§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Kingsley Wood)
I beg to move:That the Purchase Tax (Commencement) Order, 1940, made by the Treasury under section eighteen of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1940, a copy of which was presented to this House on 8th October, be approved.The House will recall that under Section 18, Sub-section (3) of the Finance Act (No. 2) of this year the Treasury are empowered to fix the date on which the Purchase Tax will be brought into operation. Under the same Section that Order has to be approved by the House. The Treasury accordingly fixed the date for the coming into operation of the tax to be the 21st of this month, and I have now to ask the House to approve the Order. It will be generally agreed that it is unnecessary for me to refer to the objects and provisions of the Act which have so recently been the subject of Parliamentary discussions. I then made many proposals, which were accepted by the House, by way of modification of the original proposals, in order to meet certain suggestions and criticisms in various parts of the House. Some of these affected the total amount of the revenue which we hoped originally to raise. It is, I think, sufficient now to say—and I think that it must be pretty obvious to everyone—that in view of our urgent and considerable financial necessities, the yield from this tax as finally approved by Parliament must play an important part in raising the large revenue we require, and it is imperative that we should obtain it as quickly as possible. While the immediate yield of a tax may, in the beginning, at any rate, prove to be modified by recent events, and the collection for the first quarter ending 31st December will be short, I think there is no reason to modify the view I expressed, during the passage of the Measure, that the tax will produce this year and subsequently very important additions to the revenue which it would be impossible for us to forgo.
I should also tell the House that since the Act was passed discussions about administrative machinery, which were proceeding during the summer, have continued with the various trade associations with a view to making the machinery of the tax as simple as possible. 622 Matters under discussion have been, for example, the catalogue definitions covered by the main headings in the Schedule and the accounting procedure relating in particular to the methods in which traders should keep their accounts to show the tax due. I am glad to be able to say that in these important matters substantial agreement has been reached.
Registration under the Act has, of course, proceeded and went on well until there were certain delays in communication. After a short interval in which these were being overcome they started again, and the numbers now registered, and applying daily for registration, are satisfactory. In fact, in all, to date some 40,000 traders have been registered. This covers the great majority of those concerned, and I have every hope that registration will be practically complete by 21st October. Three explanatory documents coming from the Customs have been issued—one on registration, the second on goods liable to the tax, and the third on the form in which accounts are to be kept. These have been previously discussed with the various bodies concerned and have been received as helpful in seting forth the machinery and procedure.
We have also consulted the various traders about the commencement of the tax, and they have all represented to us the necessity of there being no uncertainty and that, subject to reasonable notice being given, the date for its coming into operation should be finally fixed as soon as possible. I indicated on the Third Reading that it was hoped to commence the tax in October, and I would suggest to the House that 21st October is a convenient date, with due and sufficient notice to all concerned. It is true that air raids have, of course, created difficulties for certain traders, but, although in a number of places there has been a certain amount of interruption and damage, the total of this, as against the total of production, is small. Secondly, although there have been certain interruptions to manufacture and delivery, they have, again, been a lot less than was expected, and in all the circumstances the general position of trade to-day is distinctly good.
Much the same considerations apply to consumers of goods. To many, of course, the Purchase Tax will come into force at a time of increased wages and remuneration, but there is the position of those who 623 are unhappily suffering as the result of air raids. The Prime Minister has recently given an estimate of the numbers involved, and, considerable as these misfortunes are to individuals, the numbers are, of course, small as compared with the whole population. I would only say in that connection that the House will be aware that under existing arrangements immediate compensation is paid in full for certain essential furniture and personal clothing where the income of the claimant is below certain limits, £400 or £250, according to circumstances. This scheme will, of course, be continued, but I would like to tell the House that I hope shortly to introduce a voluntary scheme under which the State will insure the personal possessions of all persons above these income limits as well as the possessions, other than essential furniture and personal clothing, of persons with incomes below the income limits to which I have just referred. In these and other ways we are, therefore, making provision for those, small in number, whose cases are undoubtedly hard and difficult. We must also not forget that in making this provision and finding the money the Exchequer will have to make the necessary provision, and that the revenue from the Purchase Tax will help us in that respect.
§ Mr. Edmund Harvey (Combined English Universities)
Would the Chancellor say whether this arrangement will be retrospective? There are many very hard cases over the present limit.
§ Sir K. Wood
I will give consideration to that question. I will make this point to the House. Consumers generally will not feel the effect of the tax immediately. There is no ground or justification for increasing the prices of the taxable stocks already in the hands of retailers, and these stocks are fairly large. This is, again, of importance to those who have to buy immediately to replace the belongings and goods, damaged by raids, which come within the limited area covered by the tax. The Central Committee on Price Regulation and the Board of Trade will, of course, personally watch the action of retailers on existing stocks, and an important statement for the guidance of traders has just been issued by the Committee. I would like to read two extracts from it, so that the House 624 may be aware of the position. The Central Price Regulation Committee says:Tax is chargeable on the wholesale value of the goods, and is collected at the stage when the goods pass from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the retailer. The retailer, therefore, has to pay a higher price for goods which have borne the tax, and for such goods he will have to recover this by charging a higher price to the public, but he must not make any profit on the tax.The Committee also make the following statement:The Central Price Regulation Committee has carefully studied the relationship of the tax to retail prices and issued the following statement for the guidance of traders. Any writing up of the prices of stocks in the hands of retailers which has not borne the tax to the prices of goods which have borne the tax is not permissible in any circumstances under the Prices of Goods Act, and any such writing up would render the retailer concerned liable to severe penalties. It is the duty of the retailer to give the public the benefit of the lower prices appropriate to his untaxed stocks of goods so long as such stocks last, and it is believed that they are considerable.Therefore, I say that in these circumstances and with these provisions it would not appear that the operations of the enemy, and the small, limited results he has obtained, should prevent us from putting the tax into operation and obtaining the revenue which we badly need.
