HC Deb 29 June 1938 vol 337 cc1998-2018

7.7 P.m.

Mr. T. Williams

I beg to move, in page I, line 17, to leave out "five," and to insert "seven."

The Amendments standing in my name ought to be taken together, and I desire to couple the Amendment at the bottom of page 1849 with the first and second Amendments on page 1850. The object of this series of Amendments will be understood at once when I explain that we desire to change the constitution of the Bacon Development Board so that the independent members shall be a majority of the members of that board. We regard this Amendment as being of paramount importance, and unless the independent members do constitute a majority we feel that not only shall we not achieve the primary object and purpose of the Measure, but the national and consumer interests may conceivably be let down. This Bacon Development Board should not only represent the State and the industry but also the consumer. It has comprehensive powers and can always make or mar the interests concerned in carrying out the functions conceded to them in this Measure. The Development Board will be able to rationalise bacon factories, grant curers' licences, revoke those licences, direct the Bacon Marketing Board or the Pigs Marketing Board, supersede either or both, and carry out the functions of either or both, and it seems to me to be of paramount importance that the independent members of such a body should be a majority of that board. It is my considered view, having examined the Bill carefully in the light of all our known experience since the first marketing board came into existence, that while the industry never did, and presumably never will, care for control from outside, the time has arrived because of our present day experience when the majority of such a body as this should represent the State through the agency of independent members.

What has happened during the past few years? We have had a Bacon Development Board since September, 1935. Their powers were limited to licensing factories and to encouraging research and that kind of thing. There has been no rationalisation, although I believe that if the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board had desired so to do they could have increased the powers granted to the Development Board. The only report we have on the development scheme was issued in April, 1938, and in that report we are told that the principal powers of the board relate to licensing of bacon factories. Then it goes on to say: They may also exercise such marketing functions as may be delegated to them by a constituent marketing board, but at the time of this Report no functions of the marketing board have been delegated to the Development Board. That is to say, although a third body was set up, with three independent members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board failed to increase the functions conceded to the Development Board; in other words, the Bacon Marketing Board and the Pigs Marketing Board have been really good stonewallers, and to the extent that they have stonewalled they stonewalled themselves out of existence last year, and they had to come to Parliament, or to the Minister, to invite the Minister to do something that the industry itself failed to do when they had the power. Hence the production of this Bill.

This Measure sets out not only to enable the industry, with iindependent members, to reorganise itself to place the industry on a fairly sound economic basis, but it goes beyond the Act of 1931, the original Marketing Act, in so far as it concedes to the industry a guaranteed financial subsidy. It also goes beyond the Act of 1931 in so far as it concedes to the Board of Trade the power to continue to restrict the imports of bacon for the purpose of maintaining the price at what the Minister would regard as an economic price. Therefore for right hon. or hon. Members to argue that the Labour Government of 1931 were originally responsible for the Marketing Act, out of which marketing schemes have emerged, and that that Act visualised producer control, is not really to tell the full story in 1938. Indeed in 1931 the object was to give the industry an opportunity to organise itself through the agency of marketing schemes, eliminating unnecessary men, bringing the producer and the curer nearer together, so that the producer might get a fairer share of the ultimate price without imposing a further burden upon the consumer.

