HC Deb 21 March 1932 vol 263 cc737-70

I beg to move, in page 25, line 35, at the end, to add the words: (2) This Act shall continue in force until the thirty-first day of July, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven. I had thought, in moving this Amendment, of quoting in extenso the speech made last week by the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor), because I think the Amendment is fully justified by the observations of the Noble Lady on that occasion. The Noble Lady not only referred to the danger of giving huge doles to any section of the community, but emphasised the impropriety of giving a dole for an unlimited period without any public safeguard. Even if a case has been made out for asking the taxpayer or the bread consumer to come to the aid of the wheat producer, at least we ought to limit the period during which this dole should be exacted from the consumers of bread and handed over to the producers of wheat.

I observe, from replies to questions, that the right hon. Gentleman gives little or no encouragement to Members of this Committee to allow this Bill to pass without limitation as to time or as to expenditure by the State, and, while we are in this state of uncertainty, I note that the farmers in various parts of the country, having tasted blood, are, like Oliver Twist, persistently demanding more. I notice that an hon. Member who represents one of the Hull divisions has indicated that the East Riding farmers have been doing so. They are not only not content with the right hon. Gentleman's guarantee of permanent profits, but they demand an increase of the standard price from 45s. to 50s., and they demand that the maximum output of millable wheat shall be increased from 6,000,000 quarters to 8,000,000 quarters. What other guarantees they are going to demand from the right hon. Gentleman in course of time nobody can prophesy at this moment, unless it happens to be the Minister himself. Therefore, it seems to us that we are entitled to invite the right hon. Gentleman to place a time limit upon the operation of the Bill.

We may be referred to Sub-section (2) of Clause 2, which we have already discussed, but that affords no guarantee to the House that any sort of quid pro quo will be forthcoming from the farmers of this country. A question was put to the right hon. Gentleman to-day by one of his own supporters us to how many marketing schemes have been prepared under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, but all that he could tell us was that, despite the efforts of this National Government, despite their willingness to give the farmers this £6,000,000 per annum without any sort of condition or safeguard, the only response that has been made so far has been that the National Farmers' Union have passed a resolution on the subject of marketing. The National Pig Council have also passed a resolution.

5.0 p.m.

That is the length to which the farmers have gone if the right hon. Gentleman's information on the point is very full. Therefore, we say five years is a very long period during which bread consumers shall be called upon to pay when the farmers themselves do so little to encourage the House of Commons to assist themselves over a very trying period. At least they ought to show willingness to improve their methods of production and distribution and sales. It may not cover the margin between present prices and what would be an economic price, but at least the gap ought to be bridged as far as it can by improved efficiency and by the most perfect marketing schemes that can be produced. We should be justified in assisting a section of growers, whatever the commodity may be, if they are making excessive losses through no fault of their own. There is, however, nothing that has been done or that is in contemplation by the farmers that gives that encouragement that we feel ought to be forthcoming from them. I will quote from a Noble Lord in another place, who has written a very important book, in which as states: Is it not unprecedented to guarantee out of the public purse to a branch of an industry that it shall never make a loss but shall always make a profit? One could defend a statutory figure which would guarantee farmers, provided they were efficient, against excessive loss when the bottom drops out temporarily of the market owing to abnormal conditions. One could justify a purely temporary tide-over subsidy. But such is not the plan. Is it not unstatesmanlike to base a national policy on an attempt to cope with a really local and, in part, a temporary difficulty. The whole scheme of the right hon. Gentleman is a hotch-potch which is extremely difficult to understand and, as he has already discovered, impossible of explaining away and defining in the House. It would not be ungracious to him to say he ought to take a step towards the opposition in limiting the time of the operation of the Bill if only to inspire the farmers to do the best they can for themselves. In five years time it would be quite easy to determine what acreage ought to be under wheat, and we should not be susceptible to such demands as are being made by the farmers of the West Riding of Yorkshire. I can bring to my aid a very well known Member of the Government, who not only deprecates the scheme as much as any of us but proclaims himself an absolute opponent in this Chamber. I refer to the Home Secretary.


I think there are limits to which the discussion can go on this Clause. The Amendment is to put a limit to the duration of the Act, but that does not mean that you can discuss the whole of the excellencies or iniquities of the Bill as if it were a Second or a Third Reading. The hon. Gentleman must confine himself strictly to his reasons for limiting the duration of the Act to a certain period.


Surely, if the Amendment is in order at all, one must be permitted to debate the consequences of the Bill without limitation of time, and its general effect upon the consumers of wheat?


No, certainly not. There would be no end to what could be discussed if the Debate was allowed to go as far as that. The hon. Gentleman may say he thinks it should come to an end as soon as possible because he considers it bad, but he must not go on to describe why it is bad, and quote other people who have condemned the prin- ciple that is proposed to be enshrined in the Bill before the Bill was even adopted. It is obvious that quotations from speeches on the principle of the Bill at such a time could not be made use of for the purpose of discussing how long it should remain in operation.


While I should hesitate at all times to disagree with your Ruling, Sir, it should surely be permissible to refer to the extraordinary nature of the Measure in an effort to provide justification for limiting the time during which it ought to operate. Not to be permitted to do that would make the Amendment so narrow that discussion would be well nigh impossible.


The hon. Gentleman may try how far the Chair will permit him to go. He can give, as a reason for limiting it, that it is bad, but I cannot allow him to go through all its iniquities on an Amendment of this kind. He will realise that he may differ from my view, but unfortunately for him he is obliged to follow it.


Would it not be permissible to show that the logic of the principle on which the Bill is based—


The hon. Gentleman is now putting hypothetical questions of order to me which are unnecessary. I have told the hon. Gentleman who is in possession of the Committee the limits beyond which I thought he was transgressing, and it will be my duty, if I think he is doing so again, to tell him so, but I really cannot discuss hypothetical questions.


This principle of the limitation of time was discussed very regularly during the last Parliament, and my experience actually was that it led to what resembled Second and Third Reading Debates.


We will hope that perhaps this Parliament will show an improvement on the last.


I most certainly shall not contest your Ruling further, Sir. One may differ from a ruling, but one must always accept it in the spirit in which it is given. The quotation that I was about to make was one upon imports of wheat and surpluses held in all the wheat-growing parts of the world, to show that the problem of wheat growers was not likely to be permanently solved by the mere temporary expedient of providing such a subsidy as this. In a period of five years the farmers themselves will have determined on what acreage wheat can be grown on an economic basis and on what area other commodities might be grown with advantage to the farmer and to the State. We import annually £230,000,000 worth of agricultural products which might very well be produced on some of the land that is now producing wheat. We do not want to see such an extension of wheat growing on unsuitable land as will ultimately place the farmer in a worse position than he is in now.

