HC Deb 01 November 1932 vol 269 cc1699-755

I beg to move, in page 10, line 17, to leave out the words "the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries," and to insert instead thereof the words: any Government Department which appears to them to be interested. I move this Amendment in order to get a statement from the Financial Secretary as to the exact meaning of the opening words of the Clause: The Board of Trade after consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries may by order regulate, etc. I wish to know if these words are broad enough to ensure that any Department of the Government which is interested will be taken into consultation. My special reason for moving the Amendment is that in the case of Scotland the Minister of Agriculture is the Secretary of State for Scotland and I want to be assured that, as far as Scottish agriculture is concerned in these matters, the Secretary of State for Scotland will be consulted. I do not wish to anticipate the hon. Gentleman's reply but I suggest that if there is any doubt on this point and if it is impossible to accept my Amendment in this form, the matter might be considered further and perhaps, in another place, some words of this kind could be inserted if they are found to be necessary. Of course if the present wording of the Clause covers my point there is no necessity for any Amendment at all but should any doubt exist in the matter perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to consider my suggestion.


I appreciate my hon. Friend's point. The Clause provides that the Board of Trade before making an order regulating the importation of meat shall consult with the Ministry of Agriculture and he wants to know whether that prevents the Board of Trade from consulting the Scottish Department of Agriculture mention of which is omitted from the Clause. In point of fact while the Board of Trade is obliged to consult the Ministry of Agriculture it may consult any Department concerned. I appreciate however, my hon. Friend's anxiety in a matter which touches the emotions of the Scottish people. Lest any injustice should be done to Scotland, and seeing that his point appears to be a good one, I am ready to discuss it with him and if necessary find some means of overcoming his objection at a later stage of the proceedings on the Bill.


It is not a question of touching the emotions of the Scottish people. My hon. Friend has moved an Amendment which raises the question of the right of the Scottish people to have their Minister of Agriculture consulted about these matters as well as the Minister of Agriculture for England. At this moment we are determined to be very particular on such points and if the Government, by inadvertence, have made it appear that there is only one Minister of Agriculture in the United Kingdom they should correct that mistake. The Secretary of State for Scotland has under his jurisdiction many Departments and the Department of Agriculture for Scotland is one of them. I suggest that the Financial Secretary should not treat the question in the manner proposed but should put Scotland on the same level as England and consult the Minister of Agriculture for Scotland as well as the Minister of Agriculture for Engand.


After the statement of the Financial Secretary that the matter will be considered and put right, and as I am sure it is not desired to offer any insult to Scotland, I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 10, line 22, at the end, to insert the words: Provided that no such order shall restrict importation below the proportions set out in paragraph five and the agreed programme contained in Schedule H to such Part II. The first Sub-section of this Clause deals with the regulation of the importation of frozen and chilled meat into this country both from the Dominions and from foreign countries. Schedule H of the Agreement with Australia is a declaration by the Government of this country as to the arrangement of the meat quota and in that declaration are certain figures dealing with the years 1933 and 1934 and setting out the proposed quota of different classes of meat to be allowed to be imported as maximum quantities of foreign meat during each of the quarters in that period. In the earlier discussion on this matter it was suggested by the Government that those figures would not be treated as figures to be kept to in arranging the quota. The object of the Amendment is to ascertain definitely the policy of the Government on this point. Obviously, in the regulation of the scheme and the arrangement made with Australia, it was contemplated that these specified quantities of foreign meat should still be a permissible import to this country. I suppose that every importer in this country and every exporter from foreign countries must be anxious to know, over a period of time—for the purpose of making forward contracts and so forth—what the possibilities will be as regards quantity imports.

If the Government do not propose to stick to the figures in Schedule H which give at least some degree of certainty but are going to vary those figures considerably from quarter to quarter without notice it will make trade with foreign countries in this respect more difficult than the mere quota arrangements themselves. In our view Australia having been prepared to accept these quantities of foreign importation—quite apart from the merits of the quota which I do not discuss on this Amendment—it ought to be provided in this Clause that there shall be no restriction, below those quantities, by the Board of Trade, under the powers here given. These quantities apparently were considered carefully and after detailed consideration were agreed upon. Therefore they represent a basis acceptable to both parties. I ask the Government to say that these figures may be looked upon as definite figures by those dealing in these trades and also by those who wish to consume these articles. I ask them to say that they are prepared to accept the Amendment and to make it clear that the Board of Trade shall not, during the period indicated, depart from these figures.


This Amendment is unnecessary to achieve what my hon. and learned Friend has in mind. I am advised that the Clause by itself simply provides that the restriction on the importation of meat from foreign countries shall be limited to the figures actually mentioned in the Schedule to the Bill, in what is called the agreed programme. Under this Bill by itself it would not be possible for the Board of Trade to make any Order further restricting imports beyond those figures. My hon. and learned Friend referred to a discussion the other day when this matter was touched upon and I should like to relate the statement which I have just made to that discussion and to what was said then. The hon. Member for Aberdeen and Kincardine (Mr. R. W. Smith) made a statement and followed it up with a question. He said, with reference to the farmers: They fear that these are stabilised figures, and that the Government are precluded from going further. Then he asked for a definite assurance that the Government are free to reduce further foreign meat supplies if they consider it is to the benefit of the country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1932; cols. 631 and 632, Vol. 269.] 8.0 p.m.

I can repeat the assurance which I gave then on the matter. The Government are free to make further restrictions, but they could not make a further restriction under this Bill. If they desired to make any further restriction in the interests of the country, as was suggested, they would have to introduce fresh legislation to do it, but such legislation would not be a breach of the Agreement, unless, of course, instead of having the object of making a further restriction, the legislation provided for larger im- ports than are contemplated in what is called the agreed programme, because the figures in the agreed programme are called the maximum figures, as I pointed out the other day. Therefore, under the agreed programme, there would not be any breach of the Agreement were the Government to introduce further legislation with a view to a still further limitation of these imports. [Interruption.] I cannot, therefore, accept the Amendment.


I am not quite clear yet, even after the explanation given by the hon. Member, because he tells us that under the Schedule it is possible to reduce the quantities without departing in any way from the terms of the Schedule. All that this Clause says is that the Board of Trade may regulate the importation in accordance with that Schedule. Therefore, if it is possible under the Schedule to reduce the quantities, it is possible for the Board of Trade under this Clause to reduce the quantities, and it was for that very reason that we put down this Amendment, because the word "maximum" appeared in the Schedule. Had that word "maximum" not appeared in the Schedule, I can understand the argument of the hon. Gentleman, but with the word "maximum" in, if he admits that that word entitles the Government under the Agreement to reduce the quantities, then just the same, under the words of this Clause, the Board of Trade would be able to reduce them. However, I understand that that is not the intention of the Government, and therefore, if they will, as I have no doubt they will, look into the point to see whether or not this is watertight, we shall not press the Amendment.


I have looked into the point very carefully since the Amendment was put down, and I am assured that the interpretation which I have given is correct. The use of the word "maximum" in the Agreement means that there shall not be greater imports from foreign sources of the things mentioned in the agreed progracrnme. I would only emphasise the point that if the Government desired to make a still further restriction, they would have to introduce new legislation.

Brigadier General CLIFTON BROWN

It may be an opposite point of view from that of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), but is it impossible under this Schedule, supposing the Government thought the home industry needed it, as it does at present, with our markets glutted with meat, for the Government to reduce the figures of imports from the Argentine without agreement with them, or without bringing in further legislation on that point?


Under this Bill, read in conjunction with the Schedule, fresh legislation would be required for further restrictions, but if the Government decided on such legislation, it would not be a breach of the Agreement that has been reached.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 10, line 27, at the end, to insert the words: and shall contain provisions for regulating the retail prices of such frozen mutton, frozen lamb, frozen beef, and chilled beef. This Amendment raises what, I feel sure, will be regarded as a very important point indeed. It is, of course, the deliberate design of the Government, in entering into these Agreements, to raise wholesale prices of meat. We are, therefore, very anxious to secure an undertaking from the Government that they will keep an eye on the retail prices of that meat. It is obvious to anybody without the least knowledge of either wholesale or retail trading, that if you increase the price of a commodity, say, by 1d. per lb. wholesale, it follows that the increase in the retail price may be 1½d. or 2d. or even more. The obvious effect of the quota for meat supplies is to increase the imports from the Dominions, and consequently decrease those from the foreigner. In granting a preference in favour of dearer meat from the Dominions, the Government might as a consequence increase the price of all meat. I would like to know, therefore, whether, in endeavouring to increase the price of frozen and chilled meat from the Dominions, the Government are going to use this method as a lever to increase the price of all meat, whether foreign, Dominion, or home-produced.

If that is their policy, is there any possibility of the Government, having once settled that they are going to increase the price of the wholesale commodity, adopting some method whereby they can check the retail price of the same commodity Let me give the prices that prevail at the moment. We are dealing in this Amendment with frozen mutton, frozen lamb, frozen beef, and chilled beef, and I have made it my business to try to find out what are the wholesale and what are the retail prices of these commodities. It is indeed a very interesting state of affairs, and I propose to acquaint the Government with these figures. Probably they have never heard of them before. I saw the Minister of Agriculture coming into his seat a moment or two ago. He would probably know all about these prices, but I hardly think our delegates at Ottawa would bother themselves with trifles of this kind.

New Zealand frozen beef, hind quarters, sold in Smithfield Market, London, fetched last week from 2s. 2d. to 2s. 4d. per stone. I was astonished, incidentally, being rather ignorant of these matters, to find that a stone of meat is not the same as a stone of flour. A stone of meat is 8 lbs., and for the purposes of calculating prices, we have always to bear that important fact in mind. I feel sure that the two representatives of the Government now on that bench did not even know that fact. I am glad, therefore, to be able to inform them that a, stone of meat, throughout the whole world, I believe, is 8 lbs. The meat to which I refer, sold at the maximum wholesale price of 2s. 4d. per stone, would work out at about 2½d. or 2½d. per lb. It is sold retail at 6d. per lb., and it is quite possible for meat bought wholesale at 2d. per lb. at Smithfield Market to be retailed, within a 100 yards of the place where it is purchased, for 6d. per lb.

I know, having had a little to do with the distributive trade, the costs of retailing. We must always remember that it costs as much to retail a pound of meat at 6d. as it does to retail a pound at 1s. That is a point in favour of the butcher. It is true, in spite of all that, that there is growing up in this country a great deal of apprehension as to the gulf which exists between wholesale and retail prices. Almost every speaker that I have heard in this House, on either unemployment or the means test, has complained of this enormous disparity, which, by the way, is a widening gulf, between wholesale and retail prices. Our Amendment, therefore, is tabled in order to ask the Government whether, in controlling the quota of meat from South America, Australia, and New Zealand and determining thereby the wholesale price of that meat—because that is what it means—they will at the same time do something to control the retail price of the same commodity in this country. We are not arguing that there ought to be control under these arrangements of the retail price of every kind of meat. There is nothing in the Amendment to deal with the price of home-produced meat, but we are demanding that there should be some control in this country of the retail price of the frozen and chilled meat mentioned in this Agreement.

