HC Deb 24 January 1940 vol 356 cc651-91

5.51 p.m.

Mr. Ellis Smith

I beg to move, in page line 20, to leave out "half," and to insert "three-quarters of".

I have two other Amendments on the Paper—in line 22, to leave out "three-quarters" and to insert "one," and in line 25, to leave out "ton," and to insert "and a quarter tons"—but before we proceed to discuss these Amendments, may I raise a point of procedure and at the same time ask for your advice, Colonel Clifton Brown? May we discuss the first three Amendments together and have a reasonably wide Debate on them, because in our view the reasons which will be advanced for them apply with equal force to every other Amendment? If you agreed to this course, it would enable us to avoid repetition and restrict ourselves to as narrow limits as possible when the other Amendments were considered.

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not a matter on which I can give instructions to the Committee, but if hon. Members accept the proposal, which seems to be reasonable, we might have a fairly wide discussion now and a short discussion later.

Hon. Members


Mr. E. Smith

In moving my first Amendment, I desire to make a few observations as to why these Amendments should be accepted. All of them are designed to improve the Bill and make it conform to the need that arises out of the present situation. I would have wished that the Government Benches had been packed with Government supporters, because if they had heard the case which is going to be stated, I am confident they would have been concerned about the present position. We all realise the need for reduced imports and the bringing about of a wider utilisation of home-produced fuel. The other day we had a broadcast speech from the pilot of a seaplane, who said that in one day the amount of petrol consumed was equal to 25 years' coupon supply for the average motorist. That is an indication of the serious position with regard to the importation of petrol. If hon. Members had s before them the OFFICIAL REPORT for Tuesday, 12th December, they would see there that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, in introducing a Ways and Means Resolution, gave certain reasons for its introduction. But they have evidently not made allowance for the fact that during the conversion from petrol to home-produced fuel it would be necessary to carry on the vehicles two additional weights—one, the gas producer itself, and the other the gas container and purifier. In addition to that, conversion will mean in some cases a small loss in carrying capacity, and if we are to give a fillip to this new industry, it will be necessary for the Committee to accept the Amendment.

Let me give one or two examples of what has been done in other countries. Since 1935, in Germany, the taxation of vehicles using producer gas has been halved. From 1936 to 1939 a State subsidy of 500 marks was given for every converted vehicle and a subsidy of 600 marks for every new vehicle run by means of home-produced fuel. I am loth to quote what takes place in Germany, but it is a concrete example of what they have done in order to avoid the need for the importation of fuel. They have done it in order to conserve petrol to the maximum extent and at the same time to use home-produced fuel. In France they have given, from time to time, substantial concessions, and I hope hon. Members will remember what I am going to quote now when we come to a further Amendment. In June, 1938, in France, a Decree was made that 10 per cent. of the vehicles belonging to concerns owning 10 or more vehicles had to be operated on home-produced fuel. Then we have the example of Italy, where all passenger vehicles have to operate on the same kind of fuel, and the State pay two-thirds of the conversion costs, because they realise that it is a business proposition to do so.

If that applies to all these countries, how much more does it apply to a country like ours, surrounded, as it is, by seas? We are a great industrial country, and our population depends for its movement on the utilisation of the internal combustion engine, and anyone examining this question from a scientific and business point of view is bound to come to the conclusion that this Bill requires to be radically altered on the lines suggested in order that we can play our proper part in the utilisation of our resources. The idea underlying these Amendments is to give road transport an inducement to carry out conversion to home-produced fuel and at the same time maintain and increase the volume of goods to be carried by road. If any of these Amendments cannot be accepted, I hope the Minister will consider the reasons we are putting forward and consider introducing some manuscript Amendments to give, so far as he can, more concessions.

In moving these Amendments and others, it appears on the surface that this will mean a loss in revenue. Indeed, several hon. Members on this side and the other side, in the Library and Lobbies, have during the last day or two agreed with the proposals but have said they would mean a loss of revenue in these difficult times. On the face of it that is what might occur, but if you analyse the situation, you will find that the concessions will, not mean a loss but a substantial increase in revenue. Let me give a typical example. Our proposal would mean a huge saving in petrol. We are importing into this country approximately £90,000,000 worth of petrol a year. That is a serious matter. Anyone who has studied the international situation and its effect on the economy of this country is bound to see the need for economising in the imports of petrol. That brings you to this position, auto- matically, that, being an industrial country, where we have to maintain the maximum amount of transport, we must consider some other form of motive power.

Our Amendments would mean a huge saving in the imports of petrol. In addition, they would obviate the need for a number of convoys for tankers bringing petrol into the country. Again, look at the enormous expenditure connected with our Naval and Air units, all of which would be released if we could swing over to the maximum extent to home-produced fuel. We desire that the road transport system of this country should be run as efficiently as possible and brought into a state of activity corresponding to the needs of the nation. I can visualise a situation, as a result of enemy action, in which we might be sorry unless we had organised our transport system to its maximum carrying capacity, so that in the event of enemy air raids on our railways it would he possible to utilise road transport immediately. I hope the Minister of Transport will withdraw the letter of 20th January. It is part of a policy of discouragement which is being pursued. The letter is from the Ministry of Transport, Metropole Buildings, and is as follows: I am directed by the Minister of Transport to refer to your letter, and to inform you that arrangements have been made under which a basic ration of petrol, at the rate of one-sixth of the normal basic ration for the vehicle in question is issued in respect of vehicles propelled by producer gas appliance. Under this arrangement a vehicle of over half a ton but under one ton unladen weight would receive a basic ration of two units of fuel a fortnight. If this policy is carried out, it will discourage people from experimenting with the conversion to gas-produced fuel, and I want to ask the Minister that at least for six months, while the experiment is taking place, he will withdraw that letter. The hon. and gallant Member for Blackburn (Captain Elliston) asked the Secretary for Mines whether, following a recent lapse of many thousands of motor car licences, he will sanction increased petrol rations for motor vehicles used for appropriate commercial purposes? The hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Hannah) also asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that efforts are being made by the district transport offices of Wolverhampton compulsorily to divert goods from road haulage to the railways; that this threatens to deprive a number of men of their jobs; and what action does he propose to take? Why is this policy being pursued? Why is road transport being discouraged? Why is pressure being brought to bear on firms to send their traffic by rail? The Committee is entitled to an answer to all these questions. But it is not only what appears on the surface; there is something going on behind the scenes. I am not blaming the Minister as an individual, but he has to accept responsibility, and before we part with this Bill we are entitled to have an answer to these questions and an explanation of what is going on behind the scenes. Will the speed limit of vehicles be affected by the additional weight caused by fitting the gas producer; and will passenger vehicles be affected? From the point of view of national economy, we say that our proposal is a good business proposition. We are not speaking of this from a Socialist point of view or a Labour point of view, but from a national point of view, and we say that it is a good business proposition to give road transport an incentive to carry out this conversion. I think that transport companies should be given no excuse for not embarking on the capital expenditure involved as soon as possible.

Anyone who is acquainted with our industrial centres knows the difficulty of our people. We still have appalling queues of men and women at our mines and steel works, standing for 10 and 15 minutes waiting for a bus. I know it can be said that the Minister of Transport has dealt with the matter within certain limits, but the position is still very difficult in many areas. I do not want to speak too definitely on this matter, because I do not want to give anything away which may help other people, but in many areas large munition factories are now being constructed, with the result that thousands of men and women are being brought there from other parts of the country. They have to be transported to and from their employment, and it is having a serious effect on the normal employment in the locality. It shows the need for the conversion as soon as possible of the maximum number of omnibuses from petrol to home-produced fuel, so that we can keep pace with the developments in industrial areas.

In 1934 the Government were prepared to make a concession of this character to some extent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in 1934 were prepared to face a loss of revenue of between 4d. and 8d. a gallon on home-produced petrol. If they were prepared to do that then, I think they should be prepared to do the same now. It is true that pressure was brought to bear at that time by well-organised vested interests. I do not want to be controversial on this matter; I want to be as reasonable as possible, in order that our proposals may be accepted. I am moving the Amendment in order to encourage transport concerns to save petrol and use home-produced fuel, with a view to the efficient mobilisation of the whole of the road transport system of this country.

