HC Deb 03 December 1936 vol 318 cc1479-97

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

5.10 p.m.


I was making the point, when we were interrupted, that we should like the Parliamentary Secretary to say whether the Government have given consideration to the effect of the provisions of this Bill on the Welsh and Durham export coal trade. I find it difficult to believe that they have given consideration to it, because, if they have, the fact that they have brought in the Bill is a complete violation of the assurance which has been given by them to the House on more than one occasion recently, that the position of the distressed areas is the peculiar preoccupation of the Government at the present time. It may be that they have in mind some plan in substitution for the relief which this Bill fails to provide for the export coal trade, and, if that be so, perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman would indicate their nature when he comes to speak. On the other hand, the truth probably is that this Bill has been would indicate their nature when he comes to speak. On the other hand, truth probably is that this Bill has been Departmental Measure, and that no consideration what so ever has been given to the distressed areas aspect of it. That simply italicises the complaint which we have made from time to time, and which has been emphasised in the report of the Commissioner for the distressed areas, that there is no co-ordination of Government activity in this matter at all. Measure after Measure is brought before the House having a direct bearing upon the problem of the distressed areas, and there is no central clearing-house for the consideration of those Measures.

Here we have a House which is almost empty, gravely discussing taking away—or, to speak, perhaps, more correctly, failing to protect—railway rebates of 2½a ton, despite the fact that, as is now admitted everywhere, the very places in Britain where unemployment is continuously on the increase are South Wales and some parts of Durham. I hope we shall have a reply on that matter before the end of the day. It is very reasonable, we contend, that the railways as a whole should carry this burden, although it may, of course, be said by some defenders of the railways that they also have their difficulties, and I admit that they have their difficulties. The railways have been very hard hit in the last few years, in the same way as the coal trade has been, by the rise of substitute forms of transport like heavy road transport, and they would perhaps find difficulty in transferring the additional cost to the freightages of the railway system generally. But in our submission to the House a way ought to be found out of that difficulty other than by burdening a community which is already suffering so desperately under present conditions. A much more scientific and sensible policy on the part of the Government would have been to have found some way out of the difficulty raised by the recent decision other than the way they have chosen, which is, I would emphasise at the cost of being laboured in the matter, adding to the burdens of an area which is already suffering grievously as is the export coal trade of Great Britain.

If we were considering a Bill to deal specifically with the distressed areas, we should have those benches very crowded, because hon. Members will regard the distressed areas problem as one in isolation; they will look upon the problem in a sort of romantic penumbra, as if it is a sort of special issue raising sentimental and human considerations, when as a matter of fact the distressed areas problem is a very prosaic economic problem, which can be solved only by attacking it from a number of different angles at once. Therefore it seems to me that no piece of legislation ought to be brought before the House until it has been reviewed to discover what special bearing it has on that problem. Here we have, as we had in the case of the Welfare Act, the Unemployment Regulations and other Measures of that description, like the Trunk Roads Bill, a Measure which ought to be considered, not only from the point of view of the general principles of the Bill itself, but from the point of view of its bearing upon this particular problem, which is now admitted to be the most obdurate of the problems with which the country is faced.

My hon. Friends and I would be perfectly entitled to hold the House up for many hours in forcing the Government to give some explanation why they have taken the line that they have taken over this problem. It is not enough to say that there have been consultations with other people outside the House. I should like to know whether there has been any consultation with the Commissioner for the Special Areas. What has he said about it? What effect will it have on unemployment in South Wales? In what way is industry going to be protected from the additional burden? It is time we had a Government which would form some sort of unitary conception of policy and not bring isolated Measures before the House without any political strategy at the back of them. We are always having to consider these problems in isolation and not against the background of a general strategy.

