HC Deb 16 May 1938 vol 336 cc114-43

Subsection (2) of Section one of the principal Act shall have effect as if at the end thereof the following paragraph were added;

(d) specifying the proof to be required by the local authority of the financial inability of the owner of a dwelling-house to carry out the proposed works without assistance under this Act.—[Mr. T. Williams.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

7.28 p.m.

Mr. T. Williams

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

It is right and proper that the right hon. Gentleman—now about to take flight—who has been such a stickler for means tests for many years, and who has carried on the tradition of Queen Elizabeth, not only in connection with public assistance but also in connection with Income Tax, unemployment insurance and in several other directions, should apply the principle of the means test to the case of reconditioned cottages. We have many first-class examples on record of what we ought not to do with public funds. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) referred in the Second Reading Debate to the case of the late Sir John Ellerman, and I remember my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Paling) calling attention to an application which had been made on behalf of a brewer in Norfolk for financial assistance under the terms of the original Act. There are other cases in various counties, if one cared to bring them here, in which we could show that not only the Treasury and the local authorities, but the Act, and the spirit of it, and even the Minister's intentions have been abused from 1926 to the present time.

We all agree that the hard-pressed owner-occupier, employing one or two persons, who has one or two cottages that he cannot recondition out of his own resources, should receive help to help himself, and incidentally to help his employés, for any farmer who knows the real value of a skilled agricultural labourer would do anything within his power to retain such a man on his farm. If, however, he finds it impossible to recondition an out-of-date slum dwelling and makes application to the local authority, it is proper for that authority to respond to the application if all the conditions are fulfilled. In any case I think that even the Minister of Health will appreciate that this Act was not designed to help the super-wealthy people—millionaires, in fact, who own large areas of land on which various kinds of cottages exist—to put their cottage property into a decent state of habitation at the expense of the ratepayers and the Treasury. We think, therefore, that where the applicant is not an owner-occupier with very scanty resources, but where he happens to be a large landowner owning a large number of farms, with a fairly considerable rent roll, or where the rent roll is not too large, but he divides his attention between the countryside and the city, making perhaps more money out of the city than out of the countryside, it is grossly unfair for such an individual to apply to a local authority, to ask the ratepayers, rich and poor alike, to help him to put his cottage property into a decent state of habitation.

Therefore, with the cases that we have in mind all over the country, we think it fair that when an application is made for this grant, at least the local authority ought to have the power to invite the applicant to prove his inability to recondition his own property. I am certain that the legitimate applicant would not hesitate to give justifiable reasons to the local authority for a grant. But I know that cases have come before almost every Member of this House who has displayed any interest in rural life during the past eight or ten years, and we know what the usual process is. We know that in rural areas, because of rural councils having failed in their duty to rehouse agricultural labourers, there are large numbers of cottages at any one time that are not fit for human habitation. In fact, a large number in many areas have been condemned by the medical officers of health, but in those areas, although new houses have not been erected, applications have been made in many cases for grants for reconditioning from persons who were quite capable of reconditioning their own property without resort to either the ratepayers or the Treasury. That is the kind of case that we want to get at.

There was a case the other day of an application for a grant to enable cottages to be reconditioned, which was refused by the Gloucestershire County Council. The right hon. Gentleman might tell me that that is the answer to my case, that in fact the county councils have the powers, and in certain cases use them, to refuse applications, but they only refuse them, I imagine, where it is a question of repairs as distinct from reconditioning. It was suggested that such applications were in effect demands from wealthy landlords for public authorities to do their repairs. A landlord on the council himself added that if they were going to relieve landlords of their responsibility to do their own repairs, the position was a serious one. It was also said that if they were going to help landlords, they should impose a means test on them. A county authority may examine applications meticulously, and if they feel that it is for purposes of repairs as distinct from reconditioning, they have the power to refuse, but if the application is exclusively for reconditioning, that is the only condition that must be fulfilled. Therefore, if an application comes on behalf of a millionaire, he can successfully apply for these rates and Treasury grants.

It is clear, from the right hon. Gentleman's attitude, that he thinks that that is quite proper and fair, and that he is satisfied that an extremely wealthy person who has property and tenants, who receives rents for his cottages, many of which perhaps have been condemned as unfit for habitation, and who refuses to do repairs or to recondition or make his houses tenantable—the right hon. Gentleman thinks it proper for such a super-wealthy person to go to the local authority and ask for and obtain these grants. Has he forgotten that rates are paid by the poor as well as by the rich, and that to the extent that the ratepayers as a whole are subsidising very rich applicants for these grants, it is a gross injustice upon the poor wretched ratepayers? Particularly is that so in certain industrial areas which have been depressed for a long time past, where the industrial portion of the districts forms part of a semi-rural area and where such grants could be obtained by those who do not reside there themselves, who have no social relationships with the area, but who just take advantage of this legislation to enrich themselves at the expense of the miserable poor who remain in the villages.

I know that the Minister might say that it is the tenant who gets the benefit. He might have told me that before the passage of Clause 3 of this Bill, but there is no longer any guarantee that the tenant will get the benefit, because if the owner of a property that has been reconditioned at the expense of the public finds that he can rent it at double or treble the rent that an agricultural labourer can pay, he can break his bargain with the local authority, repay the grant originally advanced, empty that property for rural housing purposes, and let it to any other person prepared to pay the price; and to that extent this Measure is having quite the opposite effect that the right hon. Gentleman would desire. In any case I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can justify a person of the eminence and wealth of the late Sir John Ellerman, a person reputed to have left £40,000,000, coming to poverty-stricken ratepayers and asking them to put his property into a decent condition. I do not think he could justify people who can own an estate, and maintain it for shooting or sporting purposes, being applicants for grants of this description, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will at least consider, before he flies off to another Department, the legitimacy of this suggestion of ours. We do not want to withhold a grant in an appropriate case, but where a person owns a property for which is receiving rents and has neglected his duty in the past, instead of compensating him for his backwardness, his meanness, his indifference towards his property and his tenants, we ought to fine him as heavily as we can. In any case I am convinced that such people ought to show cause why they are unable to recondition their own property.

