HC Deb 17 March 1932 vol 263 cc475-95

I beg to move, in page 5, line 40, after the word "that," to insert the words: a miller shall not be liable to make quota payments in respect of any hundredweight of his output which consists only of wheat meal delivered by him for consumption without further manufacture as animal or poultry food, and. Sub-section (1) of this Clause lays it down that every miller and every importer of flour shall make a quota payment to the Wheat Commission. The Clause provides for exemption in favour of the miller who satisfies the Wheat Commission that his output will be used solely for animal or poultry food. This type of miller is called a provender miller, and he will be entitled to a provender miller's certificate to exempt him from liability to quota payments. The object of the Amendment is simply to give to the small miller who mills flour, and is therefore now called upon to pay a quota premium, the same exemption as is given to the provender miller in respect of wheat meal for feeding animals or poultry. Under the Bill the provender miller, very rightly and properly, is permitted to mill wheat meal solely used for the feeding of animals or poultry, without involving him in the necessity of paying quota premiums. The small miller does a very considerable amount of business and undertakes a very fair amount of this kind of trade, and if this or a similar Amendment is not incorporated in the Bill, there seems to me to be a grave risk that the small miller will lose this wheat meal trade which he now does, to his profit and to the profit of his customers, altogether, and that it will pass from him to the provender miller. This will not be either right or fair to the small miller.

It may be urged by those who do not take this view that, if the Amendment were accepted, the Wheat Commission might be involved in the risk of loss of quota payments, but I do not think that in practice there will be any such loss, because if the Wheat Commission are not satisfied as to the bona fides of the small miller, they will naturally enough not grant him the provender miller's certificate of exemption. I would urge this Amendment on the sympathy of the Minister on the ground of justice as between one type of miller and another. It will be for the small miller to prove his case to the satisfaction of the Wheat Commission and that the wheat meal for which he is claiming exemption is in fact milled and delivered for this exempted purpose, and the Commission can only grant exemption certificates if and when satisfactory proof has been given to them that the wheat meal in question is sold, delivered, and used for this purpose, and for this purpose only.

The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir John Gilmour)

I am in sympathy with the purpose of the Amendment, because it has never been the intention of the Government that the stock or poultry industry should be handicapped by the operation of this Bill. I observe that the Amendment is so drafted that it provides that the exemption from quota payments shall only apply to wheat meal delivered … for consumption without further manufacture as animal or poultry food. With that also I am in agreement, but I would suggest to the Mover of the Amendment and those who support him that I might be allowed to look into the exact terms of the Amendment between now and the Report stage. I will undertake to accept the Amendment in principle, but I would like to be quite certain that the wording of it meets all the points. If my hon. Friend will accept that assurance, I will agree to bring it up on the Report stage myself.


When considering further exemptions, which are quite sincerely moved by the hon. Member and his Friends, I hope the Government will not forget that the larger the number of exemptions they make, whether for cattle food or otherwise, the bigger will be the burden on the human consumers.


I much appreciate the attitude of the Minister, and beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 6, line 17, to leave out Subsection (3).

Hon. Members opposite have frequently cast eyes at Members on these benches for wanting to give large concessions to foreigners and for wanting always to help every country but our own. [HON. MEMBERS "Hear, hear!"] Those cheers are very welcome, because on this occasion hon. Members opposite are not only conceding something to the foreigner, but doing it at the expense of the home consumer of food. This Sub-section means that all flour used for stores on ships, not only British ships, be it noticed, but foreign ships too, is to be exempt from quota payments. All flour used for export, for any purpose and to any country, is to be excused the quota payment, which implies, of course, a larger payment in the aggregate by the home consumer of bread. We have never claimed that the Bill is one that we can support in any form, but at least we think the right hon. Gentleman has missed his way in this respect, by subsidising not only British ships and shipowners but foreign ships and shipowners, by granting them relief from the quota payment, which increases the burden on the home consumer. If this quota payment has to be made by consumers of bread in this country, at least we ought not to exempt foreigners, whether shipowners or ordinary domestic consumers, and in order to get some sort of equity fur the British consumer of bread, we ask the right hon. Gentleman and the ultrapatriotic party for once to think about their own country and its people.

