HC Deb 16 May 1933 vol 278 cc225-69

I beg to move, in page 18, line 16, column 3, at the end, to insert the words: ;in Sub-section (2) of Section fourteen the words 'before the passing of this Act.' This is purely a consequential Amendment relating to a Clause which was accepted by this House. Therefore I do not think it is necessary for me to go into any explanation of it.


I beg to second the Amendment.


This Amendment is consequential on the new Clause7which was accepted by the House last night.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 18, line 30, column 3, to leave out the words: Part II and insert ' Sub-section (2) of Section one and Part II of the Schedule.' This Amendment is moved to correct a misquotation of the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Act.

Amendment agreed to.

4.50 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

In moving the Third Reading of a Bill which has now occupied the attention of the House for some considerable time, we remind ourselves that we are undoubtedly dealing with a Bill which has a close connection with the life of a very large part of our fellow countrymen and fellow countrywomen. How great are the issues with which, in our quiet proceedings in Committee, we have been concerned, is proved by the fact that they directly affect no fewer than 7,000,000 houses, and one of the most intense interests in human life, the condition of the homes of the 7,000,000 people concerned. It is a remarkable circumstance that the consideration of this Measure, which so intimately affects domestic life, has passed in an atmosphere which has been entirely free from any heat or acrimony. I like to think that that is due, in the first place, to a recognition that the object of the Bill has been to give fair play to both parties concerned, the occupiers on the one hand and the owners on the other. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) has managed to detect a third interest, but after all the interests concerned belong either to the one section or the other.

The Opposition has opposed the Bill, as it is the function of His Majesty's Opposition to do, but has opposed it without any acrimonious recriminations. That I attribute to the circumstance that the Bill on its face bears provisions which are obviously designed for the benefit of both those great interests. At the end of these Debates I am convInced that the Majority of the House are satisfied that in this Bill not only have the interests of both landlord and tenant been sought, but that as a matter of fact fair play has been achieved by the provisions of the Bill. What is the great object which we must have before us in any recasting of legislation which deals with housing problems? It is, of course, at bottom the provision of a proper house for everybody in the country at a possible rent. The meeting of that most essential want, a proper house at a possible rent, depends upon the supply of houses. On that also depends the other great condition which makes for happiness, and that is security of occupation. All these things depend upon an adequate supply.

This Bill is designed in order to promote the supply of houses in a manner which has been dealt with previously and which I need not describe now. It is designed to promote the supply of proper houses at possible rents by removing, wherever it is safe and right to remove them, those restrictions from the conditions affecting housing property which, as we all know, are hostile to the free supply of the houses that we want to see. It is a part of the general housing policy of the Government. I cannot on this occasion do more than refer to the other side of that policy which we have just carried through in the Housing Bill, but I may refer with gratification to the circumstance that already we see some improvement in the building activities of the country. Post hoc is not necessarily propter hoc. Because there is an improvement after the introduction of our Measures it is not necessarily the consequence of them. Nevertheless it is reasonable to think that this new direction which we have given to policy has been in part responsible for the improvement in employment in the building trade. Since last January unemployment in the building trade has decreased by some 100,000 persons. That is partly seasonal, but an encouraging circumstance is that that decrease has been precisely double this year what it was last year or the year before.

The principal object of this Bill, this part of the housing policy of the Government, is to maintain the pool of small houses available for the wage earners during the remainder of the period during which it may be anticipated that the supply of those houses will not be equal to the demand. The conditions under which we approach these problems are these: As regards a certain class of houses supplies have overtaken the demand, and therefore as regards those we can remove control. That is the "A" class. As regards another class of houses, the "B" class, the supply is gradually overtaking the demand, and therefore decontrol must continue to be gradual. As regards the "C" class, the small house for the wage earners, supply has not yet begun to overtake the demand, and therefore for the present decontrol is not possible.

The Bill fixes the period of five years as a reasonable period to allow those forces which are at work in increasing the supply to produce such a position as to make it safe to decontrol "C" class houses. It thus secures the most important condition for the future, that control shall not continue in a merely automatic manner year after year. Were such a state of affairs to exist there would be danger that in the press of Parliamentary business the time might be allowed to overrun at which decontrol would be possible. That would be most hostile to the interests of the wage earners, because it could not but lead to a restriction of the supply of "C" class houses, and to an artificial maintenance of their rents after the time when forces might be expected to come into play which would lead to a reduction. We secure a review of the position at the end of five years.

Meanwhile the principal object and the principal achievement of the Bill is, by the cessation of the gradual decontrol of "C" class houses, to make sure that during the next five years there shall be no reduction of the pool of small controlled houses available at a controlled rent to the lowest paid wage earner, and thus to put an end to, the growth of that recognised abuse and grievance, the sharp rise that takes place in many cases now in the rent of a small house upon its decontrol. The remedying of that abuse is in itself a purpose which it has been well worth while to have served by this Bill.

There are other and not inconsiderable improvements in the law, and benefits to all interests concerned, which will be secured by the Bill. Let us take it, first of all, from the point of view of the occupier. From their point of view the Bill for the first time will give the wage earner who is looking for a house, before going into a new house, an opportunity to find out with absolute certainty whether the house is controlled or decontrolled. It does that by means of a new register of decontrolled houses, so that a mere visit to the local office and a glance at the register will tell the intending tenant whether or not the house which he proposes to take is one where he can rely on a controlled rent or one where he cannot rely on a controlled rent. It will thus avoid the possibility which has existed in the past of a tenant being trapped by an unscrupulous landlord.

In the second place, the Bill introduces a provision which I am confident the House will consider most beneficial for the protection of sub-tenants. Very strong, widespread and well-founded have been the complaints on behalf of subtenants of profiteering on the part of the direct tenants who are sub-letting to-them. It has been nothing else than an abuse of the order of society under the Rent Restrictions Acts, and some remedy was called for. I believe that the remedy proposed by the Marley Committee, which is now embodied in the Bill, is the most practicable that could have been found. The sub-tenant had before, as a matter of fact, a legal remedy against profiteering, but in order to exercise it; he had himself to exercise the initiative and seek the aid of the courts. We know how hard it is to persuade tenants to do that. They have not the habit of going round to the courts and starting legal proceedings. To find a remedy, then, for this profiteering, we had to look for some way of giving someone else an interest in stopping it, and obviously the person who was most likely to be interested was the ultimate owner of the house. The advice presented by the Marley Committee, and embodied in the Bill, was sound and practicable, and that was to give the owner of the house a practical interest in putting an end to the profiteering, by the provision that if his tenant profiteered he could recover his full interest in the house and turn the profiteering tenant out.

Another important provision in the Bill is the provision by which sub-tenants in particular, and tenants as a whole, will be assisted in the state of ignorance to which I have referred by further means of information as to their rights. They will be assisted in understanding what their rights are, which, after all, is the first step towards securing those rights, by provisions which will enable local authorities to publish information for the benefit of the tenants upon what their rights are. Secondly, a most important provision, which has not attracted as much attention in our proceedings as it deserves, is the provision for making clearer and more informative the notices in the rent book. After all, the rent book is the tenant's Bible; it is his Holy Scripture as regards his relations with his landlord; and the best way of getting new information across to the tenant is to put it into his rent book. Full use has not been made of that opportunity in the past, and I am confident that by the powers given under the Bill to the Minister of Health to make a better use of that opportunity, the tenants will be greatly benefited.

From the point of view of the owners there are also provisions which, I think, are both of advantage in remedying hardships and are fair to both parties. The principal alteration made by the Bill, the principal advance in the direction of a more reasonable basis in the relations of owner and occupier from the point of view of the owner, are the new provisions as regards possession. The Bill recognises and establishes this principle, that the owner is entitled to the possession of his premises from a tenant whenever he can establish that there is another house, which is practically equivalent to the house in question, available for the tenant to occupy. Alternative accommodation is made for the first time in itself a sufficient ground for the owner to obtain possession of his premises. That, I think, must commend itself to common sense, because if there is another house into which the tenant can go, just as good and suitable to him as the house out of which he will be moving, there is no reason why he should continue, against the interests and the will of the owner, to occupy a house which is no better than the other house which is available to him.

That provision is much assisted by a new provision which will clarify and simplify it, namely, the definition of what alternative accommodation can be. It is no good saying to the owner that he can get possession of his house if he can find alternative accommodation, if he finds it impossible to find accommodation which will meet the definition of alternative accommodation in the Act. Under the new conditions established by this Bill, we have a practical definition of alternative accommodation which will make that provision operative. From the point of view of the owner, as of society as a whole, the provision in the Bill for the reduction of overcrowding is most beneficial and in itself most worth while. It will enable the owner to advantage himself at the same time as he advantages the public health, by preventing improper overcrowding on the part of his tenants.

