HC Deb 08 February 1938 vol 331 cc959-93

A local authority, through their duly authorised officer or representative, shall have the power to inspect and take copies of, or extracts from, all plans required to be kept or made under any statutory enactment of the workings of any mines or abandoned mines where, in the opinion of the local authority, the workings of such mines have affected or would be likely to affect any buildings or works owned by or vested in the local authority, or the surface of any land upon which the local authority contemplates the erection of any buildings or the construction of any works, and for the purpose of ascertaining the likelihood or probable extent of subsidence of the surface the local authority, through their duly authorised officer or representative, shall have power at all reasonable times and without payment to enter into and inspect the workings of any such mines and to take such measurements as they may consider necessary therefor.—[Mr. E. Smith.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

8.40 p.m.

Mr. Ellis Smith

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I welcome the opportunity of moving the Second Reading of this Clause and of making a few observations upon it. Frankly, I stand here as a very disappointed man. I put a question to the Secretary for Mines this afternoon, and it is worth repeating in order that we may keep his reply in retrospect. The question was not put down by me as an individual but on behalf of those who comprise different political parties, a large municipality and a number of rural district councils and other public institutions. The question was: To ask the Secretary for Mines, if he is aware of the public concern recently expressed in the North Staffordshire area over the effect of subsidence; and if he will reconsider the Government's policy on the question and take some steps to ease the burden on people caused by the effect of subsidence. The reply of the Secretary for Mines was: The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, I am afraid that there is no statement that I can usefully make at present. That reminded me of our last week's experience, of a debate on the Coal Bill, of what I have read in the Press and of what I have heard going on behind the scenes since the Coal Bill was introduced. There can be concessions for coal barons, well-organised vested interests, and financiers, but no concessions from this Government to poor people who have sunk their life savings in property in mining areas of the kind of which I am speaking. But despite that pessimistic view of the situation which I am bound to take, I am still optimistic enough to believe that we may yet receive a statement from the President of the Board of Trade which will give some hope to the people for whom I am speaking. As a result of what the Committee has already approved, provided another place endorses what has been agreed to, amalgamations will now be encouraged when the Bill becomes an Act. That will mean that in areas of the kind of which I am speaking there will be more concentration upon mining than ever before in the history of this country. Old workings will be left.

I have a picture in mind of an area a few miles from the division which I represent where voluntary amalgamations have already had a very deadly effect upon the area. According to the geological experts there are thousands of tons of coal still in that area, old workings are being flooded and subsidence is still taking place. As a result of these amalgamations the effect of subsidence will be intensified in districts of this character, and, therefore, it is more important than ever that municipalities should have the right of access to the plans of those old workings, and to plans when it is proposed to sink other pits. It is for these reasons that I am moving this Clause. In addition, I have had a recent conversation with very competent surveyors, who pointed out to me the importance of this Clause and the need for something of this character being done. These surveyors, public-spirited men with no political bias at all, are doing great work in these areas under great difficulties, and if this Committee is to be fair to them it is most essential that a Clause of this description should be inserted in the Bill in order that they may have access to old and new workings in carrying out their duties to the local municipality.

In these areas, particularly in the area I represent, the difficulties of the municipalities in regard to housing are beyond description. No one can realise them unless he is living in an area of this kind. It is the policy of the Government to encourage individuals to sink their life savings in the purchase of their own houses, and when they have done so they are subject to the subsidences and have to spend hundreds of pounds in carrying out repairs. This ought not to be a responsibility on the individuals who have purchased their houses. Local education authorities have also to meet a very serious situation as a result of mining subsidence. Indeed, as a result of the need for increasing the educational facilities for the children in the area for which I am speaking, it is proposed to build a number of new schools and extend one or two of the old schools, but they are proposing as a result of subsidence to build these new schools miles-and miles away from where the children live. Such a situation is not fair to the municipality, to the children or to the people resident in the area. The Government ought to do something to ease the difficulties of these people. I have been looking at the Royal Commission's Report on mining subsidence, and this is what they say in regard to the Don area: The results of underground coal workings are special in character, exceptional in their incidence and serious in their extent. That might have been the position at that time, but now that situation is not exceptional and the seriousness can be found in many other areas. What the Royal Commission says with regard to the Don Valley is equally true, without any exaggeration at all, of the North Staffordshire area. In their final report the Royal Commission say: In this context we suggest that in connection with preparation and also with the subsequent development of town planning and housing schemes local authorities should be entitled to accurate information as to the present workings and the future development of minerals. That is all we are asking in the new Clause. Mr. Evan Williams who, of course, is not friendly to hon. Members on this side of the House, spoke as follows on behalf of the coalowners: I think it is quite fair that any prospective builder should be entitled to obtain accurate information as to what is going on underneath and as to what is likely to go on underneath the land on which he is going to build. And Mr. Williams went on to say that he would put the local authority in the same position in that respect. That is all we are asking. In dealing with poor people, or comparatively poor people, the Royal Commission say: The other party, however, had to buy because a house in the area was for him a necessity, and the area was limited. In their recommendations on page 54 they say: We are satisfied from the evidence we have heard that in certain circumstances facilities should be given for the inspection of the underground plans of colliery companies. That is all we are asking. We want the recommendation of the Royal Commission put into effect. Fourteen years after that report we are asking, not for anything revolutionary, not for Socialist proposals to be put into operation, but that the Government should carry out the recommendation of the Royal Commission. When we have discussed this matter before I have heard hon. Members opposite say—I can hear them saying so now—

An Hon. Member

You cannot see them.

Mr. Smith

The absence of hon. Members opposite is but typical. When we are considering anything which is going to affect vested interests, or landed proprietors or the coal barons, the House is full of hon. Members, but when we are considering anything which affects poor people, the unemployed or the miners, these benches are full but the benches opposite are just as we see them now. I have heard it asked, why build in these places, why run the risk of subsidence? The reply is that these people have to live in these areas, they obtain their livelihood there. Shopkeepers obtain their livelihood there and the municipality is bound to carry on. In the area for which I am speaking the whole city is built on a coalfield and subject to subsidence and, therefore, it is only reasonable that this Clause should be inserted in the Bill to enable a municipality to take steps to deal with this matter in the future. Despite the fact that I opened on a pessimistic note I hope the President of the Board of Trade will make on the question of subsidence a statement which will give some hope to these people. When I visit the South of England and see the parasitic centres and the way the people live, and I realise that they obtain their incomes from areas like the one for which I am speaking, I say, it is not fair or right or reasonable that this situation should exist, and I hope this Clause will do something to bring about an improvement.

8.55 p.m.