6.11 p.m.

Mr. David Adams

I desire to support the Amendment. It is quite clear that it is desirable that an alternative form of propulsion should be encouraged. A reference to the Bill will indicate that no reduction is suggested in the rate of duty chargeable on the respective weights, and, therefore, we cannot get any concession in that direction. The only direction in which we can expect to get a concession will be by way of an allowance, as we suggest, in the actual net weight of the vehicle. That, we think, would be a rational concession, not a great one, and one which in the circumstances I think might be conceded. The Committee will be well aware that such concessions have been made before particularly in the production of oil from coal. Substantial concessions were made in order to encourage the production of fuel. Now the position is intensified, and an opportunity is afforded to relieve the pressure on our petrol supplies. Foreign countries have taken the step; they have been driven to do so by the pressure of war, and, as we have learned, in enemy countries it is not permissible to consume petrol at all in commercial vehicles upon the roads. Therefore, we have an opportunity of extending and in many cases creating a new home-produced fuel.

It would also aid the mining industry. How urgently have the miners' representatives in this House pressed upon the attention of the Government the necessity for utilising the opportunities which science has placed within their reach to produce power from coal and to utilise coal in a diversity of ways in order to assist the mining industry. Because of powerful interests there is little doubt that unfortunately petrol still holds the field against any other form of fuel which science might place in the hands of the Government. It is essential in this struggle that there should be a reduction in the supplies which it is necessary to obtain from overseas, and this alternative form of fuel would be a great step in assisting us in the conduct of the campaign. In placing before the country this suggested change-over, a change-over which might become compulsory if petrol supplies should become too scarce, there is one thing which the Government ought to remember, and that is the impossibility of making the change-over on a commercial vehicle of 20 horse-power at a cost of less than £80 or £100. For this reason, some concession ought to be made, and I suggest that if the Government would accept these Amendments, they would go some distance to meet the additional heavy cost involved in the production of containers and producer-gas machines.

During the last year or two, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead Gas Company have been making experiments of this sort on heavy vehicles, omnibuses, and so on. They have tried two methods. The first was the use of ordinary pressure gas, of which an ordinary vehicle can contain in a bag an amount equal to only one and a quarter gallons of petrol. It is obvious that with this method the vehicles would be able to travel only short distances without being replenished, and although this is the easiest method of handling the gas, it is an uneconomic one, owing to the difficulty of the short distances. Another method which they tried was that of putting the gas under a pressure of 3,000 lbs. per square inch. In doing that, they were, of course, competing with Diesel oil. After the experiment had been tried for several months, it was found to be an impracticable proposition. I mention these facts only to give an example of a concern which, at its own expense, initiated this new form of propulsion in the North of England, and to show that there is required some assistance such as we are suggesting should be conceded to this new industry. There is one question I should like to ask. It may come within the realm of practical economics to run machines on ordinary pressure gas that is drawn from the mains. In that event, it will be necessary for such vehicles, being dependent on only a small supply of gas, to carry also a small supply of petrol for emergency purposes. The Bill seems to lay down that if any petrol is carried, that will exclude the vehicle from the advantages of the Bill. The proposition to which I have referred would seem to be a reasonable one in seeking alternative forms of propulsion.

The Temporary Chairman (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)

The hon. Member now seems to be going beyond the Amendment.

Mr. James Griffiths

On a point of Order, Sir Charles. When your predecessor was in the Chair, it was generally agreed that the first three Amendments should be taken together and that we should have a wide debate upon them with a view to shortening the later discussion. I hope you will find it possible to continue that arrangement.

The Temporary Chairman

I was under the impression that the hon. Member was going beyond these Amendments.

Mr. Batey

It was clearly understood, Sir Charles, that we should have a wide debate now and curtail the discussion later.

Mr. David Adams

With great respect, I understood that we were to be permitted to stray from the narrow path on these Amendments, but that later on the discussion would be strictly confined to the Amendment under discussion. I will not say anything further now, except to express the hope that the Minister will give a reply on the point I have raised, as there are many people in the North of England who are experimenting in this way with low-pressure gas. I think the proposals contained in the Amendments are so reasonable that, since the Bill has obviously been introduced for the direct purpose of inducing the community generally to employ a new emergency fuel, the Government may well look favourably upon them, or meet us in some other way.

6.22 p.m.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The Amendments referred to propose a variety of ways in which we believe it would be possible for the Government to give what we consider to be essential, namely, an incentive to this new industry. In speaking on this Measure last Wednesday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport said that all the Bill does is to remove disabilities which otherwise would hinder the development of producer gas. That actually is all that the Bill does. It removes the handicaps, and does nothing more. While we agree that it would indeed be very bad at a time such as this if any handicaps remained on the development of this industry, we do not think the Bill does enough, and that is the reason these Amendments have been placed on the Order Paper.

We are at the beginning of the struggle. None of us knows whether it will be long or short, although we hope it will be short. We are confronted with a whole range of problems, of which one is transport. To-day, at Question Time, the Minister of Transport had to answer a large number of Questions, many of them calling attention to very grave complaints about road transport, rail transport, and all the problems that arise. There is no doubt that at the present time transport is an immense problem which we are far from having solved. I will mention only one aspect of it, which is very important. I see on the Treasury Bench the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who was for many years Secretary for Mines, and also the present Secretary for Mines. All those Members of the Government who are interested in the matter are here. Last week, I asked the Secretary for Mines what progress was being made with the programme which he had outlined for increasing the country's coal production. The hon. Gentleman had announced that the Cabinet thought it was desirable, and indeed essential, that we should increase the production of coal by 30,000,000 tons above the 1938 level. Last week, in replying to my Question, the hon. Gentleman refused to tell me what increase had already been ensured.

I do not make any complaint about his refusal to tell me, because I quite understand the reasons for it; but we know perfectly well that at this moment production is not at the rate of 30,000,000 tons a year greater than it was in 1938. The hon. Gentleman gave the reason. He cited the substantial reason that the increase in the production of coal is being hampered and held back by a lack of railway transport. There is so much pressure upon the railways, so many calls upon the wagons of the country, that the plan of the Cabinet for increasing coal production has been held back. That is a matter of immense importance, because if we are to meet the many problems that confront us, one of the things we must do is to increase our export trade, and among other things, that calls for an increase in coal production.

I mention that matter merely to indicate that the question of transport is of tremendous importance. Railway transport is congested. Road transport now has to meet two grave difficulties; one of them is a difficulty common to vehicles whether they be driven by petrol or producer-gas, namely, the difficulty of the black-out which we discussed last night; and the other is the difficulty caused by the very severe rationing of petrol, which may have to be still more severely rationed. Therefore, as I see it, the first problem we have to face is the very big one of trying to make our railway system carry all the traffic that we want it to carry. If we are to do that, we must find some ways and means of diverting to the roads some of the traffic now on the railways, and we must do that without making too many calls upon the petrol supplies, which obviously are required in the first instance for the Armed Forces. That means that this Committee, the House, and the country ought to look with very great favour upon every proposal to develop alternative fuels.

Although this is not the occasion to develop the point, I agree with the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) that the development of alternative fuels from coal has been retarded by vested interests. The Government have some vested interest in oil. I do not suggest for a moment that the Government have joined hands completely with those vested interests, but they have been very friendly with them, and I say deliberately that the development of the industry of producing oil from coal has been kept back in the interests of the oil industry of this country. The time has come when the country ought to say to the Government that the nation must come first and that vested interests ought to be placed on one side.

I hope there will not be any vested interests that will delay or handicap the development of this new fuel.

I do not intend this evening to speak about the technical side of the matter, but I am interested in the subject because it happens that the coal which is best suited to the production of producer-gas is mined in the area in which I live and a great deal of it in the constituency which I represent. It is anthracite coal; but although for the moment anthracite coal and coke are the most easily converted into producer-gas, steps are being taken and technical researches being made, and I believe it is confidently expected that the range of coals from which the gas can be produced will be widened very shortly. In that connection, I noticed in the Press this week that the representatives of these various industries have set up a large and very important committee. I will not read out the names of those on the committee, but if the Secretary for Mines wishes, I will hand him the list. This committee has been appointed to do everything in its power to support this new development. They have to consider two problems, first, the problem of designing apparatus and, secondly, the problem of whether it is possible to widen the range of coals which can be used. They are men who are well-known in the coal-mining and other industries, and this is an indication that these people, with their commercial and technical knowledge, are convinced that there is a possibility of developing this form of propulsion and that to do so will be of great advantage to the country.

