HC Deb 24 July 1936 vol 315 cc969-99

Order for Third Reading read.

11.12 a.m.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

In view of the very long discussions which have taken place during the other stages of this Measure, I think the House will not expect me to speak at any length upon it to-day. I, therefore, formally move the Third Reading.

11.13 a.m.


I had, of course, expected that the Parliamentary Secretary would not say a great deal in moving the Third Reading, in view of the discussions which we have already had upon this important matter, but his speech has been very much shorter than we anticipated. I am not sure that the Government are feeling quite happy about this matter. In view of the justification they have put forward for the continuance of the subsidy, we feel that, their arguments have not been quite as sound as one would have lilted.

First, they say that the subsidy is essential to save the cattle industry of this country. I can imagine the National Farmers' Union coming down to meet the Minister of Agriculture and touching him upon a very soft spot in order to persuade him that the industry is in such a precarious position that it can only be saved by the subsidy. The Minister further justifies the subsidy by saying that it has operated so smoothly that there is no need for any modification, particularly at this stage. The pride of the Minister's justification lies in his statement that the continued assistance which has been given to the cattle industry has been the means of practically stabilising the price of beef. I can quite see that, from his point of view, the Minister, when he quotes figures, as he did in previous Debates, showing that the pre-subsidy price was 38s. 1d. and in the present month is 38s. 1½d., will naturally take a considerable amount of pride in that performance. I want to ask him whether he has made inquiries to determine how many people are enjoying the pleasure of beef at their meals, in consequence of this subsidy to the cattie industry, if beef is a necessity.

For three days we have been discussing the Regulations of the Unemployment Assistance Board, and not long ago we discussed malnutrition. If beef is a good thing, the people who were referred to in those Debates, and particularly the workers in the heavy industries, are entitled to their share of it; but I imagine that none of them have been able to get an extra pound of beef in consequence of the subsidy, or as a result of what the Minister calls the stabilised price which, according to his figures, dropped a halfpenny as a result of the measures which he has brought into operation. Then he goes on to point out that this is a measure to assist the consuming interests of this country, and there lies the test. You can only prove that a measure of this kind assists the consuming interests of this country if you can show to the House and the country that more of our working-class people are able, in consequence of it, to provide themselves with beef. I say that the purchasing power of the workers of this country is not such as to enable them to buy one extra ounce of beef in consequence of this subsidy.

There is a further argument, which has not been developed in this House. I should like the Minister to tell us how this subsidy is going to be responsible for throwing no burden on international trade and preventing a falling off of our overseas trade. No argument has been put forward to show that it is possible, by a subsidy to any kind of industry, to maintain world prices at such a level that the people of this country can still obtain cheap food. We on this side object strongly to the idea of granting subsidies as a privilege to a particular section of society in this country. The value of subsidies may be great in certain respects, but if that value does not pass to the people of the country who are in real need, there can be no argument for them. The Minister of Health tried to point out that these subsidies were always for the benefit of the users. He argued that the housing subsidy benefited all those who used the houses. But I can remember discussions in this House in which it has been pointed out and proved that in the main the subsidies went to the builders and to those responsible for the materials used in the building of the houses. We found also that the coal subsidy which was granted in 1925 never benefited the workers in that industry; it only delayed the critical position of the industry for about a year, and in 1926 we were faced with worse difficulties than before.

If that is going to be the effect of a subsidy of this kind, we are strongly opposed to the idea that it should be granted without proper control, without proper marketing, without seeing that this money which is taken from the taxpayers of the country is used, not for the benefit of a particular section of the community, but in order to develop and organise and plan the material resources of this country. Unless that is done, we regard the subsidy as being of no great value. The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of one of our discussions, became very heated by the fact that someone on this side charged him with assisting his own friends, the farmers of this country, and in a heated moment he said, "If you on that side were here, you would use your power to help your miner friends."


I did not say anything of the kind.


I am very sorry if I am making a misstatement. I am not taking this from the record, but I remember that as a statement which the right hon. Gentleman made, jumping up in order to point out that we would probably use our power to assist our miner friends, just as he was using the power—


It is very unfair of the hon. Member to make a statement which he admits is not backed by any evidence, merely from recollection which he has of the Debate. I think he will find that he will not be able to substantiate it on examination of the records.


I have a distinct recollection of it.


I do not wish to delay the Debate, but I do not think the hon. Gentleman ought to make statements of that kind without evidence.


Of course, if the right hon. Gentleman says he made no such statement, I am not going to pursue it any further, but that is very clearly in my mind. If I have misjudged the right hon. Gentleman, I will not pursue the matter any further. Still, the impression created from the actual records of the Debate does go to create in my mind the definite impression that this is sheer class legislation, just as we have had in recent days class legislation to make it very difficult for one class to live more comfortably and enjoy the highest state of development. Here is a subsidy, given to a particular section of the community in this country, which to my mind is sheer class legislation and is not in the interests of the country. We on this side have a definite policy. If public money is to be used to build up and restore any industry in the country—a thing in which we definitely believe—we say that that money ought not to be given in the form of a free present to any section of society, but ought to be controlled and used in the general interests of the country, in order to see that these industries are thoroughly established to the benefit, not only of a particular section, but of every section of the community, and particularly the consuming interests. I hope that the Minister himself and the Department, in all the subsidies with which they have to deal in connection with this big subject of agriculture, will keep these points in mind, and will have a little more consideration for the consuming interests, because we feel that the consuming interests have been very much neglected. It is from that point of view that we oppose the Third Reading of the Bill.

11.25 a.m.


The hon. Member has described this as sheer class legislation, and he objects to a privilege being granted to one set of men. At the beginning of his speech he said that the subsidy was not benefiting the consumer very much. He cannot have it both ways. If he wants us to get the cost of our production, the prices of beef must go up unless we have a subsidy. If he wants to have cheap beef for his miners, he must accept this subsidy that we are proposing. The reason is that we must pay the wages of those who work in the livestock industry and the cost of producing beef. At the moment my farm labourers are paying a terribly high price for coal to help the miners whom the hon. Member represents. I think it monstrous that the party opposite should object to this subsidy when we are paying a very high price for coal in order to help the miners. We are ready to pay their high price as long as we are also getting the cost of production of our product. I hope the hon. Member will reconsider some of the remarks that he has made.

