§ 9.35 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
I beg to move,That the Amendments of the Pigs Marketing Scheme, 1933, which were presented to this House on the eleventh day of December, nineteen hundred and thirty-five, be approved.As these matters are somewhat technical, I have done my very utmost to set them out in the clearest possible form, and I hope hon. Members will realise, even if they disagree with us, that we have done our best to simplify the procedure to a point which makes it clear. On the Blue Paper we set out an explanation of the Amendments. On pages 3, 4, 5 and 6 we set out the actual text of the Amendments, and on page 7 we reprint the relevant paragraphs of the scheme with the Amendments clearly shown. I do not think we could do more to set the matter out as clearly as may be before the House. These Amendments were submitted by the Pigs Marketing Board to the Minister on 29th January, 1935, and to the Secretary of State for Scotland on 19th February. They had previously been published to the producers, as required by the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, and the producers did not demand a poll. Notices of submission were duly published and a period was allowed for the receipt of objections and representations. That period ended on 16th April. Objections were received from four parties, the Bacon Marketing Board, the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture, the Parliamentary Committee of the Co-operative Congress and the National Federation of Meat Traders' Associations, and in accordance with the provisions of the Marketing Act, 1931, these objections were duly referred to a public inquiry. That inquiry was held by Mr. Macaskie K.C., on 13th and 14th June, and as the 1682 result of the inquiry I and the Secretary of State for Scotland made various modifications in the proposed Amendments, which disposed of all the objections except two, one made by the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture which relates to a legal point in the machinery which deals with proxies to persons other than producers, and the other made by the Parliamentary Committee of the Co-operative Congress and the National Federation of Meat Traders' Associations dealing with the power now being taken by the board to regulate transport and insurance. These come on in Amendment 4.
I think these Amendments will conduce to the more efficient operation of the Pigs Marketing Scheme. Most of them derive from the experience that we have had of its working during the past two years. They may be grouped into three categories. The first deals with the internal administration of the board and concern the producers' interests only. They concern such things as the power to remove the chairman and the vice-chairman of the board from office, payment of members of the board and the procedure for elections. There are others dealing with the marketing provisions of the scheme which affect other interests as well as those of producers, Nos. 3 and 4, 4 being the Transport Amendment, and 6 and 7 which deal with registration and confirmation of contracts. Finally, there are consequential amendments or amendments made for the purpose of bringing the scheme into conformity with the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1933, which was passed subsequent to the passage of the scheme through this House. The first group are mostly the domestic concern of producers. In the second group the main alterations deal with sections relating to the registration and confirmation of contracts. The machinery for the confirmation of contracts is left intact but the procedure for registration has been improved. Under the scheme as it now is the board could refuse registration if a contract were received more than 14 days 1683 after it was made, or if it were not in the prescribed form, or if it were received by the board after a prescribed date. That machinery is rather out of date. The Amendments provide that the board shall register all contracts received within a prescribed date and gives certain grounds for cancellation, namely, if the contract is not in the prescribed form, or if there is some other contract in existence made by either of the parties which is incompatible with the prescribed contract, or if the contractor has defaulted in a previous contract. The House will realise the importance of this since on the total of the home supplies the total consumption of bacon is calculated and, therefore, it is greatly to the interest of the consumers that those who contract to supply bacon should properly fulfil the terms of their contract. In the case of a late contract the board have discretion whether they shall register it or not, but they cannot register it unless they are satisfied that the bacon will be taken into account in any regulation of supply or unless the Bacon Board has agreed to the registration. For the greater security of producers, if the board have confirmed a contract or annulled a registration they have to tell the producer that they have done so, and if the producer is aggrieved by the cancellation of the contract he can refer the matter to arbitration.
There may perhaps be a certain amount of discussion on Amendment 4 which deals with the power to prescribe the manner in which pigs shall be insured or transported by or on behalf of registered producers. Complaints have been laid before the Committee of Investigation referring both to the insurance and the transport of pigs. The question whether a flat rate shall be paid for transport is, of course, a matter of opinion. Sometimes a flat rate is advisable in contracts of this kind and sometimes not. A flat rate is very much desired by Scottish sugar beet producers, whereas in the case of England it is not so desired. Clearly there are cases where opinions differ. The Committee of Investigation went into this and reported that a flat rate transport system was necessary for the efficient operation of the pig and bacon schemes, and the Amendment is to remove doubts as to the power of the board to prescribe 1684 the manner in which pigs should be insured or transported. I think the co-operative societies state that under the scheme as it stands the board has no power to prescribe a flat rate for transport and that their prescriptions have, therefore, been illegal. I understand that the Co-operative Congress has announced its intention of testing the matter in the courts. This Amendment would not effect the legality of any action taken by the board before the Amendment becomes law, so that the rights of the Co-operative Congress in the matter are quite unaffected. It clearly is desirable to have the matter cleared up one way or the other.
As for insurance, it is true that there was general compulsory insurance at first, but it was dropped. The committee investigated that and came to the conclusion that a general scheme of insurance was necessary, although again there are arguments for and against, such as those with which hon. Members will be acquainted in other walks of life, where people say that those who are thoroughly insured may be careless of their actions which are covered by the insurance scheme. But the matter is left just now to compromise, under which a scheme of insurance is in force, but not a compulsory scheme. I have indicated to those concerned that I will examine the working of that scheme and call their attention again to the matter. These are the main points affected by the Amendments now before the House. I hope very much that we shall be able to agree to the Amendments, which are, I think, practical and business like steps designed to improve the working of the scheme in the light of experience. Any point raised will, of course, receive my closest consideration, and the scheme may be amended on subsequent occasions. This is not the first time it has been amended and no doubt subsequent occasions will arise on which it will be amended again, but I hope that we shall be able to treat it as a business mater, and with that desire I commend the Amendments to the House.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
While we are not desirous either of detaining the House or of opposing the machinery and Amendments embodied in this scheme, there are one or two Amendments about which I 1685 shall have something to say. If hon. Members have a copy of the scheme in their hands they will be interested in at least two of the minor Amendments which are now being made. The first Amendment, as the right hon. Gentleman has stated, deals with the chairman and vice-chairman. The board shall elect from among their members a chairman and vice-chairman for a period, but the Amendment states, provided however:That the board shall have power to remove a chairman or a vice-chairman from his office at any time during the tenure of that office.That is very intriguing, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will throw a little more light on the need for the Amendment. Of many of the Amendments, like his marketing schemes, which are a case of trial and error, we have little or no complaint to make, but the introduction of this power to recall the chairman and vice-chairman of the board, seems to be a good Communist principle. I am not at all sure it could not be extended perhaps to Ministers and Members of the House, and to lots of other people we have in mind. The right hon. Gentleman, we understand, in his early days had a dip into Fabianism, then Conservatism and nationalism, and now he is accepting good Communist principles in the first Amendment of this scheme. He would do well to tell the House exactly why the Pigs Board desire the power of recall so that they may "sack" their chairman or their vice-chairman at any moment.
The question of remuneration is another innovation, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will be a wee bit more explicit upon it. I notice that the Amendment allows a general meeting to determine what shall be the pay for the board, if any, and that the general meeting shall have the power to determine whether the payment made to members of the board shall be for the past or for the coming year. Can he say, if this Amendment is accepted, whether they should pay members of the board in future or not? It looks like the old principle of payment by results. It may be much or it may be little; it may be anything or it may be nothing. Surely, the right hon. Gentleman ought to tell us why these curious Amendments are really required by the Pigs Board, for, after all, there must be some reason, or the members would not desire to preserve in their own hands the 1686 power to decide whether the board should receive any remuneration or not, and should retain the power to decide whether the remuneration should be fixed for what was done last year or what may be done during the coming year. If payment by results is a sound principle, I repeat that it might apply to Ministers and to Members of Parliament, and it might be that at the end of the year or four years many Members would find themselves in debt.
The most substantial Amendment is that relating to transport. The right hon. Gentleman has already said that the operations of this power which has been exercised by the Pigs Board, whether they were entitled to operate it or not, has called forth a good deal of criticism not only from the Co-operative Society, but from curers in all parts of the country, apart from the Marsh and Baxter combination, and a good deal is likely to be said before the conclusion of this Debate on the question of the simple process of fixing uniformity as the one means of providing equity.