Mr. Hollins

I have very little to add to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith), except to say that both my hon. Friend and myself, in proposing this new Clause, have the support of the local authority of Stoke-on-Trent, which contains the two constituencies of Stoke and Hanley. All that the new Clause asks for is that the local authority shall be given power to obtain information which is absolutely essential when it has to deal with subsidence. There are other local authorities besides that of Stoke-on-Trent which suffer from subsidence, but the Stoke-on-Trent authority claims that there is no other city in the Kingdom which has such tremendous difficulties in finding suitable sites for new public buildings and re-housing. Stoke-on-Trent has spent thousands of pounds in getting reports from mining experts.

Under the new Clause, local authorities would have power to inspect and take copies of, or extracts from, all plans required to be kept under any Statutory enactment of the workings of any mines. Moreover, the local authority would be empowered to inspect the workings of mines at all reasonable times and without payment, and to take such measurements as they might consider necessary. Surely, that is not asking too much. It does not necessarily follow that information acquired in that way would be used for any other purpose than that stated in the new Clause, that is to say, to enable the local authority to come to a decision as to whether any proposed building on a certain site would be affected by subsidence. It is increasingly difficult in Stoke-on-Trent, with the very few sites which are left, for the local authority to come to any decision unless it has access to the workings for the purpose of taking extracts from the plans or making measurements. In a previous Debate on the Bill, I brought to the notice of the Committee the fact that present commitments, or commitments in the very near future, for creating rafts for the prevention of subsidence and the sinking of houses or for under-pinning schools amount to £140,000. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade to give this new Clause his earnest and full consideration, and, in order to assist local authorities who have such difficulty in finding suitable sites, to agree to the new Clause being added to the Bill.

8.59 p.m.

Mr. Ede

I wish briefly to support the new Clause. I have been asked to do so by the South Shields Property Owners' Federation. It is not often that they favour me with their instructions, or even with their requests, but they know I am a person who desires to represent the whole of the constituency, and not merely those enlightened individuals who cast their votes for me, because while there is life there is hope, even for members of a property owners' association. Owing to the growth of town-planning, it is usual, when property changes hand, for a very close search to be made in the offices of the local authority with regard to all the disabilities that may attach to the development of any piece of land. In an area such as South Shields, which, like Stoke-on-Trent, has been built on a number of coalmines, some of them very old ones, it is essential that there should be in the offices of the local authority available for that authority and for the inspection of those who contemplate buying land in the district—

The Chairman

If the hon. Member reads the Clause, he will see that it has reference to any land upon which the local authority contemplates the erection of any buildings. It does not refer to other persons who may contemplate erecting buildings.

Mr. Ede

I understand the Clause to mean that the local authority is to be supplied with the information, and there is nothing in the Clause which limits it in the publication of the information.

The Chairman

If the hon. Member will read the Clause, he will see that it is very limited as to the information which the local authorities can get.

Mr. Ede

I am prepared to admit that they are limited in the information which they can get, but they are not restrained from recording such information as they can obtain on the plans which are in their offices and which are normally open to inspection by the public.

The Chairman

The hon. Member must look at the Clause. It is not a question of land which particular property owners acquire, but land in which, to put it shortly, the local authority is interested, either because the local authority has buildings on it or contemplates building on it.

Mr. Ede

I realise that that is the position as far as the new Clause is concerned, and that the information which is legally obtainable by the authority is limited to that sort of information; but I suggest that it will be of very considerable value to the general public as indicating the lines of these workings and that it will avoid a good many of the difficulties which have been mentioned by my hon. Friend. It must be borne in mind that even under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, the local authorities grant very many mortgages to people who apply to them for assistance in the acquisition of their houses. Surely, a local authority will be entitled in those cases to ascertain whether they are lending their money in connection with a house that may be liable to subsidence.

The Chairman

If the hon. Member will read the Clause, he will see that there is nothing in it about the interests of mortgagees or lenders of money.

Mr. Ede

I do not desire to get involved in an argument with you, Sir Dennis, on points of that kind. May I put it in this way? This would be the recognition of the right of the local authority, limited according to the words of the new Clause to those parcels of land in which they have a direct interest, to information that is of the greatest value to them. It is the assertion of a principle that ought to have been recognised many years ago. It was recommended 13 or 14 years ago by the Royal Commission, and I can only hope that the Minister will not ride off on that fact. Though Mr. Evan. Williams cannot think so much about it now as he used to do because he is more occupied with issuing advertisements, he would probably be prepared to say to-day what he said in 1924. We could only hope that with so strong a supporter as Mr. Evan Williams we shall have the blessing of the Minister.

9.6 p.m.

Mr. Stanley

I was going to say that I have considerable sympathy with the object of the new Clause. I will add to the time-honoured formula that I would like to help the hon. Gentleman who moved it to get in substance what he seeks, although I did not think the new Clause is the best or the right way of doing it. The new Clause is confined to local authorities and I do not see why it should be so confined. The influential body which has given the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) a temporary and, I hope, transient support, is as much entitled as the local authorities to the information. The right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) has an Amendment to one of the Schedules which would try to give this sort of advantage to all who are interested, rather than to the local authorities alone. That, I think, is only right. The hon. Gentleman referred to the report of the Royal Commission and the statement made there by Mr. Evan Williams. I do not know whether he knows the subsequent history of that recommendation of the Royal Commission. When it came to be considered it was found that it was in conflict with a principle which had been adopted in most mining legislation, namely, the secrecy of information of this kind. It was felt, and felt rightly, that, although it might be right that a person who had a direct interest on the surface, that is, the property owner or the local authority, should get information, he should not broadcast the information which always by law had been protected with secrecy.

The result was that 10 years ago a guarantee was given by the mineowners that, although they would not publish this information, any one who had a reasonable interest—and that included the local authority—should have access to all the information that was necessary as regards both the past and the present workings of the mine. The guarantee went further and gave something which, I venture to say, is really of greater value to the local authorities or the property owners, but it is something which could hardly be secured by statute. They promised not only to give information about past and present workings, but to give, as far as they could, information as to the probable trend of future workings. In my submission the inquirer will probably be more interested in the way developments are going to take place and in being given some idea under what area of the surface coal is going to be extracted than he is in the actual plans of the old mine workings. That guarantee was given 10 years ago. I have made inquiries, and, as far as I can make out, there has never been any complaint made to the Mines' Department that the guarantee has not been implemented or that any person who reasonably required this information had not been given it. As far as the workings of individual collieries are concerned, therefore, the present position under this guarantee, implemented as it has been, probably gives to local authorities and to others more than is asked for in this new Clause because it gives information as to future workings as well as information about past workings.

