§ 10.13 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
I beg to move:That the Amendment of the Hops Marketing Scheme, 1932, which was presented to this House on the 12th day of February, 1934, be approved.This is a, piece of work which, owing to the length of time that it has been before the House and the very thorough examination which it has had, should not prove unduly contentious. The Amendment to the Hops Marketing 453 Scheme was laid before the House several months ago, and I found then that there was a feeling among the users of hops that there was a danger of these provisions being used to their great disadvantage. It appeared to me that it was desirable to delay it, if possible, until agreement could be reached, because it was inadvisable that the power of a majority should be used to steamroller through legislation which was obnoxious to those who felt that they had a fair case which was not being heard. I think that point of view was shared in many quarters of the House. We got the growers and the users together, and they both indicated that they were willing to continue their conversations. We, therefore, appointed a joint committee with three impartial members, to whose work I should like to pay a tribute. They were Sir John Chancellor, Mr. Francis D'Arcy Cooper and Captain Oliver Lyttelton. They sat for many days, and went exhaustively into the matter.
I am more than delighted to find that they were able to present a report signed by all the members, both hop growers and brewers and the impartial members, without any reservations. It is true that thereafter the brewers placed on record the view that on the whole they thought this method—the method of the individual quota—was not to the advantage of the growers, and would not be to the advantage of the trade. The hop growers thereupon placed on record their view that it was a pity to start the controversy again, and that they were sure both sides would work loyally. Whereupon the Brewers' Society further wrote that they agreed to that and would do their utmost to see that the scheme, having been signed by both sides, was made a success. This represents, therefore, a very interesting further departure in a marketing scheme. It is a proposal which has drawn down the wrath of my right hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland), my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) and my hon. Friend the Member for North Bristol (Mr. Bernays), who usually sits with us, but on this occasion finds it necessary to differ. They are representatives of a party which has pressed upon us on every occasion the necessity of organisation and planning, and they now march 454 out against us when we have not only an example of organisation, but an example of organisation under an Act which they themselves supported.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am not complaining of their opposition to the 1933 Act. The Hops Marketing Scheme is under the Act of 1931, which they supported. I agree that one of the features of this scheme is a board of control, which they fought against in the 1933 Act. I make no complaint about that, but an organised market and the principle of organisation which they have so long maintained in and out of season in this House find a striking example in the amended scheme which I have the honour to submit for the approval of the House.
We are well acquainted with the special points of the hop industry. It is a specialised industry. The plants take three years to come into full bearing, and once in full bearing the plants continue to yield fully for 10 to 12 years. Therefore, if a high price market is established, a great danger immediately comes upon the industry. There is the danger of overproduction which in three years will not show itself at all in the weight of the product upon the market, but which, once established, will continue for 12 years unless the capital which has been put into the establishment of hop gardens—and a great deal of capital must be put into them—is to be destroyed. Clearly that is a process which none of us would defend. There is, of course, only one market for the hops, namely, the brewing industry, and this country is practically self-sufficient in hops. Although a certain import of hops takes place, it is counterbalanced by a certain export of hops.
We are, therefore, dealing with a production for a constant, or nearly constant, market as between one year and another, but a market which has undergone a great shrinkage in recent years. The consumption of beer in this country, which was 32 gallons a head in 1900, was 10 gallons a head last year. Clearly, when such a shrinkage has taken place—a shrinkage which, I may respectfully remind my hon. Friends below the Gangway opposite, they would be the first to applaud, having done their best to bring it about—some shrinkage of the hop market must also take place.
455 The industry has declined. Between 1929 and 1931 the area was reduced by one-third, and in spite of that, owing to the unorganised market, it was very difficult to get anything like remunerative prices for the hop growers. It is doubtful whether any advantage came to the consumer from these exceptional prices, and even the growers themselves found that when a small increase in demand Arose the reduction of acreage had been so great that they were caught on a rising market, and last year prices undoubtedly rose to a high level. It was said on that account that hop growers had been profiteering, but when that was looked into by the committee of investigation, a committee of men of all parties, presenting an impartial view, it was found that profiteering had not taken place, although it was true that hops had reached a high price level. But that high level had succeeded to a period when, for three years, from 1925 to 1928, no less than £2,500,000 worth of hops had been thrown away or used for manure because there was no market for them. Of all the foolish ways to spend the private money of Englishmen, and of the farming community in particular, to spend £2,500,000 on producing something with which there was nothing to be done except to throw it away or leave it to rot was the most foolish. There, in a nutshell, is the case for further organisation.
The 1932 marketing scheme was incomplete, and the case for the quota may be put simply as follows. The industry has now arrived at the turning point of the circle. If things are left to drift, high prices will undoubtedly encourage hop growing beyond the market's requirements, and then will follow a period of falling prices and of losses to the producers. Many will be forced to give up, and the surviving ones will again, begin the circle with rising prices. Those who complain and say they find no opportunity for new growers to enter the industry must realise that in such circumstances the new grower is the hardest hit man. He knows least about the industry, he has been tempted into it by high prices, the slump comes, he has not the same reserves behind him as the long-established grower and he is forced out of business, And before he is forced out of business he drags down the whole of the 456 conditions of the industry and, very probably, drags down the older established men as well.
If at this moment, with the lessons of the past before them, the hop growers do not take the opportunity of themselves organising and themselves asking the House to consent to measures designed to obviate that cycle, who would be more eloquent in condemnation of them than my hon. and right hon. Friends below the gangway when, two or three years hence, they came before the House in a state of bankruptcy and despair and asked for assistance from this Chamber. They would say, "Why did you not take advantage of the opportunities we offered? There was placed on the Statute Book an Act designed to obviate these difficulties, but you did nothing. You sat back and believed the good times would go on forever. Now the bad times have come upon you. Self-help. Why did you not do something when things were good? "I have heard those words time and again from my hon. and right hon. Friends below the gangway. Now, because the growers come before despair is upon them and disaster is knocking at their door, my hon. and right hon. Friends say, "Is it not foolish of these people to come when there is not any danger this year or next year? Why should these people look ahead and try to avert dangers which may not come for nearly two or three years? "We cannot have it both ways. Either we must look ahead and plan or else we must be prepared for the hard luck story which bankrupt producers will bring before us. I do not wish to enter into an explanation or justification of the details of the scheme. If hon. Members and right hon. Members have points which they wish to put, I shall be very glad to see what I can do to deal with them at the end of the Debate, if the points have not all been answered by Members who are infinitely better acquainted with the technical details of the industry than I am.
There is certainly a case for organisation. No one denies that. A most meticulous investigation has been made, not by a partisan body but by impartial people, who have had the opportunity of sitting in Committee for months at a time and of hearing all sides of the question. At the end of that time this 457 agreement was come to. It obviates a continuance of the high prices which the hop growers received last year, and which I am informed they would receive this year also, if it were not for the agreement, which has been drawn up for a price on the basis of £9 a cwt. for five years. The price would have been double that which is embodied in the agreement. The hop producers, if they chose not to agree on the long term plan, would have to take what the market might send this year, and to trust to luck for the year following. In these circumstances, it would be a thousand pities were the House to turn down the scheme. Accusations have been brought against us that this will create a monopoly for existing growers; that cannot be maintained unless one were willing to maintain that there is about to be a vastly expanded market for the product which they grow. I am sure the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) would not maintain that proposition.
We are told that this is a gold mine for existing landlords. I do not think that the price of £9 will create any gold mine for existing landlords. We are told that the inefficient grower may be protected at the expense of the efficient. The loss of efficiency in a hand-to-mouth, slipshod existence, is a feature with which all who have any knowledge of industry are very well acquainted. It is stated that the board will underestimate the demand, so as to create an artificial shortage. That is dealt with in the agreement, which was worked out by both parties and by the impartial members also. We are told that the market demand may be underestimated. It is estimated here by the Joint Committee, and not by the growers alone. Regulation of imports is only to take place if the import exceeds a certain permitted percentage, and even so it is only to take place at the request of the permanent Joint Committee, which is to say at the request of the independent members, and not of the producers alone.
Finally, We are told in the Amendment that we ought to refer the matter to a Select Committee. I beg the House to consider that this scheme has had statutory notice; there has been the hearing of objections by the impartial commissioners at a public inquiry; it has 458 had consideration by the Minister—by myself—after consultation with the Board of Trade; it has been placed before both Houses of Parliament, and it has already been agreed to in another place without even a Division. Under those conditions, to suggest that the whole thing should be referred back again to a Select Committee is the sort of attitude which has delayed so many admirable projects in the past, and which has had something to do with reducing the Liberal party to the relatively small proportions which they occupy in comparison with the great place which they used to take in the State.