7.41 p.m.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The suggested new Clause is one that at first sight seems to be acceptable to me and, I imagine, to a great many other people as well. It is an unqualified scandal that men of great wealth should come to the public authorities and gain assistance out of the pockets of the ratepayers. That seems to be quite unjustifiable, but it is one thing to condemn action of that kind; it is another thing to try and overcome it by a Clause such as this, and with great respect to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), who moved it with his usual eloquence, I do not feel that the suggestion that he makes is a practicable one. Let us face what would be the normal situation. The test is inability on the part of the property owner to meet the cost himself. The county councils would first of all ask, "What do you mean by inability?" You would have to interpret it and lay down some sort of standard, the standard either of a man's income or of a man's property. If you placed the income at £500 or £1,000 a year, you would almost certainly exclude a man who owned the very property that you wanted to improve.

You might take, on the other hand, his capital resources. The hon. Gentleman mentioned the case of a man with a shooting estate, and I agree that that sort of man looks as if he should be able to do the work himself, but the hon. Member knows as well as I do many cases of proprietors of land and shootings who have no available resources to improve the cottages on their property, and the proof of that is that they have not up to date improved those cottages. I speak from knowledge. You have in Scotland many cases of farm workers' dwellings in a shocking state of repair, which ought to be improved, but which are not, simply because the landowner has not the ready funds with which to do it. Everybody admits that; there is no dispute about it. Many hon. Members opposite condemn the whole landlord system, because landlords have no capital with which to do their job properly. That is one of the cases for land nationalisation, and I admit that it is a strong one. Therefore, I feel that you must make an interpretation and lay down a standard, but however you define that standard, I think it will be such that you may exclude the very type of property that you would seek to have improved.

It may be said that that is destructive criticism, and I may be asked what I have to offer in the way of constructive suggestions. I feel that the only way to avoid these unfair, unjustified applications for public assistance is the power of the Press and of public opinion. In my county all applications for assistance under this Act come publicly before the appropriate committees, and they are reported in the Press. Let us hope that the Press and we as public men will not fail in our duty to draw the attention of the people to cases of that kind.

Mr. Johnston

The Ellerman case was widely reported and it created a great scandal, but that did not prevent the Ellerman people pressing their claim.

Mr. Stewart

I am aware of that, but there are many people in the Ellerman position who thought shame of that action. I can only hope that by the continued publicity of unfair applications we shall avoid the sort of case to which the hon. Member properly drew attention. While I sympathise with the desire of the hon. Member in moving this new Clause, I feel it is impossible for the Committee to accept it.

7.47 P.m.

Mr. C. Brown

The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) began his speech by acknowledging that the matters to which this proposed new Clause calls attention were a scandal. Then he adduced a series of reasons why the Clause should not be put into the Bill. One of them was that before a means test could be applied to people applying for money under this Act a standard would have to be set. He foresaw considerable difficulties in doing that, so he went on to suggest that we should leave the matter to public opinion. In view of what has happened during the last 12 years, we on these benches do not think that public opinion is sufficient to deal with this matter, which the hon. Member himself has called a scandal, and we therefore move this new Clause. I do not know whether the Minister will accept it. He has just accepted an Amendment, and in view of what has happened outside and the new mood in which he finds himself, he might perhaps accept this new Clause. If he did, it would get hon. Members opposite out of a considerable difficulty. If he did not, I cannot imagine how they can logically refrain from going into the Lobby in support of it. Nearly everyone I can see on the benches opposite has at some time or other during the last five years supported a means test, and a large number of Members who are not present have done it with enthusiasm. They believe that people should not have money from public funds without some sort of test being applied. Therefore, I cannot see how they can logically oppose this new Clause.

There seems to be no good reason why we should not put this Clause in the Bill and rigidly apply a means test to people who ask for money for reconditioning their cottages. We have set up a system which results in the most meticulous inquiry into the minutest details of the incomes of some of the poorest families. We have established a vast piece of machinery throughout the land to conduct these inquiries systematically before the poorest of our population can receive a penny from public funds. In view of that fact, and in the light of the cases that have been brought before the Committee, in which money for the reconditioning of cottages in country districts has been granted to people who could well afford to do without it; and in view of the fact that hon. Members opposite are committed to a principle of a means test which they have defended at the General Election, I suggest that they should apply it to people in the same strata of society to which they belong as rigorously as they have applied it to the poorest sections of the community.

7.51 p.m.

Mr. Bernays

As the only Parliamentary representative of the Ministry of Health left in the House at the moment, perhaps I may be permitted to say a word on this new Clause. I have listened with the greatest interest and attention to what hon. Gentlemen opposite have said, but I suggest that they are labouring under a misconception. They have described this grant to the landlord as a great public scandal. It would be a public scandal if, in fact, the landlord were to benefit personally by this grant. But a grant made under these Acts is completely different from the money granted after the means test mentioned by the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown). It is not in any sense a dole to the landlord. The conditions attached to the receipt of the grant make it beyond a shadow of doubt that for a period of 20 years the benefits of the grant do not go to the owner but go to the tenant. The principal conditions are that the cottage must be let to an agricultural labourer or someone in a similar occupation for a period of 20 years; that the rent must not exceed the normal agricultural rent; and that it should only be increased by an amount equal to the interest rates on the money that the landlord has expended out of his own pocket. Even this increase of rent can only be made where it does not conflict with the regulations governing the rent which may be charged for tied cottages. The benefit to the owner is, therefore, limited to only 4 per cent. of his own money, and in some cases not even that, together with the satisfaction to be derived from the knowledge that he owns a good house instead of a bad one.

Mr. Sorensen

Does it not mean, in fact, that this grant relieves the landlord of an obligation that morally should be his?