At bottom, these provisions in the interests of the owner on the one hand and of the occupier on the other are in the interests of both classes, because they make, from the point of view of the owner, provisions which, while being fair to the occupier, sweep away unnecessary restrictions upon investments in house property, make such investments more attractive, and tend to promote the supply of houses for the people as a whole. Therefore, if we hold before our eyes as a principal object the increase of supply, which alone can meet the reduction of rents which is wanted in order to ease social conditions, we could find no better way of attaining that increase of supply, with its consequent reduction of rents, than by the abolition of restrictions upon investments in house property which are no longer necessary in the interests of the tenant.

We have made some very interesting and useful Amendments in the Bill during its passage through Committee. We have clarified the position as regards the occupants of the "A" houses, and extended their present tenure until September, in order to give time for readjustment between them and their landlords. We have taken what I believe is a most important step for the promotion of that reconditioning work on bad houses which is a great social object at the present time, by enabling an owner who spends money under reasonable conditions upon the reconditioning of his house to charge a fair return for the money invested, which he formerly could not do. We have enacted that a certificate of disrepair, which enables a tenant to refuse to pay the permitted increase of rent, shall automatically issue whenever a certificate is issued under the Housing Act that the house is not fit for occupation —a very important provision for the protection of tenants against bad landlords who do not do repairs. We have assisted the management of estates by provisions regarding agricultural cottages, and we have done a good turn for the occupants of shops and business premises in category "A" by making quite sure that the original intention of Parliament shall prevail and that they shall enjoy their rights of compensation under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

There is a species of criticism, when a Bill has been amended in Committee, which is apt to say, "You, the Minister, ought to be ashamed of yourself for introducing a Bill which was not perfect in the first place, but was capable of improvement." Not at all. I should rather be ashamed of myself if I conducted a Bill through the House of Commons and through Committee without its being improved, because we are fully conscious of the large stock of knowledge and experience that is here, and we are aware of the advantages which we gain by bringing fresh minds to bear on the problem. I am sufficiently a believer in the House of Commons. I am sufficiently a House of Commons man, to take pride in the fact that we have thus made use of our opportunities to introduce useful improvements into the Bill.

FiNaily, I am aware that the Labour party have opposed the Bill throughout, and I believe that they have opposed it upon these grounds that, to their minds —it may not have been in the forefront of their words—they desire to see rent restriction as a permanent system, and not only so, but they desire to use it as a foundation upon which to build further restrictions, further limitations, further interferences, to regulate the relations between owner and occupier in the provision of houses. That, I believe, would be a fatal policy. I believe it; would have no result in the long run save further to restrict the supply of houses. I believe we took the course best adapted to secure that supply which we desire to see. We have faced the facts of the case in this Bill, and have brought our law upon this subject up to date by sweeping away all those restrictions which are no longer necessary, while securing the position as regards the tenants of small houses where restrictions are still necessary because the supply is not yet adequate. In these circumstances, I believe the House will come to the conclusion that there can be no further obstacle to giving this Bill its Third Reading.

5.12 p.m.


I think that, in spite of any criticisms we may level against the policy of the Government in connection with housing and rent restriction, I shall be voicing the opinion of practically everybody in the House in congratulating the Minister and his deputy on the manner in which they have handled this Bill throughout the whole of these proceedings. There is no doubt that they have mastered every line, every word, and every comma in the Measure. In saying that it does not, of course necessarily follow that we agree with the policy embodied in the Bill. The Minister said, quite rightly, that there has been very little acrimony in the discussion of this Bill, either in the House or in Committee, and the reason surely is not very far to seek. I think the history of politics in this country may be outlined somewhat in this way: that the Labour party agitates, and educates the public, and then the Conservative party gets hold of its ideas and translates them into law in the way that the Tories think best. There would have been no restriction at all upon rents in this country were it not for the agitation of the Labour movement outside this House of Commons. I think that that can be said and can be proved.

The Minister said to-day that 7,000,000 houses are affected in this Bill. He did not mean, of course, that 7,000,000 houses are to be controlled under the Bill. What the Government have done in bringing forward this Measure is to take us back with one fell swoop to the old Victorian idea of things. When I saw this Bill first it reminded me of the old classes on the railway—1st Class, 2nd Class, and 3rd Class—but instead of putting houses into those classes, they have given us Class "A," Class "B," and Class "C" houses, which sounds very much more respectable, I suppose.


It was not the Government, but Lord Marley, that did that.


Surely the hon. Gentleman does not suggest that the Government are compelled to put into operation the recommendations of any committee of any kind? As a matter of fact, Governments have failed more often than otherwise to put such recommendations into operation; and I think the hon. Member will find out, if he compares the recommendations of the Marley Committee, of which I think he was a member, with this Bill, that the Government have not implemented them all in exactly the way in which that committee recommended.

We have not been as critical of the Measure as would otherwise have been the case because the Bill, at any rate, controls for the first time millions of houses, as against the control of tenants. That is very important especially in relation to working-class cottages. I imagine that the vast Majority of the houses in my own division will be Class "C" houses. The Bill divides houses into three territories, London, Scotland and the provInces, and divides them once again into three categories, Classes "A," "B" and "C." When we speak of the provInces in relation to housing accommodation, we ought to remember that, whatever difference there may be between the Metropolis and the provInces, the difference between cities and urban and rural districts in the provInces is as great as that prevailing between the provInces and the Metropolis. We all seem to accept the -idea that the provInces provide us with a housing standard which is equal throughout. It is not true at all. In Manchester and Liverpool housing conditions will be entirely different from those in small urban areas like the division that I represent.

When the right hon. Gentleman said that the Bill held an even balance between all parties, I think any fair-minded person will come to the conclusion right away that in the very nature of the case the tenant is always disadvantaged under the law by comparison with the position of the owner of the property. Consequently, it is very difficult to agree with the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion on that score. He declared that supply has already overtaken demand in Class "C" and is gradually overtaking it in the case of Class "B" houses.

The main criticism that I have to make of the Measure is in relation to Class "B" houses. The Class "B" house in a small urban district in a county is, in fact, the house of the well-to-do, but in a large city very often it is the abode of the professional man, whose income sometimes is not more than £200 a year; and I really think the Bill ought to have been improved in favour of the tenant of Class "B" house. I do not know what is going to happen in Scotland under this Act, but I am confident that the housing conditions in this country cannot be divided into-compartments as it were as between the Metropolis, the provInces and Scotland. You can find, as stated, as many divisions and categories of houses and problems connected with housing in the provInces as you can find as between these three categories.

The Minister said something about employment improving in the building trade. He said the trade had shown an improvement and a liveliness during the last few months—he did not say happily that it was consequent upon the policy of the Government. Then he proceeded to-prove his case by saying that the number of building trade operatives on the unemployment register had declined. There-is less relationship as the days go by between the number of persons in employment and the number on the register. Intact the time is fast approaching when you will have more persons unemployed outside the unemployment register than there are included. It is not correct to argue therefore that, because the number of building trade operatives on the unemployment register is declining, they are of necessity becoming employed in the building trade. What might very well happen is that they fall outside the register altogether and are not actually going back to work on building operations. I should not like the Solicitor-General to argue later in the Debate, as the right hon. Gentleman has done, that there is a great improvement in the building trade because the number of unemployed operatives is declining. What we should like to know is, how many more building operatives are actually at work, which is a different proposition altogether. That would help us considerably to understand the position.

I am sorry that nothing has been done in the Bill for the tenant in the tied cottage. I heard the argument yesterday of the difficulties of the owner of the tied cottage, and one hon. Member argued that 10, Downing Street was a tied cottage because the house went with the job, as it were. On the last occasion the tenant kept the job, in spite of the fact that he ought by all the rules of decency to have cleared out. But I do not think he will remain next time there is a change. It is indeed unfortunate that a Bill that deals with rent control does nothing at all for the tenant of the tied cottage.

If there is one thing in connection with housing that irritates the community, it is that the 40 per cent. increase in rent provided by the original Measure has not in the vast Majority of cases been utilised in repairing, painting and improving the property, as was intended. I do not think there is anything in this Measure that will help to get over that difficulty. The policy of the Government is definitely in favour of throwing the housing accommodation of the people, by this and kindred Measures, over to private enterprise. They will, I hope, not be in power at the end of five years, and they will not be able therefore to decide what shall be done then. I hope and trust, and I feel that I can prophesy, that there will be a more sensible, generous and radical-minded Government in power before the end of the five years. When that time comes, I feel sure that the problem will not have been solved in the very easy way the right hon. Gentleman has tried to forecast in this Bill. There is one provision that is very useful indeed and that is that, instead of controlling the tenant, as has been the case hitherto, in the case of small property, the houses themselves will be controlled, and that is a great step forward. We are dissatisfied with many other provisions in the Bill, and we have indicated our displeasure in connection with some of them. We have tabled Amendments and voted on them, but that one provision of controlling small cottage property we regard as very useful, and on that score we have not brought as much criticism against the Measure as would otherwise be the case. FiNaily, some of us regard the control of small houses in Class "G" as the basis for any future action should we on this side of the House get power to deal with the rent and housing problem ourselves.