One word in conclusion. This may seem to be a relatively small matter, yet the industry is a great industry. The whole House took an interest in the new Cunarder. The whole House was interested in the opportunities for employment which it offered. The whole House rejoiced when, owing to facilities given by the House, the Cunarder was to be brought to completion. Yet, at the outside, the Cunarder employs 5,000 men for three years, and it is possible that the addition which has been given to employment by the recent Government facilities does not amount to more than 3,000 or 4,000 men for perhaps one year. The hop industry employs 10,000 men every year. The values of its products are very great. The products which it turns out are enjoyed, not by millionaires, as the Cunarder will be, for no working man will ever set foot in that ship save as a, servant to those who ride in it. The Cunarder is not going to be of anything like the same service to the community of this country as a whole as the industry which we are now considering. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh! "] I do not think that that is denied by anyone. I shall be very interested to hear it seriously challenged from any quarter of the House.
§ Mr. WALTER REA
Does the right hon. Gentleman seriously contend that that ship is going to be occupied in carrying nothing but millionaires?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I would like to ask my hon. Friend another question. Does he know of any working man in this country who will ever be able to afford the price of a passage to America and back out of his wages in 40 years?
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
Who was responsible for the Cunarder scheme? The right hon. Gentleman's own Government.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I should say that the man who was more responsible than any other for the pressing forward of the Cunarder was an hon. Member who is not, and is never likely to be, a member of my party—the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). He pressed forward day in and day out his demand for the Cunarder, and he is certainly not a member of the Conservative party. The big industries of this country are not all to be found in the great factories or the shipyards. The industries of the countryside themselves employ thousands of men, and their products are used by many thousands more. I say that an industry which employs 10,000 men directly, and many more indirectly, is worthy of the consideration and attention of this House. When these schemes were brought forward, they were brought forward with a realisation by all concerned of the necessity for organisation, combination, and possibly rationalisation. Here is a scheme which has been carefully examined, which has been thoroughly canvassed, which has been passed without a Division in the other House of Parliament, and I think it is reasonable to ask that this House should allow it to go forward and allow this organisation to be thoroughly tried out under favourable conditions, before disaster has come instead of after.
§ 10.34 p.m.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I am not quite sure what the right hon. Gentleman intended to convey by his last few observations. It would, however, be interesting to know whether he was condemning the Cunarder scheme, or whether he was merely complimenting it in commending the other scheme to the House. While it may be true that the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) constantly pleaded for some financial assistance, I think he did so without the support of the party of which he is supposed to be a member. I hope we were no parties officially to this huge subsidy for a super-luxurious liner which will carry none but millionaires. This hops scheme is a very remarkable innovation. While the hop growers and the 460 brewers have reached absolute unanimity with regard to the scheme, the brewers found themselves in a cleft stick. They were confronted with the possibility of being thrown to the wolves and charged £20 or, as the right hon. Gentleman said, £30 per cwt. for their hops or they could agree to a scheme which reduced the price to £9. They are not unwise men and they preferred £9 to £15. Therefore, I do not attach a lot of significance to the fact that the brewers have entered into an agreement with the hop producers. After all, the brewers are not consumers. The beer drinker is the consumer, although I understand that hops do not play a big part in the make-up of a glass of beer. It is true, therefore, to say that the hop producers have been in Queer Street for quite a number of years and without some centralised marketing scheme there was no hope of prosperity for the hop growing section of the agricultural industry. But it has required Parliament to come to the aid of the hop growers before they themselves showed any wisdom. Had not Parliament come to their aid with the marketing scheme of 1931 plus the 1933 Ad, upon which the scheme is more or less based, there would have been no scheme at all.
This Amendment not only provides centralised marketing, but provides for a quota, and to that extent provides producers with absolute monopolistic power. It provides them with guaranteed output, guaranteed sales, guaranteed prices, guaranteed profits of 20 per cent. or more or less—or at least an average of 20 per cent. on the cost—and they also have virtual import control over hops, on top of which, of course, there is the duty of £4 per cwt. on the commodity. The scheme implies—hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in particular ought to get this deep down in their minds—that once and for all, as the Secretary of State for War said in another place, the old law of supply and demand has gone by the board. Competition is no longer a word in their economic vocabulary. They have just moved forward at as rapid a rate as they tried to do in Russia or are hoping to do in Germany or anywhere else. According to the Minister of War, competition is a spent force and to some extent, as the right hon. Gentleman will know, we agree with him on that. Parliament, however, has not attempted to 461 give such powers as are given in this amended scheme. It is true that railways have statutory powers, but people need not travel by rail. Electricity undertakings have statutory power, but we need not buy electricity. Gas companies have similar statutory power, but no one need buy gas, because electricity is available, and also coal. It may be argued that mineowners have certain power, but no one need buy coal, because they can purchase either gas or electricity. But with regard to this hops scheme, if it passed, as I presume it will, the brewers will be obliged to buy hops whether they want to or not, and they will be obliged to pay the price specified in the scheme, namely, £9 per cwt. for the next five years.
These are extraordinary powers. We ought not to forget what we are doing in passing this Scheme to-night. The right hon. Gentleman said, as did the Secretary of State for War in another place, that it must be a good scheme, because no fewer than 98 per cent. of the producers agree with it. Who would not agree with a scheme which guarantees him his output, his sales and his profits for a period of five years? If all employers in all industries could have similar guarantees, what a happy and prosperous nation we should be. We agree that marketing is essential, and also that there must be some relation between supply and demand. We have never agreed with the tendency to increase output so as to knock the bottom out of price levels at the risk of the bankruptcy of those engaged in industry. The ups and downs of industry have always been the bane of the working man; in work to-day and out of work to-morrow. The reorganisation which is taking the place of the old order, where there was never any certainty for any section of the community, least of all for the workers, may be such that we can afford to support some part of the scheme. We recognise that any alternative scheme to the one produced by the right hon. Gentleman would be extremely difficult. I have seen one or two alternatives recommended, but I am not sure that they are any sounder than the scheme which is before the House tonight.
This scheme at least has left a small number of people thoroughly dissatisfied. It shuts out forever those who are not in love with it. They are only a small 462 number. I am glad to know that the Noble Lord has now reached the stage when he does not mind confiscation without compensation as long as it satisfies the particular scheme in which he is interested. Certainly the scheme has caused some injustice, and no compensation has been paid to those who have been turned out and, no doubt, have lost money. The House ought to understand that for a period hop growers lost considerable sums of money, and they have my sympathy because they have lost money. It seems to be rather unfair that this arbitrary period of five years should be selected because certain people had to reduce their production of hops for a certain period of time, and that now, because they have reduced their production, we should have protection for all time.
It may be extremely difficult to find an alternative scheme. In this scheme we are giving statutory approval to an extraordinary development, and once a body of employers are guaranteed 20 per cent. profit year by year for five years, it may be more or it may be less, the State is entitled to pay some little attention to certain potential developments. For instance, under the scheme the growers of hops will find the value of their land rising, and during the five years the scheme is in operation it is not unfair to suppose that certain people may take the opportunity to sell their land at enhanced prices. I am willing to concede to the producer a fair value, and I am willing to stand by the consumer to see that he obtains a, fair deal, but if by Statute we confer upon a small number of people such tremendous power, the State is entitled to confiscate any socially-created increment having socially provided the producers with such extraordinary guarantees for a period of time.
This is an extraordinary scheme. A Noble Lord in the other place said that in so far as it coincides with Labour policy to that extent we shall be obliged to support it, but in no case could I concede to 1,100 people the guarantees embodied in this scheme without at the same time the State, through its Ministerial representatives, having something to say about the socially-created value of the land where the hops are going to be grown through that period. The right hon. Gentleman can rightly tell me that we are supporters of marketing, that we are 463 supporters of organisation in every industry. We are also supporters of nationally owned land, and it is only because we place nationally owned in the forefront of our policy that all these schemes for organisation normally and naturally follow the lead of land nationalisation. If we are to confer upon producers guarantees of this kind the State ought to come in, and the benefits accruing as a result of the appreciation in the value of the land ought to come back to the State.
§ 10.46 p.m.
§ Sir F. ACLAND
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add the words:this House declines to give its assent to a scheme which limits production by fixing quotas for individul producers. There by giving them a monopoly of production, and which is to be supported by further quotas to he applied to imported supplies in addition to the heavy ad valorem duty; it is moreover of opinion that the matter should be referred to a Select Committee before further consideration is given to it by the House.It is very difficult to criticise these marketing schemes, which are invariably put before the House so clearly and fairly by the Minister of Agriculture, and particularly because they always come on the last thing at night. I find that particularly difficult, because my temptation, after a very hot and tiring day, is to go to sleep during my own speeches. There is a great deal of uneasiness about this scheme in the country. I shall try to make as fair a, case as I can and to get through it as quickly as is reasonably possible, and I hope that I shall not fail to interest the House in showing that there is a case to be considered and met in regard to this matter. Part of my case depends upon the history of the matter, and that history was put in an admirably clear article by the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) which he wrote in the "National Review" of March last year. I should like to quote a few sentences from that article, to lead up to one of the points that I wish to make. The Noble Lord said that last year, after the Hops Board's first season —this is interesting in view of the development now proposed—the price fixed for the first year was £8 5s., which was 464 only a little above the price of £7 16s., which was the average during the period of voluntary control which operated previously. The Noble Lord added, quite rightly, and he was perfectly justified in claiming it, that:There had never been any suggestion that the favourable selling conditions existing for the sale of the crop of 1932 were used to hoist the prices in a manner unfair to the industry.The Noble Lord was quite correct in that statement, but it is pertinent to bear in mind that he was a little previous, because in the next season, when hops did not come in from America, the board skied the price up to £15. That is a rather interesting commentary on what is said with regard to these marketing schemes, that they will only be used to give a moderate, reasonable, stable profit to the producer. I know the excuse is that they might have made the price 2i2D if they had liked, but it is as difficult to accept that as the argument that we sometimes use about the baby being only a little one.
