§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
I beg to move,That, in view of the opinion expressed by this House more than 12 months ago as to the necessity for action to prevent further industrial concentration around London and in the South, this House regrets that His Majesty's Government, instead of recognising the gravity and urgency of the problem from the point of view of defence and the plight of the distressed areas, have been content, whilst the evil grows, to institute a lengthy inquiry into facts already known and to be responsible for the submission of evidence calculated to discourage the early adoption of an effective policy for planning the location of industry in accordance with the national interest.In moving this Motion I must say that I feel glad that I have a subject which anchors me to the earth, because I found the air a little bumpy during my short flight on Monday night. There seemed to be a certain amount of thunder and lightning rumbling over Mount Olympus that night, but, fortunately, I was not struck, either physically or mentally. I believe the subject of this Motion is one which arouses considerable interest in many parts of the House, and as I wish as many Members as possible to share in my good fortune in the Ballot the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins), whom I am fortunate to have as my Seconder, and myself, have agreed to ration ourselves somewhat in respect of the time we occupy. I hope that our abstinence will be rewarded, because when a similar Motion was proposed from these benches some time ago the opener took 24 minutes, the Seconder took 14 minutes, and then the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) took 35 minutes in moving an Amendment to the Motion.
I shall not attempt to cover all the matters raised in the Motion, but propose to deal principally with that part of it which refers to London. I feel very fortunate in enjoying, to some extent, the support of the Prime Minister in this matter, because, curiously enough, he has a certain fondness for garden cities, which has led him to extend his interest to this question of the location of industry. Speaking in February, 1927, the Prime Minister said, referring to Letchworth and Welwyn Garden Cities:If we could multiply them we should be providing an ideal solution to that most difficult problem of overcrowded industrial 414 towns. To take the factories to the people in the country instead of keeping people round the factories in the towns, that is something worth working for.Again, he said in Birmingham in June, 1927:I hope the conference will not part without giving serious consideration to the possibility of founding new cities built on a definite plan, making use of the experience and knowledge we have of the mistakes that have been committed in the past.If the House will bear with me, I should like to give a further quotation from a speech by the Prime Minister at the first meeting of the Greater London Joint Town Planning Committee, in which he said:It is quite possible that the only way of multiplying garden cities would be by the appointment of some special commission whose business it would be to take the initiative.I feel that it is very greatly to the credit of the Prime Minister that one of his first acts upon succeeding to his office was the appointment of a Royal Commission on the Location of Industry, thus fulfilling the suggestion that he made 10 years ago. It enhances his reputation as a man of his word, and we now hope that he will live up to all those statements I have quoted, and will use his influence to expedite the work of the Royal Commission which is now sitting; and, in addition to showing himself a man of his word, show himself to be, also, a man of action concerned with getting quick results.
This control of the location of industry is linked up with many other very great issues—unemployment, the distressed areas, the vitality and health of the workers, the defence of London, the preservation of the natural beauties of the countryside. But as things are, there is almost a complete lack of any national guidance in these matters and a complete lack of any national co-ordination. Yet if something is not done from the national point of view the country is steadily going to get into a state of chaos. There are few signs as yet that the Government have grasped all the implications of this question. What is happening is that the country is in the throes of a far greater industrial revolution than that which took place 120 years ago. At that time the industries which sprang up during the first days of the era of steam, and the: location of the cities in which those industries were placed, were determined mainly by such factors as the presence of coal 415 the presence of water, of iron and of timber, nearness to ports, and in the case of Lancashire the climate. It was in that way that we got those blots on the British landscape which we call towns. Those towns are a grim indictment of the stupidity and the ignorance and the lack of foresight of our forbears, who boasted that they were making this country into the workshop of the world, while they were really hard at work making a large part of it into eyesores.
Now we have to ask ourselves, if we are criticising these mistakes, whether we ourselves have advanced very far? The salient feature of to-day is that the cheapening of electric power which has given industry a new mobility. One hundred and twenty years ago the areas which could be devastated by industrial development were limited, for the reasons I have given. To-day, thanks to the cheapness of electric power, there are no areas of England which are exempt from similar devastation. Chaos is growing, our towns are a muddle, our large cities are a crime against their inhabitants, and the countryside is being spoilt by scattered and ugly buildings. Community life, which is so essential in a democracy, is being strangled in the congestion of cities and attenuated to extinction in ribbon development. Few people realise the destruction of human happiness which is being brought about in these ways. There is no thought as to the size and character of the future population for which we ought to be planning. The movements of population are left entirely to chance.
We want national guidance of new industries on the basis of towns of a reasonable size. The only conceivable reason for making towns bigger is the refusal to think. It really is sheer laziness. Initiative is needed to start new towns of a reasonable size, and it is far easier just to drift aimlessly on to the rim of existing towns, although new towns would have everything in their favour—non-inflated land values, factories cheaper to build and maintain, and better to work in, workers able to get easily to their work instead of spending so much time and money on doing it, as at present. As things are, we are building and extending our towns in a manner which we know to be wrong, and destructive of the well-being of the present and future generations. Most 416 people seem to think this is inevitable. It is neither inevitable nor right.
The present growth of our towns is really a disaster of the first magnitude, with a bearing upon every single social problem, from birth rate to agricultural depression. If decentralisation is the remedy, well, decentralisation may be difficult, but we have in this country quite capable administrators who could take on the job; and as a matter of fact the technical difficulties of decentralisation are far less than the technical difficulties involved in the present tendency towards centralisation. Centralisation, in London for instance, involves the most complicated engineering problems, it involves the double tracking of the tube railways, a most difficult and complicated engineering feat; it means fitting tenements on to very awkward and very expensive sites. But the difficulty in the way of decentralisation is that there is no definite responsibility laid upon, or power vested in, any central body. That difficulty could be removed if the Government were resolved a solution must be found. Are we to allow a repetition of the mistakes we have seen going on in London during the last 16 years? If we are going to do so, can we visualise without horror the London of 1940–50?
All these things I have mentioned about London are very largely true of many provincial towns and cities as well. I am dealing with London in particular, and in doing so I must tread rather gently, on account of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison). I join with him, though, in loving London, and I yield to no one in my admiration of the work which he is doing for London at the present moment. But London is altering in a most formidable way. I came here from the country, but I am not sure that things are improving in London for the man who does that. I think that the Dick Whittington of the depressed areas, who responds to the lure of London in 1937, had better "turn again" back to where he came from. I understand that his chances of becoming Lord Mayor are now about one in 450,000,000. On the other hand his chance of dying in a work house is one in three; his chance of ending by committing suicide is one in 70. Then there is his chance of becoming a lunatic. That chance is one in 84. Or he may go to prison; he will find that 417 one in 70 of his fellow-citizens has been His Majesty's guest at some time or other. But his chances of finding work are only one in 10. So I think he had better go back home again.
London's growth is causing anxiety. I remember a Motion brought forward in this House which said that the power of the Crown had grown, was growing and ought to be diminished. I think that now we might bring forward a Motion to say that London is too big, is growing bigger, and ought to be diminished. We ought to stop industries stampeding into London, and divert them back to the areas which that stampede is devastating. Greater London is now a crazy size, 700 square miles. Saturn's Ring is steadily becoming much bigger than Saturn itself. It is very doubtful if in war this enormous population could be either protected or fed. The figures given by Sir Malcolm Stewart show that during 1935 213 new factories were established in Greater London, and during that period only two new factories and six extensions were recorded in the whole of the Special Areas. There were no new factories or extensions at all in the Welsh Special Areas.
The result of this is that London now is in an advanced stage of strangulation. Look at traffic, straphanging in tube railways, pedestrians afraid to cross the streets, motorists unable to find parking room for a car, the City of London declining to provide more car parks for fear of bringing more cars into the City, the London Transport Board thinking that private cars must go to make room for more omnibuses. The Government do not piece together all these various problems. They expend vast ingenuity in trying to deal with them as isolated problems, and the more they try to solve them the more inconvenient life in London gets. To try to increase the speed and capacity of the tubes you extend them further out into the suburbs, and the result is that the people who travel in them increase faster than the capacity of the tubes to handle them. You have all this system of traffic lights and one way regulations. The only result of that is that you pass a very few more vehicles through and you add enormously to vehicle mileage. Architects fit a decreasing allowance of living space into those loftier and loftier block of flats which are really the enemy of everything that we know as family life, and which do not 418 provide a good environment for children brought up in them.
Seen separately, all these matters make a confusion which seems hopeless, but they are really all part of the same problem. This growth of London is taking away the earning power of other parts of the country, taking away the earning power especially from those areas which used to be the centre of gravity of our industrial life, those areas where our industrial pre-eminence was built up. Lancashire has had 80,000 of its industrial population drained away—80,000 of the economic life-blood of Lancashire drained away. You have highly skilled industrial communities standing idle in other parts of the country while this congestion of industry in London goes on. London now is dominating the rest of the country to the disadvantage of the rest of the country, and it is quite time that the Government paid some attention to this case of the rest of England versus London.
A very serious aspect of this problem of the congestion of London is the loss of time, the discomfort, the expense and the fatigue involved for those workers whose task calls for a journey of anything from 30 to 40 minutes to their work, and who almost continually have to stand the whole of the way, morning and evening. It is very largely due to the practice of most places of business of starting and stopping their day's work at the same time. That matter is under inquiry at the present moment, in relation to what is known as staggering. I realise that very difficult problems are involved especially the danger of creating two peak periods, but I am convinced that along the line of staggering lies the solution of the journey of the worker to his place of employment.
The journey of the worker has two repercussions, first of which is ill-health. A large firm has made an inquiry and has correlated the incidence of absenteeism and ill-health with the length of the journey of each employé. It has found that the employés who live longer distances from work take 80 per cent. more time off for illness. Another large firm reports that hardly a day passes without some employé having to be treated for minor injuries, sustained during the journey to work. Then there is the monetary aspect of the journey.
419 The man who lives 30 minutes' or 40 minutes' journey from his work has to spend money which if spent on food would buy him a better mid-day meal, and there would be a corresponding improvement in his health. As it is trade unions fight for better wages and the increase is swallowed up largely by travelling expenses.
My concluding points relate to the defence of London as it is affected by the concentration of industry and population here. During the last 10 years, the possibility of another war has steadily grown, but, during that same 10 years, successive Governments have stood by and watched a greater and greater concentration of industry and population in that part of the country where, for reasons of war, concentration is least desirable. Blucher is reported to have said, when he came here after the Battle of Waterloo, and saw London: "What a city to loot." I think that any German airman who happened to visit London at the present moment might very well go away saying: "What a city to bomb." Here we have this completely suicidal concentration of industry, finance, docks, Government, population, transport and power stations, the whole mechanism of Empire, concentrated, all the eggs in one basket, waiting for the enemy bomber. Smash one bit, and you put the whole machine out of gear. What will happen under intense and prolonged air attack? What will you do about shipping and how will you feed the population if the docks are knocked out? What will you do about your factories if the stations which supply them with power are destroyed? Are you certain you will be able to transport food and vital raw materials? One question after another might be put to illustrate the suicidal nature of the concentration which has been going on in London just at the time when, unfortunately for us but fortunately for our enemies, the conquest of the air has been achieved and has made London the finest bombing target in the world. There are some foreign air forces which must be rubbing their hands at the spectacle.
We are engaged in centralising people and industry about that target to an extent which is unprecedented in the case of any other city in the world. The late Prime Minister said that the bomber would always get through; and to make 420 life one long sweet song for the bomber, every day and in every way, we make his target bigger and bigger. Really, if we did not know our Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence we might believe that he was in the toils of some beautiful foreign spy who had rendered him subservient to alien influence. If he were so, he could not be doing more to help the enemy than he is doing with respect to the London target. But it is not a tale of love and folly; it is just straight folly. It is the Minister's mind and not his morals which are at fault.
Perhaps, out of this air menace, a plan for London may yet spring up and, against their will, the Government may find themselves strengthening their control over industry. The change of plan about the White Waltham factory conceded the essential point that the siting of industry is a matter of national interest. The fact is that we are up against the profit motive. Conservative Governments just hate to stand up against that motive, although I believe there are many enlightened younger Members on the other side of the House who see—[Interruption]—well, let me say that there are several hon. Members who see the position and deplore it. Unfortunately, it is part of the system which they are pledged to support. It is extraordinary that although people will give up their lives out of patriotism you cannot get them to give up their profits for patriotism. If we were at war with Japan, many manufacturers and sons of manufacturers would go, patriotically and quickly, but if an economic boycott of Japan were suggested, they would say: "No, that would interfere with profits, and we cannot hear anything about that." But light is dawning even in Conservative quarters.