5.26 p.m.


I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words, "upon this day six months."

I listened to the Minister's statement and I do not wish to join in the congratulations to him more than to say, without being personal, that on each Measure his manner of handling it is constantly improving. He has opposed us but he has not done it with arrogance or with great impudence. He has met us and argued with us. He has given us nothing, but he has done it very civilly. We moved a reasoned Amendment on the Second Reading. We move the rejection now because we have come to the conclusion that the Bill, while it contains elements of goodness, in essence in many respects is bad. When we moved and divided on the Second Heading, the Labour party decided, quite rightly from their point of view, that they could not support us. But, if we had not divided against it, everyone in the House would have been taken as supporting it. We have never denied that it contains elements of goodness. Almost every Measure of every Government contains those elements. [Interruption.] The case of the Anomalies Bill is not quite fair. It was drafted in haste and thought out in anger and was not a Measure worth giving too much criticism to. The Health In- surance Measure promulgated by the present Minister of Health was a bad Measure. It was opposed by the Labour party on the Second and Third Reading, but everyone knew then that there were elements in it which were good. If you reject a Measure it does not mean to say that it is entirely rejected. It is merely giving an instruction to the Government to introduce a new Measure in accordance with the reasons why the House of Commons have rejected the previous Measure. When a Bill of this character is rejected in this way it is right and proper for the Government to introduce another Measure to take its place. We voted against the Widows' and Old Age Pensions Bill, although it contained many good points, because we believed that certain principles were wrong. If the Amendment which we moved on that occasion had been carried, it would not have meant the defeat of the Measure, but would have been an instruction to the Government to bring in another Measure.

The present Bill is based on what is popularly called the Marley Report, and I do not think anyone in any part of the House will deny that fact. It is as well on the Third Beading that we should take stock of the matter. The Marley Committee was appointed by the Minister of Health in the Labour Government, and 50 per cent. of their number comprised members of the Labour party, and, unlike the hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight), they are still members of the Labour party. The committee heard evidence, examined witnesses, and produced a report which was unanimous, with the exception of the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham). Those who sat on the committee were not novices, as might have been said if, for instance, I had been a member of the committee. I might have been regarded as having come here by accident and as having to be tolerated, but in this case we have to remember that responsible people in the Labour party were on the committee. There was the chief woman officer of the party, and there were prominent trade union officials. Lord Marley plays an important part in the House of Lords. As they had signed the report, it was therefore regarded as the basis of what must be accepted. It has been said that that was in 1931 and that things are different in 1933. I know that things are different in 1933, but the committee which made recommendations must have known that things were different in 1931 from what they were in 1924, and have realised that every year saw changes. A committee which reports on the permanent decontrol of certain houses must face economic facts. While from some angles it could be argued that things had got worse, it could be argued from other angles that things had got better. There are certainly more houses than there were in 1924, but, be that as it may, would anybody, would the Labour party, have said that decontrol was good in 1931? Would they have said that the 40 per cent. increase of rent was justified in 1931 and that it was not justified in 1933? This sort of thing makes me have almost a contempt for politics, because I know that if the committee had reported to the Labour Government in 1931 their recommendations in the main would have been accepted, and to come along now and use the flimsy excuse that there is a two years' difference is not treating the House with proper respect.


Is there not this fact, that soon after the presentation of the Marley Report in 1931 there occurred a wide range of cuts and financial disturbances affecting thousands of tenants in the country coming within these Statutes?


It is true that there were cuts in unemployment benefit. The rate of unemployment benefit when the report was signed was, for a man, wife and two children, 29s. per week. Can anyone say that a man receiving unemployment pay of 29s. per week in respect of himself, wife and two children can afford to pay an increase of 40 per cent. upon his rent?


That man, if he is in a class "C" house, is still kept within the protection of the Statute, and, further, if he is the occupant of only part of the house, for the first time in the Statutes, he receives protection under the Bill.


There have been unjustifiable cuts, and I say that a sum of 29s. is not sufficient to enable a man to pay 40 per cent. increase in rent. The Marley Report was issued on the eve of the crisis in 1931, and the Government had already acted in view of the impending crisis by reducing the wages of civil servants. The House of Commons naturally takes more interest in some Bills than in others. One is not annoyed, for example, if the House of Commons is almost empty when discussing, say, the Trout Bill for Scotland, but it is terrible on a Bill affecting 7,000,000 tenants, to see the House of Commons practically empty and the representatives of the workpeople absent almost to a man.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and, 40 Members being present—


I do not want to be critical of people being absent, but it is terrible that there Should be only one person on the Opposition benches. The Bill deals with three parts of the country —the Metropolitan area, outside the Metropolitan area, and Scotland—and proposes to decontrol class "A" houses, to decontrol class "B" houses by a gradual process and it provides statutory control for class "C" houses. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) stated that this is the first Measure to decontrol houses. The Measure of 1923 decontrolled houses Since 1923, the moment a tenant has left his house it has become decontrolled. Consequently, this is not the first Measure for the decontrol of houses but one of a series, although it resumes control for class "C" houses. Our criticism of the Measure is that we are opposed to class "A" houses going out entirely. Many poor people in London occupy class "A" houses. They are people of moderate circumstances who are faced with the terrible task of having to keep up a respectable appearance although not receiving very good wages. This is a shocking injustice and cannot be defended.

The decontrol of class "A" houses, particularly in London and in certain big towns including Glasgow, cannot be defended, while the decontrolling of class "B" houses is altogether wrong. Class "B" house ought to have been retained under control. Class "C" house remains under control, but even there the Minister has lost an essential point. Many class "C" houses which Since 1923 have passed out of control still remain outside control. In other words, the houses that have been decontrolled Since 1923 by a change of tenancy still remain outside of control. I think that is a serious wrong. You are going to have this sort of thing constantly happening, that houses that are decontrolled for any other reason than the accident of removal, it may be due to a death, are to be the subject of any rent that the landlord cares to extract from the unfortunate tenant, while alongside you will have another person who may be fortunate enough to live in a controlled house.

In these circumstances we think the Bill is bad. We think the Bill fails in dealing with the problem of rent. We feel strongly, it may be due to our Scottish disposition, that there is nothing about which the working people in Scotland are so keen as the question of rent and the payment of rent. I visited my mother-in-law last Saturday. She has occupied the same house for 46 years and she is now paying an enhanced rent. She finds that the difficulty in paying that rent becomes increasingly difficult, and she also finds that the house has depreciated in value. Yet she has to meet that increased rent for something that has gone down in value. There is no defence either in 1931 or in 1933 for maintaining a rent increase that is altogether unfitted for the times that we live in.

Under the original Act which gave an increase of 40 per cent. to the house owner, the owner was entitled to recover from the tenant certain increases of rates. In Glasgow under this provision the tenant does not merely pay 40 per cent, increase but 7½ per cent, is added for rates that became due as and from a certain date. Therefore, the increase to the tenant in Glasgow is 47½ per cent., and in another part of Scotland it is as high as 52 per cent. In the year 1933 the tenant has not only to meet the 40 per cent, increase but to pay certain rate increases that ought properly to fall to the landlord. We think that an increase of rent by 40 per cent, is a shocking increase, and that to allow an increase in respect of rates is indefensible from every angle. We are told by the Minister that certain improvements have been made. These improvements leave me cold. I listened to the statements about the town clerk, the county buildings or the town council offices being open so that people could visit there and learn all about the methods of control.

What concerns me most is that the class "C" house is in demand and is remaining in demand, and the consequence is that while you may get a certain register informing people of the Act, it will rapidly fall into disuse unless there is constant enforcement on the local authorities. But there is no power of enforcing it on the local authorities. There is no penal clause if they do not do it. It reminds me of the National Health Insurance Act, which says that the first 7s. 6d. shall not be taken off the amount of Poor Law relief, but we find that because there is no penal clause attached to that provision the local authority can ignore it with impunity. I am afraid therefore that the section which seeks to give a person a controlled house will be of little value to the ordinary tenant. As to the other matters, about the tenant being looked, after in regard to sub-letting and repairs, our problem in Scotland is not a common one, because of our tenement or flat system. With regard to the whole Measure, it passes houses into decontrol that ought to remain in, we say that the "B" houses should not drop out, that to allow a rent increase of 40 per cent, to continue is unjust, unfair and indefensible, and that to allow an increase of rates to be paid by the tenant is most unfair.

