HC Deb 06 July 1938 vol 338 cc523-52

Lords Amendment: In page 14, line 28 after "that" insert: (a) the right under this Section to a be conditional lease of any coal or mine shall be conditional upon the applicant's satisfying the requirements of the Third Schedule to this Act as to the registration of particulars thereof under the Registration Act and the making of a claim compensation for the fee simple therein, and to his complying with the provisions of that Schedule that impose upon him any duty in connection with the valuation of the fee simple therein; and (b)

10.16 p.m.

Mr. Stanley

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment, the next two Amendments, and some Amendments to the Schedule, raise the same question, which is that of the treatment of what we know as the working proprietor; that is to say, the mineral owner who also works the coal. Hon. Members will recollect that on the Committee stage an Amendment was moved by some of my hon. Friends with the object of taking the working proprietor out of the operation of this scheme in so far as the purely financial aspect was concerned; that is to say, his property would be passed to the Commission as well as other property in coal, but he should not receive any compensation and should not have the property valued, and there should be only a peppercorn rent. I resisted that Amendment on the Committee stage, pointing out that, although I had considerable sympathy with that type of royalty owner, who had in many cases bought the coal to enable him to carry on the colliery business more efficiently and had been urged to do so in many cases by the Government of the day, who thought it was a wise and proper thing, where possible, for a colliery company to own the coal that it was going to work, I could not accept the Amendment, because taking those people out of the valuation would have very bad results upon the whole system. That Amendment was not pressed to a Division.

However, I put down an Amendment on the Report stage designed to help this class of person, because I was impressed by one argument which had been used. One of the main objects of Part I of the Bill is to reduce the burden of rent charged upon the colliery company. Reducing the standing charge would strengthen their financial position and put them in a better position to carry on work, pay wages and make profits. That has been one of the announced objects of the Bill with which hon. Members in all parts of the House have agreed. It was pointed out that some of the working proprietors had had to pay a large sum of money to secure particular parcels of land needed for the proper development of their businesses, and that the compensation might not equal the sum which they had had to pay for the coal; and that, therefore, the first effect of the Bill would be to increase the rent charge which the Bill was designed to lower. I tried to meet that point by the Amendment, which I am afraid was rather hastily drafted. The terms of it came in for considerable criticism in all parts of the House. I remember a phrase "unduly unfavourable" which some Members thought was either ungrammatical or not unambiguous.

In the other House the Government accepted an Amendment which has both served the purpose of redrafting a Clause the drafting of which was criticised, and has had certain definite effects other than those of the Bill as it left the House of Commons. As it left the House of Commons, this provision, although, of course, it was intended that it should be so used by the Commission that these people would not be prejudiced by the Bill, was on a Wholly discretionary basis. The effect of the Clause as now drafted is to give to these working proprietors the right to an adjustment by the Commission of the rent charged to the colliery after the vesting day and after the payment of compensation, so that the colliery company is neither better nor worse off than it was before the passing of the Act and the vesting of the property. The fact that this is now mandatory on the Commission carries with it the right of the working proprietor, if he is not satisfied that the rent is such as to leave him in the same position, neither adversely affected nor improved, to go to arbitration on the matter. On the other hand, it is laid down that this shall only apply to those people who acquired the fee simple before 10th November, 1937, that is to say, before the Second Reading of the Bill. It will, therefore, apply only to those colliery companies whose coal was bought before the Bill was ever introduced, genuinely for the purpose of developing their own business, and cannot be made use of in any way by other people to avoid any of the consequences of the Act.

We have also made a later Amendment in the Schedule which, in cases such as this, will put the Commission in the same position in which they were with regard to subsidiary hereditaments. Hon. Members will recollect that, as far as the subsidiary hereditaments are concerned, the Commission is entitled to appear and to urge that the value placed upon those hereditaments has been too high. In this case, lest there should be any temptation to the working proprietor, who, whatever happens, is going to be left as he is now, to get his property valued too low, in order that, as it does not matter to him, there may be more to go round for someone else, we give the Commission power to appear and, if they think that the property is being valued at an unduly low figure, to appeal against it and see that it is put at a correct figure. This, therefore, will have the effect of leaving these working proprietors in the position in which they are now.

I do not accept the strictures of hon. Members opposite upon royalty owners as a whole. But even if I did, this is a class, of course, quite separate from the ordinary royalty owners. They have acquired their royalties, as they might any other piece of machinery, for the purpose of carrying on the coal-mining business.

10.26 p.m.

Sir S. Cripps

I do not think we can conveniently deal with these three Amendments together, because we desire to discuss the next two Amendments but are inclined to agree with the first. Therefore, perhaps it might be as well to wait until the first Amendment is disposed of before we discuss the other two.

Lords Amendment: In page 14, line 39, leave out "not," and insert "which shall not in any case be."

Mr. Stanley

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

Sir S. Cripps

This is one of those Amendments which, no doubt, would be described as a drafting Amendment. But, as a matter of fact, it is an Amendment of great importance, because it is granting to this privileged class of persons—and we made it quite clear on the Committee stage why we thought they should not be treated as privileged—even better conditions than they were granted by the Bill as it left the House. The original words in the Bill were: A lease granted under this Section shall be granted for such a term, commencing on the vesting date, as the person entitled to the lease may require, not being longer as regards the coal comprised therein than may he reasonably requisite for enabling that coal to be worked out, and subject to conditions with respect to rent and otherwise not more onerous to the lessee than the conditions customary in the district …. That would have meant that, taking the conditions as a whole, they should not be more onerous—that is to say, the rent might have been more onerous but some other condition would have been set off against that, and, looking at the lease as a whole, it could be said that the conditions were not more onerous than were customary for the district. But the Amendment means that every single condition and the rent must individually be not more onerous than is customary in the district. It can be easily seen that if, for instance, it is necessary, for commercial reasons, to fix a rent that is more onerous than the rent of the district, which normally might be set off by some other condition in the lease, which would, on the whole, make it not more onerous, that cannot now be done. You have, in fact, to have the maximum of benefit in every condition of the lease. When I say "the maximum," I mean it must be up to the standard of that condition for the district.

