§ The Deputy-Chairman
The first Amendment—in page 9, line 18, to leave out from "borough," to "is," in line 20—is out of order.
§ Mr. T. Williams
May I ask why this Amendment is out of order? I quite appreciate, Colonel Clifton Brown, that you have the choice of these Amendments and can rule Amendments out of order, and I should be greatly encouraged if you would state why this particular Amendment is out of order.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
It is not usual to give reasons for Ruling an Amendment out of order. Quite clearly this Amendment omits the limiting words which are in the Money Resolution. The Amendment would increase the area, and such an increase is not provided for in the Money Resolution. I am bound by the terms of the Money Resolution.
§ Mr. T. Williams
That seems to me to be an ample speech in favour of the Amendment if you had only seen fit to call it, namely, that there would be an extended area of land that might be drained under the terms of the Bill. I know that we were correct when we put the Amendment on the Order Paper, but I was not aware that the Amendment would be ruled out of order. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill will now appreciate that there was substance in the Amendment, and I believe I express the feeling of most Members in all parts of 823 the House when I say that an extension ought to take place. I presume that I am now called upon to move the second Amendment on the Order Paper.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Williams
I beg to move, in page 9, line 21, to leave out "may," and to insert "shall."
The Amendment is almost self-explanatory since the purport of it means that, where the war agricultural executive committee in any county find that the area of land that is proposed to be drained is capable of improvement by a drainage scheme, then the executive committee may request the catchment board to prepare a scheme. As far as I can see, if the catchment board do not feel disposed to comply with the request, then that is the end of this part of this Bill. I would be the last person to reflect adversely upon the catchment boards. I have every reason to compliment some of the catchment boards because they have done exceedingly fine work in certain parts of the country. Particularly can I compliment the catchment board in my part of Yorkshire, which has spent so much time, money and energy on the River Don with gratifying results. Catchments boards may be ready and anxious in some, and, perhaps, in all, parts of the country to comply with any requests made by the war agricultural executive committee, but others may be not so ready to do so. Therefore, what we are seeking here to-day is that when the war agricultural executive committee have discovered an area of land that ought to be restored to fertility by means of drainage, and their request to a catchment board is not complied with in a reasonable time, there should be some machinery, either through the Minister, the county or the executive committee, to insist upon these drainage schemes being carried through. In other words, there is no power in the Bill, so far as I can see, unless the right hon. Gentleman can show it to us either in Clause 10 of the 1930 Act, or under the terms of the 1937 Act, whereby a catchment board are obliged to comply with a request from the executive committee. We think that some powers of default ought to be taken to ensure that in this time of emergency the maximum area of land will be brought into cultivation.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I am not quite sure to which Amendment the hon. Gentleman is referring. Is he also referring to his Amendment in line 26 to leave out "may" and insert "shall"?
§ Mr. Williams
It would be folly to have two Debates on the same thing; first of all, whether an agricultural executive committee may request a catchment board or not; and, second, whether they may prepare a scheme or not. We want positive power and want the war agricultural executive committee, whatever landowners stand in the way, to request catchment boards to get on with the job. We want the executive committee to make that request, not that they may make that request. Having made the request we want them to have power to insist upon a catchment board preparing a scheme so that the land may be drained. I do not need to delay the Committee any longer. They have the sense of the two Amendments combined and I am moving the first so that the principle of both may be accepted.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ Mr. C. Davies
I hope this Amendment will be accepted, because I want to ask the Government what is their intention? Do they want land drained and improved, and want us to get into the position where we can utilise all the land possible in this country so as to grow more food, or do they not? As the Clause stands at the present moment there are about six probabilities that will have to be gone through before a drainage scheme is put into existence. May I direct attention to the first? Nothing is to happen until the war agricultural executive committee for the county, or county borough, consider that any agricultural land within the county or borough is capable of improvement. They have got to consider it and, having considered it, may not do anything. Having found that the land is capable of improvement by the execution of drainage works, as the Bill now stands they need do no more, but if they are moved to do more they may request the catchment board for any area, wholly or partly within the county or borough, to prepare and carry out a scheme. Having got through that you pass to Sub-section (2), where you get this: 825After receiving such a request as respects any land the catchment board may prepare a scheme….They need not. Having been bold enough to make a request to the catchment board they still need do nothing unless that "may" is turned into "shall." If the catchment board prepares a scheme it is to be submitted to the Minister for his approval. Thus you have the consideration of the executive, the determination of the catchment board, the inquiry by the Minister and his approval, and yet nothing need be done unless the catchment board, under Subsection (4), decide to execute the work. So you have all these probabilities before the work is actually put into operation.
We ought to have a standard throughout the country. This is a national and not a local effort. Those who have had experience of local government are aware of the tremendous discrepancies between one authority and another. One will be acting and exercising all the powers that Parliament has given, and the other one, so long as the powers are permissible, will do little or nothing. We have seen it in such matters as housing and education. Do the Government want to see the national improvement of land? If so, they cannot leave it in this permissive form. What I would like is that this will be turned, not into a permission, but into a duty put upon the war agricultural executive committee and catchment boards throughout the country, so that when the Minister approves a scheme for the drainage of land it shall be put into operation.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
I would like to assure the Committee that the catchment boards intend to carry out Clause 14 to the utmost of their power and that the words "may" or "shall" will not make all that difference. I think the hon. Member who moved the Amendment knows that the catchment boards will do the utmost in their power. I was interested to hear how the scheme will probably work. Quite possibly the initiative will come from the catchment boards, who have the machinery, maps, and engineering knowledge of the areas which require drainage. Very likely they will tell the committees in their areas that there is a piece of land to be drained. Either they, or the war committees, will 826 mark out the water course which can best be drained and the areas which will come under any scheme. I can assure the Committee that there will be great co-operation between the catchment boards and the war agricultural executive committee. The question is whether there should be compulsion. So far as the catchment boards are concerned any hope of that will in my opinion be a question of money. There are certain catchment boards overdrawn at the bank and these are the kind which will find it difficult to carry out a scheme. That is a matter for which there is machinery under Clause 14 of the Bill. So far as the solvent boards are concerned I am convinced they will carry out this work, provided labour is available. It is a question of labour which matters. It is no use changing the word "may" to "shall" if there is not the labour or machinery to carry it out. I think it is just as well to leave in the word "may" and not put in the word "shall," as I think the work will be done.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Morgan
I want to support the Amendment because I feel that the county committees need all the support they can have at the present time in dealing with this particular aspect of the problem. As the Clause deals with certain outlying sections of land that have been overlooked and which the county war agricultural committees know to be areas that are holding up the proper development, for food purposes, of certain other areas of land, I feel that the Minister must have made, in his Estimate, the necessary financial provision for it. Therefore, there cannot be any difficulty about requiring either a war agricultural committee or a catchment board to carry out their duties if the financial provision is sufficient. My feeling is that if a war agricultural committee does reach a conclusion that this work should be carried out, then at that stage the Ministry should come behind it and say it must be done, because they are charged with a particularly difficult job. They have only a limited time in which to carry out the job; they are working to a season, not to a war, and if they should come to the conclusion that their work is being held up by the lack of drainage in a limited area of land, and leave a catchment board with any ground whatsoever for giving up the job, then 827 I feel that powers should be here for the war agricultural committee to require a catchment board to produce a scheme and proceed with the work.
I congratulate the Government on approaching the drainage question at all. There are many farmers and occupiers of land who would proceed with drainage on their own account if certain smaller arterial drainage systems were dealt with by the catchment board. In clearing up this aspect of the drainage question you will remove a ground of grievance among many farmers if they know that the war agricultural committee can say to them, "We want you to get on with your particular aspect of the job as we have put right what you have so long complained about." Further, the Minister should accept the Amendment because he himself is not accepting much responsibility for drainage under the Bill. That is a serious omission. He is so devolving the responsibility on local authorities that it is up to him to see that, at any rate, the powers which he is pushing away from himself on to the local authorities are fully exercised. This is a small field, a well-defined field and a financially provided field, and if a war executive committee make it plain that their work is being impeded by a hold-up of drainage work the Government should empower them to require it to be done.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Mr. W. Roberts
This is an important Clause because under it a great deal of work should be done, that is if the Clause is framed in such a way that the work will get done. But the extent to which it is permissive shakes one's confidence as to how much is really going to be done. The war executive agricultural committee is really responsible for the war effort of the Ministry of Agriculture in the county, and if they consider that any agricultural land is capable of improvement they may make a request to the catchment board. That is vague. Is it not the duty of the war agricultural executive committee to look for land which should produce more and, when it has found such land, to make up its mind? If it is clear that the land can be improved at a reasonable cost, is it not its duty to report the matter to the catchment board and to see that it is done?
828 As to the second Amendment of the hon. Member, the rest of the Clause is so hedged in by qualifications that the substitution of the word "shall" for the word "may" does not make any substantial difference. A catchment board may make a scheme, it may put it up to the Minister, and he may approve of it, but even then the Minister has no power to see that any scheme is carried out. It is all permissive on the part of the war executive agricultural committee and catchment board. Although the second Amendment might strengthen the Clause a little I have not much confidence that it will make much difference.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
Although the two Amendments referred to by the hon. Member deal substantially with the same point I shall have to address slightly different arguments to the Committee in respect of each of them. As to the first Amendment, to make it obligatory on a war executive agricultural committee, if they think any agricultural land in their district is capable of improvement by drainage, to request the catchment board to prepare a scheme, the first observation I want to make is this, that it is our usual practice, where you have to carry out work with the help of local authorities, and you really cannot carry out work without their help and co-operation, not to flourish the big stick or to put in mandatory powers to compel them to carry out the work. It has been usual to put forward permissive legislation of this kind.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
Yes, even in war-time. If you set up important bodies you must rely upon them, you must have confidence that they will carry out the work, and, indeed, they are much more likely to carry out their duties more vigorously in war-time than in peace-time. It has always been our practice to rely on the good will and co-operation of local bodies to carry out their duties, and I do not think it is reasonable that we should of necessity use mandatory terms. For that reason I think it would be unwise if it went out from this Committee that there was any suspicion or doubt that war agricultural executive committees will not carry out their duties and that we are determined to compel them to carry them out.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
That is a different point altogether. I think it would be unwise to create the impression in any local authority upon whose co-operation we rely that no reliance is to be placed on their willingness to carry out their work, and that mandatory terms have to be employed. The county war agricultural executive committees are extremely active bodies and doing a great deal of magnificient work. I have no fear at all that they will not carry out the functions which have been entrusted to them. That is the first general observation I want to make. My second observation is that I doubt whether the Amendment would have the effect which is desired. It is only where a war agricultural executive committee consider that the work can be done that they shall request a catchment board to do it. Suppose we have a recalcitrant committee—I do not believe they exist—who are not carrying out their duties as they should. That committee can perfectly well avoid obligations under the Amendment by saying that they do not think a scheme is necessary; and it is unwise to put mandatory powers which you cannot carry out into a Bill. Therefore, I think it would be unfortunate to make the Clause mandatory. If we want the maximum of willing and voluntary co-operation on the part of these local bodies it is doubtful whether we should get that if we compelled them to carry out their duties.
As to the second Amendment—to compel a catchment board to prepare a scheme in certain circumstances—the reason for that is the fear that some catchment boards will not perform their functions under the Clause. My belief is that there is no ground for that fear. I think catchment boards will fulfil their duty. But suppose we put in the word "shall," all that a catchment board have to do to avoid complying with this mandatory word is to say that in their opinion the work will exceed the amount laid down in the Bill or that in their opinion the value of the land will not be increased. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) does not seem to have a good opinion of catchment boards.
§ Mr. C. Davies
My complaint is that there may be one catchment board which 830 is active and another which is not. I do not suggest that they would not give an honest opinion as to the value of the land from the improvement. I am sure that they would.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
If a catchment board do not want to carry out the work they can come to the conclusion that the land would not be improved or that the cost was excessive. And there may be other considerations which they might say make it undesirable at that moment to prepare a scheme. There may be certain drainage which has not been completed and which the catchment board consider should be completed before a scheme is prepared. I see no advantage in putting a catchment board in that position, and, again taking the general view, I think it is wise, in dealing with these important bodies, to rely upon their sense of responsibility and their desire to do just as much for our war effort as any hon. Member could possibly desire.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Williams
After listening to the speech of the First Commissioner of Works I am inclined to think that his arguments are so weak that we must press this matter to a Division. What he has said is that in dealing with local authorities we always pass permissive legislation; they may build a school or a house. In this country we have very active, energetic and progressive local authorities, and we have those which are hopelessly backward. I am speaking with some experience after roaming about this country. Last year I crossed from Peterborough to Northampton. I recollect passing through Finland in 1933. I thought Finland had more lakes than any other country; at least, I thought so until I crossed from Peterborough to Northampton. I discovered that there were infinitely more lakes between Peterborough and Northampton than I had seen in Finland. Apparently somebody has power to drain that area, but the drainage has not been done. That is an example of the position in many parts of the country. I am certain there is not an hon. Member who would challenge the bona fides of the War Agricultural Executive Committees. These committees are doing a good job of work, and we do not want to be unkind in our remarks about what they may or may not be doing; but is it too much to insist that if there is an area which ought to be 831 drained, so that the land can be used to produce the maximum quantity of food during the war the committees should get on with the job?
