§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I beg to move, in page 2, line 2, after the word "thirty-two," to insert the words:until the nineteenth day of April, nine-hundred and thirty-three.As we understand it, the Clause, if it remains unamended, would have the effect of making this Tea Duty of a permanent character. There is no limit of date to its operation, and the purpose of the Amendment is to introduce a limitation upon the period of the application of the duty. I do not think it would be fair to hon. Members who have other Amendments on the Paper to discuss the merits or demerits of the Tea Duty as such on this Amendment, but I am concerned with raising the issue as to the propriety of allowing these words to remain unamended, with the effect that the duty will become of a permanent character.
It will be well known to the Committee that the Members on these benches have very strong objections to the Tea Duty as such, and that would be one strong reason, I submit, for introducing words to limit the duration of the effectiveness of the duty. Another reason is this: One of our strong objections to the duty is that it has the effect of altering the proportion of indirect as compared with direct taxation, and hon. Members opposite will not be surprised to find us challenging such a proposition. If this Committee should determine that the time has come to make some re-
§ adjustment in the proportions of indirect and direct taxation, we desire that that readjustment shall not have effectiveness beyond the date indicated in the Amendment.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Major Elliot)
The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) advanced more a general than a particular case for the Amendment. He advanced the case that indirect taxation as such is obnoxious to the party for which he speaks, and that he desires, therefore, that it should be criticised on every possible occasion. We take no objection to that, but it is not necessary to have these words in order to raise the question of indirect or direct taxation or even to raise the question of this particular tax, because in the annual Finance Bill all these matters are brought under review, and will be reviewed by the party opposite. The objection to making it an annual tax is that it leads to certain difficulties in the way of clearances at the end of the year, and I hope, therefore, that the hon. Member and his friends will not find it necessary to press the Amendment.
§ Major ELLIOT
Yes. It is our desire, as in the case of other duties, that this duty should run on unless it is specifically brought to an end. The practice which the hon. Member seeks to introduce is not, we think, desirable.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 24; Noes 232.31
|Division No. 185.]||AYES.||[3.28 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Price, Gabriel|
|Daggar, George||Holdsworth, Herbert||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Mr. Tinker and Mr. Groves.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Apsley, Lord||Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsn'th, C.)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Belt, Sir Alfred L.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Hanley, Dennis A.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Harris, Sir Percy||Peat, Charles U.|
|Blindell, James||Hartland, George A.||Penny, Sir George|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Harvey, Majors. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Potter, John|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Pybus, Percy John|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Burnett, John George||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Hopkinson, Austin||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hornby, Frank||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Horobin, Ian M.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Robinson, John Roland|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R. (Montr'se)||Hunciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm.,W)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leotric||Jamieson, Douglas||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Chotzner, Alfred James||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Clarke, Frank||Ker, J. Campbell||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Colville, John||Knight, Holford||Scone, Lord|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Selley, Harry R.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Leckie, J. A.||Slater, John|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Lees-Jones, John||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Levy, Thomas||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Lewis, Oswald||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Liddall, Walter S.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Stevenson, James|
|Dickie, John P.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n)||Stones, James|
|Donner, P. W.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Mabane, William||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Ednam, Viscount||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Templeton, William P.|
|Emryt-Evans, P. V.||McKie, John Hamilton||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Corn'll N.)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||White, Henry Graham|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Goff, Sir Park||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Moreing, Adrian C.||Womersley, Walter James|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro'.W).||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Grimston, R. V.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Hales, Harold K.||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Mr. Shakespeare and Lieut.-Colonel|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Sir A. Lambert Ward.|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||North, Captain Edward T.|
§ Mr. TINKER
I beg to move in page 2, line 3, to leave out the word "Four-pence," and to insert instead thereof the word "Twopence."
Perhaps, Sir Dennis, you would allow us to discuss together this and the following Amendment—in line 4, to leave out 32 the word "Twopence," and to insert instead thereof the words "One penny." They both hang together as their object is to reduce the duty by half.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think that the hon. Member, while discussing the first Amendment, can deal with the second.
§ Mr. TINKER
Our object in moving these Amendments is to cut down indirect taxation as much as we can. The Tea Duty is in accordance with the method of the present Government to increase the cost of living of the working people, and, although we realise that we cannot get the whole of the duty removed, we hope by argument and persuasion to be able to prevail on the Financial Secretary, if he has the power, to give way to a certain extent. This duty hits very hard the people whom we claim to represent; it will be felt mostly by the poorer classes, and we shall do all that we can to stay the hand of the Government in pursuing this form of taxation. The intention of the Government is evidently to change from the method of direct to the method of indirect taxation, and the Tea Duty is one of the means that they are adopting. Tea is a beverage which most of our people use at practically every meal, and to have that taxed is more than we can stand. We hoped that the Government would leave this matter over until after the Ottawa Conference, and would see what good for the world and this country came out of that conference before imposing taxation of this kind. However, the Government say that they must have taxes in order to raise a certain amount of money and that it is their intention to turn in this direction. This seems to be about the worst form of taxation, and really is not worthy of a great Government which is supposed specially to represent the national interests. I hope that before this week is out the Government will realise that this taxation does not meet with the approval of the people. In going round the country during the holiday I found a growing feeling of indignation against this kind of taxation, and the attention of the House of Commons ought to be called to it. I am hoping the arguments put forward on this occasion and on former occasions will prevail, and that the taxation which is proposed will be cut down by one-half in order to lessen its incidence on the people whom we claim to represent.
In rising to support this Amendment I wish to reiterate and to emphasise all that has been said by the last speaker in protest against increasing the cost of a food which is used admittedly by the poorest people in the country. During the Budget speech of 34 the Chancellor of the Exchequer an indication was given that future taxation must take another course, but if the policy of the Government is to raise revenue from indirect taxation we shall be found strongly opposed to that procedure. Bad as the finances of the country are, I cannot believe that there is any need to put further burdens on the poorest of the people at a time like this. In industry, and particularly in the heavy industries, thousands of men are being thrown out of employment month by month owing, as we suggest, to the policy which the Government have adopted, and the number of people dependent upon outdoor relief in the county of Yorkshire and other Northern counties is increasing every day. We cannot be a party to the action of the Government in adding to the burdens of these poor people.
If this had been a. question of Dominion policy and the Government had waited till the Ottawa Conference had met we might have understood their action, but in view of their policy of imposing taxation on foodstuffs we must enter a strong protest against this Tea Duty. There are industries in which men are being thrown out of work or put on short time week in and week out, and yet the Government are paying no attention to that aspect of the matter, and are only concerning themselves with imposing duties on foodstuffs and other commodities needed by the poorest of the people. We suggest that there is no necessity for this Tea Duty. I do not expect that we shall get much sympathy from the supporters of the National Government, but we must place on record our sincere objection to further taxation in this direction. We cannot believe without far more proof that there is any need to transfer these national burdens on to the poorest of the people, who already have difficulty in finding the necessities of life. The poverty and distress in Yorkshire—and I know that it is the same in other counties—is greater than I have ever known it in all my life, and we cannot stand by and allow the Government to pursue this policy without entering the very strongest protest.
§ Mr. LEWIS
The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), in moving the Amendment, gave the Committee to 35 understand that it was to be considered in conjunction with the Amendment which follows. The name of the hon. Member is not attached to either of those two Amendments, and I do not know how far he is entitled to speak for those who drafted them, but the position should be made plain. If the Amendment does stand by itself, it attacks the principle of Imperial preference, as the effect of it would be to make the duty the same upon tea which is not the product of the Empire and tea which is an Empire product. If the Amendment is meant to be read in conjunction with the next Amendment, I take it hon. Members opposite are not challenging the principle of Imperial preference.
§ Mr. TINKER
The two Amendments were put down with the object of decreasing the Tea Duty by one-half, and for the purpose of facilitating the discussion of the subject we desired to consider them together.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
We wish to express our own view. You can say what you think about it, but it will not be our view.
§ Mr. LEWIS
But the Opposition cannot have it both ways. Either the Amendment must stand alone, in which case it destroys the principle of Imperial Preference, or it is to be read in conjunction with the Amendment following, in which case the principle of Imperial Preference stands. It may be that later the Opposition will have made up their mind as to what they do mean. May I say a word on the subject of Imperial 36 Preference now, in case some Member of the Opposition feels inclined to raise it later? The total consumption of tea in this country in 1931—the latest figures I have been able to get—amounted to about 461,000,000 1b. The total production of tea in the North of India and in Ceylon considerably exceeds that quantity. North India produced 334,000,000 lb. of tea and Ceylon 240,000,000 lb., so that even if we got no tea at all from sources outside the Empire those countries could supply all the tea we imported in 1931 and still have a considerable surplus for the use of other parts of the Empire and for use in India itself, where a good deal of tea is consumed.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member has already elucidated from the Opposition that no question of Imperial Preference is raised by this Amendment.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I only denied the right of the hon. Member to decide what our policy was, or what it was not.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Lewis) must understand that there is a difference between the view held by the Opposition and the particular view they arc advancing in an Amendment. This particular Amendment does not raise the question of Imperial preference generally, and therefore it cannot be discussed on this Amendment.
§ Mr. LEWIS
May I turn to the other side of the question? The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), referring to indirect taxation, said that it meant more taxation on the poor, but, if the hon. Member had said that the amount realised was more from all sections of the community, then I agree with him, and I think that is one of the merits of indirect taxation. All forms of taxation, either direct or indirect, are a burden on the community. It is true that direct taxation is not ralised to the same extent as indirect taxation by many persons in this country. The hon. Member for Leigh says that this particular tax, and other indirect taxes of a similar nature, are felt more by the ordinary taxpayers than by those who pay direct taxation—
§ Mr. TINKER
What I said was that taxation on tea and other kinds of articles of food are felt more than any other form of taxation which is imposed by the Government.
§ Mr. LEWIS
The hon. Member for Leigh means that the people realise that they are suffering more from this kind of taxation, whereas when the Income Tax is high, and trade is bad, those same people suffer through lack of employment, but they do not realise it. From that point of view, there is a great deal to be said for indirect taxation, and, if that is the only point that can be raised in favour of this Amendment, I hope the Committee will reject it.
§ Mr. ANEURIN BEVAN
The Committee must have listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Lewis) with amazement, especially in view of the many Debates we have had on financial Resolutions during the last three or four weeks. If one fact more than another has been elicited in those Debates it is that the country is not suffering: from over-spending but from over-saving. If hon. Members will read the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) and those delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) they will realise that that point has been made over and over again in this House, and by almost every economic writer at the present time. The trouble of those right hon. Gentlemen has been that their friends, for the last three or four years, have been earning a considerable amount of money, and have not known where to put it. Surely hon. and light hon. Gentlemen opposite are aware that we are now experiencing the lowest rates of interest for money on short loan than has been experienced since the end of the War. If we put the burden of this Tea Duty upon the shoulders of the poor consumers, and make them pay £4,100,000 in tea taxation in a full year, the argument of hon. Gentlemen opposite is that there will be £4,100,000 more in the hands of the bankers to give employment. That is the argument, but the City of London bankers have a great difficulty at the present time in finding suitable businesses in which to invest their money.
The argument of hon. Members opposite is that if you allow more money to 38 rest in the hands of the investing classes by lending them that money at a cheap rate of interest they will be able to provide additional employment, but the very opposite is true. What this country and the whole civilised world are looking for at the present time are spenders. If we can find people who will spend more money on goods, then employers will have more contracts, and, as a consequence, they will be able to satisfy the demands of the banks and more credit will be issued. The suggestion put forward by the supporters of this duty is that you should reduce the spending power of those who are at the moment providing £4,100,000 in taxation and hand it over to the bankers, who will be able to lend the money in order to stimulate trade and provide more employment. The argument that direct taxation necessarily increases unemployment has been repeated so often that people have begun to think that it is self-evident truth. It is true only in certain circumstances and under certain limited conditions, and it is not true at the present time in any part of the world. Is it argued that if the money to be raised by the Tea Duty were spent on personal consumption it would not give more employment? If that is the argument, I reply that the result will be the same if the poor person spends the money instead of paying it in increased taxation. It is often argued that, if a rich man employs a gardener, he is providing additional employment but that, if a poor man buys one pound of butter, he is not giving additional employment to the farmer. My argument is that personal consumption by the poor people gives employment in exactly the same way—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member referred to butter. May I point out that the question raised on this Amendment is tea and not butter. I think the hon. Member is getting a little bit too far away from the point under discussion by dealing with general principles of taxation.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Up to a certain point, but I must warn the hon. Member that he was going rather too far. On 39 the lines he was inclined to go upon, he might just as well start a Debate on the question of the health of the nation, because of the effect tea had upon health. I must ask him to confine his remarks more closely to the actual Amendment before the Committee.