What does the Amendment really involve? We are informed by the right hon. Gentleman that already 2,000,000 pigs have been contracted for by pig producers to be supplied to curers during the forthcoming year, but that the curers require anything up to 750,000 pigs more than the 2,000,000. The Pigs Board apparently with the consent now of the Bacon Board, are agreed to enter into a contract with the railway companies to fix a uniform rate for the transport of every pig that finds its way from any pig-sty to any curer's establishment in any part of this country. That is to say that if the pigs are transported a mile the owner of the pigs or the bacon curer must pay a uniform rate of 2s. per head. But it has been found in practice that there are hundreds of thousands of pigs which do not require the use of the railways at all. Either the curers or the producers have their own means of transport, or they can hire means of transport at a far less rate than the uniform rate fixed by the Pigs Board to be paid by all pig producers whether their pigs have a ride on the railways or not.
It is a very remarkable thing for the Pigs Board to come together and to declare that for pigs produced within two miles of a curing factory the same price shall be paid as for pigs that have to be transported on the railways 150 miles. To 1687 the person resident 50, 100 or 150 miles away from a bacon-curing factory the transport cost is very cheap, but for the person who is near a factory the transport cost is very dear. It seems to be a very simple thing to declare "We will fix a uniform rate, and whether near or far it shall be the same price." In fact this is working out in such a fashion as to call forth a good deal of criticism not only from the Co-operative Society and from small curers and many producers in all parts of the country. It really is a repetition of the Milk Marketing Board scheme, and most hon. Members will already know that the semi-urban producers of milk have been robbed so that the remote agriculturists shall have a uniform price for the milk they produce.
I know what has happened in my own Parliamentary Division with regard to that matter. Many farmers who for generations have produced and retailed milk from their own farms find themselves compelled by the Milk Marketing Board to pay a levy so that a uniform price may be paid to milk producers. Now the Pigs Board have followed the lead of the Milk Board and declare that wherever the pig producer may be he must only pay the same transport costs as those who are nearer to the factory. That is not only unfair to the small curers but it is grossly unfair to the co-operative societies, who have their own transport services. Almost always the retail co-operative society is a producer as well as a consumer. Yet they are denied the right to use their own transport service. They may pay for the use of their own transport and pay the same amount to the Pigs Marketing Board as if their pigs had been transported on the railway, except for a slight discount, which is only a matter of coppers compared with the shillings that are paid according to the arrangements entered into.
There is a great fear on the part of many people that this uniform scheme is designed to bolster up the Marsh and Baxter bacon combine, and that they are benefiting at the expense of the small curers. If there is any doubt the right hon. Gentleman ought not to allow it to exist. He ought to remove the doubt by satisfying himself that the Development Board, who have had large powers handed over to them, have produced a 1688 scheme not only for securing the requisite factory accommodation, but a reasonable transport scheme, not necessarily with a uniform price applied to each producer for transport charges, but a scheme which will be equitable to all sections of the pig-producing fraternity and unfair to none. If small curers and producers are to be penalised for the purpose of bolstering up the Marsh and Baxter bacon combine the right hon. Gentleman may be sure that that matter is not going to be allowed to rest, because there will not only be opposition on this occasion, but there will be a good deal of opposition in the country.
I do not want to imply that these proposals are opposed to efficiency either in production of pigs, efficiency in production of bacon or efficiency in the transport services, but we do think that you can carry uniform prices too far. It may be, for instance, that a producer comparatively close to a bacon factory is paying 30s. per acre for his rent while another producer 70 or 80 miles away is paying £1 per acre rent. If they are to pay a uniform price for the transport of their commodities, well, although in theory uniformity may be nice, in practice it does not work in the same way. The Committee of Investigation who, apparently, have looked into this problem have, I suppose, satisfied themselves that merely to apply uniform charges is an easy proposition, that it does not call for a lot of thought or for serious and hard thinking, that they are satisfied with that system, and have satisfied the right hon. Gentleman that there is no need for further investigation, although he himself seems to doubt whether or not the Pigs Board were justified in applying uniform charges. He tells my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) that the co-operative societies have a chance of going to court to discover whether the Pigs Board were right in the past, but from this time forward he is going to legalise what may have been wrong in the past. In other words, he is saying to my right hon. Friend, "I am locking the door before you have a chance to get out. If you do by any chance sneak through the keyhole, that will be your good fortune, but it will not make much difference."
The right hon. Gentleman must pay more attention to these national schemes than he appears to have paid up to the 1689 present. We want efficiency whether the commodity be milk, potatoes, beef, bacon or anything else, but we do not want uniformity to be fastened round everybody's neck whether it appears to be equitable or otherwise. If the right hon. Gentleman's object is the production of 3,000,000 pigs per annum he ought to know approximately what factory capacity is required. He ought to know whether the bacon factories are allocated in certain areas which will best suit the pig-producing areas, and it ought not to be a difficult proposition for him, within the areas especially, to arrange for a transport charge, not necessarily a uniform one but a fair one for all those who are producing pigs and contracting with the factories for the pigs to be transformed into bacon. That seems to us to be the only fair way upon which the right hon. Gentleman can travel. I suggest, therefore, that this process of handing over almighty power to monopolies, whether of producers of the primary commodity or monopolies of producers of the secondary commodity, is not quite the thing that is going to bring salvation to agriculture. I could understand the right hon. Gentleman establishing a national utility society to operate in certain areas on the lines which I have indicated, but to produce a monopoly for bacon curers or a monopoly for primary producers, with little or no safeguard for the consuming public, is not the right thing to do. It is because we feel that he is carrying uniformity too far that we are obliged to oppose the fourth Amendment, which gives the Pigs Board a power that they are not entitled to, and which certainly they have not used so far in the best interests of pig producers and curers in the country.
§ 10.3 p.m.
§ Mr. TURTON
I should like to pay a tribute to the clarity of the Minister's explanation and to the very clear manner in which he presented the Amendments, and I hope that he will not think me ungracious if I go on to ask for a further explanation of the seventh Amendment. Some hon. Members may be aware that I come from a part of the country where to-night there is great indignation over the refusal of a factory to take the pigs. There is that indignation and there is a desire that that indignation should be appeased. I should like to tell my right hon. Friend what is likely to be the 1690 result of the refusal of the Bacon Development Board to grant a factory to Yorkshire. The effect of it is that whilst we have 156,000 contracts for the Yorkshire factory, the factory can only take 120,000. Therefore we have 30,000 surplus contracts. Those contracts under the present scheme are either registered or about to be registered. The question I want to put to the Minister is whether under the new Amendment it will be open to the Pigs Marketing Board to cancel the registration of those contracts on the ground that they have been contracted for a special factory, and that it would be to the disadvantage of the producers to send them to factories which have room for more pigs.
It is well known to the House that what has happened to the present contract is that factories placed in the producing areas are full, and in some cases more than full. But factories placed in the consuming areas in the Midlands are not only empty but lamentably empty, and the intention, if there be an intention, of the Pigs Marketing Board to keep these surplus contracts in the scheme, would be to transfer them from the producing area factories to the consuming area factories, and that would not be, to quote Sub-section (b), to the advantage of the producer. Does Sub-section (b) cover that case? The long transit from the producing to the consuming area means a loss of weight on the pig and a loss of grade, and also involves a great deal of cruelty to the pig. Instead of being slaughtered at its place of production, it is carried all that way.
Those are two or three considerations under Sub-section (b). Under Sub-section (c), where you find that if a producer has a registered contract with a purchaser and a purchaser has made default, can we call it making default if, through the action of the Bacon Development Board, that factory is unable to operate? If that is a default within the terms of the scheme, again the Pigs Marketing Board can cancel that contract. These are grave considerations, because in my part of the country the whole future of the pigs marketing scheme rests upon whether the producers are going to be forced to send their pigs away from the producing areas to the consuming areas or whether either by some new action of the Bacon Development 1691 Board, which I am unable to discuss to-night, or by the action of the Pigs Marketing Board under the seventh Amendment, they can be released from their contract.
