we are glad to observe that some part of the nation and some hon. Members are coming to that point of view. We have heard about the March winds and April fools; Part II of this Bill is May madness. With 300,000 mine workers unemployed we are persisting in extending the working day of British mine workers. Europe should be regarded as one unit for purposes of coal output and organisation, but if we are to stand fast on seven and a-half hours, which means eight, we shall not bring the Convention nearer but drive it 1435 further away. We had the Washington Convention in 1918, and millions of people were led to believe that we were going to have a universal eight hours day. It is now 1932. I asked the Minister of Labour what the Government's policy was with regard to the Washington Convention. They had no policy. They were unwilling to support an eight hour day for persons who were employed on the surface, and with so many people unemployed what hope is there that they would be really enthusiastic for securing a seven and three-quarter hour day for people who work underground? We see very little hope for the mine worker in Part II. We fear that in 1933 it may develop into industrial guerilla warfare. Because of that fact, and the desire we have that the industry should remain stable with the maximum confidence that any Act of Parliament can provide, we want to see the organisation improving year by year; but we feel that this Bill, instead of doing what the Secretary for Mines believes it will do, that is give security over a long period, will bring insecurity and uncertainty to the industry, and will ultimately not redound to the credit of the Government.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
We are at the end of four days discussion of this perennial question of coal. At any rate the Debate has produced the fact that the coal miners view with misgiving the next year or two in the industry. It has been admitted by various speakers that the miners at bottom have some reason for their misgiving. The Debate has ranged over many questions. I have listened more or less to most of the speeches during the four days, and I have heard various questions raised. It has been argued by some that one reason why the coal trade is bad is that in the past the miners have been badly led, that they have had too many cooks spoiling the broth. It has been admitted also that the owners have not been without blame. In the main, however, the argument has been that the miners have been very badly led, very badly instructed. Then we have been told that the Government have interfered too much, that the Government should have left the industry alone, that the less political 1436 interference there is the better it is for everyone concerned. We have had speeches to-day which would lead us to believe that with no political interference the state of the coal industry would have been very much better than it is at the moment, and that had the state of the industry been better the state of the miners would have been better.
I have listened to expressions of opinion, many of them very genuinely put, that everyone desires to see an improvement in the conditions of the miner, and that if only the trade could make more profit the conditions of the miner would automatically improve. To all these questions there is one answer. There is a background to this industry of a very black character. The Government know as well as anyone what that background is, for they have at their disposal the reports of the various Commissions that have sat during the present century to consider the question of the coal industry. The Reports of the Sankey Commission, the Macmillan Commission, the Samuel Commission, with their evidence in print, are at the disposal of the Government. The facts about the industry are thoroughly well known to the Mines Department, and Members of the Government. As a matter of fact Lord Sankey and the present Home Secretary were heads of two of these most important Commissions. What they do not know about the history of the coal trade in this century is not knowledge. The Government, therefore, cannot argue that they have not the requisite information on which to act. With regard to the question whether, if the condition of the trade improves the condition of the miner would automatically improve, I would ask what ground there is for that assumption? It is said that the miners have been badly led, that it is the Miners' Federation which has brought them to disaster.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would remind the hon. Member that the Bill deals only with the quota and the hours of work.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The Debate has ranged over the whole question of profits and the ability of the industry to pay wages.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That was the case on the Second Reading, but on the Third 1437 Reading hon. Members must confine their remarks entirely to what is in the Bill.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
With all due deference to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I recall that the opening speaker went very wide and ranged over almost all the questions that have been touched on since the Debate began. I suppose I must confine my remarks to the question of the quota, as to whether the hours of labour ought to be regulated and as to whether wages can be paid.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
On the question of hours of labour all I say is that the Miners' Federation are viewing with justifiable apprehension the limitations in the Bill. The Bill undoubtedly takes away bargaining power from them and has placed them in a most invidious position. My information is from those engaged in the industry and in negotiations with the coalowners. I do not believe that there will be no attack on the miners' conditions. At the present time the hardest bargains that can be conceived are being driven, and it is fair to assume that before the Bill has been on the Statute Book long there will be trouble in the industry because of the conditions which the coalowners are seeking to impose on the workers. I hoped that there might have been some guarantee given in return for what has been taken from the men, that they would have had at least some guarantee of steadiness and permanence so far as their hours of labour and payment in return for the labour were concerned. But it appears that the Government gives nothing.
My hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) rightly said that the Government were ordered by the coalowners, and one might add that the coalowners are ordered by those who, we have been told, largely control the industry, namely, the financiers. It is not the first time that they have interfered with the industry to its detriment. Questions have arisen time and again with regard to the power of the industry to stand the regulations that are being made. My opinion is that the industry could stand the demand that has been made upon it if it were organised in an 1438 efficient way. I believe the hours could be reduced from seven and a-half to seven per day. I believe that that is the only way in which the industry can be made an effective one. In all the mining areas there is a growing percentage of unemployed men for whom apparently no provision can be made in other industries. The only way of dealing with them is to absorb them by means of a limitation of hours.
When one considers the figures which have been given by the Secretary for Mines with regard to the pit-head price of coal and the retail price, one wonders what on earth any Government—and you can put the blame on the Labour Government if you like—were doing which did not begin to tackle this industry from the point of view of internal organisation. I do not believe the statement that this industry cannot pay. It is one of the richest industries in the world. The Minister in his speech on the Second Reading told us what science could do to solve the problems of the industry. What on earth can science do more than it has done? It has demonstrated that coal is the most valuable raw material in the world, the source of the biggest part of our industrial power and wealth, the source from which we derive the most valuable things required in modern commerce and industry. As a matter of fact, science is going too far. It is teaching us how to produce wealth, but it will have to teach us how to destroy wealth otherwise the very wealth which it teaches us to produce will cause the destruction of the welfare of the great mass of the people. It becomes a menace as long as it is privately controlled—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Really this is entirely outside the Bill. I have been through the Bill again, and I cannot come across anything in it except provisions relating to the quota and hours of labour.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Then I close with this statement. As far as hours of labour are concerned, this question will not be solved effectively until the industry is taken out of the hands of those who now control it and who, in the years during which they have controlled it, have ruined it, and placed in the hands of the State and made to service the whole community as a State service. Until that is done the problems existing between the miner, the owner and the consumer 1439 of coal will not be solved in any effective or satisfactory manner.
§ Mr. GEOFFREY ELLIS
I regard this extension of five years in the Bill as an opportunity and a warning to the coal industry in general—an opportunity for setting our house in order, and a warning to us that, if our house is not set in order, we shall have to pay the inevitable penalty of changed conditions and hand over the conduct of our industry to some other kind of management. I should like to add my tribute to what has been said to-night in reference to the increasing good will undoubtedly existing in the industry to-day compared with the difficulties which we had in other days. Possibly a good deal of that good will has arisen from a better understanding between employers and employed, but I think it is due as much to the realisation of the immense difficulties which the industry has to face to-day as to anything else. Those are difficulties, which, one hopes, this Measure will assist us in overcoming.
I know what both sides in the industry have to contend with. We on our side of the industry have to contend with the type of mind described in America as the "bonehead." Our friends on the other side of the industry have always to watch out for the sniping of their Communist colleagues. Both those sections are numerically inferior to the great bulk of those people who wish to see things mended in the industry. What struck me more than anything else in this Debate was the suggestion of the Secretary for Mines that, if we want his help in putting our house in order, within the very wide limits of this Bill and what depends on the Bill, we have his good will. We have his promise that he will give his assistance to any schemes which may be found to come within the framework of the Bill, and that, in some cases, if we require it, we shall receive his aid in getting legislative sanction for schemes which may not come within the Bill but may arise from it in circumstances not at present foreseen. If that be so, a big responsibility devolves on both sides of the industry, and we must do our best to carry out the principles which have been expressed.
