§ As from the first day of July, nineteen hundred and thirty-four, the provisions of the Import Duties Act, 1932, shall be deemed not to authorise the imposition of customs duties upon foodstuffs imported for human consumption, and the customs duties chargeable on such articles under that Act shall cease to be chargeable.—[Mr. D. Grenfell.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ Mr. DAVID GRENFELL
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
We regard this as a very important Clause, and it is put forward seriously on behalf of the Opposition. It covers, perhaps, apart from Income Tax, Death 58 Duties the largest item of the revenue which the Chancellor of the Exchequer hopes to get in succeeding years, and it is very important from that standpoint, and also from the standpoint of the consumer who will pay and who in this case represents the whole of the people of this country. The Import Duties Act, 1932, made provision for the collection of duties upon a very large number of commodities coming into this country. It laid down the procedure by which, first of all, a flat-rate duty of 10 per cent. is imposed upon all commodities, except those coming under the Free List, and it also made provision for the placing of additional duties upon certain commodities for various reasons. During the past year and a half we have seen a large number of Additional Import Duties 59 Orders appearing in this House and receiving but scant attention from the House on their appearance. We feel that on the occasion of the annual Budget not only should the amount of such duties be subject to supervision, but that the whole principle embodied in the Import Duties Act, especially as it concerns the foodstuffs of the people, should be very carefully examined.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is not here at the moment, and I am not risking his displeasure in saying this, but I am very sorry that the laudable efforts of the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) to cheer up the House on this very sultry afternoon were not more successful. I hope that somebody will act the part of good Samaritan and again try to enliven the proceedings. It is very difficult to get the interest of the House on a sultry day such as this, but on a normal occasion, I feel sure, the House would give its earnest attention to the question of the continuation of the Import Duties Act and the extensions which we have seen from time to time arising from that Act.
It is said that we now have a National Government. We have contested that title from the beginning, and it fits hon. Members on the other side of the House less comfortably to-day than ever it did. There is much dissension, there is much disagreement, there is much mutual misunderstanding and confusion on the other side of the House, and to-day we find the House divided against itself. There are only two Members at the moment on the Treasury Bench, and I remember the time when those two were in violent opposition to one another on this very question. The Financial Secretary, who is sitting opposite to me and who appears to be trying to look satisfied with himself and his Government, is finding it very difficult, because he has a good memory—a handicap which some hon. Members find it difficult to overcome. The hon. Member for Horncastle (Mr. Haslam), who is both a Protectionist and a Conservative, has never doubted the efficacy of tariffs and Protection, but he and the hon. Gentleman in front of him, whom he follows so willingly to-day, were not always of the same opinion, and I question whether the Financial Secretary is even now as fully convinced of the advantages of this kind of machinery and of 60 this principle as is the hon. Member for Horncastle. We have heard all along the years from leading Members of the present Government that never would they consent to the taxation of food—that they would be quite willing to experiment with modified forms of Protection, with regulation of imports, with limitation of imports, but never would they agree to the taxation of food. Nevertheless, we find that a large number of food commodities which we now have to import into this country—agricultural products, produced for human consumption, to the value of nearly £200,000,000 a year—are taxed in this country by import duties in a variety of forms and under a variety of procedure, according to the particular case.
We have just concluded a discussion on the Irish Free State (Special Duties) Act. Under that Act there is taxation on livestock, taxation on dairy produce, taxation on poultry, varied in its incidence and in its form of application, but touching every single agricultural product that comes from that country. Large quantities of commodities coming from every part of the world are subject to these duties, and we find that the Free List, which was designed to save our raw materials and essential foodstuffs, is diminishing every day as these special Orders appear, the general duty of 10 per cent. being augmented by additional duties of 15, 20 or 25 per cent. according to the insistence of hon. Members and their supporters in the country. These import duties are imposed finally in form by the House it is true, but they are assessed and determined by the Import Duties Advisory Board, which is removed from the House, to which the House has no access, and from which the House only-gets the very barest explanation and reason for the changes which come from time to time. Yet this body has enormous power. It is already adding considerably to the cost of foodstuffs.
§ Mr. HANNON
Does the hon. Gentleman contend that the cost of living has been raised since we put duties on imported goods?
§ Mr. GRENFELL
We now pay a larger price for a smaller quantity of imported food than we did in 1932. The volume of imports was 3.6 per cent. less in 1933 than in 1932 and the value was 8.9 per cent. less, and that in spite of the general decrease in the world price 61 of agricultural produce of all kinds. World production has increased very considerably in the present century, and the increase has been responsible for the tendency for prices to fall. But, despite the world tendency to falling prices, we in this country have experienced a rise in retail prices, and agricultural foodstuffs are dearer than they were 12 months ago. The Government say that only proves their success, but the additional price has to be paid by the consumer. The hon. Gentleman who looks at me so benignly and is so anxiously waiting for me knows that purchasing power has not been increased at all. The wages index is no higher than it was five years ago, but is actually lower. Actual wages are lower than they have been for a considerable number of years.