There are only two other matters to which I have to refer. Representations have been made by a number of firms and other bodies for certain goods to be exempted under the procedure set forth in Section 20 of the Act. In a number of cases, if these applications were acceded to it would be, of course, contrary to the provisions recently expressly approved by Parliament, and in any case I would suggest to the House that it is obviously desirable to put the tax into operation in the form in which Parliament has just approved it and to watch carefully its operations before coming to Parliament with proposals for any change. The other matter I want to refer to, in which a number of hon. Members took a good deal of interest during the passage of the Measure, is that of expensive drugs. As the House was promised, the intention with regard to the drugs and medicines to be exempted was made public by a notice giving the list of drugs to be exempted, that list being prepared on the advice of eminent medical men who have been good enough to assist my right hon. Friend the 625 Minister of Health. Representations about this list have been received and are being urgently considered by the Departments and their medical advisers, after which a list, amended if necessary in view of the representations we have received, will be prepared and, as provided by the Act, laid before Parliament.
In commending this Motion to the House, I would finally say that the Motion relates not, of course, to the principle of the Purchase Tax, which has already been approved and passed into law, but simply to the date of its operation. I would suggest to my hon. Friends, for the reasons that I have given, that it is desirable, in fact essential, that this should be put into early operation, and I now ask the House to approve the necessary Motion.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence (Edinburgh, East)
I do not think it would be in accordance with the wish of the House that I should say over again all the things that were said on the last occasion, when this proposal was before us in its substantive form, and the only general remark of that kind which I will make is that, so far as I can see, nothing has happened between the date of the passage of the Measure through Parliament and to-day to change the mind of myself or of those who act with me in these matters. We then took the view that the tax, unpleasant as it is, disagreeable, unfortunate, had been sufficiently modified to justify us in supporting its passage into law, and we take that view to-day. To those who take a different view I will say only this: It is generally admitted that this proposal will cause an increase in price in the renewal and replacement of articles some of which are bought by people of very moderate incomes, and in ordinary times the fact that that is so would decide us, and I believe the House as a whole, to veto the scheme. But, of course, these are not ordinary times, and we have to consider not merely this tax by itself but what will happen if this and other taxes are not imposed.
I support this tax because, if there is to be a rise in prices at all, I prefer that it should be a deliberate, considered rise of a moderate character rather than an indiscriminate rise pressing most hardly upon people least able to bear it. I was very interested in hearing Mr. Maynard Keynes say the 626 other day over the wireless that in his opinion there were no visible signs of inflation up to the present. That bore out what I think I said in this House when a number of other hon. Members were taking a somewhat different view. But, of course, in spite of that, the House cannot get away with the idea that there is now no danger of inflation, because the danger of inflation in the second, and it may be the third, year of the war is far greater than it was in the first; and inflation, if it comes, is cumulative. Those who remember the last war will remember that, as the war proceeded, prices went up and up, and the increases became steeper as time went on. It was not a question of a certain percentage increase, of 20 per cent. or 30 per cent. increase. Increases ran into hundreds per cent., and the whole basis of the standard of living for people on fixed incomes was thereby changed. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion, and it is the opinion of those for whom I speak, that it is better to encounter this particular proposal, though it does put up prices, though it will create certain difficulties, because the alternative is one that would be far more dangerous, and would be far more oppressive to the kind of people of whom we are particularly thinking, than will this tax itself. Therefore, if there should be a Division—I hope there will not be—in regard to this matter of the date of the tax coming into operation, I and my Friends will support the Government, and hope that the evil which people have foreseen will be much less marked than some people imagine will be the case.
§ Mr. Graham White (Birkenhead, East)
Like my right hon. Friend who has just spoken, I do not desire, in the few words which I shall say, to challenge the principle of the Measure or to cover ground which has been covered before. It would certainly fill me with horror, whatever effect it might have upon the House, to lay before hon. Members some of the views which I have had on this matter, and even some which I hold at the present time, but we recognise that this tax has to be imposed because revenue is needed, and the inconveniences of it must be borne as well as may be. I do not know whether there has ever been a popular tax, but this is not one. It will not be a popular tax, but at this time in our history the Government are 627 not under the necessity of looking for a popular tax or of making a tax particularly soft. The more direct and simple the Government's taxation proposals, the more likely they are to be accepted by the House.
This Measure will be unpopular. The increase in retail sales shows that a good many people have anticipated how the tax will work. I have come to the conclusion that the thousand and one pinpricks which will be conveyed by this tax will, on the whole, be worse than a good sharp blow, which might be administered in some other direction. I am by no means clear myself as to where this tax stands at the present time, in our economy as a whole. The Minister's predecessor said that this was a deliberate and resolute attempt to reduce consumption at home, but a different view seems to be taken of it now. It seems to be regarded now chiefly as a revenue-producing instrument in our taxation. It certainly will not reduce expenditure at home. The same amount of expenditure will be devoted to the necessary amount of goods, and I suppose the Exchequer will benefit to that extent. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer said that it was an attempt to give an impetus to our export trade. That leads me to a point which I wish to make in this connection.
The House of Commons had an impression, in the early days of this proposal, that it would set free goods to help the export trade, but now we know that that will not be the case. We know how the tax seems likely to affect our export trade, particularly with the United States. We understand that negotiations have been proceeding between the two authorities in the matter, the American Customs and our own, or the respective Governments, and that, so far, agreement has failed to be reached. It is true to say that, whatever may be the effect of this tax upon the home trade and our consumers, the effect upon our American customers must be disastrous, especially in the consequences to the textile trade. It is not merely a question of date, but of the cheaper materials. I express the hope, however, that this matter will not be dropped, and that, if some modification of the existing law is required, the right hon. Gentleman will not hesitate to come to the House and ask for such modi- 628 fication, in order that our export trade may not be hampered.
If this tax is to come into operation, it is well that it should do so as soon as possible. I listened with great interest to what was said about the administration of and the preparation for the tax, and I think we are entitled to take an optimistic view of the situation. There is a great deal of confusion in the minds of some-people as to what the proposals are. There have been so many registrations for one purpose and another that, having registered for one thing, they think that they are registered for all. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the very admirable document issued by the Customs Department, a most enlightening document. I did not know there were so many things that could be taxed until I went into this document—No. 178, I think it is. It is not a reassuring document. Reference was made to enemy action which has held matters up; this document deals with matters of registration and qualities of goods which are to be taxed and the rates of tax which are to be borne.