In that way, where in the district there are a number of conditions which vary in leases in different cases, you may in fact get conditions which are much better than the average for the district for the whole of the conditions. You are, therefore, improving here the conditions under which the lease shall be granted. You are giving a further advantage, and the only reason that we can see for the change of these words is in order to give that greater advantage to the person who is the owner of the royalty, and, in addition, is working the mine. This is the beginning of the class of cases where the royalty owner is also the person who is working the coal, and this is the first case where that type of person is getting an extra benefit out of these Amendments over and above the already excessive benefits which were to be granted in the Bill as it left the House.

There is one further matter, and that is in the practicability of this. It is quite easy, if you take the generality of the conditions and rent, to take a lease and put in conditions and rent which anybody able to judge and value these things would say, is not on the whole more onerous than that. But if, in every individual case, you have to say every single condition, you may be forcing upon yourself or upon the Commission an individual condition which does not suit the circumstances of a particular lease, but you have to put it there because it is the average condition for the district. You do not allow yourself the latitude of balancing out advantage and disadvantage under one or other condition. You give yourself a rigid test by which, in every single condition—that is the only meaning of the introduction of the words "in any case"—you have to adhere to the conditions customary in the district or, where there are no customary conditions or the customary conditions are not applicable, than the conditions to which a person not entitled to the benefit of this section might reasonably have been expected to agree.' That is to say, though there are not customary conditions, the condition of what the person who takes the lease would have been expected to agree to not as a bargain betwen the tenant and the landlord, but what the tenant would be expected to agree to, that is to say, a beneficial interpretation of the standard of the conditions or of the covenant. If in every individual case of condition or covenant or rent you are going to force that upon the Commission, then, as I have already said, you will give these persons a very highly privileged position, and I believe that you will create conditions for the Commission in the granting of leases which will make it almost impossible for them to grant reasonable and ordinary leases in the case of such tenants.

10.34 p.m.

Mr. J. Griffiths

We had a very long discussion of this problem on the Committee stage of the Bill, and I believe that an Amendment in a slightly different form was moved by the hon. Gentleman for one of the Leeds divisions. Really, this is a very simple problem because there is in the industry a real precedent upon which we can go. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade evoked our sympathy for this type of royalty owner, and he rightly assumed that for the other, at any rate, there would be no sympathy on this side of the House. It is the case where the colliery company has bought the freehold rights of the coal, and, therefore, when the coal comes to be vested in the Coal Commission, there will have to be granted a new lease.

The question arises, since he does not pay any royalty, but owns the freehold rights, what shall be the royalty charged to him when the coal becomes the property of the Commission? We have a very simple precedent on which we can go, and we have had experience of it in South Wales. The coalowners there many years ago had to face the problem. In 1921 we arrived at a new type of agreement for determining wages and sharing the proceeds of the industry in certain ratio between ratio and profits. One of the items in the ascertainment is the royalty. The question arose, what should be the charge put into the account for royalties in respect of those colliery owners who own the freehold rights and therefore paid no royalties? They insisted that they ought to have the right to charge on their costing accounts the average royalty for the district.

Therefore, if a colliery owner in South Wales owns his own coal and pays no royalty he makes his returns for ascertainment purposes and enters in the cost of production royalty at the average royalty rate for South Wales. The price he may have paid for the freehold rights may not be equal to that average amount of royalty. It may be more or it may be less, but in South Wales I should say that the tonnage rate payable, which is nearly 8d. per ton, would be more than an equivalent of the tonnage rate paid by the proprietor for his freehold rights. That system has gone on since 1921 and since 1926 there have been quarterly returns, and that average royalty has been charged in these cases. Now, in order to assess the amount of compensation which should be made in respect of this class of proprietor, we have to decide what should be the annual royalty payment charged to him. The first question is, what is the annual value of the royalty? From the figures that have been given by the hon. Member for North Leeds. (Mr. Peake) and the figures given in another place, this type of colliery owner represents between one-eighth and one-sixth of the total output and therefore he represents one-eighth to one-sixth of the £66,450,000 compensation.

Now that the State is to own the royalties and the State has to give this class of owner a new lease, and it has to be decided what royalty per ton shall be charged, why not agree upon the valuation which these men have set themselves? Since 1921 they have claimed the right to charge in the costing sheet the average royalty for the district. Why should not the State say to them: "In your discussions with the men you have claimed to be entitled to put into your costing sheet the average royalty of the district, irrespective of whether you are really entitled to do that. We will make that arrangement with you now." I am positive that in many cases, I should think that in most cases, in South Wales these freehold proprietors have been making profit out of this transaction, and that the tonnage value which they have paid for the freehold rights is much less than the sum they have been allowed to charge in the ascertainment. Therefore, the Commission would be entitled to say to these colliery owners that they were not treating them unfairly in taking their own valuation for the future. That is a good test. The State should be able to say: "We will accept your own valuation and give you the terms which you yourselves have insisted upon in the past."

10.40 p.m.