What is regarded as a moderate, reasonable profit for hops? We have that in the figures for the first year. We are told in the White Paper which embodies the scheme, that the moderate figure, the reasonable figure of profit should be 20 per cent. That was the figure which the Hops Controller worked out, and I do not question its reasonableness, for reasons which have already been put before us as to the time which the crop takes to come to maturity.
The point I wish to make is that the price of 5s. was worked out as a satisfactory price, and therefore presumably gave that profit of 20 per cent.; it gave in that year a profit of £1 13s. per cwt. But the price of £15 fixed for the next year gave a profit on that figure, not of 20 per cent., but of 127 per cent., which would give, at a normal average production of hops—and I have worked out the average figure for the last 12 years—a profit, at 12 cwt. to an acre, of £100. I believe that as a matter of fact the crop was poor, so probably a few growers only made that profit. Still, a man who had 50 or 60 acres of hops must have made a very considerable sum in that year. It cannot he wondered at if the good will which the Noble Lord stated had been established by the first year's working when the price was £8 5s. 465 was a little disturbed when the price was skied to this 127 per cent. profit in the second year. To use the Noble Lord's words again:The operations of the Board in the first year should convince consumers that the Board's professions of good will have been translated into action…which should lead to closer and more friendly relations.And, as I said, we cannot be much surprised if the relations were not quite so friendly when the profit had been skied up. The Noble Lord went on to say—and this is presumably the reason why the proposal has been brought forward:Now growers needed to entrench their position for fear the brewers should let them have a bit of their own back when they got a chance some day, in return for the extraordinary increase of price last season.It is this scheme now before us which entrenches the growers so tightly against any possible retaliation. The right hon. Gentleman did not make it quite clear that the entrenchment is only possible because of the extra powers given under the Marketing Act, 1933, over the Act of 1931. It is pertinent to remind the House very briefly what a Noble Lord—Lord Astor—wrote about this as to the difference and as to the bearing of this second Marketing Act on the question. The Noble Lord said:The first Marketing Act, 1931, in essence sought to encourage co-operative marketing. It contained powers for determining quantity and grades of produce sold by farmers. It was a measure designed to increase the efficiency of agricultural marketing and to give farmers greater bargaining power.It was brought in by hon. Members above the Gangway and supported by their friends here. He goes on to say:The second Marketing Act, 1933, brought in entirely new principles, including the power to restrict production and to determine the quota a farmer might sell by reference to his output at some previous time.It is, of course, the powers in the second Act which are used in this extraordinary scheme and which involve the very dangerous principles which we are trying to criticise to-night.
Returning for a moment to that last quotation from the article of the Noble Lord, he wrote something as to the future, and I do not think that when he wrote he quite foresaw how this Act would play into his hands and how he 466 would be able to shape the future by reason of the Act of last year. He wrote:Some defects were already apparent in the scheme. Services which a board can render are by no means limited to regulating supply to demand. Organisation has opened a vista of rationalisation hitherto closed to farmers. The time is not far distant when the growers in other commodities will take a leaf from the hop-growers' notebook.The keynote of that passage is rationalisation, and rationalisation, if it means anything, means eliminating the output and encouraging the development of an industry in places where and by those by whom it can best be conducted. I suggest that to give every one, however, inefficient, who happens to be producing at a certain date a perpetual guarantee against the competition of others and cut down any power to develop anywhere is the very reverse of rationalisation. If the Noble Lord had said that rationalisation would create a vested monopoly he would have been much nearer the mark, but it would not have looked quite so well. It is partly because I agree with his prophecy that the proposal here may be used in other branches of agriculture that I think it necessary to make all the protest I can.
I must show how tight this quota is and how tight the monopoly will be in actual working. A man's quota for a year will be a certain proportion of the demand for that year; it will he that proportion of that demand which corresponds to the proportion between his basic quota and the total basic quota, and he will only have a basic quota if he was registered in September of last year as growing hops in 1932, and it will be the average annual quantity grown during the five years ending 1932. Let the House admire the comfortableness of the family arrangement which is brought before us here, and how nice and friendly it is for those inside. The man who grubbed his hops in response to the appeal of the hop controller is not allowed to start again, and he is permanently left out in the cold. The man who grubbed some of his hops is at a disadvantage compared with the man who did not make any response to that appeal and kept on his full hop acreage. The whole of the estimated demand is to be divided every season solely among those who have these basic quotas, and no others; but if there is any unexpected demand above what the 467 brewers have estimated it will be provided from long quota hops. It was stated in another place on behalf of the Government that the non-quota hops would be open to the ordinary outside grower. Not a bit of it. The only people who can supply them will be the people who have already a quota and who, therefore, are the holders of the original monopoly. The outside dogs who dare to grow hops but who were not growing them in 1932, will not be allowed to pick up the crumbs from the table.
The only chance anyone else will get is if the quotas exceed the basic quotas by more than 10 per cent. that is if the demand in any year exceeds the normal supply, not the supply estimated for that year, but if it exceeds the supply from the acreage of 1932 by more than 10 per cent. One would have thought that some attempt would be made to let other people in if the estimated demand exceeded the estimated supply. Not a bit. If a pestilence attacks the hop field and the supply goes down, there will still be a tight monopoly for the 1932 man. It might be that all the hops in a certain part of the recognised hop fields would be suffering from infection and that hops in another district would be free. Would the people from that district be allowed to come in? No. However much the estimated supply went down, there would be a monopoly for the people supplying in 1932. The only way in which new men can come in is if the net quota exceeds the basic quota. The basic quota has nothing to do with the estimated supplies of the year; the basic quota is the figure for 1932. That is how I read the scheme. But suppose the demand does increase and extra basic quotas have been allowed.
As far as I can see it is bound to be still an absolute family party. In some parts of the scheme there are provisions for certain things to be done by impartial persons, and in some parts of the White Paper; but nothing is said about any impartiality as to allotting these further basic quotas. There is a provision, for instance, with regard to arbitration under Clause 46 (c) of the amending scheme, when there is any difficulty amongst the family party; but there is no provision for anything. of that kind under Clause 46 (h), which refers to the allotment of additional basic quotas. Applications 468 have to be made before certain dates, and preference has to be given, as far as practicable, to those who offer to make the highest payments, but there is no provision at all that the tenders shall be opened on the same date or that, as when you open tenders for a loan, those who offer the highest will get their tenders accepted in full or in part. Of course things again will be kept in the family, who will be able to freeze out those who want to come into this extraordinarily profitable industry. That is an example of rationalisation up to date. It seems to me to be simply a ramp for the people who are already lucky enough to be in the industry, and I hope it will not be adopted either for this scheme or any other.
A few more words about the history, because hon. Members may naturally say, "What is wrong with all this if the brewers are willing to put up with it, as they seem to be from this trading agreement? "People might say," Are the Liberal party and the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division (Viscountess Astor) suddenly become the friends of the brewers "No. We are fighting this because we believe that it is a thoroughly bad basis for any marketing scheme, whoever is concerned. But there is something in this agreed scheme to which I must refer. We notice, of course, that the brewers get down, for the next five years, the unconscionable price of £15 of last year, to £9, and we notice too that that will give the growers, not the reasonable 20 per cent. profit that they got in 1932, but about 50 per cent. extra on that, which means a profit of about £2 8s. a cwt., or £36 per acre per annum—a very nice sum. On 50 acres for five years that will give the grower £7,000 clear profit. It makes one's mouth water as a landlord connected with other industries and not with hops.
This is what emerges: The Minister of Agriculture presented this scheme with his approval already attached to it at the end of last year. It was on the Order Paper several times in February. It was then withdrawn, and we all thought and hoped it was withdrawn to meet the criticisms directed against its monopoly provisions. We find now that that was not so at all. The provisions as to monopoly were not referred to the Joint Committee at all. The committee was set up, not to consider the scheme, but to try to 469 arrive at a trade arrangement under it. The brewers had to accept it. Of course, they made the best of a bad job, and of course they will try to work it loyally. But it is clear that they are accepting something under compulsion, and that they dislike it. They were not allowed to reconsider the scheme, but they did say in that letter to which the Minister has already referred what they thought about it. They made three points in that letter. First, they were opposed to the limitation of production by means of quotas for individual growers. Secondly, they were opposed to the difficulties put in the way of new entrants, which conferred a monopoly on existing growers. These points relate to the scheme, but they make a third point, which is interesting and which relates to what they did agree to in the White Paper They contradict what they had agreed to, and that shows how the element of compulsion on them is inherent in the matter. In the White Paper they agreed to a quota on foreign hops in Addition to the duty, which is 45 per cent, of the agreed price, but in the letter their third objection is this:Brewers are opposed to the limitation of the import of hops, as they believe that since the imposition of the £4 per cwt. duty, the use of foreign hops has never materially affected the English hop industry.That makes their meaning clear. Surely when people, in an agreement which they have been forced to make, accept a duty and immediately write a letter saying that they object to the duty, it shows that they are acting under compulsion. They know that the Minister, not having referred the scheme to them, was going to put the scheme through whether they came to an agreement or not and also that if that very tight monopoly was given to the growers, then the growers, as the Minister has already suggested, would be able to make the price anything they liked and therefore that they, the brewers, had better agree, while any agreement was possible, however much they objected to it.
