§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Captain Ramsay
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words, "upon this day six months."
It will be within the recollection of the House that a very similar Bill was moved and was supported by the Scottish Office but defeated by the House about a year ago. The defenders and the unfortunate people, who are poor people, in this part of the world were thus saved the large expense of having to fight the Bill. I suggest to the House that it is all very well for promoters of schemes, who stand to make large sums of money out of them, to come to the House of Commons with a Bill, to get it backed by one section, and to ask for it to be thrashed out in Committee. It is not fair on the people who have to oppose the Bill, and it is rather a reflection on a vote of the House of Commons that they will not take "No" for an answer. We oppose this Bill for the same reasons that we opposed the Bill brought in about a year ago. We oppose it on questions of principle. In principle this Bill is very little different, if at all, from the Bill that came last year. A slight modification has been made in the extraordinary rating demands that were then put forward, and even this 1238 modification was only made because the House turned down the Bill, in spite of the fact that it was produced by the same people who advocate this one to-day.
The principles on which we oppose the Bill are these. In the first place, we do not consider that a reasonable case is made out why this country should depart from the usual principle of not allowing concerns which trade for private profit to get powers from the House of Commons to expropriate people from ground with which they do not wish to part. As a matter of cardinal principle these people, whether we may approve of them or not, are entitled to the defence of this House. I suggest that it is not for the House on a Bill such as this to depart from that principle of giving a private trading concern power to expropriate people except at a price which will give them a decent profit. As to the second principle, it is not clearly proved why these people should be given the rating concessions that are given in this Bill. For five years they propose to get 50 per cent. rebate, and for a further five years 33 per cent. rebate. Are other concerns to be given this concession? If coal-producing concerns ask for similar rebates on their concerns, is the House of Commons to give them a favourable answer? If not, why should this particular firm be singled out for such special and favourable treatment?
There is a third principle. Members of all complexions, whether they come from the north or south of the Tweed, are agreed on the policy of endeavouring to take all the work we can to the distressed areas. This policy has been defended quite recently in this House in relation to the factory at Maidenhead, and I suggest that there is no good ground given in this Bill why the House should depart from it. There is a further principle, which, perhaps, may not be of such wide concern, but which will appeal to all 1239 hon. Members who represent coalmining constituencies. We have been endeavouring in several Parliaments to bring every industry we can within the purview of the coalfields, and, if necessary, even to take a slight risk in doing so, because we consider that, even if the scales are not evenly balanced between one form of power and another, it is overwhelmingly in favour of the coal trade. It is an industry on which our strength is founded; it is a great source of power, a great source of employment and of secondary employment in ancillary trades.
These are the four principles—the principle of expropriation for private profit; the principle of special rating for private profit; the principle of sending to an area which is not distressed, and does not want large numbers of people foisted upon it, an industry which should go to a distressed area; and, lastly, the principle of giving to another form of power an industry which we consider should go to the coalfields. On these four principles we appeal to the House to reject the Bill. It is because they are of national importance that we would urge Members on both sides not to be led down the easy path of saying that they think they will send the Bill to a Select Committee. It is not suitable for a committee decision. These points are points of national principle, and, as such, should be decided on a Second Reading vote in the House. We beg hon. Members to make up their minds to go into the Lobby and reject the Bill. If the promoters, and if those who speak for them, say that this is a matter of national importance and that the Government wish to have this Bill. we say that they are going too far. If the Government wish to have the Bill, they have ways ready and available to their hands for securing it. All that their contention will prove, if they say something of this kind, is that the matters under discussion are of such importance that they certainly must be settled on a Second Reading vote.
One other point may be quoted in support of the plea of national importance. Some speakers referred to it in the last Debate. It is the strategic advantage of putting the factory in this part of Great Britain. I would respectfully submit that such an argument will not bear consideration for one moment. I cannot imagine 1240 an easier target for a single raiding aeroplane than one building situated at the extreme end of long stretches of water which could be easily followed from the simplest map. Further, that building, with such easy landmarks, will be totally undefended, whereas if it were in an industrial area there would be some form of aerial defence which a raiding aeroplane would have to encounter. Again, is it reasonable to say that the strategic reasons for this Bill are so important that we must agree at once to the erection of the factory there, when the promoters, on their own showing, do not propose to produce calcium carbide for at least three years? If there is an emergency it may come long before then. [An HON. MEMBER: "Better late than never."] Sometimes if you are late you are late once and for all. If the power required were to be obtained from coal, I believe it is not unreasonable to say that in from eight months to a year we should see the production of calcium carbide.
I would put in a plea for the coal mining industry, and I hope that I shall have support from Members representing the coalfields of this country. All members of the Coal Utilisation Council are agreed in opposing this Bill, and perhaps it would not be out of place for me to give one or two reasons why we decided to oppose it—at least why I myself decided to oppose it. I have seen many estimates of coal power production, have gone into this matter with considerable care for some months and have sought a good deal of advice from leading engineers. This much I would say that, on normal calculations, I believe the costs of coal power production come out very nearly the same as in the case of hydraulic production; but there are abnormally cheap ways of getting coal power produced. I have had put into my hands this evening a contract which was recently made by the Swansea Corporation with the Amalgamated Anthracite Company for a supply of anthracite duff for producing power. The contract enables them to get this duff for the next 30 years at 5s. a ton. I state confidently that with coal at that price this electrical power could be produced as cheap, if not cheaper, by means of coal. That is the first reason I give. If there is any uncertainty about the matter, and I have no doubt that hon. Members will give figures which may be 1241 contradictory of these, I would remind hon. Members that there is considerable variance of views on the point among experts on power production, and that no one makes such constant miscalculations as the promoters of hydraulic power schemes. My point is that as there is this uncertainty, as the supporters of one side will claim that the advantages are with them, and the supporters of the other side will lay claim to similar advantages, it is not fair to the House to use this uncertainty as a pretext for sending the Bill to Committee. The fact that there is uncertainty and that the case is not proven is no good argument for putting the defenders of this Bill to the expense of having to defend it in Committee.
If the Government regard this scheme as one of national importance, it is for the Government to make up their minds whether this power can be produced as cheaply by coal, and, if so, where they would like the factory to be situated. We ought not to leave the whole expense to the few unfortunate people in Inverness to fight the question out in Committee upstairs if the supporters of the Bill claim Government support for their policy. I would go one step further. I would say that even if it were proved to the satisfaction of the Government or Government nominees at some later date that the costs of manufacturing carbide from coal-produced power were higher—I do not believe that to be the case, but suppose it were proved to be so—the difference could not be very great, and in my humble opinion that disadvantage would be far more than offset by the fact that we had sent the factory to an area which needed it, where there are men who are already housed and supplied with the conveniences of life. We should be giving the work to miners and railwaymen and many other people who are at present in a state of poverty; whereas if it is to be a hydraulic power scheme, once the initial navvying work has been done there will be no demand for coal or transport or anything else.
I would make one other point as regards the suitability of the area. We have had figures circulated in the House giving the percentages of unemployment in the area where it is proposed to put this factory. To put those figures on a percentage basis is essentially misleading. The num- 1242 ber of unemployed in that area is very small indeed. I do not believe that those totally unemployed number more than 100 or 200, not more than a few hundreds at most, and yet those percentages have been quoted against areas where there are thousands and thousands of unemployed. It is not fair to circulate those figures without explaining what they represent. The facts of the case are that in the glens up there we have men who, for six months of the year, follow other occupations. We have no large reserves of labour; certainly not a reserve of labour which will go in for navvying. Crofters in those parts are not good navvies. I know that there is a Clause in the Bill providing that local people shall be employed, but I believe that local people will not do that kind of work. They do not want to work in factories. Lord Leverhulme made one attempt at industrialising the Highlands, and it was a signal failure, and where he did not succeed I do not think others will be more successful.
At best we are going to import from somewhere—perhaps they may be found in Scotland—some 2,000 or 3,000 men. They will be brought to an area which cannot accommodate them, which has no conveniences in the way of housing or drainage, and a whole number of local problems will be created by their presence there. The men will be put down there for two or three years and then they will go away. That will be the position at its best. But, unfortunately, we have precedents to guide us in this matter, and if those precedents are followed in this case we shall have 2,000 or 3,000 Irish navvies brought from Dublin, and, again on precedent, a very fair percentage of them will remain behind on the rates after the work has been done. If right hon. Gentlemen do not agree with me, perhaps they will explain away the precedents which already exist.
I have no doubt that the Scottish Office will inform the House that this Bill has Government support. Perhaps they will say that the Government wish to see this Bill passed. All that we, who are opposing this Bill, can say is that the Government has its own means of expressing its support. Perhaps the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence or the Minister for War will speak for the Bill if they regard it as important, but I very much doubt whether either of them will do so.
1243 Other Members supporting the Bill will say that they are Scotsmen speaking for Scotland. There are good Scotsmen on the other side, and they are not only speaking for Scotland, but are representing more accurately the local point of view. Inverness Burgh is dead against this Bill. Inverness County Council voted for the Bill, but of the eight members of the county council who represent this area, only one voted for the Bill. Six of them are against it. Four voted and two did not vote—one was an interested party and one abstained from voting. The only member for the area who voted for the Bill is a director of the British Aluminium Company.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I have taken the trouble to get accurate figures. I think my hon. and gallant Friend is talking about the county and I can assure him that 26 members voted for the agreement between the county and the Oxygen Company and only six voted against it.
§ Captain Ramsay
I heard that the Noble Lord was going to give figures and I checked my figures at 25 minutes past seven. The information I received was that of the eight members representing the area affected, that is to say both sides of Loch Ness, six are opposed to the Bill. Only four voted; one was absent, one was an interested party, one did not vote and one supported the Bill.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I have got a statement which has been approved by the County Clerk and also, to my knowledge, by four members of the County Council. It was handed to me by a member of the County Council about half and hour ago showing that four of these members live outside the area and only two live inside.
§ Mr. Hardie
On a point of Order. May I ask whether there is any rule as to the continuance of this process of one contradiction against another? The same thing happened last year when the Bill was before the House. Unless people can 1244 come here and give definite statements, this discussion should cease.
§ Mr. Speaker
I did not hear anything out of order. Had I done so I should have called hon. Members to Order.
§ Captain Ramsay
There is one more point I should like to put in connection with the question of local views. If the joint votes of the last two meetings of Inverness County and Inverness Burgh authorities were taken, if those committees had been held in one room and the votes pooled, there would have been a clear majority against this Bill. I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against this Bill. In doing so they will not only be championing the views of the majority of the local people concerned, but deciding against principles upon which, so far, this House has refused to embark.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Sir Murdoch Macdonald
I rise to support the Motion that the Bill should be read this day six months. Before I proceed further may I make a slight interjection into the discussion which has taken place between the hon. and gallant Member for Peebles and Southern (Captain Ramsay) and the Noble Lord the Member for Eastern Renfrew (Marquess of Clydesdale). I think that my hon. and gallant Friend was referring to the districts actually concerned. That is undoubtedly a very vast area, to which I shall refer later. The Noble Lord was referring to the figures for the whole county, and that is a very different matter from the actual area concerned. That is how confusion has arisen in regard to the point.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I said that four members lived outside the area affected and only two lived inside it.
§ Sir M. Macdonald
I do not know about that, but I think it is right that the figure of eight referred to the actual districts involved, whereas the figures of the Noble Lord were the figures for the whole county. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] When the Bill first appeared before the House last year, I stated my serious objections to it. I did so not only in this House, but in public and in private, so that the promoters could be fully aware of the views that I held. Many people and many hon. Members said that the 1245 arguments I used, while being cogent arguments, were more suitable for the Committee stage. They suggested that I should allow the Bill to pass its Second Reading and to go to Committee. They made that suggestion in the lively hope that the Committee would correct the blemishes of the Bill, and that I would secure what I desired on behalf of the great majority of my constituents. I explained that that was not possible, and that even if the promoters agreed to give effect to the very first of my objections and the House passed the Bill on Second Reading, the Committee could not consider it upstairs because of the rules of the House and the Acts of Parliament governing such matters.