Mr. Mander

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will make some comment on the very searching analysis made by the hon. and learned Member with regard to the true meaning of the Clause. If he accurately represented the situation—and one must assume that he did—I think the Amendment should be strongly resisted. It seems to me that Members of the other House are very anxious to make a meal of this Bill, and as 95 per cent. of them are friends of the right hon. Gentleman, and as he cannot allow them to do that, he has to throw them little tit-bits, pieces of sugar here and there. I presume that these Amendments are of that order. Unless the right hon. Gentleman can assure us that they do not come under this category, and that there is some other explanation, the Amendment should be resisted.

10.42 p.m.

Mr. Stanley

The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) raised a practical point which, I think, I should answer. I can only say that I am advised that the words to which he referred do not and cannot bear the meaning which he attributed to them. The words "in any case," mean in the case of any conditions, and the sole purpose of inserting them is to contrast that with the exceptionally favourable terms which subsequently can be given to prevent anyone suffering loss. "Shall not in any case" means suffering loss as to conditions being more onerous than is customary in the district, and in special cases, where it is proved that he would otherwise suffer a disadvantage, he may be treated even more favourably. That, I am advised, is the proper construction of the words, and I hope the House will accept that assurance.

10.43 p.m.

Mr. Pritt

This is one more illustration of a thing which happens over and over again. We get something which means fairly definitely alpha, but in more than one place it is altered so that any ordinary lawyer, and indeed any ordinary person, would think that it means beta. Now the Minister, who has the immense advantage of not being a lawyer and therefore does not claim to know what he is talking about on a question of construction, says that he is advised that this means alpha, and he sticks to his guns. He has two advantages; one, that he can claim to know nothing about the meaning of words and, secondly, plenty of gentlemen now in the smoking-room who will come and vote for him. In the court they will say that they have not had the advantage of being allowed to be told what was said in Parliament, and that they know only that beta means beta. Therefore everyone in this House is perfectly innocent, and the Minister absolutely and utterly misinformed, of the legislation which we have passed. The only protection we can have is the presence of the Law Officer, who may know. He cannot at any rate shelter himself that he is not a lawyer, because technically and very often he is.

It is interesting to notice how the Minister explained this matter. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) said that the words "shall not in any case be more onerous," mean that none of the conditions shall be more onerous. I confess that I am a lawyer, and that a lawyer can often be mistaken about the meaning of words, but I cannot see any possible meaning to these words other than what my hon. and learned Friend suggested. When the President of the Board of Trade got up he explained that the words "shall not in any case" meant "not." To illustrate that, the right hon. Gentleman stated that his advisers said it means that the conditions shall be not more onerous. Therefore, the House is presented with this singular fact. The word "not" in a perfectly reasonable and intelligible phrase— with respect to rent and otherwise not more onerous"— is a form of legislation which is extremely usual, and any court seeing that phrase will say, "This is just one more of those cases in which we have a task which is not nearly as difficult as it seems." It will lock at the whole mass of conditions and advantages and disadvantages, compare them, and say that on balance it is all right; it will see the word "not," and say, "That is all we have to do, and it is very simple." Now the House is asked to accept the story that in another place impartial and altruistic gentleman have taken out the word "not" and put in: which shall not in any case be and the President of the Board of Trade tells us that he is advised that this phrase means exactly the same thing. If it means exactly the same thing, why should

the House be asked to take out one word which has a definite meaning and put in seven words which have the same meaning, when there is in any case a very grave risk that some court will be compelled, by those rather long-winded words, to say that this means what the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol said it means? If the only thing which the President of the Board of Trade has to say in defence of this Amendment is that, although he does not know himself, because this is a lawyer's matter, he is advised by lawyers, who at any rate are not physically present in the Chamber at this moment, that it means exactly the same thing, then let us stand by it, and, seeing that what the Lords have put in means exactly the same thing, let it be left out again, and mean exactly the same thing.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 210; Noes, 140.