I repeat an example which was given by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdare (Mr. George Hall) last week, because I think the Committee ought to realise what this means. It is now beyond the experimental stage. The Secretary for Mines said that the committee appointed to see what could be done to make this a commercial success had evolved a design for conversion and that they were willing to place the design at the disposal of any suitable firm willing to act on the design and produce the apparatus. Some time ago an urban district council which owned bus services covering a mining area in the eastern part of Glamorgan were very interested in helping this new development. They felt that if they used producer-gas they would be running their buses on home-produced fuel and perhaps providing work in the area. Therefore, they got a bus adapted for the purpose and this report is given on the result: The chairman of the committee said that his department had converted one of their existing lorries to run on producer-gas. It had cost £1 2s. 6d. in petrol to take the lorry to the works for conversion. At the works it was converted so that it could be driven by producer-gas and I cwt. of coke costing 2S. brought that lorry all the way back. That is one example which proves the possibilities of this new development.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

What was the cost of conversion?

Mr. Griffiths

Speaking from memory, I think it was round about£95. If these figures can be taken as a basis, the cost of conversion will be met by the reduction in the running costs. I do not think there can be two questions about the fact that it is desirable that this new development should be encouraged now. It is essential to find some alternative to petrol at the present time. The only question is how to encourage its use, and the real difference between the attitude of the Government and the view expressed in these Amendments is this. The Government think that all they have to do is to remove disabilities and let the industry look after itself. We go further and say that there ought to be positive action. Not only should the handicap be removed, but there should be positive encouragement and that is what we propose in these Amendments. There are many ways in which the Government ought to assist the industry and I think they will not be acting in the national interest unless they give it every encouragement. Therefore, we invite the Minister of Transport and the Secretary for Mines, whose Departments are vitally concerned, to consider these proposals.

Why should this country lag behind every other country in this respect? This country produces a marvellous range of coal. It produces the best anthracite coal and the richest coke in the world. Yet we lag behind every other country in Europe in the production of fuel from coal. Germany is now producing—it may be said that she is compelled to do so—47 per cent. of her current requirements of oil from her coal. We ought to develop the production of oil from our own coal. Germany, France and Italy have all done years ago what we are urging to-night. This removal of disabilities is nothing new. Some countries have gone further and have made the use of producer-gas compulsory in certain kinds of road transport, because they think it essential in the interests of national economy to conserve other fuels. The Government ought to take steps either by accepting these Amendments, or by producing some other way in which this new development can be encouraged. Let them give a positive lead and encouragement to this industry, not only in the interests of coal-mining, but in the far wider interests of the nation. I hope that, before the Debate closes, we shall hear from the representatives of the Government, either that they accept these Amendments, or that they will take some other positive steps to encourage this new development.

6.37 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Bernays)

I agree with the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) that the Government and the Opposition have the same objective in this matter, and I would like to make that perfectly clear at the outset. We on this side are as anxious as are hon. Members opposite to encourage the use of producer gas, and my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Transport, who is responsible for the efficient working of the country's transport system is particularly anxious to do so. The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) raised the question of the bus services. I know what a problem that is in his constituency as in many other constituencies, and I have done my best to help. The hon. Member for Llanelly mentioned the difficulties of the railways, and certainly these have been very much brought home to me in the last few days at the Ministry of Transport as a result of the present cold spell. I am sure that my right hon. and gallant Friend is as anxious as anyone in this Committee to develop the system of gas propulsion. I fully agree that it is an alternative system of transport, and we are anxious to do everything we can to encourage the growth of that alternative system. We are certainly most anxious not to put any obstacle in the way.

The hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) questioned whether those vehicles which have been converted to gas propulsion were allowed to carry petrol. I have made inquiries, and I can assure him most certainly that they are. The hon. Member for Stoke also raised the question of the petrol allowance. We fully realise that it will be necessary to have a small amount of petrol to run these producer-gas vehicles, and owners of such vehicles will certainly get the allowance which they require for that purpose. He also raised the question of the speed limit. That is being dealt with by regulation, and I think that, when the regulations are laid on the Table by my right hon. and gallant Friend, the hon. Member will find that they are what he has in mind.

I understand from the Amendments that hon. Members want further tax concessions, and the first concession for which they wish is a greater allowance for weight. The allowances for weight have been most carefully considered by our technical experts, and, on the whole, I think it can be said that these weight allowances, if they err at all err on the generous side. This was deliberately done. We tried to be as generous as we could, because we wanted to avoid any subsequent complaint that the Government had failed to implement its undertaking that no increase in taxation would result, if an owner converted his vehicle from petrol to gas propulsion. As a matter of fact we have had no representation from any interest on this point. We have every reason to believe that these allowances do meet the Government's pledge, but I think I can safely say that if it is discovered that these allowances are not sufficient and do not carry out the Government's pledge, we will examine the position again to see what can be done in that respect.

The main plea put to us, however, by hon. Gentlemen opposite is that these vehicles, once they have been converted to gas propulsion, should be exempted from taxation. I am afraid that is something which goes far beyond the Government's original pledge. After all, exemption from taxation of gas-propelled vehicles would place petrol vehicles and electrically-propelled vehicles at a considerable disadvantage. It would, in fact, conflict with a general principle from which, I am sure, this Committee would be most reluctant to depart—the principle that no undue preference should be given to one type of vehicle on the road as compared with another.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The argument might do very well in ordinary times, that the Government should hold the balance equally between one and the other, but you do not hold the balance now. You are rationing petrol. You are controlling, not holding a balance. Surely, at a time like this it is for the Government to indicate, by tax remission and in other ways, the desirability of diverting traffic from one form of propulsion to the other.

Mr. Bernays

I think the hon. Member has really made my case, because, in fact, while petrol is being rationed, we are not rationing the raw materials for gas propulsion.

Mr. Griffiths

You are not rationing coal now, but you did.

Mr. Bernays

In any case such a tax concession as is proposed in these Amendments would involve a serious potential loss of revenue, to which, in existing circumstances, it is impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to agree.

Mr. David Adams

On a point of Order. Is the Minister not now dealing with a subsequent Amendment which asks for remission for three years?

The Temporary-Chairman

Since I intervened when the hon. Member was speaking earlier, I have had a consultation with the Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means, from whom I understand that it was agreed that a very wide discussion should be allowed.

Mr. Adams

Do I understand, then, that we are dealing now with all the Amendments on the Paper?

The Temporary-Chairman

I understand that the arrangement was that the discussion should be as wide as possible and that subsequently the Amendments should be put forthwith.

Mr. E. Smith

On a point of Order. My understanding was that on the first three Amendments the discussion would be as reasonably wide as possible, and, in order to avoid a repetition, it was agreed that that should be so, and that on subsequent Amendments we should con- fine ourselves as narrowly as possible to each Amendment.

The Temporary Chairman

I am not able to give a Ruling, because I was not here when the question arose.

Mr. Bernays

The point with which I was dealing was that which asked for some special taxation concession, and rather than wait for the actual Amendment, the Committee was dealing with it now. A proposal put forward in one of the Amendments is that these vehicles should be exempt from taxation for three years, and I was about to point out that from goods vehicles the Chancellor of the Exchequer receives as much as £12,000,000 a year. If this conversion to gas propulsion is a success, as we hope it will be, and these vehicles are exempted from taxation, it will mean a serious loss to the Treasury. Supposing 50 per cent. of the vehicles were converted, and they were exempted from taxation, there would be a loss of £6,000,000, and I am sure in present circumstances hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they consider the position, will see that it is impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take an action which in these days would deprive him of a very substantial amount of revenue.