I will now explain the vital objection which I have to the Bill. It is not only my objection but that of a vast number of people whose interests will be irredeemably affected if the alteration which I proposed last year, and which I am now about to repeat, is not carried into effect. My constituency is the only one which is directly affected by the Bill. I am sure hon. Members will not forget that the limitations shown on the Parliamentary plan which was lodged do not necessarily cover all the area inside my constituency. The area affected really covers the whole course of the waters from their origin, Loch Quoich, right down through the Garry, through Loch Ness, through the Ness, through Inverness to the sea, a long distance of 70 miles. Inverness is not inside the limits of the Bill or the limits which the promoters have marked on their Bill. They have asserted the right to appeal if necessary, and to object. If the Bill is allowed to pass, a principle will be asserted which will cause damage that no compensation can possibly repair.
If the scheme put forward by the promoters is examined, it will be seen that the most valuable water-producing area, that is, where the rainfall is heaviest in all Scotland, is where they propose to tunnel through, outside the ordinary catchment basin of those waters, and to take the waters to the west coast, instead of allowing them to flow to the east coast as they normally would. If they carry that proposal through, they will deprive Inverness and its river of 15 per cent. of their total annual water supply. The town has the right to those waters; the beauty, amenity, prosperity, and indeed 1246 the health of the town depend upon them. To take away public property in which others have not only pleasure and pride but which they use for their own purposes, and to give a right to a company over it for their own private use, is an action which I am sure will be disapproved of by this House.
It is not as though there were no alternative. The Bill proposes to take these waters to the west coast, but it is quite a simple matter to leave the waters to pursue their normal course to the east coast, and to extract power from them. If the company did that, no detriment of any unreasonable kind would follow. The waters would simply take their natural course, in the ordinary catchment area, to the sea, and the company could develop what power they required from them. In the circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that I and many other people object strongly to the proposal to divert out of the watershed a large and valuable part of the water supply which now flows down the Ness, and which is of such great value to the town of Inverness.
In last year's Bill, the outstanding matter was the glaring attempt to avoid local taxation. Most hon. Members who took part in the Debate last year dealt with the taxation question, whether they were for the Bill or against it. The fact that there was on the part of the company such a clear desire to avoid local taxation, which other hydro-electric companies are now paying inside the same area, prevented hon. Members from considering the other serious objections to the Bill. One of those serious objections was that a large proportion of the water was being taken away from its natural channel and sent to the west coast. As a consequence of that action, Inverness is deprived of benefits which it would naturally receive. It has a right to receive those benefits and to ask this House to preserve them for it. If the House passes the Bill as it stands and allows these waters to be diverted to the west coast, it will be causing the town of Inverness an irredeemable injury. I hope that my fellow Members will be alive to what is likely to happen as the result of the passing of the Bill.
That is a vital objection which cannot be put right in Committee. It is a matter of principle which must be put right 1247 here. If the Bill goes to Committee, the rules of the House will prevent the matter being considered. A new Bill would have to be lodged, and the question would have to be considered entirely afresh. There were a number of other points in the Bill last year, and there are in the present Bill, which deserve most serious consideration and which show that the promoters are acting in a most callous manner and in disregard of the rights of other people, in connection with these waters. Take the case of the effect in flood time. At the present moment, these four great lakes, Quoich, Garry, Loyne and Cluanie, have the ordinary narrow outlets, but when a great storm arises those outlets get rather pent up. I am informed that the lakes rise from 12 feet to 20 feet in height and thus form, in great storms, natural reservoirs. As a consequence of their existence, the actual course of the flood wave passing down is less than it otherwise would be.
What will happen when the company take over these lakes, if they are allowed to do so? They say: "We are going to turn the lakes into storage reservoirs. We intend to impound the water in them to use in dry springs and in certain dry summers." If they do that, what will be the type of regulation? We are all experiencing now the kind of weather, in late February and early March, that may produce a great flood storm in that area. If one looks at a chart, one sees as a rule that a big storm can occur at that season of the year. This is what happens: Weather such as we have been experiencing causes a fall of three or four feet of snow on these high lands. Then there is a sudden change in the weather, a south-westerly gale blows up, bringing rain, which probably of itself would produce a great flood; but, coupled with that flood, the snow is melted, and the two come down together.
Envisage the position when these four great lochs are used as storage reservoirs by the company. Their engineers cannot tell long beforehand whether such a storm is going to occur or not. Being ordinary people, they would fill these reservoirs brim-full in October, November and December, and, when they are brim-full and such a great storm as I have been trying to depict occurs, there is not now present the natural storage which Nature 1248 herself provides. As a consequence, the flood down the Ness will be far greater than it ever has been. Somebody may say, "But will not the engineers provide for that?" There is not one line in the book or on the plans to show that there is any such intention. Here they are subjecting the town of Inverness to the possibility of a greater flood than it ever had reason, under natural conditions, to expect as a result of the same rainfall and the same conditions as to snow. If the promoters come forward with a Bill of this sort without making provision for such conditions as I have described, is it not natural that men like myself, interested in Inverness and in the constituency, should strongly and violently object? I feel sure that even on that ground alone the House would hesitate very much before it would agree to a Bill of this sort. It would ask the promoters what provision they intended to make against such a possibility.
Let me give an illustration of what might happen in other circumstances than those in the far north of Scotland. That part of the country is far away, and it is difficult, I should imagine, for most Members to picture it to themselves, but all of us can picture to ourselves the Thames. It rises, I believe, in Gloucestershire, passes through Oxford-shire, Bucks and Berks, and then on to London, joining up with minor small streams from several other counties. Supposing for a moment that these four counties of Gloucester, Oxford, Bucks and Berks should join together, and some company in, say, Southampton, clear out of the watershed, should say, "We propose to ask you to agree to part with 15 per cent. of the volume of the Thames, and not even to ask London to agree," is there any possible doubt as to what would happen if such a Bill came to this House? London would certainly say that it would not agree, and if, while the four counties of Gloucester, Oxford, Bucks and Berks also refused to agree, the company still persisted, and one or two counties outside, including Southampton, said, "We want this for a private company; we want to use this water and divert it clean out of the Thames Valley," would there be any possible chance of its being done? In the case of Inverness the people in the areas affected, and not only the majority, but nearly all, of the Members for the area concerned, objected. It is certainly true 1249 that other Members outside the area affected were in agreement, and moved at the county council meeting, as the Noble Lord has said; but in fact the actual areas concerned did not want this thing to be done, and the county of Inverness, which is so vitally concerned, certainly does not want any such thing to be done.
§ Mr. G. Hardie
May I ask the hon. Member, who is skilled in these matters and comes from the district, what reply he has to make to the statement of the promoters that the flow of the Ness has increased by 165 per cent.?
§ Sir M. Macdonald
All I can take is their Bill, and in the Bill there is a Clause which says they will guarantee to send down not less than the minimum which has hitherto flowed down.
§ Mr. Hardie
On a point of Order. I have raised this question already, and I want to raise it again. Is there no rule of the House to prevent a repetition of what happened last year? When we have two parties contesting something in this House, is there no rule to say that they must come with facts which are shown by figures to be facts? Here we have different statements made by the county council, the local councils and the engineers; is there nothing to stop this?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Captain Bourne)
I think the hon. Member is quite entitled to express his own views.
§ Sir M. Macdonald
The Bill says:The powers conferred upon the company by this Act shall not he exercised in such a manner as to cause the flow of water in the River Ness to be less than the minimum flow which would have existed if such powers had not been granted.From personal experience I can tell the House what the flow is; it is very little indeed. As a small boy I have gone across it almost dry for a day or two in summer, and that condition could be reproduced under this Clause for three months or more if the company desired it. All I can do is to take the actual words which the promoters have put into their Bill. It would have been much better if they had gone to all concerned and said exactly what they intended to do.
§ Mr. Boothby
Is it not a fact that the promoters have continually requested the Town Council of Inverness to discuss these very questions with them, and the Town Council of Inverness has resolutely refused to discuss them?
§ Sir M. Macdonald
No, Sir, that is not a correct representation of the facts. I knew that accurate data were in the possession of a Captain Maclean. I intended to write a report for my own satisfaction on this matter to see exactly what would occur other than what the promoters have put down here. I was refused those accurate data and only this morning have they been put before me. How could I possibly make any statement regarding this in the circumstances? The first I saw of anyone connected with this Bill was 10 days before the Bill was actually lodged, and then I made suggestions, some of which had been incorporated in the Bill. When the promoters came to see me subsequently, I pointed out that this Clause was of no value whatever. Suppose a large proportion of London's water was going to be diverted. What would London say? It would not dream for a moment of acquiescing. Why should this House inflict damage of this kind on my constituency when it can quite well be put right by altering the Bill and making the water flow to the East rather than to the West? I do not see that there is any answer to that. It is possible to develop power by turning the water to the East. Instead, they turn it to the West, away from Inverness, and cause the damage that I have been depicting. I feel sure that the House will refuse a Second Reading to such an outrageous Bill.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
I speak to-night under a great sense of responsibility. On occasions when I tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his monetary policy ought to be, or the Secretary of State for Scotland what he ought to do about oats. I know that neither of them will pay undue attention to my remarks and, in any case, I know that the final responsibility for the policy pursued rests on their shoulders and not on mine. My position to-night is very different. The promoters of the Bill—I do not know why—have asked me to commend it to the House. I believe the minds of many Members on both sides are open and, 1251 further, I believe that, if the Bill were refused a Second Reading, it would be a tragedy for Scotland. I feel very strongly that most of the points that it is my duty to make to-night ought to be made not here but to the Select Committee. In addition, it is not very easy to argue to a court of appeal 40 or 50 per cent. of whose members are naturally at dinner and may not be back until the arguments are over. I am not complaining of the attendance—I think it is magnificent—but in the essence of things these are points which ought to be decided by a Select Committee, which is there all the time and can hear the arguments of both sides put by people far more skilled than I or, if I may respectfully say so, my hon. Friend opposite.
I notice a considerable divergence in the argument of the two hon. Members who have proposed the rejection of the Bill. The first based himself on all sorts of principles, some of which I thought were good if they applied in this case, and others not so good. The hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald), when his speech is really boiled down, objected primarily and mainly because the diversion is to the west instead of to the east, and I gathered that, had that change been made, he would on the whole have felt disposed to support the Bill. The final objective of the promoters is nothing less than to provide for the ultimate establishment of electric chemical industries as a whole in Scotland, worked by hydroelectric plant, and the alternative before us is nothing less than whether we are going to establish these industries in this country or leave them in the hands of foreign countries. The annual value of the products of these industries imported from abroad is practically £2,000,000.
May I say a word about the Highlands themselves? The Highlands are a distressed area, as anyone who knows them will admit. If the incidence of unemployment is to be taken as a test for the location of industry as suggested in the last White Paper issued by the Government, the Highlands have as good a claim as, if not a better claim, than any other district. Unemployment is acute. The figures for 1936 show an average percentage of unemployment for Inverness and Ross and Cromarty of 30, and for Caithness and Sutherland of 38.78, and the 1252 respective figures for January are 38 and 44.5 per cent. You can compare those figures with the unemployment percentage in the Special Areas in. England and Wales of 31 for the same period.
§ Mr. Boothby
Of course, there are fewer actually unemployed. I was deliberately giving the percentage, because that is what is dealt with in the White Paper. I am not trying to maintain that the Highlands are as densely populated as South Wales or Durham. Large sums have been spent, and still 'larger sums, I hope, are going to be spent, on the Special Areas where the volume of unemployment is now decreasing. Nothing comparable has been spent in the Highlands and nothing comparable is proposed to be spent, and in the Highlands the percentage of unemployment is steadily increasing. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill said that the crofters were unwilling to do navvy work. I am not so sure about that, but I know what crofter after crofter has been compelled to do ever since the War, and that is go away from the Highlands altogether. The average emigration from the Highlands between 1921 and 1931 was at the rate of 3,744 per annum.