§ Mr. HANNON
Surely the hon. Gentleman will admit that the wages fund at present, with 880,000 more people at work than 12 months ago, must increase purchasing power.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
I admit that there are more people at work than there were 12 months ago, but with the cuts imposed by the Government and wage reductions imposed in the last 12 or 13 years, we have, after making allowance for the increase in employment, not yet reached in the aggregate the purchasing power of 1931. From that contracted purchasing power these higher prices have to be paid. Retail prices are higher in proportion to 1930 than are wholesale prices. Taking the year 1914 as 100, retail prices of foodstuffs are to-day 127. Wholesale prices, it is true, are less. They stand at about 107 or 108. But retail prices are higher, and the use made of these duties is to add more and more to the retail prices which the consumer has to pay. This is really of vital importance. We are engaged, as is every one else, in a struggle to keep our place in the industrial life of the world. There has been a considerable contraction of our export trade. We find competition more and more keen. We have competitors who now stand out in rivalry with every prospect of successful competition against us. We hear complaints of the dangers of Japanese competition, which is the more menacing because the Japanese worker gets cheaper food. It costs him less to live and he is able to work for lower wages and his goods are 62 produced at a lower cost, and they find their way into the markets in competition with goods from this country. Hon. Members opposite cannot have it both ways. If we are to induce the working people to accept low wage standards because of the existing low wage standards in competing countries, we cannot also raise the cost of goods, because it must inevitably happen that, if you raise the cost of living, wages somehow or other must be raised to the same extent.
We do not believe in producing agricultural commodities at a price less than the cost of production, but we believe that there is a considerable margin between retail prices and agricultural costs which we should thoroughly explore before we artificially raise the prices of imported foodstuffs and at the same time raise the retail prices of foodstuffs produced at home. After all, the consumer is a producer in his turn. In the main we are an industrial country. If you handicap the producer by adding unduly to his cost of living as a consumer, he will find himself in a competitive world out of employment and unable to play his part as a producer.
The intention of the Import Duties Bill was threefold. First of all, it was to restrict imports. We heard a good deal about abnormal importation, which the Government said they had to provide against. The next thing was to provide a remedy where a foreign country discriminated against British products. A good many of us would agree that, if we were subject openly to discrimination, we should take measures to protect ourselves, but we should exhaust every possible means of conciliation before adopting this kind of defence. The third object of the Act was to increase revenue. The hon. Gentleman must know by this time that there are much more convenient ways of providing this addition to the revenue than to go to the cupboards and the pockets of the poorest people in the country, extracting it in small sums of a ½d. and a penny, so much on bacon, so much on cheese and so much on butter. Because we believe that this taxation does infinite harm to our position as an industrial country and imposes a great hardship and handicap upon our people in their capacity as citizens and producers for the markets of 63 the world, and because we believe it is a wasteful and ineffective way of collecting national revenue, we move this Clause.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. HANNON
I have no complaint to make of the moderation with which the hon. Gentleman presented his case. It is a typical example of the sort of reactionary speech that we always had from the protagonists of Free Trade in the years gone by. If the Clause were added to the Bill, we should have a complete change in the present progressive, hopeful and helpful policy which the Government are prosecuting in the interests of agricultural revival. The hon. Gentleman made a strong case from his own point of view in relation to the cost of living, but he is aware that, taking food, clothing and shelter into consideration, at present we can purchase for 17s. as much as we could purchase for a £1 two and a half years ago. Does not that prove that, while we are trying to help agriculture by the imposition of these duties, and endeavouring to raise wholesale prices we are at the same time bringing down the cost of living.
The most interesting feature of the policy of the Government is that which it is doing for rural industry. I am certain that the hon. Gentleman would be the first to associate himself with any movement to help the people on the land, those who cultivate small farms and gardens, to get the largest volume of production out of the soil. Does he contend that that policy can have any effective result unless we give some measure of protection to those engaged in production? He has referred to the expediency of employing retaliatory measures when we are prevented from entering the markets of foreign countries. How can we increase the purchasing power of the farming community unless we protect them from the flood of competition in foodstuffs from every corner of the world? I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree on reflection that he and his party are advocating a policy which is not to the advantage of the country as a whole.
One of the most interesting changes in the atmosphere of this country, social and political, in recent times is the gradual rapprochement which has been 64 established between agriculture and industry. My right hon. Friend and I have endeavoured for many years to bring agriculture and industry into closer contact so that a material understanding might be created where both branches of enterprise in this country might be mutually helpful. In the course of the last few years in all the great centres of population in the country, and indeed in the very region for which the hon. Gentleman opposite is so honourably one of the representatives, there has been a great feeling of kindly sympathy towards agriculture, and an anxiety to make the position of the man who produces on the land more secure and profitable than it has been for many years past. I hope that that policy will be continued. The future of this country is largely bound up with the prosperity of the countryside. We have paid little attention to the countryside in the past and have neglected opportunities in this country of making the people happy on the land. The hon. and learned Gentleman smiles.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I was smiling at the hon. Gentleman's condemnation of the Conservative party for the last 200 years.
§ Mr. HANNON
I was really thinking of the weaknesses of the Whig party, out of which he arose, 60 or 70 years ago. He lives in one of the most charming districts in this country, amid surroundings which are most pleasurable and delightful, in the lovely Cotswold country, and would like to see every means possible brought into play to strengthen fertility and production in order to help the people. I am certain that he would, and is to-day going to vote for this Clause which prevents the machinery being vigorously operated to bring about the very effect, which, I am sure, he has at the back of his mind. For years past in this House Members of all parties have been too mealy mouthed in pleading the cause of agriculture. The time has come when the rural life of this country must be supported by every means which this House can provide for it. The Government have a policy of progress and recuperation in industry and agriculture, and it would be a reactionary process on the part of the House of Commons to accept a Clause of the kind proposed by the hon. Gentleman, although no doubt he has done it with the very best of intentions, 65 and in his own congenial way. Nevertheless, it would be a fatal blow at the present policy of promoting steadily, hopefully and helpfully, the improvement of the agricultural life of this country.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
The speech to which we have just listened, associated with a number of other declarations which have been made for some time past, seems to indicate that the policy surrounding the Clause which we are now discussing is one instituted for the purpose of defending agriculture in this country. It would be well before discussing the need for the defence of British agriculture to examine very carefully why British agriculture so lamentably fails in face of world competition. May I suggest an examination of why farmers within very few miles of London are unable to compete with farmers 5,000 or 10,000 miles away from London? What are the basic reasons which prevent farmers, on the most advantageous soil in the world, from competing against farmers abroad? Is there anything surrounding governmental conditions in this country? Are there rates and taxes which they have to pay compared with the foreigner? What are the circumstances? I should be glad to avail myself of any information at the disposal of any Government Department likely to convince me that the British farmer next door to London requires to be protected on the lines suggested against a poor old farmer thousands of miles away. The whole thing is incomprehensible from the point of view of common sense.
