§ 2 "That the sum of four million four hundred and seventy thousand pounds shall be transferred from the Road Fund to the Exchequer."
§ First Resolution agreed to.
§ Second Resolution read a Second time.
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out "four million."
I move this reduction because of the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech a fort-night ago, when he said:In spite of the reduction of the Horsepower Tax by 25 per cent. last year, the Licence Duty on road vehicles produced £800,000 more than it did in the year before. At the same time the outgoings of the fund were curtailed by the reduction in programmes which followed upon the crisis of 1931, and the result of that is that on 31st March last there was in the Road Fund a balance and an apparent surplus of £7,000,000. I say apparent surplus, because part of that, £2,530,000, was a debt owing to the Exchequer in repayment of the loans in 1931and 1932. The relevant Acts give the Treasury a discretion to appoint the times and conditions of repayment. As I did not require the money last year, I did not give the order for repayment until this year. Accordingly, that sum is included in the estimate of miscellaneous revenue which I have already given as £21,500,000. That leaves a balance in the Road Fund of £4,470,000. The need for curtailment of programmes has passed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th April, 1935; col. 1628, Vol. 300.]Hon. Members may suggest that one might as well have moved to reduce the amount by the full sum, but they will admit that a reduction of £4,000,000 is a large item. I want the House to realise the purpose for which the Road Fund was established. We cannot say that 380 the fund is in any way specially dedicated to the Treasury. Right away from the beginning of the fund in 1909 it has been definitely stated that the whole of the money of the Road Fund should be used in order to develop and build the roads necessary for the country. Again and again from 1909 up to 1920 it has been stated that the whole of the fund should be devoted to road improvements. I want to take the mind of the House back to the early period of 1909. In his Budget speech of 1909 the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, made the following statement:The brunt of the expense"—that is, of developing the road service of the countryat the beginning must be borne by motorists, and to do them justice they are willing, and even anxious, to subscribe handsomely towards such a purpose, so long as a guarantee is given in the method and control of the expenditure that the fund so raised will not merely be devoted exclusively to the improvement of the roads, but that they will be well and wisely spent for that end."—[OFFICAL REPORT, 29th April, 1909; Col. 497, Vol. IV.]That is a very definite declaration of the purpose which was in the mind of the Cabinet at the time they started the Road Fund. Further, in the Committee stage of the Finance Bill the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that not a penny of this money would be touched for exchequer purposes but that the money received would all be spent upon the roads of the country.
Those are two declarations from which we cannot get away and we have no right to get away from them because they were made to the House with a view to putting into operation something which they thought to be very necessary. Further, in connection with the Roads Bill of 1920 a declaration was made by the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, Mr. Arthur Neal, who declared on the 2nd December, 1920, during the Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill:This Fund is very much in the nature of voluntary taxation of a particular kind. The motorists have consented to raise money by this particular tax, on the definite undertaking that the money shall be expended in the improvement of roads. It is a national object which they are helping in that direction, and it is one which is most 381 urgently needed. The roads have to be brought up to a condition to deal with modern traffic and to be maintained in that condition. Therefore, this Fund, specially raised by taxation of a particular class, is specially safeguarded against its expenditure being diverted from the use for which it is raised to the relief of general taxation."—[OFFICAL RFPORT, 2nd December, 1920; cols. 1529–30; Vol. 135.]These are very definite statements which must receive consideration by the House to-day. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech the other day made it quite clear that there being a surplus on the Road Fund it was very close at hand for him to appropriate in order to build up his miscellaneous revenue. In 1926 the same matter was again before the House. In that case the House was dealing with the licences under the old horse power tax, and other things. The Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time said that as from the 1st April, 1926, one-third of the net proceeds of the excise duties on licences for motor cycles and private cars—the horse power tax—should be retained in the Exchequer and not be paid into the Road Fund. This sum was estimated to amount in that financial year to £3,500,000. This was a further appropriation of future revenues of the Road Fund. The Finance Act of 1926 further provided, in Section 43, that there should be transferred to the Exchequer from the Road Fund the sum of £7,000,000. This sum was taken from accumulated balances amounting to £19,500,000 and was an appropriation from the past savings of the Road Fund. Further, the Government announced that as from the 1st April, 1926, no further grants would be made by the Unemployment Grants Committee towards the cost of road and bridge works, and that as from the same date the outstanding liabilities incurred by the Committee on account of road and bridge works should be assumed by the Road Fund.
It appears to me that every time there has been an accumulation of money in the Road Fund, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has come along and put his hand upon it, saying "this is mine." I do not think that is quite a fair proceeding. Motorists pay this money for the definite purpose of improving the roads and bridges of the country, and they ought not to be called upon to contribute twice to the general revenue of the country. Local authorities, vehicles manufacturers and road users all opposed this 382 diversion of funds. In that year the Government deprived the Road Fund of something like £11,000,000. In 1927 it was rather worse, because, in that year the Chancellor of the Exchequer annexed the whole of the balance standing to the credit of the fund, no less than £12,000,000 and in the same year he expected to receive £4,000,000 as the one-third share of the horse bower tax, and on private cars and motor cycles. The Road Fund was also called upon to supply £8,000,000 on account of liabilities incurred by the Unemployment Grants Committee, and this meant that there was a total deduction from the Road Fund of £16,800,000 in 1927. The amount which was appropriated from the Road Fund in the two years 1926 to 1928 amounted to £28,000,000. No one will consider that this is the right method of procedure. That money was contributed for a particular purpose, and it should be used for that purpose, and not as a balancing power for the Chancellor of the Exchequer whenever he feels it to be necessary.
There has also been an increase in the burden of taxation in connection with roads and motorists. During the years from 1927 to 1934 the taxation has gone up by leaps and bounds at any rate in the later years, while the amount of money taken by the Exchequer has also gone up rapidly, while during the last four years the amount of the road grants has gradually diminished. At the same time the expenditure which was borne by local authorities was rather heavier than they should have been called upon to bear. They have to bear a certain proportion of the expenditure required for the improvement of the roads, and they look forward to considerable help from the Road Fund. The Road Fund, indeed, should be used for the relief of local authorities to a greater extent than it is at the moment, instead of the bulk of the money being taken by the Exchequer. In 1931 motor taxation was £44,500,000, of which the Exchequer took £20,750,000, while the road grants were £27,000,000. In 1932 the taxation was £57,500,000 out of which the Exchequer took £34,250,000, whilst the Road Fund grants were £28,750,000. In 1933 the taxation was practically £64,000,000 of which the Exchequer took £40,250,000 and the road grants were £23,000,000. Last year, 1934, the motor taxation was over 383 £71,000,000 and the Exchequer took nearly £43,000,000, while the total road grants were £19,500,000. Actually there has been an increase in the amount going to the Treasury and a decrease in the amount granted as road grants while the amounts which local authorities have been called upon to spend have not been eased at all.
We feel that this last raid of the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the Road Fund ought not to have been under-taken. There is no reason for it. The road grants have not been at all in keeping with the requirements of the roads. We have a tremendous number of roads and bridges which require immediate attention, but they cannot be improved simply because local authorities have not the money, and when they put forward their schemes they do not get anything like what they expect to get from the Road Fund. The Exchequer appropriations during the years 1927 to 1932 have increased from £10,000,000 in 1927 to £43,000,000 in 1934. This money really ought not to be taken from the Road Fund. In his Budget statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer used a phrase to the effect that the need for the curtailment of programme had passed. If that is the case why should he annex the surplus in the Road Fund, which is there for the purpose of future development and improvement of the roads?