The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) dwelt on the flat rate, and I was rather surprised that he was against the flat rate. I thought as a good Socialist he would be in favour of the national agreement instead of the district agreement—in favour of the levelling out of all the rates, under that theory of equal opportunities for all that I heard discussed on so many soap-boxes up and down the country during the Election. I find myself on the question of the flat rate at one with my fellow Yorkshireman, the hon. Member for Don Valley. It may be that he, representing the coal industry, has a sympathy for those who, like myself, represent the pig producers in Yorkshire at this present grave crisis. The flat rate has already proved very unequal and I ask the Minister to consider carefully whether we ought to continue the flat rate as we are advised to do in the fourth Amendment. It is giving an incentive to the Bacon Development Board, and also to the Pigs Marketing Board, to encourage factories in the distant areas from production, and also in the case of the Pigs Marketing Board to encourage producers to have their contract shifted from the areas of production to the factories in the consuming areas. That is not economic. I have had farmers who have tried to send their pigs from Yorkshire to the Midlands, and the pigs lost two stone in transit. They have also lost in grading. They have found that they could not superintend the grading. They mistrust the grading in those distant factories.
These are difficulties the Minister should not encourage by means of the flat rate. In my part of England there are areas where the railways have not irrigated the country sufficiently to allow farmers to use them for transport to a factory. I have farmers producing on the hills of North Riding who can never send their pigs by rail. They have to send them by road, and I can assure the Minister that they will see no advantage in the flat rate. I think their production should be encouraged as much as the production of those in the railway centres, or those who want to 1692 send their pigs miles before they are killed. I hope that when the Minister hands in the new Amendments to the Pigs Marketing Scheme, he will include the deletion of the flat rate.
I hope the Minister will give encouragement to the producers of the 30,000 surplus pigs in Yorkshire, who are asking him and the Bacon Development Board what they are going to do with those contracts which they signed in good faith, believing they would put in a new factory to give employment to local men. Are they going to be sent against their will to factories in the Midlands? That is the question that Yorkshire wants answered, and if we get an answer that they are, I am afraid the future of the pigs scheme in Yorkshire and in England is very black indeed.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ Mr. BARNES
I should like to support the point of view of the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), as to the effect that this scheme will have on the uneconomic distribution of the product, and the inability of producers to use a particular form of transport. The Minister of Agriculture suggested that we should consider these Amendments on a business basis. I rather fancy that if the House was considering to-night the effect of the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board on the bacon supplies of this country in a businesslike fashion we should be considering the abolition of the boards instead of equipping them with further powers. There are only one or two short points I should like to make. In the first place the Minister failed completely to advance any argument in favour of these additional powers. He omitted, I submit, with the exception of the explanation of what the powers represent, to give any reason why these powers should be inserted in the Marketing Board's operation. When we are discussing the problem of a flat rate and the equality of a flat rate, it should be borne in mind that it does not apply to all forms of transport. It is an arrangement between the Pigs Marketing Board and the railway companies. The railway companies' services are inadequate and incapable of handling economically the whole of the bacon or pigs transport of this country.
1693 When the House is giving special statutory powers to a limited body of producers I suggest that it should think very seriously before allowing these statutory powers to override business organisations who are parties to a contract but who can have no say in the terms of that contract. There are hundreds of buyers of pigs who are not consulted in any way by the Pigs Marketing Board or the railway companies, and that arrangement does not meet the convenience of these purchasers of pigs. We have, therefore, a situation in which Parliament is deliberately giving powers to a body to override the rights of other persons who are involved in the transaction, but who have no place on that body. I submit that the House should not grant the powers asked for in the fourth amendment unless the Minister gives the concession that the flat rate should apply only to any person who chooses to use the railways as a form of transport. If it does not meet the convenience of any buyer to use the railways as transport there is no reason why their business interests should be overridden arbitrarily in this fashion. The fact that the Minister is now submitting these amendments is a proof that the board has been exceeding its powers in the past. Instead of the House legalising these powers it should refuse to accept the advice of the Minister.
§ 10.16 p.m.
§ Sir FRANCIS ACLAND
I have been listening to the discussion, and so far it has tended to centre around the question of transport. I want to put a point of view not as a dogmatic assertion but in order to give those who are more intimately acquainted with the conflict of opinion an opportunity of putting me right. Ought this House to seek to intervene in these matters too much unless a question of the expenditure of public money is concerned, in which case I agree that they have a right and a duty to see that the expenditure of such money is carried out under some public control. But this scheme is being run now without a subsidy, and, therefore, that point does not arise. I have been looking at the words which seem to me to leave the vexed question as to whether you should have a flat rate or a varied rate open and puts it into the hands of the Pigs Marketing Board, where I think it ought 1694 to be. I ask, therefore, does not the Pigs Marketing Board represent, is it not elected by all the producers of pigs who want to make contracts? Is it not a question whether they have or have not the power of regulating the manner in which pigs shall be transported by or on behalf of the original producers that has made it necessary to insert these words? Is not this amendment to be put in in order to give them that power, and without any question as to whether the rate should be a flat rate or a varied rate? I know that there has been considerable controversy on this point and that those producers who are quite near to factories get some allowance. You have a very difficult question on which there must be a difference of opinion between those who are near and those who are far away—
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what allowance a producer near to a factory gets?
§ Sir F. ACLAND
I understand that they get 10 per cent.; I think there is something of that kind from what I have seen in the "Farmer and Stockbreeder." One can realise that there is this difference of opinion between those who live close to the factories and those who live far from them. The question however arises whether there should be a flat rate system such as the Post Office have or varied rates such as apply to most transport. My point is that that question is being left to the board and it seems to me to be a matter which ought to be decided by the board rather than by this House. Supposing that it were possible to move to leave out Sub-paragraph (f) of paragraph 37 of the scheme dealing with transport, would not the result be that there would be no body then in existence to negotiate with the railway companies? The railway companies would have the right to charge what they liked to all pig transporters and to act at their own sweet will in that respect. It seems to me that there ought to be some body to negotiate with these big corporations, the railway companies. The question of the flat rate or the varied rate seems to be left to the proper authority. Those generally are the suggestions which I would make.
§ 10.22 p.m.
§ Mr. BATEY
I hope the Debate is not going to be confined to the question of transport. There are a number of Amendments to the scheme and some of us are sorry that they are to be dealt with as one Resolution because we would like to divide the House upon more than one of them. The Minister seems to have a mania for setting up boards and as soon as he has set up a board he is not satisfied but comes to the House and wants to have the constitution of the board amended. I submit that the first of these Amendments does far more than the Minister suggested. He suggested that it merely took power to remove from office the chairman or the vice-chairman. I submit that the present wording of the scheme is better than the suggested Amendment. The Amendment in my opinion is far more dangerous than the present wording. The scheme at present provides that the boardshall elect from amongst their members a chairman and vice-chairman both of whom shall, provided they remain members of the board, hold office until the 31st day of March ensuing next after their election.The Minister proposes to delete these words and substitute others. The effect of the Amendment is that the chairman and the vice-chairman will hold office until there is an election of some special member or members to the board. That is a dangerous proposition because it will then be in the interests of the chairman and vice-chairman to try to prevent new elections to the board so that they may hold office as long as possible. I am sorry that we cannot have a Division upon that dangerous Amendment. The same remark applies to the second Amendment which provides that the registered producers may vote a lump sum. I submit that the existing wording is safer than the proposed Amendment. The words at present read:The board may pay to any member of the board any such travelling and other expenses as have in their opinion been reasonably incurred by him in connection with the business of the board and shall also pay to each member of the board such remuneration (if any) as may be prescribed annually by the registered producers in general meeting.The Minister proposes to add these dangerous words:or provide among the members in such proportions and manner as the board shall 1696 determine such lump sum (if any) as may be so prescribed as remuneration for the members.I submit that that Amendment is dangerous, putting the power into the hands of the board of voting a lump sum to be distributed among themselves. It is just one of those Amendments that the House would have been wise to have guarded against. Now I come to the third Amendment, which gives effect to an agreement between the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Board. When one looks at the Bacon Board, there are words there which are difficult to understand. On page 7 there is a paragraph which reads:Provided that, where the board determine the price at, below or above which pigs, or any (kind, variety, grade) description or quantity of pigs may be sold, they shall fix a uniform price for all pigs of a similar weight and grade unless it is otherwise agreed between the board and the board administering any scheme under the Act regulating the marketing of bacon.I take it that the first board mentioned there is the Pigs Marketing Board and that the board mentioned second is the Bacon Board, and then follow these words in regard to the Bacon Board:If there is no such board"—that is, the Bacon Board. Does the Minister anticipate the Bacon Board's coming to an end very quickly and that there will be no Bacon Board in a very short time?—[An HON. MEMBER: "Then there will not be any bacon."]—There is not much bacon now, but is it the intention that the Bacon Board shall come to an end very quickly? If it is, some of us will be extremely pleased. We have not a bacon factory at present in the county of Durham, and an effort is being made to establish a bacon factory in the county with pig farms in my division. It is because of these pig farms that I am so keenly interested, because they are in a part of the division where there are no industries at all, and the Commissioner for the Special Areas this year established a military camp There for one month just to bring a few pounds into that district. Here is a proposal to establish a bacon factory in Sunderland, with these pig farms in this part of the district, which would mean, in the words of the gentleman who is proposing to start these pig farms, in his letter sent to all the Northern Members: 1697I have a market for 2,000 sides of bacon per week, and the farms and factory will be the means of finding work for 450 men who are walking the streets to-day, and will, when in full working order, save the country £30,000 in doles and public assistance.Here we find this autocratic Bacon Development Board with such powers that it can prevent this new factory being started, and they are doing that in spite of the fact that the one thing we need more than anything else is some new industry in that area. I submit that the time has come when these boards should not have the autocratic powers that they possess. It would be a good thing if we could have a vote to-night to end all these boards because of the big increase in the price of bacon which is such that the working class can scarcely buy it. It seems to be the policy of the Minister of Agriculture to make bacon a luxury for the rich. That seems to be the policy of the Minister with all these boards. I hope that the words in the Amendment to which I have referred may encourage us to believe that there is a possibility of the Bacon Board coming to an early end.