There may be some hon. Members who are hesitant about replacing the word "may" by "shall," but in the case of the soldier it is not a question of "may"; the soldier is told that he must turn up at a certain spot at a certain time on a certain day and be prepared to shoot and be shot at. There is no question of being finicky about the man whose life is at stake. I do not think the members of the catchment boards, who are largely representatives of the big local authorities, would take it amiss if the duty were imposed upon them in cases where it could be proved that the piece of land ought to be drained. If a war agricultural committee wanted to be naughty and nasty, they would never say that, in the terms of the Bill, land within the county or borough was capable of improvement, but I do not think the members of the committees are the type of men and women who would do that. It might be that a catchment board would never prepare a scheme without the scheme exceeding the £5 maximum contained in Clause 14, Sub-section (2, a), but there is an Amendment on the Paper to remove that limitation of £5, and if the Amendment were accepted the limitation would not apply. If hon. Members are really serious, and want all the powerful interests to be set on one side so that the only thing that will matter during the war will be the maximum production of food on the maximum area of land, they will support the Amendment. I do not think the war agricultural committees would complain, and I do not think that, on the whole, the catchment boards would complain. If, as a result of the Amendment being accepted, we set only one or two recalcitrant catchment boards at work, and they did their job as faithfully as the soldiers do theirs, the Amendment would be justified. I hope hon. Members will accept the Amendment.
|Division No. 16.]||AYES.||[6.22 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Broadbridge, Sir G. T.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Blair, Sir R.||Brocklebank, Sir Edmund|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Brooke,H. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Boothby, R. J. G.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Bossom, A. C.||Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)|
|Assheton, R.||Boulton, W. W.||Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Boyce, H. Leslie||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Briscoe, Capt, R. G.||Clarry, Sir Reginald|
§ Mr. R. Morgan
I should like one matter to be made clear. The whole of this Clause seems to me to be of a permissive character. If the Amendment were accepted, would it apply to the whole of the Clause?
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I understand that if the word "shall" were inserted, it would be applicable only where it was inserted.
§ 6.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Loftus
Although I have a good deal of sympathy with the Amendments, I find some difficulty in supporting them—at any rate, the first one. As the Clause stands at present, the war agricultural executive committee, if theyconsider that any"—I emphasise the word "any"—agricultural land within the county or borough, but not within any drainage district other than a catchment area, is capable of improvement by the execution of drainage works, they may….In many counties there is a vast amount of land which has been neglected as regards drainage for many generations. As the Clause stands at present, it gives the committees a selective power. There is this vast mass of undrained land, and as a result of the word "may," the committees may select; but surety, if the word "may" were replaced by "shall," it would make it mandatory on the committees at once to consider and issue instructions to the catchment boards dealing with all land outside the drainage districts. It seems to me that this would impose too immediate and too general a burden on the committees. I suggest that it would be better to retain the word "may" as regards the war agricultural executive committees, and, if it was so desired, to insert the word "shall" in the second Amendment as regards catchment boards.
Question put, "That the word 'may' stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided: Ayes, 187; Noes, 138.
|Colfox, Major Sir W. P.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Soo'sh Univs.)||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Salt. E. W.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Samuel M. R. A.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Leech, Sir J. W.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Levy, T.||Scott, Lord William|
|Davidson, Viscountees||Lindsay, K. M.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Lipson, D. L.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|De la Bère, R.||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Denville, Alfred||Loftus, P. C.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Drewe, C.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Dunglass, Lord||M'Connell, Sir J.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Somerset, T.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Emery, J. F.||McKie, J. H.||Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Magnay, T.||Spens, W. P.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Maitland, Sir Adam||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Storey, S.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Everard, Sir William Lindsay||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Markham, S. F.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Medlicott, Captain F.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Glodhill, G.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. C. R.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Cower, Sir R. V.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Touche, G. C.|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)||Train, Sir J.|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Hambro, A. V.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Harbord, Sir A.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Harland, H. P.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Pym, L. R.||White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Radford, E. A.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Higgs, W. F.||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Holdsworth, H.||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Wragg, H.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Robertson, D.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Hurd, Sir P. A.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Rowlands, G.||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr. Munro.|
|Keeling, E. H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Acland, Sir R. T. D.||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hicks, E. G.|
|Adamson, Jennie L- (Dartford)||Dobbie, W.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)|
|Adamson, W. M.||Ede, J. C.||Hollins, A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Horabin, T. L.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Isaacs, G. A.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Jackson, W. F.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Jagger, J.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)|
|Barr, J.||Foot, D. M.||John, W.|
|Bartlett, C. V. O.||Gallacher, W.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Batey, J.||Gardner, B. W.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Garro Jones, G. M.||Kirby, B. V.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Benson, G.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Lawson, J. J.|
|Bevan, A.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Leach, W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Leonard, W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Leslie, J. R.|
|Cassells, T.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Lunn, W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Collindridge, F.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||MacLaren, A.|
|Daggar, G.||Hardie, Agnes||Maclean, N.|
|Dalton, H.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Marshall, F.||Price, M. P.||Thurtle, E.|
|Martin, J. H.||Pritt, D. N.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Maxton, J.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Messer, F.||Ridley, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Milner, Major J.||Riley, B.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Montague, F.||Ritson, J.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Sexton, T. M.||Westwood, J.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Shinwell, E.||White, H. Graham|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Silverman, S. S.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Mort, D. L.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Sloan, A.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Noel-Baker, P. J.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||Wilmot, John|
|Oliver, G. H.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Owen, Major G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Woodburn, A.|
|Paling, W.||Sorensen, R. W.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Parker, J.||Stephen, C.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Parkinson, J. A.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Pearson, A.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.|
|Division No. 17.]||AYES.||[6.32 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Cower, Sir R. V.||Medlicott, Captain F.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. C. R.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Grimston, R. V.||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)|
|Assheton, R.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Hambro, A. V.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Harbord, Sir A.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Harland, H. P.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. G.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Pym, L. R.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Higgs, W. F.||Radford. E. A.|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Holdsworth, H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Colfox, Major Sir W. P.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Robertson, D.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Keeling, E. H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs.)||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Salt, E. W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Leech, Sir J. W.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|De la Bère, R.||Levy, T.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lindsay, K. M.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Denville, Alfred||Lipson, D. L.||Scott, Lord William|
|Drewe, C.||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Selley, H. R.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Loftus, P. C.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Emery, J. F.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||McKie, J. H.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Magnay, T.||Somerset, T.|
|Everard, Sir William Lindsay||Maitland, Sir Adam||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Spens, W. P.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E,||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Markham, S. F.||Storey, S.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Gledhill, G.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
§ Question put, "That the word 'may' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 187; Noes, 134.
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Wakefield, W. W.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Sutcliffe, H.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Tasker, Sir R. I.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Tate, Mavis G.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.||Wragg, H.|
|Thomas, J. P. L.||Waterhouse, Captain C.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Touche, G. C.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Train, Sir J.||Wells, Sir Sydney||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Tree, A. R. L. F.||White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr. Munro.|
|Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Parker, J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Hardie, Agnes||Pearson, A.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Price, M. P.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hicks, E. G.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hollins, A.||Ridley, G.|
|Barr, J.||Horabin, T. L.||Riley, B.|
|Batey, J.||Isaacs, G. A.||Ritson, J.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Jackson, W. F.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Jagger, J.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Benson, G.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Shinwell, E.|
|Bevan, A.||John, W.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Burke, W. A.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Sloan, A.|
|Cassells, T.||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Collindridge, F.||Leach, W.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Cove, W. G.||Leonard, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Daggar, G.||Leslie, J. R.||Stephen, C.|
|Dalton, H.||Lunn, W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||McEntee, V. La T.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McGhee, H. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dobbie, W.||Maclean, N.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Ede, J. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Marshall, F.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Martin, J. H.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Mathers, G.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Maxton, J.||Westwood, J.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Messer, F.||White, H. Graham|
|Foot, D. M.||Milner, Major J.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Gallacher, W.||Montague, F.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Wilmot, John|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Woodburn, A.|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Mort, D. L.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Naylor, T. E.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Noel-Baker, P. J.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Oliver, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Owen, Major G.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Charleton.|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Paling, W.|
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Parker
I beg to move, in page 9, line 28, to leave out paragraph (a).
During the Second Reading Debate the opinion was expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), and I think also by other Members in all parts of the House, that the limitation of £5 an acre which is imposed by paragraph (a) of this Clause is much too restrictive. I think it was generally felt that, though the provision which could be made within that limit migh meet the needs of drainage schemes in some cases, there were many other cases which it would not meet. The 838 argument was advanced that this was an average figure and that if you had a large drainage scheme, the cost would possibly work out at a figure lower than £5 per acre. I suggest to the Committee, however, that there will be a number of cases in which this figure of £5 an acre will be nothing like sufficient. For example, in one case it may be desired to drain a fairly small and fertile area in which, in order that a satisfactory drainage scheme may be carried out, a larger grant would be necessary. Again, the drainage of a particular limited area might assist the drainage of much wider areas, or might prevent wider areas from getting into a 839 state of bad drainage. Therefore my hon. Friends on these benches, and I think also hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, feel that this limitation is very unsatisfactory and ought to be removed.
When the Land Drainage Act, 1930, was passed a Clause was inserted in it which embodied this figure of £5 an acre. I have not the slightest doubt that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite will quote that Section of the Act of 1930, but I should like to point out that conditions now are very different from what they were 10 years ago. In 1930 we were at peace and we were in the middle of a slump. Since then the cost of drainage has risen. Again, it is even more urgent now to get on with the job of drainage than it was then. Furthermore, much of the land to which the grant was then intended to apply has been drained since that date, and we are seeking now to have drainage schemes applied to areas rather different from those intended to be covered by a Section of the Act of 1930. I hope, therefore, it will be possible for the Government to agree to the omission of this paragraph and to allow larger grants to be given than this limiting provision would permit.
§ 6.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Ridley
I think the unfavourable views which were expressed by many hon. Members on this Bill during the Second Reading Debate had application not only to the Measure in general but to this Clause in particular. There is nothing in the Bill which in any way creates a confident impression that the Government really want to secure all that the Bill professes to achieve. Within my short Parliamentary experience, this Bill represents almost the limit in restriction and timidity. The hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus), speaking a few minutes ago, said that drainage authorities and catchment boards would have to be selective in their operations. They will have to be more than merely selective. They will have to be exclusive and selective if they are to face this enormous problem armed in the left hand, so to speak, with £380,000 but with a limit of £5 on each acre of the selected area. In those circumstances, nobody would wish to be a member of a catchment board.
I think we ought to know before we have finished with Clause 14 what is 840 the Government's own measure of this problem. Do they know, and have they any accurate estimate of, (a) the number of acres waterlogged requiring main drainage and, (b), the number of acres probably cultivable needing field drainage? Have they any accurate estimate of the total amount in connection with the global figure which is really requisite in order that under both these headings every acre of either uncultivable land, or under-cultivable land can be put into an adequate and proper state? It must seem to the Committee that keeping these restrictions in the Bill makes the Clause almost meaningless. The Clause for two or three inherent reasons is not going to touch the problem, and in its present form there will be a severe handicap at a time of great emergency, when it is imperative that everything possible should be done in order to bring into cultivation whole areas of land. In face of a situation like this, parsimony and meanness become an unforgivable crime. Why is there this figure of £5? It is a pretty round figure, and I understand people sometimes gamble in £5 notes; but how has it become to be this rather pretty figure, and why is it not £4 17s. 6d. or £5 2s. 6d.? What process of scientific calculation has arrived at this figure, and how can it be justified?
There is a second question which is of even more importance. If it appears to a catchment board that whole areas of land require to be drained, and can be drained, not for £5, but for £5 1s., is the work to be prohibited? Is any figure above this chosen figure of £5 to be a prohibitive figure against operations which a catchment board thinks are absolutely necessary? I repeat again that the Clause is full of timidity and restrictions which are characteristic of the Bill itself. Unless the Bill is amended it cannot command the confidence of Members of the Committee.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Mr. W. Roberts
There is one Question I should like to ask which seems very important in connection with this Subsection and the whole Clause. What is the estimate of the Government of the amount of land which ought to be drained? It is a vital question, and as far as I can remember we have had no estimate whatever in connection with this Bill of the total amount of land which 841 is in need of draining and which can be drained at a reasonable cost. The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) spoke about an area between Peterborough and Northampton which he visited. I travelled from London to the North of England by the L.M.S. nearly a week ago, and for the first two hours of the journey I should say that there was more land under water than above. We know that times are exceptional and that there has been a lot of snow, but a vast amount of land in this area needs draining of a fundamental character. I suppose it is very fortunate that the farmers in that district are behind in their ploughing, and perhaps it is better that they have waited until the floods have subsided. That area probably requires the main channels of the rivers deepened and widened on a very extensive scale, if it is the intention of the Government to prevent that sort of thing. If the Government have no hopes of doing it, we ought to know, and we could then understand why this Sub-section limits the amount to be spent to £5. If land of that sort is not to be flooded every year when there is snow or exceptional rain then a large sum will have to be spent.