This action on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer compels a curtailment of programme, it holds up schemes which ought to be put in hand. I know a road which has a tremendous number of bends and curves which are dangerous to cyclists, motorists and pedestrians, but no improvement can be carried out simply because the local authority cannot get the money to do it. Now is the time when such work should be undertaken, labour is plentiful and money is cheap, and I do not see why the Chancellor of the Exchequer should take this money which should be used for developing and improving our roads in order to add to his balance. There are many great schemes which ought to be put in hand at once, and if we have secured 80 per cent. of our prosperity it is necessary that our roads should be put in proper order to facilitate the transport of goods. If this is to be repeated by every succeeding Chancellor of the 384 Exchequer because we have recovered 80 per cent. of the prosperity of the country—I do not understand exactly what that means—it means that the money which is being paid by motorists is not being used for the purpose of assisting the transport of goods.
In order to build up a reserve this House has deliberately overtaxed motorists. Many authorities are in need of grants, there are a large number of level crossings and hundreds of bridges in an unsatisfactory condition, there are thousands of unsatisfactory roads which ought to be taken in hand. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has mentioned that the Minister of Transport is inviting local authorities to submit a five-years plan of road construction and improvement. What is the use of issuing such an invitation when every time there are a few million pounds left in the Road Fund the money is taken by the Treasury? The system is wrong altogether. The Chancellor of the Exchequer may think it is all right, and the Minister of Transport may agree to the money being taken, but according to the statement of the Chancellor it does not seem that the Minister of Transport is very willing that the money should be taken. I do not think that the Minister of Transport put up a sufficient kick. He ought to have fought the Chancellor much harder than he did in order to retain the money for the specific purpose for which it was intended. In the Press this morning I find two statements. One of them is as follows:Schemes which are under consideration by the Ministry of Transport for the replacement of level crossings by bridges will, if adopted, involve an expenditure of nearly £1,000,000. Only some eight crossing systems are involved, however, out of 14,500 which exist in this country. Particulars of the proposals cannot yet be given because nearly all of them are part of the five-year plan of Mr. Hore-Belisha, and are still being considered. The abolition of all crossings and weak bridges would cost nearly £100,000,000.Whatever the cost may be, if the work is necessary in the interests of the trade of the country and the well-being of the people, the work ought to be done. Another statement in the Press was as follows:A five-year road and bridge improvement programme is to be submitted to the Minister of Transport by the Surrey County Council, to the amount of £4,030,000.385 Estimates for a five-year plan are going to mean a very expensive job, a more expensive job than the Chancellor probably expects. The right hon. Gentleman is not giving local authorities the chance of making a good start. He is first of all clearing the hen roost and even taking all the loose grit. He told the Minister of Transport that although he was taking this money and it was necessary to do so in order to balance the Budget or to have a surplus, if there came a time when the Minister of Transport required more money he could approach the Chancellor who would graciously see whether it was possible to give back any of the money. I do not know what the House thinks about that, but to me it seems like robbing a person and offering to return him a pound or two to go on with.
I hope that the Chancellor will not be quite so hard in future in putting stumbling-blocks in the way of the development of the roads of the country. Every penny of this £4,250,000 could have been spent on useful work that is necessary. At the present moment we have 2,000,000 unemployed and money cheaper than it has ever been before, and we are simply not taking the opportunities that are offered to us. There are hundreds of defective bridges and thousands of miles of defective roads in the country. It would have been far better for the Chancellor to have given employment to the workers so as to ensure greater safety on the roads, and, most important of all, to have kept faith with the promises made during the passing of the Road Acts of 1909 and 1920, that the Road Fund would be earmarked for road development only. I hope that the Chancellor will be able to do something that will put the Road Fund back to the state in which it was a month ago, and that he will tell the House that the taking of £4,250,000 is not to be a regular habit of the Treasury. There have been three raids upon the Road Fund, and it is about time that the people began to kick a little about it.
§ 3.56 p.m.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
I can always appreciate the temptation to a Chancellor of the Exchequer to appropriate a convenient little nest-egg like this when he is anxious to present the nation with a satisfactory balance sheet, but the right hon. Gentleman has claimed, and claimed with some reason, to be a purist in finance.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
The right hon. Gentleman does not make that claim and I withdraw my statement. Perhaps that accounts for this particular inroad into a Fund that is and has been allocated, from its inception, in principle at any rate, to the industry that provides the money. It is possible to build up a very strong case against a tax of this character. It is a tax upon industry. It brings us back to the old window tax in its limitation of a particular form of industry. A very great principle is involved here. This is an expanding industry. It is true that the Chancellor can argue with reason that so virile and powerful is the motor industry that it prospers in spite of the heavy burdens and taxes which year by year are laid on it. But we have to recognise that this is not the only country which has a big, strong, powerful motor industry. We have to go with the times. Other countries are serious competitors with our motor industry, and it is argued that if we are to hold our own every encouragement within reason should be given to this powerful industry.
There is, perhaps, an even more important point of view. Motor transport is essential to modern industry; its speed and efficiency and cheapness are an essential item in productive industries that Are in competition with the world. That applies particularly to our heavy industries. The other day another Minister came to the House and asked us to take the exceptional course of imposing a 50 per cent. protective duty on iron and steel, and in due course that proposal was confirmed. I am credibly informed that one of the biggest factors in the cost of production of iron and steel, almost as big a factor as the direct cost of labour, is the cost of transport. One of the reasons why Belgium is able to put up such severe competition against us on the heavy side of the iron and steel industry is the advantage that she enjoys in the cost of transport. It seems unfortunate that just at a time when industry is recovering—some think that the recovery is by no means permanent and that we are certainly not yet out of the wood—the Government recognises the principle that a tax of this kind on industry, which can only be justified if it 387 be spent in the interests of the industry, should be diverted to the ordinary revenue purposes of the year.
The very fact of the number of motorists on the road is the reason, of course, for the large and increasing revenue coming from this source. The large increase in the number of vehicles on the road makes it more urgent every year, and more vital, to improve the roads, and spend the money for the purpose for which it was originally voted and allocated. All round London, and in the Midlands and in the Lancashire area, in spite of very large expenditure on road improvement, the congestion is serious, and the need for road improvement increases every year. It is very unfortunate, and very remarkable, that the Minister of Transport and his Parliamentary Secretary are conspicuous by their absence. They are the natural defenders of this particular source of revenue which properly belongs to them, and it is surprising that, without a word of complaint, this great advertiser, the Minister of Transport, who stands up to be the champion of this industry, and claims to be its particular protector, does not even raise his voice in protest, and does not even take the trouble to be present in the House and justify the handing over of this money to the right hon. Gentleman. Apparently, he is quite a willing conspirator with the right hon. Gentleman.