I do not want to go too much into detail, but, if I am in order in doing so, I should like to refer to what may happen 1440 under the first part of the Bill in dealing with the quotas and the schemes now in existence. A good deal has been said on the question of the keeping or not keeping in existence of the uneconomic pit, and a good deal has been said as to what is and what is not an uneconomic pit. We in the industry have little difficulty in deciding that question, from the points of view of both employers and employed. In connection with the necessity for improving efficiency in any given district, one must have regard to the inevitable unfairness that is caused to individuals when any great change is made in the form of what is called rationalisation. It is not only a question of rooting up capital interests; it is also a question of depriving men of work. When these things are done in other industries, we very frequently find that inequalities are created and hardships are suffered which need not be created and need not be suffered if the thing is done over a period of time and under careful arrangements.
A good many of us believe that it would be far better if it could be arranged to give complete power to the districts by means of some sort of compensation levy, to deal with the pits which the district itself might decide would be better put out of the industry for the sake both of the pits and the industry. There is one thing which the five-year period is going to do in regard to pits of this class. There can be little doubt that it is going to make everybody interested in what we may describe for want of a better term as "borderline" pits realise that now is the time of all times when they must make up their minds what they are going to do with such little property as they have left. In coming to a decision upon that matter, a responsibility will also rest on the bankers as well as other creditors, and when a decision has been made it will be possible to deal with the question of amalgamations and with the question of the taking over of quotas. These are things which we have all wished to carry out, though we have never yet cared to do so and possibly we have never even cared to face them because of the uncertainty hitherto existing. If that uncertainty disappears under this Bill, during the five years to come, I believe that the industry will take its courage in both hands and with the power that it has now will so rearrange itself that a great deal more efficiency will result.
1441 That is not the only thing. It is comparatively easy for an industry to recover efficiency of production, but, nowadays, in the changed circumstances of the world, in other industries as well as coal, you can no longer leave your product on your doorstep and rely upon somebody else to market it. I know that a good many of my friends on the Socialist side will say, "We always told you that. You are all coming round to nationalisation." I am agreeing as to the necessity of marketing under this scheme, but I am not agreeing that it is necessary that it should be done under State control. On the contrary, I think it is essential that it should be done by the industry itself, because if industry does it you preserve all that independence and initiative which under State control are so often apt to disappear. I believe that under the scheme in existence, which forms the skeleton of this Bill, it will be possible to devise selling schemes which may have a very lasting effect on the position of the industry.
A great deal of the trouble that we have had in the past over quotas has come from people who are inimical to quotas and to any idea of a regulation of industry by itself for the sake of the industry, and from a realisation on their part that the best way of dealing with industry in order to forward selfish purposes was through the selling agencies. But if industry took selling into its own hands then we should get a position which is far different from that which we have had to face in the past. The selling agency gives us complete control over the final distribution of the coal, and it also gives us an opportunity of correlation between the different districts. Once you have established that point of view, while not by any means getting rid of most of the people who now handle distribution, you have as an industry a free hand over distribution in such a way that in the end distribution itself controls production. That is where you have to find markets if you are going to be in a position to face the difficulties which every industry has to face when it has to undergo contraction and yet endeavour to preserve a position which will give its capital a fair return and its people a fair wage.
I do not think that we, as an industry, need offer any excuses or are called upon 1442 to answer some of the criticisms which have been offered to us when it has been said that the quota is merely an opportunity for the industry to raise prices. Of course, it is an opportunity for the industry to keep prices at a certain level and to prevent them from going lower and possibly to raise them, but does that need any excuse in the present position of the country? Does any industry need an excuse for demanding that it shall have a level of wages which will give it a standard of living which is commensurate with that of other industries? Is any excuse needed if in the process it is necessary for us to say to certain other industries which are obviously sheltered, such as the railways and the great producers of gas and electricity in this country, that it is not a question any longer of all of them fighting one with the other and being helped by certain outside speculators and coming to us and saying that we must now take what they decide. We say instead that we are prepared to offer our coal at a reasonable price and that we fix the price because it is based upon what we believe to be a living return to industry.
Let me say a word on the effectual relationship of the districts one to another, which does involve both production and wages, and to some extent hours. I do not believe that we shall get very far unless eventually we can have some sort of centralisation both in production and selling, and in marketing and in wages. What is the good of each district endeavouring to set up an arbitrary basis for wages and hours, and eventually fixing upon a factor which has no relation to the other districts? In the end you are simply driven to this, that faced with the quota which exists, if you have varying wages and conditions in the districts, you may in a certain district have such a variation that that particular district is driven down by circumstances to a very low wage and bad conditions, and cannot produce coal under the conditions of other districts. Therefore, you should keep the basis of a district arrangement, and marry that to some central arrangement over the whole industry, which is necessary if the industry is ever to be unified, and to be able to speak with one voice from the point of view of bargaining on wages and 1443 hours, not only in this country but with foreign countries, and, what is still more important in the new development that may take place in trade and industry in future, of being able to get your fair share of the production of the coal industry throughout the whole world.
One word in conclusion about wages. I have heard a good deal to-night about the Geneva Convention and what would happen in certain events, whether it would be seven and a quarter hours or seven and a-half hours. I have not the least faith in any hours or wages established by international arrangements, and I will tell the Committee why. It is not only a question of hours which decides in the long run your ability to produce. There is the governing factor of hours married to conditions and wages. You may get an international Convention which will give you seven and a quarter hours, but what is the good of that Convention if the custom of the country concerned allows conditions of life and rates of wages very much lower than yours? Where, then, does the question of competition in international markets come in? I ask my hon. Friends on this side to rely much more on the justice of their own case in putting their argument before the owners and in dealing with the owners in future to press their claims from their own and the national point of view, and to leave these other questions to be settled in other ways, which bear some relation to the general world conditions.
§ Mr. DICKIE
If I intervene for a few moments it is only because I desire to make my position a little clearer than I was able to do in the Debate yesterday. So far as hours of labour are concerned, and their relation to wages, I am one of those who regret very much indeed that the President of the Board of Trade and the Secretary for Mines did not see fit to accept the Amendment proposed from the other side of the Committee to correlate these two things and make them coterminous. As far as the legal enactment of wages is concerned I have never seen fit during the whole of my studies of the difficulties of the mining industry, to alter my belief in the principle laid down by the late Lord Oxford, that it is a vicious principle to put a legal enactment of wages into any Bill passed by 1444 this House, because if you do so the minimum inserted in the Bill tends to become the maximum, and, in the end, it is definitely worse for those engaged in the industry. That had been my belief, and I see no reason to depart from it.
I would like the House to understand that we on the North East coast are not out to abolish Part I of the Act, as seems to be the impression in some quarters. We are anxious, in the interests of the great exporting areas, for an assurance from the Minister that this extremely important part of the industry shall have the fullest consideration when the Amendments to the Act are to be brought forward, and that we shall hear from the Minister, I hope this evening, something of the nature of the plans which are in the mind of the Government for helping the industry to get back the markets which we have lost. I had an assurance from the Minister yesterday that my questions would be answered. I said:I am appealing to the Secretary for Mines, the President of the Board of Trade and His Majesty's Government to find some means of meeting this competition, to regain the markets we have lost and to get our pits working efficiently again."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st Juno, 1932; col. 1213, Vol. 266.]Up to the present we have not had any definite plans or concrete idea of what is in the mind of the Government as to how we are to meet this competition. It has been said from the other side to-day that the figures that I gave yesterday with regard to the export trade were not correct. I thought I made the position clear, but the point that I made, which has not yet been met during this Debate, is that this little country of ours is the only exporting country which has suffered during the course of the last 12 to 18 months. Other countries have increased their exports of coal, some have fallen only slightly, but we have had this tremendous decline, which has hit the North East coast and, I agree, South Wales and the other exporting areas, in the most extraordinary fashion.