I am sure hon. Members representing the Government were very interested in the first set of figures that I gave, and I wish the Minister of Agriculture were here, because I am sure that he, too, would be enlightened by these statistics. Australian frozen beef, hindquarters, was recently sold in Smithfield Market at 2s. 9d. to 3s. per stone, and that meat is retailed to-day at 8d. per lb. Roughly speaking, the retail price in most cases is a little more than twice the wholesale price. Some of this meat that will come through under this arrangement—New Zealand frozen mutton, for instance—is sold wholesale to-day at ls. 5d. per stone. It may be said by the uninitiated that ls. 5d. for eight pounds wholesale is a very small price indeed. If you divide it up you will find, comparing that very small figure with the retail price of 4½d. a lb. which the shopkeeper charges, that the customer will sometimes want to know the reason why. I think he is entitled to know the reason why.

When we come to New Zealand chilled lamb, it is sold wholesale in Smithfield Market at from 3s. to 3s. 6d. per stone, and the price retail is about 7½d. per lb. The wholesale price of Argentine chilled lamb is from 2s. 4d. to 2s. 10d., and the retail price about 6½d. When I spoke on this issue on the last occasion, I informed the House that one meat trading company, dealing exclusively with Dominion and foreign frozen and chilled meat, owns in this country alone 4,000 retail butcher shops. The point that affects our minds all the time is this: we are certain that in these quotas there will be a great deal of wire-pulling between the shipping companies, the meat trading companies, and the Governments of the Dominions in order to see that the quota is being properly distributed among them. The shipping companies will want to know how much of this quota they are entitled to carry; they will say that they own British ships, manned by British sailors, and consequently they will demand the right to carry a certain amount of this meat quota. Then the meat trading firms which own this large number of retail shops may, we fear, take advantage of these quota arrangements and force up the retail price by cornering the whole of the quota that may fall into their hands. I think that the hon. Gentleman will therefore see there is a strong point in my argument. By this Amendment we are trying to carry these arrangements much further than the Government are doing. They will find that in the operation of these quotas that not only will the wholesale price increase, as they intend it to, but that every penny increase will mean much more than a penny increase in the retail price. Hon. Gentlemen who know anything about the retail trade will know that a penny on the wholesale price often becomes 2d. or even 3d. on the retail price of the same commodity. Consequently, the Government will have to make safeguards against exploitation. I give them the credit for not wanting to lift unduly the wholesale price of commodities, and I should be astonished if they desired to see the consumer exploited by an undue increase of retail prices either.


Meat is an extremely important article of consumption by the people of this country, and anything that tended to render the retail price of meat considerably higher would be a matter of grave concern. At present it is a matter of common knowledge that there is a glut in the meat market, that enormous quantities of meat are available, and that prices are extremely low. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment was right in saying that it is the deliberate policy of the Government by the Ottawa Agreements and by the legislation which will implement them to improve the too low wholesale prices of meat. The object of the meat regulation provisions is designedly to bring about a rise in the wholesale prices of the different varieties of meat which are mentioned. The thought behind those who moved this Amendment is that there cannot be an improvement in wholesale prices without some reflection on the retail prices. That has been argued across the Floor of the House time and time again. In this case careful provision is made—and it was first done in the framing of the Agreements themselves—to safeguard that prices shall not rise because of insufficient quantities. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment is aware of the provisions in Mr. Coates' letter and in the Agreement with Australia providing for this restriction to be abandoned altogether if quantities coming on to the market are insufficient.

How is the machinery of this meat regulation to be worked? It is to be worked by the Board of Trade, to which Department, under the Bill, are given wide powers for seeing that the regulations are effective. How does the Board of Trade propose to work out the meat restriction provisions? It is hoped that in a large measure, when these matters are explained to the industry—by which is meant those concerned in all branches of it, whether shipowners, importers, wholesalers or retailers—they will realise that it is far better for an important industry like the meat industry to submit to regulations of its own making than to have the Government impose them. The Bill itself gives the necessary powers, so far as importation is concerned. Those powers will be exercised immediately if there be abuse or occasion to use them, but it is hoped that the industry itself, in conferences with the Government Departments concerned', will so regularise its internal machinery as to see that the spirit of the Agreements is maintained and that no hardship is occasioned to the consumer. It is not a matter that has been left to chance. A whole series of conferences has taken place with those interested, and assurances have been obtained.

The points which the hon. Member has raised in this Amendment have not been lost sight of. The first point is that the retail price ought not to be allowed to rise, and the second is that there ought not to be anything in the nature of a monopoly selection by one importer of his own means of distribution to the exclusion of other means of distribution. Both points are being very closely watched, and the hon. Member can rest assured that the Board of Trade have no intention of allowing an importer to monopolise the supplies of meat that come to him and certainly not to allow him to see that that meat is diverted from normal channels and placed only in selected establishments.


In the conferences to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, was the Co-operative movement consulted? It is a very large trading concern.


I will ascertain information on that point immediately, but I have little doubt that the Co-operative movement was consulted. Let me return to the general reply I wish to make to the Debate. I pointed out that all these matters are taken care of and are very much in the mind of the Government Departments. At the present moment there is a tremendous glut of meat and wholesale prices are extremely low, so that the fear of an increase in retail prices seems to be hardly well-founded under the market conditions as we know them to-day. The effect of the Amendment will be to provide that Orders made by the Board of Trade must contain provisions for regulating retail prices. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment appreciates that that is outside the scope of the Clause, nor is it covered by the Financial Resolutions which the House has already passed. The object of the Bill is to implement the Agreements, and it is not possible to go outside them. The hon. Member does a service by moving an Amendment which brings prominently to the notice of the Department—if indeed they have not already observed it—the necessity of seeing that retail prices are taken care of; but the Amendment is not the way to do it, even if we were desirous of doing it, because it would necessitate inserting in the regulations something for which the Clause does not provide.


Do I understand rightly that if it is not possible to subtract anything from the Agreements, Parliament has no right to add anything to them?


Do the regulations state that the Government may not protect the consumer in regard to retail prices?


I am not dealing with the general question of principle whether it is possible to add or to subtract anything, but, when we are dealing with an Amendment to a Clause, it must be obvious that we cannot accept an Amendment which is outside its scope. I cannot accept an Amendment which compulsorily requires the insertion in regulations of some matter which does not figure in the Clause itself.

In answer to the hon. Member's earlier question, the Co-operative Wholesale Society as such have not been consulted. We have been dealing with the importers, and the representative of one of the great firms with which we have been dealing is very closely associated with the cooperative wholesale movement, so I think the interests of the movement were included. I would again point out that regulations of this kind cannot be accepted in the terms asked for by the hon. Member, but that the Board of Trade intend to see that these regulations work, that they achieve their purpose, and that both the spirit and the letter of these Agreements are maintained. I must ask the Committee to resist this Amendment.


The last words of the Parliamentary Secretary give us no reassurance whatever. He said the Board of Trade are determined to see that the regulations work and that the Order shall be fulfilled. It is the utter disregard of the interests of the consumer under these Orders that causes us on this side to be up against him. In submitting our Amendment all we ask is that the Board of Trade, in regulating from time to time the quantity of meat to be imported, shall have regard to the market price, not the wholesale market price only but the retail price at which the consumer ultimately gets the meat. Wholesale prices are of importance to the producer, who deals in wholesale quantities, but surely the retail prices are much more important from a national standpoint. I would like the representatives of the Government to give consideration to the possibilities of the restriction of imports provided by Schedule H in Part II. There it is laid down that the imports of frozen mutton and lamb in the first three months of next year shall be 10 per cent. less than they were in the first three months of this year, that in the second quarter of next year the reduction shall be 15 per cent., in the third quarter 20 per cent., and in the fourth quarter 25 per cent. And so it goes on until we reach a point in 1934 when only 65 per cent. of the frozen mutton and lamb at present permitted to come into this country is allowed to enter.

8.30 p.m.

Do not the Government foresee the possibility of this restriction playing into the hands, first of all, of the wholesalers, who will buy their meat from all parts of the world, unchecked, with no regulation of prices by the Board of Trade, and then proceed to get as much as they can for it when they sell it? Taking advantage of the scarcity on the market they will raise their prices unduly, making the retail customer pay very much higher prices for what he buys. Is it not the intention of the Board of Trade to give protection to the consumer? Suppose the restriction of quantity doubles the price of frozen meat in the shops 12 months from now. Do not the Board of Trade think that would be an occasion for keeping the maximum quantity allowed to come in at the very highest possible figure, even an occasion for setting aside the maximum quantity contained in this programme? I understand the Parliamentary Secretary has not the authority to say to-night that that can be done. We have no assurance that the Board of Trade will see that the maximum quantity does come in. He drew a pleasant, happy picture of the interests concerned coming together and arranging about the quantity of meat to be brought in, and how it shall be distributed between one interest and another, provided the programme is not exceeded. He pictured the shipowners, the exporters and the packing interests all coming together round a table to determine what quantities of meat shall come in and at what price. That conveyed to me a most forbidding picture of the possibility of rigging the market by people who have regard only for their own interests, with nobody at hand to protect the consumer, and least of all no intervention by the Government Department which ought to be mainly concerned. We quite agree that the intention at Ottawa was to raise wholesale prices in the interests of the home producer and the Dominion producer, but surely an agreement of that kind ought to have a complementary provision to secure the interests of the consumer, who is an equally important personage in this country. We on this side are very much disappointed that the Minister has not even shown us that there is even a remote possibility of intervention by the Board of Trade to protect the consumer. He appears to be sustained by a childlike faith in these vested interests. After our experience in the past we cannot place such implicit confidence in them, because we see an opportunity for the vested interests deliberately to curtail supplies in their own interests and to profiteer on an extensive scale.

It will not only be a question of raising wholesale prices. These people are not only wholesale merchants, they are distributors on a large scale, and with this guarantee for five years, and this restriction which is under the control of the Board of Trade, they may extend their retail shops over all parts of the country and ultimately combine to monopolise the whole of the retail business. That will place the consumer of meat, the ordinary housewife of the ordinary working-class family, solely at the mercy of these giant interests, which are now to be strengthened and to be made supreme in the markets of the country. I hope the Minister has not said the last word, but that he will convey our apprehensions and protests to his chief. If he can give us a stronger assurance than he has given us we shall be pleased to receive it from him in the pleasant accents in which he addresses us, but if he has spoken his last word then we feel that he has but added to our apprehensions on this point.


I find myself in a rather peculiar position, because quite frankly I do not see how the Government can accept the terms of this particular Amendment, which calls upon them to insert in this Bill a provision regulating the retail prices of these commodities. But although I cannot agree with the particular terms of the Amendment, I feel that it has raised one or two questions which are deserving of a little more full and complete answer than has so far been furnished by the representatives of the Government. As I understand it, it is the deliberate policy of the Government to increase the wholesale prices of meat. If their policy does not mean that it does not mean anything; but they frankly admit that that is one of the main planks of their policy. Then, as I understand, they go on to say that although they will increase wholesale prices they are not satisfied that the whole amount of the increase will be passed on to the consumer. I think it was the Under-Secretary for the Dominions (Mr. M. MacDonald) who said they were satisfied that the price of meat in this country at the present time was too low. He did not say for whom it was too low. It is not too low for the consumer. I imagine he means it is too low for the producer; but the producer is not the only man to be considered. The consumer deserves consideration to an equal if not to a larger extent. But even allowing his argument that from the point of view of the producer the price is too low, that is not a sufficient answer to what I conceive to be the underlying point of this Amendment.