§ Mr. Boothby
I do not think so. I have talked about the fundamental objective. The immediate objective is the production of carbide. Acetylene gas combined with oxygen produces the acetylene flame, which can cut the thickest steel plates and has recently been employed with remarkable success all over the country in the process of welding. That is a process which is vital in the construction of aeroplanes. Carbide is the essential raw material of this as of other important industrial processes. At present almost all the carbide used in this country is imported from the Continent, about two-thirds of it from Norway. The demand has risen steadily during the last two or three years, and in 1936 reached a total of 55,600 tons. I would like to quote from a report as far back as 1919, issued by a committee which was set up by the Government of the day to inquire into, among other 1253 things, the production of calcium carbide and calcium cyanamide, which is produced from carbide. This committee, known as the Nitrogen Products Committee, recommended in paragraph 656 of their report:that as a minimum provision for safeguarding the future, the calcium cyanamide process should be established in Great Britain without delay, either by private enterprise, supported if necessary by the Government, or as a public work. The Committee considered that the necessary electric energy should be obtained either from water power in Scotland or from a large steam-power station.They added that they had ascertained from the Water Power Resources Committee of the Board of Trade that there were several sites in Scotland where the necessary power could be developed at a reasonable cost.
I come to the point which obviously interests hon. Members above the Gangway, and that is, why the Highlands as against South Wales? That is an issue of interest to all Members in this House. The first reason is that hydro-electric power, as I hope to be able to satisfy the House, is so much cheaper than steam power that it makes this an economic proposition instead of an uneconomic proposition. The reason why hydro-electric power in this particular case is cheaper is because 4,000 units of electric power are required for the manufacture of one ton of carbide. It will, therefore, be clear to the House that cheap power is absolutely essential for the successful manufacture of carbide in this country. I want to compare the cost of producing carbide by means of water power and steam power. It has been estimated by the promoters of the Bill that the cost at Corpach by water power will be .112 of a penny per unit as against .2 of a penny per unit for the first 32,000,000 units and .18 of a penny thereafter in South Wales. Taking into consideration the cost both of anthracite and limestone, including the cost of conveyance and delivery, the power cost of South Wales would exceed the power cost of Corpach by 22S. 6d. per ton. That means a difference of £112,500 per annum on an estimated output of 100,000 tons.
§ Mr. Boothby
I was going to say that these estimates were made when the price 1254 of coal was lower than it is at the present time.
§ Mr. James Griffiths
It is very essential that the House should be in possession of all the facts, and, therefore, may I ask the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) upon what station is the cost based in South Wales? That is essential, because during the last three or four years a new station has been established in Swansea at which electric power is generated from anthracite and the company are able to get anthracite at 5s. per ton at the pit. I ask him whether he can satisfy the House whether the calculation which he has given for steam generated energy is from that station?
§ Mr. Boothby
I say frankly to hon. Members that naturally I am guided by the promoters of the Bill on this particular matter. They tell me that it is the cheapest estimate they can get of the production of steam power in South Wales.
§ Mr. Assheton rose—
§ Mr. Boothby
I must be allowed to. make my case, otherwise I shall be here all night. Since these estimates, the price of coal has risen and is still rising. They, at any rate, reached the conclusion that carbide can be produced by water power in this country in competition with imported carbide, but that it cannot be produced from steam power without a substantial subsidy. The promoters intend to spend £3,000,000 of capital of their own at Corpach, as against the £3,000,000 which they estimate the factory would cost in South Wales. Is it likely that they would incur this additional capital cost unless Corpach was in their view and on a long view, an economic proposition and South Wales was not? A capital outlay of £3,000,000 is involved. The hon. Gentleman opposite shakes his head, but I say that it is the fact.
§ Mr. Assheton
The hon. Gentleman speaks about £3,000,000 of their own money. If he looks at the balance sheet, he will see that they have not £3,000,000 in cash. They must raise it from the public.
§ Mr. Boothby
The hon. Member knows perfectly well that he is quibbling. If that is the sort of argument upon which the opposers of the Bill are content to rely, I hope it will be passed by even a larger majority. The fact remains that the foundation of all electrical chemical industries in every country in the world is, at the present time, hydro-electric power as against steam power. Lanark-shire was also investigated, and it was turned down because limestone of the kind required was not found there and also because it was considered that a port site was essential such as exists at Corpach, where the depth of water is amply sufficient. A year ago, as my hon. and gallant Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill pointed out, a similar Bill was introduced and failed to obtain a Second Reading. The two main objections to that Bill were, first of all, that the rating concessions asked for were too great, and, secondly, the compulsory powers to be granted for the acquisition of additional land for factories were too wide. In the present Bill the rating Clause has been redrafted, as my hon. and gallant Friend knows. A temporary concession has been given to the hydroelectric part of the scheme during the first five years period of development, but after that the existing valuation Acts have been adhered to.
The Inverness County Council are completely satisfied with the rating provisions provided in this Bill. No doubt hon. Members on both sides will have read the letter which appeared in the "Times" of yesterday from Lochiel, pointing out that the Inverness-shire County Council estimates a net increase to their valuation roll of about £27,500 if this scheme goes through. The consolidated rate of Inverness-shire to-day is 10s. 6d. in the pound and, therefore, when this scheme is in full operation, it will bring in annually a sum of £14,500 in rates to the Inverness-shire County Council, which is equivalent to 1s. 4d. in the pound in a very poor county. The Clause with regard to compulsory powers for additional land has been deleted altogether and, therefore, it is not quite fair for my hon. Friend to say that it is the same Bill as that which was introduced last year.
Now I cane to one or two points which really are Committee points, but with which I must deal because the hon. Gen- 1256 tleman the Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald) has raised them. On the question of water, the diversion in the case of Loch Quoich, to the west gives a flow of water of 600 feet as against 400 feet, and that represents 50 per cent. more power than would be the case if they stuck to the Eastern side. The catchment area involved is only 7 per cent. of the total catchment area of the Ness. The hon. Member says that I am wrong, but it is true; it is 600 feet as against 400 feet.
§ Sir M. Macdonald
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to give the figures? The height of Loch Quoich is 615 feet and the height of Loch Garry is 275 feet; that of Loch Oich is 169 feet, so there is 340 feet of a fall to Loch Gary, and a fall of 169 feet to Loch Oich, or a total altogether of 509 against 615.
§ Mr. Boothby
That makes a big difference when generating hydro-electric power. I am pointing out that some of the arguments we are faced with on Second Reading of the Bill ought to go to Committee, which is the proper place in which to deal with them. I shall not deal with that question any further except to say this that it is very noteworthy that as a result of the Grampian Power scheme the crest of the floods in the River Tay has been reduced and the dry weather flow has been increased. That is what it is estimated will happen in regard to the River Ness. They say that the dry weather flow will be increased. However, that is a point for consideration in Committee.
I come now to the question of the crofts. Much has been said about the dispossession of the crofters. The number of crofts affected is 15 in Glen Moriston and one in Glen Garry. No crofter's dwelling will be taken, and full compensation will be paid for the 40 odd acres of crofters' land which will be submerged. From the way some people talk and write, one might imagine that the crofter's life was a kind of idyll. It is probably the hardest life in the world, and since the War it has been almost desperate. Why not give these men a chance to earn a decent living in a per- 1257 manent way? We have been told that the whole of the beautiful scenery of the North of Scotland is going to be ruined. The whole area of land proposed to be submerged or occupied by works is just over six square miles. Some hon. Members are concerned lest the great natural beauty of Glen Moriston should be spoiled. There will be a power house near the mouth of the river and five miles up the Glen there will be a dam which will form a small reservoir. There will be no transmission line down Glen Moriston.
The promoters are required by the Bill to do a considerable amount of road construction, which will facilitate tourist traffic and improve access to the Western Isles. Finally, the promoters are required by the Bill to follow the advice of a Committee to be set up by the Secretary of State for Scotland to secure that, in the erection, maintenance and operation of works reasonable regard shall be given to the preservation of the beauty of the scenery. Are hydroelectric works, conceived on modern architectural lines, so very ugly? I think not. Modern architecture is not unsuited to wild scenery. They have not done anything to desecrate the beauties of Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada. Who are the objectors? The Town Council of Inverness in the first place. The Town Council of Inverness have persistently refused to negotiate with the promoters of the Bill. They have refused to discuss even the question of the flow—
§ Sir M. Macdonald
I have read the correspondence, I know the facts and I know from my own personal experience what those facts are. I can assure my hon. Friend that he is entirely wrong in this matter.
§ Mr. Boothby
I have read the correspondence, I know the facts and I can assure my hon. Friend that I am entirely right in this matter. We must leave it at that. The Town Council of Inverness would not discuss the question of flow with the engineer.
§ Sir M. Macdonald rose—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) does not give way, the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald) must not interrupt.
§ Mr. Boothby
With regard to the remaining objectors, the House will be interested to know that I heard to-day that the Inverness County Council have reached complete agreement with the promoters of the Bill. Of the remaining objectors, amounting to 20, no fewer than 14 are landowners or tenants of shooting or fishing rights, the majority of whom either reside or have their registered offices in England. Their petitions show that the area of the scheme consists almost entirely of deer forests, and that only three shooting lodges, normally occupied for a very few weeks in the year, are to be submerged, with the cottages attending them, and that compensation is to be paid. It is very gratifying that these owners of sporting rights, these English owners of sporting rights in the north of Scotland, have suddenly evinced this intense and almost passionate interest in the problem of the distressed areas, particularly South Wales. Those of us who have been struggling in this House for months and years past to get the Government to take more drastic action in regard to the distressed areas, cannot fail to welcome these new recruits on this particular question; but I suggest that here their enthusiasm is a little bit misplaced, because, if they only knew it, they inhabit for a few weeks in the year one of our most distressed areas.
Who else objects? There is the great-great-granddaughter of the last chief of the Macdonells, who apparently lives in Canada. She writes to the Duke of Portland to say that although her knowledge is not extensive, she still thinks of Glen Garry as home. She tells us in her letter that her feelings are personal and very deep. With all due deference to her feelings, I submit that they should not be allowed to stand in the way of the development of the Highlands of Scotland. She writes that many Canadians think happily of Glen Garry and Glen Moriston, where their ancestors were born. I can assure her that those glens will not be changed, at any rate they will not be changed very much, and that when these Canadians come back they will be able to recognise them even if this scheme goes through. I suggest that they might glance at their own country of Canada, where they have a very striking example in the Shawinigan scheme, which shows the amazing 1259 development that this sort of hydroelectric power scheme brings in its train. I have often felt that if we in Scotland were only a Dominion—which perhaps we shall be one day—or a Crown Colony, our resources would have been developed many years ago.
To sum up, we have heard a great deal about the location of industries. We have heard of the dangers of concentrating our industries too much in the south. We have heard of the unhealthy growth of London, and we have heard about the necessity of doing something to stop the steady drift from the Highlands to the south. We have heard of the development of water power. I suggest that if this Bill goes to a Select Committee and is closely examined it will be found to be a practical scheme, and, if so, it ought to be adopted. It is a practical effort to solve some of these problems. It is an effort which demands no subsidy from the Government. Preference is to be given to local labour. If the scheme is successful it will be the prelude to developments of a similar character. Water power today is the only natural source of wealth in the Highlands of Scotland. Why should we be prevented by a few owners of deer forests from developing that source of wealth? I would ask hon. Members above the Gangway to consider that matter. The fishing industry used to be a great source of wealth for us, but I hope hon. Members will accept my words when I say that it will be many years before the fishing industry in Scotland enjoys prosperity such as it had before the War. I have watched with deepening dismay the decline of the fishing industry for the past 12 weary years.
In conclusion I would ask the Secretary of State for Scotland two questions which are very pertinent. First, does he, speaking on behalf of the Government, or does he not, regard it as necessary in the national interests that an industry should be established in Great Britain capable of manufacturing the country's supply of carbide, so that in the event of emergency we shall not be dependent on imports from over the seas? Does he regard it as necessary or desirable that such an industry should be established? Secondly, are the Government prepared to offer a substantial subsidy of not less than 1260 £100,000 a year for the establishment of such an industry? If, as I suspect, the answer to the first question is "Yes," and the answer to the second question is "No," then I submit that the case for the Bill is overwhelming. It is not a question of Corpach or South Wales. The decision is between Corpach and Norway.
