§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second: time."
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Sir Murdoch MacDonald
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
For the third time now I have the privilege of either moving or seconding the rejection of this Measure. I do so on this occasion because of two main objections of principle which I have to it as it stands. Some of these objectionable features have appeared in the previous Bills. Indeed, on the last two occasions on which the Bill was before the House it was almost identical, certainly on the engineering side, with what is now before us. A very objectionable feature, which has been repeated in the last two Bills and in this Bill, appeared in 1928. On 423 that occasion a Bill was brought forward to utilise the Loch Quoich area, to drive a tunnel through the hills on the West Coast of Scotland, drop the waters down to the sea on the other side, and at that point extract the power from them. That particular method of dealing with the Loch Quoich waters was very strenuously objected to, so strenuously that I think it was the main reason for that Bill being lost. In 1936 a similar Bill, containing this objectionable feature, was brought before the House and once again rejected. In 1937, last year, exactly the same thing occurred, and this year again practically the same Bill as the previous two Bills comes before the House with this same objectionable feature still contained in it. Therefore, this is really the fourth time that this objectionable feature has appeared before this House. I feel certain that it was the cause of the loss of the Bill on the first occasion, and I feel equally certain that, although there was another point in the 1936 Bill, namely, the taxation problem, which loomed very much before the House, this objectionable feature of diverting the waters to the West Coast was one of the main reasons for the rejection of the Bill.
Last year I drew attention as strongly as I could to this objectionable feature, and I do so again this year. I say that the promoters of the Bill have had ample opportunity to judge whether it is reasonable of them to come before this House year after year and ask it to pass a Bill containing a feature which, to my mind and to the minds of those whom I represent, is certainly most objectionable. As they have not altered their opinion, but have once again attempted to get this Bill passed through this House, I stand here to-night to object to its Second Reading, and I hope the House will agree with me on that point. The constant bringing forward of a Bill of this kind is a matter that ought seriously to be considered by Members of this House, if I may respectfully say so, because, after all, a great deal of expense has to be incurred by those who oppose the Bill. Year after year they are put to the expense of appearing before this House or attempting to influence this House in the direction of having their Views properly stated and fairly considered, and if the Bill goes to the Committee stage, that expense, of course, is 424 still further accentuated. I therefore think the fact of a Bill of this kind coming year by year before the House is a matter which ought to give Members a good deal of thought, as to whether the Standing Order, permitting such constant repetition year by year, is as fair on Members and on the outside public who have to oppose the Bill as it would appear to be.
I have looked up the OFFICIAL REPORT of the two previous occasions when I have stood here to object to this Bill, and I have read carefully everything that I said on those occasions, and I see now no reason to withdraw one word of what I then said. I think I gave reasonable and cogent arguments why the House should reject the Measure. I do not desire to trespass by constant repetition of the same arguments year after year, and I will therefore devote myself to only two specific matters of principle in which I think this Bill fails and, as a consequence, ought to be rejected. There are many other matters with which, I have no doubt, other hon. Members will deal, and I shall leave all other subjects to them to put before the House as they think fit.
The first point that I desire to deal with as a matter of principle is yet, from the promoters' point of view, not one of any importance whatever. It is one to which I drew the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, and it is this: Whatever happens, whatever kind of scheme is adopted, there is no doubt whatever in anybody's mind that somehow or other the River Ness, flowing through the town of Inverness, will be affected. Indeed, everybody agrees, although, it may be, not to the extent of saying individually what is the amount of affectation of the river—I have my own views in regard to that—that it will be affected. It is therefore clear that the town of Inverness has a vital interest in this Bill, in that its river, undoubtedly, will be detrimentally affected. You cannot subtract, taking the whole year round, 15 or 16 per cent. of the water and say, "Oh, the river is just as it was." Inverness is entitled to say," Well, you touch our river; we do not want you to touch it, and we have cogent reasons, we think, why you should not touch it, but you are going to do some injury to us." If that be accepted, then, when 425 this company terminates its use of these waters—that is, when the lease, if granted undr the Bill, expires—is it not only right and reasonable that the property in the water that is taken away from the town of Inverness should once again revert to it? Under the Bill it reverts to the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade can, at the end of a period of 75 years, take over these water powers, in so far as the works are concerned. If they take them over, that, as a practical matter, means that the property in them passes into the hands, as far as the monetary consideration is concerned, of the Treasury.
The Bill asks that a private company, for its private gain, should be allowed to inflict an injury on the town of Inverness and its inhabitants. It may be, though I hope not, that in the judgment of Parliament that injury will be inflicted. If it is inflicted for the nexet 75 years, is it not only right and reasonable that at the end of that period, when the company's term is finished, the property in these water powers should once again return to those who originally owned it, that is, to the town and inhabitants of Inverness?
§ Sir M. MacDonald
To the town of Inverness, through its town council, once again to hold that which has been taken away from it for the purpose of giving it to some private persons for their private gain.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
We do not legislate merely for our own lifetime. We hope that Acts of Parliament will last longer than our own time, and nothing should be done to-day in this House which will inflict an injury on anybody to-morrow. Chat is the real point of this matter. As I have said, I put this matter before the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, and he told me, just as did the hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten), that we shall all be dead before this term is up. That may be quite right, but our successors will be 426 affected. As I understand it, there is no legal bar to this being done, and as it seems to me to be plain justice, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to see that it will be done. That is my first point.
There are three classes of companies using hydro-electric power. There are the Galloway and the Grampian schemes. They use rivers, streams, dams, and all the other paraphernalia of hydro-electric power production. They are financially controlled and the Electricity Commissioners have full command over them. They cannot make exorbitant profits for themselves. The Electricity Commissioners can interfere with the rates of charges. I myself have appealed to them to interfere with the rates that some of these companies have been endeavouring to charge, and as a consequence have been able to obtain reduced rates for my constituents. Every three years the Commissioners can reduce the rates so as to prevent these companies making undue profits. If the Government thought fit to give power to companies of that kind to control water it would be quite right to do so because the Government, through the Electricity Commissioners, would have full control over them to see that the public got a share of the profits they made. There is another set of hydroelectric power schemes which is illustrated by the Lochaber power scheme. They own the rights or have bought the rights of their water practically from the source to the sea. Their works are on their own private property. It is true that they are private companies and their profits are uncontrolled, but they do not interfere with public rights in any way.
§ Sir Edmund Findlay
The Lochaber Power Company are promoting a Bill to take a lot of water from the Spey.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
When that Bill comes up we shall have a lot to say about it. At present they are uncontrolled, they work their own factories on their own land, and they do not interfere with public rights of any kind. There is the third class of company, like the Caledonian Power Company, which now comes before the House. Like the Lochaber Power Company they are uncontrolled in regard to their profits. It is true that a little electricity will be sold to the surrounding inhabitants and that in respect of that small quantity there will be control by the Electricity Commissioners. The bulk of the power, probably 95 per 427 cent., will be sold to the company's own factories, and, in consequence, will be uncontrolled as far as this House and the general public are concerned. They will make their own profits from the water power, sell the electricity to their own factories, and be uncontrolled. Unlike the Lochaber Power Company, they will interfere with public rights. They will interfere with the public right of the town of Inverness and its river. The town is not willing to sell its rights even if it could do so.
This is the first time that a private company for its own profit is to be allowed to interfere with a public right. I hope that on that ground alone the Bill will be rejected. There is, however, the vital matter, to which I originally referred, of the flow of the water to the west coast. In that regard the company are doing a wholly gratuitous damage to Inverness and its inhabitants. If the company said that they could not get the quantity of power they wanted by turning the water in the right direction, something might be said for the scheme. Under their Bill they have determined the quantity of power they intend to procure, and I say that they can secure the same amount of power by a proper use of the water and by turning it all to the east instead of turning a large proportion to the west.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
I took the precaution of asking two of my colleagues, who are very competent and have great experience in works of this nature, to consider whether the same amount of power could be obtained by turning the water the other way. They have made all the necessary calculations, I have examined them, and I am satisfied that it could be obtained. I said that the calculations must be checked by someone outside, and I suggested an eminent Swiss engineer, a friend of mine, but my colleagues suggested that I should try somebody in London. I found that I had a friend who would oblige me by examining what I proposed. He is a member of the Water Power Resources Committee and is chairman of one of its principal sub-committees. I refer to Dr. Crowley, a well known authority on hydro-electric matters. He writes to me: 428I would confirm that I have examined with you the water power development of Loch Quoich and Loch Garry, as proposed to the Caledonian Power Bill, which proposes to divert Loch Quoich from its natural catchment. I am impressed with your proposal to develop the power of Loch Quoich in its natural catchment and am satisfied that substantially the same power can be got by this development as could be obtained by the development outlined in the Caledonian Power Bill.I was not even satisfied with that. Dr. Crowley is my personal friend and did this to oblige me. I knew that Inverness had engaged the services of an eminent consulting engineering firm in London to advise them—Binnie, Deacon and Gourley —and I asked Mr. Gourley what he thought of my scheme. He wrote:As a result of ray investigation of an alternative layout to that of the promoters, I am of opinion that substantially the same amount of power could be generated by the Quoich-Garry catchment when all the water flows east as could be obtained by the promoters' scheme in which the waters of the Quoich area are diverted to the west.I think, therefore, I am justified in saying that an unnecessary injury is being done to my constituents by this diversion of water. Unfortunately, an alternative suggestion of this sort cannot be settled in Committee. If the Bill passes Second Reading it will go to the Committee, but if the Committee finds that this alternative proposal is the better of the two, it can only reject the Bill.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
I went into that and I advised the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence that I thought it would cost £100,000 more.
§ Mr. Cove
Do I understand, therefore, that the hon. Member would support the Caledonian Power Bill if £100,000 more were spent on the scheme?
§ Sir M. MacDonald
I am afraid that the hon. Member has not read what I said on the previous occasions. I said that I had no objection to the development of Highland water power, and I have none now. The day of the development of Highland water power is bound to come, but when it does come let us have it in such a way that the maximum of injury will not be done by private people for private gain. There is no question now that the power can be got by turning to 429 the east, and whatever the extra expense may be—and it is not for me at this moment to say whether my figures are right or not—the alternative scheme should be carried out. The point is that power can be got in the other direction of the same amount as the company are getting in the direction they are going while doing the maximum amount of damage. Last year I described the Bill as outrageous. I still think that it would be a dreadful thing if this House should allow public interest to suffer in order that private people for their uncontrolled private gain should be allowed to get this Bill through and therefore I beg to move that the House rejects this Bill.
§ 8.1 p.m.
Mr. J. J. Davidson
I beg to second the Amendment.
Because of the name of the chairman of the promoters this Bill has been jocularly referred to as a Hardie annual, but when the House of Commons year after year gives its decision on a private Bill submitted by a strong wealthy industrial company and when that decision is continually neglected and the viewpoints of hon. Members of this House are taken no notice of, and the Bill is submitted year after year, then in accordance with the dignity of this House it has gone beyond a joke. As a native of Inverness I have been very concerned with this scheme. Let me assure hon. Members on all sides of the House that if I honestly and sincerely believed that this scheme would bring some benefit to the people of the Highlands of Scotland there would be no doubt as to which way I would vote to-night. I have listened with great attention to the arguments from both sides, and it is very interesting and right that hon. Members should recognise who exactly are supporting and objecting to this Bill. Since my entry into the House of Commons I have continually maintained, sometimes against the wishes of my own heart, that a Government must control the country and its people for the benefit of the great majority of the community. Therefore, this Bill must be examined by all who believe in our institutions from the point of view of what effect it will have on the great majority of the community who come under the scope of the Bill.