As I have said, I do not agree with the Amendment, but I do not think it is fair to ask the Government to assume the responsibility of fixing the retail prices in this Bill. I say quite frankly that I could not agree to that being incorporated in any Bill introduced by the Government, but that is a larger question of policy upon which I need not enter at the moment. I think the Government are on strong ground in resisting the Amendment, for that reason.

I rise for the purpose of trying to ascertain a little more, if I can, of what is in the mind of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, from the statement which he made to the hon. Member who moved this Amendment. He talked about the effect of wholesale prices upon retail prices. I observe, in the course of the arguments which have been presented by Members of the Government on many Clauses of this Bill, that they seem inclined to take a light view of the effect which an increase in the wholesale price would have on the retail price. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment spoke with a great knowledge of trade, and he said that in his experience an increase of a penny in the wholesale price might lead to an increase of twopence or threepence in the retail price. I am not committing him to that view, but to the statement that the increase very often had that effect, and I do not commit myself to it. I do commit myself to this, that it is very unnatural if an increase in the wholesale price is not equalled in retail prices by a rise which nearly corresponds to it. When we are talking about this it is no use haggling. If the policy of the Government is, as it professes it to be, to raise the wholesale price, that increase is going to be passed on to the consumer by, to a greater or lesser degree, being passed on to the retail price.

I therefore ask for a little more elucidation of the statement which was made. I understood the Parliamentary Secretary to say that if the condition of insufficient quantities of a commodity arose, the Government relied in the main upon the organisation of the industry to adapt prices to conditions. He seemed to indicate that if the industry in itself was not able to do that, the Government, as represented by the Board of Trade, had authority to adopt certain machinery in order to ensure that the consumer was not going to be exploited. I do not think it is right to insert this Amendment in the Bill, but I think that before we depart from it we are entitled to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade to enlighten us further than he did when he talked about the machinery which was in the possession of the Board of Trade for preventing the consumer being exploited.


The hon. Member for the Welsh University (Mr. E. Evans) mentioned that the present retail price was not too low for the consumer. The Committee will agree that it is not ultimately in the interests of the consumer to have any article sold for long at a price which is quite unremunerative to those who produce it. The acknowledged fact in regard to meat is that prices have come to such a level that it is no longer remunerative to producers and growers to produce and grow. Accordingly, Article 1 of Schedule H, the declaration of the United Kingdom Government in the Ottawa Agreements, on page 54 of Command Paper 4174, says: The present wholesale prices of frozen meat are at a level which has resulted in grave depression in the livestock industries of the 'United Kingdom and the Dominions. This depression is likely, if continued, to bring about a serious decline in production and consequent ultimate injury to the consumer. In the long run a Government policy to get fair play for producers is essentially a consumers' policy, and the Government in attempting to bring some sort of order into the wholly chaotic conditions which at present prevail in the meat trade are attempting to carry out a long-range policy which may ultimately be described as a consumers' policy. There are at present large quantities of meat in London which are not even offered for sale, owing to the break that has occurred in the market. What the Board of Trade obtains as a result of Clause 7 will be power by Order to regulate the importation into the United Kingdom of certain classes of meat. There is no limit to that power. The Board may, in their wisdom, set up a licensing system. They may control by all the machinery of the Government, or they may adopt a method which is proved by experience to be very effective, consultation with the industry and the obtaining of adequate assurances from those in charge of the industry that certain Government wishes will be observed.

I am sure that no remarks by the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment or by the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell) were intended in any way to lessen the value which a responsible Minister of Government should put upon a formal assurance given to him by a responsible firm in a well-established trade. I am sure that nothing that either of those hon. Gentlemen said was meant to convey that a Government Department should not pay full attention and give full value to solemn assurances given in consultation in the conference rooms of Government Departments. That would strike at the root of many of the present relationships that exist in this country where so many of the powers of

Government are kept in reserve, and not otherwise used.


That is correct in the main, but I remember the pledges that were given to this House by the cinema industry.


The hon. Member cannot at this moment draw me off the succulent topic of frozen meat to the cinema, where so much is illusion. I am dealing with realities. The hon. Member for Gower very much paraphrased the Amendment in respect of which he was speaking. The Amendment asks that the Regulations shall contain provisions relating to prices. The burden of the speech that he made was that surely a Government Department will have regard to the quantities of meat coming to the market, and the effect upon prices. Of course, that is precisely what the Government Department intends to do. The Government Department intends to see that the flow of quantities is regulated, and that, if the supplies cannot come from the Dominions, adequate quantities are secured from other sources precisely with a view to prices being stable. The Government are unable to agree that, in regulations which they make under this Clause, there should be compulsorily inserted certain words. It may well be possible, as I have already indicated, that much of this can be done by negotiation without the employment of these powers at all. Therefore, the Amendment to some extent might be unnecessary, but it is outside the Clause. I cannot let the Amendment go without saying that the hon. Member who moved it credits His Majesty's Ministers with very little experience outside their official occupation. It is apparent that he has not been experienced in the sale of young bull calves or of pigs, and his arithmetical in quisitions as to there being 8 lbs. n a stone were received with interest by His Majesty's Ministers.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 39; Noes, 243.

Division No. 344.] AYES. [8.47 p.m.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Cape, Thomas Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)
Attlee, Clement Richard Cocks, Frederick Seymour Edwards, Charles
Bonfield, John William Cove, William G. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur
Batey, Joseph Cripps, Sir Stafford Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgen)
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Daggar, George Groves, Thomas E.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Grundy, Thomas W.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Lawson, John James Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Hicks, Ernest George Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Hirst, George Henry Lunn, William Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Jenkins, Sir William Milner, Major James Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
John, William Parkinson, John Allen
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Price, Gabriel TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Tinker, John Joseph Mr. G. Macdonald and Mr. D. Graham.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Fox, Sir Gifford Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Fuller, Captain A. G. Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Ganzoni, Sir John Marsden, Commander Arthur
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gibson, Charles Granville Martin, Thomas B.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Atholl, Duchess of Gluckstein, Louis Halle Merriman, Sir F. Boyd
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Millar, Sir James Duncan
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gower, Sir Robert Mulls, Major J. D. (hew Forest)
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Milne, Charles
Bateman, A L. Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)
Beaumont, M. W. (Backs., Aylesbury) Greene, William P. C. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm th,C.) Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Grimston, R. V. Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Gritten, W. G. Howard Mulrhead, Major A. J.
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Munro, Patrick
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Nall, Sir Joseph
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Gunston, Captain D. W. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J H.
Borodale, Viscount Guy, J. C. Morrison North, Captain Edward T.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Nunn, William
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon) Pearson, William G.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Penny, Sir George
Broadbent, Colonel John Hanley, Dennis A. Peters, Dr. Sidney John
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Petherick, M.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Hartland, George A. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kennlngt'n) Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)
Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y) Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Browne, Captain A. C. Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle) Procter, Major Henry Adam
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Headiam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Pybus, Percy John
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Burnett, John George Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Rarnsay, T B. W. (Western isles)
Butt, Sir Alfred Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Wailer Ramsbotham, Herwald
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Ramsden, E.
Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Hore-Belisha, Lesile Rankin, Robert
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Hornby, Frank Ratcliffe, Arthur
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Horsbrugh, Florence Ray, Sir William
Carver, Major William H. Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Reid, David D. (County Down)
Cassels, James Dale Hume, Sir George Hopwood Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Castle Stewart, Earl Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Robinson, John Roland
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Hurd, Sir Percy Rohner, Colonel L.
Chalmers, John Rutherford Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Rosbotham, S. T.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Iveagh, Countess of Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Clarke, Frank Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Clarry, Reginald George Jamieson, Douglas Runge, Norah Cecil
Clayton, Dr. George C. Jennings, Roland Russell. Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Jesson, Major Thomas E. Russell. Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Colfox, Major William Philip Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Salmon, Major Isidore
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cooke, Douglas Kerr, Hamilton W. Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Copeland, Ida Kimball, Lawrence Scone, Lord
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Kirkpatrick, William M. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Law, Sir Alfred Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Daikelth, Earl of Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Levy, Thomas Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Lewis, Oswald Smithers, Waldron
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Liddall, Walter S. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Dickfe, John P. Lindsay. Noel Slur Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Donner, P. W. Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lloyd, Geoffrey Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Dunglass, Lord Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Eastwood, John Francis Loder, Captain J. de Vere Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)
Edmondson. Major A. J. Loyat-Fraser, James Alexander Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. Lymington, Viscount Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Ellis. Sir R. Geoffrey MacAndrew, Lt.-Cot. C. G. (Partick) Storey, Samuel
Elmley, Viscount MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Strauss, Edward A.
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Sutcliffe, Harold
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard McKie, John Hamilton Tate, Mavis Constance
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) McLean, Major Alan Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool) McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Thomas, Major L. B. (King's Norton)
Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wailsend) Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Thorp, Linton Theodore Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Warrender. Sir Victor A. G. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.) Wayland, Sir William A. Wise, Alfred R.
Touche, Gordon Cosmo Wells, Sydney Richard Womersley, Walter James
Turton, Robert Hugh Weymouth, Viscount Wragg, Herbert
Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Wallace, John (Dunfermline) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Wills, Wilfrid D. Captain Austin Hudson and Dr. Morris-Jones.

May I ask, Sir, if it is your intention to call my Amendment—in page 10, line 29, at the end, to add the words (4) Any Order made under this Section relating to the importation of foreign meat may be brought into operation immediately upon the passing of this Act into law.


No, the Noble Lord's Amendment is not in order, because it goes beyond the conditions of paragraph (c) of the first Resolution. The Noble Lord must remember that this Bill is one that is based upon financial Resolutions, and, if he refers to paragraph (c) of the first Resolution, he will find that to antedate the period before 1st January of next year would be in excess of the terms of that Resolution.

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


I think it is necessary to approach this question of the meat regulations from a rather different angle. Doubtless hon. Members opposite and hon. Members below the Gangway will deal with the question from the point of view of the consumer. As representing an agricultural constituency, I think it would perhaps be as well to discuss these regulations from the point of view of the livestock farmer. We have been told more than once in the course of this Debate that the avowed object of the meat regulations is to raise the level of wholesale prices. That is a very commendable objective. Heaven knows, farmers in my constituency are in urgent need of an increase in the level of prices for their stock. I doubt if there ever was a time in Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire, and doubtless in other shires where farming is carried on, when the depression was so deep. There are estates which cannot get tenants for their farms. I know an ideal landlord who has four farms and cannot get a tenant. The situation is really parlous.

9.0 p.m.