1938 has brought us to this pitch where, except in one case, the producer has found himself not only not receiving more for the commodities he produces, but in two or three cases actually receiving less, while the consumer in those cases is having to pay more. Therefore I do not think it is unfair to say that they have developed not into the marketing schemes that Parliament originally desired to see, but into price-fixing organisations which, I make bold to say, is not serving the industry well, because any marketing scheme that really is successful ought to be eliminating intermediate waste and guaranteeing to the producer a better price than he had hitherto. That has not been the case; and the Food Council, in their report for 1936, told us: In our opinion, however, consumers have legitimate cause for complaint in so far as the Marketing Schemes, which were intended to give primary producers the power to organise and co-ordinate the sale of their produce, confer in addition powers of intervention in the subsequent stages of treatment and distribution, which are not the province of producers and of which they cannot be expected to have expert knowledge. They go on to say: In bacon we see producers and curers pressing for the maintenance of prices to the consumer by a strict regulation of imports, although no returns are available as to the cost of curing and there is consequently no reliable evidence as to the proportion of the consumer's payment which ought to reach the producer. Instead of the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board setting about their work to rationalise the bacon factories, providing themselves with a secondary service, comparable, shall I say, with the one they have in Denmark, they have left the most fundamental weakness within the industry entirely alone. We have it on record from the reorganisation commission that studied the question of pigs and bacon products that a factory with a throughput capacity of 684 pigs per week cost an average of 9s. 2d. per cwt., while a factory with a throughput capacity of 2,500 per week cost only 5s. 1d. per cwt.—a margin of 4s. 1d. per cwt. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has been worrying this afternoon about twopences, threepences, and sixpences. There is a possibility of saving 4s. There is no system perfectly organised, and the throughput for each factory is not what it ought to be.

We fear that unless the majority of the members of this Bacon Development Board are independent members, we are not going to get that rationalisation scheme that alone will help the farmers and pig producers in this country. I would suggest to the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb), the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton, and the hon. and learned Member for Ashford (Mr. Spens), if he were here, that they are doing an ill turn to their own industry when they tell the country, through this House, that they are unwilling to accept outside members, but only outside advice, when they are so ready to accept Parliamentary assistance and subsidies. If they come to the House for machinery to help them and make their industry more economical, and if they ask for Treasury grants and for power to restrict imports, in order to maintain the price level and impose upon consumers prices they would otherwise not be called upon to pay, it does not seem to me unfair for Parliament to ask that industry to provide it with three members from the Pigs Marketing Board, with all their experince, and three from the Bacon Marketing Board, with all their experience, to work in conjunction with seven independent members appointed by the Minister, who shall exercise the power to rationalise this industry into a really efficient one. That is the object of the series of Amendments we have on the Order Paper.

Instead of the independent members being five, we think they should be seven; instead of the members of the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board being four each, constituting a majority of the whole, we think they ought to be three. We want the advice and experience of those members of the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Boards, but we do not want them to have control, since we cannot expect them to rationalise themselves out of existence. This Bill will succeed or fail to the extent that the bacon development scheme can initiate and carry through a really successful rationalisation. All our factories are uneconomical at the moment. Therefore, the question of success or failure depends upon the Development Board's attitude towards rationalisation. Members representing agriculture itself ought to agree with the submission that Parliament has helped them to help themselves for a period of years, and that they have failed because of interests that were involved. It is the right and proper thing, when Parliament is willing to grant them a subsidy and give the Board of Trade powers to restrict imports, for them to join hands with the independent members in order to make the scheme a success.

There can be no small vested interest in the country nearly so important as the agricultural interest as a whole. I hope the hon. Member for Stone, the hon. and learned Member for Ashford, the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton and other hon. Members will see the wisdom, in the interest of the industry itself, of accepting this series of Amendments, giving the independent members a majority of one and adding to them the experience of the members of the marketing boards. Let us get that rationalisation, and do something really lasting for the industry.

7.23 p.m.

Mr. Price

I beg to second the Amendment.

We have already seen this afternoon, in connection with the new Clause relating to transport, that many of the difficulties which my hon. Friend sees might arise under that Clause would be avoided if we had on the Development Board a majority of independent members. It would create a greater feeling of confidence among the general and consuming public, among all those sections of the community which alone can make a Measure like this a success. A rationalisation and marketing reorganisation scheme can be made a success only if the majority of members upon the ultimate controlling body are independent and not connected with any of the special interests which are being dealt with.

It seems to me that there is a general tendency—and the Government do not seem to be able to help themselves about it—towards setting up independent commissions which control marketing schemes. We had one last year in the Livestock Industry Act. There the provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Act were not put into effect. The Government set up a Livestock Commission of independent members, which is the controlling body in the operation of that Act. We see the tendency in other directions. The Milk Reorganisation Commission, which reported over a year ago, advised the setting up of a commission, which should be the final arbitrating authority to decide upon milk prices and conditions generally in the industry—that is to say, overriding the marketing board and the distributors' organisation. Everything points in the direction of setting up this kind of independent commission, nominated by the Ministry of Agriculture and by other Government Departments. I maintain that that alone will really bring about that confidence among the general and consuming body which will make a success of the marketing schemes.