This scheme affects only 1,100 men, 20,000 acres of land and £2,000,000 worth of produce per year. But it seems to me that to give that absolutely tight monopoly to the present producers is the sort of thing which gives the industry of agriculture a bad name. That is why we think it necessary to challenge it. When 470 one finds that' the processers have had to accept a trading agreement but have immediately made it clear that they do not agree with the principles on which it is based, it shows their fear of extortionate profiteering, a fear which they are justified in entertaining, because the Minister has made it clear that he is going to put the scheme through, whatever they say about it. My last point is, "What ought to have been done?" I hold that this was bad and that we should be justified in objecting to it whether there had been an alternative or not, but it is right to consider whether we cannot proceed without this extraordinarily tight monopoly to a, set of very favoured individuals who are going to make very large profits out of the scheme.
It is worth mentioning that Professor Orwin, of Oxford, has suggested two alternative methods of dealing with the matter and we all know his practical concern with these questions. He suggests that if this scheme was not working as well as it was said to be working in 1932, if it really needed amending we should follow the analogy either of the Wheat Scheme or the Potato Scheme. I think probably that of the two, the Wheat Scheme is the better. I cannot help thinking if that really could be applied to this question fairly easily -the brewers would have to guarantee—as the Government guarantee practically is under the Wheat Scheme—to pay a certain sum say £2,000,000 a year subject to gradual variation according to the variations which would occur, and you would get what you are gradually getting under the Wheat Scheme, namely, fresh growers coming in and the prices and profits coming down, no doubt, and the marginal producer being squeezed up, whether he happened to have been in the lucky position of being a producer in those five years or not, and other people who can produce better, no doubt, coming in, as they have done in the case of wheat, and, finally, the hops being grown, as we shall find with wheat in a year or two, by those in the best position to grow them, and the fact that it takes three years to establish a hop crop shows surely that there would not be any excessive rush of producers, unless, as I suggest, the profit is altogether on an unreasonable basis.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
Does the right hon. Gentleman anticipate that any such thing as the phenomenal expansion in hops is going on in the case of wheat?
§ Sir F. ACLAND
The wheat matter is already tending to cure itself. There was a large expansion in order to get a share of the glut, but the marginal man is being squeezed out. The glut is having to be divided over a larger number of people. Those who were attracted by the glut found that a large proportion of their wheat, if it was not up to good quality, was only fit for poultry food, and they will tend to drop out and take on other things which are more economic, but you will by that means get a balance in the industry between supply and demand, and it seems to me that although there has been rather a rush in wheat, which many people have taken to in one year, the fact that hops take such a long time to bring to maturity will deter people from making a gamble in hops. But if you get rid, as you would if you adopted something like the wheat scheme, of the brewers playing one grower against another and pushing the price right down, if the brewers guaranteed to put up, say, £2,000,000 a year and divide that among the growers, you would get an element of freedom combined with a guarantee to the grower that his price would not be pushed down by playing off one man against another, as it was in the old days.
I am approving the scheme of 1932. It is this monopoly element, entrenching the present growers in the new scheme, that I cannot help criticising. Then, if that is not possible, there is a third alternative, which was put forward by the "Times" newspaper this morning, involving less disturbance of the men now in the industry. It was suggested by Mr. Eric Macfadyen, who says he is a hop grower, that the quotas be revised periodically on the basis of a three or five years' moving average, so that you would then be able slowly to scale up the man doing his work best. I believe such a scheme, combined with some relaxation of the present practical impossibility and prohibition of new entrants, might be found to work very well. At any rate, I think the House ought to expect that possibilities of that kind should be carefully considered before we accept permanently, as the "Times" newspaper 472 suggested we should this morning, the motto "Beati possidentes " as the last word in regard to hop growers.
One final word as to my Amendment. We have chosen the wording carefully. It is not anything which arises from our despised Liberal economic principles or anything based on our own special knowledge. We are using other people's language, and our Amendment simply puts into one sentence the three objections in the brewers' letter which I have quoted. They, after all, know. They are experts. They know how the shoe pinches. They were not given a chance of considering this scheme officially, but they did so unofficially and looked at it very carefully. My Amendment embodies the three objections which I have already quoted—the objection to the monopoly, the objection with regard to the impossibility of any new man coming in, and, thirdly, the objection with regard to the agreement that they have been forced to come to as to a very heavy quota against foreign importation on the top of the heavy duty. With reference to the desire which our Amendment expresses for a Select Committee, that method is rather out of fashion, but it is a way of securing an impartial consideration by selected Members of the House. There cannot be any great hurry in this matter. I have never seen any suggestion that it was necessary to get this thing through in a certain number of weeks or months. It has been hanging about since last December, and clearly nothing that could be done between now and October, when we might expect the Select Committee to report, could upset the scheme. Although it was said in another place that the scheme was only to last five years, that is not true. I have looked through it, and there is no date at all. It has apparently to last for ever. The trade agreement is only to last for five years, but it will be essential for the brewing industry to agree to a further extension of it, because if that tight monopoly is kept at the end of five years, the growers could put up the price to anything they liked owing to the favourable trading position they would be in. As we are contemplating a scheme apparently for all time, it ought to be looked into carefully before we settle down to such extraordinary new principles.
We have made mistakes already through rushing these marketing schemes. 473 I do not claim that this scheme has been rushed, because it has been before the country many months, but it was not referred, as we hoped it would be, to the brewers and others concerned. It is put before us as it was put before the Minister. We have, however, rushed the milk scheme, and I hope we shall avoid making similar mistakes here. We really believe that the scheme is bad in itself as between the hop growers and the brewers, and that the brewers have been forced into it and cannot help themselves in regard to it. It is not the kind of marketing scheme such as some of us have been hoping against hope would come out of this Government in their agricultural policy. It is mainly for that reason that we are opposed to this tight monopoly in one of these agricultural marketing schemes.
§ 11.19 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER-CLAY
Many curious things happen in this House, but I never thought to hear the case put on behalf of the Liberal party based on a memorandum which has come from the Brewers. Early in the Debate we heard a speech from the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), who said that this was an innovation in agricultural marketing schemes. It is an innovation, because it costs the Exchequer nothing. Nor does it cost the ultimate consumer anything. I should be inclined to risk a small wager that the Minister of Agriculture only hopes we may do as well out of the Beef Scheme and the Milk Scheme and the Beet Sugar Scheme as we shall out of the Hop Scheme. I congratulate him on having brought forward this scheme, and I congratulate him on having got growers and brewers to agree. Believe me, it is no mean feat to get growers and brewers to agree on a certain price for an article which is produced by the one and consumed by the other.
This Debate takes me back a good many years. It is nearly a quarter of a century since I made by maiden speech in the House on the situation in the hop industry. At that time we were being deluged with imports from Czechoslovakia and America, which were driving our growers out of business. We appealed 474 to the Liberal party, which was then all powerful, to give some help to the industry. I need not say that we did not get the slightest help; not the slightest interest was evinced by them. If I mistake not, the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) was in the House in 1910. It did not matter then what happened to the industry as long as we could have free imports into this country.
§ Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER-CLAY
The right hon. Gentleman prefaced his remarks by saying that he knew but little of the hop growing industry, and what he has just said has convinced me that he was right. We were also told about the huge profits made last year, but nothing was said about the losses of previous years. That seemed to have escaped his memory. To come back to the scheme as we have it now: hop growing has been looked upon in the past as a gamble. It was a gamble. Years of glut and low prices alternated with years of scarcity and high prices, and some of the growers rather enjoyed the gamble. They thought it was rather a sporting effort, and occasionally things came off well. Now they have come to the conclusion that that is not a very wise way in which to manage their business and that it is far better to have a moderate and regular profit than years of high profits and years of low prices, with many growers going bankrupt during the periods of glut. When the Liberal party were in power in the days gone by they did nothing. I think there are at present in the House some seven or eight Members who are remnants of that once powerful party, which shows that their want of interest in the producers of this country has met with a fitting reward.