4.0 p.m.


Repayments of this character, of course, are usually made upon goods on which Customs and Excise duties are levied, and I think it is clear that it would not be proper that we should deny to British millers the possibility of competing abroad for the sale of flour, and depart from what is the general practice. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken talked about this trade being carried out in foreign ships by foreign shipowners. I do not know on what ground that assumption was made. However, the general principle remains, and, in the circumstances, I cannot make an exception in this case.


I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has really met the point. As I understand, a large quantity of this flour will be exported in the sense that it will be used as ships' stores. It is not a question of putting it on board ship for the purpose of using it as ships' stores. A very large quantity of flour which goes into the stores of foreign ships will have to he subsidised by the home consumer, because instead of bearing its share of the payment as it should do, it will bear no share, and, therefore, will increase the share which has got to be borne by the home consumer. It is really an infraction of the whole of the policy for which the right hon. Gentleman and his party are responsible to say that in this case not only is the foreigner not to have any tax put upon his flour, but he is actually to have a subsidy or benefit given to him for coming to this country to buy flour.

I really do not think that anything the right hon. Gentleman has said so far has given us any satisfactory explanation as to why this subsidy should not be paid by owners of ships or foreigners just as it is paid by any other consumer. It is not analogous to ordinary articles paying import duty. This is not a case of import duty, but a special form of subsidy paid by the consumer in this country. It is not a question of goods paying a tax on coming into the country and then having relief from the tax on going out of the country, so that they can be treated as never having passed through the country. This is a tax which originates in the country by way of a subsidy from the consumer, and there does not seem any reason why that tax should not be paid by people who consume the flour on the high seas in a British or foreign ship just as much as by those who consume it in a house in London. We do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has given any reason for a differentiation between the burden borne by people who consume the flour on land and those who consume it at sea.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'has' in line 20, stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 279; Noes, 43.

Division No. 116.] AYES. [4.4 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Millar, Sir James Duncan
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Glossop, C. W. H. Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Gluckstein, Louis Halle Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Albery, Irving James Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw-
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Goff, Sir Park Mitchell. Harold P (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Goldie, Noel B. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Moreing, Adrian C.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Aske, Sir Robert William Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe Graves, Marjorie Muirhead, Major A. J.
Atholl, Duchess of Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Munro, Patrick
Atkinson, Cyril Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Grimston, R. V. Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Gunston, Captain D. W. Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Guy, J. C. Morrison Normand, Wilfrid Guild
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) North, Captain Edward T.
Bernays, Robert Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd) Nunn, William
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Hanley, Dennis A. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Harris, Sir Percy O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Bird, Sir Robert B.(Wolverh'pton W.) Hartington, Marquess of Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Blindell, James Hartland, George A. Palmer, Francis Noel
Bossom, A. C. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Pearson, William G.
Boulton, W. W. Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd) Perkins, Walter R. D.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Petherick, M.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald Holdsworth, Herbert Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Pickering. Ernest H.
Briant, Frank Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Pike, Cecil F.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hornby, Frank Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Broadbent, Colonel John Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S. Pybus, Percy John
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Hume, Sir George Hopwood Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Browne, Captain A. C. Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Buchan, John Hurd, Percy A. Ramsden, E.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Rea, Walter Russell
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Iveagh, Countess of Reid, David D. (County Down)
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Carver, Major William H. Janner, Barnett Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Castle Stewart, Earl Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Robinson, John Roland
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Ker, J. Campbell Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Kerr, Hamilton W. Ropner, Colonel L.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgbaston) Kimball, Lawrence Rosbotham, S. T.
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Chotzner, Alfred James Knox, Sir Alfred Runge, Norah Cecil
Clarke, Frank Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Clydesdale, Marquess of Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Colman, N. C. D. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Russell. Richard John (Eddisbury)
Conant, R. J. E. Law, Sir Alfred Salmon, Major Isidore
Cook, Thomas A. Leckie, J. A. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Cooke, Douglas Leech, Dr. J. W. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Copeland, Ida Lees-Jones, John Savery, Samuel Servington
Cowan, D. M. Leigh, Sir John Scone, Lord
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Leighton, Major B. E. P. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Cross, R. H. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Crossley, A. C. Levy, Thomas Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lewis, Oswald Skelton, Archibald Noel
Davison, Sir William Henry Lloyd, Geoffrey Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n) Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Dickie, John P. Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley) Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Donner, P. W. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Smithers, Waldron
Drewe, Cedric Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)
Duggan, Hubert John Mabane, William Soper, Richard
Eden, Robert Anthony MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Edge, Sir William McConnell, Sir Joseph Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Edmondson, Major A. J. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Elmley, Viscount Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) McKie, John Hamilton Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) McLean, Major Alan Stones, James
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Storey, Samuel
Everard, W. Lindsay Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Strauss, Edward A.
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Strickland, Captain W. F.
Flint, Abraham John Maitland, Adam Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Fox, Sir Gifford Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Summersby, Charles H.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Marsden, Commander Arthur Sutcliffe, Harold
Gibson, Charles Granville Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Tate, Mavis Constance
Templeton, William P. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby) Waterhouse, Captain Charles Withers, Sir John James
Thomas, James P. L. (Herelord) Watt, Captain George Steven H. Womersley, Walter James
Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton) Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour- Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Thornton, Sir Frederick Charles Weymouth, Viscount Worthington, Dr. John V.
Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Whiteside, Borras Noel H. Wragg, Herbert
Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay) Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Touche, Gordon Cosmo Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Train, John Wills, Wilfrid D. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth) Sir George Penny and Major
Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George George Davies.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Groves, Thomas E. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Batey, Joseph Grundy, Thomas W. Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Brown, C. w. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, F. (York, W. R., Narmanton) Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)
Buchanan, George Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Cape, Thomas Hirst, George Henry Price, Gabriel
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thorne, William James
Daggar, George Kirkwood, David Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lawson, John James Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Edwards, Charles Leonard, William Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lunn, William
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Duncan Graham and Mr. John.