I tried to follow as carefully as I could the speech of the hon. Member for Stoke when he said that this loss of revenue would be made up in other directions. I think it would be very difficult to prove that it would be made up to the extent of the loss. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have asked the Government to give a further inducement to conversion, and they have talked as if the only inducement that is offered is the removal of this disability with regard to taxation. They say that in fact we have given a very small inducement. Well, if this inducement, this tax remission, stood alone, then I should be inclined to agree that perhaps the inducement to conversion to gas propulsion was relatively small; but, after all, it does not stand alone. The real inducement to conversion is that the fuel for gas-propelled vehicles will be untaxed and unrationed, and I ask the hon. Member for Llanelly, who said we were giving no inducements, to examine in fact what a great fillip it will give to conversion with the alternative fuel untaxed and unrationed. In the first place it will make for cheaper run- ning as compared with petrol. It has been estimated that the cost for using producer gas fuel will be equivalent to using petrol at 5d. or 7d. per gallon, and when we recall that petrol to-day is 1s. 10d. per gallon, we see what a tremendous advantage it is in connection with running costs.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly really drove home my argument in the illustration which he gave, the same as the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. George Hall) the other day, of a case where a petrol-driven vehicle from South Wales to the Midlands cost in petrol alone for the journey something like 22s., and where, after the vehicle had been converted into producer gas, the cost of bringing it back the same distance was only 3s. Clearly it is a very positive help and a very positive inducement for conversion from petrol to gas. I think an even more important inducement is the fact that the fuel will be unrationed. After all, the hardest burden now placed on owners of goods vehicles is that their petrol is rationed and that their business is restricted as a result. But here is an opportunity for the motor trade and owners of goods vehicles to circumvent, as it were, the petrol ration. I believe they will seize the opportunity with both hands. I am informed by the Mines Department that they have already had 450 inquiries about this new apparatus and that the Department has reason to believe that some 20 firms have already decided upon manufacture. I think that these facts indicate that manufacturers are ready to respond to the needs of the situation and that already we are in sight of achieving a very real increase in the production of gas-propelled vehicles, which is the objective of both sides of the Committee.

Mr. J. Griffiths

How far does that pledge extend? Is it a pledge which will be kept right through hostilities? Can the hon. Gentleman give any idea whether it is a time-limit pledge?

Mr. Bernays

That was a pledge with regard to the non-taxation of fuel for five years.

Mr. Griffiths

The Parliamentary Secretary said also that first of all there was a coal rationing scheme introduced which had to be withdrawn, giving us a 100 per cent. ration at the moment. Does the pledge that there will be no rationing for fuel of this kind stand although there may be general rationing?

Mr. Bernays

There is no intention by the Government to ration coal in this connection.

6.53 p.m.

Mr. F. Anderson

I do not want to be at all parochial in connection with this matter, because I believe that all forms of transport are necessary for the good running of this country. I do not want to set road transport off against rail transport. It must be borne in mind that the railways are very large users of road transport, and, as a matter of fact, prior to the war they were, I think, the biggest single users of road-transport vehicles in the whole of the country. I look at this matter from the standpoint of what effect these proposals can have upon the general transport of this country, and, in saying that, I feel that there is very great room for improvement beyond the encouragement that has already been given. I do not want to speak, either, on any particular coal fuel, because I look at this question as a whole. However, I could give quotations for the information of this Committee of cases where certain road-transport vehicles have been run on Yorkshire coal very successfully for a considerable length of time.

But I want to look at the question from another angle. Why should not this form of transport, if it is cheaper, be available to everyone? The working-class people in particular have to use buses to and from their employment, and I think every encouragement should be given so that they can benefit from the lesser running costs by reduced fares. Some of our large corporations in this country, and some of the big bus companies, as a result of the increased cost of petrol, are raising the price of fares, and the working-class people are being called upon to pay this increase in cost. When the argument is used that the price of petrol is so much to-day, I say that it is an inflated price and that it is an unfair comparison. I think the comparison should have been made on pre-war costs and prices. If that were done, it would be found that the economy, if the proper inducements were given to this form of transport, would be very extensive, and people as a whole would benefit very considerably should this form of propulsion be used. There is another point. If we can keep down the importation of any commodity and thus help the home-produced article, we are reducing the cost and helping—

The Deputy-Chairman (Colonel Clifton Brown)

I promised the Committee that we might go fairly wide in the discussion, but I think the hon. Member is going right outside the scope of the Bill. After all, this is a limited Bill, and we must not make the discussion too wide; otherwise I should have to revise the Ruling that I gave.

Mr. Anderson

Before you, Colonel Clifton Brown, came into the Chair, I think the discussion went wider than I have gone up to the moment. I have to bow to your Ruling, but may I just say that the reason why I was quoting this point was that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport referred to the question of loss of revenue. If that can be mentioned by the Minister, there should be the possibility of some reply.

The Deputy-Chairman

Of course, I was not here then, and I did not hear the point made by the Minister, but it seems to me that, although the hon. Member is entitled to refer to it, he is not entitled to go into detailed arguments on imports and exports, which is a very much wider ground. It is going far beyond that which is allowable.

Mr. Anderson

I was speaking of the advantage that can accrue to industry as a whole by the taxation being reduced in the way proposed and, seeing that the loss of revenue was mentioned, I was, incidentally, bringing in the export side. However, if your Ruling is that I cannot pursue that course, I shall certainly submit to it. There is another point with regard to undue preference. In the introduction of this new element of propulsion other valuable commodities that are produced as a result of producing the gas ought to be taken into consideration. If they are, consideration ought to be given to a reduction in taxation. The great engineering, motor car, and lorry-producing firms ought to be brought into consultation to see in what way they can speed up the production of the articles which are required to make the conversion to gas-producer plant as early as possible, because the bigger the conversion can be, the better it will be for the country, especially in present circumstances. If the encouragement of which the Minister has spoken means anything, the Government ought at least to agree in principle to a reduction of taxation.

7.2 p.m.

Mr. Batey

I was sorry to hear the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary, because, if I understood it aright, it meant that there was no intention of giving any consideration to the Amendments on the Paper. If that is the position of the Government, the Parliamentary Secretary is simply standing to-night where he stood last week. We have moved a step or two since then, but the Parliamentary Secretary does not seem to have moved a step. When he made his Second Reading speech last week it was understood by many Members that this was a Bill that would go through easily, without debate. It was only when my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) pointed out the possibilities of this Bill that we realised what was in it and succeeded in getting the Government to put off the Committee stage until this week. That was done so that the Opposition might put down Amendments to make the Bill a better Measure. We also hoped that the Government would be able to come to night with something fresh in their minds in order to improve the Bill. It was clearly understood last week that although this Bill went a step, it did not go far enough and that it was necessary to make it a better Bill. The Government, however, seem to be standing where they stood last week and to want to force the Bill on the House without any improvements.

The Minister said that the Opposition and the Government had the same objective in the Bill. The objective is not the same. The objective of the Government, if I have understood the Minister aright, is merely to put the gas-propelled vehicles on the same level as petrol vehicles. We want to go further than that and encourage vehicles to use gas. I admit that we, as miners' representatives, want that in the interest of our industry first. We have been pleading in the House for years for the Government to set up plant to extract oil from coal so as to help the industry. The Government would not do it, and in this Bill we see a chance to help the industry. Because of the blackout there has been an enormous reduc- tion in the production of gas. That will reflect itself upon the production of coal, and we believe that this Bill can be the means of encouraging the production of gas and the erection of low-temperature plant to produce the gas for use on vehicles.

When we urged the Government to set up plant for extracting oil from coal we argued that if the time came when we were at war, it would be difficult to get oil to this country. Germany wants oil and is prepared to go to Rumania for it, and we read that even Russia is feeling the need of more oil. This country will be in the same position before long. It will need all the oil it can get for war purposes, and we shall wake up one morning to find the Minister of Mines preventing the use of petrol in vehicles. Because the Government will need all the petrol they can get, they should not merely be satisfied with putting gas-propelled vehicles on the same footing as those using petrol, but should encourage conversion into gas-propelled vehicles. We feel so strongly on this question that if the Minister maintains his stand, we shall have to register our opposition in the Division Lobby.

7.7 p.m.