Let me pass to the new situation created by this Commission and to the part that the Commission could play in giving information of this kind. I doubt whether, the Commission itself would really be able to add anything to the information which can now be obtained from the individual collieries as regards areas which are already fully developed. Where an area is being fully worked the colliery itself is much more able to give the information as to the probable trend of its working than the Commission.

Mr. Hollins

There is nothing in the new Clause to enable the Commission to give information.

Mr. Stanley

I was going to say that I think the Commission could help. Although it is not put in the new Clause, I naturally assumed that hon. Members would desire that the Commission should give help if it is possible.

Mr. Hollins

The new Clause would empower us to go direct to the collieries to get the plans.

Mr. Stanley

I am afraid I am not making myself clear. I have explained that under the existing practice, which I have not heard challenged, people who have reasonable grounds for getting this information have access to individual collieries, and I am suggesting that, in addition to that, it may well be that the Commission will be able to give additional help to people who are interested. I do not think they could give much help in the developed areas. There the individual collieries could supply all the information that was necessary and give the best opinion as to future workings. Where, I think, the Commission can be of help is when it comes to a question of developing new areas. There the Commission, with the whole plans in its mind, will be able to give to the local authority or the property owner useful information as to the direction in which developments will take place. The Commission cannot be set up until this Bill becomes an Act, and I can give no pledge on behalf of a non-existing body, but I can promise that as soon as the Commission is set up I will bring to its notice this Debate, the points that have been raised, and the suggestions that I have made in reply to them. Although I can give no undertaking, I have no doubt that the Commission, answerable to the public, will clearly have to give every consideration to the local authorities and the property owners under whose property there may be workings, and will, in fact, be ready to do so.

Sir S. Cripps

Does not Clause 45 present some difficulty, because under that Clause any person who discloses information obtained by him in the exercise of the powers conferred under Clauses 13 and 41 is liable to punishment? Will not the Commission be prohibited under pain of two years' imprisonment from disclosing any of that information?

Mr. Stanley

That is right, and that is why I am suggesting that the present system of going to the individual colliery undertakings for plans of existing workings should remain. Where I am suggesting that the Commission could help is by giving their opinion as to the trend of future developments, by simply saying, "We are proposing to give leases for the development of such and such a bit of coal, and therefore the working is likely to extend in such and such a direction." That is the kind of opinion, which is now given by the individual mineowner about his own bit of leasehold, which I am suggesting should be given by the Commission about the developments in any new area. I will certainly consider whether it would not be possible in the development of an entirely new area to include in the general direction the instruction that as far as possible the local authorities or other property owners concerned should be given some indication of the likely trend of the developments. In that way I think it will be possible to secure that the interested parties do have the fullest possible information as to past and present workings and, what I think is from their point of view even more important, be given in good faith the best possible opinion as to the likelihood of future working and be able by that means to avoid difficulties.

9.17 p.m.

Colonel Wedgwood

I do not think we shall be as grateful to the right hon. Gentleman as he expects.

Mr. Stanley

I did not expect any gratitude.

Colonel Wedgwood

Future developments are not what we are suffering from. People may possibly get good advice from the Commission about the future, but we are troubled about the present. On that we have had a valuable statement but, unfortunately, it is but a statement and does not altogether coincide with the facts. Stoke-on-Trent is one of the places which have suffered most of all from subsidence, and the town clerk of Stoke-on-Trent asked us to put forward this new Clause because under the standing arrangement which, we are told, has been observed so constantly for ten years, Stoke-on-Trent fails to get the information they require. If that understanding had always been observed I do not think there would have been so much need for us to take action, but when a local authority itself is unable to get the plans it wants and to see where it can safely put its schools or its main drains or its roads, what chance is there of a small property owner getting the information from the colliery company? A small man has no chance whatever of finding out whether it is a particular pit which has caused the damage to his house. He would be laughed at if he applied to know.

The Chairman

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that the new Clause deals with information for the local authorities.

Colonel Wedgwood

Yes, but the right hon. Gentleman in his reply dealt both with property owners and with local authorities, and I thought that I might point out that a local authority is naturally in a better position than a small man to get the information, and that if the authority cannot get it the small man stands no chance at all. That agreement, which was to obviate all the necessity of legislation such as this, is not an agreement which is of much use, and the reason is that it is not binding on all colliery companies. They have the right to decide whether the demand is based upon "a reasonable ground." What seems reasonable to the local authority or the man whose property has suffered may not seem a reasonable ground to a colliery company, who might say, "The damage has been done by some other gentleman and not by me." The position of the colliery owners in refusing this information in future will be infinitely stronger. Once this Bill is passed they will say, "I refer you to Clause 45. Under that Clause it is a punishable offence to disclose the secret plans of the workings of this mine." The position of the colliery company will be stronger and the position of the local authority weaker, so that the need for this Clause is greater after the right hon. Gentleman's speech than it was before. He is relying upon a bargain which may or may not have been carried out but which is less likely to be carried out in the future.

Mr. Stanley


Colonel Wedgwood

Because of Clause 45.

Mr. Stanley

The right hon. and gallant Member must realise that Clause 45 has no application to this case. It says: Any person who discloses any information obtained by him in exercise of powers conferred upon him by Section thirteen or Section forty-one of this Act. Surely it is not suggested that a coal-owner only has information as to the workings of his own mine because he has obtained it in the exercise of the power conferred by this Act.

Colonel Wedgwood

I think it puts an end to your promise and guarantee of the future.

Mr. Stanley

I must explain again, despite the briefing which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman received from his hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps). The guarantee I gave as to the future and as to the Commission was not a guarantee that they would supply information which they had obtained, but would give an opinion as to the future developments which they would be responsible for directing.

Sir S. Cripps

I seem to have said something which was misunderstood. What I suggested was that the mine-owners might say that the passage of this Bill terminated the conditions under which they gave a promise 10 years ago and that the promise does not hold any longer. As they are to be approached on all these other matters could they not be approached to say whether that promise holds good?

Mr. Stanley

They have been approached and they are prepared to renew the promise.