What we complain of and desire to stress is that the worst part of this Act, and one which we hope to see swept away, is that dealing with the question of minimum prices in the export trade. There are hundreds of thousands of tons of coal lying on the ground. There is a market for that coal, and I am informed on first 1445 class authority that if these minimum prices are removed, hundreds of thousands of pounds can be realised for that coal. If these prices are swept away and the colliery owner is left with freedom to sell in any market in which he can dispose of that coal, there will be no difficulty in selling hundreds of thousands of tons, and I submit that that is something worthy of the consideration of the Department.
I would ask the Secretary for Mines once again to look very closely into the position. He knows the North East coast as well as I do now; he knows the difficulties from which the industry there is suffering; he knows the hardship, the hunger, the distress, and the poverty in those exporting areas, due to the decline in the export trade; and I ask him to do everything in his power to meet this competition, which has destroyed our trade in the coal exporting areas in the North East corner of England, and to bring back something like a measure of prosperity to this hard-hit industry and a greater measure of happiness to the men, women, and children dependent upon it.
§ Mr. EDWARD WILLIAMS
I should not have intervened but for the statement made by the Secretary for Mines that in 12 months' time the miners would have regained their bargaining power with the employers. But, having intervened, I want to compliment the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. G. Ellis) on his very practical speech. Except for the last few sentences of it, I heartily agree with all that he had said. I realise that on the Third Reading of a Bill of this kind one cannot possibly consider the economies of the mining industry in any exhaustive sense, but the problem, as I see it, is mainly a question of markets and to a lesser extent a question of organisation. Like the hon. Member for Winchester, I have been on the practical side of the industry for many years, and since 1918 I have been in all the negotiations between the Miners' Federation and the employers in this country, and can claim, I think, to have a fairly extensive knowledge, not only of the technical side of the industry, but of the practical side as well.
I want to make a charge against the dominating party in the present Government. I hold them almost entirely respon- 1446 sible for the present position of the mining industry. I say "almost" because there are a few factors which were entirely beyond the control of their Government from 1925 to 1929 and of the miners and the mineowners. Those factors were the Versailles Treaty, the Spa agreement, and the closing of the export markets to the extent of 36,000,000 tons, directly attributable to the War and the immediate post-War years. I will not challenge the Conservative party as such with being responsible for that, but the main reason for the problem confronting the industry just now is really the hours that were placed upon the Statute Book by the Conservative Government; and I think the present Government are making an irreparable blunder in permitting this Act—I am expressing my personal opinion in this regard—to continue for 12 months.
There is nothing that defeats organisation in the mining industry more than pandering to inefficient employers, whether it is in meeting the cuts they demand or in meeting their demands for increased hours; and I will endeavour to produce evidence to prove that statement. For the first six months of 1925 the net aggregate loss in the mining industry was 3d. a ton. In South Wales it was 1s. The Government then in office decided to advance a subsidy, and, during the time the subsidy was to be paid to the employers, a commission was to sift all the data available and prepare a report. I could go into the statistics in detail and show precisely what happened in the industry month by month for the nine months of that subvention. It will be sufficient if I intimated that, while the net aggregate loss in the industry for the first six months of 1925 was 3d., at the end of the subvention period, April, 1926, the net aggregate loss was 1s. 9d. In South Wales it was 4s. 7d. That was due to the fact that the subvention was paid on a net aggregate basis in each of the districts.
The Samuel Commission proved in the evidence which was elicited from the employers that 3 per cent. of the employers were actually making from 5s. to 10s. per ton profit; and the converse happened too. The Samuel Commission told the Prime Minister quite bluntly: "Do not increase the working day, for if you do you will reduce the personnel 1447 of the industry by 130,000." In defiance of that warning, the working day was increased by one hour, and the consequence is that the unemployment in the industry has increased by 150,000. The average price in the first six months of 1925 was 19s. 5d. At the end of the subvention period it was 15s. 2d. Those were the South Wales figures. Throughout the country the average was 17s. 4d. The prices dropped to the precise decimal point by the amount of the subvention.
Meanwhile, we were faced with the difficulty that the Samuel Commission created an irreparable blunder. While it proposed means by which the industry could be organised in regard to marketing, wagons, and things of that kind, it stated at the same time that the subsidy should be discontinued immediately. That was after the industry had been granted a subsidy of £23,250,000, giving the employers about 1s. 3d. on every ton for a period of nine months. It was discontinued at a moment's notice, and we were faced with a first-class crisis. Either the miners were to sustain a reduction of wages equivalent per ton to the subsidy, or there was to be an increase in the working day, which meant a subvention of time without pay. The nation was too poor to pay the subvention, but the miners were apparently rich enough. This Bill arises from that blunder, for we were then producing beyond the market capacity, both internally and externally. We were producing more than could be consumed in this country by scores of millions of tons, yet the working day was increased by one hour and the increased output per person employed was 4.3 cwt. per day.
§ Mr. MAGNAY
Was not the return to gold parity in April, 1925, a very powerful factor in the situation which the hon. Member mentions?
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I readily agree that in the middle of the period of which I speak the threatened crisis of July would not have arisen if we had not reverted to the Gold Standard.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Yes, particularly in the export market. Four-fifths of our 1448 problem, however, is an internal problem, and three-quarters of the problem is within the grasp of this House if it attempts to solve it. We can very readily solve the other fourth if with unanimity we tackle the three-fourths. We now have a prolongation of last year's Act. It really means an increase of half-an-hour for the miners because by Statute they should, from the 8th July, be working seven hours. The miners are to be deprived of their statutory rights. If it means increased accidents and that more have to be slain in the industry, that is a mere bagatelle. I charge the Conservative party, the dominant factor, the people responsible for the perpetuation of the present economic policy which is now being applied to the mining industry, with having brought this problem about, first, by not accepting the Sankey Commission's report with regard to organisation, and rejecting the portion of the Report that deals with hours; and, second, by failing to observe that, if the subsidy were to be discontinued immediately, the industry would be thrust into a six months' stoppage, as indeed it was. The miners were faced with a loss in wages of an amount representing the subsidy equal to 3s. l0d. per shift. The miners were not prepared to sustain that loss.
I have been medically advised not to speak, and I would not have arisen tonight but for the cant that we have heard in the House in these Debates and the gibing of miners about strikes and things of that kind. I have no desire to place my credentials before the House, but for the last 13 years I have been handling the Lord President of the Council's collieries, and there has not been one single day's stoppage in that time. When we can meet men who are reasonable and prepared to negotiate and place their cards upon the table, we do likewise. But really we have never met the mining industry as a unit at all. That has been our trouble. We have merely met vested interests in the industry, possessing no national negotiating powers, who have denied the opportunity to the miners of creating some kind of machinery in order to deal with problems of a national character. For some owners the policy of the Conservative Government from 1925 onwards was really a splendid policy. I know of a colliery, over which I have had 1449 some charge, the capital value of which on the market is admittedly worth at least £300,000, although it was purchased for £15,000 by the people who have really driven it out of production by cutting prices.