There is one other criticism that I should like to make of a more general character. Every time a difficulty arises now where, owing to an expected set of circumstances, a sudden burden is placed upon a fund of any kind the immediate expedient is to raise a loan. We had it over the Irish annuities, the Tithes Bill, and the shipping subsidy, and we now have it over the railway rebates. Every single financial difficulty into which the Government gets is made into an excuse for increasing the demands of the rentier and on the revenues of the country. It is suggested that this is a good expedient and a piece of skilful financial engineering in order to give the railways the amount of money that they are entitled to and to ease the burden of the accumulated deficit on local authorities and on industry, as it will be very onerous if they have to meet the whole of the arrears at once. It is represented to us to be a first-class piece of engineering. How is it accomplished? By adding a fourth burden. Interest will have to be paid for 16 years to the moneylender. I understand that they are going to issue stock to the value of £8,000,000 against a liquid asset of £1,000,000 and against the revenues of the fund from now on, and that £8,500,000 roughly will be spread over 16 years. An hon. Member has put up a special plea for rebates on agricultural produce. That is a typical Tory remedy. He says, "Why not carry the burden of the moneylender on your back for more than 16 years—for 20 or 30?"


From my point of view it would certainly not be a Tory measure to take the rentier's load over a long period of years but merely a businesslike suggestion to deal with the difficulty which we have at present, and which might influence a greater amount of traffic to the railway companies during the period that the money is being paid back.


The hon. Member has admitted what I said more euphemistically. All he has done is to describe it as a business measure. What he suggested was this: Here is a debt of £8,500,000 which has suddenly accumulated. If you did not try to pay it all back in 16 years you would be able to give more immediate relief to certain products at the moment. The answer to that is that you would give a larger relief over a longer period of time and, if you did not have to meet it in that way at the end of 16 years, you could restore the higher rebate, whereas, if you kept it longer than 16 years you would still have to keep the rebate below the maximum.


Does the hon. Member realise that his suggestion now, as against mine, is taking away £100,000 or £200,000, which would be quite useful to the coal industry and, therefore, very desirable in the interests of his constituents?


I understand that the structure of the Bill is that this £8,500,000 should be borrowed by stock issued to that value and that it should be serviced by the £1,000,000 which is there now and by the revenues of the fund. That means that the rebates now given under the proposals of the Government are less than they would be if the money were borrowed over a longer period, and everyone agrees that it is perfectly simple as far as it goes. I and, I believe, many of my hon. Friends are against this attempt to get out of an immediate difficulty by borrowing money for this special purpose, because you call upon these funds to carry a burden that they ought not to be asked to bear. The Government has done this on a lot of Measures in the last few years. We not only now have to give an additional revenue to the railways and tithe to the Church. We also have to give to the moneylender, who has been called in to assist us in getting out of the difficulty. So that actually what you have done by this proposal is to add to your permanent burden by relieving some of your immediate burdens. That is a proposal to which we are in principle opposed. It could have been met in a different way entirely. It is obvious that, if the railways are to get this money which has now accumulated in their favour by a legal decision, it cannot be met by the railway companies or the preferred industries finding the whole of the money at once. That would be the greatest injustice, and they ought not to be called upon to bear it. Some other way ought to be discovered of meeting this debt. The Government meet it at the expense of the coal trade and agriculture and at the expense of calling in the perfectly unnecessary moneylender.

We cannot, as things are, prevent the moneylender from being called in unless you put the whole of it on the next Budget. I would put the whole of it on the next Budget. I see no harm at all in meeting a debt of this kind by one call on the Budget. I am only expressing my own view but I believe it is a rake's progress to do this. You ought to place the whole burden on the revenues of the State when the alternative is to put an increased burden, or fail to give the expected relief to industries which are at the moment being forced out of existence because of competition from other countries. Surely the argument for it is overwhelming. Every bushel of wheat and every ton of raw material that comes into Great Britain is rendered cheaper by the cargoes of coal carried from Durham and South Wales. If the ships that bring in our imports went away from our ports empty, they would all have to carry double freightages. It is as a consequence of the coal that leaves our ports that our imports of all kinds are cheapened, and they are cheapened for the country as a whole. They are not only cheapened for the industries that receive them but for the whole of the consumers of Great Britain. It is, therefore, a reasonable proposition that, if by a fortuitous set of circumstances a debt has accumulated, it ought to be met in such a way that it spreads the burden all over Great Britain and is not carried by a particular part of industry, and that the most distressed. It, therefore, seems to me that, if you are going to deal with the matter in a way that meets all objections, you ought to carry it at the moment on the Budget. If you object to that, why not carry it on the National Debt?