A Commission is sitting at the present moment to inquire into the location of industry, but there is so much information already available in the pigeon holes of town and country planning authorities, the Post Office, the War Office, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Health and the Home Office that I believe the work of the Commission is largely unnecessary and will only delay the remedy of the evils to which I am calling attention. The chairman is a man of great experience, but I understand that the proceedings are cumbrous and dilatory. I hope the chairman's great personal interest in the work of the Commission 421 will not interfere with his giving ample opportunity to all members of the Commission to cross-examine witnesses and bring out their own points of view. Can not the proceedings of the Commission be simplified and accelerated? Cannot the Commission concentrate first of all on the problem of national Defence, and bring out an interim report on which the Government could take action, afterwards getting on with other important but less urgent aspects of the problem? What has been done during the last 12 years to prevent further industrial concentration? We are very much behind other nations in our handling of this matter. German plans for industry are marvellously thorough and complete. With the Germans, national defence is the sole criterion in the location of industry. Industry has been moved east, away from the French frontier. Key factories are isolated, and each of them has its own highly efficient system of defence against air attack. I would ask hon. Members to imagine the fate of any German industrialist who told General Goering that he must go where he could make most profit and not where the General wanted him to go. National defence is the first consideration in Germany, and should be the first consideration here also where location of industry is concerned.
I see there is an Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mabane). It is a typical National Liberal Amendment. [Interruption.] I take it that the hon. Member still calls himself a Liberal, even though he is a little piebald. I call it a typical National Liberal Amendment because it says in effect: "Things are bad, very bad, but, thinking all things over, it is probably better to leave them bad, because who knows what would happen if you tried to alter them? In any case, if you do, you might interfere with profits." The only thing left out of it which would have made it a 100 per cent. Liberal Amendment is any reference to proportional representation, without which no Liberal Amendment is complete, as they now regard it as a cure for everything.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot
Have I not heard the hon. and gallant Member advocating proportional representation from a large number of platforms in the Tavistock Division?
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
We all have such relics of our early and unenlightened days like millstones round our necks. I can well understand any National Liberal gazing enviously at the Government Front Bench and feeling very strong for proportional representation. The Amendment only encourages delay, and delay is dangerous. Recent Debates have shown clearly that the defence of our great cities from air attack is largely make-belief and sham. Unless the Government take power to determine the location of industry in accordance with national safety they will be betraying the country. That is the essence of the Motion which I move.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Jenkins
I beg to second the Motion.
I have great pleasure in doing so, because I think it is of considerable importance to the country. It is clear that something similar to the Motion should have been put in operation a considerable time ago, in which case we should not be confronted with our present problems. My hon. and gallant Friend talked a good deal about the City of London, and I believe he described it as well-nigh unmanageable even in peace time. I am not sure, and neither is anybody else, what London will be like if we ever are unfortunate enough to suffer air attack. I have heard it said, and believe it to be true, that the people of the country depend upon the London Docks for at least one-quarter of their food supply. That dependence is not diminishing; the tendency is for it to increase. More and more food is coming to the London Docks and no attempt is made to divert the trade to other and less vulnerable parts of the country. Greater London has approximately one-fifth of the population of the country and one-fourth of the rateable value, a fact which is of enormous importance in the local government of the country. It is becoming an extremely difficult problem. My hon. and gallant Friend referred to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison), who controls only a part of London now, while the part that he controls is losing some of its population. Many people are going outside the administrative County of London, leaving the problem on the inside of London more difficult. What characterises London in that respect 423 characterises every great city to some extent. Is it not a fact that the problems of central London are such that the finances, even of London, are not now capable of modernising the city? There has been a great deal of talk about a Charing Cross Bridge. I have heard it said that that bridge when built, with all the improvements necessary to enable the great traffic to pass over it reasonably well, will cost approximately £40,000,000. That is a most formidable proposition, even for London. This state of affairs is to be seen in other cities as well as in London. The bigger a city gets, the more costly it becomes to modernise its centre. One can see that in Birmingham and in other great cities in this country.
Steps ought to have been taken long since to get this matter dealt with. The Government, apparently, take no heed of any suggestions that are ever made to them with regard to this problem. It is some considerable time since we had a deputation to the late Prime Minister and a number of Cabinet Ministers asking them to take steps with regard to it. We were put off; anyhow, no action at all was taken. Sir Malcolm Stewart, in one of his early reports, after having gone into the matter fully and carefully, said, "Put London out of bounds as far as new industries are concerned." But nothing has been done and now may I quote from paragraph 40 of the report, just issued, of the Commissioner for the Special Areas? Sir George Gillett said:Sir Malcolm Stewart constantly drew attention in his published reports to the all important question of the location of industry and the need for considering the social as well as the economic effects of the transference of industries from one part of the country to another. This is a question which is very near the roots of the problem of the Special Areas. The Government cannot, in my view, especially since the introduction of tariffs and quotas, evade the responsibility of the location of industry.What is happening in South Wales? we saw that the Dowlais Steel Company transferred their works from Dowlais to Cardiff. Cardiff was not in need of those works, but they were transferred. And let me say this, because I think it needs publicity: Before the decision was made to move those works. Guest, Keen and Company succeeded in selling a large number of their old cottages, from 100 to 150 years old, to their workpeople. After having got rid of those cottages, after 424 having got the workpeople to purchase them and to enter into liabilities in respect of them, they transferred their works to Cardiff. They did that because they thought, and I suppose it is true, that they could make a slight profit by doing so. And what have they left behind? They have left behind Dowlais and Merthyr. At the present time the Commissioner for the Special Areas is endeavouring to establish new industries there, but as a matter of fact he is finding great difficulties in doing so. He talks about the derelict sites. The works that once existed in those areas have now been transferred elsewhere, leaving behind conditions of widespread ruin. I should like to quote what the Commissioner for the Special Areas, in paragraph 12 of the report from which I have already quoted, says with regard to the need for dealing with these areas:I well remember the depressing effect that great slag heaps and the ruins of dismal factories had on me on my first visit, and even now some measure of familiarity has not re moved that feeling. It is no easy task to persuade industries to come to some of these places, and it makes me ask myself the question whether it is right that whole districts should be ruined without industry being held liable for some of the ruin they have created. I am now asked to clear up, on behalf of the Government, these unsightly ruins of concerns that in former days, no doubt, paid their shareholders handsome dividends.He goes on to say that he is only able to deal with two or three of these areas. Dowlais is one of them. There we have to spend substantial sums of public money in order to clear up the ruin that these people have left behind. As regards Merthyr, the Merthyr people had no say as to whether or not a great industry should be removed. Which is the greater—the capital involved in the industry concerned, or the capital involved in the houses, the roads, the schools, the chapels and so on? I have done my best to make as careful an analysis as I am capable of making in order to try to ascertain what is the capital of the industries and what is the capital of the towns, and generally speaking you will find that what I like to describe as the socially owned capital amounts to approximately three times that which is in industries. Notwithstanding that, however, the owners of this social capital have no say at all as to whether a works shall be transferred from one place to another.
425 The Amendment on the Paper suggests that it is dangerous to interfere with the freedom—the old laissez-faire policy—of industry. A few days ago we had another brand of Liberalism from the hon. Member for Berwick-on-Tweed (Sir H. Seely), who said he knew perfectly well that nationalisation of the mining industry would come, but he wanted to delay it as long as he possibly could. That was the burden of what he said. To-day we are told again that it is dangerous to interfere with this freedom of industry, but it is also extremely dangerous to allow industry to go on in this manner. My hon. and gallant Friend who moved the Motion said that 80,000 people had come away from Lancashire as a consequence of industrial depression. Three hundred thousand people have come away from South Wales as a consequence of there being no authority to locate industries in those areas. That has been the direct result. There is plenty of evidence of it in the Commissioners' reports. Now we have a Royal Commission going into the whole matter. We know what happens with Royal Commissions. I was a member of one some years ago. We made a report, but no action has been taken. Is that to happen in connection with this Royal Commission also? I contend that we have had sufficient experience in the post-War period to show quite definitely the need for determining where these industries should be located.
I would refer to another case, not in Wales. Not very long ago, Messrs. Stewarts and Lloyds left the Clyde and came down to Corby. They have established their works at a very beautiful old-world village in Northamptonshire. Some time during last year I passed through that village, and I have never seen such destruction anywhere. The iron ore mines are ruining every inch of agricultural land from which the ore is taken. I should have imagined that they would have been welcome to remain on the Clyde, but what they considered, in talking about the removal, was what would be the cost to them. If I remember rightly what was stated in the re ports, it was estimated that they would be able to establish their works at Corby at a cost of £3,000,000. I believe the actual expenditure has been something over that amount, but they are there, and probably they are making a profit. But what is the effect on the Clyde? What 426 have they left behind? In any case there is no reason at all for establishing these great industries in our rural areas if they can be established in areas which have already had such industries. My reason for supporting my hon. and gallant Friend's Motion is that there is no proper co-ordinating authority. No individual company should have the right to remove its works from one area to another without being compelled to take into consideration all the factors involved—not only the factor of profit, not only dividends, but the social consequences, the effect upon our people's lives.
We know perfectly well that the removal of these works has left many of our people without employment—people of middle age, who are unemployed year after year. The people of Dowlais stand out as an example. Many of them have been unemployed for 10 years, and they have no hope of getting employment. The activities of local government authorities have had to be curtailed, the rates are the highest in the land, and there is little or no hope of their reduction. Are we going to allow that to be repeated? Are we going to allow London, if you like, to extend and absorb all these newer industries of the country? I imagine it will be said from the other side that there has not been a great transference of works from other areas to London. That may be true, but there has been a great development of new industries during the post-war period, and it is those industries with which we should be dealing. They should be located in areas where there has been a contraction of industry, and that seems to me to be an ample reason why the House should give support to this Motion. I do not want to take up too much time, because we agreed beforehand that every opportunity should be given to other hon. Members and that we would limit ourselves to 15 minutes. I think I have just taken my 15 minutes, and I will conclude by ex pressing the hope that the House will support the Motion and carry it if there is a Division upon it.
§ 4.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Mabane
I beg to move, m fine 3, to leave out from the word "House," to the end of the Question, and to add in stead thereof:approves the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate the problem in all its aspects and, while conscious that the dangers 427 of interference with the normal course of industrial development necessitate full and exhaustive enquiry, trusts that the work of the Commission may be completed with all speed in order that His Majesty's Government may consider further action in the light of their Report.I should like to congratulate the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher) on the skill with which he moved his Motion. He carefully avoided any close reference to the terms of the Motion, but spent a great deal of his time talking about town and country planning. With most of what he said in that connection the House would agree. He spent a good deal more time talking about the size of London, and with most of what he said in that connection, too, the House would agree, Indeed, if the House were voting on the speech of the hon. and gallant Member, it might be inclined to give him support but for the sting in its tail. The Seconder of the Motion also uttered many sentences with which the House is cordially in agreement. We fully recognise the danger of a too rapid transference of industries from one place to another; we recognise the devastation that that has caused in many parts of the country; but I would suggest that the examples of the past are having their influence both on opinion and on policy, as my hon. Friends and myself will endeavour to show before the Debate ends. I would ask the House to pay attention, not so much to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Motion, but to the Motion itself. It seems to me that the core of the Motion is in the last line:an effective policy for planning the location of industry in accordance with national interest.That is what the hon. and gallant Member wants, and, by the ingenious device of relating the phrase to a Motion passed by the House a year ago, he seems to imply that the House has already given its approval to a policy of this character. The House has done nothing of the sort. A year ago it was considering a much more limited problem—the problem of the particular position of London and Southern England. I do not think I exaggerate when I say that on that occasion strategic reasons were uppermost in the minds of hon. Members.
With regard to the size of cities, many of us have held the view for much more 428 than a year that large cities are not the most desirable form of social development. Many of us have done our best to influence opinion in the direction of the conception of garden cities. Letchworth and Welwyn were established before the War: long before this problem arose. But we never stated nor should have assented to that wider proposition which the hon. and gallant Member wishes the House to approve, namely, that the national industrial development of any particular part of the country might be in itself bad. He desires the House to agree that it is the duty of Government rigidly to control the development of industry in accordance with its own view of what is the national interest. It is that proposition which I and my hon. Friends intend to resist.