I have already crossed swords with the last speaker, because I cannot understand anyone who has had experience of the mining industry saying it is not necessary just now to continue Part I. As I have already shown, prices have been reduced since 1925 by practically 4s. a ton—and we are selling less coal now than we did in 1925; and the miners have sustained a reduction in wages of about 2s. 10d. per shift since 1925—and things are no better. I am certain that I should be out of order if I endeavoured to show that the mining problem is a world problem, is a matter of international economics, that we cannot reduce wages by £1,000,000,000 in 10 years and expect the same demand for goods and for the coal to produce those goods. While reorganisation is essentially necessary markets are the vital problem. I see no hope, though I feel the Secretary for Mines sincerely thinks that it accords with my aspiration, as it is the aspiration of every mining Member on this side, that we can have peace in the industry. Miners' leaders do not want to be in the thick of a crisis; their salaries are sacrificed, though they carry on; and so from the purely personal interest they do not want stoppages; but I am prepared to confess that I am very dubious about whether we can avoid a crisis at the end of 12 months. It is no use accepting the word of even Mr. Evan Williams or the people whom you meet at the time of a crisis—and the only time when the Miners' Federation can meet the owners as an association is in times of crisis, because, apart from then, we have to go back to district agreements. I do not blame the Secretary for Mines for making the statements he has made, and for having confidence in words that may have been uttered to him, perhaps, with confidence; but he will forgive me for saying, in the light of my experience, that I cannot conceive, within the terns of the South Wales agreement, and within the terms of any of the other agreements operating in coalfields that are coterminous with ours, that we can 1450 avoid a crisis on wages next year. I plead with the Secretary for Mines to take our opinion, for what it is worth, and in the light of the experience we have had. Let him take it from us that we are likely to have a crisis next year. When we talk about wages we are not talking about basic rates, about minimum percentages—or, rather, only talking about them in relation to this Bill, for the miners will sustain loss of wages regardless of those things. During the next few months I trust something will be done. I would like to believe that we could manage to achieve something internationally. I disagree most decidedly with the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Ellis). In his absence I would tell him that I endorse practically every word of his speech, except just that latter phrase. If we are to have success with the export problem it must be along international lines; not only hours and wages but other things should be brought within the purview of the conference.
Therefore, I hope the Secretary for Mines, who, I think, is quite sincere in this matter, will leave no stone unturned to see that the report of the Geneva Convention will be ratified by other European countries and ultimately endorsed by our own Government. I do not want to deal with sentiment in the industry. Part I of the Act is really good and should be continued, but we must have a tightening up of the central committee machinery. The Secretary for Mines knows that I have brought to his notice what is happening in the Bristol Channel ports regarding Scottish coal. Practically 8,000 tons of Scottish coal have gone into the Bristol Channel ports this year, and the central committee say they have no authority on that matter. I hope the machinery will be so adjusted as to prohibit that kind of thing taking place. I think the Government have made a great blunder in permitting this stretching of hours in the interests of the employers, and in allowing the miners to be almost entirely sacrificed in the matter of wages. I trust, however, that the Minister will rise to the level of the sentiment contained in his speeches and that 12 months hence we may be able to avoid a crisis, if organisation and matters of that kind are taken into consideration.
§ Sir A. BAILLIE
I rise to give expression to one or two opinions on the points which have been raised during the Com- 1451 mittee stage. First I should like to give an expression of opinion in regard to the quota. During the Debate there is one thing which has stood out prominently in my mind, and it is that there has been no great enthusiasm for the quota system, although there has been a considerable defence in regard to Part I of the Coal Mines Act as a whole. On the other hand, it has been apparent on the part of all concerned that there has been a disposition to treat the quota system as a stop gap, something that is just rather better than nothing. I myself believe that the quota system should be looked upon as a means to an end and not an end in itself. If that opinion is accepted, I realise that the Government and the President of the Board of Trade have been influenced, and have had to be influenced by the mining association. I understand that a considerable majority of the mining association has urged the Government to continue in operation Part I and the quota system for a period of five years. Let that be as it may, at the same time there is also a considerable minority, at least in Scotland, amounting to 46 per cent., who, most insistently, have resisted the continuation of the quota system in operation for a period of five years.
So far as I can understand from the speeches made to-day and yesterday by the Secretary for Mines, the statements of the minority coalowners are not accepted. The only expression of opinion I would like to make on that point is that the President of the Board of Trade, the Secretary for Mines, and the Government of the day should at least find some room in their decision for minority interests. I feel that in an industry like the coal industry with all its varying interests and requirements, it is not only a question of fairness, but a question of statesmanship that minority interests should have some attention paid to them. In regard to the quota system as a whole, I realise that the Government and the interested Ministers of State, in view of the fact that they have sought the opinion of the Mining Association and that they have received that opinion in a majority, have their hands somewhat tied. The suggestion I would like to make and the opinion which I desire to express at the moment is that, in view of the real interests of the minority, it is vital, absolutely vital, to have a free discussion on 1452 this subject on the Floor of the House before the next General Election. That is all the Scottish Members of this House representing the point of view which I am now putting forward are asking, and I do not think that there will be any contradiction on either side of this House that this quota system is merely in its infancy; it has hardly been born. Many of the troubles and ill effects which have arisen from the quota system might be ascribed to the pangs of travail. We realise that as a possibility and we urge that we should have a discussion again of this subject on the Floor of the House and that we should be given reasonable time for considering modifications and amendment which should be fully tested before the next appeal to the country.
We have heard a lot of references to the Geneva Conference. The hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Ellis), who spoke not long ago, referred to the Geneva Conference, and I was decidedly inclined to agree with my hon. Friend in the intention of his remarks. We have in this Bill linked up the hours of work in the coal mining industry with the Geneva Convention. I have given a certain amount of perusal to the provisions of that Convention. I merely wish to be advised, and I would ask for a clearer understanding of this Convention for myself and possibly for many other hon. Members who have not studied it. It sometimes appears to me that the linking up of the Geneva Convention so far as hours of work underground are concerned with this Bill is an endeavour to induce Members of this House to vote for a seven-hour day on account of it being included in the Geneva Convention when, taken on its merits and with a clear understanding of what the Geneva Convention let us into, I hope the Members of this House would withhold their consent. In this matter, I am asking for information, for confirmation, and for advice. I find in this Convention several provisions which have stirred me very profoundly. I find it stated that a seven and three-quarter hour day from bank to bank, with permission for 60 hours' overtime a year, is allowed, and then I find that in any mines overtime may be worked for half an hour a day in special circumstances, and no limit of days is set for this. Another provision says: 1453The above applies to underground mines, but in open mines the eight-hour day and 48-hour week are to apply, with permission to work 100 hours a year overtime.Finally, there is this provision, which really does disturb me, and will disturb me unless I can get some clear understanding from the Government and from the Secretary for Mines. A special Clause says this:Nothing in the Convention shall have the effect of altering national laws or regulations with regard to hours of work so as to lessen the guarantees thereby afforded to workers.I want to know what that special Clause means when it says that nothing shall be held valid which may lessen the guarantees thereby afforded to workers.
§ Sir A. BAILLIE
I have not here the Convention itself, but I think that, if the Secretary for Mines will look it up, he will find that Clause in it. I am reading an actual quotation—Nothing in the Convention shall have the effect of altering national laws …. so as to lessen the guarantees thereby afforded to workers.I am only seeking, in this respect, information and guidance. What can that possibly mean? Surely it is possible that, in the countries which may be co-signatories of this Geneva Convention, guarantees have been given with regard to wages, and if in accordance with this Convention they have to lessen their hours of work to seven and three-quarter hours, or seven and a-quarter hours underground, they may very well say, "If we subscribe to this lessening of hours, we cannot pay the same wages." After all, that happened in our own country very recently. That will be lessening a guarantee which they have accorded to their workers, and thereupon they will be entirely absolved in point of fact from fulfilling the spirit and letter of the Geneva Convention. I mention that fact because I think it is entirely pertinent and extremely important. Here is a Convention which, even to the layman, is absolutely riddled with loopholes. We know that in this country, if we ratify the Convention, we shall stick to the spirit in which it is made; but do we know that those other possible co-signatories 1454 of the Convention will do anything more than adhere to the letter of the law? In that case, we who are interested in mines and miners in this country will be placed at a perpetual competitive disadvantage as compared with the coal-producing countries on the Continent and elsewhere. That, obviously, would affect the problem of the employment of miners in this country.