Mr. David Reid!


Are we to understand that the next two Amendments will be discussed together?


The Amendment which I have just called—in page 6, line 20, after the second word "flour," to insert the words "or bread baked therefrom"—is a selected Amendment, and is more or less in principle the same as the next one—in page 6, line 20, to leave out the word "has," and to insert instead thereof the words "or any articles manufactured from it have." I do not propose to take that Amendment, but in the discussion which takes place on the first Amendment questions can be raised which could be raised on the second Amendment.


Perhaps you will allow a Division on the second Amendment without discussion, because it does raise another matter, namely, the question of biscuits, which is not covered by the first Amendment.


My final decision must await the fate of the Amendment I have just called, but it may be that I shall think it proper to allow a Division on the next Amendment, in which case I will do so.


I beg to move, in page 6, line 20, after the second word "flour," to insert the words "or bread baked therefrom."

The object of the Sub-section which we discussed on the last Amendment is to allow a drawback in respect of any flour exported or shipped as stores. The object of this Amendment is to extend the relief payment to bread that is baked within the United Kingdom from flour that has paid the quota, and is exported. The question with regard to the position in Northern Ireland arises. In Ireland the local baker is almost extinct, and nearly all household bread is baked in large machine bakeries in the large towns, and the districts where it is sold are not confined by the border-line. There are large machine bakeries in Londonderry which distribute bread in parts of the Free State, to Donegal, Sligo, and other places, even going as far as Roscommon. The bakers in Londonderry come in competition with the bakers in Dublin and other towns in the Free State. If the Clause is not amended in the way suggested, they will be at a disadvantage in competing with the Free State bakers, because they will have to use flour which has paid the quota levy, and the Free State baker will be free from that imposition and will have his flour cheaper. There seems to be nothing illogical, if you allow a drawback on flour which is exported, in extending that to bread which is exported.