If this Bill is rejected it will mean the loss of a new industry in a part of Scotland which most desperately needs it. It will destroy the hopes of those of us who see the possibilities of future development which might, even at the eleventh hour, save the north of Scotland from being not only a depressed area but a derelict area. It will deprive the country of a safe source of supplies of carbide which are necessary on strategic and national grounds. It will deprive the South Wales coalfields of a certain market for anthracite without bringing any compensating advantage. Those who know the tragedy that underlies the position in the north of Scotland will not willingly contemplate such a disaster. I believe the majority of Scottish Members are in favour of the principle of the Bill, and we ask the House to let it go to a Committee. I beg hon. Members to give it a Second Reading.
§ 8.55 p.m.
I realise that as a Welsh Member I am treading on the holy ground of Scotland in discussing this matter, but I do not propose to trespass too much on the time. One of the sad features of Celtic history is the difficulty of obtaining unity among the Celtic people, and the atmosphere is somewhat electric and controversial to-night. It is peculiar how adversity brings people to argue along strange lines. Those who oppose the Bill and those who support it must be feeling very uncomfortable indeed at the strange arguments which they are advancing. On other occasions I can visualise their offering strong opposition to some of the sentiments they have expressed this evening, and we shall not have to wait many days before we get an example of that. At the same time, I hope they will remain consistent to the somewhat strange arguments which have come from them in this Debate.
I want to make clear the position of Welsh Members on this matter. To me it is rather tragic that sections of the com- 1261 munity should be pitted one against the other, that any one section should be open to the charge of being motivated and influenced by selfish reasons. It is a tragic thing that any group of workmen should be open to such a charge. The Special Areas of the country are mainly mining areas, and South Wales is particularly a mining area, but no two Welsh miners are closer to each other as miners than are a Welsh miner and a Scottish miner. The Welsh miner will plead for the Scottish miner in exactly the same way as he would plead for himself, and what we feel in this matter is that here is an opportunity of doing something for the Special Areas which have suffered such concentrated poverty and miseries for so many years. Recently the proposal as to the site of a new aerodrome aroused considerable indignation; and Welsh Members take precisely the same attitude in regard to this proposal. If it had been placed in a Special Area in Scotland you would not hear Welsh Members talking against it. At the same time, if we were compelled to seek justification for opposing the Measure, justification can easily be found. The Special Commissioner has drawn attention to the possibilities in South Wales, and has submitted evidence for the consideration of the Government, pointing out that in South Wales there are ample resources of coal and other raw materials for developing such a scheme as this.
§ Mr. Boothby
The Special Commissioner suggested it only as a possibility, and went on to say that it was essential such a proposition should be economically justified.
I was going to suggest another matter for the consideration of the hon. Member. I do not suppose that anyone will accept a single figure of the promoters or the opponents of the Bill; indeed, they refuse to accept each others figures, and on that ground alone the rest of the House is justified in repudiating both. It is a matter of investigation as to which is the more economical, but may I add that the question as to which of these proposals is socially more economical is quite a different thing. It is not a question whether the undertaking is economical in itself, but whether it is socially economical. Reference has been made to one form of subsidy which will be given to the 1262 scheme in the Highlands, rate relief, but there is another subsidy which the country will have to bear. The Government and local authorities have for many years been subsidising unemployment in many forms, and that subsidy will continue unless work is brought to the Special Areas.
We have to consider the full social effect which will be brought about by the erection of this scheme wherever it is constructed. As far as the Welsh Members are concerned we repudiate indignantly any suggestion that we are actuated by selfish motives in opposing the Bill. We oppose it on the point of the place where it is suggested to be constructed. We urge that such a scheme ought to be placed in an area where for many years men have been rotting physically and morally for lack of work. In this case you will have to create a new town. From the social point of view such a scheme is decidedly wasteful. Why not place this scheme in a part of Scotland where men are now waiting for work to be brought to them? I hope that the House will appreciate the attitude of Welsh Members. We are not actuated by selfish motives. We are anxious to urge upon the House that whatever schemes may be available the House should lose no opportunity of pressing on the Government, and on any body of men who are prepared to commence such undertakings, the desirability that they should be located in areas where unemployment is rife.
As one who represents an area which has nothing to do with the scheme I should like to ask the hon. Member one question. Suppose it was adapted to be taken to South Wales at greater expense and subsidised by the Government, would it give more employment than if situated in the Highlands of Scotland?
I do not suggest that it would, and I think the hon. Member is utterly without authority in suggesting that it would mean greater expense. Neither he nor I know. We must leave that to the experts outside the House.
§ 9.5 p.m.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I rise to discuss for a few minutes the main issue of this Bill and to emphasise one or two of the points made by my hon. Friend the 1263 Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby). This Bill is to establish a hydro-electric scheme in the Highlands of Scotland for the purpose of manufacturing calcium carbide. No calcium carbide is manufactured in this country at present, and we are entirely dependent for this essential product upon imports from abroad. Calcium carbide is required in the manufacture of countless products, not merely for war materials, but for the needs of peaceful industry, and it is very unsatisfactory that we should depend for our supplies on foreign sources. I think the House will agree that it is highly desirable that a calcium carbide industry should be set up in Great Britain as soon as possible, and I think that is the real issue before the House.
The issue is not where the industry is to be set up, but whether we are to have an industry or not. I was very glad to hear from the hon. Member for East Rhondda (Mr. Mainwaring), the attitude of the Welsh Members, and I am glad that they are not entering into this controversy in the spirit that inevitably prevails at Twickenham, Cardiff and Murrayfield. This is no case for international rivalry, and if the Welsh Members wish to set up an industry in Wales, I shall be very glad to support them. The question is not whether the carbide industry goes to Scotland or to Wales, but whether it goes to Scotland or to Norway.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Is it not a fact that wherever the industry is established in this country, it will rely on anthracite, which can only be secured in Wales?
Marquess of Clydesdale
It would be a very simple matter to have the anthracite shipped to Corpach. There is no doubt that calcium carbide cannot be manufactured economically by coal. [Interruption] No one would be more glad than I should if it were possible to establish such a scheme in the mining fields of Lanarkshire. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen has give certain figures to the House. There are, however, two very significant points. First of all, some time ago the Coal Mining Association lodged a petition against this Bill, and that petition was based on showing the 1264 advantages of coal power as against water power. Yesterday that petition was withdrawn; the Coal Mining Association withdrew their opposition to this Bill. The second significant feature is that the British Oxygen Company has gone into this matter thoroughly, and we have their word for it that they would be unable to work this scheme by coal power unless they are given a substantial Government subsidy, which might have to be as much as £100,000 a year. The Highlands of Scotlands are really a distressed area.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I am very glad the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) supports me in that statement. The percentage of unemployment in the Highlands is greater than the percentage in the distressed areas. The population is not as big, but the important thing is that that population is steadily shrinking. During the last 10 years the population has decreased by 40,000, and I believe I am correct in saying that since 1860 it has been reduced by the extent 100,000.
Mr. J. J. Davidson
Do those population figures refer to the whole of the Highlands, or to the area with which this Bill is concerned?
Marquess of Clydesdale
The 100,000 refers to the whole of the Highlands, but the percentage of unemployment refers to particular parts of the Highlands concerned where the percentage is higher than in the worst parts of the industrial areas. This is a scheme that will bring wealth to the Highlands. I would remind the House, in case some hon. Members have forgotten it, that the Highlanders are men of great qualities. They have served the country with courage, determination and energy in emergencies and in time of peace. Here is an opportunity of bringing employment and some degree of prosperity to them.
I appeal to the House to take the Long view on this matter. I think the objections which we have heard to-night can very well be dealt with in Committee. They are minor objections compared with the main issues at stake. The calcium carbide industry would be a national asset, and it might become an urgent necessity in time of emergency. I repeat what I said last year, that approximately go per cent. of modern aircraft require oxyacety- 1265 lene welding, for which calcium carbide is required, and also calcium carbide is very greatly used by the Admiralty, Last year a Bill on somewhat similar lines, but less acceptable to the House, was rejected. No industry has been established, and one year has been wasted at a period when we cannot afford to lose time. The establishment of this scheme, would add to our national strength by adding to our resources, and this is a time at which we must do all we can to increase our national strength.
§ 9.15 p.m.
I rise to ask the House to reject the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill. I do so on much the same grounds as those on which I asked the House last year to reject a similar Bill. I have listened with great interest to the speeches which have been made up to the present. When we hear experts' figures being quoted on one side and the other—figures which can prove nothing to the average Member of this House without very carefunl investigation—we can judge of the success or failure of the intensive lobbying that has taken place with regard to this Measure. [HON. MEMBERS: "For and against."] When I said "intensive lobbying" I made no exceptions. I want to clear away the misrepresentations that have been made by interested parties and to ask hon. Members to examine this Bill for themselves and to say whether they think it merits their support and whether it is a Bill that ought to go to Committee for further consideration.
I was interested to hear the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) refer to certain landowners as opposing this Measure. I want to give the House some information with regard to those who are objectors to this proposal and those who support it. I mention first a question which now appears to be worrying the minds of many hon. Members of this House for the first time, namely, the depopulation of the Highlands. I would point out that in the burgh of Inverness the population has increased, since the last Census, by 7.5 per cent., and is still increasing, and the rateable value of this local authority, appointed by the people of Inverness, which is the principal objector to the Bill, is £205,000. As against the burgh of Inverness we have the burgh of Fort William, which sup- 1266 ports the Bill, and, as against a population of 22,500 in Inverness opposing the Measure, we have in Fort William a population of 2,500 supporting it. We have a rateable value of £205,000, as I save said, in the case of Inverness, and a rateable value of £21,000 in the case of Fort William. It is not right, therefore, for hon. Members to assume that there is a great and widespread feeling in support of the Bill when we have it on authority that the objectors to this Measure constitute the majority of the ratepayers and the majority of the community in this area.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacMillan
May I point out that the ratepayers referred to by the hon. Member are ratepayers in the burgh of Inverness and not ratepayers of the county? The people of Inverness burgh contribute only to the education rate of the county of Inverness and it is rather misleading to put it as the hon. Member has done.
I am sure the last thing I wish to do is to mislead hon. Members. I specifically stated that in Fort William which is supporting the Bill the rateable value is £21,400 and that in Inverness which is opposing the Bill the rateable value is £205,000, and while my hon. Friend was about it, he ought to have made it clear, when referring to the education rate, that the people of Inverness, who form the wealthiest and the largest section of the community as far as rateable value is concerned, pay 44½ per cent. of the education rate. But I wish to deal with one suggestion which has been bandied about for purposes of cheap publicity and propaganda, that if you take one side on this Bill you are with the landowners. If you take the other side of the Bill you are also with landowners and many of us have felt ourselves between the devil and the deep sea in that respect but I ask hon. Members to set aside all superficial considerations as to who is supporting and who is opposing the Bill and to decide the question for themselves. It is for them to say whether this Bill does or does not contain legislation which will be harmful to the interests of the largest section of the community in this county.
In my first speech in this House I said that the duty of a Government was to rule the country by the best possible 1267 methods and for the benefit of the greatest number of the people, and the same principle applies in this case to this county. We have to ask ourselves whether this legislation has been so improved since the previous Bill that it gives protection to the largest section of the community concerned. I am convinced that the Bill as presented is unworthy of a Second Reading because it is against the interests of the largest section of the community. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen referred to the landed gentry and to a letter on the subject from some landowner in another country. I want the House to consider the landowners who are supporting this undertaking.