We are opposed to the Clause, first of all because no guarantees are given to the consumers or to the State, secondly, because we think this method is a very bad one which ought to be terminated by a given date. We think that a period of five years, during which time £30,000,000 may have been extracted from the pockets of bread consumers and handed over to farmers, is long enough. It surely ought to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman that, if the Opposition are willing to accept the political situation that they find themselves in and allow this extraordinary Measure to remain on the Statute Book for five years, he ought at least to take some step towards the Opposition and give some indication to the agricultural community that they are not going to be perpetually guaranteed profits, though temporarily their losses may be avoided. If he will do that, he will not only find that his forward move would be welcomed by Members on these benches, but I think his own supporters would welcome his acceptance of the Amendment.


The hon. Gentleman gave us his first reason for bringing the Bill to a close in five years that it was to meet a temporary crisis. I presume he meant that the present prices of wheat are not likely to continue, but he did not give us any evidence to show that, and many good judges think the present prices may continue for a very considerable period. Another argument was that he wanted to encourage farmers to use better methods. He also mentioned the price of 45s. as one which would give them undue profits. I can assure him that that price, in the case of most farmers, will barely suffice to pay the cost of growing. It leaves very little margin. There is, perhaps, a certain amount of encouragement and farmers may try to wring a small profit at this guaranteed price, but to suppose for a moment that the farmer will attempt that very difficult task if the whole thing is to be brought to an end in five years is surely to do the very opposite of what the hon. Gentleman says he desires, and that is to encourage farmers to improve their methods of wheat growing. What the farmer wants is some sort of permanence and stability. He has been let down time and again. He has now come to the end of his resources and the question that is agitating Members on this side is how farmers are going to be tided over the next few months. To pass a Bill of this nature, which will only just enable them to keep going, and at the same time to say the whole thing is to be terminated in five years is surely one of the most discouraging things that could be said. There is provision in the Bill that the price may be varied at the end of only three years, and hon. Members opposite seem to have overlooked that point. The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) spoke as if the same prices would necessarily continue throughout the five years to which he desires to limit the Act. In point of fact, there is a possibility that it may be varied during that time. For all those reasons, I very much hope that the Minister will reject the Amendment.


I support the Amendment, because it decides the principle as to whether there is to be a permanent subsidy or a temporary subsidy. On the Second Reading of the Bill, the Secretary of State for Scotland led us to believe that his support was given to the Bill because it was temporary in character, and I ask the Government to accept the Amendment in order to confirm that statement. It is true to say that the greatest incentive to a farmer to make his business efficient through reorganisation and marketing will be given if he does not feel that there is to be a permanent subsidy given to his industry. If the Government really wish us to believe that this is a temporary Measure to assist the farmers at a time, as we all agree, of difficulty, they will accept the Amendment.


The Committee are entitled to know whether the proposal of the Bill is to be of a permanent or of a temporary character. The Amendment limits it to five years. There was a similar principle in the Safeguarding of Industries Act, when, I believe, the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council who was responsible for the Bill at the time stated definitely that in his opinion five years, which was the limit put to that Measure, was sufficient for any industry to establish itself and to be able to meet competition. It is interesting to note that the opinion of the Conservative Government of 1926 upon these subsidies was as follows. In their agricultural policy, which was published as a White Paper in 1926, they said: A subsidy may sometimes be justified as a purely temporary expedient or if it is required to start a new industry like beet sugar, but any general scheme of subsidies for agriculture is open to the gravest objection. They would have to be unlimited in duration and very large in amount to have any material effect in increasing the arable area or the number of workers employed. Therefore, if that was the opinion of the Conservative party at that time, they have to make up their minds on one of two things. They have to make up their minds whether it is to be a permanent subsidy or not, or they have to decide for a certain specific period to pay a sum of money to wheat-growers in this country. Let them know definitely that there will be no more money forthcoming at the end of that period, and that during the period when the subsidy is being paid they must do what they can to turn over to a more profitable form of farming. That this is a, subsidy there can be no question. If it is a subsidy, it is a permanent subsidy because when prices are low the difference will have to be paid, and when wheat prices are high there will be no subsidy paid. The only time the subsidy will cease is when fairly big prices, approximating to 45s. a qr., prevail. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Horncastle (Mr. Haslam) stated that there were prospects that wheat prices would go up.


I said that prices might have a small rise, but there was no indication that prices would rise at all.


I beg the hon Gentleman's pardon. That simply strengthens my case, because that is one of the reasons why I suggest that the subsidy is likely to be a permanent one. The report of the Imperial Economic Committee on the Wheat Situation states definitely that their conclusion on the facts was: That in the absence of some unexpected influence, they establish the expectation over a long period of years, of a continuous struggle—possibly a protracted and painful struggle—between those farmers who by adapting new technique or otherwise are able to reduce costs and those who fail to do so. Such a struggle implies a low level of prices. It implies also a continuation of the progressive decrease in the numbers employed in wheat production as labour saving machinery is adopted. Quite definitely they are of opinion that, considering all the circumstances throughout the world, the likelihood would be that prices of wheat would remain low, and therefore the subsidy we are to pay is more than likely to be permanent unless we have a time limit to it. Apart from the War period, it will be observed that the prices of wheat—at any rate from the average price during the last few years—are not likely to go up to any great extent. It is well that the people should be told of the circumstances and of the likelihood of this being a permanent subsidy. I understand from the right hon. Gentleman the Minister that he hopes to put another 400,000 acres, under wheat. Under the subsidy you will find that we are paying the labour costs of the whole of the wheat acreage, including the 400,000 acres he hopes to add. The labour costs are to be free. We are entitled to know whether it is to be permanent or not, and whether the consumers are to pay the whole of the labour costs of the wheat-producing areas of this country. We could buy all the wheat which is to be grown on the extra 400,000 acres, and we could give each of the 13,000 men to be employed £100 a year free. We could also give away the wheat we bought and still have well over £2,000,000 left. The country ought to know that. Is it going to be a permanent charge? The right hon. Gentleman, apparently, disagrees with my figures. If he likes to challenge them he may do so, and I will repeat them for his special benefit. Thirteen thousand more people may be employed upon 400,000 acres of wheat. Those are the right hon. Gentleman's own figures. You can buy the whole of the wheat produced upon 400,000 acres at present world prices and give it away entirely free. You can give those 13,000 men £100 a year free, and you will still have £2,000,000 or more left over on the £6,000,000 subsidy. That is what it means. Surely we are entitled to know whether the country is to be permanently charged with that kind of thing in the name of helping agriculture.