Viewing the Measure generally we think that it is a terrible one and one not fully understood by a great number of people. Like many other Measures it is passing through the House little understood. That is partly because the Labour party signed the Report and the recommendations and nothing special is being said outside, and little agitation is taking place. If I was sure that the Act would be amended by other governments it might not be so bad, but I am certain that it will not be changed by any government in the immediate future. Therefore, the Bill from any angle is bad, and it is our purpose to divide against it.

5.52 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I will not delay the House in covering the ground that has been so ably and completely covered by my hon. Friend. The things that I desire to say on the Measure are things that would not be appropriate to the Third Heading stage, and you would probably rule them out of order. When we opposed the Bill on Second Reading we were ready should the Committee stage bring about improvements, ameliorations of the conditions of the people so far as housing was concerned—I mean the people of the type with whom we were principally and primarily interested—to reconsider our attitude of opposition at the Third Reading stage. But nothing that has happened in the intervening Committee stage has made any substantial difference to the opposition that we offer.

This Measure is perhaps a clearer indication to the people of this country as to the failure of the National Government to be a national government than anything else that they have done. When the National Government introduced its first King's Speech I accepted that Speech as the kind of speech one would expect from a Government in the situation in which it was meeting. I thought that Since they were cutting down the working-class standards of life in a variety of directions they might, by cutting down the rents that people have to pay, through amendment of the existing Rent Restrictions Acts, make life easier in the homes of millions of the poorest citizens, upon whom privations were imposed definitely by the action of this House. Those people might have had their homes assured to them, in most cases miserable homes, on the terms of rent and rates payments which it would have been possible for a proportion of them to meet. There is no indication of that attitude in the Measure as amended. There is no indication of any desire on the part of the Government in circumstances that are admittedly difficult for many sections of the community to make life a little easier for the people who are suffering most in every direction.

I am disappointed at the action of my hon. Friends above the Gangway. We have had a lot of differences with them. They know that we regarded their actions in the past, particularly when they were in office, as being wrong in many directions, and badly directed from the point of view of the people they were created to serve. We hoped, as did masses of their supporters in the country, that when the Prime Minister, the Dominions Secretary, and the hon. and learned Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Knight) and other eminent people who had been misleading them had left their ranks, that they were entering into a new era of definite and active struggle on behalf of the poor. To-day, when I see the lack of interest evidenced by the presence of only one member of that party on the Front Bench—an hon. Member whose interest in housing we must admit is not challengable—I think that party is not showing the attitude on this question which a very large body of their supporters were entitled to expect and believed that they were going to get from them in the House of Commons.

Perhaps the strongest criticism I can make on the Bill is that while it brings no practical relief to the overwhelming Majority of the people it is wrongly conceived. It is conceived on the assumption that in two or three years hence there will be more prosperous conditions prevailing in this country; that there will be an increasing supply of houses, and that the conditions will be such that many of the things which are to be regulated by this legislation will be put right by the operations of the market. That is a complete misreading of the immediate future and, indeed, I could quote from statements made by responsible Members of the Government, statements which have been already over-quoted, to indicate that they themselves, in their general survey of the future, do not expect increasing prosperity in the near future which they anticipate in the legislation we are now discussing.

The corporation of the city of Glasgow have decided to decline any further applications from people to have their names put on the waiting list for houses, because they have already on that waiting list 100,000 people whom they are unable to satisfy. That is, roughly, 100,000 people out of a population of about 1,000,000, or 100,000 prospective householders in a population of house-holders which is probably not more than 300,000 or 400,000. When you have one-fifth of the population of Glasgow wanting houses and not able to get them, is that any indication that in the last year or so the house shortage has been overcome to such an extent as to justify the assumption that in the next year or two the market for houses will be such as to make it possible to remove the control? The Measure, as introduced, was bad, and as amended in Committee it has not been altered in any substantial point. The reasons which urged us to oppose the Bill on Second Reading and in Committee will compel us to carry our opposition to the Third Reading also.

6.3 p.m.


I cannot quite agree with hon. Members opposite in the somewhat sparse compliments they are prepared to pay to those who have piloted the Bill through the House. I am very far from agreeing with much that has been done, and I am not. in agreement that the omissions from the Bill are not very serious, but I think everyone concerned with the Measure through its various stages will readily admit that the piloting of the Bill has been of a genteel and chivalrous nature, and that those who have opposed it have received full opportunity of expressing their views and have been met with every courtesy. But that is not quite enough. Courteous treatment, even combined with the best of intentions, is not sufficient to satisfy the serious objections which many people have in respect of a Measure which affects so many people in this country. On the Second Reading of the Bill we admitted that a very substantial concession was made by the Measure. No one can gainsay the fact that the concession made in respect of class "C" houses, taken at its face value, is a healthy move in the right direction. I do not say that it is sufficient, indeed, it may perhaps be misleading, because I believe that during the period of time in which this concession will operate it will be found that those who have placed reliance on the fact that the concession will come to an end will find themselves sorely disappointed, because circumstances will not permit of the decontrol of the houses which are concerned. But standing as it does, and affecting so many tenancies, no one can deny that it should be supported and accepted as something of considerable importance.

Unfortunately there has been some whittling down of this concession. We on these benches did our best to try to get an understanding with regard to sub-tenancies. It is not so simple a matter as would appear on the surface. There are no records, no complete statistics, of the number of sub-tenancies which exist, and it is indeed difficult to know how many thousands of people, how many tens of thousands of people, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, are affected by the question of the sub-tenancies which may come out of control by virtue of the provisions of this Bill. I am deeply perturbed about the position. In London this particular question presents itself from a very serious angle. The right of protection of a sub-tenant who has sub-let his premises with the knowledge of the landlord will be taken away, and it may result in the tenant being deprived of the privileges which other persons possess who occupy a similar amount of space, rated possibly at a greater amount than the portion of the premises he retains in the house. The sub-tenants of that tenant will be allowed to remain in the house, but when they vacate the rooms, the portions of the house which have been occupied by them will become decontrolled, and in my view the certain result will be that a large number of rooms which are at present available for the working classes will be taken out of control, in spite of the fact that the intention of the Bill is to keep the Major portion, if not the whole of premises which come under category "C," under control.

The London County Council and other important bodies who have investigated the position have declared quite categorically that this is a very serious problem, and, in my constituency, which represents to a considerable extent the position that prevails in the most thickly populated centres of London, it will undoubtedly work considerable hardship if that provision is not cancelled. We have, therefore, cause for fear about the houses which will thus become decontrolled and which may create a very serious problem indeed. We are also perturbed about the position with regard to houses not only in Class "B" but in Class "A." Circumstances have changed Since 1931. The Marley Report gave certain conclusions which have been incorporated almost wholly in this Bill, but there is no doubt that the financial position of those tenants who occupy Class "A" and Class "B" houses have changed to a considerable extent. They are not going to find it easy to get out by September, or to find alternative accommodation of a suitable nature; and if they could there would have been no harm at all in keeping these houses within the Acts. I cannot understand why the contention is not clear to the Government that if there is a plentiful supply of these houses, or if there is likely to be a plentiful supply provided, it is obvious that no man will insist upon remaining in a controlled house when there is an opportunity for him to go to a decontrolled house at a reasonable rent. The financial circumstances of people who occupy these houses have been considerably reduced recently, and if they are to be put to the difficulty of finding houses at a higher rental, it may mean that they will have to suffer in other respects, food, clothing, the welfare of their children, in order to be able to pay a higher rent.

We suggested that a period of one year or two years might have been given within which people who occupy houses of this kind might find other accommodation. That was not an unreasonable request, in view of the circumstances which prevail, and we still hope that it will be possible to do this. We realise fully the difficulties which will be encountered by professional men and also by working men who occupy houses of this nature. It is a considerable drop from a rateable value of £105 to £45; at present, as I have tried to point out, I think with some little success, it is not a drop to £45 but it is a drop from £105 to £35. We are very disappointed that some note has not been taken of our contention in that respect because it affects a large number of houses. You have 500,000 houses which are controlled and in September can become decontrolled, and which will, of course, automatically become decontrolled as soon as notices have been served, without any more ado.

We are grateful to the Government for having granted concessions in respect of the extension of the Landlord and Tenant Act. That is a very important thing to the shopkeepers. It is important to the man who has a shop and house combined, to know that if he has been working there for many years he will be able to obtain some compensation for the goodwill which he has created in the same way as a person who had premises which did not come within the provisions of the other Rent Acts. I hope the Minister of Health and the Solicitor-General will, if they possibly can, give consideration to the question which I raised yesterday in that respect. As far as I can see the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act will not be very useful if the tenant can be turned out on receiving a month's notice. If he can be turned into the street without even an application to the courts, I do not see what useful purpose will be served by allowing him two months to give notice of the fact that he considers compensation insufficient to satisfy his loss and that he ought to be given an extended lease. What is to happen in the meantime I cannot foresee. It may be that I am wrong in my contention upon this matter, but if I am right it is a very serious difficulty and one which ought to be remedied.