We have, first of all, a well-known Scottish figure, Sir Donald Cameron, K.T., of Lochiel, on whose land the factory and other works will be built and who is to obtain from this company ample compensation. I would also like to point out, with regard to those who are attaching undue importance to the county council vote, that this landowner, who is receiving compensation that the crofters have not been guaranteed, is the chairman of the county council and was in the chair at every meeting of the county council where the scheme was discussed and supported this proposition. We have also Mrs. Flora Macleod of Macleod and I am sure my Highland friends will remember the great scenes which occurred when we nearly lost the last of the famous Macleods. They are owners of extensive estates in the Island of Skye. They are landowners in the true sense of the word, may I remind my comrades on these benches. There are also Alastair Macdonald, Younger, of Sleat in the Island of Skye, Russell Ellice of Invergarry and Glenquoich—who I understand has come to an arrangement with the promoters—Colonel Sopper of Easter Abercholder and Alexander Munro of Leanach, vice-chairman of the county council. All these great landowners who own more land than the whole town council of Inverness owns, are behind the promoters of this beneficent undertaking—as some Members would lead us to believe it to be.
I am not satisfied, not only as a Member of this party but as a Member of this House, who has to take his part in legislation affecting all parts of the nation, 1268 that the bad Clauses in this Bill, the existence of which have been admitted even by supporters of the Measure, can be remedied in Committee. May I remind the House that the promoters of the undertaking are not setting up an industry in the North of Scotland merely for the purpose of producing calcium carbide or providing electricity. They are setting up their industry there to provide further profits for the company. I want to examine the position of this company, because if big companies are to ask the House to give them special rating facilities, to give them a 50 per cent. reduction in rates which must eventually increase the burden on the small shopkeeper and householder in this area, we are entitled to investigate the strength of the companies.
§ Mr. Westwood
Will the hon. Member explain to the House what is the special rating concession asked for by this company as against the conditions applicable to every other hydro-electric power company in Scotland?
The promoters of the Bill have made definite and successful efforts to secure the co-operation of the local authorities. I would like to point out that in the Galloway undertaking an agreement was reached that allowed the local authority to act as distributors, and that made up to them for any loss in rates that they suffered. May I be allowed to read the Clause in order to prevent interjections from hon. Members who may not have read it? It states:(1) During the respective periods after-mentioned the rateable value ascertained in accordance with the Valuation Acts of the lands and heritages of the Company … to be entered in the valuation rolls for the Counties of Inverness and of Ross and Cromarty shall be reduced as follows:For the first five years commencing from the respective dates when the said lands and heritages (other than as aforesaid) come into existence from time to time for the purposes of assessment and are accordingly to be entered in the said valuation rolls the rate- able value of such lanes and heritages shall be reduced to an amount arrived at after deducting a sum equal to fifty per centum of such rateable value.They agree to pay the already existing rateable value, but the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) forgot to mention that the existing valuation is under the Derating Act, and that they only pay 3d. in the shilling for the next five years.
I understand the hon. Gentleman desires to speak on this question, and I have no doubt that, from his position on the Front Bench, he will receive that opportunity. I want to draw the attention of the House to the directors of this company which is pleading for special terms. They are Dr. John Donald Pollock, Edinburgh; Steven James Lindsay Hardie, Johnstone; Charles Alexander Dunbar, Roehampton; Percy Balfern Liversidge, Kingston Hill; Ernest William Sprott, London; Charles Sharp, Dorset; Robert Watson McCrone, Charlestown. Dr. Pollock is a director of seven different companies, Mr. Hardie is a director of 13, and Mr. McCrone is a director of four. I could read right through this list of the promoters of the Bill, showing their great interest in many industries, and these are the people who are asking the people of Inverness to carry a further burden in order that the company should receive a 50 per cent. reduction in rates. Created in 1886 as a small company, to-day the issued capital is over £3,000,000. This company is asking for rating reductions more than the House has ever agreed to give to any ordinary shopkeeper or householder, yet it has paid £1,900,000 in profits during the past 10 years.
Since when did it become our objective, as members of a Socialist party, to support the inauguration of an industry on such terms as this, which will inflict harm on the town of Inverness? It has been stated that the amenities of the Highlands would not be greatly disturbed. I want to draw attention to Clauses 57, 58 and 49 in the Bill. One would imagine from the speeches of the supporters that one or two little alterations were to be made in some of the words, that a small factory will be set up in one area. But Clause 49 provides for no fewer than 31 different works, covering a great range of the parishes in that area. I would further point out that it is also stated that if the work is not completed within the specified time:nothing herein contained shall restrict the company from maintaining, using, extending, enlarging, altering, replacing, relaying, increasing, adding to or removing any of the said works and generating stations at any time and from time to time as occasion may require.1270 We have no definite idea of the extent to which these works would interfere with the amenities of the Highlands.
I want to deal with the economic side of the industry. I want to point out that the Fort William people, who represent a tiny minority of this county—my hon. Friend interjects in an undertone "but important" and I have always agreed that every minority is an important minority, but nevertheless I am justified in pointing that they are a minority, and they might well support this Bill, because after the Lochaber scheme was carried through the Fort William people had a burden of unemployment placed upon them because the erection of the works created an unemployment problem that they never had before the Lochaber scheme went through. That is one of the things that will happen to Inverness, and one of the things this local council is determined to prevent. They are not prepared, as the Lochaber people were unwisely prepared in the past, to accept an unemployment problem that should rightly belong to the company which brought the people there for that particular type of work.
I would also point out that allegations have been made with regard to the tourist traffic in this particular district, but it is not true to say that the tourist traffic in Inverness is an insignificant traffic. I have the official figures here. In 1928 the number of vehicles which passed over the three main roads in Lochaber, Glen' Garry and Fort Augustus, the areas principally affected by this Measure—in, 1920 we have the figure of 1,838, but irk 1935 this traffic had so increased that we have the figure increased by over 4,000 vehicles. In 1935 the figure is 5,866. I would also say, with regard to the county council, that while I have pointed out the interested persons who certainly supported this Measure on the county council, out of a town council membership of 59, only 32 members voted-26 for the Bill and six against. I would also like to inform hon. Members who may not be aware of the fact that the 21 members of the county council representing the main objectors, the Inverness authority, were prohibited from voting on this particular question. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] By law. But undoubtedly it is a funny law and a strange law that prohibits the section of the community who represent the biggest number and 1271 the biggest amount of rateable value from voting on questions that undoubtedly affect the Inverness Council in their local government work.
I would also like to deal with the question of the electricity undertakings of the Inverness Council, and to point out that the question is whether you are going to allow a private company such extensive powers that it can monopolise and undertake the work that ought to be performed, and has always been performed, in accordance with the practice and wishes of this House, by local authorities all over the country. The Inverness Town Council have increased and added to their electrical undertaking, and in providing electricity have spent sums which up to date amount to £176,000. Their experts declare and we accept at least the word of men who have been in this particular type of work all their life—that should the impounding of water take place as specified in the Measure, the turbines serving the Inverness electricity scheme will not be able to work and the works will have to close down for certain periods of the year You are thus creating a position whereby a local authority will have to hand over to a private company the complete monopoly so far as the supply and the fixation of electricity prices in this particular area are concerned.
I want to answer one question that has been raised with regard to the condition of tourist traffic under this Bill. Last year, 1936, 22,000 cyclists, 22,000 young people, were housed in the hostels of Inverness. Surely if we are going to ask for special facilities to be given, we ought first of all to examine the effects those special facilities are going to have on an important tourist traffic and on the local government of this particular area.
In conclusion I object to the Second reading of this Bill because of the very words of the promoters themselves. They ask for a 50 per cent. reduction in rates. They ask to come under the Derating Act for the next five years. They ask that for to years they shall have special facilities which ordinary shopkeepers or occupants of dwelling houses are not allowed. The meanest part of their Clause on rating is where they ask that the ordinary rate-payers should be exempt `from the special facilities that are to be 1272 given to this powerful and wealthy company. The company have stated that unless they obtain these special facilities the scheme is not workable. The scheme is not an economic scheme. I want to know when it became the principle and the policy of the Members on any side -of the House to inaugurate schemes and give private companies facilities simply because they could not provide the economic administration required to make them a success. Since when did it become the policy of the Labour party to agree that an industry should be set up and subsidised from the rates of a county—an industry that states that unless it receives this subsidy it cannot work to success and it will not be a success! I ask hon. Members who have any sense of justice, who believe that local authorities ought to be allowed to look after rating, public health and their own fixation of electricity prices—I ask those Members who believe in that, and believe in justice to the great mass of the community, to reject the Second reading of this Bill.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ Sir John Gilmour
The speech to which we have listened is not one that I propose to follow, but I would say that I think it unfortunate that inaccuracies of statements should be made on a great many details with which it is not the business of this House to deal at this moment. I look at this problem from the point of view of one who has been for a considerable number of years closely associated with the administration of Scotland: I look at it from the point of view of Defence in the first instance. I am not quite sure what the representative of His Majesty's Government may be able to say to us to-night on that problem, but from what information I have been able to gather I am certain that calcium carbide is becoming increasingly a matter of importance, and the fact remains that for the present we are dependent upon the production of this from outside these Islands. I think that is unfortunate. As far as I am able to ascertain, it is not produced in this country—whether or not it is in Norway or Canada—except by water and electrical power, and I would add, listening to those who speak of the possibility of producing it by coal, that the only way in which you are going to get an accurate estimate of the cost of production is to have the matter discussed 1273 in detail before a committee such as the Bill proposes to set up.
The matter has been referred to before, and it is perhaps significant that the coal interests of this country who were opposing this Measure, but have had a year to consider this problem, have recently withdrawn their opposition. I do not imagine that that has been done for any other reason than that they have not a scheme of their own to deal with this problem. I want only to add this on the question of Defence, that if the House turns down this Bill again it will, in my judgment, be essential for His Majesty's Government to deal with the matter in other ways to produce calcium carbide. I would ask the House to remember that the cost of rearmament is not inconsiderable, and if we can have this produced by a private company asking for no subsidy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—yes, if we can get it under these conditions, there is something to be said for going on with this scheme.
Let me say another word about the condition of the Highlands. I have listened to these Debates, and I recognise that the volume of unemployment that is given is challenged. Those who know the Highlands are very well aware of the fact that there is unemployment, and, what is perhaps more important than anything else, that the young men and women of the Highland areas who want to make their way in the world have, in the main, to go elswhere to do it. There is the problem of the rating value of these Highland districts. If we look at the county of Inverness and realise that it has to carry increasing rating burdens for the development of health services, education and the like, one of the most important things is to see that there shall be something upon which a rate can be imposed. The sporting values have fallen materially in these last years, and had it not been for the development of power schemes like Kinlochleven and Fort William, the condition of that county in local administration would have been infinitely worse.
It is a matter of no small importance, therefore, for us in Scotland, without doing any injury to any other distressed areas—the only method of producing this material being by water as opposed to coal—that we should do our best to see that an opportunity is given for consider- 1274 ing the details in Committee upstairs, with witnesses and with the opportunity to challenge the figures of either side. This House would do a considerable ill to the protection of this country and to the improvement of industry if it rejected the Bill.
§ 9.49 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Johnston
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pollok (Sir J. Gilmour) declared in the earlier part of his remarks that if this Bill were rejected the Government, in his opinion, would then be compelled to step in and do the job themselves. That is the strongest argument I have yet heard in the House against this Bill. I speak as one who intends to vote for sending the Bill to an examination before a Select Committee. The simple fact here is that a great wealthy corporation, whose Li shares are standing at about £6, seeks to get a monopoly of the water power in a most beautiful part of the central Highlands of Scotland. The alternative seems to me to be that if they do not get there, the industry which they would assist in providing in this country must remain in Norway. I am told that it is economically impossible in South Wales or in Lanarkshire. I do not know anything about the technical side of it, but that is what we are assured. If I am faced with the fact that an industry is either to come to the central Highlands of Scotland or to remain in Norway, I am at least in favour of an examination of the facts before a Select Committee hearing witnesses and carefully examining the evidence before I see this thing turned down and central Scotland go further in the direction of becoming a desert.