Division No. 277.] AYES [10.48 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Albery, Sir Irving Croom-Johnson, R. P. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A,
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Crowder, J. F. E. Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ's) Culverwell, C. T. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.
Apsley, Lord Davidson, Viscountess Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-
Aske, Sir R. W. Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Hepworth, J.
Assheton, R. De la Bère, R. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. Higgs, W. F.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Donner, P. W. Holdsworth, H.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H. Hopkinson, A.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Horsbrugh, Florence
Beechman, N. A. Duggan, H. J. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Heck., N.)
Birchall, Sir J. D. Duncan, J. A. L. Hume, Sir G. H.
Bossom, A. C. Dunglass, Lord Hunloke, H. P.
Boulton, W. W. Eastwood, J. F. Hunter, T.
Boyce, H. Leslie Eckersley P. T. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.
Bracken, B. Edmondson, Major Sir J. Joel, D. J. B.
Briscoe Capt. R. G. Ellis, Sir G. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Elliston, Capt. G. S. Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Emmott, C. E. G. C. Jones, L. (Swansea W.)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Emrys-Evans, P. V. Keeling, E. H.
Bull, B. B. Errington, E. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)
Bullock, Capt. M. Erskine-Hill, A. G. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)
Butcher, H. W. Everard, W. L. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)
Butler, R. A. Findlay, Sir E. Kimball, L.
Cartland J. R. H. Fremantle, Sri F. E. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Carver Major W. H. Fyfe D. P. M. Leech, Sir J. W.
Cary, R. A. Gledhill, G. Leighton Major B. E. P.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Goldie, N. B. Liddall, W. S.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Gower, Sir R. V. Lindsay, K. M.
Clarry, Sir Reginald Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Lipson, D. L.
Clydesdale, Marquess of Grant-Ferris, R. Llewellin, Colonel J. J.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Loftus, P. C.
Colfox, Major W. P. Gridley, Sir A. B. Lyons, A. M.
Conant, Captain R. J. E Gritten, W. G. Howard Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)
Cook, Sir T. R. A. M (Norfolk, N.) Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Guest, Maj.Hon.O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.) McCorquodale, M. S.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.
Craven-Ellis, W. Hambro, A. V. McKie, J. H.
Critchley, A. Harbord, A. Macnamara, Major J. R. L.
Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Magnay, T.
Maitland, A. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Rayner, Major R. H. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Manningham-Buller, Sir M Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury) Tate, Mavis C.
Marsden, Commander A. Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Mason, Lt.-Col, Hon. G. K. M. Reid, W. Allan (Derby) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Maxwell, Hon. S. A. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Rowlands, G. Titchfield, Marquess of
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R. Touche, G. C.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Mitchell, H. (Brantford and Chiswick) Russell, Sir Alexander Wakefield, W. W.
Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Moreing, A. C. Russell, S. H, M. (Darwen) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Salt, E. W. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Munro, P. Samuel, M. R. A. Wells, Sir Sydney
Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Sanderson, Sir F. B. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Selley, H. R. Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Shepperson, Sir E. W. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Patrick, C. M. Simmonds, O. E. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Peake, O. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Smith, Sir Louis (Hallam) Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Porritt, R. W. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald Wragg, H.
Procter, Major H. A. Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Radford, E. A. Spens, W. P.
Ramsbotham, H. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Rankin, Sir R. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J. Captain Dugdale and Mr.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Grenfell, D. R. Montague, F.
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Adamson, W. M. Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Nathan, Colonel H. L.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Groves, T. E. Noel-Baker, P. J.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Oliver, G. H.
Banfield, J. W. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Owen, Major G.
Barnes, A. J. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Paling, W.
Barr, J. Hardie, Agnes Parker, J.
Batey, J. Harris, Sir P. A. Parkinson, J. A.
Bellenger, F. J. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Pearson, A.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Hayday, A. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Benson, G. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Poole, C. C.
Broad, F. A. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Price, M. P.
Bromfield, W. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Pritt, D. N.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Hicks, E. G. Quibell, D. J. K.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Hills, A. (Pontefract) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Buchanan, G. Hollins, A. Ridley, G.
Burke, W. A. Jagger, J. Ritson, J.
Cape, T. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Chater, D. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Seely, Sir H. M.
Cluse, W. S. John, W. Sexton. T. M.
Cocks, F. S. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Silverman, S. S.
Collindridge, F. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Simpson, F. B.
Cove, W. G. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Daggar, G. Kirby, B. V. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Dalton, H. Kirkwood, D. Stephen, C.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Lansbury Rt. Hon. G. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Lathan. G. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lawson, J. J. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Day, H. Leach, W. Thurtle, E.
Dobbie, W. Lee, F. Tinker, J. J.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Leonard, W. Viant, S. P.
Ede, J. C. Leslie, J. R. Walkden, A. G.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Logan, D. G. Walker, J.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Lunn, W. Watkins, F. C.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Watson, W. McL.
Foot, D. M. McEntee, V. La T. Welsh, J. C.
Frankel, D. McGhee, H. G. Westwood, J.
Gallacher, W. McGovern, J. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Gardner, B. W MacLaren, A. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Garro Jones, G. M. Mander, G. le M. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Marshall, F. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Mathers, G.
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Maxton, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Messer, F. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Anderson.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Milner, Major J.

Lords Amendment: In page 15, line 2, leave out from "the" to end of Subsection (2) and insert: conditions of the lease shall, where the person entitled thereto acquired the fee simple in the coal before the tenth day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven, be so framed as to secure that his financial position in respect of his business of working the coal shall neither be adversely affected nor improved by the fact that, in lieu of his remaining entitled to the fee simple in the coal, compensation of the amount ascertained under Section seven of this Act becomes payable in respect thereof, and he becomes liable to a periodical payment of rent of an amount fixed by reference to the time requisite for enabling the coal to be worked out, and ceases to be liable as proprietor thereof for the payment of mineral rights duty and royalties welfare levy.

Mr. Stanley

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

10.55 p.m.

Sir S. Cripps

We regard this Amendment as one of considerable importance and one which ought to be resisted firmly by this House. I would recall to the House the form of this Sub-section as it left the House. It provided that the Commission might grant a lease to the person entitled, on conditions less onerous than the conditions which had been laid down—what we might call the average conditions of the district—where it appeared to them that the situation of that person in respect of the business of coal-mining would otherwise be unduly unfavourable as compared with his situation in that respect as owner of the fee simple in the premises. Already the House has agreed to make more favourable the average conditions. Now we are asked, not to make the grant of still better conditions optional on the Commission, and not to make the criterion, whether the average conditions would be unduly unfavourable. Instead it is made mandatory that the conditions of the lease, where ownership existed before the Second Reading of the Bill, shall be so framed as to secure that his financial position, in respect of his business of working coal, shall not be adversely affected nor improved by the fact that in lieu of his remaining entitled to the fee simple in the coal, compensation becomes payable in respect thereof and he becomes liable to pay rent and ceases to be liable to pay mineral rights duty and royalties welfare levy.

First we believe that this method of ascertaining the amount of rent is impossible to operate. Anyone who is conversant with questions of valuation for rental will appreciate how that impossibility arises. The objective is to secure that his financial position, not as a landowner, a person in receipt of rents or royalties, not as a tenant, a person who is paying royalties, but as a person who is working coal. That is to say, you have to take into account every incident in the working of the coal, and one of the things that immediately occurs to anybody is that if a royalty owner is working his own coal, in bad times he need not pay any royalties at all. That is one of his advantages: he has not to pay out any money whatsoever to anybody else by way of royalty. You would, therefore, have to put a provision in the lease, if he is to be in an unaltered financial position, that in bad times he need not pay any royalties at all, because otherwise he will be in a less favourable position than he would have been if he were the owner of the fee simple of the coal. You would have to define bad times, the conditions in which he would not pay any royalties, as being times bad in his judgment, not in the judgment of anyone else.

