HC Deb 17 June 1936 vol 313 cc1019-48

As from the first day of July, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, the provisions of the Import Duties Act, 1932, shall be deemed not to authorise the imposition of customs duties upon foodstuffs imported for human consumption, and the customs duties chargeable on such articles under that Act shall cease to be chargeable.—[Mr. A. V. Alexander.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.52 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I desire to direct the attention of the Committee to one or two outstanding facts which once more prompt the Opposition to put this Clause on the Paper. The first is that this question of the taxation of the food of the people is just one part of the extraordinary revolution in the imposition of taxation which has taken place under the National Government since the end of 1931. We have now embarked upon what I would describe as a rake's progress in finance, heavily increasing the amount of taxation to be raised each year, and not omitting, from the avenues from which the revenue is obtained, imposts upon the food of the poorest section of the people. I do not think it is generally recognised in the country to what extent the taxation of the food of the people has increased under the direction of the National Government. It is impossible, unfortunately, to get specific figures right up-to-date showing the actual division of the revenue received from food taxation as between that class of revenue which is usually described as revenue duties and the class of revenue which is raised under the Import Duties Act, 1932; but, taking the two together, it is clear that, including the Tea Duty, which has already been passed by the Committee, we are raising food taxation to-day between £35,000,000 and £36,000,000 a year, and that the actual increase in the amount of food taxation since 1931 is, with the new Tea Duty, certainly not less than £20,000,000 per annum.

An extraordinary interest has been evinced during the last 12 months or so, not merely by those who claim to represent politically and industrially the working classes, but by those with a wider humanitarian point of view, including medical and other scientists, in the question of the lack of nutrition which is to be observed throughout the working classes of this country. Extraordinary figures have been given showing the number of people who cannot afford, out of their present remuneration, to spend more than a little over 4s. per week per head on food, and it seems to me to be almost an iniquity that at such a time, when the national income is so unjustly and unfairly divided, the new orientation of taxation should be in the direction of constantly increasing the imposts upon those very items of food which are essential to the maintenance of proper nutrition. I know that, when we raise this question of the new kind of taxation on food which has been imposed by two successive National Governments, the Government refer to the cost of living index figures, and to the fact that in their view the actual index level of those costs is not very much higher than the pre-war figure. On that question I should like to offer one or two specific observations.

In the first place, the Government have implicitly acknowledged by their recent decision, which I applaud, to appoint a committee to inquire anew into the basis of preparing and calculating the cost of living index figure, the fact that in the past many food items have been included which had no place in the inquiries of the economists and statisticians in preparing the cost of living index figure. Secondly, I would observe that in my judgment it has been quite fortuitous, and certainly no merit of the fiscal policy of the Government, that the actual level of food prices has remained no higher than it has in the last four or five years, for, owing to the world slump which continued from 1930 to the beginning of 1933, prices throughout the world have been abnormally low, and although I dare say some agricultural representatives would applaud the policy of the Government from the point of view that, at any rate in this country, that policy has arrested to some extent the fall in the prices of agricultural products, nevertheless, bearing in mind the fact that, according to the Ministry of Labour Gazette, every year from 1931 to 1934 there were continuous and cumulative decreases in the weekly wages of large bodies of industrial workers, the policy of the Government did in fact prevent those who were subject to heavy wage decreases from having compensation in the other direction from the general fall in food prices throughout the world. To that extent, those who are in such need of food and nutrition values have been severely handicapped by the fiscal policy of the Government, and I would beg that that fact should be taken into account.

That is not the end of our case for the repeal of these duties. We have had Debate after Debate about the conditions of workers in the depressed and in the specially depressed areas which are now called Special Areas; we have some knowledge of the negotiations which have gone on within the last few years in regard to trade agreements; and there is undoubted evidence that the policy of Protection and of exclusion by quota, and especially by the imposition of tariffs, has had its repercussive effect on the trade, and especially the export trade, of such industries as the mining industry, with those very countries which in the past have had a reasonably free market in this country for their agricultural and primary food products. Generally speaking, an examination of the policy as a whole enables one to say with confidence, first, that it has proved to be unfair and unjust by entailing real hardships on working-class people throughout the country in regard to their standard of life; and, secondly, that it has not brought the beneficial effect which might have been expected on the general economy of the country in such matters, for example, as the balance of trade, since it has seriously interfered with the corresponding export trade from industrial and especially from mining areas.

In view of the fact that this question has been debated on previous occasions, and that some of my hon. Friends on this side of the Committee will also desire to press the rights of the consumers and the working classes to have at least the standard of life which will give them a minimum nutrition standard, I do not propose to detain the Committee at any length. I would only add that we regard it as of fundamental importance to maintain the principle that as long at any rate as the present system, backed by the Government, operates, we must demand that whatever revenue requires to be raised for the general purposes of the nation, whether for defence or for any other class of national expenditure, that revenue should be collected by the imposition of taxation on the basis of the ability of the individual to pay, judging that ability by what the person has left with which to buy the bare necessities of life after he has paid taxation. We say, in regard to this policy of the Government and the imposition of food duties, that it cuts directly across that fundamental principle and is one which we must not only continually oppose in principle but continually seek to remove.

4.2 p.m.


There are two questions I wish to put to the right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander). He talked about the balance of trade. Is it not a fact that the balance of trade in 1931 was £1110,000,000 against this country, and that now, as a result of the policy of His Majesty's Government, the balance of trade is in our favour to the tune of £1,000,000 or £2,000,000? I do not know the precise figure, but at all events we have transformed a very serious adverse balance into a favourable balance. Does the right hon. Gentleman support his arguments by telling us that the policy of the Government has not been favourable to the maintenance of productive employment in this country1? Does he realise that that policy has been instrumental in putting back into productive work nearly 1,000,000 people, as against the position when the Labour Government went out of office? Surely that kind of argument is not fair to the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman asked us to support his Amendment without giving the Committee a fair statement of the immense economic advantages which have accrued from the policy of the Government.