§ Mr. BEVAN
The Amendment which is on the Order Paper is to reduce the Tea Duty, and it is moved because we say that it is transferring part of the burden of taxation from the well-to-do classes to the poorer classes of the community. Of course, a general Debate in this House upon indirect taxation, as all general Debates upon particular Amendments, can be moved only if they are moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead or the right hon. Member for Epping. If a back bencher in this House attempts to argue the matter in general terms—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is now making gross reflections upon the conduct of Debates in this House, and he must not do so.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
On that point of Order. This is a very important Ruling which you are giving, Sir Dennis. We are wanting to fight this tax because we understand it to be a tax on the poor which we think should be levied on the rich. We also want to argue the question that it will prevent poor people getting as much of a beverage which, to them, is very important, and that their health may suffer. If you rule that we are not to raise those questions in Debate, then I do not know what argument will be in order in a Debate of this kind. I would call your attention to the fact that the hon. Gentleman who spoke previously raised each of those questions in the speech which he made.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Gentleman has done what he has done before; he has complained that I am ruling something out of order which I am not ruling out of order at all. I did not rule out of order either of those arguments; it would be absurd to do so. But there is a length to which certain arguments can be put, and there is a length beyond which those arguments may be inclined to stray into 40 realms which are no longer strictly applicable to the particular Amendment. In this case, I thought it my duty to call the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that although his argument was quite admissible, I thought he was carrying the Debate on those lines too far. With regard to the hon. Member who spoke before, I may call attention to the fact that in that case I did not on his arguments, except in one particular matter find occasion to stop him, but on one point I did. This is a matter of degree, and the right hon. Gentleman must allow the Chair to decide how far an argument can be carried.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I have no wish to challenge your Ruling or your right to give any Ruling that you please, but it is our duty, as far as possible, to safeguard what we consider our rights, and I very respectfully suggest to you that, in a matter of this kind, it is not the length of an hon. Member's argument that is at stake: it is whether the argument he is putting forward is relevant, and in order as a matter of relevancy to the subject under discussion. It is that which I rose to put to you just now.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Again, as I have had to say to the right hon. Gentleman before, I do not think that there is any quarrel between the principle he enunciates and any Ruling which I have given. I entirely agree that certain arguments are in order, but, as I said just now, I must ask him to allow the Chair discretion as to the extent to which an argument may be allowed to wander into a discussion which really does not apply any longer to the particular Amendment before the Committee.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
It was not my intention when I addressed the Committee in the terms in which I addressed it, to contravene the Ruling of the Chair, but I understood that a general discussion upon the legitimacy, in the present circumstances, of a form of indirect taxation would be permissible under the Amendment which has been moved. It is not, however, necessary for me to broaden the discussion at all, but simply to point out that the tax which the Committee is, at the moment, being asked to authorise a a tax which, in addition to many other things the Government have done, will have the effect of impoverishing the poorer classes of the community. The 41 argument was advanced by the Financial Secretary, when this matter was last discussed in the House, that this tax was admissible, first because it was only a little one. Each successive piece of taxation has been justified in turn by reference to the same argument. His next argument was that the tax is permissible because the fall in prices has increased the real value of wages, and that even with this additional tax, and with the other additional taxes which the Government have put on, the purchasing power of real wages will still be higher than it was before the Government came in.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman, of course, does not remember the deputation which attended upon him from the Film Distributive Association. When they pointed out to him that a certain tax, which is irrelevant to the present discussion, had an effect upon the revenues of the trade, he said, "You have no right to suppose that this tax has been responsible for a fall in your revenue. Rather it is the other taxes, and also the wage reductions which are now occurring all over the country." Does the right hon. Gentleman remember his making a statement of that kind when his Government are now putting additional burdens on the shoulders of the poor, and wage reductions are taking place from John o'Groat's to Land's End? The consequence will be that before the present Government are many years older, they will have succeeded in transferring a very considerable burden on to the shoulders of the poor people of this country. It is to that piece of cynical callousness that we are directing our opposition to-day, and to which we shall continue to direct it. If hon. and right hon. Members, influenced as they undoubtedly are by the fact that the Government are a new Government and that the Parliament is a new Parliament, can really laugh at protests of this description from this side, then we shall simply have to wait a little longer, and Nemesis will overtake them.
I have been frankly astonished that the Government should have taken this step at the present time, because if the Government have a mandate for anything, it is not a mandate for this. The last election, if it was fought upon anything at all, was fought upon this prin- 42 ciple, that in the national crisis the national burden should be equally distributed over the various classes of the community. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is!"] I can only refer the hon. Member to the language of the right hon. Member in charge of this Bill at the present time. He described another statement about Super-tax as clap-trap. I simply ask him to assist by giving me a few adjectives in which to describe the hon. Member's interruption. The National Government, I say, were elected on that principle, and on that principle alone. They have no mandate from the country to take advantage of the first budgetary opportunity to unload some of the burden of the crisis upon the poorer members of the community, as is being done now. Because it is done only to the extent of £4,100,000 is no reason why we should let it pass without protest here. Indeed, we have been told from many quarters that this is simply the beginning of a process which is going to develop in the next six or nine months.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given us a remarkable piece of logic in connection with this matter. I would like to commend it to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Financial Secretary as a part of the answer to the speech he made in my part of the country at the week-end. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the course of the Budget speech, said that the limit of taxation had been reached, that it was quite impracticable to add to the burden of taxation without the additional burden having serious consequences on the total volume of employment in the country. He went on to say that the Income Tax paying classes had been gravely impoverished by the additional taxes under Lord Snowden's economy Budget. Yet because the Income Tax paying members of the community are too poor to pay additional taxes, we are now informed that additional taxes can easily be paid by those classes of the community below the Income Tax level. The proposition to which we are invited to subscribe is, that because a man whose income comes within the Income Tax is too poor to pay any more, a man who is so poor that he pays no Income Tax at all is rich enough to pay additional taxation. A more absurd, more cynical, more 43 stupid proposition no body of persons ever listened to. That is the whole proposition of the Front Bench in supporting this form of taxation.
§ Mr. BEVAN
I put it in the most frugal language. It is not abstruse or complicated; it is simple enough even for the hon. Member to follow clearly. We are informed here that the poor Income Tax payer is so impoverished, is in such dire straits, that we must bring the unemployed to his rescue, the man who is having 15s. 3d. a week. In my own district unemployment is reaching from 50 to 75 per cent. of the population. The proposition which the Committee is now being asked to consider is that these people must come to the rescue of the Super-tax payer and the Income Tax payer, and that people in towns and villages, living upon incomes of less than 25s. a week on the average, must pay dearer for tea in order to save a further burden upon the Income Tax paying members of the community.
That is the proposition which this Committee has to consider, and not the complicated proposition as to whether this is Imperial Preference or not. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite are only too pleased to get away from the relevance of the situation to some discussion about Imperial tariffs and things of that kind; but, progressively from now onwards, this House will have its nose kept to this proposition, that the crisis into which this country has been got as a consequence of incompetent banking— [Interruption.] I have not said that; it was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Billhead who said it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping has also said it; and the Lord Privy Seal, too, has said that the crisis into which this country has come, owing to incompetent banking, must, as a consequence of unscrupulous political electioneering, be unloaded on to the shoulders of the poorer people of this country by putting a tax on working people's tea. It is said that, after all, it is a very small tax that these people have to pay—that it is only £4,100,000, and that it is only on tea. If it were on beer, the House 44 would be packed, and there would be lobbying outside. Why is that? Because tea is not produced in Great Britain, but beer is, and we have Members in the House who represent beer. That is the reason why there would be a row over beer. There is not so much row over tea, because no one in the House brews it, or makes it, or grows it, except, perhaps, a few returned tea planters who have come here to argue on behalf of their colleagues overseas.
I am estopped, I understand, from arguing on the general question of direct or indirect taxation in connection with this proposal, but, if this rake's progress continues, and if the spending power of the masses, which is the only thing that is saving the country from economic catastrophe at the present time —[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen say "Oh," but, if you reduce the purchasing power of the masses, you must effectively destroy the only market that is left. If you continue this rake's progress, you will not succeed in doing what you are trying to do; you will not succeed ultimately in relieving the burden of the rich at the expense of the poor; but you will simply impoverish the poor more, and the result will be the greater impoverishment of the rich because they will be rendered bankrupt as a consequence of their politics destroying the economic foundations upon which commerce and industry depend.
Therefore, I submit this Amendment to the Committee in the hope that at least some supporters of the Government will vote for it. There are the National Labour representatives, who have joined the Government to save Socialism. Surely they will be found in our Lobby on this occasion, because they went into the National Government, we are told, in order to save the working classes from the unfettered brutality of the Tories. We are told that, if the National Labour representatives had not joined the National Government, we should have been bound hand and foot and handed over to the Philistines. To save us from that dread calamity they joined the National Government, and we therefore assume that all the National Labour representatives will crowd into our Lobby on this occasion and support our Amendment. Surely, if there were any proposal on which they would support us, 45 it would be this proposal to prevent a tax upon working people's tea. Perhaps, however, they will not be able to see their way clear on this occasion again; perhaps their loyalty to the National Government will override their loyalty to the working-class people whom they deceived at the last election.
I am sure, however, that the Liberal Members will vote for us. I feel sure that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Sir H. Samuel) will vote for us. I have no hope of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade doing so. He does not belong to the Radical section of the Liberal party at all; he belongs to those who are gradually merging into the Tory party. But those with Radical pretentions, who, unless they are to die spiritually, must look forward to some political affiliations with the Left, must surely see that this is a question upon which they must vote with us or be swept back towards the Right, when it will be much more difficult for them to retrace their steps towards the Left in the future. I therefore submit that the proposal contained in this Amendment, small though it may be in its financial incidence, represents the fundamental cleavage between the parties in the House on the question whether the burden of maintaining the structure of the State in a time of difficulty is to be borne by the poor people, or whether it is to be borne by those whose maladministration has brought the State into this situation.
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
The Amendment which has been proposed is satisfactory to the extent that it accepts the imposition of a duty, and seeks only to reduce the amount of the duty; and it accepts, apparently, the principle of a 50 per cent. preference in favour of Indian tea. Thirty years ago, the import duty on Lancashire piece goods imported into India was 3½ per cent., and the importation of British yarns into India was free. There was then in force in India an excise duty on locally manufactured cotton goods. To-day, the duty on the same British cotton piece goods is 25 per cent., and there is a preference in favour of British-made piece goods of 6 per cent. The preference which is being provided to-day in favour of Empire tea is 50 per cent. In view of our present financial circumstances and needs, I would have 46 supported a duty on tea of even 8d. per pound, and, in view of the distressed state of the Indian tea industry, I would that it had been feasible to give Indian tea a preference of 100 per cent.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must remind the hon. Member that I have already ruled that we cannot discuss the question of Imperial preference on this Amendment.
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
The point that I was wishing to make was that any recovery in the tea industry in India and Ceylon will naturally have beneficial repercussions on certain industries in this country. I think it will be appreciated that putting a duty on tea and giving a preference in favour of Indian tea will give an advantage to certain industries in this country which manufacture machinery, implements and tools employed in the tea industry in India, but there is another side of the question which I consider it my duty, as representing a Lancashire constituency, to place before my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. While we acknowledge the need for assisting our friends and our Dependencies, we have also, surely, to remember industrial conditions at home.
It is argued, and it is a widespread fallacy, that Indian politicians are not interested in questions appertaining to tea, because tea is said to be a purely British industry, and perhaps because it has been built up and maintained by British foresight and British capital; but I would draw attention to another aspect which has a bearing on the fiscal side of this question, and also on the economic side, in relation to our own industrial disabilities. While the greater proportion of the capital invested in tea in India is British, it is not sufficiently appreciated that native Indian trading interests have a very definite stake in the industry of, I venture to assert, a capitalised value equal to the British money invested in tea in India. I wish to emphasise the fact that, quite apart from the question of the employment afforded to hundreds of thousands of workers in tea gardens in Assam, Indians have a definite financial interest in the prosperity of the industry, and the question of labour also is of immense economic importance.
I should like to explain that almost the entire labour forces employed in the tea gardens of Assam are foreigners to Assam. 47 Without these foreign immigrant labour forces, Assam would be a bankrupt province. The railways and the vast river transport services all over Assam depend almost entirely on tea. Employment is afforded to thousands of Indians, who, again, are as much foreigners to Assam as a Rumanian would be in London, on the railways, in the river transport services, and the telegraph and postal services, and the tea industry itself is a very important factor in all this. It may be said that these simple people have no political or financial stake or interest in the industry, but I would explain that the movement and control of local capital and money in Assam, and, indeed a very large proportion of the internal and, excluding tea, the external trade of Assam, is in the hands of a very well-known trading race, who come mostly from Mar-war, in Rajputana, 1,200 or 1,400 miles away—
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
The point to which I was coming is one which I venture to suggest, in all humility, has never been fully appreciated in this country, even by the Government of the day. It was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping in the opening words of his speech of the Budget. I also should have preferred that any preference that we gave to Indian tea should have been retained for use as a bargaining counter, and I trust that, if any further preferences are to be extended to India, the possibility of friendly fiscal bargaining will not be lost sight of. As representing a Lancashire constituency, I should have preferred to be able to say to all the business communities of India, whether British or Indian, that we should be glad to give every possible preference to goods of theirs which come to this country, and not only to this country, but to our Dominions and Colonies, provided that they also afforded us similar reciprocal preferential treatment. I trust that the Secretary of State for the Dominions will appreciate this point when he goes to Ottawa. It can be done, provided that preferences are not given to India, and that no Protectionist policy against Lancashire piece goods, is permitted by us in India, purely for pur- 48 poses of political placation. It is within the power of the House of Commons, not only to protest, but to refuse to sanction indiscriminate duties, or, indeed any duties at all, aimed at or imposed to the prejudice of this or any other country—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must again ask the hon. Member to confine his remarks to the Amendment before the Committee.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
I should have like to see my right hon. Friend, before discriminating in favour of Indian and Ceylon tea, explore every opportunity of securing some tangible benefits for the industries of this country. My own friends in Preston can, Heaven knows, make out as good a case for generous consideration in regard to preference and financial support as any other industry in any part of the British Empire, and I would like an. assurance from my right hon. Friend that he appreciates this point, and that, if it is too late now, he will continue to bear it in mind, if the question of the imposition of any further Tea Duty arises. I hope that in future, if it is a question of arranging any preference in favour of India, we shall appreciate the possibility of making reciprocal fiscal arrangements.
§ Mr. DAVID MASON
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) made some remark about the vast amount of cheap money that prevails to-day. That is rather an indication of bad trade and of distress than of affluence.
§ Mr. MASON
The tax brings in £4,100,000, which is drawn from the 49 general community. It is a very heavy tax and it presses most on the very poor. The old age pensioner is very much more heavily taxed, in proportion, than other sections of the community. The tax touches a class of people who are often unable to defend themselves, who are scattered all over the land and are represented by Conservatives, Liberals and Labour, and it should be imposed only in the last resort. I may be asked what I have to offer as an alternative, but we are not framing the Budget, and I do not think we are called upon to say what our proposals would be. Our business, surely, is to offer such criticism as we think fair and right with regard to the taxes that are before us. But, on the general principle, one might say that through greater economy in administration we might be able to reduce all taxes. The burden of taxation to-day is very heavy and presses hard upon all classes of the community. The Tea Duty presses most hardly upon those who are least able to bear it. It is not a fair burden in the sense that is not divided nor proportionately graded upon the shoulders best able to bear it, and, because I believe it to be a severe and an unfair tax, I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) said that my right hon. Friend the Member for Hill-head (Sir R. Horne) talked about incompetent bankers. My right hon. Friend used no such expression. It is true he said something in criticism of the present system of public finance, but he made it clear that he was laying no blame either on the Bank of England or on the banking institutions of the country, and it is most unfair to charge him with making a statement which he did not make.