Mr. S. O. Davies

As a coal miner, I want to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the stone-wall attitude that has been taken by the Government and the Parliamentary Secretary. With my hon. Friends, I was not without hope that some changes would be worked into this Bill, but the Government are adopting the same old conservative, reactionary attitude towards anything associated with coal that they have shown from the time I first came to the House. It is useless for the Parliamentary Secretary to say that the Government have the same objective as we have on these benches. That is not true, and there is nothing in the history of the Government to justify the Parliamentary Secretary making a statement of that kind. One regrets to say this of a young Minister like the Parliamentary Secretary, but it seems to be becoming the habit of the Government, whenever any progressive idea has to be stone-walled, to call upon a Parliamentary Secretary to do it. We refuse to believe that the Government have the same objective as we have. As coal miners we strongly protest against the old reactionary, conservative Standard Oil interests which seem to influence the Government every time the question of extracting oil from coal comes before the House.

The Government can claim very little credit for having brought this Bill into being. I know that designs and specifications could be obtained from the Ministry of Mines, but not before the producer-gas vehicle had passed well beyond the experimental stage and was, in fact, running in many parts of the country. Months ago I saw a producer-gas vehicle in my own constituency, where a bus had been converted, and as a passenger in it I could not see that it was in any way inferior to a petrol bus. All that the Government have done has been to anticipate the enormous public pressure for this change which they knew must arise during the war in view of the fact that it costs us dear in lives to bring oil fuel to this country. Many perils are now being run which could have been avoided had the appeals made from this bench in the past met with response from the Government. We should not be seeing the lives of our people sacrificed in their efforts to bring oil fuel to this country from remote parts of the world.

As a coal miner I must protest against the attitude of the Government. I have seen half a million men and boys driven out of the coal mining industry as a result, largely, either of the policy of this Government or its deliberate refusal to adopt any progressive plans for the development of the mining industry. I am glad that my hon. Friends have decided to take a stand on this matter. Frankly, we want to draw the attention of the country to the stone-walling attitude which has been adopted by the Government. We are not asking the Government to adventure upon anything which is in an experimental stage; things have gone beyond that. The people in our depressed areas have already begun the construction of these producer-gas vehicles, and I am expressing their desires, as well as the desires of thousands of miners in my own and other contituencies, in asking that the Government should do something big, do something decent, at least do the right thing for this great industry, which has suffered so much—that they should "cut the painter" and free themselves from the great oil interests which have got them now as they have had them for many years.

7.13 p.m.

Mr. MacLaren

I should like to take the opportunity to point out something that is happening in the Committee tonight. I do not suppose that heated rhetoric or impassioned appeals to the Government will bring any more conviction than there is in their minds at the moment that to run vehicles by gas-produced motive power is much cheaper than to run them on petrol. Now is the time when the Government should feel convinced that they ought to save petrol by using such a cheap substitute as producer-gas, and I take it that the Government are already convinced on that point; but I say that if some divine genius could discover to-morrow how to run buses by some form of magnetism or on cold water, we should still find the same adamant opposition on the Treasury Bench. This is very instructive for students of politics and economics. I heard the latter part of the speech of the Minister to-day, and I knew perfectly well that he was not making that speech out of the convictions in his own heart. He was the mouthpiece of the Treasury. He had been told to say—even if we could get the vehicles run for nothing at all—that the Treasury must get taxes from somewhere. That is the crux of the whole matter, is it not? I heard the Minister say, "If you do this, that, and the other, if you adopt this new method of running buses and other vehicles, the Treasury will lose £6,000,000." As a good Liberal the Minister asked, "Where can we get the money if we lose it from the vehicles?" He knows perfectly well, without my telling him, that one advantage of sticking to a principle in this House is that one does not need to mention it. I can assure him that there need be no difficulty about getting that £6,000,000 if he will take back our view to the Treasury.

What I want to impress upon the Committee is how the vicious system of taxation which is prevalent in this and every other country becomes an impediment immediately any progressive suggestion is put forward. We are witnessing it to-day. This is not a question of employing miners or anybody else. We are following here the hard process which must be carried out under the canons of taxation accepted by this so-called civilised State, namely, that no improvement brought forth by science or art, whether it be producer-gas or anything else, will be assisted by the State. I do not mean to suggest that its development should be assisted by grants or subsidies from the State. What I mean is that the State should take its unholy fangs off the improvement. But the State will not do that, because it must get its taxes. So, to-day, we see a Minister standing at that Box who is not the master of his own destiny. He has been told by the Treasury what he has to say, and although, as an old Liberal, he would like in his heart of hearts to assist progress, he dare not do so. He is "cabin'd, cribb'd, and confined." Within the confines of a so-called, shall I say, National Government, he has to sink his good Liberal principles—

Mr. Bernays indicated dissent.

Mr. MacLaren

If I am saying anything that is wrong, please correct me. He has to stand here shamefacedly and tell the Opposition side of the Committee that despite the advantages of scientific progress, despite the fact that we could bring down the cost of transport and, therefore the cost of production, despite the fact that this would be an almost Heaven-sent blessing to the country at large, it cannot be allowed because the Treasury is frightened of it. Let this be a lesson to the House of Commons. I am speaking through the Ministry back to the Treasury—if it is any use talking to the Treasury. So rooted are the Treasury in their stupidity and the prejudices of the past, that any improvement suggested by Parliament will be allowed free development only in so far as it will not rob the Treasury. Let the Minister go back to the Treasury and tell them that they have been discovered by the House of Commons, that we know that if it were found possible to run motor buses upon water, the Treasury would still say, "Tax them. Tax anybody who attempts progress or attempts to improve the standard of life of the people, but let those who historically hold the land pay nothing at all."

Question put, "That word 'half' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayres, 157; Noes, 103.

Division No. 4.] AYES. [7.20 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Gower, Sir R. V. Pym, L. R.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Grimston, R. V. Radford, E. A.
Albery, Sir Irving Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Raikas, H. V. A. M.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Aske, Sir R. W. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Assheton, R. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Hepworth, J. Robertson, D.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Higgs, W. F. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Holdsworth, H. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Bernays, R. H. Horsbrugh, Florence Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Blair, Sir R. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Salt, E. W.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. Hume, Sir G. H. Samuel, M. R. A.
Boulton, W. W. James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Brass, Sir W. Jennings, R. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Joel, D. J. B. Schuster, Sir G. E.
Broadbridge, Sir G. T. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Scott, Lord William
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Smith, Braoewell (Dulwich)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Bull, B. B. King-Hall, Commander W. S. R. Snadden, W. McN.
Butcher, H. W. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald
Cary, R. A. Leech, Sir J. W. Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Colman, N. C. D. Levy, T. Spens, W. P.
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Little, Dr. J. (Down) Storey, S.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Lloyd, G. W. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Lucas, Major Sir J. M. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Cranborne, Viscount Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Sutcliffe, H.
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page McCorquodale, M. S. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Crooke, Sir J. Smedley McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Titchfield, Marquess of
Crowder, J. F. E. Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Touche, G. C.
Cruddas, Col. B. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Culverwell, C. T. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Davidson, Viscountess Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Wakefield, W. W.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Denman, Hon. R. D. Mitchell, Col. H. (Brentt'd & Chisw'k) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Denville, Alfred Mitcheson, Sir G. G. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Doland, G. F. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. C. R. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Duncan, J. A. L. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Webbe, Sir W. Harold
Dunglass, Lord Morris, O. T. (Cardiff, E.) Wells, Sir Sydney
Eastwood, J. F. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Weston, W. G.
Edmendson, Major Sir J. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Ellis, Sir G. Nail, Sir J. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel C.
Emery, J. F. Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Wise, A. R.
Entwistle, Sir C. F. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount
Erskine-Hill, A. G. Orr-Ewing, I. L. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Etherton, Ralph H. Palmer, G. E. H. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Everard, Sir William Lindsay Peake, O.
Fildes, Sir H. Pickthorn, K. W. M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr.
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Pownalt, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton Munro.
Fyfe, D. P. M. Procter, Major H. A.
Adams, D. (Consett) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Lunn, W.
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Macdonald, G. (Ince)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H[...]lsbr.) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) McEntee, V. La T.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Groves, T. E. MacLaren, A.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Maclean, N.
Bartlett, C. V. O. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Mainwaring, W. H.
Batey, J. Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley) Mander, G. le M.
Beaumont, H. (Batley) Hardie, Agnes Maxton, J.
Bensen, G. Harris, Sir P. A. Milner, Major J.
Bevan, A. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Montague, F.
Burke, W. A. Hayday, A. Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)
Cape, T. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Cluse, W. S. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Nathan, Colonel H. L.
Daggar, W. G. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Paling, W.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Isaacs, G. A. Parker, J.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jackson, W. F. Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Dobbie, W. Jagger, J. Price, M. P.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Pritt, D. N.
Ede, J. C. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Ridley, G.
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) John, W. Ritson, J.
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales) Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Frankel, D. Lathan, G. Shinwell, E.
Gallacher, W. Lawson, J. J. Silkin, L.
Gardner, B. W. Lee, F. Silverman, S. S.
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Leonard, W. Sloan, A.
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Leslie, J. R. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Smith, T. (Normanton) Tinker, J. J. Williams, T. (Dan Valley)
Sorensen, R. W. Tomlinson, G. Wilmot, John
Stephen, C. Viant, S. P. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng) Watson, W. McL. Woodburn, A.
Strickland, Captain W. F. Welsh, J. C. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Summerskill, Dr. Edith Whiteley, W. (Blaydan)
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Wilkinson, Ellon TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Thorns, W. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore) Mr. Charleton and Mr. Adamson.