Let me take the case where such a company that owns the royalties customarily makes a reserve by setting aside sums of money which would be equivalent to its royalty payments to itself in order to purchase further royalties when the time comes for that necessity. Any year that company may decide that, owing to the state of business, it will not set aside any reserves and will not therefore have to pay out of its receipts any sums to reserve by way of royalty reserve. If you are to put that company into exactly the same position as it would be in if it continued to be a freeholder, you must give it that same rent under the lease in order that it may not have its conditions worsened. That is an obvious point where it will become impossible in fact to secure in any lease such conditions as are laid down by this Clause.

But there is another important point, which has already been referred to, in passing, by the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths). If I may take, by way of example, a hypothetical figure, in order to show how this sum is supposed to be worked out in order to ascertain the rent, let me assume that the compensation that has been ascertained under Clause 7 and has become payable is a sum of £1,000. You have to take into account the fact that he has received £1,000, and you have to translate that into terms of annual royalty or royalty per ton. Let me assume that you translate it on a 4 per cent. basis. That will mean that you have to calculate that in future he will be receiving, by way of compensation, £40 a year. You have then to take into account the fact that he has to pay the royalties, and we will assume that that is a figure "X," which is the sum that you are attempting to ascertain. You must also reckon that he ceases to be liable for the payment of Mineral Rights Duty and royalties welfare levy. That will mean a credit as compared with his previous position. Let us assume that that is a sum of £10. But you are not merely trying to ascertain his position as a tenant, in which case you could say that the royalty rent that he ought to pay was £50, the £40 plus the £10; you are trying to ascertain his position in the business of working coal.

In the business of working coal he is to have an ascertainment of wages, and for the purpose of that ascertainment he has by agreement to include a sum payable as royalties, although in fact he does not pay it. Let us take what will probably be, in relation to the figures I have taken a fairly common sum, say, £100 If you allow him to bring that sum into the wages ascertainment you will alter his financial position because if he is paying only £50 now, in future he will have to bring into ascertainment no longer a hypothetical sum of £100, but actually a sum of £50. In other words, as compared with his pre-vesting date position, there will be another £50 which he will have to find, as to which 87 per cent., or whatever the figure may be, will have to go to the improvement of wages. So that he will suffer as a result in respect of the business of working the coal by having to devote 87 per cent. of the £50 to wages which he did not have to devote before. Therefore, you will have altered his financial position.

How are the Commission in settling the rent to solve the equation? That is the task which you are setting them, taking alone that single figure of wages ascertainment. There may be other matters, such as rating, which will also affect his financial position owing to the change in the amount of royalty that he will pay. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the attempt to give this fresh benefit, which it is, to the royalty owners, will land the Commission in an impossible task. We think that the royalty owners have already got much too great a benefit out of this right to a lease and right to the most favourable conditions. We think that the provision which was in this Clause when it left this House, that in certain conditions the Commission had an option to grant a less onerous rent than the average rent, provided it would make the position unduly unfavourable if they did not to the royalty owner, was already an advantage.

Mr. Peake

To the colliery owner.

Sir S. Cripps

He is both the royalty owner and the colliery owner in this case. He is the owner of the fee simple in the minerals, and it is by virtue of his being the owner of the fee simple that he gets these benefits and not by virtue of anything else. Whether one calls him the colliery owner or the royalty owner does not matter. He is the person who gets these benefits. We believe he was in too favourable a position before, and that the alteration that has been made in another place has put him in a much more favourable position. It is adopting a criterion which, unless he is charged no royalty at all, is really unworkable because you can never make the position of a tenant exactly the same financially as that of a freeholder. That is impossible because the freeholder can at any moment say, "I will not pay myself rent this year because I cannot afford it."

Unless there is that provision in the lease you can never put him in the same financial position as he would be in if he were the freeholder. The mere fact that you have divided the ownership and the possession means that you cannot reproduce the financial position in which the owner found himself when ownership and possession were in the same hands. Therefore, I suggest that instead of trying to squeeze an extra benefit for these dual personalities by making this Amendment, which will make it impossible for the Commission to operate this Clause, they should content themselves with the already too large concessions which were in the Bill as it left this House.

11.11 p.m.

Mr. H. G. Williams

I have tried to understand the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) and I hope that it is not through lack of intelligence that I have not succeeded. [Interruption.] He spoke of a man being in the dual capacity of royalty owner and colliery proprietor, but we are dealing with a position in which there will not be any royalty owners except the Commission, and it should be the man who was the owner in fee and not the man who is. The person we are dealing with is solely a colliery proprietor who in the past has been a royalty owner, and the hon. and learned Gentleman is completely deceiving the House in talking of this person as being in a dual position. He will be in the simple position of a colliery owner. He told us that these gentlemen, when times are bad, do not pay royalties; they ease their position as colliery proprietors by ceasing to pay royalties to themselves as royalty owners; but in future he wants them to pay royalties to the full. In other words, for the benefit of the miners, who are now a little more silent than they were a moment ago, he wants people who in the past have sometimes not paid royalties to be compelled to pay royalties in the future.

Sir S. Cripps

Does the hon. Member appreciate that in the meantime they have had their property bought at full value and been paid in cash?