I want to examine these proposals from the point of view of the livestock farmer. The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs said that this proposal, with its deliberate objective of raising wholesale prices, is intended to increase the purchasing power of primary producers throughout the world. I rather despair of a Government that aims at raising wholesale prices throughout the world by regulations of this kind. It is fairly obvious that the remedy should have same relation to the cause. Surely the collapse of the monetary machine, the growth of economic nationalism, restrictions in the matter of the flow of capital which is necessary for maintaining the economic machine—all these things are really relevant matters when you are discussing the question of raising the level of wholesale prices. If that is going to he the objective, obviously there is a great opportunity at the Economic Conference. If the economic philosophy of the Government is exhausted by proposals of this character, I am not at all surprised that Sir Walter Layton has found it necessary to dissociate himself from their preparatory efforts for the World Economic Conference.

Let us take the home situation. Doubtless the depression in our wholesale level of prices here is part of a general world movement, but we have very special causes. Take the South Wales position, which I know best. There, of course, you have special circumstances. Between 1921 and 1931 something like 242,000 people left South Wales. You have a general paralysis of industry, you have some of the mining valleys utterly derelict, and obviously the curtailment of purchasing power there has had its tragic repercussion on the agriculturist. It is an old story in my part of the country that, if the miners are doing well, and iron and steel workers are doing well, then the farmers are doing well. Undoubtedly, the restoration of agriculture is bound up with the restoration of our general industrial position.

Let us take these proposals in their relation to the avowed object of the Government, the raising of wholesale prices. I do not think these meat proposals will have the slightest affect on wholesale prices in this country. It is your objective, I take it, to transfer purchasing power from foreign countries to the Dominions. We must buy more meat from the Dominions and less from foreign countries. But that is a process that was developing before Ottawa. For the last two or three years the importation of meat from foreign countries has diminished, and one of the chief causes of the depression of wholesale prices at home has been the vast increase in the shipment of Dominion meat. Foreign imports of beef, mutton and lamb have fallen off in the last two years by 431,968 cwts., or a reduction of 3.3 per cent. Imports from Australia and New Zealand have increased apace. In 1929 we imported 4,394,000 cwts., in 1930 5,211,000, and in 1931 over 6,500,000.

There you have had the natural play of economic forces, bringing about the result which you think now is desirable, buying less from foreign countries, and more from the Dominions. You have had that for two years and has it affected the home price level? In that time store cattle have dropped by at least 35 per cent., sheep have gone down by at least 50 per cent., and the last few months have seen a tragic slump. I have no doubt that the next few months will see a very large number of livestock farmers in my constituency going into the bankruptcy court. I do not think there is anything that can save them, at least there is nothing in these regulations that can save them. I hope the Government will regard the matter as one of great urgency. I have very little patience with those people who come here and vote for tariffs for all those commodities that the farmers buy. They are prepared to tax his feeding stuffs, his utensils and machinery and everything else that he buys, and then, with a rather contemptible form of hypocrisy, say that upon pure electoral considerations they will not tax the people's food. I can understand a man being a Protectionist. I can understand a man, like myself, who is a Free Trader being consistent in the application of his philosophy, but a man who believes that Protection is sound business for one industry ought to apply it logically and not shelter himself behind a very contemptible form of smugness or a muddle-headedness made all the more vicious because it is spiced with considerations of electoral expediency. The farmer at the moment is suffering through a depression in prices, and I cannot see that these regulations will help him. You are going to restrict foreign imports and to adjust certain quotas from the Dominions. With what result? I have worked out the figures—they are subject to correction, though I have been as careful as possible in their preparation—and I find that when the meat regulations are in full operation there will be given to the home producer of beef an extended market at home. of something like 1.5 per cent. of the total beef consumption of this country. In the case of mutton and lamb, the increase is to be something like 3.9 per cent. It is an increase of 3.9 per cent. and of 1.5 per cent, to stem a decline in wholesale values which already is 50 per cent. and 35 per cent. I cannot for a moment believe that these regulations will give to the farmer in this country in his desperate plight anything like an adequate bulwark against the bankruptcy to which he is steadily drifting.

I am not going to stress the question of the consumer—there are others who will do that—but I wish to make an appeal to the Government. If they are anxious to restore purchasing power to the farmers, let them bring forward proposals which are really worth while. What is to be the consequence to the farmer? We know something of the kind of thing being said to-day: "Ah, you have the quota operating, and you are to have a larger scope in our home market. You can be assured of an extended area for your operations there." What will happen We know how the farmers will be disposed to respond to that kind of thing. They will increase their flocks or herds. But how are you to regulate the competition between the farmers for this new margin of the home market? If they increase their stocks, I can well imagine the competition between them becoming more vigorous and cut-throat than ever. You cannot do anything until you take up the problem of marketing.

I am not perhaps like some of my hon. Friends here who have a banner on which is emblazoned "Free Trade" which they are prepared to wrap around themselves, and to die on some glorious height. I am purely utilitarian in my attitude towards these things. To me, it is entirely a question of whether a, proposition is good or bad business for the people of this country. I am adopting this attitude on purely utilitarian grounds, which; I think, would be sound for the economic policy of this country. If you had a great scheme before you for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of agriculture, I should be prepared to consider the question of the restriction of imports as ancillary to that scheme. But I think that the imposition of these regulations without some great plan for the proper marketing of commodities and for giving the farmer more security will simply make his last condition worse than his first.

I oppose the regulations, because I feel that they will do nothing but create a false hope in the minds of the farmers. They will probably irritate the urban population. They may be sufficient to give the butcher hope of an increased retail price, but the farmer is not going to receive any benefit. If the Government had a great plan for making this basic industry worth while, they would have the right to ask the House for innovations in the economic sphere, but I feel that these regulations will carry us nowhere. They mean nothing to the farmer. Unaccompanied by a great marketing scheme and immediate financial assistance to the farmer, they cal, mean nothing. They will irritate the public and create in the urban mind antagonism which will grow into a revolt. You may find urban populations returning to the House of Commons at the next election men determined to wipe out these regulations, and you will simply create a situation of insecurity. I know it is hopeless to make an appeal to the Government, but, on behalf of the harassed farmers in my constituency who are having to face a black future, I wish to tell the Government that their proposals are inadequate, that they mean nothing to the farmer, that they will probably help the butcher, but will irri- tate the consumer, and that in the last state British agriculture will be worse for their operation.


I cannot agree with the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. R. Evans) in the conclusion that the Clause should be omitted, but with his main contention I think that most of us on this side of the Committee are in complete agreement. This matter clearly cannot be left as it is left in this Clause. The whole handling of the meat question reflects, I fear, very little credit upon either the foresight or the courage of the Government. As far as the merits of the case are concerned, meat ought to have been dealt with at the beginning of the year as part of the domestic policy of this country. In August the Government made themselves responsible for a declaration which has been quoted more than once in this House, namely, that: The present wholesale prices of frozen meat are at a level which has resulted in grave depression to the livestock industries of the United Kingdom and the Dominions. Such a position is so serious that it is essential to take whatever steps may appear feasible to raise the wholesale prices of frozen meat in the "United Kingdom market to such a level as will maintain efficient production. That statement was true in August, but it was also true last February, and on merits, the policy which the Government ought to have followed was to have imposed then whatever measure of restriction and of duty was, in their opinion, adequate to give British agriculture a chance, and to have combined it with free entry of Dominion produce, subject, as in the case of other tariff measures, to discussion at Ottawa. In that way we should have had every advantage which we needed as far as discussion—bargaining, if you will—at Ottawa was concerned. But we should have begun by putting our own livestock industry in a reasonably sound position. Instead of that, another policy was followed—the policy of leaving the protection of British agriculture to be dealt with by the British Government at Ottawa as part of the general Empire settlement. That also was a possible policy for the British Government, had it, at Ottawa, really regarded itself as primarily concerned with the defence of British agriculture. Unfortunately, at Ottawa—though, of course, as is well known, every representative of British agriculture who was there pressed for both restriction and effective duty—the attitude of the British representatives was that neither restriction nor duty were things to be granted except reluctantly—a duty not at all, and restriction only after protracted and very keen debate and discussion. The result is that for such little assistance as British agriculture is to get out of this Clause, it has to thank the Dominions rather than its own representatives.

It is essential that we should realise—the hon. Member who has just spoken has made it very dear—how inadequate is the measure of help that this Clause can give to British or Dominion agriculture. So far as all forms of meat outside bacon are concerned—and we are not going to deal with bacon until after next July—the restriction amounts to a reduction of a little more than one-half of one per cent. of the total supply in the first quarter of next year, and a little more than one-quarter per cent. in the following quarters. All told, at the end of 21 months from next January, or two years from now, the total supply fresh meat, apart from pig meat, will have been reduced by between 2 and 2½ per cent. That is really a derisory proposition. The declaration to Australia was admirable, and so was the statement of Government policy made by the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs the other day, but when it comes to action, instead of marching the Government advance a yard at a time, and then mark step. The real fault of the Government in this as in a good many of their other actions, in a period of serious crisis, is that whenever they come to a 20-foot ditch, after prolonged deliberation they build a 10-foot bridge; and then they wonder that they get stuck in the mud.

What is wanted to-day, if you have a policy, is to carry out that policy boldly, logically, consistently and with due regard to the fact that time is telling against you continually, and that action to-day is worth a great deal more than action three or six months hence. It does seem to me that while we may agree in passing this Clause to-day, with its schedule, which is only a minimum statement of what the Government are pledged to do, it would he very desirable that the Government should make a clear statement now that it means to go a great deal beyond the schedule, to apply it on a far more effective scale and at a much earlier date. If they will begin by applying in the first three months their programme for the first year, it might be a beginning. They would also make their programme a good deal more effective, if, now that they are more free to do so politically, they added to the weapon of restriction, however useful that may be, the alternative of the no less useful weapon of a duty.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other day, very truly, that a duty by itself—he meant by that a light duty—might not be effective in raising wholesale prices, because it would be paid by the foreigner. Why does he reject that benevolence? Why should he not be ready to put on as much duty as the foreigner will pay? It might be used in a variety of useful directions, it might be used possibly to help the meat industry in this country, or, possibly by remissions to the taxpayer. Let him take what the foreigner can give. If the scheme of restriction becomes effective and improves the price, there is no reason why the foreigner should not pay something for the improved price which our efforts have secured for him. Whatever amount the foreigner is prepared to pay, if he still sends us his present supply, we can always by raising the duty a step further make certain that the price itself will be affected. That is the object—there are hon. Members on the Front Bench who do not agree with the object—I am dealing with the avowed and declared object of the Ottawa Conference.

When the Government say that whatever steps may appear feasible, it is essential to take them, there is no longer any reason, political or economic, why they should not take all the necessary steps, and take them promptly. I would add, in particular, that it is very desirable that they should deal now with the bacon question. I hope they will declare that they mean to carry out the scheme laid before them by the Lane-Fox Commission. That scheme is, however, not to take effect until next July. Meanwhile, the disastrously low price of bacon is having its effect on the price of every other form of meat. It has been pointed out that to some extent all forms of meat are interchangeable and that a very heavy fall in the price of one form of meat reacts on the price of the others. Anyone who looks at the statistical and price position for the past few years can only come to the conclusion that it is the fall in bacon prices which more than any other reason has contributed to the fall in the price of other forms of meat. Pending the enforcement of a scheme for dealing with bacon on quota lines, is it not worth while considering whether a temporary effective duty could not be imposed on foreign bacon, not only in the interests of the bacon industry in this country, but in the interests of the whole livestock industry?