It has been admitted that agriculture and coal are in such a parlous condition that they are deserving of exceptional treatment. It is admitted that they are in an even more parlous condition now than they were at the time they were intended to be relieved. It, therefore, seems to me to be a reasonable proposition and, if that is so, the form of subsidy that they were receiving should be continued and, indeed, we claim should be increased. How can you provide a subsidy in the national interest except by the means by which it is nationally recruited? You force the railways, which are already in difficulties, to provide a subsidy on the export of coal. That is the proposal now before us. You force the local authorities in the distressed areas to provide a subsidy and, because of the decision in the courts you force them to meet a heavier burden. If the principle of your proposal that these industries ought to be helped in this way is to be retained, then, as it is a national concern that they should be helped, the burden should be spread in a national manner.

I suggest in all seriousness to the right hon. Gentleman—I know that he cannot accept my suggestion without withdrawing the Bill—that if the legislation of the Government had been brought in after a thorough and microscopic review of the consequences of the legislation, this Bill would not have been the Measure we would have had to consider to-day. Where industry is prosperous and where the fund has been recruited from a growing industry there is some case for raising a sum of money and servicing its borrowing out of the revenues of the industry, but where in the opposite way the debt has been accumulated on the part of distressed and burdened industries like railways, coal and agriculture, it is a monstrous distortion of public policy that they should be compelled to borrow money and service that borrowing out of what is to be deflated revenues. I have very great pleasure in associating myself with the Amendment asking for the rejection of the Bill on many of the grounds which I have indicated and on some of the grounds that are not mentioned at all in the Amendment, and I hope that the House will reject the Bill.

5.32 p.m.

Captain RAMSAY

No one who has anything to do with a mining area in this country can fail to find much sympathy with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan). We cannot but feel that the mining industry is not at the moment in a position to be able to bear any additional strain upon its export trade. When, however, the hon. Member embarks upon the subject of finance, I cannot agree with him, and I do not think that it is a truism to say that, if you extend the services of a loan over a period of years, you are necessarily increasing the burden. That depends entirely upon the terms of the extension, and if it were not so, loans would not extend over such a very long term of years. In fact, the shorter the period of the loan usually the higher the interest and it can be worked out at a perfectly reasonable figure.


It is true that at the moment the burden would be lessened, but I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would agree that the total amount of interest that would be paid in the end would be far greater than if a loan was borrowed for a shorter period.

Captain RAMSAY

There might be a small increase. It would depend upon the terms on which the loan was borrowed, but I maintain that over a term of years there would be more funds with which to pay service, and that, therefore, you might be better off by a longterm loan. I do not want to go into that point any further, except to say to my right hon. Friend the Minister that I would like him to make some statement when he replies, as to whether he has considered the results that this Bill is likely to have upon the export trade of coal. An hon. Member on the opposite side of the House made a statement in which he pointed out the millions with which other countries subsidised their foreign export trade of coal, and although he did not bring out the fact that we also had to compete with countries like Germany, which pay very low wages, he made a very great point of the fact that we had very severe competition in the shape of subsidies with which to deal. Will my right hon. Friend say whether he has considered the effect on the export coal trade of the loss of the £2,000,000 a year, and, if so, whether he proposes to take any steps to counteract that effect?