My hon. Friend the Member for Mary-hill (Mr. Davidson) very properly, from his point of view, drew attention to some of the arguments that were used by the promoters of the Bill. One could, indeed, make a most interesting selection of the ineptitudes in the arguments for and against. It is not only the promoters of this Bill who have said and done foolish things. I see in to-day's "Daily Telegraph," for example, a letter by Lord Brocket, better known to some of us as an ex-Member of this House, Sir A. Nall-Cain, a leading figure in the brewing world. He goes to the Highlands and becomes a landed proprietor. He writes to the "Daily Telegraph" as a 1275 strong and convinced opponent of this Measure, and he solemnly puts down in print an argument why this House should reject the Measure. I commend it to my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill when he is making his selection of arguments for and against the Bill. It is that if a strike of the workers at this carbide factory in the Highlands took place when it was put up, there would be no alternative labour available in such an out-of-the-way place. Imagine the folly—it is surely the apotheosis of ineptitude—of using an argument of that kind.
There are many of us—I for one—who cannot meet the technical arguments of the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald). I have great sympathy with the case put forward by the Inverness Town Council for municipal government, and I am still more impressed by the strength of the argument against the destruction of the amenities of the beautiful Highlands of Scotland, but I do not shut my eyes to the fact that those who have remained in power in central Scotland have themselves destroyed the amenities, so far as thousands of my fellow countrymen are concerned, for they have been driven off the land. I went last night through the census figures and took out the figures for the parishes that are covered by this Measure. What do we find? The population of Urquhart and Glenmorriston has halved since 1831. Glenelg is 41 per cent. down. The place is becoming a desert. Apart from the Inverness Burgh Council and the Association for the Preservation of Rural Scotland, if the shooting tenants and the others who have controlled Scotland come forward and say that not only are they against the Bill but that the House of Commons should not have even a careful examination given to it, then that argument induces me as an individual, and speaking for no one else but myself, to go into the Lobby to-night and vote for the Second Reading, though reserving to myself the right to oppose it on Report stage and Third Reading unless effective and adequate guarantees are given that the amenities of our country are not going to be wantonly destroyed.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Elliot)
I think it will be desirable that I 1276 should say a few words, and they can be only few, on the subject before the House. This is the third day in one week on which the House has discussed unemployment, the location of industry and problems arising out of those things. That shows how keen our interest must be in all these matters. The difference is that whereas on other days the House has been discussing methods and principles, it is today discussing a project. When we come down to concrete projects we have a full House, keen speeches and a very sharp division of opinion, and it is not my desire to stand between the House and hon. Members who have a great deal to say on this matter before the Division comes. We are discussing this matter under conditions of the utmost liberty. There are no Whips on, and no fettering financial resolutions such as the House has complained of earlier this week. The House itself has to decide this question. [Interruption.] No,. there are no Whips on. The hon. Member who interrupts will see when the Whips come through the doors that the Government Whips are not on.
This Bill undertakes two things, the establishment of an industry and the location of an industry. As to the establishment of the industry, there is not, I believe, a division of opinion. It is desirable that this industry should be established in this country. I was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) whether I would go so far as to say that it was essential. I could not go as far as to say it is essential in case of war, because although the product is brought here from overseas yet we trust this country will continue to have the command of the seas and to have access to supplies from foreign countries. We use some 50,000 to 60,000 tons of carbide per year, and we should require a fresh import of 1,200 tons a week if hostilities were going on. Without that fresh import of 1,200 tons a week many of our efforts would be greatly crippled.
If we look at what is being done in other countries we see that this requirement of 50,000 to 60,000 tons a year is small compared with the enormous manufactures of this almost essential product which are being carried on abroad. In Germany the manufacture of carbide is not 50,000, or 100,000 tons, but 400,000 1277 tons a year. In Italy the manufacture of carbide is 350,000 tons a year, carried out in 20 factories, nearly all hydro-electric, deriving their power from places in the Alps and elsewhere. It is interesting to see that the biggest factory in the world, with an output of 70,000 tons and an output capacity of 200,000 tons, has been situated at Venice. The amenities of Venice are well known to hon. Members, either by experience or through song and story, and I do not think it can be said that the amenities of North Italy and Venice are entirely without interest to those very capable people who run the tourist traffic in that country.
It is on the location of this industry that the division arises. Should it or should it not be in the West Highlands? The Bill proposes that it should be; the decision must rest with the House. The House to-night has the responsibility of deciding whether this Bill is to go upstairs to Committee procedure, under which witnesses can be called and the fiercely-challenged facts which have been stated here brought down to hard realities. The House has the responsibility of saying whether that examination should or should not take place. But, I may be asked—I think I should be rightly asked—and I should have to reply at once, for I do not wish to spring anything upon my colleagues in the House, "Given the great desirability of establishing this industry in this country, what steps will the Government take if this Bill is defeated?" That is a fair question and demands a fair answer.
If the House in its wisdom decides not to proceed with this Bill the problem is by no means solved; the problem remains. There is this enormously important industry which we all agree that it is desirable, at least, to establish in this country. The question of the location of the industry still remains. The Government cannot divest itself of the responsibility of determining the question whether, and if so where, this industry should be carried on in this country, nor does the Government wish to do so. If, therefore, this Bill fails to obtain a Second Reading to-night the Government itself will for with take up the question how best this country should be provided with a supply of carbide and where this supply of carbide should be produced. It might well be that in such circumstances a 1278 Highland site might be chosen. It may be said that that ends the discussion.
§ Mr. Elliot
I do not think so; that is not my view. The inquiry asked for tonight is an inquiry by the House by the procedure of a Select Committee, because the Private Bill procedure is practically the procedure of a Select Committee. That is examination by the House by its own self. Should the House declare that it does not wish this procedure, the responsibility returns to the Executive, and it is a strange thing that those who have so vehemently championed the cause of the House and the necessity of the House deciding these matters should, almost in the same breath, be pressing the desirability of having this inquiry undertaken by the Executive and not by the House of Commons. The new procedure would be the procedure of the Executive. I must make that quite clear.
Have I to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's remarks that should the Second Reading of this Bill be rejected the Executive will take up the question?
§ Mr. Elliot
I have done my best to say so and I will say it again. I said the Government could not divest itself of responsibility, and it would take up the question of how best the country could be provided with a supply of carbide and where best that supply of carbide could be produced.
§ Mr. Boothby
This is very important. Will the Government, in that event, take into consideration adopting a subsidy? That is a vital question.
§ Mr. Johnston
Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, will he say, and make it clear, that if the Bill is rejected it is the intention of the Government to have a State factory?
§ Mr. Elliot
I was just coming to that point. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Western Stirling (Mr. Johnston) stated that my right hon. Friend the Member for Pollok (Sir J. Gilmour) had stated that it was the Government's duty, if the Bill were defeated, to run a State factory to make carbide. That was not at all my conclusion from what my right hon. Friend said. I should think it most improbable, although I am 1279 not ruling out anything, one of the most improbable things that could possibly happen, that the Government should take upon themselves to set up a factory to make carbide.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
I gather from what the right hon. Gentleman said that if the Bill is rejected the Government will give very serious consideration to the necessity, in the national interest, of providing for the manufacture of carbide in this country. If the Government give that consideration, may I take it that they will give serious consideration also to the recommendation of the Commissioner whom they appointed on this matter?
§ Mr. Elliot
The Government will naturally give consideration to all the relevant factors. Let me make the position clear. I do not think anybody in the House suggests that there is not distress and unemployment in the Highlands. As I said, a site may very well be chosen in the Highlands. Then, of course, the Government would have full responsibility for any legislation arising out of that decision. It might very well be that the Government whips would be put on for legislation arising out of the Government decision as the result of the Government inquiry.
§ Mr. Charles Williams
I just wish to clarify a point. Under the Bill, it will take three or four years to get power. I assume that the right hon. Gentleman's announcement means that the Government think that it is so essential to get carbide made in this country that they will get a factory set up if the Bill is rejected, so as to provide carbide in the quickest possible time.
§ Mr. Elliot
I was asked by the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) a question. He first made an assumption and then asked a question arising out of it. He asked whether it was true that, since carbide could be produced only in three or four years under the Bill, the Government would undertake to put up a factory or to see that a factory 1280 was put up to produce carbide in a far shorter time.
§ Mr. Elliot
In the quickest possible time. I am certainly not to be led away into the assumptions of the hon. Member for Torquay that, under the Bill, no factory would be able to produce carbide in a shorter time than three or four years. I am sure that he will not expect me to agree with his assumption. We all know where he stands on the Bill; he will vote against it whatever happens. I am not complaining. That is his point of view, and nobody ever said that he was not tenacious of his point of view. He is one of the most skilled debaters in the House of Commons, but—In vain in the sight of the bird, is the net of the fowler spread.
§ Mr. Hardie
In relation to what the Government may do is it to come within their consideration that leaving aside the question of the factory they would make the water-power plant and make the electricity and then give that for the manufacture of the carbide? Is that the idea?
§ Mr. Elliot
I think I have said that examination is highly desirable. Speaking for myself, I would prefer that the Bill should get its Second Reading and I want an examination of it to be held by the House of Commons itself; but that is my personal conviction. I am not putting that forward as the Government's decision. I am putting forward the Government's decision that the solution of to-night's problem lies with the House of Commons. If the House of Commons declines to solve the problem, responsibility then falls back upon the Executive, and I have said that the Executive will forthwith—[Interruption]. This is quite simple. I have said that the Executive will then take up the question of how best this country should be provided with a supply of carbide and where best this supply of carbide should be produced. I think that will satisfy my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) as to where I and the Government stand in the matter. If not, I shall do my best to elucidate it further.
§ Mr. Benson
There is just one other point. The right hon. Gentleman says that the position before the House is that the Government will examine this matter 1281 as to where carbide shall best be produced, or that the House itself should do so. If the Bill is sent to a Select Committee, will that Committee have power to examine where carbide shall best be produced.
§ Mr. Elliot
I can only rely upon the statement which was made to the House by the Lord Advocate and from the Chair upon a previous occasion when it was pointed out by the Lord Advocate:The first stage will be the proof of the Preamble, when, so far as I know, all questions of public policy will be capable of determination, and capable of determination, if I may so put it, far more intelligently, after the facts have been obtained, than is possible for anyone here in this House. After that has been done there will fall to be embarked upon a separate investigation of the details of the Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th March, 1936; col. 552, Vol. 310.]As I say, I do not wish—
§ Mr. Elliot
A Committee of the House of Commons can examine a question of public policy. I am not going further than that. I am saying what everybody knows to be the case, that examination by a Committee of the House of Commons is truly a procedure of the House itself. If the House does not wish to accept that responsibility, the Executive will then not shirk from shouldering the responsibility which falls back upon them by reason of the action of the House of Commons.
I have been detained longer than I expected to be, but I have been detained by the action of the House of Commons itself. I think my statement is perfectly clear. Speaking for myself, I intend to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill because I do not think there ought to be any delay in getting ahead with this urgent problem. If the House of Commons decides against me I will certainly frankly accept the decision of the House. For that reason I do not go into the arguments—of which I have a trunk full here—for and against the merits of the Bill. I should want to controvert many of the statements which have been made here to-night but as responsibility may come 1282 back upon me and other Members of the Government after the Division to-night, I will remain without using the arguments before the House, and will stand upon the perfectly clear statement which I have just made.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Assheton
As an English Member I feel a certain amount of temerity in addressing the House on this subject, but I feel that the matter is not only one of local importance, but one of considerable national consequence. I have listened with great care to the arguments put forward by those who have spoken on behalf of the promoters of the Bill. I listened with great care to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), and, as far as I can ascertain, three principal arguments are put forward by the promoters. The first is that calcium carbide can only be made profitably under this scheme or not at all in this country. Many experts are, however, prepared to say that electricity can be generated as cheaply from coal as it could be under this scheme, and in support of that argument Sir Malcolm Stewart, in his report on the distressed areas, said:Another proposal which would use available raw materials, namely, limestone and coal, would be the installation of a factory in South Wales for the production of calcium carbide. Further investigation of this problem may be required, but preliminary investigations made for me by a competent firm of engineers indicate that the production of calcium carbide, using electricity generated from steam power, is a commercial possibility.