The fiscal policy of the Government, the protection of the home markets for our own people, has been the greatest achievement of modern statesmanship in this country, and the right hon. Gentle- man knows it. I say quite respectfully that his plea this afternoon is not quite honest. He ought at all events to admit that the policy of the Government has transformed the former hopeless and helpless outlook in the economic state of the country into a condition of prosperity, compared with the condition of any other country in the world. I am astonished that one who has taken a prominent part in the economic life of the country, among masses of people who by their own efforts are distributing mutual advantages amongst themselves through the great cooperative movement, should this afternoon have made an unwarranted attack against the work of the Government in the last five years. We are to-day the envy of the whole world for what has been done by the protective policy of the Government.


I must remind the hon. Member that the new Clause is concerned only with foodstuffs.


Surely foodstuffs have been affected by our protective policy. The very fact that we have been able, by a protective policy, to raise the price level for the agricultural producers of the country, is of immense advantage to the economic progress of the country. No one knows that better than the right hon. Gentleman. I hope that we shall pursue still more the policy of protecting the primary producers of the country. The whole country to-day looks upon the future from a different angle, and has turned from the miserable and contracted and depressed situation in which we stood 4½ years ago.

4.5 p.m.


The hon. Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon) endeavoured to make a point by quoting certain figures as to the balance of trade. It is really quite absurd to take a so-called adverse balance, selected at a moment which was admittedly a time of great crisis, and to seek to draw general deductions from that. As a matter of fact I have never understood the argument about balances of trade. Why a balance is called favourable when you are giving away more than you receive, I have never been able to understand for a minute. In any event we are not dealing here with the whole tariff problem; we are dealing with that particular part of it which concerns the taxation of foodstuffs. Admittedly the Government's various methods of preventing foodstuffs coming in is an important part of their tariff policy. If anyone wants to see a reasonable discussion of the effects of that policy in general, and particularly the foodstuffs part of it, he can be recommended to read an article in this month's "Lloyds Bank Review" which states, in the opinion of the writer of that article at any rate, that the effect of these measures has been to clamp down firmly upon the depressed areas of the country the depression from which they were suffering. It is being done by the very measures which the Government have taken to restore domestic prosperity.

I would remind the Committee that when those measures were first introduced, when there first came about the idea of changing the whole fiscal policy of the country, a great many Members, some in very high places on the Government Front Bench, found it necessary to assure their constituencies that of course nothing would be done with regard to foodstuffs; that was out of the question. One wonders how this change has come about. Perhaps it is not difficult to see. I would myself admit that, once you have a system of the general kind, which I am not now at liberty to discuss, naturally there is a great clamour when any one particular industry finds itself left out, and no one will blame the agricultural interests for trying to get as good a place as possible in whatever fiscal system we have. But it seems to me that the motive which caused prominent Members of the Government to try to assure the country that if the worst came to the worst foodstuffs at any rate were safe—those reasons still remain, for the food of the people is of a different basis from anything else, and any Government which undertakes a policy which either makes the price of foodstuffs higher or which prevents the people from getting the advantage of such fall in price as would otherwise have come to them, is undertaking a very grave responsibility indeed.

One cannot help joining that up with the publication which all of us must have in mind, the report of Sir John Orr. When we have the evidence of such an unimpeachable authority that 50 per cent. of the population live below that line, in the matter of diet, which is regarded as desirable for keeping people in health, and 20 per cent. even below the miserable standard which was put forward by the British Medical Association in 1933—when one has those facts before the nation, surely they alone are a sufficient justification for a new Clause like this. I do not wish to address the Committee at any length because I had come here unprepared to speak, and it was only the words of the hon. Member for Moseley that called me to my feet. But I am glad that the opportunity has been given to me, because I think that we who sit on these benches, reduced in numbers though we may be, would deserve to be reduced still further if we failed at every opportunity to utter our protest against the changes which have been made in the life of the people.


How does the hon. Member explain the fall in the index figure of the cost of living?


I am not concerned with the index figure, which includes a great many other elements besides the figures of diet. I prefer to base myself on an authoritative pronouncement which dealt specifically with diet and diet only, because that alone is relevant to the new Clause.

4.11 p.m.


Unlike the last speaker I am concerned with the index figure of the cost of living. I want to know why the right hon. Member who moved this new Clause is making an attack upon food only and not upon other commodities. The index figure for commodities as a whole is round about 40 above the figure for 1913, but the increase in the wholesale price of agricultural produce stands at only 22. So why attack that which is only 22 as against other commodities which are 40? Is it because the right hon. Member is in the distributive trade? I am speaking for those who are in the productive trade.


The new Clause was not drafted by me, but was drafted on behalf of the Opposition officially, and I was asked to move it. I have already stated that it is the policy of the Opposition to press for direct taxation for the raising of revenue, and we regard food as the worst possible type of commodity to be the subject of taxation.


Although the right hon. Gentleman may have moved the new Clause on behalf of someone else, he does not agree with it. [Ho/c. MEMBERS: "Nonsense !"] If that is not so, and the right hon. Member accepts responsibility for the new Clause, my question is still pertinent, why is the attack made collectively upon food and not upon other commodities? The right hon. Gentleman referred to the tremendous hardship on the working man. I agree, but to whom does he refer when he speaks of the working man? In agriculture there are more people employed than in any other industry. Although we hear so much about coal, and I am sorry that the industry is in such a condition, there are more engaged in agriculture than in the whole of coal and other mining industries and several other industries as well. These people are entitled to be considered as working people equally with the others. When hon. Members opposite attack food taxation they are attacking the standard of life of these people. Why does the right hon. Gentleman wish to exclude from the category of working men those who are employed in agriculture? For years the standard of life of those engaged in agriculture was lower than the standard of those engaged in any other industry, but during the whole of that time those who were in other industries were receiving benefits which agriculture was denied. Now agriculture is getting more of its rights in relation to other industries.

There is one other question: What is the difference between the cost of food consumed by the industrialist and the cost of food consumed by the agriculturist? I can see no difference at all. Consequently the agriculturist is affected just as much as others. To pay for that food he must have an adequate return, and that is all that he is asking for.

4.15 p.m.


I regret the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), because I well recall in the not very distant past the very eloquent speeches that he used to make, when he was in other company than the present, upon the iniquity of taxing the food of the people. I can only imagine that it is because he feels that some ghosts out of the misty past might arise and accuse him that he is not here to repeat them. I could not help thinking that it would be a good thing if the hon. Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon) would repeat his speech in my constituency. He would have a most respectful hearing, but at the conclusion he would find his audience, no matter from what political party they were drawn, completely sceptical, because there are parts of the country which wish they might get back to 1931, and that great population along Tyneside is one of them. As a result of this policy of preventing imports, so far as you have succeeded in doing so, you have made overwhelmingly difficult the task of securing the export of the great commodities which are produced in those areas and, therefore, I see the very closest connection between the troubles of the export trade and the import trade of the country.

I join issue at once with the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb) with regard to his story about the connection between the prosperity of the worker in agriculture and the system of Protection. The worst period the agricultural labourers ever had, as we were reminded in connection with the centenary of the transportation of the Dorsetshire labourers, was when the protective system was highest. There never has been and, as far as I can see, there never will be any connection, while agriculture remains under a capitalist system, between the prosperity of one section of the agricultural community and the wages paid to the agricultural labourer. I do not imagine that they would even now get the wages they do, when they are lucky, but for the fact that there is a law assuring them of their wages, and the prosecutions that take place from time to time show that they are not paid as an act of grace or as some thank-offering because the country has adopted a protective system, but because they have been the subject of the usual negotiations between employer and employed, backed up in this, case by the authority of the State. In my constituency, which includes the greatest coal exporting dock in the world, there is no doubt as to the connection between this policy of import duties and the continued and growing distress that confronts us.


We are limited to import duties on foodstuffs. We cannot go into the whole question of Protection.


I was going to say that we are one of the great importing ports for agricultural produce from the countries on the other side of the North Sea, and it does not need Parliamentary candidates and Members of Parliament to point the moral of the way in which imports and exports pay for one another. If these people did not say it, the stones of the streets would cry out and the vacant berths at the docks would proclaim the true economic doctrine that used to be held. I regret very much that, owing to the way the matter was introduced, it is only on an occasion like this that we can raise anything approaching the general issue. We were asked to reduce the duty on dead turkeys by 2d. a pound just before Christmas, and I appealed to the Financial Secretary to give me an assurance that that would mean that we should be able to get cheaper turkeys, but nothing of the sort. He absolutely declined to give any pledge in the matter. The effect of these duties is that from time to time certain articles of diet have disappeared from the tables of the working class altogether.


Turkeys never came on the agricultural labourer's table.


It is not quite the article that the hon. Member had in mind but, if he has not got it as the result of these import duties, where does the connection between the import duties and his standard of prosperity come in?


The hon. Member referred to turkeys.


I certainly referred to a tax upon turkeys, and I do not imagine that there were many industrial workers' tables that had turkey on them last year. I do not imagine that many of those engaged in raising turkeys in Norfolk and elsewhere found any on their Christmas dinner tables. I see no reason for imagining that, if you continue import duties, it will lead to raising the standard of living any more than it has in the past. From time to time one asks why there is no bacon for breakfast, and one is told that suddenly and unaccountably the price has gone up, so that within the allowance that is handed over to the person who has to deal with the weekly budget bacon cannot be produced. I have heard questions in the House on that sort of subject. In this way we are using the fiscal system, it may be to confer benefits on certain people, but to lower the standard of life and the variety of the articles that can be placed on the breakfast tables of the industrial workers, and the agricultural labourers' tables, too, because I do not imagine that much English bacon at any time gets on to their tables. They are as dependent as the rest of us on Danish bacon for their taste of pig flesh. I hope i t will not be very long before this policy will be recognised for the failure that it is and these duties will be withdrawn. The President of the Board of Trade said everyone wants freer trade, and there is no country in the world that has the courage to stand up for it. I hope that this country will very soon revert to the fiscal policy which secured its prosperity and made it, as the hon. Member for Moseley said, the envy of the world, instead of having districts like Tyneside and South Wales where each year brings increasing depression instead of a return to prosperity.

4.25 p.m.


The Opposition is making a brave show, but the facts are against them. The price of Danish bacon now is less than when the last Labour Government was in office and the wages of agricultural labourers are considerably higher. One objects to the term "working men" being applied only to workers in the factories and in the gowns. There are working men in the countryside as well and, if we look upon the general effect of the present fiscal policy of the Government, it has resulted in a general rise in wages.


I have frequently had to point out that the Debate is limited to foodstuffs.


Hon. Members opposite continually try to prove that the present fiscal policy is resulting in dearer food, and that is not true. The standard of life is higher than it has ever been and there are more people in employment than there have ever been, and that is the direct effect of the present fiscal policy, in particular the policy in regard to food, and I hope that it will be persisted in and that this Clause will not be accepted.

4.27 p.m.


I should like to take up the hon. Member's statement on the question of food prices. I do not know whether he inquires of his wife as to prices, but it is always an interesting subject to me. In the last Parliament I took some interest in the matter of agricultural marketing, and, in particular, of prices. When we started on this food policy the wholesale price of bacon was approximately between 54s. and 56s. per cwt. According to the "Economist" a fortnight ago, that price had risen to from 94s. to 96s. I am taking no oath as to a shilling one way or another, and am speaking without a brief. I believe that butter within the last 12 months has risen 3d. or 4d. per lb. The hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb) asks, "Why single out foodstuffs?" I was rather surprised at the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) getting up in a somewhat apologetic manner and saying, "I am not sponsoring this. It is my party and I am doing it out of a sense of duty." I would single out foodstuffs, because the greater proportion of the expenditure in a working-class household is on food or on rent.


I thank the hon. Member for telling me that, because I now know where he stands. A great proportion of the production of the agricultural labourer is food.


The vital thing in a working-class household is, What does the woman do? She pays the rent, she pays 1s. for insurance, she may be contributing to a clothing club in order to clothe her family and she says, "How much have I left to buy food?" What she can buy is dictated by the amount of money that she has left. It is not a question of what the family needs. If bacon is 6d. a lb. and she has 1s., she gets 2 lbs. If it is 1s., she is limited to 1 lb. I do not mind what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough says is his reason for moving this.


The hon. Member really must not deliberately misrepresent me. It is most unfair. The hon. Member opposite suggested that I might have moved it because I am interested in the distributive trade. I got up to repudiate that and said that it was an official Opposition Amendment. The hon. Member has no reason to suggest that I apologised.


I have certainly not deliberately misrepresented the right hon. Gentleman, for that is the last thing I would think of doing. If he thinks that I have misrepresented him, I will withdraw every word I have said. I want absolutely to affirm that I make no apology for singling out foodstuffs. Ever since I came into this House I have voted against every duty upon foodstuffs, and against every quota, and I shall continue to do so. In the early days of my own experience I knew what it was to go into these markets, and buy, with the money I had, limited quantities. There can be no justification, after all the evidence which has been given during the past 12 months with regard to the provision of proper and nourishing foods for the people, and the scarcity of those foods, for this policy. I go further. What advantage have agriculturists gained? There have been fewer people employed in agriculture since this policy was adopted than was the case before. The hon. Member said that that is because the policy has not been fully operative. What does he mean by that? Does he mean that they have not sufficient quotas, taxes, or one thing or another? He says, "Give us more; make things dearer." The quantities of food consumed will not be affected either by Government policy or by the suggestions of the hon. Gentleman, but by the consumer and his ability to pay for it. That is the only thing that can decide this particular matter.


Does the hon. Member take into consideration at all the cost of production? He says that price is the only thing which rules the position. If an article is sold below the cost of production, is he entitled to demand it for himself or for anybody else?




That is the only point which I have at issue with the hon. Member.


I am coming to that particular point. The agriculturist to-day, with all the tariffs and quotas, has not got a fair reward. It is not a question of tariff or duty, but of the distribution of the product which is largely at fault. For instance, does the hon. Member think that under the wonderful milk scheme the farmer is getting a proper return for his labour? Who gets the difference between the price which the farmer receives for his product and the distributors' price, which the consumer has to pay? That is where there is something wrong in this country. I went to Denmark and spent three weeks in going round their department of agriculture and their farms, etc., and I saw what was done by voluntary amalgamation and scientific voluntary distribution. I suggest to the hon. Member for Stone that, in spite of the policy of the Government, the farmer does not get, in many cases, an adequate return; nor does the farm labourer get an adequate wage. Index figures are sheer nonsense. All sorts of figures are taken into consideration relating to food which the ordinary worker does not have on his table week by week. Meat, butter, flour, sugar, tea, are the things which affect the family budget of the ordinary worker. It is not whether tinned pears have gone up, or something like that. The answer to the question of the hon. Member for Stone, "Why single out foodstuffs" is that the worker can say, "I will not have another suit." He can say, "I will do without it," but if he is to exist at all he must eat.


Who is the "worker"? Is he the agricultural labourer or not?


I think that such a definition can be given to him, and I cannot see the point of the hon. Member's interruption. If the price of foodstuffs goes up, it naturally affects the agricultural labourer. You have not made him better off.


If foodstuffs go down in price and are sold at less than the cost of production, does that affect the agricultural labourer or not?


Exactly, but my point is that you are not getting a proper demand for your goods when you are placing them outside the ability of the ordinary people to purchase them. The agriculturist and the agricultural labourer are absolutely dependent upon the consumer of the produce of agriculture. If you make the industrial workers prosperous, then the agricultural areas will reap their reward. I do not want to cause any division between the agricultural labourer and the industrial worker. They should both be looked after. But it is hardly correct to say that the agricultural labourer is in the same position with regard to the question of food as the industrial worker. There are tremendous facilities —and no one knows it better than the lion. Member for Stone—available to the agricultural labourer. He can produce a good deal of his own food. Undoubtedly the price of certain foodstuffs has increased.

One can say what he likes about the index figures. I do not accept them. You have not made agriculture prosperous, and we have to make up our mind in this country what sort of balance we are to have between agriculture and industry. With regard to the policy in relation to food in this country, we have two Departments. We have the Minister of Agriculture working in one particular way, and the President of the Board of Trade working in another particular way. What do we see happening in this House day after day? Questions are asked about trade agreements, and, one after another, agriculturists get up and say, "Stop this coming in"; and, "Will the right hon. Gentleman bear this in mind?" We in the industrial areas ask, "Will he bear us in mind" If we do not take in foodstuffs, how are we to export the products of the industrial areas? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) has never moved a better Clause, and it will give me the greatest possible pleasure to support it in the Division Lobby.

4.38 p. m.


The reason that these duties are being imposed is that they are for the general good of the country, and I support them because I believe that they are for the general good of the whole country. In striking a balance between agriculturists and the people in the towns, one should ask whether the additional million people who are now employed, compared with the number employed when this Government came into power, would like to be thrown out of work again and go back to the condition in which they were in 1931, or whether they prefer to have the work and the wages so as to be able to buy food? The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) spoke of the "stones in the streets," and about the absence of Danish goods from this country. What about the thousands of acres of wheat now being cultivated which were almost jungle land before this Government came into power? Has not that done some good for somebody? The hon. Gentleman also spoke of our exports. I would point out that now we stand first in the world in the matter of exports, and at the time this Government came into power we were only third. How are we to expect our people to work in the cotton looms of Lancashire or anywhere else if we do not have trade agreements with other countries? Should it not be possible for the President of the Board of Trade to make fair agreements and obtain fair treatment for our exports elsewhere? We have to think of the Argentine and of Australia, which gave us preferences the other day. It is for that reason that I support these duties, believing that they are for the good of the whole country.

4.40 p.m.


I support the Clause moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander), and will confine my remarks entirely to the question of the merits of the Import Duties on foodstuffs. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn (Sir W. Smiles), in advocating the retention of these duties on the ground that they have contributed to our increasing prosperity and trade, overlooked the fact that we went off the Gold Standard in 1931, and that, in addition, in the last few years there has been an enormously increased expenditure of national money upon armaments. Those two factors have done a great deal more to bring about such revival of trade as has taken place than the mere imposition, in the interests of the people concerned, of heavy duties on foodstuffs. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) seemed to argue that the imposition of the duties on foodstuffs had not resulted in any increase of price to the consumer in this country. That was an extraordinary argument. We have the facts that at least £20,000,000 more in the way of duties is being charged upon the import of foodstuffs which has to be paid, of course, by the people of this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot put up the argument to-day that the cost is borne by the exporters in foreign countries.


A large amount of foodstuffs is sent to this country under cost of production, and it clearly pays the exporters of that food to pay the duty, and, at the same time, make a profit in this country.


As the Board of Trade publish the facts from time to time, we know that the price of these foodstuffs, the price of bacon for instance, has increased very considerably since the duties were imposed. I do not intend to argue the question as to who pays the increased price. The point I wish to put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that the retention of these duties, which admittedly add to the cost of living of a very large number of working-class people in this country, is the pursuance of a policy which really does not reflect credit upon any party in this House. The imposition of duties upon common articles of food of everyday use such as were enumerated by the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth)—meat, sugar, butter, potatoes and vegetables—is a policy which I cannot characterise by any other word than despicable. It is a policy of deliberately lowering the standard of living of great masses of our people. It is not difficult to visualise, and it cannot be disputed, that we have to-day many hundreds of thousands of people, widows and old age pensioners, living on a weekly pension of 10s., and unemployed families who have to seek either unemployment benefit or public assistance. Since these duties were imposed there can be no question about it that they are paying more out of their diminished scales of weekly incomes than they did before, and I suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that that is not a policy of which anybody should be proud.

The retention of these duties is contrary to every accepted principle for the raising of public taxation. There is a principle to which every party subscribes, more or less, that you are not entitled to tax people who are not in a position to pay the tax without impinging upon a decent physical standard of living. That is the principle which underlies the Income Tax. If it is sound to tax by putting a duty upon food which people must have, if it is justifiable to tax people whose incomes are not sufficient to get an adequate daily supply of foodstuff, why not apply the same principle and put Income Tax upon every person who receives wages? We do not do that, because it is recognised that the State ought not to call upon people to pay taxation who have not a certain minimum assured standard of living. The policy of retaining duties upon foodstuffs, which means hardship on people who are at the bottom of the social scale, is a policy which is despicable and of which any party ought to be ashamed. This country is rich enough to derive its taxation from sources other than those which inflict hardship upon great masses of people.

It may be argued that the Government have to follow this policy in order to assist agriculture, and so on. I say frankly that if it is considered necessary to give direct subsidies from the State to various sections of agriculture I would rather do it as we did in the case of the Wheat Subsidy, and give it direct rather than punish the people who have to live on an inadequate weekly or daily income. I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be big enough to take away these indefensible duties, which are pinching the people in their daily living. I am old enough to remember that almost 50 years ago there was a great political party which stood for a free breakfast table—no taxes on food of any kind. I am reminded that there are some descendants of that party who are Members of the present Government, although they have a new kind of name. I am glad that the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) still holds by that policy of a free breakfast table, and as a Member of the Labour party I reassert belief in that doctrine. I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to wipe away the stain of a policy which retains these duties on foodstuffs.

4.50 p.m.


Perhaps it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I intervene now. The new Clause is somewhat narrower in its scope than some of the speeches on the question of tariffs and food taxes generally which have been delivered. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander), in introducing the Clause, referred to the fact that there has been a revolution in the taxation system of this country. There has been a change, but it was not a change that happened accidentally. It was a deliberate change inspired by policy and a change which, without transgressing the Rules of Order, I may claim has abundantly proved its wisdom and its success. The right hon. Gentleman made a general statement as to the increases in the taxation of food, but he failed to mention, and no hon. Member who has supported the proposed new Clause has mentioned, that agricultural production at home has shown a very substantial increase. Surely what affects the cost of living and the availability of food for the people of this country is the total amount of food that can be purchased at a cheap price, and no judicial weighing up of the situation can be achieved without taking into consideration both sides of the account, namely, the policy which the right hon. Gentleman denounced, along with the undoubted expansion in the production of food within our own island.

The hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb) dealt with the cost-of-living figures. I shall deal with them a little later in detail. In the meantime, I would make one or two suggestions arising out of the course of the Debate. The hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth), whose speech had a refreshing air of antiquity about it, urged, in support of his argument, that food prices had gone up as a result of taxes on eggs, bacon and butter. He was proud to claim that he had voted against every duty on food since he had been a Member of this House. I wonder whether he voted against a duty on bacon.


I am quite aware that there is no duty on bacon. What I said was in answer to something that had been stated by the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb).


It is a little surprising that in discussing this question, hon. Members in support of their assertion that these taxes have created a rise in the cost of food, should instance bacon. Bacon happens to be a duty-free article. We are discussing a proposed new Clause. If the new Clause were inserted as the right hon. Member for Hillsborough desires it to be, it would make no alteration to the position as regards bacon. Therefore, I fail to see the relevance of any discussion founded on the price of bacon in regard to this particular Clause. The second example that was given by the hon. Member for South Bradford was butter. The proposed new Clause concerns duties that are imposed under the Import Duties Act. There is no such duty upon butter. The only duty that falls upon butter is that under the Ottawa Agreement. Again, if this proposed new Clause were passed it would alter the position in regard to butter not one jot.

What is the position as regards butter? The hon. Member ventilated the old doctrine which has been preached in this country for so many years. Let me remind him that the price of butter today is cheaper than it was before the War, when a Liberal Government was in power and when the full, unadulterated milk of Free Trade was supposed to be the policy of this country. You can buy butter and cheese cheaper to-day than under the Liberal Government that existed before the War. The point is that the price to-day is less than it was before the War, when we had Free Trade. Surely, it is putting a little strain on the Committee for the hon. Member to build up a great denunciation of the Government's policy upon two articles, one of which is duty-free and the other of which is not affected by the Clause and is actually cheaper to-day than it was when the Liberal Government was in power.

The hon. Member for South Bradford was frank and candid with the Committee in the last statement he made, referring to the cost-of-living figures. He said that he did not care for figures. It is quite obvious that the hon. Member was putting forward a point of view not based upon facts hut upon theory.


The point that I was making was that there are so many things calculated in formulating that index figure that it is not a true reflection of what the workman consumes in a week. Surely, that fact is proved by the appointment of a committee to inquire whether or not the index figure is correct. I do not accept the figure.


The hon. Member's intervention does not dispose of the facts as to the price of butter and cheese.


I will answer that point if the hon. Member wishes. The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) said that prices had not increased. The Debate had developed along the lines of foodstuffs generally. In response to what Mr. Speaker said at the beginning of this Parliament, I was trying to answer a point put from the other side. I know that, to be technically correct, we were out of order in discussing that.


The hon. Member has given an explanation of how he came to base an attack on the Government upon something that was quite irrelevant. The proposed new Clause applies wholly to duties which are levied as a result of the Import Duties Act. Therefore, the Committee ought to be in possession of the facts as to the exact extent of those duties. The articles affected are cereal products, poultry, eggs not in shell, that is, eggs that come in in liquid form, most vegetables and certain fruits. Those are the articles which would be free from taxation if the new Clause were carried. There is one difficulty about this matter. We talk about foodstuffs, as the Clause does, "imported for human consumption." The fact is that a great many articles which are imported for the purpose of industry can be used as food. That is to say, there are many articles which come in which can be used for food and also used for industry. If we were to apply this Clause as the right hon. Member for Hillsborough has put it on the Order Paper it would involve a very difficult problem of Customs control. It would mean that where you got a certain article of that character which could be used for other purposes you would have to follow the article to its destination before you could be sure whether it was an article for human consumption or was intended for some other purpose. That is a familiar objection to many forms of proposed Customs duties and it is one which is very powerful in the present case.


Surely the remedy is to abolish them all. If the Government will first accept the new Clause we shall be willing to ask them to accept further Amendments to abolish the whole.


We have to deal with the Clause as it appears on the Order Paper, and it is well that the Committee should know what it really means. At the present time, so far as regards a plentiful supply of cheap food, this country is in a better position than any other country in the world. Various references have been made to the cost-of-living figures, and although I am aware that no one can say that they are necessarily correct they are, I think, reliable. The cost of living as a whole shows a rise of 44 per cent. over 1914, but the rise in the cost of foodstuffs is only 26 per cent.


That is a rise of 11 per cent. since 1933?


I am taking the last figures, and I propose to examine the principal items which have caused the rise in the cost of living. None of the articles which contribute to this rise would be affected by the new Clause. The principal article showing a great rise is potatoes, and the curious fact is that the duty on potatoes was removed on the recommendation of the Import Duties Advisory Committee in March. Potatoes are now free.


Surely the Financial Secretary will not suggest that this will not make any difference? Is it not the fact that the duty on potatoes, coupled with the policy of the Government of restricting the acreage of production, has caused the increase in the price of potatoes?


It has had nothing to do with it. I am going to put the whole facts of the ease before the Committee so that hon. Members might get a true view of the position. The price of foodstuffs is not affected by duties but by production; on the amount available at home and abroad. If you get a bad crop not only here but on the continent and there is a world shortage in any of these articles, that is what affects the price, not a duty. Hon. Members who say that it is the Government's policy which has raised the price of foodstuffs, and of course evoke a ready response from some people, should take into consideration the far more important operations of nature, physical changes, bad crops, which really affect price more than anything else. The amount of imported potatoes even in normal years without any question of a duty or any restriction is only 4 per cent, of the total consumption. The home market on an average supplies 96 per cent. of the total amount of potatoes consumed, and it is idle to suggest that the rise in the price of potatoes is due to the policy of the Government when 96 per cent. are home-produced and only 4 per cent. imported.


If that is the real position what was the object in taking off the £1 per ton duty? I speak as a member of the Consultative Committee advising the Government on potato imports. It was obvious that as there was a shortage of crop, which I admit is a powerful argument, it was becoming impossible to check the increase in price because we could not get what crops were available on the Continent so long as the £1 per ton duty remained on, and, therefore, the Government removed the duty temporarily in order to arrest the rise in price. That is our whole case.


The right hon. Member's facts are the same as mine, but the reason why the Government accepted the recommendation of the Advisory Committee to remove for a time the duty on potatoes was because there was a shortage in this country and it was desirable to admit more for a short period. I hope the Committee will resist the new Clause. If it was accepted we should be faced with a very anomalous position. The duties under the Ottawa Agreements would remain in force, and it would be necessary, in order to keep faith with the Dominions, to retain the Import Duties Act duties on foodstuffs so far as the Ottawa Agreements are concerned. That would be a selection of products; and an anomaly. But there would be a far greater anomaly than that. To accept the new Clause would be to make a most invidious distinction against the industry of agriculture. There is no reason at all, if our industries have benefited, as they have, by the fiscal policy of the Government, why the great industry of agriculture should be deprived of the benefits of the fiscal system. There is no more deserving class of workmen than the agricultural labourers. When they are dealing with the miners, a most deserving body of workmen who have had a very hard and difficult time, hon. Members opposite suggest that it is wrong that coal should be sold at a price which they allege denies the provision of proper wages for the miners. I ask them to extend the same consideration to those engaged in the agricultural industry. Why should the products of their toil be unprotected in the markets of this country?


The Financial Secretary was on the interesting point as to the products which have contributed to the increase in the cost of living. Can he give us in more detail the various articles which have contributed to the rise in the cost of living?


I can give this comparison between the prices on the 1st May, 1935, and 1st May, 1936. The total rise in the cost of living was from 139 to 144; that is compared with 1914. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) has said with great truth that there are seasonal causes which may affect the index figure by two or three points in one month. That, however, is the total difference between 1st May, 1935, and 1st May, 1936; a very small difference, and it shows a remarkable steadiness in the cost of living. The increase in the cost of food was from 118 to 125; in frozen mutton from 140 to 141—a very small increase of id. per lb.—bacon 120 to 124—and bacon is not subject to a duty—fish 199 to 207. The position with regard to fish is that there is a 10 per cent. tariff on foreign caught fish, but this foreign caught fish is only a very trivial proportion of the total supplies of this country. Flour rose from 117 to 125, bread from 132 to 142—equal to a id. per 4 lb. loaf—butter (fresh) 91 to 98, and salt 80 to 88, cheese 94 to 99, margarine 74 to 83, and potatoes 113 to 165. That is a large increase, and I have already explained that it cannot be attributed to any duty. Tea rose from 128 to 131, sugar from 111 to 112, and milk 171 to 173. The Committee, I am sure, will marvel at the remarkable steadiness with which we are able to supply cheap and plentiful food to the people of this country.

5.14 p.m.


Has the Financial Secretary really thought out this matter when he says that there is a cheap and plentiful supply of food for the people of this country? He seems to consider that a 26 per cent. advance is a more or less trivial matter.


That is over the figure for 1914.


There are millions of people in this country who get considerably less than £2 per week. The agricultural labourer, who is supposed to be benefiting from this prosperity in agriculture, has the utmost difficulty in getting 30s. a week established as a minimum wage. In industrial centres—in constituencies such as mine—38s. 6d. a week is a recognised wage for an adult worker. I would point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman that a 26 per cent. increase in the cost of food means a great deal to these people.


The 26 per cent. increase, of course, has taken place since 1914. I would point out to the hon. Member that agricultural wages have increased by nearly 100 per cent. since that time. In my own district they were 15s. a week in 1914 and they are 30s. a week now.


At the present time there is no case where the minimum wage is less than 32s. a week, with extras ranging from 5s. to 10s.

The CHAIRMAN (Sir Dennis Herbert)

Hon. Members in all parts of the Committee must avoid drifting away from the proposed Clause which is under discussion.


What I was trying to point out was that it would be wrong to make any attempt to set those engaged in agriculture against those engaged in industrial pursuits. This proposed new Clause attempts to do something to secure cheap food during a period when wages are remarkably low. I was struck by the hon. and learned Gentleman's statement that there has been a change of policy which has been marked by success. We have no guarantee whatever that the small number of articles which the hon. and learned Gentleman enumerated will remain as at present, and he must be aware of the possibility of many more articles of food being brought under the provisions of the Import Duties Act, 1932. If this proposed new Clause were carried, we should at any rate be free from that possibility and we should know that other articles could not be taxed as a result of the Import Duties Act, 1932.

The question of food is a fundamental one and it affects every home in the land. It is no use the hon. and learned Gentleman arguing that this proposed new Clause is unnecessary. We have to remember that to all people food is the most fundamental thing. This Clause is drafted for the purpose of preserving as far as possible a cheap food supply. If we are to have something which will make food dearer, I want the hon. and learned Gentleman to bear in mind that that can be successful only if there is an increase in purchasing power to compensate for the higher prices; otherwise very grave injustice will be done to the vast majority of our people. It is not sufficient for hon. Members to argue that this policy has brought success. It may have been a success in the case of a few people, but if it brings no prosperity where it is wanted most, that is to say, in the homes of the wage earners, whether they be agricultural or industrial workers, that policy must in the main fail. I look upon this proposed new Clause as being something in the nature of a safeguard. We are not satisfied that any of our people can hear higher food prices in present conditions, and it is because we want to safeguard them as far as we possibly can that we are supporting this new Clause.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and 40 Members being present—

5.21 p.m.


I would like to refer to the remarkable series of arguments used by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. He gave the Committee to understand that if there has been any rise in the prices of foodstuffs during recent months, it was due to drought, floods or some other calamity or upheaval. I do not believe it is possible to defend this policy by pleading an act of God on every occasion. I could not see the relevance of the argument used by the hon. and learned Gentleman when he gave the Committee the index figures of foodstuffs for the year 1935 compared with 1936. There has been no change of fiscal policy from 1935 to 1936, and therefore it seems to me that the figures which he gave at considerable length have absolutely no relevance to the Clause now under discussion. The hon. and learned Gentleman dealt with the question of butter, for instance, and the principal argument he used was that the price of butter is lower now than it was before the War when, as he reminded the Committee, a Liberal Government was in office.

Has it never occurred to him that there may be alterations in world prices and that consequently the price of butter or of any other commodity may vary, apart from any duties which are imposed? The test is simply this: there is a series of duties upon food, with some of which we are dealing in this proposed new Clause; if this new Clause were carried and those duties were swept away to-morrow, would there not be an immediate fall in the prices of those foodstuffs to the consumer? The hon. and learned Gentleman does not answer, but I remember this question being put in the last Parliament. It was put by Sir Herbert Samuel to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chancellor tried to evade it by saying that he thought there would be a rise in the price of foodstuffs in the long run. Even he, the chief protagonist of this policy, was not prepared to answer with regard to the immediate effects of removing these duties.

The hon. and learned Gentleman rather fenced round the question of the duty on potatoes. He said that duty had been removed in order that larger supplies should come into the country and later on he gave the figures for potatoes,

showing that there has been an increase in the price. Does he really say that if that duty had been maintained, the increase in price would not have been even steeper? He knows that would have been the case and that the only reason for removing the duty was that the Government and everybody else knew perfectly well they could not separate the question of the duty from that of the price to the consumer. Finally, the hon. and learned Gentleman raised a technical difficulty when he said that there are some articles which are used for food and also for some other purposes, and that consequently there might be some difficulties at the Customs houses in distinguishing what is meant for human consumption and what is being brought in for some other reason. We have often had that distinction drawn. As the hon. and learned Gentleman remarked, this is a very ancient controversy, and the distinction has frequently been drawn by the hon. and learned Gentleman's own party between taxes on food and taxes on other commodities. I am sure that that difficulty, if it be a difficulty, must have been in the mind of the present Prime Minister when he was opening his election campaign in 1929 and said: The Unionist party is pledged and will continue to be pledged not to impose taxes upon food.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 123; Noes, 194.

Division No. 241.] AYES. [5.28 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Dalton, H. Henderson, J. (Ardwick)
Adams, D. (Consett) Davies, D. L. (Pontypridd) Henderson, T. (Tradeston)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Davles, S. O. (Merthyr) Hills, A. (Pontefract)
Adamson, W. M. Day, H. Holdsworth, H.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Dobbie, W. Holland, A.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Ede, J. C. Jagger, J.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)
Banfield, J. W. Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)
Barnes, A. J. Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.
Barr J. Foot, D. M. Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Batey, J. Frankel, D. Jones, H. Haydn (Merloneth)
Benson, G. Gallacher, W. Kelly, W. T.
Bernays, R. H. Gardner, B. W. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.
Bevan, A. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke] Kirkwood, D.
Broad, F. A. George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Lathan, G.
Bromfield, W. Gibbins, J. Lawson, J. J.
Brooke, W. Graham, D. M. (Hamliton) Leach, W.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Lee, F.
Burke, W. A. Grenfell, D. R. Leonard, W.
Cape, T. Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Leslie, J. R.
Casselis, T. Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Logan, D. G.
Chater, D. Groves, T. E. Lunn, W.
Cocks, F. S. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Macdonald, G. (Ince)
Compton, J. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) McEntee, V. La T.
Cove, W. G Hardie, G. D. McGhae, H. G.
Daggar, G. Harris, Sir P. A, MacLaren, A.
Maclean, N. Potts, J. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
MacMilfan, M. (Western Isles) Price, M. P. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
MacNeill, Weir, L. Pritt, D. N. Thurtle, E.
Markiew, E. Richards, R. (Wrexham) Tinker, J. J.
Mathers, G. Riley, B. Viant, S. P.
Maxton, J. Ritson, J. Watkins, F. C.
Messer, F. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.) Watson, W. McL.
Montague, F, Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens) Westwood, J.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Salter, Dr. A. White, H. Graham
Muff, G. Sexton, T. M. Wilkinson, Ellen
Naylor, T. E. Short, A. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Owen, Major G. Silkin, L. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Paling, W. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe) Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Parker, J. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Parkinson, J. A. Smith, T. (Normanton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES —
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng) Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Charleton
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Emrys-Evans, P. V. Morrison, W. S. (Clrencester)
Albery, I. J. Ersklne Hill, A. G. Munro, p.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Everard, W. L. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Gibson, C. G. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Atholl, Duchess of Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir J. O'Connor, Sir Terence J.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gluckstein, L. H. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Glyn, Major Sir R. G, C. Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Balfour, Capt. H. H.(lsle of Thanet) Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Peake, O.
Balniel, Lord Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Peat, C. U.
Baxter, A. Beverley Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Petherick, M.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Grimston, R. V. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Beit, Sir A. L. Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'll, N.W.) Pilkington, R.
Blindell, Sir J. Gunston, Capt. D. W. Plugge, L. F.
Bossom, A. C. Guy, J. C. M. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Boulton, W. W. Hannah, I. C. Pownall, Sir Assheton
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Radford, E. A.
Boyce, H. Leslie Harbord. A. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Hartington, Marquess of Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Remer, J. R.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Hepworth, J. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, w.) Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Ropner, Colonel L.
Bull, B. B. Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)
Bullock, Capt. M. Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Butler, R. A. Holmes, J. S. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hopkinson, A. Runciman. Rt. Hon. W.
Cartland, J. R. H. Hore-Bellsha, Rt. Hon. L. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)
Carver, Major W. H, Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S. Salmon, Sir I.
Cary, R. A. Horsbrugh, Florence Salt, E. W.
Castiereagh, Viscount Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Cautiey, Sir H. S. Hudson, R. S. (Southport) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Cazalet, Theima (Islington, E.) Hunter, T. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Savery, Servington
Channon, H. Jackson, Sir H. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Jones, L. (Swansea, W.) Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Keeling, E. H. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Chorlton, A. E. L. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Christie, J. A. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Clarry, Sir Reginald Kirkpatrick, W. M. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Colfox, Major W. P. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J. Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak) Spender-Clay Lt.-CI. Rt. Hn. H. H.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Spens, W. P.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff(Wst'r S.G'gs) Leech, Dr. J. W. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Corper, Rt. Hon. T. M. (E'nburgh. W.) Lees-Jones, J. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Craddock, Sir R. H. Lewis, O. Strauss. H. G. (Norwich)
Craven-Ellis, W. Lloyd, G. W. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Critchley, A. Loftus. P. C. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Crooke, J. S. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Tasker, Sir R. I
Cross, R. H. MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.) Tate, Mavis C.
Crowder, J. F. E. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Cruddas, Col. B. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Touche, G. C.
Cuiverwell, C. T. McKie, J. H. Wakefield, W. W.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Magnay, T. Wallace, Captain Euan
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Maitland, A. Ward, Lieut-Col. Sir A. L. (Hill)
Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil) Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Ward, Irene (Wallsend)
Davison, Sir W. H. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon, H. D. R. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Dawson, Sir P. Markham, S. F. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
De Chair, S. S. Melior, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.) Windsor-Clive, Lleut.-Colonel G.
Denville, Alfred Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Dower, Capt. A. V. G. Mitcheil, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Moreing, A. C.
Duncan, J. A. L. Morgan, R. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.) Sir George Penny and Lieut.-
Elliston, G. S. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Colonel Llewellin.