§ Mr. HANNON
That does not get rid of the very misleading interpretation placed by the hon. Member on my right hon. Friend's speech. This Amendment brings to the notice of the whole country the serious disproportion that obtains between direct and indirect taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made it plain in his Budget speech that the burden of direct taxation is out of all 50 proportion to the measure of indirect taxation. No nation under the sun bears the same volume of direct taxation that is borne by this country, and the time has come when some more equitable relationship must be established between direct and indirect taxation. This is an attempt really to bring into a more favourable and just relationship the two sections of our system of public finance. If the hon. and learned Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench, who has, no doubt, given careful thought to these delicate questions, could mention any other country under the sun whose industries are burdened to the same extent by direct taxation, there would be some reason in bringing the Amendment forward. I wish we had proposed a tax of 8d. instead of 4d. I very much hope that the Amendment will be rejected and that we shall make it clear that we are determined to bring into proper relationship the burden borne by the direct in contradistinction to the indirect taxpayer.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I wish to say a few words in regard to the subject that has been the main theme of all the speeches that have been made so far—the question of direct and indirect taxation. While the speakers have been on their feet, some of the statements that have been made from time to time by right hon. Gentlemen on the Government Bench have been passing through my mind. I remember in the early days of this Government the Prime Minister pointing out that there were other ways of reducing wages than a direct cut, and that they could be reduced by tariffs and by taxation. I could not help wondering while I have been listening to the speeches to-day whether the Prime Minister's statement on that occasion did not go back to the Cabinet and influence them considerably in regard to their general policy of taxation and finance. It is certainly remarkable that that statement of the Prime Minister is actually working out in practice so far as the financial policy of the Government is concerned. Not only have wages been reduced by direct cuts but the other two methods are being adopted. This tax on tea is one of them. It is only a small matter of £4,100,000 which, spread over the whole community, is not going to hit anyone very hard, but I think the Financial Secretary would admit—he would certainly argue it if he were on this side of 51 the House instead of on that—that it hits certain people harder than others and, because it does that, it is certainly not in keeping with the pledges made during the last election. This, in conjunction with the many other small taxes which have been and are being imposed, hitting as they do poor people far more heavily than those who are better off, is entirely in keeping with the reasons that were given at that time why a general election was necessary and why a National Government was necessary.
Then I remember speeches made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer making it clear that he was sorry that it was not in his power to reduce Income Tax but indicating that he was looking forward to the time when it would be possible to make a reduction. If I were Chancellor of the Exchequer, as I certainly never shall be, and held the views that have been expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, I should have to look round to find means to make good the pledges that I had given to reduce the Income Tax. Judging from his more recent speeches, he is not finding it quite so easy to get money from tariffs as he hoped and, consequently, he is now seeking means of shifting taxation from what we know as the direct to what we know as the indirect method. Naturally, the larger the sum he can get from indirect methods of taxation the larger will be the sum he will have available to reduce the direct method of taxation. It appears obvious from his speeches that that is his intention, and it is against that intention that we on this side of the Committee are making our protest.
We were told by an hon. Gentleman opposite that he was very glad indeed that the indirect method of taxation was being adopted, because, he said, it makes it clear to the poor that they are being taxed, whereas, if taxes are paid in a direct way, in the form of Income Tax for instance, and if as a result a large number of people are thrown out of work, they will not be able to see the cause of their being thrown out of work. The tax which is being imposed now, being an indirect tax, falls in the largest proportion upon people who are really unable to pay any tax at all. As has been mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), 52 these people are so far below the Income Tax level that they are not considered at all from the point of view of paying Income Tax. Therefore, one may assume, their income being so small that they cannot be called upon to pay Income Tax, that they will be hit equally hard by any other form of tax. It does not matter whether it is a tax on tea, or upon income, or whatever it may be, it has to be paid. We on this side of the Committee are concerned with the question of who is to pay the tax.
I do not think that it will be possible for the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, with all the assistance at his disposal, to say exactly what proportion of the tax will be paid by what we call the lower-paid workers, and what proportion will be paid by the middle-class and the upper-class people. I think that it will generally be admitted by all sections of the Committee that the great bulk of the people of this country are lower-paid workers, and consequently the great bulk of the tax will fall upon them. They will have to pay the great bulk of the tax. The object of the tax is to get revenue apparently. Revenue for what purpose? I can only take the speeches made from time to time by right hon. Gentlemen opposite indicating the policy of His Majesty's Government and make my own deductions as to the object they have in view. Frankly I have been forced to the conclusion that the main object in the mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in imposing this tax is to get as much money as possible from the people in the community who are the least able to pay—the poor—so that ultimately he may be able to make good the promise he has made to the Income Tax payers that a reduction will be made in the Income Tax as early as possible.
We are justified in making our protest on moral grounds. The poor are already overtaxed, and they are unable to meet the lowered standard at which Income Tax becomes payable to-day. They are being taxed in another but very subtle way which hits them as hard as if a direct tax were imposed upon them. If a man has £2 or £2 10s. per week what on earth difference does it make to him whether you call it Income Tax, a tariff on something he has to buy, a tax on tea, or a quota for wheat? The fact remains that 53 he has to pay higher prices for the goods he has to purchase and the consequence is that he has a lower purchasing power. If a man has a lower purchasing power what happens? He buys less goods and as a result the people from whom he purchases the goods will require less stock than previously. Inevitably they will reduce their orders to the manufacturers or the shippers. Thus, the purchasing power of the people being reduced, the market will be restricted and men will be thrown out of work. I submit that that is not the way to bring about a general increase in trade but rather the way to do the opposite.
The hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) is very concerned about his friends the bankers. If he wants the case against the bankers he will find it in the Macmillan Report. He need not have referred to any spech made by an hon. Member in the Committee to-day. I presume that he knows something of what is known in the banking world as window dressing. I suppose that he is aware of the fact that one bank passes on its funds week after week to another bank, the balance-sheet of which shows money which has previously been submitted by another bank. The banks pass on the same money, and it is accounted for over and over again. [Interruption.] Oh, yes, it is. Look at the Macmillan Report.
§ Mr. HANNON
The Macmillan Report makes no charge of that kind against the bankers of this country. The Macmillan Report deals with the banking situation in relation to our public finances. There is no charge against bankers of the kind suggested by the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I did not use the word "charge" at all, and the Macmillan Report is not likely to use the word "charge." The Macmillan Report is drawn up by a number of people some of whom were bankers, and bankers are hardly likely to make charges against themselves. But they did say that the money was used over and over again for the purpose of showing a larger balance than the banks actually possessed. Although it did not make any charge against the bankers, the Macmillan Report definitely stated that that was a policy which ought not to be adopted, was not in the best interests of the 54 people, and was not creditable to the bankers themselves. If the hon. Member has read the report, I advise him to read it again, and, if he has not read it, I advise him to read it. Window dressing is definitely referred to, and, although the report does not make charges, it says that such matters ought to be discontinued. That is as far as one can expect the report to go, considering that it was drawn up by a body consisting to some extent of bankers. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Moseley introduced the subject. The fact remains that the Tea Duty of 4d. is a tax in the main upon the poor people. It is one of a great number of taxes which are being imposed upon them by the present Government. There is the long list of articles on which tariffs are to be imposed. A tariff is a tax, and, if a tax is imposed by a British Government, it can only be imposed upon British people.
§ Mr. HANNON
Surely the tax we are dealing with now is as to whether there shall be 4d. or 2d. on tea, and is it in order for all this loose discussion to take place?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must allow me to decide whether the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) is in order.
§ Mr. McENTEE
The last hon. Member to make any criticism of my wandering should be the hon. Member for Moseley, because in the short speech which he delivered he wandered far more from the straight path than any other Member who has spoken to-day. We are told that this is only a small tax. It is one of a large number of small taxes which in bulk represent a very considerable reduction in the wages of the working class generally. It is entirely in keeping with the speech which the Prime Minister made in the House in the early days of the present Government when ho indicated that there were other ways of reducing wages besides a direct cut. All these small bits, a farthing knocked off here and a halfpenny knocked off there, probably mean a reduction of anything from 1s. to 4s. in the weekly wage of the working classes.
We took off the Tea Duty amid the plaudits of almost everybody in the House, including, I think, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and the 55 right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), who thought it was a very fine thing. Everybody thought that it was a fine thing that the tax should be removed for ever, particularly the Members of the Liberal party. My political memory goes back something like 40 years, and all that time the Liberal party have been talking about the free breakfast table. Some Liberal Members on the Front Bench opposite, if they recalled some of their early speeches on tea and other things, would find that they had supported the policy contained in the Amendment. We are only pointing out what humbugs they are. We are telling them that when they go to the public and talk about their intentions in regard to the free breakfast table they are talking with their tongues in their cheeks with the object of deceiving the public, as they did at the last election. No one dare have said, "If we go back, we intend to impose a tax upon tea and to do away with direct taxation, and impose instead indirect taxation." No one dare have said that it would be the definite policy of the National Government to alter the whole system of taxation, and, as far as possible, do away with direct taxation and, as far as possible, impose indirect taxation. No one dare have said, "We are going to do all these things with one object in view—to help our friends, the people who finance our political party funds." After all, those are the people who give you large donations. They do not give donations because of the colour of your eyes or anything like that, but because they know, in the words of a late Noble Lord, "You are looking after your friends." Your friends, of course, are the people who look after you when your political party funds need replenishing. I will not go further into that matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] You know it is true, and you do not like it because it is true. If there is any dispute about it, I invite you to produce some of your balance sheets.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I am sorry that I strayed along that road, but it is a road that rather attracts me, and I know that hon. and right hon. Members opposite 56 do not like to see me go along that road. If they will produce a balance sheet they can disprove, if it is possible to do so, the statement that I have made. I make my definite protest against this system. Of course, we shall get nothing. Hon. Members opposite will vote us down. People will come into the House, knowing nothing about the subject of Debate, and they will go into this Lobby or that Lobby according to the instructions of the Whips. Indeed, unless they read the record in the OFFICIAL REPORT or in the Press they will not know whether they have voted for or against a reduction in the Tea Duty. But we know, and we make our protest against it. This Amendment is part of our party policy and we support it because it is the right and moral thing to do. We believe that the party opposite are deliberately attempting to shift the burden of taxation from the people who are best able to bear it, and placing it upon those who are the least able to bear it.
§ Major ELLIOT
I am sure that the Chief Whip will be pleased to hear that everyone will vote exactly as they are told when they see the Whips. It seems very difficult to keep in order on this Amendment, and I might be tempted to stray outside the realms of order, because the discussion to some extent turns on the question of indirect taxation. I do not intend to be drawn into that discussion, save to say that the arguments that have been used from the benches opposite would justify the sweeping away of all indirect taxation. I am sure that everyone will agree that that is not a matter of practical politics at the present time. The Amendment would mean a loss this year of £1,000,000 or more to the revenue, and in a full year the loss would be £2,000,000. We cannot afford that. We have not the money to make this remission, and it is not in our power to do so. For these reasons, I must ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ Sir STAFFORD CRIPPS
The reply of the Financial Secretary seems extraordinarily inadequate and extremely unsatisfactory, the reason being that this is a tax which it is impossible for any sensible man to support. Therefore, the Financial Secretary has taken the wise course of not trying to support it. The few remarks which he did address to the Committee were not extremely strong as 57 regards direct and indirect taxation. It is not a question of taking off indirect taxation. It is a question of imposing a new burden. The question is upon whom that burden shall be imposed. Shall it or shall it not be imposed upon the tea drinkers? The hon. Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham (Mr. Hannon) said he did not mind having a duty of 8d. on tea, but the hon. Member is not one whom the Committee would consider primarily as a tea drinker. I do not think the 8d. duty would affect him very seriously, if he would compare him-self with an unemployed man, whose family very largely depend for their drink upon tea. The problem is whether that class of person should bear this extra burden, which we are told will produce £l,000,000 in the current year, or whether that extra £1,000,000 could be borne by someone else more equitably. That is the problem which the Committee has to face. I am sure that the hon. Member for the Moseley Division would, in his charitable outlook upon life, be convinced, if he thought the matter out, that if £1,000,000 has to be found the people who drink tea in large quantities are not the best people to find it.
§ Mr. HANNON
So long as they were drinking Empire tea I would let them drink all the tea they possibly could.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The hon. Member agrees with me that the tea drinker should not be taxed as a tea drinker.