What is the total area which requires to be drained in this country by all methods, and what does the Government expect and hope to be done under this Bill? If we turn to the Preamble, which is a very important part of the Bill, we find that the total sum expected to be spent under this Clause is £230,000.If it costs £5 an acre, then, if my arithmetic is right, it will be possible to drain about 46,000 acres. It may be possible if it only costs £2 10s. to drain nearly 100,000 acres. I would ask, therefore, what is the intention of the Government and how many acres do they intend should be drained? I presume that this Bill has not been drawn up in a vacuum and that there are some schemes which the Minister expects will be carried out as a result of the Measure. I would ask, What are these schemes, how many acres are affected, and what type of drainage will be dealt with?
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Sir Henry Morris-Jones
I wonder whether the Minister will meet the House on this question. Under this particular Clause no catchment board is allowed to spend more than £5 per acre. We have experts on this matter in this House, and 842 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) told us quite definitely that the figure will be nearer £15 per acre. The hon. Member for Leominster (Sir E. Shepperson) knows of land being drained in his part of England for £3 an acre covering 3,000 acres.
§ Sir Ernest Shepperson
It was not field drainage, but cleansing out of the drains leading to a pumping engine in the internal district of the Fenlands, where the land was three feet below the sea. The drains had to be cleaned out and the water actually pumped up into the river.
§ Sir H. Morris-Jones
My point was that some catchment boards can drain a very considerable acreage for £5 or under, whereas there are other catchment boards which will need £10 or £15. Would it not be possible for my right hon. Friend, or whoever is in charge of this Bill, to strike an average and take away the restriction in this Clause, whereby no single catchment board is allowed to spend more than £5 an acre? I feel sure that the House, which is more or less a Council of State at the present time, does not want to oppose the Government for the sake of opposing them. We all want the drainage of this land done, and if the Government can see their way to strike an average so that there is no restrictive measure on any particular catchment board, it would greatly help to get over the difficulties. I believe it would not be beyond the competence of the Government to amend the Bill in some such way and also to keep to their principle. A catchment board in my county where there is very low-lying land would find £5 an acre too low a figure, whereas in other areas, in the upland, a figure of £5 would be a very reasonable figure and the work might be done for even less. I hope the Government will see their way to amend this Clause, or any other Clause dealing with this question, and at the same time retain their principle, while helping particular catchment boards which may otherwise be in difficulty.
§ 6.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
Two arguments have emerged in the discussion. One is that the area the Clause affects is too small, 843 and the second is that the limitation is too low. May I first deal with the area question? I do not think I can have made myself clear the other day. The drainage system comprises, first of all the catchment boards, which are responsible for the main arteries and waterways of this country, covering millions and millions of acres. Then there are the internal drainage boards and county councils and certain county boroughs, which are responsible for the minor waterways, including ditches. These are the two sections of the drainage authorities constituted under the 1930 Drainage Act. An immense amount of work has been done since 1930, both in arterial drainage and internal drainage. Something like £13,000,000 worth of work has been approved since 1930 for the catchment boards in their work on the main arterial rivers, and a smaller figure has been approved for the internal drainage boards. My point is that there is a very large drainage area already covered in this country as a result of the legislation in 1930.
This Bill purposely deals with a gap, for which I do not blame the authors of the Act of 1930. It is not a large gap. It is a gap occasioned by the pre-occupations of the counties and certain county boroughs with a great deal of other work besides drainage, and the pre-occupation has been intensified by the duties thrown upon them since the war. Without any disparagement to them it should be said that the work which has been carried out efficiently by the catchment boards and the internal drainage boards has not been so successful in the area for which the counties and county boroughs are responsible. That area is not a very large one. It is not anything like the area under the control of the drainage boards, but it may be substantial. I was asked for an estimate, but it is difficult to give one. A certain figure is in the explanatory Memorandum, but it is impossible to give a really accurate estimate at this stage. The general observation that nothing has been done for drainage in this Bill is beside the point. An immense amount has been done for drainage and an immense area has been covered. This Bill does not cover again the area which is under the supervision of the proper authorities. What it purports to do is to 844 fill up a gap which the existing legislation has shown to be empty.
With regard to the question of the £5 an acre, I could not have made my point clear last week. It is true that some drainage in the areas of the counties or county boroughs may require an expenditure of £10 or £15 an acre and probably more. The Bill does not say that they shall not spend more than £5 on any acre. It says that they shall spend an amount equal to £5 an acre on land comprised in the scheme.
§ Sir H. Morris-Jones
But that amount is restricted to the area of a particular catchment board and cannot be spread over the whole country.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
Clearly the scheme itself must be in the area of the catchment board which prepares the scheme. The catchment board has certain money to spend, and the amount depends on the size of the scheme. If it is 1,000 acres, the board will have £5,000 to spend, of which the Government pay 50 per cent. and the rest is apportioned among the landowners. Part of the expenditure on this 1,000 acres may be £10 or £15 an acre and some may not cost £1, but as long as the average over the whole is £5 that should be sufficient. Let me give an illustration. The Felt well second drainage district contains 6,250 acres of land, all good fen land. Owing to the collapse of the drainage system, only about 1,500 acres remains in cultivation, and even this land is in a poor condition. The drainage engineers of the Ministry of Agriculture estimate that in order to bring the land back into full productivity an extensive programme of work is needed. The work should include not only the widening, deepening and cleansing of over 14,000 chains of drains, but the construction of new culverts, bridges and so forth. The expenditure is estimated at £25,000. The cost of reclaiming this tract of 6,250 acres of valuable land would therefore, work out at £4 an acre.
May I reinforce my illustration by stating that the Catchment Board Association, which is a body of people who have to do the work, are apparently perfectly satisfied with the financial arrangements? The chairman of one of the most important catchment boards expressed himself as satisfied, and, as far as I know, there has been no cry from the catchment 845 boards to remove the £5 an acre limit. Experience shows that this limitation is a perfectly reasonable one and that the work has been carried out, is being carried out, and can be carried out very easily in the areas with which we are concerned.
§ Mr. Ridley
The right hon. Gentleman tells us that in the case he quoted the work can be carried out at £4 an acre and that it will, therefore, be carried out. Suppose the estimate had been £5 5s. an acre, it would not be carried out?
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
In that case the scheme would be contrived in order to come within the average. I can imagine a case where a board might want to do something rather lavish which would bring the cost over the average. I still maintain the point that, broad and long, experience shows that this limitation is adequate for the purpose. I do not think that in practice we shall find any difficulty in getting the kind of scheme we want done carried out easily under this provision. No question arises in these times of draining marshes or the River Humber. We want to get ahead as quickly as we can in getting the land drained and producing crops. This Bill makes no attempt to deal with such ambitious and praiseworthy schemes as have been carried out and which have taken years and immense sums of money to carry out. We have no time to do that now, and this Bill does not contemplate anything like that. It contemplates something nearer and more practicable.
Mr. Lloyd George
When was the estimate mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman obtained? Is it a pre-war estimate, or was it obtained since the war?
Mr. Lloyd George
It is an important matter whether it is a pre-war estimate or an after the war estimate, because the price of everything has gone up considerably.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
It is an up-to-date estimate, taking into account modern conditions. It is a post-war estimate.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ Sir Joseph Lamb
If I understand the Minister aright, I think he has given a good reply, but I want to be sure. I 846 take it that a wide area which is suffering from an excess of water can be divided into two for the purpose of the grant. One part requires draining at, say, £10 an acre, and the other, although suffering from an excess of water, does not require draining but only suffers because of the need for the drainage of the other land. I take it that the average in that case will be over the whole land?
§ 7.9 p.m.
The Minister has tried to be fair about the Amendment, but I am afraid we are not satisfied. The limit of £5 an acre, even if one were to get the full advantage of the average in the manner he has described, does not meet the situation now. As a matter of fact, the Government have carried on this maximum of £5 from a Statute which is 10 years old and which was addressed to the major task of initially working catchment boards, which were to carry out big schemes over wide areas. The expenditure was averaged out for the areas which had then to be seen to. But now you have the urgent task of the improvement of land, which in fact will in many cases almost certainly have a higher capital cost attached to it than was possible under the first few large schemes.
There is this fact also. While we accept the statement which the Minister has just made that in the estimate which he put to the Committee he was dealing with an up-to-date tender, in dealing with the general task that we are facing to-day it is exceedingly optimistic for him to suggest that during the whole course of our war operations a maximum figure of this kind should be put into a Statute. I think that is a very great pity indeed. While we always welcome the kind manner in which the First Commissioner of Works addresses us on matters connected with other Departments than his own, which seems to be a permanent habit of his, nevertheless it really does not do to put him up to make a facile, courteous, and gentle speech of that kind and get us away from the object that we have in view, which is to get a far larger treatment of this problem of drainage in war-time than is possible under the Bill. That is the purpose of the Amendment, and, unless we can get some assurance of better treatment, I shall advise my hon. Friends to go to a Division.
§ 7.13 p.m.
Mr. De la Bère
My right hon. Friend always very nearly wins me round, but I want to know why the Government cannot adopt a more generous outlook, not only on the question of drainage, but on the whole question of agriculture in itself. If they adopted a more generous outlook as regards this £5 maximum, they would be able to employ thousands of men who are at the moment unemployed. This is
|Division No. 18.]||AYES.||[7.15p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Reid, J. S. C (Hillhead)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Reith, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. W.|
|Assheton, R.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Higgs, W. F.||Robertson, D.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Held worth, H.||Rowlands, G.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Salt, E. W.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs.)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Scott, Lord William|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Selley, H. R.|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Leech, Sir J. W.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Colfox, Major Sir W. P.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Levy, T.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Lindsay, K. M.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Lipson, D. L.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Somerset, T.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Loftus, P. C.||Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Storey, S.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||McCorquodale, M. S.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|De la Bère, R.||McKie, J. H.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Magnay, T.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Denville, Alfred||Maitland, Sir Adam||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Drewe, C.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Duncan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. R.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Touche, G. C.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Train, Sir J.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Markham, S. F.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Emery, J. F.||Medlicott, Captain F.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Etherton, Ralph||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Wordlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.)||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Gledhill, G.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Greens, W. P. C. (Worcester)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Pym, L. R.||Wragg, H.|
|Hambro, A. V.||Radford, E. A.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Harbord, Sir A.||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Harland, H. P.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr. Munro.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Banfield, J. W.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Ammon, C. G.||Barnes, A. J.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Barr, J.|
§ not skilled work and, even if it cost a figure in excess of £5, probably they would get a very large part of it back because they would be relieving a great deal of unemployment.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 177; Noes, 125.
|Batey, J.||Hicks, E. G.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Beaument, H. (Batley)||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Price, M. P.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Hollins, A.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Benson, G.||Horabin, T. L.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Buchanan, G.||Isaacs, G. A.||Ridley, G.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jackson, W. F.||Riley, B.|
|Cassells, T.||Jagger, J.||Ritson, J.|
|Chater, D.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Cocks, F. S.||John, W.||Shinwell, E.|
|Collindridge, F.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirby, B. V.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Daggar, G.||Kirkwood, D.||Sloan, A.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leach, W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Dobbie, W.||Leonard, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Ede, J. C.||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Lunn, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Stephen, C.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||McEntee, V. La T.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ns)|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||McGhee, H. G.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||McGovern, J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Foot, D. M.||Maclean, N.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Frankel, D.||Marshall, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gallacher, W.||Mathers, G.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Gardner, B. W.||Maxton, J.||Watkins, F. C.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Milner, Major J.||Westwood, J.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Montague, F.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Mort, D. L.||Wilmot, John|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Naylor, T. E.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Woodburn, A.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Oliver, G. H.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Owen, Major G.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Hardie, Agnes||Paling, W.|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Parker, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Parkinson, J. A.||Mr. Charleton and Mr. Adamson.|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pearson, A.|
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I beg to move, in page 9, line 31, to leave out "annual."
A catchment board might form the opinion, from the use of this expression "annual," that the Income Tax authority will increase the value of the land in consequence of the carrying-out of a scheme. It is quite sufficient to saythat the value of the land will be increased in consequence of the carrying out of the scheme.
This is an interesting Amendment. It seems to be suggested by the possibility that the Schedule B authorities of the Board of Inland Revenue might be tempted to have a look at these lands which have been improved by the Government subsidy and raise the valuations. I do not see any earthly reason for leaving out the word.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
The right hon. Gentleman is somewhat suspicious, but it does not matter very much. The value of the land means the annual value. The "annual" is unnecessary, and we are content with "value."