430 For the Bill we have the promoters, to whom I will make no personal reference save to say that they represent a great, strong and wealthy financial organisation. We have a section of a county council whose chief office-bearers receive compensatory benefits if this scheme is passed, a section of a county council who represent a rateable value of £21,400, a few miscellaneous individual landlords who have never been known in the history of the Highlands for their support of schemes for assisting the ordinary workers of the Highlands. Then we have—and I give due credit to them—those members of the Fort William Labour party—undoubtedly a small section of the Labour movement in that area—who believe that this will bring some benefit to their particular area. But against this Bill, from the point of view of community government control, we have the Inverness Town Council elected by the votes of the people; we have Baillie Hugh Fraser, the Labour representative on that council; we have the Inverness Labour party with an individual membership of. 300 wholly and completely opposed to this scheme—all representing a rateable value in the county of over £205,000. We have also against this scheme almost every society in Scotland which desires the preservation of the beauties of the Highlands; and last but not least we have the Scots Self-Government League, the executive of the Scots Self-Government League who are to a man and a woman Socialists desiring the betterment and improvement of the Highlands. Therefore, after considering the supporters and the opponents of this Bill, I want to say to my colleagues particularly that in the attitude I take to-night my conscience is clear.
The Inverness Town Council, the main objectors, with these other associations supporting them, represent a population of 22,500 people. The Fort William objectors represent 2,500 people. While I agree that minorities must always have their rights, it is a fundamental principle that in any legislation that emanates from this House it must be legislation which takes into consideration the majority opinion of the people involved, and when that majority is shown clearly as an overwhelming majority of objectors it must be clear to Members that there is no widespread feeling or anxiety in the Highlands, no desire among the great mass of the Highlanders, for this Bill. I 431 say from a close knowledge of them that Highland people desire development in the Highlands on the natural lines of the Highlands.
I am convinced that from a national point of view this industry is an industry that is best suited to a distressed mining area. We have had experts giving us figures and percentages. I have examined the evidence very closely and I am convinced—and I object to this Bill—because I think that the industry is being placed in the wrong area, that it is going to destroy local industries in that area, and that it would be much better from the national point of view that this industry should be placed in a distressed mining area close to the necessary raw materials, avoiding unnecessary overhead costs and giving to the nation this necessary commodity at the cheapest possible price.
In order to strengthen my arguments on behalf of the distressed areas I want to place before hon. Members some of the evidence that goes to prove this conclusively—evidence from eminent experts who are not employed by the company; and I think that my hon. Friends on this side, particularly from their experience in the past, cannot have very great faith in company lawyers or company engineers who are employed and paid by a company for their opinion. Therefore, it is right that we should go further. I say the same with regard to the engineers employed by the objectors. I go further afield and leave the two contending parties to their conflicting views, and I have here the viewpoint of one of the most eminent electrical engineers in this country, Sir Alexander Gibb, who was the principal partner in the contracting firm of Easton Gibb and Son, which constructed the naval base at Rosyth. He acted as chief civil engineer to the Admiralty and the Ministry of Transport and is now principal partner in the firm of Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, engineers for the Galloway hydro-electrical undertaking. He states very definitely that a large steam station could be built to produce electricity on the basis of 100 per cent. load factor at 185 pence per unit at the switchboard, as against the estimated cost of the promoters of this Bill of 240 pence.
I have also the statement of Mr. Frank Castor, one of the most eminent engineers 432 in New York, who states that in America large numbers of hydro-electrical developments have been carried out, but that more than two-thirds of them were commercially disappointing and they were failing to hold their own in comparison with the power costs of modern steam electrical plant. I have many other authorities who can prove definitely that at least—and I go no further—no scheme of water power should be passed by this House haphazardly—a scheme that will prevent the changing in Committee of that scheme to steam power—until the House is fully informed of the figures and opinions of such eminent experts. I call in support of my plea that this industry should be set up in a distressed mining area, the Prime Minister himself, who stated at Dundee on 29th November that from every point of view, from the point of view of our free civilisation, he regarded the introduction of new industries in the Special Areas as being the most important and the best work to which a British citizen could devote his capital and his brains for the benefit of his fellows.
I have one other point to make, with regard to the question of steam power versus water power. To-day the hon. Member for Cardiganshire (Mr. O. Evans) asked the President of the Board of Trade:What was the quantity of calcium carbide produced in Germany during the last calendar year or some other period for which information is available, giving the quantity produced with the use of electricity generated by water-power and electricity generated by other means, respectively?I commend the answer to hon. Gentlemen on all sides of the House. I ask them not to be obstinate-minded on this question, but to give it their open and sincere examination. The reply of the President of the Board of Trade was:The desired information is not available from official German sources, but I understand that the production of calcium carbide in Germany during 1937 amounted to about 140,000 tons, of which roughly one-quarter was produced with the use of electricity generated by water power.The water power of Norway, Russia and other countries has been placed against the water power of this country, as an argument for the use of water power. There is no comparison between the water power of those countries and of this country. There is no comparison between the fall of the water in those 433 countries and in this country. There is no comparison between the amount of electrical installation which will be necessary in this country and in Norway and the other countries. The overhead costs in this country will be tremendous as compared with the costs in those other countries. Therefore, on that argument, we must examine the question of whether the water power in the Highlands of Scotland should be utilised for this important and necessary production—nationally necessary production, as the Secretary for Scotland stated in a previous Debate—or whether it should be placed in an area where it will provide more employment and provide the commodity more cheaply to the Government.
I say quite frankly, as a Socialist—and I hope that democrats on all sides of the House; those who believe in supporting the Government against all methods of dictatorship, will agree—that I would never be in favour of handing over, in order to provide work in a large area for 300 men, monopoly powers to a large company for nationally-necessary production, and allowing that company to hold a pistol at the head of the Government with regard to price. Hon Members on all sides know, and the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence knows, perfectly well that we have had great difficulty, and that we shall have great difficulty, in controlling the selfish desire for profits at the expense of the nation's need for armaments.
The Highlands of Scotland have now great room for development. Every Highland economic committee that has been set up has urged, and is still asking for, greater faciilties for agricultural development in the Highlands of Scotland. Many small industries can be set up adjoining the towns in the Highlands, and those industries can receive to-day the electrical power that is going to waste in the Highlands of Scotland because it is not being used. With those possibilities of development there, I ask hon. Members to assist them, instead of setting up an industry that undoubtedly will occupy 300 miles of the Highlands of Scotland, with over 12 miles of tunnel, the damming of lochs, the diverting of waters from their natural sources—creating dried-up streams and having roads in the winter time submerged, and then, with the fall of the water in the 434 summer time, those roads bared to the gaze of the tourist traffic, with the muck and filth that must accrue from their submergence. I ask hon. Members, before giving power to any private company, to consider well what other methods could be used to assist the Highlanders, with regard to agriculture, small industries and tourist traffic.
We have heard that this Bill is being proposed to support an area which is being depopulated. It may interest hon. Members to know that in the chief areas affected by this scheme, instead of their being depopulated, the population has increased during the last two years, and in Inverness itself we have a 7.5 per cent. increase of the population. Therefore, this plea that this destitute, depopulated area must have those ugly works set up in it, in order to bring great and everlasting benefit to the Highlands, falls to the ground when a true examination of the facts is made by open-minded Members. The tourist traffic of the North of Scotland has increased during the past three years, and I do not think it is the desire of any hon. Member—and, I will say, even of those who in the House support the scheme; not the promoters—that the beauties of the Highlands of Scotland should be completely obliterated, or even that scars should be put on them.
The beauties of the Highlands, speaking not from a sentimental point of view but from a business point of view, are an asset to the Highlands. The beauties of Scotland have attracted during the past three years a 600 per cent. increase of tourist traffic. With those small industries growing, and with our desire, as I believe we have the desire, to improve the lot of those people in the Highlands, let us assist them in this natural development, instead of setting up ugly buildings, dams and deposits, that will turn the tourist traffic away and kill local industries. I honestly and sincerely believe that the effect of the Bill will be to stop the natural development of the Highlands.
There are two sides of the Bill, the power side and the industrial side. On the power side, 300 miles of area will be occupied, four important lochs will be dammed, the floor of those lochs will be diverted and 37 other lochs and rivers in the Highlands will be affected. The promoters do not deny that important roadways will be submerged in the winter and 435 that in the summer the fall of water will affect those roads and leave ugly landmarks. A Clause in the Bill which I recommend for examination provides that the promoters of the Bill shall have power to sell, to leave or to do what they will with those deposits. There is no guarantee in the Bill that the promoters will do their utmost, or will spend money, to maintain the amenities of the Highlands. When did it become the policy of this House, despite our sincere desire for work for our people, to say to any private company: "Work at any price"? I do not believe that the price which the Highlands of Scotland are being asked to pay for the setting up of this industry is one that they ought to be asked to pay.
Who is it that asks for special rating facilities? Who is it that asks this House to allow them not only 75 per cent. de-rating but an extra 50 per cent. that we do not grant to shopkeepers, householders or many other industries in the country? It is a firm that in 1896 was small but to-day represents £3,000,000 in capital, and in the last nine years has paid £1,900,000 in profits. This wealthy industrial firm asks the House of Commons to give it those special rating facilities which will undoubtedly impose upon local ratepayers a burden which they ought not to be asked to share. This wealthy firm, which has shown such tremendous profits, asks for a monopoly over the water power of the Highlands and for power to destroy hundreds of miles of scenery, for the employment of only 300 men. I would recall that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. T. Johnston) stated last year that the £1 shares of this firm are now worth £6, and I maintain that the firm desires a monopoly of the water power of Scotland.
Representatives of the Inverness Town Council pointed out to me clearly the effect that this proposal would have upon the town. I have heard many stories about the sewerage system as it exists, but I have in my possession a letter from the medical officer of Inverness and from the public assistance convener, stating that many of the stories which hon. Members must have heard in reference to Inverness diseases are entirely untrue. That council depends upon spates and floods for the cleansing of the river for the health of the city, and without those 436 spates and floods the city's health would be seriously affected and difficulties would be created for an elected local authority. We are proposing to stop their electrical development and we are affecting adversely 22,500 people because a profit-making concern desires a monopoly in the North of Scotland. I ask every open-minded Member of this House to see to it that the promoters of the Bill receive their last lesson from the House of Commons and that they are told in no uncertain manner that they cannot go forward against the decision and opinions of hon. Members year after year and expect the wealth of their industrial undertakings to subdue our opinions and our clear-sighted judgment in this matter.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
I hope that the House will give a Second Reading to the Bill. The hon. Member has dealt with it—I am sure he will not mind my saying so—very largely from the party point of view——
§ Hon. Members: No.
§ Mr. Boothby
He quoted at great length the opinions of the Socialist members of the burgh councils, and he pleaded with this House not to grant any kind of monopoly right to any form of private enterprise. He was appealing primarily to Members of his own party. I want to take up two questions which he raised. The first was when he said that there was ample scope in the Highlands for the development of small industries and agriculture. He might have treated the House a little more seriously on those two points and told us what small industries. I would ask him that question, because I am very interested in it, as Member for a constituency in the North of Scotland. This is the first time I have heard about a great new scheme for the development of small industries. I should like to hear more about it in the interests of Peterhead and Fraserburg and various other towns in my constituency that I know very well. I noticed that the hon. Gentleman was very careful not to name a single small industry.
Secondly, he implied that there was scope in the West Highlands for the development of agriculture on a sub- 437 stantial scale. I suggest to this House that that is nothing short of an insult to the people who live in the West Highlands. The hon. Member knows that in these days of mass production the idea that you can develop agriculture on a large scale in the sort of area covered by the proposals of the Bill and by this scheme is not only Utopian but illusory. You cannot possibly expect to develop agriculture in this sort of area, or small industries either.
On the question of cost the hon. Member reiterated that it would be cheaper to produce carbide in a distressed area where there were coal and anthracite than to produce it by hydro-electric power, but he knows as well as this House knows that that is not the case. If it were the case, why should the British Oxygen Company come to this House for three years in succession trying to get powers under the Bill? I do not claim that they are in business from an altruistic point of view, but they want to produce their car-hide as cheaply as they can. They have carried out exhaustive tests, and they are in as good a position as any hon. Member to judge the matter, and they have come to the conclusion that it is cheaper to produce calcium carbide by hydroelectric power than by means of coal. If they had not come to that conclusion, this Bill would never have been before the House. Therefore, it is idle for the hon. Member or anyone else to suggest that it is cheaper to produce calcium carbide by steam power than by hydro-electric power.