§ He shakes his head. Therefore, he is in complete agreement. Unlike the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, he believes that the tea drinker is not the person who should have this extra burden cast upon him. The hon. Member desires this Tea Duty to be used as a method of bringing about preferential tariffs for Colonial and Indian teas, but that is a matter which I cannot discuss now. The problem raised in the Amendment is whether this extra money should be found by charging the poorest people with a new indirect tax, or whether it should be found in other ways. The hon. Member for the Moseley Division is in agreement with us on this point, as I have no doubt other hon. Members are. I am convinced that if it were not for the stern eyes of the Government Whips we should in this case have a majority in the Lobby, because no thinking man, however great the crisis may be, can honestly say that the direct taxpayers of this country cannot find another £1,000,000 to meet the crisis, and that it is necessary to relieve them of finding that extra £1,000,000 in order that-it may be found by the very poorest people in the community. For these reasons, we shall certainly go into the Lobby in support of the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the word 'four-pence' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 286; Noes, 37.59
|Division No. 186.]||AYES.||[5.8 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut,-Colonel||Burnett, John George||Courtauld, Major John Sewell|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Caine, G. R. Hall-||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry|
|Albery, Irving James||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Carver, Major William H.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Castle Stewart, Earl||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Davison, Sir William Henry|
|Bateman, A. L.||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Beauchamp. Sir Brograve Campbell||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Denville, Alfred|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (portsm'th, C.)||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Dickie, John P.|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Donner, P. W.|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm., W)||Doran, Edward|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel|
|Blindell, James||Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Duggan, Hubert John|
|Bossom, A. C.||Chotzner, Alfred James||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Clarke, Frank||Dunglass, Lord|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Clarry, Reginald George||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Clayton. Or. George C.||Ednam, Viscount|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Eillston, Captain George Sampson|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Colville, John||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Conant, R. J. E.||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cook, Thomas A.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Brown, Brig-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Cooke, Douglas||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare|
|Buchan, John||Cooper, A. Duff||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Falle, sir Bertram G.||Llewellin, Major John J.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd. Gr'n)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lockwnod. John C. (Hackney, C.)||Rothschild, James A.. de|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lymington, Viscount||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halie||Mabane, William||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Goff, Sir Park||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Goldle, Noel B.||McCorquodale, M.. S.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Scone, Lord|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||McKie, John Hamilton||Selley, Harry R.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro, W.)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Magnay, Thomas||Slater, John|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Maitland, Adam||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Hales, Harold K.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Hamilton, Sir George (llford)||Margesson, Capt. Henry David H.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Sotheron-Esteourt, Captain T. E.|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Meller, Richard James||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H..|
|Harris, Sir Percy||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Hartland, George A.||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Stevenson, James|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw-||Stones, James|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mitcheson, G. G.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Moss, Captain H. J.||Templeton, William P.|
|Hopkinson, Austin||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Munro, Patrick||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hornby, Frank||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Horsbru'gh, Florence||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. w. G. (Petersf' ld)||Vaughan-Morgan, sir Kenyon|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||North, Captain Edward T.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Hurst Sir Gerald B.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.(Montr'se)||Patrick, Colin M.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Pearson, William G.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C)||Peat, Charles U.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Percy, Lord Eustace||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Petherick, M.||White, Henry Graham|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon. S.)|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Potter, John||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Withers, Sir John James|
|Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben||Womersley, Walter James|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Lees-Jones, John||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Levy, Thomas||Ray, Sir William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lewis, Oswald||Rea, Walter Russell||Sir George Penny and Mr.|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Shakespeare.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Cove, William G.||Hirst, George Henry||Price, Gabriel|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Holdsworth, Herbert||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Daggar, George||Janner, Barnett||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Groves and Mr. Tinker.|
§ Mr. RHYS DAV1ES
I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, to leave out Sub-section (2).
I am moving the deletion of this Subsection in order to give the Financial Secretary an opportunity of clearing away a great deal of ambiguity surrounding the precise meaning of the Sub-section itself. In order that the Committee may understand the position I will read the Subsection:An excise duty at the rate of twopence the pound shall be payable on tea which was imported into the United Kingdom before the twentieth day of April, nineteen hundred and thirty-two, and was on that date in the ownership or possession of any person who then held more than one thousand pounds thereof, but not including any such tea which is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to have been intended for use by the person in whose ownership or possession it was and not to have been intended for sale or for use in the preparation of a beverage for sale.There is as stated a great deal of ambiguity about the meaning of the Sub-section. I have made inquiries during the holidays from traders in order to find out whether they really understand it. I have also consulted certain legal gentlemen of my acquaintance, but they cannot understand what it means; and if members of the legal profession cannot, how is an ordinary layman like myself to understand it? Indeed, how can the ordinary trader who knows nothing about the law as a rule understand it, or the ordinary tea merchant who deals in nothing else but tea? When the House dealt with this question last the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) moved an Amendment to this effect:In the operation of this paragraph where any person holds more than one thousands pounds of such tea the duty shall not be payable in respect of the first one thousand pounds."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 36th April, 1932; col. 289, Vol. 265].I have read carefully the reply of the Financial Secretary on that occasion and, although the right hon. and gallant Member comes from across the Border where they are supposed to be more intelligent than we are on this side, I have completely failed to understand what he actually meant by some of the statements which he, then made. If there is so much ambiguity about this Sub-section it is necessary that it should be cleared up to-day. The problem arises in this way. For illustration, I belong to a co-operative 62 society which has about 65,000 members. Everything that co-operative societies do is open and above board, unlike capitalist firms. The society had on this date about 70,000 lbs. of tea. It has 80 branches selling groceries. If that amount of tea, 70,000 lbs. was divided between the 80 branches of the society it would mean, if the Sub-section is read as some people read it, that the society would pay no duty at all. I do not know whether that is the intention of the Government. I should imagine that the Government being so generously disposed towards the co-operative movement might take that view in their case, but that it would not apply the same interpretation in the case of private firms. Indeed, the Government might be so disposed to the co-operative movement that they are prepared to allow them to arrange their tea business in their own way.
I want to ask the Financial Secretary a categorical question. Will he tell us in respect of a firm such as I have mentioned with 70,000 lbs. of tea and 80 separate establishments selling it, whether that firm will pay a duty on 69,000 lbs. of tea, or is it to be let off the duty on the whole of the 70,000 lbs., or am I right in assuming that as it possessed on that date 70,000 lbs. of tea it would pay duty on the 69,000 lbs. of tea—the first 1,000 lbs. of tea being immune from duty-irrespective of the fact that the whole of that 70,000 lbs. of tea was divided amongst its 80 separate branches? There is in the co-operative movement what is known as the English Co-operative Wholesale Society and also the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society. I should like to know whether these two societies arc to be regarded as one for this purpose although they are, in fact, separate and distinct organisations. Those are two questions which interest the co-operative movement, and being a co-operator myself I shall be interested in the reply of the Financial Secretary. In order to show that the issue is not clear I will read what the right hon. and gallant Member said on the last occasion.The duty which is levied on existing stocks is not 4d., but 2d., and the amount of duty involved in the individual case for 1,000 lbs. of tea is not more than £8 6s. 8d. That is the only sum which is at stake in this matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th April, 1932; col. 293, Vol. 265.]63 The difference in the attitude of hon. Members opposite and of hon. Members on this side of the House is very definite. To them £8 6s. 8d. is only a small matter, not very much, but it means a great deal to some small struggling co-operative society. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite should understand a little more about this great democratic movement which has been built up in our industrial districts on the small savings of working people. The Financial Secretary ought to tell us exactly what this duty really means. There are two problems. If a tea merchant held on that date 999 lbs. of tea, am I to take it that he will pay no duty at all? If he holds 1,001 lbs. of tea on that day will he pay the duty on 1 lb. of tea, that is 2d., or will he pay 2d. on the lot? That is a very proper question to ask. Let me show exactly how the Government carries on its business—if any private trader carried on his business in the same way he would very soon be in the bankruptcy court. The Treasury is supposed to be a very correct Department. I have here a notice sent out to tea merchants and this is what it says. It is worth while getting down to the details of this problem because I can assure hon. Members that some traders do not know what this means even yet. This is what the notice says:A Resolution passed by Committee of Ways and Means in the House of Commons on the 19th April, 1932, provides for the imposition of an Excise Duty at the rate of twopence per pound on tea, which, on the 20th April, 1932, is in the ownership or possession of any person who holds more than 1,000 lbs. thereof, but not including any such tea which is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to have been intended for use by the person in whose ownership or possession it was and not to have been intended for sale or for use in the preparation of a beverage for sale.5.30 p.m.
The wording is much the same as in the Finance Bill, but I have taken the trouble to scrutinise it and I find that there is a difference in parts which is fundamental. This notice speaks of "a person." I want to know before we part with this Amendment whether "a person" means an ordinary tea merchant who runs a business on his own or a huge multiple firm which, say, sells approximately one-sixth of the tea sold in this country? Does such a company as that come under the meaning of the word 64 "person"? Is a co-operative society a person? Is the Co-operative Wholesale Society a person? In the case of the Co-operative Wholesale Society some legal explanation would be necessary to make that huge body into a person. A retail co-operative society is made up of individual members, but the Co-operative Wholesale Society is an aggregation of a variety of affiliated retail societies. Let me proceed a stage further with this very difficult problem. Happily there is a Scotsman sitting on the Treasury Bench and a Welshman speaking, and we may as a result get some light on the subject. Here is a second point in the notice:All duties applicable in respect of the aggregate stocks of tea which on 20th April, 1932, are in the ownership or possession of any person, firm or institution.Suppose that a tea merchant had ordered from a wholesaler 2,000 lbs. of tea, and that tea had reached his warehouse. Is the tea in the warehouse, though not paid for, in the possession and ownership of the retail tea merchant? That is a very important point. A great deal of the trade of this country is done on credit. Is the wholesaler to pay the duty on the tea that has reached the warehouse of the retailer, or is the retailer liable merely because the tea is in his warehouse, although it is not paid for? It would be extraordinary if the retailer had to pay 2d. duty on tea for which he had not paid anything to the wholesaler. It might in some cases never be paid for at all, of course. It is a point that wants to be cleared up. Then we come to something else in the notice. The Treasury is very meticulous in some things but very ambiguous when it comes to details about taxation. The notice contains this:The term 'holding on that day' includes (a) the stocks in hand at midnight on 19th-20th April, 1932; (b) all receipts between that time and midnight 20th-21st April, 1932; and (c) quantities in course of transit within Great Britain.In the case of tea in transit between one warehouse and another who is to pay the duty on the tea? The person who has already ordered it and not paid for it, or the person who has consigned it, although the tea may not be paid for at all? I do not want to dwell unduly on these details, but the issue of this circular and notice has caused a great deal of appre- 65 hension among some tea dealers of the country. Let me refer again to the notice:Under the regulations every person or firm whose stocks are liable to the duty, and every other person, firm or institution upon whom the Commissioners of Customs and Excise call for such a return, is required to furnish, not later than 30th April, 1932, a return in the form numbered C and E, 530, prescribed by the Commissioners. Two copies must accompany the notice.Take the case of an institution. What kind of institution can there possibly be which will hold more than 1,000 lbs. of tea? I can hardly conceive a hospital holding more than 1,000 lbs. of tea. I should imagine that the Government do not want to make any profit out of institutions. There are charitable institutions, there are municipal institutions and probably there are State institutions. Is it not possible by some means to avoid calling upon charitable institutions to pay for tea in stock on that day? An answer to these questions will clear away some of the difficulties of both the retail and wholesale trade.
Let me say finally that we oppose the Tea Duty. It is not my place here to dwell on that issue, but once the duty is imposed I think the Treasury ought to employ very much clearer language so that we may understand exactly what they mean. Surely there are men at the Treasury who understand the English language better than I do. They ought to reduce this warning and notice to the clearest possible English. Finally, is it possible at all for these notices to be issued in Welsh as well?
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
Perhaps the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will also clear up a point which has been puzzling me. I cannot make up my mind what would be the criterion of calculation, whether it is to be the ownership or the possession of the tea. The phrase used is "ownership or possession." Who is to arbitrate? It may be that the tea is in the ownership of a firm but in the possession of a branch. What is the method of calculation? If it be possession, the tea being distributed amongst many branches, a considerable amount will escape taxation. If it is ownership, then the diffused tea could be taken as one hoard and the Treasury get additional taxation. The Treasury's meaning ought to be made precise and clear. They ought to make up their mind to go for ownership or 66 possession; they cannot go for both. They cannot in one case say ownership, and in another case say possession. They may say, "In one case we are going for ownership, and in another for possession," but they cannot do that in respect of the same collection of tea. It might happen that some person has taken a bill of sale on a quantity of tea. The lea would be in the possession of the debtor and the ownership might be a matter of litigation. The Bill is a triumph of ambiguity. I ask the Financial Secretary, who is as lucid as he is dexterous, to explain the exact meaning of the Clause.
§ Major ELLIOT
Hon. Members opposite have access to legal opinion at least as acute as anything possessed by Members in any part of the Committee. I have been asked certain specific questions on the technical points covered by Subsection (2). The hon. Member for West-houghton (Mr. Rhys Davies) first of all asked if a co-operative society or a body of some kind possessed 70,000 lbs. of tea, it would pay on 69,000 lbs.? No, it would pay on 70,000 lbs. Then he asked about the English and Scottish co-operative wholesale societies, and as to whether they would be taken together or separately. We should inquire and see whether they were in fact separate organisations, and, if they were separate organisations, they would pay separately. It is rather an academic point, because in both cases they would hold more than 1,000 lbs. of tea. Then the hon. Member mentioned the case of the private trader, and asked: If a man holds 999 lbs. of tea, does he pay any duty? The answer is no; he holds less than 1,000 lbs. Then I was asked: If he holds 1,001 lbs. does he pay, and does he pay on 1 lb. or on 1,001 lbs.? He pays, and he pays on 1,001 lbs. and not on 1 lb. It may be said that these are illogical distinctions. The hon. Member will admit that wherever one draws a line in such cases one will have the marginal case and some difficult point arising.
The hon. Member also asked for a definition of a person. He asked: Did a company or a co-operative society come within the definition of a person. I understand that legal opinion holds that an institution or an association or any kind of organisation would be held in such cases to be a person. I was also 67 asked one or two questions about the possession and ownership of tea, and this point is to be raised in a later Amendment. I should say that if the ownership of the tea had passed the duty also would pass. If the hon. Member says that it is difficult, if not impossible, to work out a system like that, I can only reply that we have a precedent in the case of oil. When the petrol duty was imposed similar exemption was made, and it was found quite possible administratively to work the system. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) asked whether we stand on ownership or on possession, and said that we could not stand on both. He under-estimates the zeal of the Treasury. We shall certainly take whichever definition is most likely to bring in revenue.
I was also asked what kind of institution would hold more than 1,000 lbs. weight of tea. I think it is possible that a large asylum or a large hospital could easily hold more than 1,000 lbs. weight. It was to make sure that such an institution which held tea, not for sale but for making beverage from it, should not be penalised, that we introduced the words dealing with sale. The only point which might arise still as a matter of difficulty is whether the 1,000 lbs. is the most suitable limit to choose. We have the advantage of returns from the majority of the traders in tea in this country, and I am now able to give the Committee some figures which were not available when the Resolution was passed. There are many thousands of small traders who have been completely exempted—that is to say, no request has been made to them for any kind of return. As for the others the figures are as follow. Holding below 500 lbs. there are 2,200 firms or persons.