7.29 p.m.

Mr. E. Smith

I beg to move, in page 2, line 13, at the beginning, to insert: No duty shall be chargeable in respect of any vehicle which is adapted to the use of gas for a period of three years following the financial year in which such adaptation was effected, and thereafter. Hon. Members who were present when the previous Amendment was moved will agree that the same reasons apply with the same force to this Amendment. No one will doubt that the principle of it is right; the only doubt that we have on this side is whether the period should be three years, two years, or one year. The very least that we are entitled to expect is that, if the Minister is not prepared to accept the Amendment as it stands, he should consider the introduction of a manuscript Amendment to insert either "two years" or "one year."

Mr. David Adams

I beg to support the Amendment.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Bernays

I have already indicated the reasons why if is impossible for me to ask the Committee to accept this Amendment. The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. E. Smith) made an appeal to me and asked whether it would make any difference if there could be an exemption from tax for one year or two years. I am afraid it would not. There would still be a loss of several million pounds which in the present circumstances it would be impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to agree to.

Captain Strickland


The Temporary - Chairman (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)

Does the hon. arid gallant Member propose to speak on this Amendment, as I propose to put the Question, "That those words be there inserted?"

7.31 p.m.

Captain Strickland

I want to speak on this Amendment. A statement has been made from the Ministerial Bench of the loss that would be incurred by the Govern- ment by the acceptance of the Amendment moved by the hon. Gentleman opposite, but does he realise what this experiment means to the haulage trade itself? If these people are to convert their vehicles from petrol to producer-gas, taking a fleet of no vehicles it will mean something like an expenditure of £8,000 to a haulage contractor, and it is not a matter which can be passed over lightly in this way. The first thing is that it is not brought forward for the punishment of motor vehicle owners as most Government Measures like this are, but it is in order to save petrol, and if you are to save petrol—and that is the main idea—then every possible encouragement should be given to the road haulier to adopt this comparatively new method of propulsion, which he is asked to adopt for the good of the country and not for his own good. Why he should be called upon to face this vast expenditure for something which must be experimental to a great extent, I cannot understand. If the Government wish to save petrol, then they should give encouragement to the haulage industry to back up the Government. I very strongly support the Amendment.

7.33 p.m.

Sir Joseph Lamb

I am rather disappointed that no encouragement has been given to the suggestion that this should be tried for a year. Encouragement should be given to firms to make an effort in carrying out this conversion. They will not do it unless they get some encouragement. It is not only a question of the initial cost of making this first alteration. That will be very heavy. A figure has been given by one hon. Member, and although I myself do not know how much it will be, I know it will be considerable. Besides the initial cost there is also the risk which will be incurred, because the first alterations will not be entirely satisfactory, and consequently those who pioneer in this work will have to bear the cost. There will be additions and considerable alterations which will add to the cost upon the industry. We should give them more assistance.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I desire to support very strongly the Amendment which has been proposed. If at this moment the reply given is "No further consideration will be given to this matter," then the Government ought to make a generous gesture to those who are pioneering in this new industry, and the least they can do is to allow them one year's exemption.

7.35 p.m.

Mr. MacLaren

I do not think that over the last two or three years I have been an impediment in this House—that can be said openly—but I must say that I have witnessed something which I do not think we should tolerate much longer. Your predecessor in the Chair, Colonel Clifton Brown, actually intimated that a Member of the House should not speak. I desire to call attention to that fact.

The Deputy-Chairman (Colonel Clifton Brown)

The hon. Member may not criticise the action taken by the Chair. This is not the time at which he may raise the matter. It is definitely out of Order.

Mr. MacLaren

I have put it on record that an hon. Member was asked not to speak. The next point is this. The difference between this House and the dictatorial counsels of Chambers on the Continent, as I understand, is that this is a deliberative assembly, and it is assumed that when we come to this House we debate propositions and there is a consensus of opinion which comes to a decision upon them. That is my understanding of a democratic House of Commons. What is evident now is that the Minister in charge of the Bill has come here with instructions from the Treasury to block and menace. No amount of discussion from this side of the House is going to weigh with him or change his opinion. That also is quite clear. We are going through this hollow mockery of taking up the time of the House in what is supposed to be a Committee stage, when we can do nothing, despite all the speeches which we make, to change a policy already defined and settled upon.

Here is an Amendment coming before us now. Strange though it may seem, I object to the wording of the Amendment as it stands on the Order Paper, and I object to it on this ground. The Amendment says that for three years there shall be an exemption of taxation.

Clearly that cannot be adopted in any circumstances, because the Chancellor claims the right to tax anything he likes in any given part of the year, and you cannot abrogate the right of the Chancellor to tax what he likes. But an appeal has been made on account of the cost. Let me put this on the ground of reasoning. I want the Minister to forget what he was told by the Treasury before he came here and to listen to the argument. If he is not doing that, let us be frank and realise that this is not a House of Commons deliberating for the public good but that it is a House of set opinions where nothing can he changed by any amount of discussion in the chamber itself.

I will put this to him and I desire a reply. In converting these vehicles initial costs will be met; there is no denying that statement. You are now asked not to impose any distressing taxation on these vehicles during the process of the transition from one condition to another. That is a frank and open appeal and preposition to the Minister. Will the Minister now live up to the reputation of this House, and rise in his place and tell us why he cannot make that concession? Arguments have been made as to the necessity for cheap forms of transport. We need not go over them because they are present to his mind. Will he kindly get up in his place now and answer the appeal, not in an obstructive manner—not saying, "We have just come here to listen to you and we do not want you to go on"—but by meeting the appeal which has been put to him on rational grounds, apart from any instructions he has received elsewhere?

7.40 p.m.

The Minister of Transport (Captain Wallace)

If I may be allowed to intervene for a few moments, I would like with great respect to bring the Committee back to a realisation of precisely what this small Bill aims to do. It aims at carrying out part of the pledge given to this House on 8th November in a very important statement by my hon. Friend the Minister of Mines. That statement was to the effect that His Majesty's Government, wishing to encourage the use of alternative fuel, proposed to remove certain disabilities which, under various Statutes and regulations, would otherwise stand in the way. The object of this Bill is to carry out that pledge, in so far as it is intended to remove the disabilities which would otherwise accrue to the converters of petrol vehicles to gas or producer gas in respect of the extra weight which would be involved. These people are thus put in no worse position than if they kept their vehicles on petrol. I propose, by a regulation which is shortly corning out, and which my hon. Friend has already made known, to remove all disabilities in regard to speed limits arising from the same cause.

The fact remains that people who are enterprising enough to convert their vehicles in the way that has been suggested will be left, not on equal terms with owners of petrol vehicles, but in possession of two very solid advantages. They will be using a fuel which is not rationed and which the Government have definitely expressed the intention of not rationing, and they will be using a fuel which is not taxed and which the Government have pledged themselves not to tax for five years. I appeal to the Committee to recognise that this Bill represents simply one of a series of advantages conferred upon this infant industry; and, if I may say so with great respect, I think that the Committee should welcome the Bill with open arms, instead of giving a gift horse such a prolonged examination.