Under the second proposition, that is to say, the Government stating definitely that there is to be a time limit to the Measure and that they are to let wheat farmers have a sum of money to tide them over a time of changing to other things, they would be encouraging farmers to take up those branches of the industry which, at any rate, bad as times are, are more profitable than wheat growing, and far more suited to our climate. It is no good saying that it is not going to encourage wheat farming, because it is going to do so. The Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), speaking the other day, said that he had seen in France most unsuitable soil put down to wheat. It is interesting to observe that there is a tax of about 30s. a quarter on wheat going to France and a 97 per cent. subsidy. The same sort of thing might possibly happen in this country. In any case, why do not the Government state definitely that they will, for a certain period of time, help the wheat farmers out of their difficulties, but that after that they must look after themselves? I believe that if there was a plan, the country would not mind paying if it put the agricultural industry upon its feet. But there is another question as to whether wheat growing will ever be an economic proposition in this country in view of world tendencies, and the queer thing is that the Government have already penalised those engaged in a branch of farming which is likely to be profitable. All their feeding costs have gone up, and what they produce has practically no protection. I will quote another sentence from the White Paper of 1926 which I commend heartily to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues who are seeing the Bill through: From a purely economic point of view, it will probably be better business for the British farmer to devote his energies as largely as possible to the livestock industry and to aim at meeting the demands of the population for meat and milk. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he would be rendering a far greater service to agricultural interests and to the people of this country if he stated definitely that at the end of five years this payment would cease, and that during that five years he expected British farmers to get down to farming those products from which they were likely to make a profit.


There is upon the Paper in my name an Amendment which is very similar to the present Amendment, and it may be that hon. Members might expect that I should on this occasion vote for the Amendment under discussion. On the contrary, I think that the reply which my right hon. Friend the Minister gave on 16th March, and which appears in column 326 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, that in the Government's opinion it is right to give a definite undertaking for a period of time, and that at the end of that period the subject should be reviewed, answers the Amendment amply. I am content that what my right hon. Friend said on that occasion will cover my Amendment also.


We are grievously disappointed to find that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for West Birkenhead (Lieut.-Colonel Sandeman Allen) will not vote with us. On the last occasion when he said he would, he did not do so, and we are left to ourselves once more to oppose the Government. We oppose the Government on this occasion with more strength and confidence, because we have not heard a single argument against the Amendment, and no Member opposite has ventured to state that the Bill is to be permanent. If it is not to be permanent, why not accept the reasonable time limit which we are proposing? The right hon. Gentleman has told us time and time again that he has a plan for the reorganisation of agriculture, and we have offered to co-operate with him. We think that the right hon. Gentleman should assume responsibility for the first Five-Year Plan in the history of Britain. The right hon. Gentleman does not look the part, but with a little disguise he could be made to look the part of a member of the Praesidium in Moscow, for a five- year plan for the reorganisation of the agricultural industry. After all, the principle is the same as that which has been applied in Russia. It is to produce above cost price in order to build up an industry which is not able to stand upon its own feet. The right hon. Gentleman knows that it is to cost the country a considerable sum of money each year.

5.30 p.m.

We ask the Minister to make a declaration to-day that five years from now would be a very reasonable period of time, at the end of which this form of Governmental assistance should come to an end. Hon. Members on this side of the Committee recognise that the subsidy is to be paid, but we wish it to be paid in a way which will have the most efficacious results. The right hon. Gentleman hopes to put the industry on a more or less suitable footing and to see 1,800,000 acres under wheat. We do not oppose the growing of wheat on suitable land, but we do say that there ought to be some test of the suitability of the land and the methods of cultivation, and that can only be shown by the results. If at the end of five years or of 10 years we have still to pay a subsidy for wheat, all our efforts will have failed and the Minister of Agriculture will have wasted the country's money in trying to sustain an agricultural crop which is not suitable for this country. We want to share with him the work of reorganising agriculture, and we are prepared to allow this subsidy to go through, under protest, for a short time, but we hope that it will not be necessary to pay this very large subsidy for more than five years, or even for five years.

The hon. and gallant Member for Pembroke (Major Lloyd George) gave us some figures in a new light. Let me demonstrate that the figures have a much more serious bearing upon agriculture. We are not only going to pay the full wages to 50,000 men at 30s. a week if we are to pay the full subsidy, which will amount to between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000, but in addition we shall pay £1 rent for every one of the 1,800,000 acres on which the wheat is to be grown. We are going to pay the wages of all the agricultural labourers who will be employed and also the rent of the land, in order that this wheat may be grown. That cannot be denied. If the subsidy works out at the present price and is maintained for five years, we shall have paid a sum averaging £18 to £20 an acre on all the land engaged in wheat cultivation. We shall have bought the land out at its average freehold agricultural value in the five years. If the Minister thinks that it is not enough for assistance to agriculture to pay the value of the land as well as to pay the wages of the agricultural labourers, he is not very easily satisfied.

I lived in Canada for a while and saw wheat growing there. I have also travelled over the Hungarian and Russian wheat fields. Perhaps hon. Members opposite will not like me for confessing that I have been to Russia. I saw wheat growing there under conditions entirely dissimilar to the conditions under which wheat is grown at home. In one of the Midland counties of England I have seen with despair the conditions under which wheat cultivation is carried on. I saw in a field, hardly more than 10 times the length of this House and only about 50 or 60 yards in width, three horses and two men travelling at the rate of about 1½ to 2 miles an hour. At the end of the 50 or 60 yards they had to turn round, slowly and laboriously, and start back again. I did not measure the work that might be done, but I submit that those three horses and the two men could not plough more than half an acre a day, judging from the performance that I saw. Wheat growing under those conditions in Britain is hopeless in competition with wheat growing in other parts of the world.


The hon. Member will perhaps bear in mind the Ruling that I have already given. He must not go into a general discussion on this Amendment.


I have no desire to depart from your Ruling. My point is, that conditions such as those I have described cannot be maintained for ever. What the Minister needs to find out are the economic limits of wheat cultivation. We want to encourage the growing of wheat, but we want a limited sum of money for capital expenditure devoted to the cost of levelling down the fields and providing the farmer with tractors and other machinery suitable for cul- tivation. If we are to subsidise the wheat industry we desire that it should be done only for a limited time. There comes a time when every subsidy becomes a scandal, and this subsidy will become a national scandal if it goes on year after year enriching the farmer, enriching the landlord, who makes no contribution to the change in agriculture, and does not really serve the purpose that is intended. Five years is a long enough time to allow. By that time the farmer ought to be able to improve his methods, to take his coat off and to open his mind to the new ideas and to the science that is being brought into agriculture. Tell the farmer that he will get assistance, more than he deserves, for a short time, and then let him get busy. If he does not get his farm in order and his wheat cultivation in order in five years, tell him that he will never become the kind of farmer that we wish him to be. When five years have elapsed the Minister of Agriculture will have paid away enough money, not the Government's money, not his own money, not my money but mostly the money of the poorer people who will have to foot the bill.