Amendment agreed to.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ Sir E. Shepperson
I beg to move, in page 9, line 33, at the end, to insert:and (c) that the carrying out of the scheme will not adversely affect the interests of owners and occupiers of land in lowland areas.The purpose of the Amendment is not in any way directed against drainage schemes. I am absolutely and entirely in favour of the Clause and what it does for the drainage of land. The purpose is to put to the Minister that possibly in certain circumstances land may be drained in certain areas and that may harm land in other areas. Hon. Members may not quite know what I mean by the word "lowland." A river runs down from the uplands and in many cases flows through land which is very low. I might refer particularly to the River Ouse in the Fenland country, flowing from Buckingham, through Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Huntingdonshire. Originally, the river emptied itself into the Fens and flooded them, and they became a marshland area. When they were drained, it was essential, in the first place, to deal with this upland water. In order to deal with it, two banks were built, each a mile from the other, 25 miles long and 10 to 15 851 feet high. The purpose was that when the water came down in flood instead of flooding the whole of the Fens it should only flood in between these two banks. After they were constructed the Fenland was drained. At that time the people in the Fens did not look for State contributions. They did the work by taxing themselves. The banks hold the normal flow of water, but, under the Land Drainage Act, 1930, work was done in the upland areas which accelerated the speed with which the water comes down and we had the possibility of the Fenland flooding of two years ago. The Bill gives assistance to the people in the upland areas to be more efficient in the drainage of their land, and the result will be that water will come down the main river much more rapidly than it did, and it may be, with that acceleration, that these two banks will be unable to bear the strain of that excess of water. The purpose of my Amendment is simply to make it possible for the catchment board to take into consideration the interests of the Fen country—some of the richest arable land in England—and to ensure that these banks are not subject to the risks of flooding.
The second interest that we have is the financial one. A catchment board under this Bill will carry out work under the 1930 Act, an Act introduced by hon. Members above the Gangway, the Socialist party. The catchment board have three sources of income: first, a grant from theTreasury—a limited amount; secondly, a levy of 2d. in the pound from all the upland areas; and thirdly, a levy on the districts in the lowland area. The Treasury grant is limited, the levy from the upland area is limited to 2d., and therefore any excess of expenditure by the catchment board would have to be borne by the unlimited liability partner, the districts in the lowland area. Many of the catchment boards to-day have already spent their 2d. levy. If they are going to carry on greater activities, who is to bear the financial burden? The unlimited liability partner, the internal districts of the lowland area. It is for that reason that I wish to have some assurance from the Minister. I am in favour of this Bill, but I want some assurance that it will not place upon the internal districts of the lowland 852 area a greater risk of being flooded and a greater financial liability to assist the upland area work, which is not doing them any good, but only harm, and the lowland districts should be assisted if, as a result of these activities, their banks were to break and the land were flooded.
§ 7.34 p.m
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
I hope the House will not accept this Amendment. First of all, I do not see how the lowland districts are affected. The 50 per cent. found by the Government cannot fall on the internal drainage boards. Of the 50 per cent. to be found by the landowners, there might conceivably, in case of a default on the part of the landowner, be a failure of recovery in a court of law. In that case application would no doubt be made to the Government for a grant.
§ Sir E. Shepperson
If the scheme under this Bill were to put more water into the main channels, those main channels would have to be enabled to deal with that water. The catchment board having reached the limit of its expenditure, the cost of dealing with that water would have to be borne by the internal districts in the lowland area.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
The hon. Member is raising the whole question of the upland as against the lowland. I deprecate very strongly the raising of this question, especially in war-time. I say quite frankly that if there was a danger of flooding such as he has described, I can see the hon. Member going to the Government and asking for assistance, but I think it is very unlikely that it would happen. I hope therefore that the hon. Member will not press the Amendment, because if it were put into the Bill, it would be almost impossible to carry out anything.
§ 7.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I appreciate the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Sir E. Shepperson), but I am bound to say I think it highly improbable that a catchment board, concerned with the whole catchment area, would prepare a scheme which would cause serious flooding in the lowlands further down the river. Perhaps my hon. Friend would be more or less assured if I told him that my right hon. Friend 853 the Minister of Agriculture proposes to request the catchment boards to send copies of their draft scheme to any boards which are likely to be affected by it, so that these boards would have an opportunity to make representations, either to the catchment boards or to the Minister, if they thought they were likely to be subject to the danger which my hon. Friend apprehends. From the point of view of finance I would point out that these drainage boards can under the Agriculture Act, 1937, obtain from the Ministry a grant of 50 per cent. of the expenditure incurred, and they are also entitled to apply to the catchment board under Section 21 of the Land Drainage Act. If the catchment board refuses to make a contribution, the drainage board has a right of appeal. In view of that safeguard, namely, that the catchment board will notify the drainage board before any damage happens, and that the drainage board have a right to make representations, my opinion is that the Amendment should not be pressed.
§ Sir E. Shepperson
I desire to thank my right hon. Friend. I placed this Amendment on the Paper because it is important, especially in war-time, that a large area of the Fen country should not run the risk of flooding. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Parker
I beg to move, in page 9, line 42, to leave out from "situated," to the end of line 3, page 10.
The reason why my hon. Friend the Member for Clay Cross (Mr. Ridley) and I put down this Amendment was to ask the Minister the meaning of the Clause. It would appear that the Clause may limit activities in connection with drainage schemes. Take the case of a small drainage scheme lately carried out by a catchment board immediately above a main river. I raised, on the Second Reading Debate, the case of the East Suffolk River Catchment Board which covers a number of rivers, largely tidal. There have been breaks in the dyke there. Will the Clause interfere with schemes if they are carried out by a board of that kind, to drain land adjoining the main river, a tidal river or perhaps some other kind of river?
I would like to ask the Minister a second question in connection with the Sub-sec- 854 tion which I am seeking to amend. The point is the same as that of an Amendment put down in respect of another Clause by the hon. Member for North Cumberland (Mr. W. Roberts). Does the Clause prevent any big arterial scheme being carried out at the present time as part of the agricultural programme of the Government? That is important. It may be an advantage in some cases, even in war-time, to carry through a big scheme that would take time to complete. I hope that the Minister will answer those two questions.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
Certainly there is nothing in the Clause as it stands which will prevent any big arterial scheme being carried out. There is no reason why there should be. I would point out in connection with the Amendment that a catchment board already has power, as the hon. Member knows, in respect of main rivers; and, as I said a short time ago, very large schemes, costing up to £13,000,000, have been approved. Apart from Government grants, the finance is provided by precepts on county councils, county boroughs and internal drainage boards. That method of financing is laid down in the Drainage Act. It would be a revolution, as far as I can see, in the principle laid down in the Drainage Act if the hon. Gentleman's suggestion were adopted. It would be most inappropriate to carry through extensive schemes on a large arterial river and charge the cost of it just to the landowners concerned. The whole point of the Drainage Act is to spread the cost, quite rightly, over a very much wider area. That is the reason for the Clause and also the reason why I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ The Chairman (Sir Dennis Herbert)
I have lately had a manuscript Amendment handed in to me. Incidentally, it was put in for Clause 11, but I see that it is intended to apply to this Clause. It is similar to two Amendments that have been considered, and proposes, in page 10, line 12, to leave out "may" and to insert "shall." There are objections to accepting this Amendment, but if the hon. and learned Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. C. Davies) will 855 address to me very shortly his reasons why I should call it he may possibly find me prepared to do so, for the purposes of a Division.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Mr. C. Davies
I am very grateful, Sir Dennis, for the opportunity of doing so. Very rightly, you have pointed out that the Committee has already rejected two similar Amendments in an earlier part of the Bill, but I regard this part of the Bill as most important, and, in a few words, I think I can explain why the Amendment should be called. As you will see, Sub-section (4) is the operative one and Sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) relate only to the scheme. When a scheme has been prepared it is for the catchment board to execute the works. In my submission that is the most important part of the procedure. The other is only the preparation of the plans. I can well understand this Committee taking the view that with regard to the preparation of plans the catchment board and the war agricultural committee should not be put under compulsion; but with regard to the actual execution of the plan, once the plan has been prepared and passed, I suggest there ought then to be compulsion and not merely permission.
If the matter is left in this permissive form I ask the Committee to look at what will happen. In the first place, the war agricultural committee will have gone into the matter and will have considered whether the agricultural land was capable of improvement by the execution of the drainage works. It will have gone to a considerable amount of trouble to satisfy itself that the land is capable of improvement. Having done that, it requests the catchment board for the area to carry out a scheme for the draining of the land. So far the matter is permissive. Having received that request, the catchment board may then prepare a scheme. It goes to very considerable expense to ascertain what the cost will be, because if the cost for the scheme exceeds £5 for each acre the board may drop it. If the board comes to the conclusion that the annual value of the land will not be increased as a consequence of the scheme being carried out, it may drop it. The board has to go into all those matters.
Let us turn to Sub-section (3) Which brings in the Fifth Schedule. The matter has then to be submitted to the Minister, 856 who has to go carefully into it, make his own inquiries and satisfy himself that the scheme is within the ambit of the Act, is necessary for the improvement of the land and is the kind of thing that is within the whole ambit of the Bill. He then sends along his approval. What will happen to the scheme, which has gone through all that procedure, if the Bill is left as it stands? The catchment board may drop the whole matter, and not execute the works at all. Surely that cannot be permitted at a time like this. It must be the desire of the Committee that once the war agricultural committee, the catchment board and the Minister have gone into these matters and have approved of them, the board should execute the works.
I expect that the answer which was given earlier will be given by the right hon. Gentleman now, that is, that there ought not to be compulsion and that we should do our best to induce others to work With us. We know, however, that local bodies differ in their activity. One body will be more anxious than others to do the work, and you will get a differentiation between land under one body and land under another body, notwithstanding the fact that the Committee are asking for a national scheme. I make no charge of dishonesty against any of these boards; I would not dream of doing so. They are not dishonest, but some are better than others. I believe the suggestion was made to a person that a particular brand of beer was bad. He is reported to have replied that there was no such thing as bad beer, but only that certain kinds of beer were better than others. I will adopt that answer in regard to catchment boards and say that there are no bad ones but that some are better than others. If the scheme has been passed by them and the Minister has given his approval, it is the intention of this Committee that the schemes should be carried out.
It is no use my right hon. Friend saying that we do not need to have compulsion. I wondered, when I listened to his speech, into which Lobby he went when we were voting upon conscription. What were his views in regard to it? Here, it is proposed that conscription should be brought to bear upon catchment boards when everybody is agreed, even the board itself, that the scheme is a right and proper one and when the Minister has 857 given his approval. The matter ought not to be left in its permissive form.
§ The Chairman
The hon. and learned Gentleman has made out a case—I say "a case" without any adjective—that the Amendment should be called for purposes of decision. I think he also showed, in that part of his speech, that it was possible for us to go over again all the arguments that have already been put. I hope that that will not be done in the discussion.
§ 7.50 p.m.
|Division No. 19.]||AYES.||[7.53 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Pym, L. R.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Grimston, R. V.||Radford, E. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Assheton, R.||Hambro, A. V.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Balniel, Lard||Harbord, Sir A.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Harland, H. P.||Reith, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. W.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Robertson, D.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Heneage Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Rowlands, G.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Higgs, W. F.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Holdsworth, H.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Hopkinson, A.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Salt, E. W.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Scott, Lord William|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Jennings, R.||Selley, H. R.|
|Colfox, Major Sir W. P.||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs.)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Leech, Sir J. W.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Levy, T.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lipson, D. L.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Somerset, T.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Loftus, P. C.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Storey, S.|
|De la Bère, R.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Stourton,Major Hon. J. J.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Denville, Alfred||McKie, J. H.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Drewe, C.||Magnay, T.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Maitland, Sir Adam||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Emery, J. F.||Markham, S. F.||Touche, G. C.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Train, Sir J.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Etherton, Ralph||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Morrison. G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Gledhill, G.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Cower, Sir R. V.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
§ that we rejected; I think there is much less a case for the Amendment we are now considering. After all the steps which the hon. and learned Gentleman have enumerated have been taken, an Amendment which makes it necessary to come down and say, "You shall execute," is really, I think, unworthy of anybody's support. The arguments I used before apply to the same degree on this Amendment, and I think there is still less to be said in favour of this Amendment than of the others.
§ Question put, "That the word 'may' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 175; Noes, 124.
|Wells, Sir Sydney||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.||Womersley, Sir W. J.||Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr. Munro.|
|Williams, C. (Torquay)||Wragg, H.|
|Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Owen, Major G.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Paling, W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Parker, J.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hardie, Agnes||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Pearson, A.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Price, M. P.|
|Barr, J.||Hicks, E. G.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Bartlett, C. V. O.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Batey, J.||Hollins, A.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Horabin, T. L.||Ridley, G.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Isaacs, G. A.||Riley. B.|
|Benson, G.||Jackson, W. F.||Ritson, J.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jagger, J.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Burke, W. A.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Cassells, T.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Shinwell, E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, W.||Silverman. S. S.|
|Chater, D.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kirby, B. V.||Sloan, A.|
|Cocks. F. S.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Collindridge, F.||Leach, W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cove, W. G.||Leonard, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Daggar, G.||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lunn, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McEntee, V. La T.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Dobbie, W.||McGhee, H. G.||Thurtle, E.|
|Ede, J. C.||McGovern, J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||MacLaren, A.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Maclean, N.||Viant, S. P.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Mander, G. le M.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Marshall, F.||Westwood, J.|
|Foot, D. M.||Mathers, G.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Frankel, D.||Maxton, J.||Williams, T. (Don Volley)|
|Gallacher, W.||Milner, Major J.||Wilmot, John|
|Gardner, B. W.||Montague, F.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Woodburn, A.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Mort, D. L.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Naylor, T. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Adamson.|
§ Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte
I beg to move, in page 10, line 17, after "of," to insert "section thirty-four of."