7.27 p.m.

Mr. Ramsbotham

This is not the first time we have heard the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) on this topic. I enjoyed hearing him put, in a fresher way, arguments which we had already heard at some length upstairs on exactly the same topic. But I think he would agree that the best form of legislation must always be that which secures the assent—and not only the assent, but the cordial co-operation—of those affected by the legislation. That particularly applies to legislation dealing with large and comprehensive industries, as in this case, when we are dealing with a substantial portion of the agricultural industry on the one hand and with an industry, on the other hand, like the bacon curing industry. That principle of legislation is really the principle underlying the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, for which the hon. Gentleman and his friends was responsible. It was that principle which caused the comparatively smooth passage of that Act, because the co-operation of the interests affected could be counted upon. I am afraid the hon. Member's speech showed a considerable back-sliding from the principles which he supported some years ago. The effect of this proposal can only be that an independent majority would be able to regiment, control, dragoon, the two great sections of the industry which, under this Measure, we are persuading to work together. We all know there have been differences in the past—

Mr. T. Williams

How does the hon. Member square the statement that we want to regiment and dragoon the industry with his own proposal that there shall be eight members representing the industry against five independent members? Are we to take it that the eight members representing the boards will regiment and dragoon the five independent members?

Mr. Ramsbotham

The five independent members are not themselves connected with or responsible for 'the running of those industries. They are there in an independent capacity. The general point I want to make is that if we are to get this industry functioning properly, if we are to get the maximum amount of good will from the industries affected, how could that be successfully accomplished if we were to have a majority in numbers of independent members for the purpose of compelling either section or both to do what the independent section thought was the correct thing to do? To vitiate the Bill in that form would be to make no progress at all, and for that very reason I do not advise the Committee to accept the proposal made by the hon. Member opposite. He supported his argument by the proposition that, where a financial subsidy is payable to the industry or group of industries, the body in charge of that subsidy should be an independent body.

Mr. T. Williams

I was trying to emphasise—and probably it was my lack of clarity which was responsible for the misunderstanding of the hon. Gentleman—that the Act of 1931 had no conception of financial subsidies or restrictions, and that, therefore, we have moved on from 1931, so that in 1938 we not only provide machinery but give financial subsidies and allow restrictions because producer control so- far has failed to do the job.

Mr. Ramsbotham

I must have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. I was proposing to point out in this particular case that the Development Board would derive its revenues not from public funds but from its own resources. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Price) quoted the analogy of the Livestock Industry Act where there was an independent Commission. In that case there was no organisation in existence and it was necessary to start de novo without any foundation. Here we have the foundation of the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board, and in building upon that foundation it would be very unwise, in view of the fact that we have these two boards, with friendly relations existing between them, to produce a situation in which they would be governed by an independent body of the kind mentioned, which unquestionably would be found difficult to operate. For that reason I cannot accept the Amendment.

7.33 P.m.

Mr. Muff

The Minister of Pensions has laid down the axiom that this board shall be constituted practically in order to do as they like. There has been another principle laid down in past years by Parliament that where public money is given in any form whatever, either by subsidy or in any other way, there should be public control. I support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) in order that Parliament shall stand up for its age-long principle, that where money is given from public funds, either by subsidy or in any other way, there should be a majority in order to see that the money is properly directed and administered, and also that the work for which the money is voted shall be done in a rational manner. The Minister of Pensions states that if these various interests—and I emphasise the word "interests"—have not the right to do as they like, they will take their bat home and will not play. That does not speak well for the future of the Bill when it becomes an Act of Parliament.