Mr. Bernays

I am coming to that. It is an important point. The benefit to the tenant lies in obtaining an improved house at a disproportionately small increase of rent which is only chargeable in certain cases. Now I come to the point raised by the hon. Gentleman. The works of improvement carried out under the Act go in general far beyond anything which the local authority could require the owner to carry out by way of repairs under the Housing Acts. It is of importance that the Committee should grasp that it is not possible to get a grant for repairs under this Bill. The requirement that in order to qualify for a grant the works must cost not less than £50 was included in order to make it impossible for a landlord to receive a grant under the Bill merely for repairs. If, therefore, a wealthy owner were unwilling to carry out improvements without a grant, there is no machinery by which he can be compelled to do so. If you said to a wealthy owner, "You shall not have a grant under this Bill because you are wealthy," it would mean in some cases that necessary reconstruction would not be carried out and agricultural housing would accordingly suffer. I will quote the opinion of the English Rural Housing Sub-Committee on this question. They examined witnesses of all kinds and inquired into the point whether there should be discrimination against the wealthy landlords. They came to this conclusion, which appears on page 13 of the report of the Rural Housing Sub-Committee: Some of our witnesses have suggested that certain local authorities discriminate in their administration of the Housing (Rural Workers) Acts against owners with means. Discrimination of this kind is in our view contrary to the intention of the Acts and likely to result in depriving tenants of agricultural cottages of the benefits the Acts were intended to afford them. A local authority have of course complete discretion to decide whether they shall grant any particular application but;t general discrimination against a whole class of persons is in our view strongly to be deprecated. That opinion, coming from such a powerful source, is one that ought to have weight. I would also remind the Committee that there was nothing in the report of the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee to show that they took a different view from that of the English Housing Sub-Committee on this question. The Bill is concerned, not with the landlord, but with the tenant. It is a rural housing improvement Bill and the Government are convinced that, were there a means test of the kind suggested, the improvement in rural housing conditions would in many cases not take place. Therefore, the Government ask the Committee to reject the new Clause, not in the interests of the landlord, but in the interests of the tenant and of better housing conditions for rural workers.

7.59 P.m

Mr. Johnston

The speech of the Parliamentary Secretary is about the most amazing statement relating to this type of Amendment that I have ever heard. I have no doubt of the hon. Gentleman's sincerity, and I have no doubt that there is a germ of truth in every statement he made. I have no doubt, too, that there are some poor men and women in every county who have benefited as the result of the past operation of these Acts. I have never disputed that, and I would be loath to do anything to prevent any human being getting a water supply or lavatory accommodation under the Acts if they would not otherwise get them. But it is another pair of shoes when we are told bluntly at that Box that the landlord does not gain by these improvements. There is no question that he gains by an improvement in the capital value of the properties on his estate. If two-thirds of the capital value of the improvements made to cottages are put up by the public—one-third by the local authority and one-third by the National Treasury—then of every £100 spent in reconditioning the property £66 comes from the public purse, and if the reconditioning is done at all, about which I have doubt in some cases, those properties can later be disposed of at increased values. Therefore, it is playing fast and loose with the Committee to say that a landlord gets no benefit out of the reconditioning Clauses of the Bill.

I go further and say that if this Bill were not in operation houses in many rural districts would be pulled down under the sanitation laws and the owners of them would be compelled either to put up new cottages for their own employés or, alternatively, to contribute through the rates to their share of the cost of houses provided by the public authority. I have already given one illustration of what is going on and nobody has disputed my figures. I have said that in the county of Berwick—not a Highland county, not Ross and Cromarty or any of the beautiful isles of the west—7d. in £ the has been added to the local rates by this Act, and only 1d. in the £. on the rates is the result of all the other measures for providing new houses. Nobody disputes that the late Sir John Ellerman, or the Ellerman Trust—for the late Sir John Ellerman may not have known anything about it—did as a matter of fact apply to the county council of Aberdeen to have 16 of their workmen's cottages reconstructed at public expense. Is there anyone to justify a thing like that? Sir John Eller-man dies and leaves £40,000,000, and his factor or his trustees—whoever it is—go to the county council of Aberdeen and get the county council to reconstruct at public expense 16 cottages on the Ellerman estates. Can anybody justify that? If it were only one case, if it were only the Ellerman case, I could understand why the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) said that one horrible example like that would scare off decent people; but it is not the only case. I have here a letter from the convenor of the health committee in Berwickshire, sent to me on the 13th of this month. In that letter he says the worst case they had was at Legerwood, where the rent was £1,200 and the ratepayers were asked to recondition cottages at the expense of the local authority. The public put up £1,000 for the reconditioning, and two years afterwards the proprietor dies and leaves over £300,000. The proprietor was Mrs. Richardson, of Legerwood, Earlston, Berwickshire. In the case of the Usher Brewery Estates, again in Berwickshire, I think I am right in saying that 3o houses were reconditioned at the public expense.

There are titled gentry all over Scotland—in Ayrshire as well as other places —who come forward with their factors and quite unashamedly get their properties reconditioned at the expense of the public. We are now told that the means test will not be applied in these cases—oh, no. It will be applied in the case of the poor, and not only to the head of the household but to sons and daughters, to everybody who lives under the roof. Their means are looked into before any money is given for food, or clothing, or boots, or packets of cigarettes. The Government will not stop that. I notice a right hon. Gentleman sitting on the Treasury Bench and preserving a modest silence despite his promotion to another office, upon which we all congratulate him on personal grounds. Here is a Bill which he introduced into this House last week—the Herring Industry Bill. It is backed by the new Minister of Health, by the Home Secretary, and by the Minister of Agriculture. Under Clause 4 no herring fisherman is to get a grant for a new motor boat unless the boat "could not be provided without such assistance." That is the means test for the herring fisher. I put it to the hon. Member for East Fife, who represents a fishing community, and who cannot conceive how a local authority can find out the financial needs of a landowner applying for a grant, that they are going to find out the financial needs of a fisherman.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

There is a slight difference there. I have not a copy of the Herring Industry Bill in front of me and I must speak from recollection, but I think the hon. Member said that the authorities would have to be satisfied that but for the grant there would not be a new boat provided. That is not quite the same as the position in this Bill. [Interruption.]

The Chairman

We must not drift away to the discussion of herring fishing.

Mr. Johnston

We shall have further opportunities of examining that particular means test if the Government persist in it, but I submit that it is as plain as words can make it that the grants must not be given for new motor boats if those boats can be provided out of the personal resources of the fishermen themselves. Why should not the same principle apply to the owners of house property in the rural areas? Why should the Ellermans come along? I hope that I shall not be interpreted as suggesting that every rural landlord is on the same basis. I know that some are financially embarrassed, and I quite agree that one of the strong arguments for the public ownership of land is that any number of proprietors cannot do justice to their properties because they have not the funds. I am not saying that every man with a large number of acres to his tally is necessarily a wealthy man, because often the property is mortgaged up to the hilt, but this Government, which insists upon the poor being kept on the barest minimum of physical subsistence through a family means test is spending money year after year in adding to the value of the properties of great proprietors of land and now say that there must be no test of financial inability to pay.

