§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I beg to move, in page 52, line 7, at the end, to insert:or any other order under Part IV of this Act being an order which relates to premises in England.This Amendment and the following Amendments to this Schedule are drafting Amendments to bring the provisions applying to Scotland into line with those applying to England.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made:
§ In page 52, line 10, leave out paragraph 3.
In line 23, at the end, insert:
or any other order under Part IV of this Act being an order which relates to premises in Scotland.
§ In line 26, leave out paragaph 3.—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time."
We have had a fairly exhaustive, not to say exhausting examination of the provisions of the Bill, and I think the House will acquiesce in, and in fact welcome, my resolution to deny myself the pleasure of addressing it at length. I move the Third Reading formally, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of 1085 Agriculture will, at the end of the Debate, answer any points which are raised.
§ 8.46 p.m.
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:this House recognises that the better organisation of the livestock industry will be of benefit to the country and to those engaged in the industry, but it cannot assent to the Third Reading of a Bill which also authorises the continued expenditure of a large sum of public money as subsidy to private interests in a time of rising prices, and which fails to ensure that the amount of the subsidy shall be reduced or extinguished as prices and profits increase.I had hoped that the Minister of Pensions, speaking once more on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, would have had more to say upon the Third Reading of the Bill, but evidently he expects such criticisms of the Bill from this side that he thinks it wise on this occasion to follow the maxim Least said, soonest mended." This Bill is such a mixed grill, it is so full of diversified parts some good, some bad and some indifferent, that, frankly, the Opposition have been in some difficulty as to their attitude towards its Third Reading. Having considered the matter, we feel it our duty not to allow the Bi11 to go through without an expression of our views in the Division Lobby, but we do not wish to vote directly against the Third Reading, and prefer to vote for a reasoned Amendment. In consequence of the way in which the Debates on the later stages of the Bill have been postponed from time to time and the uncertainty as to whether the final stage would be taken to-night, it becomes necessary for me to move a manuscript Amendment. I have supplied a copy of our Amendment to the Minister, and I apologise to other hon. Members of the House for the fact that it is in manuscript form. [An HON. MEMBER: "A very reasonable Amendment."] I must also apologise to my hon. Friends on this side for the short notice which had to be given of the Amendment, and I am glad to note that they are so much in accord with it.
The livestock industry is recognised as a basic and important section of the agricultural industry. There is no section of the House which is not anxious to do its best, according to its lights, in assisting 1086 to put that industry on a sound basis. But when we come to deal with methods of assistance, criticisms begin to arise. In the first place I wish to say that we on this side of the House appreciate the patience and the spirit, if not always the reasonableness, of the Minister of Agriculture in dealing with the Bill throughout the protracted discussions which have taken place upon it. It is only fair to say also that we regard the first part of the Bill, setting up an impartial Livestock Commission, as a vast improvement on some of the arrangements which have been instituted in recent years in connection with marketing schemes and the like. There is, at least, a chance that in this move towards the reorganisation of the industry, a great deal more impartiality will be shown in dealing with the business, than some of us feel has been shown in other marketing schemes. We look with hope to the Commission, and I hope that later on we shall be able to look back with satisfaction on the manner in which it has discharged the task of administering this very important and far-reaching piece of legislation.
When we come to the latter part of the Bill and consider what is happening in connection with the Government's policy of assistance to the industry, then my hon. Friends and I feel that we must disagree strongly with the methods proposed by the Minister for dealing with that matter. This Bill, among other provisions, makes permanent the policy of subsidising the livestock industry by cash payments from the Exchequer. The sum now to be raised may amount to as much as £5,000,000 for the purpose of that subsidy. Incidentally the consumer is to be taxed directly to the extent of ½d. per lb. on some products and per lb. on others in order to provide at least a part of the subsidy fund of £5,000,000. As my hon. Friends have already pointed out in Committee, we feel strongly that even if a case can be made out for a subsidy, to ask the House at this time to vote more or less permanently £5,000,000, irrespective of what the position is now compared with last year or what it is likely to be in the immediate future, is a proposal which ought to have not our support but rather our condemnation.
My hon. Friends have argued all through the proceedings on this Bill that if we gave a subsidy at all it should be given only on the basis of the actual 1087 costings of the production of fat cattle. The Minister in other sections of the Bill has not hestitated to take powers to require from traders and others concerned returns, accounts, particulars, details of all kinds—anything the Commission may feel inclined to ask for—but every request we have made that before the subsidy is paid, there should be some true ascertainment of cost production covering the subsidy period, has met with a blank refusal from the Ministerial benches, as if such a thing was impossible. If it is impossible, I cannot understand how the industry asks for the subsidy. How do they find out that a subsidy is necessary unless they keep some sort of profit and loss account, some sort of detailed account showing how their costings are made up?
I ask the House to look at the facts, not over the whole period of the subsidy but over the last year or two. If we take January, 1925—not so long ago —we find that the price of fat stock then was as low as 32s. 6d. or 32s. 9d. a cwt. which with the 5s. subsidy brought a gross return to the producer of 37s. to 38s. If we take the figures for April, 1937—I have got them rather hurriedly from the "Farmers' Weekly"—we find that, taking such centres as Carlisle, Darlington, Gloucester, Exeter, Ipswich and Norwich, in the week ending 13th April the average price—not the top price—was round about 45s. 6d.
No, ex subsidy. My hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) tells me that he also found cases—one, I think, at Salisbury—where a price ex subsidy of as much as 51s. was paid for the finest quality. The Government subsidy proposals in this Bill are not confined any more to a flat rate of 5s. It is probably to be commended that they move from a flat rate basis and have done something actually to stimulate the production of the finest quality beef. If, however, you have the finest quality prices being obtained—I will not take the highest price of 51s., but 45s.—and you add 75. 6d. to it, you will get a price return to the producer of something like 52s. 6d. gross. I do not think hon. Members on that side of the House could get up and say that that is the actual cost of production, with a reasonable margin of profit. I should have said 1088 that if you were getting a gross return of 48s. or 49s. you would be making a fair profit. At any rate, when you get into the region of that price it should be incumbent on the industry to prove by actual costings that they are not making an unreasonable profit without this "by and large" arrangement to go on paying out of the public purse reinforced by a direct tax on the poorest class of consumer—those who use imported meat—and without any effective provision for varying that situation.
Under the Wheat Act no one can deny that the farmer has had a great deal of assistance. He has had a heavy subsidy under that Act. At times he was getting a price of 45s. a quarter when the world price was as low as £1 but under that Act, when the world price rises round about that figure, the subsidy disappears automatically. Is it impossible in dealing with such an important section of the industry as livestock, not to have something like a maximum standard price above which there should be no subsidy paid? I cannot believe that that is not possible, nor do I think that the agriculturists as a body are well advised to take any other line than agreeing to such a principle as that if they ask for direct assistance in cash from the State. On these grounds, we feel that we are strongly entitled to enter our protest at this stage at the method which the Government are adopting in arranging the financial assistance to the industry.
I will engage in only one other line of criticism, and I will leave to my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley, who has put in so much work on the Bill and has spent so much time on it, to say anything further at the end of the Debate. This scheme is to be bolstered up by the regulation of imports. Some of us have had experience of what that method can be reduced to in the case of bacon. The quota can be used in such a way as to have a vicious effect upon the consumer, but where you get such a vitally important food as meat, subject to both tariff and quota, the effect upon the consumer may in a time of rising world prices be simply devastating. It is a great mistake that carte blanche should be given in a piece of legislation like this for both methods to be applied simultaneously to the actual detriment of the consumer. With regard to the other 1089 provisions of the Bill, I welcome that at tong last—the Government have been a very long time about it—the efforts that the Labour Government had in mind and had intended to carry out from the time it set up the De La Warr Committee to inquire into the principle of central slaughtering, are beginning to bear fruit. The provisions in the Bill, it is true, are only very hesitant and are not as courageous an approach to the subject as ought to be made. Nevertheless, the principle of really trying to organise the hygienic slaughtering of cattle upon a basis which is economic is one to be supported. From that point of view we can say that we support the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley will say in what respects he criticises actual methods of organising the central slaughtering arrangement. I repeat that, in moving this reasoned Amendment to the Third Reading, while we find ourselves so much in agreement with many aspects of the Bill, we could not possibly give an unqualified approval to the Third Reading without drawing attention to the ill effects which this method of subsidy without check upon costings is likely to have.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Sir F. Acland
I should like to congratulate the Ministers who have been concerned in the Committee and the Report stages on the good temper that they have shown in the conduct of the business that they had to get through. They have shown, I will not say a disposition to give way, because they have not given way, but they have shown a disposition to listen rather than to talk, and have done their best to make a reasonable case, whether it was for the Amendments they brought forward or for their opposition to Amendments brought forward by other people. On the whole, I think the House has been gentle and generous with them, because there was a great deal more material that could have been brought up to prolong these discussions if hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway and others had been determined to take the Bill in the way they might have done. With regard to the attitude which my friends and I will take on the Third Reading, I gather that we shall probably not get a vote on it. We shall get a vote on the reasoned Amendment, however, and on that I unhesitatingly think that the lines it takes are sound and sensible, and I shall hope 1090 to support it, if it does not come on too late, because I am very tired and want to get home to bed.