The only point that I want to raise, the only point in the Bill, is the question of the date, 31st July. We have pressed the Minister to give us some indication as to when he really expects the long-term policy to come in. I regret that hitherto we have had no clear indication of what is in his mind. The nearest we got was last Friday, when the Parliamentary Secretary said he could not foresee the exact date on which it would be possible to bring the legislation into operation, but it would be long before the end of July, 1937. At an earlier stage I had on the Order Paper an Amendment to make that date 31st December next, but, in view of the fact that my hon. Friend could not foresee the date, I felt that, after 34 hours in this Chamber, he would not have any clearer foresight, so I took the Amendment off the Paper.

It is of great importance that we should have some clear knowledge of when this temporary scheme is to come to an end. At the moment the grazier is doing better than those who have fed their cattle inside have done during the winter. If this Bill goes through without any further extension of the date, it will apparently be again helping the grazier, because the beginning of the long-term subsidy will be taking place at a time when the grazier is putting his beef on the market and it will be no help to the man who is fattening his beef inside. Those men have to plan ahead. There is no inducement to plan ahead for this next winter under the present subsidy scheme. I regretted very much that the Parliamentary Secretary said on Friday: If the emergency conditions become permanent, and if then the measures taken by the Government in the emergency prove to be so well-founded as to form a proper basis for a permanent policy, it seems to me that it is not a matter for criticism but for congratulation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th July, 1936; col. 2418, Vol. 314.] I hope my hon. Friend was merely trying to answer a mistaken argument from the other side in using those words, because to those in the livestock industry there is no question at all that the present subsidy scheme is most unsatisfactory and does not help quality production at all. I hope the Minister will give us some clear indication of the date that we may count upon for the beginning of the long-term policy, so that we can plan and ensure quality production in the future.

11.30 a.m.


I was rather disappointed to find that the Minister was not prepared to take very much notice of the figures as to the livestock industry that were presented to him by Members from the North of England and Scotland. How can the farmer estimate the advantages of what the Government are going to do unless he compares them with the figures which show the cost of producing fat cattle? In my county there have been for a series of years experiments to investigate what the cost of the production of a fat animal is. The cattle are bought in the ordinary market, the lay-out of the experiment and the method of feeding and costings are above suspicion, and the results are simply appalling. During the season of 1934–5 the loss on each animal was £6 13s. 11d. and, when the subsidy was taken into consideration, the loss was reduced to £4. If the subsidy were raised to 6s. 3d. the loss would still be £3 6s. 9d. The figures for the last winter are £4 16s. 1d. loss, reduced by the subsidy to £2 1s. 9d. If the subsidy were raised to 6s. 3d. the loss would still be £1 8s. 2d. That shows the great necessity for some assistance to the industry of fattening cattle. If an attempt were made to encourage high quality production and the subsidy for such cattle raised to 8s., the loss in the two winters would be £2 7s. 11d. and 9s. 1d.

Then there is this point which must be very carefully taken into consideration. Owing to the tremendous increase in milk production, the quality of the home-bred store has very greatly deteriorated, and the number of store animals available which might eventually qualify for a quality subsidy is comparatively small. If the subsidy for the highest class cattle was raised to 8s., there would be far greater competition for high class stores and a rise in price. If the matter is not very carefully considered, the great advantage of the additional subsidy for quality might very easily pass entirely to the store cattle breeder and a great deal of it out of the country into Ireland.

When a bullock is fattened under such very unfavourable conditions, it has a deplorable effect on the farmer's outlook for his cultivation. A bullock, if he is provided with straw, which the farmer could sell for £1, will produce sufficient manure for an acre of land and, if we take the experience of a sugar-beet grower last year, and he put that manure on an acre of land, he started with the handicap of a debt of £4 from the loss on fattening the bullock. Allowing for the unexhausted value of his cultivation and the unexhausted value of his manure and the value of the sugar beet tops, it must have cost him at least £17 to produce an acre of sugar beet, and as eight tons of beet—the average yield per acre—only produced, say, £15 or £16, that is enough to show that with the loss of £4 on the bullock, and the value of the sugar beet not coming up to the expenses of growing it, the position of a farmer is a very serious one. It is obvious that even the subsidy which the right hon. Gentleman proposes will not be sufficient to do more than possibly minimise the loss.

There is another aspect which is really worth considering. Professor Stapleton, who, I suppose, is the greatest authority on grass land in the country, gave an address to Members here a week or two ago in which he said there were 11,000,000 acres in England and Wales of grassland which is either poor, bad, or very bad. That is a deplorable state of affairs, but the reason for it is simply that the cattle industry does not pay, and the cure for it is to make the cattle industry pay. An unremunerative cattle industry means neglected grassland, just as unremunerative cereals mean foul and impoverished arable land. At a time like this, when we are threatened with war and rumours of war, it would be an excellent thing if the right hon. Gentleman would get into touch with his right hon. Friend the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence and evolve some scheme by which this vast area of land which is not fully productive shall be put to its proper use and enable us to build up a vast store of home-produced food which will be available in time of war.

When we speak of the difficulties of feeding our population in war time we nearly always think of wheat, but it should be remembered that we get wheat from the United States and Canada, a comparatively short haul, and that wheat can be transported to this country in any ship which will not leak, whereas beef has to be brought from the Argentine in highly specialised ships, with expensive refrigerating machinery. I implore the right hon. Gentleman to do his best to get into touch with his right hon. Friend and see if he cannot devise a policy which would enable this vast area of unremunerative grassland to be put to its proper use and furnish the nation with a real reservoir of food to be used in time of need.

11.39 a.m.