After all, we cannot ignore our own industrial history. Looking back, we see that there has been remarkable geographical changes in the disposition of industry. In the Debate a year ago the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Crossley) reminded us of the time when the Eastern counties of England were among the most prosperous: a period which ended with the shift of the woollen industry to the West Riding. Some time ago, the Sussex Weald was the centre of iron production in this country. The introduction of smelting by coke, in place of smelting by charcoal, destroyed that industry. There are innumerable examples of the shifting geographical location of industry; innumerable examples to prove that industry is a dynamic and not a static organisation. If the hon. and gallant Member had lived in times past and had taken the view—which as I believe is a very short view—that he now takes, he would have said, "Here are the Eastern counties being devastated through the decline of the wool industry; let us prevent it," and he would have taken the same attitude in regard to the Sussex Weald.
There was a time when the hon. and gallant Member was a Liberal, when he set freedom very high as a social good. Since then he has been seduced by Socialism. I can understand it. He has had a long and honourable career in the Navy. He brings to politics the mind of a militarist. He is honest. He realises that Socialism means control, regimentation, the abandonment of liberty in the 429 traditional British sense. He would be happy as a dictator. I remain an apostle of liberty, and I believe that the great majority of the House and the country still believe in liberty. Did not the hon. and gallant Gentleman reveal himself in his true colours when he quoted with glee the example of Germany, and asked what would happen to any industrialist in Germany who disobeyed the dictate of Goering?
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
I asked what would be the fate of a German industrialist who told Goering that he intended to put profits before the national interest.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
I say that a German industrialist would have to consider General Goering if he wished to put profits before the national interest.
§ Mr. Mabane
But would he have to consider General Goering in determining the location of his industry and the manner in which he conducted it. That is the point. Does the hon. and gallant Member recede from that?
§ Mr. Mabane
Quite, as he would in Italy, Russia, or in any other dictator State where economy is planned. As I say, I still remain a Liberal. I am sorry to see that the hon. and gallant Member has abandoned his Liberalism.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
Is Liberalism to be identified with the view that the individual may put profits before national safety?
§ Mr. Mabane
Liberalism identifies itself, and I identify myself, with the view that the individual should be allowed to conduct his business in his own way. Yet neither I nor any Liberal would desire to pursue this argument to a dogmatic conclusion. I am not arguing for again the pure doctrine laissez faire, if for no other reason than that I believe doctrines and theories make bad practical politics. I do not argue that the greatest good of the greatest number is secured if every individual is allowed to pursue his self-interest in his own way. Society, continuing beyond the life time of any individual, has a proper place in the scheme 430 of things. I believe, therefore, that a proper accommodation between individual freedom and social justice provides the most desirable results. I believe further that the nature of that blend varies from time to time, according as the social sense in any society develops. Recent trends clearly indicate that individuals are more and more ready to consent to restriction of their rights if they are persuaded that a social good is thereby assured, but it is an essential element in such restriction that there should be consent and that it should not be imposed from above. If the hon. and gallant Member had his way, that general consent would not be forthcoming; and the effect of any such action as he proposes would be the serious disturbance of industry, with ultimate loss to the individual and to society in general. What does the hon. and gallant Member want? In brief, he wants to tell business men how to run their businesses.
§ Mr. Mabane
If you like, put it that way. If a man says "I want to venture my capital here," he will say "You must venture it there."
§ Mr. Griffiths
The Government have adopted the policy of giving national protection to industry. There are industries, we are told, that have survived because they have protection. Does the hon. Member believe that in the case of an industry which depends for its existence on the assistance of the Government the nation should have any control over its location?
§ Mr. Mabane
I say that the hon. and gallant Member who moved this Motion desires to say that business men shall not venture their capital here, but there. The proper, and quite obvious, reply to any such dictation is to ask what guarantees will be given if in consequence the venture ends in failure? If you give guarantees you must take some control of the industry, and control is the short step to socialised industry—[An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear"]—which I gather, from the applause opposite, is precisely what the hon. Member wants and what we do not want.
Yet, as I have said, it would be folly to proceed to the other extreme and argue that society has no interest in the manner in which industry develops or in the consequences which flow from large and 431 rapid shifts in its geographical distribution. It has a direct concern, and there is another, and I think, a better way to deal with this important problem, which is exemplified in the policy pursued by the National Government, a policy foreshadowed, I think, in the famous Liberal Yellow Book of 1929. That is the policy of persuasion, assistance and amelioration.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
Sir Malcolm Stewart has stated that persuasion has been tried, and that it utterly failed.
§ Mr. Mabane
In the course of the Debate I and my hon. Friend behind me will be able to show that persuasion has by no means failed, and that assistance has by no means failed. There is, I know, the further strategic problem created by the vulnerability of London and South-East England to air attack. That problem requires special consideration, and I, for one, refuse to condition my life by the fear of war. I prefer to regard this, for the moment, as a purely economic problem, because I am so convinced that if a general European war breaks out, the catastrophe will be so complete and final, that, if I may so put it, by a paradox, it does not matter.
First comes amelioration. Society for many years has recognised a duty to the unemployed. It has recognised that if work is not available then means must be devised whereby the unemployed may be able to maintain themselves at the same time as they retain their freedom of action. That last condition is important. I believe that the unemployed in this country would always prefer less for maintenance and complete freedom of action, rather than what is called full maintenance with its corollary, the sacrifice of freedom of action. Who can deny the two propositions, first, that the policy of the National Government has been persistently directed towards the improvement of the ameliorative measures for the unemployed, and, secondly, that the treatment of the unemployed here is better than in any other country in the world?
Then comes assistance and persuasion. The National Government have not been satisfied with doing their best to deal with the immediate problem of chronic unemployment created by the geographical shift. In so far as that shift has been inevitable and based on sound economic 432 reasons, the Government have not attempted to interfere. But it is very far from the truth to say, in the words of this Motion, that they have "refused to recognise the gravity and urgency of the problem." On the other hand, they have made use of many methods of persuasion to induce the industries considering establishment to go to these parts of the country where a surplus of labour is available. It has offered much assistance, direct and indirect, and it has made other efforts, equally important, to increase the mobility of labour from one part of the country to another. Beyond that, it has directed orders to those Darts of the country where labour is available.
I believe that there are proper questions to ask. Has it done enough? Has it done what it has done with sufficient speed? Has it proceeded to the edge of risk in developing the various forms of assistance? My hon. Friend who is to second this Amendment will deal in detail with these questions. And now it has set up a Royal Commission to investigate the whole problem, and to examine the facts which, with all respect to this Motion, are not already known, and to weigh carefully the consequences of a more direct attempt to influence the geographical distribution of industry and industrial population. It may be that the conclusions of the Commission will indicate the desirability of a certain degree of negative compulsion in connection with London, but I sincerely trust that, on general economic grounds, it will come to no conclusion in favour of that positive and general kind of compulsion in the manner suggested by the hon. Member who moved the Motion. I trust that in that view I shall be supported by the speaker from the Opposition Liberal benches, for a year ago in a similar Debate the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Foot) used a sentence with which I fully agree, and which, I think, represents a point of view which Liberals both on this side and on that side will support. He said:I have never advocated any form of interference in industry for its own sake, but we have to face the question of what inducements"—not compulsion—we can provide for new factories to go where they are wanted."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th November, 1936; col. 553, Vol. 317.]I certainly hope for the support of hon. Members sitting on the Opposition Liberal 433 benches for my Amendment, not for the Motion. I have been primarily concerned to rebut the terms of the Motion, but that does not mean to diminish the importance of the problem. It is vitally important. Economic movements are more sudden and more sweeping now than formerly, and though we have not a new problem, we have an old problem in a much more acute form. Indeed, it is so acute that many, like the hon. Mover of the Motion, overcome by a spirit of defeatism, see no other solution than the adoption of Socialism, Fascism, Bolshevism or whatever name you choose to give your particular fancy in the way of dictatorial control. If they are correct, if there is no other solution than that, then the solution is worse than the problem and the cure is worse than the disease. It may save the body, but I think that it will destroy the soul. It will be a thousand pities if we let these bogies disturb us and decide to do nothing at all. I am certain that the Government never have intended to do nothing at all, and they will in future continue to experiment and to build up a general practice ever more widely as a result of the experiments they carry out.
I would like to conclude with at least one note in harmony with the Mover. The hon. and gallant Member who moved the Motion—and I agree with him—hoped that the Commission would present its report with rapidity. We must all share that view. It is a large Commission. It has many members. That fact tends to make it work slowly. As the chairman said in the "Times" the other day, it has a vast field to survey. That makes its work more difficult. For those reasons, the House ought to be grateful to the hon. and gallant Member for raising this Debate, for nothing could more forcibly impress upon the minds of those who compose the Commission the intense interest of Members in this House in their work, or persuade them of the need for carrying their work to a conclusion with all speed. I shall be alarmed if the report finally reaches agreement with the point of view of the hon. and gallant Member, but if, on the other hand, it reveals methods whereby persuasion and assistance may be used by the Government more rapidly to mitigate the immediate consequences of industrial dislocation, then I shall hope that on that report the Government will pass early 434 legislation, if legislation is necessary, in order that that very important problem may proceed a step nearer to final solution.
§ 5.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Peat
I beg to second the Amendment, which has been so ably moved by my hon. Friend. I should like to challenge the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins) upon two statements which he made in an attack upon two companies in the iron and steel industry. I want to be quite clear what his actual meaning was in the case of Guest, Keen and Company, because I think that the House and the country at large should be made conversant with what was in his mind. I therefore ask him this question: When he made his statement, did he mean to infer that the company in question, knowing that they were to move their works from Dowlais to Cardiff, assuming that that was the argument, took the opportunity to sell houses, which would be a difficult asset to dispose of, to their workmen be fore they went, and so left their workmen with houses and no wages?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I cannot say whether or not the company decided to leave before they sold the houses, but it may interest the hon. Gentleman, if I give him an example in my own division. The same company closed the Cwmbran Colliery, but before this was done they disposed of many of the cottages to their workmen, and their workmen still own them.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I did not say at the beginning that the company had decided to leave the district. I said that just prior to leaving the district they disposed of these properties.
§ Mr. Peat
I accept the statement of the hon. Gentleman, but certainly I should have said that the ordinary person who listened to him in the first place would assume that he intended to suggest that the company had done a very dirty bit of work. The statements which he made will, I am sure, be investigated, and rightly so. The other statement he made is with regard to Stewarts and Lloyds, at Corby. It is really rather unfair to say that a company anxious to produce a new product to make basic bessemer steel and 435 to go as near as it could to its main raw material—iron ore—is carrying on vandalism and spoiling the countryside. I can quite appreciate what it looks like. I have been in places like that before, but the same argument no doubt applies to the whole of County Durham. If the argument was a good one, that county would not have been developed. It would have remained an agricultural and very beautiful county.
§ Mr. Jenkins
Does the hon. Member suggest that in the mining of iron ore in Northamptonshire, it is not necessary to leave this land in as good an agricultural condition as that in which they found it? I saw mining carried out in a certain country under very similar conditions, and the rule was that the land behind the mine had to be left in as good agricultural condition as that in which they found it. That was carried out, and the cost was very low indeed. It was a matter of system rather than of cost.
§ Mr. Peat
I am glad that that point has been cleared up. Having made the point, I should like to get on to the Amendment which I have seconded. It shows a certain identity of purpose between hon. Members on this side and hon. Members on the other side, but there is a difference in the approach. Hon. Gentlemen opposite feel that every conceivable question has been answered and we should go ahead straight away to the location of industry from every angle. I do not think that that point has been achieved yet; a lot has yet to be done. The whole question of the location of industry can be divided into three main objects, (1) the rehabilitation of Special Areas, (2) the strategic position of this country, and (3), the efficiency of industry nationally. The House knows the strides that have been made in the last year by the National Government in attempting to get industries established in the Special Areas. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where?"] It has happened in two of the main Special Areas—South Wales and the North-Eastern area—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member will allow me I will proceed with my speech. What I was about to say, when the interruption was made, was that I did not pretend for a moment that what has been achieved is in any way to be regarded as an enormous achievement. The difficulties are very considerable, but achieve- 436 ments have been obtained. I will quote what the Commissioner for England and Wales said in his report last year:Never before has a Government granted powers such as those given to Special Area Commissioners in order to induce industry to establish itself in certain definite localities.That is a very considerable remark to get from the Commissioner. It must in all circumstances mark a very great advance upon anything that any Government has done in this country before. As the House will know, assistance has been given, by means of reduced taxes, rents and rates, to factories and concerns starting up in the distressed areas. There are two main trading estates. At Team Valley considerable progress has been made; 22 factories have been completed, 10 factories are being constructed and 24 are contemplated, and there have been 400 inquiries, and the work started only in January, 1937.