It was said by the right hon. Member for North Cornwall that there was no stimulus to efficiency, but there will still be such a stimulus, because the man who grows clean hops of good quality will still get a higher price for them. It is ridiculous, too, to talk about the hop growers being out of date. Anyone who goes to Kent or Worcestershire will see where vast sums of money have been spent in bringing the gardens up to date 475 and will see new developments in every direction. Another argument which has been put forward is that this scheme will mean very hard luck for those who have gone out of the industry. That is a most fallacious argument. The great majority went out because they could not stay the course. Some have gone into fruit and mushrooms and other horticultural produce. They have succeeded in what they have undertaken. To say that it is bad luck on them, is to present an untrue picture.
We want to avoid the sudden rushes, to get a steady price, not to have an overstocked market, and not to encourage ambitious young men, who may think that they may get rich, to come into this industry. We want to discourage them. We want a steady flow, and not more than the industry of brewing can absorb. It is for that reason that I welcome the scheme.
§ 11.26 p.m.
§ Mr. HOROBIN
I apologise to the House for rising at this hour, but it was in response to a recent Private Notice Question of mine that this matter was brought forward. The matter is of considerable importance. I do not intervene because I am primarily an agriculturist—although I have some interest in agriculture—but because all these schemes are part of a connected whole, and they show how a certain way of looking at economic problems is gradually leading from one step to another. Their possible importance as precedents, not only in other branches of agriculture, but in other branches of industry is also interesting. I should like to ask the Minister if he will put us right on one point that has been raised. I hesitate to differ from a Member who knows infinitely more about agriculture than I can claim to do, but it is important that we who are opposing the scheme should not overstate our case. Perhaps in one respect the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) misread the scheme and overstated the extent of the monopoly. My objection is primarily that a monopoly is in effect produced, and I do not want the objection to be spoiled by overstatement. I think it is correct that anybody can become registered, and, if he be registered, nobody can prevent him from growing non-quota hops.
§ Mr. HOROBIN
I see that I have the support of an acknowledged expert. The objections which I am submitting are not the general objections which on other occasions I have made to these agricultural marketing schemes. Only about a week ago I had an opportunity on the Third Reading of the Milk Bill of going at some length into some of the general objections which apply also to this scheme. The fundamental objection to this scheme is in regard to the belief that you can fix, by some bit of accounting, the cost of production and, adding to it some arbitrary fair profit, can then say that that shall be the price at which the product shall be sold, and that you can continue your market indefinitely on that basis. Anybody who has read the report of the committee will see that it rests entirely upon that assumption. All experience shows that such pools, all over the world, have led to disaster and to the same kind of disaster. I read to the House the other day a very interesting extract from the report of a commission in the Dominion of South Africa who had come to the same conclusion.
I want to make a few remarks specially confined to the scheme itself, but I must say a word about the correspondence which has already been referred to. It is needless for me to say that anything I shall say implies no kind of suggestion of bad faith on the part of my right hon. Friend, but it will be within the memory of the House that I raised this matter the other day, and that, in response to a supplementary question as to whether all matters of principle between the contending parties were disposed of, my right hon. Friend said in effect that that was so, and the matter was now agreed. That, of course, is not the case. According to my right hon. Friend's information at the time, it was a, perfectly fair statement, as we should expect, of what he understood the position to be, but at that very moment there was, as we now learn, a letter in the post which later came to the knowledge of his Department. I had at that time no knowledge of that letter, any more than my right hon. Friend had, but I was very surprised, knowing the vital objections that were taken. to the scheme, to hear that they had been overcome; and, from an answer given to a question in another place, it turned out 477 that all the objections which were held to this scheme in principle, and which caused its withdrawal nearly a, year ago, were and still are held by the brewers, that is to say, by one of the two interests principally concerned in the agreement which is the basis of what we are discussing to-night.
I do not want to speak further of the brewers, but I must say a word about what I can only call a somewhat unfortunate letter which was included in the correspondence, namely, the letter of the Hops Board. What happened, as I think will be gathered by hon. Members who read the OFFICIAL REPORT of the proceedings in another place, was that when the brewers' letter finally came to the knowledge of my right hon. Friend he very properly forwarded it with a covering letter, which, incidentally, we have not had. If it is possible for my right hon. Friend to do so in his reply, it might be of interest, purely for completing our knowledge of what took place, if he would give us an indication of what was contained in his covering letter. I am assuming for the sake of argument that it was merely a request for the views of the board. They sent in reply a letter which was somewhat peculiar. I can attach no meaning to it if it was not a request not to allow the brewers' letter to be made known. It said:We think it right to call attention to this danger "—that is to say, the danger that the brewers' letter might be made known—and we desire to assure you"—and so on. They were warning him of the immense danger—that is the only meaning I can attach to it—of this House and the public being informed that the brewers were not in agreement with the scheme, that they held to their original objections, but that pressure was put upon them not to include them in the report, though they insisted on putting them in the correspondence. Why did the Hops Board and others not want it to be too widely known that these objections were still held by the brewers? Again, the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer)—I repeat that I make not the slightest imputation of bad faith—wrote a letter to the "Times," in which he used these words:The Hops Amending scheme has been brought forward, and has been approved by 478 every authority to which it has been submitted.That simply is not the case. The brewers now say they do not approve it. They insist, in spite of pressure, that they hold all their original objections. All we know is that, with magnificent self-sacrifice, the people who are obtaining this 20 per cent. profit in perpetuity approve it. That is hardly surprising. It is simply not the case that this is an approved scheme. That is not a conclusive argument against it, but the House is to understand that the only people who have placed themselves on record as approving the scheme are not the brewers, not the impartial people, no one, in fact, except the beneficiaries. I could give correspondence which has come to my knowledge from the hop merchants but I do not want to take up time.
Reference has already been made to one very curious section of the scheme. Having built up this little monopoly, which I admit is not so cast iron as the right hon. Baronet suggested but is almost cast iron, the cast iron monopoly of the people who happen to be in possession, there is one set of circumstances in which new people should be allowed in, namely, if the 10 per cent. increase in demand comes about, and we then have a provision in the scheme which I really think must be explicitly put before the House because it is one of the most extraordinary proposals I have ever seen.
May I remind the House what this board is? We talk about the Hops Board and some of us get into the way of thinking that it is some Government body. In effect, it is simply a ring—a statutory collection of hop growers. I am not saying it may not be quite legitimate for them to have a ring, though most people in the House are suspicious even of unofficial rings. There are rings in the building trade, and we dislike them. We must not be carried away by any idea that this Hops Board is some kind of public utility society, that its dividends are limited, that there is a sliding scale or anything of that kind. It is simply another name for a ring of producers who are now trying to entrench themselves. In effect, these are the only people who are likely ever to be able to dispose of their crops because, to use the nearest analogy in a very complicated scheme, those on the basic quota are preferred 479 shareholders. The others only come in in effect as deferred, and it is very unlikely that there will be anything left over for the deferred or the unsecured creditors. Here you have a statutory ring, and under one sole set of circumstances they are compelled to allow other people in on equal terms with themselves. They are to put the right of participating in that extremely valuable monopoly up to auction, and in effect to secret auction, and the proceeds are not to go to help the Government, not to help the right hon. Gentleman to pay for the milk loans, the pig loans and the meat loans. They are to divide them among themselves. In effect, the sums that arise from putting this up to auction go to the board. Really is this House without thought to set a precedent in which you first give statutory power to a ring of producers and then allow them to put up to auction for the benefit of themselves the right of anyone else to come in?
May I deal with the precedent that is set up in this scheme of individual quotas to producers. Such a scheme is, in the first place, bound to lead to immense complications. The nearest analogy of which I can think is the coal quota. We had originally a hops scheme without individual quotas, and it has now led to individual quotas. Is this going eventually to lead to some sort of Hops Reorganisation Commission, with all the troubles such as Sir Ernest Gowers had, with perpetual quarrels with producers and correspondence politely telling him to go and mind his own business, in a vain endeavour, having given these individual quotas, to guard, in fact, against the evils which they inevitably produce in the way of safeguarding inefficiency. If you once give an individual quota, practically nothing will get rid of it. You will have here what you have had with regard to coal. You will have to set up some further complicated machinery in order to get over the difficulty which you yourselves have produced.
The scheme starts under the objection that it is unfair to those who have recently left it, and the longer it goes on the quotas fixed on production at an arbitrary date will, as the years go by, become more and more unrelated to the realities of the industry at the time. You have difficulties beginning which, in 10 or 15 years' time, 480 if the scheme becomes permanent, will become fantastic. If someone who was growing hops 20 years ago is to have a quota, and if somebody else somewhere else did not grow hops is not allowed to grow them unless he pays a heavy blackmail to a ring of entrenched monopolists, it will be one more step along a very dangerous path. Even with the greatest good will in the world, it is putting a very great strain on the willingness of many Members of this House to follow the lead of the Minister of Agriculture. We all know that he entered upon this method of treating the matter with the intention of doing his best, and he has done more than any other Minister of Agriculture in this country for the good of the industry. Nothing that I have said on this or on any other scheme is to be taken, or will be taken, as any criticism of his efforts in an attempt to do his best. The longer we see these schemes the greater we must all of us feel to be their danger to the finances of the country and to the general desire of most Members of this House to get back to a state of affairs in which private individuals manage their own business in their own way without Government support in money and Government interference as to how they should manage it.