I was very interested in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Christie), and, speaking as one of the Scottish Members to whom he referred, I am deeply grateful to him for the friendly gesture which he made from the more prosperous fields in Norfolk. I do not propose, if I can possibly help it, to continue in any way the slight breeze which disturbed the otherwise amicable relationship between myself and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture on the last occasion. I intend to reverse that attitude against him, but I would like to point out that there are still one or two points of disagreement apparently between us, and I should like my right hon. Friend, if he can, to say where he stands with regard to them. He said on the last occasion—and I will quote his actual words from the OFFICIAL REPORT— I do most strongly defend the principle that we should work commodity by commodity and not over-organise the industry at the beginning of our policy."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th July, 1936; col. 2498, Vol. 314.] I would only say in reply that it is not really a question of principle. There is no principle in working commodity by commodity, and no principle underlies that method. It is a method of pure expediency. It may be necessary to use that method occasionally in the interests of agriculture or of the country, but nobody can say that any principle underlies it. I suggest to my right hon. Friend that, with regard to the organisation of the industry, at any rate, he is not at the beginning of his policy now, and many of us feel that he might begin to direct a little more attention to this matter. He cannot expect those who represent constituencies in the North to be very pleased with the subsidy method up to date—the method of proceeding commodity by commodity—because in every case, except in this particular one which we are discussing to-day, other Commodities have been neglected, as my hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk said just now. I would point out that one of the reasons why this subsidy cannot now be applied fairly, and why it must inevitably be lopsided is because his funds are already heavily charged for subsidies upon sugar beet and wheat which they can produce and which must enable them to produce beef at a much lower cost of production and get absolutely nothing out of it. My hon. Friend said in his speech that unremunerative cereals produce impoverished cattle and impoverished land. That is absolutely true, and I suggest to my right hon. Friend that he ought to include, if you like, grass in one form or another in his cereal policy, but he could not expect any such subsidy to operate fairly as long as he excluded barley and oats, which can only be grown in the North country, from his cereal policy, and his wheat and sugar beet subsidies. It is not fair. I should like to see a cereal pool.


Does my hon. Friend suggest that barley is only grown in the North?


I do not say that barley is only grown in the North; oats are only grown in the North. I was pointing out to him, as he knows, that oats and barley are the only cereals that can be grown in the North of Scotland.


What about Lincolnshire?


I would like to add this final observation. My right hon. Friend was very indignant indeed—in fact he was almost angry with me—because I said that there was a criticism that his policy had tended to restrict production at a time when there was a good deal of poverty about. I want it to go on record that I did not say that he had restricted production, because with the exception of the milk scheme for Scotland, which at one period definitely did that for which he bears partial responsibility, I did not say, and did not make the charge, that his policy is aimed simply at restriction of production. After all, a subsidy is designed to try to stimulate production. But I do say that that charge which is made to-day, especially by hon. Members opposite in many industrial constituencies, cannot be completely met until you are satisfied that your marketing methods are reasonably efficient.

I wish to emphasise what I have said two or three times in the course of these discussions that, as long as we have 36,000 proprietor butchers in this country, and 16,000 slaughter houses, we cannot say that agricultural marketing is really efficient. The violent fluctuations which still take place in different markets and districts in-this country is not an indication of marketing efficiency. Cleaning out byres does not help you really to solve the problem of marketing. I would say to my right hon. Friend that one of the men who, I think, he would agree, knows more about the marketing of beef than anyone else in the North of Scotland is not a farmer at all, but a banker. It is part of the business of bankers to know the conditions of agriculture because they have to grant credit to farmers. My farmers are not so nearly credit-worthy at the moment as farmers in the South and East of England. The gentleman in question has never swept out a byre in his life; he told me so the other day.

My right hon. Friend has the report of the Livestock Committee, which he himself set up. It has been in his hands for a considerable time. He has also the report of the Elgin Committee. Both those reports stress the necessity for a greater centralisation of processing centres, particularly of slaughter-houses. Why does my right hon. Friend turn his face away from those proposals and seem to imply that they do not mean much? We are up against one of the best organised marketing schemes in the world when it comes to Argentine meat. From the birth to the death of the animal the beef is handled in the most beautiful manner. There is no better example of organised marketing than in the Argentine. That is what our farmers have to compete with. What I want to make sure about and what the House wants to make sure about, is that this subsidy is not going into the hands of superfluous middlemen but into the hands of the right people—the producers and the consumers.

It is of the most vital importance that livestock and cereals should be put on a sound economic basis. No one would wish to detract from the efforts that my right hon. Friend has made in the past, but he knows that the final solution of the problem must lie in increased consumption if we are to make agriculture healthy, prosperous and beneficial to us in the event of possible danger in war. I would ask my right hon. Friend, while he is putting through this producers' policy on the one hand, that he should bear in mind that the Government must at the same time use every effort to decrease the gap which exists between the price paid to the farmer and the price which the housewife has to pay for her meat.

11.47 a.m.


It has been a great pleasure to listen to the words of the last speaker, because he has put in such admirable and moderate language sentiments which I seem unable to express except in terms of rather extravagant language, which perhaps cannot be justified line by line and clause by clause. I will not worry the House now by adding to what I have said in the past or trying to add anything, although I do not think that anything could be added, to what has been said by the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) on the subject of marketing. I want to put one point to the Minister and the House because of certain remarks originating from the Minister recently. There has been more and more talk of this subsidy policy as a consumers' policy. Cannot we come to an agreement as to the extent to which it is true to say that this is a consumers' policy?

The Minister said that the Government's policy had had the direct effect of reducing prices to the consumer. I do not think that is a statement which will bear re-examination. The fact, surely, is, and I should think we can agree about it, that the fall in prices to the consumer came about roughly in 1929 and up to the beginning of 1932, which were the years before the Government policy had begun to take any effect. There are those who consider that the fall in prices was due to a flood of imports. Will that bear very close examination? The flood is not so much as some people imagine. If we take the meat imports in hundreds of thousands of tons from about 1927 we get figures like these—in 1927, 212,000, and in the following years 205,000, 198,000, 208,000, 221,000, 211,000, 208,000, 218,000, 215,000 and up to the present time this year it is 207,000. Those figures do not vary five per cent. one way or the other from 1927 up to the present day. There has not been an overwhelming flood of meat imports. With great respect to the quotation which the Minister made from the Bingley report, which is against me, I suggest that the fall in meat prices has been very largely attributable to the reduction in the purchasing power of the community which took place between 1929 and 1931, and to the change in tariffs.

I very thoroughly appreciate the fact that the Minister in his desire, and his quite correct determination, to save the livestock industry from extinction, might theoretically have imposed a policy which would have raised prices to the consumers sky-high. That was theoretically possible. It was at no time politically possible to introduce such a policy, but when the Minister says that this subsidy policy has produced low prices for the consumer, surely the only sense in which that is true is that the Government might have introduced a policy which would have raised the prices to the consumer, but they did not. If that is true and if the Minister claims that that is tantamount to saying that he has caused a reduction in prices, surely with equal truth I might say that the Minister owes his life to me because I might have run over him as he was crossing the road, but I did not. So much for the question as to whether the Government policy has produced lower prices of beef.