Colonel Wedgwood

Could they not renew that promise in the shape of a legal Clause in this Bill? This is no more than a promise between an evanescent body of people and a Minister who changes. We have the authority of a Lord Chancellor for saying that a Bill such as this is the occasion on which such a change should be made. He said in reference to a matter like this: If it is desired to alter the mining law in this drastic manner the proper place for such an innovation to take place is in a mining Bill. Here is the mining Bill. Why are these plans to be kept so wonderfully secret? Why cannot they be inspected even by the authorised servants of a local authority? The refusal to submit these plans must give rise to a certain amount of suspicion. No other plans are kept secret like this, except the plans of Government battleships which it is desired to keep secret from the foreigner. The plans of every factory we put up are submitted to the local authority, as are the plans of every building, of every street. And they are public property, to be seen by everybody. Yet these plans of underground workings, which cannot be seen by the light of day are particularly, and especially, kept secret in an Act of Parliament pressed upon the Government by the owners of these properties. Is it that the workings that took place during the War were not exactly shown to the Government or to the local authority? Is it that they have sometimes trespassed underground upon other people's property? What is the reason for this special secrecy in connection with these plans of underground workings on which the safety of all property on top depends? The operative words of the Clause are: A local authority shall have power to inspect all plans, made under any statutory enactment, of the workings of any mines where in the opinion of the local authority the workings of such mines would be likely to affect the surface of any land upon which the local authority contemplates erecting any buildings. It seems to me that that is the very least that you could give a local authority. In Stoke-on-Trent they have lost, I should think, £100,000 in damage to public buildings or works. What we are asking is that when they put up public buildings in future they should know the risk that they face. It seems to me madness to refuse them the right to know whether in putting up a school or running a sewer they can avoid the risk of complete destruction. What applies to Stoke applies even more to my own borough, where we own all the land, and the land we do not own we are in process of buying. We sell it to builders and all we want is an entire plan showing where the workings are. I cannot for the life of me see who is to suffer through these plans being in the hands of the local authorities, if the owners of the mines have worked them honestly and have not trespassed on other people's property or made the divisions between different mines thinner than they ought to be.

We have been turned down in every effort that we have made to improve the position of people who are suffering a grave injustice. That injustice was recognised by the Royal Commission, which was appointed only about a dozen years ago after an enormous agitation brought about by the injustice suffered by these same people. It reported and gave great satisfaction to those who got it appointed and who had grounds of complaint which were proved to be reasonable. The Government has done nothing since it reported, and it is refusing every single Amendment to this Bill designed to ameliorate the position of these people. They are small property owners, and they can be neglected. They are only the poorer local authorities—heavily rated local authorities—and they can be neglected. We appeal for people who are suffering from what is recognised as an injustice and the entire population of North Staffordshire—Labour, Liberal and Conservative, the entire local Press, and the entire town councils of Stoke and Newcastle ask for this small instalment of justice.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. Lunn

When the right hon. Gentleman rose to reply to my hon. Friend's excellent speech, with its very modest request, I thought he was going to show a little generosity. He has shown none up to now to this side in anything in the Bill. He started off very well by not only saying that he was going to accept the principle of the new Clause, but that he thought that it did not go far enough and he would like to go even further. Before very long, however, he became as timid as he has been all the time the Bill has been under discussion, and up to now we have no promise whatever of anything to meet the position stated by my hon. Friend. He asks that local authorities should have an opportunity of seeing the plans, should know the location of the seams, and be aware of what there is in the immediate district. There is nothing that can satisfy us except some words in the Bill. No promise by a Minister is sufficient to meet a position of this kind. It is not sufficiently laid down in law that knowledge that has been obtained during the last few years must be communicated to local authorities. In some cases when establishing housing sites they have been able to obtain the information by consulting the district valuer, but that is not the position generally with regard to information regarding the danger of subsidence. Everyone in an area that is likely to suffer from the effects of subsidence should be able to know whether or not they are building in a suitable place, and whether that danger exists.

I remember when there were collieries which had no plans, and there was no knowledge whatever of the circumstances. When I was a boy the water flooded into one pit and all the tubs and rails had to be left because no one knew the position in the colliery and what danger they were approaching. The only man left in the pit, where I was a workman and a checkweighman, who knew anything whatever about it was retained in the employment in order to give what little information he had to guide the company so that they should not work up to the danger point where water might break in. In my locality I have seen rows of houses which have been split in two because there was not the knowledge that there ought to have been, even in the colliery company, as to the risk to property in danger of subsidence.

I might give my own case. I live in a mining area which is very well mined, and within half a mile of one side of my house, into which I have just gone, is a colliery. The other day I was riding up to Leeds in an omnibus and I spoke to one of the miners who is working there. I said: "Where are you working now?" and he told me that it was only 200 or 300 yards beyond my house. There is immediate danger of subsidence there, but it is not in the common knowledge of the people, and it ought to be possible for a person like myself, having been a member of a local authority for 20 years before I came here, to obtain information and to know what the dangers are. It is terrible when people who have spent all their savings on a cottage see it destroyed in a night. Since I became a Member for Parliament I have visited mining districts where I have seen the doors broken away from the walls, and bedroom floors falling down. Rows of houses have been destroyed by reason of subsidence, and compensation ought to be paid to the people by those who are responsible for it.

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not the object of the new Clause, which deals with the giving of information to local authorities.

Mr. Lunn

I agree, Captain Bourne, but I was drawn to that point because I believe it, and I felt that it ought to be said. All we are asking is the opportunity to develop our knowledge as to the position of our own country and our own localities where people are threatened with dangers which are not clear to the eye and are not within immediate knowledge.

At the beginning of his speech, the right hon. Gentleman sympathised with the new Clause. He went further than sympathy, and said that he agreed with the principle of it, and felt that it ought to go further. He said he would try to see that the Commission were informed of the matter, after they were appointed and the Bill had become an Act, so that they might see whether it was possible to take some steps in this direction. The right hon. Gentleman is not going very far if he inserts definite words in the Bill, which he must do or we must vote against this matter, because it is so serious in every mining area. We appeal to him to put in words that the necessary information shall be given to the local authority and to people who live in areas similar to those which have been mentioned in the Debate, in order that we may avoid dangers or be aware of them, should they at any time come upon us.

9.39 p.m.

Mr. Dunn

I hope that the Minister will consider this matter and take it a step further than the indications already given. He has promised to give the new Clause sympathetic consideration and he told the Committee that the views of the Mining Association had been taken as to the ultimate effect of it upon the future working of the collieries. I have served upon local authorities for quite a number of years and we have been extremely anxious to carry this matter a stage further than a mere promise regarding the opinion of the Mining Association. The President of the Board of Trade said that he would consider giving instructions to the new Commission, when set up, regarding the objects of the new Clause. We have had a very large experience in our area, and we are anxious that this proposal should be carried into legislative effect by appropriate words being inserted in the Bill.

Any amount of sympathy is given all along the line to local authorities and everybody concerned, but nothing appears to be given which has any practical effect. I have not been asked to support this Clause on behalf of the Property Owners' Association. It sounds rather intriguing that my hon. Friend who sits at the back should be speaking on behalf of the property owners.

Mr. Ede

If you sat on a back bench you might be asked.