I need hardly say that the Government cannot accept this Amendment. It is quite clear from the previous discussions that we have had on the Bill that the plan of the Government is, frankly, to give the farmer a definite three years of certainty, in so far as human beings can make that so. At the end of that period we are providing that the circumstances shall be revised by individuals who will have at their disposal a knowledge of all the circumstances. It would be the height of folly for the Government to-day to forecast or prejudge what will happen at that time. It is not within our power to do so. The hon. Member for the Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) quoted some remarks by a Noble Lord in another place. I understand that those remarks were made prior to the introduction of the Bill and upon the assumption that we were proceeding to deal with the problem on different lines.

I have listened carefully to the views that have been expressed. It has been said on the one hand that the farmers should be told that they do not know their business, that they must realise that wheat growing is a thing which they ought to drop, and that they must turn their minds to more profitable forms of farming. What are those more profitable forms of farming? Do we not hear today very loudly expressed the views of the stock raisers, who say that their form of farming is not profitable. If we are to argue upon the lines followed by the hon. and gallant Member for Pembroke (Major Lloyd George) that we could deal with this subject more easily by buying the wheat and, by some means which I did not entirely follow, give a subsidy to a certain number of people in this country, we could apply the same argument to the chilled meat brought from the Argentine, and elsewhere. There is no saying where that sort of argument would stop.

If we are to keep our countryside alive we must have a balanced form of agriculture. Are there any Members of this House, to whatever party they belong, who are going to say that we will not have wheat growing of some form in this country? If so, they ought to let the farming community know that. That is not the line of the National Government. We hold, and rightly so, that we ought to keep a certain proportion of our arable cultivation under wheat, and keep the balance for the other forms of agriculture. We desire to see the most modern methods of dealing with the problem pursued. We desire that the farmers should try by every means in their power, and we believe that this Bill will encourage them to market their produce under the most economical methods, and to produce their wheat in the best form. The hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holds-worth) spoke of his great admiration for the speech of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who said that this was a temporary Bill. Whatever admiration he had for that speech, he voted against the Second Reading of the Bill. In the circumstances, the Government are right in resisting this Amendment and relying upon the investigation of the problem three years hence by those who are well qualified to do it.


I should like to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the skill with which he manages his team. I notice that the Secretary of State for Scotland comes down and joins in the Debate for a short time, but whenever these awkward questions come up as to whether the Act is to be permanent or the subsidy permanent, somehow or other he has urgent business elsewhere, and he fades away. We then find good solid Conservative Members supporting the right hon. Gentleman and backing up the idea that this shall be a more or less permanent subsidy. There is no hon. and right hon. Gentleman present on whose cheek there need come any blush, because the temporaries have been carefully moved out of the way. It is a very important question whether this subsidy should be permanent or temporary. The right hon. Gentleman says that the whole matter is to be reviewed by a committee three years hence—one of those blessed committees of which this Government is even more fecund than its predecessor. That committee is going to consider the economic circumstances, but the right hon. Gentleman has very carefully avoided putting in the Bill any kind of instruction to the committee.

They are to look at the economic circumstances. Suppose they come to the same conclusion as the hon. Member for Horncastle (Mr. Haslam), who said that in his view the farmer would not be able to grow wheat at a profit for a long time, although he thought there might be a small improvement in the price. Suppose that the committee report on those lines. What action is to follow? Will it be said that it is a bad business and that they bad better get out of it? The hon. Member for Horncastle says: "It is a bad business. No one can make a profit, and therefore we must continue the subsidy." Which is the policy of the Government We know the policy of the Secretary of State for Scotland. He says the Measure is of a temporary nature to tide the farmer over until he has changed to more remunerative forms of agriculture. The Minister of Agriculture threw out a challenge to us by asking us what are these more remunerative forms of agriculture. If he will send one of the Whips for the Secretary of State for Scotland he will be able to tell him about that. He knows the "more remunerative forms of agriculture."

The right hon. Gentleman says that he wants a balanced agriculture. He might say that all agriculture is unprofitable. In that case two courses are open to him. He could join with the hon. Member for Edinburgh East (Mr. D. Mason) who wants this country to be purely industrial, not agricultural, or he could give a temporary subsidy to a certain part of agriculture. But that does not explain why the right hon. Gentleman should select the particular form of agriculture which all experts agree is the least likely to be remunerative in the future. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the support given in this Bill is to be permanent. Not only is the acreage to be maintained, but it is to be increased, and, if it is increased beyond the figure which the Bill lays down, the penalties are not very heavy, and Parliament will still pay a subsidy, though slightly reduced. Everyone knows the reason why the Minister of Agriculture is not able to make this a temporary subsidy. This is not an attempt to reconstruct agriculture; it is merely a sop to a certain number of followers of the Conservative party. We have never denied that there is a case for a temporary support of cereal cultivation in the Eastern Counties, if it is given under stringent conditions, which will make for a balanced agricultural policy in those areas. But that is not the plan of the Government.

When you have stripped the Bill of all its verbiage it is merely putting a sum of money extracted from the pockets of the consumers into the pockets of the farmers. That is all this Bill amounts to and the right hon. Gentleman cannot afford in present political circumstances to say to the farmers that it is only temporary, because, if he did so, he would have to review the Government's policy as a whole. As it amounts to a 10 per cent. tariff on agricultural produce it is only a disguised way of doing it in order to satisfy the uneasy conscience of the Secretary of State for Scotland and those who are not prepared to bring in Protection on wheat by means of a tariff. The right hon. Gentleman cannot afford to make this temporary, because it is only a part of the Government's protectionist policy, which is designed to set up a number of vested interests. The rejection of this Amendment, coupled with the rejection of the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Birkenhead, West (Lieut.-Colonel Sandeman Allen) who ran away, and supported by the Noble Lady the Member for Sutton (Viscountess Astor) who did not run away, shows clearly that the Government have no thought-out agricultural policy but are merely following the method of an unconditional subsidy; and, when you examine it, it is quite characteristic of the Conservative party and their care for vested interests.