It is very significant that at this very moment we are informed that the hon. Gentleman is in conference. Even as late as yesterday he was in conference with the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), to whom we owe this fund, whose imagination, whose foresight anticipated the great expansion, the need for which expansion on road improvement initiated this particular type of revenue. We understand that the purpose of the conference is to see if, by schemes of improvement, we can get men off the Unemployment Fund into productive industries. I am glad to see the Minister of Labour present. He knows what a constant, vital problem this is, and how difficult it is, in spite of expanding trade, to find for this great army of unemployed useful and productive work. Here is the simplest and natural source of revenue, the machinery available to provide the 388 character of work which is the most easy to absorb unemployed men. It does not require great skill; it is easy to expand. The trouble always has been that the Government hesitate to embark upon any great scheme of public expenditure which would involve a charge upon the public revenue. But in this fund, without imposing an additional tax, without raising capital by borrowing, here is a source of revenue at hand, and, at the same time, there are schemes only waiting for the money to be put into operation. In London for many, many years, we have been waiting for schemes of bridge construction, particularly the Charing Cross Bridge scheme. That scheme was passed as long ago as 1930, but it has been held up altogether on one justification only—that the revenue was not available from the Road Fund.
The right hon. Gentleman the present Minister of Labour was Minister of Transport. He knows how constantly good schemes which are brought forward by local authorities to his Department for financial assistance are being held up only because of the danger of an additional charge on the local rates. In London there has been an increase in the local rates during the last 12 months. At the same time, in spite of the increased rates, in spite of the present expansionist policy in London, road schemes are being held up because of the difficulty of getting the necessary money from the Road Fund of the Minister of Transport. I suggest that this is a retrograde policy, a policy which cannot be justified. It is a bad precedent. It is unsound finance, and, in the end, the revenue which the right hon. Gentleman is now taking will have to be made good in future years. It is no excuse to say that this is an expanding industry. The more the industry expands, the greater is the need of road improvement. I, therefore, think that the Amendment is justified, and I believe it will receive support, at any rate in principle, from all sides of the House.
§ 4.7 p.m.
§ Sir JOHN POWER
The last speaker seemed to claim universal application for his ideas, but I do not think he can claim universal support for the arguments he put forward. No one denies that the construction of motor roads is a great necessity, but I think it has yet to be proved that the allocation of this money has in any way impeded the construction of 389 roads. It was used, as I understand, and as the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us, because it was a surplus lying unused, and it was appropriated for a very useful purpose, and gives a great measure of relief to thousands of small Income Taxpayers in this country. I would like to ask my hon. Friend opposite, does he claim that these taxes levied upon motorists are to be used entirely for the benefit of motorists or roads, because, if so, then I would like to ask why, taking that argument a little further, the Income Tax collection should not be devoted entirely to the benefit of the Income Tax payer and the Super-tax equally to the Super-tax payer? I would like to hear the hon. Gentleman explain his views a little more fully, and perhaps I may have the opportunity on some future occasion. All that I have to say in conclusion is, that so far as I am concerned, I am very glad indeed to see the available funds that were not being used being put to a useful purpose.
§ 4.9 p.m.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
I rise to give such support as I am able to the Amendment moved on the other side of the House, because I believe, on grounds of public policy, on the ground of the honesty of pledges given in the past, this House would be wise indeed to protest emphatically against this further raid on a fund which was specifically set aside for a particular purpose. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken instanced the case of the Income Tax. I would like to ask him whether at any time there was a pledge given to the Income Taxpayers that if they consented to have a tax put upon their incomes, that tax would be devoted entirely to the benefit of those people who paid it? In the case of the Road Fund, however, it was a specific pledge given to motorists, with their sanction and approval, that the whole of the money raised by this means should be devoted to the improvement of roads, which, in those days, were totally inadequate to meet the growing demands of the road users.
§ Captain STRICKLAND
The pledge was given in 1909, when the Road Fund was originally started. I am speaking from memory, and if I am wrong about the date, no doubt my right hon. Friend 390 will correct me. Since he has asked me a question, I will ask him whether he will deny that the pledge was given that this money should be devoted to road construction, road maintenance and road improvement in this country? Indeed, the pledge was more specific. The pledge given originally was that it should be used for road construction. Road maintenance and road improvements were added to it afterwards, again with the sanction and approval of motor users. The fact which we have got to face—and it is being brought more and more to the notice of many Members of this House who have not long experience of the House—that no pledge given by any Minister in this House has the slightest value in future years unless it is put definitely into the terms of an Act. While I quite agree that there may be extensions of the ambit of the tax itself, in any case it must be remembered that this tax was imposed specifically for one purpose, and that was the improvement of the roads of our country.
The second question I would like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer is this: Is he satisfied that at present the whole of the roads of the country are adequate and sufficient for the growing use made of them by motor users? No one can dispute the fact that the introduction of the road vehicle has proved a very great and increasing benefit to people who, in olden days, were far less benefited by the old means of locomotion. But the point is that, with the growing use of roads, there is an increasing demand for better roads than we have at present. A case in point occurs to me at the moment. A few weeks ago I asked whether, in the interests of the safety of the roads, it would not be possible to have a line marked across the road to warn a motorist when approaching a restricted area. The reply was that this would cost money. Exactly so. I did not suppose it was going to be done without costing money, but here we had the money available, and money taken out of the pockets of motorists for the very purpose I was asking—the improvement of the roads. The reply was "We have not got the money"; but, says the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "Here is £4,000,000. I want some more money to make up the amount of my Budget, and I am going to take this sum." If the 391 cotton manufacturers or the steel manufacturers of this country were called upon to contribute a levy, say, for the purposes of scientific research, and this was done by private donations, and the money was collected from the manufacturers for this particular purpose, I can imagine the great indignation if any such private organisation, or semi-public organisation, were to turn round suddenly and say, "Yes, we have collected this money for scientific research, but we now propose to use it for docks or something else." I can quite believe that, in such a case, an injunction could be obtained against them for misappropriation of funds.
I want to enter my protest. I would not do it if I thought the money was not needed in the Road Fund. But no one can claim that our roads are perfect or anything like it. The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Parkinson) referred to the question of weak bridges. We have been told that there are bridges all over the country which are not safe for motor traffic. Yet the money was here available in the Road Fund for dealing with that matter and we are taking it out of the Road Fund and devoting it to the general purposes of the Exchequer. If it is desired to tax motorists as motorists, for goodness sake drop the theory that the money derived from that taxation is for Road Fund purposes and say frankly, "We are going to tax this new means of locomotion right up to the hilt and do everything we can to put penal taxation upon it, because we want the money and we are going to have it." That would be an honest way of doing it. But to ask the motorist, year after year, to contribute to the specific purpose of developing the roads of our country and then to apply the money in other ways, is altogether wrong.