§ Mr. Peat
I cannot tell the hon. Member as the information is not in my possession. On the Treforest Estate the advance has not been as great, but there has been great progress. Three factories have been completed, four tenants have been obtained, and contracts for 16 further factories have been agreed to. In regard to finance, there is the Special Areas Reconstruction Association. Hon. Members opposite may smile, but my experience of the North East Coast for 10 or 15 years has been that the greatest difficulty has been in getting finances for the small people. It was either too small for London, or there was no one in the district who would take it on. Now we have this Association, which has made 67 loans of a total of £403,000, resulting in the employment of 6,700 people. We have the Treasury fund for lending money to bigger undertakings. In this case there have been 15 undertakings which have borrowed, with a capital of £2,000,000, and have an employed factor of 3,000 people. We have the Government's Defence programme. These are all attempts to put new industries in the Special Areas.
In South Wales they have three armament factories, and an Admiralty depot, two agency factories, and three more Government factories are under consideration. In the north eastern area there is one Government factory, and Armstrong 437 Whitworth's has been re-equipped. The total expenditure comes to £15,500,000. Armament orders from 1st April, 1936, to the end of August, 1937, which have gone to the Special Areas of England and Wales, amount to £32,870,000. An attempt has also been made in regard to foreigners who are coming into this country to set up factories, to induce them to start in the Special Areas. The Home Office, the Ministry of Labour and the Board of Trade have been co-operating with the Commissioner to get these people to bring their factories to the distressed areas, and in his reports the Commissioner states there has been the very closest co-operation between the Departments of State and himself.
This is the beginning. Hon. Members opposite may say that it is a very poor beginning, that it ought to have gone much further, and that the stage is set for immediate action. I do not know quite what action hon. Members mean, and they have not told us. There are very definite dangers in saying: "Here are the Special Areas, and we want new industries. We will not allow anybody to start light industries anywhere near London, Birmingham or Manchester, because they are congested areas, and industries must come to the Special Areas." My reply to that is that it is better to have an industry established near London than not to have an industry at all. If we are to have the lighter industries and they are to be started in London, with the object of being near to the big market, although I would rather have the industries started in the distressed areas I would prefer to have them near London than to have no new industries established. If we can persuade people to establish their industries in the Special Areas, well and good.
Another danger is that if we take new industries to Gateshead or anywhere else and begin giving them preferential treatment we may be doing a grave injustice to the people who are already on the spot and who may be in a position, by an extension of their works and by a little capital expenditure, to achieve the same results that we would be subsidising round the corner. In that way we might leave those people and their work people in an inferior position. My caveat is that we should be careful. Do not let us rush into these things like bulls in a 438 china shop, because the matter is not quite as straightforward as that. Another danger which must be thought of is this. If you plant your subsidised industries in the Special Areas, are you going to be quite sure that the roots of those industries will be sufficiently far down and that the economic foundations are sufficiently good, so that if there is a contraction in trade they will not be the first to be closed down, thereby creating another slum or derelict area? These things have to be considered with the very greatest and gravest care. Therefore, I suggest to the House that that proposition needs very considerable thought.
The hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Mr. A. Edwards), speaking in this House in March, 1936, said that those of us on the Government side assumed that nobody would go to the Special Areas or anywhere else unless their profits were guaranteed. He used the words "guaranteed profits." Profits of any description are anathema to hon. Members opposite. It is not the State's business and it never was the intention of hon. Members on this side of the House that the State should guarantee individual profits, but that they should provide the circumstances under which both capital and labour should be in a position, if they are wise and work hard enough, to get a fair return for their efforts.
Let me turn to the strategic aspect of the location of industry. This subject has been mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher). If we look at London the problem is an enormous one. At the present time our productive industries, our power stations, docks and railway termini are all here, and it is physically impossible to move them under 20 years. The problem in London must remain even if we started to-day to shift our railway termini, our docks and our power stations. We could not do it without 20 years of hard work. In the meantime it seems to me rather futile to say that we are going to deal with that problem by saying that people must not start light industries on the outskirts of London. It is a much bigger problem than that. Therefore, I come back to the point, that this proposition requires much thought, and that it is not proved straight away that we ought to start to deal with the problem by penny-halfpenny sort of 439 measures for preventing light industries, bicycle works and the rest of them, from coming to the Slough Road.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
Is the hon. Member aware that there are certain key industries situated in London essential for the construction of munitions? Does he consider that they should be allowed to remain?
§ Mr. Peat
Key industries. The other things to which I have referred are key industries, such as railway termini, docks, and munition factories. It may be possible to move the latter, but the main problem will stay exactly where it was. I am not sure, when one comes to look at the matter carefully, that it is proved that we should be better off for decentralisation of our main industries in our great cities and dotting them all over the country. The hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins), for instance, would have something to say about that. He would say: "Here is a lovely village and you have brought an industry from London and planted it in the midst of beautiful country." I am not sure that, doing as we are now, trying to build up a very considerable air Defence for London, we may not in the next few years have to try to perfect our defences, but I am not such a pessimist as to think that London is completely undefended. That may very well prove, in the comparatively near future, not to be the case.
There is a third angle from which this subject may be approached, and that is the question of the national efficiency of industry. Hon. Members opposite will say that the State should come along and socialise the whole of industry, drive out the motive of profit, and allow production to be carried out in places best suited for the purpose, rather than spoiling the view, or something of that kind. I do not think we are anywhere near that stage of development yet. At the moment we must rely on the industrialists to tell us where they can produce most efficiently. Industry's great contribution and great obligation to the State and the people in the State is to be as efficient as possible and to produce at the lowest cost; but if we are going to say to industry, for instance, in Middlesbrough: "There must be no more extension of your works in Middlesbrough; you must not extend in Middlesbrough, because, for political 440 reasons, what you have been doing in Middlesbrough we intend should be done in Jarrow, what will be the result? I am not criticising the present scheme for Jarrow, which has been modified from the original scheme and may probably turn out quite well; but are we going to say to the steel industry: "We know your job better than you do." If you say that, then from that moment you take the responsibility of saying to industry that you relieve it of the responsibility of managing its own affairs and of looking after its costs of production.
The point has been made, in regard to the cost of production, that industry ought to bear the cost of its unemployed people and of the social services which it may require if it changes its position. I am not entirely against that point of view, because there is something to be said for it, but each case should be decided on its merits. I do not see why an industry which has been working an ore field and finds that it would be in the national interest to go to some other position, should have to bear the entire brunt of the expense of new social services and of the unemployed it leaves behind. I do not wish to dismiss that point altogether, but I do maintain that each case should be decided on its merits. There may be cases in which an industry should properly bear a certain proportion of that cost.
What we can and should do in regard to location in order to make industry more efficient is to provide industry with better facilities. The docking accommodation in this country is inferior, expensive and slow in most cases, although there are many exceptions. Roads should be improved enormously. There are many ways in which the State could improve the facilities for industry. When the State has done that, it must leave industry to take its own course. I am in favour of industry being organised on a national basis. A nationally organised industry should be in a position to say how and where it is going to expand subject perhaps to supervision by the Import Duties Advisory Committee or some other outside council, who should be able to see that the proposals are not too strongly counter to the public interests.
These Debates on the allocation of industry always miss one feature, and that is that one great industry is not located 441 where it should be, and that is agriculture. It we can get that industry back anywhere near to where it was, it would be a very good thing. I live in the north of England, near my constituency, and the fields around my house are in many cases covered with the old hummocks, beneath which there used to be villages, churches, and thriving populations. Now the population there is very small. We are talking about the location of industry when we ought to have in mind an attempt to get agriculture back into its proper place in the industrial affairs of this country. I most heartily second the Amendment.
§ 5.30 p.m.
Miss Lloyd George
I rise to support the Motion which has been moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher), and to dissociate myself from the Amendment which the hon. and gallant Member characterised in some respects as Liberal. The hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton in his early days was a member of the party to which I belong. He took upon himself to twit the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mabane) with being a Liberal, although a piebald one. May I remind the hon. and gallant Member that the form of the hon. Member for Huddersfield is still distinguishable, although I must admit it be came slightly blurred once or twice in the course of his speech. But that cannot be said of the hon. and gallant Member. His form is still undistinguishable, and I should not care to say what form his metamorphosis has taken.
I think we owe a debt to the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton for having raised this matter which is creating a great deal of concern not only in the House but outside. The hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Peat) referred to the position of agriculture and the vital necessity to restore it to its proper place in the economy of the nation. I should like to remind the House that while between 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. of the population of the country is engaged in agriculture, 20 per cent. of the population is congregated in Greater London alone. That seems to me to be a very serious state of affairs. It means that there are three times as many people in greater London as there are employed in the industry of agriculture in every part of the country. That 442 cannot possibly be looked upon as a healthy state of affairs.
A great deal has been said about the movement of industry to London and the Greater London area. Between 1932 and 1936 nearly 2,700 new factories were erected in this country, and nearly two-fifths of the employment provided by them was in Greater London, one-eighth was provided in the North-East and the proportion was not very much better in Wales—two of the most persistently distressed areas in the country. The hon. Member for Darlington said that it would take 20 years to really re-organise the whole of this area. If that is so, I think it is time we started. That is an admirable reason for the hon. Member to change his mind and support the Motion instead of the Amendment. But there Is the further point to which reference has been made, and that is the strategic dangers that must follow upon the concentration of industries in the greater London area. Take the case of the Port of London. Since the War the tonnage of foreign trade passing through the Port of London has increased by 14 per cent., and during that time the West Coast ports have lost about 11 per cent. of their trade. The enormous proportion of the foodstuffs for this great area which comes through the Port of London shows that this is a serious factor which will have to be taken into consideration in the event of war; and I hope very much that it is a consideration which is being taken into account by the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence. The hon. Member for Huddersfield said that he was not prepared to condition his life by the thought of impending war. That may be so, but there are numbers of people, and certainly the Government who have to look after the interests and lives of the people, who have to take these factors into consideration.
In regard to the factories which have developed in the Greater London area, the thing which really astonishes me is the number which are definitely armament factories. It was considered absolutely essential in the national interest that more Woolwiches should not be created; indeed it was considered necessary to disperse a certain amount of the activities of Woolwich to other places from strategic considerations. In spite of that fact being the considered opinion 443 of the Government, armament factories and aircraft factories have been allowed to establish themselves in and around London. At the end of last year out of 25 aircraft manufacturing firms, 12 were in or near London, and a further five in the South-Eastern counties. A factory has been set up at Kingston-on-Thames, a strategic place near the river, which we have always been told is not a very good place. But apart from these industries which are definitely for the manufacture of armaments, there are light industries, motor engineering—which is not very light—typewriters, sewing machines and gramophones, and many other light industries, which, if the experience of the last War goes for anything—sometimes I wonder whether it does—will be converted to war purposes on the outbreak of war. Hon. Members have only to look through the list of factories of these types which have been established in this area to realise how tremendously more vulnerable we have become since the War than we were before.
It is obvious that the more you allow this development to continue, the greater the risk that a vital part of the industrial output of this country in time of war might actually be rendered valueless. Recently we have been discussing the evacuation of the civilian population in case of air raids; the population is to be conveyed to safety. Where are you going to evacuate the population of London? Into Kent, to Slough, to Maidenhead, into Essex? Where will they be allowed to put their tents? In the green belt round London? Greater London covers an area of 700 square miles. Where is this great evacuation to take place? In the last 10 years the population of London has increased by 1,250,000, and is increasing every year. You may have to evacuate the population 10, 20, 25, and in some directions almost 30 miles, before you can get them into anything which remotely resembles a safety zone. If this development goes on unchecked, as it has in the past, it will not be an evacuation but a migration.
The concentrating of industries in this area has gone on parallel with the decline of the great exporting industries and the areas dependent upon them. We com plain of the casual and haphazard way in 444 which industrial development in the last century took place, but sometimes I wonder whether we are not going one better. The Government have laid great emphasis on the establishment of new industries in the distressed areas as a vital part of their policy for the rehabilitation of these areas. The hon. Member for Darlington enumerated some of the things which have been done by the Government, and seemed to be quite satisfied with the results of their efforts. I confess that I do not feel quite so satisfied. The Government have made the establishment of new industries a vital consideration. So vital was it in their judgment that they were prepared, in the famous phrase, to cast convention overboard—unconventional methods must be adopted, inducements must be offered to industries to attract them to these areas. As a result, the Special Areas Reconstruction Association came into being, more familiarly known as S.A.R.A. I am afraid that S.A.R.A. has proved only slightly less conventional than D.O.R.A.