I represent an industrial constituency, that is to say, a constituency which is not agricultural, but I have no hesitation in throwing my weight, for whatever it is worth, against the Amendment, and I am sure that my constituents will back me up when I say that I hope the Government will not for one moment agree to it. If I were asked what I consider is the problem of the future I would put it in this way, that so long as present conditions exist I hope a wheat quota will be in existence. What is it which everybody wants, whether he is in a factory, in a workshop or on the land? He wants a long vista in front of him of reasonable security in order to know what he is going to do in the future. We want to create security. There are two great words in the English language which should be in the mind of everyone in this House, I think of them every day—security and production. In those two words is contained everything which is going to make for the prosperity of this old country of ours. Hon. Members opposite get up and talk about having a wheat quota for three years, or four years or five years. We want to instil into the agriculturists the idea that this Parliament knows its own mind and that it is going to look after agricultural interests. We want to be able to say to the farmers that we have given them security.

Hon. Members opposite have said in my hearing that we cannot grow wheat in this country. It is a remark that has astonished me. This is the finest wheat-growing country in the world. Where is it beaten? Even in dear old Scotland we can produce 38 to 40 bushels an acre. Canada produces 16 to 17, the United States 12 or 14, and Australia 12 or 14. I believe that 38 and 40 bushels per acre will be a very small yield in the future. All sorts of new devices are coming along. I have tried one or two of them myself; and in my opinion the price of wheat will come down in the future and instead of receiving 45s. farmers will be satisfied with 40s. or even 35s. per bushel. I believe that within the course of the next few years 80 and 90 bushels per acre under certain conditions will be raised. Some 18 months ago I planted wheat in a different way from that which is generally followed in this country. I planted wheat like you plant potatoes—4 inches apart. The roots of that wheat are as wide round as the palms of my hand, and from each of these roots come the incredible number of 28 to 36 ears of corn with 66 grains in each ear. That is a yield of over 2,000 grains per root. If you go into a cornfield you will find that the average is 1¼ to 1½ ears on each stalk. To take the quota away in three years' time will be most detrimental to the agricultural industry, to which we want to give every security.

As the representative of an industrial constituency in the capital of Scotland I am sure that my constituents would wish me to say that the land and the town flourish and thrive together, or die and decay together. We want to see the land flourishing, and I am wholehearted in support of the policy of the Government and delighted that we have a Scotsman of such eminence conducting this Bill through the House of Commons. Hon. Members opposite who represent industrial constituencies have on every occasion tried to hamper the industry and we shall be able to point to this fact throughout Scotland. We shall take good care to show that the Socialist party have not gauged the situation properly. The only result of insecurity is decay; the result of security is growth.


The hon. Member for Edinburgh South (Sir S. Chapman) has given us a very good speech, and if he had gone on a little longer it seems to me that there would have been no case for any subsidy art all. He made out that the agricultural industry was profitable and was going to be so profitable in the future that there is really no need for this subsidy. And when he went on to say that we can grow wheat better in this country than in any other country I began to wonder why this Bill was ever brought before Parliament. I could have wished, however, that he had given a little thought to his industrial constituents—


They have consulted me on all occasions, and they sent me back at the last election unopposed.

6.0 p.m.


That is a very good answer, but we on these benches have also been returned to speak on behalf of our constituents and we come from industrial centres. That is why we are supporting this Amendment. We want something definite. We want to know whether this is to be temporary or permanent. The Minister of Agriculture should declare one way or the other. The followers of the right hon. Gentleman believe it to be a permanent subsidy but the Minister himself says that it is only temporary. We ask that he should be more definite, because under this Bill the country has to find £6,000,000 per year. That sum will have to come out of the bread box. Some say that it will mean one half-penny on the 4-lb. loaf, others that it will mean one farthing. In either case, think what it means in the very poorest homes. I calculate that it means one shilling per week extra on the price of bread in the case of large families. The poorer the family the more bread they consume in comparison with other foods. In any working-class home the mother, if she wants to fill the stomachs of her children and has not the means to buy other delicacies, buys bread as the chief ingredient for dishes that contain a large quantity of bread. Therefore, proportionately, the cost of bread is greater to a working-class household than to a family in any other class. That is why we want to know for how long the Minister proposes to make this subsidy or deficiency payment operative for the benefit of the farmers and the millers. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to be quite candid with us. If he has it in his mind that the subsidy is to go on for all time let him say so. If he thinks it should end in 1940 or 1938 or 1936 or on any date, let him tell us, and we shall be satisfied that we have an answer. The hon. Member who spoke last thinks that the subsidy is to be permanent, that the present Government is to come back again and is to declare to the agricultural community that they are to have all that they want. This Amendment is put forward as a test, and we want a definite and conclusive answer. I hope the Minister will have courage to tell us what we want to know.


I would remind the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman) that he made some astounding statements. First of all, he said that he came from an industrial constituency, and that he had the support of his electors in supporting this Bill, which is a direct tax on the food of the people and may be permanent. I come from an industrial constituency which during the General Election had placed before it by the National Conservative candidate the policy that is embodied in this Bill. He lost the contest and I was returned with a tremendous majority, not for the purpose of opposing the reorganisation of agriculture, but for the purpose of opposing the method adopted in this Bill for such reorganisation.


For three years I have been advocating this scheme among my constituents. They have known all about it for three years, and it is because they are so knowledgeable on the point that they returned me to this House unopposed.


The hon. Member says he has convinced an industrial constituency that a Bill of this type, dealing with agriculture at this time of day, is the right thing, although it places a levy on the poorest people in the land. All I can say is that the electors would not stand it in the constituency from which I come. The hon. Member also said that Socialists would do nothing for agriculture. We cannot allow that statement to go unchallenged.


I said that the Socialists would not do the right thing.


The Socialist party is ready and willing. We had never controdicted the idea that agriculture ought to be dealt with and reorganised, and that something ought to take the place of the present chaos. But what is the position here to-day? We are anxious to know whether this Bill is permanent or temporary. That is not merely because the Bill gives a subsidy. We are not opposed to subsidies of a temporary character in cases of national urgency. What we object to in this Bill is the method by which the subsidy is raised. The £6,000,000 that it is proposed to give to the wheat growers is not coming from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not out of the pockets of the rich, but from the homes of the poorest people in the country. We say that that is the wrong way to reorganise British agriculture. The landlords are called upon to make no sacrifice at all. We have been told about wheat-growing in Continental countries. The fact is that there is not a land in the world in which farmers pay such a high rent as in this country. If it is intended to reorganise agriculture on the backs of the children, let the Government say so. If that is not the intention, let agriculture be reorganised so that those who are best able to carry the burden carry their fair share.

