§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Sir Douglas Hacking (Chorley)
On a point of Order. For the convenience of the House may I ask, Mr. Speaker, which Amendment you propose to call? I think you have an Amendment on the Order Paper and another manuscript Amendment which I handed in. I think it would be for the convenience of the House if you could say which Amendment will be called, and possibly when.
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not propose to call the Amendment in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford University (Petty Officer Alan Herbert):
[That this House, though willing to welcome any necessary, practical and comprehensive measures for the welfare of workers and the efficiency of industry, and eager to see the catering trades in a fit condition to employ and entertain more persons after the war, declines to give a Second Reading to a piecemeal and half-hearted measure offering no new conditions to workers, no new attractions to tourists and no proposals for the amendment of the licensing laws, which are a unique burden upon the industries concerned and prime obstacles to progress.]
The right hon. Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking) has handed in another Amendment, which seems to have substantial backing, and I propose to call it.
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I have noted that this Bill seems to have caused on its way to this stage some amount of excitement. I think I shall be able to show in the course of my statement that this Bill does not, in the party sense—although it may in the trade sense, or the sectional interests sense—raise matters of controversy at all. I do not claim this Bill as either a Labour or a Socialist Measure. I claim that it is merely a development of a policy that has been followed in this House for over 50 years. It is over 50 years ago that the first step was taken by this House of Commons to support the principle of collective bargaining and collective 1197 regulation. It was a timorous step; but the House of Commons at that time carried the first Fair Wages Clause, which imposed upon public authorities and the Government the duty of supporting organised trades in the maintenance of the standards which they had built up. The House of Commons, under the Liberal Government of 1909, amended that Clause, and strengthened it; and in the same year my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister introduced one of the most beneficent Measures, which had for its object the wiping-out of a great blot on British industry—namely, the sweated trades. This Measure was the Trade Boards Bill. It is true that that Bill was largely limited to the worst type of trades.
I have read that Debate of 1909 with very great care; I wish the opponents of this Bill had read it. All the dismal prophecies made in that Debate—that the regulation of industry by means of legal regulation and by minimum conditions would ruin industries—have been absolutely falsified by events. In the historical development of those trades, every one that was brought under the Trade Boards Act became, in fact, prosperous, and became organised. Not only did the Act wipe out a blot on English industrial history; it went further, and promoted industrial organisation. Many of the trades which started with trade boards, like the tailoring trade, developed joint representation with this legal backing, until to-day they find an honourable place both in our industrial development and in our export trade.
This whole problem was reviewed in 1917 and 1918 by a Committee appointed by this House and by the Government of the day, and presided over by Mr. Whitley. The Whitley Committee, consisting of representatives of all phases of industrial life and organisations, went into the problem very carefully; and it would be well, I think, to call attention to one or two essential features of their Report. Here is one very vital paragraph in their Report, which changed the course of industrial relations, and which I assert, as a result of that change, gave us joint machinery, which has been invaluable in the conduct of this great war:It may be desirable to state here our considered opinion that an essential condition of securing a permanent improvement in the relations between employers and employed is that there should be adequate organisation on the part of both employers and workpeople.1198 I emphasise that, because it is one of the bases of my action now. Organisation to some extent in this industry exists on one side, and not on the other. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] I will explain why in a moment.The proposals outlined for joint co-operation throughout the several industries depend for their ultimate success on there being such organisation on both sides, and such organisation is necessary also to provide means whereby the arrangements and agreements made for the industry may be effectively carried out.The second part of their recommendations is complementary. They recognise that where large numbers of people were unorganised, for instance where there were large numbers of women employed, there should be some added power of protection and regulation. They moved away entirely in their recommendations from the concept of a sweated trade. May I say in passing that I do not intend in this Debate to begin hurling charges about sweating, and all the rest of it? I stand on a much higher principle in the approach to this problem. The Committee's recommendation was that the trade boards should have power, in addition to determining minimum rates of wages, to deal with hours of labour and questions cognate to wages and hours. Note thatThe trade boards shall have power to initiate inquiries and make proposals to the Department concerned on matters affecting the industrial conditions of the trade as well as on conditions of general interest to the industries concerned respectively.In 1918 the Government of the day brought a Bill before Parliament which to some extent harked back to 1909 and did not give full effect to the recommendations I have just read. It was this House of Commons, by an Amendment—[Interruption]—not the same House, I admit; but I hope that the present House has as high traditions and as much regard to the people who need protection as that House did in 1918—which lifted the matter above the mere question of sweated conditions and insisted that the paramount and overriding consideration was whether there was regulation in the industry. It is significant too, in regard to the 1909 Act and the 1918 Act, that both Bills were carried without a Division. I hope that we shall not do worse to-day. Only one similarity existed between the two situations. The then opponents of regulation said, as they say now, that the introduce- 1199 tion of this beneficent legislation in 1918 was a contravention of a Government guarantee not to introduce controversial legislation during the war. I was particularly interested as to the argument that was advanced. Notwithstanding that, the House of Commons carried it without a Division.