On the subject of the distribution of the burden of this Bill, as far as the agricultural industry is concerned, I believe that I am right in saying that the decision to apportion the burden almost entirely on the arable portion of the industry was only recommended by a fairly narrow majority, and also that the Scottish farmers were not agreeable to this decision. The effect of it will be to put the entire burden as far as agriculture is concerned on to the arable section of the industry. Although I and many hon. Gentlemen who are associated with me intend to do nothing more at this stage, unless the Minister can make some further statement on this subject, we reserve the right to put down an Amendment in Committee on the subject of potatoes. This great industry, which has been put upon its feet in a most remarkable way during the last few years, will be considerably affected by the Bill, and it is an industry in which Scotland is particularly interested. In Scotland the advantages gained by the wheat subsidy and other measures have not been at all commensurate with those gained in England, and Scotland, to the best of my belief, did not through its Farmers' Union consent to the terms of the distribution of the burden. We therefore would ask the right hon. Gentleman to let us know whether, in fact, any consideration can be given to this section of the industry, and, if not, we must reserve the right to put down Amendments in Committee on the subject.

5.37 p.m.


Evidently this Bill is not exciting the general interest in the House which might have been expected, for it covers a very large question of principle of railway freights, but there are evidently more exciting happenings in Parliament at the moment and therefore we do not seem to have any complaint. I think it wise to rise now and try to get some assurance from the Minister of Transport. There have been occasions when the Minister, before he accepted the Cabinet responsibility which now attaches to him, might well have replied to us upon a Debate like this, "Of course, there are other issues arising in connection with this Bill which are really covered by other departmental Ministers," but in this case the matter has been discussed pretty well ever since the litigation, and it has been known to the public. Therefore if he is not willing to accept the spirit of the reasoned Amendment which we have put down, he ought to give certain assurances if we are willing not to divide against the Second Reading of the Bill. If he is not prepared to give any assurances, then he must not complain if we divide the House on the reasoned Amendment to the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill.

I am not going to attempt for a moment to deal with the very intricate legal position arising from the decision of the Court of Appeal on the Act of 1929. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt), I think, said all that needs to be said about it, but I want to emphasise what has been said by my hon. Friend on these benches as to the intention of Parliament in 1929 with regard to the relief of certain industries by means of these railway freight rebates. While we recognise quite clearly that, in view of the bigger situation created by the judgment of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke to-day, something has to be done in order to meet the position of the fund, we have not had the slightest assurance from the Minister that the other considerations are to be met. His reference to the local authorities to-day, as I understood it, was that the Bill which is now before the House had been agreed upon with the representatives of local authorities. Is that so? I want to be quite clear about it.


I did not state that the Bill had been agreed upon by the local authorities, who, of course, have nothing to do with the Bill. I said that there had been agreement between the railway companies and local authorities as to what sums should be payable by the railway companies by way of rates rather than carry the litigation further. The local authorities do not appear anywhere in this Bill, which arises out of the judgment in the House of Lords.


They do not appear in the Bill. I have no doubt that with regard to the situation arising out of the judgment they would be consulted. As my hon. and learned friend the Member for North Hammersmith put it, they had in their wisdom to try to avoid the three companies being put into the same position of difficulty, and no doubt there had to be some arrangement made. Now that I understand the position of the Minister on that matter, am I right in saying that in the understanding which was come to with the local authorities there was the most distinct reservation that they must be free to move for the amelioration of the rating revenue position of local authorities which arises out of this judgment? Is not that right?


This Bill is the outcome of the reactions of the judgment upon the fund. It does not purport in any way to deal with the general rating of the country. As regards the position of local authorities arising out of the difficulty generally, they themselves will be in negotiation with the railway companies, to try and spread the burden or something of that kind if they desire. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that it would not be practicable to revise the whole rating law of the country under this Bill, even if that were desirable. I understand that the local authorities are in negotiation with the railway companies on these other aspects.