That is not the proposal of the Bill. As far as we know, this Bill is permanently to put a tax on bread. It has been said quite rightly that the Bill is like a supertax which begins at the wrong end; instead of putting an increased tax on people as they get richer this Bill puts the greatest tax on the poorest. That is why we are anxious to have a limitation of a subsidy paid in this way. It was all very well for the hon. Member for South Edinburgh to say that the farmer wants security. I have been a collier all my life, and I have wanted security, but I have not found it yet. Is there any reason why we should begin to give security to the farmer and reorganise agriculture on the backs of the poor? The Committee have a right to weigh this thing up with a real sense of proportion. We have never denied that something ought to be done for British agriculture, but we suggest that as the Bill makes the cost payable by the poorest of the poor it ought at least to be limited in its period of operation.


How does the hon. Member propose to assist agriculture if he refuses to take any steps to safeguard it?


We have an agricultural policy both for safeguarding and reorganising agriculture. We say that the people who are best able to bear the cost of reorganisation should pay for it. We should start from the top and not from the bottom. In the discussions in this House before Christmas, when food taxes were being challenged from this side, we were told by Government spokesmen that the Government did not intend to tax food. It was understood that this Bill would be some kind of temporary help to the farmer, to aid him in weathering the storm. Now we find that the Minister will not give any undertaking to make the Bill temporary. All I can say is that the people outside were totally misled on the subject at the last election. It is a poor country and it is poor statesmanship that promotes any Bill for the reorganisation of any industry by attempting to put the cost on the poorest children in the land.


I do hope that the Minister will give us a further statement as to what is the policy of the Government. He must surely have forgotten what his right hon. colleague, the Secretary of State for Scotland, said on the Second Reading of the Bill: This Bill, however, does not stereotype existing conditions of farming in this country. On the contrary, it is a temporary lifebuoy thrown to the farmers who have been caught at a more serious disadvantage than other farmers by the slump in prices. It is intended to check the decay on the wheat farms, and prevent them becoming derelict while the necessary process of adaptation, which we fully recognise is necessary to the new economic conditions, is proceeding. A little further on he said: Only recently a correspondent of the 'Times' urged that there should be no limit imposed, but that in his view it would be unreasonable that it should extend beyond a period of 10 years, which is rather longer than I should give it."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 1st March, 1932; col. 1074, Vol. 262.] Will the right hon. Gentleman say frankly whether that speech states the policy of the Government, or whether the policy of the Government is to make this Bill permanent? Surely we are entitled to have that information before the Committee pass this Clause. The Minister cannot want some Members of the National Government to go to the country and say, "You need not be frightened. This is not a permanent Bill, but only a temporary Bill," while others will say, "Look at this permanent benefit that we have got for the farmer." That is what is happening at the moment. Some hon. Members opposite are hailing this as a permanent benefit to the wheat-growing farmer.


So long as the present conditions exist.


The hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir S. Chapman) is not the Minister.


I thought that the hon. and learned Gentleman was referring to those of us who sit behind the Government Front Bench. I said what the hon. and learned Gentleman has mentioned and I am prepared to say it over and over again, in spite of anything that the hon. and learned Gentleman now declares.


I do not in the least dispute the sincerity of the hon. Gentleman any more than he disputes our sincerity in this matter. The hon. Member will agree that it is clearly right that the country should know one thing or the other—is this scheme permanent or is it temporary? The Minister, I am sure, will feel encouraged to rise in his place and tell us quite specifically either that the Secretary of State for Scotland was wrong and was not stating the policy of the Government, or that he was right and was stating the policy of the Government. It makes all the difference in the world whether this is a "temporary lifebuoy" or a permanent battleship in which the farmer is for ever to travel in safety. We want to know, and the country wants to know, which of these two things it is. I ask the Minister to be quite frank with the Committee and with the country, and to let us know what his views are. It is no good his saying that there is a committee which can decide, after three years, whether the scheme is to go on or not. The only function of that committee is to decide whether the price is to continue; it has not to decide whether the Act is to continue in force. As to that it has no power and no function. Such a good constitutionalist as the Minister of Agriculture is not going to suggest that Parliament should delegate its power to a committee to decide in future whether or not the Act is to continue in force. If that were his suggestion it would be another new constitutional precedent.

The reason why it is important to have a limitation of time in the Bill is that that would automatically bring the matter before the House of Commons in five years' time. The House of Commons with all the material before them can then decide what is the best thing to do. The right hon. Gentleman will recollect the insistence of his party upon a time limitation in connection with Measures dealing with the coal industry and with Unemployment Insurance. His is the very party which has always said, "We will not allow Parliament to commit itself indefinitely in the future. We will put in a period of time within which this Measure will have to come before Parliament again." In this case, if Parliament at the end of five years wishes to do so, if we still have these great phalanxes of the National party on the benches opposite they can re-enact the Measure or continue it, but the important thing is that Parliament should now definitely warn the farmer that the Bill will come up for reconsideration in five years' time, and that he is not to rely on anything beyond that period.

The farmer should know now that Parliament will then reconsider the whole circumstances and see what he has done and whether he can produce wheat "two thousand fold" as the hon. Member for South Edinburgh suggested. He should be told that Parliament at the end of five years would inquire into all these matters, and if Parliament thought the farmers deserved it, he would then have another Act and get a further subsidy. The Bill at present definitely states to the farmer, "Here is a permanent system. The only thing likely to be altered in it is the price, but the system of subsidising wheat is going to be a permanent feature of agricultural policy." The Minister said that he was not aware of the sort of agriculture to which there might be a change-over. Let me read the words of his colleague the Secretary of State for Scotland: The main expansion of agriculture in this country will take place along the lines, first, of live-stock farming for which our cool, moist climate producing the best grass in the world is pre-eminently suitable; and, secondly, the production of those commodities in which freshness is a primary element of value, and in which the farmer starts with a substantial advantage in the home market. I am not one of those who regard wheat as a key crop."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1932; col. 1072, Vol. 262.] I see that the Secretary of State for Scotland is now in his place. When he made that statement we believed that he was speaking on behalf of the Government. We now know that there are many times when Cabinet Ministers do not speak on behalf of the Government. Would he or the Minister—one or other, or both together if they like—tell us whether it is the policy of the Government to get a turnover owing to "our cool, moist climate" to meat production and to milk, vegetables, fruit, and so forth, or is it the policy of the Government to encourage and increase wheat production? Does the Secretary of State for Scotland, after all that he has heard during the Committee stage of this Bill, still believe that this is "a temporary lifebuoy" thrown to the farmer? Or does he believe, as is suggested by a number of those who sit behind them, that this is a permanent institution, the only variation allowed in the Measure being the variation in price? These are things which the country is anxious to know, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, between them, will be able to make up their minds rapidly and tell us which of these two things they really mean.