7.43 p.m.

Mr. J. Griffiths

There is an obvious disposition in this Committee, which has been expressed by everybody who has spoken, that something more should be clone for those who use this fuel. I agree that the Bill does give effect to the pledge of the Secretary for Mines, but I am sure it would meet the wishes of the House if the Government would go a step further. The Amendment we are now discussing proposes that these vehicles should be free of tax for three years. The Government are faced with the position that everyone who has spoken has urged them to make some concession to the people who will pioneer this industry.

Sir J. Lamb

On a point of Order. Would it he in order to move the deletion of the word "three" from the Amendment, and the insertion of the word "one"?

The Deputy-Chairman

Manuscript Amendments may always be moved, but I do not think that this Amendment could now be withdrawn in order that another might be moved.

Sir J. Lamb

If this does not go to a Division, would it be in order for the hon. Member to put in a manuscript Amendment?

The Deputy-Chairman

It would be in order to move an Amendment to this Amendment. That is always in order.

Mr. Batey

If the Government would agree to bring forward an Amendment on the Report stage, making this concession for a period of one year, we should he agreeable.

Captain Wallace

I still feel that the Committee do not quite appreciate the situation.

The Deputy-Chairman

I am now dealing with a point of Order.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Are we to understand that if this Amendment is withdrawn, you will accept a manuscript Amendment to substitute "one" for "three"?

The Deputy-Chairman

It is open to any hon. Member to move to omit "three" and substitute "one." I could not refuse to accept it.

Sir J. Lamb

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 2, to leave out "three years." and to insert "one year."

7.46 p.m.

Captain Strickland

I do not think the Minister has quite appreciated the difference between the pledge that has been given and what is now required. The industry is now called upon to make a swift conversion of vehicles, or is being encouraged to make a swift conversion. If you are making new vehicles that are fitted with the necessary apparatus for producer-gas that is a much cheaper thing than to take your existing vehicles and get them converted. The Government are asking that petrol driven vehicles should be converted. As to the cost of conversion, an estimate has been made by the hon. Gentleman opposite that it would amount to £90. I am quite certain that that was for the unfitted apparatus. It has also to be fitted. I have been in touch with a firm doing this work, and I am informed that the cost of converting a vehicle from petrol to producer-gas will be anything from £160 to £190 per vehicle. The owner of a road haulage vehicle is already suffering severely in present circumstances. He is asked to convert his vehicle now for the use of producer-gas. The motor hauling industry is quite prepared to go on with this experiment—for it is an experiment—and see what can be done to help our coal mining industry.

The Deputy-Chairman

I do not want to interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but the Amendment to the proposed Amendment is clearly limited. It proposes one year instead of three. That does not allow of very wide debate.

Captain Strickland

I quite agree, but it would perhaps save time for me not to speak again on the main Amendment—which I think I am entitled to do—and to emphasise now why we are asking for any concession on taxation. It is because we are asking the motor industry to pay an extra tax of £160 or £190, in order to help the country pull through. By accepting this Amendment, the Government could show that they have some sort of interest in the desperate plight to which the road haulage industry has been reduced. I hope the Minister will give sympathetic consideration to this Amendment.

7.49 p.m.

Mr. Ede

We have had the advantage of hearing the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and his Minister; but the whole of the argument has been about taxation. It is true that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Minister of Transport has been promoted from the Treasury. As far as I know, the hon. Gentleman his Parliamentary Secretary may have hopes of following in his footsteps, through all the devious paths that he has trodden. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury sits there contentedly watching other people doing his work rather worse than he could do it himself, if that is possible. There has been no word in this Debate—except the words uttered by the hon. and gallant Member for Coventry (Captain Strickland), for which you, Sir, ruled him out of order—which have not been concerned with the taxation involved. Before the Committee can divide on this Amendment—and I, for one, desire to support the Amendment to the Amendment—we ought to have the opportunity of hearing why the Treasury, in the light of the arguments which have been adduced, cannot accept this limited Amendment. This is a very limited Amendment. All that the Parliamentary Secretary said was that the Treasury could not agree to the sacrifice of revenue, and if that is the case, it will be far better for the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Financial Secretary to tell us that himself and give us the reasons than to leave us with the bald statement that has been made by the Parliamentary Secretary.

7.51 p.m.

Mr. George Griffiths

I would like to put in a word for the small man. I was surprised to see the Minister of Transport get up at that Box and support an idea that really taxes these people. He is interested in coal and so is the Secretary for Mines, and I can give them art instance of a case this week where small lorry owners near the pits have not been able to get petrol.

The Deputy-Chairman

The Amendment before the House is to insert "one" year instead of "three" years.

Mr. Griffiths

Yes, Sir. I am coming to that. I want to help the coal industry, and if these people were not taxed the first year it would be of assistance to the coal selling scheme in South Yorkshire. I know some men who are employed at the pit where I used to work who could not have their clothes dried because the small lorry owners had not the petrol to enable them to take supplies of coal to their houses. If the Minister wants to save petrol and to increase the output of coal he should not do anything which prevents these men from having their clothes dried or else they will not be able to go to the pit to produce coal. I hope that the Government will give these small men an opportunity of using gas and steam.

Question, "That the words 'three years' stand part of the proposed Amendment," put, and negatived.

Question proposed, "That the words 'one year' be there inserted in the proposed Amendment."

7.55 P.m.

Mr. Viant

May not we have a reply from the Minister on the question of the period? I am sorry to have to intervene, but I want to appeal to the Minister to reconsider this matter. I hope that he is not going to turn down this short period. If this House will make a gesture and give the owners of these vehicles to understand that we are sincerely desirous that they shall effect the change-over to this new system, we shall have done a great deal for the miners and a great deal towards conserving our petrol supplies. I appeal to the Minister to make a statement to the House so as to avoid anything in the nature of a division on this question.

7.56 p.m.

Captain Wallace

I am very sorry that it is not possible for me to respond to the appeal of hon. Gentlemen. I have already endeavoured to explain to the House that this Bill really represents a bit of what most people would consider to be a gift horse to this industry. I fully appreciate the attitude of hon. Gentlemen who would like a little

more, and if it were possible for me or any other Member of the Government to get up at this Box and give away £1,000,000 here and there, there is no doubt that as individuals we should like to do it, but I must say very seriously to the Committee that this proposal, if carried out, would involve a loss of revenue. It would be one of the things which would tend to unbalance the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget. It is not possible for me to give any precise figure of the loss of revenue which would accrue if this concession were given. That would clearly depend upon the number of people who took advantage of the concession, but the fact remains, as I have said before, that it is giving them very substantial advantages of unrationed and untaxed fuel, and I am afraid that beyond that the Government, in these circumstances, cannot possibly go.

Question put, "That the words 'one year' be there inserted in the proposed Amendment."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 102; Noes, 142.

Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Pym, L. R.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Radford, E. A.
Bernays, R. H. Hepworth, J. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Blair, Sir R. Higgs, W. F. Raid, W. Allan (Derby)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. Holdsworth, H. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Boothby, R. J. G. Horsbrugh, Florence Robertson, D.
Boulton, W. W. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Brass, Sir W. Hume, Sir G. H. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Broadbridge, Sir G. T. James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Jennings, R. Salt, E. W.
Brown, Brig-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Joel, D. J. B. Samuel, M. R. A.
Bull, B. B. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Butcher, H. W. Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Cary, R. A. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Scott, Lord William
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Colman, N. C. D. King-Hall, Commander W. S. R. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Leech, Sir J. W. Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Spens, W. P.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Levy, T. Storey, S.
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Little, Dr. J. (Down) Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Lloyd, G. W. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Lucas, Major Sir J. M. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Crowder, J. F. E. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Sutcliffe, H.
Cruddas, Col. B. McCorquodale, M. S. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Culverwell, C. T. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Davidson, Viscountess Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Titchfield, Marquess of
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Denville, Alfred Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Wakefield, W. W.
Dodd, J. S. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Doland, G. F. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Duncan, J. A. L. Mitchell, Col. H. (Brentf'd & Chisw'k) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Eastwood, J. F. Mitcheson, Sir G. G. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. C. R. Webbe, Sir W. Harold
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Weston, W. G.
Ellis, Sir G. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)
Emery, J. F. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Erskine-Hill, A. G. Nail, Sir J. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Etherton, Ralph H. Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Wise, A. R.
Everard, Sir William Lindsay O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Womersley, Sir W. J.
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Palmer, G. E. H. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Peake, O.
Gower, Sir R. V. Pickthorn, K. W. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Mr. Buchan-Hepburn and Mr.
Grimston, R. V. Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton Munro.
Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Procter, Major H. A.