When we go into our villages, our country towns and our great centres of population like London, we find that the means of transport from one point to another are totally inadequate. Circular roads have to be built around congested centres. Traffic is being held up and there is a crying need and demand that more money should be spent on the development of our roads. In those circumstances it is not right or fair or honest to come to the House and say, "We know the money is needed for these purposes but we are going to devote it 392 to other purposes. "An hon. Member opposite asked where was the Minister of Transport. Is it not his duty to be here and to declare what he feels to be the necessity of the time as regards the roads of this country? I think it is really a want of courtesy, when such an important point as this is under discussion that neither he nor his representative should be here. It is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened and I hope the House will enter an emphatic protest against the treatment which is being given perpetually to the great motor industry. We have instances of it day after day. We have an instance this afternoon of the sort of thing that is happening with regard to differential treatment in the matter of taxation between road-users and the railways. That is an example of what is going on and it would appear that the whole purpose is to smash as far as possible our great road industry. I wish to enter the strongest protest against what I regard as a dishonest proposal to take this money from the Road Fund and I support the Amendment.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Mr. THORNE
I also enter my protest against this money being taken from the Road Fund and I am pleased that you, Mr. Speaker, have given us the opportunity, when raising the question of the Road Fund, to bring forward also the need for applying this money to road purposes. It is a difficult thing in a discussion of this kind to divorce those two subjects and it is plain that if this money were not taken from the Road Fund it would be used for the purposes for which that fund was established. Anyone who looks up the record of what happened when the Road Fund was established will find that it was stated definitely that the fund was to be used for widening the main arterial roads, for cutting off some of the dangerous corners in the rural areas and for widening a number of narrow roads throughout the country. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deny that that was the original purpose of the fund, and we on these benches and other Members as well, entered a very strong protest when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) first made a raid upon the Road Fund.
393 I am not surprised that the Minister of Transport is not in his place on this occasion. It must have been very interesting to hear the discussion between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Transport on this subject. I assume that there must have been some discussion between them when the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested that this sum should be taken from the Road Fund for the purpose of making concessions to the small Income Tax payers. I do not know whether the Minister of Transport entered any protest, but if he had protested seriously and had refused to agree to this proposal it is to be taken for granted that he would have tendered his resignation. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the Minister of Transport is not present. He would have come into conflict with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the question of taking this money from the Road Fund.
§ Mr. THORNE
In some things perhaps, but not in all. We in West Ham have a little growl to make on this matter and no doubt other industrial centres have similar grievances. We have a roadway there, a main road running from Aldgate to Romford, on which there is a bottleneck midway between Bow Bridge and Stratford Market Railway Station. A certain portion of the road has been widened and all motorists will agree that it has been a great improvement. For some time we have been in communication with the Ministry of Transport with a view to getting permission to widen Stratford High Street all the way down to Martin Street. The Minister of Transport when he came down to open the new highway at the Silver town road partially promised that he would give favourable consideration to the scheme for the extra widening. I am under the impression, however, that when we make another effort to get that concession the Minister will say, "It is very unfortunate but it cannot be done, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer has 'pinched' £4,000,000 from the Road Fund and there is no balance left."
When the Chancellor of the Exchequer replies in this Debate he will probably say, "Well, gentlemen, if I am not allowed to take this £4,000,000 from the 394 Road Fund I have to find fresh money somewhere. In what way am I to find it? "I can suggest to him a way of finding fresh money without any trouble. Ever since I have been a Member of this House I have stated my definite opinion, both inside and outside the House, that in connection with every form of taxation there is always a way of shoving the burden on to the consumer—with one exception. There is one tax which cannot be shoved on to the consumer and that is Death Duties. Therefore, if the Chancellor wants to raise this £4,000,000 he can raise it in Death Duties and nobody will feel the effect because people cannot miss money which they have never had. If the Chancellor wants to raise revenue without imposing fresh burdens there is a method of doing it.
During the last few weeks we have had many complaints from motorists in this House about the state of the roads and dangerous turnings and crossings and so forth and yet with the exception of the hon. and gallant Member for Coventry (Captain Strickland) there is not a single Member opposite who has entered any protest against this money being taken from the Road Fund. I am not sure that even the hon. and gallant Member will go into the Lobby with us when it comes to a Division upon this matter. But I think the time has arrived when there ought to be a strong protest against any Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whatever party he may belong, taking money from the Road Fund. As far as I am concerned, when the party to which I belong is sitting on the other side of the House, if our Chancellor of the Exchequer attempts to take money from the Road Fund I shall protest against it exactly as I am protesting now.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ Mr. McKEAG
I do not want it to be thought for one moment that I subscribe to the fallacious economics of the hon. Member who has just spoken but in the main I find myself on common ground with most of those who have already taken part in this Debate. I subscribe in no uncertain fashion to many of the strictures to which utterance has already been given in regard to this matter. Moreover, it seems to me very regrettable that at the very time when a Cabinet Committee, in conclave with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for 395 Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), is considering proposals for national development, the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have chosen to commandeer this substantial sum from the Road Fund. The result of these appropriations must necessarily be to affect very adversely the efforts of the Minister of Transport to reduce the toll of the roads. I think all parties in this House admire the energy, enterprise and the initiative with which the Minister of Transport has tackled the great and difficult task with which he was entrusted some time ago. It seems a pity that, just as some measure of success appears to be attending his efforts, he should be in any way crippled by lack of funds and his humane work circumscribed.
One has rather vivid recollections of the manner in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made the announcement of this raid during his Budget speech. It amounted to the arch-beaconeer being made to stand and deliver by the archbuccaneer—and the Road Fund surplus faded away. It is necessary to go back a little into political history to ascertain the exact terms of the pledge that was given that the Road Fund taxation should be utilised for the purposes for which hon. Members claim the Fund was established. I make no apology for reminding the House of the specific terms of the pledge which was given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs in 1909. He said that the money raised by this taxationshall be placed at the disposal of a central authority who will make grants to local authorities for the purpose of carrying out well-planned schemes which they have approved for widening roads, for straightening them, for making deviations around villages, for allaying the dust nuisance, and I should also propose that power should be given to this central authority to set aside a portion of the money so raised for constructing, where they think it necessary and desirable, absolutely new road."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th April, 1909; col. 497, Vol. IV.]There can be no doubt of the specific nature of that pledge. Not only that, but the distinguished relative of the right hon. Gentleman himself, the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), speaking in the same Debate, gave utterance to these illuminating words:Our attitude towards the tax will depend upon the answer to that question. If 396 it is going to the support of the roads we think it is a very fair proposition; if it is intended to take it for general revenue then we shall oppose it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th April, 1909; col. 600, Vol. IV.]Let us go through the years until we come to 1920. We find the same right hon. Gentleman then saying that he did not propose to claim any share of this taxation, referring to taxation raised by the Road Fund for the Exchequer. Ever since then we have had raid after raid upon the fund with a consequent reduction in the amount of money available for the purpose for which it was originally intended. Figures for 1933–34 give a clear indication that the motor industry is being over-taxed. The amount raised in that year by motor taxation was £67,000,000. Only £25,500,000 of that money was paid into the Road Fund for the purposes set out for the fund. No less than £41,750,000 of that was used for general Exchequer purposes. There is another way of looking at it. Of that £67,000,000 which was raised by motor taxation the only amount expended upon roads was £52,000,000. Therefore, it seems that motor taxation was in considerable excess of expenditure on the roads. This shows either that motor taxation is excessive or that work on the roads is not being sufficiently carried out.