I do not want to say anything about marketing, but I hope the Minister will do something about it with the co-operation of the producers' organisations before we meet again after the Recess. I am encouraged in the belief that he will do something because of some Amendments to a Bill which we shall be discussing shortly. There I notice that the Minister, or somebody else, has done something which the right hon. Gentleman promised to do earlier but which some of us at the time did not think that he would do. However, he has done it, and we shall express our gratitude to him when the time comes. I hope he will do something about marketing. In working out the subsidy, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman and his officials will appreciate that we are dealing with an industry in which demand has rapidly changed. The demand for some of the outputs of this industry is very rapidly dwindling, and we shall not reach a permanent solution of the difficulties unless we take account very seriously of the changes and the falling off in demand. There is a very great change going on and it has gone on for several years. The demand is no longer for the 13 cwt. three-year old beast. The only effective demand for and the only hope of increasing the consumption of beef is to concentrate on the 9½ cwt. two-year old beast. Apart from anything which may be done in the realm of marketing, I hope that in working out and in framing the subsidy the 9½ cwt. two-year old beast will be encouraged as much as it is possible to encourage it, and that even if it should not prove possible to discourage the 13 cwt. three-year old beast, that not too much encouragement will be given to the man who thinks that he is satisfying present day demands and conditions by producing a beast of that size and age.

11.55 a.m.


If we on this side of the House do not support this subsidy it is not because we do not appreciate the difficulties in which the industry finds itself. Some of us have reason to appreciate the difficulties from direct experience. Our objection to the subsidy is because we think it is not a solution of the problem. The difficulties of agriculture are not confined to these islands; they obtain in all highly industrialised countries, and the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) that we should reduce the age of cattle for beef supplies is no solution of the problem. If that were carried out there would be a demand for a further reduction and we should be limited to the provision of veal, with the result that beef production would become a thing of the past. It is said that we shall make the industry pay by giving it a subsidy. We contend that that is an entirely fictitious way of dealing with the industry. If you give a subsidy it does not make an industry pay; it merely provides it with crutches to help it along. We say that by a subsidy policy you are not dealing with the essential difficulties of the industry, and that you will only have demands for higher and higher subsidies. If you pursue a policy of trying to make profits by cheapening production then there is no branch of industry which will be more quickly destroyed than the cattle industry. The fall in the incomes of the people of this country is tending to make good beef a luxury, and if you cheapen production you will not go on producing the good old roast beef of England. People will reduce their demand for beef, and the industry will become a thing of the past.

The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) made a debating point in which I think there was a grievous error. He chided us that we had demanded, not successfully, unfortunately, a living wage for the workers and said that agricultural labourers, many of them friends of mine, were having to pay exaggerated prices for their coal. He taunted us with opposing a Measure which is going to help agriculture, and that it is not fair for us to oppose it when we are demanding higher wages for the miners at the expense of agricultural labourers. I can assure the hon. Member we are satisfied that the actual cost of the production of coal should give the agricultural labourers adequate supplies at much lower prices than they have to pay. The difference is that the slight increase in coal prices carried with it the definite obligation that the miner should participate in the additional income from the sale of coal. We are not convinced that the miner is getting a share of the increase he is only getting a margin, but there is no pretence whatever that the agricultural labourer will get an increase in wages as a result of this subsidy. The hon. Member will not claim that he is going to get an increase in wages because of this subsidy.


The hon. Member seems to forget that there is a wages board, and also the fact that since the national Government have been in office wages have risen because of the subsidy.


The hon. Member did not hear the speech of the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Christie) in which the hon. Member showed that in spite of the subsidy, the producer of beef continues to make a loss, and, therefore, no Wages Board will give an increase while the producer can show a loss. They will rather say that the farmers have established a good case for a reduction of wages. If we had an assurance that the subsidy was going into the homes of the people who actually do the work, thereby making it possible for them to buy increased supplies of coals and other commodities, we should be on the high road to a solution of our economic problems. The fact is that there is no guarantee that the subsidy will mean increased wages in the industry, and it is really a source of shame that we cannot pay our agricultural labourers better than they are paid now.

For these reasons we oppose the subsidy. It is not a solution on the right lines. In its operation it will only strengthen those who go between producers and consumers. Our experience in many cases is that where there is a continuous demand for beef, contracts cannot be fixed with the farmer at a price which would be acceptable to him, because of these marketing schemes. There is much more hope for the industry if there is a friendly go-between who is prepared to contract with the farmers, take their supplies, help them in the running of their farms, let them know what prices they can obtain and also the transport facilities which are available. If you want to give farmers a steady market for their produce I would appeal to the Minister of Agriculture to see that the British Forces, at any rate, get the best in the way of beef that the country can produce. Give the farmer a steady reliable market in supplying the armed forces with British beef.

12.4 p.m.


As one who is opposed to this subsidy I was naturally interested in the speech of the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), particularly in what he had to say about the coal industry. I was also impressed by the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Maldon (Sir E. Ruggles-Brise) in the Second Reading debate. The hon. and gallant Member is one of the champions of the farmers in respect of this subsidy—indeed, in anything else for the farmers. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton seemed to take objection to hon. Members on this side of the House talking about past legislation in regard to agricultural subsidies, and to our criticising this subsidy in view of the assistance which the coal industry has received. There is a vast difference between the assistance given to the coal industry and that given to the farmers. This is not the only subsidy the farmers have had. Agriculture is about the most highly subsidised industry in the country. The coal industry has not had a subsidy for a very long time. It has suffered from the depression since 1922, and in spite of all that it has asked and done, it has not had any subsidy, with the exception of a short period in 1925. I agree with the hon. Member that people are paying a higher price for coal, but part of our argument regarding the coal industry is that, owing to the fact that the industry is not organised as it should be, there is a wide gap between prices at the pithead and those paid by the domestic consumers. We all agree that the domestic consumers are paying too much for coal, and we believe that if the industry were properly organised, better wages could be paid to the miners and cheaper coal supplied to the domestic consumers.