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that last year the promoters stated definitely that the production of calcium carbide by steam power in any coal area was uneconomic; and is he aware that they have stated this year that it is economic?
§ Mr. Boothby
That again is a mistake, with which I shall deal in a moment. By itself it is uneconomic, but, if you take the question of distribution and the averaging of costs—[HON. MEMBERS: It is a question of marketing."]—of course it is a question of marketing—it is possible to work these two schemes together. I will deal with that point in a moment. The hon. Member tried to convey to the House that by itself it is cheaper to produce calcium carbide by 438 steam power derived from coal than it is by water power. He knows as well as every other hon. Member that, whatever may be the merits or demerits of this Bill, that at least is not true.
The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill made, I thought, a very unfair speech. He said it was a great shame that, if and when this scheme ever came to an end, it should not be returned to the proprietors, but that the rights in it should be returned to the Government. I am not sure whether that will greatly appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite, but it certainly does not appeal to me. When its work comes to an end, if it ever does come to an end, the rights should be vested in the Board of Trade, or, in other words, in the Government. That is the place where they ought to be.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
Is my hon. Friend aware that other hydro-electric schemes are returnable to particular electric undertakings in the area? Why, therefore, should not this particular one return to the county and town of Inverness?
§ Mr. Boothby
I did not interrupt either of the other two speeches, and I know from bitter experience that, if we go on bobbing up and down, we shall be here much longer. It is very easy to debate all these points; they are controversial points. I have to make this case as quickly as I can, and I do not want to give way again. I would only say that that does not apply to the Grampian scheme, or to many other schemes. If my hon. Friend is merely making the point that it would be better to return the rights to private existing owners of those rights than to the Government many years hence, if and when the scheme comes to a conclusoin, I do not agree with him. So far as the Lochaber scheme is concerned, it interferes, of course, in many respects with the rights of various counties at the present time. What I really object to in the speech of the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. MacDonald) is that he so unfairly stated that this Bill was being brought to the House by a powerful private company over and over again, as it were in the teeth of the opinion of the House. That is a travesty, and a most unfair travesty, of the facts. It is quite typical of the continuous misrepresentation that has gone on with regard to this Bill for months past, and, indeed, for years past.
439 Let me recount to the House the real facts of the situation. Hon. Members will recollect that a similar Bill to this was introduced and rejected last year. It was rejected by 180 votes to 140, and I may mention in passing that 47 of the Scottish Members were in favour of the Bill on that occasion, and only 11 were opposed to it. Why was it rejected? I would remind hon. Members that the reason why the Bill was rejected on the last occasion was that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland said:There is this enormously important industry which we all agree that it is desirable at least to establish in this country. The question of the location of the industry still remains. The Government cannot divest itself of the responsibility of determining the question whether, and if so where, this industry should be carried on in this country, nor does the Government wish to do so. If, therefore, this Bill fails to obtain a Second Reading to-night, the Government itself will forthwith take up the question how best this country should be provided with a supply of carbide, and where this supply of carbide should be produced. It might well be that in such circumstances a Highland site might be chosen."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 2937; cols. 1277–8, Vol. 321.]The Government, therefore, accepted this responsibility, and, in order to prove to hon. Members that that was the opinion of the House, and that the Government accepted it, I would like to quote from the concluding observations of the speech made on the same occasion by my hon. Friend the Member for Ecclesall (Sir G. Ellis). He said:I accept the alternative which the right hon. Gentleman suggested, that it is the duty of the Government to face the situation and to examine the whole question. I am obliged to him for the clear way in which he has put the matter, and I suggest to the House that if we want a thorough and complete examination, apart from considerations of interest on both sides, it is the duty of the House to reject this Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1937; col. 1290, Vol. 321.]I was in the House on that occasion, and took a great interest in the matter, and I think that the speech of my hon. Friend had great influence. That was the impression that the speech of the Secretary of State for Scotland made on that occasion, and, having in mind the fact that the Government accepted the responsibility for making an impartial examination into this question, the House rejected 440 the Bill and the Government took it over. A sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence was set up to examine this question. It examined witnesses, it took evidence, it publicly advertised that expressions of opinion and views could be made to it from all quarters, including my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness; and the whole scheme submitted by the promoters of the Bill, that is to say, the scheme for the establishment of a factory at Corpach and one at Port Talbot, was accepted by that sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence—the Government's own Committee. That is the history of this Bill, and I am sure that any unbiased and unprejudiced Member of the House will agree with me that to say in these circumstances that the promoters of the Bill, in bringing it once more before the House on the recommendation of the Committee of Imperial Defence, are trying to challenge the opinion of this House, and using their power and finance and influence to challenge the opinion of this House, is not a fair statement of the case. They have brought this Bill before the House tonight because it embodies a scheme that has been accepted in its entirety by a committee set up by the Government. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) shakes his head, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland says, "Hear, hear." I imagine that my right hon. Friend knows more what the sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence recommended than does the hon. and learned Member.
Having made that preliminary statement with regard to the history of the Bill, and having, I think, exculpated the promoters of the Bill from any charge of trying to put themselves in any way in opposition to the opinion of the House, I come to the aim of the Bill, and, as I recapitulated it at some length last year, it will not be necessary for me to detain the House for very long about it now. Calcium carbide, as hon. Members know, is essential for the production of acetylene gas, which, combined with oxygen, can cut through the thickest steel plates, and is essential for modern welding on a large scale. It is vital for aeroplane production. I do not think any hon. Member will deny that 400,000 tons of carbide are produced every year in Germany, and 441 350,000 tons in Italy. We use at present between 50,000 and 60,000 tons of carbide per annum in this country, but in the event of war we should—and here I quote authoritatively from the Secretary of State for Scotland—require at least double that amount, that is to say, about 120,000 tons a year, if our efforts are not to be greatly crippled. That is the information of the Secretary of State for Scotland. The immediate objective of this Bill is, therefore, to produce carbide in this country. We import at the present time practically all the carbide that we use. Perhaps I might just refresh the memories of hon. Members as to the report made by the Nitrogen Products Committee as long ago as 1921. In paragraph 656 of their report they said:''that as a minimum provision for safeguarding the future the calcium cyanamide process should be established in Great Britain without delay, either by private enterpise, supported if necessary by the Government, or as a public work. The Committee considered that the necessary electric energy should be obtained either from water power in Scotland or from a large steam power station.They added that they had ascertained from the Water Power Resources Committee of the Board of Trade that there were several sites in Scotland where the necessary power could be developed at a reasonable cost. The Committee added in paragraph 288, which is really worth reading, because 1921 is a long time ago:We consider that the utilisation of the water powers of the United Kingdom would tend to relieve the increasing congestion of our large centres of population, and in the case of the Highlands of Scotland would assist materially in improving the present low standard of comfort of the inhabitants of that area, thus arresting the abnormal emigration from it.What is the ultimate objective? It is nothing less than the establishment of electro-chemical industries in the Highlands of Scotland, worked by hydroelectric plant. At the present time the annual importation into this country of the products of these electro-chemical industries is valued at not less than £2,000,000 sterling, and all I say is that in default of any constructive alternative it does not do to talk of small industries and agriculture. This scheme offers the best hope of bringing some life, some revival, to the West Highlands of Scotland of any constructive scheme yet produced.
442 I come now to the point made by the hon. Member who seconded the rejection of the Bill. One of the most important factors in the manufacture of carbide is the cost of the electric power, because 4,000 units are consumed for one ton of carbide produced. Thus a difference of 100th part of a penny per unit of electricity consumed means a difference of 3s. a ton in the cost of the carbide produced. Cheap power is, therefore, essential. The estimated cost of power is considerably higher in South Wales than at Corpach.
§ Mr. Boothby
In any part of South Wales. Power produced by hydro-electrical means is definitely cheaper than power produced by coal, but by averaging the cost between the two schemes, that at Corpach and that at Port Talbot, and taking into account the question of distribution by sea from Corpach and overland from Port Talbot, the promoters believe they can supply the whole of this country with all the carbide that is required in competition with foreign producers. Work has begun at Port Talbot in Wales, but both parts of the scheme are essential to its success. One of the reasons why work has begun is that the promoters felt that it would be undesirable to hold the Port Talbot scheme over the House as a bribe to get it to pass the present Bill. Statutory power was not required for the Port Talbot scheme, but is necessary for this scheme. Hon. Members will make a great mistake it they think the two parts of the scheme are not interdependent, because they are; both parts are essential to the success of the scheme as a whole.
Now I come to the counter-proposal made by the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. MacDonald). I cannot take his counter-proposal seriously for a moment. It has been carefully examined by very competent engineers, and as a result I, for one, am convinced that it is a frivolous, facetious proposal.
§ Mr. Boothby
He tried hard, but it is a very bad joke. If the hon. Member's scheme were put into operation what would be the effect? First, he proposes to raise the level of Loch Garry. I would 443 point out that the hon. Member is not opposing this scheme on a point of principle, because he has frequently said that if he could divert the waters where he wants them, that is down the east side of Scotland instead of the west, he would be in favour of this hydro-electric power scheme. His scheme would involve raising the level of Loch Garry, at enormous expense, 70 feet higher than the top level proposed in the Bill. The raising of the dam to this height would flood 1,900 acres instead of the 400 acres which will be flooded under the present proposal.
§ Mr. Boothby
No, 400 acres. The interruption of the hon. Member shows one of the great difficulties of any hon. Members who are not well acquainted with the scheme arguing about it. They do not get within thousands in the matter of accuracy. The hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Crossley) thinks that 4,000 acres are going to be flooded. It is 400 acres, but the scheme of the hon. Member for Inverness would flood 1,900 acres. I deny that the proposals in this Bill will involve a permanent flooding of 4,000 acres.
§ Mr. Crossley
I have the figures here: Loch Quoich 1,290 acres, Loch Garry 580, Loch Loyne 1,000, Loch Cluanie 1,170, and the River Moriston 260.
§ Mr. Boothby
We are talking at complete cross-purposes. The hon. Member is talking of the surface level of all these lakes and I am talking of the difference involved by the raising of this dam under the proposal of the hon. Member for Inverness, which is an entirely different matter. He is taking into consideration the maximum acreage of all the lochs. The scheme of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness would involve greater flooding to the extent of well over 1,200 acres, and it would include the flooding of a graveyard at Cildonnain. It would also incidentally destroy the spawning beds between the head of Loch Garry and Loch Poulary.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
I can assure my hon. Friend that that graveyard is not bigger than this Chamber. It is a graveyard in which the MacDonald clan were buried, and I am sure that my ancestors would be much better pleased to be moved reverently by me to a new situation. They 444 would turn in their graves if they knew of this proposal.
§ Mr. Boothby
I do not think my hon. Friend will find that that is an argument which will go down very well in the West of Scotland. It is amusing to hear it to-night, but it is not the sort of thing which will appeal to the West of Scotland. I repeat that the increased flooding under his scheme and the increased expense make it entirely impracticable.
I would like before I come to my concluding observations to remind the House of some of the admitted advantages which will accrue from the passage of this Bill. The hon. Member who seconded the rejection of the Bill referred to the employment which it will give. During the carrying out of the scheme between 3,000 and 5,000 workmen will be employed for a period of three to five years, and thereafter between 300 and 500 will be employed permanently at the factory at Corpach alone. The hon. Member rather sneered at those figures. To anyone from a congested industrial district they are very small, but when it is remembered that there are only 15 crofts in the whole area which we are discussing, employment for 300 to 500 people is a considerable thing. Hon. Members from the distressed areas may jeer at these small figures, but we are grateful for anything in the Highlands, and work for 300 to 500 people would make a considerable difference.
§ Mr. Boothby
No, I cannot. I have taken up too much time already in dealing with a very complicated case.