I can understand that if this exemption were extended to cover any large range of subjects, it might become administratively impossible, but we have limited our Amendment simply to bread. In Northern Ireland no millable wheat is grown, and therefore all the flour that is used for making bread is milled either inside the province or has been brought in subjected to the quota levy. At the present time, returns are furnished to the Customs of the bread sent over the border, so that there already exists the necessary returns for the purpose of estimating what the payments should lie. It is easy enough to ascertain what is the average amount of flour contained in a loaf, or, to put it the other way, how many loaves go to a certain weight of flour. We have, therefore, all the three necessary items that help in the administration. This is an important question to us, because the number of 2-lb. loaves exported each year over the border is 13,000,000, and the trade is worth about £200,000 a year. If that trade goes, it will cause a great deal of unemployment. We are trying by this Amendment to conserve employment in the United Kingdom, and I hope, therefore, that we shall have the support of hon. Members opposite.


I want to direct my remarks to the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall)—in line 20, to leave out the word "has," and to insert instead thereof the words "or any articles manufactured from it have"—which I understand from your Ruling must be discussed now. I am anxious that the Minister should agree to this Amendment in order to safeguard our export trade in biscuits. This country has an important trade in biscuits. In 1927, the total value of exports of that commodity amounted to £1,344,000. During the last two or three years the trade has dropped severely, principally owing to the general trade stringency throughout the world. Even so, last year we exported about £800,000 worth. That drop alone, I am informed by several big manufacturers, has resulted in putting out of employment between 2,000 and 3,000 people. If we lose the biscuit export trade, which we may unless the drawback is allowed, it will mean throwing out of work another 4,000 persons or more. Our biscuit manufacturers have to face extraordinarily fierce competition all over the world, our chief competitors being France, Germany, and Switzerland, but, in spite of the fact that French and German biscuits are baked from flour which is heavily subsidised, we are able to hold our own in a considerable number of countries.

I have eaten biscuits made in my own borough in every country in Europe, and other hon. Members have probably had the same experience. Last year I travelled 1,000 miles down the Volga, and on the Russian state boats no biscuits but English were suppled. Huntley and Palmer's, Carr's and Peek Frean's biscuits were on the same boat; there were no other biscuits at all. I am told that the competition with German-made biscuits, and to a less extent with Swiss-made biscuits, is so fierce that a difference of a farthing a lb. will decide whether our people get a contract with some native trader on the coast of Africa or elsewhere. I understand that the biscuit people feel that this levy will mean a serious handicap to them; in fact, it will mean, as far as some of our biscuits are concerned, that we shall be knocked out completely in the struggle. That fact will be reflected in a loss of employment to some 3,000 or 4,000 persons. In these circumstances, I hope that the Minister will see his way to accept the Amendment or some form of words suitable to him. The loss of the export biscuit trade would be a serious matter, and there can be no doubt that it will be gravely jeopardised unless some drawback is allowed.


I am pleased to learn that we are discovering the imperfections of this Bill. Ireland is a very small country, but we are now being asked to give protection to one part of it against another part. We know that these tariffs are to be imposed by Northern Ireland—[HON. MEMBERS: "You are on the wrong Bill!"] But the object of the Amendment is to give the same protection to Northern Ireland as is being given to the farmers in Great Britain. That will be the inevitable result of the Amendment. Now that de Valera has the opportunity, you may find yourselves in great difficulties over these financial proposals. What does the hon. Member for Down (Mr. D. Reid) mean by his Amendment? Will it mean an increase in the price of the loaf? I appreciate that the hon. Member wants protection but what effect will it have on the workers in the South of Ireland? I know that the farmers want it; they think they are going to live by taking in one another's washing, but they cannot do it. It will mean an increase in the cost of living to the great mass of people in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. You have the people round your necks and in your power, and you want to force them down into worse conditions than they have been in before. This Amendment means that hon. Members opposite want to keep the barrier between North and South. They are trying to use this protectionist policy to prevent the two parts of Ireland joining again. They would come together if it were not for the political opinions and economic power of the people on the other side of the border. There ought to be no border. Ireland is one country and one people—[Interruption.] I know that you can laugh at me—


Perhaps the hon. Member had better recollect the Rules of the House, and address his remarks to the Chair.

4.30 p.m.