There are other contentious matters of considerable importance in connection with this Bill, but they have already been dwelt upon in the course of the Debates, and we are not anxious on this occasion to reCapttulate what has been said before. But if it is found possible in another place to make provisions concerning some of the many items which we have raised in the course of these discussions, we think that a useful purpose will thus be served. We think that the suggestions which we have offered ought to be accepted in the spirit in which we have offered them. We have not offered them in any destructive sense, but in the hope that we might assist to improve the Measure. We know that we could adopt precisely the same attitude as that of hon. Members opposite. We also know the likelihood of the success of any operation of that nature on our part. I am not going to speak on behalf of the party as a whole, but I think I may say that we Liberals reserve to ourselves the right of acting according to our judgment and I submit that that is not a right lightly to be turned down by hon. Members. There is bound to be a balancing of opinions upon a Measure of this nature. It has been said that it involves a question of right against right and undoubtedly it involves the question of whether the advantages to be gained by its proposals are likely to outweigh its disadvantages. For my own part, I do not feel at liberty to vote for the Measure as it stands, but, in view of important provisions which it contains, I am not going into the Lobby against it. Approaching the Measure as I do in that spirit I hope that the proposals which I have made will meet with some response from the Government and that they will, even yet, grant some of the concessions to which I have referred.

6.21 p.m.


It was inevitable from the outset that a Bill dealing with such a problem as the rent problem would lead to considerable differences of opinion on matters of detail. That would be the case whatever Government brought in a Bill to deal with rents. The rent problem is one of the most intricate of our national problems, and there were bound to be differences of opinion on many parts of this Bill. I think the Government would have preferred those of their supporters who disagreed with them on these matters to have stated their views during the Committee stage, as the subjects of difference arose, so as to keep the Government in touch with feeling in the industrial constituencies which many of us on this side represent. Before the Bill leaves the House however I take the opportunity of expressing my gratitude to the Ministers who have piloted it through its various stages for the manner in which they have met us on a great many of our Amendments. It is true that there have been other Amendments which the Government have resisted and of which they have secured the rejection. But I wish to express my satisfaction at the course which has been taken in regard to two of the matters raised during the Committee stage—a course which I think will be of great advantage to many of our constituents. I refer first to the Government's action regarding the great grievance of profiteering in the sub-letting of single rooms. That is a problem which has never been dealt with by legislation before and I think it is the most severe form of profiteering which has taken place during these difficult times. Secondly, I welcome the acceptance of the new Clause which deals with the rectification of rent books. Under that Clause it is no longer possible to enter up a rent book incorrectly and thus handicap the person who has to seek accommodation elsewhere. We are grateful to the Government for that concession.

The Government, as I say, have not agreed to some of the proposals which we desired them to accept. One was the extension of the period of notice from one month to three, which we endeavoured unsuccessfully to secure last night. I regret too that the Government could not see their way to make some small reduction in the permitted increase. Just as internal debt is the most oppressive item in the national Budget, so is rent the most oppressive item in the household budget and, as we have reduced the internal debt in the national Budget, I had hoped that we should have been able to make some small reduction in the other respect as well. Although I regret the Minister's resistance to that proposal, those of us who are anxious to see rents reduced have still a weapon in our hands to achieve our purpose. We can throw our whole weight behind the Government's policy of providing an adequate number of houses to let at rents which people can afford. I certainly propose to do all I can to persuade local authorities to back the Government's programme of providing an adequate supply of these houses. The sooner that is done the sooner will the fact of supply exceeding demand force down rents and economics may rectify the position which the Government have not seen their way to meet in this Bill.

Earlier to-day the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) said that one of the most noticeable features of post-War politics was that the Socialists did the agitating and other parties carried out their proposals. It was an interesting suggestion, and it bears the corollary that what the Socialists agitate for in Opposition they fail to do in office. The hon. Member made it clear that when they had the opportunity they failed to deal with this problem of rent. Then the hon. Gentleman indulged in political prophecy — an extremely dangerous pastime and one in which I have been "let down" before now. He prophesied that in 1938 his party would be in office and would use this Measure for the purposes of rent legislation of a very different kind. That presupposes that his party are going to be successful at a General Election somewhere about 1936. Even if he is right in that respect, it is certain that by 1938, probably at some time when the House is in Recess, they will have stolen away quietly during the night-watches, leaving someone else to take over the responsibility and clear up the mess. The hon. Gentleman in 1938 may even find himself a Member of some National Government—possibly one presided over by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton).


I do not know of anything that I have ever done which would justify the hon. Member in making a suggestion of that kind.


I am only making the point that political life is full of surprises, and even the hon. Member for Bridgeton does not know where he will be, politically, in 1938. That does not prevent me, however, from thanking the Ministers who have been in charge of this Bill for the concessions which they have made to those of us who disagreed with them on details during the Committee stage. I assure them that as a Member for an industrial constituency I shall do all I can to make the working of the Bill smooth among those with whom I am concerned.

6.28 p.m.


I am sorry that I am not in a position like the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Braith-waite) to congratulate the Government upon having made concessions, because we have got no concessions from the Government. This Bill is another disappointment. In fact, we get nothing but disappointments from this Government. As far as the West of Scotland is concerned, the Bill is of no use when there is no reduction of rent in it. The Scottish Labour Members of Parliament are pledged to pre-War rents for pre-War houses, and we stand by that pledge. What is the use of all this legislation and what is the use of taking up all this time in going all round the edges of the housing problem? This problem, both in Scotland and England, is a poverty problem. People are not able to pay the rents. Rent is a veritable nightmare to the average mother in a working-class home. She does not know how to meet the demands which are made upon her for rent. It seems to be inherent in the minds of the working-class mothers that the rent must be paid, no matter what goes behind. They starve themselves in order to pay the rent.

Labour Members for years have appealed to every Government in order to do something to relieve this terrible strain upon the working-class. We hoped that when this Bill was introduced there would be some concession along that line. We even tried yesterday to get a 10 per cent, reduction of the permitted increase, but the Minister resisted that. What use is this Bill? It is true that we get a little concession as far as decontrol is concerned. That was something, but it is infinitesimal to what the Government have done on behalf of the ruling class of this country. Here was an opportunity for the Government to relieve the terrible pressure on the poorest of the poor and on the mothers of the poor, instead of giving the brewers £14,000,000 out of the £19,000,000 which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to disburse. He could have given some of these millions towards making a reduction of rent possible. It is no use replying to me that that is an idea in the air. Where there is a will there is a way. That was money, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he had to disburse, and he disbursed it on those who are well supplied.


Did the hon. Member vote that he should do so in the last Budget?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)

I must call the hon. Member's attention to the fact that he is getting a little beyond the rule that on Third Reading the discussion must be confined to what is in the Bill.


I am mentioning what we expected to be in the Bill, and because it is not in the Bill I am opposing it. We are opposing it because no provision is made for a reduction in rent. Every other section of the community has had to accept reductions except the owners of the homes of the people. We consider it a standing disgrace that this powerful Government should have paid no attention to all the appeals that have been made from every side of the House. There is another item about which I wish to say a word and with regard to which I consider I was let down. That is the new Clause that was moved by the Lord Advocate last night with regard to forehand rent. I asked the Lord Advocate when I moved an Amendment that forehand rent should not be included in arrears. After I had made my speech, the Lord Advocate asked me not to divide the House, and said that the Government would see if they could bring in a form of words that would meet my request. The form of words has been brought in and is now incorporated in the Bill. I have not been trained to understand the implication of words but, as I read the Clause, the safeguard which I asked is not there. All that we get in the new Clause, as far as I am able to read it, is that forehand rent will still be chargeable as arrears. The only concession that we have got from the Scottish Office in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, which has not received even this very favourably, is that court expenses cannot be added to arrears.


The words are "may not."


I can assure the hon. Gentleman, who has not been in the House for several weeks, that the Lord Advocate told the House last night that that was the concession that we were getting. He emphasised the fact by stating that he thought that the inclusion of court expenses was a cruel idea, that he was entirely against it, and that it was never intended when the law was reconstructed in 1911 that forehand rent meant that court expenses would be added as arrears. This, again, is something which is very serious for the poorest of the poor. If they understood the law it would be all right, but they know nothing about the law. They do not know anything about what we are discussing here to-day. These folk, who are not able to defend themselves, have sent us here in order to defend them, but we are letting them down in allowing this Bill to go through. The Bill has given us little or no concession that really matters as far as the working class are concerned. I question the legality of forehand rent being added to arrears because landlords are only allowed a certain amount for increased rent. If they get forehand rent, even if it be only for a month, they are getting an increase that is not tabulated, because they are to get the interest on the money. Suppose it is only a penny which the factor gets as interest on that money, he is getting something which is illegal, and which is above the standard of increased rent which the law permits. Because this Bill in no way satisfies the working classes, not only in Scotland but in England, I am going to oppose it. The Bill is no use to us.