Numerous letters were received on Monday of this week complaining that copies of the document were not in the hands of the people who were vitally concerned. What I had in mind was that obviously there would be an interregnum, or a period of time in which experience would have to be gained and people would find out how they were to work the tax, how it is to be accounted for, all those questions of liability respecting things which are taxable and things which are not, stocks, and the rest of it. There will have to be a period in which the Customs and Excise display towards the people concerned a tact and consideration, and I would add a leniency, which are not, perhaps, usually associated with the administration of the Customs. Those who have had experience might say that the Customs behave in what seems to the ordinary individual a very arbitrary way. If this tax is to work, there must be a certain amount of conciliation. There will be multitudes of people imperfectly acquainted with the taxation machinery.
I do not think there is anything else I wish to add, except to express the hope that, when we are in the happy position of being able to repeal taxation, this tax will be the first to be lifted. It is an unfair tax, because it presses unfairly 629 upon some sections of the people. We cannot yet measure the effect which it will have upon the price level. The sections of people who will, in the main, be covered by the tax, are those who are least able to pay increased charges. I repeat the plea which I have made for reconsideration of the tax in the light of experience, without delay.
§ Mr. R. C. Morrison (Tottenham, North)
I am aware, on rising, that I shall be like "a voice crying in the wilderness." I am without any hope of getting the Chancellor to change his mind at this late hour. I said in a previous speech that I thought this tax was the principal mistake that the Government had made, but I now say that the fixing of this date is yet another mistake. I am certain that the advisers of the Chancellor are not looking at the tax from the point of view of the effect that it will have upon the morale of the people of this country. Some of us are doing our best in very difficult circumstances to attempt to keep up the morale of the people whom we represent. Some of the actions that have been taken by certain Departments—and this is one—are not making it any easier for us. May I give the Chancellor an example which does not affect his Department? We fought in this House to try and get supplementary pensions for the old people who were not getting enough to live upon. Because there was a war on we managed after a great struggle to get these supplementary pensions, in spite of a certain amount of official opposition. Now that the old age pensioners who have been bombed out of their houses have been taken in by friends, the supplementary pensions have been taken away from them. Can the Chancellor realise what effect that sort of thing is having in the poor districts?
In a constituency of which I know something, there are nearly 4,000 homeless people. Within the next week or two these people, by hook or by crook, have to get blankets, kitchen tables, linoleum, clothing, etc. Hitler cannot get them down, but this sort of thing does. They are ashamed at having, for the first time in their lives, to go round getting secondhand clothing and going through charitable organisations. When they go to the officials who assess the damage those officials do not take the line that those people have lost everything. Only 630 last night some of these people walked out with only their night clothes. The officials go into great details as to how much these articles cost. They say, "But you bought this several years ago. It cannot be worth as much now." Are they going to take into consideration the fact that to replace clothing, kitchen tables, linoleum and all those goods which have "gone west" is going to cost very much more? The Chancellor talks about business going on as usual and says that as far as he can see there would be no likelihood of people being overcharged, and that if they are overcharged, there is the Price Regulation Committee. The Chancellor should come to my constituency or to the constituencies of some hon. Members and see what good the Price Regulation Committee would be. I know of cases where windows have been blown out three times a week; as fast as they are put in, out they come the next day. The Chancellor says that the Price Regulation Committee will come along and see that nobody is overcharged. You can picture Mr. and Mrs. Smith, having lost everything and possessing only what they stand up in, having been charged a shilling or two more for a kitchen table with money which they have managed to obtain from somebody, setting in operation the whole of the machinery of the Price Regulation Committee. The whole thing is a farce.
We are all accustomed to the Chancellor's spirit of smug complacency, and his feeling that everything in the garden is going on well and that there is only slight, infinitesimal damage. Let us be perfectly candid. The Chancellor knows perfectly well that such suggestions are not correct. It was really the Government with which he was associated before that did so much harm with this smug complacency. The Chancellor is making a profound mistake in selecting this date. Whatever the Chancellor will get out of it, it will not pay for a fortnight of this war. On the other hand, what damage will be done? As a result of what happened last week we are now going to spend an enormous amount of money in providing bunks for people in shelters. Yet they will be charged more for beds when they buy them for their houses. From the point of view of trying to keep up the chins of the people of this country, the Chancellor is doing a very sorry day's work in deciding to 631 apply this tax at this time. I am sorry to have to say these things, because I have been a loyal supporter of this composite Government since it started. Like other Members who represent industrial constituencies which have been hit by this "Blitzkrieg," we have not been going through easy times. The Chancellor is going to make it still less easy.
§ Captain Strickland (Coventry)
There are one or two points with regard to the Purchase Tax which should be cleared up, because it has a great bearing on the industrial life of the country. I am not going into the question of maintaining the morale of the country from the cash point of view, because this country does not depend purely upon cash. On the whole, this is a chance for every citizen in the whole of this country to contribute a large proportion of the cost of this war which is being fought on his behalf and in his defence. There are two points with regard to businesses which I would like to raise. The first is that which has been discussed on one or two occasions before. That is the effect of placing this tax upon goods in this country and making the price the reasonable selling price, and the effect upon the taxation which may be put on our goods when they go into other countries when the tax is based on the usual selling price of this country. Another point I want to put is this: On 31st July, in Ways and Means, we had a Resolution on the Purchase Tax, and the opening phrase of this was:(a) Provision shall be made for charging a tax in respect of purchases whenever made from wholesale sellers of such goods as may be specified in any Act of the present session and in respect of such other transactions whenever made relating to such goods as may be so specified.It appears to me that unless this matter is cleared up there may be a chance of a double tax on some goods in this country. Already certain Customs and Excise officials have declared that their reading of this particular Section as set down in Committee of Ways and Means is, that whenever a sale takes place by a wholesaler a tax shall be put on in accordance with this Purchase Tax; that is to say, that in the case of those manufacturers who, in the course of their business, sell their goods through factories, when the sale takes place from the manufacturer to the factor there shall 632 be a Purchase Tax placed upon it, and that when the factor in his turn sells those goods to the retailer there shall be another tax charged. I would like those points cleared up by whomsoever is to respond from the Treasury Bench.