Mr. Dunn

I support the Clause on behalf of what, I believe, is the second largest rural district council in England and Wales. I have the direction of the Chair that I should be entitled to discuss the Clause from the standpoint of a local authority, whereas I should not be entitled to do so from the standpoint of a property owners' association. The local authority which asked me to support this Clause is larger in population and area than some of the county authorities in this country, and it is important that one should indicate the lines on which they have asked me to speak. For 14 miles right in the centre of my division, the effect of subsidence is affecting the operations of local authorities all along the Rother Valley.

My hon. Friend, in a very interesting speech introducing this Clause, called attention to what the Commission had to say with regard to Doncaster. I want to call the attention of the Committee to the actual facts relating to the Valley of the Rother. We now know that the Valley of the Rother has, within the last 15 years, sunk approximately a foot per year, a measure of the subsisdence that has been taking place all along the valley. To-day houses owned by the local authority, gas mains and water mains, as well as sewage farms, are all submerged in times of heavy rainfall to a maximum of five, six or seven feet of water. Some of the council houses in the Rother Valley are so badly affected that new access has had to be made into the property and the tenants reside in the bedrooms. When an appeal was made to the proper Departments for the matter to be considered, those Departments could do nothing.

Many views have been expressed with regard to preventing this subsidence, and it is not an answer for the President of the Board of Trade or his Department to indicate what should be done in regard to the future planning of the mining industry in these areas. It is not a question of these areas alone. Wherever coal is won in this country, subsidence is bound to take place. There is only one way of preventing it that I know of, and that is not to take the coal out. If you take the coal out, the surface will go down. I am asked to support this Clause on behalf of the Rotherham Rural District Council, whose property down the valley is affected for some miles. It is a serious matter to them, because their sewerage farms, their water mains, their gas mains, and their houses are all being affected. I hope the Minister will not try—I do not think he is trying—to impress the Committee that he is so anxious to put this matter right, because I believe that if he is anxious to put it right, he will not rely merely on promises from the Mining Association or on any directions to the Commission when it is set up. I think the only right and logical way to deal with the matter is to put the appropriate Clause in the Bill.

9.47 p.m.

Mr. Pritt

I always feel a little nervous at addressing a crowded House, and therefore I am very glad that you, Sir, have called upon me at a relatively early hour, because although the Chamber is now filling up and the right hon. Gentleman can take courage from being supported by 1o or 12 Members on his back benches, it is not as crowded as it might be. Joking apart, I am not accusing him—

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Member says "Joking apart." I am wondering where he made a joke.

Mr. Pritt

It is like our complaints of a concession by the Government. As it is always a question whether it is a concession or not, so this is a question of whether there was a joke or not. I want to consider seriously what the right hon. Gentleman has done, because he has done two very important things. The first is that he has entirely conceded the principle for which the mover of the Clause is contending. He has conceded absolutely that it is right and proper that the private interest of the colliery owner ought to give way in the public interest to the desire of local authorities really to know the facts, which are often very expensive to ascertain and without which rights cannot be enforced or safeguarded without the trouble of litigation. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman said he would like to go further, or help us to go further, in various respects, so that we do not need to argue the case for the Clause, which is conceded.

Then comes this very much more important consideration. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Don't trouble to put it in an Act of Parliament. Our masters have told us that we can have the information from time to time without a Clause in the Bill." That is a very important principle and wants investigation, Lawyers and laymen in this country have been brought up to believe that the source of rights is the Common Law and the Statute Law, and textbooks have been written on the assumption, generally very bad ones, that those are the sources of our rights, but in future, if what the right hon. Gentleman says is correct, the textbooks will have to say, "This is the Common Law, and it does not give you a right to information; this is the Statute, and it does not give you a right to information, but on the authority of the President of the Board of Trade, speaking in the House of Commons on such and such a date, the coalowners of the country will in fact concede you the information to which the law does not entitle you." We are asked to accept as apparently better than a statutory right, which can be construed and enforced by a court, the promise of the colliery owners.

Now colliery owners are some of them good and some of them bad. We have one or two very good ones in this House, and we look up to them with reverence as a sort of exhibit; and there are others, not necessarily in this House, who are very bad. The history of the relations between both the industry and the public and the employer and the employed, in the colliery industry of this country is one of the most outrageous scandals in the last 200 years, and it is to an unorganised, uncertain, and shifting body of that kind that we are asked to look for our rights, which could be put in a Clause in five minutes. When we come to any particular case and some local authority wants some particular information and says to the board of the colliery, "May we have this information?" supposing the colliery replies—and we are told that this is the sort of thing that has happened, although we are told that other colliery owners have loyally abided by these somewhat ill-defined undertakings—" We do not think the undertaking covers this," you cannot go to the law court and say, "Will you decide whether I have a right to this," because the thing resides in a sort of gentlemen's agreement, and we know what gentlemen's agreements are. I do not know even whether this undertaking is to be found set down in writing anywhere. Would the right hon. Gentleman put it in a Schedule to the Bill? That would give it, of course, all by itself, no legal validity whatever, but at any rate a little more definiteness to people seeking, not for their rights, but for the privileges which we ought to accept, instead of our rights, as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman.

This is a very important and a very dangerous principle. Why should it not be carried a little further? Why should it not be applied to the Income Tax? Do not enact that people must pay Income Tax, but explain to the House, when it comes to the Income Tax, that the Income Taxpayers' Association has given an undertaking that they will pay, and if there is any dispute about how much is due, you will ask the taxpayer what he thinks is fairly due from him, and you will accept that from him. There are moments, when I have to pay my Income Tax, when, from a purely selfish point of view, I could quite commend that sort of thing. We are being asked tonight to accept, instead of a statutory right, an unworded undertaking by a Mining Association or some other body connected with the colliery industry which will have to be implemented by the honour or good faith of undefined colliery owners, some of whom very likely do not even exist, if they do not yet own the mines, but will own them next year. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to say that the best place in which to give people rights of great importance in this way is not an undertaking of the colliery owners, who really control the Government, but something tangible set down in the Statute.

9.54 p.m.

Mr. Shinwell

Let it be remembered that we are not asking for information which need be disadvantageous to the coalowners. We are asking for information which, if it is not given, will be a disadvantage to the local authority. The right hon. Gentleman has made another promise. He has given an assurance that when that Commission is set up—and meantime he cannot speak for the Commission, because there is no Commission—he will approach the Commission and ask for an assurance that this matter will be considered. He has given a further assurance that the coalowners, as they have done in the past 10 years, so he said, will continue to furnish the requisite information to the local authorities.

Mr. Stanley

The important point is that they will be ready to give that undertaking as to the future, which I think the hon. Member will agree could not be secured by legislation.