§ Mr. HANNON
The unit of production, taking wages, overhead charges, rent and rates and everything else into consideration in England, as compared with foreign countries, is precisely five or six times as great.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
In any case I would invite the hon. Gentleman to provide us with authoritative figures on that point. If he could prove that a farmer in one of the home counties was burdened by economic disadvantages of that character, it would be something for this House to consider. Until he does, and without the production of such information, I am prepared to lay it down that there is no such economic disad- 66 vantage in this country at all. British agriculture suffers from conservatism more than anything else. I am not referring to political Conservatism but to the conservatism of its economic methods which prevent it from holding its own with any other country. I could understand hon. Members, if they were dealing with the problem from the standpoint of world agricultural policy, associating themselves with monetary questions. The idea has been advocated and pursued in many countries, as has been the case in the United States of America, that the way out of the present crisis is to raise the price level of commodities. The Lord President of the Council, speaking during the weekend, indicated a measure of dissatisfaction in regard to price levels. It was thought that if the price level could be raised somehow or other the depression in the agricultural industry, and possibly in some other industries, would, in some miraculous way, be swept aside.
The assumption is that agriculture suffers from depression to a much greater degree than other industries in that agricultural prices have fallen to a much lower level than the prices of other commodities. It may be true that the relative fall in agricultural prices is much greater than the fall in prices in other industries. It is said that if they could raise agricultural prices to a higher level they would be able to give to the producers, and to the whole agricultural population, a far higher purchasing power which would be expended not only in the purchase of agricultural products, but of industrial products. Unless you start a movement which would indicate a line of development to sweep away the whole of the depression which affects the various countries at the present time, how is the raising of prices of agricultural products to be attained? There are two ways I suggest in which it might be done. The one is by interference with currency, which was begun when we went off the Gold Standard. It was copied by other countries going off the Gold Standard, and it was hoped that the price level would rise.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)
We cannot discuss that question, as the Clause is limited to the question of import duties on foodstuffs.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
I was mentioning that particular theory as one of the two ways in which we could effect a rise in agricultural prices. That particular theory fails in that it would raise all prices uniformly and therefore would not affect agricultural products as distinct from other products. Therefore, it fails for that reason. The hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) shakes his head.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
I accept your Ruling, and therefore I mention the other suggested remedy, which is, protective tariffs against a particular class of goods. In this case, the tariffs refer to agriculture, and it is assumed that the operation of the tariffs' against the imported agricultural produce will stop altogether with that class of goods. My hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell) pointed out that, while the effect of the protective tariff was to raise the price of agricultural goods, it must also raise the cost of living to the average working man.
The policy of the Government is directed to raising wholesale prices, and not retail prices.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
The hon. Member must face the reality of the situation. The moment you raise wholesale prices, the raising of retail prices will follow. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I have heard hon. Members complain that retail prices have not fallen in comparison with wholesale prices. If the protective tariffs aimed at are set in operation for the purpose of raising prices, obviously the effect is not attained unless the cost of living is increased for the working man. My complaint, and the complaint of work-ins; men and women in this country, is that if you seek to raise agricultural prices automatically in this country, you are imposing a very grave injustice on the working class unless you provide an increase of wages for them at the same time. We find that the increase of prices simply accumulates as a benefit in the hands of a section of the community in this country. If the effects are to be met by each class as they suffer, first of all, an increase in the price of agricultural products, land, secondly, an increase in 68 the cost of living to the working class, and the working class succeed in securing a rise in wages, the effect will be pushed from one to another until finally the whole of the community comes back once again to the status quo. I will put this question to hon. Members and to the Minister in charge. If protective tariffs are now required because agricultural prices are at an abnormally low level, so much lower than the prices of industrial products, would they be prepared in the event of the protective tariffs improving the comparative level of agricultural prices, to withdraw the protective tariffs? It is a fair question. [An HON. MEMBER: "Wait and see."] I shall wait and see.
§ Mr. HERBERT WILLIAMS
May I ask a question as a corollary? Will the hon. Member support them until that happens?
§ Mr. MAINWARING
It is not a bad one, land I am prepared to answer it frankly. If wages among the working class were supported, I would agree, to it, and I believe that my party would agree to it. The fact of the matter is that wages have been reduced for the last 10 years to meet the position, and wages are the only commodity in this country the price of which has been forcibly reduced.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that in the last 10 years wages have been reduced, taking the percentage, more than retail food prices? If so, will he give me his authority?
§ Mr. MAINWARING
That is not the point at all, and I am not prepared at the moment to say what the relative proportion may be. The hon. Member may be correct. What I do assert is, that under this policy, in endeavouring to recover lost ground, wages have been reduced to an inordinately low level.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
The hon. Member shakes his head. Does he realise that 75 per cent. of the mining industry in this country are paupers, that they cannot live on the wages they receive, and that they are not doing so? Does he realise that?