I will address my remarks to the Chair, particularly on such an occasion as this. I appreciate all the kindness you show me, and I have every confidence in your good rulings and will accept all your decisions with good grace —although I am not much of a grace. The people trying to create a barrier between the north of Ireland and the south of Ireland are not what they say they are when they are on public platforms. Then they want to unite the Empire, they say the whole Empire ought to be one body, and they will do their best to help it to become one body, but when it comes to the case of Ireland they want to create divisions between Waterford and Dublin, between Dundalk and Tipperary.


Does not the south of Ireland want to go out of the Empire?


The Free State does not want to go out. The Free State will come in to-morrow, if you like—in fact, the Free State has come in. Mr. De Valera is not the boss in Ireland now. There are nine Labour members there —[interruption.] Yes, just as there are Labour Members here, but those nine Labour members in southern Ireland have greater power than we have here.


I am sorry the hon. Member should have been led astray from the Amendment by an interruption which was also irrelevant.


I am used to interruptions and interrogations. I only want to say that the Labour party are going to save Britain over this question of Ireland, because we are not going to accept the policy laid down by certain elements in Ireland. We are going to stand by the Treaty, by the Constitution which was agreed upon by the representatives of Ireland in other days; and when the people have the right to decide they will give their verdict. All I got up to say—because I have no right to get up, but only to get down—is that I am very sorry to find an Irish Member of this House trying to create a barrier between the North and the South in Ireland—putting up barriers and tariffs against different, sections in a country which has a population less than that of London.


On a point of Order. May we all join in this general Irish Debate?


No, certainly not.


It is not an Irish Debate, but I want to raise the question as it affects us. Northern Ireland claims to be part of Great Britain, and it is, and I do not object to that claim. I would like to see the whole of the British Empire part of one great confraternity of peoples. I have never hidden my opinions on that subject. But when we come to a country with a population of less than 4,000,000, and find one-fourth of that country claiming to erect barriers against the other three-fourths I say it is not playing the game. One section of the people there are taking advantage of the Bill as against the rest, and that is simply asking for trouble. Before many months are over we shall have this matter debated in this House. We cannot get away from the results of the late election in Southern Ireland.


I think the hon. Member had better reserve that part of his speech for the future occasion to which he refers.


I am always looking for futures, although I am not interested in the Stock Exchange. I say frankly that when people in the northern part of Ire- land who trade across the border claim privileges as against the people on the other side of the border they are asking for trouble, and I hope the House of Commons will think twice before agreeing to give those privileges.


The hon. Member who moved this Amendment has raised the problem of the export of bread from Northern Ireland to the Irish Free State. It is a problem which has been brought to my notice,, and I say at once that I recognise that it is one of great importance to Northern Ireland. The value of that trade in the export of bread is something like £200,000 per annum, and it would appear that considerable damage may be done to that trade if no solution of the difficulty can be found. I can assure him that the Government have no desire to cause any injury to so important a trade in Northern Ireland. Hon. Members representing constituencies in Northern Ireland will appreciate that in the matter of the quota they are in much the same position as the people in many parts of England, Wales and Scotland where very little wheat is grown. It is a question which requires very careful consideration, and I would like to consider the case of exported bread only and try to find suitable phraseology before the Report stage is reached to deal with this problem.

The other matter brought up by the hon. Member for West Bermondsey (Dr. Salter), which is raised in a subsequent Amendment, presents quite another problem. He is asking that this concession should be extended to other products manufactured from flour. A very large number of products manufactured from flour are exported, including, in addition to bread, biscuits, meat pastes, sausages, bill-posting paste, dog-biscuits, poultry foods and pork pies. I understand the hon. Member for West Bermondsey is claiming this concession on behalf of the biscuit exporters, but the Amendment is drawn in very wide terms, and the Wheat Commission would be involved in a great deal of administrative work in checking the exports of articles containing flour and calculating the amount of quota payments due to be refunded in respect of flour contained in those articles. The main point for hon. Members to have in mind when deciding this problem is whether, in fact, the disadvantage to the biscuit trade is really so serious as has been stated.