There is a sympathy on this side of the House for the arguments put forward by the hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten), because he, at any rate, is not hidebound by Whips and Cocker's declaration, but I hope he is not going to pretend that all the public money spent by the local authorities in the Highlands and Islands has gone to the poor, or that it has gone to provide what should have been provided for in accordance with the sanitation laws. I have instance after instance of properties which have been reconstructed at public expense still being without sanitary conveniences in the house. Would the hon. and learned Member continue to pay out public money under such circumstances? I know of one case where, after a property was reconditioned, the proprietor was served with a demolition order only two years later because the property was rotten. That kind of thing cannot go on. What the landlord class have done is to use public funds and the machinery of local government to patch up rotten old properties which should have been scrapped under the sanitary regulations for not being provided with bathrooms, water supplies and sanitary conveniences. Personally I would support houses being provided with those conveniences, but that is not what has been done, and it is because of that that a Royal Commission has reported that in Scotland there has been a grave waste of public money.

8.14 p.m.

Mr. Barr

I should like to go back to some of the statements made to-day, and particularly to what fell from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. He quoted the Rural Housing Sub-Committee of the Central Advisory Committee. That was not a unanimous recommendation. A week ago the hon. Lady the Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George), who was a member of that committee, told us that she disagreed with some part of its conclusions.

Mr. Bernays

I would remind the hon. Member that whatever may have been said by the hon. Lady the other day, she signed the report.

Mr. Barr

I do not wish to take up time in discussing that point. The report was of a general nature and anyone could have signed the Clause which the Parliamentary Secretary read out, but she was at great pains to state her opposition to the absence of a means test.

I would repeat what has fallen from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) as to the very slim, I might almost say bare-faced, statement, that an owner will not reap any value at all. He will certainly get the advantage in the enhancement of the value of his property. It has been stated that the conditions attaching to this grant make it something quite different from what we know in our association with the means test. I would ask the Committee whether conditions are not attached to unemployment benefit also, and whether they are not such as to clear out of the scheme altogether many of those who are entitled to benefit. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that the landlord did not get the benefit of the Act for himself; the tenant got it, and it was not just a personal matter. Nor is the benefit personal that is given in unemployment insurance, with which is associated the means test. Every business of whom the recipient of benefit is a customer comes to share in that benefit, and it is no more personal to him than in the case we are considering.

A week ago, the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland stated that the justification for this Measure was that if a wealthy man came into a district and got his grant, the grant would not fall upon agriculture. The man would have made his money in motor cars, shipping, or beer; and therefore the grant was not coming out of agriculture but out of shipping, motor cars, or beer. The Under-Secretary seemed to think that that was putting a new construction on the matter. I should not like to misinterpret him, so I will read his words: All I would say is that the money to pay for it does not come out of agriculture. It comes out of shipping, or motor cars, or beer, as the case may be."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th May, 1938; col. 1315, Vol. 335.] That amounts to saying that the wealthy man was coming back to those who had built up his fortune, and was saying to them, as to other taxpayers: "You have not done enough. I could easily do all this myself, but I wish to bring you into it. You have built up my fortune, but I wish a further contribution from you. It will be of great benefit. It will teach you to think of other trades than your own and to take an interest in agriculture as well as in your own trade. It will prevent a wealthy man spoiling his countryside with his largesse, and will put taxation broad-based upon the people's will, which is the reflex of my will." "I could have done it all myself," says this public benefactor, "but that would not be good for you or for agriculture; so I limit myself to one-third of the cost, and I will recoup myself out of the 4 per cent. interest which will come to me."

The Under-Secretary of State said quite gleefully that the man could do it all himself. He said: If a man makes several million pounds out of shipping or motor cars or beer, and if he spends a small fraction of his fortune on purchasing an agricultural estate, I have no doubt whatever that he personally is able, not only to do all the improvements that are contemplated under this Bill, but to build a whole let of new houses, without receiving any money from the State."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th May, 1938; col. 1315, Vol. 335.] He could do it all himself, but he arranges to get help from outside for agriculture, and to see that he was sufficiently recouped for any expenditure to which he was put.

In my studies in philosophy I remember that the ideal man of Aristotle was "the magnificent man," a man of vast fortune who strewed it lavishly around; but the ideal man of the Under-Secretary of State lags a long way behind Aristotle's ideal man because he is not lavish with his money. He insists that others shall be lavish with their money for his benefit. He is not a loser at any time, with his 3 per cent. or 4 per cent., and he secures that he gets as much out of his expenditure and his estate in this regard as he puts into it. This wealthy owner is favourable to the means test and he supports it throughout, as applied to the working people; but, says he, he would not have it applied to shipping or to the tramp shipping subsidy, or he and his friends would not have received the £2,000,000 per annum. If he is a brewer, he says he would not have it applied in respect of the derating that gave the brewing industry £400,000 a year continually, under the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928.