The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton also referred to coal, and said that higher prices were being paid. He claimed that what was right for coal was right for beef. I would point out that the farming industry has the same opportunity to organise itself in order to get better prices as the coal industry. Why does the farming industry not do it? Instead of organising the industry, they ask for the help of a subsidy. When a subsidy has been mentioned in connection with the coal industry, the industry has been told that it must put its own house in order, organise production and selling, and so on, and that then it will be able to get a decent price for its commodity. That is not what the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton or the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Maldon argue. The Minister does not say to the farming industry that, so far as beef is concerned, it must make an attempt to put its house in order, and that when it has made a serious attempt, the Government will consider what they can do. On the contrary, the subsidy has been given first, and even then there is no promise from the industry that it will reorganise itself.


I would point out to the hon. Member that the agricultural industry is different from the coal industry in this respect. The ordinary farmer cannot possibly carry through a great reorganisation scheme. The Government have to do it.


I agree that a different sort of organisation is necessary in the farming industry, but the mere fact that the industry is different does not mean that it should not be organised. My complaint is that the farmers have not made any serious attempt to organise the industry. I am rather disappointed with the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) this morning. Last week he put up such a good show that he irritated the Minister almost beyond endurance, and the Minister spent a large part of his time in replying to the hon. Member; but the hon. Member comes to the House this morning in sackcloth and ashes. Last week he said that the policy of dealing with the industry commodity by commodity, was not a policy at all, but a question of expediency. That seems to me to be a serious criticism and I think it is justified; but I do not know whether the hon. Member is justified in making it. He went on to refer to the fact that there are subsidies for wheat and beef, and it rather appeared as though his criticism was that he could not get a subsidy for oats and barley. I think he would be satisfied if he could get a subsidy for the commodities in which he is interested. Consequently, there is not any serious difference between the hon. Member and the Minister. The hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Christie) made a speech in which he said that our land is not producing as much as it ought, and naturally the industry does not pay. That seems to me to be a reasonable statement. But how is it to be made to pay when the tendency on the part of hon. Members interested in agriculture is not to make farming pay in the ordinary way, but to make it pay by getting as much public money as they can from the Government?


The position is that the industry could easily be made to pay if the wages paid were economic wages, but none of us wish that, because we want to see the agricultural workers receiving a decent wage. If they are given more than an economic wage, the industry has to be supported by a subsidy.


The hon. Member says that the enormous wages which farm workers get are not economic wages, and that that is the cause of all the troubles of the farmers. I have heard that argument before.


I think the hon. Member misunderstood me. I said that if more than an economic wage is paid in an industry and the industry is to continue, then it is absolutely necessary that it should be supported by a subsidy.


I appreciate the hon. Member's argument. He says that if the farm workers were paid an economic wage—which I understand would be less than they get now—the industry would be all right.


It could pay its way.


I am not sure it would. I would point out that even now, if the farm workers were given all that the farming community is getting in subsidies, direct and indirect, it would more than pay all they are getting in wages. Although there may be some substance in what the hon. Gentleman said, there is not much.

In connection with general principles, there is one other thing I would like to say. My mind goes back to the time just prior to my entering the House when I was a trade union and Socialist propagandist. When we talked about Socialist principles of public ownership and legislation to deal with industry, the common argument we met from those who who opposed us was that industry should be left alone, because it could get on very well without Parliamentary interference. Hon. Members have altered their tune now. Every time hon. Members representing a farming industry and some others, get on their feet in the House of Commons, it is to ask for a subsidy; they are always asking the Government to help them because they cannot carry on themselves. They are always begging, praying, beseeching, pleading, wheedling, cajoling and threatening in order to get their hands into the public till and to get more from it than they are already getting. During the last few weeks I have heard the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Sir W. Smithers) ask questions about nepotism in the towns in South Wales. He has said that he suspects—I think wrongly—that members of the councils are getting their relatives into jobs. He says it is wrong, that it is corruption, and he wants a commissioner sent down to stop it. When we ask for more money for the unemployed we are told that we are guilty of political corruption and bribery, and are seeking votes. Hon. Members opposite want to stop it all. The hon. Member for Chislehurst wants a commissioner sent down to South Wales. I wonder what he would do if the farmers were to come and argue here for public money to be given to themselves? They have done it for years, shame-facedly and brazenly; they have asked for money for their own pockets. They are here this morning asking for subsidies and hoping that in the long-term policy that has been promised by the Government there will be a provision for subsidies, not for the immediate future only, but for a very long future, for all eternity.

The Minister of Agriculture has been an adept in subsidising the agricultural industry. As a matter of fact he has bought his way through. He calls himself an administrator, a man with ideas and all the rest of it, but when it is all summed up he has bought his way all through. And he calls that a policy. He is going to do the same thing in his long-term plan. He says he will put the industry on a scientific basis, according to the ideas to which he has given expression. He is buying his way in this respect also. The hon. and gallant Member for Maldon reached the limit last week in his argument on this subject. Speaking of the long-term policy he said that the Government were prepared to give the industry £5,000,000. He added in effect, "They are giving us £4,000,000 now, and they are going to raise £3,000,000 by a levy. That makes £7,000,000. The Minister now proposes to give us only £5,000,000, so we are being robbed of £2,000,000." That is the limit of argument for agriculturists to use for the sake of their own pockets. This subsidy was first of all to come out of the Treasury, but there was a half promise made that eventually it would be paid back to the Treasury. The hon. and gallant Member forgot that. Now it is not only proposed to wipe out the debt that is owing, but to pay consistently after the long-term policy is in operation the £3,000,000 that comes from the levy. How the hon. and gallant Member for Maldon can argue that agriculture is being robbed, I do not know. It is said that appetite grows by what it feeds on. If that be true of anything it is true in the matter of subsidies.