What has been the result of this great effort to throw overboard all conventions? In 1936, 261 new factories were established in Greater London without any inducement from the Government, and fewer than 10 in the Special Areas. Sir George Gillett in his report issued in September, 1937, says that he has been able to offer financial assistance in respect of rates and rents to 15 undertakings. The number has gone up by five, and he goes on to say:According to the estimates supplied by these undertakings themselves, employment has been provided by them for about 3,000 workpeople.Out of a total idle population in the distressed areas of 210,000 that does not seem a very high proportion. But encouraged by this success the Government this year decided to extend the provisions of the Act to areas outside the Schedule to the Act. That provision was incorporated in the Act of this year, and I should like to say at once that its success has not been so instantaneous as in the first instance. Hon. Members will remember that under that Act a committee was to be set up to decide, after a site company had been formed, whether the district was eligible for assistance or not. It was in May of this year—six months ago—that that committee was set up, but it has not yet held its first meeting. Not a single site company has been 445 formed and of course no financial assistance has been given to a single undertaking in any area. It seems to me that the procedure in the Bill is all wrong. Having looked into it and tried to see whether my own area might not qualify for assistance, I cannot help feeling that if the intention had been to prevent anything happening, the procedure could not have been more admirably framed. I ask the Government to look into this matter. It is almost impossible to get past the red tape and the procedure that has to be gone through before an industry can even go before the committee to prove its eligibility, let alone have any opportunity or chance of getting a grant of any sort or kind.
The hon. Member opposite said that persuasion has been tried. Judging from the results and the figures, it does not look as though persuasion has been very successful; it does not look as though the distressed areas are going to be saved by new industries by the time prosperity abates. I have said carefully "by the time prosperity abates," because I am informed that a slump is a possibility of which we must never speak. Of course, it is not going to come; it may have happened in the bad old days, but the trade cycle has been dispensed with—the Government have seen to that. The Government say quite firmly, "No slump in our time." I may say that that is not a supplication, but a positive statement of fact. The Government say, "In face of that, why should we plan; why plan for something that is not going to happen, certainly not in our time?" I can understand their not feeling very anxious about it. I have come to the conclusion that the Government have about as much urge to plan as a speculative builder on the Kingston By-pass. They will not look ahead. The distant scene has no attraction for them; one step is enough for them every time. Unfortunately, that characterises not only their domestic policy, but their foreign policy as well. But I can assure the Government, at any rate for those for whom I speak this afternoon, that we should speak much less about a slump if we knew that the Government were thinking more about it.
From the Debate so far, it is evident that there is agreement on all sides of the House that something should be done to adjust the balance, that something should be done to stop this process going on. I 446 think we are all convinced of the necessity for that. What has been done so far? The House discussed the matter a year ago. What has been done since then? The Government have resorted to that last infirmity of ignoble government, a Royal Commission. Up to the present, the evidence that has been brought before the Commission has been from official sources, the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Health, and that evidence has not been very encouraging to those who hope to see something done. The spokesman of the Board of Trade expressed satisfaction with the status quo. He said that after going into the matter, there was reason to suppose that the present distribution was well adapted to serve the economic interests of the country as a whole. I think that the evidence of the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Health can be summed up in the words of Professor Bradley:This is the best of all possible worlds, and everything in it is a necessary evil.The Commission have been sitting for some months. How many more months are we to wait for a report which may, and very probably will, if one takes into consideration the evidence they have already had, come to a conclusion more or less of this kind, that although it is very unfortunate, all this took place in the past, that if we had taken the thing in hand in time, it would have been far better for us from every point of view, but that the thing is done and nothing more can be achieved now. As the hon. Member who moved the Motion pointed out, the facts are well known. The facts are in the possession of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and the Board of Trade, and I do not think it will be possible to get more facts out of the Commission than out of the files of those three Ministries. Those facts are at the disposal of the Government at this very hour. They are delaying until the laborious process of all that evidence has been gone through and given before the Committee.
I do hope that the Government will take action to call a halt, at any rate, to this development of industries in the South. Let them do it now. Let them do that, at least, while the Commission is sitting. Let them take that one positive step. Let them adopt the recommendation made by no less a person than the 447 late Commissioner for the Special Areas, who said in his third Report that a ban should be put upon industries moving into certain areas, and that certain areas, not only greater London, but other areas in the country where there is equally a concentration, should be declared "out of bounds." That was the Special Commissioner's proposal.
The hon. Member for Huddersfield split hairs between what he called negative and positive compulsion. If it comes to a question of interference with industry, I do not think the hon. Member has much to say—that is if he still supports the Government; for there never has been a Government which has interfered more with industry in this country. The hon. Member spoke about compulsion as though it were something abhorrent to him, so that I cannot understand why he has voted for so many agricultural Measures as he has done. In this country a man may not sell milk below a certain price; he is compelled to sell it at a certain price. I am not arguing against that, but simply arguing the principle of compulsion. A farmer may not put down another field of potatoes; you may not put any more hops down—or whatever you do. [Interruption.] That depends upon whether you support the views of the Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) or those of the hon. Members who generally sit below me. Those are all Measures of compulsion which the Government have employed towards industry. It is too late in the day for the Government to argue that it is a matter of principle with them not to interfere.
§ Mr. Mabane
I referred to interference by consent. I said that before the Government interfere with an industry, they must be quite sure that they have general consent. I said that the present trend clearly indicates that individuals are ready to consent to restrictions of their rights if they can be persuaded that the social good is thereby served, but that the essential element of such restrictions is that there should be general consent.
Miss Lloyd George
Compulsion by consent by all means, but the hon. Member has agreed to Measures where there has been compulsion without consent.
Miss Lloyd George
I think the Coal Bill is an instance.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
I apologise for interrupting the hon. Lady, whose speech I am very much enjoying, but may I remind her that in every marketing scheme the constituents within the marketing area can either adopt or reject the scheme?
Miss Lloyd George
The minority is compelled; therefore, there is definite compulsion. I think it is obvious that the Measures that have been adopted to induce industries to go into the depressed areas are not sufficient. I feel that the Government could assist enormously in attracting industries to the distressed areas if they would develop those areas more. It is of no use thinking that one can equip a distressed area for new industries by clearing up a few slag heaps. Much more has to be done. I would like to see the Government improve communications in the distressed areas, for, after all, industry will always go where the communications are good.
I will give South Wales as an instance. I do not know what has happened about the Severn Bridge, and I hope we may have some information upon that, but I am certain that an enormous amount could be done in South Wales to make it more attractive by improving communications there. I would like to see the burden of rates lightened in the distressed areas. I believe that the hon. and gallant Gentleman who is to reply most strongly recommended in his report that that measure should be taken. I hope he will be able to give some news to-day that something is at last to be done in that direction. There is a great deal that could be done, but I strongly urge the Government, whatever they may eventually decide to do, to stop at all costs this further concentration and development in the South. I strongly urge them now, while the Commission is sitting, to place a ban upon this further migration to the South.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Rowlands
I rise to support the Amendment, but, in doing so, I am no less anxious than hon. Members opposite 449 to have new industries in the Special Areas. As one who was brought up in the coalmining industry of the Rhondda Valley, it hurts me to see that valley in the condition in which it is to-day; but I cannot help thinking that a great deal of the fault lies with people in the past, even with some of the coalowners in the past. When, many years ago, a huge quantity of coal was leaving that valley every day, I wondered how long that state of affairs would continue. Recently we heard the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) speak about coal as a wasting asset. The coal in the Rhondda Valley has been worked since I was a boy. The best seams were worked out first, and long ago it struck me that the day would come when the last ton of coal would have been worked. I would also observe that thousands of the workmen in the Rhondda Valley have purchased their houses, under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act.
As far back as 1918, apart from the development of electricity and of alternative forms of fuel, I saw that the day would come when this once great industry in the Rhondda Valley would be derelict. I approached some of the coalowners and asked them what they considered to be the probable duration of the life of the Rhondda Valley as a coalmining centre. I was told, in 1918, that another 25 years from that date would see most of the best seams worked out. I then put a very pertinent question to the gentleman who gave me that information. I asked him whether he did not think that it was his duty and that of his fellow-coalowners, who had reaped such advantage from those valleys, to endeavour to establish other industries in place of coalmining and to provide new avenues of occupation for the young people who were growing up there. But nothing was done. In 1928 the colliery in which I was working stopped work. I took it upon myself to go to the general manager and to point out that there was an excellent site there available for an industry, with sidings and splendid reservoirs of water. I suggested that the general manager should offer that site to some industry, but nothing came of it.
Therefore, hon. Members can see that, as far as I am concerned, this is no new problem. I thought of this question many years ago, and I have no hesitation 450 in saying that had those who reaped advantage from those areas in the good days of the past encouraged other industries to come there we would not be in the deplorable condition which we are in to-day. But the question is, what can be done now? Upon that question we must concentrate our attention. Hon. Members opposite have submitted a Motion which, in my opinion, makes three unfounded charges against the Government. It charges the Government with not recognising the gravity of the situation. I think no Government have recognised the gravity of the situation more than the present Government. We know that they have difficulties to contend with, but they have paid the greatest attention to the Special Areas, and by the measures which they have adopted have considerably improved the position in the Special Areas. It is also charged against them that while the evil grows they hold a long inquiry into facts already known. I am surprised at hon. Members opposite objecting to the Commission which is sitting at the present time.
§ Mr. Jenkins
Will the hon. Member indicate what improvements have been brought about in the Rhondda Valley?
§ Mr. Rowlands
The only improvement there has been its share of the general improvement in the coal-mining industry, but taking the Special Areas as a whole, I will allow the Commissioner for the Special Areas who has just reported to reply to the hon. Member:The twelve months under review have witnessed a great improvement in the economic position in all the special areas. During the 12 months unemployment has fallen in the areas by 25.6 per cent. of which only a comparatively small part was due to transference out of the areas. The corresponding reduction starting of course from a lower percentage figure for the rest of England and Wales was 12 per cent.Those are the words of Sir George Gillett. It may be said that that improvement is due to rearmament. Sir George Gillett deals with that point also:While it is impossible to assess in precise figures the effects of the various measures initiated by my predecessor (Sir Malcolm Stewart) for the economic development of the areas, it is I think equally impossible to deny that those measures are facilitating and contributing materially to the improvement in the area.When the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George) says that 451 grants have only been made to 15 companies in South Wales, I would remind her that to have made grants since the Special Areas Act was passed to 15 companies in one area is not a bad record at all. To proceed with my quotation:The Government's armament programme has undoubtedly contributed to the recovery of the Special Areas. Nevertheless as far as I have been able to ascertain, the greater part of the recovery in the Special Areas, with certain exceptions has been independent of armaments work.I think that is the answer to hon. Members opposite. Then the Government are accused of having appointed this Commission to inquire into facts which are already known. I do not know whether hon. Members realise what is intended here. It is intended to interfere with the liberty of industrialists in deciding where they should locate their industries. Is it proposed that that step should be taken without the fullest possible inquiry? Personally, I think it would only be reasonable that the Government should make the fullest possible inquiry before embarking upon such a change of policy.
The Government are also accused of being content with submitting evidence which is calculated to discourage the early adoption of an effective policy for the planning and location of industry. I take that to be the evidence to which the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey referred, and also the evidence given by the officials of the Ministry of Health. I have read that evidence as it appeared in the "Times," and I find nothing wrong with it. I think it would be very wrong in the case of an inquiry of this kind not to give the fullest opportunity, to those people who are in close touch with industry and the location of industry, to put their whole case before the Commission. It is not so much a matter of putting a case as of stating the facts, and it is better that such a Commission should know the difficulties, than that they should take steps which would after wards be regretted, by acting in ignorance of the difficulties. But the evidence of the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Health officials is nothing compared to the evidence of Sir Malcolm Stewart in his report. He says:Some advocate the compulsory location of industry as a sure cure for unemployment but this I regard as unnecessary and dangerous.452 I take it that it is the policy which hon. Members opposite are banking upon to produce great results, that Sir Malcolm Stewart regards as unnecessary and dangerous.