I would put this question to hon. Members opposite, as I have put it to many of my opponents in a, mining constituency: However low the wages of miners to-day are—and we all admit that they should not be lower, and we do not say that in any spirit of sentimentality—even taking that state of wages in the industry to-day, I would ask hon. Members opposite, is a miner to-day, with the conditions in the industry and the wages of to-day, better off in employment or unemployed? [An HON. MEMBER: "They are starving anyway."] That is a kind of remark which I have heard before, and with which, I think, anyone who has reasoned on this subject will entirely disagree; it does not make any sense at all. It is perfectly obvious that, however bad and however low the wages of the employed miner may be, he is nevertheless worse off unemployed, and I suggest that no Member of this House would wittingly give his consent to anything which would put the employment of the miner, even as it is to-day, in jeopardy. If, however, without any consultation on the matter, we subscribe to this Convention, if we find in this Government Bill the Geneva Convention included, and are not given a satisfactory understanding as to what the Convention really ties us to, we are wittingly putting in jeopardy the employment of the miner.
I suggest that in the last provision of the Geneva Convention which I quoted just now will be found very good reason why the mineowners cannot guarantee wages beyond a limited period of 12 months. I realise—in fact, I know—that the Government would not be in a position to-day to say that they could tie up hours and wages in the mines for a period of one year. You can guarantee the wages of the miner provided his hours of work are flexible, and you can guarantee a limit of the hours of work underground provided wages are flexible, but you cannot guarantee his wages and 1455 hours and guarantee employment. I have suffered from sentimental views and expressions of opinion for three or four years. We have heard much cant and much sentimentality, but sentimentality has not improved the position of the miner, and the interference of Parliament in the mining industry, as admitted by all concerned, has not improved the position of the miner in the last 20 years. It is obviously not my intention to do anything to upset the apple-cart. I realise that you have the quota system and you cannot suddenly take it away. I have only registered certain opinions in regard to that system—that it should be reviewed at least in the lifetime of this House—and my own opinions in regard to the Geneva Convention. I would ask for some statement on the part of the Government showing what the ratification of this Convention will really tie us down to.
§ Mr. D. GRENFELL
The hon. Baronet has made it very difficult for me to comment upon his speech, because he was very indistinct in regard to any possible alternative to the parts of the Bill that he disliked.
§ Sir A. BAILLIE
I was only indistinct in that regard, because I understood that at this stage I should not have been in order in suggesting Amendments.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
I shall await the hon. Baronet's proposals with great interest to see how he can guarantee at the same time hours, wages and plenty of employment.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
The hon. Baronet suggested that he had views in reserve. If he has not, his criticism of the proposals before the House is not quite so valid. He commenced by claiming special rights for the minority, to which I gather he belongs, or else he would not have made the claim. In this House, we are a small minority. We ask for no special privileges, but we ask for permission to put our case, and we feel that, when it is properly understood, we shall get the great bulk of public opinion on our side. I counsel the hon. Baronet to put his case. If it is sound and strong, it will 1456 prevail. I cannot say how much I regret the need for standing up to oppose a Bill which, as the Secretary for Mines said, is intended to bring peace to the mining industry. If I believed that this or any other Bill would bring peace, stability, and security to the industry, I should not be here supporting its rejection, but because I believe that science, which should be the handmaid of industry, has not been given its due place, because I believe the Government are turning their backs on science, refusing to pay attention to its advice and counsel, refusing to employ it when it offers itself, and because the Government are doing what has been doine so long in mining industry, relying upon its brutal, stupid methods of coercion, low wages, long hours, had conditions of employment to right the admitted evils of the industry, I wish to offer some constructive criticism.
I am pleased to acknowledge that one Member of the House takes an advanced view. I have never heard the Socialist case applied to the mining industry put so well as it was put to-night by the hon. Member for Winchester. With the exception of one or two loose statements which he made towards the end of his speech, I agree entirely with everything he said.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
I cannot accept the hon. Member's reservations, but I agree with his speech. It was a very good speech, indeed. The Secretary for Mines is to reply, and I wish to direct some criticism to him before he replies. My hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) questioned the prospects of the Geneva Convention. I was grievously disappointed with the expressions of the Secretary for Mines both on the Second Reading and the Committee stage. Indeed, if he is not being thoroughly misunderstood by me and my colleagues, I am afraid that while in office he is going to be the greatest hindrance to the success of the Geneva Convention. In the Debate to-night he said that a seven-hour day is practically an impossibility at the present time. If he believes that a seven-hour day is practically impossible, what is the use of his going to Geneva to try to agree with people in other countries to impose what 1457 is really in effect a seven-hour day in the Geneva Convention itself? The term "seven and a-quarter hours" has been used so often in Debate that the House and the country may be misled in regard to the nature of the Geneva Convention. The intention of the Geneva Convention is to make uniform both the hours of employment and the method of computing the hours of employment in all coal-producing countries. The standard laid down is known as the seven-hours forty-five minutes day, bank to bank, a system very well known on the Continent and, indeed, before other confusing elements were introduced into these discussions, to the miners in this country. I shall come back to that matter later, because it is very important.
I wish to refer to something which was said by certain hon. Members who took part in the Second Reading. The President of the Board of Trade referred to the Geneva Convention and described it as the seven and a quarter hour day. The right hon. Gentleman said that you cannot disconnect hours and wages, and something of the same kind came from the lips of the Noble Lord the Member for County Down (Viscount Castlereagh), who spoke a little later in the Debate, when he stated that the return to the seven hour day would, in reality, completely destroy the mining industry. What extravagant speech and extreme language! What irrelevancy to the actual facts of the situation! The hon. Member for County Down—I do not see him in his place at the moment—is a coalowner. It was very difficult to contain my peace of mind when I heard the hon. Gentleman dealing with his relations with the workpeople he employed. I shall make no comment in detail except to advise the hon. Gentleman—and I hope that he reads these words—in a very friendly spirit to desist from the kind of language to which he referred, because some day or other he will get the kind of answer he deserves. He asked workpeople whether they would like to be in employment or idle in conditions under which he would never speak to people on his own side. One hon. Gentleman, a Member of the mining industry, showed that the old spirit of which we complained so much has not entirely passed away in the coal mining world, and that there are still coalowners who fail to 1458 realise that the miner is a decent fellow and responds to decent treatment, and will do everything for employers and management and those responsible for the direction of the industry in a way conducive to good business, if he is properly approached.
You cannot disconnect hours and wages. We are told by the Secretary for Mines and the coalowners that because of the increased cost we cannot have the seven-hours day. We are told that the cost is too excessive in present economic circumstances. We cannot afford half an hour coal-winding time; it is too expensive, yet we are only working four days a week. Although we have two days a week of spare time, we cannot afford to lose half an hour out of seven and a-half hours. Instead of seeking to maintain longer hours we ought to be examining the economic possibilities of the industry on a very much wider scope. We have at the present time under the restrictive quota system, of which the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dickie) complained so much, a margin of 15 per cent. over production. Therefore, we have one day's work in hand before we have worked out our district allocation. Before we have reached our maximum productive capacity we have a 30 per cent. margin. That means that we have two days a week in hand before we have adjusted our productive capacity, yet we are told that we cannot afford to spare one half hour a day out of seven and a-half hours, 6 per cent., one hour in 15, although we have 15 per cent. in hand under the quota system and 30 per cent. in hand in connection with our productive capacity. That shows how far we have gone from a practical realisation of the problem or of any solution that we have to apply.