Mr. Shinwell

The right hon. Gentleman points out that they will give such information as is at their disposal with regard to future developments. May I direct the right hon. Gentleman's attention to this important factor in the situation? He has given assurances on behalf of the Commission that is to be set up, arising out of the Bill, and he has given certain assurances on behalf of the coalowners, but none whatever on behalf of the Board of Trade. If on some future occasion the right hon. Gentleman is questioned in this House with regard to the assurances that he has given tonight, he may reply: "I have done my best. I have approached the Commis- sion and I have an assurance from the coalowners; but the Commission find themselves unable to carry out the assurance they have given, for some reason or another, and the coalowners similarly are unable to fulfil the assurance they gave to me." He will be able to excuse himself on those grounds. Surely, that is a most unsatisfactory position for hon. Members. If there is a legitimate grievance—the right hon. Gentleman does not dispute the existence of a legitimate grievance; in fact, he expressed sympathy for the local authorities, the property owners and others affected by subsidences—surely we ought to have from the President of the Board of Trade a definite assurance in black and white that he will make himself responsible for the obligation into which he has entered to-night.

When the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) was speaking he referred, in passing, to the question of compensation, and you very properly directed his attention to the fact that we are not discussing compensation in this Clause. Surely, that emphasises the modest character of the proposal. We are not asking for compensation in respect of subsidence, although a case could be made out for compensation. All that we are asking is that local authorities adversely affected by subsidences and will continue to be so affected by subsidences in future, should have the right to be informed, so that they may be able to proceed with social development in a normal fashion. As regards the question of information, may I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the Mines Department for many years has been preparing a catalogue of abandoned mines. Abandoned mines are referred to in this Clause. Is it not possible for the local authorities to approach the Mines Department and obtain information in respect of the workings of abandoned mines, on the understanding that they will not disclose anything that is confidential or anything which might be disadvantageous to the coalowners? If the right hon. Gentleman will give a definite assurance on that head, not on behalf of the coalowners or the Commission but on behalf of the Mines Department, which is the responsible Department, it would be a concession worth having. It is a concession that the right hon. Gentleman is in a position to give. I hope that he will meet what I regard as a modest request and one that is practicable.

With regard to the question of future development, the Commission to be set up is to be entrusted with the reorganisation of the mining industry. Arising from that, there is to be amalgamations of mining undertakings. Despite what has been said about the closing down of pits, it will not be disputed that here and there, inevitably, some pits will be closed. Apart altogether from the powers of the Commission under the Bill, in the normal process of events in the mining industry there will be some closing of pits. Wherever there is closing of pits and steps are taken to protect the workings, because there will be waterlogging in some coalfields particularly in South Wales, where the flooding is so acute that it threatens adjoining mines which are working, surely there will be an obligation on the Commission, which has nothing to do with promises, assurances or guarantees, but something which should appear in the Bill, making it dear beyond peradventure that the local authorities in some way should be safeguarded. That is all that we ask.

I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that he has given several promises. He gave a promise last Thursday. What will arise from that promise we shall see on the Report stage. This afternoon on the question of voluntary amalgamations he gave a promise, but one cannot legislate by promises alone. We cannot have legislation by addendum. I do not know whether it is possible, following the line of argument taken by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt) to introduce into the Schedule the series of promises, assurances and guarantees which the right hon. Gentleman has given. Let me put it more modestly. Is it possible at some stage in our proceedings to have furnished to every hon. Member a list of the promises, guarantees and assurances which have been presented in the guise of concessions, so that we may know where we stand?

Apart altogether from these matters, which may have no strict relevance to the Clause under review, I would repeat that we are making a most modest proposal and one which the right hon. Gentleman could properly concede. He could give on his own behalf, not on behalf of some second or third party but on behalf of himself, the Government, and the Mines Department in particular, an assurance that if local authorities do apply for information which it is desirable that they should have it will not be withheld.

10.5 p.m.

Mr. Tinker

The President of the Board of Trade was so sympathetic in his reply that I thought at first he was going to accept the new Clause as it stands. But he went on to say that powers already existed, and that he would advise the Commission to take a note of the speeches made on this occasion and see what could be done about them. If there is that sympathy and understanding on the benches opposite, why cannot the Government accept this new Clause and satisfy us for once on a matter of this kind? After all the local authorities are not all Labour bodies. Every council has to look after the situation in its own district, and we want Parliament to recognise what the duties of these local bodies are. All we ask is that they should have sufficient power to examine any site which they think is dangerous, before taking it over for housing or other purposes. In mining areas we find instance after instance of the danger and damage which is caused at the present time. I was not aware that local bodies had any power of this kind at all, and I was surprised to hear what the right hon. Gentleman said in that connection.

In the district from which I come, there are houses falling down because of mining works underneath. There is one housing site which commands a splendid view. When the council took it over I said that they had got one of the best sites in the country, but it turned out that the houses were built over a fault. Strata cutting across the coal seam at this point caused a fault and as a result of the conditions underground the houses on one side of the fault are slipping away and have become almost uninhabitable. Why should not local authorities have the power to go into mines at their own expense, and inspect the underground conditions, so as to be able to avoid building upon sites where there is a likelihood of such a danger arising? In our district the gasworks has been losing thousands of cubic feet as a result of mining subsidences, dislocating the communications between the gasworks and surrounding towns. These conditions are not con- fined to any one place like Stoke-on-Trent. They occur in every mining village, and a Bill like this gives Parliament the opportunity of showing in a practical form how steps can be taken to prevent these occurrences.

I make an appeal to the President of the Board of Trade. He has had a very difficult time. He has had to give way to the superior battalions of the coalowners. Probably he did not want to do so, but he was anxious to get this Bill through and he bowed to the onslaught. I am not blaming him in that respect. I know that Parliamentary procedure from time to time has to give way to a certain volume of opinion, and in view of the fact that the coalowners had behind them so many Members on the other side of the House, I cannot blame the right hon. Gentleman for giving in to them. But here we are putting forward a comparatively small but sound and practical proposal. The President admits that there is something in it. He has almost indicated that he would go even further than we propose. All we ask him to do is to accept this new Clause, and if the Government find that there are other means of dealing with the matter let them put in those other means. We have not heard any attempt to-night from the other side to dispute our arguments and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, recognising what Parliament stands for and recognising also the fact that an unanswerable case has been made out for this new Clause, will agree to give us what we ask.

10.6 p.m.