There was one thing in my right hon. Friend's speech that I noticed. I am sure that he did not want to put it as a false point because he was so clear in what he was comparing. That was when he compared the prices at one time of the year and prices at another time. He knows as well as I do how dangerous that is. One of the things one hopes this Bill may tend to correct ultimately is what seems to happen now, namely, the flooding of three-quarters of the stock on to our markets about Christmas time, when it is convenient for farmers to sell, while at a time of the year like the present, when beasts can easily be turned out on to grass, there are not many on the market and naturally prices go up. In saying, as we all rejoice to be able to say, that prices are a good deal better now, we are, unfortunately, not saying with any certainty that they will remain anything like as good in a few months' time. Whereas we cannot feel that the livestock industry is out of the wood for certain, we can welcome the improvement and hope for the best. That, surely, justifies the point made by my right hon. Friend that if good times have definitely come, and if there is not to be that rocking back to the low 40's—and, indeed, towards the 30's in the back and—to which we have been accustomed in the last few years, but hopes, of prices keeping to the upper 40's, it is a pity that there is nothing in the Bill which would put the subsidy on a sliding scale according to prices and profits.
We all realise that in the long run the beef trade cannot be kept going by subsidies, but only by quality and output, and if by means of this subsidy we can improve the output of the best stuff, if we can beat the importer at his own game, being helped for a few years by a subsidy, and by that means reverse the tendency towards losing our position in our own markets before the competition of the best standards of imported meat, then, surely, the subsidy will have been justified. It will have been a means of teaching us to hold our own in the matter of quality, the only way in which we can hold our own. We should all be happier about it if that were the basis, rather than that the subsidy should be continued in- 1091 definitely, as is apparently intended, even if the prices go up.
I think that is the only point which I really want to make. It is a good thing, surely, that, learning from past experience, we have got away from a governing body for the industry elected purely by the industry. When the scheme for milk was brought forward I said it could never endure permanently. We have yet to see whether that is so or not, though I am still of that opinion. Also, I think the Government have learned not to try to do too much at once. They are not trying to force anything on the industry even in the name of the industry. I think it is better that the industry should gradually learn that it wants more rather than that we should undertake a big scheme which might go wrong and become unpopular, and thereby make anything in the way of regulation unpopular. One could criticise the fact that many of the things which have been recommended as essential to real marketing schemes by the Commissions and Committees which have gone into this matter have not been adopted in this scheme, but, on the whole, I think it is better to begin more or less in an experimental and moderate way than to make the industry sick, as it might be if we said too definitely, "The only terms on which you can have these subsidies are that you produce a very full and elaborate marketing system."
I believe that a great many of the fears as to old markets being destroyed have been put forward by interested parties, and that we shall not find that this Bill will make a great deal of difference to efficient organisations—a great many of the local markets are thoroughly up to date and efficient—but find only that there will be gradually a moderate amount of reshaping in the light of experience. In particular, of course, we shall gain experience from the experimental slaughter-houses, which I think will be useful. On the whole, then, I think we may say that the Government have learned from past experience in the framing of this Bill, and although I agree that we ought not to have given a permanent subsidy which carries with it no provision for its modification or withdrawal if the position of the industry made it reasonable to withdraw it, which 1092 would have removed from the agricultural industry the reproach of wanting to put itself permanently on the dole, yet I hope and believe that the Bill may do real good, even if it is not revolutionary or likely to do a very great deal all at once.
§ 9.13 p.m.
§ Major Dorman-Smith
In spite of the speeches we have had from our Ministers, and in spite of the masterly and efficient way in which the Minister of Agriculture has dealt with this Bill both on Second Reading and in Committee, a performance which, I think, has gained admiration from all sides of the House, I am still very doubtful whether this Measure will be capable of fulfilling the purpose which has been put before us. It is obvious that the provisions outlined in the Bill will bring about a betterment in the position of livestock producers, but I am not absolutely satisfied that the Bill will solve the main problem, which is to secure stability of prices. I look upon this Bill as a stage in the development of the permanent policy which the Government will eventually have to produce, and if that is what it is I shall be very glad to support it, but if this is to be their final word, if this is all the livestock producer can ever expect, my opinion will be rather changed.
I take it that we must look upon this Measure as an instalment of the process of economic planning within agriculture. Planning is a very popular pastime among the professional classes at this time—a sort of strip teasing of industry, a stripping it of its initiative and teasing it with subsidies. I do not quite know how long it will continue to be popular. Probably it will be until we who are engaged in industry or in such occupations as agriculture can impose satisfactory marketing schemes upon our professional brothers. A doctors' marketing scheme would be a grand idea, with certain regulations as to when little Liberals and little Conservatives, and especially little Socialists, should come into this world, prescribing the times with certain fines on the producers of the registered product. I can see that we should have a great time there. Until we can do such things as that, I am afraid the professional classes will continue to try to plan industry.
If this is a plan, before it can commend itself to the House those who have made 1093 the plan should be able to say: "We know that for the last year or two things have been bad within this industry; otherwise it would not need a plan. If our plan had been in operation such things could never have happened." It is fair to judge the plan by the standard whether it would have overcome the difficulties which we know and through which we have passed. The problem that faced the planners in this industry was simple: whether the price of fat cattle was so low as to be uneconomic. The main object of the Bill, therefore, must have been to bring about such a betterment of price that prices would become remunerative. One of the main difficulties in considering this Measure is that the Government have never decided upon what level of prices they wanted the industry to arrive at. We do not know the Government's objective in regard to prices. We have often been told that it is impossible to get at the cost of production. know it is difficult, but ii is not impossible. I know the difficulties and what the Minister of Pensions feels about this matter, but I have masses of evidence about the cost of production which would astonish some people. But it is there. From it, one can arrive at a more or less fair price.
If we cannot get an absolutely accurate figure, something which is beyond all shadow of doubt I suggest to the Government that the only thing left to do is to go to those who are engaged in the industry and ask them what their experience tells them is necessary in order to get the industry going. Whether the Government wanted it or not, that advice has been given, and on more than one occasion. The advice was that with feeding stuffs, labour and all those factors which go to make up the cost of production, round about the 1935 figure, that is, about 48s. per cwt., was not an unfair figure to aim at, for fat cattle. I shall be able to produce figures to anybody who would like to make sure that that statement stands examination. That figure of 48s. allowed for the feeder of cattle to pay a fair price to the breeder, a factor which is sometimes left out. When we hear of the lower costs at which we can turn out cattle, the finished article, feeders sometimes forget that they have paid a very low price to the breeder, who has had to suffer very much. That figure of 48s. may have been a fair price in 1935, but during the last four or five 1094 months the cost of feeding stuffs for winter food has gone up tremendously, by about 44 per cent. We are told by our scientific friends that feeding stuffs during the winter represent something like 70 per cent. of the cost of turning out an animal. I have not worked out the cost of fat cattle at the present time, but it is well over 50s., if it is to cover the cost of production. I do not see how the Government can disagree with the figures, because they say that they have nothing to go upon. A Government Department without statistics is likely to find itself without arguments.
I would like to try to examine whether the measures outlined in the Bill would have dealt with the situation through which the industry has passed and whether they give any hope for the future. First of all, there is this subsidy of £5,000,000. I absolutely agree with those who say that the subsidy should not be paid if the price of fat cattle becomes remunerative. No farmer that I know would claim for himself the right to take the money, if his price were good enough and he were able to do without it. [Interruption.] I hear an hon. Member say "Question." Our farmers are not perfect, but they do not claim more than they think they can get. On the last two or three years' figures it can be demonstrated that the £5,000,000 by itself would not have closed the gap between our selling prices and the cost of production; indeed, we are told that in the future probably 50 per cent. of home-grown cattle will get 7s. a cwt. and 50 per cent. 5s. a cwt. for subsidy. That is the arrangement for the future.