6.42 p.m.


I should like to put a point of view. The hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) has just described his Scottish objections to the Bill, which he has enlarged to cover England, and I understand that his general allegation is that there is nothing in the Bill of benefit to the working class. There, I think, he is mistaken. The continuance for five years of the control of "C" houses is a considerable advantage, and will bring within it many hundreds of thousands of poor people who cannot risk disturbance at this time. Again, as has been pointed out, and as I ventured to remind my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), for the first time in this long tortuous legislation, provision has been made for the assessment of sub-lets. That is undoubtedly one of the greatest advantages which this legislation will confer. There are other features in the Bill about which the Government should be congratulated. The Minister of Health, the Solicitor-General and the Parliamentary Secretary have assisted the House in the matter in a very remarkable way. We are now making an addition to a body of legislation which has incurred the criticism of His Majesty's judges more than any other legislation. I hope that this latest addition will satisfy their Lordships, though, frankly, I have some doubt.

I took occasion on Second Reading to make some remarks about the decontrol of houses between the limits of £108 to £45 in London and £78 to £35 in the provInces and in Scotland. I expressed the view that that would involve a very serious disturbance, which I desired the Government to avoid. As a result, I have received a very large number of communications, both from Scotland and England, giving particulars of how the writers will be affected by this Bill. The Minister said decontrol would not involve a raising of rental or an increase of the price asked for houses. I have selected a letter from a very respectable quarter of London, and, while I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances of the writer, judging by his letter and the address, he seems to be a person of credence. He says: Will you permit me to draw your attention to what is happening to decontrolled houses in this neighbourhood, Church End, Finchley? I have been a tenant at the above address Since September, 1917, at a rental of £50 per annum for the first three years and thereafter at £60, exclusive of rates. The pre-War rent was £45. My present rateable value is £47. The house I occupy is an eight-roomed house, and was built about 30 years ago. There are others not quite so old and of more modern construction; they could be bought leasehold prior to 1917 for about £450 to £500 and were let at £45 to £50 per annum. My landlord paid about £450 for this house, with a ground rent of £8. The rents now asked for decontrolled houses vary from £90 to £120 per annum and the selling price asked is, I am told, about £1,000 or more.


The same type of house?


In the same road, and the selling price asked is about £1,000 or more. I could cite many other cases, but I will make this general statement—that no Member of this House who is familiar with the actual facts as to rents and selling prices will be surprised by the figures which that letter recites, because they are typical, I venture to say, of what is happening to every constituency in the country. I make an appeal to the Government, because there is still an opportunity. I hope that their Lordships, in another place, will, on reflection, see fib to recommend the Government to reconsider this matter. I want to suggest to my right hon. Friend in charge of this Bill that the evidence upon which it is founded, that of the Marley Committee, preceded those economic and financial changes in our life on which this Government came into existence. That is a point which has been repeatedly made by my correspondents, and I do not want to dwell upon it. I wish to put the figures as hurriedly and as tersely as I can. I suggest to the Government that they should have regard —


The hon. and learned Member says things have changed, and quoted a letter from a person at Finchley who is now paying £90 a year rent, whereas other persons who are in controlled houses get them for £45. The point I want to ask is this: It the tenant in 1931, when the Marley Report came out, had to pay £90, where does the change come in?


I am afraid the hon. Member did not quite follow the letter I was reading. The point of the letter was that houses, now let at £50, on decontrol have the rent raised to £90, and that the selling price is rising from £500 to £1,000.


But that happened in 1931.


Oh, no.


Yes, in 1931 it was just the same.


This interruption is taking up too much of my time. I am anxious not to interfere with the arrangements come to between the two Front Benches, and I resume the plea I was making. After the presentation of the Marley Report, there was a great range of cuts in the pay of civil servants, teachers, municipal employés, trade unionists and craftsmen of all sorts, consequent upon the financial situation which brought this Government into existence. At the same time there was a contraction of international trade, which reflected itself in industry, and hundreds of thousands of men and women in good positions—including those in the Civil Service, teachers and professional men— entered upon a period of anxiety which has not ended. They willingly responded to the appeal of this Government to make sacrifices, and having made those sacrifies—


The hon. and learned Member is going beyond the provisions of the Bill.


I am most anxious not to get beyond the ambit of the Bill, but I want to remind the Government that they are now imposing on persons covered by Clause 1 of the Bill further burdens which, frankly, they cannot support. A previous speaker said that the most serious economic problem affecting most people is the question of rent, and I do not think anyone who has had actual experience of working-class and middle-class professional life could doubt that that is the case; and decontrol over these wide ranges of houses faces these people with an increase of rent and a corresponding increase of rates which they are unable to support. My right hon. Friend has pointed to some correspondence between supply and demand. He thinks that the supply keeps pace with the demand and justifies this removal of control. I am suggesting to the Government that that is not conclusive. The mere fact that there are houses to supply the demand does not mean that a sitting tenant will be allowed to remain in his house at the same rent. He has to face the prospect of an increased rent, and, more than that, to face dispossession. He has to face leaving his home and, in many cases, his business. Those results will follow upon the legislation included in this Bill.

FiNaily, I want to say that while I think this Bill contains features which are very useful, I venture, with the greatest possible respect, to ask the Government to pause before they place these additional burdens on a wide range of citizens who cannot support them. I hope an opportunity will be taken in another place to reconsider this matter, and that before the Bill becomes law the Government will have seen the wisdom of suspending the decontrol of these sections until the financial condition of the country and the economic circumstances of the citizens warrant that course, which, in my view, they at present do not.

6.55 p.m.


Having been on the last two Departmental Committees, I would like to say how warmly I think all my colleagues on the Departmental Committee will thank Parliament as a whole, and the Minister in particular, for having implemented so very largely the report which they brought out last year. I speak not as a Member of one political party, because it is a delightful thing to remember that on that Committee, which was under the chairmanship of a peer who belonged to the Labour party, and had a Majority consisting of Labour Members, we did not discuss the matter from the political point of view, and we were able —with great difficulty, of course, as we received information from various sources which were distinctly coloured by party politics—thanks largely to the tact of the chairman, to dissociate ourselves from the party point of view to a very large extent, and to approach the subject from the point of view of what:, in the circumstances, was best for the national interest.

It is interesting to note the different attitude taken by the different sections of the Socialist party is this House. I will not deal with it now but it was very natural that the hon. Member who spoke from below the Gangway opposite should speak from the point of view of those who dissociate themselves from the main Labour Opposition. It is very natural that with a poor electorate, with whom they wish to ingratiate themselves, they should take the line of the dole as a policy instead of the line of what is fair and just. They say that because people are very poor they cannot afford this, that and the other and we must provide it for them as relief, no matter where it comes from. That is a natural argument to be put forward in poor quarters. On the other hand, we have the official Opposition who have spoken from the point of view taken by my colleagues on the Departmental Committee who belonged to that party, that is, taking the line of what is fair and reasonable, though, of course, putting in one or two little gibes at the Unionist party, not, I feel, seriously meant.

The Socialists must be weak in their opposition on account, first, of the composition of the Departmental Committee, which was very largely composed of Members of their own party, and, in the second place, because they have, to a large extent, got in return what they wanted. This is a tenants' Bill. If it is a question of landlord versus tenant, this is primarily a tenants' Bill. The tenants gets much more out of it than the landlord. They have gained a tremendous advance for the tenants in stopping the decontrol of Class "C" houses. We have to remember, and let it go out to the world, that 5,600,000 houses remain controlled out of 9,250,000 in England, and that in Scotland 750,000 houses remain controlled out of little more than 1,000,000. So, by a large Majority, working-class houses still remain controlled, and remain controlled in spite of the great many objections put forward not only on personal grounds but on public grounds by the representatives of the landlords.

This attitude was taken up by the committee, and we want fully to recognise that these recommendations were not put forward as right or wrong for one side or the other. On behalf of the tenants they were not put forward on a dole policy. The committee also said that they were unable to accept certain views put forward with regard to profiteering. At the same time they fully appreciated that, on those who had invested their money in houses, Parliament had imposed restrictions which it imposed on no others. That is the point of view we on the committee took strongly. Unless they take the dole point of view, people must agree with that. House owners have been particularly badly hit. They are simply one variety of tradespeople. They are selling and letting houses, just as butchers sell meat. Butchers are controlled with regard to meat in what affects public health. So are house owners, but no one suggests that butchers-should be controlled with regard to their prices. I do not think that the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), with his new political affiliations, would suggest that.