I read an amusing report in the "Yorkshire Post" the other day. The farming community in this House are getting quite "cocky" and cheerful about their prospects. There was a meeting of the Conservative Parliamentary Agricultural Committee the other day, and this is what the "Yorkshire Post" said about it: It was unanimously decided to-night by the Conservative Agricultural Committee that the Government's long-term beef policy requires amendment. They are still not satisfied: Their first proposal is that the proceeds of the duty on foreign beef should be allocated to a livestock fund; that farmers should receive from the fund the difference between the market price and a standard price of 48s. per live cwt.; and that the Treasury should make good any deficit of the fund. Under the Government's scheme the duties are paid direct to the Treasury and the Treasury pays a direct subsidy to farmers. The Committee consider that payments to farmers will be on a surer basis if charged to a specific fund and not left to the will of the Treasury. Why? They want the Treasury to pay the money into a specific fund so that there will not be the slightest doubt that the whole of it will go into the farmers' pockets. No one will deny that the farmers know how to look after themselves. Talk about political bribery and all the rest of it. I wonder what the people who passed that Resolution are doing. The report referred to goes on: These payments would be on a more secure foundation still if the Committee's second proposal were also adopted. It aims at enlarging the fund. The Committee suggests that at the earliest possible moment a duty should be placed on all meat imports—lamb and mutton as well as beef—from the Dominions, whose supplies, under the Government scheme, are duty free. What a comprehensive programme. No wonder the Conservative Agricultural Committee had a very good night. No wonder they think they will get what they want in view of their experience of the Minister in the past. There are some who call the right hon. Gentleman a strong man. As far as farmers are concerned he is putty; they can do anything they like with him. But that is not the whole of the story. The quotation from the "Yorkshire Post' goes on: The idea of subsidising home farmers from the proceeds of a duty on imports is becoming infectious. Certainly. The General Manager of the Milk Marketing Board told the Committee that he, too, would like a scheme of this kind rather than a Treasury subsidy. I should think he would. Talk about the appetite growing by what it feeds on. If they put sufficient pressure on the Minister he will give it to them. They call him "Our Walter." No wonder. If he produces this programme I wonder what they will call him then. He will get the sack and another man will be put in his place. That is the kind of thing the Government are asking us to vote for this morning. The agricultural industry, like other industries, has been going through a bad time, but it has preferential treatment over every other industry without exception. The Government would never dream of dealing with other industries as they have dealt with agriculture. The Minister last week argued that the building industry had had a subsidy and he asked, did not that help people? If I remember aright the only subsidy going to building to-day is the subsidy for the clearing away of slums, to prevent overcrowding and the rest of it.

The building subsidy at any rate benefits the people whose poverty is greatest and whose need is greatest, but there is a vast difference between that subsidy and the subsidy which is here proposed. Is this subsidy going to help the poorest of the poor? On the contrary, it is going to penalise them. There is no parallel whatever between the building subsidy and the levy which the right hon. Gentleman is proposing for the cattle industry. As I say, out of the building subsidy the poorest of the poor at any rate stand to get some benefit, but out of these agricultural subsidies and out of this levy in particular, the poor will get nothing. They will only have to pay more.

We shall vote against this subsidy to-day. The agricultural industry has gone through bad times, but I think that this method of dealing with the situation is entirely wrong. We stick to the principle enunciated by my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Mr. Whiteley). If we pay out public money in this way, if these industries have to come to Parliament for help we have a right to demand control of those industries to the extent to which we are putting money into-them. In respect of all the millions that have been put into this and other industries the people who find the money have not got one pennyworth of control or share in those industries. They still belong to private enterprise which has made such a mess of them that they have to come almost crawling on their bellies to Parliament begging for help. Parliament has poured money into those industries in order to patch up capitalism and enable it to carry on in the hope that somehow, sometime, somewhere, something will happen which will get these industries on to their feet again. We do not think the method will succeed. We think that in the long run, so far from helping the agricultural industry, these subsidies will tend to spoil the industry and bring it to ruin, for all those reasons we shall vote against the Third Reading of the Bill.

12.28 p.m.


Speaking on behalf of farmers, I wish to point out that the hon. Member who has just spoken took a very narrow view of this question. Why should not agriculture be protected in the same way as the iron and steel industry and other industries in this country? We farmers would much prefer a duty to a subsidy because we think it would be fairer to the country, but if you want to see agriculture flourishing you must support it, and if you want to support it you have to consider the question from both points of view. Hon. Members opposite try to make out that this bounty or duty which is to be placed upon meat will increase the price of meat to the public. I deny that. It will not increase the price any more than duties upon manufactured articles coming to this country have increased the prices to the consumers. The country ought to know that if they want agriculture to prosper they must protect agriculture against cheap labour in foreign countries, instead of allowing surplus produce to be dumped down here at any price.


Does the hon. Member suggest that the Argentine agricultural labourer is a lowly-paid worker? Is he not aware that the Argentine agricultural labourer receives better wages than the agricultural labourer in this country?


I do not agree at all. The Argentine agricultural labourer has usually about 8s. to 12s. a week and meat in addition, and meat prices are low in the Argentine. The hon. Gentleman is entirely misinformed if he says that the Argentine agricultural labourer has even half the wages paid to agricultural labourers in this country. It is because of what we have to fight against, in regard to this dumping of surplus goods from other countries, that I claim that it is only fair that we should have protection, even to a greater extent than the Government are giving it to us now.

12.30 p.m.


It seems that an all-night sitting is good for the House, because this morning we have not only had a number of short and very temperately-phrased speeches, but we have had the benefit of a closing speech from the Opposition from the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Paling) whose interventions in our Debates we all welcome. It is true that he put his points in a very spirited fashion of which none of us will complain and he brought out the wide difference which exists on this question between the industrialists and the men of the countryside. Unless that difference is brought out clearly and the points at issue are threshed out here in the House we shall not come to a final agreement. It would be impossible and indeed wrong for me on this occasion to go at length into all the questions which have been raised in this Debate because the discussion is now being transferred to the countryside itself. It is now to be argued out in the constituencies; it will no doubt be argued out in the technical organisations concerned, and many of the points put by hon. Members will, I hope, be solved in a way which will be more to their liking than they now anticipate. As the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) said, we shall be discussing later on something in which the Government have been better that their word. Let us hope that in the future, on agricultural organisation also, we may prove to be better than our word.

I shall deal, first, briefly with the interesting speech of the hon. Member for Wentworth because it represented an attitude of mind which, I am sure, we shall need to meet. His point was that more had been done for the agricultural industry than for any other industry and particularly that more had been done for the agricultural industry than for the coal industry. He argued that the benefits which the coal industry had secured had been secured by organisation and that it was open to the agricultural industry to secure those benefits also by organisation. Let me ask the House to consider some figures as to the prices of those two great commodities, foodstuffs and coal. The essence of our contention is that, by its organisation, of which we do not complain, the coal industry has been able to hold up its prices to a much greater extent than the food industry. That has been denied to-day and in previous Debates by hon. Members opposite, and I took the precaution of providing myself with the figures.