§ Mr. Boothby
I am not being personal at all, but answering the argument of the hon. Member. By agreement between the company and the Inverness County Council and the Burgh Council of Fort William, electricity will be supplied within the area covered in the scheme at cost price. Will anybody deny that that will be an advantage to this part of Scotland? In addition, electricity will be available for any small industries, which my hon. Friend is so keen upon, which may be set up experimentally, without 445 the necessity of incurring heavy initial capital expenditure on electricity and power. The sum of £3,000 will be added to the rateable value of the county of Inverness, and another £30,000 when the hydro-electric works are established. There are 33 parishes in the county of Inverness, and of these only six have industries of some kind or another. In these six parishes the gross annual rateable value has risen from £77,000 in 1881 to £267,000 to-day. In the remaining 27 parishes, which depend entirely upon sport and upon agriculture, the rateable value has fallen from £246,000 in 1881 to £210,000 to-day. That is the difference between the parishes of the county of Inverness which have some industries and those which have not.
§ Mr. Boothby
It is obvious that the population has increased in industrial districts, but I do not think that that is a point worth making. The propaganda against this Bill has been extraordinary, continuous and unprecedented, and, I think, characterised by the most reckless misrepresentation. I have never known anything like it in all the 13½ years I have been a Member of this House. Hon. Members have been deluged with a continuous round of propaganda against this Bill. Much concern has been expressed by hon. Members on all sides in this House and in the public Press about the poor crofters who are going to suffer. One might almost suppose that they had spent hundreds, even thousands of pounds of their hard-earned savings on this propaganda against the Bill in order to save their homes and glens, of which they are so fond. It makes a romantic story. But that is not the case at all. Only 16 crofts are affected in the whole scheme, and they are all to be fully compensated. The crofters, the people in the glens, and the whole of the people in the West of Scotland are in favour of the scheme. They passed a resolution at Glengarry and everywhere else in favour of it. I defy anyone in this House to say that the people are not in favour of it. They are all in favour of it right up to 446 the Western Isles. Fort William is in favour of it, and the Inverness County Council have unanimously approved the scheme. To give an example of the propaganda, there was an alleged deputation from the fishermen of Loch Hourn the other day. I made inquiries about it and found that it consisted of one farmer. He was the deputation.
Who are the people who are going to suffer and be so adversely affected if the Bill passes into law? We have heard from the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill a lot about the flow of the River Ness. I would repeat to hon. Members what the Minister of Transport told me in reply to a question this afternoon. I asked him:Whether his Department has made a calculation as to the effect on the flow of the River Ness of the Caledonian power scheme; and, if so, whether he will give the house the results of this calculation?His answer was:Yes, Sir. The minimum average depth of water passing over Dochfour Weir into the River Ness during the month of June in 1915, the driest year for which I have complete records, was 18 feet 7½ inches. It is calculated "—That is, by his Department—that, in similar conditions as regards rainfall and under the regulated flow from the power stations provided for in the Bill, the average depth of water passing over the Weir will be 18 feet 8½ inches.That is to say, under this Bill, one inch more water will pass over than passed over in the driest year since 1915. That is the calculation by the Ministry of Transport. [Interruption.] It may be argued that the sewage system of Inverness Town is so bad that it cannot function unless it is flooded out on two or three occasions in the year. If that is the case, it can well be argued that it is high time the town of Inverness put the sewage system into a somewhat better condition than it is at the present time.
Who are to be adversely affected by this scheme? They are, of course, the sportsmen, in the interests of whom, I have no doubt, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) feels a burning enthusiasm. There are three shooting lodges, which, unfortunately, have to go, and one or two keepers' cottages. It may be hard, but these things have to be faced with equanimity mainly in the national in- 447 terests. Far be it from me to lay my hands upon the sacrosanct rights of the sporting fraternity, but there are occasions, when not many are involved, when we have just to grind our teeth and face up to it. I beg of hon. Members opposite to try and brace themselves up. It is hard for them, I know, but it is really necessary. Lord Brocket, formerly a colleague of ours, is one of the landlords affected. He used an argument last year which no doubt appealed to hon. Members opposite. He said that one of the greatest objections to the scheme was that it would be very difficult to break a strike if one broke out there because of the difficulty of finding alternative labour. I feel that that is an argument which would appeal especially to hon. Members opposite. Still that is not an argument on this Bill. We feel that those strikebreaking days are over, for better or for worse.
These landlords say that they want to keep this stretch of country untouched. They have certainly succeeded up to now. A more untouched stretch of land I have never seen, and it is time that it began to be touched in the interests of the country and the people of Scotland. Other people who claim to be adversely affected are the tourists. How many tourists go to this particular stretch of country? Not so many. When they get there they do not have such a delightfully good time as all that. They do not get all the fishing and shooting which hon. Members opposite seem to suggest who are opposing this Bill so strenuously. If the hon. and learned Gentleman tries to go to Loch Quoich, he will find that he will not get such a very good reception, nor do I think he will find great ease in going everywhere when he gets to that particularly beautiful part of the country. The company, on the other hand, under this Bill is under obligation to construct roads leading and giving direct access to Skye and the Western Isles. It is also under an obligation to consult the Secretary of State for Scotland and the county council regarding the architectural design of the dams and works as a whole.
I would ask hon. Gentlemen to remember that these are to be modern works. Are hydro-electric power stations, which are well designed in accordance with modern design, really so ugly and out of keeping with wild surroundings of this 448 type? I am not at all sure that they are. I am sure that they do not keep tourists away. I would remind hon. Members that we have practical experience. We have it in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Lochaber, and it suggests the contrary. It suggests that these schemes do not disfigure the country-side in the way that is suggested by distorted views for propaganda purposes. If hon. Members look at the question over the broad field, they cannot say that the Lochaber scheme and similar schemes are so ugly that they will keep tourists away.
It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to talk about the distressed areas. The Highlands are not merely a distressed area, but a derelict area. Since the War the average migration from the Highlands of Scotland has been at the rate of over 3,500 per annum. This particular part of Scotland is a desert, as was said in the last Debate. The population has halved during the last 100 years. To-day there are two inhabitants per square mile in this area as against an average of 600 inhabitants per square mile in this country. What alternative to this Bill has been proposed? Is it proposed to turn this area into a great national park, so that its beauties of scenery shall be thrown open to the population? No such suggestion has been made and no such suggestion will be made.
With regard to the tourists, I think they will come any way. I am certain that they will not be deterred by one or two dams and the construction of the hydro-electric station at Corpach. It is said that if the area is left in its present state there will be seasonal employment for a few more ghillies. I am not an opponent of sport or of ghillies, but I know something about the North of Scotland and I say that part-time employment is the curse of the North of Scotland, and has been for years. Nothing does more to depress the general standard of living in that part of the world than this seasonal part-time employment of people who just pick up what they can for a few weeks and then try to edge themselves on to the dole afterwards. That is what far too many people are at in the North of Scotland. If hon. Members suggest that these people would not like good steady employment at a reasonable wage, they are entirely wrong.
449 The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) during the War coined the phrase, "too late." That phrase is alarmingly true in this country at the present time and is terribly applicable to the present situation. If we had had this Bill two years ago we should be able a year hence to manufacture all the carbide that we want in this country, and we should have taken at least one constructive step—the only one that we have had during recent years—to revive the Highlands and bring assistance to them. If we pass the Bill to-night we may still perhaps be in time; we may be able to save the Highlands and to do something for the people who live there. I believe this is the last chance, and I hope the House will approve the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Allan Chapman
I do not propose to approach this matter in the detailed manner in which previous speakers have approached it. My support of the Bill is on more general lines, because it seems to me that to have 300 to 500 persons in steady employment in the Highlands is a very considerable contribution towards the unemployment problem. I think my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour would regard such a number as a very valuable contribution in a scattered area where unemployment is chronic at the present time. I also support the Bill on the grounds of Defence. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, who will speak later, will be good enough to address himself to one point. I should be grateful if he would say something on the question of man power as it will be affected by this hydro-electric scheme. The House will agree that modern war is going to make exorbitant demands on man power, and it is very important that we should produce this carbide in wartime by using as few men as possible in the process. There will be very great demands on the mines, in any case, and by adopting this hydro-electric scheme we shall be able to release a certain number of miners for the production of coal for purposes other than carbide or for service outside the mines if required. That is a very important consideration in the matter of Defence, in view of the conditions of modern warfare. I trust my right hon. 450 Friend will give us some enlightenment on that point.
Many opponents of the Bill, not all of them, but my English colleagues in particular, see the Highlands as a very beautiful countryside, inhabited by romantic people—a paradise of sport; but as Scottish Members we also see it as one of the worst depressed areas. We see it as an area where a proud race of people is being dispersed where depopulation is going on, where the young people are being driven away for want of jobs and the old people are left. In the 10 years previous to 1931, 40,000 people left the Highlands. We must realise that this process cannot go on very much longer without making the Highlands absolutely derelict. We have had committees and inquiries, and still the depopulation goes on. The hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Davidson) raised the question of depopulation, but he concentrated on those areas where there is some sort of industrial enterprise.
§ Mr. Chapman
Yes, but taking the county as a whole, it is a striking fact that depopulation is still going on in 26 or 27 parishes and rising in only six or seven of them. It is not satisfactory when we find that only in six or seven parishes is the population rising. The hon. Member also made a point about the tourist traffic and said that it would be seriously affected by the dams and the buildings. Almost in the same breath he said that in recent years tourist traffic had increased by 600 per cent. He seemed there to contradict his own argument. If there has been an increase of tourist traffic to that extent, it is clear that the previous hydro-electric schemes established have not affected the scenery to the extent of keeping tourists away. We already know from Fort William and from experience of the Lochaber scheme that it has not kept the tourists away, but that on the other hand they have increased in numbers every year.
I submit to the House and to the opponents of the Bill that we must grip this opportunity of doing something for this Highland area. We have talked about it long enough. Is it never to be brose to-day but always brose to-morrow for the Highlands? We should seize this opportunity offered by a private under- 451 taking of establishing much employment especially as we can do it without dipping into the pockets of the taxpayer, and we should make the most of it. Deputations have come to see us at the House. I heard a deputation from the County of Inverness declare that any number of young men are anxious to get jobs at the Caledonian Power scheme factory when it is erected. In previous criticisms of the scheme we were told that local labour would not go to it. The evidence of the Lochaber scheme rather contradicts that, for the experience there is that of the people employed, 92 per cent. of the total are Scottish, 64 per cent. of the total being Highland folk and 42 per cent. actually being from Inverness-shire. I think the experience with the Caledonian power scheme will be very similar.
I ask the opponents of the Bill whether they object to hydro-electric power schemes altogether. I would gladly give way if any hon. Member would enlighten me on that point. Or do the opponents of the Bill favour small hydro-electric power schemes up and down the country? If so, it seems to me that their argument about amenities falls to the ground, because instead of affecting the amenities in one area, they would prefer to affect the amenities in dozens of small glens up and down the country. I do not think the question of amenities will keep the tourist away. On the other hand, I believe that the Caledonian power scheme, once it is going, will give steady jobs to between 300 and 500 workmen, and will open larger markets to the crofters. I believe I am correct in saying that Fort William already has experience of this as a result of the Lochaber scheme.
The Caledonian power scheme will bring to the Highlands some of the amenities of town life, the lack of which is driving so many young people away. It will bring a very considerable amount of money into that area to be circulated and spent. If hon. Members desire evidence on these points as it affects the Lochaber scheme—and I believe the same will apply with regard to the Caledonian power scheme—I will quote a paragraph from a letter which I received this morning. It reads:A community covering an area of over zoo square miles has changed from a state of penury and comparative hardship to happy security by the introduction of the aluminium industry; the outlook of the people has 452 widened to a remarkable degree until to-day they are the most truly alive in the Highlands.
§ Mr. Chapman
It is written by a gentleman named Ben N. Peach, who lives in Corpach, by Fort William.
§ Mr. Chapman
According to his qualifications, he is a Bachelor of Science and a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers. He is also an O.B.E.