It would be advantageous if I were to state a few of the facts about the export of biscuits. The average export of biscuits from the United Kingdom each year from 1926 to 1930 was 9,500 tons, of an average value of £1,175,000. That gives an average value of £123 per ton. If we assume that these biscuits contain on an average 75 per cent. of flour the cost of the flour in a ton of biscuits is, at the present time, somewhere between £6 and £7. With this raw material the biscuit maker manufactures a product which has been exported in recent years at the price of £123 per ton. It is obvious, therefore, that the cost of the flour is comparatively insignificant compared with the wholesale price of the biscuits. If a quota payment of 2s. 6d. per sack should be required from millers and importers of flour, the additional charge borne by the flour used by the biscuit makers would not amount to more than 15s. per ton of biscuits, only.6 per cent. of the export value of the biscuits. In the face of such facts I think it cannot be seriously maintained that the quota payment is going to prejudice the biscuit makers to any extent, and in these circumstances I shall be unable to accept the Amendment dealing with biscuits.


We are very much disappointed with the reply of the Minister. We cannot see that his offer to consider the position as far as bread exported from Northern Ireland is concerned is consistent with his decision about biscuits, having regard to the fact that the value of the bread exported from Northern Ireland is about £200,000 per annum and the value of the export trade in biscuits from this country has been well over £1,000,000 a year during the last four years. It is true that the quota payment would not increase the cost by any large amount, but we must remember that two-thirds of the biscuits exported are sent to foreign countries outside the Dominions and Colonies, and the slightest increase in price must have a considerable effect upon the trade in these days of very severe competition. We cannot see the consistency of the action he has taken, and we ask him to be as generous to the biscuit exporters of this country as he is to the bread exporters of Northern Ireland. We do not say that we do not agree with the concession which has been granted to Northern Ireland, because we think it is a right and proper one, but we say that at the same time that he reconsiders the position as to the export of bread from Northern Ireland he ought to reconsider his attitude regarding the export of flour products from this country, especially biscuits. Otherwise, this legislation will have a serious effect upon all those engaged in the biscuit industry. I hope the Minister will decide that biscuits, in particular, shall receive this concession.


In view of what the Minister has said, for which I thank him, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Major HILLS rose


Perhaps I may remind the Committee that if an hon. Member insists on speaking after leave to withdraw an Amendment has been asked for, leave is refused. May I suggest to the Committee that they give leave to the hon. Member for Down (Mr. D. Reid) to withdraw this Amendment? I might then call the next Amendment, on which the discussion could be continued.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 6, line 20, to leave out the word "has," and to insert instead thereof the words: or any articles manufactured from it have.


I confess that I am rather impressed with the case made for biscuits. I do not expect or hope that the Minister can give any different opinion now, but I feel rather strongly that the proposal ought to be considered. There are two strong arguments in favour Of some extension. I do not say that we can go as far as the proposal of the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Dr. Salter), but the biscuit trade does seem to me to be in rather a special position. It is a very old-established British trade, British biscuits are known all over the world and the names of the makers are household words. I do not want to discourage a trade of that sort. I want to encourage the export trade even in the case of exports of the comparatively small value of £1,000,000. I want to encourage all exports. Then there is the question of employment. The Minister knows that the biscuit trade is localised; it is not spread about all over the country. Huntley and Palmer's works are situated at Reading, and Carr's biscuit works are situated at Carlisle, and so any effect on employment would be centralised on a district and might fall with excessive severity on one particular part of the country. It is rather difficult to hold a line of argument which admits the justice of exported bread being given this rebate and exported biscuits being excluded. On all grounds I hope very much that my right hon. Friend the Minister will reconsider the matter before the Report stage.


There is one other aspect of the matter. All inquiries show that very little English wheat is used in the flour that is made into bread, but English flour is used in the making of biscuits. From the point of view of the English farmer, therefore, the very thing that should be helped is the English biscuit, especially as in times like these we want to stimulate the export trade. I hope that if the Minister cannot accept this Amendment now, he will give an undertaking to reconsider the whole position before the Report stage.


We shall be willing, of course, to have this proposal limited to biscuits, and we say that, not because the biscuit trade particularly wants it, but because we are very anxious to do everything we can to foster the export trade of the country. The Minister's figures, which may seem small as regards the way in which this tax will fall on the biscuit maker, may also be looked at from another point of view. If the sum is so email is it worth the inconvenience of charging it on the biscuit maker? We are told that it represents 15s. a ton on the flour used in the making of the biscuits. It will mean only about £7,000 year. On those figures is it worth while risking the putting of this extra block on the export of biscuits? I ask the Minister at least to promise us that he will seriously consider the matter again before the Report stage.