Are not the Government proceeding with an agricultural Bill' to regulate prices?


Certain provisions with regard to production are coming into force. The report says that restrictions should be lifted from any class of property as soon as that can be done in the general interest. That must be held by every section of the House, unless they repudiate this report, and we must advance along these lines. The advance has been made so prudently that it is the interest of the tenants which are mainly safeguarded. In so far as decontrol is insisted upon, county court protection is imposed all along the line. The revision of the position will not be so satisfactory as we hoped.

This Bill will improve matters, but affairs with regard to the sub-tenants will remain. Whatever we do, it will be very difficult to protect the sub-tenants where there is such a tremendous demand for their lodgings. This Bill does go a long way, but it does not do all that we, in the report, hoped it would do. It does not go quite so far as the report with regard to the lay committees which are to be set up. I doubt whether in many towns, where these committees are set up, they will do what is wanted. With regard to the difficult question of sub-tenants and repairs, these are matters which can be effected through local authorities. The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) thinks that penalties should be put on local authorities who refuse to do their work. We recognise, Since Mr. Burns sent West Ham councillors to prison, that it is impossible to impose penalties on local authorities. We should educate the elec- torate so that they may see that these local authorities do their work. It is for the electors to do their job and insist that the local authorities do their work in protecting poor tenants, especially with regard to repairs.

7.5 p.m.


The hon. Member for St. Albans (Sir F. Fremantle) appears in an entirely new role to-night. This is his first appearance as champion of the tenants and this, if I may say so, is the first occasion he has told us that this Bill is more a tenants' Bill than a landlords' Bill. He has indeed said, following the lead of the Minister of Health, that this Bill is one which has most carefully and meticulously held the balance between the landlord and the tenant. Now, as this Bill leaves us for another place, one of the authors of the Bill comes forward and says—without any kind of political motives such as he attributes to Members on this side of the House, but in a spirit of political honesty almost unknown in this House— that this is a tenants' Bill. That is not the view expressed by Members on his side of the House. Indeed, one of the most serious critics of the Bill on the Government side, the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Braithwaite) has to-night been trying to get his stripes back by a speech which he hoped would meet with the favour of his own Front Bench.

On all sides of the House there has been criticism of this Bill. It does not meet the real need of large classes of tenants. In our view, this Bill is full of serious defects. The Inter-Departmental Committee's report has been quoted innumerable times. It has been regarded as the fountain of authority in all discussions on this Bill. This Bill is not even in harmony with all the provisions of the report. The hon. Member for St. Albans has just told us that, in one respect at least, the Bill does not go as far as the report. That is true. Concessions have been made, but, if we take these concessions on balance, I should say that the concessions mean less to the tenants and, on the whole, more to the landlord If we compare the Bill with the report, which the Government were not bound to adopt—it is astonishing that the present Government should adopt any kind of report—the report itself is much better than the Bill.

On one important point, upon which the hon. and gallant Member himself touched, there was a recommendation that local committees should be asked to give information and advice. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health incorporated that provision in his Bill. That provision was allowed to stay in the Bill for several weeks and then, at the psychological moment on the Committee stage, the words "and advice" were almost surreptitiously withdrawn. That was one of the most valuable elements of the Bill—the giving of advice to the tenants. The hon. Member himself admitted, and other Members on the Government side have also admitted, that tenants are not acquainted with the law. This valuable provision with regard to giving advice was deleted, notwithstanding that it was a unanimous recommendation of the Committee. It is difficult for the Government to take this stand with regard to provisions in the Bill, that they are in the Departmental Committee's report, and then take out of the Bill certain provisions which are also in the Committee's report. I observe with sorrow that the main speakers in favour of deleting the words "and advice" were hon. Members of this House whose profession it is to make money out of giving advice to unfortunate people who have not the knowledge of the law which they themselves possess.

In the principal Act of 1932 provision was made for a transitional period. That has gone from this Bill. Nobody can foresee exactly what the situation is likely to be five years from now when the present legislation comes to an end. It was impossible in 1923; it is impossible in 1933. There would have been no objection to leaving the transitional provision of the 1923 Act still standing in view of possible eventualities, for if five years from now the necessity for them did not obtain they could easily have been repealed. It is, however, significant that the transitional provision, established 10 years ago by a Conservative Government, should to-day have been swept off the Statute Book in order that, in five years from now, every vestige of control over rents, whatever the circumstances may be, should come to an end. The Minister of Health explained that the only pur- pose of this was that the situation should be reviewed in five years' time.

Parliament will be able to deal with its own situation in five years' time. The country does not need the present Government, who are grappling with the grave problems of the day, to think about a possible development five years from now. They may leave the country to take care of itself five years from now. The motive is not to permit the matter to be rediscussed five years from now. This is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Government to end control of all rents, for all classes of houses, at the earliest practicable moment—five years from now. If they had dared to have done it three years from now they would have done it. If they had dared to have done it this year they would have done it. They have taken out one class, and for five years allowed another class to go. They have decontrolled the Class "A" houses.

If it be true—and this point has been put from both sides of this House— that in the Inter-Departmental Committee's Report, reflecting what might have been right at that time, it is nevertheless true, and we have insisted on it time and time again, that the economic situation to-day bears no relation whatever to the economic situation which obtained when the Marley Committee was deliberating and collecting evidence prior to the submission of their report. It is undoubtedly true that this Government started its career with a deflationary policy. If I were to pursue this, it would carry me outside the bounds of this discussion. The Government pursued a policy of keeping prices down and a policy of restriction and economy, and yet in this Bill, different from any other Measure that the Government have put before the House, they are pursuing a policy of permitting certain classes of people in this country to obtain more than they need have, and more than corresponding sections of the society are getting, as a rule. The Minister of Health said that I have invented a third class to-night. He said that everybody was either an owner or an occupier, but there are persons who are owner-occupiers and there are persons to whom the ownership of a house is a matter of small relative importance in business life. There are people who are engaged in industry who are not enjoying the measure of protection which is now being given to the landlord, and, compared with many industrialists, the landlords of houses still to be protected are being put into a favourable position.

My last point is that the right hon. Gentleman spoke, at the end of his speech, in language which I completely failed to understand, and which, I am satisfied, all his colleagues on the Front Bench failed to understand. He spoke of restriction. He said that we should like to make rent restriction a permanent system, as a foundation for restrictions in other directions. It ill becomes the right hon. Gentleman to make this criticism against us. The whole of the economic policy of his Government has been a deliberate one of restriction. You may call it tariffs; you may call it regulation; you may say that these are quotas, but the whole policy of this Government has been one of restriction for one set of people. When it comes to restriction in the interests of the tenant, that is a doctrine that ought to be cast forth, and not supported. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman in his heart does not approve of any of the restrictions which the Government have imposed. He cannot do. He speaks, as I have said before, the language of a century ago. He believes in absolute freedom of contract. He cannot square that view either with this Bill as regards Class "C" houses, or with the policy of the Government.

We regard this Bill as a profoundly unsatisfactory Measure which is not in accordance with the needs of 1933 and of the period to which we immediately look forward. The one crumb of comfort that any of us can get out of this Bill is the fact that Class "C" houses are, for five years, to remain under control. So far as I am concerned, that is the only proposal in the Bill to which I attach any importance. As for the rest of the Bill, I think that it does not meet the needs of the time, and that it is bound to inflict hardship on large numbers of citizens who have been compelled to accept responsibilities, hardships and privations, in common with all those citizens who to-day are to continue to suffer in excess of their real responsibilities, as fellow citizens with us.

7.20 p.m.


The hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) and the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) are, of course, perfectly consistent in asking the House to reject the Third Reading of this Bill. They asked the House to reject the Second Reading. The hon. Member for Gorbals will not expect me to pursue him in that part of his speech which dealt with the unique and unhappy incident in which there were two shepherds, but no sheep to go into the pen, and it remains to be seen what happens on this occasion. Besides being consistent, they are of course logical. There must be no decontrol of any sort. Decontrol in any form whatever is, according to them, a retrograde step which must be resisted. Let us see how the matter actually stands.

The "A" houses which are being decontrolled represent about one-twelfth of the houses which are at present under control. On the other hand, the "C" houses represent no less than two-thirds of the houses at present under control. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said that the one crumb of comfort in this Bill for him was the perpetuation of control of the "C" houses for another five years. He calls it "a crumb of comfort." Apparently the theory of the hon. Member for Gorbals is that two-thirds of the whole loaf is not better than no bread, but that two-thirds must be rejected because we do not get the remaining third of the loaf. In terms of the human element, those two-thirds of the houses which are being controlled for another five years represent no less than 4,000,000 families, and to describe that as a crumb of comfort, and to reject that because you do not get the whole loaf, seems to me to show that logic is not the same thing as common sense.