I want further to examine the operations of this wealthy man, who comes in from another industry to agriculture. My hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) has said that agriculture suffers because of the poor man; in the first parish in which I worked, in Dumfriesshire, farmers because of the impoverishment of the estate could not even get the wood which they once got, in order to repair their fences, or even get proper houses. In that respect, that was a great deal of drawback. The second report of the Rural Housing Sub-Committee of the Central Advisory Committee, to which I have already referred, calls attention to this state of affairs. As the hon. Member for East Fife said, work is held back on one side because of the poor landlord. The Rural Housing Sub-Committee said: A difficulty has also been experienced in certain districts of the country where cottages in need of reconditioning are occupied by their owners, who have already mortgaged the property up to the hilt. That is one side of the matter. On the other side, in many ways, the rich man who has come into the industry is a drawback in the carrying out of these housing schemes. Paragraph 13 of the report says: Some of our witnesses have suggested that certain local authorities discriminate, in their administration of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, against owners with means. Because he is wealthy they do not give him this grant. Not only so, but when the wealthy man comes to the countryside people say: "Now we will get improvements and new housing"; but the wealthy man labours under great disadvantage. He has made his money in shipping or beer, say, and he knows nothing about the countryside. He does not know the difference between a bull stirk and a quey stirk. The man who comes into an agricultural district should be able to do so. I happen to know, because a near relative of mine was distinguished for his success in the breeding of the finest and best Ayrshire cattle. A year or two ago in the Highlands, in Ross and Cromarty, a notable Parliamentary candidate was taken to the market and shown two heifers, or young cows. He became quite enthusiastic, and said, "They are beautiful, two brothers." A man such as I am speaking of is at a great disadvantage. He knows nothing of the housing conditions; perhaps he has never visited his estate. The report on Rural Housing in Scotland states: On average, 75 per cent. of the working-class houses surveyed were considered to be unfit for human habitation in their present condition. Hardly any of the cottages for workers have an indoor water supply; 48 per cent. of the houses surveyed had only dry closets, and 29 per cent. had no sanitary convenience at all. This rich stranger does not know what prevails in Scotland. He does not know that the owner is responsible for supplying the cottage, and the tenant farmer for its upkeep; and that the one plays off the other. He does not know that, in the taking of a farm in Scotland, it is the farm steading that counts, and often the cottage for the farm labourer is never visited, as was testified by Lord Lovat, himself a large landlord before the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Industrial Classes in Scotland. We reach this position, that, if these grants are not given, the tenant is likely to be deprived of benefit, because, although the owner is well able to pay, the improvement will not be made. Therefore, it turns out that this wealthy incomer is not a public benefactor at all, but is to that extent a cumberer of the ground; he is not an ideal man, but a dog in the manger.

A week ago, when this matter was under discussion, my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling made reference, as is often done in the House, to what Mr. Gladstone said in 1886, and the Under-Secretary for Scotland gave a quotation from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) referring to what Mr. Gladstone said in 1867. I think it might be appropriate if, in closing, I read to this Committee what Mr. Gladstone said on this very kind of man that we are discussing to-day—the man of wealth who goes into agriculture in this way as a wealthy man. These were Mr. Gladstone's words: I will tell you what is worse than heavy labour, and that is idle wealth. In vain a man escapes from the destiny of hard work —even bard work with some degree of poverty—to attain to wealth, if that wealth is to bring with it the curse, the unmitigated curse, of idleness and self-indulgence. The labourer has his legitimate, his necessary, his honourable and honoured place in God's creation; but in all God's creation there is no place appointed for the idle wealthy man. That is the kind of man whom we are now discussing. It was said by a great statesman that there were some Members of Parliament who, though not present in the body were still Members of this House, independent of dissolutions, of the caprice of constituencies, even of the course of time. I think that the man who comes into agriculture from other industries where he has made his wealth, and takes up the position that, unless he gets grants, he will leave the houses as they are, is aptly described in the statement I have just quoted, and it is not for this ouse to bolster up such men.

8.32 p.m.

Mr. Sexton

I realise that there are some few agricultural workers who will receive benefit under this Bill. Even though their wages have been very meagre in their working life, they have been thrifty enough to save sufficient to buy 'their own cottages. Such thriftiness has been contributed to by the help of the wife and, it may be, the children, who work with the man on the farm. Now that housing requirements have been raised, and conditions laid down by local authorities have to be satisfied, expenditure on such a cottage will be needed, not only to satisfy the requirements of the local authority, but also to satisfy the present needs and desires of the inhabitants. Many of these homes, while picturesque enough from the outside, are much below modern standards inside. They may have roses round the door, but there is often something worse than roses when you get behind the door. Some of them are like the while picturesque that we read about in the Old Book, lovely to look upon, but hiding terrible conditions inside.

The Chairman

I fail to see that what the hon. Member is saying applies to the proposed new Clause that we are discussing.

Mr. Sexton

With all respect, I am discussing the new Clause (Amendment as to schemes by local authorities).

The Chairman

Perhaps the hon. Member will relate his remarks to it.

Mr. Sexton

I was going to point out that the Clause would not shut out the owner of a cottage who has not the means to carry out all the requirements laid down by the local authority, but it would shut out those people who have wealth enough to do the work themselves.

The Chairman

I think the hon. Member had better come to what it is proposed that the Clause should do, and not discuss what the Clause does not do.

Mr. Sexton

The principle that public benefits should not be disbursed to those who are not in need has been enforced under other Acts of this Government. Other Acts of this Government have submitted workers to a microscopic examination of all their resources. Investigation has even been made into their houses as regards their bedding, and many delicate matters have been nosed into, in order to prevent them from getting any assistance at all. If it is wrong to subsidise such workers under the Unemployment Act, it is most certainly wrong to give money to wealthy owners of country cottages. I know many working men, not living in rural areas, it is true, who are owners of their own cottages and are compelled to do certain repairs without any assistance at all. Because of that, I think we should add this Clause to the Bill, and submit the wealthy people to the means test which has been so drastically applied to the workers under other Acts of this Government.

8.36 p.m.

Mr. Macquisten

I must congratulate hon. Members opposite on putting down this Clause and on the eloquent use they have made of it to speak of the unhappy lot of those who are subject to the means test, which we all deplore but which I do not think we are sufficiently advanced yet to get rid of. This is a suggestion that a similar test should be applied to landowners. I can say that there are no wealthy landowners in the Highlands, unless they are new acquisitions. I have always looked on land as a liability. No man owns land; the land owns the man; and if he comes to it with a fortune, in a couple of generations it is taken from him by the State. The extraordinary thing is that the land is valued with all its amenities at a very high sum, and the owner, or his descendants, have to find the money somewhere to pay it. That is why the landowners who have held these estates for any length of time are so poor that they cannot assist the farmers by giving them the houses, lands, steadings, drains or other things that they used to give them. I certainly think this Debate will do a great deal of good, because it will call public attention to the fact that there are these men who have made large fortunes and who want to become country gentlemen, and that there is a substantial body of opinion in this House that they should not make application for these funds.