§ Mr. Woods (Finsbury)
I could have hoped that when we heard the Chancellor he would have made a much more substantial case for the urgency with which he proposes to impose this tax. It seemed to me that his case was built up on an entire misrepresentation of the facts. For example, the Chancellor suggested that the case against the commencement of this tax at this early date must be due largely to the viewpoint of those who are civilian victims of this war and who need replacements. That was practically the only case he dealt with, and it was a masterpiece of misstatement. It gave the impression that it was quite a small thing, that the numbers were trivial, and that everything was arranged, so far as these people were concerned. I do not suggest that the Chancellor was trying to deceive the House and the country, but if he was not he himself has been led up the garden, and his eyes are not open to the facts, as we see them in our constituencies. He said, on the question of compensation, that the numbers are small. In fact, the numbers are considerable. The destruction is out of all proportion to the casualties. Whole areas are destroyed. If there is one virtue in these raids it is that they have resulted in a number of demolition areas being destroyed. Those are areas, however, where the people, because of their poverty, have to take the poorest housing accommodation, as they have to take the poorest of everything else. It is this class of the population which is hardest hit. Those people lived in very old houses, and the effect of blast on such houses is far worse than the effect on more substantial property. In such areas it is common to find that slum property is razed to the ground, while other buildings which are fairly substantial have stood up.
I could find constituency after constituency in London where the proportion of damage has been perhaps 5 per cent., but many Members here could say that in their constituencies 20 per cent. of the population have been affected. There is a ward in my constituency where practically 633 all the people will have to make replacements. To talk of those people as though they were an insignificant proportion, is not right. If an egg is bad, it may be argued that it is a small egg, but it is bad just the same. After having been hit by the enemy, these people are now going to be hit by the British Government, and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in particular. As my hon. Friend the Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. C. Morrison) said, there will be considerable resentment about this. Also, the war is not over yet. We may find consolation, for what it is worth, in the fact that Germany also is suffering; but the results of these raids are cumulative. The time may come when, instead of these people being a minority, they will be a majority of the poor population. Then, the argument that is based on the statement that the number is small will be invalidated.
The Chancellor's next point was that the compensation is in full. My hon. Friend the Member for North Tottenham has already exploded that point. If the Chancellor is under any impression that the compensation is in full for poor people he need only consult any person who has been a victim. Only this morning, on arriving in London, I had a casual meeting with a woman who was waiting for her train to the North. She had just come out of hospital, had lost everything, and had herself been injured. She had come away with her night attire and dressing gown; and £2 17s. was all that she was allowed to equip herself with clothing. All that the compensation enables such people to do is to equip themselves with shoddy clothing, to enable them to go out into the street. It is not good enough to say that they can go to charity because some kind people have a surplus. We want these people to be put on a parity with their previous condition.
The next point that the Chancellor made was that there were still large supplies in the shops, and that people would be able to draw from those supplies. That is an entire misrepresentation. I challenge the Financial Secretary, before he replies to this Debate, to get any essential simple replacement in furniture or clothing in any store in London. There are big stocks of specialised goods which are not in constant demand, but I have gone out of my way to inquire in furniture stores what stocks there are, and I find that for all 634 essential commodities, such as kitchen tables, ordinary kitchen chairs, bedding, blankets and woollen underclothing, you can tender your money in vain. Only the other day I was discussing with a constituent of mine the question of purchasing bedding for people who have been bombed out of their homes. Money would not buy a single bed. We have bought up all there were, and we are still trying to get more. If you go to an outfitting store in London and inquire about woollen underclothing, you will find that they are turning trade away, because the stocks are not there, although the orders have been placed for a very long time. If the Chancellor is arguing that these victims will not pay the tax because the retailers have large stocks, his argument is entirely false. The people will have to wait until supplies come in, and all those supplies will bear the tax. This state of affairs will get worse as the destruction becomes more widespread. If the Chancellor's case is based on these arguments—and these are the only arguments I heard, although I listened to him very carefully—it is an utterly inadequate case, and is unworthy of this House.
The Chancellor made the broad statement that about 40,000 firms had registered, that others were registering every day, and that registration would soon be complete. Is there any indication that it will be completed by 21st October? I was hoping that the Chancellor would have given some information that would help in solving a number of problems which traders are facing. There is a good deal of complexity in this subject, and the Chancellor would be doing a service to the trader if he would deal with one point which is raised. When the tax was announced, it was assumed by everybody that registration would be restricted to actual manufacturers, that the retailer, when he drew his supplies, would pay the tax, an account would be kept, and it would be passed on to the purchaser over the counter. The regulations provide that a retailer who is in a sufficiently large way can register. I understand that some of the multiple concerns and general stores, who have their wholesale warehouses and therefore buy in bulk, are registered. That raises a problem for a large number of firms as to whether they should or should not register. Will a general combine store, where they have say, a tailoring department, register for 635 that department, or will it be possible for them to register the whole of the concern and so receive the whole of their goods free of tax, and subsequently for them to apply it? This is a question which I know from personal experience is causing a good deal of concern. Traders want to know what is involved with regard to registration. Some are assuming that because they have to register the full name of their business concern to cover one or two small departments, they will therefore be registered for the whole of their trade, whereas they are only registered actually, I think, in regard to the category of actual manufactures.