The Minister has made a very correct ministerial statement, but he has also carefully avoided the point I tried to get from him. What is the intention of the Government in this matter in regard to the relief of the position now created with the local authorities? When the Minister speaks about local authorities now being able to negotiate in order to ameliorate their position under the railway companies, it does not meet the situation. Will the Minister answer the points which I am putting to him? First of all, in the case of local authorities, can he assure us that it is the intention of the Government as a result of this judgment to restore the position of the local authorities in principle to the original situation of the 1929 Act, so that ultimately the revenue which they have lost will be restored in the future? That would be one reason why we should not divide against the Bill.


My hon. and gallant Friend will give an answer, unless the right hon. Gentleman wants the answer now.


I do not mind. In the second place I want to press strongly the point made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Hammersmith with regard to the statement of the Minister, that in fact the Bill brings relief to industry. It does not require a very long examination of the particulars of the Eleventh Schedule of the Local Government Act, 1929, and of the way in which the Bill deals with that Schedule, to show that there are wide ranges of industry, particularly in the agriculture and the by-products connected with it, which will be very severely hit by the failure of the Bill to keep in operation the relief which they at present enjoy. On that point, the Minister, in explaining the Bill, said that, of course, the Bill was in a large degree an agreed Measure because there had been consultation with that industry. He ought to tell us with whom consultation took place. I have never heard anything about consultation, and very often on such questions I am consulted. There is a very large freightage interest with which I am concerned in connection with the organisation which I represent, and we have had no consultation.

This question reacts not merely upon a section of producers but upon consumers. Take the provisions dealing with agricultural products, manure, grain, oil cake, meal, carrots, potatoes, etc. From the list we see how very important it is to many interests, one of which I am watching, that they should not lose their present concession. Very often in the actual working out of the freight rebate it may mean under the old arrangement from 15 to 17 per cent. on what would be the ordinary rate, and it is obvious that the removal of that rebate is going to make a substantial difference in the price of a particular commodity. I should like to know who was consulted on that matter, and on what basis.

I should like also to support very strongly the case put very ably by the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) in regard to the special position of export coal. After reading the Debate on this Bill in another place I do not think that the answer made on behalf of the Government to the case put by Lord Gainford on the position of export coal was adequate. Having regard to the extent to which that case has been emphasised by representatives in this House of the industrial side, the miners' side, it is due from the Minister to say exactly what the Government will propose, if this more or less technical Bill is allowed to go through, in order to restore to that industry and to other industries the same rate of relief as they have been receiving in the past in regard to their freight rebate.

In regard to the general financial position of the companies it has been made clear that we do not wish to interfere with the legal rights of the railway companies to obtain their judgment. The railway companies in the past have been granting their freight rebates to various interests, including iron and steel, coal and agriculture, out of this special fund which was created. Somebody is going to get an advantage out of the judgment of the court, and it seems to me that it will be the railway companies. At any rate, they will not be the losers. They will be receiving a revenue roughly equal, and possibly increasing, to the amount that would formerly have had to be paid into the fund. There is sufficient ground for us to ask that in future out of their increased revenue they should continue, in whole or in part, the freight rebates at present enjoyed by the different sections of industry to which I have referred.

All will depend very largely upon the answer which the Minister is prepared to make as to what the Government propose to do in order to restore, in effect, in these industries what it was obviously the will of Parliament in 1929 should take place, and that is, that those industries should be relieved, and that the local authorities if they are to lose in any sense revenue with regard to the rating of hereditaments should, nevertheless, be reimbursed. If the Government can give us assurances on this point I will consult with my hon. Friends with a view to our not dividing against the Second Reading of the Bill.

5.52 p.m.