§ Mr. Chapman
I do not know any details about his career or his family life, but if it really interests the hon. Member, I shall have great pleasure in getting in touch with this gentleman and in giving the hon. Member a further description. At least that is evidence from somebody living on the spot that the power scheme in Lochaber has brought definite benefits to that area, and I believe that similar benefits will be conferred by the Caledonian power scheme. The question arose earlier in the Debate as to the alternative schemes for hydro-electric power up in the Highlands. Where are these schemes? A similar Bill to this has been rejected twice. The opponents of the Bill have had ample opportunities to bring forward hydro-electric schemes to develop the Highlands, but have any such schemes been brought forward? I have not seen any, and I venture to suggest that none exists. I suggest to the opponents of the Bill that it is not good enough merely to bring forward negative arguments all the time. Some positive alternative schemes must be offered to the House if the House is to be asked to reject this very practical Measure.
We have heard a great deal about the amenities. As my hon. Friend pointed out, photographs can be made to emphasise almost any aspect of a case; but I suggest that experience of previous hydro-electric schemes goes to show that the dire predictions made when they were brought in have not been fulfilled. If they had been, the tourists would not be going to those areas, and a series of complaints would be reaching us as Members of Parliament. Neither do I think the dire predictions that have been made will be fulfilled in the case of the Caledonian power scheme. It seems to 453 me that the correct attitude towards this problem can be best summed up in the words of one who had the amenities and beauty of Scotland very much at heart, and who was vice-president of the Association for the Preservation of Rural Scotland. In giving evidence on the Grampian Electricity Supply Bill, Sir John Stirling Maxwell was asked:Will you agree that it is far more beneficial to this country that 850 Highlanders should find permanent employment than that you or your licensees should catch a few baskets of fish?He was pressed very much on that point, and there were two or three intervening remarks which lead to the passage I am about to read. At last, Sir John Stirling Maxwell made the following reply:My point is this. I do not care a rap about the fishing, and as far as fishing goes, in this scheme, I do not care whether you spoil it altogether; it is a matter of compensation. What I care about is that a very beautiful place is being destroyed, and I want to make quite sure that it is being destroyed for a good purpose. In the cases you have mentioned there was a definite purpose and the thing has been successful, and I rejoice to see it. If you had anyone here who was ready to take this power and you could prove that there would be even 500 people employed, I should say, Let the scenery go; it is a good object.To my mind, those words sum up the correct attitude even of those who have a love of Highland scenery, as I have.
In 1935, 22 Scottish Members voted for this Bill and 16 against. My hon. Friend told the House that last time, 47 Scottish Members voted for it and 11 against. I think that shows increasing support for the Bill as far as Scottish Members are concerned. Since then, our Welsh colleagues have been satisfied that they are to have their factory. Is it too much to ask them to support a factory in another very derelict and depressed area, where we are promised work for between 300 and 500 persons? I ask hon. Members who represent English constituencies to help those who represent Scottish constituencies by supporting this Bill. This problem of the Highlands is a most intractable one, and in supporting this Bill, I suggest to the House that the Caledonian power scheme at least offers us a hope of beginning to tackle that very difficult problem.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ Captain Harold Balfour
I feel that there is no need for any hon. Member, whether he represents a Scottish Division 454 or not, to make any apology for intervening in this Debate, because I think it raises issues which go far beyond the immediate Scottish position. I wish briefly to deal with two broad issues which it seems to me are of the widest nature. The first is from the Parliamentary point of view, and the second is from the point of view of National Defence. From the Parliamentary point of view, this Bill has been rejected twice before, and it now comes before the House with no new facts produced which alter the principles upon which Parliament previously rejected it. It is true that since the Bill was last rejected by the House, a Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence has investigated and has made a report, the benefit of which the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence has denied to the House at Question Time, a decision which I venture to think must be regretted by hon. Members on all sides of the House, whatever point of view they may take as regards this issue, and one which cannot commend itself to hon. Members who wish to judge the issue with the maximum of knowledge.
I ask myself, as I believe other hon. Members will ask themselves, whether it is right that Parliament should allow the procedure of Private Bill legislation to acquire, for purposes of private gain, public and private property, and that, for the first time, powers should be given to a private corporation, without having that private corporation hedged round with obligations and undertakings such as this House insists upon when we give any such public body as a railway company the powers for which this corporation asks. Again, should private hands take over public resources which I am sure that hon. Members above the Gangway feel should belong to the nation? It would seem to me extraordinary if any hon. Member who calls himself a sincere Socialist should go into the Lobby in support of this Bill, which takes away from the nation and hands over to private individuals those things which they say day after day by Socialist creed belong by divine right to the people.
The third point I desire to make from the Parliamentary aspect is the unfairness of the burden put upon small and often impoverished public bodies by the demands made upon them by a wealthy private concern which brings forward 455 such a Bill as this year after year. My hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) said that Inverness County Council was unanimously in favour of this Measure. Well, it is easier for the Inverness County Council to be unanimous in favour of this Measure when they have had opportunities presented to them, as they have had by the British Oxygen Company, which the Inverness Burgh Council have not had.
§ Mr. Boothby
Why does the hon. and gallant Gentleman say that the British Oxygen Company keeps coming to this House again and again when he knows that they have to come as a result of the report of the Committee of Imperial Defence?
§ Captain Balfour
They come because they want to get this Bill through for their own purposes. As the hon. Member himself said, they are in business and are not philanthropists. I am not saying whether that is right or wrong; all I do say is that it is a clear answer to the point made by the hon. Member himself. I come now to the advantage—a very doubtful advantage, I think—that the Inverness County Council have had in putting the maximum pressure upon all bodies whose support they desired to get. I have here the "Inverness Courier" which has an article headed: "Promoters to pay County Council's deputation's expenses." Here we have people in the public service, elected by public vote, coming to London and having their expenses blatantly and openly paid by a commercial concern. I consider it has done their cause little good, and it is a practice of doubtful taste to introduce into our public life. Even if the Inverness Burgh Council have not had the advantage of the great resources of the British Oxygen Company, I do not think their cause will suffer or be prejudiced by such a lack of opportunity when this House comes to consider it.
I want now to turn to the Defence point. We are shortly going to have the benefit of a speech from the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence—a speech which we hope will reveal some of those secrets of the findings of the committee, such as the comparative costs of the Port Talbot and Caledonian schemes, which have hitherto been denied to the House —I submit unfairly. We started this 456 Debate at half-past seven and the House is to be denied knowledge of the full facts of the case by the Government until about 10 o'clock. That, I submit, is not fair. At any rate certain deductions can be drawn from what we know. The report of the Carbide Committee has proved the practicability of producing carbide by steam, and the Government has endorsed that view by sanctioning and supporting the Port Talbot scheme. What the House would like to know is what is the difference in production costs as between Scotland and South Wales, and why should not the Port Talbot scheme be duplicated, either in South Wales or in some other distressed area? Let us assume for a moment that when the right hon. Gentleman comes to reply he will tell us the Caledonian scheme is the only possible second site, and that at the same time the production of carbide is vital to the national interests because of shipping difficulties during wartime.
If the Caledonian scheme is the only possible alternative why have the Government agreed to the Port Talbot scheme? The British Oxygen Company is to go forward with the Port Talbot scheme, and the Government in their speeches have made some capital out of the fact. It is no good a Minister on the Front Bench shaking his head, because the promoters hope to get this Bill through very largely because they have got the Port Talbot scheme as what I may call a sweetener for other Members of the House. If we are to have the argument that the import of 100,000 tons of carbide a year in war time is a grave menace because of shipping difficulties, would it not be better to grow more food in order that we need not have to rely upon our shipping for food imports? It would be very much better if we had a more advanced food policy for the greater production and storage of food; that is much more important than the production of 100,000 tons of carbide in this country to save shipping imports.
If the right hon. Gentleman says that £3,000,000 is to be spent on this scheme by private enterprise, let us remember that it is for private gain. Good Conservative as I am, if the interests of national safety are involved in this particular issue I would prefer to see a parallel with the aircraft shadow factories and a carbide production plant paid for out of public moneys. If the British 457 Oxygen Company are able to make this scheme pay for itself and to yield a profit of 6 per cent., or whatever the percentage is, then why should not the Treasury advance the money and get all the advantages that the British Oxygen Company are to get?
I submit that national safety cannot be compromised on and that we must be told clearly by the Minister whether this is vital for national defence or whether it is not. If it is not, let the Bill meet its fate according to the free vote of the House. If it is vital for national defence, then I think the Government have failed in their duty in not driving through this Measure by every force at their command. If we are to be told by the Minister that it is vital for national defence, why not put on the Whips? Why not bring forward a Government Bill for something like the shadow factories? Then I and all the other Members who oppose this Bill, at the present time, would gladly support them. But if the Government come here and recommend this Bill, as they may well do, but say, "We do not think it vital or imperative but we would like it all the same," that will be a poor weak attitude in the view of all who have national defence at heart as the prime consideration at the present time.
Why not take over this Bill, if it is of vital necessity, and use the whole of the Government's forces to implement the view that it is necessary for national defence? Or is it that the Government would like to see the Bill passed, but are prepared if necessary to see it thrown out by this House, though with some regret? Is that assumption wrong? I hope it is, because if it is not the Government are failing in courage in their handling of this problem, If my last assumption is right, and the Government are willing to see the Bill thrown overboard if necessary, but would, at the same time, like to see it passed, then surely the House can with a free conscience reject this Bill, knowing that we are not in any way impairing that national safety which is the paramount desire of everyone in this House.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ The Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence (Sir Thomas Inskip)
I cannot hope to imitate the animation of my hon. 458 and gallant Friend who has just spoken. I do not think I have ever been charged in this House before with treating the House unfairly, and I regret very much that this Bill should have been the occasion of that charge being made against me for the first time. My hon. and gallant Friend said that the Bill came forward for the third time although no new facts had emerged.
§ Sir T. Inskip
No, my hon. and gallant Friend said "no new facts." But let me take his corrected version. The fact, or the principle, that has emerged is in the statement which I made some weeks or some months ago, that this scheme, part of which is now before the House, had been approved by the sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence as the most complete and satisfactory scheme for the production of calcium carbide. I regard that, and I hope my hon. and gallant Friend on reflection will also regard it, as a new factor in the situation.
§ Sir T. Inskip
My hon. and gallant Friend complained very much that the report of the sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence had not been disclosed. It was in that connection as well as in another connection, that he made the charge against me of having treated the House very unfairly, and he did so amidst the cheers of his supporters. My hon. and gallant Friend smiles at it. I do not know whether he will think that that is a just charge to make against me when he remembers that I have informed the House already, on more than one occasion, that the Committee invited and received the evidence that was put before it, upon the understanding that no public disclosure would be made of confidential evidence by the publication of the report. If my hon. and gallant Friend expects me to break that honourable understanding, in order that I may be relieved from a charge by him of unfairness, he expects me to do something which I am not prepared to do.
The position I am in this evening is that I am called upon to give to the House, if I may say so respectfully, such advice and help as I can in this matter, and if the facts which I state and the opinions which I express tend in one 459 direction or another, I suggest that that will be due merely to the logic of the argument and not to prejudice or private or partial affection as far as I am concerned. First, there is this fact of the committee's report and I need say no more about that. There is also the fact—I am now surveying the forces on either side—that all local opinion, except the opinion of one or two proprietors, is in favour of the Bill. It is true that the town council of Inverness, being interested in the flow of the River Ness but being situated some 6o miles away from the nearest point of the area concerned, opposes the Bill. The County Council of Inverness, the County Council of Ross and Cromarty, and the local authorities of Corpach and Fort William all support the Bill, and their requirements have been met by the promoters. The opposition, in addition to that of the town of Inverness, is, in general, the opposition of those societies that are interested in the scenic beauties of this district and of the proprietors of lands or fishings that are affected by the scheme.