Mr. E. J. Williams

I understand that the difficulty of the right hon. Gentleman is with regard to future workings and things of that kind, and that he would be prepared to accept this new Clause if there were attached to it some assurance to private property associations and others, and if he also had some kind of assurance that the possibility of future developments would not be revealed by local authorities to private firms for some ulterior purpose. I cannot understand what ground there is for the right hon. Gentleman's objections to the Clause. When the Commission takes over the minerals of the country, surely they will have in their purview copies of all plans of the collieries that are being worked, and if a new shaft is to be sunk, the area that is to be taken will be known in advance. All those things are known to colliery proprietors before they commence the development. They will have to decide whether they will work the surface measures first or the deeper measures first and it is really the surface measures that are largely responsible for subsidence—what are called "house coal measures" cutting relatively thin and often draining surface water.

It should not be difficult for a colliery company to deposit plans at the request of a local authority in order that the local authority may know whether it is proposed to work the thin surface seams first, or the deeper measures first. Such information as that supplied to a local authority would obviously be for the purpose of protecting public buildings or any other structural works which were in prospect. Surely a local authority is entitled to that information. I have brought this matter before the House on several occasions. We talked at one time about the question of compensation and I referred to the position in one valley in my constituency. I visited those collieries and found that the backs of the houses had completely fallen out and I pointed out the hardships which were entailed on the owner in these cases. The whole of his life savings had been spent in producing a house which was lost almost overnight, and he had no remedy whatever I have pointed out also that the local authority is spending hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds in digging trenches to safeguard its water mains, sewers and so on.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker), I had no knowledge, and I doubt whether the local authorities have any knowledge, of the undertaking or assurance given by the Mineowners' Associations 10 years ago. I know that they have been anxious for years to obtain this information, and I am certain that most of them were ignorant of the fact that it could have been obtained on request. But, even if they had known of it, no specific obligation is placed upon the coalowners to deposit plans for examination by the local authority or by owners of property who are anxious to construct buildings in given areas. I am certain that, unless a Clause of this kind is agreed to, we shall find that the coal-owners will have a privilege that is not possessed by any other property owners. The local authorities can upon request obtain plans from all other property owners with regard to new construction or anything of the kind, but the mineowners are put in a singular and select position. Why that should be the case it is very difficult to understand. That privilege, which they apparently have, should no longer obtain if it is prejudicial to the public interest and to the interest of property owners in areas in which seams of coal are being worked.

I cannot understand why the President of the Board of Trade is not prepared to meet us in this very reasonable request. It is not made as benefiting us as individuals, or the party that we represent. It is common knowledge that most authorities include members representing the political predilections of hon. Members opposite, and those local authorities are making the same demand that is being made by others which have Labour majorities. The President of the Board of Trade, however, is not prepared to concede this demand to local authorities who have a just case for protection and for an assurance that, when they spend their ratepayers' money, they will get the maximum value for it. I hope that, after this long Debate, the President will concede the Clause.

10.19 p.m.

Mr. David Adams

I fail to understand why we should not place upon the Statute Book an obligation on colliery owners to provide this information for local authorities. I was born and bred in the City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, scarcely any part of which is free from colliery workings, but I cannot assert, as some others have done, that as a local authority we have suffered much from subsidence. That is due to the fact that we have taken the precaution of obtaining information before undertaking any of our large buildings, and because, by rafting in accordance with modern methods, we have been able to construct over colliery workings some of our college buildings and other municipal works in such a way that they have suffered no detriment. It is true, however, that where as a local authority we were not able to take such precautions, as for instance, in the construction of our main drains, roads and other public works, we have suffered very considerable financial outlay, which would have been avoided had the information that we ask should be statutorily provided been dis- closed. While the municipality is protected, if that information for which we are asking had been in the town hall there is little doubt that the private builders would have been made acquainted with the colliery workings in areas which had been built upon in and about the city of Newcastle and which have suffered very considerably from subsidence. The division I represent has constantly suffered very substantially from colliery subsidence.

This information ought not to be withheld on any consideration whatever. Under this Bill, the colliery owners, apparently, are to be placed in a preferential position. Disclosure of this information would not injure them, financially or otherwise, but it would benefit the whole community considerably, and many thousands of pounds would be saved by private individuals to whom this information would be made available. We ask, therefore, that it should be a statutory obligation to enable the representatives of local authorities, without fee or charge, to make themselves acquainted with colliery workings, and, if it be possible, to know the direction of subsequent colliery workings, so that the community at large should not continue to suffer this great hardship, which constitutes such a burden in our colliery districts, often on members of the working community who have invested their all in house property.

10.22 p.m.

Sir S. Cripps

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the questions put by my hon. Friend, especially in regard to abandoned workings? Surely he must appreciate, as a result of this Debate, that the 10-year holding in mining is a rather different thing from what we are concerned about. We are surely entitled to ask when a Bill is passing through the House on this subject that we should not be put off with an undertaking given outside. We are here to legislate, and if a thing is right it is right to put it in the Bill.

Mr. Stanley

In reply to the question of the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell), the answer is. Yes. When the statutory period of secrecy has expired the Ministry of Mines will call for particulars of tenure.

Mr. Shinwell

Does that mean that no local authority can obtain information as to the working of abandoned mines in their area within 10 years of the mine being abandoned?

Captain Crookshank

That is provided in the 1911 Act. I expect the hon. Member will remember that after 10 years have elapsed they have to be opened.

Mr. Shinwell

Are we to understand that the Mines Department cannot render any assistance whatever to local authorities in respect of subsidence?

Mr. Stanley

In the 10 years' period.

Mr. Shinwell

A good deal may happen in the course of 10 years. So we may take it that the Mines Department is valueless in this regard. What remains of the assurances the right hon. Gentleman has given?

Mr. Stanley

The assurances I gave did not apply to the 10 years' period. They applied to plans in the possession of the local authorities. I explained before that I was not prepared to legislate, because I was not prepared for the general disclosure of these plans, which is contrary to the policy which has always been adopted in the past. I was giving no guarantee, but only the renewal of a guarantee, which has been in existence now for 10 years and which, I pointed out, goes even further than what is asked for in the Clause and gives a valuable additional guarantee. I will look into this point with regard to the abandonment of mines with the Secretary for Mines before the Report stage.

Sir S. Cripps

The right hon. Gentleman says that he is not prepared to depart from what has happened in the past with regard to secrecy. What was the object of secrecy? It was, apparently, that where you have a lot of different joint owners there might be trouble if plans were disclosed. As you are going to have the Commissioner and only one royalty owner, any object of secrecy must have disappeared. You will have a single royalty owner who will know exactly what all the workings are in every part, and there can be nothing to conceal which, after all, is the object of secrecy. You are not concealing something from the complainant. It does not matter to the man who is leasing the next mine as to what the workings are in your mine. You have a single landlord for the whole land who controls the working between the two, and the whole object of secrecy has disappeared. It really is no answer—I put this with great respect to the right hon. Gentleman—to say that, because things have been, they shall remain.