There is another point which I thought was glossed over by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that was that actual stocks which are held will not be taxed, but he gave no indication of the creation of any machinery to give the public any guarantee that stocks held by retailers on which the Government receive no tax will not be sold without the amount of the tax being put upon the price. I realise his difficulty and that he cannot give any opinion, because it is almost an insoluble problem. Many shopkeepers have not the staff to enable them to keep a record of the marketing and the date of the receipt of say, every piece of china, of every piece of cloth and of every garment, and so these things go into stock. For example, a ready-made suit of a certain size may sell quickly and be out of stock and require replacing from the manufacturers, whereas other sizes may not be much in demand and will be sold as tax-free garments. The tradesman may have to say to the customer, "This suit fits you better, but it will cost you 15s. more because there is a tax on it. This other suit does not fit you in the same way, but it will be 15s. cheaper. It is the same quality but a little larger and does not fit so well, but the tax has not to be paid upon it because we had it in stock beforehand." It is almost an impossible task for the retailer to keep details carefully, and it will involve him in very considerable difficulty, and in almost every commodity, it will be absolutely impossible to discriminate between stock upon which the tax is imposed and that which is free from tax. If this matter is left without any helpful suggestion being given to the retail traders, they will be placed in a 636 quandary and find things very difficult, and indeed their difficulties are now fairly considerable.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury will no doubt remember that when this tax was previously discussed he himself made an important question of the export trade. He said that if we consumed certain commodities at home, none would be available for export. That was, in his presentation of the case, a very substantial argument for the tax. It was pointed out in the course of the debate that, instead of helping the export trade, it would definitely hinder it, because America in particular assessed the taxes on importations on the selling price of the commodity as it would be sold to the consumer in the country of origin. The Financial Secretary acknowledged that that was so and that, therefore, it would not help the export trade. He gave the impression to this House that if that argument was substantiated, and there was no possibility of modifying the position, it would be a substantial argument against the imposition of the tax.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Colonel Clifton Brown)
The hon. Member is introducing an argument that goes beyond the terms of the Motion.
§ Mr. Woods
I think you will appreciate that the point I am making is in Order. Until some definite agreement had been reached, it would be satisfactory, both to this country and to America, not to make the tax operative. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman, who may have been unduly optimistic at the time, said that it was one of those little difficulties which could be smoothed out, but it has not been smoothed out, and, instead of helping, it will injure the export trade. If he could hold out some possibility or hope of coming to a mutually satisfactory agreement with America on this question, it would be a justifiable argument for postponing the day of the commencement of the tax. The Control of Goods Act and the supplies coming to retailers will make very little difference to the actual volume collected by the earlier impost. Everybody in a position to buy has already bought for the winter and, in some cases, for next summer, and the winter beyond.
The people who will really be hit are the poorest of the poor, who have to live 637 from hand to mouth and cannot make any provisions for to-morrow. They will be the first victims. I therefore appeal for a reconsideration of the matter in view of the plight of so many people who have been made the victims of the loss of their household goods and of those who will get no compensation, because, for the time being, their income places them outside the provisions. Nevertheless, they have lost in proportion to their income a corresponding portion of their worldy wealth. Many of them have no security with regard to their employment, and some of them are above the compensation limit. There is promise of legislation at an early date whereby a mutual insurance scheme may cover everybody. Until that scheme is put into operation, this tax ought not to come into operation. All the arguments which the Chancellor of the Exchequer used in so far as they were factual were substantial arguments for postponing rather than implementing the tax.
§ Mr. David Adams (Consett)
I disapprove of this Order primarily on the very broad ground that it is a menace to our national unity. The Government have advised the country that nothing is more urgent than the preservation of unity among all sections of the community. Surely a tax of this character, which attacks the standards of life, particularly of the industrial workers, is bound to tend in that direction, and it seems to me that it is the product of a Chancellor of the Exchequer who is sadly lacking in imagination. Could there have been selected a worse method of raising taxation than this, in which, whether we like it or not, the goods of the community, if the war continues for some period, are bound to be destroyed and will require replacement? It has been very carefully considered in my part of the country—the North East coast. We have been fortunate so far in escaping the "Blitzkrieg," but it is believed that it may ensue to that district in process of time. If London, where there is supposed to be an overwhelming quantity of goods of all sorts, and the situation has been provided against, is in the difficulties which have been indicated, what must be the situation on the North East coast? There is no question that the operation of the tax will very seriously affect working-class standards of life.
638 The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor told us somewhat unctuously that he had made many notable concessions. I should like to know in what direction the working classes have been benefited by those concessions. I am satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman could give no satisfactory answer to that query. When one considers that the total amount raised in the course of 12 months will maintain the war for the period of 10 days only, one sees how short-sighted is the policy of the tax and how effective are the reasons for asking that its operation should be postponed sine die. If we endorse this order, we endorse, in my judgment, the completest refutation of the doctrine of equal sacrifice in the war. It is a tax upon the worker's standard of daily life, whether he is employed or unemployed. It is not a question of what his income is or whether it is assured or not. If he is below the proper standard of life, as we are assured some millions yet are, he must make his contribution to this crushing burden. His standard of domestic comfort, of health, and of entertainment will fall, and these are, in the case of many millions, admittedly too low already.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member is talking about the tax as if it was not already approved and passed by the House. The only question is whether it is to come into operation on 21st October or some other date.
§ Mr. Adams
I am putting forward reasons why the operation of the tax should be postponed. Had we been financially in extremis, I should agree to the operation of a tax of this character, but, as the Chancellor has decided that many deep wells of wealth should remain untapped, and we not being in extremis financially, this is the last form of taxation that ought to be imposed, and I make my personal protest in the name of my constituents, who will suffer grievously through its operation.
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
I wish to express my bitter opposition to the tax coming into operation on 21st October. I represent a constituency mostly composed of miners and agricultural workers, who are well known to be among the poorest-paid workers in the country, and in my constituency there is already very heavy and grievous poverty. With the coming into operation of this tax almost unbearable 639 burdens are to be placed on them. The Co-operative movement has come out very strongly against the tax, and the same applies to the trade unions. It was shameful to introduce such a tax, but to propose the date of 21st October, at a time when so many are having their homes destroyed and are losing everything they possess, is doubly shameful. It is a crime against the very people who have suffered. I cannot understand how any who claim to represent the working classes, and to represent the better world which we desire for the masses of the people, can support the coming into operation of the tax. It is not a revenue-producing but a poverty-producing tax, and that is the desire of the financiers of the country, to crush the masses of the people down to the bottom level of poverty. If those who claim to represent the working-class movement and who sit on the Government bench had a sense of reality, the tax would never come into operation.