Mr. H. G. Williams

That does not alter the future position. I am thinking of these who for the moment are well represented by certain hon. Members on the benches behind the hon. and learned Member. In the course of these Debates they have denounced royalties with great vigour. Here is a case in which the hon. and learned Member wants to make quite sure that royalties will be paid in the future in circumstances in which they were not paid in the past. There are not so many cheers now, I observe. Let me rub it in. It does not do any harm, occasionally, for the miners to realise into what trouble they are sometimes led by their legal representatives. Here is the great legal expert of the Labour party pleading that in no conceivable circumstances are royalties not to be paid. That was the whole burden of his speech. The miners have been very angry about royalties, but here is a case in which their leader wants to make it absolutely certain that royalties are paid to the fullest possible amount. I hope they are thoroughly satisfied.

11.14 p.m.

Mr. T. Williams

I do not know whether the hon. Member has converted or satisfied any of his hon. Friends.

Major Sir George Davies

He has upset some of yours.

Mr. T. Williams

I think the hon. Member flatters himself if he thinks that he has disturbed any ex-miner who knows anything about the position. What is the simple thing which the hon. and learned Member has been trying to tell the House? That after the vesting date the dual colliery proprietor and royalty owner will be paid by the Commission for royalties previously bought but not yet worked by that colliery proprietor. Then the Act will call upon that royalty owner, who has received full payment for his royalties, to pay an annual rent for producing coal. Is there anything wrong with that?

Mr. H. G. Williams

It may be more than he paid in the past.

Mr. T. Williams

Surely the hon. Gentleman has forgotten that that colliery proprietor, who is also the owner of the minerals at the moment, will have received full payment for the royalties. Whether that payment is lodged in one department or another, whether the company is successful during the year or not, at least the lump sum received for the royalties will be available for the payment of the royalty rents during that year. Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that a speech of that description, which he does not understand himself, convinces anyone on these benches? If he does, he is paying himself a compliment to which he is not entitled.

I agree with my hon. and learned Friend that this new Amendment is utterly impracticable, in view of the Amendment which the House has just accepted, by which words are added in line 39. It has to be shown that none of the conditions shall be more onerous than would otherwise be the case, but one of the conditions may be less onerous; then the Amendment now under review cannot be carried out. My hon. and learned Friend has made out a case for the impracticability of this Amendment which ought to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, whether or not the royalty owner who is the present-day royalty owner—who, I again remind the right hon. Gentleman will have been paid for his royalties and will no longer be the royalty owner when he has the money in the bank—may secure better terms than those existing because of the acceptance of the last Amendment. This Amendment says that the position shall not be improved. My hon. and learned Friend is right; this Amendment is impossible to administer, and the right hon. Gentleman ought not to accept this Amendment from the Lords.

11.19 p.m.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

I want to draw attention to one or two points in the Amendment, which, I agree, appears to be impracticable. When the question of the global sum was being discussed in another place, the Debate ranged around the question of how this man could be assessed for royalties when he worked the coal and owned the royalties. It was then stated that that as to be determined by the output of the colliery, knowledge of the output, and putting in figures of the average royalties of the district. A few months ago I asked the Secretary for Mines what was the royalty paid in Northumberland by those who owned the royalty. At that time—I make no complaint of it—he was not in a position to give a reply, but evidently the Commission will now be able to ascertain just what amount of compensation this class of royalty owners are entitled to receive; and I would like to point out to the very clever Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams) that we are dealing here with a dual situation—we are dealing with a royalty owner ho is going to receive compensation on a basis which he has fixed for himself.

It is true to say that we as miners are very interested in this matter. In my district it is not a question of some little man buying a piece of coal to enable him to work his royalty. By far the larger proportion of the colliery companies in Northumberland own the royalty, and have owned it for a very considerable time; and they charge to the ascertainment a figure as to which the miners in Northumberland, or in any other district where the same conditions apply, have not the slightest knowledge of whether it is equitable or not. At the moment the amount charged in Northumberland is, say, 4½d. a ton for royalty, and their compensation out of the global sum will be on that basis, according to the output and, probably, the prospects. The sum which they are receiving at the moment may be—I put it no higher than may be—a very substantial sum, which, in relation to hte amount they have paid for their capital, may mean a very high return on their capital.

After the Commission takes over the royalties, they will have to pay rent themselves to the Commission, and, if there has been a wide gap between the income and the 4½d. on royalties, or, in other words, a very high rate of interest on the capital spent in purchasing the royalties, it means that they will be adversely affected. They will be paying exactly the amount which they were paying before, but which brought to their exchequer a considerable amount of money, paid, of course, by the miners. To that extent, if they continue to pay the 4½d. in the future, they will be adversely affected. From that point of view, this is a most impracticable Amendment, because if they happen to be adversely affected or no better off, what is the royalty they have to pay to allow for that margin which has been going into their pockets? We, as miners, have no knowledge of what that sum is, because it is an arbitrary sum which they have fixed themselves.

The Government, in accepting this, are accepting something which is problematical. The only way in which I can see that it might be of advantage to the miners is this. I am assuming—and I think most of my miner friends will agree with me—that when the owners fixed 4½d. as the royalty rent they would not fix a figure which did not give them a good return on their capital in the purchase, especially when they could make the bargain themselves and pass the buck to the people who were producing the coal. The owners will not want to pay 4½d. in future, because they would be worse off. Therefore, it seems to me that what they may want to pay is just the amount of royalty rent that will counterbalance what they would be losing in receiving the 4½d. when they are the owners themselves.

11.27 p.m.