It has been said by hon. Members that this is a benefit to the landlord, and that it increases his wealth, but if the landlord is not allowed to increase his rent it is no benefit to him to spend money on making the agricultural labourer's cottage better. He will not be in pocket from it at all, as far as I can gather from the Minister's explanation. He will certainly have the satisfaction of seeing that his cottages are not in the shabby, insanitary condition that they were before. That is all the altruistic goods he gets from it; and it will depend on his disposition whether that gratifies him or not. It is always astonishing to me how some wealthy men spend their money. They want to he popular, they spend their time on the back of a horse or on a yacht; but they do not think of doing good to human beings. There was a chief who said to the English landlord who was boasting of his rent roll, "My rent roll is 500 men." That is not the landowner's spirit; but we had no landowners in the Highlands, we had chiefs, and there are still some of them left. It is a great grief to these men to see how badly their people are housed. These men are not wealthy, though a few who have made money in commerce and come there may be. I want to see the agricultural workers getting decent houses.

I am shocked to learn from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) that, notwithstanding this expenditure of money, these people are not getting the houses for which the grants were given—that the houses are not being properly reconditioned. If that is so, it is because the local authorities have not the necessary determination or power to insist that the proper reconditioning should be done. Many owners have spent a considerable lot of their own money in reconditioning, and this grant has been a stimulus to them to do so. We do not want to see people living in these insanitary conditions. If by making a test of this kind any delay would be caused, it should not be done. But I must recur to the fact that the landlord will not get any benefit; in fact, he and his heirs may lose money as a result of the Bill, through the Death Duties, that they will have to pay if they have a well-equipped estate with good-looking cottages on it.

Mr. C. Brown

Does the hon. and learned Member suggest that this is a device by the State to get higher duties?

Mr. Macquisten

I would not put anything past the tax collector. Nothing has done more harm than the duties that have been levied upon estates. With Death Duties up to 50 per cent., people with large estates have found it impossible to carry on. That is why they have had to sell out to the brewers and shipowners and others who come to the Highlands with a totally wrong idea. They think landowning is commerce. But it is not. I remember one occasion when I was on a ship off Kirkwall, passing St. Margaret's Hope, I saw a beautiful little steading. I said to the purser, "That is a lovely little farm. I wonder what the rent is? I suppose about £50." "No," he said, "It is £2 Ios." I expressed surprise and he said, "It belongs to Lord Shetland, and Lord Shetland would never rent a man on his own improvements. If it had been some Glasgow merchants who buy land and want 5 per cent., up the rent would have gone." We should help landowners to look after their people and to get the people properly housed. If I thought that these grants were going into the personal pocket of the landowner, I would support this Clause. But that is not the case.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the hon. and learned Member not aware that the Bill enables the property owner to add to the rent of the cottage 4 per cent. of the sum that he has put down?

Mr. Macquisten

Of his own money.

Mr. Williams

He is able to increase the rent by 4 per cent. of the amount of his own money which he has put down; and since he cannot get 4 per cent. for Government stock or bonds, he is not losing a lot, even if he is not making a lot of money. And is the hon. and learned Member aware that at the end of 20 years the owner can sell the property?

Mr. Macquisten

He cannot do anything unless it is let for money, and it is only 4 per cent. It is on his own money and not on the money advanced. He gets only the agricultural rent. Nobody can pretend that owning agricultural cottages is an investment of any account. It is not an investment into which anybody would put money. The trouble and difficulty of collecting would make it a futile investment. It is useful only for the farmer and the land which the people inhabit. I wish that some of these wealthy men who have taken to landowning, partly because it is in the blood of every Britisher to own land, would realise that it is their duty to put up really first-class dwellings for the people. The largest problem of agriculture is housing. I know of a very big man in agriculture who went into it in middle life with great enthusiasm. Be told me he had no difficulty whatever in getting labour because he put up first-class cottages. The men competed for them, and he had no difficulty in getting the very salt of the labour of the country. Some people do not understand that. I feel that if this Clause is passed there may be some danger that the men will not get the cottages as soon as they ought to get them, and it is not going to enrich the landlords. If we have to support a Measure of this kind which might lead to trouble, friction and difficulties, we ought to see that all agricultural workers are reasonably housed, and if anything were to hinder that, I should be inclined to oppose it.

8.47 p.m.

Mr. David Adams

I am considerably astonished at the arguments which have been advanced by the Parliamentary Secretary. The main theme of his speech was that the owner, under this Bill and under a scheme in respect of which he will receive State money, will not be benefited. In the first place he will receive an increased capital value directly due to the application of State money, and, secondly, under the Bill, this added capital value can be disposed of at will in the market either by himself or by his heirs and assigns.

Mr. Macquisten

Does the hon. Gentleman mean to assert that the man who purchases will be allowed to raise the rent?

Mr. Adams


Mr. Macquisten

No, he will not.

Mr. Adams

I am not dealing with the question of raising the rent, but he is certainly permitted to charge an additional rent when the reconditioning is completed.

Mr. Macquisten

On his own money.

Mr. Adams

I was dealing with the point that this new value will have precisely the same effect as if it had been created by any other method, and it will be at the disposal of the owner of the cottages, who will be able, in a perfectly legal way, to sell that added capital value to the best bidder and so deprive rural workers urgently in need of such accommodation. In certain areas, where such accommodation is to-day scarce, it will be found that, by virtue of this Bill, the whole of the cottages will be disposed of after the reconditioning has taken place and that large areas will be entirely deprived of such provision. It is left to the local authority, therefore, under the Housing Acts, to make the necessary provision. There is another very important thing that every capitalist thinks he will have, and that is, the proper utilization of his capital resources. Thus, being relieved by the State of the necessity of using his own capital, he will have that capital at his disposal and so be able to utilise it in any other way that he may think fit. That is a very important advantage which the owner of such cottages will enjoy under this Measure if the Clause is not allowed to go through. It should be an obligation upon all owners to recondition their cottages in harmony with the present-day standards, and relief should be granted only in the case of need which has been proved.