§ Mr. MAINWARING
It is true. Let me invite my hon. Friend to ask Mr. Evan Williams, President of the Coal-owners' Association of Great Britain, to deny what I say. I guarantee that Mr. Evan Williams will confirm my statement to the full.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I do not know whether Mr. Deputy-Speaker will allow me to intervene further. There are about 1,400,000 people and their dependants in this country in receipt of Poor Law relief. That number represents 400,000 workers and not more than a fraction of them are coal miners. There are 750,000 coal miners. Therefore three-fourths of them cannot be in receipt of Poor Law relief.
§ Mr. MAINWARING
The disadvantage under which the hon. Member labours is that he does not realise the source from which the poor relief comes to the miners. They do not receive it from public assistance. They get it from the coalowners. That is the distinction. The wages of the miners are actually the smaller sum in the total that they carry home from the offices every week. That is because the coalowners as a body have been compelled to recognise that the wages they agreed to pay and the wages they do pay, are inadequate. No one insists more upon making the distinction between wages and subsistence allowances than do the coalowners. They say to the miners: "We pay you a wage and we pay you an allowance."
Since the wages of the working classes have been reduced to such a level that their own employers directly and voluntarily agree that they are insufficient to enable a man to live, we are justified in asking that if the policy of raising the price, levels of general foodstuffs is to be embarked upon, then the wages of the working classes ought to be raised at the same time. Unless the purchasing power and the standard of living of the working class are safeguarded, we are justified in opposing to the utmost of our power the continuation of the Government's policy. In reply to the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) I would say that if the Government were prepared to guarantee the standard of life and the purchasing power of the working 70 classes we should be quite prepared to support them in raising agricultural prices to a point where they could recover their competitive equilibrium with the prices of industrial products. Unless that can be done, the Government must find new ground for continuing this policy, or they must justify the ground upon which they introduce this principle.
§ 5.50 p.m.
Mr. E. J. YOUNG
When I was listening to the speech of the hon. Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham (Mr. Hannon) I was reminded of the great battles we had in 1903, before the outbreak of war. Protection under the name of tariff reform was thrust upon us in those days, and Liberals and Free Traders took up the challenge and we fought out the issue year after year, in season and out of season, until the Great War began, little thinking that after the War the spirit of narrow nationalism would thrust us into the Protectionist vortex. We used to beat the Protectionists every time in those days. They used to tell us that if we had Protection we should keep out foreign goods, and that we should raise revenue. We had also other inconsistent arguments. We said that as soon as the people understood the question, Protection would break down. I believe that the arguments for Free Trade to-day are as sound and unchallengeable—if we could lay aside party spirit or the spirit of international differences—as in former days.
Certainly. We have had a revival of the old Protectionist arguments that we used to hear 25 years ago, which were proved to be unsound and illogical before the War. They are now offered to another generation, which has had a little experience of these things, but they are equally unsound.
The hon. Member has suggested that you can help one section of industry by putting an import duty against goods from abroad. That particular section is agriculture. We have always agreed as Free Traders that if you protect one section at the expense of the rest, you certainly can give that 71 section a good deal of benefit. The hon. Member comes from Birmingham, where they make brass pots and tin ware. Obviously, if you exclude competition with those goods the manufacturers of Birmingham—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The discussion is going rather wide. I do not think that brass pots from Birmingham are articles of food.
I was simply using an illustration to point out that one section of people can be benefited by tariffs by the exclusion of competition, because they secure advantage thereby, but if the tariffs were applied to the whole of industry then that benefit automatically disappears. The argument has been used to-day that tariffs have assisted agriculture. We who are associated with the industrial areas maintain that prices are higher because of tariffs than they would have been if the tariffs were not there. I had hoped to be able to say something about the importation of meat from Ireland. Exactly the same argument applies to the question of imported foodstuffs.
Mr. GURNEY BRAITHWAITE
Am I correct in thinking that the hon. Member followed us into the Lobby the other day for the purpose of continuing for an indefinite period the duties on imported iron and steel?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I must ask hon. Members not to make these interruptions. They lead us away from the subject before the House.
I would answer the hon. Member in the affirmative if Mr. Deputy-Speaker gave his permission, but he has not done so. Also, if I could have been allowed, I would have explained my position, but that is not permitted. I put this question to hon. Members opposite. Is it correct that import duties raise the cost of goods to the consumer? Let me put a proposition. If I go abroad and I buy a ship-load of wheat and that wheat is placed aboard a ship, the captain or officer in charge is given a bill of lading, giving the purchase price. When the ship arrives on this side the Customs' officer goes aboard, inspects the bill of lading and adds the value of the tax to the cost of the goods. The man who takes the goods from the ship adds special charges 72 to the goods, and where he has the chance to do so he makes a profit on the taxes as well as a profit on the goods themselves. When the goods have filtered through several stages and have reached the consumer, is it not true that the consumer is paying not only the normal charges and profits on the goods themselves, but several profits on them as Well?
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
Can the hon. Member give me any example in which it is true to say that that happens?
I have had something to do with the business of importing cargoes of timber, but I have not a bill of lading with me.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
Can the hon. Member tell me where the price has risen since the duty was imposed, in cases where there is trade competition?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Four panel doors must be almost as indigestible as I find some of this discussion.