§ Major ELLIOT
These are people having tea, either in ownership or possession, but they would not be charged. Then below 900 lbs. there are 1,249; below 1,000 lbs., there are another 376 and over 1,000 lbs. there are 3,002. The number caught by the marginal cases to which the hon. Member for Westhoughton referred is only 137. I think it is clear that we have been able to draw a dividing line in this respect which causes the 68 minimum of hardship to traders and to persons who have stocks of tea, if one realises that out of the whole tea trade of the country covering many millions of pounds weight of tea and many millions of money only 137 cases have arisen where the stocks of tea fall between 1,000 lbs. and 1,100 lbs. It seems to me that in practice we have found a reasonable dividing line, and on that ground I ask the Committee not to accept the Amendment.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Where tea is in the possession of a warehousing company but belongs to many individuals, is that tea taken as being owned by the warehouse keeper for the purposes of taxation?
§ Major ELLIOT
Well, where it is in the ownership or possession of a certain person, then if that person holds less than 1,000 lbs., duty will not be paid. Storage is not the primary question in those circumstances. I do not wish to attempt to give any legal ruling as to what constitutes ownership. In each individual case that may be a question for investigation. But there is such a thing as ownership—so I am advised by my legal friends—and where ownership exists, and the quantity is less than 1,000 lbs., duty would not be paid.
§ Major ELLIOT
I do not wish to be led into any legal discussion with my hon. and learned Friend and Member for East Bristol—
§ Major ELLIOT
It is but the hon. and learned Member knows that these Measures have to be considered not merely by myself but in conjunction with my expert advisers and he will have plenty of opportunity of acquiring information at the hands of the experts. I shall certainly do my utmost to obtain for him any further information which he desires between now and the Report stage. If he indicates that there is any 69 particular legal point upon which he washes to have a ruling, I shall do my best between now and then to meet him. But I was dealing as a layman with the question which was put as a layman by the hon. Member for Westhoughton, and I hope it will be possible on what I have already said for the Committee to allow us to have this Sub-section.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
There is one point which the right hon. and gallant Member has not made clear to me. Let me put a concrete case. Let us suppose that on 18th April 5,000 lbs. of tea were sent from London to Aberdeen. On 19th April the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced his Budget and imposed this duty. That consignment of tea was still on its way to Aberdeen on 19th April and even on 20th April. It reached Aberdeen on 21st April. Now the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has answered all my questions very satisfactorily with the ex-
§ ception of this one. I would like to know from him now who would pay the duty on that 5,000 lbs. of tea—the person who is to receive it but has not yet paid for it, or the person who has sent it from London?
§ Major ELLIOT
That is a question of ownership. I can certainly conceive of a person in Aberdeen owning a thing which is in London. Such cases are not unknown. I can also imagine a person in Aberdeen demanding that the thing which he owned in London should be sent to him. Such cases also are not unknown. If therefore that person was the owner of that object—if he owned more than 1,000 lbs. of tea, in that case the duty would have to be paid.
§ Question put, '"That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'before,' in line 7, stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 294; Noes, 35.71
|Division No. 187.]||AYES.||[5.51 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A. (Birm., W)||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Ganzonl Sir John|
|Albery, Irving James||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Allen, Lt-Col J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Chotzner, Alfred James||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Clarke, Frank||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Clarry, Reginald George||Goff. Sir Park|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Clayton Dr. George C.||Goldie, Noel B.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Graves, Marjorie|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Colman, N. C. D.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Bateman, A. L.||Colville, John||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Conant, R. J. E.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Cook, Thomas A.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Cooke, Douglas||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cooper, A. Duff||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Sevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hales, Harold K.|
|Blindell, James||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Cranborne, Viscount||Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd)|
|Borodale, Viscount||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cruddas, Lieut. Colonel Bernard||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hartland, George A.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Davison, Sir William Henry||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Denville, Alfred||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Briscoe Capt Richard George||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Dickle, John P.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmst' d)|
|Brown, Col. D.C. (N'th'l' d., Hexham)||Donner, P. W.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Doran, Edward||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Brown Brig-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Buchan, John||Duggan, Hubert John||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Burghley, Lord||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Burnett, John George||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Hornby, Frank|
|Caine G. R. Hall-||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.(Montr'se)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Fox, Sir Gifford||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Munro, Patrick||Slater, John|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||North, Captain Edward T.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Leckie, J. A.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Patrick, Colin M.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Levy, Thomas||Pearson, William G.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Lewis, Oswald||Peat, Charles U.||Stevenson, James|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Percy, Lord Eustace||Stones, James|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Petherick, M..||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n)||Pickering, Ernest H.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Potter, John||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(Pd'gt'n, S.)|
|Lymington, Viscount||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben||Templeton, William P.|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Mabane, William||Pybus, Percy John||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col.C. G.(Partick)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Rathbone, Eleanor||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Ray, Sir William||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Rea, Walter Russell||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Robinson, John Roland||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Magnay, Thomas||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Maitland, Adam||Rosbotham, S. T.||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Ross, Ronald D.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||White, Henry Graham|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Rothschild, James A. de||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Runge, Norah Cecil||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Meller, Richard James||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Withers, Sir John James|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Womersley, Walter James|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Scone, Lord||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Selley, Harry R.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Moss, Captain H. J.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —|
|Muirhead, Major A. J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Sir, George Penny and Captain|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cove, William G.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Janner, Barnett||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Daggar, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Groves and Mr. Tinker.|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
§ Mr. DENMAN
I beg to move, m page 2, line 7, after the word "Kingdom," to insert the words:after the twenty-second day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty-nine, and.6.0 p.m.
After the interesting Debate which we have had, this is a very small and domestic detail which is raised. The Amendment relates to a very small volume of tea, but a volume which, I am assured, 72 does exist, namely, tea imported before the last duty was taken off. As the Bill stands, that tea will not only have paid the Import Duty, but will now be called upon to pay Excise Duty as well. That seems to be a harsh procedure, entirely contrary to the nature of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and I am sure that he will not wish it to be perpetrated in this Bill.
§ Major ELLIOT
It is quite true that it would be a harsh thing if these stocks were to pay duty on two occasions, but tea imported prior to the removal of the duty was almost all imported in bond, and I think that practically none of the tea still in store was cleared from bond before the duty was remitted, more particularly since the Chancellor of the Exchequer had indicated beforehand that it was probable that the Tea Duty would be remitted and that traders were consequently not clearing stocks out of bond to pay duty except in the amounts which were actually needed for their current transactions. I am afraid, therefore, it is not possible to accept the Amendment, and I do not think that the stocks of tea to which it could possibly refer are more than a very small quantity. I have made some investigations to see whether such stocks exist, and I have been unable to find any large quantities.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The attitude of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman seems to be terribly harsh towards such a very mild Amendment, which the hon. Member has summoned up his courage to bring forward in order to try to temper the wind to the shorn lamb. We feel that we must support him, and we shall go into the Division Lobby with him.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I am quite satisfied with my right hon. and gallant Friend's reply, and I have no intention whatever of taking up the time of the Committee by going to a Division. I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ HON. MEMBERS: No!
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 33; Noes, 304.75
|Division No. 188.]||AYES.||[6.6 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Price, Gabriel|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cove, William G.||Hirst, George Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Holdsworth, Herbert||Thorne, William James|
|Dagger, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Edwards, Charles||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Groves and Mr. Tinker.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Burghley, Lord||Courtauld, Major John Sewell|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Burnett, John George||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Caine, G. R. Hall-||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Albery, Irving James||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Culverwell, Cyril Tom|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Carver, Major William H.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cassels, James Dale||Davison, Sir William Henry|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Castle Stewart, Earl||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Denville, Alfred|
|Bateman, A. L.||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Dickie, John P.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Donner, P. W.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chlppenham)||Doran, Edward|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Duggan, Hubert John|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.(Birm., W)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Blindell, James||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter C.|
|Borodale, Viscount||Chotzner, Alfred James||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Clarke, Frank||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Clarry, Reginald George||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Essenhigh, Reglnald Clare|
|Bracken, Brendan||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Colman, N. C. D.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Colville, John||Fielden, Edward Brockiehurst|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Conant, R. J. E.||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cook, Thomas A.||Fox, Sir Gifford|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Hewb'y)||Cooke, Douglas||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Buchan, John||Cooper, A. Duff||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Mabane, William||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McCorquodale, M. S.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Goff, Sir Park||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Salmon, Major Isldore|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||McKie, John Hamilton||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Grentell, E. C. (City of London)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Scone, Lord|
|Grimston, R. V.||Magnay, Thomas||Selley, Harry R.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Maitland, Adam||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Hales, Harold K.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Hamilton, Sir George (llford)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Slater, John|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Harris, Sir Percy||Meller, Richard James||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Hartland, George A.||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Smithers, Waldron|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Moreing, Adrian C.||Stevenson, James|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Stones, James|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Morrison, William Shepherd||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Moss, Captain H. J.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hopkinson, Austin||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Hore-Beilsha, Leslie||Munro, Patrick||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Hornby, Frank||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Tale, Mavis Constance|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Templeton, William P.|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||North, Captain Edward T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||O'Connor, Terence James||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R.(Montr'se)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Hutchison, W. D (Essex, Romford)||Patrick, Colin M.||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Pearson, William G.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Peat, Charles U.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|James, Wing-Corn. A. W. H.||Penny, Sir George||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Jamieson, Douglas||Percy, Lord Eustace||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Petherick, M.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Pickering, Ernest H.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||White, Henry Graham|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Potter, John||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Law, Richard K (Hull, S. W.)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Leckie J. A.||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Lees-Jones John||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Pybus, Percy John||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Levy, Thomas||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Womersley, Walter James|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Ray, Sir William||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Rea, Walter Russell||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Liewellin, Major John J.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaka)|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G. (Wd.Gr'n)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Robinson, John Roland||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|and Commander Southby.|
The following Amendment stood upon the Order Paper: In page 2, line 22, after the word "to," to insert the words:
any tea in respect of which excise duty payable under this section has been paid and to."—[Mr. Lawson.]
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
Before I call on the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson), I shall 76 be glad if I may have an explanation of it, so that I can decide whether I can select it.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
We have put down the Amendment because, in its present form, the Clause applies only to blended tea and not to unblended tea which may be exported, which has paid duty, but on which there will be no drawback.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I beg to move, in page 2, line 22, after the word "to," to insert the words:any tea in respect of which excise duty payable under this section has been paid and to.The object of the Amendment is to cover what appears to be an oversight on the part of the Treasury and the Government. Sub-section (3) says:Section fourteen of the Finance Act, 1924 (which makes provision for the allowance of drawback on the exportation of certain blended tea) shall (as amended by section twelve of the Finance Act, 1925, which provides that the said section fourteen shall extend to tea shipped as stores) extend to blended tea prepared from teas in respect of which either of the customs duties or the excise duty payable under this section has been paid.As I understand it, this is really a survival of the old practice. Under the law as it operated formerly, when tea was taken out of bond for the purpose of blending, duty was paid upon it as it was taken out of bond to blend, and the blended tea that was subsequently exported became entitled to a drawback. Owing to the fact that for a number of years there has been no duty upon tea, tea has not been dealt with in bonded warehouses, and the ordinary tea which is re-exported without blending has not gone, as it used to go, into bond without payment of any duty and exported duty free without any necessity for a draw-hack, but has gone into the ordinary open warehouses. The whole of it will, however, now become chargeable to Excise Duty. The unblended tea which is exported from those stocks will have to pay the Excise Duty, and under this Clause will not be able to get any drawback, although a blended tea will be able to get a drawback. It seems that that must be a point which has been entirely overlooked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his advisers, because we are informed that there are very large stocks of tea which are liable to be exported without blending, that is, unblended teas which are at the present time in warehouses and will have to pay the Excise Duty of 2d. There is no provision by which if they are now re-exported they will be able to get any drawback, although if these teas are blended first 78 and then re-exported, they will, under the terms of this Clause, be entitled to a drawback. I hope that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will tell us that he is prepared to accept this Amendment in order to put the unblended teas on the same basis as the blended teas.
§ Major ELLIOT
I think that I shall be able to meet my hon. and learned Friend, although he will find that is a matter more of administration than of legislation. It is quite accurate, as he says, that while blended teas receive a drawback, unblended teas do not. In this case, however, all these operations for re-export were carried out previously in the bonded warehouses. As soon as the Financial Resolution came into force, we made arrangements by which practically all the warehouses were regarded as warehouses in bond, and bonds were taken upon the stocks in them. We shall be able to deal with the matter without drawbacks simply by deducting the tea which is exported or shipped for stores from the stocks chargeable with duty. Therefore, no duty having been charged, no drawback will require to be given. The tea trade has discussed this matter with the Department, and the arrangements to which we have come meet, I understand, the position as the tea trade put it to us to the satisfaction of the trade. As far as possible, the stocks which are being held in this country will be regarded as bonded stocks; in the case where export is being carried out the teas which are shown to be exported will be deducted from the stocks which are chargeable with the 2d. duty; and if in any case there requires to be an extension beyond the passing of this Bill, as far even as 1st September next, we shall be able administratively to arrange for the extension. Therefore, we shall meet the position, which, I admit, appears to be a hardship, which has been brought forward by the hon. and learned Member. Although we are not doing it legislatively, I think that we are doing it effectively, because it meets with the satisfaction of those in the tea trade who are the persons most interested.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I am much obliged to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for explaining that the position will be met, but surely it is not very satisfactory to meet it in a way that is contrary to 79 the terms of the Finance Bill? As I understand the Bill, there is no possible power under it for the Chancellor of the Exchequer or anybody else to exempt any stocks of tea that are in the country on 20th April, 1932. He is bound, under the terms of the Bill, to impose a tax of 2d. on all such stocks, and I hope that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is not going to suggest that the Customs authorities can snap their fingers at the terms of the Financial Resolution and of the Finance Bill and say, "We shall not charge duty on this tea because it is a hardship on the tea trade; it is not worth altering the Finance Bill or the terms of the Resolution—we will do it by administrative action." We had experience of that from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the question of the valuation for the Land Tax, in connection with which he said, "We are not going to alter the provisions; they can wait; but we are not going on with the tax or the valuation."