It is something to be compared with the means test which is applied to the unemployed workman seeking relief that we are suggesting here. This is quite common with many local authorities. Both municipal and voluntary hospitals apply a test of this character. A person who seeks relief and ccommodation—I know that that is the case with the Newcastle City Council General Hospital—is charged according to a certain standard of income, and the person who is without financial resources receives hospital treatment free. But in the voluntary hospitals there is another basis, and very large fees indeed are charged to persons who have the means with which to pay. The corporations of the country fixed their standards upon which they were prepared to advance loans on mortgage on property to owner-occupiers at a figure which would exclude the better-placed and wealthier citizens. They excluded persons whose means were above a certain standard. When we use the term "means test" we do not mean a means test that will inflict hardship upon the individual, but one which will protect the resources of the State and of the local authority. When the borrowing capacity of local authorities is increased and advances are made in various directions it adds to a certain extent to the additional burden of those who comprise those local authorities. The unemployed means test is of an entirely different character, and has resulted in the reduction of the physical standards of the community, and, surely, it cannot be alleged that that is what is going to occur in this case. Local authorities and the State admit the necessity of persons in receipt of unemployment relief and suffering under a means test having relief in respect of free meals for their children and free milk is supplied to nursing and expectant mothers.

The Chairman

We cannot discuss that matter on the Clause which is before the Committee.

Mr. Thurtle

Is not the hon. Member entitled to reinforce his argument by means of an analogy of that kind?

The Chairman

Only within such limits as the Chair thinks fit.

Mr. Adams

I do not wish to strain your good will in this matter, Sir Dennis, but I wanted to show that the means test as we know it has no relation at alt to the means test as known to hon. Members opposite. We are merely seeking by this Clause to preserve the municipality and the State from the injustice that would be perpetrated by making grants to persons well able to supply their own financial needs, and who, if such needs are met, will make a profit.

8.55 P.m.

Mr. S.O. Davies

I regret that the hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten) has left the House, because the reference he has made this evening to justify the Government's opposition to this Clause is about the weakest contribution he has ever made to Debate. May I say, very regretfully and respectfully, that it was not nearly as interesting as the hon. and learned Member's contributions generally are. The Opposition have been congratulated on their adroitness in placing this new Clause before the House. The Clause is absolutely consistent with the attitude of the Opposition all along the line in trying to mitigate the evils of the system of subsidies and doles which this Government pours into the pockets of the richer classes.

The arguments that have been used tonight to justify the opposition of the Government to the Clause are amazing. I am confident that the rich people will not thank the spokesman of the Government for the callous exposure of the meanness of rich people generally. We have been told over and over again that if this new Clause were accepted, and if a means test were imposed upon people who, under the Clause, are regarded as rich people, those people would make no contribution towards improving the appalling housing conditions that obtain among the rural workers. The hon. and learned Member for Argyll said that there are no rich landlords in the Highlands. Therefore, I know of no reason to prevent his going into the Division Lobby to support us on this Clause. The Clause is not intended to affect poor landlords. It is not like the other means test to which reference has been made over and over again. That is a means test that hits the poor, but this is a means test that is intended to be applied to the rich people.

We have had most interesting revelations by those who have spoken against the Clause as to the ethics of wealth and those who possess it. We have been told that if the rich landlord is not to be assisted, notwithstanding how colossal his personal wealth may be, he will not make a contribution towards the improvement of housing among the rural workers. We are told that to impose this means test would destroy the hope of improvement. Nothing from these benches has ever been said more strongly in condemnation of rich people and their patriotism and the ethics which animate them in the disposal and the gathering of their wealth. I protest strongly against the misleading statement that has been repeated to-night that this Bill is not a dole for the landlord, but that the benefit goes to the tenant. That is absolutely misleading. It is a well-known fact that the low rent which the agricultural labourer is called upon to pay is regarded as additional wages for him. What he apparently gains on the one hand he loses in terms of wages.

There is nothing adroit in this Clause being put down. It was not put down in anticipation of what will be said in this House to-morrow. It is not a demand for the means test on admittedly rich people in anticipation of the protest that will be made to-morrow against the appalling conditions under which the poorest, who have the means test imposed upon them, live. It will be very interesting to see the Government Whips put on to-night in order to bring into the Lobby as many as possible of those who impose the means test upon the poorest, to protest by means of their votes against a means test being imposed upon those who are admittedly rich and have more than enough of the wealth of this world. I am glad that the Opposition have placed the new Clause on the Order Paper, because it exposes the hyprocrisy of this Government when it imposes a means test upon the poorest while pouring millions of pounds into the pockets of the rich.

9.2 p.m..

Mr. Tomlinson

It has often been said that in this country there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. I have never heard anything that has impressed that truth upon my mind more than the Debate that has taken place on this Clause. The only arguments used against it from the Government side were based upon the assumption that this Clause could not be worked if it were adopted. The hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten) and the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart) both suggested that it would be very difficult to fix a standard, and that the only way in which we can implement the desire behind the Clause is by letting moral suasion play its part. In other words, if the speeches that have been made in the House were read by the rich people they would not dare to ask for money in order to recondition their cottages, that we should not by legislation seek to implement our desire but suasion should have its place in our national life. Time and time again the suggestion has been made not only in this House but in the country that that same moral suasion should act in another direction. We have always been told that it would be impossible not to apply a test in granting public money, without making inquiries. We have been told that to do so is to commit a great wrong against the State. That is when we are giving money to the poor, but when money is being given to the rich, or the reputed rich, the suggestion is made that moral suasion alone should play its part.

The peculiar argument that has been developed on the other side of the House, that property is not improved in value or that a man's wealth is not improved when his property is improved, leaves me guessing. Not only does it improve the capital value of the property when it has been reconstructed, but I would ask what is the position of the property before the reconstruction begins? If it has got into a certain state I suggest that it has lost its value, it has become uneconomic, and the only way in which it can regain an economic value at all is by money spent upon it by the State and the local authority, plus the one-third which the individual himself spends. In suggesting that he is putting rent only on the one-third which he contributes you are losing sight of the fact that he has changed an uneconomic into an economic unit by the fact that he has taken advantage of this Bill.