Taking the 1913 price at 100, the wholesale price of coal in 1931 was represented by an index figure of 133. The actual wholesale price per ton at the pit was 10s. 1½d. in 1913 and in 1931 it was 13s. 5½d. In 1931 the price of fat cattle was represented by a figure of 122, taking the pre-War price at a figure of 100. In 1935 the wholesale price of coal per ton at the pit was 13s. corresponding to an index figure of 128 but in the same year the price of fat cattle was represented by an index figure of 91. It had actually gone down 9 points compared with the pre-War figure, while the price of coal was still 28 points above the pre-War figure. The coal prices in shillings were 13s. 5½d. per ton in 1931 and 13s. in 1935. Fat cattle were 42s. 7d. per live cwt. in 1931 and in 1935 31s. 10d.


I am not disputing those figures, but will the right hon. Gentleman say where they come from?


These are our figures for fat cattle per live cwt. in England and Wales—the usual standard figures for second quality used for our index numbers. With the subsidy, the price would be 106, but I do not think it can be seriously contended that the price of 106 with subsidy is in any way comparable to a price of 128 without. If we could have our 1931 price or certainly our 1929 price, we should make no request to the House for any assistance, but the price has gone down. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) says it is not due to Government action and that the great fall took place before 1932. I think it is true that the great flood of imports took place before that time but the weight of that was beginning to make itself felt in the beef market of the country, and when he says that the Government's policy is not responsible for the cheap prices, I think we are entitled to say that if these prices are to continue, either assistance must be given to the home industry or the industry must go out of existence, and if the home industry, providing about half our beef, goes out of existence, I do not think these very low prices will remain very much longer.

The essence of our contention is that the well organised industrial trades have been able to hold their prices. Would it be contended by hon. Members opposite that by organisation we should screw up our agricultural prices? My hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Sir W. Wayland), in his short intervention, said that that would be more satisfactory to the agricultural industry, and I think it would be, but would it be for the benefit of the people of this country as a whole? That is the question which the House has to consider now and in the future. I do not think it would be for the advantage of the people of this country as a whole. If we can have food at a lower price than in 1931 and still retain a reasonable remuneration for the producer, that is an advantage to the people of this country and not a disadvantage, and while I do not complain of the eloquent series of epithets which the hon. Member for Wentworth was able to reel out, to the admiration of the whole House, especially after the all-night sitting, I would ask him to bend his mind to this question and to ask himself, on those figures, whether they are really justified.

It is not enough to say that it is only by organisation that the coal industry has been able to maintain its figures. Take a competing product. Oil fuel gets a duty of 200 per cent., and there is no protective duty such as that in any agricultural field. The hon. Member, as a practical man in the mining industry, knows that if oil fuel was able to come into this country at world prices, it would mean a very great depression indeed in the coal industry, and I have often seen in the demands from the mining industry the demand that that aspect of the case must be taken into consideration. And, as well as the mining industry, the fuel industry, gets 100 per cent. of the home market. I do not wish to overstate the case. Heaven knows we shall have long and important debates on it, but I ask the House to take these facts into consideration when it is bracing itself, as it must, to this in some ways distasteful conclusion, that either you must have assistance from the general funds of the country or else the consumers must pay a higher price than they have been accustomed to pay for the last few years for their footstuffs. I do not think that would be a good idea.

I was asked by the opener of the debate, the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr. Whiteley), whether more people were enjoying beef as a result of the subsidy. I can answer that, certainly, in the affirmative. He asked me how many, and I can give him that figure too. The consumption of beef in this country between 1932 and 1934–5 has gone up by 8½ per cent., and if you take it as somewhere between five and 10 per cent., it is somewhere between 2,000,000 and 4,000,000 more people including children. I am not suggesting that if a man never ate beef before he has suddenly taken to eating 5 lbs. of it, but I am suggesting, if you want a figure, that there has been a rise of 8½ per cent. in the consumption of beef, namely, from 61 lbs. to 66 lbs. a head.


Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that that is due to the subsidy?


I suggest that it is due to the lower prices, but most of it was home-produced meat.


What percentage?


The increased consumption of beef was 8½ per cent.


But what percentage of the total?


From 61 lbs. a head to 66 lbs. a head, and, as I say, the levels of imported beef have been more or less stationary during that time, so that it may be taken that the majority of the increase has been on home-produced beef. We are dealing with a very great and important section of our economic organisation, that is to say, the place which agriculture is to play in it and the terms upon which agriculture is to play that part. The fact that we have been able, by means of a subsidy, to absorb a greater quantity of beef shows that at any rate in this instance the suggestion that the policy of the Government is one of restriction and of cutting down supplies does not hold. A consumption of 61 lbs. of beef before and of 66 lbs. afterwards—that, at any rate, is not a policy of restriction for the people of this country.

The other argument which has been very generally used is the argument that we should not neglect organisation, and I would not for a moment suggest that we should. I myself appointed or, rather, the Secretary of State for Scotland and myself jointly appointed the Bingley Commission for the purpose of examining the marketing of livestock, and we valued very much its report. It is true that my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) says that not enough attention has been paid to that report, or at any rate that I have not explained the lines on which I intend to act in the future. One must always remember that there is a great difference between the two countries of England and Scotland in this matter, and that Scottish organisation is very much more advanced than that of England, yet, in spite of that fact, the difficulties of the Scottish livestock producer, as my hon. Friend himself has said, are no less than those of the English producer, and indeed are greater.

Let me give the figures [Interruption.] I do not wish to enter into any controversy with my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen, because I am anxious to sit down as soon as possible, and if the two of us begin to argue, either in public or in private, it is almost necessary for us to arrange for an extension of time. But when my hon. Friend comments on the number of small butchers and asks whether that is satisfactory, I will quote his own words during the Committee stage on 13th July, when he said:— … the gap … could be closed if agricultural reorganisation was taken in hand, and some of these innumerable middlemen—not the small butchers; we are not out against them, but some of the unnecessary middlemen—were swept out of the way."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th July, 1936; col. 1743, Vol. 314.] We all of us desire to see something done with regard to the middleman or the distributor, but when it comes to naming any particular class we are rather more chary.