I believe that the words uttered a few moments ago by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Liddall), that this House does not know what is going to happen when the Bill is passed, are perfectly true, and that the Bill is really a leap in the dark. I would remind the Minister of Pensions that only last week the Grocers' Association at their meeting at Llandudno were also somewhat sceptical that the Bill and this particular board will not justify their existence, or, in plain English, we are not going to have -the bacon. The Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Pensions stand or fall upon whether they are able to bring home the bacon. So far they have not been able either by promise or performance to give a shadow of justification for the belief that they will bring home the bacon. If the Amendment were to be carried it would give some degree of force to the board which is to be called into existence. The general consuming public would have the power to see that the Bill was properly administered. Then there might be a little more optimism both on the part of Conservative Members and Labour Members and also of the housewives of this country that they would get some bacon and would not have to pay 1s. 9d. or 1s. 10d. per lb. for it.

I have simply intervened to ask the Minister of Pensions to do a little rethinking. We have had a reasoned and masterly exposition given by my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley. A very respected Member of this House, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), stated in my own household that the finest British institution of which he could think was the breakfast institution of bacon and eggs. He could think of one alternative, and that was eggs and bacon, and I am inclined to agree with him. If this Bill is not a success, if the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Pensions make the Bill a failure by allowing interests to jerrymander and torpedo it, I shudder to think what will happen to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley when there is a national boycott of bacon and this great nation is converted into a coffee and rolls breakfast nation.

7.40 p.m.

Sir William Wayland

It is possible that there might be on the board a majority inimical to the trade which we want to benefit, or which it is proposed that the Bill will benefit. It is proposed that the industry should be reorganised in such a way that it will give greater benefit not only to the trade but also to the consumer by eliminating the middle man as much as possible. With that I am in entire agreement, but in order to carry that out efficiently you must have a majority on the board nominated by the producer and by the bacon curer. At the same time, there will be the independent members appointed by the Minister who must naturally, with the Minister behind them, be able to exercise a considerable amount of influence upon the board as a whole. I must oppose the Amendment.

7.42 p.m.

Mr. Woods

It would appear from the speech of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Sir W. Wayland) and the speech of the Minister of Pensions that opposition to the Amendment is based upon suspicion of the neutral members, but such suspicion is entirely without foundation, as the additional members would be very carefully selected and the responsibility for their selection would be with the Minister.

Sir J. Lamb

Why does the hon. Gentleman suspect the other side?

Mr. Woods

I am not suspecting anybody. I have not got as far as that yet. If the hon. Member for Stone (Sir J. Lamb) will wait a minute he will see the motives which are likely to actuate the various members of this board. Presumably the interests of members of the Development Board who represent the producers. primarily will be the interests of producers. There may be somewhere in the country a producer who produces pigs because he loves pigs, but I imagine that the overwhelming majority of pig producers produce pigs for profit, and that is their major concern. Similarly with the curing of bacon. Those who represent the Bacon Board naturally will be interested in that side of the industry. I have yet to be convinced that anybody would run a bacon-producing factory as a hobby. They do it because of profits. Therefore, the representatives of both boards will have one common interest, namely, the profit interest.

The Amendment suggests that the question of making profit out of the needs of the people, although it may be very important to hon. Members opposite, is not the supreme interest in this business. The major interest is that the whole industry, from production to the breakfast table, should be run economically and efficiently, and that the board, having these responsibilities and the administration of considerable funds, should not only have the confidence both of producers and curers, but it is of overwhelming importance that it should have the confidence of the country. The amended constitution suggested in the Amendment would achieve that result. The question of the efficiency of the board has been raised by the Minister of Pensions and the last speaker, but no evidence has been forthcoming why the addition of men of wide administrative and financial experience would jeopardise the efficiency of the board. A good deal of discussion took place in Committee and also in the House which seemed to suggest that the only interests to be considered are those of the producers and the curers.

Mr. Turton

And the co-operatives.

Mr. Woods

I understand that the hon. Member is slightly interested in the cooperatives as producers, but he is not interested in the wider question of the co-operatives as consumers. When he interjected earlier he spoke of two interests, the producers and the curers. What are those interests, when they are analysed? We have to consider not merely the owner of the farm or the landlord but those who do the work—a very fine body of men who are the very basis of the agricultural industry, one of the poorest paid industries in the country. These men are highly skilled, they work long hours, they have very few amenities, they live in remote country places very often, and they have to live in homes which are inadequate.