Question proposed, "That the proposed words, as amended, be there inserted."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.7 p.m.

Mr. E. Smith

I beg to move, in page 2, line 17, to leave out "£10," and to insert "£5."

First of all, I think it is necessary, in as few words as possible, to deal with the argument put up by the Minister of Transport on the previous Amendment. He said that if our Amendments were agreed to, it would mean a serious reduction in revenue, but anyone who has examined these proposals knows that that is not so, and hon. Members are apt to misunderstand the proposals because of that statement. It is true that, on the face of it, if this concession were allowed, it would mean a reduction in revenue, but they must consider what it would mean in the way of reducing imports of petrol, expenditure on convoys, and on the Naval and Air units which are necessary for escorting the petrol safely to Britain. Indirectly, therefore, it would be a good business proposition if these Amendments were accepted, especially this Amendment.

This is the position. Say you have two transport companies, one on this side of the road and one on the other, both doing the same kind of nationally important work. They have no difficulty in obtaining petrol rations. The company on this side of the road are public spirited, and their directors, who have regard to the national need, begin to wonder how they can save petrol. They decide immediately to embark on capital expenditure to enable them to swing over from petrol to gas. But the company on the other side of the road, which is more reactionary, backward, and conservative, refuses to do likewise. So we say that the public-spirited directors ought to be encouraged, and for that reason we move this Amendment. Last night, with the assistance of the librarians, I went through the Finance Acts since 1920, and I found that the nearest comparison we can make to this Measure is to go back to the 1920 Finance Act. If Members will look at page 2 of the Bill, they will see that for the £10 proposed in this Bill, under that Act it was £10, for the £15 it was £16, and for the £20 it was £21.

That is the nearest comparison that can be made as a result of an examination of various Finance Acts. It is really impossible to compare the two, and it is not reasonable to do so. The 1920 Finance Act and the subsequent changes dealt with the taxation of steam or coal-gas propelled vehicles. Producer-gas vehicles are meant to replace petrol vehicles, and it is unreasonable to compare the proposals of this Bill with the taxes which exist on ordinary heavy gas vehicles. We have tried to be as reasonable as possible throughout the whole of the Debate, and I think that hon. Members opposite who have been present will have been struck with the reasonableness of those who have been putting forward this case. But the fact is that no concessions have been made at all; the Government have been adamant. At the same time we move our Amendments in order that we can play our part in this serious situation, no matter what anyone else is prepared to do.

8.12 p.m.

Captain Wallace

I am very sorry for the hon. Member, but I am afraid that this is an Amendment which the Government cannot accept. The Clause in the Bill carries out the purpose of the Government to put vehicles which are converted by enterprising firms on the same level of taxation as petrol vehicles. This Amendment is designed to put them in a preferential position. It means a loss of revenue, and I regret to say that in the present circumstances we cannot accept it.

Amendment negatived.

8.13 p.m.

Mr. E. Smith

I beg to move, in page 2, line 21, at the end, to insert:

Division No. 6.] AYES. [8.15 p.m.
Adams, D. (Consett) Daggar, G. Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford) Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.
Adamson, W. M. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Dobbie, W. Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Groves, T. E.
Bartlett, C. V. O. Ede, J. C. Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)
Baley, J. Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)
Beaumont, H. (Batley) Frankel, D. Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)
Burke, W. A. Gallacher, W. Hardie, Agnes
Cape, T. Gardner, B. W. Henderson, J. (Ardwick)
Cluse, W. S. Gibson, R. (Greenock) Hicks, E. G.

Provided that where all undertaking owns more than five mechanically propelled goods vehicles the reduced rates of duty chargeable under this Sub-section shall not apply to any of such vehicles unless at least 25 per cent. of the total of such vehicles owned by the undertaking are constructed or adapted to use gas.

The Amendment explains itself, and therefore there is no necessity to prolong the Debate. One or two observations, however, should be made. It may be that some large concerns carrying out work of special national importance have no difficulty in obtaining petrol. We say that these firms, in order to get the benefit of the Bill, and to be fair to the nation as a whole, should have a right to convert a certain proportion of their vehicles. This has already been insisted upon in countries like France and America, and therefore we say that if any concessions are to be made, the nation has a right to expect that a certain proportion of the vehicles should be converted.

8.14 p.m.

Mr. Bernays

I am afraid that this Amendment is administratively unworkable. The hon. Member will understand why when I tell him that owners have been known to keep their vehicles in different parts of the country, and, further, that at one period of the licensing year it may be that they would want to convert less than 25 per cent. of their vehicles and afterwards might change their mind and want to convert more. That would make the collection of taxation impossible. I am sure that the hon. Member will realise that the Amendment will not work.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I only want to express in one word how disappointed we are at the action of the Government on these Amendments.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 82; Noes, 142.

Hills, A. (Pontefract) Milner, Major J. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Isaacs, G. A. Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster) Tinker, J. J.
Jackson, W. F. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Tomlinson, G.
Jagger, J. Paling, W. Viant, S. P.
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Parker, J. Watson, W. McL.
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Price, M. P. Welsh, J. C.
John, W. Pritt, D. N. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A. Ridley, G. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Lathan, G. Ritson, J. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Lawson, J. J. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens) Wilmot, John
Lee, F. Shinwell, E. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Leonard, W. Silkin, L. Woodburn, A.
Leslie, J. R. Silverman, S. S. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Lunn, W. Sloan, A.
Macdonald, G. (Ince) Smith, E. (Stoke) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
McEntee, V. La T. Smith, T. (Normanton) Mr. Charleton and Mr. R. J.
Maclean, N. Sorensen, R. W. Taylor.
Mainwaring, W. H. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Acland, Sir R. T. D, Greene, W. P. C. (Wercester) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Grimston, R. V. Procter, Major H. A.
Aske, Sir R. W. Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Pym, L. R.
Assheton, R. Harris, Sir P. A. Radford, E. A.
Baldwin-Webb, Col. J. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Hepworth, J. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Higgs, W. F. Robertson, D.
Bernays, R. H. Holdsworth, H. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Blair, Sir R. Horsbrugh, Florence Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Boothby, R. J. G. Hume, Sir G. H. Salt, E. W.
Boulton, W. W. James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Samuel, M. R. A.
Broadbridge, Sir G. T. Jennings, R. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Joel, D. J. B. Scott, Lord William
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Bull, B. B. Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Butcher, H. W. Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R. Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)
Cary, R. A. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Spens, W. P.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Lees-Jones, J. Storey, S.
Colman, N. C. D. Leech, Sir J. W. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith. S.) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Levy, T. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Little, Dr. J. (Down) Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page Lloyd, G. W. Sutcliffe, H.
Crooke, Sir J. Smedley Lucas, Major Sir J. M. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Crowder, J. F. E. McCorquodale, M. S. Titchfield, Marquess of
Cruddas, Col. B. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Culverwell, C. T. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Wakefield, W. W.
Davidson, Viscountess Mander, G. le M. Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Denman, Hon. R. D. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsand)
Denville, Alfred Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Dodd, J. S. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Webbe, Sir W. Harold
Doland, G. F. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Eastwood, J. F. Mitchell, Col. H. (Brentf'd & Chisw'k) Weston, W. G.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Mitcheson, Sir G. G. White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R. Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)
Ellis, Sir G. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Emery, J. F. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Wise, A. R.
Erskine-Hill, A. G. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Etherton, Ralph H. Munro, P. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Everard, Sir William Lindsay Nail, Sir J.
Fildes, Sir H. Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Fox, Sir G. W. G. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Mr.
Fremantle. Sir F. E. Palmer, G. E. H. Buchan-Hepburn.
Gower, Sir R. V. Peake, O.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.