§ Mr. Hubert Beaumont (Batley and Morley)
I fully appreciate that one is not permitted to discuss the merits or demerits of the Purchase Tax, but rather to offer arguments why the date of its introduction should be postponed. It is with that intention that I venture to address the House for a few minutes. I am of the opinion that the Purchase Tax, in principle, is bad, that in practice, it will prove to be unwise, and that it is, therefore, desirable that the date of its operation should be postponed as long as possible.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Dennis Herbert)
The hon. Member is apparently trying to do something which he already knows to be impossible. He must not in any way argue against the tax, the decision on which has already been made by the House.
§ Mr. Beaumont
I submit to your ruling, but may I advance this as an argument for the postponement of the tax? It was explained this afternoon by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the original date for its introduction would have been 1st October, that owing to certain difficulties, caused by the dislocation of communications, it had not been found possible to bring it into operation then, but that it is now proposed to introduce it on 21st October. I submit that 640 there are other reasons as well as disturbance of communications which make it inadvisable to bring the tax into operation at the present time. I submit that those same factors which disturbed the lines of communication at the same time demolished the homes of the people. That being so, it is vitally necessary that these people should have a chance at least of re-adjusting their lives before they have to pay any additional amounts for the necessities of life. One of the grave dangers of the "Blitzkrieg" is that people are going to lose sleep. If the nation loses sleep, it will lose energy and power. You cannot have refreshing and re-invigorating sleep unless you have the necessary comforts upon which to sleep. There are thousands of people at the present time who have been deprived, because of the demolition of their houses, of essential bedding and blankets upon which to sleep. Even if the tax has to come into operation on 21st October, may it not be found practicable, and certainly advisable, that certain essential articles of domestic use, which are now in the Schedules, should not be taxed? The inability of a number of people who have lost their homes to obtain bedding and blankets is not only due to the fact that they have not the money, but also to the fact that these household necessities are not available, because there is a definite shortage which cannot be made good by 21st October. Therefore, you will further penalise all those people who are having to suffer because they happen to live in certain places where bombs have fallen.
There is the additional problem in the case of people who have been compelled and advised to evacuate into areas less prone to attack. In these areas you have created the problem of providing additional bedding for the people who are offering hospitality, and for those who accept the billeting allowances. They are finding great difficulty in obtaining bedding and blankets for the use of evacuees. Furthermore, this is a matter which affects the Forces of the Crown. The Armed Forces are being billeted, and wisely so, this Autumn and Winter in houses and huts, and in many cases in private houses. The people who have to billet the soldiers have also to find the necessary blankets and bedding, and it will mean that they will have to pay an excessive and totally unnecessary increased charge as a result 641 of the introduction of this tax. I hope that the introduction of the Purchase Tax will be postponed long after 21st October. If that is not agreed to, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer still hardens his heart and is not prepared to make that concession, may we ask that consideration be given so that certain articles, such as bedding of all kinds and blankets, now upon the list of non-essentials, shall be regarded as essentials and not subject to the tax?
This will definitely penalise the poor and affect those who have been the hardest hit. I do not think that in the long run it will prove to be such a wonderful method of securing a great volume of money for the purpose of carrying on the war. If the purpose of the tax is to prevent the manufacture of luxury articles—and here I must be careful in what I say, because I may be called to Order—I think it would be much better to have prohibited their manufacture altogether. Whereas the tax will press most harshly and unfairly upon that section of the community which has suffered all the discomforts and horrors, I submit it will be wise that the date should be postponed. But even if it cannot be postponed and this House determines it shall come into operation on 21st October, may I reinforce the plea that kindly consideration shall be given whereby certain articles which now will come under the Purchase Tax shall not be taxed, because they are absolutely essential for the well-being of the community? In the Autumn and Winter ahead of us comfort and the possibility of obtaining sleep are two things which must be considered. We shall make it much harder for the people if they have not the necessary beds, bedding and blankets because they cannot afford to pay the increased prices consequent upon the Purchase Tax. I hope that consideration will be given, first, to the postponement of the tax until all these difficulties have been overcome, and, secondly, if the postponement cannot be granted, that sympathetic consideration shall be given to the removal of certain articles of need, comfort and utility from the non-essential list which have now become absolutely essential to the well-being of a large number of the community.
§ Mr. John Morgan (Doncaster)
I feel that there must be in the minds of the Treasury a case for the further postpone- 642 ment of this tax if they could do it without loss of face. They have evidently come up against administrative difficulties in the fact that they have sought for a further three weeks. It is not only due to the fact that transport difficulties have recently ensued, but also that they have found it very convenient to postpone the date, even for three weeks, to meet their own administration difficulties. I have no doubt that some of the factors still remain, and that a further postponement would be welcomed if the Government could do it without loss of face, and without any feeling that they had had to yield to public pressure because of the unpopularity of this tax.
Within the last few weeks I have sensed that women are very perturbed about their shopping difficulties. They have suddenly become aware that it is very difficult to shop with satisfaction to domestic economy. They go to a shop and find they cannot buy a commodity because they are told that the quota has been exhausted. Whether that is due to the fact that the deterrent element of this tax has begun to operate, I do not know. Certainly it is high, and Germany has found that a moderate tax is much more equitable than a high one. If the deterrent part of this tax has begun to operate and goods have disappeared from the shops, the women are aware of it, and they are not looking forward to this winter with any degree of favourable anticipation. The bombardment of London is becoming the concern of people further away because of its actualities. We are getting intimations from the Food Minister that he is having difficulties. The people have had their butter ration reduced, and it is accepted, but it is one of the things that is most regretted in the domestic field. When the women find that, in addition to having difficulties in obtaining goods, they are to have a marked increase in the prices of things that they very much want at the beginning of the winter, I believe that the Government will contribute from the Treasury angle a real factor in a disturbed feeling in industrial areas. In other words, there will be an element of industrial unrest creeping in.