I must press upon the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that he should make some alteration in the Finance Bill, so that the administrative action which he proposes to take, and which seems perfectly satisfactory for the purpose of getting over the difficulty, will be in accordance with the terms of the Finance Bill. What he has stated to the Committee will clearly be outside any powers of anybody under the Finance Bill, and it will be a dereliction of the duties of the Customs and Excise authorities if they fail to collect the 2d. duty unless power is given in the Finance Bill either to allow a drawback or in some other way not to charge the 2d. on those particular stocks to which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman referred. I protest most strongly against the way in which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman comes to the Committee and says, "We will see that it is put all right, but it does not matter about altering the law." The law ought to be made to cover the necessary administrative acts, and unless the right hon. and gallant Gentleman can promise that that will be done at a subsequent stage, we shall have to divide on this Amendment.
§ Major ELLIOT
I am sorry if my hon. and learned Friend divides the Com- 80 mittee owing to some misapprehension, which, no doubt, is due to my own fault. Surely he does not deny the enormous power of the bonded warehouses and the administrative convenience of the bonded warehouses? No breach of the law is either contemplated or will be accomplishedf—
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman does not seem to appreciate that there were no bonded warehouses for tea on 20th April. The Bill says that everything that was in this country on that date has to be charged 2d. There was nothing at that date in bonded warehouses, and therefore everything must be charged 2d. under the Bill.
§ Major ELLIOT
It is well known that when you apply a duty the administrative practice of this countary is to place the dutiable article in bond so that it shall not escape the duty. To deny the possibility of that would fetter the Executive to a degree which the hon. and learned Member would not have allowed it to be fettered when he was legal adviser to his Government. The provisions of the bonded warehouses are not at all unfamiliar to the law and practice of this country, and it is in strict accord with the provisions of bond that we are carrying out this administrative convenience. It would be inconvenient to alter the law just because it is desired that a drawback should be given for unblended teas and that the arrangements to meet that position should not be carried out in the bonded warehouses. The less you can hamper the trade of this country the better, and if it is possible to do an action in bond without moving the goods out of bond, paying a duty and putting the goods back again into the export trade, and claiming a drawback—if you can get out of all that by putting the goods in a bonded warehouse and carrying out the operation there, it is not desirable to alter the law in order to facilitate a very complicated operation when it can be done more easily by a simpler operation.
§ Major ELLIOT
I cannot give an answer off-hand as to the process in blending tobacco. I am confining myself 81 to the blending of tea, and I hope that I have been able to carry my hon. and learned Friend with me and to convince him that there is no inroad into the sanctity of the law in the administrative steps which we are taking to deal with this matter, and that it is desirable to deal with it administratively and not legislatively because the process of pass-
§ ing goods in and out again and collecting the duty and claiming the drawback is not a process which it is desirable to encourage.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 36; Noes, 312.83
|Division No. 189.]||AYES.||[6.29 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Bees (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Buchanan, George||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pries, Gabriel|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, George Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cove, William G.||Jenkins, Sir William||Thorne, William James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Groves and Mr. Tinker.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Chalmers, John Rutherford||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.(Blrm., W)||Glossop, C. W. H.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Gluckstein, Louis Halle|
|Albery, Irving James||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Goff, Sir Park|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nhd.)||Chotzner, Alfred James||Goldle, Noel B.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Clarke, Frank||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Clarry, Reginald George||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Clayton, Dr. George C.||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Colman, N. C. D.||Grimston, R. V.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Conant, R. J. E.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Cook, Thomas A.||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Cooke, Douglas||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Coopor, A. Duff||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Hales, Harold K.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Cranborne, Viscount||Hamilton, Sir George (llford)|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hamilton, Sir R.W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hammersley, Samuel S.|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hanley, Dennis A.|
|Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Blindell, James||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hartland, George A.|
|Boothby, Robert John Graham||Davies, Maj. G' O. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)|
|Borodale, Viscount||Davison, Sir William Henry||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Denville, Alfred||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Dickie, John P.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Donner, P. W.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Doran, Edward||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Holdsworth, Herbert|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Duggan, Hubert John||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd, Hexham)||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hopkinson, Austin|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Eastwood, John Francis||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Hornby, Frank|
|Burghley, Lord||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Burnett, John George||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Howard, Tom Forrest|
|Caine, G. R, Hall||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Campbell Johnston, Malcolm||Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen. Sir R. (Montr'se)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Everard, W. Lindsay||Inskip, Rt. Hon Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Cassels, James Dale||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Castle Stewart, Earl||Fox, Sir Gifford||Jamieson, Douglas|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Janner, Barnett|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Muirhead, Major A. J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Knebworth, Viscount||Munro, Patrick||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Slater, John|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Leckie, J. A.||North, Captain Edward T.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Lees-Jones, John||O'Connor, Terence James||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Leigh. Sir John||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Patrick, Colin M.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Levy, Thomas||Pearson, William G.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Peat, Charles U.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Liddall, Walter S.||Penny, Sir George||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Percy, Lord Eustace||Stevenson, James|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunllffe-||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Stones, James|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Petherick, M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'ptn, Bilston)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Pickering, Ernest H.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Potter, John||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(Pd'gt'n, S.)|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben||Templeton, William P.|
|Mabane, William||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Pybus, Percy John||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|McKeag, William||Ratcliffe, Arthur||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Rathbone, Eleanor||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Ray, Sir William||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Corn'll N.)||Rea, Walter Russell||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Magnay, Thomas||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Maitland, Adam||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Robinson, John Roland||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Ropner, Colonel L.||White, Henry Graham|
|Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.||Rosbotham, S. T.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Rothschild, James A. de||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Meller, Richard James||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Russell, Hamer Field (Shef'ld, B'tside)||Withers, Sir John James|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Scone, Lord||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Moreing, Adrian C.||Selley, Harry R.||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Morrison, William Shepherd||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Lord Erskine and Commander|
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. TINKER
I hope the Committee will reject this Clause, which, in my view, deals with, probably, the greatest event connected with this Budget, for under it we are reverting to a system which, I thought, had already been abandoned, that of increasing indirect taxation. That is the direction in which the Tea Duty leads. During the many years I have been in the House I have watched the growing tendency in favour of direct taxation, and prior to this Budget we had got to the point where about 67 per cent. of the revenue was raised by direct taxation and 33 per cent. by indirect taxation. We had advanced to that point from the old view that direct and indirect taxation ought to be on a fifty-fifty basis; and 84 under the influence of progressive thought I had expected that we should eventually come to the point where direct taxation raised round about 90 per cent. of the revenue and indirect taxation 10 per cent., and that largely by duties on luxuries. I can quite understand that luxuries should bear indirect taxation; even I, who am so strongly in favour of direct taxation, would go that far. Now this Budget has turned in another direction. I would ask hon. Members, when considering the change, not to regard it altogether from the point of view of money. This Tea Duty will bring in about £3,600,000 this year and in a full year just over £4,000,000. That fact ought not to influence the Committee to any very great extent; it is the larger question of principle which ought to occupy their attention.
85 There is one right hon. Gentleman who, though I do not think it can be said he ever made much appeal to this side of the House, at any rate did one thing in his history—and probably the only one— of which we can speak well. I refer to the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), who in 1928, I believe, removed the Tea Duty. Whether that was done with the object of creating in the country an atmosphere favourable to the return of the Tory Government at the next election I cannot say, but for some reason or other he removed the Tea Duty, which, I understand, had been in operation more or less ever since the days of Queen Elizabeth. Now all the credit he obtained in that way is being taken away. It is true that he is not a Member of the Cabinet, but he must bear some share of responsibility for the Cabinet's action, and I would have expected the right hon. Gentleman to be here to help the Labour party in standing up for the line he took previously. As he is not here, we must assume that he agrees with the National Government in levying further indirect taxation.
May I give one illustration to show the effect of this particular duty, because it will be more effective than anything else I can say? When we are knocking about the country on a cold winter day nothing is more inviting than to see a roadman enjoying a can of tea. [HON. MEMBERS: "Beer."] Round about noon you will see them making preparations to get a can of tea. [Interruption.] It may be a laughing matter to hon. Members opposite, but this is a sound, practical point, in my opinion. The can of tea looks very inviting, even to one who is passing along the road, and it means a good deal to those people—a can of strong tea. In a slight way there will now be taxation on that can of tea—we cannot get away from that fact. I want to contrast the position of that roadman having his can of tea with that of the leisured classes who, when they want a reviver, have a cocktail or a glass of wine. Would it not be better for the National Government to say, "We must raise £.3,000,000 or £4,000,000 and, though we do not like to put on further taxation, yet if it has to be borne by someone the burden must fall on those people who seek a reviver from wines or cocktails"?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not attempt to defend even a duty on 86 tea on the ground that it was right, and only said the money was needed; but the people who take wines or cocktails can surely much better afford to pay than the humble roadman who drinks his can of tea. In citing the case of the roadman, I am putting only one instance of thousands which could be found in every humble home in the country, because all will have to bear part of this taxation of £4,000,000. For two reasons, first, that we are taking a step in a backward direction by imposing more indirect taxation, and, second, that we are imposing a burden on the poorer classes, I hope this Clause will be rejected by the Committee.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I have much pleasure in opposing the Clause. The party to which I belong has been opposed, throughout its existence as a separate body in this House to the argument that it is a right and proper allocation of the burdens of taxation to expect those who are least able to bear taxation to pay, in the aggregate, an equal proportion, as compared with those who are more capable of bearing taxation. Therefore, we have never accepted the proposition which used to be advanced and accepted almost universally, that the old fifty-fifty division of taxation was a fair allocation. Last year the proportion stood at 66.2 direct taxation and 33.8 indirect taxation, and now there seems to us to be a tendency to readjust this proportion, and to return to the habit of placing a heavier burden upon indirect taxation, and a lesser burden upon direct taxation.
Let us, for a moment, accept the proposition that the country and the Government are in financial straits. I do not subscribe to the proposition put forward by hon. and right hon. Members opposite that during the last six months the country has been passing through a serious financial crisis, but it has been considered necessary in order to meet a crisis that a certain amount of extra taxation should be imposed. I put before the Committee what seems to me to be a fair proposition. Granted that we have to impose extra taxation, upon whom in the main should that extra taxation fall? That raises a question of principle, and it is one which strikes at the root of our Parliamentary and political differences. To those who belong to the Labour party, the answer is precise, and admits of no doubt whatsoever. We say that the 87 burden of taxation should fall upon the shoulders of those best able to bear it. If that be so, we are on sound ground in controverting the principle which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put forward that it is right to impose extra taxation on the poor through the medium of the Tea Duty.
Let me remind the Committee what this imposition really means. Hon. Members should not forget that this is only the beginning of the imposition of more indirect taxation upon the poor. In the Budget of last September the main burden fell upon the poor of the country, and the main provision made by that Budget was secured through cuts imposed upon various sections of the working classes. The unemployed, the teachers and the people in the lower regions of salaries and wages were the people who were called upon to bear the main burden of the cuts imposed by the Budget of last September. Since then it is well known that the working classes have not enjoyed any advance in wages; on the contrary, the tendency has been for wages to decline, and, in spite of the tremendous burdens imposed under the Finance Bill of last Autumn, and in spite of subsequent reductions in wages and the earning capacity of the people, we are now invited to contemplate with equanimity a proposal whereby one of the necessities of every working class home is to bear an entirely unjust burden through the medium of the Tea Duty.
I believe that I am right in saying— I speak from memory—that the average consumption of tea is about 11 lbs. per head per annum of the population. Let hon. Members consider for a moment what that means in an ordinary working class home. It is a well-known fact, as everyone acquainted with working class homes will testify, that the consumption of tea is heaviest amongst the working classes, and therefore the burden of this duty will fall upon them with the greatest severity. In these circumstances, the working classes are entitled to protest against the constant assumption that the workers, because the taxation is indirect, will be so unaware of its incidence that they will agree to bear the burden without any unnecessary groaning. I am afraid that there will come a time in this country when the workers will protest against this constant habit of impos- 88 ing extra burdens upon a section of the community which is unable to bear it. If hon. Members desire to develop the revolutionary feeling in this country, and to create a spirit of resentment; if they want to exasperate the feelings of the people of this country, taxation of this kind is the right road to travel.
We spent four months last year in trying to carry through a proposal whereby one single element of proprietorship connected with the land should be called upon to prepare for or contemplate the setting up of machinery whereby land should bear its proper burden of taxation, and those associated with the landowners held up the work of this House for four months while the Finance Bill was being carried. After having safeguarded the land-owning interest, we are now called upon to accept, with equanimity, a duty of 4d. per lb. on the tea of the poorest of the poor in the land. I cannot help feeling that those hon. Members who, for party reasons, are called upon to support this proposal, feel at the bottom of their hearts some sense of shame concerning the implications of a proposal of this sort. They must know as well as we do that the poor of this country are indirectly taxed up to the hilt. Not only that, but they are being asked to pay additional taxation at a time when their earning capacity is so low that the possibility left to them of keepng the wolf from the door is reduced almost to a minimum. From our point of view, we regard this piece of legislation as unjust in its incidence, unjust in the philosophy which underlies it, and for that reason we shall oppose it with all our strength.