I wish to urge upon the Government the importance of considering the time factor in this business. The whole of the livestock industry in this country is now in an absolutely tragic plight. There are many hundreds of farmers, maybe thousands, who will not be able to carry on for many weeks or months. There are many Members on these benches who can speak with far better qualifications on that matter than myself. I wish to urge on the Government that we are faced with a very critical, urgent and grave situation, and that whether or not this particular Clause is sufficient help to the Dominions, the problem of our own agriculture was not covered in that respect at Ottawa. Its affairs are too serious to be left while we tinker with one-half per cent. or one-quarter per cent. reduction per quarter in the meat supply. There is a grave and urgent case, and I do most urgently appeal to the Government to tackle it without delay.


I should like to support the plea made by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) that the Government should very considerably strengthen their proposals in regard to the livestock industry. That industry was in a very serious position at the beginning of this year. The position was more serious in the Summer, and now it is getting pretty well desperate. The hon. Member who opened the Debate spoke of the plight of the farmers in Wales. I, as representing an English constituency in the agricultural county of Lincolnshire, should like to say—and I have come fresh from a conference of Lincolnshire farmers which took place at Lincoln only yesterday—that the plight of the livestock farmers of Lincolnshire is not less desperate. These men do not know how to carry on and unless some measure of assistance can be devised we shall be face to face in the purely agricultural districts of this country with unemployment on a very large scale, combined in all probability with a breakdown of the wages board system. Farmer after farmer has written to the wages board committee pointing out that he has not got the money to pay the wages to his men, and asking if he can share out among them such money as he is able to raise. He has informed the men of that and has asked if he could do it and the reply has been "No." The only alternative is that he has to dismiss the men. That is the situation.


The bon. Member is now discussing something in connection with the agricultural position which has certainly nothing to do with this question of restriction.


I am extremely sorry if the depression of the situation has led me to go a little further than I ought, but I was endeavouring to point out that the consequences of not strengthening the proposal of the Government might be very serious indeed, and I was saying what I thought might happen. I will not weary the Committee with figures relating to the price of livestock, but I think it is generally agreed on all sides of the Committee that prices are not only such as to make livestock raising unremunerative but to put the farmer in the position of getting nearer and nearer bankruptcy every day. The situation is so serious that I do appeal to the Government to take some strong action in the as near future as they possibly can.

I support the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook in urging that a tariff on foreign imports of meat should be brought into operation as soon as possible. These regulations, which are proposed to give a small preference after 1st January are not nearly enough to save the situation which is so rapidly developing. It is developing far faster in a downward direction than perhaps the Government really realise. I urge the Government very seriously to take every means to carry out the intention and declaration of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom so well put on page 53 of this Bill. The situation is developing for the worse very rapidly, and I urge the Government to take into consideration not only the restriction of the quota, but an import duty and, indeed, even the prohibition of foreign meats so that the livestock farmer may have a chance of carrying on the industry and continuing to employ men on the land.


I desire to put to the Government a specific question in regard to Clause 7, which reads: The Board of Trade.… may by order regulate the importation into the United Kingdom of frozen mutton, frozen lamb, frozen beef, and chilled beef, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreements. The phrase "provisions of the Agreements" is in startling contrast to the phrase appearing on page 53, line 33, where it says: the agreed programme.' 9.30. p.m.

The agreed programme is the quota restriction which starts on a certain date, namely, 1st January. The point I am raising is this: In Clause 7, line 20, we do not see the words "agreed programme." but the word "agreements." It is only the agreed programme which begins on 1st January. The agreements on page 53 run roughly as follows, that, in the first place, there is to be a declaration by the -united Kingdom Government, secondly, paragraph 2 says that they are to take whatever steps may appear feasible, and paragraph 3 says: With a view to the earliest possible improvement, which is during the currency of the Ottawa Agreement. On page 42, line 9, it defines the currency of Ottawa Agreements and says: This Agreement between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia is to he regarded as corning into effect as front the date hereof. That date is 20th August. The submission I make to the Government, and on which I ask their view, is this: If there is to be the earliest possible improvement of the position, His Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom will, during the currency of the Ottawa. Agreements, arrange for the regulation of meat imports into the United Kingdom. If it is during the currency of the Ottawa Agreements, it might, if this Bill had been passed earlier, have been put into operation by now, but, in any case, as the Ottawa Agreement was signed on 20th August, it may come into operation immediately on the passing of the Act. I want to know whether these restrictions under Clause 7 cannot be brought into operation immediately on the passing of the Act, as otherwise it certainly seems to me that, instead of the phrase in Clause 7, line 20, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreements it ought to read in accordance with the agreed programme. Then it might be said that the restrictions could only come into force on 1st January. I do press the Government on this point, for I believe that under this Bill and under the Agreement as it stands here they have full power, without any further amendment of the Bill, to bring the quota into operation the very moment the Act is passed into law, and I press them to make a statement that they are prepared to do so. This is a matter of vital importance to the meat industry. I have made some inquiries in the market, and I am told that if the right amount of quota were put on, it could affect market prices here within a fortnight, and to the graziers who want to get the cattle off their land in November, and particularly the beef interests who have the Christmas market, a fortnight is a matter of the most vital importance. It takes three weeks for chilled beef to get here from the Argentine. It is not stored when it gets here, but kept on ship and sold and off-loaded, and in consequence of that, a fortnight or three weeks will make all the difference to the price that the graziers receive.

There is one other point. If you put your quota into operation now, you will at least have some little extra time to discover what degree of quota is needed. Here we have to proceed by trial of error. No one can foretell what degree will be required to raise the price which can be obtained by the producer in this country. If it were done, when 'tis done, then' twere well It were done quickly. Under the Clause as it stands, the Government have power to act immediately the Bill is passed into law, and I ask whether they could not to-night give an assurance that they will do this.


After the hearty welcome the Clause has received from hon. Members opposite, I am not sure whether we ought to support the Government or oppose the proposal in order to save the Minister of Agriculture. We are in some doubt as to the policy we ought to pursue in this Debate. A fortnight ago, speaking on the meat quota scheme, I submitted to the House that it would in no way affect wholesale prices for a very long period, as the Government hope, and, secondly, that the scheme, as propounded in the Agreements, would render no material assistance for a very long time to the home farmer. In the third place I submitted what has actually taken place to-night, that hon. Members would invite the Government to go a very long way beyond the Agreements. They want imports from the Dominions and from foreign countries to be further restricted, so that there will be a real opportunity for an increase in wholesale prices. Therefore, as I said on the previous occasion, instead of uniting the Empire one can foresee the possibility of the home producer of meat and wheat in keen competition with farmers in the Dominions; the home farmer wanting restrictions on Dominion imports and the Dominion farmer wanting an increased quota. Instead of tightening the ties of Empire they will be wearing still thinner. Every word I uttered on that occasion has been fully justified, if the hon. Members opposite are logical and if their statements are accurate.

As I said a fortnight ago, the restriction on imports from the Argentine are countered by an excess of imports permitted to the Dominions, and, consequently, the net decrease in imports of beef, mutton and lamb, is about 2:1 to 4 per cent. in two years time. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) gave figures per cwt. which demonstrated that the position at the end of two years, so far as imports are concerned, would be much as it is to-day, and that the idea that by raising wholesale prices by compelling home consumers to pay higher prices and thus give the Dominion producers better prices and enable them to pay their debts to English lenders of money, is not likely to happen. The quota scheme has broken down at this point. The Dominions flooded the British market during the last three years. They are permitted to maintain imports based on the peak years, plus the excess conceded in the Agreements, and the excess is almost equivalent to the decrease in the amount permitted to enter this country from foreign countries.

In moving the Second Reading of the Bill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that foreign countries had agreed to work the quota scheme, although they are not necessarily in love with it. If we have secured the agreement of foreign importers to work this scheme, is it not fair to assume that the Government will not immediately reduce the quota for foreign countries. If foreign imports are to be recorded as in the Agreements, and if Dominion imports are to be permitted as recorded in the Agreements, the amount available for sale will only be reduced by 2 per cent. and the home farmer is, therefore, likely to get little or no value from the scheme. Consequently, I am inclined to agree for the first time for 10 years with the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), that the Government are trying to bridge a 20-foot bridge by a 10-foot pole. It is admitted that there is an absolutely chaotic competitive scramble for what trade is going, and that because the scheme has hopelessly failed internally and externally, in the Dominions as well as in foreign countries, the only means of remedying the situation is to restrict imports from one part of the world, which will necessarily adversely affect our trade with that part of the world, so that imports can be increased from another part of the world, with no guarantee at all that English producers of other commodities are likely to recoup themselves in real trade for the losses which may accrue as a result of this policy.

We feel, first, that the quota scheme is a very clumsy and incomplete method of dealing with the meat problem. Secondly, that the British farmer will get little or nothing out of it. Thirdly, we claim that there is a potential opportunity for distrust as between the home farmer and the Dominion farmer. If you must provide the primary producer with higher prices than he is now receiving, you can only do so by not encouraging a larger output of the particular commodity of which there is a surplus. We have the Argentine supplies available. If we reduce those supplies by 450,000 cwts. per annum, we can scarcely expect the Argentine producer of meat to go out of production. He will continue to produce meat and will try to sell it in other parts of the world. But, as you reduce the Argentine imports you say to New Zealand and Australia, you can increase your abnormal imports of 1932, although at the moment the United Kingdom is glutted with these particular commodities, and the price has fallen. By one stroke of the pen you are attempting to apply a quota system, a restriction, and at the same time you are encouraging an excess of output of that particular commodity. We feel that the scheme is not going to succeed in the sense that the Chancellor of the Exchequer or his colleagues who were with him at Ottawa really hoped.

I know that the hon. Gentleman who is to reply will perhaps repeat what he said about a week ago, that if there is one section of the House who cannot complain of the quota system it is made up of those who claim to represent the mine workers. Perhaps the argument would be as strong to-day as it was when previously used, but there is a slight difference between the mining situation and this quota scheme as applied to meat. There is a general recognition in all coal-producing countries that the capacity for output is so far in advance of the consumptive capacity that there is a tendency to reduce outputs in all producing countries. Under this meat scheme you are deliberately encouraging the increased production of a thing that seems to have flooded your market. I agree entirely with the right hon. Member for Spark-brook, the hon. Member for Horncastle (Mr. Haslam) and the noble Lord the Member for Ilarborough (Earl Castle Stewart) that agriculture is in a very serious plight and needs something almost instantaneously. But this proposal will be of little value to it. While I am anxious to see something done for agriculture in a constructive sense, I am unwilling to give support to a scheme which sets out to do that which we do not believe it can accomplish, and we have no alternative but to oppose the scheme.