The hon. Member opposite must excuse me from pursuing the subject further. I may be able to give him more information on another occasion. We are discussing the removal of taxes from food, and our position as representatives of industrial areas is that taxes make food dearer when it should be cheaper. In spite of these hypothetical drops in the cost of living, people are not getting as much food as they ought to have. They are not getting sufficient to maintain health and strength. Those who have watched the same people year after year in the same industrial area will accept that dictum. This is one of the occasions when we join with hon. Members above the Gangway, although their position is inconsistent. I cannot quite appreciate the association of Free Trade Socialists. Our claim as Free Traders is that people should have the right to buy where they like and to sell to whom they like. I believe that even hon. Members opposite would accept that proposition. It is inconsistent to suggest that the State should be the only producer and the only distributor. We are supporting hon. Members above the Gangway in the effort to get food prices reduced by the removal of this tax.
73 The hon. Member for Horncastle (Mr. Haslam) said that the effect of the tariff would be to raise wholesale prices but not retail prices. Are not wholesale and retail prices related in this way, that if there is sufficient competition among the wholesalers to sell their goods to the retailers prices will be pushed down, but if the competition between the wholesalers is limited, as it would be limited if a tariff were operative, then there will be a tendency for retail prices to rise.
I should like to point out that the sudden fall in the wholesale prices of agricultural products was not accompanied by a sudden or corresponding fall in retail prices. The recent rise in the price of certain agricultural products, such as mutton, which has risen 41 pe rcent., has been accompanied by a rise of only 6 per cent. in retail prices.
From the statement of the hon. Member I must charge the retailers with profiteering. If only that small increase has followed substantially the steep rise in wholesale prices, we must assume that the retailers had been getting far more out of the public than they were entitled to do.
I should like to enter a caveat against that statement. Retailers have their own difficulties to contend with, and I should not like my words to be taken as meaning that there has been profiteering.
I do not wish to be drawn further into arguments, because I have the reputation of making short speeches, and a large number of hon. Members wish to take part in the Debate. I affirm that tariffs make prices higher than they ought to be, that goods are dearer with tariffs, and I say that to make the poor pay more for their food than is necessary is a criminal action. A very important Member of the Conservative party, Mr. Balfour, afterwards the Earl of Balfour, summed up the tariff position when the tariffers were not quite clever enough to trap him completely. He said that the object of Protection was to encourage home industries, and that the means by which it attained that object was a manipulation of the fiscal system to raise home prices. If they were not raised, he said, industry was not encouraged. That, in a nutshell, is Protection properly 74 understood. I rose to make one point, and that is that the new Clause suggests that food taxes which press more heavily on the poor than on the rich should be removed. I have the greatest pleasure in supporting the Clause.
§ 6.2 p.m.
In view of the vigorous enunciation of the Free Trade policy to which we have just listened, I feel that one hon. Member who represents a purely agricultural constituency should be allowed to say a few words. The hon. Member will forgive me if I do not follow him into the old question of Protection and Free Trade, and I am quite sure, Sir, that you would not permit me to do so. May I make one observation with regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon)? I listened to him with great pleasure, as I invariably do, but I was somewhat surprised to hear him speak in such glowing terms of the agricultural policy of the Government. We all know that the present Government have done more for agriculture in general than any other administration, but as a protagonist of the Protectionist policy I expected the hon. Member to be somewhat firmer in urging upon the Government to go on from strength to strength.
The proposed new Clause, of course, raises the whole agricultural position. We want more, and hon. Members above the Gangway want less. I respectfully suggest to them that they cannot have it both ways. We have heard a great deal about higher wages and adequate remuneration for the worker, whether in agriculture or in the great heavy basic industries of the land. I agree; but what do they propose in their Clause? Surely it is somewhat in the nature of a wrecking Amendment with regard to agriculture and industry in general. They would hold us back; we are to be stayed in our great endeavours in this Parliament to do something for agriculture in particular and for industry in general. They say, "If we are to have wholesale prices raised, you must do something about wages, by legislation." Let me point out to them that the flaw in their argument lies here. Good as are the intentions of the Government with regard to agriculture, their efforts so far, in regard to raising the wholesale prices of agricultural products, have not met with the success which we should all like to see. The 75 Minister of Agriculture has said so with regard to meat, and the Lord President of the Council in his speech at Osbaston Manor said, referring to agriculture, that he could say nothing more at the moment but that they would be prepared to stand the racket in the House of Commons and on the platform when the right moment arrived. I have in my pocket a copy of a resolution passed by beef producers in livestock-raising areas deploring the present catastrophic prices which prevail in regard to their products and the terrible anxiety with which they view the future.
In view of all the circumstances of the case, I feel that I ought not to be silent when a Clause like this is put before the House which, as I have said, suggests that we should even do less than it has been possible to do in the two and a half years since this Parliament was elected with the doctor's mandate instead of assisting and stirring the Government on to resuscitate and reinvigorate all the great industries of the land. That is why I ask the Financial Secretary to have nothing to do with the proposed Clause. I am sure that he will not have anything to do with it. He is directly connected with the innermost councils of the Government, and no doubt realises that I have not overstated the case with regard to the agricultural industry. He knows that every county Member in this House is appalled, and everybody connected with agriculture outside is appalled at the present trend of affairs. Agriculture was keenly discussed at the last Election and the doctor's mandate was hailed by every farmer, large and small, as something which would give the industry its chance, though somewhat late in the day, thanks to the efforts of hon. Members of the Liberal party.