Mr. Pritt

The hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams), who, I am sorry to see, is not in his place at the moment, always addresses the House in a manner of quiet—or sometimes not so quiet—confidence which would convince anybody who had not seen him before that he was speaking about something he understood. This evening, while he thought, for some mysterious reason, that he was rubbing something into the miner Members of this House, all he was doing was to confirm their knowledge that he has a habit of talking with an air of knowledge on matters of which he is abyssmally ignorant. I was almost convinced, when listening to him, I hat the anxiety about water supply is not Croydons major anxiety. His first accusation was that the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) had been wilfully deceiving the House. The House received it with great calm; it was either asleep or unaware that it was being deceived. How was the hon. and learned Member deceiving the House? By pretending that the particular group of colliery owners—or whatever you like to call them for the moment—dealt with in this Amendment had a dual capacity. The hon. Member for South Croydon said they could not possibly have a dual capacity, because the operation of this Clause would divide up their dual capacities. But this Clause is entirely drawn—the question of whether well or badly drawn, I will come to in a moment—to deal with people who have a dual capacity.

The main object of this Bill is to deal with royalty owners. They are very often, but by no means always, different persons from the persons who are working the coal. I am sorry that it seems childish and elementary, but it is obvious that no one ever explained it to the hon. Member for South Croydon. When you come to people who do own the fee simple as well as working the coal, you cannot leave them out altogether. The problem of dealing with them and putting them on the same footing as other people by splitting, as it were, their personality is a little complicated. For the benefit of the hon. Member for South Croydon, let me tell him that it is the intention of this Clause, both as originally drafted and with the Amendment put in in another place, to do that. To accuse someone of attempting to deceive the House by saying that the person involved has a dual capacity is rather like saying that Piccadilly is Tuesday.

The great thing that the hon. Member rubbed into the miners here was that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol wants these people to pay royalties in full. Hon. Members on this side of the House, while they have a great many objections to a great many things in the Bill, want the Bill to become an Act and to operate. The operation of it will be that everybody who has hitherto owned the fee simple of coal will now be paying a fixed sum per annum in respect of it. Oddly enough, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol, who believes, like everybody on this side of the House, in confiscating, and confiscating equally and not capriciously, thinks this particular class of owners of fee simple should be treated exactly like the rest. That is the beginning and the end of the trouble. That is what is called rubbing it in to the miners. The miners seem still to be entirely alive and do not really need high assistance.

I would like to say this one thing on the merits of the amended Clause. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol has mentioned some of the difficulties of working it. It is very simple. I appeal to the President of the Board of Trade, and if he will not do it, I appeal to the Minister himself, and if he will not do it, I appeal to the Attorney-General, and if he will not do it, I appeal to the office boy, to give us a simple illustration with either "A," "B" or "X," or with £100, £1,000, or £5. Tell us how this works and then we shall know?

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 203; Noes, 122.

Division No. 278.] AYES. [11.35 p.m.
Acland-Treyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Gledhill, G. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Albery, Sir Irving Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. O'Connor, Sir Terence J.
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Goldie, N. B. Owen, Major G.
Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ's) Gower, Sir R. V. Patrick, C. M.
Apsley, Lord Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Peake, O.
Aske, Sir R. W. Grant-Ferris, R. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Assheton, R. Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Porritt, R. W.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Gridley, Sir A. B. Procter, Major H. A.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Gritten, W. G. Howard Radford, E. A.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Ramsbotham, H.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.) Rankin, Sir R.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Beechman, N. A. Hambro, A. V. Rayner, Major R. H.
Bernays, R. H. Harbord, A. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Birchall, Sir J. D. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)
Bossom, A. C. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Boulton, W. W. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Boyee, H. Leslie Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Bracken, B. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Hepworth, J. Rowlands, G.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Higgs, W. F. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Holdsworth, H. Russell, Sir Alexander
Bull, B. B. Holmes, J. S. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Butcher, H. W. Hopkinson, A. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Butler, R. A. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Salt, E. W.
Cartland, J. R. H. Hunloke, H. P. Samuel, M. R. A.
Carver, Major W. H. Hunter, T. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Cary, R. A. Hutchinson, G. C. Selley, H. R.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Joel, D. J. B. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth) Simmonds, O. E.
Clarry, Sir Reginald Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Keeling, E. H. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Kimball, L. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Spens, W. P.
Craven-Ellis, W. Leech, Sir J. W. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Critchley, A. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)
Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Liddall, W. S. Strauss, H. G, (Norwich)
Croom-Johnson, H. P. Lipson, D. L. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Crowder, J. F. E. Llewellin, Colonel J. J. Tate, Mavis C.
Culverwell, C. T. Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Davidson, Viscountess Loftus, P. C. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Lyons, A. M. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
De la Bère, R. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Dixon, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Titchfield, Marquess of
Donner, P. W. McCorquodale, M. S. Touche, G. C.
Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Wakefield, W. W.
Dugdale, Captain T. L. McKie, J. H. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Duggan, H. J. Macnamara, Major J. R. J. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Duncan, J. A. L. Magnay, T. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Dunglass, Lord Maitland, A. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Eastwood, J. F. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Wells, Sir Sydney
Eckersley, P. T. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Marsden, Commander A. Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Ellis, Sir G. Maxwell, Hon. S. A. Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Elliston, Capt. G. S. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Emmott, C. E. G. C. Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Errington, E. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Erskine-Hill, A. G. Mills Major J. D. (New Forest) Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Wragg, H.
Everard, W. L. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. C. R. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Findlay, Sir E. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Furness, S. N. Munro, P. Mr. James Stuart and Major
Fyfe, D. P. M. Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Harvie Watt.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Cocks, F. S.
Adams, D. (Consett) Benson, G. Collindridge, F.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Broad, F. A. Cove, W. G.
Adamson, W. M. Bromfield, W. Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Brown, C. (Mansfield) Daggar, G.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Dalton, H.
Banfield, J. W. Buchanan, G. Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)
Barnes, A. J. Burke, W. A. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Barr, J. Cape, T. Day, H.
Batey, J. Chater, D. Dobbie, W.
Bellenger, F. J. Cluse, W. S. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)
Ede, J. C. Kelly, W. T. Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G. Ridley, G.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Lathan, G. Ritson, J.
Gallacher, W. Lawson, J. J. Seely, Sir H. M.
Gardner, B. W. Leach, W. Sexton, T. M.
Carro Jones, G. M. Lee, F. Silverman, S. S.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Leonard, W. Simpson, F. B.
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Leslie, J. R. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Logan, D. G. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Lunn, W. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Macdonald, G. (lnce) Stephen, C.
Grenfell, D. R. McEntee, V. La T. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbre, W.) McGhee, H. G. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) McGovern, J. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Marshall, F. Thurtle, E.
Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Mathers, G. Tinker, J. J.
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Maxton, J. Viant S. P
Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Milner, Major J. Walkden, A. G.
Harris, Sir P. A. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Walker, J.
Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Watkins, F. C
Hayday, A. Nathan, Colonel H. L. Watson, W. McL.
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Noel-Baker, P. J. Welsh, J. C.
Hicks, E. G. Oliver, G. H. Westwood, J.
Hills, A. (Pontefract) Paling, W. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Hollins, A. Parker, J. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Jagger, J. Parkinson, J. A. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Pearson, A. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
John, W. Poole, C. C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Price, M. P. Mr. Groves and Mr. Anderson.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Pritt, D. N.