I do not think my hon. Friends behind me who have been pleading the cause of the British farmer, will thank the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) for his support, because it is obvious that the hon. Member approaches this subject from an entirely different point of view. He is opposed to the Bill and opposed to the Agreements made with the Dominions, and he hopes that they will be a failure. He anticipates with glee that they will be a cause of friction.


The right hon. Gentleman is scarcely entitled to say that I hope that they will be a failure. I hope that every Member of the House, whatever his party affiliations, would wish that, whatever Government introduce a scheme, that scheme will succeed. I am not praying that the right hon. Gentleman's scheme will be a failure, although I see no possible hope of it being a success.


I am glad to know that the hon. Gentleman does not hope and pray for failure. At the same time he would have a certain satisfaction if failure should ensue, because he prophesied that it would come and he would like to see his prophecy fulfilled. I am one of those who were responsible for the Agreements which were come to at Ottawa, and I have no reason to think that the course which we pursued there was a wrong course. On the contrary, I am still entirely convinced that it is in this way and in this way alone that we can obtain for the industry which is concerned in the production of livestock, whether at home or in the Dominions, security and stability that will be permanent. As I said before, when speaking upon this matter, we have in the case of meat all the ordinary factors which combine to bring clown the general level of commodity prices, and we have superimposed upon them the special circumstance that the market for meat in this country, the market which is really the only market for the surplus, has been glutted by a constant increase in the production in the Dominions, which has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the capacity of this market. Surely it must be obvious that if we are to overcome that state of things we must remove the cause which has produced it.


Are we not entitled to say in logic that, if the evil is as the right hon. Gentleman described it and has occurred because of an excess of imports from the Dominions, the cure for that state of things is to regulate the imports frown the Dominions?


"Regulate"— I am perfectly agreed, and that is precisely what we are doing. What has been suggested is that we should reduce imports from the Dominions, and that is my next point. We have the home supplies and supplies from two of the Dominions and from the Argentine. The policy of the Government is stated in the declaration to which allusion has been made. The policy is that we should give first consideration to the needs of the home farmer, but that after that we give the next consideration to the needs of the Dominion farmer. We justify that on the ground that if we can increase the purchasing power of the Dominions we shall benefit ourselves, because that will mean that more of our manufactures will be taken by the Dominions. In pursuit of that policy, whilst we recognise that restriction has to take place, we desire to effect that restriction in foreign imports rather than in Dominion imports.

I do not believe that that is a policy which will be challenged by any of my hon. Friends. It is the policy laid down in this declaration and in the Agreements. But I am quite ready to admit that the position has changed since we made the Agreement at Ottawa. The change is that there has been a further considerable and constant fall in the price of meat, which we could not have anticipated at that time, and the situation, which was serious enough at that time, has now become not only serious but critical. It is a situation that has obviously to be dealt with. The only question that can arise on this Clause is, can that situation be dealt with under this Bill? That is the question to which I want to address myself. In the first place let me deal with a point put to me by my Noble Friend the Member for Harborough (Earl Castle Stewart). He pointed out that Clause 7, line 20, says that the Board of Trade may regulate the importation of certain kinds of meat into this country in accordance with the provision of the Agreements. I think he was under the impression that such a programme was not in the Agreements, but was in the declaration on the part of His Majesty's Government, and as it was stated in that declaration that His Majesty's Government would arrange for the regulation of imports during the currency of the Agreements, it was open to us to vary the Agreements by anticipating the date at which the programme was to take place according to the statement on page 54.

My Noble Friend has perhaps overlooked the fact that in the Agreement itself—I take the Australian Agreement as an illustration—Article 6 says: His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia agree that arrangements shall be made for the regulation of imports. … in accordance with the declaration by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom which is appended as Schedule H. That is the Agreement referred to in Clause 7. It must be clear to my Noble Friend that what the Board of Trade may do is only what it has agreed to do in accordance with that declaration, and it would not therefore be possible for His Majesty's Government to vary the programme which is agreed upon without the consent of the other Dominions concerned.


On page 54, line 30, the word "maximum" appears, and it seems to confer on the Government a greater degree of freedom than the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicates.


Yes, that is so. That shows "maximum quantities" of foreign meat and no doubt that would allow us, not under the Bill, but under other powers which we might take, still further to reduce the imports of foreign meat. I am only concerned at the moment, however, with what we can do under the Bill and, under the Bill, we cannot alter the programme which is given in the declaration. I think all my hon. Friends behind me are prepared to support the Clause as it stands and I would say to them that I hope they will realise that His Majesty's Government are entirely alive to what I have called the critical situation in the livestock industry, and if it is not possible to deal with that in the Bill, that does not mean that the Government are unaware of, or indifferent to that what is going on, or that they will not be prepared to consider what steps they can take to meet that situation. I hope that with that explanation my hon. Friends will be content.


Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to make perfectly clear the reply which he has just given to the hon. Member opposite? Re states that the maximum importation of foreign meat could not be reduced under the terms of this Bill but might be reduced by some other action which might be taken by the Government. For clarity's sake may I ask the right hon. Gentleman, are we to understand that, if the Government did wish to reduce the maximum importation permitted from foreign countries, they would have to produce a special Bill for that purpose?


No, I did not say All I said was that we could not do it under this Bill. I did not say how we could do it.


Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to say exactly what means could be adopted for that purpose? I think it is for the benefit of the Committee that we should be clear on this point. The right hon. Gentleman was interrogated at some length last week about this question and a similar process of interrogation has taken place this evening. If he would clear up this matter, our minds would be at rest and we should know the full purport and meaning of this term "maximum quantities."


I am not at all sure that it is relevant to this discussion, but I have no objection to saying that powers could he obtained by means of a Bill.

10.0 p.m.


It is no pleasure to me to have to state to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the statement he has just made does not go nearly far enough, but I take I he opportunity, while doing so, of saying that all of us on this side recognise the very substantial achievement which he brought back from Ottawa. I wish to direct the attention of the Committee in another direction. I wish with the permission of the Committee to go into this matter a little more deeply than the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done. In the first place, I call attention to a phrase which he has just used. He said—and I may remark that Members of the Government show a strange anxiety to avoid speaking frankly on this matter and using terms which will be "understanded of the people"—that the object of the Government in this matter was to obtain for the Dominion producer of meat and for the British producer that security which everyone agrees to be desirable. I would put it in much plainer language, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he and the Government agree with what I consider is the desideratum to be aimed at. It seems to me that the only question which arises from this Clause, and the Government's whole policy with regard to meat, is whether or not it will raise the price of stock, bred and kept for meat in this country and the Dominions, to a level at which it will he reasonably profitable, having regard to the fact that at the present moment it is at a wholly uneconomic level. The right hon. Gentleman may describe that as "obtaining the security which is desirable," but I prefer to describe it as raising the price level of the commodity, and the only question which arises is whether or not this Clause will bring about that result. On that we have not yet had a satisfactory answer from the Government.

I do not wholly share the view of the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) on this matter, but it is true that the British producer is suffering far more from the competition of the Dominions producer than from the corn-petition of the foreign producer. The right hon. Gentleman brushed that point lightly aside by saying that he thought it was the general view of those who sat on this side that we should prefer to purchase from the Dominions rather than from foreign sources. Certainly we should prefer to do so, but, in view of the fact that it has always been the stated policy of the Government in this matter to keep the interest of the British producer—in this case, the pastoral farmer—first and foremost, we are entitled to ask the Government a question which they have not yet answered in the course of these Debates, and that is whether or not the reduction in foreign imports is going to be sufficient to raise the price level of meat in this country. We have never had an answer to that question.


Will my Noble Friend allow me to try to answer it now? I am sorry if I failed to make quite clear what I wanted to say, but I am sure that the Noble Lord will acquit me of any desire to evade any question put to me.


Hear, hear.


What I meant by security was that it was not sufficient to raise the price to a satisfactory level once. We want to be sure that it is not going back again, and that is what I meant by security. As regards price, I do not think that any of us expected that in this first experimental period we could ensure that the price would be raised to what my Noble Friend would consider a satisfactory level. We did think that by the immediate restriction of imports and by the knowledge, which would be spread throughout the world, that we had in prospect further plans in the regulation of imports, there would be an immediate rise of price. How far that would go it would be very difficult to say, but my Noble Friend will be aware that this period, as I say, was an experimental period and that it was the declared intention during that experimental period, and I may say at an early stage in that experimental period, to have a consultation with the Dominions with a view to formulating a more permanent scheme, which would no doubt mean further restriction on importation and a still further rise in the price, ultimately, to what we should hope to be a satisfactory level.


I am much obliged to my right hon. Friend for his courtesy, and I shall endeavour to use the same courtesy towards him, but I must make this observation—that this seems to be a type of experiment which is very interesting but meanwhile the patient will die. That is the unfortunate situation. My right hon. Friend is very fond, or rather the Government are very fond, of talking about experiments. The Leader of the Conservative party in the Government is constantly telling us that this is but an experiment, and that in two or three years time we shall find out whether the experiment has succeeded or not. I ask my right hon. Friend to deal with the present situation—and I am very glad to see, throughout this Debate, how deep an interest the Committee are taking in this subject, because there has never been a subject in my recollection as a Member of Parliament which has so agitated the minds of the rural community as this question. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Those full-throated Tory cheers will, I hope, enable my right hon. Friend to realise that that is so. We are really not politicians in this matter at all. I speak for many Members of Parliament when I say that I do not care whether any line that we take on this matter helps or harms the National Government. The interest of agriculture is far more important than the interest of the National Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Yes, and more important than that of any Government.

We are faced with a situation graver than has existed, I think, for a century. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that the situation is calamitous. I give the Government credit for having had the courage at Ottawa to state categorically that they were going to raise the price level of meat in this country, because that is what it amounted to. The only point at issue now is whether or not they are going to do it by this Clause. My right hon. Friend gets out of that rather interesting fact, or, rather, brushes it aside, by admitting in his speech that the situation is far graver than it was. They were significant words, but he did use the words, I think, that he did not think it could be dealt with under this Bill. I am entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman, when he says that the Government are fully aware of the situation, what steps they are going to take to deal with it. They have had a deputation only to-day, representing a very strong section of the Conservative party, and they must be aware that this calamitous situation has been going on, not for a few days, but for weeks and even for months past. When are they going to deal with it?

This is a very interesting experiment in itself, but the experiment is no good if it is not going to save the life of the patient. I do not suggest that the matter can be usefully dealt with on this Clause to any greater extent, but I shall not vote against the Government on the Clause, because I see no reason for voting against it merely because it is not, in our opinion, as adequate as it should be. While, however, it goes some way in the right direction we are entitled in the most categorical way to ask the Government to announce their meat policy as soon as possible. They will have very powerful forces, not necessarily of Mem- hers of this House, but very powerful forces in the country, of all kinds, arrayed against them if they do not do so.