The modern bacon producer would get a better price for his pigs if the industry were controlled in the way that we suggest and if there were on the board someone who could speak authoritatively for the agricultural workers, the people who are doing the work at very low wages, and who will be cut off from participating in the food they are producing if the industry is badly controlled and prices soar too much. The curer is purely the man who owns the factory. I am not under-estimating the owner of the factory, but I suggest that on the board there should be at least one voice to speak on behalf of those who are doing the work in the factories. When the bacon has been produced, another interest comes in, the retailer. We suggest that those who have to distribute the commodity might make a useful contribution to the board, especially as they would speak with authority on the types of bacon most suitable for production and most likely to meet the requirements of the people. Then there are the consumers, who receive very little consideration. The consumers are entitled to representation. The Government are entitled to representation and, seeing that this Bill does not deal with the whole pig production, I think that there be on the board one representative to hold a watching brief for those who are concerned with pigs for pork. When we consider the matter we can discover a wide range of legitimate interests which might be represented on the board and would do useful service. I hope that when the Minister reflects on the matter he will, in the interests of the efficiency of the board and with a desire to have the confidence of the industry and the country behind the board, see his way, if he cannot accept our proposal, to bring forward a suggestion in another place which will embody the principles of our Amendment.

7.50 p.m.

Mr. Petherick

Not having been a Member of the Standing Committee on the Bill I am not as familiar with its terms as I should be, but I am and always have been interested in this problem ever since marketing boards were first set up. I would go a little further than the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), who made such a lucid speech on his group of Amendments, because it seems to me that, on the whole, these matters are better administered by an independent board, assisted by an advisory council. It would be interesting to know how it is that the Government, having appeared to move in that direction, are now apparently going back to the previous system. In one branch of the Ministry, the Department of Fisheries, when they introduced the Herring Industry Bill they went the whole hog—perhaps I ought to say the whole fish—and instead of having, as they had previously, a board consisting of people engaged in the trade, they went to the other extreme, I think very sensibly, and decided on a board for the herring industry consisting of three wholly independent members.

It seems to me that in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries it is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. The Agricultural branch of the Ministry takes one line and the Fisheries branch takes another line. Which is right and which is left I do not know, but I should say that the Fishery department is right and the Agricultural department is left. This is an extremely interesting matter, and I suggest that it should not be dealt with on ordinary party lines. There are hon. Members on this side of the House who feel as I do, and as most hon. Members opposite must feel, that, on the whole, these boards are more efficiently and more dispassionately managed by wholly independent members, assisted by an advisory council. I realise that it is impossible to take the Whips off on this question, and I am not so foolish as to suggest it, but I should like my hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions, if he replies, to say how it is that in regard to the Herring Industry Bill the Department have taken one line and in this case they are going back to the old system and taking up another line.

7.53 P.m.

Mr. E. J. Williams

I hope the Minister of Pensions will reply to the speech that we have just heard. Certainly the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has not received an adequate reply. The Minister, in his answer, endeavoured to put up the defence that already there is some kind of foundation for the present procedure. We are paying a very high price for the good will of the interests, in being prepared to agree to the composition of the proposed board. The speeches that have been made show that a large number of interests will not be directly represented, and I think the Minister ought to give further consideration to the matter. The hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick) has indicated that the Government have a kind of dual policy, if they have a policy at all. In the Debate last week on the herring industry they said that they were prepared to set up a board of independent persons to administer the subsidy.

Surely, it would be a far better thing to have persons paid to administer Measures of this kind rather than to have persons who merely represent the industry. I cannot see how we can obtain anything like adequate rationalisation of any industry when it is left largely to the persons who are responsible for the present chaotic state of the industry to advise as to its conduct in the future. We have had instances of that for many years in regard to the mining industry. The same remark applies to agriculture in general. There can be no hope of industry producing products to the satisfaction of the public generally when it is left to the persons who have mismanaged the industry in the past to obtain subsidies from Parliament and to become the major interests upon the boards created by Parliament. We can never hope to have satisfaction either as Members of Parliament or as consumers when it is left to these various vested interests to dominate the boards that are created.