In those circumstances, it falls to me to try to correct one or two misapprehensions as to the facts or as to the precedents for this scheme, and then to say a few words on the Defence aspect of the question. I am not concerned to argue the question of the comparative costs of hydro-electric schemes or thermo-electric schemes, nor to argue on the correctness of the estimates made as to the costs of generating electricity at Corpach and at Port Talbot, but lest the statement which has been made by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. J. J. Davidson) might affect hon. Members, I am sure he will allow me to correct him on one point. He gave the cost of generating electricity at Corpach at 24 of a penny whereas the cost is estimated at exactly half that figure, namely, 12 of a penny. That inaccurate statement affects his comparison, which was between 24 of a penny at Corpach and what he gave as the cost of steam generation at Port Talbot, namely, 185 of a penny. But his figure of the cost of steam generation at Port Talbot was also inaccurate. The calculation gives a figure which is slightly different, namely, 165 of a penny. Those are really points for examination, in the later stages of the Bill, by the 460 hon. Members of the Committee upstairs, with the help of counsel. This is a question for them to examine and it is impossible for the House, without all the facts and details before them, to deal with it on this occasion.
Now I want to say a few words about the scenery. I cannot help thinking that a great many of my hon. Friends who are opposing this Bill are deeply affected by the apprehensions which they feel as to the destruction of a singularly beautiful part of the Northern Kingdom. But some of us in this House have first-hand experience of the effect upon the scenery of other water power schemes. I think that if five or six years ago anybody had visited the scene of the great reservoir near New Galloway and had been told that a large dam was to be placed across the Galloway Dee with the effect of drying up the bed of the river for a few miles, they would have felt, as I did, unhesitating opposition to the project, but if anyone should visit that scene to-day, it is quite true that if you stood in a particular position below the great Clatteringshaw Dam and looked up at the concrete mass of masonry, it would be magnificent from the point of view of the engineer, though not from any other point of view, but if you should take up a position at almost any other point, you would see one of the most beautiful scenes spread out before your eyes that has ever delighted a visitor to the Highlands of Scotland.
The fact is that these schemes, if they are properly managed and controlled, do not destroy the scenic beauties; indeed, they add a feature, from one point of view, which must give satisfaction to those who are employed as a result of them, and that is that, without destroying the beauties of Nature, they have used the gifts of Nature for the service of mankind. That is the fact about these water schemes. I want to say no more about scenery except this, that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has the power under this Bill to appoint a committee to attend to this question of the desecration of the scenery. There is a Clause in the Bill by which the promoters are required to consult the architects of the county councils in order that appropriate buildings may be erected at the different power stations or sluice houses in connection with the works.
461 Let me now say a word or two about the amenities apart from the scenery. I feel to the full the anxiety of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Sir M. MacDonald) as to the flow of his river, but I cannot quite accept the opinion that everything in the town of Inverness, with the somewhat primitive system of the removal of the town sewage by an occasional spate, is satisfactory. Let me remind my hon. Friend of the report of the sanitary inspector for the Burgh in 1936:Sewage disposal is effected by discharging direct and in crude form to the estuary of the River Ness. The main outfalls at Citadel and Thornbush Road give rise to a nuisance during the Summer and particularly when tides are low. A deposit of sewage on the river banks is noticeable and particularly objectionable.This is a primitive amenity which the Town Council of Inverness enjoys to-day and which this Bill is about to destroy. I will go a little further and say to my hon. Friend that certainly I have no wish that this Bill should emerge from the Committee upstairs, if it has a Second Reading, without proper provision being made for the necessities of his town council. That is a point that must be dealt with in Committee; it is a matter of proper Clauses to protect the inhabitants of Inverness. I rather suspect that the inhabitants of Inverness may find it better to take this opportunity of correcting the state of things which I have described, and possibly to receive some cooperation from those who are promoting this Bill, and I commend that course to my hon. Friend.
With regard to the other amenities, provisions have been made in accordance with the requirements of the Fishery Board of Scotland, and although I am not saying that all these fishing boxes and ladders invariably achieve their object, at any rate the works that will be devised will be the best that the Fishery Board can suggest. They have been successful in a great many other cases, but even if they were not successful, the question still remains, which is the main question for the House to-night. Is this Bill in the interests of the community, or is it not? If it is in the interests of the community, the fishing rights of a few proprietors do not matter; if it is not in the interests of the community, then no doubt the Bill ought not to be given a Second Reading.
462 Now may I say a word about the precedents for this Bill, for on this there has been a good deal of misapprehension? Hon. Members have spoken as if this was the first time that a Bill of this kind has been promoted, that is to say, a Bill giving a private company exclusive rights over water powers. I may remind the House that there have been at least four such Acts within recent times. The Lochaber Water Power Act has been referred to. Why did the Lochaber Company require electric power? It was in order that it might be used for the manufacture of aluminium, which the representative of the Board of Trade, who was then Sir William Mitchell-Thomson, described to the House as an important trading interest for the purpose of the manufacture of which it was very desirable that the House should pass the Lochaber Water Power Bill. The Loch Leven Water Power Act of a few years before was passed for precisely the same reason, namely, to enable aluminium to be manufactured by hydro-electric power at Fort William, just across the water, as it were, from Corpach, so let nobody think that Corpach is going to be an excrescence. If it is properly looked after by the county council, it will be an addition to what is already a small industrial centre, and greatly to the benefit of the happiness, as I am advised on first-hand information, of the inhabitants.
But these are not the only Acts. I have referred to the Galloway Water Power Act of 1929, passed by this House only nine years ago. There was also the Grampian Electric Supply Act of 1922. Both of those Acts were for generating electricity by private companies to be sold to the Grid, for the purpose of paying dividends to the people who had risked their capital in the construction of those schemes. In case anybody says that the Lochaber scheme went through unopposed, that is not the case. It was opposed very strenuously in this House and required a speech by the Government representatives to bring the House to a knowledge of the facts upon which they passed the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Inverness has referred with a little indignation to the fact that these waters of Loch Quoich are being diverted from an eastward flow to a westward flow. All I can say is that it has been done three or four times in recent 463 years. The upper waters of the Spey were diverted from east to west under the Lochaber Water Power Act. In the Galloway water power scheme the waters of Loch Doon, which flow westward to the Ayrshire seaboard, were diverted southward to the Solway Firth.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
Will my right hon. Friend also point out that the Grampian and Galloway schemes are controlled by the Electricity Commissioners, and that consequently they cannot earn all the money that they would otherwise earn?
§ Sir M. MacDonald
I differentiated between three types of schemes. I pointed out that the Galloway and Grampian schemes were one set and were controlled, and that the Lochaber scheme belonged to another set which was not controlled, but that they owned their water rights; whereas the Caledonian scheme is not controlled and is able to earn all that it can.
§ Sir T. Inskip
Neither the Lochaber scheme nor the Loch Leven scheme is controlled by the Electricity Commissioners.
§ Sir T. Inskip
Then we both agree. They are both precedents for such a Bill as this, more particularly as they were passed for the purpose of supplying electricity for the manufacture of aluminium at Fort William. I was dealing with the question of diversion, and let me give a third illustration. In the Grampian electricity scheme some waters of the Spey were diverted from the Moray Firth to the Firth of Tay. I have not any special reverence for precedents, but do not let the House oppose the Bill thinking that it is an unwarranted use of Parliamentary powers when proposals are made to divert waters.
Here again I want to say a word to correct an impression which some hon. Members have obviously formed that there is something outrageous in the proposal to relieve this company of part of its rating liability. The House may approve it or not, and no doubt it is a factor in this discussion, but let us make no mistake about the fact that it is perfectly usual and, I should have thought, 464 a perfectly proper provision. In this case there is to be relief of half of the rates for five years; in other words, during the development or the construction period. It is a form of relief which has been given in the case of the other water power Acts to which I have referred; it has been accepted by the Inverness County Council as satisfactory to them, and, in the opinion of the Scottish Office, it is a reasonable provision. The Inverness County Council will benefit by a substantial addition to its rateable value when this scheme is completed.
I must say a word about the relation of Corpach and Port Talbot. These schemes fall together and, I am advised, form part of one scheme. The House will take that into consideration and will allow it to sway their judgment as they think fit. It is a fact that the Port Talbot scheme would not be complete or sound unless both schemes go forward together.
Mr. James Grffiths
It has been stated in South Wales by the Mayor of Port Talbot that, whether this Bill goes through or not, the Port Talbot scheme will go on.
§ Sir T. Inskip
That is perfectly true, and, as my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) stated, I am not prepared to let the House be put in the position that the existence of the Port Talbot scheme should be left as a sort of bribe to the House. That was one of the first undertakings which I required before I played any part in considering the arguments in favour of and against the Bill. I hope the House will agree that in that respect I have treated them fairly. The Port Talbot scheme will go forward. It is at present a comparatively small one, and it depends for its permanent success, I am advised, upon the companionship of the Corpach scheme, because the Corpach costs will be very much lower than the Port Talbot costs. By pooling the costs of the two schemes the company expects to be able to manufacture and to distribute at a reasonable rate of profit the articles manufactured. That is why the company have put the two parts of this scheme together as parts of a complete entity.
§ Sir T. Inskip
Yes, certainly, it is one company, and the two concerns will be 465 treated as part of a complete scheme. I now pass to another aspect of this case which will throw light on this part of my statement. The House will accept or reject the statement I have made as an argument in favour of the Bill. They will treat it as they please, but that, I am advised, is the intention of the plan of the promoters of this scheme. I think that the House should know a little more about what is proposed with regard to the manufacture at these two places. Two classes of commodity will be manufactured; one is calcium carbide and the other is ferro alloys. The ferro alloys require a much larger consumption of units of electricity than the carbide— 3,000 to 4,000 units for carbide per ton, and 4,000 to 18,000 units for the ferro alloys per ton. The flexibility of productive capacity for either of these two classes of material is a very important part of the scheme. They can be manufactured in electric furnaces of substantially the same character, although, as a matter of fact, there will in all probability be a double system which will enable the electric power to be switched on to separate are furnaces for carbide manufacture or for ferro-alloy manufacture as required. It is only at Corpach that the cost of electricity will be low enough to enable the more expensive alloys to be manufactured economically. At Port Talbot it will probably be entirely calcium carbide.
It is in connection both with calcium carbide and with ferro alloys that there arises the Defence aspect, upon which I want to say my closing words. My hon. Friend who preceded me suggested that if the Government had the courage of their convictions or felt that this was a Defence interest, they should put on the Whips. So far as I know, the Whips are never put on on a Private Bill, and I cannot think that hon. Members will agree with my hon. Friend that they cannot exercise their intelligence unaided without the assistance of the Government Whips. Calcium carbide is consumed in this country to a volume of about 60,000 tons. It is on the increase. It is indispensable. About 50 per cent. of that 60,000 tons is used for welding and cutting metals, and is absolutely essential in aircraft construction, shipbuilding and for fabricating other munitions. About 30 per cent. is used for making important chemicals, and the remaining 20 466 per cent. is used partly for plastics, for manufacturing high-speed cutting tools and for various other purposes. These are all indispensable articles for industry, and especially in war time. What is our position in war? If this or some similar Bill is not passed, and an industry established, it sill be necessary for shiploads of something like 1,000 or 1,200 tons every week to come from Norway or elsewhere to supply this vital necessity.
§ Sir T. Inskip
I say this Bill or some similar Bill. If it is not manufactured in this country it will have to come from Norway. We are the only important nation in Europe which does not at the present time manufacture calcium carbide for itself. Italy does it, Russia does it, Japan does it and Germany does it. I suggest it is an advantage that private persons should be prepared to put up the substantial sum of money to establish this industry in our country.
§ Sir T. Inskip
I do not know whether that is so or not. It is important that we should have this material manufactured here. Let me take the position as to ferro alloys. These are required in large quantities. Ferro-chrome had to be imported last year to the tune of 18,000 tons. Thirty-seven thousand tons of ferro-silicon were also required for high grade steel of particular hardness or tensile strength. At present we mainly obtain our supplies from continental countries. The raw materials are obtainable largely from the Empire, but they are taken to other countries, and there manufactured, and the manufactured article which is indispensable for industry in peace and war is brought to this country. I suggest to the House that it might be better that this manufacture should take place in this country, and that the raw materials should come direct—largely as they will—from the Empire to Great Britain, so that we might have the advantage of the industry 467 in this country and the security of the manufacture taking place under our own flag.