Those people who pride themselves on their conception of property and the values attaching to property are giving the Opposition very little credit for knowing anything at all about economic values. Houses which are to be reconditioned, if they were a few miles away and in an urban area, would be abolished and no compensation paid. The Government have accepted the principle that bad houses are a crime; like bad meat they are a danger to the community and should be abolished. You do not compensate a butcher if you find that he is exposing for sale meat which is diseased. Therefore, why should you help an owner of diseased property to make it healthy and to pay him for making it healthy? We suggest that the people who can afford to do this work themselves should be called upon to do it, in other words, that a means test should be applied. I hate a means test in any direction, but I cannot understand how any hon. Member can vote against this means test and at the same time worship at the shrine of the other. It seems to me that the Bill has a good foundation, a Scriptural foundation: For whosoever bath, to him that hath shall be given; and whosoever bath not shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. A means test is applied in the Bill. The hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Hopkin) on the Second Reading asked the Minister of Health whether a smallholder whose cottage had got into disrepair would rank for grant in the same way as a landlord, and the answer of the Minister was, yes, provided the economic situations are the same as those of an agricultural labourer who is living in one of these cottages. What does that mean? It means that the smallholder, unless he is brought down to the stage in which his economic condition is no better than that of an agricultural labourer, cannot recondition his cottage under this Bill.

The Chairman

He would not be affected by the new Clause. I really must ask hon. Members to keep to the Amendment.

Mr. Tomlinson

I am illustrating the point which I think is relevant.

The Chairman

I cannot allow illustrations to go to the length they have gone.

Mr. Tomlinson

I am asking that the Amendment shall be accepted because the principle behind the Amendment is in the Bill. The illustration I have given, as

Division No. 207.] AYES. 9.11 p.m.
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Pearson, A.
Adams. D. M. (Poplar, S) Groves, T. E. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Adamson, W. M. Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Poole, C. C.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Price, M. P.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Pritt, D. N.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Hardie, Agnes Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)
Banfield, J. W. Harris, Sir P. A. Ridley, G.
Barr, J. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Riley, B.
Batey, J. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Ritson, J.
Bellenger, F. J. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Sexton, T. M.
Benson, G. Hopkin, D. Shinwell, E.
Bromfield, W. Jagger, J. Silverman, S. S.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Simpson, F. B.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Smith, E. (Stoke)
Chater, D. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly>
Cluse, W. S. Kirby, B. V. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Cooks, F. S. Lawson, J. J. Sorensen, R. W.
Cove, W. G. Leach, W. Stephen, C.
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Logan, D. G. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng).
Daggar, G. Lunn, W. Summerskill, Edith
Dalton, H. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Thurtle, E.
Davies, S.O. (Merthyr) McEntee, V. La T. Tinker, J.J.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) McGhee, H. G. Tomlinson, G.
Ede, J. C. MacLaren, A. Viant, S. P.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Maxton, J. Walker, J.
Evans, D.O. (Cardigan) Messer, F. Watkins, F. C.
Fletcher, U.-Comdr. R. T. H. Milner, Major J. Watson, W. McL.
Frankel, D. Montague, F. Welsh, J. C.
Gallacher, W. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) White, H. Graham
Gardner, B. W. Nathan, Colonel H. L. Williams, O. (Swansea, E.)
Garro Jones, G. M. Naylor, T. E. Williams, E. J. (Ogmare)
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Noel-Baker, P. J. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Oliver, G. H. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Owen, Major G. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Grenfell, D. R Paling, W.
Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Parker, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Parkinson, J. A. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Charleton.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. C. J. Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Critchley, A.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Crooke, Sir J. S.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Croom-Johnson, R. P.
Albery, Sir Irving Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Cross, R. H.
Aske, Sir R. W. Bull, B. B. Crossley, A. C.
Assheton, R. Burghley, Lord Crowder, J. F. E.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Butcher, H. W. Davidson, Viscountess
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Butler, R. A. De Chair, S. S.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Campbell, Sir E. T. Denman, Hon. R. D.
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Cary, R. A. Danville, Alfred
Balniel, Lord Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Dower, Major A. V. G.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral X. P. H. Channon, H. Duncan, J. A. L.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Edmondson, Major Sir J.
Beechman, N. A. Christie, J. A. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Bernays, R. H. Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Erskine-Hill, A. G.
Birchall, Sir J. 0. Clarry, Sir Reginald Fleming, E. L.
Bossom, A. C. Conant, Captain R. J. E. Fremantle, Sir F. E.
Boulton, w. W. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Fyfe, D. P. M.
Bower, Comdr. R. T. Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Goldie, N. B.
Boyce, H. Leslie Cox, H. B. Trevor Gower, Sir R. V.
Brass, Sir W. Craven-Ellis, W. Grant-Ferris, R.

to how the Bill will affect a smallholder in seeking to apply it, calls at any rate for similar treatment for those people who are well-to-do. I suggest in the interests of equity that the Government can do no less than accept the Amendment, which imposes the principle that the people who can afford to pay must pay for necessary improvements.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, Noes, 188.

Gridley, Sir A. B. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Grimston, R. V. Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees) Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Gritten, W. G. Howard Macquisten, F. A. Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.
Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.) Maitland, A. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Hannah, I. C. Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Harvey, Sir G. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Markham, S. F. Spens, W. P.
Haslam, Sir J. (Balton) Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Heilgers, Captain F, F A. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Storey, S.
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark. N.)
Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Holmes, J. S. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Tasker, Sir R. l.
Hopkinson, A. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Horsbrugh, Florence Nail, Sir J. Titchfield, Marquess of
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Hulbert, N, J. Nicholson, G. (Farnham) Wakefield, W. W.
Hume, Sir G. H. O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Hunter, T. Palmer, G. E. H. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Hutchinson, G. C. Petherick, M. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Joel, D. J. B. Procter, Major H. A. Warrender, Sir V.
Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Raikes, H. V. A. M. Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
Keeling, E. H. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M. Wayland, Sir W. A
Kerr, Colonel C. l. (Montrose) Ramsbotham, H. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Wells, S. R.
Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Rayner, Major R. H. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham:
Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Lamb, Sir J. Q. Reid, W. Allan (Derby) Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Remer, J. R. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Leech, Sir J. W. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Ropner, Colonel L. Wise, A. R.
Levy, T. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry) Womersley, Sir W. J-
Liddall, W. S. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Wood, Hon. C. 1. C.
Lindsay, K. M. Rowlands, G. Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley
Lipson, D. L. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. (
Llewellin, Colonel J. J. Russell, Sir Alexander Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Lloyd, G. W. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Lyons, A. M. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.ߞ
McCorquodale, M. S. Sanderson, Sir F. B. Mr. Munro and Mr. Furness.
MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Shakespeare, G. H.