§ Mr. LEWIS
We all know that it must be very annoying to hon. Members opposite, when standing on a platform, having promised to spend more money in certain directions, to have it brought home to them by their hearers that they will have to contribute to that expenditure. It is so much nicer to be able to tell listeners that somebody else is going to pay and get away with it. In so far as indirect taxation makes everybody realise their just burdens, it is desirable for its own sake. Our Budgets for years past have suffered because the basis of taxation has been unduly narrow. At a time when it is necessary to raise very large sums of money for the public 89 revenue. I cannot see how it can be argued that tea is not a proper subject to bear some form of taxation. After all, tea is no more a necessity than beer, and when taxation has to be raised, and when all the existing sources of revenue are heavily taxed to a point at which the revenue is diminishing, surely it is not unreasonable to bring in this stimulant, tea, and place a small tax upon it? The Government have had the courage to do this, and one advantage is that, at the same time, it has afforded an opportunity to give a preference to Indian and Ceylon tea. On these grounds alone, the Government are to be congratulated upon having introduced this duty.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I do not pretend to be an expert on tea, but I want to support the views of the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Lewis), who sympathised with the beer-drinker, although I have much sympathy with the tea-drinker who is being so heavily taxed. I happen to belong to both sections. So far as my own household is concerned, I remember the time when a cup of tea was looked upon as a God-send. When I was unemployed, I know that I was very glad when a friend of mine gave me a cup of tea, and he could not give me anything stronger. I would like to remind hon. Members opposite that very few of them had the courage at the last General Election to tell the electors, more particularly in the industrial centres, that if returned they would vote for a tax on tea. They were distinctly silent upon that issue. Hon. Members opposite are making apologies to-day not for the things they promised they would do, but for the things they have done. Most hon. Members opposite at the last election stated that they were opposed to taxing food. Hon. Members are only in favour of taxing certain kinds of food, and we are all going to sign petitions in favour of reducing taxation on others. I shall be with them when it comes to beer, because I am personally interested and I believe that, when it comes to the crucial moment of going into the Lobby, I shall have more courage than most of those who have been protesting so loudly against the tax all over Britain ever since it was put on. They have to listen to their master's voice.
90 There is really only one kind of taxation which is fair—direct taxation. Everybody ought to be taxed according to income, and the only difference that ought to be made should be in favour of earned income as against unearned income. We should fix a minimum income below which men should not be taxed. There is at present a limit below which they cannot be taxed for Income Tax purposes. Why not establish a minimum standard of life and tax everybody above that in proportion to their means and then we could abolish all this indirect taxation? If a census of national wealth were taken we would by that method discover enough wealth to enable us to raise more by direct taxation than we are now raising and we could do so without creating the present antagonism. Most of the workers of the country do not earn sufficient income to be taxed directly, but we tax them in another way. If I drink a glass of beer, I am taxed as against the man who does not. Why should he have a privilege compared with me or any other individual? Why should one citizen have a preference over another because of his virtues? After all, we are all as good as we can be and none of us as good as we ought to be. Yet, because I drink a glass of beer, I am singled out for special attack. The poorer the people are in this case the heavier they are taxed. My mother's principal article of diet is tea; her kettle is always on the hob and a cup of tea is a great reviver to her. She is still alive, thank God, and is an old age pensioner. With her pension and with the assistance that she gets from those of us who are able to help her, she is able to carry on fairly well, but by this duty the Government will tax her out of all proportion to her means in order to balance their Budget. It is a most contemptible and mean trick.
We are told by some of the experts that we have reached the limit of taxation as far as direct taxation is concerned. I was reading the "Observer" yesterday, and read of all the tours all over the world in the coming holiday season. For £40 one can go on a tour of the Mediterranean for a fortnight. £40 is almost as much as some workmen earn in a year. Yet we are told that people have not got the money. For 100 guineas first-class one can go further. One can go all over 91 the world; I wish some of these people would go to the next world. Yet, when the country is in financial difficulties, the Government come back to Phil Garlic. The day will come when the workers will say "Finis." There is only a beggarly array of us here in Opposition now, but, before many months are passed, we shall come back stronger than ever, and we shall be able to reverse this process and be able to make the people pay who can pay. We shall put a stop to the game which hon. Members opposite have begun again. We thought we had wiped out one form of food tax when the Tea Duty was abolished, and we hope to go further and free the tables of the people. I am sorry to see that those hon. Members who used to teach us the way to a free breakfast table, and who used to declare on platforms all over the country that they were going to lead us back to prosperity by freeing the food of the people from all taxation went into the Lobby to-day to reimpose this tax in another form. When we return to power we shall put the burden on the backs best able to bear it, and, as the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) once said, we shall squeeze them until the pips squeak. I hope that some future Socialist Chancellor of the Exchequer will make hon. Members opposite sorry that they ever reimposed the Tea Duty.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
Many hon. Members must have been surprised when the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) put forward the principle that there should be no indirect taxation at all. It is an entirely new principle in the programme of the Socialist party, and we have been told repeatedly that direct taxation has reached its limit. We have heard it argued that there are those who pay direct taxation and who still have plenty of money, and that therefore they ought to pay more direct taxation. That is not the point. The point is that industry is so heavily taxed that it cannot bear these burdens. If we go on increasing direct taxation, industry will be unable to produce, and will be compelled to reduce the number of workers and thus create unemployment among the people. Surely it is far better that they should have employment and pay this indirect tax on tea than that the burden should be added to the already overburdening weight of taxation on industry and that 92 more men should consequently be thrown out of work? There was at one time an idea that there should be no taxation without representation. Now we are to have representation without any taxation at all. Surely it cannot be a sound principle that there should be a number of people in this country obtaining all the benefits from the State and yet paying nothing at all for them. It is pauperising those people, and I do not believe that even they themselves would be in favour of that policy.
It has been suggested that this tax of 4d. a pound on foreign and 2d. a pound on Empire tea would mean that so many millions of pounds would be paid by the poorest people of this country. I do not agree with that argument at all. Surely the idea underlying the extra tax on foreign tea is that foreign tea shall not come into the market to the extent to which it has come in the past and that, owing to the preference, Empire tea will have a greater market in this country to the exclusion of foreign tea. It is, therefore, not a sound argument to suggest that foreign tea will be imported to the same extent when this tax is imposed as it has been in the past. After all, a 4d. tax on tea only means a very small increase in cost, about 1d. on 40 cups, while a 2d. duty represents 1d. on 75 cups. This tax is not by any means new for it has been imposed for about 300 years with the exception of the three years since 1929 when it was taken off by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill).
One must remember the advantage which this preference will give to the tea industry in India. Are not the Members of the Socialist party concerned at all with the workers in India? I thought that they were great internationalists, and did not confine their attention to workers in this country, but also thought of the workers in other parts of the world. Surely their sympathies would go out to the workers in the British Empire first. This preference is of great importance to the coolies working in the tea gardens in India and Ceylon. I understand that at least 80 per cent. of the Indian tea which is being sold in England at the present time is being sold at a loss and that the tea gardens cannot possibly continue in cultivation under those conditions. This duty and preference are a means of saving 93 the tea industry in the Empire and of ensuring the continued employment of the coolies engaged in it. I should imagine that that would be of some moment to the Members of the Socialist party, who are international in their views on these matters, There is no doubt that this preferential duty will have the most beneficial effect and will enable those tea gardens, which would have gone out of cultivation, to continue, and that it will revive an industry which, if nothing had been done, was undoubtedly doomed to destruction.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
It was very welcome to those of us who sit on these benches to hear two hon. Members, who support the Government, being bold enough to say so and to champion the Tea Duty. I hope that they will champion it when the next election takes place and that the hon. Member above the Gangway will deliver the same speech on a political platform to a working class audience that he delivered just now. Let me deal first with one or two of the arguments of the hon. Member behind me. He thought that we on these benches ought to support the Tea Duty, particularly the duty on Empire tea, because we were internationalists. If we were certain that the extra duty would go into the pockets of the working classes in India, we would listen to his argument, but we are not satisfied that that is the case. We are too well acquainted with the rates of wages paid and with the profits made, and consequently that argument avails him very little.
§ Vice-Admiral TAYLOR
The wages paid to the coolies in India have been considerably increased and are far greater than the wages paid by the Dutch tea producers.
§ Mr. DAVIES
That hardly meets my argument. I want to know what proportion of this additional duty will go into the pockets of the working people in India. Most of it, if not all, will go into the pockets of the shareholders and, if I am not mistaken, that was what it is intended to do. The hon. Member tried to make this Tea Duty appear very small and very petty by saying that it was only 2d. on 75 cups of tea. Surely that depends on the size of the cup and the strength of the tea. The hon. Member cannot have it both ways.
94 I should not have risen, however, but for the speech of the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Lewis), who made the extraordinary statement that tea is no more necessary than beer. I have no experience of the latter, but I have had considerable experience of the use of tea as a coal miner, and I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that tea is used by the working people of this country to a much greater extent than he imagines. The fact that I want to make plain about tea is that the working people have not the other alternatives to tea that hon. Gentlemen have. In fact, in some working-class homes tea is almost the exclusive beverage. When I worked underground, it was common to take down flasks of cold tea. We were not allowed to take beer, even if we were beer drinkers, and, of course, water was unhealthy. I should imagine, therefore, that a large proportion of the miners of this country, even now, take cold tea underground, and that that is what they drink in the main.
One hon. Member mentioned that industry was being unduly taxed. In that connection I should like to say that during the holidays I have seen the effects of the policy of the Tory party—for this Government is a Tory Goverment—in trying to balance the Budget. With regard to the balance of argument as between industry and the other ratepayers, I find that a large number of people, owing to this policy of the Tory party, are totally unable to keep up their payments in respect of the new houses which have been built for them by private enterprise and by the municipalities. The Tory party are not holding a fair balance between industry and the other ratepayers of the country. What else have they done? The first thing that they did when this Parliament was called into being was to attack the food supplies of the people—the horticultural products—in trying to balance the Budget, and almost everything that they have done since to balance the Budget involves an attack on the food of the people. I agree that the wheat quota, probably, did not belong to the Budget, but even when that was established it attacked the food of the people.
It is argued that the cost of living has not increased owing to these measures, though I believe someone said it had 95 increased by about 4 per cent. I cannot, however, vouch for that; but when it is said that the cost of living has not gone up in spite of all these additional duties, it must be remembered that, were it not for these duties, the cost of living would have been lower. Let me picture, for the benefit of hon. Gentlemen who talk so glibly about this matter, an area in my division, containing about 6,000 people, where no wheel has turned in any mill or factory or coal mine for several years. Some of these people have had their unemployment benefit reduced; some are on the means test; some are on the Poor Law. Is there any hon. Gentleman present who will say that this Tea Duty will not affect them adversely? It will affect them vitally. Hon. Gentlemen must understand that every sixpence counts in the homes of these people today; it is not a question of shillings. Hon. Gentlemen ought to go to the homes of some of these people and see how they live. I can assure them that the situation there is not as easy as they imagine. I am sure, however, that with the spread of education and of knowledge of politics and of the tendencies and attitude of mind of governments, the people of this country will some day come to the conclusion that we have reached, that the fact that the Budget of this country has been diffiult to balance is no indication that all the people of the country are poor. A goodly number of them are richer to-day than ever they were. [Interruption.] The War made some people in this country, as it did in every country in Europe, richer than ever they were, and it made them richer at the cost of making others poorer than they were. Therefore, we have a right to protest, not merely because this duty is 2d. or 4d., but because of the tendency of the Government of the day in taxing the food of the people, and, accordingly, we shall vote against this Clause.
§ Major ELLIOT
One would imagine, from the speech that has just been delivered, that there never had been a Tea Duty in this country at all, that a Tea Duty had never been imposed by a Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that the duty imposed by the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer had never been backed up by the whole of the party 96 opposite—who were much stronger than they are now—including the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), who was then a Member of the Government. Why did he not say this to his colleagues? Why did he not threaten them with resignation if they continued to tax the miners and the poorest of the poor? He made no protest; he remained a Member of that Government, supporting it with his powerful aid. I remember him well as a distinguished ornament of that Government; he represented it with great acceptance at many international conferences, as well as here at home; and it is a little hard that he should hurl such unmeasured condemnation upon our heads for not being able to maintain a reform which was put through by a Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer with the support of a Tory party, but which it was not found possible to maintain in less prosperous years.
The hon. Gentleman has just mentioned 6,000 people in one area in his constituency where no wheel has turned for years. Did the remission of the Tea Duty do so much to put these people back into work? The duty was remitted, the object being to improve the state of the country's trade and improve the standard of living of the people, but the hon. Gentleman now tells us, quite rightly, that there are places in his division where not a wheel has turned for years, in spite of the efforts that were then made. He says that the tendency of this Government is to pile burdens of taxation upon the poorest of the people. I have noticed on the opposite benches a strong contingent from the gallant country of Wales. There is a great Welshman who fought as keenly as most people for the good of the people, and who brought forward a great Budget, which was called the People's Budget, and which introduced great social services and altered enormously the balance of direct and indirect taxation. [Interruption.] Yes, rare and refreshing fruit it was to bring. What were the proportions of direct and indirect taxation which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) not only introduced, but maintained through three prosperous years in this country, 1911, 1912, and 1913, with the strong-boxes of this country bulging with the revenues brought in? 97 The proportion which, on the average of those years, was carried by the direct taxpayer, was 57.4 per cent. of the taxation of this country. What is he carrying to-day? On the admission of the hon. Member opposite, he is carrying 61 per cent. On the other hand, the indirect taxpayer, on whose behalf we hear such bitter complaints, was then carrying 42.6 per cent., while this year he is carrying 39 per cent. Even to-day, therefore, after all the burdens which have been imposed, and have had to be imposed, on both direct and indirect taxpayers, the indirect taxpayer is carrying a less proportion than he was in the three pre-War years under the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, and the direct taxpayer is carrying considerably more. Taking the gross totals, in those years before the War the direct taxpayer was carrying a burden of £90,470,000 a year. To-day he is carrying a burden of £460,000,000, and yet hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite complain that the burden on the direct taxpayer is not nearly heavy enough, and should be vastly increased.
I am tempted to apply the adjective of which the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan) blamed me for applying when I was speaking last week in Cardiff. I mentioned the adjective "clap-trap," and the hon. Member thought that it was my adjective. Was it? Does he remember the occasion when that adjective was used? Does he remember who used it? Was it not used by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said that he went to the Labour party to find the means of balancing the Budget, and was met with clap-trap about getting it out of the Super-tax payers. That was Lord Snowden's phrase, and I must say one is tempted to re-echo that adjective when one, hears some of the arguments that are adduced in favour of the proposals which are being brought forward on this occasion.