§ Mr. Rowlands
The Motion deals with the location of industry. If time permits I will later on deal with the question of inducement to industry. Sir Malcolm Stewart also says:I have stated that I am opposed to using compulsion to dictate to industry where it should go.I think hon. Members on this side will agree with Sir Malcolm Stewart. As far as the information that we have goes, it would be a great mistake to seek to compel industries to go to these localities. It might be, as he says, a wise thing to tell industries where they ought not to go for national reasons and I can see the point of view of those who wish to prevent industries going to the south. But if we are not to compel all industries to go to these districts, what other methods are available? There are only two—persuasion and inducement. Persuasion has been belittled and I have a certain amount of sympathy with those who have belittled it. Persuasion has not been an unqualified success, but it has had some success. I do not forget that when Richard Thomas and Company's works were moved to Ebbw Vale, even the "Daily Herald" attributed that to the influence of the late Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Rowlands
I am sorry that the hon. Member will not accept the view of the "Daily Herald" even before that of Sir William Firth. Usually a certain construction is put by hon. Members upon anything said by a Capitalist, whereas in their view the "Daily Herald" can print nothing but the truth. Persuasion, I must admit, has not been an unqualified success, but we cannot say that inducement has not been an unqualified success. It is only since the last Special Areas Act that the Commissioner has had the right to give the. inducements which are available to-day, and what has been the result? 453 As the hon. Member for Anglesey said, since that time lo industries have been established in South Wales and contributions have been given to 15 industries. Surely hon. Members cannot say that inducement has lamentably failed. It seems extraordinary to me that when a committee of inquiry is appointed to deal with a particular question hon. Members opposite should table a Motion on that particular question. A committee was recently appointed to go into the question of annual holidays with pay, and hon. Members opposite immediately raised the subject by a Motion. I do not know whether they think that such tactics are likely to intimidate a committee into making a certain report. Now we have a com mission inquiring into this very serious problem, and once again we have a Motion from the opposite side asking the House to declare upon it. I appeal to the House to reject the Motion if only—apart from other important reasons—because that commission is sitting. It would be an insult to the commission if this Motion were passed.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Brown
I am afraid that no arguments of mine would impress the hon. Member who has just resumed his seat, and who seems to imagine that he is the perfect follower of a perfect Government who are doing everything they can to solve all the problems of the age. Unfortunately, we do not believe that at all. The hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George) advanced some very cogent arguments which, I hope, will in duce hon. Members to support this Motion in the Lobby. Incidentally she shot some very witty arrows at a supine and lackadaisical Government, and I only hope they will reach their mark and stir some Members of the Administration into greater activity. The Mover of the Amendment admitted that this Motion called attention to a serious problem. His real argument against it was that he did not want national direction and control of industry, because it would destroy what he called the dynamics of industrial development. I am sorry he is not here, but the Seconder is. Surely he ought to know quite well that the location of industry is not the primary dynamic factor in industry. The dynamic factor really is the changing technique that takes place in industry from time to time, and as that changing technique takes place the con- 454 cerns which are most ready to adopt it make greater progress and development, of course, than those which refuse to do so. But that has very little to do with the location of industry, with certain exceptions.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher), in the opening part of his speech, referred to the fact that in the past geological and climatic conditions have played a part in deciding where industry should be located, and obviously that embraces almost all the truth so far as coal is concerned, and I think he instanced Lancashire and the cotton industry when he was trying to make the point about the climatic influence on the location of industry. Anyone who knows anything about the textile trade knows very well that the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere are very important factors in regard to the manufacture and the making up of finished goods from certain kinds of yarn, but it is nowadays so easy to create the temperature and humidity conditions in factories where you want to do that, that there is no necessity to have those factories located in places primarily dependent on those climatic conditions. There again is another illustration of what is the real dynamic factor in industry rather than its location—the changing technique that may be employed in the processes of manufacture owing to the growth of knowledge in every direction.
I think that every hon. Member who has spoken already has expressed some concern about the way in which the location of industry affects the distribution of population, and I think we must all be agreed that the distribution of population in a crowded island like our own is very important indeed, and that men and women in general, especially in a country where land is privately owned and where the instruments of production are in the hands of private owners, must go to those areas where they can gain for themselves the greatest economic advantages, where, in other words, they can be most sure of a livelihood. I know there are exceptions to that principle, and probably in some senses they are very admirable exceptions. I know there are people who prefer to remain in a relative state of poverty in a place they love and to which they are attached rather than seek prosperity among strangers, and in 455 all probability the country is better off because there are such people in the community, who do not always over emphasise the material advantages they may gain by going from place to place.
But I think it is increasingly obvious to those who have studied the period of depression through which we have passed that if you have areas where your industries are mixed, the effects of depression are not so bad as they are in areas where your industry is all of one kind. I happen to live in an area which is predominantly mining, and during the whole of the great mining depression that area has never had to be classified as a Special Area or a distressed area. The primary reason for that is that in that area we have other industries, such as hosiery, tin-box making, and boot and shoe making, and while the miners have been doing very badly, their daughters and their sons who have not been working in the pits have been able to bring wages into the household. We have, therefore, escaped the worst effects of industrial depression, and I think that if you survey this problem in its widest aspects, there are very good reasons why a Government, if it is concerned about the future well-being of the country, should turn its attention to this question of the distribution and location of industry.
So far as urban areas and towns are concerned, there ought not to be a great deal of difficulty in doing that. I know that we arrive at a point where hon. Members opposite will argue against us, because this involves the establishment of a principle of prohibition and restraint in regard to the location of industry that up to now has not applied so far as English industrial growth and development are concerned, but I hope the attitude will not be taken up by those hon. Members that, as the hon. Member for Anglesey said, we are asking for an interference with industry which is wholly unjustified. Let us remember that when capitalist enterprise breaks down in any area, it is the Government of the day that has to salvage it, and so sooner or later the Government has to come in, and it would be infinitely better if it came in before the evil was wrought than after it has actually been wrought.
I understand that there is circulating in Government circles and in their newspapers a phrase which runs something 456 like this, "A war deferred may be a war avoided." If there is one thing that we are planning against in this country it is against the eventualities of future war. If hon. Members opposite believe that by their vast armament programme they are going to assure for us that long future peace which sometimes is implied in their speeches on this problem, let me close by making the request that at least they will so plan, control, and conduct industry in the future that the mass of our people who have suffered in days gone by from all the ill-effects of industrial depression may, in the days that are to come, be saved from many of those evils.
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Richards
It is quite natural that this subject should have engaged the attention and the interest of the House, because we may generally say, I think, that this is possibly, from the domestic point of view, the most important subject that is going to engage the attention, not only of this Government, but of every successive Government in this country probably for the next 50 years. References have already been made to the very serious concentration of industry and of population in this country, and it is sometimes said that it has taken place under what might be called natural conditions working within private competition. The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown) has referred to the fact that more important than natural conditions are the technical developments that science is every day placing at the disposal of industry. It is true that there is no more coal in the country to-day than there was 1,000 years ago, but it is equally true that the development of the industry has been very gradual, and in the case of a new industry, such as the Kent coalfield and other possible coalfields that might be discovered and worked in the future, we know that the development even of that industry, which, as was said by the hon. Member beside me, largely depends on geological factors that we cannot alter, is still increasingly dependent upon technical development; and that is the case with most industries nowadays.
The question that, I think, the House must face, and future Governments certainly must face, is as to whether the 457 time for this so-called natural development and localisation of industry in certain parts is really not at an end. Let me refer, for example, to the strange situation that you have in America. We have one great centre of population, but the interesting thing if you look at the census of population and its distribution in America, America being, of course, one of the leading industrial countries of the world, if not the leading industrial country, is that over the whole area of that Continent the population is fairly evenly distributed. It is partly due to the fact that they have arranged themselves with these technical developments to an extent that we have not in this country, and that they have been able to set up new cities of a considerable but not of an extravagant size in remote parts of the Continent. That is the question that is going to face this country. Can we control, as the opener and other speakers on this side have said, the very serious question of the concentration of population and of industries at certain points in the national interest generally?
The sole motive hitherto has been the profit-making motive and the existence of what is known as private competition. When private competition did exist, I think there was something to be said for the distribution of industry in the way in which it has been distributed, but when you take into consideration the total cost of the industry—and I think that is the point of view that this House ought to take into account, not merely the money cost of industry, not merely whether you can produce a certain thing a little cheaper in one place than in another and so make better profits, but whether the total cost to the community in health, in amenities, in opportunities for human development—the fact of the matter is that we have produced some of these commodities and made our fortunes at too great a cost altogether, and the community must now consider the question not merely from the point of view of profit. I do not deny that that is an important consideration, particularly under a national system, but we must consider the thing from the wider point of view of the national efficiency and of the health of the people who are engaged in these industries generally. We find that industries in certain localities to which frequent reference has been made to-night are rapidly becoming derelict, 458 arid the communities in those places, and the Government themselves, are left with the very serious task of salvaging those who are left stranded in those very dreary spots.
If we regard for a moment the position of London from this point of view, it is rather interesting, and indeed it is important also. It has been said by hon. Members on this side to-night that the fortune of this country was built up, generally speaking, in the derelict areas. That is true. The great heavy industries upon which the prosperity of the country has depended during the last 150 years were mostly localised in those areas. The growth of London in recent times is rather peculiar, and I do not think that, speaking generally, the industries in and around London are as important strategically in our international trade as the great industries in the other parts of the country were formerly. London is one of the richest cities in the world and has the biggest population, and the result is that industries have been attracted to London because of the large markets at their doors and of the considerable wealth that there is here.
The industries in London are small—and important from many points of view—and they cater merely for a local demand which is very largely of the luxury type. London is well served directly by many of those industries, but the tragedy of the position is that the wealth that London spends on these industries and the amenities that London has enjoyed have been largely derived from the great basic industries of the areas that have been made derelict. The growth of industry in the neighbourhood of London may be a sign not of the increasing prosperity of the country, but of the decline of the industrial power of England. We are often teld by hon. Members on the other side that we ought to cultivate the industry of this country and do our best to satisfy the home demand. There is no denying the reasonableness of that point of view up to a certain point, but we must remember that the wealth of the country has been built up and that the workers have had the employment that they have had until recent times, because the industries were not catering primarily for their own people, but were catering for other people. I am afraid that it looks as if that period, if it has not come to an end, is approaching the end.
459 The he Motion has been moved to-night because we cannot leave industry to develop in this haphazard way. There is little sign of health in the development that has taken place, particularly in the neighbourhood of London. There has been a distribution of electric power all over the country, and if the Government were more active in that respect it could be distributed over a still wider area and made more efficient, and industries could be distributed, as they ought to be, over a much wider area. The development of particular machinery, too, makes it much easier for people who have not perhaps had a full engineering training to use those machines than was formerly the case. The time has come, therefore, when we might very well seriously consider the redistribution of industry on a rational basis. The Motion has been moved because we believe on this side that that is the only hope for the future of industry in this country. Russia has rapidly become one of the great industrial nations of the world, and if it is not going to be supreme in a short time, it is certainly moving in that direction. The industry of Russia has been deliberately planned and controlled, while we, the oldest industrial nation in the world, are still carrying on in the old chaotic fashion. That is a good argument why we should take this matter in hand and not let industry develop any longer in a haphazard way, but, from the social, the economic and international point of view, do everything in our power to control its future development.
§ 6.36 p.m.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Captain Euan Wallace)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher) has deserved the gratitude of the House for putting this Motion down. He has given us the privilege of listening to a number of very interesting speeches, and by no means the least interesting is the speech to which we have just listened from an hon. Member who seldom intervenes in our Debates. Any suggestion that the Government are determined to do nothing about the location of industry in future is negatived by the Amendment which has been moved and which I hope the House will accept. I should like to follow a number of speakers from all sides into the Special Areas and other places, 460 but on a private Member's day I must confine myself directly to the Motion and the Amendment. I hope to indicate why, in the view of the Government, the former should be rejected and the latter passed.
The Motion begins by referring to an opinion expressed by the House 12 months ago. If the Mover referred, as I presume he did, to a Debate on 18th November last year on a Motion that steps should be taken to prevent a further industrial concentration round London and the south, I should make it plain that it was only accepted after the President of the Board of Trade had said that compulsion must be excluded. Therefore, we do not regard the House as being in any way committed to the policy of compulsion as opposed to the policy of inducement which has already been practised. There are two distinct aspects of the problem with which the Motion deals—first, the desirability that new industrial undertakings should be opened in the Special Areas; and, second, the undesirability of such undertakings being opened in areas already overgrown or congested, more particularly in Greater London.
The question of getting new industrial undertakings in the Special and distressed Areas is one with which the Government have great sympathy, and it has been dealt with by hon. Members who have quoted undeniable facts and documents. In the first place, the Commissioners for the Special Areas were set up with wide powers to offer inducements to people who intended to open new factories to open them in the Special Areas. In the second place, there is at present a preference, other things being equal, to undertakings in the Special and distressed Areas in the placing of orders under the rearmament programme, and, as a corollary to that, new Government factories required by that programme are placed, as far as possible, in those areas. The House will appreciate that in the case of these factories there are considerations, apart from the human and purely economic. In the third place, preference is given to the Special Areas as regards London Transport and main line railways development schemes which have been assisted by loans guaranteed by the Treasury. The Government have, there fore, already taken certain steps designed either specifically to induce new undertakings to go to the Special Areas or which have a tendency in that direction. 461 They are not restricted to those areas which were scheduled as Special Areas in the first instance and some of the benefits have been extended to other areas.
Under the Special Areas (Development and Improvement) Act, 1934, no financial assistance was given to industries carried on for gain. The Government had in mind the point which was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Peat) with regard to what he called "subsidising round the comer," that is, subsidising a particular concern at the expense of somebody else in the neighbourhood who is trying to carry on the same business without assistance. All the measures taken under that Act which assisted the economic development of an area, or which tended to make it more generally attractive, naturally did something towards influencing new undertakings to go there. Then there was the Special Areas (Reconstruction) Act, 1936, referred to by the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George) as "S.A.R.A." That Act gave assistance to small industrialists by way of loan. The hon. Lady was somewhat scathing as to the practical effect of that assistance, but I would like to say to her that even the putting of 6,700 people into work means something.
The Special Areas (Amendment) Act, 1937, marked a further development of the policy of helping the Special Areas. Under that Act the Commissioners may actually let factories to undertakings carried on for gain. Temporary financial inducement can be offered by way of remission of rent, rates and taxes for a limited period of five years; and, as an extra concession, the National Defence Contribution can be remitted. Under this Act the Treasury have also power to make loans to new industrial undertakings. All these inducements have been designed for the purpose of assisting the location of industry in the sense of trying to get it developed in certain areas where it is specially wanted.
Then there are the Trading Estates, which I look upon as one of the most promising features for helping the Special Areas, whose great trouble has usually been that they have been dependent upon one industry. They are meant to induce that diversity of industry which is now regarded on all sides as the greatest guarantee against severe unemployment. Trad- 462 ing estate companies are not carried on for gain. They are financed by a loan from the Special Areas Fund. They are not expected to pay interest during the early period of development. The schemes which have been so far approved, although in the first stage of development represent a considerable capital expenditure. There is the Team Valley Estate at Gateshead, where the schemes already approved involve a capital expenditure amounting to £1,400,000; the Treforest Estate in Wales, £800,000; and the estate at Hillington, near Glasgow, £400,000. My hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Peat), whose speech, if I may say so, was a model of clear construction, referred to the number of factories which have been opened in those areas, and I want to say this about the Team Valley Estate. It is worth remembering that in September, 1936, little more than a year ago, it was virgin soil. In the interval 56 factories have been completed, or have been planned to meet definite requirements. In only one case were financial inducements required, for it was found that the provision of facilities and amenities was in others sufficient to attract new types of industry. I think that is an intensely encouraging sign.
Perhaps I may be forgiven for referring for a moment to the Jarrow steel works, in spite of the absence of the hon. Lady who has done so much to get them started. The Special Areas Commissioners offered a contribution in remission of rents, rates and Income Tax; the Treasury remitted the National Defence Contribution and have agreed to provide loan money under the 1937 Act; the Nuffield Trustees are taking up a large number of shares, and the balance of the £1,000,000 required to start those steel works and give that much needed employment is being subscribed by the Consett Iron Company and through the Bankers Industrial Development Corporation. That is, I think, a very good example of what can be done by a concerted and co-operative effort on the part of the various organisations. Governmental and otherwise, which are determined to do something for these areas.
§ Captain Wallace
I should not really mind whether it came by the backstairs, 463 or the front stairs, or up in the lift. The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown) is not addressing himself to exactly the same point as I am. I am attempting to show that the Government are not indifferent to taking some hand in the location of industries, as witness what we have already done. I think it was always recognised that the creation of certain Special Areas, definitely demarcated in the Schedule to an Act, could not satisfy everybody for all time, and I must say that I had a very considerable job in defining the boundaries of the area which I originally had to report upon. The Special Areas (Amendment) Act of this year did not extend the Special Areas as such, but under that Act the Treasury can do various things outside them. They can subscribe to share capital or make loans to site companies, and they can make loans to industrialists who bring new undertakings into these areas and "occupy factories provided on the sites. At this point I can tell the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey that my information, which I offer to her with great respect, is that a site company has already been set up in Lancashire, although I do not say that it has started work.
§ Captain Wallace
I will not argue about that, but I believe the company has been set up and that there have been companies who have succeeded in transacting their business on paper. These things can be done not only in the Special Areas as scheduled in the original Act, but in areas where the Minister is satisfied, after consultation with the Advisory Committee, that there is, and has been for some considerable time, severe unemployment, and that unless financial assistance is provided to a site company which is prepared to operate in the area, there is no immediate likelihood of a substantial increase in employment, and also that employment in that area is mainly de pendent on one or more industries—always a sign of a dangerous area from the employment point of view—which are unable to provide sufficient employment by reason of the general depression in those industries.
Let me pass to the orders under the rearmament programme, I can carry the 464 figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington a little further, in the light of information which I have received. Up to 31st October, 1937—starting from the same date as he gave, 1st April, 1936—orders in connection with the rearmament programme placed in the Special Areas amount to just under £50,000,000, and in depressed areas other than Special Areas to £33,750,000. As regards the location of factories required under the Defence programme, the White Paper issued on 3rd March last year announced that in the determination of the siting of these factories both vulnerability of site and the needs of the Special Areas would receive consideration. I do not think anybody will quarrel with the first proviso, and the Prime Minister, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer reaffirmed in this House on 20th January of this year the policy to establish new factories in Special and depressed areas so far as practical considerations permit. Out of 10 new Government factories, or extensions to existing Government factories, erected or in course of erection under the rearmament programme, six are in Special Areas and two are in areas of heavy unemployment outside the Special Areas; and of 18 agency factories four are in Special Areas and five in areas of heavy unemployment outside Special Areas.
There is one more point which I should like to mention in connection with the Government's action in influencing the location of industry as regards areas of heavy unemployment. Occasionally aliens who live in countries not so happy as this wish to come over here to establishundertakings, and during the past 18 months consultations have been going on between the Home Office, the Ministry of Labour and the Board of Trade in order to point out to them the great desirability of establishing their undertakings in the Special Areas; and so persuasive have been the gentlemen who have been dealing with this question that no fewer than 14 undertakings have been established during the last 18 months in the Special Areas and 31 in the older industrial areas, where they will be particularly welcome.
I must turn now to the second aspect of this problem, and that is whether new undertakings should definitely be prohibited from going into certain areas and in particular into the area around London. 465 I think the House will agree that this involves very much wider considerations than its possible repercussions on the Special Areas. The Amendment so ably moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mabane) refers to the dangers of interfering with the normal course of industrial development, and as the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey mentioned Sir Malcolm Stewart I would remind her that in his third Report he flatly rejected as unnecessary and dangerous the idea of compulsory control of the location of industry; although I frankly admit that he did add that the extension of existing factories should be prohibited in Greater London, except under licence. I should like to say, in passing, that I am sure the whole House enjoyed the speech of the hon. Lady for Anglesey. To me she seems to be "following in father's footsteps" and covering up by a devastating charm an occasional lack of accuracy or relevancy.
When this report by Sir Malcolm Stewart came out more than a year ago the Prime Minister, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that he did not see anything very revolutionary in the proposal to prohibit factories in certain areas, because it was only an extension of a common practice in town-planning schemes where there is a built-up area and it is laid down that in a part of that area no factory shall be erected. I think that statement should be enough to assure the House that the Prime Minister approached this problem without any prejudice; and in the same speech he did point out that the fact of excluding new undertakings from Greater London would not necessarily mean that they would go into the Special Areas. The Prime Minister suggested that they might possibly go to Birmingham; they might, of course, even go to Nuneaton. Therefore, he said, it would not be sufficient to consider drawing a ring round Greater London alone and prohibiting factories going into that area. He described the whole matter as "a biggish proposition"—those were the words he used—and a pro position which needed examination; and he said that that examination it should have.
From that speech of the Prime Minister's sprang the present Royal Commission under Sir Montague Barlow. I am not going to say anything about that 466 Commission, except that it is a very strong one, or to say anything about its terms of reference, except that they are extremely comprehensive. I do not think any Member in any part of the House will feel that the activities of Sir Montague Barlow and his distinguished colleagues are any way handicapped by their terms of reference. The Motion suggests that this inquiry is superfluous on the ground that the facts are all known. I have no doubt that some of them are. There are some very obvious disadvantages in large concentrations of population. I was rash enough to draw attention to them in a report which I wrote some three years ago, a good many of the recommendations of which have been adopted. There are, of course, also some advantages, from a purely economic point of view, and from the point of view of consumers, in these large concentrations; there are, I think, also very many factors which are not apparent at first sight. The arguments for the concentration of industry are mainly economic, at any rate as regards London, and the arguments against it are mainly strategic and social. I think the House will realise that it would be impossible for us to say that any existing Department of the Government—or any Department which is ever likely to be created—has been, up to the present, in a position to consider this enormous problem as a whole and to correlate all the facts which are available. We were assured by the Prime Minister himself only six days ago that the Commission is proceeding with its work as expeditiously as possible, and I do not think it would be fair on them to pass a Motion which suggests that their labour is absolutely unnecessary.
The Motion concludes with a demand for the location of industries in accordance with the national interest; so far the Government have taken the view that national interests have been best served by leaving the individual business man to put his business where he thinks he can run it most successfully. Perhaps I might remind the Mover, who I see is laughing at that statement, that we still live in this country upon our export trade. We can do export trade only if we satisfy two rather stringent conditions: we have to produce goods for sale abroad of the kind that are wanted, and at a price which our customers are able and willing to pay. Anything therefore 467 which tends to raise unduly the price of our exported products may lead us into a very awkward situation. So far the Government have taken that view. It may be necessary to revise it in the different conditions which obtain to-day; but it is very clearly impossible to say that we ought to revise it offhand before this very powerful Commission has reported.
There have been accusations that His Majesty's Government have not got an open mind on the subject. It has been suggested that we have a parti-pris, and the particular reason given for that suggestion is the evidence submitted by the Board of Trade which drew attention to certain economic facts which must be taken into account in applying any policy which involves interference with industry. In fact, I think the appointment of the Royal Commission is sufficient evidence that the Government have an open mind. The Board of Trade evidence, as submitted by the Second Secretary, was the evidence of one particular Government Department on one aspect of the problem before the Royal Commission which particularly concerned the Board of Trade, and I think that the paragraphs in the Board of Trade evidence to which most attention has been directed in this House and in the Press can be summed up in this way: It is said in effect that if regulation of the location of industry is found to be necessary for any reason, then care should be taken to ensure that the competitive power of the exporting industries is not thereby reduced, that the price of goods to home consumers is not thereby raised, and that industrialists are not discouraged from starting new enterprises. I do not think anybody in any quarter of the House will be inclined on careful reflection to deny the desirability, indeed the necessity, of taking care in those directions.
A number of other Government Departments have given, or are to give, evidence before the Royal Commission. I think it is obvious that for the Government to make up its mind between all its Departments, and then to give what one might call the considered opinion of His Majesty's Government to the Royal Commission, would be really to torpedo a great deal of the work which we expect that Commission to do. Surely it is fairer, it is more thorough, and it will 468 in the end be infinitely more efficient, if each of the Departments of Government puts before that Commission the aspects of this very great problem which particularly concern it and we then allow the Royal Commission to draw its conclusion.
The Motion before the House starts from false premises by suggesting that this House has already taken a decision in favour of compulsion; it suggests action without an adequate knowledge of the consequences which might follow that action; and it ends by drawing a conclusion from the evidence of one Government Department which is totally at variance with the facts. The Amendment, on the other hand, recognises the danger of a leap in the dark, records the view that the sooner the Royal Commission is able to report the better, and encourages the House to hope that it will report soon and enable the Government to consider taking some further action. I hope that in these circumstances the House will decisively reject the Motion and accept the Amendment.