The hon. Gentleman who spoke a few moments ago made reference to certain schemes in his own constituency which everyone there no doubt desires should be carried out. There are schemes all over the country clamouring for attention. Take the City of Durham. We are very proud of our ancient historic city, but it suffers from the very fact that it is ancient. We have very narrow roads in the centre of the City. One is only 12 or 13 feet wide in parts, and it is impossible for two vehicles simultaneously to pass. A few days ago one vehicle was held up in the middle of the street with the result that the whole of the business of the City was dislocated until the vehicle which had broken down had been removed. I have here a cutting from a newspaper referring to the particular incident. This is what it said. It is quoting an Alderman of the City of Durham speaking immediately afterwards. He says:If the Minister of Transport had been in Durham this morning and seen the block of traffic stretching considerable distances in each direction with the whole of the 397 business of the City dislocated and traffic North to South and East to West held up there would have been no question in his mind as to which scheme in Drham should be given priority.For some years schemes have been considered by the Ministry of Transport for alleviating this trouble. We are anxious for a new bridge and road to be constructed to relieve this inordinate congestion which takes place day after day. But the very fund which should be utilised for this purpose is being raided for general Exchequer purposes. I quote these instances as evidence that there is still much to be done in the way of constructing new roads and widening old ones. I wish to make two statements to the right hon. Gentleman. First, by excessive taxation we are retarding the natural development of the motor industry. Secondly, at this time and in the circumstances which obtain to-day it is to say the least unfair to starve the fund and deprive it of money which should be unquestionably utilised for the purposes for which it was inaugurated. I hope the protests which have been made this afternoon from Members representing every party in this House will not have been made in vain.
§ 4.37 p.m.
§ Dr. ADDISON
I think that this Debate is very interesting in a personal or psychological sense. The right hon. Gentleman has so impressed upon everybody the fact that he is an apostle of orthodoxy in finance that my hon. Friend below the Gangway actually began his speech by describing the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a purist in finance. I must congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the success of the facade which he has erected. I confess if we search his record it does not seem to provide quite the abundant justification which my hon. Friend imagined. I have in mind the example which he and other preceding Conservative Chancellors of the Exchequer have set to some future Socialist Chancellors of the Exchequer in this matter. In reply to the hon. Member behind him, he himself interjected a question as to the statement of the purpose of this fund. I may remind him of the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, Mr. A. Neal, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. 398 Chamberlain) was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1920. He said, on the 2nd December, in the House>:This fund, specially raised by taxation of a particular class, is specially safeguarded against its expenditure being diverted from the use for which it is raised to the relief of general taxation."—OFFICAL REPORT, 2nd December, 1920; cols. 1529 and 1530, Vol. 135.]Nothing could be more specific than that pledge. It was a long time after the tax was first imposed. It was after the War when this pledge was given to the House of Commons. We have seen a diluted form of repudiation of our obligations in the matter of international debt, and now we are seeing a very gross and undiluted form of confiscation. I do not wonder that the Minister of Transport is not here. My hon. Friends have wondered what sort of communication took place between the Minister of Transport and the Treasury. I can well imagine what it was like. It was no doubt a memorandum from the Treasury, and, as we all know, those of us who have found ourselves in conflict with the Treasury from time to time, the only way you get anything from the Treasury is by fighting for it. The Minister of Transport apparently was not in a position to fight the Treasury. Therefore, they get away with this additional piece of piracy and repudiation of a national undertaking. It is nothing less than that—gross repudiation of an honourable undertaking on the part of the British Government. It is utterly and completely dishonest. I can well imagine the headlines there would have been if this kind of thing had been perpetrated by a Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer. The two preceding Tory Chancellors of the Exchequer were guilty of this piece of theft, and now it has been repeated again.
I have no doubt my fellow countrymen will take note of this repeated diversion of funds from purposes for which they are created. I think it has gone much farther than a good many people perhaps understand. Everywhere we go about the country we see very nicely erected fences standing back from the roadside where at one time or another the local authority, perhaps under the inspiration of some other Minister of Transport, had decided that a piece of road widening is desired. We say, "What a sensible idea it was to propose to widen the road 399 that much." But we come up against so-called economy which has prevented this happening, with a result that is altogether amazing when we look at it in the aggregate. Last year £71,000,000 was raised from this industry in one form or another by taxation. I have not got the precise apportionment of that sum; but take the sum in the year before. In that year £63,926,000 was raised from this industry. Remember the pledge that underlay this taxation. Of that amount the Road Fund grants were £23,056,000. The Treasury, which originally was only to take one-third, took, including something from the oil duties, £40,000,000. By so much as the Treasury appropriates money from this fund so far as maintenance is concerned, by so much it increases the burden on the local ratepayers, because the road expenditure I find for the last complete year of which I have figures borne by the rates was £39,000,000 as against £23,000,000 out of the Road Fund, although in the various motor taxes in that year the aggregate contribution was £63,000,000. If there be a case where it is justified that the money should be spent for the purpose for which it was explicitly levied it is here, for two reasons. The first is that the diversion of the money from that purpose means that the local ratepayers have to pay more in rates. The second is that it means that none of the improvements so urgently required can he undertaken. As a result of the levy imposed by the Treasury during the last two or three years, this fund in 1933–34 had accumulated an unspent balance of £4,700,000. Notwithstanding that unspent balance, the total amount spent in road improvement, as apart from maintenance, was only £4,600,000.
In spite of all that we hear about weak bridges and the necessity of widening roads for the greater traffic that they bear, the unspent balance was more than the whole of the money spent on road improvement. Everybody knows why that was the case. It was because various schemes required the sanction of the Treasury, and, whether the Treasury at that time got its mind on the growing source of plunder or not, I do not know, but we do know that the ordinary departmental procedure requires Treasury sanction to the proposals as they come 400 along and that the proposals were cut down or refused. So, greatly owing to this starving of road improvements, and notwithstanding the accumulated surplus, we arrive at the position in which there is something really worth stealing; the Treasury sees it there and grabs it. I do not wonder that the Minister of Transport is not here. I am sorry for him, because a more dishonourable transaction does not stand in the records of interdepartmental history. The money is wanted for the roads, it was provided for the roads, and it has been taken from them in breach of the most explicit and binding Government undertakings; and I hope that every Member who values public honour will protest against it.
§ 4.49 p.m.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Parkinson), who moved this Amendment, based his criticism on two grounds: first, on the ground of principle, namely, that money which had been raised for the purpose of road improvement and in respect of which pledges had been given, should be used for that purpose and should not be diverted to other purposes; and, second, on the ground that by taking this amount of £4,000,000 from the Road Fund works of improvement and construction were being rendered impossible. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Dr. Addison) has described the alleged breach of principle in terms so extravagant as to rouse the scornful laughter of hon. Members. It is an extraordinary thing that the right hon. Gentleman, who is so moved by this breach of principle that he describes it as dishonourable, dishonest and a breach of honourable pledges, is supporting an Amendment which sanctions the diversion of £470,000 from the Road Fund. I should have thought that the matter of principle would apply just as much to the £470,000 as to the £4,000,000.