We are changing all sorts of things in this Bill. Why not change the opportunities of local authorities for getting information? What conceivable reason can there now be for keeping the plans of an abandoned mine secret for 10 years? What conceivable reason can there be in common sense or anything else? I am sure that neither the right hon. Gentleman nor the Secretary for Mines can think of one. If they can, will they let us know what it is? They cannot think of one, either of them, at this moment. I will sit down immediately if either of them can get up and give the Committee a single reason in their opinion, and they are the persons thoroughly conversant with the whole matter. Think as they may—and one can see how thoughtful they both are in the matter—nothing comes forth. One may fairly assume, therefore, that, on the face of it, prima facie there is nothing to

prevent the alteration of the system, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman in all seriousness, bearing in mind this great change which is being made as regards ownership, to consider, before the Report stage, whether he cannot put in something of this kind, unless he can give some better reason. We certainly do not see anything at the present time.

10.29 p.m.

Mr. Riley

If I understand the Bill, it is mainly to promote the public interest in connection with mining development. Is it not also equally in the public interest that the local authorities should have the opportunity of knowing, before they embark upon public works, the conditions of the mine in the district in which they are operating? What have the Government to say to the local authorities on this matter? Do they think that local authorities ought to "have this information so as to enable them to avoid injury and unnecessary expense? Is not the declared object of the Bill to defend the public interest?

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 131; Noes, 228.

Division No. 89.] AYES. [10.30 p.m.
Adams, D. (Consett) Garro Jones, G. M. Logan, D. G.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Lunn, W.
Amman, C. G. Gibson, R. (Greenock) Macdonald, G. (lnce)
Attlee, Rt. Hen. C. R. Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) McEntee, V. La T.
Banfield, J. W. Green, W. H. (Deptford) McGhee, H. G.
Barnes, A. J. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Maclean, N.
Barr, J. Grenfell, D. R. Marshall, F.
Batey, J. Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Maxton, J.
Bellenger, F. J. Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Messer, F.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Milner, Major J.
Benson, G. Groves, T. E. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Bevan, A. Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Broad, F. A. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Nathan, Colonel H. L.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Harris, Sir P. A. Naylor, T. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Noel-Baker, P. J.
Buchanan, G. Hayday, A. Oliver, G. H.
Cape, T. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Owen, Major G.
Cassells, T. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Parker, J.
Charleton, H. C. Holdsworth, H. Parkinson, J. A.
Chater, D. Hollins, A. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Cluse, W. S. Hopkin, D. Price, M. P.
Cocks, F. S. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Pritt, D. N.
Cove, W. G. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Quibell, D. J. K.
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford John, W. Ridley, G.
Daggar, G. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Riley, B.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Ritson, J.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)
Day, H. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Rothschild, J. A. de
Dobbie, W. Kelly, W. T. Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Seely, Sir H. M.
Ede, J. C. Kirby, B. V. Sexton, T. M.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Kirkwood, D. Shinwell, E.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Lathan, G. Silkin, L.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Lawson, J. J. Simpson, F. B.
Foot, D. M. Leach, W. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Gallacher, W. Leonard, W. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Gardner, B. W. Leslie, J. R. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Smith, T. (Normanton) Viant, S. P. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Soransen, R. W. Watkins, F. C. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Stephen, C. Watson, W. McL. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.) Westwood, J.
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) White, H. Graham TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Thurtle, E. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon) Mr. Mathers and Mr. Adamson.
Tinker, J. J. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Ellis, Sir G. Nall, Sir J.
Aske, Sir R. W. Elliston, Cant. G. S. Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.
Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover) Emery, J. F. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Atholl, Duchess of Emmott, C. E. G. C. Orr-Ewing, I. L
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Erskine-Hill, A. G. Palmer, G. E. H.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Findlay, Sir E. Patrick, C. M.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Fox, Sir G. W. G. Peake, O.
Balniel, Lord Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Perkins, W. R. D.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Gluckstein, L. H. Petherick, M.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Gower, Sir R. V. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Beechman, N. A. Grant-Ferris, R. Pilkington, R.
Bernays, R. H. Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Plugge, Capt. L. F.
Birchall, Sir J. D. Gridley, Sir A. B. Porritt, R. W.
Bird, Sir R. B. Grimston, R. V. Procter, Major H. A.
Blair, Sir R. Gritten, W. G. Howard Radford, E. A.
Boulton, W. W. Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Raikes, H. V. A. M.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor) Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Boyce, H. Leslie Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.) Rankin, Sir R.
Brass, Sir W. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Hannah, I. C. Rawson, Sir Cooper
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Rayner, Major R. H.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Harbord, A. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Bull, B. B. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Ropner, Colonel L.
Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Butler, R. A. Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan Rowlands, G.
Cartland, J. R. H. Hepworth, J. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Carver, Major W. H. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Higgs, W. F. Russell, Sir Alexander
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Holmes, J. S. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Hopkinson, A. Salmon, Sir I.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Horsbrugh, Florence Salt, E. W.
Channon, H. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Samuel, M. R. A.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Hulbert, N. J. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Christie, J. A. Hume, Sir G. H. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Hunter, T. Savery, Sir Servington
Clydesdale, Marquess of Hutchinson, G. C. Scott, Lord William
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Solley, H. R
Colfox, Major W. P. Keeling, E. H. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Lamb, Sir J. Q. Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Law, R. K. (Hull, S. W.) Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Leech, Sir J. W. Spens. W. P.
Cox, H. B. Trevor Leighton, Major B. E. P. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Cranborne, Viscount Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Storey, S.
Craven-Ellis, W. Lewis, O. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Critchley, A. Liddall, W. S. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Lipson, D. L. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Crooke, Sir J. S. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. McCorquodale, M. S. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Sutcliffe, H.
Cross, R. H. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Crossley, A. C. Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Tate, Mavis C.
Crowder, J. F. E. Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J. Thomas, J. P. L.
Cruddas, Col. B. Magnay, T. Thomson, Sir J. D W.
Culverwell, C. T. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Touche, G. C.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Dawson, Sir P. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
De Chair, S. S. Markham, S. F. Turton, R. H.
De la Bère, R. Marsden, Commander A. Wakefield, W. W.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Denville, Alfred Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Doland, G. F. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Warrender, Sir V.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Moreing, A. C. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Duncan, J. A. L. Morgan, R. H. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Dunglass, Lord Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Willoughby de Eresby, Lord Womersley, Sir W. J. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin) Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Windsor-dive, Lieut.-Colonel G. Wragg, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Wise, A. R. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C. Captain Hope and Captain