The hon. and gallant Member for Thanet (Captain Balfour) suggested that I should say this was a vital necessity for Defence. I will put my advice in my own way and not in his. I do not take the responsibility of saying what I do not believe, that it is absolutely essential to Defence that this calcium carbide and these ferro alloys should be manufactured in this country. There are some things essential for Defence, and there are some things desirable. It is all a question of degree. One of my most anxious tasks is in connection with supply in time of war. The proper use of our shipping, the degree to which we are dependent on sources which may be opposed to us in war, and the volume of supply are all matters which have to be considered from day to day by the Supply Board of the Committee of Imperial Defence. I can only say that the passage of this Bill, if the House in its good judgment is minded to give it a Second Reading, would be a great relief to me in my anxious responsibility and would be a most valuable contribution to the solution of our supply problems in time of war. The House will use its own judgment in this matter. If it thinks the arguments about a private company, about scenery, or about the diversion of water are such as to make those arguments weigh more heavily than those I have mentioned, it will reject the Bill. In that case I shall personally have no complaint against any hon. Member, but I can but offer advice which seems to me right in the circumstances I have mentioned.
§ 10.14 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Johnston
The right hon. Gentleman wound up his speech by telling the House in effect that it was essential for the defence of this nation that we should manufacture carbide inside this realm.
§ Mr. Johnston
Either it is not essential or it is, that we should produce this carbide within the bounds of this realm. If it be essential in the national interest that carbide should be produced here then I believe, and many hon. Members on 468 this side do also most sincerely believe, that it is the duty of the Government to see to it that a national necessity is produced and not, as is done in this Bill, to postpone the production of that necessity for another five years.
§ Sir T. Inskip
The point to which the right hon. Gentleman refers has not been previously raised, hut if he is suggesting that these works could not be used to produce carbide for five years he is in error. The works will take five years to construct, but by harnessing the grid to the works, which can be completed in 12 months, in case of war, when the question of economy would not be so important, carbide could be produced in 12 months.
§ Mr. Johnston
We hear now for the first time that it is possible under this scheme to have calcium carbide produced, in a time of emergency, at the end of 12 months. If that be so, is there any reason why the other disadvantages of this scheme should be imposed upon the Highlands of Scotland? The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) and the right hon. Gentleman have united about one thing, and that is that they would say nothing whatever either by hint, direct statement or otherwise about the handing over of the natural resources of our country to a private corporation. We have been told about the production of carbide. I am not in a position to offer any opinion as between the differing views of experts. There are many engineers on both sides. There is a county council on one side and the burgh of Inverness on the other. There are men in both camps to whose opinions normally I would pay very great attention, and certainly I could not oppose them with any opinion which would be worth while. I said so last year when the Measure was before us, and many hon. Members on this side then voted for the Second Reading on the understanding that the matters in dispute as to production, flow of water and the rest of it would be adequately threshed out in public by those who know best. Yet to-night we are being asked to decide technical questions. I cannot do that, but as a citizen I can give my opinion upon this point. that for the third time we are being asked to hand over to a private corporation, for purposes of gain, the great natural resources of our country. I wonder whether 469 the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the extent to which this sort of thing has gone on? I have had a map prepared. Perhaps I ought to have shown it to him.
§ Mr. Johnston
It is a map showing the areas in the North of Scotland where, already, private interests have monopolistic control of hydraulic power for the production of electricity under powers conferred by this House. Apart from this Bill those interests cover four-fifths of the area, and they are practically all controlled by one corporation, the Scottish Power Company. They have various subsidiaries, they trade under various names, but the Scottish Power Company, which pays 8 per cent. on its capital, is now to be joined by the Caledonian Power Company. All we are told about it is that it is a Scottish corporation. It is paying 15 per cent. dividend now. Have we any guarantee that these shares will not be peddled on the New York market next week? I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the extent to which holding companies, sub-holding companies, and sub-sub-holding companies are already dealing in electricity. I will tell him of a great American corporation with 100,000,000 dollars capital.
§ Mr. George Balfour
Before the right hon. Gentleman goes on with that point. I am sorry to have to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman but I happen to be responsible for the Scottish Power Company in Scotland, and it has never paid more than 8 per cent. I wish to correct the statement of the right hon. Gentleman as to 15 per cent. dividend, and also to say that he is confusing the public supply of electricity from the North of Scotland down to Berwickshire by transmission lines with the development of a hydroelectric undertaking.
§ Mr. Johnston
No, Sir, I am not confusing it and if the hon. Gentleman will look at my remarks in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow morning he will find that I said that the Scottish Power Company had paid 8 per cent. and not 15 per cent.
§ Mr. Balfour indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Johnston
The hon. Gentleman might listen to what I have to say in 470 reply. I said that the Scottish Power Company paid 8 per cent. and the Caledonian Power Company—[HON. MEMBERS: British Oxygen.'']—well, the parent of the Caledonian Power Company, is paying 15 per cent. Is that right? Does the hon. Gentleman deny that?
§ Mr. Johnston
There is one corporation, the Electrical Bond and Share Company, with 100,000,000 dollars of capital. Its headquarters are in New York and it owns the American and Foreign Power Company, Incorporated, with another 50,000,000 dollar capital. It buys Whitehall Electric Investments, Limited, with 7,500,000 capital, and has as its subsidiary, Whitehall Securities, with another £4,000,000. They are pretty well controlling the electrical corporations in Southern England. We have heard that this is a Scottish company; how long will it continue to be a Scottish company? If this matter is essential in the national interest, will anybody say why the Government ought not to do to-night what a Conservative Government did with the MacBrayne Steamship Company when similar difficulties had arisen. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pollok (Sir J. Gilmour), whom I see here to-night, was Secretary of State for Scotland and Mr. Bonar Law was Prime Minister, they stepped boldly forward and made the MacBrayne Steamship Company into a public corporation, with a limited dividend, Government directors, fixed freights and rates, and all the rest of it. Why should our water be handed over to a private corporation at this time of day, in 1938?
I am not altogether sure that I accept all the arguments of those who have been putting forward objections to the Bill. Some of the objectors are themselves proprietors of deer forest rights, and have no very great interest in the public welfare, or in tourists or anything else. This is a national heritage. The day will come when these beautiful areas will no longer be the preserve of a small privileged class, and when the nation as a whole will demand the right to enjoy the beauties of our countryside; yet we are handing over for three-quarters of a century a monopoly in the water power 471 of a beautiful area to a private corporation. If we could get no satisfactory answers to the questions which we put a year ago, I trust that on this occasion the House will register its protest in the only way possible, by voting against the Bill.
§ 10.25 p.m.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I intervene for a few moments to support the Second Reading of the Bill. I was rather disappointed by the speech of the right hon. Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston); I think he made a very much better speech last year. I could not help wondering whether, if this undertaking were to be a nationalised concerned, he would have supported the Bill. I think he would.
Marquess of Clydesdale
But to-day it is not a matter of supporting private enterprise; it is that, if this particular scheme should be nationalised, all the hydro-electric schemes should be nationalised also. That, however, is not the point at all. The point is not whether we should nationalise this scheme or not, but whether we shall have a scheme there at all. I propose to touch on one or two points which I think are important. We have had a very clear statement from the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, and I believe that the House as a whole believes that the manufacture of carbide in this country would be a great national asset. We have, broadly speaking, to deal with many issues, but I am not going into technicalities. We have the report of the Committee of Imperial Defence to the effect that this is a complete and satisfactory scheme, and I think that that is a pretty clear answer. I should like, however, to touch on one or two of the objections. The question of amenities has been dealt with. Anyone who has travelled in Norway or Switzerland will realise that the hydro-electric schemes in those countries have not by any means spoilt the beauties of the country. We have a number of hydro-electric schemes in Scotland, and I maintain in the strongest language that Scotland still retains its superb beauty.
One has heard Scottish Members to-day speaking for or against this Bill, but I sincerely believe that the people of Scot- 472 land as a whole want the Bill; they want an industry in the Highlands of Scotland. Two years ago a similar Bill came forward, and the majority of Scottish Members voted for it. Last year, more than three-quarters of the Scottish Members of the House voted for this Bill, and less than one-quarter voted against it. I believe that, if the Second Reading of this Bill is rejected, it will be deeply resented in Scotland, and I believe it will provide the Scottish Nationalist party with the very best possible ammunition that they have ever had. Hon. Members may laugh at the suggestion of a Scottish Nationalist party, but it is a very live party. In my own case in 1931, when Conservatives were getting many more votes than they ever got before—I polled more than I had ever polled before—my Scottish Nationalist opponent polled between 6,000 and 7,000 votes.
Marquess of Clydesdale
I do not say that they would necessarily use the ammunition. I said that it was the best they could possibly have. If you strengthen the Scottish Nationalist party, you might raise a serious political problem in Scotland, which might cause embarrassment not only in Scotland but in this very House. The Highlands of Scotland are undoubtedly a depressed area. There is a higher percentage of unemployment in the Highlands of Scotland than in the Special Areas. It is true that the population of the Highlands is not as great as that of the depressed areas, but the reason is that the Highlands have been depopulated. [Interruption.] Yes; during the last 10 years 40,00o people have left the Highlands. After all, this scheme does put the Caledonian Power Company under certain obligations. It will be under an obligation to supply electricity at cost price to the inhabitants in the district and at cost price to any light industries which may be started in that area. We have heard a great deal about the preservation of Scotland. I can only think that the preservation of Scotland means keeping Scotland in a fossilised condition. I firmly believe that here is a scheme that will bring some degree of prosperity to the Highlands, and a measure of hope to many Highlanders.
§ 10.32 p.m.
§ Sir Geoffrey Ellis
I would like to bring the House back to essential points. One 473 is the location of industry, and the other is national necessity. As far as the claims of districts go, great as the needs of the Highlands may be from the point of view of Scotland, there are districts in England and Wales which need assistance far more than the Highlands. [Interruption.] Scottish Members will forgive me for saying that that is the point of view of people in other districts. On the question of national necessity, the Minister has been very frank indeed. He has told us, in as guarded a way as possible, that he would like this Bill because he believes that it will give him the carbide he ought to have had and the ferro-alloys that are needed in industries. Carbide is not coming in Scotland for at least four years by any hydro-electric scheme. I should say, from the point of view of national necessity, that if we do not have a war in four years, we shall have peace for much more. National necessity means immediate carbide. That can be got only by putting the grid on to a carbide station. Therefore, what national necessity demands to-day is immediate carbide in the quickest way: that is by putting it on the grid in the depressed areas. As far as the committee is concerned, the report, of course, as given to the world, is not a technical report at all. It is a purely political report. It is two sops to Cerberus—one to Scotland, and one to South Wales. If the report were a technical one, surely the Committee would have given us some reason for the choice of two places instead of one. The Minister has told us, from his point of view, that the two schemes work together, and that the losses in South Wales are made up by the gain in Scotland. That is no sort of commercial or technical arrangement. I suggest that if the Committee had been honest with themselves and the Government, it would have been better to tell the truth and let the political side of the scheme go by. Therefore, regretful as one must feel to vote against the wishes of the Government on this occasion, no case has been made out for delaying, on the ground of national necessity, the manufacture of carbide, which should be put on the grid, and that immediately
§ 10.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
I propose to vote for this Measure, and I would not like to give a silent vote. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Ecclesall (Sir G. Ellis) spoke about this as a sop—a gift to Scotland and 474 a gift to South Wales. If that is the best that can be done for us, it will not influence me in any way. I want to answer the point of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Inverness (Sir M. MacDonald) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) about this being the handing over of public rights to private enterprise. What are the public rights that are being handed over? I have never been inside that bit of territory in my life. If I tried to go into it, I should be chased by gamekeepers. The right hon. Gentleman says that it is very wrong to hand over public rights to private enterprise for profit. May I remind him that the Labour Government, when they were faced with practical propositions like the building of the "Queen Mary," supported the handing over of public support to private enterprise for profit. Does he realise that the Road Transport Act, which was passed by a Government of which he was a member, handed over monopoly rights in the road under which great motor traction combines have grown up in his own area and in my area, in South Wales, in Cumberland and in every part of the country. They have grown up under monopoly rights granted in legislation passed by a Labour Government. The argument in the words of every Socialist who supported it was that they were helping to organise this sort of thing, and that in the right and proper season the question of national ownership would be decided in a more wholesale way.