I ask the Financial Secretary to turn a very deaf ear indeed to this Clause, and to make a vigorous pronouncement of the Government's policy. The hon. Member for Middlesbrough East (Mr. E. J. Young) spoke very strongly from the Free Trade point of view. I am glad that he did so, because it lets us see that the Liberal party are digging their own graves as fast as they can. Agricultural labourers will not be taken in by arguments such as have been advanced. They realise to-day, all orders 76 in agricultural society realise—owners, occupiers and workers—that their interests are one. We have long since left the good old days of Queen Victoria when people connected with the Liberal party did their best to bring strife into what ought to be normally the most peaceful orders of our society—
Mr. E. J. YOUNG
Does the hon. Member not realise that in the days of Queen Victoria a great Conservative leader said that Protection was not only dead but damned?
I do not wish to be guilty of prolonging the Debate, so let me say in one sentence, in reply to the hon. Member who has interrupted, that I think Mr. Disraeli when he spoke in that way failed to realise the great—
No doubt there will be another opportunity of making what, I think, is a very cloudy position perfectly plain. I hope that the Financial Secretary will resist the proposed new Clause with all the energy he possesses, and I promise him that if he does so he will have my support on this occasion, which, I hope, will stimulate him and his right hon. Friends to initiate a more vigorous livestock policy.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hore-Belisha)
The Debate has aroused deep feelings on both sides of the House, but we are not concerned here with the general controversy in which hon. Members have participated. This is a very restricted proposal. It is not large enough to carry with in its bosom the wider conflict of views with which both sides are familiar. It raises this question only: Protection being granted as a principle, is it right to deny to the producers of foodstuffs the same advantages which you give to producers of other commodities? That is the whole issue. Hon. Members opposite say that it is proper to deny to the producers of foodstuffs the advantages which you grant to the producers of other commodities. In order to make out their case they must show that the cost of foodstuffs is 77 high relatively to other items in the working-class budget—not only high, but so high as to be intolerable. What are the facts? The facts are that whereas the general cost-of-living figure is to-day 38 per cent. above what it was in 1914, the cost of foodstuffs is only 17 per cent. above what it was in 1914. They must also show that since the Import Duties were put on the cost of foodstuffs has risen in an alarming manner—so alarming as to call for the intervention of the Legislature. What are the facts there? They are that when the Import Duties were put on foodstuffs, the cost of foodstuffs was 26 per cent. above what it was in 1914; to-day it is only 17 per cent. above.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Can the Financial Secretary tell us or give us the list of foodstuffs to which he is referring?
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
I am referring to the cost of foodstuffs in the cost-of-living index.' I will give the hon. and learned Member the months. The last figures I gave referred to April, 1932, and to June, 1934. There has been a fall in the cost of living so far as foodstuffs are concerned. Even if it were true that the cost of living in respect of foodstuffs had risen, it would still also be true that what a man might have lost as a consumer he would have gained as a producer. That is true by the increased employment, the figures of which are so familiar to the House. In any event, I think that the Movers of this new Clause are under a misapprehension. The Clause does not propose—here I am surprised—to sweep away the duties on all foodstuffs. The arguments have been addressed to the evil of taxing all foodstuffs. The new Clause is much more restricted. It does not make any interference with the Revenue duties, the taxes upon tea, sugar, coffee, and alcoholic liquors. It leaves them. It does not suggest sweeping away any of the Ottawa duties. Those are to remain. The two kinds of duty which I have mentioned, the Revenue duties and the Ottawa duties, cover the vast bulk of the food duties in this country. We are therefore left with a proposal which invites us to abrogate—here I am speaking in general but fair terms—duties upon oats, oat products, some vegetables some fruits, and sundry other commodities. That is all we are asked to do.
78 I trust that the House will agree with me that the proposal is not large enough or wide enough to carry so serious a controversy as has been raised, and that all that is at issue is, having agreed to protection generally, should you deny to the producers of foodstuffs what you deemed to be good for the rest of the community? The answer of the Government is in the negative.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Mr. CHARLES BROWN
I have been very interested to hear the reply of the Financial Secretary. I was not surprised to hear him say in effect that he was familiar with both sides of the controversy. That, of course, is well known to every Member of the House. I have not the slightest doubt that if he had had to put forward arguments for the new Clause he would have done it quite well, because of his past political history. He has managed to put the argument against the Clause quite effectively by evading the main point that we have in mind in the Clause. He knows as well as any one in this House that taxes on food were not an issue at the last election. I know of no National Government candidate, at any rate in my area, who openly came out with proposals to tax food. The contrary was the case. What the Financial Secretary has failed to understand in our case is that we are objecting particularly to the method of putting taxes on food through the Import Duties Act.
The Financial Secretary has reminded the House that if our proposed new Clause is carried, we repeal by it a very small proportion of the food taxes. That we admit. The hon. Gentleman called attention to the fact that the food taxes in existence are largely put on through the instrumentality of the Budget. When the Budget is before the House and such taxes are imposed all the people know what the Government are doing, and what items of food are to be taxed. But here, through the machinery of the Import Duties Act, the Government can do these things with very few people knowing what they are doing. An Order may come up late at night in this House and the Government carry through a new tax on some item of imported food in the dietary of the working classes. We object. We say that the Government have no mandate to impose food taxes in 79 that way. We strongly object to the machinery of the Import Duties Act being used for this purpose. If the Government are going to do it let them do it openly and above board, through the instrumentality of the Budget.