I intervene again to say a few words at this stage, because I think we are coming to an end of the discussion upon this particular aspect of the question. I endeavoured earlier to point out that the Government's policy was, quite frankly, to preserve in this country the balance of possibilities between arable cultivation and the other forms of agriculture. It is quite clear that to put a definite time limit in the Bill without knowing for certain, or indeed knowing at all what will he the situation five years hence—particularly in present circumstances when not only agriculture but all our monetary arrangements are in a very doubtful position—would be a foolish line of procedure. The Government felt that the proper way to proceed was to frame this Measure so that it would give to the farmer, who was principally concerned in arable cultivation, this "temporary lifebuoy," if you like so to describe it, but with the certainty that it would be permanent, at any rate for the next three years, and that at the end of that period the circumstances would be reviewed.

In the meantime, it is made perfectly clear to the farming community what is expected from them, and, if the Bill works as I am satisfied it will, the machinery of the Bill will, in fact, bring the farming community who are interested in arable production into better and more orderly methods of marketing. It will encourage them to produce in the cheapest manner possible; it will be an incentive to them to grow the best classes of wheat and to bring that wheat to market in the best possible condition. All these things are provided for in the machinery of the Bill, and at the end of that period which I have mentioned the circumstances must be reviewed. Not only so, but in the period from now onward the most careful and meticulous examination of all the circumstances of production is being made under the aegis of the very well qualified people who at Cambridge are going into these problems on the spot. At the end of that time we shall have not only the report of the inquiry, but a great deal more information which will enable Parliament at that time to make up their minds whether they shall continue this for another period, or what shall be their policy.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say how he proposes to get it before Parliament? It is only if an alteration is to be made in price that Parliament can even look at it.


Of course, every Parliament and every Government must judge of the circumstances. Each Government will be responsible for its proposals, and, as I say, not only the report to which I have referred but all the knowledge which the Ministry of Agriculture, and these investigations which are being conducted outside will bring to the Government, will then be available. If Parliament then thinks that a change should be made, Parliament, no doubt, will make the change. But that we should here and now prejudge the problem seems to me highly foolish. I want to see the turn-over, in districts where it is suitable, from one kind of cultivation to another. That is only common sense, but I desire to say emphatically that it is not the policy of the Government to say to the arable farmer that he does not know anything about his awn business and that he must, of necessity, change over to other classes of agriculture, in all circumstances and in every district. On the contrary, we want to see progress made in an orderly manner, and in these circumstances we cannot accept the Amendment.


The right hon. Gentleman has given us an explanation of what we already know, namely, that the circumstances will be reviewed at a certain time, but he has not met the point that the House of Commons should have an opportunity of reviewing this matter at the end of the period mentioned in the Amendment. The amazing thing to me is that the Tory party has completely changed its policy on this point. When the late Labour Government were in office, and when the Measure dealing with the coal industry was before the House, they insisted that its operation should be limited to three years. When they failed to carry their point here, they used their friends in another place to accomplish what they could not accomplish in the House of Commons. Much the same kind of thing took place in reference to the Unemployment Insurance Act, though then it was a question of a limit not of five years but of three years. I should like to hear what the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Croolcshank) has to say on this point because he was one of the champions of limiting the period of those Measures, on the ground that it was desirable to make plain the real responsibility of the House of Commons on questions of this description.

Let us put the matter bluntly. The real situation is this. We were defending the interests of the mass of the people in those Measures to which I have referred. Hon. Members opposite are now, like good Tories, defending their friends. It is an old saying that when the Tories are in office they defend their friends and in this Bill they are putting an increased charge on to the great mass of the people, on to the unemployed, on to those who are suffering reductions of income in every direction, in order to put money into the pockets of their friends. I do not know why they try to conceal the truth of the matter. Apparently they think that this principle of the control of Parliament is a good thing when they are not in office and in relation to Measures concerning the industrial worker and the unemployed, but a very bad thing when applied to their own friends. There is no logic in that attitude except the logic of supporting your friends when you have the power to do so.


That is such arrant nonsense that I must say a few words in reply. I, personally, do not recollect any part which I may have played in connection with the Unemployment Insurance Act upon this point, but as the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) seems to recollect it, no doubt he suffered from the whips and scorpions which were flying about then. In any case, there is no relation between this Bill and the Unemployment Insurance Act, in connection with which a great amount of money had to be found either by loan, as in the time of the Labour Government, or by the taxpayer, as is the case to-day. This is a Measure in which no money question is involved as far as the taxpayer is concerned, and that is a sufficient answer to the hon. Gentleman's strictures.

I am glad that the Minister has not been led away by the fallacious arguments adduced by the Opposition to-day and their very transparent manoeuvres. They want a date inserted in the Bill because they hope that one of two things will happen—either that the date for bringing the Measure to an end will have to be advanced in which case they would be able to say, "Look how your friends have let you down," or else that the period will have to be prolonged, in which case they would be able to say, "Look how the National Government is wrong again. They do not know how long to keep the Measure in force." It is a, perfectly obvious game—trying to induce the Government to put a date into a Measure which deals with circumstances which are quite imponderable. The value of the Bill is that it will be continuing as long

6.30 p.m.

as circumstances require and I hope that the Minister is not going to put in anything more definite on that point. It is no use for the ex-Solicitor-General to use those very mixed military metaphors to which he has become so attached lately and to talk to us about phalanxes and about the farmer travelling in the safety of a battleship. Neither the farmer nor the ex-Solicitor-General would recognise himself in a battleship. It is no good talking like that when he knows, as well as anybody else, that world conditions and the condition of agriculture in this country over the next four or five years cannot be forecast, and when he knows also that there is nothing permanent in this world and that in a Measure of this kind it would be a very great mistake to try to fix upon any date. But when he talks about how worried he is as to whether the Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary of State for Scotland will be able to talk with the same voice on this and kindred subjects, he need not worry himself, because I observed in the "Times" to-day that a distinguished ex-Cabinet Minister of the party opposite, Mr. Herbert Morrison, went to Bolton on Saturday night and that there were so few there that the meeting was disbanded without Mr. Morrison having made a speech at all. That is a feat, so far as I am aware, that has not previously befallen any Minister of any Cabinet, whatever views he may have held.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 47; Noes, 301.