§ Mr. Assheton
May I add another authority? In April, 1929, when the Grampian Power Scheme was being considered in Committee upstairs, Mr. Collins, who was giving evidence on behalf of the promoters of that scheme in defence of a proposal that special rating concessions should be given—he was speaking on behalf of the company who were promoting the Bill—said this:By the ordinary system of rating, such a handicap would be placed on water power in comparison with steam stations that, unless the difference was adjusted in that way, they were virtually making it impossible for water to be used if electricity was to be supplied at an economic price.There is, therefore, a good prima facie case for saying that electricity can be generated as cheaply from coal as it can 1283 be from water power. We in this country have not the high mountains that they have in Norway or in Canada, which make it possible to generate electricity so cheaply, and therefore I do not think we need accept the argument that calcium carbide cannot be profitably produced here at all. There are four ingredients in the manufacture of carbide—limestone, coal, electricity and labour. None of these is to be found in the Highlands of Scotland—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—but all of them are to be found in South Wales. You have in South Wales the anthracite which is required; you have in South Wales and in North Wales the limestone which is required; you have power which you can obtain from stations which have already been made, and, if you give extra work to those electricity stations, you will reduce the cost of it to other people. Finally, you have a great deal of labour.
On the question of employment, I was very much impressed by what was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Pollok (Sir J. Gilmour), and naturally this is a matter which must weigh very heavily with the House, but I would ask the House to consider these facts: To whom is the employment going to be given when this scheme is put into operation? In the first place, employment is going to be given to the people who make the works; there will be a good many thousand navvies employed for a year or two. Where will they come from? Almost certainly they will come from Ireland, as they have come on previous occasions, and, when they come from Ireland, a good many of them will stay and add to the unemployment problem of Scotland, as happened in the case of the Lochaber scheme. Therefore, I believe that the unemployment problem will be aggravated rather than improved by this scheme. On the question of defence, the Secretary of State for Scotland has told us that the Government do not consider it necessary that we should pass this Bill in the interests of defence. He says that the Government themselves will take up the question of whether or not calcium carbide should be produced in this country, and in considering this matter I would particularly remind the House that under this scheme no calcium carbide can be produced for three years. Even the promoters admit 1284 that that is so. What is the good of calcium carbide for an emergency if we are not to have any for three years? If it is to be produced somewhere from coal, we can have it within six months. Indeed, I am told on good authority that it can be produced in a shorter time.
I do not think we ought to overlook the wishes of the local inhabitants. There has been some dispute as to the position of the Inverness County Council, but there is no dispute that the representatives of the people who live in that part of the county which is going to be affected are all opposed to the scheme. The representatives of the county council who live in this area are against it. True, there is a majority on the county council for it, but those, for instance, who come from Skye are only interested to see that the rateable value of the county is increased. They do not care about the interests of the people who are directly affected. I do not wish to overstress the question of the destruction of amenities, but I cannot help feeling that those who have seen the beauties of the Highlands will attach some little weight to that point. I live in a part of the world which has been very largely ruined by industrialisation, though some parts of Lancashire are still beautiful. I urge those Scottish Members who are thinking of voting for the Bill to remember that their grandchildren may regret the day that this beautiful country was destroyed and their birthright was sold. Let us reject the Bill and let us see that calcium carbide is manufactured in some other suitable place, in some place where the raw materials are present and where there is a large supply of labour. Only yesterday I asked the Minister of Labour how many unemployed there were in Inverness-shire and how many in the Special Area of South Wales. In Inverness there are, in these winter months, only 3,641 and in South Wales and Monmouth, a much smaller area, 120,687.
§ 10.23 p.m.
§ Mr. M. MacMillan
We have here a Bill proposing to set up a factory for the manufacture of calcium carbide. It will employ a certain number of men. It does not matter what part of the country it is in, it will give a certain amount of employment. If it is in Scotland, it will employ a more or less fixed number of people in Scotland and, if it is in Wales, 1285 it will give the same employment in Wales. That question ought to be considered settled. Then there is the question of the available supply of unemployed people to operate this factory. One hon. Member said the setting up of an industrial scheme around Fort William had created anunemployment problem there. The conclusion to be drawn from that is that there is an available number of unemployed in the district round Fort William who will admittedly find employment on this scheme. The Highlands and Islands and the crofting counties are depopulated every year to the number of about 4,000 people. Is there not a sufficient supply of labour in the present condition of things? They are waiting for jobs in the same way as they are in the Special Areas. In the Highlands they have waited so long that they cannot wait any longer, and thousands have left the country altogether.
We have been told to-night by my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill (Mr. Davidson) that in contrast to the general depopulation, the population of Inverness Burgh has risen in the last few years. In that case Inverness can well afford to be smug about the population of the country, but all the rest of the Highlands are more important than Inverness itself. I think that the question ought not to be treated as a matter between Fort William and Inverness, but as a matter of interest to the people of the Highlands as a whole. We have an agreement before us between the promoters of the company and the County Council of Inverness, representing a majority of the people of Invernessshire, and including the people of Skye who are as important as the people of Inverness, and are represented by just as responsible members of the County Council—and as responsible as the hon. Member who scoffs at them—as any other part of the county of Inverness. We have an agreement before us in favour of setting up an industry in Invernessshire. As far as area and the number of people are concerned, we have overwhelming support within Invernessshire, and in the Highlands as a whole, for the setting up of the industry.
The question of tourist traffic is of importance certainly, but if you ask the people of Kinlochleven, Lochaber, Gallo- 1286 way and the rest whether they would rather depend upon the future prospects of the tourist industry or obtain a steady wage and regular employment the answer every time will be for industrialism if it means a steady wage and regular employment. They have suffered from a lower standard of living for generations than people in any other part of Great Britain. In the Western Isles and part of the mainland wages of 2½d. to 6d. an hour have been paid for road making, and such wages would not be paid to people in any other part of the country. They are only accepted by these people because they are desperate and have nothing else to which to turn. Someone said that they do not make navvies, but they have to make navvies whether they want it or not because of the conditions which exist in the Highlands, which are the most depressed of all depressed areas, with the lowest standard of living in Great Britain. I fully agree this should be a Government undertaking—a State scheme. But there is none. Let anyone go to the Western Highlands and he will see whole communities dependent upon the old age pension and public assistance and relief. I am not speaking for the British Oxygen Company or for anyone else. I have no interest in the Bill as an interested party. I am speaking for the people of the Highlands of Scotland, and not because of any interest in the British Oxygen Company, and I have told them so. My name is on the back of the Bill because I want to give the House an opportunity of examining, in the light of the interest which has been created by this Bill and this question of the manufacture of carbide in this country, the whole question of hydro-electrical development of the North with expert and full evidence, and because I have no promise of this investigation by the Government and the House otherwise.
There is no Government power supply in the North of Scotland and no Government policy, and I do not see signs of any immediate constructive policy in the Highlands of Scotland. There has been no alternative suggestion, no constructive suggestion for the benefit of the north of Scotland as an alternative to or improvement on this scheme. I support the Bill because it will set up an industry in the Highlands. The people of the north of Scotland are very desperate for work, 1287 and because many of them have been unable to find work they have emigrated. They are asked to emigrate now because they are unemployed. On behalf of the people in the Highlands I trust that we shall have an opportunity of examining the Bill in Committee, with the fullest evidence. Let the House not reject this opportunity of having this important scheme fully considered.
§ 10.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Macquisten
I heartily agree with what the last speaker said. The Highlands are depopulated because of the want of employment. Because they had not employment the people went away. We have had a raw deal from the English Parliament for over 100 years. Here is an opportunity of bringing an industry to the Highlands. The industry will either go to the Highlands or it will remain in Norway. It will not go to South Wales. There is no chance of its going to South Wales. I am interested in the Bill not only because it affects the Highlands but because I know a little about the subject. I am chairman of a company which makes carbide on the other side of the world, and we are doing it with water power. There would be no carbide production there except for water power. No one outside an engineering mental hospital would dream of making carbide with electricity generated from coal. It cannot be done.
Once you have started your scheme and borrowed your money at 3 per cent., that is the end of the power cost. It lasts for all time. But if you go into the coal market you are subject to all the fluctuations of the coal market, and you never know where you are. I understand that in Germany they make a lot of carbide with steam, but that is under a dictatorship. Under a dictatorship they do things that we should never dream of doing here. It is completely uneconomic. Carbide is made throughout the world by water power—in Canada, America, the Victoria Falls, Tasmania, Norway, and elsewhere. I have seen a lot of the propaganda against the Bill, in which it is said that to bring your anthracite from Wales to Corpach is costly. Nothing of the sort. I take my anthracite from South Wales 13,000 miles across the ocean, and it pays me to do it. We used to make the product from local coal, but 1288 it was not good enough. I found that the only way was to get Welsh anthracite, and anthracite from one particular part of South Wales. I suppose that I was legally bound to use the local stuff, but I got over that. When we used the local stuff we had not one-third of the market, but since we used Welsh anthracite we have had the whole market. If you want to produce carbide economically you must go to where there is plenty of water power. Suppose £3,000,000 are spent on this power scheme. At 3 per cent. or 2½ per cent. that would not mean very much. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the sinking fund?"] You do not need a sinking fund. It is immortal. It is like the number of the elect; it cannot be altered. It lies between Norway and Scotland. That is the choice you have.
Do give us something in the Highlands to employ our people. Something has been said about wages. There are hardly any wages in the Highlands, and men who are employed as ghillies are employed for only a few months in each year. And nobody wants to be a crofter; it is far too hard a job. It is only old people who are crofters, and they are living on the old age pension. All the young men and women are going out of the country, but if this undertaking is started it will no doubt mean a rise in wages throughout that part of the Highlands. That is not always welcome to some people. I want to see the standard of living materially raised in the Highlands. I did not promise my support for the Bill until I had heard the arguments, but I must say that the arguments which have been put forward to-night have decided me that the Bill must go to a Committee of the House of Commons in order that the true facts may be ascertained. Those who oppose the Bill do not want it to go to a Committee of the House of Commons because the Committee might find out the facts.
I beseech hon. Members for the sake of the Highlands to give this industry a chance. Let us get some employment for our people. A power station is not an unsightly thing. Take the case of Tasmania. The power station there does not disfigure the landscape, and there is no smoke or smell because the anthracite is not burnt but is blended with the lime. It will not disfigure the landscape in the Highlands. If I thought that the undertaking would destroy the 1289 beauties of the Highlands from the tourist point of view I should not support it, but you cannot expect the people of Inverness to live for ever on the Loch Ness monster. You must find work for the people, and I hope the House will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ 10.38 p.m.
§ Sir Geoffrey Ellis
The Secretary of State for Scotland said something which really simplifies the whole question very much. He said that this was an essential industry but was an industry which cannot go on in this country, whether it is made from coal or by water-power in Scotland, without what is in effect a very considerable subsidy from the Government. Therefore the Government are very much concerned as to the type of manufacture and the place where the manufacture shall take place. At the present time this carbide is made in Norway at a cost of 25s. a ton. It is impossible for anything like that figure to be approached here, and, therefore, whoever makes it, other than the Government, must be in close correspondence with the Government in order that some control may be maintained and so that the Government may be quite sure what the development is to be in the future.
§ Mr. Elliot
I hope there will be no misunderstanding. There is no promise whatever of any duty or of any subsidy on the part of the Government for the manufacture of carbide in this country.
§ Sir G. Ellis
I do not think I said that. I am saying that the financial implication, that it is impossible to produce carbide in this country at anything like the price at which it is produced in Norway, without either a subsidy or a duty, is that we come logically to the implication contained in the right hon. Gentleman's statement. It is that it becomes the duty of the Government not to consider this question from the point of view of Scotland alone, but from the point of view of where it is best to place this industry in relation to what it will cost the Government and in relation to the needs of labour throughout the whole country. If we deal with the Bill as is suggested, and allow it to go to a Select Committee, we shall then meet with the difficulty that in the Select Committee it will be possible only to discuss substantially what is in the Bill, 1290 and therefore the alternative which ought to be discussed will never be discussed. Consequently, I accept the alternative which the right hon. Gentleman suggested, that it is the duty of the Government to face the situation and to examine the whole question. I am obliged to him for the clear way in which he has put the matter, and I suggest to the House that if we want a thorough and complete examination, apart from considerations of interest on both sides, it is the duty of the House to reject this Bill.