This Amendment is really more or less a drafting Amendment. Powers are given to catchment boards under Section 34 of the 1930 Act, and there is no need, therefore, to extend their powers.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Terence O'Connor)
If I thought my hon. and gallant Friend was right, there would be no difficulty in accepting the Amendment, but, unfortunately, with the very greatest respect to him, he is not quite right, because Section 34 of the Act of 1930 does not contain by any means all the powers that the catchment boards will need. If my hon. and gallant Friend's Amendment were accepted, they could not borrow a penny to carry out their work nor could 860 they acquire any land. Indeed, I happened to notice that in the very first Section of the Act of 1930 they are given power to hold land without a licence in mortmain, and they would not have that power if this Amendment were passed. I think that for these reasons—and I could give many others—my hon. and gallant Friend will see that merely incorporating the powers under Section 34 would not be nearly enough, and so I would ask him to accept my view of the necessity of incorporating the whole of the Act.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte
In view of that explanation, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 8.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Pym
I beg to move, in page 10, line 24, at the end, to insert:
861 "Provided that—In addressing the Committee for the first time, may I ask for the kind indulgence which is always so generously accorded to those who are in this very distressing position? The reason for the first half of the Amendment, which stands on the Paper in my name and that of my hon. Friends, is to put some limit upon the amount an owner can be called upon to pay for the work to be carried out under this Bill. Those of us who have experience in these matters know only too well how difficult it is to relate the expenditure on land with the increased value of that land as the result of such expenditure. It is one of the most difficult things to do, and particularly is it the case with drainage work, where it is possible to expend a very large amount of money without largely increasing the value of some of the land affected. Where an owner is spending his own money no harm is done, but where his money is being spent for him by somebody else, then we ought to take care, and it would be unreasonable to charge him for any part of this expenditure which in fact did not improve his land. I do not suggest that the rest of this money is necessarily wasted. I realise fully the importance of this drainage as a war-time measure, and indeed as a general measure, and I think we cannot assume that it is necessarily wasted if it is not contributing to the value of the owner's land. It is probably increasing production, which is one of the things we are really after to-day, and it is parallel to the kind of expenditure which we have discussed in this House many times in the past few weeks. It is necessary in war time, but cannot be justified on any business or peace-time principles. It may well be necessary under the conditions in which we are, such, for example, as the sort of expenditure on buying in the 862 Balkans goods which we could buy more cheaply elsewhere. We do not in that case expect those who trade in the particular article to bear the additional expense of that economic policy. We expect, quite rightly, that it should be borne by the country as a whole, and I submit that the same considerations apply here, and that we should ask the Treasury to bear such part of the expenditure as may be regarded from that sort of angle.
- (i) the amount so payable by the owner shall not in any event exceed either—
- (a) the amount by which the value of his land has been increased by reason of the carrying out of the scheme; or
- b) an amount equal to two pounds and ten shillings for each acre of his land included in the scheme;
- (ii) the tenant of any land in respect of which the owner has made a payment under paragraph (b) of this Sub-section shall be liable to pay to the owner an annual sum equal to four per centum upon the amount so paid by the owner."
There are two parts of this expenditure. There is the part that will improve the value of the land, and no one would deny that to that exent the owner should be asked to contribute his share. But it may be objected that it is not at all easy to ascertain the improved value of land due to this expenditure. I agree that that is so, but I do not see that the difficulty in finding out that figure is really any justification for leaving the owner in uncertainty as to what he would be called upon to pay. It is not really much comfort to him to say, "My dear Sir, I have made up my mind to spend so much money to do drainage work. I cannot easily find out what the benefit of that will be to you, so I shall, subject to a Treasury deduction, charge you with the whole cost." I do not think that this difficulty is insuperable, because in Clause 22, Sub-sections (5) and (6), there is provision for ascertaining the increased value of land which the agricultural committee has taken in hand, and I do not see why these same Sub-sections should not be applied in ascertaining the increased value of land dealt with under this Clause. Delay is absolutely impossible, but this Amendment need not cause a single day's delay in getting on with the work. It might add a little to the delay in finding out what the owner had to pay and collecting his portion from him, but as far as the work is concerned, it need not cause any delay at all.
The second point of my Amendment, paragraph (b), deals with the total liability that may fall upon an owner in relation to the Treasury grant. The liability as it stands is really rather an alarming one, because it has been made clear that the amount of £5 per acre is only an average figure, and an owner must be in considerable uncertainty as to what the ultimate bill presented to him 863 might be. It might be really a very startling amount, and it is hardly fair to leave owners in that position. We have been told in the explanatory Memorandum, or we certainly have the impression, that it is intended to make a Treasury grant of 50 per cent. of the cost of this work. I cannot find that in the Bill, and it is rather important, if it is intended, that it should be in the Bill. The provisions under Clause 14 (6) are delightfully vague. It says that the Ministermay, out of moneys provided by Parliament,but it does not say how much, and it does not even go as far as so many hon. Members want it to go. It does not say that the Minister "must." I do not want to say that he must, but I want it to be made clear that his intention is to contribute 50 per cent., and paragraph (b) of this Amendment is drafted so as to give effect to that. If £5 an acre is the amount which is to be spent and the Treasury grant is to be £2 10s., it would only be reasonable to put into the Bill the sum of £2 10s. as the owner's contribution.
The third part of the Amendment deals with the position as between the owner and the tenant, no provision in respect of which appears at present to be embodied, in the Bill. The person who is really going to benefit by this expenditure is the occupier of the land. We talk about permanent improvement owing to drainage, but, of course, that is a complete misnomer. The use of the word "permanent" in connection with drainage has less meaning than it has when used in connection with anything else. The improvement can be permanent only if work is constantly done on it. At any rate, for the first few years after this expenditure, the occupier is the person who will gain.
Let us look at the sort of thing that will happen. A war agricultural committee, anxious to do its best, will have its attention called to an area of land of 1,000 or 2,000 acres which will have a main brook, or subsidiary stream, which may want clearing out. There will be ditches and drains on the individual farms. It may well be nobody's business to deal with the brook. Therefore, that may account for the state of the farm ditches and drains which, in practically all cases are the liability of the occupier of the 864 land. For one reason or another they have not been cleared out for many years past, partly owing to hard times and financial difficulties. There are a great many things on a farm which a farmer would like to do in reasonably prosperous times but which have to go by the board when times are hard, and costs have to be reduced. You may say that the owner should have seen that the work was done but it is much easier said than done. I think the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. J. Morgan) gave another good reason why this work has not been done. It was that if the main brook is not cleared out, it is not much good doing the ditches. Well, a committee does get to work, and a scheme which includes the clearing of the main stream and the ditches on a farm is worked out, and increased agricultural production will result. As the Bill stands, however, the whole of the cost is placed upon the owner of the land.
That cannot be either equitable or fair. In so far as the tenant's part of the work is concerned—the clearing of ditches on the farm—one might well suggest that it should be the tenant's liability to pay and not the owner's, but my experience in these things is that the letter of the law is seldom insisted upon in agricultural matters of this sort. As a reasonable sort of compromise the Amendment says that the tenant shall pay 4 per cent, upon that part of the work which represents the work for which he is liable. I think there is no doubt that he will be glad to do that and relieve himself of capital expenditure. There is another part of the work—the clearing of the main brook—and here the analogy is one of farm improvements. The tenant asks for someing to be done, and the owner says, "I cannot do it at your rent, but I will find the money if you will be prepared to pay some interest upon it." That arrangement is being made every day of the week. Here is a Bill which is making arrangements for the parties, and I think it is only reasonable to include a provision for the payment of interest.
We welcome the effort which is being made to effect this long needed improvement, and I am certain that landowners as a whole will be prepared to do their share. If the Government accept this Amendment the result will be that more work of this kind will be undertaken. I think nothing is so likely to hamper work and damp down the enthusiasm of the 865 committees and catchments boards as a feeling that one party to the bargain has got rather a raw deal. We would all feel the same. If we have the impression that hardship is going to be done, it does not encourage us to get on with our work. We know that in these times we have to give up the safeguards, careful review, and inquiry which, in more normal times, would be insisted upon. We are quite prepared to leave a good deal to the Minister and realise that he has no intention of doing anything that is not perfectly fair, but the Bill needs amendment in these directions. Landowners are entitled to ask that the cheque they give to the Minister shall not be a blank cheque, but that there shall be written across the top in red ink, "Not to exceed £x."I hope the Minister will accept the Amendment in that spirit, because, if I may quote some words used the other day it is conceived not in any obstructive spirit, but is intendedto allay a considerable uneasiness,at present in the minds of landowners, which will undoubtedly grow as the provisions of this Bill become more widely known. I thank hon. Members for listening to me so attentively in this, my first, speech in the House, and I hope that they will extend the leniency shown to first offenders and support the Amendment.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I am glad that it falls to my lot to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Pym) on the best and most well-informed maiden speech to which any of us have listened for a long time. He was most persuasive, and I only wish he had been sufficiently persuasive to enable me to accept the whole of his proposal on this, St. Valentine's, day. I will deal briefly with the hon. Member's points. I am sure the Committee will agree that it is not unreasonable that part of the cost of remedying a state of affairs, which in many cases has been due to the neglect of the owners, should fall on those responsible, even if that return is not wholly commensurate with the outlay involved. Where the neglect has been caused by the failure of the tenant to carry out repairs which have been provided for under his contract of tenancy, it is not unreasonable to put some part of the cost on the tenant, and I think that is my hon. Friend's point.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
It is not very easy to sue your tenant every week for a ditch which has not been cleaned out. Most of the schemes under this Bill will include water courses, which are normally the responsibility of the landowner, and also farmers' ditches, which are the general liability of the tenant under his contract of tenancy, and I do not think there is any justification for imposing entirely on the tenant the cost of clearing a water course for which he has no responsibility. In that case he would be getting a raw deal which we should not impose upon him. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Agriculture wishes to meet the case where the scheme includes ditches for which the tenant is responsible, and he is considering how the matter can best be dealt with. I do not think this Amendment, however, as it stands, will be fair or entirely acceptable, and I am suggesting to my hon. Friend that between now and the Report stage my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Agriculture will try to find words which will ensure that where works involving ditches, which are the liability of the tenant under contract, are included in a scheme, steps will be taken to prevent any unfair charge being made on the landowner and any unfair charge on the tenant for carrying out work which is the responsibility of the landlord. The Amendment will not do that, and I hope my hon. Friend will be content with my suggestion that we will see whether words can be framed to carry out his main purpose. I hope he will not press the Amendment.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Williams
May I also be allowed to congratulate the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Pym) on his very clear maiden speech? As President of the Land Agents Society, he brings a practical knowledge of land problems to this House, and if his first speech is any indication of his general knowledge, he is going to become a power in this House, at least from the landowner's peculiar point of view. The Amendment would not be accepted by any member of the Committee, although the First Commissioner of Works has expressed sympathy towards it. It will be something of a problem to 867 determine the increased value of any land which was drained, and when the hon. Member referred to the tenant paying 4 per cent. interest on the capital outlay of the landowner in draining land, I cannot recall a single instance when agriculture has been granted a subsidy, even the subsidy granted under this Bill, of one single, solitary complaint from a landowner. This Bill starts with increasing the standard price for wheat, which, indirectly, is a guarantee to the landowner of his rent. Part II continues the increased standard prices for oats and barley, and gives a subsidy for rye. Not a single complaint from any landowner.
§ Mr. Williams
And Part III provides a subsidy of £2 per acre for any acreage put under the plough. No complaint from any landowner. He knows that his rent is being assured. The hon. Member for Monmouth and the First Commissioner of Works said that it may be that the land owner has made no effort to drain the land and maintain its fertility in the past—
§ Mr. Williams
It is the same kind of neglect which has enabled millions of acres of land in this country to fail to do its duty. What the landowner has not appreciated in the past, and does not appreciate to-day, is that although he has the power to engage his tenant, the land is really held for the State and should be utilised to the maximum advantage. To that extent there has been neglect, and I do not think landowners ought to complain very much, for with the general financial assistance which they are indirectly receiving through the agency of this House, they are doing no more than their share when they are called upon to make some contribution under this Measure.