§ 10.31 p.m.
§ Mr. PRICE
I am not one of those who take the view that these boards should be brought to an end, because I remember that the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, was put on the Statute Book more or less by the agreement of all sides of the House. We all agreed that it was desirable that boards should be set up for the purpose of giving statutory powers to organisations of producers with the object of stabilising prices. The work which was started in 1931, however, has not been properly carried on. We are faced to-day with organisations—in this case an organisation of curers—who are more or less a law to themselves. I should like to see statutory powers given to organisations of curers, but they should have to come to this House to get their powers, and we should then have control over them. I am not one of those who think that all the boards should be thrown over, but I want to see increasing powers given to this House to control organisations of producers and distributors. Therefore, I make no complaint that the Minister has come to the House and asked for altered powers for the Pigs Marketing Board. 1698 On the other hand, I consider that there is a great grievance. There is undoubtedly a powerful curers' organisation in the country. The name of Marsh and Baxter has been mentioned. Everybody knows that that organisation is a very powerful one and we believe that it is using its powers in such a way that it plays no small role in the increase in the price of bacon to the consumer. That is not an argument for throwing over boards, but for this House to keep a more watchful eye on their operations and for greater powers of control over them.
The complaints from various parts of the House show clearly that the distribution of the bacon factories in this country is not satisfactory. We have large areas where pigs are being produced from which they have to go long distances to the curers, and, on the other hand, there are areas where there are too many factories. We want rationalisation, but we shall not get it as long as there are these private vested interests in the curing industry. As to the flat rate, I am not opposed to it. We are going to get something like a flat rate in transport charges in the milk industry. In one area of the constituency I represent there has been a big controversy over the pooling of the transport charges for milk, and there is no doubt that before long we shall get a flat rate. The same thing ought to be applied here. I see no objection to it—to this 2s. charge for everybody, although it is unfair that those who have alternative methods of transport should still be charged 2s. even when they are able to get their pigs to market easily. We ought not to have such a cast iron system. Cannot the Minister do something for those who are in a position to deliver pigs by their own lorries or to make other arrangements?
The danger I see in this fourth Amendment is that it may give monopolistic powers to the railways, which in many districts are not in a position to give proper facilities. To the small pig producers—of whom there are many in my constituency, in the distant valleys between the Wye and the Severn—a flat rate should be an advantage, provided there are proper facilities for getting their pigs to the railway stations, but the trouble is that very often there are not. It is true that some of the railways 1699 run lorries to carry livestock from markets or outlying districts to the railway stations and if the railway companies can give that facility there is no great danger in an arrangement of this kind, but I am afraid that the giving of monopolistic powers to the railway companies without any guarantee for proper facilities will, in the long run, hit the small man. But I do not oppose the flat rate, because I think we are bound to get it sooner or later, only I fear the effect of the railways having monopolistic powers at a time when there are so many modern facilities of transport on the roads.
§ 10.39 p.m.
§ Mr. EDE
I desire to submit a point of Order arising out of the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey). He said, basing himself on a long experience, that we had to take the whole of these 14 Amendments en bloc and that it was not possible to divide on any one of them. I wish to ask whether it would be in order to move at the end of the Resolution proposed by the Minister the words "with the exception of Amendment No. 1 on the Blue Paper." Otherwise, hon. Members may be placed in a very great difficulty. They may desire to support certain of the Amendments and to oppose others. There are 14 separate and distinct questions here, and one may have to make up one's mind as to whether the things to which one objects are worse than those of which one approves. As I understood it, when I was last in this House, an hon. Member is entitled to have every question so put from the Chair that the Members are enabled to give a distinct vote on every issue that is raised in the matter before the House. I should like to know whether an Amendment such as the one which I have suggested would be in order on this Motion.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
No. In this case the Amendments must be taken as a whole and cannot be divided upon separately, nor can an Amendment be moved. That is in accordance with the Act of Parliament under which these Amendments are brought before the House.
§ 10.42 p.m.
§ Mr. WOODS
There seems to be a unanimous opinion that the working of 1700 the Pigs Marketing Board is not satisfactory and needs amending. Our complaint is that the Amendments put forward do not in any way affect the vital defects of the scheme. One can hardly expect in such Amendments that much consideration will be given to the pigs, but in any case consideration should be given to the industry as an industry. Like all other industries, this one depends upon prices and upon supply and demand. Price, as we have discovered in a good many other things, decides, more than any other factor, the demand. I have had considerable experience in the administration of a co-operative society and have been associated with the national organisation of that movement, and our experience is that the rise in the price of bacon has put the sale of it into a steady and wasting decline. There is no suggestion in the Amendment to put pigs on the market at such a price as to reduce the price of bacon.
We had an excellent illustration at Question Time to-day, when the Financial Secretary to the War Office was asked whether arrangements had been made for the Army to be supplied with bacon produced in the United Kingdom. The answer was "No." If this great Empire cannot feed its loyal troops on its own bacon the poor people who produce the wealth of this country can hardly be expected to keep up their strength and energy on British bacon. They will have to find alternatives and substitutes. If there were any Amendment or any consideration to secure that the consumer should have some say in bringing down the price, we should welcome it.
With regard to the provision of factories, those factories have grown like Topsy; they have just arrived. Some of them were more or leis failures. There are many small concerns who have to register under this scheme which do only a little curing. For example, many pork butchers who have one small curing department connected with their butchering department have to register under this scheme. I happen to live in the constituency of the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) and I live next door to one of his supporters, who is a pig farmer. If I could repeat in this Chamber the language that my Yorkshire farmer friend uses about the Pigs Board, the House would understand the hon. Member's enthusiasm, because he has to 1701 meet these farmers, for getting some modification of the scheme. As to the question of transport, the hon. Member is evidently under a very common illusion concerning Socialism and Socialists. I do not know how many of these soapboxes he has stood on before, but I do not think it can be very many, because it is a most absurd fiction that we stand for uniformity. We stand for the most interesting variety that we can have, and for the maximum of freedom and opportunity for the development of individuality, even in pigs.
§ Mr. TURTON
I am sorry that I have not had the views of the hon. Member before, but, when there was an opportunity for us to meet to discuss Socialism, he did not turn up.
§ Mr. WOODS
That is quite outside the scope of this Debate, but I shall be perfectly prepared at any time by mutual arrangement to debate with the hon. Member in his own constituency Socialism, Capitalism and the Pigs Marketing Board. There seems to have been a fairly conclusive argument—a theoretical argument, I presume—in deciding this issue, and we have had an expression of it in the Debate, when the Postal Service was taken as a sort of model of the transport of pigs. Obviously it is utterly out of order, and it is in no sense a parallel unless we take it in this way, that we all pay 1½d. for our letters, but, if the principle of this scheme were applied to the Postal Service, we should have to pay to the Post Office every time we passed a personal note from one to the other. If you do not use the railway—if the railway is inconvenient, or there is no railway connection between the producer and the bacon factory—it does not matter. You have to take the pigs yourself, and bear the cost of doing so, and you have to pay in addition this 2s. for every pig. I suggest that this idea of equity is entirely erroneous when it is taken to mean the payment of double charges by some people and the making of a fairly considerable concession to others.