The hon. and learned Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt) appeared really to welcome the Bill. He said that, on the whole, the lines on which we propose to deal with the situation met with his approval and that he considered, as far as I could gather, that the law as regards rating should be altered. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) appears to agree with him. I think, however, that they will agree with me that we cannot possibly deal with a subject of such magnitude and complexity in a Bill of this kind, which has to be put through Parliament as a matter of some urgency. The hon. and learned Member also spoke of an undeserved gift to the railway companies. He and other speakers have a very wrong idea of what this Bill actually does. The railway companies always said that they were overpaying. They always said that these rates would be brought down, but the Railway Rates Tribunal had to go on the only figures available.

I should like to put this point as strongly as I can, that in the two five- year periods, if correct assessments had been taken and there had been no delay owing to litigation, the railway companies Would have paid only the reduced sum which we are now saying will have to be paid for the future, that is, that the sum of 8d. is to become 5½. That has arisen because the railway companies in the past have been paying on fictitious figures. Therefore, if anyone has received an undeserved gift, surely it is the owners of the goods which were conveyed during that period by the railways. It is, however, impossible to get back that money now.

It would be well if I briefly summarised what is in the Bill, because there seems to be some difference of opinion as to its scope. The object is twofold. First, to enable the Fund to repay to the railways what they have paid out in error, £9,750,000; and secondly, to adjust the list of commodities which get the advantage of the rebate in accordance with the reduced income of the fund, the reduced income being £2,300,000 as against £4,000,000 before. It is proposed under the Bill to bring that about, first, by the proceeds of the issue of stock by the Railway Clearing House, who are the statutory trustees of the fund, which shall be repaid over a period of 16 years. It is not the Government who owe this money, but the fund. Therefore, when the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) says that he would pay it from the Budget, he would be paying from the Budget not something which the Government owe but something which is owing by a fund which was brought about by Act of Parliament. We propose to deal with the reduced income by concentrating the reduced rebate on two commodities, 80 per cent on export coal, which will get a rebate of 5½d. instead of 8d., and 20 per cent., the remainder, on milk and livestock, which will get a rebate of about 13 per cent in carriage charges as against 15 per cent under the old scheme.

The question of agriculture was raised by the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. L. Smith) and the hon. and gallant Member for South Midlothian (Captain Ramsay). They seemed to thing that other commodities besides milk and livestock should have been included in the commodities covered by the Bill. We consulted the Minister of Agriculture who, in turn, consulted the National Farmers' Union, who recommended what we are doing. One hon. Member said that they only did so by a small majority. We realise in this House that we must accept the views of the majority, and I do not see what we could have done in the circumstances except to take the best advice we could of those who represent the industry. That applies to fertilisers, feeding stuffs and potatoes. Reference has also been made to the period of the loan. It has been suggested that the period should be 30 years rather than 16 years. We are advised by the Treasury that 16 years is the period by which we shall get the best conditions for raising such a loan. The hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) seems to take the view that railway rates are abolished by the decision of the House of Lords. They are not abolished, but reduced. There will be some £2,300,000 coming into the fund as against £4,000,000.

What I should like to impress on the House, and it also applies to something that was said in the opening speech for the Opposition, is that the Bill is not taking away something. What it is doing is to give to the export coal industry a rebate of 5½d. where they now get 8d. If this Bill were not passed they would get nothing at all. The fund would be completely bankrupt.


The hon. and gallant Member is misrepresenting our view. That is not how we described it. We said that the Bill fails to maintain the rebate of 10½d. a ton.