I, of course, am always ready to look into what I admit are rather difficult technical problems. I should be wrong if I made the hon. and learned Gentleman think that I would take the course that he has suggested, but I will again look very carefully into the matter.


I am much obliged. We shall have an opportunity of bringing the matter up again if the right hon. Gentleman can do nothing. Meantime perhaps my hon. Friend will withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 7, line 3, after the word "delivered," to insert the words: (otherwise than by millers holding provender millers' certificates). This Amendment rectifies an omission. It is intended to ensure that the Minister's estimate of the supply of flour is correctly based on the quantity that will be actually chargeable to payment, and will exclude the quantity that will not be so chargeable.


I wish to ask the Minister whether, in view of the promise which I think he made regarding wheat that is milled for 'food for animal purposes, this will not now have to be adapted to meet that fresh alteration.


I think that these words are essential.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."


I think the Minister ought to be reminded once again of the masterpiece of camouflage in Subsection (1). I want to draw attention to two particular phrases which no one can quite justify or understand. We think that the purpose in view could have been achieved by much simpler language. I was rather interested to hear the Minister promise an hon. Member that he would provide an explanatory statement to the farmers so that they could understand what he means by the Bill, and particularly by this Clause. On line 33 the Minister persists in preserving the term: Quota of home-grown millable wheat. That is a suggestion to the outside world that all bread will contain a proportion of home-grown wheat. But the old quota system is "dead and damned" apparently, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other day of Free Trade. Why these words should be preserved is rather a mystery. We would like to know why the right hon. Gentleman did not come straight to the point and tell the industry and the nation exactly what he meant without using such words as these: A sum equal to what would have been the price deficit in respect of the quota of home-grown millable wheat which would have been used in the production of that hundredweight. The right hon. Gentleman knows that scarcely a grain of home-grown wheat will be used in that hundredweight. In line 37 he uses the words: For the cereal year in which that hundredweight was delivered had been used. Again he uses a term knowing full well that the home-grown Wheat would not be used in any part of the transaction. What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by Sub-sections (5) (6) and (7)? One Noble Lord said in another place some time ago that a certain Bill was, "legislation by reference gone mad." I think that these three Sub-sections are legislation by anticipation and estimation and prescription and calculation gone mad. If the right hon. Gentleman understands how it is all going to work out he has perhaps the clearest mind of any person resident in this or any other country. Sub-section (6) states: Any order made under this section shall state the estimated price deficit., the anticipated supply of home-grown millable wheat, and the estimated supply of flour upon the basis of which the amount prescribed by the order is calculated. It seems to me that quite a number of prescriptions and calculations and anticipations are necessary if the Bill is to be workable at all. What the average farmer will think about these words when he picks up the Wheat Act in a few weeks time I really do not know. I am anticipating that as a result of Clause 3 there may be more work for bricklayers carpenters and building operatives generally, for I anticipate—it is my turn to anticipate now—that we shall have more madmen and that more facilities will have to be provided in asylums than ever before. However, it is the right hon. Gentleman's choice of words, and we cannot congratulate him upon them. We would be happy if he would clarify our minds on the subject.


T. do not think that this Clause need concern the farmers very much, though I agree that the miller and the flour importer have to understand it. Reference has been

made to the use of the word "quota." It is used here as the quota of the anticipated supply, of the 6,000,000 qrs. The calculation which has to be made will have to be made on the basis of the anticipated supply.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 257; Noes, 46.