We have not had a. word of adequate defence from any Member of the Government as to why the quota was preferred to a tariff. Everybody knows—it is common knowledge—that one Member of the Government, in his obduracy, objects to tariffs, and, therefore, this quota system was adopted. It would have been better boldly to have said so, but, as it is, we have had no defence. I do not object to this quota system as it stands; it, is better than nothing, but I should like to know, and so too would a great many other people, why it is that the quota system was preferred to a tariff, if there is any other reason than that which I have given, which is the common talk of the Lobbies.


Would the Noble Lord mind saying to which Member of the Cabinet he refers?


The hon. Member, who is one of the most intelligent Members of this House, can perfectly well guess who it is. He is a Member of one of the numerous sects of the Liberal party. I do ask my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on behalf of a great number of people in the country, and of a great many of my hon. Friends in this House, to make an announcement with regard to the policy which the Government will put forward to deal with the situation which the right hon. Gentleman admits to-night. He made a most significant admission when he admitted that this Clause is not sufficient to deal with the situation, and that something must be done to deal with this calamitous fall in prices; and I say that not even the preoccupations of the Disarmament Conference, or of India, or of anything else should prevent the Government from announcing, at the earliest possible opportunity, what their policy is for dealing with this disastrous situation.


I must say that tonight, perhaps for the first time, I have considerable sympathy with the Government. I realise how great their problems were when they were at Ottawa, but I agree with the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) that it would have been much fairer and franker if they had put on a duty, so that the country would know where they were. I cannot understand why they went in for a quota, unless it were for the reason given by the Noble Lord. I am not going to make any secret of it. I know who the Minister is to whom he referred. It is the President of the Board of Trade, who gave a pledge on the subject, and a quota was preferred to a duty, the nation can quite understand, in order to placate the conscience of the President of the Board of Trade. That, in any case, is my version of it.

Lord Beaverbrook has come out with a sensational number to-day in his favourite papers, the "Evening Standard" and the "Daily Express," pointing out that the quota is not satisfactory to the farmers, is not satisfactory to the butchers, and, I might add—what is almost always forgotten in these discassions—is certainly not satisfactory to the consumers, because I think the interests of the consumers are more endangered by limiting supplies than by any machinery of tariffs. I have never been one of those who believe that the foreigner pays the tax. I notice that that suggestion was brought out again by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), but at any rate I can understand Members on this side, who believe that, feeling a certain amount of satisfaction that one of two things would happen; either under a duty, according to their theory, the wholesale price of meat would go up, or, alternatively, the foreigner would be made to pay a considerable contribution to the Revenue. But this particular scheme is going to limit the supplies, however much the demand may increase for the next two or three years, of meat that is going to come into this country.

One of the reasons why prices have fallen and one of the very considerable factors which have caused the fall in prices, quite apart from the increase of production, is the decrease in the purchasing power of the people. You cannot have 3,000,000 out of work and expect to have the same standard of consumption. I have taken the trouble to make inquiries in the East End of London, and I find that where, a year or two years ago, the ordinary East End housewife was buying fresh, home-killed beef, she has in some cases not only substituted chilled beef, which has become very popular in many parts of the country, but she has been forced to go on to the very inferior diet of imported Australian frozen meat, which is very far from palatable and which is only used in ordinary working-class households when they are driven down by necessity. Then we have forgotten about the reductions in the insurance benefit and the consequent large decrease in the purchasing power of the home. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer talks about the critical position of the farmer and the desperate condition of the agricultural interests, I think he should also remember the critical condition of industry and the serious condition of a large part of the working class.

During the last year we have been through a very remarkable experience. The Prime Minister made a great plea to the nation to submit to sacrifices. Those sacrifices have been gladly borne, and it has been a very remarkable thing that, in spite of the decrease in wages and in spite of cuts made here and there, there has been very little complaint. The real reason is that there has been a general fall in wholesale prices which has lessened the shock of the lower wage level in the general industries. If, as a result of the declared policy of the Government to increase wholesale prices, retail prices are raised, and if, as a result of something they are doing in this Bill and something they propose to do in another Bill, a still further lower wage level is brought about, and on top of that a general increase of the retail prices of food, there may be a serious change in the attitude of the bulk of the working classes to law and order and to the policy of the Government.

The great thing that we are able to say in this country is that we have always had a policy of abundance. We have always been able to draw on the resources of the world and to have a full supply of commodities in the shops. During the last few weeks I have had the experience of going to Russia. It was not a pleasant experience. They are experiencing a policy of scarcity. There, unlike this country, the shops are empty, they have famine prices, and the farmers are enjoying all the conditions of scarcity and high prices for their commodities. I tremble to think what will be the condition of the Russian people during the cold winter months. We have been spared from this in this country; in spite of the world depression, of unemployment and of the dis-organisation of trade, our shops have been full and prices have been low. The National Government will forfeit the trust of the nation, which was given to them 12 months ago by an overwhelming majority, if they take advantage of their power to bring about the policy of scarcity and high prices.


We have had one rather interesting feature in this evening's Debate. That is the sympathy that has been expressed, both from the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) and the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), with the Government in what they conceive to be their difficulties. I do not suppose that any Member of the Government, or anybody who has spoken from these benches, is under the least delusion as to the value of their sympathy for the Government or for the view we have been putting forward from these benches, or for what is the true worth of their sympathy for the farmer. I want to put a brief point to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If there is a Division on this Clause, we shall obviously support the Government, but, if the Clause is inadequate to deal with the situation, we shall really take what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said as an undertaking that the difficulty will be dealt with at the very earliest opportunity. This is really not a long-range problem. It is a matter of vital, urgent and immediate interest.

I can only say for myself, as other Members know from their own experience, what is the position of farmers to-day. I have been going to and fro among farmers in Scotland and in the Midlands in the last two.or three weeks. I have been shown their actual balance-sheets giving their precise financial position. It is not a question of farmers grumbling. Many of them are on the actual brink of collapse, and they are men, many of them, of quite undoubted capacity, not paying extortionate rents, having had them reduced. It is not only a long-range policy that is wanted. Something will have to be done quite soon. Just as we are, of course, going to support this Clause to-night, so we hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government will take that action which he has foreshadowed, and take it quickly.


We have listened to the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) describing to us every single symptom which has led to our having three million unemployed to-day, through the lowering of prices, and has led to the degeneration, to a large extent, of our people. Surely the problem is a little different from that. Those of us who would gladly vote to-night for Clause 7 feel that we are only going to vote for it because it is part of a long-term programme; and because the Government are asking us to support them on this we are going to vote with a feeling that they are morally pledged to do something to redeem the present state of agriculture before it is too late. It, is no earthly use having a long-term programme if in the meantime you have killed those conditions in the industry which will do more than any other single industry could possibly do to revive employment in this country. If the Government are not going to bridge the gap it is useless to vote for this Clause, it is useless to vote for anything that will bring the Empire more closely together, because the means by which we may ultimately accomplish it will have passed away. I believe to-night that if we pass this Clause we shall have something which will not only be of hope for a future time but a pledge that the Government, whatever else their faults may have been, whatever their sins of omission, will undertake to devote themselves not only to the employment of more people on the land but to the desperate state of those who are now on the land and who are in fear of losing all hope of employment at all.


I rise only to impress upon the Committee the importance of the appeal which has been made to the Chancellor by my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton). I have had the privilege in the last few years of being closely identified with the activities of the Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture, and have been from day to day in constant contact with the serious and expanding grievances which are brought forward by the farming community from every part of the country. What the Noble Lord the Member for Basingstoke (Viscount Lymington) has just said does not in the least degree exaggerate the importance of this subject, and I hope very much, in view of the sad situation in every branch of agricultural enterprise, that the Government will shortly announce a policy which, as indicated in the Chancellor's speech, will give some hope to the farming community in connection with meat production.

The livestock industry has been in the past the most important branch of farming from a profit-making point of view, and unless we can deal with meat production on practical commonsense lines, raising the level of prices so as to enable this great branch of their industry to be carried on by our own farming community, we may look for a practical collapse of farming as a, profitable pursuit. I was very much impressed by what the Chancellor said as to how he regards the gravity of this problem. Probably he will find it possible to do something when he comes to consider the public finances of the forthcoming year. This strikes at the whole of the sources of revenue of the nation. No bigger service could be rendered by the National Government, for the future prosperity and stability of the whole community, than to declare their policy in relation to the meat industry at the earliest possible moment.

Of course, we support the Chancellor of the Exchequer in carrying this Clause. We congratulate him in having got so far at Ottawa in securing Agreements with the Dominions on this question. Unless His Majesty's Government realise the position in which the farming community finds itself, arid are prepared to introduce far-reaching and fundamental measures to deal with a situation which has never been so dangerous before—I think "dangerous" is the word to use—they will not be discharging the first and most obvious duty of any Government, which is that they should protect the people and the country's greatest industry, and secure the expansion of the purchasing power of the farmer. I hope, in view of all the representations that have been made and will be made, that this one burning question will be dealt with in a practical and constructive manner by the Government.

10.30 p.m.


I do not, wonder that some supporters of the Gov- ernment are slightly vexed with them on this question, but it is always understood that, there is never any possibility of their voting against the Government. The Committee would have realised the position rather more clearly than now if the Government had told us, about these meat Agreements, not merely the truth, as, of course, they have done, but the whole truth. Nothing is of any real good to the farmer in regard to meat unless there can be a, really sound limitation or duty on supplies from the Dominions as well as on those from foreign countries. When the idea of that, which the farmers have very firmly in mind, was suggested at Ottawa, it was a new idea to the Dominions and such a shock to them, largely owing to the fault of our farmers themselves. Whenever representatives of the Dominions were over here, or representatives of our farmers were over in. the Dominions, they have been encouraged to think that all that was necessary was for our producers and their producers to make common cause against the suppliers from foreign countries. The idea that what the farmers really needed was limitation against the Dominions, was so strange to the Dominions that although, verbally, some limitation of Dominion supplies was put into the Agreements, that limitation comes to nothing at all. They have limited the supplies of a peak year in regard to mutton and lamb from New Zealand, but I see from a return already published by the New Zealand Government that that situation cannot possibly be realised, because the stock of ewes has been decreased and there cannot possibly be so many lambs sent over during next year as there have been during the Ottawa year. That, I think, would have explained the position rather more than what has actually been said; and the Government might have added what I believe to be true, namely, that in the long run the farmer has nothing except confusion to expect from any form of Protection like duties or a quota, because, if they are to be of any use, they will have to be high, and, if they are so high as to be really acceptable, they are perfectly certain to be wound up if there is any change of Government after a general election in this country. The only hope that farmers have is in an improvement in the purchas- ing power of their customers, and that will not be brought about unless there is a reversal of the fiscal policy of this country and the other main countries of the world. If the Government had added a statement to that effect, they would have been telling the whole truth, and we should know more about this matter than we have been told hitherto.


I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer one question, which I consider to be of great importance. We appreciate the statement to-night that the Government realise that an alteration has taken place since the Ottawa Agreements were made. I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, if the Government find that wholesale prices cannot be raised without the imposition of some duty upon meat, we shall be hound, if we pass Clause 7 to-night, to consult the Dominions and Colonies before we can have their consent to the putting of any policy of that sort into operation?