Captain HUDSON

We have to accept the position as it is and not as we should like it to be. The hon. Member talked about allowing the law courts to legislate. The rebates are not decided by this House or by the Ministry of Transport but by the Railway Rates Tribunal, according to the amount available, and what we are doing is to deal with the position as it is. The hon. Member asked whether the Government have considered what will be the effect of passing this Bill. Of course, they have. It is a Government Bill. I did not gather from him, or from any other hon. Member for Ebbw Vale that the Government, even if they wished, could not deal with the coal industry by means of a subsidy under this Bill, which simply carries on the fund in the circumstances as they are after the judgment of another place. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough asked whom we did consult. We consulted the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Mines, who in their turn consulted the industries concerned. That was the only way in which we as a Government Department could act. The right hon. Gentleman also asked what is going to be the position of local authorities. In any event it is too early to raise that question as reliable figures of the losses of local authorities are not available and will not be available for some time. They are now being ascertained and it will be for the Government Department concerned to examine them and if necessary bring forward their suggestions. But, in any case, and I desire to emphasise this, it could not possibly be dealt with under a Bill of this kind.

In conclusion I should like to mention the reasons for the urgency of the Bill. If we leave things as they are the indebtedness increases at the rate of £50,000 per week. Also the Railway Rates Tribunal must meet very shortly if they are going to fix the new rates before the 1st January, and, finally, we wish if possible to get an issue of the loan made not too close to the Christmas holidays. These are the reasons why we have perhaps rather rushed hon. Members opposite in taking the Second Reading of a Bill which was only printed yesterday morning, and I appreciate the fact that they have not made any complaint. They realise that there is a certain amount of urgency. We hope that the Bill will settle a difficult problem. It is not pleasant for us on this side of the House, any more than for hon. Members opposite, to envisage the coal trade having to get a rebate of 5½d. instead of 8d., but the situation having arisen the Government had to deal with it. We feel that the Bill is the best way in which it can be done.


The Parliamentary Secretary has said that the Treasury advised that 16 years would give better terms in regard to the loan, but he made no suggestion as to lengthening the period which might bring more money into the fund. May I ask him if he can open up negotiations with the Railway Rates Tribunal to find out whether a lengthening of the period would be acceptable to them and in that way ease the situation?


The coal trade will be losing in the circumstances created by the Bill a rebate of 2½d per ton, and I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether the Government have taken that into account? It is not provided for in the Bill. Have they in contemplation some other proposal to deal with the situation

Captain HUDSON

That is a question for the Mines Department. I have no

possible means of knowing. No doubt they know what is happening under the Bill and that 2½d. is being lost to the export coal industry. They will no doubt keep that situation seriously before them when they are dealing with the Special Areas. As regards the loan, we have been in negotiation with the railway companies and as a result these proposals are made in the Bill. The question of a longer period was considered by the railway companies, the Treasury and ourselves, and it was decided that a 16-year period was preferable.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 208; Noes, 97.