In 1935, the average price paid for cattle was 33s. 3d. per cwt. Under the new subsidy arrangements, 50 per cent. of those cattle would have made 41s. 9d. That would be a loss of about £3 per beast; and the other 50 per cent. would have made 39s. 3d., a loss of about £4 per beast. In 1936 the average price for the 12 months was just about 36s., which leaves a very big gap between the cost of production and our selling price. In the first three months, when we had this rising cost of production, the price was round about 37s., a welcome rise, but I do not think that figure anywhere near covered our cost of production. The subsidy does not stand by itself. There are other measures. There is, first of all, the tax on foreign meat, which has been 1095 mentioned. That tax has been in existence for nearly five months, and who is paying for it is still an extremely—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I must point out to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that that tax was imposed by another Act of Parliament and that it is not to be imposed by this Bill.
§ Major Dorman-Smith
I bow to your Ruling, but the tax was mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander); he was talking about it, and I was going to try to show that the cost of beef has not gone up like the cost of other commodities, and that farmers cannot expect very much from that tax. Under this Bill—I think it is under this one—machinery is to be set up for the restriction and control of imports. That matter has also been mentioned. We have the Empire Council and the Imperial Meat Conference, but I suggest that they represent a very limited amount of help. The work of that Council and Conference must be circumscribed by the terms of the Argentine Agreement, that there can be no bigger cut than 2 per cent. in any one year or 5 per cent. over three years. If we are to try to control imports, that 5 per cent. cut in the control cannot do all that we want it to do. I cannot imagine that the Government are going to try to impose on the Dominions more cuts than they have agreed to impose on the Argentine, and, therefore, if we get a global 5 per cent. it would not get us much below the Ottawa year figures, which started the rot and made this planning necessary. Indeed, all that the Government have said about that in their White Paper is that it would be proposed that, unless agreed otherwise, aggregate imports during the next three years should not exceed recent levels. I very much doubt whether by the time we have had the Imperial Conference these recent levels are going to be cut down at all.
Finally, we have the internal arrangements, and I would very much like the Minister to give us some indication of the amount which he thinks the marketing arrangements, central slaughtering and so on will amount to per cwt. to the home producer. I have very slender hopes as to the actual cash benefit we are going to 1096 get. That brings us back to the fact that if we are to look for any real improvement we are thrown back on the increased prosperity which the country is enjoying and the increased purchasing power in the hands of consumers. If we are cast back on that, it really is going back to the old idea of supply and demand and is a most disgraceful betrayal of the new economic planning. If we have to look forward to years of increased prosperity and increased prices there was no need to have all the fuss of getting this Bill through. We might rely on our old methods.
I wonder whether the Minister can tell us how far the rise in prices is liable to go. He told us that we could look forward to this rise in prices, and that we were coming out of the trough on to the top of the wave. How far are we going, and for how long may we look for this prosperity? Has he been in communication with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to find out whether his right hon. Friend is going to keep up this increased purchasing power and for a long time? I doubt whether that can be, and I rather think that Ministers are patting themselves on the back and thinking that they have had a lucky break over this Bill and had a rise in prices, for, if they had not had it, this Bill would have looked very poor as far as the producers are concerned. This Bill cannot be said to fulfil the hopes which the various White Papers of the Government made the farmers of the country believe might be realised. The Minister of Pensions said that we did not know what would happen in the future. We have a rise in prices now, but there is no security and we have no idea what may happen to meat prices when the Coronation crowds, who are eating beef like nothing on earth, have gone, and so on. There are no new factors to make things better.
Will the Minister give us his assurance that if in fact we do get back to such a condition as we have experienced in the last two years and he finds that the provisions of this Bill do not meet the needs of the industry, he will without hesitation come to the House and take steps which will finally resolve the difficulties of the industry? If he will give us that promise I say, as far as I can speak for farmers, that we shall be delighted to tell him when prices have become more re- 1097 munerative and we no longer need a subsidy. If we cannot have that assurance, if we cannot know that the Government are really serious to resolve the problems of this industry, then we shall have to come to the conclusion that there is just one Latin quotation which does rather sum up the attitude of the Government, and perhaps of the House in some other quarters. I apologise for it, but the Minister of Pensions started it, if you may remember, in his Second Reading speech, with a quotation which be translated roughly as "If only the farmers knew what was good for them, all would be well." They will feel sic vos, non vobis, mellificatus apis.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey
We have now come to the last stage of this extremely important Bill, and those who have been on the Committee and have sat through the Report stage can say that, while our fears—which I quite share with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down—are by no means fully allayed, the Bill will leave this House a better Bill and the Minister, by some of his declarations, has cleared the air, and there is a much better understanding. Many of the fears which were expressed when the Bill was first introduced have been proved to be comparatively groundless. The two chief features from the industry's point of view are the powers which we are giving to the Board of Trade to regulate imports and the subsidy. During the course of the Debates one might have thought from the speeches of hon. Members opposite that the Board of Trade or the Government have been cutting down imports of beef from all over the world. That is fallacious. Since 1932, the year of the Ottawa Agreements—I am talking now in calendar years, and not agricultural years—there has been an increase of something like 600,000 cwts. of beef in the course of a year. In 1936, 600,000 cwts. more of beef were imported than in 1932, and in the first quarter of this year I believe I am right in saying that the imports are the highest they have ever been.
That shows that, unless the Government and the Board of Trade are going to take rather a different line than in the past, we need not fear any drastic cuts. I hope that the new Commission are going to deal with this, and that they will deal 1098 with it not only from the point of view of the consumers but from that of the producers. When hon. Members talk about the interests of the consumers—and I am just as much interested in the interests of the consumers as they are—they should remember that it is as much in the interests of the consumers as of anybody that the livestock industry should be maintained, and you can only maintain it if you give remunerative prices. I do not think anyone will disagree that it would be a first-class disaster for this country if we were to become entirely dependent on foreign supplies of beef. It is vital to us, not only in time of war but in time of peace, that we should be able to draw on our own home supplies.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) referred to the fact that we have to stand on quality, but quality costs money, and, while it is true to say that we have to maintain our quality, it is equally true that we cannot maintain our quality unless we can get a price which will make it remunerative. One of the reasons why there has been a deterioration in quality is undoubtedly the fact that during the last few years the prices obtained for best quality cattle have been too low to make it worth while to bring them up to the necessary high condition. Therefore, while I agree that we have to improve our quality, that alone will not put the cattle industry on its feet. Unfortunate though it may be, we cannot expect to see large cuts, and nobody wants to see large cuts, in imports, so we have to look to the subsidy as the main means of help.
I agree with what my hon. and gallant Friend has just said; I do not believe that this subsidy is going to fill the gap. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) was anxious to get costing, because he thought it would show that the £5,000,000 was in fact not necessary. I should like to see costs obtained, though I know how difficult it is, and I am not going to press very much for it, but for exactly the opposite reason to that of the right hon. Gentleman, namely, that I believe we should find that the £5,000,000 is not sufficient for our present requirements. The Minister has referred to the rise in costs, and I have some figures here which have been prepared, not by farmers, but by the North of Scotland College of Agriculture. They exhibit a complete statement 1099 of what happened in the case of six beasts that were brought up from the time when they were weaned until they were sold in March of this year. In the case of those six animals, the average cost per cwt. of live weight gain varied from £2 8s. Id. to £3 os. 5d., and the net result of the whole transaction was a loss to the seller, taking into account the amount he received for subsidy, of £27 6s. Id. That is only a small instance, but I think it shows that, so far from not requiring the subsidy, we certainly do need it, because, although prices may be rising now, and we are very glad to see it, at the same time we are coming out of a period when farmers were actually making losses on the sale of their cattle, and they are now hoping that this subsidy will at least enable them to keep level.
One important point is that they have not during the last few years been able to put sufficient into their land to maintain it in a state of fertility, and we should never forget that, should the land be called upon suddenly for a large increase in production, it would not, if it remains in its present state, be able to meet that demand. I am by no means convinced that this £5,000,000 will be sufficient to meet our needs. I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend that there is not a farmer who would not willingly forgo the subsidy if he could get an economic price. I have talked with many farmers in my constituency, and there is not one who does not say, "We do not want subsidies; we want to make a living by getting a remunerative price for what we produce," There is not one who would not willingly give up the subsidy if he could get a remunerative price, but they have not been getting remunerative prices for all these years. I do not believe that this Bill will meet the difficulties. The Minister of Pensions, in his Second Reading speech, quoted a passage from the Scriptures. He referred to the Book of Proverbs. I would like to give him another quotation, from Ecclesiastes:Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.A good many of us feel that, as regards the livestock industry, the Government have found something to do, but that they are not doing it with their might. That is the long and the short of our 1100 criticism of this Bill, and it is because of that that we are very doubtful whether it will have the thoroughly beneficial effects that the Government anticipate.