I trust that the Minister of Pensions or the Minister of Agriculture will further reflect upon the Amendments moved from this side of the House. We cannot have confidence in control by the producers or the curers if in the past those interests have been inimical to the public. The purpose of this Bill indicates that we cannot have complete confidence in those people. I do not say this with any desire to cast a reflection upon them personally, but surely we cannot have the utmost confidence in the interests that have to a large extent created the problem that Parliament is trying to solve. The fact that they have created this problem indicates that we cannot have complete confidence in them in bringing about the amount of rationalisation that is essential. I hope the Minister will disregard the foundations upon which the Bill is based in this respect

and will endeavour to meet the reasonable argument of the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth and the arguments of other hon. Members.

7.59 P.m.

Mr. Ramsbotham

I have been asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick) why we do not treat the bacon industry in the same way as the herring industry in regard to the constitution of the board. I will give a short answer. In the industry with which we are dealing we have the framework of these marketing boards and we are building on that framework. In the case of the livestock industry there was no livestock marketing board, and a similar consideration applies to the herring industry. It is for these reasons that we have different systems. We cannot treat every industry the same. We have to take the circumstances as we find them. In this particular industry we want to carry the various interests with us; we want their good will and co-operation, and we have succeeded in doing that.

Question put, "That the word 'five' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 190; Noes, 122.

Division No. 258.] AYES. [8.0 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Conant, Captain R. J. E. Gritten, W. G. Howard
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk N.) Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Harbord, A.
Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'ut'r S. G'gs) Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh) Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Asks, Sir R. W. Cranborne, Viscount Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Hepworth, J.
Atholl, Duchess of Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Croom-Johnson, R. P. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Crossley, A. C. Higgs, W. F.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Crowder, J. F. E. Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.
Barrie, Sir C. C. Cruddas, Col. B. Holmes, J. S.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Davies, C. (Montgomery) Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Beit, Sir A. L. Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Hopkinson, A.
Birchall, Sir J. D. Denman, Hon. R. D. Hors-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L
Bossom, A. C. Doland, G. F. Horsbrugh, Florence
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Donner, P. W. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Boyce, H. Leslie Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H. Hume, Sir G. H.
Broadbridge, Sir G. T. Drewe, C. Hunter, T.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Hutchinson, G. C.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Dunglass, Lord Joel, D. J. B.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Eastwood, J. F. Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W E Jones, L. (Swansea W.)
Bull, B. B. Ellis, Sir G. Keeling, E. H.
Butcher, H. W. Elliston, Capt. G. S. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)
Campbell, Sir E. T. Elmley, Viscount Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)
Cary, R. A. Errington, E. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Erskine-Hill, A. G. Leech, Sir J. W.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Everard, W. L. Lees-Jones, J.
Christie, J. A. Fildes, Sir H. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.
Clarke, Frank (Dartford) Fox, Sir G. W. C. Levy, T.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Fremantle, Sir F. E. Liddall, W. S.
Clarry, Sir Reginald Gledhill, G. Little, Sir E. Graham-
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Gluckstein, L. H. Llewellin, Colonel J. J.
Colfox, Major W. P. Gridley, Sir A. B. Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.
Colville, Rt. Hon. John Grimston, R. V. Loftus, P. C.
Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Ramsden, Sir E. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
McKie, J. H. Rayner, Major R. H. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Reid, Sir D. D. (Down) Tasker, Sir R. I.
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Reid, W. Allan (Derby) Tate, Mavis C.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Remer, J. R. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Moreing, A. C. Ropner, Colonel L. Turton, R. H.
Morgan, R. H. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Rowlands, G. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R. Warrender, Sir V.
Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Munro, P. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen) Wayland, Sir W. A.
O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Salmon, Sir I. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Sanderson, Sir F. B. Wells, Sir Sydney
Owen, Major G. Selley, H. R. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Perkins, W. R. D. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree) Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Peters, Dr. S. J. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Pilkington, R. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Somerset, T. Wise, A. R.
Porritt, R. W. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J. Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Radford. E. A. Spens, W. P. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Raikes, H. V. A. M. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Ramsbotham, H. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Captain Dugdale and Mr. Munro.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Quibell, D. J. K.
Adamson, W. M. Heyday, A. Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Ridley, G.
Banfield, J. W. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Riley, B.
Barnes, A. J. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Ritson, J.
Batey, J. Holdsworth, H. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Hopkin, D. Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)
Benson, G. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Seely, Sir H. M.
Bevan, A. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Sexton, T. M.
Broad, F. A. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Silkin, L.
Bromfield, W. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Simpson, F. B.
Buchanan, G. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Burke, W. A. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Cassells, T. Kirby, B. V. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Chater, D. Kirkwood, D. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Close, W. S. Lanshury, Rt. Hon. G. Sorensen, R. W.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Lawson, J. J. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Cocks, F. S. Leach, W. Stokes, R. R.
Cove, W. G. Leonard, W. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Dagger, G. Leslie, J. R. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dalton, H. Logan, D. G. Thorne, W.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lunn, V Tinker, J. J.
Day, H. Macdo[...]d, G. (Ince) Tomlinson, G.
Gobble, W. McEntee, V. La T. Viant, S. P
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) McGhee, H. G. Walker, J.
Ede, J. C. Maclean, N. Watkins, F. C.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Marshall, F. Watson, W. McL.
Foot, D. M. Mathers, G. Welsh, J. C.
Garro Jones, G. M. Maxton, J. Westwood, J.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Messer, F. White, H. Graham
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Milner, Major J. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Montague, F. Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)
Grenfell, D. R. Muff, G. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Naylor, T. E. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Oliver, G. H. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Griffiths, J. (Llanally) Paling, W. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Groves, T. E. Parker, J. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Parkinson, J. A.
Hall, J. H, (Whitechapel) Pearson, A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hardie, Agnes Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W. Mr. John and Mr. Anderson.
Harris, Sir P. A. Price, M. P.