I conceive from the speech of the hon. Member that arrangements are being made between landlords and tenants that where slight improvements have taken place the tenant will recompense the landlord to some extent. That disposes of the need for this Amendment, and in any case the Agricultural Holdings Act of 868 1923 provides that where special circumstances can be pleaded by the tenant or landlord there can be a change in the rental of any particular farm, and, therefore, it seems to me that there is no need for the Amendment. We have no objection to a fair deal between landlord and tenant, but I want to say to the First Commissioner of Works that if any set of words which may be provided at a later stage seems to indicate in the slightest degree that money will filter through, or that indirect assistance will be given, to owners of land who in the past have neglected their duties to the land, they will meet with ready-made opposition from these benches.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Sir G. Courthope
I should like to join in the chorus of approval and to congratulate the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Pym) on a maiden speech in which he presented his case with such admirable clearness that the Government are going to consider it. There are one or two points I want to put. I am a landowner. I am one of those unfortunate and mistrusted people, but I should like to say at once, as an agricultural landowner, that I agree with the last few sentences of the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams). In a Bill of this kind there ought to be no advantage, direct or indirect, from a subsidy to landowners, and I do not believe that landowners want it. There are two points which should be looked at very carefully by the Government. One is the avoidance of legal complications. In a great many cases the failure of drainage schemes on existing farms is the subject of accumulating liability for dilapidations, and unless this is guarded against in connection with the expenditure and the liability placed on particular shoulders in connection with this drainage work, there will be very considerable confusion on a change of tenancy. That is a point which will be quite familiar to the Minister of Agriculture, and I am sure he will appreciate its importance.
The second point that I want to raise is of a practical nature. In a great many cases, the present serious need for drainage on something more than a field-drainage scale is due to a change in the method of farming the land which was brought about by the hard times. Land which formerly was sub-divided into fields 869 with ditches that were kept open has tended to become a ranch, with cattle roaming all over the land. The fences have very largely gone, and the ditches have been trampled in. We hope such dilapidations will be repaired, so that it will be possible again to carry out field drainage of the land; but I hope that the Minister and his advisers, in their consideration of the matter of placing the liability for the expenditure, will find it possible to ensure that the work now to be done will not be undone by neglect in the course of a few years. It is a relatively simple thing to maintain properly-executed drainage, but it is a very much easier thing entirely to undo the work by a year or two of neglect. If cattle are allowed to range over the whole farm and to tread in the ditches again in the future, as they have done in the past, any work done now, and any expenditure arising from this Bill, will be wasted. I hope it will be possible for the Minister to make some provision, in arranging where the liability is to fall, which will make it likely that care will be taken to maintain the drains which we hope will be constructed and reopened as a result of the Bill.
§ 8.32 p.m.
There is an Amendment on the Paper in my name, in line 36, which covers the second point of the Amendment now under discussion. Although I do not intend to move my Amendment, as the Minister said that the words of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Pym) are not satisfactory, I wonder whether the wording of my Amendment would be suitable for the purpose. I am quite prepared to leave it to the Minister to judge what is fair as between the landowners and the tenants, but I should like to refer to one type of case which shows that consideration ought to be given even to landowners. Recently, the War Office took over from a landowner a big stretch of land for use as a rifle range. When the War Office take over land in this way, they make a proviso that they shall not pay anything in respect of any appreciation in the value of the land, but equally they do not pay to the landowner anything in respect of any depreciation in the value of the land which they have caused. Surely, if the War Office are the tenants and the landowner is to be charged in respect of extra drainage, the 870 War Office ought to pay their share of the loss caused to the landowner by their negligence. I mention this purely as an extreme example which needs to be dealt with fairly. I think we can trust the Minister to do so.
§ 8.34 p.m.
§ Sir J. Lamb
In giving partial support to the Amendment, I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Pym) on the fluent manner in which he made his point in moving the Amendment. It was a pleasure to listen to him. I have said that I partially support the Amendment. I speak from the point of view of an occupier, and not a landlord, but I rather deprecate the division between owners and occupiers when we are discussing agriculture. Undoubtedly, the landlords have rights, and they have suffered during the depression. I think we should look after the interests of both parties and of the State at the same time. I am sorry that the Minister could not accept the first part of the Amendment, paragraph 1 (a) and (b). Paragraph 1 (a) is simply a safeguard against expenditure being made which ultimately will be of no value because it will not give any value to the land. We do not want to spend money which will not give an adequate return either to the occupier or the State. I feel that that part of the Amendment might very well have been accepted by the Minister. Paragraph 1 (b) really represents an undertaking which the Government are giving already. It is simply a question of inserting it in the Bill. As I am always a great advocate of such things being inserted in the Bill, I feel that that part of the Amendment could have been accepted.
With regard to the second part of the Amendment, however, I feel that it is too definite, on account of the words "of any land." In some cases, it is the fault, not of the occupier, but of the owner. I hope that the Minister will not accept this part of the Amendment on the Report stage without making a very great alteration in it. The cause of the neglect may be that the landowner did not do his share by way of providing the necessary drainage tiles, and so on, for which the tenant was not responsible, and consequently, the tenant was not able to do what he wanted to do—that is to say, keep the land in a good condition—because the landlord would not give the 871 necessary assistance. This matter ought to be left for settlement by the ordinary procedure between the landlord and the tenant. If a tenant is not carrying out his obligations and is not farming the land properly, it is possible for the landlord to obtain possession of the land. My hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth said that the letter of the law is not always insisted upon, and that is true, not only in the case of landlords and tenants, but in many other cases. It is characteristic of the British people that, although in law a person may have rights, he does not necessarily always enforce those rights. I hope the Minister, in his reconsideration of the Amendment, will see his way to accept the first part, but not the second part.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
I hope the Minister will be careful in his generosity, because it seems to me that the argument in favour of including these words in the Clause is that the people who have been negligent in the past, should be rewarded, in these time of difficulty, for their negligence. I am not so sure that the relationship between landlord and tenant, as far as farmers are concerned, has always been of the happy kind described by the last speaker. I have had a little experience of landlords and tenants, and while, in some cases, both may be a little awkward, it is the tenant who comes off the poorer in the deal time and again. I particularly hope that no attempt will be made to incorporate the second paragraph of the proposed Amendment in the Bill. To suggest that the landlord should be given 4 per cent, on the amount which he is called on to pay towards improvements rendered necessary by past neglect, seems to go a long way in the direction of asking the tenant to pay for all improvements, irrespective of whether he has any responsibility in connection with them or not.
Landlords, generally speaking, are looked on as people of substance and I do not think it would be difficult for them to borrow money to-day at a rate less than 4 per cent. If they are to obtain 4 per cent. from the tenant on the money which they are called upon to pay, then it seems to me they are going to improve the land for the benefit of earning that 4 per cent. on the amount of money necessary for such improvement. There- 872 fore, as I said, I hope the Minister will he careful in his generosity. I believe that the guaranteed prices to which my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) referred, provide the guarantee that the fertility of the land will be maintained. The suggestion that farms have been allowed to go out of cultivation and ditches allowed to become filled in, because the farms did not pay, is not an argument which can be used about work carried out for the purpose of growing products the prices of which are guaranteed by the State.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Morgan
I wish to address one inquiry to the right hon. and gallant Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope). I wish to be clear as to the point which he had in mind and on which he thought the Government might meet him. He seemed to direct his attention to a set of circumstances in which a tenant in vacating a farm and handing it over to another; a tenant-right valuation is taken, and certain improvements on the part of the outgoing tenant are offset by dilapidations claimed by the in-coming tenant, and there is an agreement between both of them and the landlord. If that is the direction in which he is seeking to turn the Government's attention, I hope that some tightening-up process will take place; in other words that the out-going tenant will be required either to reduce his dilapidations before going out, or that the in-coming tenant will be required to use the money which he actually gets for dilapidations in carrying out improvements, either in repairs or otherwise. If that is what the right hon. and gallant Member has in mind, it is an interesting suggestion. Often dilapidations are secured by an in-coming tenant but are not used to remedy the defects in respect of which they were secured. I think it is useful to direct attention to this matter but I hope it is not proposed to go any further than that point. Otherwise we should find it necessary to resist the proposal.
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Colonel Clifton Brown)
The next Amendment which I call is that in the name of the Minister of Agriculture—in page n, line 26, after "land," to insert "set out in the scheme as being the land."
§ Sir J. Lamb
May I formally move the Amendment in my name—in page 10, line 40, to leave out from "debt" to the end of line 6, page 11—with a view to obtaining an explanation from the Minister? I do not intend to press it.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I had already called an Amendment which stands further down on the Paper. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would make his point on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Colville
I beg to move, in page 11, line 26, after "land," to insert "set out in the scheme as being the land."
This is really a drafting Amendment. It is for the purpose of making clear that the area set out in the scheme as being the area to be drained, is definitely "the land" for all the purposes of this Clause.
Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Colville
I beg to move, in page 11, line 34, at the end, to add:(9) The provisions of this Section shall have effect notwithstanding anything in any award made under any enactment.Awards made under public or local Acts often contain provisions as to the persons by whom certain drains are to be maintained. In many cases, these provisions have now become obsolete and it is difficult to define the landowners who are liable to maintain the drains. It is obviously desirable that in any scheme under this Clause, all the owners whose land will be improved by the scheme should contribute to the cost.
Amendment agreed to.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Williams
We have been discussing this Clause for 2½ or three hours and we have not secured even one of the Amendments which we desired to make in it. I am still inclined to think what I thought when I first read the Clause—that the Government are not really 874 serious about this. Rather are they "fiddling while Rome is burning" in relation to this problem. I ask hon. Members to look at what the Clause implies. The first obligation is that the war agricultural executive committee have to satisfy themselves, presumably after a report from the district committee, that a certain area of land could be improved if properly drained. When the agricultural executive committee have made up their minds on that point, they may request the catchment board to prepare a scheme. The catchment board, having been so requested by the agricultural executive committee, may prepare the scheme. By the same rule, they may not. If the catchment board agree to prepare a scheme, the next condition laid down is that the drainage scheme which is to restore the land to fertility, must not exceed £5 an acre in cost.
The catchment board, having fulfilled that condition in the preparation of the scheme, are then called upon to submit any such scheme to the Minister. The Minister must then put the scheme through a very fine mesh. He must examine the "pros" and "cons" and go into the cost, the relative improvement in the value of the land and so forth and he may or may not approve of the scheme. Should the Minister, in the goodness of his heart, approve of the scheme when all the arrangements have been scrutinised and dealt with faithfully and carefully and scientifically, then the catchment board may execute the work—or again they may not. That seems to be the general structure of the Clause and I cannot help feeling that, unless the war is to go on for some considerable time, this machinery will produce very few if any drainage schemes and the Measure will not be worth the paper on which it is written.
On the Financial Memorandum in the forefront of the Bill the anticipated expenditure in 12 months is approximately £230,000 on all the drainage schemes visualised by Clause 14. On the basis of a maximum charge of £5 per acre, half for the Treasury and half for the landowners, there is a possible, but very improbable, drainage of some 90,000 acres of land. It may be argued that a further 90,000 acres of land restored will, and should, make a contribution to our food supplies, but we are at the commencement of a war and we are told by hon. and 875 right hon. Gentlemen that food production is of importance. If we are not going to deal with this problem on a much more effective and determined scale than is visualised in Clause 14 I am convinced that we are more or less wasting our time and the time of the Committee. For my part, since all the Amendments we have submitted, calculated to improve the effectiveness of Clause 14, have been more or less summarily rejected, I am inclined to vote for the deletion of Clause 14 so that the Government may be compelled to bring back at a later stage a really effective Clause, and one which would do the job well and do it efficiently for a wide area, giving effect to what is generally felt in all parts of the Committee. But the Clause as it stands, I feel, is a hopeless one, and, perhaps, it would be as well if it was eliminated from the Bill.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. W. Roberts
This is the main Clause dealing with the problem of drainage, which is a war-time measure. We are being asked to agree to an additional grant, an additional percentage, and additional powers, for the simple reason that the lack of drainage is believed to be one of the major causes which is preventing the land being used to the full for war-time food production. Many of us feel that this Clause is lamentably insufficient to deal with the situation as it exists. I asked the Minister, on an Amendment on this Clause, for some facts which it seems to me it is vital we should know if we are to have an effective policy of land drainage. I asked for these facts on Second Reading. But we are not given them, and I can only presume that they are not in the Department. It seems to me fantastic that we are asked to deal with drainage and are not told what is the problem. There was some question whether the figures given on this side were correct, but the Government Front Bench have not stated what the facts are. Is it that the survey we have often enough asked for from these benches has never been carried out, and that the Ministry do not know how much land drainage is necessary? Have they no estimate of how much food production is being limited by the inadequacy of drainage? If they have not, I feel it is lamentable.
876 There is an organisation called the Land Utilisation Survey, not supported by Government funds but by private individuals, at least to a large extent. It made a survey field by field of almost the whole country. Is it not possible for us to be told what is the problem facing us? Of course, it is possible to spend an unlimited amount on drainage, some of which would not be economical, but where are the Government drawing the line? Are we to understand that if any scheme costs more than £5 an acre that it is not an economical scheme, and are we to understand that only some 50,000 acres of land are to be drained in a year under the provisions of this Clause? If that is so, it seems to me that at some later stage in this war the Government will greatly regret the miserable sum which they are now prepared to spend. I submit that it is far cheaper to spend money on producing food here and making the land fit for producing food, than sometimes spending money on food from abroad which does not get here. I think that we are entitled to know what are the facts about the drainage position. Members who go out and travel about this country have seen thousands of acres under water and every Member who has spoken to-day has mentioned districts which he knows where land drainage is needed.