As some of my colleagues have already said, on principle we are opposed to food taxes. I have ever borne in mind a very important statement that will be found in the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Second Reading Debate on the Import Duties Bill. I speak from memory, but I think that in one of his speeches the Chancellor said that we had reached a situation where it was necessary to broaden the basis of taxation. That was the phrase he used. One of the methods of doing that is by the imposition of food taxes on large masses of the people. The Financial Secretary might very well say to us today, "We have not done much in that direction yet, at any rate not through the instrumentality of the Import Duties Act." But we must have some regard to the speeches that have been made to-day. I was astonished when the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) said that the advocates of agriculture had been mealy-mouthed in the past. They have never been mealy-mouthed while I have been in the House; their demands on the Government have been insistent. They are still making their demands. The hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. McKie) has made a similar demand today. We gather from the speech of the Lord President of the Council that new measures are contemplated to deal with the situation.
§ Mr. BROWN
We are naturally suspicious. We say emphatically that the Government have no mandate for food taxes, and that they ought not to impose taxes through the machinery of the Import Duties Act. I shall have no hesitation in going into the Lobby in support of this Clause.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. HENDERSON STEWART
I do not know in what kind of world the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown) lives, but his speech makes one think that he has no practical connection whatever with any farm- 80 ing area or any community which lives on agriculture. Without wishing to speak from any selfish point of view I would say that I represent a very important agricultural area in Scotland, and I ask my hon. Friend, and other hon. Friends who support him, to face the practical issue. They ask that there shall be no sweated labour. Is that demand to apply only to industrial workers? Is the argument to stop short at every farm gate? The fact is that until we took these measures, the necessity for which I regretted, farm labourers were being sweated, and even now they are being sweated.
§ Mr. STEWART
So long as the returns of agriculture were as small as they were, and indeed so long as they are as small as they are to-day, sweated labour is almost inevitable. It is to avoid that, to make it possible for the farmer—who is just as generous in general as hon. Members opposite—to pay his workers a living wage, that these measures, unfortunate if you like, are essential. It is in that practical way I look upon these protective measures. I was brought up as a Free Trader, and I confess frankly that when these taxes were imposed I did not like them. One cannot all of a sudden like something that one has denounced all one's life. But to-day is different from 1913 or 1912, to which reference has been made. We are living under new conditions. Goods are being thrown upon our market as they never were before. I have read Adam Smith with a great deal of care and I am sure that when he advocated Free Trade he never contemplated dumping conditions such as we have now. Certainly when I learned my Free Trade lesson in the olden days dumping and currency problems were not in the text-books at all. These are new factors that make a completely new picture. It is hopeless to approach the present-day problem with no contribution except what was learned in 1913 and 1914.
Therefore I say, regrettable as these taxes may be to one brought up as a Free Trader, they are essential at this time. To come forward with a proposal like this new Clause, to rob farmers of what protection they have, for oats, barley and I hope, potatoes, to open our markets to 81 a flood of these goods at prices shillings and pounds below cost of production, is to destroy agriculture in this country. When conditions of fair trade return, when there is no more currency problem, when there is no more of this subsidising of exports by the method adopted in France and Germany, I am prepared to stand with hon. Members opposite and to ask for the freest possible trade between this country and others, but so long as we are subject to these exceptional methods of trade. I support a continuation of the Government's measures. I regard this Amendment as one of the most foolish I have ever seen put on the Paper. As has been said, it has not any size and it means nothing. It refers to one or two products about which I really believe hon. Members opposite have no knowledge whatever. I wish they would come with me to an agricultural market one day. I spent this morning at such a market. They would see farmers offering their produce for sale. They would see the price that was got. Then they could go back to the farmer and examine his accounts, as I have done. They would find out where was the great profit that is supposed to be obtained.
When the hon. Member talked about these import duties being carried through in the dead of the night, I wondered whether he was talking to some dramatic society or to sensible men and women in the British House of Commons. What nonsense is the suggestion that the thing is done in an underground way! The Import Duties Committee's reports are published. They appear in the Press. Every one can examine them for weeks. They are debated in this House, and if the Debate is late it is very often hon. Members opposite who are to blame. There is, indeed, no ease for this new Clause or for the wealth of groundless arguments with which it has been advanced.
§ 6.29 u.m.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
We have had a very eloquent speech from the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart), who was almost lyrical in his enthusiasm for food taxes. His conversion is comparatively recent. Even at the last General Election he was not converted to these views. Of course I respect the hon. Gentleman for his conversion.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
In any circumstance. The hon. Member has changed his ideas—I do not think there can be any contention about that—but I am more concerned about some of his Liberal-National colleagues who represent industrial constituencies and who have not only given pledges against food taxes but, to their credit, have consistently stuck to their principles although supporters of the National Government. There is also that section, of which the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is so distinguished a Member, who take the line that their business is to support the Government. There is the President of the Board of Trade, whom my hon. Friend regards, I understand, as his leader and who is representative of the Liberal-Nationals in the present Government. He gave a very clear and emphatic pledge at St. Ives, not in 1912 or 1913, but during the last General Election. He then said that while he would not be a party to a permanent tax, he was prepared to take such steps as were necessary to preserve the national position, and he went on to say:I would not be in favour of import duties on food. What you ought to do is to cut off ffthe imports of luxuries.That is laid down as the position of the Liberals supporting the National Government, and I would say to hon. Members who are nervous about the position that one of the reasons why we have not got a duty on imported beef is because of that pledge, because Members for industrial constituencies, led by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, gave that pledge to the country and got Liberal support for the National Government by that pledge. This proposed new Clause is very narrow. It is strictly limited; it does not do away with all food taxes nor does it sweep away revenue taxes like those on tea, coffee, tobacco and wine, referred to by the Financial Secretary. But because it tries to implement the pledge given on behalf of the Liberal-Nationals who supported the Government and who are against food taxes, I propose to support it.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 50; Noes, 246.57
|Division No. 290.]||AYES.||[5.0 p.m.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Malnwaring, William Henry|
|Banfield, John William||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Thorne, William James|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hicks, Ernest George||West, F. R.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jenkins, Sir William||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Daggar, George||Lawson, John James|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Dobbie, William||Logan, David Gilbert||Mr. John and Mr. Wilmot.|
|Edwards, Charles||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bralthwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Crooke, J. Smedley|
|Albery, Irving James||Brass, Captain Sir William||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Broadbent, Colonel John||Cross, R. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Crossley, A. C.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Apsley, Lord||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Browne, Captain A. C.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Davison, Sir William Henry|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Burnett, John George||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Butler, Richard Austen||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Dickie, John P.|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Dixen, Rt. Hon. Herbert|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Drewe, Cedric|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Castlereagh, Viscount||Duckworth, George A. V.|
|Barton, Capt, Basil Kelsey||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbeston)||Duggan, Hubert John|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Clarke, Frank||Edmondson, Major Sir James|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Clarry, Reginald George||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Bernays, Robert||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Eillston, Captain George Sampson|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Eimley, Viscount|
|Blindell, James||Colfox, Major William Philip||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Borodale, Viscount||Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cook, Thomas A.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cooper, A. Duff||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Copeland, Ida||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Cranborne, Viscount||Ganzoni, Sir John|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mabane, William||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Scone, Lord|
|Goldie, Noel B.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Gower, Sir Robert||McKie, John Hamilton||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Granville, Edgar||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Maitland, Adam||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Greene, William P. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Hales, Harold K.||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)|
|Hartland, George A.||Morris-Jones. Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)|
|Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Storey, Samuel|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Morrison, William Shephard||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Moss, Captain H. J.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Munro, Patrick||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Hepworth, Joseph||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Patrick, Colin M.||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Peat, Charles U.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)|
|Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Penny, Sir George||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Percy, Lord Eustace||Tree, Ronald|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Petherick, M.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Janner, Barnett||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Wallace, John (Dunfermilne)|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Procter, Major Henry Adam||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L (Hull)|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isle)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Knight, Holford||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Rankin, Robert||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rathbone, Eleanor||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Law, Richard K. (Hull. S. W.)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Leech, Dr. J. W.||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Rickards, George William||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Lewis, Oswald||Ropner, Colonel L.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Lindsay, Noel Ker||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Ross, Ronald D.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingeley|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th)||Runge, Norah Cecil||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Lodor, Captain J. de Vere||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Loftus, Pierce C.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Llverp'l)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Salmon. Sir Isldore||Sir Victor War render and Captain|
|Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Salt, Edward W.||Austin Hudson.|
|Division No. 291.]||AYES.||[6.34 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis Dyke||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Banfield, John William||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Owen, Major Goronwy|
|Bernays, Robert||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Harris, Sir Percy||Thorne, William James|
|Buchanan, George||Hicks, Ernest George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Holdsworth, Herbert||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cove, William G.||Janner, Barnett||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jenkins, Sir William||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Daggar, George||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Dobbie, William||Leonard, William|
|Edwards, Charles||Logan, David Gilbert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Leech, Dr. J. W.|
|Albery, Irving James||Donner, P.W.||Lees-Jones, John|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Drewe, Cedric||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Duckworth, George A. V.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lewis, Oswald|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Edge, Sir William||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Edmondson, Major Sir James||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Eimley, Viscount||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Everard, W. Lindsay||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Fremantle, Sir Francis||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Ganzoni, Sir John||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Glucksteln, Louis Halle||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Blindell, James||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Maitland, Adam|
|Bossom, A. C.||Goff, Sir Park||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Boulton, W. W.||Goldie, Noel B.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Gower, Sir Robert||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Graves, Marjorie||Mitchell, Harold P. (Br'tf'd & Chisw'k)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Greene, William p. C.||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Grimston, R. V.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denblgh)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hales, Harold K.||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Buchan-Hepburn, p. G. T.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Burnett, John George||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Munro, Patrick|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Hartland, George A.||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester City)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Clarke, Frank||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Pearson, William G.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hepworth, Joseph||Peat, Charles U.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkinson, Austin||Penny, Sir George|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Petherick, M.|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Hornby, Frank||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Potter, John|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hewitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Copeland, Ida||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Pybus, Sir Percy John|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, c.)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Ker, J. Campbell||Rankin, Robert|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Remer, John R.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Dickie, John P.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||Rickards, George William|
|Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Train, John|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Tree, Ronald|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Spent, William Patrick||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Salmon, Sir Isidore||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Salt, Edward W.||Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Storey, Samuel||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Stourton, Hon. John J.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Strauss, Edward A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Scone, Lord||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Selley, Harry R.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Summersby, Charles H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Sutcliffe, Harold||Withers, Sir John James|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Thompson, Sir Luke||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Smithers, Sir Waldron||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Somervell, Sir Donald||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert-Ward and Major George Davies.|
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The new Clause standing next on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard) deals with an amendment of the law as to rebate on certain hydrocarbon oils. There are several other new Clauses on the Paper dealing with various aspects of the duty on hydrocarbon oils, and it appears to me that it would be to the advantage of the House if on the new Clause of the hon. Member for St. Rollox the discussion were to include the various points raised by other hon. Members in the proposals which appear lower down on the Paper. That would include the new Clauses in the names of the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Everard)—[Exemption from hydrocarbon oil duty in favour of owners of aircraft]—the right hon. and gallant Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair)—[Reduction of duty on heavy hydrocarbon oils]—and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Major Hills)—[Repeal of duty on certain spirits].