§ 11.44 p.m.
§ Viscount WOLMER
Although it is very late, as my name has been referred to and the Hops Board of which I am a member has been criticised, I ought very shortly to reply at any rate to the more important points which have been made to-night. I am depressed that this scheme has evoked so much wrath from the Liberal party. In a moment of light they supported the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1931.[An HON. MEMBER: "Which you opposed."] No, we improved it. We made it operative, and the greater part of the policy which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture is carrying forward is being carried out by his having made the Act of 1931 effective. The Liberal party, having voted for the Act, having given powers to the marketing boards and placed responsibility on the marketing boards, appears to have repented of that action. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) said that this scheme, or the agreement under it, is not rationalisation. I submit that it is. I think you have reached a very 481 high state of rationalisation when you get the growers of any crops selling their entire product for five years ahead to the consumers, up to the consumers' requirements, at an agreed price. That is a very remarkable development in agricultural affairs. I doubt whether my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), who took an active part in supporting the Act of 1931, visualised that in such a short time we would reach such a pitch of organisation, that we would have producers able to sell their commodities, not through a middleman, but direct to the consumers for five years. A five years' plan in fact; I should have thought that. would have appealed to the hon. Member, and the price is one which the brewers have accepted as reasonable. That is something new in agricultural organisation and a very definite and important advance in rationalisation.
But my right hon. Friend the Member for North Cornwall says, "You are conferring a monopoly on existing hop growers." I wish I could get the Liberal party to think of the hop industry as it would think of any other industry. If you consider any branch of agriculture as one industry, which is what organisation means, you at once see how silly it is to produce more than can possibly be consumed. Of course hops are an extreme case, because there is no by-product. But the same is true of all agricultural products. Glut is the greatest source of waste and loss and expense. The first problem that any organised industry will desire to overcome is the elimination of unnecessary waste. No one. would think that a railway company was acting sensibly if it ran twice as many trains as its traffic required. For the hop industry to grow twice as many hops as are required is obviously great waste. If you can eliminate that waste by any arrangement, you have certainly taken a big step forward in rationalisation.
After all, you are simply town-planning agriculture. You can say that it is making inroads into individual rights. This House is always doing that; it is always making new inroads into individual rights, and, of course, we have to be careful that the inroads are justified. What the Labour party did in 1931 was to start the town-planning of agriculture, and one of the things necessary 482 in such town-planning is to try to prevent the production of material for which no market demand exists.
I should also like to point out to my right hon. Friend that the whole of this is done under the 1931 Act, for which he and his party voted. The 1931 Act laid down the principle that every Marketing Board should have the power to control the quantity of any regulated product that might be sold. If my right hon. Friend demurs I would remind him of the following facts. When the original hops scheme was introduced in 1932, it contained quota provisions very much like these provision which are now before the House. Those provisions were deleted by the then Minister of Agriculture, because he thought that they required improvement in detail. The only substantial point in which they differed from these proposals was that the quota was allotted on the 1932 figures instead of on the five-year average. To show, however, that I am right in my contention, I would recall to the right hon. Gentleman that the late Sir Walter Berry challenged the legality of that scheme; he went on that point to the Court of King's Bench and thence to the Court of Appeal, and both those courts decided that the scheme in its original form was within the ambit of the 1931 Act. These powers to control output were therefore promised to boards under the original 1931 Act. When Dr. Addison framed that Act he very properly saw—as everybody who considers this problem must see—that in certain circumstances it is necessary for a Marketing Board to have power to control output. These are the only powers that the Hops Board is seeking under this scheme.
Hon. Members opposite and a Noble Lord in another place have made great play about the people who used to grow hops, who went out of hop growing and who will not be allowed to grow hops under this scheme—or rather, who will not be allowed to grow quota hops. As the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Horobin) said quite correctly, anybody may become a registered producer under the scheme and anybody may grow hops, but a newcomer cannot offer his hops for sale—or rather, he cannot be paid for them—until the quota hops have been sold. It has been said here and elsewhere that a great injustice has been done to such men, and 483 I think my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) talked about the "dispossessed" hopgrowers. He accused me of being a party to confiscating their property. I never heard such a ridiculous misrepresentation of the facts. What are the facts? There were a certain number of farmers who for their own reasons, which no doubt were perfectly good, some years ago gave up growing this particular crop. During the period of distress nearly all hop growers reduced their acreage because their losses were so heavy that only the very richest men could stand them, but there were also others who deliberately went out of hop growing, who ceased to be hop growers because it was so unremunerative; and no doubt they saved themselves a great deal of money by doing so. But they have not been dispossessed at all; they left the industry of their own free will.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Surely the Noble Lord will not disagree with me that even in 1932 he himself attended at least one meeting where growers were recommended to decrease their output of hops, but the Noble Lord did not decrease his output.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Surely the Noble Lord did not decrease from 100 acres to 60 acres between 1928 And 1933? Indeed, the Noble Lord must admit that he did not decrease at all, but rather increased his acreage.
§ Viscount WOLMER
On the contrary. I am glad the hon. Member has raised the point because it has been mentioned publicly by Lord Astor in an extraordinary letter in which he insinuated that I had rigged the hop scheme to suit my own farm, or suggested I had started hop growing in an unfair manner. Let me tell the hon. Member the facts. I was growing 100 acres of hops; I now grow 57 acres. In 1930 I grubbed one hop garden and replanted it in 1931. Lord Astor knows so little about hops that he did not appear to realise that hop growers are always doing this because the life of the plant is only some 10 or 12 years, and those people who want to grow hops efficiently and get 484 the most out of the soil are always grubbing their hop gardens and replanting them. I propose to grub another hop garden next year and to replant it. The people who asked hop growers to reduce their crops were the voluntary union, called E.H.G. That was during the great slump, and I think that nearly all growers responded. The people referred to by the hon. Member for Don Valley are those who have long gone out of hop growing. They went out for their own reasons, and in the vast majority of cases have gone in for other crops. They have planted their land with fruit or vegetables.
If hon. Members doubt the accuracy of that statement I will give them the proofs. Hon. Members who have criticised the scheme do not seem to realise that it has been submitted to an impartial authority. It has had to go through the elaborate procedure laid down by the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1931. It was the subject of a public inquiry last September, when it was examined by the Commissioner, Mr. Russell Davies, one of the gentlemen who gave the Milk Award. The pros and cons of the scheme were argued by counsel, and witnesses were heard on every side. At that public inquiry the opponents of the scheme were the Brewers' Society and five other gentlemen. Under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, anybody has the right to appear at the inquiry or write to the Minister of Agriculture stating that he objects to the scheme. All the details of the scheme were published in newspapers specified by the Minister of Agriculture. There was absolutely full publicity of all the details of the scheme in every hop-growing district, and only five persons besides the Brewers' Society appeared in opposition. Not a single one of these persons was a farmer who had once grown hops and has now ceased to do so. They were all existing hop growers, who were not satisfied with the quota allowed them under the formula under the scheme.
§ Mr. HOROBIN
Am I to understand that the case of the Noble Lord is, first, that only the rich people had remained in and should be allowed to become permanent producers, and that the poor people "who were forced out 485 will not be allowed to come back? Secondly, that those people who were forced out of the scheme but who have planted other crops do not want to come back. In that case, why prevent them doing so?
§ Viscount WOLMER
I did not follow the first point that was made by the hon. Member. In regard to the second point the danger is caused not only by new growers coming in, but even more by the possibility that existing growers would unwisely increase their output. It is quite clear that if you have made a contract with the brewers for a price which is based on the cost of production plus a profit which they consider reasonable, you have contracted with the brewers to sell them all the hops they want; but you have not contracted to sell them all the hops that you can grow. If you are going to encourage—that is what the hon. Member is asking us to do—people to grow hops which the brewers do not want, are the brewers going to pay for those hops? Certainly not; they will only pay for the hops which they want. If the hops which they want in any year are in excess by 10 per cent. of what the quota scheme provides, then the board is bound to issue new quotas. The procedure to which the hon. Member objects so much is precisely the procedure with which every water company, every gas company and other statutory companies have to comply. That is where the precedent comes from.
I have kept the House too long. There is only one further subject with which I should like to deal. Some of the critics say that this does not matter in the case of hops because the brewers would never be parties to any agreement with which they were not satisfied; but they have added that they would deprecate this scheme being used as a precedent. I sincerely hope that it will be used as a precedent. I think we could do very valuable work in agricultural organisation if we could get an arrangement whereby the plum growers and the raspberry growers had a five years' agreement with the canners, the Consumers' Council being brought in to say what the retail price ought to be, so that there may be a regulated price for raspberries and plums. Would not that be better than the spectacle we have seen of plum crops being allowed to rot on the ground 486 every third or fourth year, and gigantic waste taking place? Is not there room for further rationalisation of agriculture by long-term agreements between the producers and processors being used, as well as in connection with hops? I believe that we could advance on those lines and by that means we could do two things. We could give security to the farmer and reasonable prices to the consumer. The prices to which hon. Members opposite object are prices which the consumers have accepted; they may be mistaken, but they have accepted them. cannot see why the Liberal party should object to a scheme which gives the consumer an opportunity of saying whether the price fixed is fair or unfair. If the consumer or his appropriate representative accepts the price, surely you have done something to eliminate waste and prevent overproduction by making these long-term contracts. The brewers have been able to get a price which is in large part due to the economies that have been made by avoiding the enormous waste which used to take place, which resulted in millions of pounds worth of hops being thrown into the sea, because there was no demand for them. All that waste has been eliminated and the result is that the brewers are able to get hops at £9, whereas last year they had to pay £15. They will pay £9 for five years, and the hop growers will have an assurance that they will not be left with an unsaleable product in the near future.