I will deal with both these grounds of objection. Let me say, first, that pledges made in 1909 are quite irrelevant to the present case. In that year the Road Improvement Fund, as it then was, was a fund fed not only by the licence duty, but by the motor spirit duty. After the War the whole framework was changed and the new Road Fund was set up into which was paid only the licence duty and no longer the motor spirit duty. Therefore, any pledges that 401 are to be considered and that are relevant to this discussion must be pledges that were given after and not before the War. My second point is this. Really, it is ridiculous for anybody, and most of all for the right hon. Gentleman who has been a Cabinet Minister, to pretend that any Minister can pledge succeeding Parliaments for all time to carry out a pledge which he might give as to the destination of particular taxes. That is to assume that a temporary minister of the day would have control over the whole future discretion of Parliament. No House of Commons would ever sanction that.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The right hon. Gentleman is not fairly representing the position. These are taxes paid into a fund created for a special purpose. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer wishes to levy additional taxes, he can devote them to general purposes quite properly, but he says so at the time.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken in saying these are taxes paid into the Road Fund. They are paid into the Exchequer, and they are issued by the Exchequer into the Road Fund after certain deductions are made. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] That is a very important point. The taxes are not paid into the Fund, but into the Exchequer. They are part of the revenue of the Exchequer, and it is only because of a decision of Parliament that the Exchequer issues to the Road Fund a portion of the money that is paid into the Exchequer from licence duties. The right hon. Gentleman has not said anything which in any way alters what I said before. No Minister can pledge succeeding Parliaments. He can give pledges as far as he is concerned and he may on behalf of the Government give pledges which will bind that Government so long as it is a Government, but it is not possible to prevent Parliament taking any decision it likes in future or completely reversing decisions that have been taken in the past and diverting taxes from one purpose to another.
This is not a new question. My predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), made two raids, as they are called, of a considerable magnitude: £7,000,000 in 1926, and £12,000,000 in 1927. It is rather interesting to observe that, although there was on the occasion of the first raid, a full 402 discussion on the question of pledges, in 1927, when a bigger raid was made, the matter of pledges was not discussed. Parliament was satisfied a year before, and the question was not discussed again. My right hon. Friend dealt with the suggestion made by one speaker this afternoon that this tax is a voluntary action on the part of the taxpayer. What a position we would be in if all of us were only called upon to pay taxes if we voluntarily and freely agreed to do so. He pointed out that you could not describe as voluntary an action in respect of which, if you did not take it, you would be liable to be sent to prison. The suggestion that here was an honourable bargain between motorists as taxpayers and the Government of the day that if the motorists consented to pay their taxes they would be devoted entirely to the service of the roads, is a fantastic description of the transaction. Where is the dishonesty?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
That is exactly what I am saying. The motorists have to pay the taxes, and I say that the House of Commons has a perfect right, if it chooses, to take every penny of that taxation. The hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) appeared to be under some confusion of mind. He represented this diversion of balances in the Road Fund as a tax upon industry. He said that industry was overtaxed, and so did the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. McKeag). This is not imposing a fresh tax upon industry, and, if I were to follow the advice of the two hon. Members and reduce the taxation of the industry, as in fact I did last year, there would be less money for the Road Fund and not more, because it is the taxation of the industry which feeds the Road Fund. Therefore, the hon. Member, in speaking of this as a tax upon industry, was surely for a moment forgetting what the actual subject of the Amendment was.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
Although it is a tax on industry the money was spent on the industry, for they got it back on improved roads which saved the strain on their machines.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member said that it was a new tax on industry, 403 and I am pointing out that, whether this £4,000,000 remains in the fund or is taken out of it, it makes no difference to the tax on the industry. When the right hon. Gentleman suggests, as he did in his ingenious manner, that the Treasury had been deliberately starving the grants from the Road Fund for the construction and improvement of roads in order that a surplus might be accumulated which the Treasury could take, he is painting a fancy picture. I will tell him what is the truth about it. The roads have been starved, if you like to use that phrase—I say that the programme of improvement has been cut down—because of the crisis brought about by the extravagance of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues when they were in office. If it were possible to-day to stop that curtailment and on the contrary, to reverse the motion and to begin a new programme of road construction and improvement on a bigger scale than any programme in any five years up to the present, that would be due to the policy of the Government which has helped to make the motor industry flourish and provide a Fund which would enable us to carry out that programme.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Invitations have been sent by my hon. Friend the Minister of Transport to local authorities to submit to him a programme of road construction to cover a period of five years. It is that programme to which I referred.
§ Mr. LAWSON
What grounds has the right hon. Gentleman for describing this as bigger than any other programme put in operation previously?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I only claim it because that is our intention. It is true that the programme has not yet been disclosed and that we have not yet had all the proposals, but we do insist that the programme will be bigger than ever before.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but he made a statement which taken by the Press may have led the public to understand that the Government actually had a programme which was practically ready on a bigger scale than had been prepared 404 previously. I wanted to know just what it is, and apparently it is not in existence.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I am much obliged. I certainly do not wish to mislead anybody. I do not think anybody can be under any misapprehension because the circumstances have been already stated over and over again, both in the House and outside, and I thought everyone was aware of what was going on—that we had invited local authorities to submit local programmes. Some have come in and some are not yet complete, but we hope to be in a position before very long to examine them as a whole, so that we may have before us a five years' programme.
Does the utilisation of this balance of between £4,000,000 and £5,000,000 for the purpose of relieving the small income taxpayer, who is very often the small motorist too, mean that we are thereby crippling the road programme? I say emphatically no. I have pointed out already that we are about to embark, when we have these proposals before us, on a new programme; but after you have got your programme it does not mean that the money is instantly spent. There is a considerable amount of preparation which has to be done before you can actually spend the money. The commitment is the important thing, and it is only after the commitment is made that it begins to mature, and as it matures the money will be coming into the Road Fund.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
No. If local authorities have undertaken a project for which they have been promised a contribution from the Exchequer it is not possible for another Government to come along and say: "We propose to take the money for another purpose." That is a commitment which must be fulfilled, and no Government would dishonour a commitment of that kind entered into by its predecessor. I do not think anybody need be afraid of anything of that kind. What I say is that at the rate at which the Fund is receiving income from the licence duties we anticipate that there will be ample provision to meet the new commitments as they mature, but I will remind the House once again of the statement 405 I made when I announced that this money was going to be taken, that if more money were required for the roads than the Road Fund was able to supply, I considered that in view of my action in appropriating for the purpose of relief of taxation this temporary surplus lying there at present unused, the Minister of Transport would have a perfect right to represent to me that further provision should be made in order that these schemes should not suffer.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
Is that an undertaking to the House—that if the Fund is short for necessary schemes, the Government will make it up from other sources?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I prefer to leave it just as I put it. I cannot make a statement of this kind in this House without being committed by whatever the implications of that statement are. I do not want to amplify what I have said, because one does not know now what the conditions may be, but I think the purport is fairly clear. I have shown, I hope, in the first place that there has been no contractual pledge between the taxpayer and the Government and any accusation that this is a repudiation of an undertaking entered into is fantastic and without foundation. In the second place, I hope I have equally convinced the House that there is no foundation whatever in the allegation that by taking this balance for the purpose to which I have allotted it I am in any way jeopardising the proper development of our road system in the immediate future.
§ 5.7 p.m.
§ Mr. LAWSON
I do not want to deal with questions of pledges, which my hon. Friends have raised very effectively, but I must say that there is one thing about which I am very much concerned and almost alarmed. It is an omission from the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It seemed to me that he neither did meet, nor attempted to meet, the representations of Members of the House, not only on this side but on his own side, to the effect that the taking of this money was an indication that there was not very much hope of dealing with unemployment on a large scale of public works in the future. I did think that the right hon. Gentleman would in some measure try to meet that argument. 406 It is true that he has said that he gives a pledge that if the Minister of Transport says that in the future he wants money for purposes of the roads his application will receive serious and sympathetic consideration. But everyone who knows anything about the work of the House and of Government Departments knows very well that the Chancellor of the Exchequer cuts exactly the measure of the cloth that a particular Minister has to use for the making of a suit. The Minister of Transport will find himself practically the victim of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, in taking away this money, the right hon. Gentleman is making it clear that there is going to be no alteration whatever in the policy of the Government in relation to large-scale public works to meet unemployment in this country.
The statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer is all the more remarkable in face of the report, which was issued only yesterday and to which considerable attention has been drawn in the Press, of the Secretary of the International Labour Office on the question of public works. The "Times" gives to that report a whole column in this morning's news. Yesterday, of course, we received some good news of the unemployment figures, but will the House be surprised when I tell them that, although it was explained with great éclat in yesterday morning's papers—and no one was more pleased than myself at the news—that there was actually a reduction of 37,000 in unemployment in the Northern Division, there are still 450,000 people unemployed in that area and 200,000 in the Welsh Division. In three divisions out of the eight there are over a million unemployed, and the Government's policy plainly is that there is no hope whatever of large-scale public works to meet that particular problem. I want to protest against the speech which, with all the respect the House has, and I have myself, for the right hon. Gentleman, manifested a smugness that is criminal in view of the facts as they are. There is growing up in this House, and I have watched it day by day, a spirit of smug satisfaction which to those who know the facts in these particular areas seems not merely criminal but a total ignoring of the manhood and womanhood of this nation.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ Mr. GROVES
I would like to put a few points to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, arising especially from the statement that if there be any new commitments provision might be given to the Ministry of Transport. What concerns me, and I want to support the remarks made by the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. Thorne) is that in 1929 our borough received sanction for three big scheme. I will not weary the House with details, but the three together approximated to £1,110,000. When the so-called crisis of 1931 arrived these schemes were stopped. Because one of the schemes was an approach to the Lea, a certain portion of the road scheme in High Street, Stratford, was inevitable, and it may be said to the credit of the Department of the present Government that they could see it would be foolish to allow things to be delayed any longer. Therefore, we considered a scheme which approximated to £70,000 and constructed a very good bridge there.
I would like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state exactly what will happen to schemes like the one I am talking about, where we previously received Government sanction to proceed, where all the plans have been prepared and approved by the engineering staff of the Ministry of Transport, where we have had Bills through this House and complete and full Parliamentary sanction has been given for the progress of the work, and where the only reason that the work is not being proceeded with is financial. If there was a surplus of £4,470,000 in the coffers of the Ministry of Transport, will the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell me why that precise scheme was not proceeded with? I do not want any bickering about it. I am pleading for my own area from the point of view of expediency, if you will, and not of principle. We are all very concerned if this highway is left uncompleted. If you want to get to Cambridge or Norwich or the eastern counties, you have to pass through this area. This is not a new commitment or a new scheme. May I repeat that it is a big scheme in three separate sections, but we have received full Parliamentary sanction. The plans are all approved by the Minister of Transport. Two-thirds of the scheme have not been started, and we all assume 408 that the reason is financial. If there was money in the Road Fund—
§ Mr. GROVES
Exchequer money. The scheme I am calling attention to is a scheme approved by Parliament. Part of the money came from the urban district council and part from a grant made by the Road Fund. We have been negotiating with the Ministry of Transport for the past two years. It is a vital scheme, because the roads there are a veritable death trap. Although we have constructed a very fine and wide bridge there is still this bottle-neck which increases the danger to life and limb—not in a side road, but on the high road leading from London to the eastern counties. I do not expect the Chancellor to give me a reply at the moment, because the matter will need some inquiry, but I shall keenly appreciate it if he will give consideration to what can be done immediately. I would remind him that it is not a new commitment, but one which was upon the stocks long before the Government came in, and received the sanction of this House. I may explain that we have not proceeded with the further portion of the scheme because of the cost of acquiring property. Where we have had the opportunity to get on with the scheme without acquiring private property, we have had permission from the Ministry of Transport to do so. The scheme cannot stay as it is. The highest officials of the Ministry of Transport have visited our area and agree that things cannot remain as they are. Although I do not wish to use any harsh terms, I say there was no justification for taking this money from the Road Fund at a time when there was this pressing, almost imperative, need to complete a scheme which had been approved by this House.
I have put various questions to the Minister of Transport about the vital necessity of completing the widening of roads at Epping. Epping itself has a nice wide road, but the road from Chingford to Epping transgresses all the rules which have been laid down by the Ministry of Transport and any one who knows it will agree that there are not only bottle-necks, but that it twists and winds and is a death-trap to ordinary people as well as 409 to motorists. Three weeks ago I put a question about the arterial road to Southend. Only a part of that road has a double carriageway. It has been proved that a double carriageway is a contributory factor to safety on a road, and to leave two-thirds of the road without a double carriageway is very wrong at a time when the Chancellor is taking £4,000,000 out of the Road Fund, because, whatever he may say to the House, his action in taking that money will create the impression that things stand very well with the roads and that the money is not required for them. Then there is the lower, or old, road to Southend. I do not suppose the Chancellor goes that way himself, but it is just as well that he should know the state of affairs. On that old road there are places which are veritable death-traps, and the money which has been taken from the Road Fund ought to have been used for the purpose for which it was contributed, and that is to improve such roads. The Chancellor may say what he likes, but he will never convince the millions of motorists that the heavy taxation which they pay was not imposed upon them to raise money for the general maintenance of the roads.