I have tried to find for myself an estimate of what land is being drained and I went to the Ministry's own publication, to the Ministry of Agriculture's Journal for December last year, which is fairly up-to-date. I find that in an article on drainage it is stated:There is reliable evidence that 25 per cent. of the heavy land in the country is in distinct need of field drainage.I agree that that is field drainage, that is, tile drainage, which is not being dealt with at all in this Bill. This publication says—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I am afraid we cannot discuss what is not in the Clause. Tile drainage is not in the Clause. What we are discussing on the question of the Clause standing part of the Bill, is what is in the Clause.
§ Mr. Roberts
I am sorry I have been carried away into dealing with what is not in the Clause, but perhaps I may refer to my other estimate, which is cer- 877 tainly nearer home. I find in a recent publication of Sir George Stapledon, who has been mentioned with honour by all, that in discussing this question of drainage nearer London, in Hertfordshire and Middlesex, strangely enough in connection with a clean-up milk competition—this does not apply to tile drainage but to all drainage—he states that 57 per cent. of the land situated in Middlesex is in need of drainage and 40 per cent. of the land visited in Hertfordshire is in need of drainage. I ask simply and plainly how much of the 57 per cent. of the land in Middlesex, or the 40 per cent. in the case of Hertfordshire, is to be affected by Clause 14 of this Bill? I think we are entitled to know, and, if not, some of us will feel that we must show in some regard that this proposal is quite inadequate. One of the difficulties on this whole question has been that the initiation of schemes is in the hands of the county councils who do not always carry out their obligations quite as energetically as they might.
I suggest that the present arrangement is still not adequate to meet that position, that the war agricultural executive committees are not given by Sub-section (1) really effective power to initiate schemes, that the Minister himself is nowhere given power to initiate them, and that if in some counties none of the authorities concerned are ready to initiate work, nothing can be done. The situation of owners and occupiers trying to carry out the instructions of the war executive committees in those districts will be made impossible by the inability of the Minister to initiate drainage work which it is known is needed. Cannot the Minister give some better estimate of what is needed? We have the estimate of what is to be done, but what is the proportion of the work which really needs to be done and which can be done, in the Minister's opinion, on an economic basis?
§ 9.2 p.m.
Mr. Lloyd George
On the Committee stage it is impossible within the limits of Order to re-examine the character of the proposals before the House and I will not attempt to do so at this time of the night. I think, however, it will be useful to survey the course of the discussion on this Clause as an illumination of the real character of the proposal as a whole. I attempted last time, after a considerable time which I spent upon an investigation of the various Clauses of the Bill and the 878 facts of the case, to give the House some idea of what I thought the Bill would effect and how lamentably it fell short of the real need, the dire need, the very alarming need with which we are confronted. To-night, especially on this Clause, the examination to which it has been subjected by my hon. Friends on both sides of the Committee has revealed even more truly not merely the inadequacy of the Measure, but the really piffling character of it, having regard to the tremendous emergency with which we are faced, an emergency real and grave, which may well become critical.
Hon. Members must give a good deal of time to contemplating the tremendous possibilities with which we are confronted. I guarantee, Colonel Clifton Brown, that I will bring my remarks within the limits of the Clause; I do not want to create any difficulties for the Chair. Somebody has called it a queer war. It is a very incalculable war. It is getting more and more so as the dreary, dark days roll by. Things are happening from day to day which threaten its extension, its development, and its prolongation. I will deal on this Clause only with the prolongation. You have to see that the people are fed, that our Armies are fed, and that we have an adequate surplus to enable us to deal with any situation with which we may be confronted, not merely at home or in France, but in any quarter of the globe. Food you must get, because the moment the supply of food breaks down, though the spirit of the people will not break down, their strength will, and they will be unable to prolong the struggle.
Therefore, everything that can be done to save our shipping and, at the same time, to provide adequate supplies for feeding the people of this country, is an essential element in the conduct of the war. Food, in my judgment, is our weakest plank. I listened with great care to the Debate to-night from the beginning up to within the last hour and to the replies of the Ministers. I will tell you what struck me. Here we have a terrible emergency, but I would not have thought so from any speech I have heard from Ministers. They were casual, leisurely, niggardly—little objections put forward against every attempt to reclaim land for the purpose of the production of food, which is essential—essential, I warn you—to the life of this country. I was 879 ashamed to think that such insignificant, such paltry reasons should be put against the efforts which are being made. Five pounds an acre—no more!—not "as much as matters in the estimation of a hair"; Portia's judgment, Shylock's bond applied to something upon which the life of Britain depends. The accomplishment by Britain of her mission as the pioneer of freedom and the greatness of our Empire in the world are to depend on £5, and no more.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
When the right hon. Gentleman says "£5 and no more," does he mean that a limit of £5 is placed on the expenditure on any acre? If it goes out in the way he has put it, it will create the impression that there is a maximum limit of £5 on any acre. There may be an expenditure of £10 or £15 an acre. It is essential that that should be clear.
Mr. Lloyd George
I am not going to allow the right hon. Gentleman to ride off on a quibble like that. It is an average of £5 expenditure on a particular scheme. Why did he not say so before?
Mr. Lloyd George
The average expenditure per acre is £5 and no more. There was a scheme. It was an estimate. If the right hon. Gentleman, who must have had great experience in business, has ever been able to carry through any scheme, even for the building of a house, where there are no extras at all, I congratulate him. He is the only man in this House who has had that happy experience. It was £4 7s. 3½d. or something of that kind, if you could do it at that. But supposing it cost an extra 13s., although there were 6,000 acres of food in a great war which may depend upon it, No. Shylock's bond! £5 and no more—not even the weight of a feather. Empire on one side and an extra halfpenny on the other. This is not the fault of the Chair. They have to rule in accordance with Resolutions which have been carried by the House. But they are so framed that the House of Commons, which is as responsible for the war and for its conduct as the Government, and responsible for feeding the people whom they represent, is not allowed, because they are out of order, to move Amendments to extend the 880 operation of the reclamation of land which produces food, which, if it was taken in hand now, might raise millions of tons of food in a few years, when we may still be fighting our life-and-death battle. They are ruled out of order, but Hitler's submarines, mines and aeroplanes cannot be ruled out of order. Do not imagine that, in getting rid of troublesome Amendments, you are getting rid of the great trouble that is raging outside. The House of Commons ought to have been allowed to discuss this freely. There was another Clause which would have saved them from extravagant expenditure and no one moved its omission:The cost of preparing and carrying out the scheme will not exceed an amount equal to £5.That is the first. What is the second? That the value of the land will be increased in consequence of the carrying out of the scheme. What more do you want as a limitation than that? No one proposed to leave that out. If it cost £10 or £15 an acre for reclamation, if the value of the land increased by that amount, is not that sufficient justification for it? What more do you require? You want to keep it down to £230,000 where you ought to have £40,000,000 or £50,000,000. It is only filling up a gap. It is the gap through which we may drop. That is the gap that you want to be filled up.
Why have all these limitations been introduced? The right hon. Gentleman has had to take up his brief owing to the absence of the leading counsel through unfortunate ill-health; therefore, one must make great allowances. He has to defend a very bad Bill. He had what is known at the Bar as a docker, a brief handed out by the judge at the last moment to defend someone in the dock. [An Hon. Member: "He will get off."] He will get off before this jury. They have let off much worse prisoners than that. But we have not had the defence yet of the only Minister in the War Cabinet who is in charge of agriculture. He is responsible. The right hon. Gentleman, who has just come here to defend a colleague, is not responsible. I do not think the Minister for Agriculture is responsible. The Cabinet are responsible. We have a member of the Cabinet here. We have not had a single defence of something on which the success or failure of the war may depend. His treatment of the catch- 881 ment boards was, I think, very characteristic of the attitude of the Government. Someone proposed that instead of saying "a catchment board may prepare a scheme," it should be "shall." Oh, no. You must say "Please." You must not be rude to a catchment board. "Will you be so kind?" "Is the catchment board willing?"
If that were applied all round, I wonder what would happen. "Farmers, will you plough the land?" Apply it to the hundreds of thousands, the millions, of young men you are sending to the Front. "Will you kindly advance with your rifle in that direction?" The officer must be polite. Why should not you apply the principle of compulsion all round? Rudyard Kipling, in one of his most delightful novels, "Kim," said there was a Hindu maxim, "A stick is a very good reason." Yes, but you must apply it all round, otherwise it is a bad reason. It is no use if you apply the stick to one person who disobeys, and simply say to the other, "Oh, please do," and if he does not, you say, "That is all right. I would not be unkind to you. You are a catchment board, you are not a soldier fighting for your country."
"May request"—yes, but may refuse. And there was a most amazing explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman. He said the catchment board could find many reasons for not carrying out this Bill. What a shame. This is a Bill to drain land when you suddenly came to the conclusion that it ought to be drained, that it can be drained, that it will increase the value of your land, and improve the supply of food. But if the catchment board do not want to do it, there are plenty of reasons which they could get in this Bill. What amazing drafting! What was the object of this Bill? Was it to drain land in order to produce food? Here is an elaborate Clause of three pages, Sub-sections and sub-Sub-sections, and italics and every form of type—a sham, something that you can show to pretend that you are going to do something which you have not the slightest intention of doing, because you are only going to spend £230,000. A Bill like that is a downright piece of cheating of the public.
And all this because of Clause 14. I will tell you what struck me in the course of the Debate—the complete lack of 882 initiative. There is no initiative from the people who are in charge. They do not even survey. I beg pardon; that is out of order. We cannot even refer to it without being disorderly. But survey, surely, is essential, and there are catchment areas in very small counties, very heavily rated—rates at the present moment that the farmers cannot pay without pinching themselves and borrowing. They cannot employ engineers and surveyors to examine all these things. The initiative ought to come from the top. It was said that Sir George Stapledon has surveyed a few acres. Yes, but we should not leave to the initiative of a highly respected and very able citizen the job that belongs to Government. The initiative ought to come from the top. Three and a half million acres needing arterial drainage—schemes carried, but not carried out. And yet they do not take in more than a percentage of the whole, even if they were carried out, and they are not. Look at the money that is spent year by year in the grants of the Government. They do not come to all that. It shows that these great schemes have not been carried out. It is all very well to refer to the Pontine Marshes, but they were not done in war-time. You have 1,500,000 unemployed here, and you could have expedited the whole of this. Then what are they doing with 10,000,000 acres needing drainage? You give us 7,000,000 acres—I gave the figures before, and I gave my authority.
Mr. Lloyd George
Yes, my authority was Sir George Stapledon. I gave the authority last time; if I had known it would be challenged, I would have brought it here. One figure was based on the Royal Commission on Arterial Drainage and the other was the field drainage in this country. If that area amounted to as much as the waterlogged area which is due to the lack of arterial drainage, it would produce 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 tons of food, and you have only given—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
That is outside this Clause. I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Lloyd George
I am so sorry that I was misled by the Minister. I apologise, Colonel Clifton Brown, on his behalf. I 883 therefore will not carry that any further. You leave the conduct of this matter to the catchment areas. I agree that, considering how they are made up and how they have been equipped, both in cash and otherwise, they have done their work very well indeed.
Mr. Lloyd George
I know, and that accounts for it. I should have put a little more drive into it—at least, I think I should—some years ago. It is a terrific job. There are millions of acres of waterlogged land in this country. The need for drainage in order to produce food upon them may be a decisive factor. I do not like war, but I have tried to look ahead with a certain recollection of what happened 30 years ago, when the factors were more in our favour than they are to-day in regard to our land.
There is this sum of £230,000 plus the £130,000—which is out of order—for the drainage of those millions of acres of waterlogged land. Some of it is good, some is bad, and some is indifferent—so is all land—but in the main it would be productive and that is the only thing you must look at. We have examined the matter to-night. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was a little annoyed with me for what I said the other day about his being mingy. I confined that charge to the Bill. He has spent a good deal of money, I admit. As he said himself, he has been lavish in other directions. A little late, I admit, but he has spent it. He has gone through £6,000,000 or £7,000,000 a day. Some of it has been spent rather extravagantly, but let us say that it has been spent as wisely as is possible in war time; but it is no use doing that while you have a vital thing like this land question neglected. It is no use having—I will give it first in Welsh—"pen punt a chynffon ddima". What does that mean? It means "a pound head and a halfpenny tail." You may go about with fine garments adorned with jewels, but your feet are on the soil of the earth, and you may have tattered and ragged boots. So we may be spending thousands of millions of pounds, but the effect of what we spend will be very little if this Bill is all that we can do. It is a "halfpenny tail."
§ 9.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
The right hon. Gentleman has likened me to a barrister who has received a docker's brief. [Hon. Members: "Docker's!"] A dock brief. I must say it is rather bad luck that I am receiving a dock brief and running up against a counsel so successful in rescuing desperate cases himself. I do not propose to detain the Committee very long, because I dealt, on a previous Amendment, with the points raised; but I should like to say to the right hon. Gentleman, as a passing criticism of his speech, that he built up his case on two premises, one of which was that there is very little drainage being carried out in this country, and the other that this is a big Bill designed to remedy that state of affairs; and both those premises are quite incorrect. There has been a great deal of drainage carried on in this country since 1930, and very large sums have been spent. The right hon. Gentleman quotes figures of 3,500,000 acres of land requiring arterial drainage. I have looked in the report of the Land Drainage Commission of 1927—that is, 13 years ago—and I find that then the land in immediate need of drainage was said to amount to 1,750,000 acres. Since then, a very great deal of labour and money has been spent on remedying that state of affairs.