§ 12.5 a.m.
§ Colonel GRETTON
Everyone who is interested in this hops scheme has been heard during the Debate except the brewer and I have a few words to say in reply to the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer), whose remarks had really little to do with the actual arrangements made under the agreement. The agreement was come to by the brewers under compulsion and they do not regard it as a good agreement. They have registered their objections to the scheme and to the principles of the scheme and the reservations which they have made to those principles have been emphasised. The Noble Lord put his claim too high when he spoke of having sold the whole crop for five years ahead. We have done no such think. The agreement which has been 487 made is in respect of 66⅔ per cent. of estimated requirements. The price of the hops is to be £9, plus 10s. per cwt., which levy is to be used to enable the Hops Marketing Board to dispose of surplus hops, or unmarketable hops or any other hops which are left on their hands. The broad criticism of this scheme is that it creates a tight monopoly for the existing growers. Who is going to lay down a crop which takes three years to develop, on terms of this kind? Registration, if an outside grower could get it now, is of no value on the terms stated.
The brewers must have a supply of hops of a certain quality, but what means has the Marketing Board under this scheme of dealing with the question of the quality of the article The only way in which they can differentiate is by the graduation of prices, and I call that a very insufficient way. There ought to be some provision for maintaining a high quality in the article produced. In this scheme, as I say, there is no provision of that kind except the grading of prices, for all the produce, whether it is good, bad or indifferent, has to be bought and paid for. There is no public advantage to be derived from the scheme. It creates the tightest monopoly we have ever seen in this country, with no provision that that monopoly is going to produce an article of high quality. As regards importation there is a quota restriction on foreign hops as well as English hops. I cannot vote for the Amendment because of the condition which has been added to it in regard to a Select Committee. A Select Committee would be futile. All the facts are known. There is nothing further to be discovered. Those who wish to understand the case will find that all the facts are available. In my opinion this is a bad arrangement. It is an arrangement made under pressure and it is not a businesslike arrangement or one which will help the brewer or the hops industry in the long run.
§ 12.10 a.m.
§ Mr. WILMOT
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Mr. Horobin) in his lyrical praise of the Minister and his criticisms of the scheme or the Noble Lord the MemberforAldershot(Viscount 488 Wolmer) in his astounding argument that this kind of monopoly which creates an artificial scarcity, which brings prosperity to the farmer and starvation to the towns, ought to be applied to every kind of agricultural produce. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) said that everybody interested in this scheme had already been heard in the House, but there is one great body of people who are interested and who have not yet been heard from in this Debate. I refer to the workers in that industry. The Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot will agree that in many places the conditions under which the hops are harvested by casual labour leave much to be desired. The sanction of the Legislature is now being sought for the creation of a monopoly ring, designed to give high profits to those engaged in the production of hops, and it is to be hoped that the Minister will take the opportunity of doing something to regulate and improve the conditions of employment in the industry. We are conferring the benefits of a statutory monopoly on this industry, and as public representatives it is our duty to safeguard the interests of those workers who are not in a position to protect themselves and who are forced by extreme poverty to do this labour as the only means they have of getting a little fresh air and sunshine. They live in many cases under conditions which are almost indescribable, when they are engaged in this work. The Minister will be lacking in his public duty if he does not take this opportunity of making such regulations as are necessary to secure at any rate tolerable conditions for these people who are an indispensable factor in the production of these big profits.
§ 12.12 a.m.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
The speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) has blown sky-high the argument that this is an agreed scheme between the brewers and the producers of hops. He has made it clear that the brewers surrendered to the inevitable and made the best bargain they could, recognising that some scheme on these lines would be insisted upon. If any further argument were required for our Amendment, the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) supplied it when he 489 claimed this as a precedent which should be followed on every opportunity, for the creation of producers' monopolies, without adequate safeguards for the public. It is unfortunate that a revolutionary scheme, creating a monopoly on a new scale, and on new principles, should have to be discussed after midnight, but we had no alternative. We make our protest, and we believe that our action will be justified in the future. This will be recognised as one of the worst administrative actions of the present Government. We only hope that public opinion will be aroused to the danger of the other monopolies with which we are likely to be faced in the future.
§ 12.14 a.m.
§ Mr. STRAUSS
I am diffident about intervening in this Debate. We have heard a great deal about monopolies, and most of us dislike monopolies, because of the relationship between monopolies and exploitation, but in the strict sense of the word this is not a monopoly. Any brewer who choosss can grow as much hops as he likes, for his own use. As a matter of fact a number of large firms of brewers grow hops on a considerable scale, and knowing brewers as I do, I would say that if they thought there was any danger of exploitation, they would not have agreed to the scheme.
There is another matter in the White Paper which is a very important feature in working out this scheme. It contains certain Clauses which must have been drawn up by gentlemen who know very little about the trade. Some of these Clauses, I can assure the right hon. Gentleman, are absolutely unworkable. Unless they are amended, brewers will be unable to get the same quality of hops as they have had in the past, if they want them. I hope that wisdom will prevail and that the White Paper will be amended. I recognise that this has nothing to do with the Motion before the House, but it is very important. I have had 14 or 15 years experience, and being a hop-grower is not all beer and skittles. To be a successful hop-grower one must not be simply an ordinary farmer, but an expert specialising in growing hops. You must have sufficient capital in the initial stages for the plants, 490 and so on, and must not be afraid of spending considerable sums in the process of development. The only fear I had was that some growers might be tempted to grow as many hops as possible, and sacrifice quality for quantity. That could be overcome if those entrusted with the valuation would not make it too profitable for those who grow inferior crops and would reward those who tried to grow the right quality that the brewers require. I hope the points in the White Paper to which I have referred will be amended, and that in the long run everyone connected with the trade will be satisfied with the result.
§ 12.18 a.m.
§ Sir W. WAYLAND
I want to say a few words as a Member representing a, hop-growing district. Of course, this scheme creates a monopoly. Everything created. under the Marketing Act of 1931 is a monopoly, and every hon. Member who voted for the 1931 Act cannot possibly withhold their support from this scheme now. As regards profits and the suggestion that 20 per cent. to the hop grower is exhorbitant, it is not a high profit considering the danger of getting two good crops and a bad one in three years. The hop growers have had such a time that during the bad years many of them went bankrupt, certainly in the Canterbury district. My people have complained that the price of £9 is not high enough. If the brewers look at it in the right light they will consider that they have made a very good bargain to get their hops at an average price of £9 per cwt. over a period of five years. At the end of that time, if they are dissatisfied with the bargain, they can combine together and become bop growers themselves, and become independent of the hop growers as a whole. Therefore, they are not bound to a monopoly. They enter the arena free agents. They have agreed to a fair price and a fair deal.
§ 12.20 a.m.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I think that the Debate to which we have listened, much of it technical, calls for a word or two in reply, though no more. It is fair to say that we have been interested and it is also to be noted that no party lines have been followed to-night. Unusual associations have led, no doubt, to unusual points of view being put to the House, and that is all to the good. These matters are not 491 to be discussed on party or any other dividing lines. They are concerned with the new organisation of an industry and will, no doubt, call forth criticism from both sides, from those who are about to sell and from those who are about to buy, as in any other business arrangement. I do not think any reason has been put forward why the House should now reject this scheme. We have heard the correspondence between the brewers and the Ministry, and while the brewers reserved, as they were entitled to do, their right to state their position, I feel they would say that they did not wish this Amendment to be brought forward. They did sign the report, and according to the views they put forward these are fair methods by which such a scheme can be worked and they are prepared to abide loyally by the proposals and work them. That having been decided I think it is clear that no unfair advantage has been taken of the brewers. Nobody compelled them to sign the agreement, and it would have been quite possible for them to say, "We will not sign it, but we will go down to the House and throw the whole weight of our advice against it and take the risk of convincing the House that the scheme is unjust and unfair."