The hon. Member for Gorbals again, not for the first time during the proceedings on this Bill, criticised us for not recontrolling those houses which had already been decontrolled during the last 10 years, and he made that one of the grounds on which he based his opposition to this Bill. I am not going to repeat all the arguments about that, but first of all let me remind hon. Members that it would be retrospective legislation of the most glaring kind and, secondly, that it would not penalise those who had profited by decontrol. It would penalise those who had paid the ordinary market price result- ing from decontrol. I am not going to enlarge upon that part of the argument. What is far more important than that is, once let it be known that Parliament is prepared to go back upon the decontrol deliberately settled 10 years ago, and you absolutely destroy in one moment any hope of overtaking by private enterprise the housing shortage in those classes of houses where shortage still exists.

I can quite understand the (hon. Member for Gorbals and the hon. Member for Bridgeton saying that they do not care what happens to private enterprise. Their millennium is the abolition of private enterprise in any case That millennium, however optimistic the hon. Members may be, is bound to take some little time to bring about, and during the progress towards the millennium, do not let us begin experimenting in such a way that we shall destroy private enterprise in one of the industries in which at the moment it happens to be most needed. It would be nothing less than sheer disaster if you frightened the building trade in such a way that they were not able or willing to continue their efforts to overtake the housing shortage. In that connection, I was asked a question by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies). He said: "What proof is there that there is any revival in the building trade? Show me what the unemployment figures are in the building trade, and let us see where this proof is that private enterprise is willing to overtake the housing shortage." To quote figures of unemployment in connection with the building trade would not serve any useful purpose, because the relative figures are not sufficiently up-to-date, but I can give figures which I think will interest the House in this connection.

Figures have been got out with regard to the number of plans approved for building of all kinds in many of the larger towns and representing more than one-third of the population of this country. I am going to ask the House to compare two sets of figures for the total value in terms of millions of pounds of buildings for which plans were passed, in regard to the quarter ended March, 1932, and the corresponding figures for the quarter which has just ended. With regard to building of all classes, the figure has risen from £14,000,00) to £19,000,000; with regard to dwelling houses, the figure has risen from £9,500,000 to £13,500,000 worth of dwelling houses in the current quarter. Without going into any more detail than that, I suggest that those figures are eloquent as showing that there is a determined effort on the part of the building trade to overtake the housing shortage.

The main principles upon which our Bill is founded have not seriously been assailed Since they appeared first of all in the Report of the Royal Commission, and Since they were amplified during the Second Reading Debate. They can be stated quite shortly as follows: We hold that there is no justification for the continuance of control where the houses under the control are a minority of that particular class of houses. Nor, on the other hand, is there any justification for the continuance of control when new building is proceeding at a faster rate than the decontrol in any given category of houses. Both those two situations are true of the "A" houses. The new houses which have been erected, and the houses decontrolled, exceed the houses still remaining controlled in that category by no less than 50 per cent. As the Royal Commission pointed out, by an artificial element of control on behalf of the minority in that category you are only making competition in the unrestricted part more severe. At the same time, in that group of houses, the new building has already very considerably overtaken the houses which have already been decontrolled. As hon. Members know, exactly the opposite is markedly the case in connection with the "C" class houses, and that is the reason for the different way in which

we are dealing with those two classes of houses.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) entered into a discussion as to whether this was a landlords' Bill or a tenants' Bill. It is neither. When I wound up the Debate on the Second Reading, I made the claim, I believe perfectly justly, that the Government were steering an even course between profiteering on the one hand and confiscation on the other. If in any particular class of houses premature decontrol is allowed to take place, it must be admitted that it is bound to result in some measure of profiteering. On the other hand, to maintain control a day longer than it is necessary with regard to any category of houses is nothing less than confiscation. We have tried to hold the measure equal between the two points of view, and I believe that we have done so fairly. People are inclined to say, and many people have said in the past, that this rent restriction legislation is a thing that no Government can afford to touch, that it is the sort of rock on which Governments may split. It may be that the National Government is in a somewhat stronger position in this regard than a mere party Government, but, however that may be, we have dealt with this matter in a perfectly clear-cut and perfectly decisive way, a way which is generally understood, and which I believe is generally approved in the country; and I now ask hon. Members to show in the Division Lobby that it is generally approved in this House.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 301; Noes, 6.

Division No. 174.] AYES. [7.31 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Blaker, Sir Reginald Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Blindell, James Caporn, Arthur Cecil
Altchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgie M. Borodale, Viscount Cassels, James Dale
Albery, Irving James Boulton, W. W. Cautley, Sir Henry S.
Alien, Sir J. Standeman (Liverp'l, W.) Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)
Appin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Broadbent, Colonel John Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh
Aske, Sir Robert William Brocklebank, C. E. R. Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Brown, Col. O. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham) Christie, James Archibald
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Brown, Ernest (Leith) Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Brown, Brig.-Gen.H. C.(Birks., Newb'y) Conant, R. J. E.
Bank*, sir Reginald Mitchell Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Cook, Thomas A.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Burghley, Lord Cooke, Douglas
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Cooper, A. Duff
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Burnett, John George Copeland, Ida
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th, C.) Burton, Colonel Henry Walter Courtauld, Major John Sewell
Bernays, Robert Butler, Richard Austen Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Butt, Sir Alfred Craddock. Sir Reginald Henry
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Crooke, J. Smedley Kerr, Hamilton W. Remer, John R.
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rentoul, Sir Gervals S.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Renwick, Major Gustay A.
Cross, R. H. Law, Sir Alfred Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesall)
Crossley, A. C. Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Robinson, John Roland
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Leckie, J. A. Ropner, Colonel L.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Leech, Dr. J. W. Rosbotham, Sir Samuel
Dalkeith, Earl of Lees-Jones, John Ross, Ronald D.
Davison, Sir William Henry Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Rothschild, James A. de
Denville, Alfred Levy, Thomas Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F. Liddall, Walter S. Runge, Norah Cecil
Donner, P. W. Lindsay, Noel Ker Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Duckworth, George A. V. Llewellin, Major John J. Russell, Richard John (Eddlsbury)
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn.G. (Wd.Gr'n) Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Eastwood, John Francis Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Salmon, Sir Isidore
Edge, Sir William Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Salt, Edward W.
Elmley, Viscount Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Lyons, Abraham Montagu Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mabane, William Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick) Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Savery, Samuel Servington
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare McCorquodale, M. S. Scone, Lord
Falle, Sir Bertram G. MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) McKie, John Hamilton Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Ford, Sir Patrick J. McLean, Major Sir Alan Shute, Colonel J. J.
Forestier-Walker, Sir Leoin McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Fox, Sir Gifford Macquisten, Frederick Alexander Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Fraser, Captain Ian Magnay, Thomas Skelton, Archibald Noel
Fremantle, Sir Francis Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest Slater, John
Fuller, Captain A. G. Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Ganzoni, Sir John Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Giett, Sir George Masterman Marsden, Commander Arthur Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Glossop, C. W. H. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Gluckstein, Louie Halle Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.) Soper, Richard
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.) Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Grimston, R. V. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Spens, William Patrick
Gritten, W. G. Howard Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fyide)
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. Morgan, Robert H. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Stevenson, James
Guy, J. C. Morrison Morrison, William Shephard Storey, Samuel
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Moss, Captain H. J. Strauss, Edward A.
Hamilton, Sir H.W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Muirhead, Major A. J. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Hammersley, Samuel S. Munro, Patrick Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Hanbury, Cecil Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Hanley, Dennis A. Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Sutcliffe, Harold
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Tate, Mavis Constance
Harbord, Arthur Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)
Hartington, Marquess of Normand, Wilfrid Guild Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Hartland, George A. Nunn, William Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n) O'Connor, Terence James Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes) O'Donovan, Dr. William James Train, John
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Ormiston, Thomas Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Wallace, John (DunferMilne)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Palmer, Francis Noel Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Pearson, William G. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Peat, Charles U. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Heneage, Lieut Colonel Arthur p. Penny, Sir George Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour.
Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Perkins, Walter R. D. Wells, Sydney Richard
Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Peters, Dr. Sidney John White, Henry Graham
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Petherick, M. Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Hore-Belisha, Leslie Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Hornby, Frank Pickering, Ernest H. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Horsbrugh, Florence Pickford, Hon. Mary Ads Wilson, G. H. A. (Cambridge U.)
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Pike, Cecil F. Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Wise, Alfred R.
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Power, Sir John Cecil Withers, Sir John James
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) PowNail, Sir Assheton Wolmer, Rt. Hon Viscount
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Womersley, Walter James
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Ramsbotham, Herwald
Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Rankin, Robert TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Jones, Sir G.W.H. (Stoke New'gton) Rathbone, Eleanor Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rawson, Sir Cooper and Major George Davies.
Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Reid, David D. (County Down)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Kirkwood, David Maxton, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Leonard, William Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah Mr. McGovern and Mr. Buchanan.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.