I come to Part I of the Act. We are not satisfied even with Part I, which is to be continued. It is part of an Act for which we were responsible, passed through the House by the late Mr. William Graham, whose intimate knowledge and wonderful persuasiveness will stand to his credit for all time. We acknowledge that Part I, although it may be good, is not perfect. In addition to paying a tribute to Mr. Graham's wonderful capacity and insight into our industrial problems, I should like to pay testimony 1459 to another friend and colleague of ours, the late Mr. Vernon Hartshorn. People seem to think that the quota system is a new thing that has been thrown at the industry without care or thought. As a member of the South Wales Executive I was present with Mr. Hartshorn in 1922, soon after the first general stoppage, when we were in the depth of depression, when he outlined Part I in minute detail. He urged the coalowners of South Wales to face the problem of over-production and to get their minds to work on it. He appealed to them not to persist in their conservative ways but to apply intelligent minds to the problem. But we had to wait until 1930 before Parliament took the legislation in hand and passed the Act of 1930 which contained Part I. We are now in 1932 and the majority of the people of this country are convinced that this part of the Act has worked very well. We do not want to abolish it.
The hon. Member for Winchester is a syndicalist too. He said let the organisation be united; let them solve their difficulties on a large and united plan, and do not let any outside body come into it. That is syndicalism; and this is syndicalism applied. The regulation of output and of prices is in the hands of the coalowners. No one has a right to interfere in the determination of district allocations and quotas. I think there is need for the representation at an earlier stage of the consumers of coal and other persons in the industry. Why should not the Miners' Federation and the organised workers be represented on the Central Committee and on the district committees? There are one or two defects in the quota system. It is difficult to arrive at a standard tonnage for new mines. Mines are being closed. Over 1,000 mines have been closed since the depression first set in. It has been urged that more mines should be closed, but I would ask the Secretary for Mines not to be unduly impressed by that argument. You can close too many mines; you can make the process of closing them work too quickly and do great injury to the industry. Make haste slowly should be the policy in the matter of closing mines. If Part II of the Bill is to work you must not let Part I go too far because it would militate against the plan of reorganisation which Part II brings about. 1460 But when new mines are in process of being opened the district committees should see that they have a satisfactory quota for their proper development in order that they may take the place of old mines which are being closed down owing to the competitive struggle in the industry.
Another thing is the traffic in quotas. When a mine is closed down it should have no quota whatever. It is a wrong thing to encourage the sale of quotas. The person who sells his quota for a mine which is closed is a parasite upon the community because he gives no service in return for what he gets. I am quite sure that the quota scheme can be made good. There is ample margin. I know that there are some people in the industry who wish to undermine the minimum price, but I am sure that hon. Members opposite do not want to give the coal factor the right to determine prices when they have no responsibility for meeting the costs of production. Let those people who have to meet the costs of production fix prices.
I come now to Part II of the Bill, which is to continue the present hours of working for an indefinite period. If I were to judge by the expressions of the Secretary for Mines I would indeed say that there is no hope at all for the Geneva Convention, unless the hon. Gentleman is compelled to give way to some more enlightened person who can take his place in representing this country at Geneva and convince the people of the Continent that we believe in the possibility of a seven-hours day not only for ourselves but for all the mine workers of the world. The time is overripe for a reduction of hours. I stand here without a word of apology for the claim that working hours should be immediately reduced to no more than seven hours. I have had 23 years' experience of work underground. I am old enough to remember that when I started work, nearly 40 years ago, the older men talked of an fight-hours day as an ideal to be attained in the future. Always the idea was an eight-hours day bank to bank, with one winding included. I looked forward then to the day when we would have a reduction of hours to a maximum of eight hours, bank to bank. I saw it coming after years of agitation, political and industrial.
1461 In 1908 this House passed a Bill to give a working day of eight hours, bank to bank, which is exactly the length of day that the Secretary for Mines is to perpetuate in the industry. We are, therefore, no further than we were 24 years ago; the hon. Gentleman is not one inch further on than was his predecessor of 1908. It is not good enough, eight hours bank to bank. We had a Commission in 1919. We had had 10 years of the eight hours, then a Royal Commission and a reduction by one hour per day. We worked seven hours from 1918 to 1926, and to the internal discredit of the Conservative Government and the present Lord President of the Council and all those responsible for listening to the coalowners, they became the coalowners' agents. The hours were lengthened from seven to eight and we went on from 1926 to 1931 with an eight hours' day. This must be said in favour of the Lord President of the Council: He had a five years plan; he anticipated the Bolsheviks. It was to be an eight hours day for only five years, and then the world was to be put right and we were to go back to the normal seven hours day.
We now claim to go back to the seven hours day which has been ours by right since 1919 and which our people have been accustomed to work. I feel sure that the Lord President of the Council is not proud at having suspended the seven hours day even for five years. In 1931 we came back to our rightful claim to the seven hours. I am sure that the Secretary for Mines is not as simple as he pretends to be on this matter. In 1931 we were entitled to a drop of one hour per day, but we were told that there might be injury to the industry if we dropped a whole hour at once. Therefore, we were to take it in two steps and go down by a half-hour in one year and by another half-hour in the next year. That was the understanding. Everybody knew it and this House endorsed it. In 1932 the time has come to take the second step, and the hon. Gentleman now says: "I am not lengthening the working hours, but I am simply continuing the working day which was put into operation by the Labour Government." He must have misunderstood entirely the intention of the Labour Government.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Surely the hour was reduced by half by the Act of 1930 and it was intended that the other half should be taken away by the Act of 1931, but that was not done owing to economic circumstances which are more powerful to-day than they were then.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
The hon. Gentleman knows that the reason why it was brought down to seven and a-half hours was because it was considered that to take off the whole hour at once would be too large a jump. He knows that it was the intention however to bring the day down to seven hours and that in the following July we were automatically to go back to a seven-hour day. The hon. Gentleman and all who are responsible for mines legislation ought not to close their eyes to the changed conditions in mining. In Kent, Nottingham, East Yorkshire and all our new coalfields men work at a depth of more than 3,000 feet and in years to come more than half our output of coal will be coming from that depth. Do hon. Members realise what that means? The temperature of the earth increases by one degree every 60 feet you go down and at 3,000 feet it is 50 degrees Fahrenheit above the mean temperature of the earth, which is 60 degrees, making a total of 110 degrees. It is bad enough that men should work at that depth, stripped naked, in the mines of this country but that is not the worst feature.
I see medical gentlemen opposite me and I hope they will not criticise me too severely when I try to point out that what is very much worse than the conditions I have already described is the effect of atmospheric pressure. When you go down 3,000 feet you find that nearly three inches are added to the barometer and 1½ lbs. per square inch to the atmospheric pressure. Hon. Gentlemen know that in climbing to high altitudes physical phenomena of a very distressing kind are experienced. You cannot go to a great height before the body is taken out of its normal range of physical conditions and the nose and even the eyes begin to bleed. At 10,000 or 15,000 feet men become prostrate and are unable to continue the ascent. The reverse happens when people go down into the earth. I am told on good authority that I stand 1463 here to-night not so much by will-power as by atmospheric pressure. I can stand where I am but when I go down 2,000 or 3,000 feet I am subjected to an unnatural pressure which is very oppressive and has serious pathological and physical effects.