There is a difference between the butcher proprietor referred to in the Bingley report and the small retail butcher with the village shop, and it was to the latter that I referred in my speech.


That does not apply in Scotland, for the majority of animals slaughtered in Scotland are slaughtered in public slaughterhouses. Such a great number of private slaughterhouses does not, in fact, exist in Scotland. In England and Wales 27 per cent. of the animals slaughtered are slaughtered in public slaughterhouses. In Scotland the figure is 92 per cent. As for the animals going for sale in England and Wales, an average of 1784 cattle go to each certification centre as against 3029 in Scotland. The figure is very much higher in Scotland where the organisation of public slaughterhouses is much more extensive than it is in England and Wales. I suggest that it is not only in marketing reforms that we shall find the solution of the problem before us. If I have given any impression that I minimise the importance of marketing I hope that I may be allowed to disabuse the House of it because I am very anxious to see that brought forward. I only say that I do not wish to dogmatise about the matter.

When I am accused of lack of principle in dealing with farming because I am dealing with it commodity by commodity, I reply that I am working on a principle, which is that we should evolve as far as possible on the lines that our forefathers have laid down by many generations of trial and error. The accusation of upsetting the balance in the industry is in itself an admission of that principle. The practice of farming and good husbandry is one from which we should depart with great hesitation. We should do our best to maintain the experimental results of our forefathers. Indeed, it is the accusation made against us in another field that we are not doing enough to maintain the traditional agriculture in north-east Scotland. I do not wish to start to draw some blue print of a completely reorganised agriculture. I wish to work commodity by commodity with the object of preserving, so far as I can, the balance which our forefathers have obtained. It is not lack of principle that I should do that. It is, indeed, a principle and one which I have done my best to work. When I was discussing the sugar beet proposals I indicated that the root crops in East Anglia were what we desired to maintain, and it is for that as much as for any other reason that we may defend the production of sugar in this country.

These are the main points on which the Debate has turned. There have been vigorous speeches, such as those of the hon. Member for Wentworth, the hon. Member for Blaydon and several others, who will excuse me if I do not go into their arguments at length. My hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk

(Mr. Christie), in a thoughtful speech, argued that I should take more account of the costings that have been got out by agricultural colleges and, indeed, by individual farmers. I shall certainly do that in conjunction with the Cattle Committee which has devoted a great deal of thought and attention to this subject.


When will the results of that inquiry appear, and where?


I have already been in close communication with the Cattle Committee. We shall continue to examine these figures. Clearly, we cannot examine them across the Floor of the House, but we shall examine them with technical men who alone can give us the close and detailed examination which is necessary, and they will be brought out in publications and in the many Debates which, I fear, we shall still hold on this subject. I do not wish to refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland), because I have dealt with it as far as possible during my speech. All the great problems which have been raised this morning will certainly require time for their consideration. Without the passage of this Bill that time would not be available. It is to give time for further examination and for the further approximation of our views on either side of the House which is necessary for the working out of a long-term policy, that I ask the House to give us the Third Reading.

Question put, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

The House divided: Ayes, 134; Noes, 60.

Division No. 309.] AYES. [12.50 p.m.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Fraser, Capt. Sir I.
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd) Craddock, Sir R. H. Fremantle, Sir F. E.
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Crooke, J. S. Fyfe, D. P. M.
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Ganzoni, Sir J.
Blindell, Sir J. Croom-Johnson, R. P. Gledhill, G.
Boothby, R. J. G. Cross, R. H. Goldie, N. B.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Crossley, A. C. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Brass, Sir W. Cruddas, Col. B. Gridley, Sir A. B.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Grimston, R. V.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. De Chair, S. S. Gunston, Capt. D. W.
Brown, Rt.-Hon. E. (Loith) De la Bère, R. Guy, J. C. M.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Denman, Hon. R. D. Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.
Bull, B. B. Denville, Alfred Hannon, Sir P. J. H.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Harbord, A.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Dower, Capt. A. V. G. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Cartland, J. R. H. Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Carver, Major W. H. Duncan, J. A. L. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Dunglass, Lord Holmes, J. S.
Channon, H. Edmondson, Major Sir J. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Hopkin, D.
Chorlton, A. E. L. Emery, J. F. Howitt, Dr. A. B.
Christie, J. A. Findlay, Sir E. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Clydesdale, Marquess of Fox, Sir G. W. G. Hulbert, N. J.
Hume, Sir G. H. Morgan, R. H. Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.
Jackson, Sir H. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Jarvis, Sir J. J. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Keeling, E. H. Morrison, W. S. (Cirencester) Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Munro, P. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Kirkpatrick, W. M. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Latham, Sir P. Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Penny, Sir G. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Leckie, J. A. Petherick, M. Tufnell, Lieut.-Com. R. L.
Levy, T. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Turton, R. H.
Liddall, W. S. Raikes, H. V. A. M. Wakefield, W. W.
Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Loftus, P. C. Ramsbotham, H. Ward, Irene (Wallsend)
Lyons, A. M. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Wayland, Sir W. A.
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Ropner, Colonel L. Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Maitland, A. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth) Withers, Sir J. J.
Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon H. D. R. Sandys, E. D.
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen) Commander Southby and Captain
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Smithers, Sir W. Waterhouse.
Adamson, W. M. Hardie, G. D. Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Potts, J.
Banfield, J. W. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Short, A.
Barnes, A. J. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Simpson, F. B.
Benson, G. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Sorensen, R. W.
Bread, F. A. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Thorne, W.
Charleton, H. C. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G. Tinker, J. J.
Daggar, G. Lathan, G. Viant, S. P.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Lee, F. Walkden, A. G.
Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd) Macdonald, G. (Ince) Watkins, F. C.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) McEntee, V. La T. Watson, W. McL.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) McGhee, H. G. White, H. Graham
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) MacLaren, A. Whiteley, W.
Foot, D. M. Maclean, N. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Gallacher, W. Mainwaring, W. H. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Gardner, B. W. Marklew, E. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Garro Jones, G. M. Milner, Major J. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Grenfell, D. R. Muff, G. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Paling, W.
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Parker, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. John and Mr. Mathers.

Bill read a Second time.

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