I suggest that we should view this matter from the practical point of view of supplying ourselves with bacon produced from British pigs, and that, if that is going to be done, there should be some consideration at some time for the people who actually care for the pigs—some consideration 1702 for the wages of the agricultural labourer as well as the private gain of the curer; and that the main idea should be to produce bacon at such a price that the average British family can afford to buy it and enjoy it. There is another suggestion that I can make to the Minister. This is not merely a question of price and demand, but the question of quality comes in, and, with all due respect to the efforts that have been made up to date, we find, as sellers of as much British bacon as we can possibly sell, that we are having more complaints than ever before from members and customers concerning the present quality of British bacon.
§ 10.49 p.m.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I was glad to hear from the Minister of Agriculture that he desires that these Amendments should be discussed, if possible, on a business basis. I cannot imagine that ordinary Members of the Conservative and Liberal parties who are connected with various types of business and businesses which have very important interests to preserve in relation to transport, transport rates and transport procedure could possibly let these Amendments go through, including Amendment No. 4 relating to transport, without devoting some considerable attention to what the business effect is likely to be, not merely upon the pig and bacon industry which is covered by these Amendments, but upon all other forms of industry requiring transport in this country.
I want, if I may, to give the House a little history on this pig transport question. I have had the not very enviable task of conducting the case both before the committee of investigation and before the public inquiry afterwards into the proposed amendment to the scheme. What are the facts? The first is that you are being asked to-night—to remove doubts, the Minister said—but, in fact to regularise what has been up to the present moment entirely illegal—the application of a flat rate for the transport of pigs under an agreement entered into compulsorily by the Pigs and the Bacon Marketing Boards with the railway companies. It has been perfectly illegal, in the first place because there was no power under the Pigs Marketing Scheme for any such agreement to be made. Any schemes for marketing which 1703 were adopted under the 1931 Act came under two special operative Sections—5 and 6. One of those Sections is mandatory, the other is permissive, and whoever was responsible for framing the draft scheme for the marketing of pigs apparently took great care in adopting those parts of the permissive Section. Yet without having these powers the Pigs and the Bacon Marketing Boards agreed to enter into a contract with the railway companies, and that contract has been operated ever since January, 1935. I suppose that Members of Parliament propose to be so docile, while we have a Government calling itself National, that 12 months after, if they are asked, they will regularise something which is illegal.
I know that the Minister has said that in regard to the past period of operations we do not prejudice, by what we do tonight, any action which may lie at the present time in the courts. I wish I could believe that that was so. Whether we go on or not with the action to decide whether this was ultra vires, I consider it a most reprehensible way of dealing with matters which are so important to the business community. My second point is this. Anyone who understands the scheme for the marketing of pigs knows quite well that it applies only to pigs under contract for bacon. But during the whole of the last 12 months the Pigs Marketing Board, in agreement with the Bacon Marketing Board and the railway companies, have been charging the flat rate for pigs for pork as well as for pigs for bacon. I did not hear anything about that from the Minister. My hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) was right when he appealed to the Minister to exercise a much sharper supervision over the operations of these boards and to prevent that kind of thing happening.
How does this thing really work? It means, as some of my hon. Friends have already pointed out, that although these most efficient and progressive people in a particular trade may have, for a variety of business reasons, capitalised their own transport for a specific purpose, they are only able, if this principle is once adopted, to use that transport by permission of the railway companies, and only on payment to a railway company of whatever is the national flat rate proposed for the commodity, 1704 and with a small rebate, which is always lower than the full amount of the flat rate, so that the person who has capitalised his transport is always out of pocket. I sympathise very much with the case put for some of the farmers outside the radius of the railway companies. In many places farmers have had to make their own transport arrangements. They have bought their own lorries and they have to pay the railway companies for the right to transport their owl pigs to market. Could you ever find so stupid a state of affairs as that? To think that that kind of thing is likely to be supported by Conservative Members behind the so-called National Government. We have in Runcorn, in Cheshire, a co-operative concern which has a substantial business in bacon curing and which buys pigs from a farmer very near their own premises. Someone drives the pigs a few yards from the farm to the slaughterhouse. Every one of these pigs is charged a flat rate for carriage by the railway company. [Interruption.] I hear a little dubiety expressed behind me, but I assure hon. Members that that is entirely true.
Now I come to another aspect of the question? The railways are almost the largest single industry. I think their revenue is about £190,000,000 a year. There are very few sections of business industry which are not dependent to some extent, first upon the operations of the railway companies, and secondly upon the regulations which govern their operations. In the Railways Act, 1921, there was laid down a whole amount of machinery. In the cases of all changes in rates for the carriage of merchandise it was necessary for the railway companies to prove, very often against the opposition of users of the railway who may object, that the standard revenue will not thereby by injured. Therefore, it should be free to every user of the railways to go to the Railway Rates Tribunal and state objections to any change in the rates. What is the fact now? First, the Pigs Marketing Board enters into a contract with the railway companies which lays down a flat rate. We desire, as users of the railways, and as being included in this flat rate arrangement, to appear before the Railway Rates Tribunal in order to state our objection, but if we are to do that in the 1705 meantime we must also be able to obtain pigs to carry on our business as bacon curers.
We are told that unless you sign a contract with the Pigs Marketing Board, which includes the contract with the railway company, you will not get any pigs, and if you sign a contract which includes the agreement with the railway company, then you cannot appear before the Railway Rates Tribunal. That is the position. I am really stating the bare facts to-night to the House, and what I am warning all Members opposite who are engaged in other businesses to consider is that the railway companies, as soon as this point was raised, and as soon as those for whom I speak decided to make an appeal to the Registrar of the Railway Rates Tribunal for the right to be heard in the circumstances, the railway companies appeared before the Registrar to oppose. Why? Let hon. Members be careful to note this. Because the railway companies see as clearly as possible that if they are able to establish this precedent, to exercise a flat rate for transport for this commodity, and in the exercise of that flat rate to insist upon its assessment not only upon goods carried upon the railway, but upon goods carried by any other form of transport outwith their control, they have a wonderful precedent in regard to all your businesses, every one of them. They have only to come back to the precedent of that decision of the Railway Rates Tribunal to propose any other form of flat rate on other merchandise and be, at any rate, a long way towards the achievement of their purpose.
I submit that it is a most unwise and unusual way for such a revolution in the principle of the application of railway rates in this country to be carried out, through the Pigs Board, in a subsidiary scheme under an Act of Parliament which had no contemplation of a revolution of railway practice in this country. If the railway companies really wanted to get a substantial change in the basis of procedure they should have followed the ordinary procedure before this House and submitted a railway Bill, either from their own companies or have persuaded the Minister of Transport to submit a Bill through the Government for a change in the railway law. But at present the situation is grossly unfair in the light of the present organisation of industry and commerce. 1706 The hon. Member opposite was a little short of the mark in his challenge to my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) when he said that he was surprised that he, with his Socialist faith and principles, should be opposed to the principle of a flat rate. We are not objecting to-night to the bare principle of a flat rate in transport being operated by the railway companies for goods carried on the railway. I am not sure that we would be opposed to the principle even in a wider sense, provided that the result of the application of that principle was the same as that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) mentioned in the case of the Post Office. If you apply a flat rate to the carriage of letters in the Post Office the whole of the surplus accruing to the Post Office inures to the public.