Division No. 130.] AYES. [6.31 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton
Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent) Grundy, Thomas W. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Aske, Sir Robert William Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Attlee, Clement Richard Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Harris, Sir Percy Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)
Briant, Frank Hirst, George Henry Pickering, Ernest H.
Cowan, O. M. Holdsworth, Herbert Price, Gabriel
Cripps, Sir Stafford Jenkins, Sir William Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Daggar, George Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Thorne, William James
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph
Dickie, John P. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Wallhead, Richard C.
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) Lawson, John James Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Logan, David Gilbert Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Lunn, William
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) McEntee, Valentine L. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Allen Parkinson.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Atholl, Duchess of
Albery, Irving James Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Atkinson, Cyril
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (L'pool, W.) Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent. Dover) Bailey, Eric Alfred George
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Macmillan, Maurice Harold
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Ford, Sir Patrick J. Macquisten, Frederick Alexander
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanel) Fox, Sir Gilford Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Fuller, Captain A. G. Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Ganzoni, Sir John Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Marsden, Commander Arthur
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Glossop, C. W. H. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Beaumont, Hon, R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Gluckstein, Louis Halle Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Glyn, Major Ralph G. C. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Goff, Sir Park Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw-
Blindell, James Goldie, Noel B. Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tt'd & Chisw'k)
Boothby, Robert John Graham Gower, Sir Robert Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Bossom, A. C. Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Mitcheson, G. G.
Boulton, W. W. Graves, Marjorie Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Greene, William p. C. Moore, Sir Newton J. (Richmond)
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Grentell, E. C. (City Of London) Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Boyce, H. Leslie Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Moreing, Adrian C.
Bracken, Brendan Grimston, R. V. Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Gunston, Captain D. W. Morrison, William Shephard
Broadbent, Colonel John Guy, J. C. Morrison Moss, Captain H. J.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Muirhead, Major A. J.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Hales, Harold K. Munro, Patrick
Browne, Captain A. C. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Buchan, John Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd) Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Burghley, Lord Hanley, Dennis A. North, Captain Edward T.
Burnett, John George Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Nunn, William
Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Hartland, George A. O'Connor, Terence James
Butt, Sir Alfred Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle) Patrick, Colin M.
Caing, G. R. Hall- Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Peake, Captain Osbert
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Pearson, William G.
Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Peat, Charles U.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Cheimsf'd) Penny, Sir George
Carver, Major William H. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Petherick, M.
Castle Stewart, Earl Hepworth, Joseph Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Pike, Cecil F.
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Hore-Belisha, Leslie Potter, John
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Hornby, Frank Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Caz let, Thelma (Islington, E.) Horobin, Ian M. Procter, Major Henry Adam
Chalmers, John Rutherford Horsbrugh, Florence Pybus, Percy John
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.(Birm., W) Howard, Tom Forrest Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.) Hume, Sir George Hopwood Ramsbotham, Herwald
Chotzner, Alfred James Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Clarry, Reginald George Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Rea, Walter Russell
Clayton, Dr- George C. Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Cobb, Sir Cyril James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Held, James S. C. (Stirling)
Colman, N. C. D. Jesson, Major Thomas E. Remer, John R.
Colville, John Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Rentoul, Sir Gervais S.
Conant, R. J. E. Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Cook, Thomas A. Ker, J. Campbell Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Cooke, Douglas Kerr, Hamilton W. Robinson, John Roland
Cooper, A. Duff Kirkpatrick, William M. Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell
Copeland, Ida Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M H. R. Ropner, Colonel L.
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Knebworth, Viscount Rosbotham, S. T.
Crooke, J. Smedley Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Rothschild, James A. de
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Law, Sir Alfred Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Cross, R. H. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.) Runge, Norah Cecil
Crossley, A, C. Leckie, J. A. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Levy, Thomas Russell, Richard John (Eddisbury)
Davison, Sir William Henry Liddall, Walter S. Salmon. Major Isidore
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lindsay, Noel Ker Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Llewellin, Major John J. Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Donner, P. W. Lloyd, Geoffrey Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Drewe, Cedric Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. Gr'n) Savery, Samuel Servington
Duckworth, George A. V. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Scone, Lord
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Loder, Captain J. de Vs.-e Selley, Harry R.
Duggan, Hubert John Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Eales, John Frederick Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Eastwood, John Francis Mabane, William Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Eden, Robert Anthony MacAndrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick) Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Elmley, Viscount MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kine'dine, C.)
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Somervell, Donald Bradley
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) McKie, John Hamilton Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare McLean, Major Alan Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Falle, Sir Bertram G. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.
Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde) Touche, Gordon Cosmo Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Wills, Wilfrid D.
Strauss, Edward A. Turton, Robert Hugh Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey) Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Wise, Alfred R.
Sutcliffe, Harold Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend) Womersley, Walter James
Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Templeton, William P. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby) Waterhouse, Captain Charles Wragg, Herbert
Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford) Watt, Captain George Steven H.
Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour- TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Thorp, Linton Theodore Wells, Sydney Richard Mr. Shakespeare and Captain
Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Weymouth, viscount Austin Hudson.
Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

The DEPUTYCHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)

As regards the new Clauses on the Paper, the only one that is either not covered already Or not outside the scope of the Bill is that in the name of the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) and other hon. Members—(Records of wheat acreage.)


On a point of Order. There is a new Clause (Flour and Bread Prices Committee) on the Paper, and may I respectfully suggest that it cornea within the Title of the Bill, being a purpose "connected with the matters aforesaid"; that is to say, it is designed in order to see that the price of flour is not raised above the amount which is to be added under the Bill. This is to safeguard the position of bakers and consumers of bread in a matter in which the Bill is putting a charge on the flour; it is consequential upon that charge being put on and is merely designed to provide a safeguard as to how that charge shall be passed on.


Perhaps the hon. and learned Member was not aware that I gave a ruling on a previous Amendment, when I said that I had concluded that it introduced a new principle, which, although it might be cognate to the subject matter of the Bill, was not in the mind of the House when it passed the Second Reading, and I could only accept it on the direct instruction of the House to that effect.


On a point of Order. May I refer to the New Clause on the Paper (Rent not to be raised when, deficiency payment made) and call your attention to the purpose of the Bill? That purpose is: to secure to growers of home-grown mill-able wheat a standard price and a market therefor; to make provision for imposing on millers and importers of flour obligations to make payments …ֵ and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid. In order to secure a standard price to the grower it is within the ambit of the Bill, I submit, to say that a certain past of that standard price shall not be taken away in rent, and therefore that such an Amendment is in order.


Again I must rule that, although possibly cognate to the subject matter of the Bill, it yet introduces a new principle, and I could only accept it on the direct instruction of the House.