Mr. Lloyd George
If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the report of the Commission, which I think was appointed by the Baldwin Government—at any rate, it reported in 1927—he will see that it gave the figure of 3,500,000 acres.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I am quoting from paragraph 57 of the Report, which says:It is estimated by the Drainage Engineers, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that the productive value of no less than 4,362,000 acres of land in England and Wales, or approximately one-seventh of the total area of land now used for agricultural purposes, is dependent for its fertility on arterial drainage. Of this total 2,892,000 acres are situate in existing drainage areas, while the balance of 1,470,000 acres is outside any drainage district.So far they describe the geographical situation:The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has stated, moreover, that at least 1,755,000 acres of land are in immediate need of drainage"—[HON. MEMBERS: "Immediate need."]
885 Yes. The Report continues:and of this area only 285,000 acres are within existing drainage districts. Although much of this land may, as regards field drains and ditches, receive proper attention from the individual farmer, his work may be nullified by the absence of adequate arterial drainage.That was the position 13 years ago.
Mr. Lloyd George
I am sorry I did not give the page to the right hon. Gentleman, but he will find two more categories mentioned—the subordinate watercourses and the main ditches. If he looks at Sir George Stapledon's book, he will find the three figures given. If he has not got the book, I will send him a copy.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
The right hon. Gentleman referred to his source as being the Royal Commission on Drainage. I can do no more than refer the right hon. Gentleman to the paragraph in question, which reduces the figure to 1,755,000 acres. There is no other category mentioned. The right hon. Gentleman will excuse me if I say that he is apt to use figures in a pictorial fashion.
Mr. Lloyd George
I will send the right hon. Gentleman the extract to-morrow. I have not it here with me now. If I am wrong, I will apologise. I hope that he will do the same.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
All I am saying is that I cannot see confirmation in the report of what the right hon. Gentleman says. Before I leave the right hon. Gentleman, I would point out that he criticised this scheme, of which I gave particulars, and he said it amounted to only £4 7s. 3d. per acre. My arithmetic makes it exactly £4, but I will not quarrel with him about the extra7s. 3d. The right hon. Gentleman said with great scorn, whoever reached a figure approaching his estimate? In this case the estimate is only three weeks old. There is between £4 and £5 a 20 per cent. margin, and it would be very remarkable if that margin was exceeded. That, I think, disposes of the argument of the right hon. Gentleman.
The hon. Member for North Cumberland (Mr. W. Roberts) raised points in connection with the drainage to be undertaken. I can only once more build up the position on the report of the Royal Commission to which I referred the right hon. Gentleman, and that showed, 13 years 886 ago, about 1,750,000 acres which are in need of drainage, and the internal drainage boards which are in the internal areas cover over 2,600,000 acres. The Clause intends to deal with areas not covered by the internal boards. I want to make it crystal clear that this is not a big Bill as far as drainage is concerned. Of course, it is not. The main part of the drainage of this country is arterial drainage which is covered by catchment boards, and a very large portion of the internal drainage is covered by the drainage boards. It has been said on many occasions that the drainage section of the Bill deals with a gap, which experience has shown to exist, namely, the gap which ought to be covered by the county councils and certain borough councils. That gap is nothing like the extent of that covered by the land already supervised and done by the internal drainage boards, and is far less than that in the area controlled by the catchment boards. But it is no doubt very substantial, and we do not know until we see how far it extends. But it is a gap, and to seek to criticise this Bill on the ground that it is a major Bill dealing with the country's drainage, which has never been considered before by anybody, and upon which nobody has spent any money, is making a travesty of the whole thing.
§ Mr. W. Roberts
May I make my request for information perfectly clear? I understand that the Government have information, which is 13 years old, of the position of land drainage then. My question is. What is the position now? How many acres need draining? I do not care whether they are catchment boards, internal drainage boards or county councils, but I want to know what the problem is?
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
Obviously, since 1927, when there were 1,750,000 acres that required immediate drainage, a very large diminution of that drainage has taken place. I have not got the figures, and I do not think we could produce the exact figures, as it would require another survey such as the Royal Commission carried out at that time. If there are approximate figures, I will let the hon. Gentleman know them.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I only want to point out, in conclusion, that this Bill sets out to fill a very definite gap, and it provides a safeguard which catchment boards can easily work, as has been demonstrated by experience and knowledge of anybody concerned with catchment boards, and for that reason I think that a very great deal of the criticism that has been poured forth against this Bill is entirely undeserving.
§ 9.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
I heard with great astonishment from the right hon. Gentleman that apparently the Government have not the faintest idea of how many acres in this country ought to be drained at the present time, and I must ask him, What has the Minister of Agriculture been doing for the last seven or eight months? We know he has not been doing much, and we know what the condition with regard to foodstuffs would be if he had taken advice on that question. It does seem astonishing that we should have a statement from a Minister that he cannot give to the House any estimate at all of what amount of acreage in this country requires to be drained.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I said I could give no accurate estimate, because it would require a survey, but, on the other hand, I said I would try to get the approximate figures.
§ Mr. Boothby
All I am suggesting to my right hon. Friend is that he must have known drainage was going to be mentioned, because this Bill deals with this question. One would have thought that he would have supplied himself with some figures to give to the House about the magnitude of the problem that confronts us. When we hear the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) talk about £230,000 and 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 acres still to be brought in, I feel that my right hon. Friend would have been in a strong position if he had had accurate figures with which to counteract this argument. It makes us so uneasy when he says that he does not really know the extent of this problem. He says that this Bill is to fill a gap, and then, in the next sentence, confesses that he does not know how wide is the gap. The House is not in a position to know whether the figure of £230,000 is quite enough or totally inadequate. I hope the Government will 888 collect this information. I express the conviction that this day's Debate has done a great deal of good. Exactly the same thing has happened over drainage as has happened again and again over one item of policy after another. The Government continues on ordinary lines until the anxiety and apprehension of the House of Commons reaches explosive point and is raised in Debate before anything is done. I am quite certain that a lot of us will be strongly criticised for criticising the Government, but I hope that in the end the Government will make a great effort with regard to the drainage of the land in this country.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison
I share with the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) his amazement that these figures are not available. The right hon. Gentleman has told us in 1927, as a result of a survey, there were so many acres of land which required to be dealt with and needed attention. Does he seriously tell the Committee that the Government have no record of the acreage dealt with since that time? If they have, they ought to know what the net figure is now. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the Committee that no record has been kept of the acreage that has been dealt with since 1927?
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I cannot say to the right hon. Gentleman more than I said just now. There has been no survey since 1927 and, presumably, no entirely accurate figure is available. But I may be able to get the approximate figures of the work done by the various catchment boards and add them together, and if I do I will see that they are made known.
§ 9.49 p.m.
Mr. J. J. Davidson
I rise to put a question particularly to the Scottish Minister. It is a question which I understand, was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) with regard to this Clause. It seems to me that it has been proved by the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) that the Government must depend to a very great extent on the desires of the war agricultural executive committee. 889 Their recommendation with regard to the operation of this Clause must be a guide for the Government. Are hon. Members who represent agricultural constituencies satisfied that the composition of war agricultural executive committees gives them the satisfaction they desire with regard to the operation of this Clause? I want to refer to the war agricultural executive committee which has been set up in Sutherlandshire.
§ Mr. Colville
I would point out to my hon. Friend that this part of the Bill does not apply to Scotland.
§ Mr. Quibell
The question of drainage has been debated on numerous occasions in this House, and was exhaustively debated on 3rd November, 1937. The then Minister of Agriculture, now the Minister of Food, promised that if the Motion which had been moved was withdrawn he would carry out a thorough and exhaustive inquiry, and bring in amending legislation. Are those figures available?
On a point of Order. Clause 30 says:This Act shall apply to Scotland subject to the following modifications.and paragraph (c) of Sub-section (1) of that Clause says:for any reference to the War Agricultural Executive Committee for a county or a county borough there shall be substituted a reference to the Agricultural Executive Committee for any area to which the Secretary of State has delegated any of his powers under regulations made under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939.I want to ask whether, in view of that, it is a correct interpretation to say that Clause 14 does not apply to Scotland?
§ Mr. Colville
If the hon. Member will look on page 24 he will see these words:Part 3 of this Act shall not apply.We have a Clause at the end which deals with Scottish drainage.
§ 9.53 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Morgan
We have been striving to find the basis on which the drainage scheme is dealt with in this Clause, and I want to ask on what data the Minister has based the financial allotment of 890 £230,000? How is it arrived at? That figure should be available to the Minister and enable him to get out of his predicament. We have a certain amount of sympathy with him because he has been brought into the matter at a rather late stage, and also because we know that he is the victim of something which has been going on and has led up to this situation, which must have its nemesis.
§ Mr. Morgan
It is in the Memorandum to the Bill which relates to Clause 14, which defines the amount of money to be spent by the authorities under the powers extended to them in Clause 14.
§ Mr. T. Williams
The Financial Memorandum refers to Clauses 14 and 15, and reads as follows:It is not expected that any additional Departmental staff will be required as a result of this Part of the Bill, and Exchequer liabilities will be limited to the cost of the grants in aid of catchment boards' schemes under Clause 14 and mole drainage schemes under Clause 15, which is not expected to exceed in total £230,000 and £150,000 respectively.Obviously the £230,000 does apply to Clause 14.
§ The Chairman
I must ask the hon. Member to be careful to limit his remarks about that passage in the Financial Memorandum. As far as I can gather, there is no provision in the Bill, and certainly not in this Clause, defining the expenditure of any particular sum.
§ Mr. Morgan
May I ask what is the financial basis of Clause 14, how is that financial basis arrived at, and what acreage is it intended to serve? If that information is available to the Minister, may we have it?
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
That point was put to my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal during the Second Reading Debate, and it was then made clear that this figure is an estimate. I believe the House insists on having estimates in the Financial 891 Memorandum to a Bill. It was made clear in the Second Reading Debate that there is nothing which limits the expenditure to £230,000. If it proves that more is required, more will have to be spent. This figure is an estimate, and there is no limitation or restriction on the amount which may eventually be found to be necessary.
§ Mr. Morgan
All I can suggest is that, in the words of the hon. Member for Evesham (Mr. De la Bère), the whole matter is thoroughly unsatisfactory.
|Division No. 20.]||AYES.||[9.59 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Hambro, A. V.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Harbord, Sir A.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Assheton, R.||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Robertson, D.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Rowlands, G.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Holdsworth, H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Salt, E. W.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Broadbridge, Sir G. T.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Brooklebank, Sir Edmund||Jennings, R.||Scott, Lord William|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Keeling, E. H.||Selley, H. R.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Bull, B. B.||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs.)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Butcher, H. W.||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Leech, Sir J. W.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Colfox, Major Sir W. P.||Levy, T.||Somerset, T.|
|Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Lipson, D. L.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Storey, S.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Loftus, P. C.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Magnay, T.||Touche, G. C.|
|De la Bère, R.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Danville, Alfred||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Drewe, C.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Medlicott, Captain F.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)|
|Emery, J. F.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Munro, P.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Etherton, Ralph||Nall, Sir J.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Everard, Sir William Lindsay||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Peake, O.|
|Cower, Sir R. V.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Mr. Grimston and Mr. Buchan- Hepburn.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Pym, L. R.|
|Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Radford, E. A.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Banfield, J. W.||Batey, J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Barnes, A. J.||Beaumont, H. (Batley)|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Barr, J.||Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Bartlett, C. V. O.||Benson, G.|
§ 9.57 p.m.
Mr. De la Bère
It gets "curiouser and curiouser." We do not know the acreage, and what I want to ask is that when the Chairman of the Committee of the War Cabinet, which deals with these things, addresses us on agriculture in the near future, he will be good enough to supply the data and the figure which we have all been trying to get. Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 154; Noes, 112.
|Burke, W. A.||Hollins, A.||Parker, J.|
|Casells, T.||Horabin, T. L.||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Isaacs, G. A.||Pearson, A.|
|Chater, D.||Jackson, W. F.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Jagger, J.||Price, M. P.|
|Collindridge, F.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Daggar, G.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||John, W.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Ridley, G.|
|David, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kirby, B. V.||Hiley, B.|
|Dobbie, W.||Kirkwood, D.||Ritson, J.|
|Ede, J. C.||Leach, W.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Leonard, W.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Leslie, J. R.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Lunn, W.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Sloan, A.|
|Fool, D. M.||McEntee, V. La T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Gallacher, W.||McGhee, H. G.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Gardner, B. W.||McGovern, J.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||MacLaren, A.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Maclean, N.||Thurtle, E.|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Mander, G. le M.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Marshall, F.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Mathers, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Milner, Major J.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Montague, F.||Williams E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Wilmot, John|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Mort, D. L.||Woodburn, A.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Naylor, T. E.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Oliver, G. H.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Hicks, E. G.||Owen, Major G.|
|Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Paling, W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Adamson.|
§ Clause 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill.