HC Deb 31 March 1936 vol 310 cc1913-57

8.12 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 19, line 11, at the end, to insert: or is either a cotton spinner or a director, officer or servant of an undertaking carrying on the business of a cotton mill. During the debates in the Standing Committee the feeling was expressed in many quarters that the members of the Spindles Board should not be engaged in the cotton spinning industry, and it was felt that cotton spinners dealing with the Spindles Board should not be asked to discuss their affairs with persons to whom it might be embarrassing to disclose the state of their production. It is with the object of providing safeguards against this, that I move this Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

8.13 p.m.


I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

I am entitled, I think, to say, in approaching the Third Reading of this Bill, that we on this side have not sought to obstruct the purpose of the Government in seeking by legislation to assist the industry, and that we have not been inspired by any wrecking motives in the few Amendments which we have put on the Order Paper and the several speeches which we have made. We felt that this Bill proceeded upon mistaken lines in that it admittedly dealt with only one section of the industry, and that all sections of the industry are in tlmost equal parts feeling the burden. The carding section, the spinning section, the weaving section, the finishing section, and the selling section, as well as the innumerable different interests that exist within those five sections, are in equal parts feeling the very heavy burden of the present cotton trade depression, and as that burden has existed now for many years, its weight has become heavier as time has gone on. Accordingly, we objected to piecemeal efforts at finding a solution of the present difficulties, and we were entitled to say that during the years when the late Government had ample opportunity, with an unprecedented majority, to take any steps which intelligence and necessity might have dictated, they missed a great opportunity of doing something to lift the Lancashire trade on to its feet.

I had the privilege when the Labour Government was in office in 1929 of doing something on this subject, and presided over a committee which, after some months of inquiry, presented its report. That report submitted substantially the point which I am making, that it is an industry which has different sections and groupings, which to a great extent live upon each other. That has been the necessity. I do not blame the several sections of men and women for being interested in their own particular industry, but one has had to sell to the other, and the other has had to sell to the next, until finally the finished article has found its way on to the market. In our view it would be far better to take a much more comprehensive step along the road towards finding a remedy than this piecemeal proposal in the Bill which is now before the House for the Third Reading. The assistance to be given to the industry is to be by levy—less by organisation and mainly by a levy. That levy in itself will be an additional burden upon many sections of the industry. In an industry where the margin of advantage has for a long time been so narrow, and where some people have not been able to enjoy any margin at all, the slightest addition to the burden will be very severely felt. It is often said that it is the last straw which breaks the camel's back. This may well be an instance where the industry itself, in many cases, will find it a real burden in having to pay the levy.

What is the levy to do? It is to seek to assist the trade by extinguishing part. of it. That is a course which has not been taken to assist any other industry. Rationalisation of a kind has proceeded on voluntary lines or by arrangements between different firms, but no legislation has so far been passed quite on the lines of this Bill. It is to exact from the industry a charge in order that certain of the less successful, or non-successful parts of the trade, shall get recompense for closing their doors altogether. It really means the extinguishing of part of the industry in the hope of saving the remainder. That substantially is the purpose of the Bill. The least we are entitled to say under that head is that results must be regarded as purely speculation. With good luck and good fortune, with things going in the right way, this Bill may do some good, but you cannot get further than "may." No one can say it will. There is a complete absence of any certainty about the whole Bill, and the results that may accrue from the working of the Measure in the course of the next few years. This timid step was taken because at length the Government have had to accept the view of those who were daily sinking in this condition of depression that something had to be done, and this is the utmost that the Government have had courage enought to attempt. We shall have to see how far this something can produce results. There is only one consolation that we on this side can feel. Should this course, admittedly taken in an experimental sense, be more or less successful, something more will have to be done in respect to the other parts of the industry.

I do not know what the weaving section will shortly do as a result of dearer yarn, because the whole purpose of the Bill will have failed unless the yarn commands a better price. It is the first time that a Bill has been introduced into this House avowedly for the purpose of making dearer the material made in one section of the industry. Unless yarn is made dearer, it will fail in this behalf in relation to the spinner. When the yarn comes from the spinner to the weaver, the weaver will shoulder an additional burden by paying more for the yarn. As the cloth passes on ifs way to the market, it will have an added burden, which must, therefore, finally be paid for at a higher rate by the general body of consumers.

I fail to understand how these steps are ultimately to assist the Lancashire cotton trade in its competition against competitors who can even now offer a similar article at a cheaper rate. Therefore, this Measure is not likely to give to the industry, or to any one section of it, precisely the kind of assistance it requires, namely, the assistance to enable the industry to produce an article at a cheaper rate and keep competitors out of a market which so far they have been able to win from us. When years ago we were engaged in other pursuits Japan particularly, which was free from the entanglements of the Great War with which we were concerned, got a foothold in our markets, particularly in the greatest of all our markets in relation to cotton goods, that of India. We know that in India the people are now no richer than they were. Their purses are as slender as ever, and their buying power is still very low, and if we offer them a dearer article they will be no better off, and I fear that the Japanese cotton spinners and employers will carry on under the advantage which they have so far acquired.

I will indicate the reasons why we are entitled to vote against this Bill on the Third Reading. The levy will finally be used to compensate those who have to close their doors. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman will question that. It may be called purchase money or whatever you like, but it really is a great consolation for those who find that their spindles are redundant and cannot be put to use, to know that they can be paid for closing down their works and that in some form they will thereby be very substantially compensated. But not so the workman affected by the closing down of the mill. He is thrown on to the unemployment market, or, if not, he knows that if his mill or part of it is closed down he has a less chance of getting back to the kind of job he formerly held.

We, therefore, argue that, just as mill-owners for proprietary reasons shall be compensated out of the levy money, so also the displaced spinner should receive some recompense for being placed under a condition of greater handicap, with regard to unemployment, than ever before. The answer to us is that he has his unemployment benefit, but we reply to that and say, "As far as he has the prospect of unemployment benefit, he has contributed for such benefit." It is a sum of money totally different from that which the employer is to receive, and in addition to his unemployment pay, the worker ought to receive from the fund created by the levy some even slight recompense for the greater handicap under which he is put with regard to his chances of finding future employment.

A further reason why we object to the Bill is that the Government are not applying to this industry, to capitalists, precisely the same reason as they enforce upon trade unionists in regard to the payment of a levy. I do not think the House will object to our going back to 1927 when a law was passed which said to the trade unions: "You may proceed to a ballot and if the ballot by majority settles that your members shall pay a levy for a political purpose, you may still not compel them to pay by virtue of that majority; you must make each man individually contract in, even after the democratic decision of the ballot has settled that that course should be taken." The House will agree, and certainly I invite anyone to dispute my statement, that the trade unions have been vindictively singled out for treatment for nothing better than a spiteful party reason, that has been applied to no other organisation or institution in the country.

We accept, for good or ill, in this country, the civilised, democratic and proper practice of settling our affairs by majority rule. It may not always be the wisest rule but, taking the law of averages, we accept it as the best rule, and it is good enough for us. What the institution may be, whether it be a company, a business, a church, a chapel or this House of Commons, everything is settled by the rule of the majority. Those who are in the minority try to make themselves into the majority as soon as they can. In the meantime minorities must submit and must agree to whatever the majority may decide. Therefore, we have said in Committee on this Bill that just as individual trade unionists to achieve a certain end are required by law to contract in for the payment of an individual levy, so should each individual employer who wants to pay this levy to assist his trade be made individually to contract in, and thereby be put exactly upon the same footing as the trade unionists. This is not asking for a privilege. It is merely demanding equality as between the treatment meted out to property and the treatment meted out to trade unions.

Let me repeat two questions which have been addressed twice from this side of the House to the right hon. Gentleman but which so far he has not answered. I think we are entitled to an answer. It may be that he does not desire to have his speeches quoted as though they were the terms of a Statute. We know well enough that it is not what we say in this House that matters when a law is passed, but it is what the law itself says. Meantime, in the course of Debate we are entitled to ask for a little guidance, and for some indication of the Government's mind on matters of outstanding importance. This is one of them. The only way in which the organised worker can come into this matter is through the medium of the Advisory Committee. One representative of organised labour in the textile industry can sit on that Committee, with five more.

Is that Committee to have a chairman, not merely a person who will preside over meetings when they are assembled, but a man of their own choosing, of their own election, who will be recognised as the chairman of that consultative or Advisory Committee, who will be possessed of certain rights initiation, including the right of approach to the Spindles Board? The Bill says that the Spindles Board may approach the Advisory Committee, but it does not indicate that the Advisory Committee may approach the Spindles Board. If there is to be freedom of contact and some sense of being on an equal footing there ought to be a recognised chairman who will have some sense of possessing the right to initiate movements himself, and to take a step towards approaching the larger and more powerful body known as the Spindles Board.

As an old-time cotton operative, I can say as my last word that I do not want this Measure to fail. It will be to me a source of the greatest joy if it is a great success, especially because we have the assurance that later on its success would encourage the Government to follow upon similar if not on even better lines for the improvement of the Lancashire cotton industry.

8.30 p.m.


I will not delay the House long, because I have talked enough already on the Bill, but I should like to say a few words in the final stage. The reason why I have been opposing the Bill in Committee is on a question of principle. I entirely agree with and support the concluding words of the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes). I do not think that the Bill will do a great deal of good, but I hope that it will not do any harm to speak of. What I have been alarmed about is a very broad question of principle, and that is the direction in which the governmental policy of this country is trending, as shown by the Bill which we are now sending to another place.

May I first answer one or two points which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting has put forward? His main point, that of compensation for displaced workers, is one for which we have a considerable degree of sympathy, but those of us who take up a different view should not be accused of having no sympathy with the workers and of throwing in our lot with the employers. Let me give one reason why I think compensation for the worker would not be possible. It could be confined only to workmen who are thrust out of the open mills and not out of the closed ones. The question of unemployment benefit being sufficient is not an adequate argument, although it is an argument that might be used. The real difficulty in regard to paying compensation is the difficulty of assessment. On what are you going to base any form of compensation? Are you going to base it on past wages?

Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)

I must remind the hon. Member that we are now on the Third Reading. The right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) was entitled to state that as a reason for objecting to the Bill, but we must not develop an argument upon it.


I accept your correction. I am afraid that I was led away by some of the observations put forward by the right hon. Member for Platting. This Measure is undoubtedly one of planning. Planning may well be described as Socialism in mittens. The palm of the hand genteelly covered, but the clutching fingers remain at large. We have here, brought forward by the Government, a bill which they hope will be of great benefit to the cotton spinning industry, but it contains a most dangerous principle from my point of view. These measures in which the Government provide the frame and the industry paint in the picture, such as we have seen in regard to the Agricultural Marketing Acts, contain a dangerous principle.

I am not prepared to shut out its use entirely, but we should be very careful before we admit it, and certainly before we encourage its general adoption. There is a case in which it is admissible to give a majority in an industry power to coerce a minority—that is really what happens in this case—but certain vital conditions should be fulfilled before we do so. In the first place, we should do it only as a last resort, when the industry has utterly failed to find its own salvation through normal means. Secondly, the scheme must be a sound one. The third condition is that the majority of those who vote in favour of a scheme should be overwhelming, something in the nature of 85 per cent. Under the Agricultural Marketing Acts the minimum to which the vote has fallen is about 84 per cent., and that is about the percentage which we should admit in a case of this kind. The fourth condition, which is perhaps the most vital of all, is that the minority who are not in favour of the scheme being imposed should, as far as it is possible to ascertain, consist only of the non-co-operative, tiresome and helpless elements, and must not include the most efficient or some of the most efficient members of the trade. I am not at all satisfied that these conditions have been fulfilled in this Bill.

I did not catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, on Second Reading, and came to the conclusion that I would not vote at all. I did not want to support the Government in the Measure and was reluctant to vote against it without saying why. To-night I am proposing to vote against the Third Reading, for one reason only. The Bill has been very materially improved during the Committee and Report stages. The President of the Board of Trade and his colleagues have met us in many ways, for which I am grateful, but the central fact remains that we are imposing on an industry, against the wishes of a very important, powerful and in many cases efficient minority, a scheme which the majority, and a small one, believes will be for the benefit of the industry. That is the reason why I am going into the Lobby against the Third Reading of the Bill. We must be careful about introducing any further Measures of this nature. I urge the Government, the President of the Board of Trade and the Prime Minister, that if any further Measures of this nature are brought forward they will see that the conditions which I have mentioned, which I think will be approved by all reasonable sup- porters of the National Government, are fulfilled before a scheme is imposed upon an industry from above against the wishes of a minority. An industry should always be given an opportunity of voting and deciding for itself. Like the right hon. Member for Platting I hope the Bill, which I dislike, may be of benefit to the cotton spinning industry, but I hope it is not the forerunner of other Measures involving principles which may endanger the whole stability of the industrial situation in this country.

8.40 p.m.


Hon. Members of the Labour party must be very amused at the different defences which are advanced for getting away from the principles of private enterprise. They show an absolute inconsistency. The only thing that I stand for is a fair deal, free competition and no favour. That is an attitude which can be understood, but one which cannot be understood is that which asks for a particular privilege. Hon. Members of the Labour party believe in a certain theory. I think they are wrong. Hon. Members opposite are equally wrong when they want the best of both worlds. The Bill marks a new era in the industrial history of this country. It is suggested that we started a Fascist State with the many Agricultural Marketing Bills, but this Bill marks a new era as far as our industrial structure is concerned.

The question is whether the President of the Board of Trade is prepared to say to an industry, "Make up your minds what you want, and I am prepared to put it into a Bill and present it to Parliament." I am not prepared to accept that position. I do not think any industry ought to be able to come to Parliament and say, "This is what we want." All legislation should have regard not only to a particular industry but to the people of the country. It is not right to allow an industry, as we do by this Bill, to come along with a scheme and, because they say the scheme will do them the most good at the present time, expect Parliament to accept it. We have to look to the industrial interests of the country as a whole, and to the interests of the people as a whole. The levy which we are imposing is imposed upon the inefficient and efficient alike. I am not going to suggest that all the people who are clamouring for this Bill are inefficient. I do not make that charge; it would not be true. But it is true to say that there is a minority—we have never been able to get the exact figures—which says to this House, "Please leave us alone; we are quite content to rely upon our own efforts. We can run our business efficiently and at a profit." for the first time in the history of this country we have said, "no," to that request. As I said on the Second Reading of this Bill, I believe industry in this country has been built up by the initiative and private enterprise of individuals, and for the first time we are saying to the individual, "No, you shall not; you shall pay into a fund whether you are willing or unwilling."

I believe, moreover, that the way in which the ballot was taken was not altogether satisfactory. I think the House is still dissatisfied with not knowing exactly what percentage of the people possessing spindles is in favour of the Bill, and what percentage is against it. I have never been convinced by the President of the Board of Trade or by the Parliamentary Secretary as to the reasons why they should have opposed a further ballot. I still think there would be a great deal more satisfaction not only in the industry but in this House if there were a further ballot. I am astounded by the number of hon. Members who say to me, "We do not like this Bill, and we do not like the principles enunciated in it, but what have we to do?" When the bell rings, hon. Members opposite will troop into the Division Lobby in favour of the Bill, and among them there will be any number who do not believe in it. Let there be no mistake about that. I would still ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he thinks it is too late to reconsider this matter.

There is another point I would like to make. I believe this Bill is an encouragement to certain types of industry—and I could name them if I wished to do so—which are at the moment going through as terrible times as Lancashire, to come to this House and ask for Bills to enable them to enjoy a monopoly. I have had suggestions put to me with regard to industries other than the one with which we are dealing to-night. This Bill will set an example to different industries to ask this House for particular favours. During the past five years we have done the same thing in the case of other industries. It was done in the case of transport, and hon. Members who are opposing this Bill now voted for it then. In that case we said to a young fellow who might have saved £400 or £500, "No, you may only start in this business by getting a licence, and those who are already in the business will have the privilege of opposing your application for a licence."

We did the same thing in the potato industry. At a certain date there was a certain acreage under potatoes, and then we said, "Thou shalt not grow any more." Now we are doing the same thing in the cotton industry. We adopt the principle that however industrious a man may be, however much he may be prepared to put money into a new industry and try to work out a new invention, however much he may be prepared to set an example in a certain area as to how a thing should be done, he shall not be able to do it unless he is prepared, if setting up a mill of 100,000 spindles, for instance, to pay £488 per annum before being allowed to do so.

I want the House to recognise the kind of principle it is setting up. I do not judge this Bill merely by its effects upon the cotton spinning industry. Private enterprise is being given away bit by bit every hour. I am sometimes astounded as to why hon. Members on these benches oppose this sort of Measure. They need not flatter themselves, for the one certain way of bringing Socialism into this country is to keep them out of power. More Socialism has been obtained, and we have gone further on the path to Socialism, during the last five years than the Labour party would have achieved in 50 years. If hon. Members on these benches want Socialism to come, they ought to encourage the National Government to continue. I do not wish to detain the House too long on that point, but I want hon. Members opposite to realise what a stick they are giving hon. Members on this side to beat them with. I think a marvellous speech could be made concerning the way in which we have gone on in this House during the past four or five years.

Let it be remembered that the President of the Board of Trade said that this is not the end as far as the reorganisation of the cotton industry is concerned. He said this is a mere stepping-stone on the way to prosperity, that it is not going to end here. The weaving section will come forward, so will the dyeing and finishing sections, and the sizing and doubling sections—all of them are to be allowed to come to Parliament with a scheme on which they have agreed. I submit that the President of the Board of Trade—and I hope I do him no injustice—has given them an invitation to come forward with schemes such as this. He said, "You agree among yourselves, come to the Board of Trade offices, and then I will take the scheme to the House of Commons and see that you get what you want." That is the new principle so far as the industrial structure is concerned.

Before concluding, I want to warn the House that we are going through a revolution. We are not doing it according to the methods employed in other countries where a dictator comes along and makes a great noise. We come to the House on Tuesday in one week and tackle one little thing, and give one particular benefit at that particular moment to one industry, and then the following Tuesday some other industry gets its particular little bit at that particular moment. Then hon. Members go into the Lobby, scratch their heads and say they cannot very well oppose this privilege because they voted for the same privilege last week. All the time we are going step by step towards one of two things, a complete corporate state through Fascism or through Socialism. I warn hon. Members what they are doing with Bills of this description. We started with the debate on this Bill on 3rd February and now it is the last day of March, and during the whole of that period, although I have attended the Committee fairly regularly, I have not heard a single word which has convinced me that I ought to change my opinion from what it was on 3rd February. I advise hon. Members on these benches to go into the Lobby against the Third Reading of the Bill.

8.54 p.m.


I intervene in this Debate to-night party because I am a Lancashire man by birth and upbringing, and partly because I represent a constituency in Nottinghamshire in which the textile industry is carried on. No one could possibly be more anxious than I am to do something or to see some steps taken which would benefit the textile trade. No one is more aware than I am of the great burden of anxiety and suffering which Lancashire has been carrying with such characteristic fortitude for many years. For all that, however, I am, to my great regret, a critic of this Bill because I feel that not only does it import certain highly dangerous principles, but I doubt very much whether in the long run it is likely either to be of benefit either to the workers or to the industrialists in the textile trade, or to their customers. We have been told by the Government that this Bill is no product of theirs, and that it was introduced by them in pursuance of a promise made to the cotton industry that they would do their best to implement any suggestions which the industry might put forward with sufficient unanimity to warrant their going further with the matter. It has been said that the Bill has the support of the majority of those in the industry and that on this account it should commend itself to the House, though I rather doubt if it has that large majority which the President of the Board of Trade told the House would be necessary if compulsory powers were to be given.

I would remind hon. Members that this Bill lacks the support of the cotton operatives, that it has the support of only 60 per cent. of the cotton spinners, and that it is opposed by a large minority of cotton spinners representing something like 11,000,000 spindles. I tried to point out on a previous occasion the dangers and difficulties which are involved in coercing minorities in industry at the instance of majorities. I pointed out that the adventurous spirits in industry are always in a minority, and that it is to those spirits that such progress as we have been able to make in the world has been due. I would remind the House that the redundance of spindles in Lancashire is partly due to the mistakes and errors of judgment on the part of the majority of those conducting the cotton spinning industry in the past. Their judgment was at fault in the past, and we should, therefore, be very careful before we accept the advice of these same people on this occasion.

The minority of cotton spinners who oppose this Bill are noteworthy for their quality if not for their quantity. There are among them many of the most successful though independent firms and seine who, in spite of all the difficulties, have succeeded in conducting their businesses successfully for many years, and also some who have even succeeded in paying dividends throughout the depression. It appears to me that the initiative in this Bill was taken by those who represented some of the less successful firms in the trade, supported certainly by the large combines and with the approval of banks and other creditors who are naturally not averse to seeing the security behind their loans made rather more secure. A large proportion of these firms has been kept on its feet by the banks, and I doubt whether the banks have not been doing a disservice to the community by this action.

The redundant spindles in the cotton industry are not the cause of its decline, nor is internal price-cutting the cause. These are symptoms of declining trade, and the criticism I would make of this Bill is that it is an attempt to cure symptoms and not to deal with causes. The causes of the depression of the Lancashire cotton trade are very well known—the closing of great markets and outlets for her trade and the foreign competition of Japan and other countries, whose costs of production are, on the whole, lower than ours. If a Bill could have been devised to reduce the costs of production, the situation might have been alleviated, but this Bill would appear to me to tend, if it does anything, to increase the costs of production rather than to reduce them. If the cost of purchasing redundant spindles is to be borne by a levy on the spindles that are left, and since many of the soundest mills are already running to full capacity, I fail to see how the added cost of the levy can do anything but add to the costs of production in those mills.

I was glad when, on the Second Reading of the Bill, the President of the Board of Trade decided to withdraw Clause 15 as it then was. Nevertheless, under the Bill as it stands new entrants into the industry are being penalised to a certain extent, and I cannot believe that the House really thinks it right to penalise newcomers in an area which is as hard hit as Lancashire is to-day. I must confess that I feel grave anxiety, too, with regard to the question of employment in Lancashire. It seems to me that employment is likely to be reduced if active spindles are scrapped. If active spindles are not scrapped, this Bill will do very little good except possibly to some of those people who have the opportunity of selling spindles which are practically worthless for some sum of money. I have heard for many years now that the cotton industry of Lancashire is bleeding to death. I have lived in Lancashire all my life, and I have heard that said time and time again; and I have also heard it said that some desperate remedy is necessary to meet the situation.

I cannot believe that this Bill will meet the situation or that it provides a remedy. Nor do I think that we are justified in saying that the industry is bleeding to death. There is no doubt that the industry is bleeding, but that bleeding is the necessary purging of the grievous mistakes which have been made in the past, and this process of bleeding is necessary to restore the health of the industry. We must not forget that the very essence of our economic system is that those people who make mistakes should be allowed to go under, and that' those business men who make mistakes in judgment should pay for their mistakes, but in the case of an over-production or an excess of machinery such as there is here, there should be at least the consolation for the community, that they should be able to have the plenty which has arisen from these mistakes. Now it is proposed by the Bill to make other people share the cost of the mistakes, and to destroy valuable property because one day it might again be used at some time to serve the public.


Will the hon. Gentleman specify what the mistakes are?


If I were to be drawn into a discussion of the mistakes that have been made in the cotton industry for the past 100 years, I should delay the House a great deal longer than I intend to do. I should have thought that by now we had had enough experience of restrictionism to be aware that it is not only cruel but ineffective. There is no such thing as demand irrespective of price as long as any price exists there is an unsatisfied demand for the product. It is said that the Bill will co-relate the number of spindles to the present demand, but that means to the demand at the present price, because the word "demand" has not a finite meaning. If it is true to say that the cotton industry of this country is bleeding to death I would ask hon. Members, What, indeed, is being destroyed? If the Bill is not passed and we continue, as we have been going on for some years, with the slow and painful process of allowing the natural laws of supply and demand to operate, then at any rate we do achieve something, because we know that in the last five years 5,000,000 spindles have been eliminated.

If we go on without this Bill will as many spindles be destroyed as are going to be destroyed if the Bill is passed, will there be fewer men and women in employment, will there be a shortage, perhaps of cotton yarn, will the banks, perhaps, be put into such difficulties that there will be a financial crisis? No, none of those things will happen. But if the Bill is passed there will be a destruction of, perhaps, 10,000,000 spindles, some of which are now providing the livelihood of men and women in Lancashire; the inefficient will be given an advantage at the expense of the efficient; newcomers will certainly not be encouraged to come into the industry; and foreign manufacturers will, no doubt, benefit as they have done on previous occasions when our spindleage has, for other reasons, been reduced. If a new industry comes into being it will not come into being in this country, where it will be under a handicap, but in some foreign country where these handicaps are not imposed.

I cannot believe that the examples which we have had in this country and elsewhere of interference in trade are very encouraging. Does our experience of interference in the coal trade give us very great encouragement? Does the experience which President Roosevelt had in America give very much encouragement? He thought he could restrict the cotton crop, and what happened? The quantity of cotton grown in America was reduced and the cotton grown in Brazil was considerably increased. I am not an opponent of every sort of planning. I believe in strategic planning, I believe in aesthetic planning, I believe in individual planning, but I do not believe in industrial planning by the State. In an interesting lecture which he gave last year Sir Josiah Stamp asked himself the question, "Can present motives work a planned society?" and he had reluctantly to admit that over the major part of the field the answer must be "No." I am quite sure that with human nature as it is now the freest possible markets must be the truest expression of the will of democracy, and I believe that restrictionism of any kind is anti-democratic, reactionary and unenlightened. Only in a really free market does the public get what it wants and not what some dictator wants to give it. Every interference in trade reduces the confidence of business men, and to my mind it is a lack of confidence more than anything else which has brought the world to its present unhappy state.

9.20 p.m.


I have waited anxiously for someone to speak in support of this Bill. On the Committee we had to wait day after day for even the slightest bit of enthusiasm to be shown for the Measure. Even from the benches opposite to-day the most that has been said for the Bill is that "It cannot do very much harm." To a certain extent that is true, because it is limited to one section of the industry, and although the President of the Board of Trade has told us that this is a commencement may I say that if this were the right commencement that would be about the best thing he has said in connection with the Bill? The right hon. Gentleman has told us that free competition in the industry has failed. He has departed from the old Liberal doctrine. He has had to come to the rescue of the people who have been supporting the idea of free competition. But although he has thrown off the old love he has not taken on the new, and he is looking very miserable and disconsolate. He has not gone the whole way and insisted that all sections of the industry must co-operate.

Everybody knows that what is wrong with the Lancashire cotton industry, apart from what the Government have done by helping to destroy its markets, is the extreme sectionalism in the industry, and to deal with one small part of it in this way will not have any beneficial results for the industry. What it will do is to increase the price of yarn to the consumer. The complaint all along the line has been that weak selling has made the spinning industry unremunerative. The chairman of the cotton mills trust said only a few weeks ago "If you could only add a farthing per pound to the price of yarn it would make the difference of £44,000 in our profits." It would be very easy to add a farthing on to the price of yarn. As a matter of fact, this levy of one penny and one-sixteenth will, as far as I can calculate it, add a considerable fraction of a penny to the price of yarn. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes. This levy is to be got from the industry and hon. Members cannot for a moment suppose that a mill with 100,000 spindles is going to pay out close upon 2500 a year for 15 years without getting some recompense. If the price of yarn is to be increased, how are we to deal with the fundamental problem of Lancashire, which is how to get more markets and improve its overseas trade. From that point of view the scheme, because of its sectionalism, is lopsided.

I am not one of those who would oppose a Measure that was likely to be beneficial to Lancashire simply because it came from the other side of the House. I agree that what has to be done, first of all, is to cut out a good deal of the dead wood, and the Government, if they had done that all the way round, might have been on the right lines. What do we find? The cotton spinning section of the industry located in one part of Lancashire; the cotton carted from there to another part of Lancashire; coming back again to another man in Manchester, standing outside his warehouse, and, without its being moved from even one lorry to another, taken away to Yet another part of Lancashire to be finished or to go through some other process; and then coming back to the merchant. At each stage there is a picking for someone, and something is added to the price.

This Measure will not do any real good to the industry as a whole, because there is not a board to co-ordinate all the activities of the industry. If the Spindles Board were to buy up redundant spindles and at the same time co-ordinate the various sections of the industry there might be something to be said for the Bill, but, as it is, I am rather disposed to think that, instead of having a beneficial result, it will add very largely to the difficulties of the manufacturing side of the industry.

9.15 p.m.


The Third Reading of this Bill has been unique in my experience, so far as it has gone. We have heard a speech from the Opposition Front Bench, other speeches from the Socialist party and speeches from my hon. Friends on this side of the House, and they have all been against the Bill. It is time somebody got up who is wholeheartedly in favour of it. What is the alternative to this Measure? During recent years, the industry has been working under conditions of complete freedom to the private enterprise which the hon. Member for South Bradford (Mr. Holdsworth) has been eulogising, and mills one after the other have been failing, not the least efficient ones but usually those whose finances were least strong. In some cases, comparatively inefficient mills with big purses at their disposal have been able to continue.

Upon the failure of mills, machinery and plant have, in many cases, been bought and shipped to the East, where they have been sold to run in competition against us. Under the provisions of the Bill that process is to be stopped. No machinery and plant bought by the Spindles Board can be shipped abroad. We are faced with a considerable redundancy of plant in the cotton spinning industry. Which is better: that it should be reduced by the orderly methods provided in the Bill so that the industry can bear some relation to the demand, or that the suicidal course should continue to be followed which we have witnessed during the last three or four years, in which units closed were not of necessity the least efficient but those with least long purses?

The hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Assheton) spoke lugubriously about the mistakes made by the industry. I would ask him to specify what those mistakes were. I hold very strongly that although mistakes have been made in the cotton trade, as in any other trade the present troubles of the industry are not its fault. The East has been awakening to industrialisation, and cotton has been the first industry that the East has adopted. Obviously that was natural. The principal imports of some of those Eastern countries, for instance India, China and Japan—Japan was a good customer of ours at one time—have been cotton goods for their populations to wear. Awakening to the necessity of industrialisation, they have naturally turned to the making of essential goods which they hitherto have had to buy from England. The result is that whereas in this country we used to consume over 4,000,000 bales of cotton per year we consume only about 2,000,000 bales, while the consumption of the whole world has gone up slightly.

Hon. Members opposite never tired during the Committee stage of referring to what they call the camp of 1920–1921. They were a bit like the hon. Member for Rushcliffe in that they never specified what the nature of it was or what its effect had been. I took no part in that so-called ramp, and I neither lost by it nor gained, but I recollect that at that time the cotton trade was leaking ridiculous, fabulous profits. On these profits 80 per cent. Excess Profits Duty and Income Tax were being levied, and many of the companies were recapitalised by company promoters and other companies were formed with inflated capital. The people who invested then, and lost their money were not bamboozled into doing it; they had begged the people who had the allotting of the shares to give them allotments. I well remember it. I will tell hon. Members something which may give them satisfaction in regard to the Bill. So far from that ramp having made the Cotton Spinning Industry Bill necessary, it has, to a certain extent, rendered it less necessary than it would have been, for the reason that most of the concerns which were recapitalised and got landed with big loan capital and big overdrafts have gone down already, and the Bill is not necessary for dealing with their redundant plant.


Is the hon. Member prepared to admit that there has been very considerable neglect of the proper provision for obsolesce ace and depreciation in Lancashire over a great many years, say during the last 50 years?


Not particularly in the cotton trade. Hon. Members in all parts of the House have been very upset about operatives being thrown out of work. It is certain that an industry should not be conducted on uneconomic lines. If the Bill expedites the closing of certain mills it will concentrate production in the remaining mills, but so far as the spinning operatives are concerned, minders, spinners and piecers and others, not one penny piece less in the aggregate will go into their pockets than is the case to-day. A certain number of others, such as engineers and packers necessary to each individual mill, whether it is working at 60 per cent. or 90 per cent. of its productive capacity, will be thrown out of work.

The alternative to-day would be to continue as we have done, which means that people are thrown out of work in a more haphazard way. If hon. Members were right in their view with regard to the interests of the operatives they would argue that it would be better for the operatives that the silent mills should be brought into production and that the average output should be reduced from, say, 70 per cent. to 50 per cent. That would mean the absorption of a lot more operatives than are at work to-day, and if all the silent mills were brought into production now, only to work at 50 per cent. output, that would obviously absorb more operatives. That might please hon. Members opposite but it would mean the ruin of the whole trade, and would put the whole of the operatives out of work. You cannot separate the interests of the trade from the interests of those who work in it.

During this discussion on the Third Reading, the greatest injustice has been done to the cotton trade by the references to its being antiquated and inefficient. It is utterly unjust to make any such suggestion. Some hon. Members who are present are associated with the trade and know more about it than I do, but I can quote figures which will satisfy those who are not in the trade that that trade is not so inefficient as some of its critics make out. If the Lancashire spinning industry could receive 1d. per mile for its yarn, it would be in a state of abounding prosperity.


Do you mean an extra penny?


What weights per mile?


Take 105s. A lb. of that line yarn is over 50 miles long. The price to day per lb. is 24d. There fore, for 24d, you can buy 50 miles of that yarn, and for ld. you can buy two miles. That cotton has been brought from Egypt, cleaned, treated and spun, and you can have a strand of that yarn stretching from here to St. Paul's, a distance of about two miles for a penny. In spite of the low wages and long hours of our Asiatic competitors they are only able to compete with the cotton spinning trade now by the help of tariffs. The charge of inefficiency is a grossly unfair one, and one that I feel it is incumbent upon me to reject. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Burke) referred to the Spindles Board also dealing with manufacturing, dyeing, bleaching, and finishing. What kind of a board can we get to deal with every possible branch of the trade at the outset? The Spindles Board will have its plate full in the duties imposed on it under this Bill, which I hope will soon pass its Third Reading and will achieve what many of us hope from it.


How is the Bill going to assist in connection with the loss of the export trade?


I do not agree that the operation of the Bill will add to the cost of production. The reduction of the number of available spindles by roughly 20 per cent. will give a corresponding increase of the output in each of the remaining mills, and that will more than counterbalance the cost of the levy. That is not going to cost us anything. We cannot get back our lost Eastern trade by clearing away the redundant spindles, but we are making the punishment fit the crime by trying to make the available spindles fit the trade that is left to us.

9.29 p.m.


Let it be said at once that this is a. thoroughly bad Bill. It is no use coming to the House with apologetic support of the Third Reading, or apologetic opposition to it. The Bill is in the House because the Lancashire cotton industry, whether it be due to its inefficiency, to world causes, or to anything else, is now in a hopeless condition in which it was necessary for a majority of the industry to come to the Government and say, "Help us out of the mess we are in." When an industry in a capitalist State is in a condition in which it comes to the Government and says, "We cannot carry on, we need State assistance, we need the State to regulate the industry for us, "it is absurd to advance arguments to show how well organised, well run and efficient that industry is. The only hypothesis that would justify interfering with the industry is that it is at the end of its tether and cannot carry on without State help. This is an industry which has been among the most prosperous in the country, and yet to-day it is possible for a substantial percentage of the workers employed in it to work a full 48-hour week and go home at the end with less than 20s.


That point has been made in Committee. In the case the hon. Member is referring to the employers are not the paymasters of these operatives. They pay the minder so many pounds a week and he pays the piecers.


I am obliged to the hon. Member for his lucid attempt to apply in a new form the old proverb about the grandmother and the eggs. I am not concerned with how the wages are payable or what form the industry has chosen to regulate the payment of wages. I am talking about the amount of money that goes to the workers for the 48-hour week that they have worked. A considerable percentage of them go home with less than 20s., and even among the best paid it is impossible to find more than 3 or 4 per cent. who are earning more than 40s. or 45s. per week. When an industry is in that condition and asks the State to help it, what does this Government do? It takes one small section of the industry and proposes to do something with that. It agrees that is not going to cure the disease from which the cotton industry suffers, that it is only a beginning, and that what it is doing, if it is a good thing, will have to be done in other sections in time, but the Government say: "We are dealing with a small section in this way because it is impossible to deal with the whole industry at once, and we arc compelled by the logic of the case to begin with one section." The inference is that nothing will be done for the rest of the industry until this experiment has run its course.

The Bill contemplates 14 years of this experiment. It is true there is a Clause which enables the Spindles Board to be wound up if the work that it was created to do is completed within that period, but it is obvious that the Government do not contemplate that it can be completed much within that time. What is the Government's remedy? The House is being asked to take one small section as a necessary preliminary to dealing with the industry as a whole, and to say to the workers of Lancashire, "Give us 14 years to deal with that section, and if it is a successful experiment we will consider dealing with the rest of the industry later."


A small section?


I do not wish to bandy words with the hon. Member. Let it be admitted between us that it is only one section. We are to wait 14 years. Is it suggested that Lancashire can go on in that way—that, if nothing more than that is done, it is going to do anything whatever to save this industry and the workers in it from utter ruin? What is it that is going to be done during the 14 years? All the sections in the industry are to be compelled by law—and this is the only compulsion in the Bill—to pay a levy into a common fund which shall be used by the Spindles Board, to do what? To take out of the industry redundant spindles and scrap them. In other words, the first step that the Government are going to take in this preliminary experiment, which is to last 14 years, is to cut down the scope of the industry. I hear someone say, "No," and that has been argued before. It is argued in some sort of way that you are to take out of the industry spindles which are not obsolete—some of them are, but it has been said time after time, on the Second Reading and in Committee, that the operations were not to be confined to obsolete spindles, but that any spindles that were redundant could be bought and scrapped. It may be that the Government would argue that, if the experiment succeeded, that would provide conditions in which a future expansion of the industry would be possible, and I understand that to be their view, but it is impossible to deny that the effect of this first experiment, which is to last 14 years, would, if it is carried out at all, be a contraction of industry.

Let it be granted, for the sake of argument, that that is a good and valuable thing—that you must cut down the industry, that you must limit its scope, that you must draw back in order to jump further at some future time. But there is not one word in the Measure to compel a single owner of a single spindle to sell it or sacrifice it in any way. There is in the Bill a compulsion on owners of spindles to pay a levy into a common pool, but, unless the owners of spindles are willing to come forward as willing sellers, bargain with the Spindles Board as a willing buyer, and settle the price for the spindles in that way, the Spindles Board has no power under this Measure to acquire one spindle. Does that mean that no spindles will be acquired? No, because there are people, not in the industry but parasitic on the industry, who are clamouring to be paid. When the hon. Gentleman opposite spoke about Members on this side talking about financial ramps, his memory betrayed him. It was not in connection with this Measure that Members on this side used the phrase "financial ramp." That description of financial operations in the cotton industry was advanced by the President of the Board of Trade in moving the Second Reading of this Measure here in the House. Let me remind him of what he said. I quote from his Second Reading speech: The attempts made to cope with these problems carry us back to the War years and the years immediately after the War. The post-War boom and the capital reconstruction of many cotton spinning companies was one of the gravest scandals of our time. It was not we who said that but the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. He went on: I have already in the House drawn attention to some of the serious social results of what was throughout that period in many cases nothing but a financial ramp."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th February, 1936; col. 74, Vol. 308.] Perhaps, if the hon. Gentleman opposite would not accept that on our authority, he will accept it on the authority of the right hon. Gentleman who is responsible for introducing the Measure.


I would not accept it from any quarter.


The hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to his own view, but I think that we who hold different views on this point—even those of us who hold views different from one another on every other aspect of the Measure but agree upon this—are entitled to say to him that, although he is entitled to his opinion, he is in a minority of one in holding it. I was dealing with the question whether spindles will be sold at all. What is going to be done with the money that will come to the Spindles Board? It was not we on this side who offered the criticism that the great majority of it would go to the banks; it was the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, in the same speech. I think it is right to quote the passage: There is another aspect of these proposals which has aroused discussion in another quarter. It has been suggested, and indeed on one occasion within these precincts, whether these proposals were not drafted in the interests of the banks. Let us see what the provision is. I understand the banks are like other creditors, that they have made considerable advances to the cotton-spinning companies in the past"— Does that mean in 1920 and 1921?— and that a great many of them will never see their money back again. They are as much interested in the life of an active, enterprising cotton industry as anybody who is directly interested in the industry. That, no doubt, is quite true. He went on to say: They are creditors of these various concerns, and if, as one of the results of this Bill, the mills are put in a position where they can make repayments of advances or loans which they have received, I see no serious objection to that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th February, 1936; col. 81, Vol. 308.] In other words, the right hon. Gentleman admits that, if not the whole or the bulk of the money that goes into the pool as a result of the levy, at any rate a very considerable portion of it, will be paid to the banks. I have asked the right hon. Gentleman this question time after time, but never yet has an answer to it been vouchsafed. The question I ask is this: When the right hon. Gentleman talks about a financial ramp in the industry in the years following the War, and when he calls that financial ramp "one of the gravest scandals of our time," is he prepared on the Floor of this House or in any other place to acquit the banks of any share of responsibility for that grave scandal or for that ramp? I have asked him that question time after time. I will say this for him, that he has never yet attempted to acquit the banks of their share of the responsibility. Therefore, if it be true that, as has been said so often in this House, among the people who influenced the vote on which this Measure is founded were people representing the hanks—anxious, as the right hon. Gentleman put it in the question I have just read, to get back some of the money which perhaps otherwise they might never see again—then I think we may assume that although there is not in the Bill any compulsion on anybody to sell any spindles at all, some spindles will nevertheless be sold. The spindles that will be sold will be those of the mills that are so involved with the banks that they cannot carry on at all, and the spindles in those mills are the only redundant spindles in the industry. That is where we are told the bulk of the money is to go.

One hon. Member suggested that this was a. Socialist Measure. He instanced once again the truth that people who use that kind of argument have never even paused to consider what the word Socialism means. Does any one on any side of the House believe for a single moment that a Socialist Measure applied to this or any other industry would concern itself solely with the financial and industrial and owning side of the industry and contain no single word about the workers at all? Some hon. Members opposite helped us in Committee on Amendments seeking to secure that, if workers were in any case displaced as the result of the operations of this Measure, they should get some kind of compensation. The argument was advanced that there was compensation for those who were sacrificing redundant spindles and it was equitable that, if there was redundant labour which had been cast out of the industry, it should be compensated too. There was a great deal of verbal acrobatics to show that the Bill did not provide compensation for any one. No one minds whether you call it compensation or not. Members are entitled to use language in the way that seems best to them. What the Bill provides is a method whereby people who can be induced to take out of the industry the spindles that they own have a method of being paid for them, and the sum that is paid for them is provided by a compulsory levy upon their competitors in the industry. If that is not compensation, I do not know what the word means. Whether you call it compensation, or whatever you call it, the Amendment was resisted, and a much smaller Amendment was resisted that, if a man was about to lose his employment by the sacrifice of the tools of his trade, he should be sure of three months notice before he was cast on to the scrap heap. Even that Amendment was resisted and defeated.

Let it not be said by anyone, whether he supports or opposes the Measure, that our opposition to it is confined to the negative criticism that it is not likely to do much good. It goes far deeper than that. The Parliamentary Secretary on the Second Reading said that this was a new technique, and hinted that the new technique that was being applied in this Measure might be expected to be applied to other sections of the industry, and perhaps to other industries as occasion arose. It is, therefore, extremely important that we should examine the new technique. It consists, apparently, in confining your attention, when reconstructing an industry, to the owners of the industry and paying no attention whatever to the workers. It consists in creating inside the industry a board on which the workers are not represented at all, which has the right of limiting the whole scope of the industry, affecting for many years, perhaps for the rest of their lives, a large proportion of the workers, and it provides, too, a method which deprives the House of exercising effective control over anything that can be done. If that is all that we are to expect, we are fast slipping down the slippery slope that leads not to the Socialist but to the corporate State, and everyone in the House, Socialist or not, who objects to the creation of that kind of machinery should come with the Opposition into the Lobby and defeat the Bill.

9.50 p.m.


The hon. Member will not expect me to answer his arguments again to-night, except in one word. He said this was a thoroughly bad Bill. He is, of course, entitled to his opinion and I am entitled to mine. I regard it as a thoroughly necessary Bill which means the commencement on the long road of reorganisation, which is the only hope of the cotton trade, but also a very real hope that we may once again get back to better times, better employ- ment and, even more important, better wages. I do not believe there is anyone in the House who is satisfied with the wages that operatives in all sections of the trade are receiving.

I do not rise, however, to deal with the general aspects of the Bill but merely to draw attention to one feature on which I have been in correspondence with the President of the Board of Trade. I fully agree that the Bill is not the right vehicle for arranging for compensation for any displaced workpeople. Nevertheless, I think it is essential that it should have smooth and helpful co-operative working. If it does not get that, it is not going to be of much use to anyone. I should, therefore, like to see some gesture made somewhere to the workers. It is almost certain that the aggregate amount of employment and wages in the spinning industry will not be lessened. We all hope that it will increase. It is, nevertheless, certain that a certain number of operatives will, for a shorter or longer period, find their work interrupted by the operations of the Cotton Board. If we cannot provide any compensation, however small, for them it is obvious that they are going to feel a grievance against the Bill which may spread throughout the industry. I do not believe that the number of those people is going to be very large and, making a certain number of tentative calculations, I reckon that £30,000 or £40,000 will be sufficient probably to pay 10s. a week for three months to those people who may find their work interrupted.

Where are we going to find that sum? In, one of the first speeches that I heard from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in introducing a Budget, when he was looking for a certain sum of money, he said it was fortunate that he was in the position of the Biblical character who found a ram caught in a thicket. Looking round for a sum of money of that description, one comes on a fund which was instituted soon after the War—the Cotton Trust Fund. I am grateful to the President of the Board of Trade for the information which he has given me on this point, although I know he does not support me in every argument I am putting forward. That fund started, I believe, with about £2,500,009 and was administered by trustees. One of the specific objects of the fund was to compensate workpeople who lost their work.

The fund was carried on for a few years but when unemployment in Lancashire increased to such an extent, owing to the slump, the fund was rapidly depleted. When it had fallen to some £500,000 the trustees came to the conclusion that they must stop paying compensation otherwise the fund would disappear and there were other laudable objects in view including research schools.

I would appeal not to the Government, because this has nothing to do with the Government, but to the trustees of that fund. Here is an opportunity for them to use a small portion of the fund which is absolutely under their control in helping along what the majority of this House believe to be the start of better times for Lancashire. I believe if the trustees of that fund looked at the question in that light they would realise that they could not use the money better than by spending it on this cause. It may be said that it would be very difficult to pay out compensation—I do not like the word "compensation"—or any ex gratia payments to those who are thrown out of work by the operation of this Measure. I do not believe that to be so. I have made inquiries on this point and I believe the trade unions would be prepared to operate such a scheme on a fair and equitable basis.

I suggest that 10s. a week for three months, paid in addition to unemployment pay, would ease the change-over for any operatives who are displaced when this Measure is put into operation. I think it would remove the opposition of the cotton operatives to this Bill. I am not speaking of political opposition. We know that His Majesty's Opposition have a duty to perform in opposing the Measure in this House but opposition among the operatives in Yorkshire and Lancashire would, I believe, be removed if some such scheme could be put into operation. As I say it is not a question for His Majesty's Government or for His Majesty's Opposition or indeed for anybody in this House but for the trustees of the fund. If they were approached by the cotton trade, I do not see how they could refuse to help, and I believe it would be of material service in helping forward this Bill, which I regard as the one hope of the cotton trade.

10.0 p.m.


I think it is the unanimous opinion of hon. Members of all parties that in passing the Third Reading of this Bill we are writing a new chapter in the economic history of our country. Whether for good or for ill, that chapter is being written in respect of the cotton textile industry of Lancashire. It remains to be seen what the ultimate result of its operations will be on the conditions of the people in that great county. The people of Lancashire have been looking for a long time for some help from the National Government. They are entitled to expect some aid because of the fact which is often forgotten, namely that Lancashire sends to this House more than one in 10 of its Members. There are 65 Members sitting here for the county of Lancashire, and, incidentally, I may mention that out of the present 20 Cabinet Ministers not one hails from Lancashire. I say that with some emphasis because it is felt in Lancashire that if the textile industry were centred in Birmingham and the surrounding areas its treatment would have been much more generous than that represented by this Bill.

This is a Measure which aims at scrapping redundant machinery, and it has been interesting to listen to hon. Members of all parties calling it by various names. I have seen Liberals become Tories while discussing this Measure. I have seen Tories trying to be Liberals, and I have witnessed both Liberals and Tories trying to be Socialists when discutting it. Whatever the Bill may do, it is at any rate attempting something new. But the hon. Member who described its provisions as resembling those of the Act which set up the London Transport Board was not, I think, right in his description. This Bill will leave private capitalism still supreme in Lancashire. Within their own area those capitalists will still compete for trade with one another. That is not the case in connection with London transport. But if this Bill is a violation of free trade and free competition in industry it is a remarkable circumstance in the political life of our country that the father of the Bill is a prominent Liberal. [HON. MEMBERS: "He was!"] Well, the right hon. Gentleman, as far as I know, has never disclaimed the fact that he is still a Free Trader. [HON. MEMBERS: "He never mentions it!"] I have been here for a number of years and I have never heard the right hon. Gentleman say that he was not a Free Trader. All I ever heard him declare was that he was prepared to try tariffs just to see how they worked. It is very clever on the part of the Tories to employ an ardent Free Trader to experiment with tariffs. Stranger still is the fact that his deputy is also a Free Trader, and what is perhaps strangest of all is the fact that the gentleman who is leading the textile manufacturers of Lancashire in favour of the Bill was once a Liberal Member of this House. I begin to wonder, therefore, what all this is about. One thing is certain, the Bill aim at hits at clearing up the financial chaos in the Lancashire tetxile industry, and whatever our criticisms of it may be, we must admit that there are some serious financial problems connected with the Lancashire textile industry which require clearing up. In that respect the Bill may do some good.

We have only gained one concession despite all we have tried to do during the Committee stage of the Bill. We have secured a representative of the trade unions on the Advisory Board; the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that the concession was a very remarkable one. I suppose we shall be told at the next General Election as the result of that small concession that the Government are the friends of the trade union movement. If this Bill is beginning a new era in industry, it is well that we should secure that one representative on behalf of the trade unions on the Advisory Committee. Of course, the Government know full well that it does not mean very much, otherwise they would not have given it to us. Anyway, we must be thankful for small mercies from this Government.

May I come now to what I think is a very real and serious criticism of this Measure? I think the right hon. Gentleman will be faced in due course with representations from Lancashire as to the difficulty of men, groups of men and firms, trying to establish new factories in the county. To impose a fine upon people who want to start a new mill or factory is indeed a very serious provision in an Act of Parliament, and the right hon. Gentleman knows that under Clause 5, when a firm establishes a new factory, it will be called upon to pay, if you please, a fine for so doing. I am told by those who are able to calculate better than I can that it may be that if a firm builds a new factory and places 100,000 spindles in it, if they do it 10 years from now, it means a fine of £5,000 on them. The Parliamentary Secretary laughs.


No. The calculation is substantially accurate. It is £4,680, and, being within £320, it is quite reasonably accurate.


I will bring the hon. Gentleman a little bit nearer to the truth. If he had £4,680 for 10 years, he would increase it by proper investment more than £5,000 in that time. I have the honour to be responsible for half a. million of money for my approved society, and I know how much I have to make by way of investment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] It is quite common for Liberals and Tories in this House to imagine that a Labour man knows nothing at all about finance, but I want to show that on occasion we understand as much about finance and handle more money than some of the Tories opposite—[Laughter]—If hon. and right hon. Members enjoy that, I might as well add that we want to manage a little bit more, but, unlike them, we want to manage it on behalf of the community and not for private interests. With regard to an observation earlier in the Debate by the hon. and gallant Member for Accrington (Major Procter), I could never understand him when he congratulated the textile industry of Lancashire on the decent wages it paid. I think he said that.


The hon. Member is absolutely mistaken. The point that I made was that unless there is a controlled increase in price, it will be impossible to pay a decent rate of pay to the wage earner.


That is an admission hardly worth having, especially in view of the fact that it is common knowledge in Lancashire that public assistance committees are now asking whether they are entitled to subsidise the low wages of those who are actually in work. Indeed the wages paid in the textile industry of Lancashire are, on the average, the lowest paid in any industry in the land. If this Bill can do anything at all to remove that state of affairs, I am sure we shall all be glad, irrespective of party.

When the two Labour Governments sat on the other side, I am under the impression that I remember hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who were in opposition then, that whenever we brought in a Bill or a Motion to touch any industry, they shouted, as if they were singing the Hallelujah chorus, "Hands off industry." Industry was sacrosanct, and we dared not touch it at any angle, either by a Factory Bill, by an Order in Council, or by anything else. "Keep your hands off industry" was their cry. And now, forsooth, a Bill is introduced, reaching its Third Reading that will so interfere in a certain industry in one county that it will buy out the inefficient. That is what it means in the end; it creates for those who remain a certain monopoly over which there is no control whatsoever in this Bill.

Finally, I do not know what this Bill will be able to achieve. Nobody can tell. The Government hopes it will do a great deal, and let me admit this much, that the people of Lancashire are so very poor in some parts of the county that they do not care very much what anybody thinks in this House about this Bill. They want better clothing, better food, and better housing, and for my part, if this Bill will achieve one-half of what the Government claim, I shall be thankful; but indeed the problem of poverty in Lancashire is so terrible and colossal that this Bill, in my view, will hardly touch the fringe of it.

10.12 p.m.


The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), who has just sat down, ended his speech by saying that what he wished to confer upon the people of Lancashire is better housing and better food. I wonder why he did not add "and better employment," for it is better employment which this Bill will bring to Lancashire if it succeeds at all. The Debate was opened by the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) asking me two questions, to which I will give him an immediate answer. He wanted to know what was to be the position of the Chairman of the Advisory Committee. The Chairman of the Advisory Committee will be selected by the Committee themselves from one of their own number. They will be free to choose whoever they please to act as their Chairman, and he will work under standing orders of their own making. They will be perfectly free, therefore, to get full value out of their independent position. The second question was, "Will the Advisory Committee be free to give advice and not to wait until they are asked for it by the Spindles Board?" They will be free to offer advice if they have any to offer, and they will not be dependent on the invitation of the Spindles Board as to whether or not they offer any advice or give any assistance to the Board. On those two points I think the position is rather better than the right hon. Gentleman anticipated.

What is the problem with which we are faced to-night? What is wrong with Lancashire? It is not easily described. Lancashire is suffering from a variety of misfortunes, but above everything she is suffering from foreign competition, and it is the competition from Asia in particular which has brought to Lancashire the misfortunes from which she is suffering today. Low wages, long hours, the use of plant far in excess of anything that we have achieved here have enabled the Japanese and the Indian millowners to compete with our millowners in certain counts with certain success. Do not let us run away with the idea that all the cotton industry of Lancashire is suffering from misfortune. There are in some sections a considerable degree, I will not say of prosperity, but of efficiency, and that efficiency, I am very glad to think, has arisen not as the result of assistance given by the Government, but has come from the initiative, the ingenuity, the enterprise and the research of those who are in control of the industry itself.

We are too apt to accept the description of Lancashire which is given in the Press, and from our public platforms, as though poor Lancashire was really broken with no hope for the future. I do not believe that for a moment. I think that, given an even chance, Lancashire is quite capable of holding its own, and I look with great hope on the work which is being done in the research station at Shirley Institute which may, by one or two inventions or by some change in method or by some extension in know- ledge which we do not at present possess, entirely re-establish the Lancashire cotton trade in the cotton trade of the world.

That is not what is anticipated in this Measure. We have no very high pretensions as to what it wishes to achieve. It carries out, however, one essential reform. It enables us, for the first time, in a Measure which has been carefully thought out and devised, to deal with the problem of redundancy. Very little has been said by speakers from the Labour benches on the subject of redundancy, and yet that is the whole essence of the Bill. It is to deal with the problem of redundancy. I do not know the present view of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Westhoughton, but when I turn to the Labour publication on Cotton, the Trade Union Congress plan, one of the most striking of the paragraphs in its early pages reads as follows The existence of redundant machinery, particularly in spinning is one of the most pressing problems of the industry. Whereas the volume of trade available to Lancashire is probably less than half what was considered normal in the pre-war period, only a small percentage of plant has been destroyed since that time. I go twelve pages further on and find the subject once more: The existence of surplus productive capacity is partly responsible for the general depression of the industry in most countries. … Owing to the intense internal competition it has been found impossible to secure agreement upon measures which would improve the efficiency of the industry "— In other words, the Trade Union Congress Committee failed to find any solution for the ills which they were describing: and instead the uneconomic system of short-time working, with wasteful underemployment of plant and labour and wasteful production methods was long continued. The problems of surplus productive capacity, especially in the spinning section, and the relatively inefficient plant and methods of working, require urgent attention. That is the very problem with which we were faced.


Will it be true to say that in that publication there is to be found the outlines of a scheme to deal with the industry as a whole, and that in no part of that publication is there any advocacy of a plan dealing solely with the spinning section of the industry?


I can only take the plan for what it is, and in its published form it does not provide for anything worked out in detail, such as is contained in this very Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "Read the latter part of the book. It deals in the vaguest possible way with the whole scheme of socialisation, but the point I am making is that the one object of our Bill is to deal with the whole problem of redundancy. We have to meet that and solve it before we can proceed to any further elaboration. I have said not only in the House but in Committee that I believe we are laying the foundation here, and if the experiment succeeds—I admit that it is an experiment and nobody can prophesy as to what will be its ultimate effect—then we can proceed to deal with the other sections of the industry bit by bit. Certainly the idea of dealing with the whole of the cotton trade over its whole field never entered into the minds of any of the authors of this legislative scheme.

The criticism of the proposals in the House and in the course of very careful and close examination in Committee upstairs, has been over a comparatively narrow scope. In spite of that it seems to have aroused some of the deepest feelings on the part of certain hon. Members for Lancashire, certain Members of the Labour party and also some of those who usually support the Government. I heard with very great interest the speech of the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Assheton), who spoke on the subject of planning as a whole. His speech might have been delivered as a criticism of all kinds of planning. It was a plea for the doctrine and practice of laissez faire. As to the idea that we should get the fullest advantage out of the intelligence of Lancashire, he seemed to despair of any ability coming from that county. He said that for the last 50 years there had been nothing to show that Lancashire was composed of really intelligent industrialists. I am afraid that I cannot share with him that depressing thought.


I must be allowed in defence of myself to say a few words. No one admires Lancashire more than I do. I have lived there all my life. I was criticising Lancashire's lack of attention to obsolescence for 50 years, and I did so in an interruption in answer to the hon. Member for Rusholme (Mr. Radford).


That is not universally correct. I could name two or three firms which are the most up-to-date in the world and are making Lancashire preeminent in many fields, in many lands. Those are the people who have asked us to give them a chance of laying the foundations now, in this Measure, for improvements which will extend to other sections of the industry. I agree that the proposal is not entirely our own. I told the House quite frankly on the Second reading of the Bill how the scheme came into being. I made it clear then, and I repeat it now, that had it not come as a suggestion from the industry as a whole I should not have felt bold enough to have undertaken it myself. Neither my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary nor I have disguised the fact in any of our discussions either upstairs or elsewhere that we were adopting this Bill because it was the only Measure on which we had been able to secure agreement in Lancashire.


Have you secured agreement?


Certainly. A great measure of agreement.


A bare majority.


The highest figure that has ever been named in opposition to these proposals was that of 11,000,000 spindles out of 48,000,000. I call that a very considerable majority. If the hon. Member and his friends had a majority of those dimensions in this House how happy they would be.


The right hon. Gentleman will admit that those who have signified definitely in favour of the Bill are only a bare majority. The 11,000,000 spindles are those who are definitely fighting an organised battle against the Bill.


The 11,000,000 spindles have never been exceeded in any estimate by the opponents of the Bill. At least 28,500,000 spindles are downright supporters of the Bill, without any qualifications whatever, and there has been a considerable addition to the number of those who are in favour of the proposals. Having accepted these proposals as being proposals which have gathered round them the largest degree of support, I think we did right in asking the House to make this experiment. One further word. There is nothing whatever in these proposals which interferes with the object which I know my hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe has so much at heart and which has been indicated from the Liberal benches, and that is that we should obtain the freest possible markets. They rightly regard free markets as being those in which they can most likely be successful. The freest possible markets are not to be obtained in the world today. We have to take the world as we find it, and we find that at the moment we are being excluded from the freest markets of the world. If we do not put our house in order and concentrate our forces it is quite certain that Lancashire cannot succeed in the future.




Divide !


The House has voted for the suspension of the 11 o'Clock Rule and, therefore, is it fair for hon. Members to try to howl down the hon. and gallant Member?

10.26 p.m.


I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes, but as this is a Measure of great importance to Lancashire I feel it is my duty to say something in opposing the Third Reading of the Bill. I opposed it at the outset and at the last moment I am against it, because I believe it is absolutely wrong in principle. I am well aware that Lancashire has a very great friend in the President of the Board of Trade, and I readily admit that he is in a very strong position, because in reply to the numerous demands that something should be done for Lancashire he went to the cotton trade and said "Produce a scheme, and I will consider it." Therefore, he stands in a very strong position because he can now say "This is the scheme put forward by the trade and I, being desirous of helping Lancashire, put forward this Measure because it is the only one that has been put up for my consideration." Those people who are behind the Measure are the very people who have done more to produce this redundancy than any other set of people in the Lancashire cotton trade. I allude to the combines, who are the fathers of the proposals outlined in the Bill. It was they who initiated and backed up the movement, it is they who represent a, great many spindles, and it is for the purpose of getting this section out of the mess that we have the proposals in this Measure.

I oppose the Bill because of the very underhand way in which the ballot was carried out. I oppose the Bill because the promises which were made when that ballot was carried out have never been fulfilled. I oppose the Bill because it helps the banks more than it helps the cotton trade. It helps the combines to get rid of their overdrafts without which it would have been impossible for them to stand up against the people who do not want this Measure. I oppose the Bill because it does not deal with foreign competition. Although we are to reduce our redundant spindles, there is no hope whatever that our foreign competitors will reduce theirs. Before this Measure was brought before the House the negotiating ability which is extra-ordinarily fine in the President of the Board of Trade ought to have been used in trying to get other yarn manufacturers to reduce their spindles in the same proportion that we reduce ours.

Furthermore, I claim that this Bill will not solve the redundancy problem. It is true that you may put spindles into cold storage, you may set up, as you intend to do for the first time, a Government Department which is going into the business of the sale, repair, and maintenance of secondhand machinery, but the Lancashire combines will be able to run carts and horses through this Bill so far as redundancy is concerned, because, while you may reduce the number of spindles by two-thirds, and where there are three spindles have only one, it will be possible to get the same production provided there are three shifts. Once the three-shift system is introduced into this country, there will be the same problem of redundancy to meet as before.

I oppose this Bill because it does not deal with the problem of redundant workers, and there the Government have missed another fine opportunity of proving that the friends of the working men of Lancashire are the National Government. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Rushholme (Mr. Radford) said that there is to be no unemployment, that work will be increased, that the factories will be run on full-time produc- tion and that in the aggregate there mill be the same employment as before. Now there is a dilemma. This Bill will either put a great number of people out of work, or it will put only a few people out of work. If it puts a great many people out of work, it is a thoroughly bad Bill, and quite opposite to that which was promised by the National Government; if it puts a few people out of work, the National Government ought to be jealous enough to do what was done in similar circumstances in the London Passenger Transport Bill, namely, to compensate the people who are selling the most perishable commodity in the world, their labour. It is no satisfaction to say, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rushholme did, to a man in my division, "Well, never mind, you are hungry, but cheer up, for the men over in Rushholme have your job; it would have been all right if this Bill had not gone through, but these fellows are now working full time and you are not working at all." Arguments of that kind are very good for the mass, but they will not give very much satisfaction in the way of filling the empty stomachs of the men who will be put out of work in my division by this Bill.

Not a solitary concession has been made on the human side of this problem. Not a penny piece has been paid to compensate the worker for the loss of his job. I suggest, even at this late hour, that the President of the Board of Trade should give to the Spindles Board power in order that they may, out of some fund, at least pay for the removal expenses of the fellows who are displaced, because many of them are anchored to their homes. It that were done it would be a fine thing. I am opposed to the Bill because it imposes for the first time in a manufacturing industry, except licensing, a State monopoly. Some hon. Gentlemen on the other side do not know whether it is Fascism or Socialism. If this Bill fails it will be Fascism. If it succeeds it will be Socialism. It depends on how they use their propaganda. I believe the Bill is Fascism, but Fascism is just the beginning or the end of Socialism. If you begin with Fascism you end up with Socialism; if you begin with Socialism, whether individually or as a nation, you finish up with Fascism and the call for a dictator to get you out of the mess.

Under this Bill we are setting up a sort of hereditary Socialism, a hereditary cotton trade with the business going down from father to son, and no person ever being allowed to come into the industry unless he pays the whole of a fine in order to get established. It is because the Bill is creating a monopoly that I am opposed to it. Measures of this kind are just the beginning of Socialism. I do not know why hon. Members opposite oppose the Bill, because it is helping them to put the paralysing hand of the State on every industry in the country. We cannot foresee the end, and the time has come when we have to ask ourselves whether the National Government are on the right lines in making it possible for a law-compelling, bank-ridden, inefficient majority to impose its will upon a quiescent and very efficient minority. They have not been able to do it by fair commerce, and they can only do it with the help of the President of the Board of Trade.

This Bill is Socialism by degrees. As I am opposed to Socialism, I am opposed to the Bill which from the start is Socialism by a painless method. I am reminded of the man who had a dog, and seeing that its tail was rather redundant, decided to cut it off, but, in order not to hurt the dog, he decided to cut a little bit off every day. That is how Socialism is being introduced into this country by the National Government. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade said that what we want to do was to give Lancashire a fair chance. I am in agreement with that. If we do not have this Bill what else is there? May I suggest one or two things that the Government can do? I suggest that the President of the Board of Trade should use his bargaining power to force open lost markets. I ask him to increase the tariffs on Japanese imports into this country.


The hon. Member is going a long way beyond the Bill.


The right hon. Gentleman suggested that we should give Lancashire fair play. Lancashire deserves it, deserves far better treatment than is given by this Bill, and I hope that for the sake of displaced workers and for the sake of the future of the cotton trade the right hon. Gentleman will think again and consider whether, instead of allowing this £2,000,000 to go to the banks, which have a stranglehold on the cotton trade, he cannot give it to the cotton trade to re-equip itself with the best machinery—and incidentally the best machinery is made in my division. In that way the money could be used to help and not to hinder. If we oppose this

Bill and throw it out, and get the Government to think out a better way of helping the cotton trade, I shall be very well satisfied for having detained the House so long.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 124.

Division No. 129.] AYES. [10.42 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Fox, Sir G. W. G. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Fraser, Capt. Sir I. Munro, P. M.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Furness, S. N. Nall, Sir J.
Anderson Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.) Fyfe, D. P. M. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Ganzoni, Sir J. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Aske, Sir R. W. Gledhill, G. Orr-Ewing, I. L.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Goldle, N. B. Palmer, G. E. H.
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Goodman, Col. A. W. Patrick, C. M.
Baxter, A. Beverley Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral) Penny, Sir G.
Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury) Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Gridley, Sir A. B. Pilkington, R.
Belt, Sir A. L. Grimston, R. V. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Bernays, R. H. Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'r'll, N.W.) Porritt, R. W.
Blindell, Sir J. Gunston, Capt. D. W. Radford, E. A.
Boulton, W. W. Guy, J. C M. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Hannah, I. C. Ramsbotham, H.
Boyce, H. Leslie Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Ramsden, Sir E.
Bracken, B. Harbord, A. Rankin, R.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Harvey, G. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Rayner, Major R. H.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Hepworth, J. Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)
Bull, B. B. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Ropner, Colonel L.
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Holmes, J. S. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry)
Butt, Sir A. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Cartland, J. R. H. Horsbrugh, Florence Rowlands, G.
Carver, Major W. H. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Cary, R. A. Hulbert, N. J. Runciman, Rt. Hon. W.
Castiereagh, Viscount Hunter, T. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Joel, D. J. B. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Clarry, Sir R. G. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Salmon, Sir I.
Colfox, Major W. P. Jones, L. (Swansea, W.) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Colman, N. C. D. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Colville, Lt.-Col. D. J. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk N.) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Savery, Servington
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T, M. (E'nburgh, W.) Kirkpatrick, W. M. Scott, Lord William
Courtauld, Major J. S. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Selley, H. R.
Craddock, Sir R. H. Leckle, J. A. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Leech, Dr. J. W. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Levy, T. Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.
Cross, R. H. Liddall, W. S. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Crossley, A. C Lindsay, K. M. Spens, W. P.
Culverwell, C. T. Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Lovat-Fraser, J. A. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Davies, Major G. F. (Yeovil) Lumley, Capt. L. R. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
De Chair, S. S. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Strickland Captain W. F.
Denman, Hon. R. D. M'Connell, Sir J. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Denville, Alfred McCorquodale, M. S. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Dodd, J. S. Mac Donald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Scot. U.) Sutcliffe, H.
Dugdale, Major T. L. Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Duncan, J. A. L. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Turton, R. H.
Eastwood, J. F. Magnay, T. Wallace, Captain Euan
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Warrender, Sir V.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Mander, G. le M. Waterhouse Captain C.
Elliston, G. S. Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Wells, S. R.
Elmley, Viscount Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Emery, J. F. Markham, S. F. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Maxwell, S. A. Wragg, H.
Entwistle, C. F. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Errington, E. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Erskine Hill, A. G. Mitcheson, Sir G. G. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Evans, D.O. (Cardigan) Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Findlay, Sir E. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Ward and Commander Southby.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Adamson, W. M. Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)
Adams, D. (Consett) Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Ammon, C. G Banfield, J. W.
Barnes, A. J. Hardie, G. D. Oliver, G. H.
Barr, J. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Paling, W.
Batey, J. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Parkinson, J. A.
Bellenger, F. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Petherick, M.
Benson, G. Holdsworth, H. Pethick- Lawrence, F. W.
Broad, F. A. Holland, A. Potts, J.
Bromfield, W. Hollins, A. Pritt, D. N.
Brooke, W. Hopkin, D. Procter, Major H. A.
Buchanan, G. Jagger, J. Ritson, J.
Burke, W. A. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Cape, T. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Rowson, G.
Cassells, T. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Seely, Sir H. M.
Chater, D. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Sexton, T. M.
Cluse, W. S. Kelly, W. T. Shinwell, E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Short, A.
Cocks, F. S. Kirby, B. V. Silverman, S. S.
Compton, J. Lathan, G. Simpson, F. B.
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Lawson, J. J. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Critchley, A. Leach, W. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Daggar, G. Lee, F. Sorensen, R. W.
Dalton, H. Leonard, W. Stephen, C.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Leslie, J. R. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Logan, D. G. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Day, H. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dobble, W. McGhee, H. G. Thurtle, E.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) McGovern, J. Tinker, J. J.
Ede, J. C. MacLaren, A. Viant, S. P.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) Maclean, N. Watkins, F. C.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Mainwaring, W. H. Watson, W. McL.
Fildes, Sir H. Marklew, E. Westwood, J.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Marshall, F. Whiteley, W.
Gallacher, W. Maxton, J. Wilkinson, Ellen
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Messer, F. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Milner, Major J. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Moreing, A. C. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Grenfell, D. R. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Muff, G.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Naylor, T. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.