Division No 117.] AYES. [5.1 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Drewe, Cedric Leckie, J. A.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Leech, Dr. J. W.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Duggan, Hubert John Lees-Jones, John
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Eden, Robert Anthony Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Edmondson, Major A. J. Lennox-Boyd, A. T.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Elmley, Viscount Lewis, Oswald
Aske, Sir Robert William Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Llewellin, Major John J.
Atholl, Duchess of Emrys-Evans, P. V. Lloyd, Geoffrey
Atkinson, Cyril Essenhigh, Reginald Clare Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Everard, W. Lindsay Loder, Captain J. de Vere
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Fox, Sir Gifford Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Fuller, Captain A. G. Mabane, William
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.) Ganzoni, Sir John MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)
Bernays, Robert Gibson, Charles Granville MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Belterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Gillett, Sir George Masterman McEwen, Captain J. H. F.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John McKie, John Hamilton
Borodale, Viscount Glossop, C. W. H. McLean, Major Alan
Boulton, W. W. Gluckstein, Louis Halle McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Macquisten, Frederick Alexander
Boyce, H. Leslie Goff, Sir Park Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Goldie, Noel B. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Goodman. Colonel Albert W. Marsden, Commander Arthur
Broadbent, Colonel John Gower, Sir Robert Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Grattan-Doyle. Sir Nicholas Millar, Sir James Duncan
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Graves, Marjorie Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw-
Brown. Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y) Grimston, R. V. Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)
Browne, Captain A. C. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gunston, Captain D. W. Muirhead, Major A. J.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Guy, J. C. Morrison Munro, Patrick
Caine, G. R. Hall- Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Newton, Sir Douglas George C.
Campbell, Rear-Admiral G. (Burnley) Hanley, Dennis A. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Carver, Major William H. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Normand, Wilfrid Guild
Castle Stewart, Earl Hartland, George A North, Captain Edward T.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle) Nunn, William
Cayrer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Pearson, William G.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgbaston) Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston) Peat, Charles U.
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Penny, Sir George
Chotzner, Alfred James Hornby, Frank Perkins, Walter R. D.
Christie, James Archibald Home, Rt. Hon. Sir Rober S. Petherick, M.
Clarke, Frank Howard, Tom Forrest Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Clarry, Reginald George Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bilston)
Clydesdale, Marquess of Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) pike, Cecil F.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hunter, Dr. Joseph {Dumfries) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Colman, N. C. D. Hurd, Percy A. Power, Sir John Cecil
Colville, John Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Pybus, Percy John
Conant, R. J. E. Iveagh, Countess of Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Cook, Thomas A. Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Cooke, Douglas James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Cooper, A. Duff Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Ramsden, E.
Cowan, D. M. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Rawson, Sir Cooper
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Ker, J. Campbell Rea, Walter Russell
Craven-Ellis, William Kerr, Hamilton W. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Crossley, A. C. Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Knight, Holford Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Davies. Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Knox. Sir Alfred Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip
Davison, Sir William Henry Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Dickie, John P. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Rosbotham, S. T.
Donner, P. W. Law, Sir Alfred Ross, Ronald D.
Doran, Edward Law, Richard K. (Hull. S.W.) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Rothschild, James A. de Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Soper, Richard Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Runge, Norah Cecil Southby, Commander Archibald R. J. Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-
Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside) Stanley, Hon. O. F. C. (Westmorland) Wells, Sydney Richard
Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury) Stones, James Weymouth, Viscount
Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham) Storey, Samuel Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard Stourton, Hon. John J. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Savery, Samuel Servington Strauss, Edward A. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Scone, Lord Strickland, Captain W. F. Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Selley, Harry R. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell) Templeton, William P. Withers, Sir John James
Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness) Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford) Womersley, Walter James
Skelton, Archibald Noel Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Wood. Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D. Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Worthington, Dr. John V.
Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Wragg, Herbert
Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine,C.) Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Train, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Smithers, Waldron Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Somervell, Donald Bradley Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon and Lord Erskine.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Attlee, Clement Richard Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Batey, Joseph Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)
Briant, Frank Groves, Thomas E. Parkinson. John Allen
Buchanan, George Grundy, Thomas W. Price, Gabriel
Cape, Thomas Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Thorne, William James
Cove, William G. Hirst, George Henry Tinker, John Joseph
Cripps, Sir Stafford Holdsworth, Herbert Wallhead, Richard C.
Daggar, George Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Edwards, Charles Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Lawson, John James
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Leonard, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Logan, David Gilbert Mr. Gordon Macdonald and Mr.
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Lunn, William John.