The men who go down into mines under these conditions ought to be given great consideration. It is wrong that we should pass enactments condemning these men, for ever and a day, without any hope of relief, to a seven and a-half hour day, which is really an eight-hour day of coal mining, without regard to the conditions. We ought to have regard to the physical conditions and the effect of those conditions upon our fellow-men, upon those who are just as good as ourselves and who are members of the one fraternity with us. We ought not to impose upon them this daily punishment, this tax upon their strength and energy, in conditions to which no man should be subjected in this country. I am proud to think that in the old days when we worked long hours we still managed to maintain a fairly high standard of physical condition. The records of 1914 will show that the percentage of Class A men in the mining industry in the first six months of the War was higher than that of any other class. More fit soldiers were then found in the mining industry than in any other industry. You do not get that to-day, and you will not get it in five years. You will get it in a decreasing proportion as the years pass.
It is no use waiting for the owners. As a body they have never brought forward a single suggestion for improving the health and safety of the men—never. They have always been against anything of that sort. They opposed Workmen's Compensation, they opposed safety legislation, they opposed minimum wages and everything else. This House must take it out of the hands of the owners. That is the business of the House. Do we represent the people or do we not? Are we to be regarded as a truly national institution which represents the interests of our people? Something was said from the bench opposite about the leadership of the Miners' Federation. I do not remember any time when that leadership was acceptable to the mineowners. The 1464 only leader that suited them was a leader who was a blackleg and a traitor. There has been a fine record of loyalty among the leaders.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
I know all about him, much more than the hon. Gentleman does. It has been said that we have a very wise man, a tactful and sagacious man and a man to whom you can talk, but have they given him any encouragement? Have they shown any appreciation? He has had to go back empty-handed. That is the way to destroy the moderate man. You will not help him or encourage the confidence which is absolutely necessary. We have a long way to go in the mining industry, and much work remains to be done. For years it will require all the talents and experience that we can give it. I have spent the best years of my life in this work and so have many others, and we are willing to go on. It will occupy us all our lives. The problems are long and deep-seated, difficult and technical in every way. You will not help us by creating the suspicion of mind in the rank and file that the man who approaches this problem with moderation and desire for settlement is not going to be successful. You will get the extreme man to take his place and drive him out because there has been no appreciation of his work. If hon. Members opposite value leadership in the Miners' Federation, there is the same need for leadership on their part. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are the leaders for the time, being self-appointed it is true, and having arrogated to themselves a claim to leadership which they should never enjoy, but let them show some capacity to leadership and statesmanship and get down to the problem of coal. While I cannot expect to get all that I want to-night, I hope that after to-night the Secretary for Mines will not rest one hour until he has made some progress to give stability and security and a feeling of fair play to the miners of this country.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
I am very glad that we are getting towards the end of this Debate, and indeed quite a sense of liveliness has been introduced into it by the very able speech of the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell), who has just sat down. So far as I know, it has been all through, although with very sharp differences of opinion, the friend- 1465 liest of Debates, and I can only hope, having been here to listen to every speech to-night, I think, that the result of our legislation now will be that we will not have to go through the same experience next year. It will be very hard on the Minister of Mines if the policy that has been put before us by the other side is to be debated and every year we are to have a prolonged Debate upon hours and wages. That is what we have tried to avoid. In speaking on the Third Beading, I want to express my thanks to those who are opposed to me in this House and who have treated me with such courtesy, and I will show my appreciation by confining within a very few minutes anything that I have to say. It is now five minutes to Eleven, and as my colleagues here are probably as tired as I am, I do not think it is desirable that I should speak at great length.
My hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. Dickie) put again his question relating to the export industry. The problem of the export industry is constantly before us, as it must be before anyone who is concerned with our national welfare, and he can be quite sure that it will not be forgotten. I want to correct what may have seemed a wrong impression this afternoon, when I spoke about the difficulty in getting markets abroad. I asked whether we had been able to sell coal in Germany, France, Belgium, and elsewhere. I did not intend to convey that those markets would not be recovered now; I did not intend to convey that they are irrecoverable. I was answering the point put by the hon. Member when he said that in 1929–30 we had lost in our export trade about 12,000,000 tons of coal, and my argument was directed to the difficulty which we had in the markets at that time. It is our business to do all that is humanly possible to recover those markets, upon which our export trade depends.
Something was said just now about suspicion. The trouble in this Debate has been suspicion. The suspicion has again been raised that we are not doing what we ought to do as far as the International Convention is concerned. What ground is there for that suspicion? I am quite willing to answer a proper charge. Let the charge be levelled, and let it be answered. I had the charge levelled against me by the "Daily Herald" that 1466 I had postponed the last meeting because the Government were opposed to the policy of the Convention. I answered in specific terms the charge that was specifically made. The importance of that charge was that it was made just before the Miners' Conference was held. It was read by many men who only read that paper, and if they believed what they read, it would have destroyed their confidence in me, as Secretary for Mines, in relation to that Convention. Although I answered the specific charge in specific terms in this House, my answer was not reported. It makes no difference so far as I am concerned, but that is how suspicions grow. The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) said that this Bill meant that the Government were establishing the seven and a-half hours in perpetuity. I made a contrary statement on the Second Reading. I do not want to be associated with a Bill which establishes that. I associate myself with all that has been said in condemnation of long hours in the mines. This Bill does not establish seven and a-half hours in perpetuity. It will be remembered that on the Second Reading I said that as soon as circumstances improved, as soon as the conditions, which were bad last year and are worse this year, improved, there was an obligation on the Government of the day to revise this law and to secure for the miner the least possible hours consistent with the carrying on of the industry.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
May I remind the hon. Gentleman that on the Second Reading he stated that the cause of the postponement of the April meeting at Geneva was that one Government said they wanted 12 months' leave and another Government said they wanted two years' leave, and he saw no reason for holding another meeting at all until after simultaneous ratification was possible. That, we suggest, means that if we wait until these other Governments, all more or leas dominated by employers, are willing to ratify, we will never get ratification.
§ Mr. FOOT
The hon. Gentleman ignores the fact that it is open to this House, at any time when circumstances justify it, to change the hours established in this Bill independently of any convention. It would be easy for me to give the same impression that was given last 1467 year that this thing could be carried through within a period of 12 months. It is impossible to carry it through in 12 months under the operation of the Regulations of the International Labour Office, and the House would have had a right to complain against me if, in order to get my Bill through and make it simple and easy for the House, I had left that impression on it. We have pledged ourselves, and it is not a new declaration. When the Bill was before the House last year the Lord President of the Council commended the then Secretary for Mines for his work in relation to the Measure, and said:We are as anxious, and I think we must be, if it should ever be our lot to sit on those benches, to get an international agreement as hon. Members opposite."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th July, 1931; col. 1750, Vol. 254.]The right hon. Gentleman spoke in terms of commendation of that policy, and I quoted his words when I went to Geneva in January of this year and said that that represented the policy of this country. Why should it be thought that we are now adverse to that policy? I have no responsibility for the Washington Convention, but I am associated with this convention, and it serves no purpose to bring into arguments something that has no relevance to them. When I returned from Geneva I reported to the Cabinet through the President of the Board of Trade and in answer to the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander), I gave what was the considered opinion of the Cabinet in relation to Geneva. It was that:His Majesty's Government is favourably disposed towards the Convention. The detailed application of some of its provisions to the coal mines of this country present certain problems which are under consideration. As soon as these points have been disposed of, the Government will be prepared to ratify the Convention, provided that the other six countries will do so at the same time."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd February, 1932. col. 189, Vol. 262.]That still remains the policy of the Government; it is candidly stated, and it will be faithfully followed.