§ 9.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Barnes
Listening to the views of the hon. Member who has just sat down and of the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield (Major Dorman-Smith), I began to wonder why we have spent so many valuable weeks of our time in considering this Bill from the National Government. Both hon. Members speak with some authority for the agricultural community, particularly the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield, who occupies a premier position in a representative organisation of that industry. And yet both of them have condemned this Bill as being in their opinion no effective remedy for the condition of the livestock industry. Both of them have advanced very powerful reasons for our Amendment. The hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield has acknowledged in the House to-night that there is no difficulty in the way of ascertaining the cost of production—
§ Mr. Barnes
We all recognise that it must be difficult, considering that the cost of production must necessarily vary in different areas; but it has been admitted that it is not impossible, and one Could have wished that that evidence had been forthcoming during the Committee and Report stages when we were trying to embody the ascertainment of costs of production as part of the constructive advantages of the Bill. The whole burden of the two speeches to which we have just listened is that the farmers require a remunerative price. Everyone desires a remunerative price for the products of his labour or his efforts, but I fail to see how Parliament can at any stage meet the problem of a remunerative price until that price is disclosed for legislative enactment, and it is perfectly futile for representatives of the agricultural industry to come to the House of Commons and plead for a remunerative price while at the same time they resist the efforts of a Committee of the House to provide for the ascertainment of the standard upon which the remunerative price is to be based. Therefore, I consider that very substantial 1101 arguments have been advanced for our Amendment.
I should like to state my reasons for supporting the Amendment, and I understand that it will be for the convenience of the House if we state our reasons briefly, and do not augment them by argument. My first point of objection to the Bill is that the cost of the subsidy which will be paid to livestock producers is derived from the poor consumers of imported meat in this country, and is not a direct charge upon the State. One can always either disagree or agree, as the case may be, with the principle of a subsidy, but, whether we agree or disagree with the principle of aiding any particular industry by a subsidy, I do not consider that there should be any difference at all on the point that the subsidy should represent a direct charge on the revenues of the State, and that, therefore, its incidence should fall according to the principles upon which the Budget is determined from year to year.
My second point of objection is to Clause 3, which gives power to the Board of Trade to impose restrictions on imports for the purpose of forcing up prices. I think the agricultural community is making a very grave mistake in supporting a policy of that character. In the first place, it cuts right across the ultimate and permanent solution for the whole industry, which at times peeps through the arguments of the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield. I always find myself moving in sympathy with him when he expresses the view that ultimate prosperity depends upon the purchasing power of the home market. If it does, it is wrong to commence a policy which is going to alienate the vast mass of industrial opinion, upon which permanent legislation in the long run must depend for its continuity. It is doubly wrong at present, because we are moving into a period in which prices are rising, not as the result of any normal stimulus to industry by economic purchasing in the markets of the country or of the world. The prices are uneconomic, and they are being stimulated in an artificial way because of the huge sums that are being thrown into the market as the result of armaments expenditure. If on top of that we are to have these restricting policies and an artificial rise in the prices 1102 of primary foodstuffs and other commodities, it is inevitable that a period of deflation will follow this period of inflation and the position of the agricultural community will be worse in the long run than the position from which we have emerged, because there is a growing body of opinion which for a variety of reasons desires to see British agriculture on a firm, stabilised foundation, provided it is not secured, on the one hand, by exploitation of the consumers, or, on the other, by a policy of doles from the State.
My third point of criticism is embodied in the Amendment. If the State is to pay a subsidy to any industry, there should be some automatic brake on the payment, and, unless payment is to be regulated by price in this instance, I fail to see how you can have an effective brake. No industrial organisation would pay into any part of its business an uncontrolled sum of this kind unless it imposed some automatic brake of that character. In our Amendment we endeavour to establish that very reasonable principle. We cannot help contrasting the attitude of members of the Conservative party when it comes to the payment of a dole to wealthy interests with their attitude when it is a question of the payment of any form of relief to persons in more or less a state of destitution. They insist upon their means test and other regulations for the purpose of insuring the brake on the payment of any form of public assistance, and this payment of subsidy to the livestock industry is a form of public assistance and there should be a brake in the form of a standard price My fourth objection is the inequity of practice when it comes to payment of compensation. Compensation is paid to every property or professional interest affected by the Bill, but for those who are displaced by the reorganisation proposals and lose their employment there is no compensation. In my view that is inequitable, immoral and unjust. My final point of objection is that in the representation of interests on the Livestock Commission the Government refused our reasonable request that consumers' organisations, like the Co-operative movement, which is the most representative body of consumers in the country, and which has a wider knowledge of this industry than almost any other section represented on the Advisory Committee, should be given 1103 representation. The Bill is so constructed as carefully to preserve vested interests that to some extent I share the views of the hon. and gallant Member for Peters-field that it is cumbersome in its operation and is not likely to achieve the object that we have in mind. I hope, therefore, that we shall soon be able to remove this bungling and doling Government and replace it by one which can plan for the future.
§ 9.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Tree
I want to offer my very sincere congratulations to the Minister on the way in which he has handled the Bill. It is an extremely complicated Measure. He inherited it, and had only a few days in which to master it, but his complete mastery of it has reassured many who had doubts about the way in which it would work out. I think the doubts of producers and distributors would be removed, and they would join in the reorganisation of the industry in a much happier frame of mind, if they felt that, when they had reorganised, the return that they would get would be adequate to pay them for the reorganisation. If they find that prices do not tend to improve after the reorganisation, they will have a very legitimate grievance. Whether the Bill succeeds or not is entirely in the hands of the Government. I believe that representatives of the meat exporting countries are at present sitting in London, and all who want the Bill to be a success will pray that they will see that imports are restricted, not only because we feel that the Bill will be a great advance in the Government's agricultural policy, but because it is the first Bill of a Minister whom we want to see as Minister of Agriculture for a very considerable period. In the Committee the Minister gave a verbal promise that he would see that in future the markets would not be flooded out at any given period. There has been considerable criticism in the past that at a time when home-grown beasts were just coming on to the market there has been released out of storage a great quantity of imported beef. Under Clause 12 the Board of Trade is given full power to ascertain how much meat is in storage at any given time, and we all hope they will use those powers to the very fullest extent.
1104 By and large throughout the country everyone is pretty well satisfied with the way that grading is done in the local markets. I have heard a good deal of criticism about the way in which the area grading is done by the inspectors and supervisors. At the present time there are six full-time inspectors and 29 part-time supervisors. To each of them is allotted an area, and it is up to them to see that the markets in their area are up to standard, also that there is adequate grading in those markets; but the criticism that I have heard is that the grading varies very considerably in different areas. The suggestion that I would make is that when the meat Commission is appointed, it should appoint a definite number of full-time inspectors and that those inspectors should be moved about from area to area. In that way they would see that there was a definite standard established throughout the country. I realise that the difficulty they may meet with will be the difficulty of finding a sufficient number of inspectors fully qualified to carry out this job, because it is a highly technical one, but, given time, I am sure that they will be able to do that and that it will remove one grievance which is frequently expressed.
My second point is in relation to the Clauses which deal with the central slaughter-houses. All of us who are interested in the industry fully realise that not only is a form of rationalisation necessary, but that it is a long way over due. The reason that so much foreign meat is consumed in this country is not only because it is cheaper, but also because it is of a high quality and of a permanent standard quality. Therefore, we are in favour of a scheme of central slaughterhouses and want to make that scheme a success. The only point at issue is the doubt expressed in many quarters as to how these central slaughter-houses should be worked. As I understand it, it is proposed in the Bill that the central slaughter-houses shall be constructed and worked by the local authorities, and that the wholesale butchers will come in and use the central slaughter-houses for all their killing. In order that there shall be an adequate provision of this absolute essential, if the scheme is going to work, there shall be two zones of control, an inner zone and an outer zone. In the inner zone the beasts will compulsorily 1105 be slaughtered in the central slaughterhouse, and in the outer zone most of the beasts will be sent to the central slaughterhouse. In other words, throughout that area there will be a method of compulsion on the butcher and there is a good deal of resentment about this fact.