8.10 p.m.

Mr. T. Johnston

I beg page 2, line 4, at the end, to insert: Provided that the persons nominated by the Pigs Marketing Board and the Bacon Marketing Board, respectively, shall include two representatives of the pig producing industry or the bacon industry in Scotland. This Amendment is not designed in any narrow or parochial spirit. We may have our economic affairs guided or misguided for good or ill without regard to the birth-place of the man who is guiding them. The point behind the Amendment can be put briefly, and I think clearly. The position at the moment is that on the Bacon Board there are 16 members and on the Pig Board 13 members. On the Bacon Board the Ministers may co-opt two members neither of whom may be, or need be, representatives of the Scottish bacon industry. On the Pig Board the Minister for Agriculture and the Secretary of State for Scotland acting jointly may co-opt two members either of whom, or neither of whom, or both of whom, may be Scottish representatives. We are confidently expecting the support of the Secretary of State for Scotland for this Amendment. For many years, possibly for a century, we have had a bacon-curing industry in Scotland which for short we call the Ayrshire method of curing bacon. In England they have the Wiltshire method, but there is a fundamental difference between the two. How this difference originated I do not know, but it is this. In Scotland we kill the pig where it is fed; we skin the pig, and use the skin as the basis of our leather industry. The pigskin industry has employed a considerable number of people for many years in making purses and bags, but in England they do not kill the pig where it is fed but take it to an approved slaughter-house. They do not skin the pig after it is killed but cut it up in slices, and the English housewife would think there was something wrong if she did not find a rind of skin with her bacon on the plate in the morning.

The English, therefore, when buying their bacon pay for the skin, and they have no leather industry as a result. [Interruption.] I understand that there are some hon. Friends behind me who eat the rind. In Scotland we do not have a rind on a rasher of bacon. By this time it has been converted in a leather factory to a more profitable use. That is the fundamental difference between the two systems. In Scotland, if we had rind on our rasher of bacon we should think there was something wrong with it, and the English housewife if there was not a rind would think there was something wrong. As a result of our system of curing bacon we have a leather industry operating and functioning now, as it has been in Scotland for the last century. Those engaged in the leather industry in Scotland are apprehensive that their interests may be submerged in the English bacon-curing interests and that we may lose our leather industry in consequence.