This proposal continues the old competition in capitalist circles and business, but especially picks out and penalises certain interests within that capitalist competitive society in order that they may more firmly entrench the larger and better organised interests in a particular class of industry. I am not going to make any general protest to-night about the way in which the Bacon Marketing Board, parties to the agreement, is actually controlled. I will only say that the tendency at the present time, because of the method of election, because of the present state of the industry, is that certain of the interests have a predominating voice. I attended a meeting at the Caxton Hall to oppose the adoption of the bacon development scheme. The representatives of the curers were present there and on the voting there was a bare majority of one, I think, for the scheme, but when a poll was demanded, then on the tonnage of the bacon controlled by the combine there was a huge domination in the actual vote. That is what is happening in the conduct and in the management of the curing industry to-day. What effect does that have on the flat rate? It has this effect. The right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) was not nearly as strongly opposed to it as one would expect an ordinary orthodox Liberal to be. He was a little anxious and not quite sure whether he was saying the right thing for the farmers in Cornwall.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman from that point of view, but the real remedy for the farmers of Cornwall is not to get a flat rate but to get a bacon factory in the south-west of England. When we apply for licences for bacon factories in areas which are most suitable and which have a considerable proportion of dairying carried on in part of the areas, we are put off. I should be out of order in pursuing that subject too far, but at the present time co-operative interests are being mulcted in an additional charge of £5,000 per annum under this flat rate in respect of pigs the majority of which are carried in their own lorries, for which they have paid the capital value, and for which they have to pay the operating costs. And that £5,000 inures to whom? I have asked for proof before the Committee of Investigation and before the public inquiry as to where the advantage goes. Those who represent the Pigs Marketing Board say that it is going to the small curers. We were told at the inquiry that this flat rate and transport is saving £50,000 a year. To whom does it go? I should like the Minister to tell us. Where are the small curers who are getting this £50,000? The right hon. Member for North Cornwall seemed to think that there was some allowance for producers who are close to the factory. There is nothing of the kind. The nearer you are to the factory the less allowance you get.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I am sorry that I have not the contract with me, or I would produce it. The right hon. Gentleman had better look at it. If you have your own transport and you are close to the factory there is not a single advantage that you can get out of the flat rate; it is all loss. You still have to run your transport and employ your driver, and pay something else on top of that to the railway companies. We should like to know to whore this £50,000 is going. It is claimed that it is being saved to the industry. Is it being saved on payments made to the railway companies? If so, have the railways established that the standard revenue is not being injured by the scheme? It is certainly not going to the small curers. Is it, then, going to the large curers? Is it going to those 1708 curers who want to bring pigs from Cornwall to one of out Midland centres? This is a question which the Minister should make perfectly clear. If it is really intended, as the hon. Member for Don Valley suggested, that to aim at an adequate amount of British produced bacon a minimum figure of 3,000,000 pigs per annum is required, he ought to be looking at the matter not from the point of view of a section of the industry but from the point of view of the whole country, and bearing in mind the interests of all the pig producers and the consumers as a whole. I do not think that if he does so he can justify the case for flat rate transport.
The Minister did not say much about insurance. The insurance of pigs has been the subject also of public inquiry before a committee of investigation. I want hon. Members to observe that the Amendment in this section of the scheme makes a very subtle alteration. For the first time, although the board already has power to regulate the insurance of pigs, now it has the power to regulate the quantity of pigs to be insured. That brings you again into the actual history of the scheme. In the first contract operating under this scheme the board prescribed a monopoly of insurance with the National Farmers' Union Mutual Insurance Society. We had to fight that. On that issue we went before the Committee of Investigation. Then because it was claimed that the National Farmers' Union Mutual Insurance Society were losing very large sums of money on the prescribed premium on this particular monopoly insurance, the whole thing went into the melting pot and again the premium was raised. The Co-operative Insurance Society did quite well out of it—there is not the slightest doubt about that. We say that if the business had been properly managed, anybody else could have done very well out of the premium as well.
Having got rid of the monopoly insurance of the National Farmers' Union Mutual Insurance Society, and having come to the end of the second contract, you take powers in the scheme to be able to say to the Co-operative Insurance Society or whatever of her livestock office may be concerned that you may insure up to 1,000 or 20,000 or 50,000 pigs and no more. You are taking power to have 1709 the quantity of pigs prescribed. On making inquiries I got an assurance from the barrister who was appearing for the Pigs Marketing Board that that was not intended. We are not concerned with what is intended, but with what this scheme provides, and the scheme gives power to the Pigs Marketing Board to regulate how many pigs may be insured by organisations A, B, C or D. On all these grounds we must oppose the scheme, and make it clear that if you are going to have this industry properly organised over the whole country you must get rid of these separate competitive interests who are behind the scenes and using this organisation for the purposes of private monopoly and profit. If you get down to a basis of organisation you must work, if you are a good statesman, for the common good and not for the special interests of private monopolists and individuals.
§ 11.16 p.m.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am sure that we shall all appreciate the enormous enthusiasm with which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) has returned to this House, and his desire to recapitulate here all the arguments, successful and unsuccessful, which he has conducted in other parts of the country before other bodies of investigation. I doubt whether the House is as anxious to hear them as he would have us believe. At any rate, I am sure the House will be more interested to learn that many of them are singularly unfounded. If the right hon. Gentleman and his friends were Ministers defending their case in this House they would read carefully any documents which were made available to them.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
That may be. None of us is infallible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed!"] The main accusation launched against us by the Opposition, made in particular by the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) is that we are carrying out schemes under the Marketing Act. They are within the terms of the Act which was drawn up and passed by the Cabinet of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member, and passed by a majority of this House, of 1710 whom the hon. Member for Spennymoor was a Member, and now he wishes that they were all swept away. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman is back again in the House because we can challenge him with all the matters for which he fought as a Member of the Cabinet but which he and his friends have so constantly attacked in the country in order to make political capital. In the first place, he will agree that the Amendments are drawn under the terms of the Act for which he and the hon. Member for Spennymoor voted in the last Labour Parliament.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The hon. Member does himself an injustice. It was not a great mistake; it was an honest attempt to bring assistance to agriculture, which we have done our best to secure. We must not be ashamed of our efforts or of the attempts which we are making to amend them. I am not complaining in any way of the arguments used by hon. Members opposite or of the examination which is being given to these schemes. I think that, on the whole, those arguments were fair and I do not complain, even of the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough, who has had very great experience in his official capacity of stating cases on this matter and examining these details. I hope that he does not mind a little friendly chaff. He and I are not so thin-skinned when we argue with each other, either in the House or outside. These schemes are subject to amendment and must be so and therefore let us examine the points which have been submitted. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough attacked the flat rate and the insurance system and he argued, particularly, that one of the Amendments would alter the insurance system so that the quantity of pigs to be insured with any one organisation would be limited by the board. Mr. Macaskie has reported that that argument is unfounded but even if it were as the right hon. Gentleman has suggested, the matter could be argued before the various statutory bodies before which such an accusation could properly be laid, and it would be subject to amendment. It is not our intention to do as the right hon. Gentleman has suggested and the gentleman who was in charge of the investigation has informed us that 1711 that argument does not hold water. But if, by some mischance, it appeared that the argument were well-founded, we should do our best to deal with it. Certainly, the machinery exists by which it can be examined. I think that was the right hon. Gentleman's main complaint on the subject of insurance. He said that on a previous occasion some particular prescription had been brought in as to a particular union and had been successfully contested by him. I am sure he will agree that that was a fine example of the successful working of the machinery which he and others did so much to effect and he will not complain of the fact that the machinery works so well. It is as I say, an example of the successful working of an Act, of which none of us need be ashamed.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I accept the Minister's statement as to the general purpose of the Amendment, but does he not see that the insertion of the word "quantity" will give power to the board to prescribe, both for transport and for insurance, the quantity of pigs? Surely we are entitled to ask him to state plainly whether the Amendment gives that power or not, since he is asking the House to pass the Amendment?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am informed, by the learned gentleman who was in charge of the inquiry, and before whom this case was put forward, that the argument that it does give the particular power which the right hon. Gentleman indicates is ill-founded. I cannot say fairer than that.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
If the hon. Member allows me to pursue my argument I will deal with his points before I finish. I am dealing at present with the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough and I turn to the question of the flat rate to which he devoted the major portion of his attack. He asked particularly where was the benefit of the flat rate going. Let me quote the report of the Reorganisation Commission, a perfectly impartial body who inquired into the whole question and upon whose report this scheme is based. On page 40, in paragraph 26, they deal 1712 with the question of transport costs and say:We have considered whether the nationally agreed price for a standard pig should be 'ex farm' or 'at factory'.and they come down finally upon the side of the "ex farm" national price saying:We think … that this system would also favour the more efficient factories; we therefore recommend its adoption.When the flat rate was adopted it was subject to examination and inquiry by a committee of investigation. The committee, which I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not accuse of being biased, either in favour of the pig men or of one political theory, consisted of important unbiased gentlemen. It was presided over by the late Mr. Edward Shortt, who was Home Secretary in this House and who gave very great service to the committee of investigation. It had also in its membership Sir Arthur Pugh, whose name will carry, I am sure, a good deal of weight and conviction with hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. It was definite on the fact that the flat rate was for the benefit of the industry as a whole and said it was inseparable for the success of the scheme, and in fact it recommended that, although it had been of certain prejudice to small curers close to the factories, yet on the whole it had inured very greatly to the benefit of the industry as a whole. It also said there was no question of the railway companies by this arrangement having received a monopoly in the objectionable sense of the word. All interests had been invited to tender for the transport of pigs, but only the railway companies had been able to offer suitable services at reasonable terms. It summed up:On the general issue, we are of opinion, on the evidence and arguments before us, that uniform national transport arrangements are necessary for the efficient operation of the schemes and are in the interest of bacon curers and pig producers as a whole; and we are satisfied that in making the present arrangement the Boards obtained the beat and most equable terms for the transport of pigs on a national scale.I beg the House to consider that, while it is difficult to appreciate the arguments for and against on these most complicated questions, this matter was inquired into at considerable length by a committee presided over by the late right hon. Edward Shortt, with Mr. Palmour, 1713 Sir Arthur Pugh, and Mr. W. R. Scott on it. We are bound to attach the greatest weight to their opinion, and I submit to the right hon. Member for Hillsborough that I think that on the whole the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) is in a sounder position when he says that Parliament has entrusted these matters to the boards to make the best terms they can for their own members. They are working upon the recommendations, first of all, of the Reorganisation Commission. The working of the flat rate has been inquired into by a most impartial committee, which has reported in favour of the flat rate, and I submit that while it is not possible for me to go into all the arguments for and against to-night, on the Floor of the House, we are reasonably entitled to take the inquiries of these bodies and their verdicts as evidence upon which we can continue to leave discretion to the boards, who must in the long run sum up the question as to whether they should or should not have a flat rate in the interests of their own members. Although arguments can be put forward for and against a flat rate, I submit that, with names such as those I have mentioned favouring the continuance of the flat rate, we may reasonably leave the discretion in the hands of the boards, and I submit that that will be the verdict of the House to-night.