I will now pass to what has happened in the last few days. It is true that what I have had to submit to the House has caused disappointment on the opposite side of the House. Something has been said as to the leadership of the Miners' 1468 Federation. I hope that I am behind no one sitting opposite in my appreciation of the leadership of the Miners' Federation. Mr. Edwards was a colleague of mine in the House, and I think I can reckon him as a personal friend, and surely it can be assumed that I am speaking genuinely when I make my tribute to his leadership and the way he has met us all through these discussions. I think his leadership was manifest in the meetings of the Federation held during this week. I have received from him this morning a letter making a further proposal bearing upon the proposal he made when, two nights ago, he met the President of the Board of Trade and myself. It should be known that it is his desire, and the desire of the Federation, that steps shall be taken to strengthen Part IV of the Act.
When we met the Federation the other night an assurance was given by my right hon. Friend that we would be happy to get into consultation on the matter. It is as a result of that meeting, a perfectly friendly meeting, with the executive of the Federation, that we have received this further letter from Mr. Edwards asking that the interview shall take place. I have already personally acknowledged the letter, and have told him that I am at his disposal in the matter, and I am hopeful that upon those lines there may be set up a system of consultation, so that any threatened crisis, any crisis that looms on the horizon at the end of the twelve months, can be anticipated by friendly meetings between those who are mainly concerned.
I do not think there is more that I can promise at the present time. I shall not delay the House in dealing with criticisms of Part I. All that I can say of Part I is that we have, by the passing of this Bill—which I assume will receive the assent of both Houses—given to the industry what they have asked in the sense of giving them five years for the working of Part I, on the implied conditions that they will use that time to set their house in order. We cannot check the evasions, but they can. If they fail to make efforts to check the evasions, they must be held accountable to this House. Some question was put to me as to whether we were to wait for the Mining Association to report to us upon the Amendments needed. Of course we 1469 must wait, if they are making inquiries from their constituent bodies. We cannot hurry them into a premature report upon this matter, but we hope to receive their report with but very little delay, probably within the next few weeks or month or two, and then there will be the consultations.
My hon. Friend who represents Linlithgow (Sir A. Baillie) asked for an assurance that we should discuss this matter upon the Floor of the House and the working of Part I before the next General Election. I think that is a promise I can give him, with just as much assurance and reliability as most promises are made upon the Floor of this House. There is one further tribute I would like to pay, having said something about the Miners' Federation. Hard words have been said about the owners. I knew nothing about the owners until I came into conference with them a few months ago. I had heard about them in this House, but now I have had the opportunity of meeting them in the flesh, and, as far as I am concerned, I think that they are an honourable set of men; and having met them in different parts of the country, and having seen how in some parts of the country, in the midst of immense difficulties, they are standing up to their problems, I think that the country is under a debt of obligation to them. Personally, I want to see two bodies of men, both inspired, as I am sure they are, by good faith, brought into consultation.
The trouble in this business is just misunderstanding. Take the illustration we had only a night or two ago, when the Debate started. The hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) spoke of a misunderstanding that had arisen between the Miners' Federation and the President of the Board of Trade, which caused a grievance. We were able to check that misunderstanding immediately. A day or two later, there arose the trouble in regard to Kent. We were able immediately to check that misunderstanding. If misunderstandings arise so easily over incidents like that, what about the misunderstandings that may arise between the two sides of this great industry? Why should there not be set up a clearing house to deal properly with misunderstandings?
1470 That is what we press for; that is what we believe can be done by the extension of Part IV of the Act of 1930. I think the owners are not free from blame for not giving to the Industrial Board that prestige and authority which it ought to have. I believe if they did so they would be quite in line with opinion on all sides of the House and with the best public opinion throughout this land. I hope that that will be the result of our consultation here. All that we can do upon that line will be done, and I hope, in spite of what has been said to-day and in spite of all the rather hard words used in the last speech, yet, as a result of this Bill, we shall be able to face up to the difficulties and perhaps, remembering the Debate of last night, we can, without any great public controversy, build a bridge between the two great bodies in the industry and with good will set ourselves to face the next year with more hope than we have had in the past.
§ Mr. D. GRENFELL
It would be helpful if we could be assured that the Amendments suggested at the Conference would be considered.
§ Mr. FOOT
More specifically in regard to the Amendments suggested last Tuesday night, the suggestion was then made to my right hon. Friend, and I had the opportunity of being at that conference, and a definite promise was made by my right hon. Friend that their proposals would be taken into immediate consideration, and I was asked if I would be in association with them in this matter. I have had this letter to-day; I have seen Mr. Edwards; I have arranged to see Mr. Edwards again next week. Until the proposals are definitely put forward, until we know to what extent it is desired to consider Part IV, and until we know to what extent it is desirable to strengthen Part IV, I cannot do anything, because the proposals are not tangible, are not definite on either side. But in so far as we can secure general consultation, and consultation even upon wages, that will be the desire of His Majesty's Government. I leave the matter there in the hope now that we might get, without a Division, the Third Reading.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."1472
§ The House divided: Ayes, 291; Noes, 52.1473
|Division No. 208.]||AYES.||[11.14 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Corn'll, N.)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Alien, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.)||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fox, Sir Gifford||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Ganzoni, Sir John||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd|
|Balniel, Lord||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Glossop, C. W. H.||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Glyn, Major Ralph G. G.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Goff, Sir Park||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Bateman, A. L.||Goldie, Noel B.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Graves, Marjorie||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Greene, William P. C.||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Munro, Patrick|
|Borodale, Viscount.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Nunn, William|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hartland, George A.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsford)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hepworth, Joseph||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Burghley, Lord||Holdsworth, Herbert||Pearson, William G.|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Burnett, John George||Hornby, Frank||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Horobin, Ian M.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.|
|Campbell, Rear-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Potter, John|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Chaimers, John Rutherford||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ramsden, E.|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Rankin, Robert|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Clarke, Frank||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Ray, Sir William|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Ker, J. Campbell||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Kimball, Lawrence||Remer, John R.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip|
|Cooke, Douglas||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Robinson, John Roland|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Copeland, Ida||Leckie, J. A.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Lees-Jones, John||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Liddall, Walter S.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Salt, Edward W.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Dunglass, Lord||Mabane, William||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Eastwood, John Francis||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||McCorquodale, M. S.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Ellis, Robert Geoffrey||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Scone, Lord|
|Eillston, Captain George Sampson||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McKie, John Hamilton||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Sutcliffe, Harold||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Tate, Mavis Constance||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||White, Henry Graham|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Thompson, Luke||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Soper, Richard||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L||Touche, Gerdon Cosmo||Wilson, Clyde T, (West Toxteth)|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Train, John||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Turton, Robert Hugh||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Stones, James||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Storey, Samuel||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Stourton, Hon. John J.||ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Strauss, Edward A.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Strickland, Captain W. F.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.||Sir George Penny and Lord Erskine.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McGovern, John|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McKeag, William|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James|
|Briant, Frank||Groves, Thomas E.||Milner, Major James|
|Buchanan, George||Grundy, Thomas W.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cape, Thomas||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Price, Gabriel|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Hicks, Ernest George||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Curry, A. C.||Hirst, George Henry||Thorne, William James|
|Daggar, George||Jenkins, Sir William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jennings, Roland||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Dickie, John P.||Kirkwood, David||Williams, Dr. John H, (Llanelly)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Lunn, William||Mr. John and Mr. Gordon Macdonald.|
Bill read the Third time, and passed.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.