The hon. Member for Inverness said that the amenities of Inverness must not be interfered with and that private companies have no right to do this for profit. That was the doctrine first put forward. There used to be amenities in that part of the country in which I was born. I am interested in the attitude which says that, if there is any dirty or highly disagreeable work, dump it at Glasgow and do not let it get near Inverness. I used to live in the Garngad area in Glasgow for three years where, as many hon. Members know, there are three chemical works within 100 yards of my door, and the right hon. Gentleman says, "Give him another one."
§ Sir M. MacDonald
In not one of the three statements I have made to this House, including that to-night, have I suggested for a moment that the work should be placed or should not be placed in Corpach.
§ Mr. Maxton
I know. I carried it a wee bit too far. What the hon. Gentleman said was that in Inverness, if that is to be the case, it is to be on the offside of Corpach to Inverness.
§ Sir M. MacDonald
My argument was entirely restricted to this point, that a private company, for its private gain, should not be allowed to damage or to interfere with public rights such as the town of Inverness possesses.
§ Mr. Maxton
Fair. Does the hon. Member suggest that at this late hour we should be tied by a rule like that? I do not think that I have been unfair. Within the last month or two it has been decided, by statutory powers conferred by this House, that a private company is to have the right to work for coal underneath the town where I live in Scotland, underneath parts of Glasgow, on which the Glasgow Corporation have built new housing estates. In due course those estates will suffer the consequences of those underground operations. Is not that a tremendous interference with public rights in the name of private property?
Let me put a further point. The hon. Member has done more in the way of tidal engineering in different parts of the world than any other man in this House. Has he ever done one engineering scheme that did not interfere in some way with the rights of somebody? He talks of the amenities of Inverness and says that no private company has a right to pollute the River Ness or to reduce the flow of the water. I was brought up in a town called Barrhead.
§ Mr. Maxton
I admit that in the West of Scotland it might not be considered so. I admit that it is not of very considerable importance. It is only about the same size as Inverness. Through that town there runs the River Leven. We thought it was a great river in those days. I am speaking of 48 years ago. I and my school mates used to "dook" in it. It was a most interesting river, because one day of the week it would be 476 blue, another day it would be black, another day it would be red, and another day it would go all patriotic and be red, white and blue. It all depended upon what dyes the calico print works up the road were using. Surely, it is much too late for the hon. Member for Inverness to come here and talk about this new crime they have just discovered up in Inverness. It is time that Inverness started doing what the rest of Scotland has been doing for 100 years.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Sir Archibald Sinclair
Far be it from me at this late hour to go into the technicalities of this important question. I admire the grasp of those technicalities which was displayed by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Davidson), although I did not share what I thought was his almost childlike confidence in the opinions of the various experts whom he had consulted, because I know that experts, in a matter of this sort, can be quoted ad nauseam on both sides. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) that we need not concern ourselves with those technicalities. Nor, I think, is it necessary for me to deal with the point, of which the right hon. Gentleman made so much, about the handing over of these great public rights to a private company to exploit, partly because that aspect has been so well exposed by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), and partly because it raises the wholly different and immense issue of whether or not there shall be control by the State of the water power and other great national works, a question which will have to be decided on its merits and applied not only to this scheme but to all other schemes.
The point is that to-night we have a definite proposal for the development of this water power in the Highlands. If we throw it aside, are we going to have any Government proposals? Of course, we are not. Is the hon. Member for Ecclesall (Sir G. Ellis), w ho criticised it, going to bring forward a proposal? Of course not. It is this proposal or nothing. Therefore, I say that this is our only chance in the Highlands, and I appeal to the House not to deprive us of it. The hon. Member for Ecclesall said that the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence was very frank about the Defence aspect of this. Having paid the Minister 477 that compliment, the hon. Member did not seem to be sufficiently grateful for that frankness, because he proceeded to try to turn it most unfairly against the Minister. The Minister, in answer to a challenge by the hon. and gallant Member for Thanet (Captain Balfour), told the House clearly that this scheme was not essential, but he said—and surely none of us ought to under-estimate the weight of his word—that, carrying this enormous burden of responsibility for the Defence of the country, in what all hon. Members know is a time of danger, if the House gave him this Bill it would help to relieve that anxious burden of his responsibility. Surely, there is no hon. Member who, realising what that burden of responsibility is for National Defence, can deny to the Minister that relief for which he is asking. [Interruption.] The Minister has made it clear that if the emergency occurred, the works could be put on the grid and there would be the power for the manufacture of carbide within twelve months.
Who is against the Bill? The people who are against it, as the Minister said, are the sporting interests in the Highlands, and the societies who think they are protecting beauty. Who has not been in the Alps in Switzerland and in Austria, and seen the great power stations there? Do they affect the beauty of the country? Not in the least. What the people of the Highlands want is a chance to live in their own country. I know that we ought to pay full respect to the opposition of the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. MacDonald), but the Select Committee to whom this Bill will be referred will be amply able to deal with the points which the hon. Member raised. Last year the Scottish Members voted four to one in favour of this Measure. The whole of the Highland Members of Parliament, with the exception of the hon. Member opposite, voted for the Bill. The whole of the Inverness County Council—and after all, they are the people who are in closest touch with the people of Inverness—ineluding the people who represent the district in which these works will be, are in favour of this Measure. In these circumstances I do say that we who are supporting it are entitled to speak to the House in the name of the Highland people and of the people who will benefit by this Bill, and to plead with the House to give the Highlands this chance of developing 478 their natural resources. The Highlands do not want to remain merely the pleasure ground of the rich; they want the opportunity of developing their own resources and of reviving what is now a dying race.
The hon. Member for Maryhill said that we ought to have natural development. What development could be more natural than the harnessing of the rivers and lochs and streams that flow through the Highlands of Scotland? What nonsense it is to talk about the unfitness of the Highlander for industrial work. I do not believe that the hon. Member for Bridgeton will contradict me when I say that there are probably more Highlanders in the city of Glasgow than there are in some Highland counties to-day engaged in industrial activities, and doing their job well. In the Highlands now we have got, for example in Brora in the county of Sutherland, where I come from, what I believe is the right development for the Highlands, and for other rural parts of the country; we have got a little group of industries set down in the middle of a country district. We have got a little coal mine and a tile works and a wool works, and the people who work in these industrial occupations provide a market for the crofters and for the others who live there. There have for long been these industries in the Highlands. For a long time we had a linen industry until it went South. There was a spinning industry where they used to spin the linen, and ray hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) reminds me about Harris tweed.
It is absurd to say that the Highlander is unaccustomed to these industrial activities, or that it is unnatural for him to be engaged in them. It is mortifying to anyone coming from the Highlands to read this literature circulated by busybodies who have very little to do with the Highlands, who come down for a very few weeks in the year, and form themselves into committees with high-sounding titles, telling us that the beauties and the historic interest of the Highlands should be respected. The people in those districts know that unless we get this opportunity we shall get no other. It is no good the hon. Member for Maryhill talking about little industries and about agriculture. Either we get this chance or we get none. I, therefore, appeal to the House to give us this opportunity for al development on natural lines.
479 Down these straths in Inverness-shire at the present time, this water is flowing uselessly to waste. I dare say a few anglers fish in these rivers and they have a few ghillies with them and perhaps there are a few tourists, but it is a great mistake to suppose that a development of this kind will frighten away the tourists. On the contrary, there has been, if anything, an increase in the tourist traffic in those parts of Inverness-shire where the development of the British Aluminium Company and other developments have taken place. So far from making the countryside hideous, they have made it more beautiful by the lovely little garden villages which have been constructed for the people who are employed in those works. Considerable numbers of Highlanders are employed there and these developments have, indeed, made the Highlands more attractive rather than less attractive. Why should not these waters which are now flowing uselessly, be harnessed for the production of wealth and the needs of national defence, and give a few hundred Highlanders the means of living and an opportunity to strike their roots into the soil? The hon. Member for Maryhill spoke of from
§ 300 to 500, but with their families, that would mean 1,000 or 1,500 more people living on the soil of their native land.
§ I, therefore, appeal to hon. Members to consider the importance of this issue. It is an issue in which the safety of the country and the future of the Highland race is involved, and I plead with the House to pass this Bill.
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby rose——
§ Mr. Boothby rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Mr. Fleming rose——
§ Mr. Boothby rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 227.483
|Division No. 166.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Edge, Sir W.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Elliot, Rt. Han. W. E.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ's)||Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Law, R. K. (H
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Leech, Sir J. W.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Everard, W. L.||Leonard, W.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Findlay, Sir E.||Lindsay, K. M.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Foot, D. M.||Lloyd, G. W.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Barr, J.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||M'Connell, Sir J.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Garro Jones, G. M.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)|
|Bernays, R. H.||Gibson, R. (Greonock)||McGovern, J.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Maclay, Hon. J. P.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||MacMillan, M. (Western Islet)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Grimston, R. V.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Grillen, W. G. Howard||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Broad, F. A.||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Mathers, G.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Maxton, J.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)|
|Buchanan G.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)|
|Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.||Harvey, Sir G.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.|
|Butcher H. W.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Higgs, W. F.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Nall, Sir J.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Cary, R. A.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack. N.)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Hulbert, N. J.||Parker, J.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Hunter, T.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Hutchinson, G. C.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Cove, W. G.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Crooke, Sir J. S.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Doland, G. F.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Salt, E. W.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)||Wells, S. R.|
|Scott, Lord William||Tate, Mavis C.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.||Thomas, J. P. L.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Smith, L. W. (Hallam)||Thurtle, E.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Train, Sir J.|
|Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Stephen, C.||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan||Marquess of Clydesdale and|
|Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)||Watson, W. McL.||Mr. Boothby.|
|Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, K.)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Gallacher, W.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Gardner, B. W.||Milner, Major J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Gluckstein, L. H.||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Goldie, N. B.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Agnaw, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Muff, G.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Grant-Ferris, R.||Munro, P.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Assheton, R.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. G. R.||Grenfell, D. R.||Noel-Baker, P. J.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Banfield, J. W.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Owen, Major G.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Groves, T. E.||Paling, W.|
|Batey, J.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Patrick, C. M.|
|Benson, G.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Peake, O.|
|Bevan, A.||Hardie, Agnes||Peat, C. U.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Hartington, Marquess of||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Petherick, M.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. G. (Newbury)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Cape, T.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Cassells, T.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Channon, H.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Chater, D.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Holdsworth, H.||Ridley, G.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Holmes, J. S.||Riley, B.|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Hopkin, D.||Ritson, J.|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Hopkinson, A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Jagger, J.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Crookshank. Capt. H. F. C.||Joel, D. J. B.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||John, W.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Cross, R. H.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Daggar, G.||Keeling, E. H.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Dalton, H.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Latham, Sir P.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Day, H.||Lathan, G.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Donner, P. W||Leach, W.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Dower, Major A. V. G.||Lewis, O.||Sorensen, R. W|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Lipson, D. L.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Little, Sir E. Graham-||Spens, W. P.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Lunn, W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Storey, S.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Eckersley. P. T.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Ede, J. C.||McEntee, V. La T.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||McKie, J. H.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Edwards. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||MacLaren, A.||Tichfield, Marquess of|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Maclean, N.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Magnay, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Maitland. A.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Mander, G. le M.||Walker, J.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Manningham Buller, Sir M.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Fleming, E. L.||Marshall, F.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Furness, S. N.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Watt, Major G. S. Harvie||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Wayland, Sir W. A.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Westwood, J.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.||TELLERS FOU THE NOES.—|
|Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)||Wise, A. R.||Sir Murdoch MacDonald and|
|Wilkinson, Ellen||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Visoount||Mr. J. Davidson.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Words added.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.