In the report of the technical committee on abattoir design, on page 41, the suggestion was made that these central slaughter-houses should be leased by the local authority to a slaughter-house and by-product company, who would have powers to buy in the open market. I inclined very much to the view that such a public utility company, with powers to buy in the open market, would have the effect of removing from people's minds the idea that they were under any form of compulsion. Butchers would be able to kill either at home or at the central slaughter-houses and it would not take a very long time for the public to realise that the meat passing through the central slaughter-house was so much better and the butcher would be forced by custom and not by compulsion to kill in the slaughter-house. It is to be hoped that when the Commission come to this point they will give it due consideration, because I believe it would have the effect of removing from many people's minds the doubts that they have about the efficacy of carrying out this scheme.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Marshall
The Clauses of the Bill have been well argued, but it is true that we have not induced the Minister to adopt certain of our recommendations. We can, however, congratulate him on his good temper as a new Minister of Agriculture and perhaps sympathise with him a little in having to face a very complicated Measure such as this. As one who has been interested in this matter for a good many years I, like others, have been looking forward to the Government bringing in a comprehensive Livestock Bill. While the present Measure does not at all satisfy us, we can say that it is an instalment towards the better production and marketing of beef in this country. I am extremely sorry that the Minister has not been able to see his way to concede our wishes in regard to including a standard price in the Measure. I think that vitiates the first part of the Bill in such a way that the Amendment which has been moved is perfectly justified.
1106 I want particularly to refer to that part of the Bill which deals with the centralised slaughter-houses. Everyone who has studied this question realises that centralised slaughtering is necessary. It has tremendous advantages from the hygienic and business point of view. These advantages are exemplified by some of the great abattoirs which have been erected in the country. These abattoirs provide a unit for inspection and they also provide the local authority with opportunities that cannot be given to them when they have to go, say, to 100 or 150 slaughterhouses in a city. That is where I disagree with the hon. Member who has just spoken. There can be no doubt that the advantages of centralised slaughter have been proved over and over again by the experience of the great abattoirs which already exist.
There is one aspect which has not been much emphasised during the Report stage or up to the present time in the Third Reading Debate, and that is the part that the local authorities will play in the centralised slaughter-houses. I want the Minister thoroughly to appreciate the fact that local authorities will have to make sacrifices. It is true that they may be the nominee for one of these great centralised slaughter-houses but, on the other hand, if the general principle is applied all over the country after the experiments have been successful it will mean that a large measure of rationalisation will be brought into the slaughtering of animals, and that will have the effect of closing possibly hundreds of local authority slaughter-houses all over the country. From that point of view I want the Minister to appreciate that the local authorities possibly stand to lose more than any vested interest covered by the operations of the Bill.
§ Mr. Turton
Will the hon. Member tell us how much. Sheffield has made out of centralised slaughter-houses?
§ Mr. Marshall
It is not a question of Sheffield, but I could give a very clear exposition of what Sheffield has done in the matter. I am very proud of their achievement. If the Minister will only take my advice and go to Sheffield to get his experience he will find that it will be very helpful to him. Markets that possibly have had a charter for 500 years will be closed. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman appreciates that it is really 1107 a very serious matter for these very small local authorities who will have their markets closed. But they take a very reasonable view of this proposal. They realise that rationalisation ought to come about in the industry, and from that point of view I think local authorities generally in the way they have regarded the introduction of this Bill are to be congratulated on their reasonableness and the way they have accepted it. We shall look forward with very great interest to this experiment, and I can only hope that when the Commission is set up it will deal with experimental slaughter-houses in a bold and courageous way and not be cowed by the tremendous vested interests existing in the trade. It may be, if they will do that, that the money due to be spent under the provisions of the Bill will give to the Minister an experience and knowledge of the livestock industry that will make the expenditure of the money justifiable. I look upon this part of the Bill as most valuable from the consumers' point of view, and I shall be pleased to give that part my support, but on the other part I have no option but to go into the Lobby against the Government on the question of standard prices.
§ 10.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
The Amendment tabled, as we have seen from the speeches, contains two points, and they are quite separate. The one is that hon. Members object to a subsidy being paid to a private interest in a time of rising prices; that is quite distinct from the second point, which is that they object to a subsidy, which, if I may summarise in my own words, has no relation to selling price and cost of production. I observed that an hon. Friend below the Gangway supported the second of these criticisms, but not the first. If the Amendment had contained only the second change, and if it had been practically possible to bring that about, I think we should have found a considerable measure of support in this House for the proposition. But an Amendment which contains the first statement, namely, that there should be no subsidy, is one which the present Government and this House cannot possibly accept; certainly as a representative of an agricultural division I cannot approve of it. What the party opposite are in fact saying to the country is this: "If we were in power 1108 we would remove this cattle subsidy." But that is not what the hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr. Price) says. He speaks from personal knowledge and experience in this matter, and he agreed in the course of his speech to-night that the subsidy must continue. The hon. Member said that in his opinion a subsidy would be necessary because he did not see prices rising sufficiently to make farming profitable.
The hon. Member went further than that. I took down his words. He said he did not anticipate that prices would rise in the immediate future. That shows that the Opposition in moving this Amendment are not dealing with practical politics. The only Member of the party who has taken part in the Debate and speaks with first-hand knowledge condemns the Amendment, and that seems to me sufficient reason for this House voting against it. I had intended to deal with another matter at some length, but on account of the lateness of the hour I shall refer to it only briefly. The last speaker dealt with the question of livestock markets. When this Bill was introduced I had considerable fears on that score. I do not particularly love the new Livestock Commission even yet, but I am bound to confess that, after examining the matter very closely in Committee, and penetrating the mind of the Minister, some of my worst apprehensions have been removed, and for that I pay tribute to the courtesy and reasonableness of my right hon. Friend. He has removed from my shoulders a considerable anxiety. But while we cannot at this stage do anything to alter or amend the Commission's powers, I think we are entitled to express the views of the House as to the methods which the Commission, when appointed, should adopt in exercising those powers.
Part IV of the Bill is based upon the argument that there is great redundancy of markets to-day, and everybody accepts that. One thousand cattle markets are far too many. The object is to reduce their number and so bring about efficiency. There are two ways of doing that. There is, first of all, the negative way, for which there is a considerable number of Clauses making the necessary 1109 provisions in the Bill, that is to say, the method of closing down markets, such as the hon. Member criticised recently. It would be a long process, it would be an expensive process, and it would raise a great deal of opposition. But there is another way and I hope the Commission will adopt this alternative. It is what one might call the constructive method. The Commission should direct their main attention not so much to reducing and destroying markets, as to building up new and efficient markets to take the place of the old. That is the way in which all industries proceed. It is by making its service attractive to customers that every great industry in this country has succeeded.
It was because we adopted precisely that methd in Scotland that our marketing system for cattle is so much better than in most parts of England. We there created large, modern, efficient cattle markets. Not only was that done in Scotland; I will give the House an example of a similar proceeding in England, and not very far away from London. I happened to be in the district at the time when the big market at Banbury was formed about 10 or 11 years ago. In that district, as I saw then, you had a glaring example of the most antiquated methods of marketing livestock. There was no place under which cattle or people could gather. In the rain or in the sun, they stood in rows along the street. But about that time a new market was started and it has been a great success. It was built on the model of the most up-to-date market North of the Tweed, naturally enough it is managed by a Scotsman—but that is incidental. I want to give the House some facts about this market. I have no personal interest in it whatsoever and I merely refer to it as an example of what the Commission could do. I am told that in Banbury district there were six small markets before that particular market was established. All of them have now disappeared. No bureaucratic powers were used to remove redundancy, nothing but the progress of efficiency. The stock turnover of that market has multiplied one hundredfold in the last 10 years, again through the sheer efficiency of the organisation. The financial turnover has multiplied 32 times, by sheer financial efficiency, and that despite very great initial difficulties. I asked a leading farmer in the Banbury district what had 1110 been the effect of this new market, not upon auctioneers but upon farming; had it been helpful? This is the answer he gave me:The general effect of establishing an efficient market in Banbury is distinctly to the advantage of farming in this district. I can perhaps best illustrate this by quoting what one of our most progressive and successful farmers told a deputation from another area who visited the market. He was asked almost exactly the same question as you have asked me by a member of the deputation. His reply was, 'I reckon that Banbury Market has done more good to the farmers in this neighbourhood than all the other schemes put together, and it has put more money into the pockets of the local farmers.'I beg this Livestock Commission that is to be, to take an example and to learn a lesson from the business of livestock marketing in Scotland, and from cases like Banbury in England, and to put the emphasis of their work, upon the constructive building-up side, creating two or three hundred first-class, efficient markets rather than destroying 200 or 300 inefficient ones. That is how industry succeeds. It is the only method by which you can bring about an up-to-date marketing system for agriculture and livestock farming.