I am pleased to hear of the letter which the local authorities have received asking for a five-year plan. I am not going to be drawn into the controversy as to the present position of the Road Fund being the result of the extravagance in 1931, because that is denied by influential and learned people in this country—the editor of the "Daily Express," and the Foreign Secretary. The Foreign Secretary made it perfectly clear in a speech that in his opinion the crisis of 1931 was not due to the activities of the Labour Government but to world economic causes. I do not want to use the name of a member of the other House, Lord Snowden, in any disrespectful sense, but it is clearly his opinion to-day—certainly it is to-day—that the crisis of 1931 was not due to the work of the Labour Government but arose entirely from world economic causes. If the local authorities respond to the call of the Ministry of Transport with the same vim with which they responded to the call of the Labour Government it looks to me as though the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be more extravagant than were the Labour Government in 1931. 410 But if he is responsible for—I will not say extravagance—for providing money to be spent on making the roads good and safe, I can assure him that he will not get the same adverse reflections from this side of the House as we received from his party when we were in power. I have put before him the question of widening High Street, Stratford, which is a matter of vital importance, and he will earn my gratitude if he will deal with it.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ Mr. PIKE
Hon. Members opposite have spoken of borrowing money which one cannot pay back and have accused the Chancellor of the Exchequer of expropriation of money belonging to the Road Fund. I would remind them that in 1931 Mr. Philip Snowden, as he then was, said:The adoption of borrowing as an expedient to bridge a temporary deficiency in a fund when there is a prospect that it can be repaid is perfectly justified.In my humble opinion the Chancellor of the Exchequer made it perfectly clear in his Budget speech that the taking of this money was perfectly justifiable on more grounds than one, and in view of the remarks of the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) upon unemployment in the North of England, perhaps I may quote the exact words of the Chancellor. Referring to his estimated surplus he said:There is, therefore, no need for the purposes of the Road Fund, of this £4,470,000, but, on the other hand, it has occurred to me that there is a very pressing need for it elsewhere, as an addition to my modest surplus to be used for the relief of taxation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th April, 1935; cols. 1630–31, Vol. 300.]I submit that in so far as the relief of taxation under the present Budget will create employment and a greater demand for labour the action of the Chancellor should appeal to the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street, because if the burden of taxation which existed between 1929 and 1930 had continued he would not have had cause to grumble about 450,000 people being unemployed in the North but have been faced with the spectacle of 2,500,000 unemployed. It is by measures for the relief of taxation, no matter how small or how large they may be, that we can hope to get the greatest number of people back into useful employment. But hon. Members opposite 411 have not gone to the full extent in the criticisms which were open to them. Why did they not say that they were not in favour of the reduction of the entertainments' duty on the cheaper seats? Why did they not say they would prefer that this £4,470,000 had not been made use of for the general benefits which have been bestowed on the poorer Income Tax payers? The hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. Thorne) interrupts me to say that he suggested that money should be raised in some other way. He applauds his friends when they talk of the confiscatory methods of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but is quite ready to confiscate a lot more from the estates of people when they pass from this world to another. He does not mind confiscating the property of dead people. I wonder what he thinks of the confiscation of certain funds by certain trade unions to be used for certain purposes not specifically associated with the direct work of trade unions. We never hear from the opposite side of the House any reference to that form of confiscation. Though as a motorist I might perhaps have a grouse at money being taken from the Road Fund, I am convinced that the use of that money in ways which will create more trade and industry will ultimately do more to increase the possibility of carrying through road schemes for the benefit of motorists than would otherwise have been the case. The Chancellor has given us an assurance that should the Minister of Transport require specific sums which he cannot obtain from the Road Fund such applications will have first claim upon his consideration, and I am satisfied that the Chancellor will honestly fulfil that promise. But there is a limit to be put on the demands of the Minister of Transport. If we are to believe the newspapers, the Ministry of Transport is the acme of schemers, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer were compelled to give a definite pledge he might find himself committed to financing thousands of schemes which were not regarded as necessary even by motorists.
§ I should say, however, that if the Minister of Transport does come to him for financial assistance for some scheme which cannot be put into operation because the finances of the local authorities concerned cannot stand the strain such an application will receive every consideration.
§ Many things to-day are calling the attention of the public to the danger of the roads. Many critics of the present road safety measures of the Minister of Transport know that there are schemes that could be put into operation to make for greater safety than those which have already been applied, but that local and national financial circumstances are holding back such schemes. I hope that, if financial circumstances permit, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not turn a deaf ear to the Minister of Transport if that Minister should come for money in order to promote such schemes.
§ The only other thing I wish to do is to repudiate what the Opposition has termed the utterly dishonest and repeated diversion of funds which were created to be used for the benefit of the persons who paid into them. If the Opposition, when they were in power, had carried through their schemes in the manner in which they are demanding that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer should carry through his financial schemes, possibly we should be on that side instead of on this, but when they attempt unjustifiably to tar the Chancellor of the Exchequer with their own brush we are entitled to point out that, whereas the Chancellor of the Exchequer has opened up the road to prosperity, their financial schemes created the road to poverty, and that even with the taking of the £4,470,000 there is no fear of England going bankrupt so long as the Chancellor of the Exchequer is allowed to retain his present position for a period of years
§ Question put, "That the words 'four million' stand part of the Resolution."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 213; Noes, 57.415
|Division No. 160.]||AYES.||[5.33 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Allen, William (stoke-on-Trent)||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.|
|Albery, Irving James||Assheton, Ralph||Bernays, Robert|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Blindell, James|
|Bossom, A. C.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Potter, John|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Islet)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Rankin, Robert|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Jamieson, Douglas||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Ker, J. Campbell||Rickards, George William|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Christie, James Archibald||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Law, Sir Alfred||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Leckle, J. A.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Liddall, Walter S.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Cooke, Douglas||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Llewellin, Major John J.||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Loder, Captain J. de Vera||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Loftus, Pierce C.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Mabane, William||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Denville, Alfred||McCorquodale, M. S.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Doran, Edward||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Drewe, Cedric||McKie, John Hamilton||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Eales, John Frederick||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Stevenson, James|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Martin, Thomas B.||Storey, Samuel|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Meller, Sir Richard James||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Fermoy, Lord||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Milne, Charles||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morgan, Robert H.||Train, John|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Morrison, William Shepherd||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Munro, Patrick||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Graves, Marjorie||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||North, Edward T.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Nunn, William||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Pearson, William G.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hamilton Sir George (Ilford)||Peat, Charles U.||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Penny, Sir George||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Harbord, Arthur||Percy, Lord Eustace||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Petherick, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lawson, John James|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Leonard, William|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Banfield, John William||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Lunn, William|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro, W.)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Buchanan, George||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||McKeag, William|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Grundy, Thomas W.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Daggar, George||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Mander, Geoffrey le M.|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Harris, Sir Percy||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Edwards, Charles||Holdsworth, Herbert||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||West, F. R.||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Smith, Tom (Normanton)||White, Henry Graham||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Strickland, Captain W. F.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Thorne, William James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)||Mr. Tinker and Mr. Groves.|
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."416
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 206; Noes, 53.417
|Division No. 161.]||AYES.||[5.43 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Penny, Sir George|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Albery, Irving James||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Petherick, M.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Harbord, Arthur||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Hartington, Marquees of||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Potter, John|
|Apsley, Lord||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Assheton, Ralph||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick Wolfe||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John waller||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Rankin, Robert|
|Bernays, Robert||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham.|
|Blindell, James||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Rickards, George William|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Jamieson, Douglas||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Ker, J. Campbell||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Law, Sir Alfred||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Carver, Major William H.||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S. W.)||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Leckle, J. A.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Christie, James Archibald||Llewellin, Major John J.||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Lloyd, Geoffrey||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Loftus, Pierce C.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine, C.)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Mabane, William||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Cook, Thomas A.||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Cooke, Douglas||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||McCorquodale, M. S.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Cranborne, Viscount||McKie, John Hamilton||Stanley Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Stevenson, James|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Storey, Samuel|
|Culverwell, Cyril Tom||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A. (P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Denville, Alfred||Martin, Thomas B.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Doran, Edward||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Meller, Sir Richard James||Train, John|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Milne, Charles||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Eales, John Frederick||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mcore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Morgan, Robert H.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Morrison, William Shephard||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Munro, Patrick||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||North, Edward T.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Nunn, William||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Graham, Sir F. Fergus (C'mb'rl'd, N.)||Pearson, William G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Graves, Marjorie||Peat, Charles U.||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|Adams, D. M. (Popular, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Pickering, Ernest H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Banfield, John William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Batey, Joseph||Grundy, Thomas W.||Samuel, Rt. Hon Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Thorne, William James|
|Buchanan, George||Harris, Sir Percy||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Holdsworth, Herbert||West, F. R.|
|Daggar, George||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||White, Henry Graham|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Edwards, Charles||Leonard, William||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Logan, David Gilbert||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Lunn, William||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Mr. Tinker and Mr. Groves.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||McKeag, William|
Fifth Resolution read a Second time.