Several more points were raised by other hon. Members. The hon. Member for Spennymoor showed some indignation, first in, regard to the boards in general, about which, I hope, I have disabused his mind by quoting the results of his own careful consideration when he sat on this side of the House; and, second, on the question of factory accommodation, which was also raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). There, again, I would call attention to the fact that the arguments are contradictory. On the one side, hon. Members call aloud for rationalisation and more reasonable distribution of the factories; on the other side, they inveigh in unmeasured terms against steps which are taken to see that the distribution of these factories is more rational. The purpose of a licensing body is to see as far as possible, that an orderly development of bacon factories is established. This is not done by the Bacon Board or the Pigs Board, but by 1714 a board consisting of four members from each of these boards and three impartial members chosen by the Government to ensure fair play. We cannot have it both ways. If there is to be rationalisation, some ordered plan must be followed, but if there is to be absolute unlimited development whereby anyone who likes can put down a factory, the idea of rationalisation goes by the board. The hon. Member for Spennymoor is perhaps unaware that, as far as can be made out, there was not sufficient support from the farmers in the area for which he speaks to ensure the production of a sufficient number of pigs for such a factory. Nothing could be worse for an industry than to have factory accommodation put up all over the country, raising overheads, which would obviously be thrown back on the shoulders of the industry. If we are to have development, we must be sure that there is, in the areas where it is proposed to put up factories, a reasonable supply of pigs to meet the requirements of the factories.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The county of Durham is not a big pig-producing county, and, in fact, it did not fully make out its case before the Bacon Development Board that there would be adequate supplies to the factory in question. That does not apply to the case put forward by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton. Again, let me call his attention to the fact that there are factories in existence, and that if we are going to set up new plant we must do our utmost to see that there is a reasonable use of the plant already in existence, and that new plant—[An HON. MEMBER: Marsh and Baxter!"] Hon. Members opposite must not think that they can get away by quoting this factory and the other factory. Let me quote from the report of the Pigs Reorganisation Commission, which had no representative of Messrs. Marsh and Baxter upon it:… farmers, situated in those parts of the country from which rail charges to the nearest factory are abnormally high, might find difficulty in securing contracts; this difficulty is due to the uneven distribution of factories throughout the country, and we suggest that it should be given weight by the Pig Industry Development 1715 Board when considering the licensing of new factory construction.Therefore, it is clear that the Report envisages the licensing of new factory production, and that that licensing system, not at once, but as its operations proceed, should give weight to the question of putting factories beside ample supplies of pigs. No hon. Member cats suggest that that can be done without due consideration, and the Bacon Development Board, which has only just started its operations, has already laid down the principle on which it will act. No one will suggest that it should license factories without carefully considering whether the industry throughout the country will be able to carry these new factories in addition to the existing factories.
§ Mr. BARNES
Can the Minister assure the House that if any area or organisation can guarantee economical production by a factory that there shall be a licence for such factory?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
Surely the object of setting up the Bacon Development Board, recommended by the Pigs Reorganisation Commission and approved by this House, with a technical membership to give close attention to these points, was to determine just the point which the hon. Member has put to me. There is no sense in creating a board and then attempting to do its work for it.
§ Mr. BATEY
Is the Minister aware of the resolution passed by the Bacon Development Board on 5th December stating:… in view of the fact that the present discussions with regard to trade agreements prevent the Government at the moment from declaring the details of their future policy …It is the trade agreements that are stopping them.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The discussion already ranges far and wide, and if I were to begin a discussion on the trade agreements to-night, though it may be a new point to the hon. Member for Spennymoor, there are friends of mine on these benches who would willingly keep the discussion on that point going all night. I beg the House not to be drawn further from the point at issue, which is that the Bacon Development Board, set up in pursuance of the recommendations of an 1716 impartial Commission, and operating under power given by this House, is the licensing authority, that these are among the considerations which it has to take into account and that it would be wrong for the Minister to say in advance what the verdict of the board should be on any application brought before it.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I hope the hon. Member will admit the point I am trying to make, which is that the Bacon Development Board are taking these matters into consideration.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The hon. Member insists on reading to me a resolution of the Bacon Development Board saying they are taking these things into consideration, and then tries to maintain that they are not. I say that the licensing authority set up by this House is the proper statutory body to decide, and that if the House attempts, over the head of that body, or in advance of that body, to determine what factories should or should not be licensed, it will stultify its own action and bring confusion into the industry.
I have dealt with the two main points raised by the hon. Member for the Hillsborough Division, the question of insurance and the flat rate. Other points raised by hon. Members I will run over briefly. The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) also raised the question of transport and I hope he will agree that I have given the point of view which I and the Government hold on this matter, though he may not agree with it. He said it should not be difficult for the Minister to fix the charge. But it is not the duty of the Minister to fix the fair charge, but for the board to make the best bargain they can, and they are exercising their powers properly. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton raised certain questions as to the cancellation of contracts. I am sure he will not expect me to go further than the answer which I have already given to the House. It is not for us to determine whether a contract should or should not be cancelled. That must be a matter for interpretation, if necessary, by the board, on examination of any particular contract.
§ Mr. TURTON
I was not asking the right hon. Gentleman that question. I want an explanation of what is meant by the provision that gives a discretionary power, exercisable by the board, to cancel contracts.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The discretionary power of the board to cancel contracts deals with certain cases where the contracts are not valid; where, for some reason or other, side contracts have been entered into which invalidate these contracts, where the contracts are received after a prescribed date, or for some other reason. [Laughter.] Hon. Members seem to find matter for mirth in that. I do not think they are right in so doing. The matter is of very great importance to the Yorkshire Members; it is of very great importance to my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton; it is of importance even to Yorkshire Members sitting on the Opposition benches. I think hon. Members' mirth is rather ill-timed, and will not be taken well by the Yorkshire farmers to whom these matters are of importance.