§ 10.17 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Williams
This is about the 27th sitting we have had upon this Bill, and I am glad that we are nearing the close of our discussions upon it. After some six years of examination and experiment, it has fallen to the right hon. Gentleman to introduce, at long last, the long-term policy of the Government for agriculture. Unless events move in a direction quite opposite from the present tendency, I am afraid that, in a very short time, the permanent policy of the Government will have to be revised. The price movement is such that the policy of the Government, as embodied in Part VII of this Measure, will to some extent have to be revised within a very short time. There are parts of the Bill with which Members sitting in all parts of the House will agree. We agree, for instance, with the setting up of the Agricultural Commission. We think that the Livestock Advisory Committee, heavily loaded in favour of vested interests, might also render useful service to the agricultural industry.
We, therefore, welcome those parts of the Bill that have a constructive intention and purpose, whether that be marketing 1111 re-organisation, slaughtering re-organisation, or any one of the service schemes referred to in Part VI. But there are other proposals in the Bill which we are bound to criticise, and which, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) truly said, justifies hon. Members who sit on these benches in voting against the Third Reading. Although one takes for granted that the marketing re-organisation proposals will ultimately produce good for the industry —the hon. and gallant Member for Peters-field (Major Dorman-Smith) is not too optimistic even about that—we are not at all sanguine that the slaughtering proposals will be as useful as they would have been if the right hon. Gentleman had taken the step that we advised him to take on the Second Reading, in Committee and on the Report stage. If you cripple and limit facilities for experimental slaughter-houses you will militate against their eventual success, and to that extent we offer a certain amount of criticism against the Measure.
With regard to marketing and slaughtering, the hon. Member for East Ham, South (Mr. Barnes) said that we have arranged compensation for landowners, for market owners, for slaughterhouse owners and for auctioneers and municipal employés, but that no provision has been made for the ordinary employé who may be dismissed by the making of a marketing scheme or a slaughter-house scheme. I am certain that the right hon. Gentleman will regret the speech he made last night when he told us about the free play between employer and employed, and discriminated between the private employé and the employé of a local authority. If there is to be any discrimination at all with regard to compensation between a person employed by a local authority and a person employed by a private employer then, quite clearly, the private employé ought to be the one for whom compensation should be provided. In 999 cases out of a thousand the local authority employé who is displaced is quickly absorbed by some other authority, whereas the private employé very often has no alternative occupation, and is left stranded. During the discussion yesterday I said that we on this side of the House are not anxious to give compensation to persons who are displaced. We do not think it is a good 1112 policy, whether it is a local authority employé or a private employé. What we stand for is the right of all men to work, and if one is displaced it should be the duty of the State to see that another job is waiting for him almost immediately.
The third point of criticism is obviously the question of the subsidy. The right hon. Gentleman has advised hon. Members not to take too much notice of the recent increase in the price of beef. He referred to the increased cost of feeding stuffs and steers and told us that the spring prices were slightly higher, year by year, but that we ought not to take that as something which is likely to be permanent. He said that he could not base a permanent policy on a temporary movement in prices. I suggest that on 22nd April, 1936, right at the top of the Spring high prices, the price per cwt. of beef was 39s. 1d. This year it was 44s. 6d., or an increase of a little more than the present subsidy we are paying per cwt. for cattle. Therefore, the rise this year, although the price is inadequate to meet the full costs of production, is certainly 5s. 5d. per cwt. more than it was on the same date last year. The rise is exceptional and is consistent with the all-round rise in prices that is taking place. That being the case, I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that we are not taking this increase, nor did we yesterday take the temporary increases, as our line of attack and as our justification for opposing the Third Reading of this Bill. What we have said from the commencement has been that we want to know what it costs to produce 1 cwt. of livestock. The Minister said it would be extremely difficult to get an average price, but the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield, speaking for the National Farmers' Union, while admitting the difficulty, declared that it was not insurmountable, and that if the Government really wanted to get samples of costings all over the country, they could obtain them.
We have stated that if we have the costs and the market prices before us and we find that there is a difference between the two, we would not be averse to providing the requisite subsidy in order to make the production of beef a paying proposition. To that extent I entirely agree with the observations of the hon. Member who spoke before me. Hon. Members opposite cannot argue that the Labour party is in any way opposed to 1113 the provision of a subsidy as long as that subsidy can be justified on the basis of ascertained facts, which would enable us to determine whether the subsidy is right or not. We have taken that view from the beginning. The right hon. Gentleman said that beef producers had passed through a very bad period; he had no figures to satisfy him whether they had lost £10,000,000 or £50,000,000, but taking their word for it, they had passed through a very bad period and the rise in prices over a period of three months would not compensate for all that they had lost in the past.
Hon. Members on these benches appreciate that, and the rise in prices is no less welcomed on this side of the House than on the other; but it is a tendency which the Government have to face. In Clause 36 of this Bill the Government set out to make an annual provision of £5,000,000 for subsidising fat cattle, but there is no provision, whatever the price may be for a reduction or for the withdrawal of the subsidy. The hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield has apparently moved from the old philosophy of the law of supply and demand; he cannot afford to rely upon the old law of supply and demand because spending power is not available to the people of this country and they are not able to buy at an economic price the fat cattle that go on to the market. Our point is clear. If a subsidy on the basis of ascertained facts can be justified, we are willing to agree to the provision of the necessary money to enable it to be paid, although if we had our choice, instead of subsidising producers as we have done since 1934, I am not sure that we would not adopt a different policy and subsidise the consumers who, through low wages or small incomes, find it impossible to buy the best British beef. The time is not far distant when some Government will have to change the policy of subsidising producers into a policy of subsidising consumers or would-be consumers who cannot afford to pay a price which would be an economic price for the farmer. Last year the farmers, no matter how much they were losing, put on to the markets of this country 369,000 head of cattle more than went on to the market in 1934. If they were losing millions, why were they anxious to put all those cattle on the market?
§ Mr. Williams
If they put all those cattle on to the market in 1936, how does the hon. Member account for the fact that in the first 17 weeks of this year they have landed on the market 12,000 head of cattle more than in the corresponding period of last year?
§ Mr. Williams
But the hon. Member and his friends have been telling the House and the country that the farmers have no money with which to breed or to feed stock. Apparently, however, they have more stock to-day than ever, and are landing more cattle on to the market than they did in 1936, which was almost a record year in the last 20 or 3o years. When this Bill was introduced the average price of first quality was 37s. 4d. per cwt. Last week it was 44s. 6d. There is a difference of 7s. 2d. per cwt. If 7s. 6d. per cwt. in January was the appropriate figure to make the production of beef economic, the only subsidy required to-day would be 4d. per cwt., but under the Bill, notwithstanding that increase in price, the subsidy is to be 7s. 6d. I do not deny that the 7s. 6d. may be justifiable but neither the Minister nor anyone else, has justified it by any figures. That is the fundamental point. The right hon. Gentleman told us earlier, when informing us that we ought not to treat these temporary increases as final, definite or permanent that if we went back to 1927 to 1931, including the period of the Labour Government—I suppose that was why that period was selected—the average price then was 50s. 5d. per live cwt. At this moment the average price is 44s. 6d., unless there has been an increase this week, and 44s. 6d. plus 7s. 6d. comes to 52s. That is 1s. 7d. per cwt. more than the average price for 1927–1931 quoted by the right hon. Gentleman. There, again, it may be that the 52s. is justifiable but no figures have been supplied in its justification.
Looking at the Bill as a whole, I feel justified in the stand I have taken from the first. We welcome the setting up of the Commission, the appointment of the Livestock Advisory Committee and any good that may accrue from marketing and slaughtering organisations. We regret, however, that further powers should be given to the Board of Trade 1115 to restrict imports of beef and veal. We think that the subsidy proposals can be justified only on the basis of costs and of a standard price. While we are as anxious to help agriculture as any hon. Member sitting on those benches, we are placed in the position in which any other Opposition would be placed. We have to face the position as we see it, and if it contains a serious defect from the national point of view, we have to protest in the only way left to an Opposition by going into a Division Lobby. I have, therefore, no compunction in voting against the Bill. I have a thousand farmers in my division, a large number of them being beef producers, and they are as anxious to make a living as farmers in Aberdeen or anywhere else. I am anxious to see them prosperous, but I am not prepared at the expense of the State and of a sound principle to vote for subsidies where they have not been justified on the basis of facts and figures or on the basis of any logical case that has been made out. For those reasons I shall certainly support the Amendment in the Division Lobby.