Division No. 33.] AYES. [6.8 p.m
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Denville, Alfred Leech, Dr. J. W.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. Leigh, Sir J.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Doland, G. F. Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Albery, Sir Irving Donner, P. W. Levy, T.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Liddall, W. S.
Apsley, Lord Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Lloyd, G. W.
Assheton, R. Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Loftus, P. C.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Lovat-Fraser, J. A.
Atholl, Duchess of Ellis, Sir G. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Elliston, G. S. MacDonald Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.)
Baxter, A. Beverley Elmley, Viscount Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Emrys-Evans, P. V. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Entwistle, C. F. McKie, J. H.
Belt, Sir A. L. Erskine Hill, A. G. Maclay, Hon. J. P.
Bennett, Capt. Sir E. N. Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.) Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.
Birchall, Sir J. D. Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Manningham-Buller, Sir M.
Blair, Sir R. Everard, W. L. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Boulton, W. W. Foot, D. M. Markham, S. F.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Ganzonl, Sir J. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.
Boyce, H. Leslie George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Maxwell, S. A.
Brass, Sir W. George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Mellor, Sir. J. S. P. (Tamworth)
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Gluckstein, L. H. Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Gower, Sir R. V. Mills, Major J, D. (New Forest)
Bull, B. B. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R.
Burton, Col. H. W. Granville, E. L. Morgan, R. H.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cir'nc'st'r)
Cartland, J. R. H. Gridley, Sir A. B. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
Cary, R. A. Griffith. F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Munro, P.
Castlereagh, Viscount Grimston, R. V. Neven-Spence, Ma). B. H. H.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Gritten, W. G. Howard Nicolson, Hon. H. G
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll, N. W.) O'Connor, Sir Terence J.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Guy, J. C. M. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Br.W.) Harris, Sir P. A. Palmer, G. E. H.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle) Patrick, C. M.
Channon, H. Hallgers, Captain F. F. A. Peat, C. U.
Chapman, A. (Ruthergien) Honeage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Penny, Sir G.
Chorlton. A. E. L. Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey) Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.
Clarke, F. E. Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Perkins, W. R. D.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Petherick, M.
Colman, N. C. D. Hopkinson, A Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Porritt, R. W.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S. Procter, Major H. A.
Craddock, Sir R. H. Howitt, Dr. A. B. Radford, E. A.
Crooke, J. S. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Ramsay, Captain A. H. M
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Hudson, R. S. (Southport) Ramsbotham, H.
Cross, R. H. Hunter, T. Ramsden, Sir E.
Crossley, A. C. Hurd, Sir P. A. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Crowder, J. F. E. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Cruddas, Col. B. Keeling, E. H. Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Culverwell, C. T. Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Dawson, Sir P. Latham, Sir P. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Denman Ho R. D. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Rowlands, G.
Russell, A. West (Tynemouth) Spender-Clay Lt.-Cl. Rt. Hn. H. H. Ward, Irene (Wallsend)
Salmon, Sir I. Spens, W. P. Warrender, Sir V.
Salt, E. W. Storey, S. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham) Strickland, Captain W. F. Wedderburn, H.J. S.
Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h) Wells, S. R.
Sandeman, Sir N. S Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) White, H. Graham
Scott, Lord William Sutcliffe, H. Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Seely, Sir H. M. Tasker, Sir R. I. Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Selley, H. R. Tate, Mavis C. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne) Windsor-Clive, Lleut.-Colonel G.
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.) Withers, Sir J. J.
Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's) Thomson, Sir J. D. W. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Smith, L. W. (Hallam) Titchfield, Marquess of Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.
Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen) Touche, G. C.
Smithers, Sir W. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Turton, R. H. Dr. Morris-Jones and Lieut.-Colonel
Southby, Comdr. A. R. J. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan Liewellin,
Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Adams, D. (Consett) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Hardie, G. D. Potts, J.
Adamson, W. M. Hayday, A. Price, M. P.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. Y. (H'lsbr.) Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Pritt, D. N.
Ammon, C. G. Hopkin, D. Quibell, D. J. K.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Riley, B.
Banfleld, J. W. John, W. Ritson, J.
Barr, J. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Batey, J. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Rowson, G.
Bellenger, F. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Salter, Dr. A.
Benson, G. Kelly, W. T. Sanders, W. S.
Bevan, A. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Sexton, T. M.
Broad, F. A. Kirby, B. V Silkin, L.
Brooke, W. Kirkwood, D. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Lawson, J. J. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees-(K'iy)
Burke, W. A. Leonard, W. Sorensen, R. W.
Chater, D. Leslie, J. R. Stewart, W. J. (Wght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Cluse, W. S. Logan, D. G. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Cove, W. G. Lunn, W. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dagger, G. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Thorne, W.
Dalton, H. McEntee, V. La T. Thurtie, E.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) McGhee, H. G. Tinker, J. J.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Maclean, N. Viant, S. P.
Ede, J. C. Mainwaring, W. H. Walker, J.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Mander, G. le M. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Marshall, F. Westwood, J.
Gardner, B. W. Maxton, J. Wilkinson, Ellen
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Messer, F. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Montague, F. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Noel-Baker, P. J. Young Sir R. (Newton)
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Oliver, G. H.
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Paling, W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Groves and Mr. Whiteley.

Bill read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—[Sir G. Penny.]