HC Deb 25 June 1934 vol 291 cc935-40

11.31 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 1, line 20, to leave out "the same rate as," and to insert: half the rate that would have been payable. Not more than half-an-hour ago the Minister of Agriculture took great credit to himself for proposing an Amendment which, he said, clearly explained itself, and I think we also can take some credit that the words of this Amendment explain clearly what is in our minds. By passing Clause I the Committee have decided that the sugar subsidy should be continued for another year, and this being, in our opinion, a great evil, we want to reduce it as much as we can, and propose that the subsidy so continued should be reduced by one-half. The contention of Parliament when introducing this subsidy in the first instance was that for a period of years, which is now about to expire, the sugar-beet industry should have such assistance in order to establish itself. It has had 10 years in which to do that, and something like £40,000,000 has been poured into its coffers. It has at periods during the duration of the subsidy been able to pay dividends of something approaching 15 per cent. on its capital and to allot very large sums to reserve and to depreciation accounts, and it has produced sugar during that period which has been worth something less than one-half of the total value of the subsidy. We think that sort of thing ought to be stopped as soon as possible. The Government have been very much to blame all the way through for not having given the House information before this. Now the country is to be penalised by having to pay this subsidy for another 11 months simply because the Government could not bring themselves to appoint a committee at the proper time to consider this matter. We think, in short, that the whole business is perfectly iniquitous and that if we cannot remove the subsidy altogether we should reduce it to as low a figure as possible.

11.35 p.m.


I would remind the Committee that when the subsidy was originally introduced it was ordained that at certain specific stages it should be diminished. This has been described as a continuation of the subsidy; in my submission, it is really an increase. It is a proposal to pay the subsidy at the rate at which it was paid last year, but all accretions to the subsidy should be at a smaller rate than those paid before. To propose that the subsidy should be continued at the same rate is out of spirit with the original proposal, which was to give an ever-diminishing subsidy in order to encourage the industry to look after itself and to enable it to stand on its own feet. The Committee will be doing wrong to agree to the subsidy at the existing rate, because that will lull the industry into a sense of security which will prove false when the next election comes along.

11.37 p.m.


The Amendment is to halve the rate of subsidy which is being paid. I do not know whether that is a subtle reference to the hopes which the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Mallalieu) and his associates have in regard to the next election. I think the

hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. A. Roberts) gave away the whole case when he said that he objected to the principle of the Bill. He says: "If we cannot sweep it all away, let us sweep away as much as we can." His argument frankly was that the Amendment would cripple the Bill, and make it unworkable, and that is his hope. He thinks that some other form of sugar production would be better. I am doing him no injustice when I say that he wants to make the Bill unworkable. My argument would only be that which I brought forward on Second Beading, The House has decided that there shall be this continuation, and that the beet-sugar industry in this country, with the opportunities for employment that it gives at considerable expense—and I am not in any way attempting to minimise that—should be also continued. To pass this Amendment would be to throw completely out of gear all the calculations that have been made and all the arrangements that have been entered into, and would succeed in crippling the scheme and make it unworkable; but that is not the desire of the majority of the Committee, and I am sure that hon. Members will resist this Amendment. I am not going into the minor argument brought forward by the hon. Member for Colne Valley, that the subsidy is being increased except to point out that we should not be very pleased if the continuation of our Parliamentary salaries every year could be regarded as an increase. I do not want to enter into those recondite points. These rates are unavoidable for this year, if the scheme is to go on. I think the Committee desire that it shall go on and therefore they will not accept the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 34.

Division No. 303.] AYES. [11.41 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Bottom, A. C. Butt, Sir Alfred
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Boulton, W. W. Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Bower, Commander Robert Tatton Caporn, Arthur Cecil
Aske, Sir Robert William Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Carver, Major William H.
Atholl, Duchess of Brass, Captain Sir William Castlereagh, Viscount
Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J. Broadbent, Colonel John Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Christie, James Archibald
Barclay-Harvey, C M. Brown, Ernest (Leith) Colfox, Major William Philip
Bateman, A. L. Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Browne, Captain A. C. Cook, Thomas A.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.) Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Copeland, Ida
Courtauld, Major John Sewell Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Ross, Ronald D.
Crooke, J. Smedley Kerr, Hamilton W. Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootie) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Leckie, J. A. Runge, Norah Cecil
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Leech, Dr. J. W. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Drewe, Cedric Lloyd, Geoffrey Salmon, Sir Isidore
Drummond-Wolff, H. M. C. Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.) Salt, Edward W.
Duckworth, George A. V. Loder, Captain J. de Vere Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Loftus, Pierce C. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Dunglass, Lord Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Edmondson, Major Sir James Mabane, William Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Elmley, Viscount McCorquodale, M. S. Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard McKie, John Hamilton Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dlne, C.)
Fermoy, Lord Magnay, Thomas Somervell, Sir Donald
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Fox, Sir Gifford Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.) Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Fraser, Captain Sir Ian Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Fremantle, Sir Francis Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Spens, William Patrick
Fuller, Captain A. G. Mitchell, Harold P.(Br'tf'd & Chisw'k) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Gluckstein, Louis Halle Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Stevenson, James
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Morgan, Robert H. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Gower, Sir Robert Morrison, William Shepherd Strickland, Captain W. F.
Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl' d, N.) Munro, Patrick Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.
Graves, Marjorie Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Guest, Capt Rt. Hon. F. E. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Sutcliffe, Harold
Guinness, Thomas L. E. B. North, Edward T. Tate, Mavis Constance
Gunston, Captain D. W. Nunn, William Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Thompson, Sir Luke
Hales, Harold K. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Hammersley, Samuel S. Patrick, Colin M. Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)
Hanbury, Cecil Peat, Charles U. Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Hanley, Dennis A. Penny, Sir George Tree, Ronald
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Perkins, Walter R. D. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Haslam, Sir John (Bolton) Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Horsbrugh, Florence Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Howard, Tom Forrest Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Ramsbotham, Herwald Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Rankin, Robert Wilson, Clyde T, (West Toxteth)
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter) Wise, Alfred R.
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) Womersley, Sir Walter
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Jamleson, Douglas Remer, John R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Jesson, Major Thomas E. Rickards, George William Captain Sir George Bowyer and
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Robinson, John Roland Dr. Morris-Jones.
Ker, J. Campbell Ropner, Colonel L.
Banfield, John William Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Pickering, Ernest H.
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Griffith. F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Rathbone, Eleanor
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Harris, Sir Percy Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Daggar, George Holdsworth, Herbert Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Janner, Barnett Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Dobbie, William Jenkins, Sir William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Edwards, Charles John, William Wilmot, John
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Logan, David Gilbert
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Gardner, Benjamin Walter Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. Walter Rea and Mr. Aled Roberts.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Nathan, Major H. L.

Resolution agreed to.

Clauses 3 (All subsidies to be paid by the Minister), 4 (Power of Minister to make advances on account of subsidy in respect of molasses), and 5 (Short title, interpretation and extent) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule (Rules for calculating the subsidy payable in respect of molasses manufactured between the thirty-first day of August, nineteen hundred and thirty-four, and the first day of September, nineteen hundred and thirty-five) agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the Third time To-morrow.