But that was not the course adopted. The course adopted was to sign the agreement unanimously, but to reserve their position by saying that they thought that experience would show that on the whole this was not the most advantageous way to produce hops and to sell hops from the point of view of the industry as a whole. They have appealed to the final test of experience. There are plenty of safeguards in the machinery of the Act if injustice should arise. Only by experience shall we find out whether any of the evils prophesied by many of my hon. Friends occur. After a year or two of experience we shall be far better qualified to speak than we are now. I would say that the brewers, in a final letter to me, said that they hoped that in my statement to the House I would make it clear that the hops marketing scheme would be carried out in the spirit of the agreement. I am very glad to give that assurance. Those who say that nothing has been added to the scheme since it came before the House are in error. A very important thing has been 492 added. A joint permanent committee has been set up, which includes not merely trade members but representatives of the public in the impartial members. They will watch over and interpret the working of the agreement. The objections made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Southwark (Mr. Strauss), whose experience in this matter we all recognise, may prove to be true, but in that case opportunities for amending the agreement will arise in the experience of the joint permanent committee.
All the arguments have now been fully threshed out by both sides, and there is no longer any argument or fact to be brought forward. We must wait for experience to give us the further evidence to go upon. I ask the House to allow this test of experience to be made, and I am sure they will not regret doing so. They will find, in the joint permanent committee, a body perfectly capable of watching over the interests not only of the trade but of the public.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to answer the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot) as to whether any regard is to be taken of the hop pickers?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am more than willing to answer the question. I should have thought that the greater experience of the hon. Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot) as well as of the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) would have enabled him to answer the question for himself. Everyone knows that the responsibility for those working in the area is upon the local authority. Nothing could be more foolish than an attempt by the Minister of Agriculture to step in as a sort of extra. It may be very necessary, but that means a reform not only of the Ministry of Agriculture—and that is not the question which is before the House to-night—
§ Mr. ELLIOT
If the hon. Gentleman could contain himself when argument is being conducted, it would no doubt shorten our discussions. Of course, 493 it is of interest to me, and it is of interest to him, and he has no right to assume that it is only hon. Members on that side who have a monopoly of interest in such matters. Those of us who are spending a great deal of time on the maintenance of the industry care about it as much as any other Member, but they are not responsible for the conditions of those who work in the industry, since without the industry those who work in it would not find the ample opportunities for employment which the industry affords. The machinery for dealing with these matters is not within the hands of the Ministry of Agriculture. There is a well- established method, in the ordinary administrative machinery of the country, for dealing with those matters. If there is a stable, settled and, as we hope, a prosperous industry, it may be that demands could be laid upon it which could not be laid upon an unstable, shifting and unprosperous industry. The surest way of improving conditions, as I am confident the hon. Member for East Fulham realises, is to make certain that the industry is regulated and settled. We shall be able to ensure, not through the Ministry of Agriculture but through the ordinary administration of the country, that the housing and working conditions are such as we would like. To insert those conditions into a contract upon hop growing is not the way in which they can mot reasonably be attained. I would say no more than that.
We are asking the House to trust the experience of the official spokesman in the other House of the Opposition, when he- pledged the support of himself and his party to the scheme in so far as it carried out the agricultural policy of his party. He indicated no way in which he dissented from the proposals brought forward. When we are criticised by hon. Members opposite it is reasonable to observe that we already have the official opinion of their party on the matter and that when these proposals were being considered in another place, that opinion did not lead that party into the Lobby against them.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I am sorry to have to detain the House a moment in view of 494 what the Minister has said about his responsibility as regards those who are engaged in this industry. I think it is absolutely necessary that we should enter a protest. He disclaims any responsibility at all for them. I agree that, if he were not asking us to guarantee the profits of those who employ them, we could not guarantee that they would be employed, unless they gave them work. But surely now he has some responsibility to see that their conditions are improved—conditions which are known in many areas to be bad to-day. He has now an opportunity, when we are gratuitously promising these profits to the industry, to insist on better conditions for the employés, and surely he is not going to get out of his responsibility by saying that the Minister of Health will do it. He should see that the Minister of Health does it.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
It is a very strange doctrine, surely, to say that it is my business to see that the Minister of Health does his job. What would the hon. and learned Member have said if someone else in his Government had told him how to administer his position?
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
There is ministerial responsibility—I was not a Member of the Cabinet—on the part of the Cabinet. The Minister of Health is in the Cabinet. The responsibility arising out of this matter is the Cabinet's responsibility to the employés in the industry. The fact that this happens to be brought forward by one Member of the Cabinet does not discharge the Cabinet from that responsibility. It is sufficient to say that one such person in the Cabinet is charged with that responsibility. If the House is being asked to do this for the employers in the industry, there ought at the same time to be care taken to see that the conditions of the employés are improved. Time after time the Minister comes forward with these doles for agriculture, and we protest that he and the National Government refuse to take any safeguarding steps whatever for the conditions of the employés.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 36.431
|Division No. 332.}||AYES||[9.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Brown,Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks.,Newb'y)||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Cross, R. H.|
|Albery, Irving James||Butt, Sir Alfred||Crossley, A. C.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovll)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Christle, James Archibald||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Clarke, Frank||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Clarry, Reginald George||Doran, Edward|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Drewe. Cedric|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel|
|Boulton, W. W.||Collox, Major William Philip||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Conant, R. J. E.||Eastwood, John Francis|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Cook, Thomas A.||Edmondson, Major Sir James|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Cooper, A. Duff||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey|
|Bracklebank, C. E. R.||Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Eimley, Viscount|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd, Hexham)||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Rickards, George William|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Llewellin, Major John J.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Ropner, Colonel L|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Loftus, Pierce C.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Goff, Sir Park||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Goldie, Noel B.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Mabane, William||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Greene, William P. C.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||McKie, John Hamilton||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||McLean, Dr, W. H. (Tradeston)||Sandernan, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Scone, Lord|
|Harbord, Arthur||Making, Brigadier-General Ernest||Selley, Harry R.|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Haslam, Henry (Horneastle)||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Slater, John|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Martin. Thomas B.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hellgers. Captain F. F. A.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Hepworth, Joseph||Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Somerville. D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Mitcheson, G. G.||Satheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Hornby, Frank||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Horobin, Ian M.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Stones, James|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Moreing, Adrian C.||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Howard, Tom Forrest||Morgan, Robert H.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Sugden, Sir Wllfrid Hart|
|Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Moss, Captain H. J.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Munro, Patrick||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Jennings, Roland||Palmer, Francis Noel||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Peake, Osbert||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Pearson, William G.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Penny, Sir George||Train, John|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton)||Perkins, Waiter R. D.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Potter, John||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G H.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Pybus, Sir Percy John||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Knox. Sir Allred||Radford, E. A.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Ramsay. T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Leckie, J. A.||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Rankin, Robert||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Leighton. Major B. E. P.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Levy, Thomas||Ray, Sir William|
|Liddell, Walter S.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.||Captain Austin Hudson and Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Mallalleu. Edward Lancelot|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar. South)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mliner. Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bonfield, John William||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks,W.Riding)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Batey, Joseph||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bernays, Robert||Groves. Thomas E.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Grundy, Thomas W.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Cove, William G.||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jenkins, Sir William||Thorne, William James|
|Dagger, George||Jones. Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lawson. John James||West, F. R.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard. William||White, Henry Graham|
|Dickle, John P.||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Dobble, William||Lunn. William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Edwards. Charles||Macdonald, Gordon (Inca)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Wilmot, John|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Mainwaring, William Henry||Mr. John and Mr. D. Graham.|
Bill read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.
|Division No. 333.]||AYES||[12.34 a.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Harbord, Arthur||Palmer Francis Noel|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Albery, Irving James||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Peake, Osbert|
|Anstruther-Gray, W.||Hangers, Captain F. F. A.||Penny, Sir George|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Pybus, Sir Percy John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hepworth, Joseph||Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Hornby, Frank||Rankin, Robert|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Howard, Tom Forrest||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Blindell, James||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hudson. Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)||Renwick, Major Gustav A.|
|Boulton, W. W.||James, Wing-Corn. A. W. H.||Rickards, George William|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Jennings, Roland||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Jesson, Major Thomas E.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Johnston. J. W. (Clackmannan)||Ruggies-Brise, Colonel E. A.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Ker, J. Campbell||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Carver, Major William H.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Liddall, Walter S.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Spencer, Captain Richard A|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Liswellin, Major John J.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Stones, James|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Loftus, Pierce C.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Tate. Mavis Constance|
|Cross, R. H.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Mabane, William||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Drewe, Cedric||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)||Train, John|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Tree, Ronald|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir James||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Ford. Sir Patrick J.||Martin, Thomas B.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fraser, Captain Sir Ian||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Vomersley, Sir Walter|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Graves, Marjorie||O'Donovan. Dr. William James||Captain Sir George Bowyer and Major George Davies.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G.A.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Harris, Sir Percy||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Horobin, Ian M.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Bernays, Robert||Janner, Barnett||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A.(C'thness)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||John, William||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Knox, Sir Alfred||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Daggar, George||Leonard, William||White, Henry Graham|
|Debbie, William||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Charles||Macdonald. Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||McEntee. Valentine L.||Wilmot, John|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Milner, Major James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Moreing, Adrian C.||Mr. Rea and Mr. Mallalieu.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
That the Amendment of the Hops Marketing Scheme, 1932, which was presented to this House on the 12th day of February, 1934, be approved.