§ 10.36 p.m.
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
We have now come to the end of our labours on this very extensive Measure, and, before I pass to the more controversial topics, I hope the House will permit me to express my personal thanks to hon. Members, both of the Standing Committee and of the House, for their help and criticisms in the difficult task of dealing with this Bill. The Bill has been difficult for one or two reasons. It has broken a lot of new ground. For many of its provisions no precedents were in existence, and it was extremely difficult in drafting the Bill to imagine all the practical difficulties and criticisms which might arise when the Bill was subjected to the survey of the House. When one considers the strangeness of the task that confronted us, one can only marvel that the words used in the original draft were so near to the final purpose as they have been. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) moved the Amendment to the Third Reading. In agriculture we are accustomed to talk of dual-purpose cattle. Those are cattle which are good for both meat and milk. I think that I would not be far off if I were to describe the 1116 Amendment as a dual-purpose Amendment. It combines in a charming manner both approval and opposition, and while it undoubtedly contains the brawn and muscle of direct opposition to the proposals of the Bill, it is tempered with the milk of human kindness in that it realises that the measures of reorganisation are not so far from the mark as they might be.
The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) suggested, perhaps lightheartedly, that we ought to approach the subject of beef prices and the prosperity of the industry by way of a subsidy to consumers. I do not know how far the hon. Gentleman would intend to carry out that proposition, but I do not propose to follow him to-night too closely on what was perhaps more a question of administration than a definite statement of policy. His remark about the consuming side is a valuable one, because it brings out how interdependent town and country are upon each other, and, quite apart from a subsidy to consumers, I have no doubt that one cause, at least, of the recent improvement in the prices of fat cattle is the rising tide of prosperity in the towns which has been brought about largely by the policy of His Majesty's Government. If the Government are not providing a direct subsidy for consumers, I think I can claim that they are providing a subsidy in the form of work and wages which has a powerful stimulating effect on consumption and has reacted favourably on the prices of fat cattle.
The right hon. Member for Hillsborough referred to this subsidy as a semi-permanent one. I do not see how anything can be semi-permanent. It is either permanent or impermanent. The right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) had the same point of criticism against the proposals. He seemed to imagine that we were commiting ourselves to a subsidy in perpetuity. If the right hon. Gentleman brings his attention to bear further upon the Bill, and reads Sub-section (2) of Clause 4 and the statements in the White Paper, I think he will find it is made abundantly clear that the figure of £5,000,000 puts at its maximum the sum which Parliament can vote in a year for this purpose, and that the subsidy will be regulated in accordance with market conditions and the requirements of the industry.
1117 The real quarrel is not against the subsidy itself; the quarrel is that we should be daring to give any assistance to this branch of the agricultural industry without having first ascertained the cost of production of fat cattle. That is really the kernel of the dispute between us, I ask hon. Members to reflect whether that criticism is really a reasonable one. They have been told time and time again that the main difficulty which confronts any researcher in the endeavour to ascertain the cost of production of cattle is that cattle are valuable not only in themselves but for the effect they have on the fertility of a farm. I think this clamour for an ascertainment of the cost of production of fat cattle arises, if I may say so with respect, from a false analogy drawn between agriculture and industry.
In industry the operations are specified. The raw material is of an ascertained character and supply. The operations of the industry itself can be easily comprehended and weighed up. In agriculture that is not so. One operation of agriculture blends into another and each affects the other. It is really the prosperity of the whole farm which gives the true indication of the cost of production, and not any particular item of production on a farm. I am well aware that since the War there has been a tendency among agriculturists to adopt specialised methods of farming, to regard themselves rather as industrialists.regard themselves, as turning out one particular article, but taking farming by and large it has been proved throughout the ages that the farm which survives the stress of bad times and good times is the farm in which the operations are closely interlocked one with another, the farm where, though it may be profitable to lay more emphasis on one side of production as markets change, each facet of production is yet present and each form of production buttresses the other. That is really the kernel of the difficulty of ascertaining cost of production.
Apart from that difficulty, there are other variable influences like the weather and the cost of imported feeding stuffs, which depend on world causes outside our control, and is it to be said that we are to bring no assistance to this vital branch of the agricultural industry until we have completed to our satisfaction an abstruse, academic and probably unsatis- 1118 factory research into this multitude of unknown and variable factors?
May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that last January twelve months the Milk Marketing Board produced a whole series of carefully-worked-out costs of milk production? The Minister has had two years of the operation of the subsidy in which to make arrangements for the costing of the production of fat cattle.
§ Mr. Morrison
In regard to the cost of production of milk, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will remember the phrase which I used immediately before I came to my present point. I said that if you took a specialised branch of the industry it was probably easier to arrive at some figure. Whether it would be accurate in the long run, no one would know. In the case of the livestock industry as a whole, fat cattle, store cattle and so on, it is a much more difficult problem to arrive at the cost of production than in the case of milk. The real question facing the House to-night is: Are we to delay assistance to this branch of the industry until we have ascertained, to the satisfaction of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, the costs of production of fat cattle? Let no one think that research into the cost of fat cattle has been neglected. It has been pursued persistently by research students, colleges, and learned men who are well qualified to tackle such an economic problem. They have not agreed among themselves; of course there is seldom agreement among wise men. Is this branch of the agricultural industry to be suffered to perish? Surely not. Surely we cannot be blamed if we come, in advance of such scientific findings, to the assistance of an industry of such importance.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough made a point which was very good. He said that we were taking power in the Bill to demand from traders accurate figures as to their costs and processes, and he asked why we were not taking similar powers to extract from farmers figures which would solve this great problem and would provide him and his Friends with what they so greatly desire, the cost of production of fat cattle. It would be easy to take powers under the Bill, and I have no doubt that one would be able to take those powers with the consent of the House, but taking powers and exercising them are different 1119 matters. One is reminded of the saying of Glendower, who said:I can call spirits from the vasty deep.The comment upon that by Hotspur was:but will they come when you do call for them?It is one thing to take powers to demand information required from the agricultural industry, but I doubt whether, when one had used those powers and summoned those figures, those spirits would rise from the fields and farms with the same alacrity that the right hon. Gentleman imagines.
There is no doubt, in the mind of any observer of the agricultural industry, of the broad fact upon which the Government's case is based, and there has been real distress in the livestock branch of the agricultural industry. No one can deny it. You can see signs in many quarters, and it was incumbent upon us to lay before the House proposals to give assistance in that way.
§ Mr. MacLaren
This is very important. We are assured that the Government knew there was distress in the livestock industry, necessitating a subsidy. You surely cannot say that unless you have some data to go upon. I submit that the Department must know, in some rough-and-ready way, the costs of production which made the Government deem it necessary to come to the assistance of the industry. We should like to know what are those costs of production which warrant the Government in telling the House that there is real distress in the livestock industry.
§ Mr. Morrison
It is not merely a question of figures at all, or of failing to make a profit, but of suffering a loss. It is a question of the fields of this country going back in fertility. All those are ascertainable facts upon which to base the conclusion—
§ Mr. Morrison
—that the livestock industry is not fulfilling that part in the nation's economy that it should.
As regards the amount of the subsidy, when I introduced the Bill hon. Members on this side of the House said that it was too small a sum. I urged them not to judge the sufficiency of the sum from the trough of the wave of depression which was then on the livestock industry. 1120 I said that these matters must be taken over a term of months and years. Similarly I ask hon. Members opposite to-night not to judge the sufficiency or adequacy of the sum from what they believe to be a rise of the moment. It would be fatal to confidence on the part of the agricultural industry in this House if we were to veer to the wind in our policy with every temporary fall and rise in prices, if we were to chop and change with every weekly market report. You cannot run agriculture on those lines. You must be prepared to give the industry confidence, and the Government would be ill-advised because of the recent rise in prices to change its plans until it is seen how the thing is to work out over a period of time and what is the real state of the industry.