The right hon. Member for North Cornwall rather had the better of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough when he said that rebates would be given in the case of persons carrying their own pigs and that producers and curers may carry their own pigs and livestock, and that the railway companies can claim a rebate which is bigger in proportion to the length of the carriage. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough said that even if you had your own transport and lived near a factory, you did not obtain any advantage from the rebates. That might well be true, because only the big producers are wealthy enough to own their transport, and on the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number—
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
In our industrial centres during the last 12 months, the bacon producer has had to pay this flat rate in respect of pigs not only for bacon but for pork, and that has meant great hardship to producers who live close to large industrial areas, and for decades may have been supplying that area with bacon.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I do not challenge that at all, but I say that this House, under 1718 the Act of the right hon. Gentleman, entrusted to the producers the power to combine and make their own arrangements.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
The power to combine and make their own arrangements is in the 1931 Act of the right hon. Gentleman, which the hon. Member supported. The effect of the bargain, whatever it is, should be a reasonable and an equitable one. It is not for us to go into the merits of each particular case. That is properly a matter for the Pigs Board, to which this House has, under statute, entrusted these particular responsibilities.
The hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Price) agreed, I think, that it was good that this organisation existed, but he thought they ought to be more closely supervised. That may well be, but at the same time he said that they required rationalisation, for which purpose the Bacon Development Board is set up. Therefore I hope that he will do his utmost to convince his hon. Friend the Member for Spennymoor, beside whom he is sitting just now, of the necessity for this rationalisation process, and the necessity for the board. I hope, too, that the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Woods), who also wanted rationalisation, will apply to the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean for an elucidation of the process by which rationalisation is being carried on, and will consult the admirable report of the Pigs and Pig Products Reorganisation Commission, in accordance with which the Bacon Development Board, the rationalising body, is being set up. As to the question of bacon going up in price, I am sure that hon. and right hon. Members opposite will be delighted to know that bacon is much cheaper than it was when they were in power. I think I have dealt with the main points which have been raised in the course of the discussion, and I hope that the House will now be able to pass the Resolution.
That the Amendments of the Pigs Marketing Scheme, 1933, which were presented to this House on the eleventh day of December, nineteen hundred and thirty-five, be approved.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 190; Noes, 99.1681
|Division No. 15.]||AYES.||[9.25 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Butt, Sir A.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Campbell, Sir E. T.||Dodd, J. S.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Cartland, J. R. H.||Dorman-Smith Major R. H.|
|Albery, I. J.||Carver, Major W. H.||Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)|
|Assheton, R.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Dugdale, Major T. L.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Channon, H.||Duncan, J. A. L.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Dunne, P. R. R.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Chorlton, A. E. L.||Eales, J. F.|
|Balniel, Lord||Christie, J. A.||Eckersley, P. T.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Clarry, R. G.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Elmley, Viscount|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Colfox, Major W. P.||Emery, J. F.|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N.||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir G. P.||Erskine Hill, A. G.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Birchail, Sir J. D.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)|
|Blindell, J.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Craddock, Sir R. H.||Fleming, E. L.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Foot, D. M.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Critchley, A.||Fraser, Capt. Sir I.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Furness, S. N.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Crowder, J. F. E.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Cruddas, Col. B.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)|
|Bull, B. B.||Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)||Gibson, C. G.|
|Burghley, Lord||Dawson, Sir P.||Gledhill, G.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Goodman, Col. A. W.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Denville, Alfred||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Maxwell, S. A.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Sandys, E. D.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Savery, Servington|
|Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Scott, Lord William|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col, J. T. C.||Selley, H. R.|
|Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Harvey, G.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hepworth, J.||Munro, P. M.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Nall, Sir J.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Holdsworth, H.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, E.)|
|Hopkinson, A.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Owen, Major G.||Spender-Clay Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H.|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Peat, C. U.||Storey, S.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Penny, Sir G.||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Hunter, T.||Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Petherick, M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Kerr, J. G. (Scottish Universities)||Pilkington, R.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Plugge, L. F.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Levy, T.||Porritt, R. W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Liddall, W. S.||Procter, Major H. A.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Lindsay, K. M.||Radford, F. A.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Llewellin, Lieut.-Cot. J. J.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Train, J.|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Rankin, R.||Turton, R. H.|
|Loftus, P. C.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Rayner, Major R. H.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Lyons, A. M.||Reid, D. D. (Down)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)|
|MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G.||Remer, J. R.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|M'Connell, Sir J.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||White, H. Graham|
|McCorquodale, M. S.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|McKie, J. H.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)||Wise, A. R.|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir I.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Magnay, T.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Mander, G. le M.||Rowlands, G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Mr. James Stuart and Captain|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Frankel, D.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Gallacher, W.||McGovern, J.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Gardner, B. W.||Maclean, N.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Gibbins, J.||Marklew, E.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Marshall, F.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Maxton, J.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Grenfell, D. R.||Milner, Major J.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Montague, F.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)|
|Batey, J.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Muff, G.|
|Bellenger, F.||Hardie, G. D.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Benson, G.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Paling, W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Parker, H. J. H.|
|Bromfield, W.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Brooke, W.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Holland, A.||Potts, J.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hollins, A.||Price, M. P.|
|Cape, T.||Hopkin, D.||Quibell, J. D.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jagger, J.||Riley, B.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Ritson, J.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)|
|Compton, J.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Rowson, G.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Kelly, W. T.||Sanders, W. S.|
|Daggar, G.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Dalton, H.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Shinwell, E.|
|Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Lathan, G.||Short, A.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Lawson, J. J.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leach, W.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Dobbie, W.||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Ede, J. C.||Logan, D. G.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lunn, W.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||McEntee, V. La T.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Stephen, C.||Walker, J.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)||Watkins, F. C.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Watson, W. McL.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Thorne, W.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Thurtle, E.||Welsh, J. C.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Tinker, J. J.||Wilkinson, Ellen||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Vlant, S. P.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Walkden, A. G.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.
|Division No. 16.]||AYES.||[11.47 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Fraser, Capt. Sir I.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Furness, S. N.||Pilkington, R.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Gledhill, G.||Plugge, L. F.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Albery, I. J.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Porritt, R. W.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Radford, F. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Assheton, R.||Guy, J. C. M.||Rankin, R.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Hepworth, J.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Bernays, R. H.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Holdsworth, H.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Rowlands, G.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hunter, T.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Salt, E. W.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Savery, Servington|
|Bull, B. B.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Scott, Lord William|
|Burghley, Lord||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Kerr, J. G. (Scottish Universities)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Butt, Sir A.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Levy, T.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Liddall, W. S.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cary, R. A.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Lloyd, G. W.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Channon, H.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Loftus, P. C.||Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Christie, J. A.||Lyons, A. M.||Spens, W. P.|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. Sir C. G.||Storey, S.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Stourton, Hon. J. J.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||McKie, J. H.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Critchley, A.||Magnay, T.||Stuart, Han. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Maxwell, S. A.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil)||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.|
|Dorman-Smith, Major R. H.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Turton, R. H.|
|Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop)||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Dugdale, Major T. L.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.||Ward, Irene (Wallsend)|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Dunne, P. R. R.||Nall, Sir J.||Wilson, Lt. Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Elmley, Viscount||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wise, A. R.|
|Emery, J. F.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Erskine Hill, A. G.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Peat, C. U.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Penny, Sir G.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|Everard, W. L.||Perkins, W. R. D.||and Mr. Blindell.|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Petherick, M.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Burke, W. A.||Gibbins, J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Cluse, W. S.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Cocks, F. S.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Compton, J.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Daggar, G.||Hardie, G. D.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Dalton, H.||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Batey, J.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Bellenger, F.||Dobbie, W.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Benson, G.||Ede, J. C.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)|
|Broad, F. A.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Holland, A.|
|Bromfield, W.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Hollins, A.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Frankel, D.||Hopkin, D.|
|Buchanan, G.||Gardner, B. W.||Jagger, J.|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Marshall, F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Milner, Major J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.)||Stephen, C.|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Muff, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Oliver, G. H.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Paling, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Kirby, B. V.||Parker, H. J. H.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Parkinson, J. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Lathan, G.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Lawson, J. J.||Potts, J.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Leach, W.||Qulbell, J. D.||White, H. Graham|
|Logan, D. G.||Riley, B.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Lunn, W.||Ritson, J.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Rowson, G.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Sanders, W. S.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|McGovern, J.||Sexton, T. M.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|McLaren, A.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Maclean, N.||Simpson, F. B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.|
|Marklew, E.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|