On the last occasion on which this matter was discussed, the hon. Member for Westhoughton said that the tax was 4d. a pound on the tea used by the working people, and we challenged that statement. Does he know of any case in which the duty is at the rate of 4d. a pound? He was unable to produce such a case, although he said, speaking with his great knowledge, that he believed 98 there were cases in which the price had gone up by that amount. Since that time I have investigated the matter myself, and I find that there is no case in which the price has gone up by 4d. a pound, unless it be in the case of the most expensive blends of pure China tea. Surely, the hon. Member is not going to suggest that the cold tea of the miner, or the tea which the mother of the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) keeps on the hob of her fireplace, is the purest China tea? [Interruption.] There is no duty on Irish tea as far as I know.
The arguments which have been brought forward are to some extent arguments addressed to the sweeping away altogether of indirect taxation, and its complete replacement by direct taxation. The hon. Member for Silvertown made an eloquent plea to that effect, which, however, lost most of its force when one realised that it was to be coupled with an exemption limit which would exempt practically all the people whom he knew or who were going to vote for him. I think I am not unfairly representing his argument, because the contention is that the people who vote for him are so poor that they should not be asked to contribute at all towards the expenses of the State. I do not think that that contention can reasonably be maintained. I do not think it is denied that, to the poorer as well as to the richer members of the community, great benefits come from the community by way of the social services, the health services, and the unemployment insurances of which mention has been made. The poorer members of the community do receive great advantages from being members of the community, and in most cases they do not themselves grudge the making of some contribution towards the expenses of the State.
The arguments which have been used in favour of the abolition of indirect taxation do not require more than a mere mention, for, obviously, it would be unfitting to go into them in detail when we are discussing the question whether there should or should not be a duty on tea. As regards the actual amount of the duty, let it be remembered that not merely has this duty gone on for hundreds of years, but that it has gone on at a still higher rate than we propose to apply to-day—that the duty on tea before the War was 5d. a pound, that the duty on tea, even when it was re- 99 pealed altogether, was at the rate of 4d. a lb., with a remission of only two-thirds of a penny in the case of Empire tea and, as Empire tea is some 80 or 90 per cent. of the tea brought into the country, it is reasonable to suppose that the price would be determined by the duty placed upon Empire tea rather than by the higher duty placed upon foreign tea.
It is said that this is an unjust imposition on the poorer members of the community. All I can say is that the tax was in force for many years when the poorer members of the community had a far lower standard of living than to-day. It is not ill will or spite or malignity towards the working class that leads the Government to propose such a tax, but the necessity of balancing the Budget, and that is. of as much importance to the poorer members of the community as to the richer. The £4,000,000 which we hope to obtain will have to be found from somewhere, and we seriously believe it will be less burdensome to the community raised in this way than in any other way that can be suggested, although no way has been suggested in the Debate. For all these reasons, I hope the Committee will find it possible to sanction the Clause, because we believe firmly that it is dire necessity which has led to the imposition of these taxes. Only by a revival of trade and prosperity will it be possible to avoid the necessity of the imposition of this and other taxes, which we all feel are hardships and burdens upon the people and upon the industry of the country. Without an improvement in trade we shall not be able to get rid of the necessity of heavy taxation, and, since this heavy taxation is necessary, let us face up to it like men and make sure that we balance the Budget and face up to our responsibilities.
§ Mr. A. BEVAN
The right hon. Gentleman, as he always does, has made out as good a case as can be made out for the proposal, but he surely was not entitled to take my hon. Friend to task because he wanted to exempt his voters from the tax. It is the very basis of our constitution that it should be so. This House owes its origin, and it certainly owes its development, to attempts on the part of the common people to escape the 100 burden of taxation. To argue in 1932 that a Member of the House is merely asking that a tax shall be taken off his constituents because they are his constituents is simply to accuse him of behaving as a proper representative of his people. If you want to impose taxes, you must abolish democracy. So long as you have parliamentary democracy it will use its political power to remove taxation from its shoulders. The whole tendency of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech was that, if you are to continue to have taxes of this description, you must either cease to represent your people or you must abolish democracy entirely. The House has taken one of those alternatives. It has decided to misrepresent the people. My hon. Friend, who was twitted for coming here to advance what he considers the point of view of his people, is indeed an ideal representative. It might, of course, be that the people want disastrous things. It might happen that what democracy requires at any particular time it is not good for democracy to have, but, so long as this is a democratic nation, you must give democracy what it wants. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"!] Here we have strange reasoning. Hon. Members say that the arbiters of what the nation should have should be not the people themselves but self-elected persons. [An HON. MEMBER: "The House of Commons."] Precisely, and the House of Commons is an elected assembly.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. Member is getting a very long way from the question before the Committee.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Then I will come back, though I was merely pursuing the argument advanced by the Financial Secretary and pointing out that democracy will demand that these taxes shall be removed. The right hon. Gentleman defended the tax because it was an old one. That is an astonishing defence. The older the tax is, I suppose, the more sacrosanct. There are much older taxes, if age is to be the justification. Windows were taxed in the Middle Ages. Why does he not tax them now? He also told us that our Chancellor of the Exchequer maintained the Tea Duty. He did not impose it. When he had the opportunity, and had funds at his disposal, he reduced it from 8d. to 4d., and then the right hon. 101 Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) continued the process of corrupting democracy by taking it off. Realising that the Tory party was trying to be a democratic party, and thinking the people did not want the Tea Duty, he took it off. But then there was an election in front of them. Now the election is behind them. They are hoping that, in four years, at some time, from somewhere, somehow, something will happen to rescue them from their difficulties. The right hon. Gentleman did not address himself to the gravamen of the charge that we are bringing against the Government, which is that they have not a mandate from the people for the imposition of this tax and that it is a falsification of the general balance of the scheme of economy which the National Government came into existence to defend. The National Government defended itself on the ground that the burden of carrying the nation through the crisis was being equally distributed amongst all sections of the community. This unbalances that scheme. This is a process of transferring a part of that burden to the shoulders of the poor people and is, therefore, in flat contradiction to the character of the mandate that the Government obtained.
§ Mr. BEVAN
Air is consumed by everyone. It is nonsense to say that, because something is consumed by everyone, everyone consumes it in the same proportion. To suggest that we are advancing this now because we are out of office is in flat contradiction to the history of indirect taxation. Indirect taxation has been progressively fought. It has been regarded as an indication of progress, of democratic health and public wholesomeness, that indirect taxation shall be removed. I always thought it was the highest principle of public probity that we should make it as clear as possible to the electorate what they were paying in taxation. One of the difficulties that the Government will be up against at the next election has never been realised before in the 102 history of indirect taxation, and that is that you now have on the register female voters over 21. Men are not particularly susceptible to the arguments of indirect taxation, because they do not buy in the shops, but at the next election, if you pile those taxes on as you intend to do, you will either have to deprive women of the vote or be turned out. You need not imagine that you will escape the consequences of this. You will reap them. We are registering our protest now and we are going to register it in crescendo. It is not to be assumed that, because we are numerically weak, we are not going to make our voices heard. As these taxes are imposed, we shall make our protests more loudly than ever.
The right hon. Gentleman did not reply to the proposition that seems to me to be most relevant to the issue. He says, "If we do not impose the tax it will unbalance the Budget." Why does he not suggest increased taxes on the Super-tax payer? It is true that, if you increase Income Tax and Super-tax, you will decrease the absolute yield. The law of diminishing returns has certainly started to apply, but the law of diminishing returns has started to apply to the consumers of tea as well. It is a marvellous phrase for saying that the absolute yield of taxation is increasing while the relative yield is falling. But under the Economy Act the people are relatively poorer than they were. The law of diminishing returns applies not only to the Income Tax payer but to the poorest people in the country. That is no argument for a change in the incidence of taxation. The right hon. Gentleman really must address himself to the main issue before the Committee and not indulge in these philosophical excursions— arid ho can do so very much better than? can. The issue is really this. How do you justify £4,000,000 additional taxation upon the poor people of the country, (a) under the terms under which the Government has been elected and (b) under any principle of equity that he can explain? If the Income Tax payer is too poor to pay additional taxation, obviously the man who is below the Income Tax level is too poor to pay additional taxation. The right hon. Gentleman has not really addressed himself to that argument. The reason why he has not done so is because 103 the House has coldly, maliciously and deliberately made up its mind that if things get more difficult in Great Britain, the poor people are to be made to pay. It has made up its mind. It is an unrepresentative House of Commons. The hon. and gallant Member opposite who finds this sort of thing unpleasant will find it increasingly unpleasant as time goes on unless his conscience is completely obliterated by his companionships.
We hold the view that if the crisis worsens, and if this is the only sort of legislation which the Government are able to bring forward, steps will be taken outside the House of Commons to bring a sense of equity into public life. You dare not make the House of Commons unrepresentative of the country without ultimately paying the price. At the last election working-class people all over the country voted for people who were inflicting upon them a 10 per cent. reduction in Unemployment Insurance benefit. Unemployed men in thousands must have voted for men who were imposing a 10 per cent. reduction. Working-class people all over the country must have voted for the people who are now going to vote for the imposition of this £4,000,000 tax. [Interruption.] Of course they did; we admit it. But does any sensible person believe that they did it because they liked the 10 per cent. reduction, or the tax? They did it—we believe wrongly—because they thought that the policy hon. Members opposite were advocating would get them out of their difficulties, restore employment, make life more agreeable to them, and get rid of the failures of the last 10 years. The last nine months have revealed clearly that the Government are merely a collec-
§ tion of all the political failures of the last 10 years. It has been revealed clearly that here is a combination of political limpets. It has become clear that the National Government have no policy at all for the crisis. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen may laugh, but one of the distinguished Members of the Government in a speech delivered during the week-end said that unfortunately the main policy of the Government—tariffs—applied to the 19th century and not to the 20th century. The Government have awakened to the fact that it is the 20th century, and they have no policy. I ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen the plain question, "Do you think, having clearly revealed to the electorate that you have no solution for their difficulties, that they will then proceed to vote—
§ Mr. BEVAN
Does the Committee think that the electorate will vote for taxes such as the Tea Duty? Is it seriously suggested that in face of the failure to produce a policy they will vote in this way because they are prepared to pay for the sake of paying? They have paid because they thought there was an emergency or a crisis. It is now clearly revealed that, having no policy for the crisis at all, hon. and right hon. Members opposite are following a class policy, a deliberate, malicious class policy of unloading the consequences of their failure on to the backs of poor, helpless people whom they deprived of their power by a trick.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 309; Noes, 41.107
|Division No. 190.]||AYES.||[7.51 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Brockiebank, C. E. R.|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)|
|Ainsworth, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Birchall. Major Sir John Dearman||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)|
|Albery, Irving James||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Burghley, Lord|
|Allen. Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Bird, Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Burnett, John George|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Blaker, Sir Reginald||Caine, G. R. Hall-|
|Atkinson, Cyril||Blindell, James||Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)|
|Balley, Eric Alfred George||Boothby, Robert John Graham||Campbell. Rear-Adml. G (Burnley)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bosssom, A. C.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Boulton, W. W.||Carver, Major William H.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Cassels, James Dale|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Boyce, H. Leslie||Castle Stewart, Earl|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Bracken, Brendan||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th,C.)||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborouuh)||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Penny, Sir George|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hopkinson, Austin||Perkins, Walter R, D,|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh. S.)||Hornby, Frank||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Choriton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Horsbrugh, Florence||Petherick, M.|
|Clarke, Frank||Howard, Tom Forrest||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Potter, John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Colville, John||Jamieson, Douglas||Pybus, Percy John|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Jennings, Roland||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Ker, J. Campbell||Ray, Sir William|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootie)||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Crookshank Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon M. H. R.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Knebworth, Viscount||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Law, Sir Alfred||Robinson, John Roland|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Law, Richard K. (Hull S. W.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Lockie, J. A.||Rosbotham, S. T.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Leighton Major B. E. P.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Denville, Alfred||Levy, Thomas||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Lewis Oswald||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Dickie, John P.||Liddall, Walter S.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Donner, P. W.||Lindsay Noel Ker||Bussell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Llewellin Major John J.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Dunglass, Lord||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick||Scone, Lord|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Selley, Harry R.|
|Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark Bothwell)|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Lyons, Abraham Montanu||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Mabane, William||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||MacAndrew, Lieut. Col. C. G. (Partick)||Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Unv., Belfast)|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||MacAndrew, Capt J. O. (Ayr)||Slater, John|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Waller D.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Fielden, Edward Brockiehurst||McKeag, William||Smithers, Waldron|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McKie, John Hamilton||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Somerville, D, G. (Willesden, East)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||McLean Dr W H (Tradeston)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Macquisten Frederick Alexander||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Mannay Thomas||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)|
|Gauit, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Maitland, Adam||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Glimour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mailalleu, Edward Lancelot||Stevenson, James|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Margcsson, Capt. Henry David R.||Stones, James|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Strickiand. Captain W. F.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Meller, Richard James||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.|
|Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Merriman, Sir F. Boyd||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw-||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro, W.)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale||Templeton, William P.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moreing, Adrian C.||Thomas. James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)||Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Hales, Harold K.||Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Morrison, William Shepherd||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Moss, Captain H. J.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Muirhead Major A. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Hanley, Dennls A.||Munro, Patrick||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hartland, George A.||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||North, Captain Edward T.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||O'Connor, Terence James||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||O'Donovan, Dr. William James||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Heligers, Captain F. F. A.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon, William G. A.||White, Henry Graham|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Patrick, Colin M.||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Pearson, William G.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Peat. Charles U.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)||Withers, Sir John James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Worthington, Or. John V.||Mr. Shakespeare and Mr.|
|Wise, Alfred R.||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)||Womersley.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Hall, F, (York, W.R., Normanton)||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, H.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maxton, James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, George Henry||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Holdsworth, Herbert||Price, Gabriel|
|Buchanan, George||Janner, Barnett||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Thorne, William James|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Daggar, George||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Leonard, William||Williams, Thomas (York., Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Groves and Mr. Tinker.|
|Grundy, Thomas W.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Duties on certain colonial sugar, molasses, etc.) ordered to stand part of the Bill.