Lords Amendment: In page 15, line 20, after Clause 12, insert new Clauses C and D—

C. (Provisions affecting renewal of leases).—On and after the vesting date, if a leesee gives notice in writing to the Commission of his desire to renew a lease of coal or mines in force at that date not less than six months before the date of the termination prescribed therein, the consent of the Commission to such renewal on reasonable terms and conditions shall not be unreasonably withheld, and any question whether such consent is being unreasonably withheld or whether the proposed terms and conditions or any of them are reasonable and what other terms and conditions are reasonable shall, if the lessee so require, be referred to arbitration and the lessee shall be entitled to a renewal of his lease on such terms and conditions as may be found in such arbitration to be reasonable.

D. (Provision as to arbitration).—On and after the valuation date, a clause shall be included in all leases of coal or mines granted by the Commission providing for arbitration in the case of any dispute between the Commission and the lessee in respect of any provision of the lease or any matter arising therefrom.

11.43 p.m.

Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, "That the Lords Amendment be divided into C and D, and be taken separately."

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: In page 15, line 20, after Clause 12, insert new Clause C.—(Provisions affecting renewal of leases.)

On and after the vesting date, if a lessee gives notice in writing to the Commission of his desire to renew a lease of coal or mines in force at that date not less than six months before the date of the termination prescribed therein, the consent of the Commission to such renewal on reasonable terms and conditions shall not be unreasonably withheld, and. any question whether such consent is being unreasonably withheld or whether the proposed terms and conditions or any of them are reasonable and what other terms and conditions are reasonable shall, if the lessee so require, be referred to arbitration and the lessee shall be entitled to a renewal of his lease on such terms and conditions as may be found in such arbitration to be reasonable.
Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

For a long time it has been represented in certain quarters that there should be a right of appeal against the Commission if a lease is refused. The Amendment does not go as far as that, but it provides that in the case of an unreasonable refusal to renew an expiring lease the case should be referred to arbitration. The view of the Government is that as the Commission is to be set up with the statutory functions described in Clause 2 it should be given authority to decide this problem It is quite time that where a great deal of capital has been sunk in a colliery it would create some difficulty if shortly before the term of the existing lease expires the colliery company does not know whether it is to be granted a fresh lease or not, but as a matter of fact it is the normal custom in these days to renew the lease. The continuation of an existing colliery may however in many cases be dependent not so much on the renewal of the lease for the same area of coal covered by the previous lease but on bringing in some fresh area which hitherto had not been leased at all. We agree that when there is a dispute about the carrying out of a provision in a lease, there should be arbitration: but the Government hold the view that the Commission is the right body to decide the main question, and that it is unreasonable there should be an ad hoc arbitration. In view of our general policy on this matter, we hope that the House will agree with us in not accepting the Amendment.

11.45 p.m.

Sir S. Cripps

We are very glad that at this late hour the Government have shown a little determination to uphold the rights of the House. We hope that they will make it the closing chapter of to-night's proceedings. It would be unfortunate to end upon a note of contention, and I feel sure that the Patronage Secretary will agree that it would be much better to end upon this unanimous note of turning down the Lords.

Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.

11.46 p.m.

Mr. Stanley

I beg to move, "That further Consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned."

In moving this Motion I would observe that the progress we have made to-day has not been very rapid——

Mr. J. Griffiths

It has been very steady.

Mr. Stanley

So steady that the movement has been almost imperceptible. Hon. Members will see that we have done only seven pages out of twenty-five pages of Amendments. It is essential that these Amendments should be completed to-morrow in order that the Bill may be sent back to the Lords. Therefore, I hope that it will be possible to finish to-morrow without sitting too late.

11.47 p.m.

Sir S. Cripps

I hope that hon. Members on this side have not unduly lengthened the proceedings to-day, but we feel that there are a great many very vital points raised in these Amendments. We, at least, are determined to fight for the liberties and rights of this House to the last moment necessary, even if it means sitting up all to-morrow night.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendments to be further considered To-morrow.