There is little I need say about the Bill. It has been through a long period of digestion. It is a much better Bill than it was. We have had the assistance of hon. Members in putting some points of amendment which have been most helpful. Some hon. Members have expressed doubts as to whether the two-tier system of subsidy is practical. I am convinced that it is, and the experience we have had in the past of the old Cattle Committee in working the old subsidy makes us confident that this new method can be worked with satisfaction to the industry as a whole. There are two new features. One is the premium on quality, which every one recognises to be desirable, and the other is the advantage given to home-grown cattle. That goes to the root of the Government's policy, because it is our intention to encourage the breeding of stock as well as the fattening.
We hope that the regulation of imports will be effected by means of the world Beef Conference by agreement, by international accord among the producers in the various countries concerned, and the provisions which we have inserted in this Bill are really default provisions in case our hopes of the Beef Conference are not fulfilled. On markets, I think that I have made it clear that the main function of the Commission will be to improve markets and not to destroy them, and that it is only the market which at present exists without performing any useful function to producers or consumers, and which is really a burden on the 1121 backs of the producer, which ought to be removed. I think that in the matter of markets we have set on foot a scheme which will provide for important reorganisation of these centres, and without injustice to any one.
The slaughtering part of the Bill does not embody permanent policy. It enables us to set up three experiments on the results of which we may be in a position later to formulate permanent policy. It is a valuable thing to inquire into this matter. It has been a subject of debate long enough and it is time that we got the facts by actual experiment. Less attention has been directed to the service schemes than to other parts of the Bill, but I believe that they offer a very important opportunity, to all those concerned in every branch of the industry, to come together and co-operate for the common good in their various branches of the industry. I think it will be found, when the opportunities of Part VI of the Bill are realised, that a very important and valuable opportunity has been placed in the hands of producers and distributors.
The Bill, as has been pointed out already, has been 18 days in Committee and two days on the Floor of the House, and during that time we have been so immersed in detail that, before we speed the Bill on its way to another place, it would be well to remind ourselves of the bearing which the policy of the Bill has on the agricultural industry in general, and on national policy after that. First of all, there can be no doubt as to the importance of the livestock industry as a branch of the agricultural industry. The proportion of the total value of agricultural output which livestock and its products represent annually is no less than 70 per cent., and the poverty in such a very large part of the industry must react with severe effect upon the whole industry of agriculture. That is due to the fact that the peculiar virtues of this island as a breeding place and fattening ground for livestock have been recognised by the supremacy which our livestock has gained in the world at large. But, quite apart from the value of the output as such, anyone who is acquainted with agriculture in our island must recognise the very important bearing which the carrying of a large livestock population has upon the continued power of our fields to produce food for our own people. One of the features of this island is its steady 1122 rainfall as compared with many parts of the world, and this imposes upon our land a continual lack of humus, which, unless it is replaced, leads ultimately to impoverishment of the soil.
There have been criticisms of the Bill, particularly from the distributive side of the industry. We have tried to meet those criticisms so far as we can, and I think we have succeeded to a very large extent in removing apprehensions and misunderstandings on the part of those engaged in these branches of the industry. But we have, as a last resort, to appeal to the distributors' sense of how vitally they are bound up with the producers in this matter. We have built up in this country a very large urban population, and have reared up a very large structure of commerce and industry. But the complexity and importance of that structure should not so dazzle us that we forget the foundation upon which the whole is reared. All this structure of modem civilisation, in the last resort, rests upon the primary producers. Everything that you grow, in the last resort, comes out of the ground—
§ Mr. Morrison
It is true economy for the nation to assist in the preservation of its agriculture. The ground is the whole basis of our national life, and makes us more secure against emergency and adversity. In the confident hope that what we are doing to-night will make a contribution of value to this important end—an end which is well worth struggle and trouble to achieve—I have much pleasure in commending the Bill to the House for its Third Reading.
§ 11,0 p.m.
§ Mr. Price
I wish to make a personal statement as to my views on the Third Reading of the Bill. I speak for myself, though my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg (Mr. Quibell) is with me in this matter. I have among my constituents a very large number of persons who are engaged in feeding and breeding cattle. They have suffered terribly in the last few years and they are struggling against very difficult conditions. Their fields have remained unslagged and unmanured and the general condition of the farms is tending to deteriorate. When I see before the House a Bill which will do something to alleviate their difficulties, I can- 1123 not see my way to go into the Lobby against it. My hon. Friend and I, therefore, do not propose to vote against it. We have reason to be satisfied that it represents a substantial advance towards organising the industry. In the Bill we see measures to reorganise the industry in such a way as to eliminate some of the disgraceful waste that is going on between producer and consumer—those middlemen and distributors who are robbing the producer at one end and the consumer at the other, and some step taken—not enough, but a movement in the right direction. We see a tendency towards eliminating redundant markets and setting up central slaughter-houses to get rid of this waste. We see provision for a subsidy to assist those who are trying efficiently to produce the best beef.
We have many objections, which I have voiced in Committee and with my friends have tried to get amended. To some extent we have succeeded, but only to some extent. I much regret that Part III of the Bill sets up market regulations in such a way as I think will be undesirable. What we wish to see is import boards which will have the necessary form
§ of control in the public interest. There is no sliding scale established for a standard price, which is a very grave defect, and there is no provision for costing. I differ entirely from the Minister when he says it is impossible. I have evidence that it is possible. I bitterly regret that he has allowed the Bill to go through without the necessary provisions in this direction. In spite of that, I cannot see my way to vote against it. Although it has defects, I prefer to trust to public opinion and to criticism which will be levelled from time to time in the House to bring about in time improvement in its operation, and ultimately to amend and extend it. Therefore, believing as I do in the force of public opinion in this country, I hope the Bill will get through. I will not oppose it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Will you vote for it?"] Let hon. Members wait. We will decide that in a few minutes. I shall not vote against the Bill. I wish to see it on the Statute Book as soon as possible.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 177; Noes, 99.1125
|Division No. 184.]||AYES.||[11.6 p.m.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Higgs, W. F.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Dawson, Sir P.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'kn'hd)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Hopkinson, A.|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh)||Dower, Capt. A. V. G.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Drewe, C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Hudson, R. S. (Southport)|
|Assheton, R.||Dugdale, Major T. L.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. Dover)||Duggan, H. J.||Hunter, T.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Duncan, J. A. L.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Dunglass, Lord||Joel, D. J. B.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Eastwood, J. F.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Emery, J. F.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Leekie, J. A.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Liddall, W. S.|
|Blindell, Sir J.||Fildes, Sir H.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Findlay, Sir E.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Furness, S. N.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Ganzoni, Sir J.||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Gibson, C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Gluckstein, L. H.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||McKie, J. H.|
|Burgin, Dr. E. L.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Magnay, T.|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Guy, J. C. M.||Maitland, A.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hanbury, Sir C.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Hannah, I. C.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Harbord, A.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Critchley, A.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Crooke, J. S.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Hepworth, J.||Moreing, A. C.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Nall, Sir J.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Rothschild, J. A. de||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Rowlands, G.||Turton, R. H.|
|Owen, Major G.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Patrick, C. M.||Salmon, Sir I.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Peake, O.||Salt, E. W.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Peat, C. U.||Samuel, M. R. A.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Penny, Sir G.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Peroy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Wells, S. R.|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Peters, Dr. S. J.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Petherick, M.||Somerset, T.||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Procter, Major H. A.||Southby, Commander A. R. J.||Wragg, H.|
|Radford, E. A.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Young, A. S. L. (Partiok)|
|Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)|
|Ramsbotham, H.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ramsden, Sir E.||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert War|
|and Lieut.-Colonel Llewellin.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Parker, J.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Groves, T. E.||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Potts, J.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Ridley, G.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Hardie, G. D.||Riley, B.|
|Amnion, C. G.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Ritson, J.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Rowson, G.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Salter, Sir J. Arthur (Oxford U.)|
|Barr, J.||Holdsworth, H.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Batey, J.||dagger, J.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Silkin, L.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Simpson, F. B.|
|Brom field, W.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Charleton, H. G.||Kelly, W. T.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Chater, D.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kirby, B. V.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Lathan, G.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Daggar, G.||Lawson, J. J.||Tinker, J, J.|
|Dalton, H.||Leonard, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Leslie, J. R.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Logan, D, G.||Westwood, J.|
|Ede, J. C.||Lunn, W.||White, H. Graham|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||McEntee, V. La T.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||McGhee, H. G.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Frankel, D.||MacLaren, A.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Gallacher, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Marshall, F.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Gibbins, J.||Milner, Major J.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Oliver, G. H.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
Question put, and agreed to.