I was in a mining area yesterday and was handed this pay sheet. I was used to this sort of thing a year or two before the war. The mining areas are about to enter a period of short time. This is 643 a three-day pay sheet, which was handed to me yesterday by a working woman. Six other women in the audience held up similar half-time pay sheets. If an element of unrest were introduced into the industrial areas it would be very unfortunate. I am not arguing against the principle of the tax. I believe that the deterrent element is now operating and is unnecessary because goods are disappearing from the shops. If the Government want revenue from the tax and they want to give a sense that it is not being unfairly imposed upon sections of the community, the spring would be a far better time to bring it in. I do not believe the Treasury are in need of the money that this tax will yield between now and the spring. This is an unfortunate time in the mood of the average housewife to introduce it, and it will add to their difficulties in a most unfortunate form.
§ Mr. Charles Brown (Mansfield)
I want to urge the Financial Secretary to reply to a point raised by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Woods) about the effect which this tax will have on the export trade. There are firms which are considerably perturbed about it, particularly those which are exporting to the United States. There are in my constituency several hosiery firms who will be interested to know what will happen to the hosiery which they export to the United States if some understanding has not been reached with the American Government. At an earlier stage in these discussions the Financial Secretary assured the House that this point was raised in discussions that were taking place. I now ask him to let us know whether there have been discussions about it with the American Government.
§ Mr. Broad (Edmonton)
I am sorry to have to intervene against the Government in this Debate, but I feel that it would be wrong to give a silent vote. I feel, too, that it is necessary to repeat points that have been made by previous speakers, because the Chancellor and the Financial Secretary do not seem to have been impressed sufficiently by the points that have been made as to the effects of this tax on the thousands of people who have lost their all in the air raids. In the main these people are the poorest, they have no reserves behind them, and it has taken 644 years to accumulate their little bits of furniture, their domestic utensils and their clothing. They are now down and out. They still have spirit, however, and if anything is calculated to take that spirit from them it is to feel that now that they are down the Chancellor is kicking them. These people cannot postpone purchases and cannot make old things last a little longer because their things have gone and they must purchase now. I ask for a postponement of the tax so that the effect on these people can be considered in a sympathetic way by the Chancellor and so that he can find some way of remitting the tax or making some provisions so that they will not have to appeal to charity in the replacement of their homes because the tax will have made the things they want too costly to buy. We should not force these people in their misery to have to pay through the nose, not because of an inevitable rise in costs owing to the extra cost of shipping and other things, but because of a tax imposed on them.
I urge a postponement until the spring because these people will not have adequate clothing or bedding through the winter if the tax is imposed. Charity may do something, but it is mean for the Chancellor to say that they can go to the Lord Mayor's Fund. People want extra clothing now for going into the air-raid shelters, and they must buy it now. If they have to go to shelters shivering and the children are badly clothed, the effect on the health of the people, not only from the inadequate clothing but from insufficient feeding, may be serious. If they have to replace their things out of their meagre wages, it will be at the expense of their food. The effect on the health of the people may be even more serious in physical suffering and deaths than the air raids themselves. If the Chancellor is not prepared to see that these poor sufferers from the war are relieved from the effects of taxation on the prices they have to pay, I hope he will postpone the tax until the spring and again consider its effects. When the tax was first mooted air raids had not begun and they were not one of the considerations taken into account. It was thought it would be easy for people to postpone their purchases and make old things last a little longer. I know it will be a cheap virtue to those who are able to do that to wear their old clothes a little longer; most of them are in that position. They have already got a decent stock of 645 clothing which does not wear out so quickly. The seats of the mighty are not so hard on clothing as the benches and planks on which workmen have to sit. Poor people have lost all their clothing, even the suit which they kept by for Sundays, and to replace it they are being asked to pay the extra demands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see that the people who have lost their goods, effects and clothing shall not suffer and that he will postpone the tax until he has reconsidered the position. Having done so, he may think it advisable to withdraw it altogether and replace it with another tax which will bear some relation to the ability of the people to pay and will not hit the poorest at the expense of the wealthy.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)
If I may, I will answer a few of the questions which have been put in the Debate. I do not want to re-open the main Debate, because there has been some skating already in that direction with regard to the virtues, or, as some think, the vices of the tax itself. The short point is whether or not the tax shall come into force next week. I think we must not lose sight of something of the wider picture, and that is that this tax is part of the heavy imposition of taxation which the country has to bear. My right hon. Friend who opened the Debate did pose the question in the most interesting light when he said that we all ought to consider what would happen if the tax were not imposed. If there was to be a rise in prices, it was, he said, much better that it should be moderate and considered in the open light of Parliament after discussion and debate rather than come to the House in an indiscriminate manner. I think we should keep that fact in mind.
§ Captain Crookshank
I was merely saying that this was an interesting line of thought which my right hon. Friend propounded and that so far as it went I thought it was an admirable line to have at the back of our minds. Most of the objections raised this morning have been on the grounds that because there has been, alas, suffering and material destruct- 646 tion as the result of recent weeks of bombing, the tax should be postponed—presumably indefinitely. The hon. Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. C. Morrison), who spoke with very great feeling in this matter, said he detected in all this the idea that we must go on with business as usual. So far as I know, that phrase has not ben used in this war in any sense in the way in which it was used in the last war, but what is certainly true is that my right hon. Friend requires money as usual, and a great deal more than usual. It is for that reason that it is necessary to have the tax in being and in working order as soon as possible.
The hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) feared that the documents, which are very clear considering the complication of the subject, were not yet in the hands of everybody concerned. I cannot say whether the documents, which were issued by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, are or not, but before they were produced at all they were subject to very long discussion of administrative details with everybody concerned, and I doubt, therefore, whether the great associations, and other associations speaking for bodies of traders, have found anything novel and surprising in them. Apart from that, steps were taken to try and get them out as quickly as possible.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Coventry (Captain Strickland) quoted from the Act and suggested that there might be the possibility of a tax being paid twice over. He suggested that there might be double tax in the following sense, that it might be collected when the manufacturer sold to the factor and then again when the factor sold to the retailer. That cannot happen, because if the factor is a wholesaler, he will be registered, and if he is registered, he will buy tax-free and charge the tax when he sells; but if he is not a wholesaler and is not registered, the tax is charged when he buys, and he does not put it on when he sells. The hon. and gallant Member, and various other hon. Members, also raised the point about the export position. I cannot take that very far this morning, but I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Mr. C. Brown) that the matter has been the subject of friendly discussion with the United States authorities and that it appears highly probable that in general 647 the Purchase Tax will be included in the value of imported goods on which the United States Customs levy ad valorem duties. We realise that that may have an effect on certain parts of the export trade, but I think it would be necessary to have some experience of the administration of the scheme as a whole before we can be in a position to find the solution to this difficult problem without endangering the revenue
The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Woods) asked me two questions which I would like to answer. He wanted to renew the old battles again, but he was not quite consistent. In the early part of his speech he was complaining about the imposition of the tax because, he said, there were no stocks of woollen underclothes in shops, and then, at the end of his speech, he said it would be very difficult in any given shop to distinguish between what had come into the shop before the tax was imposed and what had come into it afterwards. He said it would be very difficult for the shopkeeper, but either it will happen or it will not happen. If there are no stocks, the difficulty will not arise.
§ Mr. Woods
I was dealing with the statement that stocks are abundant, and my point was that in whole ranges of commodities stocks are practically depleted and that those are commodities that are vitally necessary to carry on a home. Those other stocks which remain will be the stocks I referred to about which there will be the confusion.
§ Captain Crookshank
The hon. Member made a statement which suited the particular argument which he was advancing, but it really did not fit in with the other parts of his argument. He asked another question about registration. He said some firms were both manufacturers and retailers, and he wanted to know what was their position. If the manufacturing part of the business exceeds £2,000 a year, then they are registered as manufacturers for that purpose, but that registration does not extend to the general retail side of the business. They are merely registered within the business for the manufacturing part of it. I think that was fully discussed and explained when the Bill was before us.
§ Captain Crookshank
I have elucidated it, I think, and I daresay it is still further elucidated in these documents, but I cannot read them all. The clear position is that if there is a concern which is an ordinary retail business but has a manufacturing branch and the business of that manufacturing branch exceeds £2,000 a year, then it is registered for that part of its business as a manufacturing concern. The rest of the business is unaffected; in respect of that they are merely retailers.
§ Captain Crookshank
I should not like to say offhand, but it is all laid down. I do not think any of the firms concerned have any doubt at all about it.
The hon. Member for Finsbury also asked about some large multiple stores which might not be registered under the Act. I think that perhaps he has forgotten Section 26 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, which deals with that point. There again, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am wondering how far I can go along this road, but if the hon. Member will consult that Section he will see that in the case of those exceptional businesses, the initiative rests on the Customs to approach them to register.
I have dealt now with the specific questions which I was asked, and I have only to say that my right hon. Friend has pointed out that it is desirable and essential that this tax should come into early operation. It does appear that one or two hon. Members are not sure about the adjective "desirable," but can assure them, from this side of this Box, that from the Treasury aspect it is absolutely essential that we should get all the money we can for the purposes of the war. The very fact that hon. Members have stressed the need for giving this and that assistance to bombed areas, providing compensation, and the rest, shows how wide is the field of activity in which money is 649 needed. If we are to do all those things we must get the money, and this is one of the ways in which we ask the House to help us to get the money, and as soon as possible. As my right hon. Friend has said, it may very well be the case, in fact, it is bound to be, that because the tax does not begin to operate until 21st October, we cannot hope to obtain in the first quarter to the end of this year, as much as we had originally hoped for; but that is no reason for not getting as much as we possibly can. I think that on reflection hon. Members will see that with the grave financial problems which confront the nation to-day it would be
§ unwise in the extreme to put off the coming into force of this tax to some other date, and then to some other later date still, because I have a suspicion that the arguments they have adduced to-day were, most of them, arguments which would be applicable to any time at which the suggestion was made.
That the Purchase Tax (Commencement) Order, 1940, made by the Treasury under Section eighteen of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1940, a copy of which was presented to this House on 8th October, be approved.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 138; Noes, 28.649
|Division No. 70.]||AYES.||[2.20 p.m.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Grimston, R. V.||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Apsley, Lord||Groves, T. E.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Ridley, G.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.||Robertson, D. (Streatham)|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Robertson, Rt. Hn. Sir M. A. (Mit'm.)|
|Blair, Sir R.||Hepworth, J.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmand||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Salt, E. W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Jennings, R.||Sanderson, Sir F. B|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Scott, R. D.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Latham, Sir P.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Cary, R. A.||Leach, W.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Silkin, L.|
|Channon, H.||Levy, T.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Liddall, W. S.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees (K'ly)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Llewellin, Colonel J. J.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Lloyd, G. W. (Ladywood)||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Loftus, P. C.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir W. F.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Maitland, Sir Adam||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Mander, G. le M.||Thorne, W.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Train, Sir J.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Doland, G. F.||Mayhew. Lt.-Col J.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Dorman-Smith, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir R. H.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Watkins, F. C.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Mort, D. L.||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Munro, P.||White, H. Graham|
|Fletcher. Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Navlor, T. E.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Paling, W.||Wilmot, John|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Pearson, A.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Gibbins, J.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Wootten-Davies, J. H.|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Profumo, J. D.||Wragg, H.|
|Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Pym, L. R.|
|Granville, E. L.||Radford, E. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)||Mr. James Stuart and Mr. Holdsworth.|
|Broad, F. A.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Maclean, N.|
|Chater, D.||Hardie, Agnes||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hollins, J. H. (Silvertown)||Martin, J. H.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Isaacs, G. A.||Maxton, J.|
|Daggar, G.||Key, C. W.||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lee, F.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Leonard, W.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Lipson, D. L.||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Lunn, W.|
|Gallacher, W.||McGhee, H. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. W. Green and Mr. Woods.|