We have witnessed in this Debate the most amazing spectacle that we have seen for many decades. The Tory party has pretended to be the special guardian of the British farmer, but, in spite of that guardianship which has been exercised over farming interests by the Tory party for so many decades, we are told to-night that the net result of it all is that the entire farming community of this country is on the brink of ruin. I have never witnessed, since I have been a Member of this House, a more amazing spectacle than we have seen this evening. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), and others, are all willing to wound the Government, but every one of them is afraid to kill. Immediately it comes to the real test, not one of them dare go into the Lobby in opposition to this particular Clause, and yet they tell us with one voice that the Clause can do nothing at all unless something far more drastic—


The hon. Member must not put into my mouth words which I did not use. On the contrary, I said that the Clause went a certain way, and, therefore, I should vote for it, though I am not satisfied with it. I happen to prefer half a loaf to no bread, like the hon. Gentleman.


The Clause goes a certain way, but, even taking it as it is, it still means that the British farming industry will be ruined if something further is not done, and, consequently, the Noble Lord's explanation does not in any way justify what he said in closing his speech, namely, that he would not go into the Lobby in opposition to the Government. If the Noble Lord really did care about British farming interests, he would do everything that he could to-night to remove that Government from office, because, on his own showing, it is doing nothing for the farmers at all, and, if he were really honest in the speech that he made, he would support those of us who are going into the Lobby in opposition to this Clause. I think that if, when the British farming community read the story of this Debate in the newspapers to morrow morning, they do not at once transfer their political allegiance from the party opposite to a party which will really do something for them, the farming industry will deserve its fate.


There is a disadvantage from which the Government always suffer in these Debates, and that is that virtue is never praised, and attention is only drawn to the occasions when it has failed. Therefore, most of the Members on this side who have taken part in these Debates have done so for the purpose of criticism, because they have supported silently the great bulk of these Agreements. It is only fair that that should be made quite clear. I myself have taken as large a part in both the support and the criticism as anyone else, but that is because I happen to be rather particularly interested. The Chancellor of the Exchequer encouraged us very much tonight by his statement frankly realising that the situation which exists to-day is different from that which existed when he and his colleagues arrived in Ottawa some three months ago, and he has indicated to us to-night the possibility of some further action for the purpose of assisting home agriculture in connection with livestock. Every Member on this side of the House rejoiced when we heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer make that declaration. It may be unfair for us to press him to-night in asking the two questions of "What?" and "Where?"

I am not particularly in love with the quota. I have been trying to examine the situation and to see exactly what is likely to be the result of this scheme. Our delegates at Ottawa properly based their scheme on the most recent figures at their disposal. They took the situation as it was in the 12 months that ended on 30th June. No one would criticise them for making that period the standard period for the purpose of these percentage reductions, but I am a little surprised that they did not take sufficiently into account the fact that that period was apparently rather an abnormal period. In 1930 the imports of beef and mutton, either frozen or chilled, were 18,000,000 cwts. In the standard period the total is 18,700,000 cwts., so that there has been an enormous change in the position between the calendar year 1930 and the standard period ending 30th June, 1932.

I then applied to the six quarters to which the reductions in the provisional scheme apply, and I find that from January to March, 1933, the permitted imports, on the assumption that the imports from Dominion countries come in unchanged, will be substantially more than in 1930. In the second quarter that will still be true, in the third quarter it will be true, and it is not until 12 months from now that this scheme will involve the slightest reduction in the imports of meat into this country as compared with 1930. It is not until April and June of 1934 that we get any appreciable reduction, and that reduction only 1 per cent. of the imports of 1930. If you apply that not merely to our imports, but to the total supply of meat, on the assumption that the latest figures that was able to get from the Ministry of Agriculture are representative of the present position—presumably they are substantially representative of it—in 21 months from now we are only going to skim off the supplies of meat to this country less than 1 per cent. of the total supply.

I feel inclined to repeat what I said on the Report stage of the Resolutions that this quota scheme is revolutionary in principle but timorous in detail. It is manifest that it is not going to save the deplorable situation that has been so eloquently put before the Committee by many who are more closely connected with agriculture than I am. I hold the view that other measures are necessary. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given us enormous encouragement by his indication that, after all, that is his view. He said quite frankly that the position is different from that which was visualised when these Agreements were drafted. He has not ruled out other action. But this Session of Parliament will come to an end in less than three weeks as far as we know and a new Session will begin, with its week or 10 days of general preliminaries and, from what I know of the agricultural situation, unless some action is taken before Christmas there may be a. first-class disaster in the rural districts.

We do not want to hamper the Government. [An HON. MEMBER "Turn them out."] If we turned them out, whatever their demerits may be, just look at what faces them. But let us be serious. This is not a matter of party prejudice or personal criticism. It is obvious that there are merits and demerits in a National Government. There is a conflict of view that you do not get in a purely party Government. On the other hand, the

National Government has been able to carry through a complete reversal of our fiscal policy which is likely to be permanent. That is the supreme advantage, in my opinion, that we are going to have from a National Government. On the other hand, perhaps it has not carried it out with quite the ruthlessness that my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) or my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) might have done. I appeal to the Government in the name of the vast number of agriculturists who literally do not know which way to turn and who are fearing this winter as they have never feared any winter before. If they fail, they will march into the towns—not like those who have been marching half-a-mile from this House to-night, but strong, healthy men—for the first time in their lives having failed to earn a living in their own occupation. They will tramp into the towns and make the position infinitely worse than it is at this moment.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 302; Noes, 65.

Division No. 345.] AYES. [10.42 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Edmondson, Major A. J.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Burnett, John George Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Butt, Sir Alfred Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey
Albery, Irving James Cadogan, Hon. Edward Elmley, Viscount
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Emmott, Charles E. G. C.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Caporn, Arthur Cecil Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Carver, Major William H. Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Atholl, Duchess of Cassels, James Dale Erskine-Boist, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)
Balllie, Sir Adrian W. M. Castlereagh, Viscount Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Castle Stewart, Earl Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (P'rtsm'th, S.) Fox, Sir Gifford
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Chalmers, John Rutherford Fraser, Captain Ian
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston) Fremantle, Sir Francis
Bateman, A. L. Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Fuller, Captain A. G.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Christie, James Archibald Ganzoni, SR John
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Clayton, Dr. George C. Gibson, Charles Granville
Beaumont, Hn. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Colfox, Major William Philip Glossop, C. W. H.
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Colman, N. C. D. Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B. Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.
Bevan, Stuart James (Holborn) Conant, R. J. E. Goff, Sir Park
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Cooke, Douglas Goodman. Colonel Albert W.
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Copeland, Ida Gower, Sir Robert
Borodale, Viscount Cranborne, Viscount Greene, William P. C.
Bossom, A. C. Craven-Ellis, William Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Boulton, W. W. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Grimston, R. V.
Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Talton Crooke, J. Smedley Gritten, W. G. Howard
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.
Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald Croom-Johnson, R. P. Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.
Braithwaite, Maj. A. N. (Yorks, E. R.) Crossley, A. C. Gunston, Captain D. W.
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard Guy, J. C. Morrison
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Daikeith, Earl of Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.
Broadbent, Colonel John Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Davison. Sir William Henry Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Donner, P. W. Hanley, Dennis A.
Brown-, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks., Newb'y) Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Browne, Captain A. C. Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Hartington, Marquess of
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Dunglass, Lord Hartland, George A
Burghley, Lord Eastwood, John Francis Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenn'gt'n)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Salt, Edward W.
Haslam, Henry (Lindsay, H'ncastle) Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Millar, Sir James Duncan Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) M line, Charles Scone, Lord
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Mousse, A. Hugh Elsdale Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Hore-Belisha, Leslie Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Hornby, Frank Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Horsbrugh, Florence Moreing, Adrian C. Slater, John
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.) Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.) Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Moss, Captain H. J. Somervell, Donald Bradley
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Muirhead, Major A. J. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H, Munro, Patrick Sotheron-Estcourt. Captain T. E.
Iveagh, Countess of Murray-Philipson, Hylton Ralph Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Nall, Sir Joseph Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Stanley, Hon. O. F. C. (Westmorland)
Jamieson, Douglas Nicholson. Godfrey (Morpeth) Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Jennings, Roland North, Captain Edward T. Storey, Samuel
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Nunn, William Stourton, Hon. John J.
Joel, Dudley J. Barnato O'Donovan, Dr. William James Strauss, Edward A.
Ker, J. Campbell Ormiston, Thomas Strickland, Captain W. F.
Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Palmer, Francis Noel Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Kerr, Hamilton W. Patrick, Colin M. Sutcliffe, Harold
Kimball, Lawrence Pearson, William G. Tate, Mavis Constance
Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R. Penny, Sir George Templeton, William P.
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Percy, Lord Eustace Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Latham, Sir Herbert Paul Perkins, Walter R. D. Thompson, Luke
Law, Sir Alfred Peters, Dr. Sidney John Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Leckie, J. A. Petherick, M. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Pets, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Levy, Thomas Pets, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Lewis, Oswald Pike, Cecil F. Todd, A. L, S. (Kingswinford)
Liddall, Walter S. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Train, John
Lindsay. Noel Ker Pybus, Percy John Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Turton, Robert Hugh
Llewellin, Major John J. Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich) Wallace. Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Lloyd, Geoffrey Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley) Ramsbotham, Herwold Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
Loder, Captain J. de Vere Ramsden, E. Wardlaw-Mline, Sir John S.
Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Rankin, Robert Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Lymington, Viscount Ratcliffe, Arthur Wells, Sydney Richard
MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Ray. Sir William Weymouth. Viscount
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
McCorquodale, M. S. Reid, David D. (County Down) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Wills, Wilfrid D.
McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Renwick, Major Gustav A. Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
McKie, John Hamilton Robinson, John Roland Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
McLean, Major Alan Ropner, Colonel L. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Rosbotham, S. T. Wise, Alfred R.
Macmillan. Maurice Harold Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Womersley, Walter James
Maqnay, Thomas Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. Worthington, Dr. John V.
Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Runge, Norah Cecil Wragg, Herbert
Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Marsden, Commander Arthur Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Martin, Thomas B. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo Mr. Blindell and Commander Southby.
Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Salmon, Major Isidore
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George
Aske, Sir Robert William Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Lawson, John James
Attlee, Clement Richard Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Logan, David Gilbert
Banfield, John William Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middiesbro',W.) Lunn, William
Batey, Joseph Groves, Thomas E. McGovern. John
Bernays, Robert Grundy, Thomas W. McKeag, William
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Buchanan, George Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Cape, Thomas Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd) Milner, Major James
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Harris, Sir Percy Parkinson, John Allen
Cripps, Sir Stafford Hicks, Ernest George Price, Gabriel
Curry, A. C. Hirst, George Henry Rea, Walter Russell
Daggar, George Holdsworth, Herbert Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Danner, Barnett Samuel. Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jenkins, Sir William Sinclair, Maj. Rt. He. Sir A. (C'thness)
Edwards, Charles John, William Tinker, John Joseph
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. David
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) White, Henry Graham
Williams, Edward John (Ogmore) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Williams, Dr. John H (Llanelly) Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.) Mr. D. Graham and Mr. G. Macdonald.
Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)

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