All sections of the industry in Scotland desire to get a statutory assurance that this age-long industry shall not be submerged but shall be adequately represented on the new board. The Minister of Agriculture may suggest a better alternative, or the Secretary of State for Scotland may be able to give us an assurance that we shall have more than two representatives of the pig producing industry or the bacon industry in Scotland on the board. The Amendment has been put down to secure such an assurance. We would like to have it as a statutory assurance, but if we cannot have that we shall be glad to have a guarantee from the Government that this ancient Scottish industry—and, goodness knows, we have few enough secondary industries now in Scotland—that this leather industry of ours, will not be taken away. I know that the Secretary of State for Scotland is as well aware of the facts as I am. This board is to be established, and there is no statutory guarantee that our special interests will be represented. In this Amendment we are not asking for any privileged position, or raising any sterile nationalist points; we are asking that an age-old industry shall not be totally submerged, but shall be adequately represented, and enabled to continue its functions.

8.16 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I am certain that the whole House, and certainly those hon. Members who come from North of the Tweed, listened with sympathy to the plea which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling and Clackmannan (Mr. Johnston) made for the representation of Scottish pig-producing interests on the board. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman immediately that we are aware of the difference between the Ayrshire style and the Wiltshire style of curing; and indeed, even in England there are variations from the Wiltshire style—for example, the Midland cut. The Bill is so framed that it will give fair play to each of these various ways of disposing of the carcass of the pig. The Government are also aware of the importance of the pig leather trade, which is an ancillary trade to the method of curing pigs in Scotland. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, who acts jointly with me in these matters, has been very anxious to see, and successful in seeing, that every step was taken to ensure that the Scottish interest was adequately preserved.

All I will say to the right hon. Gentleman is that it would not be wise to impose any territorial limitation in regard to the representatives who are to be nominated. In the first place, the Bacon and Pigs Board covers the whole of Great Britain, and hitherto the schemes have been worked on a Great Britain basis, without there being any suspicion that Scottish interests were in any way overridden or forgotten. Secondly, the whole purpose of the Bill and its scheme, in securing these nominated members, is to ensure that the best men for the purposes of the industry as a whole are nominated. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider that that is a sufficient assurance that there will be a sufficient number of Scotsmen upon the board.

The position is that we do not wish to trammel the board by any arithmetical or numerical representation of this character. We believe that the interests of the industry as a whole will be best served if it continues to be treated on a Great Britain basis. We wish to see no territorial rivalries beyond the commercial rivalries occasioned by the merits of various styles of bacon curing, and we believe that the interests of the industry as a whole will be served if we leave the position such that the best men will be nominated. I can give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance that when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I come to this question we will see that the interests of Scotland are adequately represented, that the question to which the right hon. Gentleman has brought attention will not be overlooked, and that there will be no danger of the Ayrshire trade and the leather trade ancillary to it being overlooked. Having said that, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not press the Amendment. Indeed, it would be hard to justify a numerical proportion if one considers the amount of bacon produced in Scotland and England respectively, and I think it better to leave the matter as it is, with the assurance which I have given.

8.20 p.m.

Mr. Johnston

With the Minister's assurance, and with the agreement of my hon. Friends, I will not press the Amendment. However, I wish to point out to the Minister that it is not quite accurate to say that hitherto there has been no territorial arrangement in these appointments. There are on the Bacon Board two co-optees, and on the Pigs Marketing Board two co-optees; and it is specifically stated that the two Ministers, the Secretary of State for Scotland being specially mentioned, are to make the selection. By inference, at least, there has been some representation of Scottish interests.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

And there will continue to be.

Mr. Johnston

I am glad to have that assurance. It was not out of any desire to have territorial representation, but out of a desire to have special industrial representation, that the Amendment was moved; but with the Minister's assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.