§ 10.42 p.m.
§ Sir Archibald Sinclair
There has already been a great deal of delay in dealing with this question, but the facts are well known. They are that a company has considered all the points raised by the hon. Member for Eccleshall (Sir G. Ellis) and has decided that the only place where this carbide can be produced economically is in the Highlands of Scotland. There is really no necessity for a Select Committee to go into that.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
Nobody has been into the matter as closely as the people who are concerned with this business.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The hon. Gentleman does not accept the decision, but those who are mainly concerned, who have studied this question for months and even for years, and who are prepared to risk their capital in the business have decided that the Highlands of Scotland, and the Highlands of Scotland only, is the place where they can make a success of the business. They are the people who are going to do it; the hon. Baronet is not going to start a company. The people who are prepared to risk their capital have decided that the Highlands of Scotland is the one place where they have a chance of making a success of this business.
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but does he not agree that the company has stated that unless it can receive the special rating facilities in the Bill, it cannot produce the carbide on an economic basis?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
That is true, and I am very glad the hon. Member interrupted me to make that clear, for I do not wish the House to be under any misunderstanding. But the rating concession which the company has obtained from the Inverness County Council is only for the period of development, and the Inverness County Council has willingly given that concession. They have approved the scheme in principle by an enormous majority; they have approved the details of the scheme, including the rating arrangement to which the hon. Member refers, with only six dissentients. I have heard many different opinions expressed during the time I have listened to the Debate. I know the views of the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald), to whose opinion, if I may say so with great respect, I attach the greatest weight. I have discussed this matter privately with him. I know exactly the line he takes, and I know how much weight the House will naturally attach to his opinion, but the objections which he has put forward to the Bill are just such objections as ought to be discussed in a Committee of the House. I hope the House will allow this Bill to go to that Committee. I shall vote for the Bill in the confidence that the Committee will give the closest attention to the view which the hon. Member has urged on behalf of the burgh of Inverness.
We heard a very witty and eloquent speech from the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Assheton) I know he did not mean unkindly anything he said, but to me, as a Highlander, it was a painful speech, and I do not think the hon. Member realised the impression which his words would make on a Highlander. I do not say that he gibed at the Highlands but he did mention the fact that we have only 3,000 unemployed in Inverness. Why is that? Because the people of the Highland counties are being bled away. The Highlands are almost bled white. There are no people there. That is the tragedy of the Highlands. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the tragedy of South Wales?"] I know the tragedy of South Wales. I have been there, and in my humble way I have done what I could to help South Wales, and I see that something which I said is being used in public to help undertakings there. But I would ask hon. Members to consider sympathetically the 1292 case for the Highlands. The tragedy of South Wales has been sudden. Within a few years, a prosperous community has been reduced to unemployment and futility. When you go there you see empty factories and disused mines. The thing hits you in the eye. It has been dramatic in its suddenness. In the Highlands it has been going on year after year for 20 or 30 years and more, and to-day you see there the empty houses and the deserted glens.
That is why we have only 3,000 unemployed in Inverness. But look at the percentage of unemployment in the fishing towns and you find 66 per cent. in Stornoway, 49 per cent. in Wick, 50 per cent. I think, in Buckie, 49 per cent. in Fraserburgh and Peterhead. It is terrific—two men in three unemployed in Stornoway and one man in two unemployed in Wick. We want an industry in the Highlands which will keep men on the land. The hon. Member for Rushcliffe said: "Do not industrialise the Highlands." Why, it is the one hope for the Highlands. There is a village called Brora in my constituency which has a coal mine and that mine does not make the village hideous. It is a lovely little village and people go there because of its beauty. You can play golf and bathe there and the mine does not frighten people away from it. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is only a wee mine."] It is enough for a wool factory and a tile factory and an electricity works which are all round it. There is a prosperous little industrial community in that village. Does it hurt the crofters and the farmers to have it there? Not at all. They have a market at their doors.
How are you going to create a prosperous agriculture in the Western Highlands of Scotland? It is sub-marginal land, it is badly drained, it is bad soil, and if you raised prices sufficiently to make farming a prosperous undertaking on that land, you would put up the cost of living 50 or 100 per cent. in the towns of England. But bring industries there, bring the crofters a market to their doors, let us have industries in the rural parts of Scotland as they have in Germany and you can do much. Nobody thinks Germany hideous because there are little industries in the rural districts. It is a splendid form of economy to have them; it is healthy for the industrial workers and it provides a market for the rural 1293 workers. I appeal to the House. I feel deeply about this question. All my colleagues from the Highlands, with the exception of the hon. Member for Inverness, who has very important points to make on behalf of that burgh, have spoken in favour of this scheme. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] All who have spoken have spoken in favour of it, and we know what the feeling is in the Highlands. I have seen letters in the newspapers from a number of eminent gentlemen on this subject. These eminent men have said that they are against this scheme. But the men who have worked with these people, men like the Cameron of Lochiel, the convenor of the county council. [Interruption.] He is a man who works hard for the people. I do not agree with his politics.
Will the right hon. Gentleman in discussing the question of the Cameron of Lochiel tell the House the amount of remuneration which is given to the Cameron of Lochiel?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
I do not know of course what remuneration he receives, but he is a man who works hard for the people. There is Sir Alexander MacEwen, chairman of the education committee. There is Mrs. Flora Macleod. Everyone knows the hard work which she has done. The county council, with six dissentients, the people who work among those in the Highlands, are for this scheme. I appeal to the House to listen to the voice of the Highlands, to give them this chance of starting an industry there which may mean much' to the Highlands and to the standard of living of the people there.
§ 10.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Barr
In the short time at my disposal, I desire to refer to some of the objections which have been raised to the Bill. It was said by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who introduced the Motion, as well as by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Davidson), that it was not for a private company to own what ought to be a communal possession, and to exploit it for private gain. With that every one of us agrees; and if the Minister had said that the Government were going to make it a Government enterprise, for me that would finish it. What he did say was that it might be that after all we should have a private company. If we are never to give any such public enterprise to a private company, then we shall 1294 not pass any private Bills at all, and those of us who are clamouring for industries to come into our constituencies, are bound to object to them all if they are private. The hon. Member for Maryhill, in his summary of those who were for, and those against this scheme omitted to tell us that the local Labour party are entirely and enthusastically in favour of this Bill. It has been said, Why not have this in a distressed area? I happen to represent one of the most distressed areas in the country, and if I thought that by rejecting this Bill, I would bring this enterprise to my own area, I would not hesitate but cast my vote for my own area; but I find that if I vote the Bill to-night, I do an injury to the Highlands and do no good to myself. It has been said that Irish labour will be brought in. We have the utmost assurances that it will be local labour that will be brought in. A census was taken lately of the nationality of those employed at the British Aluminium Works, and it showed that 91 per cent. were natives of Scotland, 4 per cent. of England, and 5 per cent. of Ireland. There is a great deal of nonsense talked about the influx of Irish into our country. It is not generally known that there are to-day more Irish, according to the last census, who came in from the north of Ireland than from the Irish Free State; and in the second place there are more English born people in Scotland than Irish born. I give these figures in reply to what has been said.
I come to the more serious point that was raised by the Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald) about watersheds. He said there could be no precedent for it, but I gave him the precedent. Away back in 1854, when Glasgow undertook the Loch Katrine scheme, water was diverted and its flow was diverted from the east to the west just as in this case. This met with great opposition. The opposition against the Bill was so great that the Lords of the Admiralty came into it and declared that the Forth would no longer have the waters from the river Teith, and the Forth would no longer be a navigable river. At that time it was thrown out, but within a year a committee of this House by a small payment made their peace with the Admiralty—by the payment of £1,000 or thereabouts. What has happened? There has always been plenty of water in the Trossachs ever since then. They raised Loch Katrine by 1295 12 feet, and you will agree that the Forth is still quite a navigable river. I want to say this in the one or two minutes that remain, that in regard to amenities the same objection was taken against the Loch Katrine scheme. That scheme was brought in, and does anyone say that the evidence called by the objectors has been substantiated, that they have injured the Trossachs in any degree? Instead of that it is an additional pleasure, when you are taking tourists and friends to the Trossachs, to point to the evidences of the Glasgow water works, and tell them how every prediction that was made against that scheme has been falsified in history.
§ My time has gone, but I would say this, that last year 22 Scottish Members voted for this scheme and 16 against. Reference has been made to the expense; that is not the blame either of the supporters or of the objectors, but it is a powerful argument for self-government for Scotland. It is a powerful argument that the voice of those Scottish representatives should this very night be accepted, and accentuated.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 140; Noes, 188.1297
|Division No. 102.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Hamilton, Sir G. C.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Ridley, G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Harbord, A.||Rowson, G.|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Hardie, G. D.||Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)|
|Allan, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Hepworth, J.||Scott, Lord William|
|Barr, J.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T P. H.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Hunter, T.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Silkin, L.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Broad, F. A.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Bromfield, W.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lathan, G.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Leckie, J. A.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Leslie, J. R.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Liddall, W. S.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Lindsay, K. M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Thurtle, E.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Scot. U.)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dc Chair, S. S.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Touche, G. C.|
|Dobbie, W.||McGovern, J.||Train, Sir J.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Turton, R. H.|
|Emery, J. F.||Maclean, N.||Viant, S. P.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Walker, J.|
|Everard, W. L.||Macquisten, F. A.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Fleming, E. L.||Markham, S. F.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Foot, D. M.||Mathers, G.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Frankel, D.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Watt, G. S. H.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Milner, Major J.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R.||Wells, S. R.|
|Gibbins, J.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Muff, G.||Westwood, J.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Nail, Sir J.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H H.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Parker, J.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Radford, E. A.|
|Groves, T. E.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guy, J. C. M.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Mr. Boothby and Marquess of|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Remer, J. R.||Clydesdale.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Apsley, Lord||Banfield, J. W.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Aske, Sir R. W.||Batey, J.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Assheton, R.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'b)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle Of Thanet)||Bennett, Sir E. N.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Balniel, Lord||Benson, G.|
|Bevan, A.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Patrick, C. M.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Peake, O.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Peat, C. U.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W.||Grimston, R. V.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Brooke, W.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Petherick, M.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdaro)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Hayday, A.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Pilkington, R.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Potts, J.|
|Bull, B. B.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Price, M. P.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Cape, T.||Holmes, J. S.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hopkin, D.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Channon, H.||Hopkinson, A.||Rankin, Sir R.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Cocks, F. S.||John, W.||Ritson, J.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Jones. L. (Swansea W.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Courthope, Col. Sir G. L.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Cove, W. G.||Keeling, E. H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Critchley, A.||Kimball, L.||Salt, E. W.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Kirby, B. V.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Daggar, G.||Latham, Sir P.||Sexton. T. M.|
|Dalton, H.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lawson, J. J.||Shinwell, E.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Leach, W.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lee, F.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Lees-Jones, J.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Lewis, O.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Donner, P. W.||Loftus, P. C.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Duggan, H. J.||Lumley, Capt. L. R.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Lunn, W.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Lyons, A. M.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||McCorquodale, M. S.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Walkden, A. G.|
|Ede, J. C.||McEntee, V. La T.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McKie, J. H.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Ellis, Sir G.||MacLaren, A.||White, H. Graham|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Maitland, A.||Williams, C. (Torquny)|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Mander, G. le M.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitehin)|
|Furness, S. N.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Gallacher, VV.||Messer, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Wise, A. R.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Munro, P.||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Oliver, G. H.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.|
|Goldie, N. B.||Owen, Major G.|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Paling, W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Captain Ramsay and Sir Murdoch|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Parkinson, J. A.||Macdonald.|
Question, "That this House do now adjourn," put, and agreed to.
§ Words added.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.