As I followed the argument of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman it seemed to me that the Government claim to have succeeded by inducements in getting manufacturers to go into these Special Areas. They are going there to demonstrate that it is economic to manufacture in those districts. If they do that, will the Government take action to prevent industries coming into the London area?
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Lawson
I had in my hand this morning a certain report of an investigation, and as it seemed likely that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would probably be taking part in this Debate I thought I would bring it down to the House; but that report was so truthful about the state of the Special Areas that its author had particularly investigated, it was so thorough in its proposals, and so scathing about the general neglect of the community whose economic conditions it had investigated, that I thought that, as many of us on this side of the House hold the author in such regard, out of sheer kindness I would not quote his own report 469 against him. As a matter of fact, he spent the best part of his speech in telling us what we could all read in the report in the Vote Office. He might just as well have read the report of the present Special Commissioner, except that he kept clear of that kind of indignation that is characteristic of every Commissioner, including himself, who investigates conditions there. And indeed the Commissioner's report is so devastating, in spite of the many small items that he accumulates which the hon. and gallant Gentleman naturally would not leave out, that he concludes by saying that the Government cannot wash its hands of the question of the location of industry. The hon. and gallant Gentleman was careful not to refer to that particular problem.
I think my hon. Friend has well earned the thanks of the House for raising this problem, and in dealing with it I think it is just as well to bear in mind what is the position of some of the areas in question. The gentleman who is con ducting the investigation made a statement last week in which he says that the condition of the Special Areas is only a minor part of the greater question they have to investigate. He is a man extremely experienced, he has had a term of office in the Ministry of Labour, and he is one for whose judgment we have some regard, and we are well aware that the question of the Special Areas is not the sole question with which the Commission has to deal. But I want to remind the House and, if I may, the Commission through this House, that the human conditions, or shall I say inhuman conditions which have prevailed in the Special Areas for many years, are the primary and sole cause of the appointment of that Commission.
As a matter of fact, from the time the question was raised in this House, about 1932, not only this House but the public began to get extremely alarmed at the conditions of whole masses of our fellow countrymen and country-women. But the Government stage by stage retreated until it appointed its Commissioners, and in the face of such reports as that which the hon. and gallant Gentleman gave, it was then compelled to do something about the matter. It, therefore, appointed a Royal Commission. We did not accept that method as the right one. We said even then that there was plenty of knowledge of the conditions of the 470 people to warrant judgment and action, but we said, "We will wait and see what they will do." After three years the net result of the Commission's work in the Special Areas was such that the Government was finally compelled to do something. Nobody was satisfied. Why, even now, after two years of boom, what is the situation? There are over 200,000 unemployed in the Special Areas and 18,000 people over 45 years of age, who have no prospect whatever of finding work. The Government simply had to act, and so this Commission was appointed and the names were given to the House in July of this year. It began its investigations in October, and I must pay my tribute to the work that its members have done.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman's explanation of the evidence of the Board of Trade does not exactly meet the case. When the other night I raised, on the Motion for the Adjournment, the question of this evidence—and that is one of the vital things in this Motion—the right hon. Gentleman chided me gently with the fact that I had not read the evidence. That was quite true: nobody had read the evidence. We could just follow the newspapers and piece together any information we could obtain to find out what it was all about. I tried to get a typed copy of the evidence. It was not in the Library. It was not printed, but since that time it has been printed. The right hon. Gentleman told us that if we had only read his evidence we should have a very different opinion from that we held then. Well, I have read the evidence, and while I pay my tribute to the extreme ability of the representatives of the Board of Trade who put that evidence forward, I must say that it reveals such a state of mind that the only inference one can draw is that, if this is anything like the evidence that is to be given by Government Departments, the Government wishes as far as it can to torpedo the Commission and to get it to arrive at a conclusion which will result in doing nothing for the Special Areas.
The representatives of the Board of Trade said that the evidence that they gave was given on purely economic grounds. There are many economic factors that they do not seem to take into consideration. For instance, one of the points with which they dealt was the availability of labour, and they seemed 471 to think that industry had come to this part of the country because there was labour available. Actually that is one of the points put in the report; they actually say that they came to Slough because there was labour available. For years there has been a lack of labour in Slough, and the Ministry of Labour has actually fixed up a training centre which deals with about 1,000 men a year to supply the needs of the people in Slough as well as other areas. That statement is on a par with many others made about the economic reasons for employers coming to London.
I have been drilled, as have many of my hon. Friends, in the pros and cons of the costs of industry and, since we were young we have had to face the strict economic factors in one of the grimmest industries of the country so far as costs are concerned. We are not likely to treat these matters lightly. I have always felt extremely sarcastic when people have talked to me about employers' economic reasons for coming here and establishing works. Only last night the gentleman who has been appointed to look after the trading estates in the north of England made a speech in Manchester. Would the House believe that he told a Manchester audience of business men that in a great many cases employers and business men come to London not for business reasons but because their wives want to come to London? Is that not a fact? Why should the representatives of the Board of Trade try to evade conclusions drawn from the commonly known knowledge that family concerns and issues are in many cases regarded as of greater importance than the concerns of the community or of the business?
I will tell the Board of Trade representatives something. If we in the north of England and in Wales and other Special Areas had taken the line of opposition to transference, many of these businesses would not have come to London so easily, because they would not have been able to get labour. They would have had to whistle for labour if it had not been for transference on a big scale. The Special Commissioner said in his last report—the Board of Trade ought to have a look at it—that there was such a thing as a Government subsidy attracting employers to this part of the country. He said: 472It may be said that, however good it may be as a temporary alleviation of unemployment, the transfer of workers, and particularly of juveniles, to London, their training allowances and after-care form in effect a subsidy to London industry, borne very largely by the rest of the country.There is no reference to that kind of commonly known knowledge in the Board of Trade memorandum of evidence submitted to the Commission.
I do not want to go into the question of the areas now, and all I need do is to ask hon. Members to get a copy of the evidence from the Stationery Office. They will see that members of the Commission turned the representatives of the Board of Trade inside out. They blocked them at every turn. It was one of the most pathetic examples of evidence given before a Commission that I have ever read. On the samples of evidence that have been before us, we think we are well entitled to say that the Government were trying to stop any real action which might result in the diversion of industry and in applying principles of location. The chairman has made reference to this, and has pointed out that the Commission's business is to considerwhat social, economic or strategical disadvantages arise from the concentration of industries or industrial population in large towns or in particular areas of the country.The "Times" comment upon that statement was—and I ask hon. Members to notice this:It is not going beyond the facts to say that in respect of certain areas the Commission has to pronounce a sentence of economic life or death.That is no less than the actual truth of this question. It is also true that certain illustrations of concentration were used in the evidence. We say—and I think rightly—that no evidence was given to the Commission that was not already in the possession of the Government and accessible before it was given. When it comes to questions of concentration of industry from a strategic point of view, the statements made by Sir Malcolm Stewart in his third report are even more striking and pointed than the evidence given by the Board of Trade. We are not raising this issue merely as a Special Areas question. We agree with the chairman that that is only part of the whole subject on which they have to report. Our contention is that the Special Areas, the conditions, the facts and the method of treatmen are so obvious and so well known 473 that they should never have been the concern of the Commission that is sitting at the present time.
Another issue that might well be borne in mind in considering the question is that this is not only an economic question. Whole masses of people are being brought from other parts of the country. Their kind of life has been broken up, and they have been established in a new place in which there is no corporate life. This matter affects the whole morale of the people and, if I may use the term, their spiritual outlook. Great changes have taken place in London. I think it was Sir Malcolm Stewart who said that two kinds of movement are going on. There is the movement from the inner part of London to the outer, and the movement from other parts of the country to the outer ring, where the two types of population are meeting. London is undergoing change. In those parts of the country from which some of us come, whole communities are being broken up where there was a common life, schools, houses and the rest of the things that are necessary to supply the needs of the community.
We regret that the Government, having neglected for years the condition of great masses of the people in different parts of the country, but having at last been driven by public opinion to establish a Commission, should themselves attempt to block and to divert it by the evidence which was given. We agree with the chairman. We do not say that the Special Areas form the major question, but we know that they are a symptom of the
§ general economic condition of the country. After some 10 years of this experience we had, yesterday, a report that there is an increase of 109,000 in the unemployment figures. I see it stated that the increase is partly seasonal, but, as a matter of fact, it is not. It is the greatest warning that could be given, and it looks as though the time that has been lost will simply have the effect of leaving the Special Area people in a worse condition.
§ Therefore, the neglect of the Special Areas, the perpetual investigations, the crying out of the Commissioners for action and the appointing of the Commission, have simply brought us round on this cycle of unemployment to the point at which conditions are going to be worse. Our last state will probably be worse than the first. The Government can at least have the satisfaction, and so can those hon. Members who vote against our Motion, of knowing that the Commission and the Commissioners have been the means merely of delaying rather than of dealing with a very grave and important human question. So we ask the House to vote for the Motion. We shall at least vote for it in the clear knowledge that it actually and accurately fits the situation and states the facts as they are at present.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 124; Noes, 202.477
|Division No. 45.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Hayday, A.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Dobbie, W.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)|
|Banfield, J. W.||Ede, J. C.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)|
|Barr, J.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Hollins, A.|
|Batey, J.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Jagger, J.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Benson, G.||Foot, D. M.||Kelly, W. T.|
|Bevan, A.||Gallacher, W.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon T.|
|Broad, F. A.||Garro Jones, G. M.||Kirby, B. V.|
|Bromfield, W.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Lathan, G.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Lawson, J. J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Leach, W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Grenfell, D. R.||Lee, F.|
|Cape, T.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Leonard, W.|
|Cassells, T.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Leslie, J. R.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Lunn, W.|
|Chater, D.||Graves, T. E.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hall, G. H. (Abardare)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Hardie, Agnes||Maclean, N.|
|Cove, W. G.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Daggar, G.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Mander, G. le M.|
|Marshall, F.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)||Thurtle, E.|
|Mathers, G.||Sanders, W. S.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Maxton, J.||Seely, Sir H. M.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Messer, F.||Sexton, T. M.||Walker, J.|
|Milner, Major J,||Shinwell, E.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Short, A.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Silkin, L.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Simpson, F. B.||White, H. Graham|
|Oliver, G. H.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Owen, Major G.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Paling, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees. (K'ly)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Price, M. P.||Sorensen, R. W.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Stephen, C.|
|Ridley, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Riley, B.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)||Lieut.-Commander Fletcher and Mr. Jenkins.|
|Ritson, J.||Taylor, R. J, (Morpeth)|
|Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Thorne, W.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Ellis, Sir G.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Elmley, Viscount||Moreing, A. C.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Emery, J. F.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Assheton, R.||Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Everard, W. L.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Findlay, Sir E.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Balniel, Lord||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Peake, O.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Goldie, N. B.||Pilkington, R.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Granville, E. L.||Radford, E. A.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Brass, Sir W.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Rathbone. J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Brooklebank, Sir Edmund||Grimston, R. V.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Burghley, Lord||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Butler, R. A.||Harbord, A.||Ross Taylor, W, (Woodbridge)|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Rowlands, G,|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Royds, Admiral P. M. R.|
|Cary, R. A.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hepworth, J.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Herbert, Major J A. (Monmouth)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Channon, H.||Higgs, W. F.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Salt, E. W.|
|Clarke, F. E. (Dartford)||Holdsworth, H.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Holmes, J. S.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Cobb, Captain E. C, (Preston)||Hopkinson, A.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Hutchinson, G. C.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gtn)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Crooke, J. S.||Lees-Jones, J.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Somerset, T.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Cross, R. H.||Levy, T.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lewis, O.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Little, Sir E. Graham-||Storey, S.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lloyd, G. W.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Davison, Sir W. H||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Strauss. H. G. (Norwich)|
|De Chair, S. S.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|De la Bère, R,||McCorquodale, M. S.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton (N'thw'h)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Denville, Alfred||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||McKie, J. H.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Touche, G. C.|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Maitland, A.||Train, Sir J.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Marsden, Commander A.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Turton, R. H,|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Wayland, Sir W. A||Windser-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)||Wise, A. R.|
|Williams, C. (Torquay)||Womersley, Sir W. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Mabane and Mr. Peat.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Question proposed, "That the proposed words be there added."
§ It being after Half-past Seven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.