Now what followed? Fourteen trades boards were established in 1919, and 52 are in existence at the present time. There were only seven in existence prior to 1918. Only in two cases has there been any public inquiry at all, and this is very important, having regard to the Government's attitude to-day. Seventy-seven joint industrial councils now exist which were established following the first part of the Whitley Report, and even in that period it will be remembered by the House of Commons that under the Corn Production Act you adopted a wages board for agriculture. Then you dropped it, but it had to be brought back. In this war, I am happy to say, the procedure for regulation in agriculture has been improved with the consent of everybody.
Has there been a more costly and bitter struggle—unwisely I think—than there has been in the mining industry? To-day, as the result of the action of this Government in sticking to the Whitley Report and pursuing it, we are on the eve of a final solution of a national board for the mining industry, not for the war, but permanently, which, in my opinion, will not only carry us through the war but will see us through the transition and into a peaceful development of that great industry. I mention this because it has been suggested that we have singled out the catering industry. We have done nothing of the kind. Since I have been in office I have helped to promote 24 joint industrial councils. I tackled, immediately I took office, the question of the great distributive trades, a question as complex as this one, and as a result of endeavour, six J.I.C.s have been established and are working for the distributive trades at the present moment. Therefore, when I am charged and the Government are charged with breaking a pledge I assert, without fear of contradiction, that this is not only a non-party business—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] All I say is that if Members of the Conservative Party now want to saddle the refusal of the regulation of minimum conditions on that party— 1200 [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."]—I have so long dealt with employers of labour, many of whom sit behind me on these benches to-day, that I know it is not true of you. I know it is not true. You would not interrupt me and assert that in any negotiating conference room in this country. I have had over 30 years' experience in sitting at the table dealing with employers up and down this country, and I know them better than that. I have been asked over and over again if I would approach successive Governments to ask for a regulation in order to strengthen them. What for? To protect the good employer, to protect the man who wants to give good conditions against the man who wants to cut him out by unfair competition. Therefore, I assert that the Government are not introducing party controversy but are carrying out a continuity of policy which has been continued by successive Governments in this House for many years.
In this trade there is a large proportion of women employed. I say, with a long experience, that with regard to women passing through industry into marriage, and when there is constant change, one of the great difficulties is that of organisation and protection for them. That is not a reflection upon them. There is not the continuity in industry with regard to women to the same extent as with regard to men.
I have been asked, Why do you need the Bill now? First, I need it for war. As a result of an Order for which my Ministry was responsible I have increased canteens from just over a few hundreds to 8,000. The few people who represent hotels really do not represent the catering industry; it is a far wider thing than that, as I shall show. At present I propose to call up women up to 40. I regard the maintenance of this catering service—I prefer to call it a service rather than an industry—as being so important that it is imperative that I should leave to the catering industry, possibly under an Essential Work Order or some other means, a sufficient staff to maintain it in the interests of public morale and in the interests of the well-being of the community. But I have no basis to work upon at all and one of the first things that we shall want considered is not merely the long-term, arrangements, but some interim arrangements which will enable me to 1201 operate the other Orders on a satisfactory basis.
Then I need it for the transition period, and the transition period is going to be one of the most difficult that this country has ever faced. I have been quite a good fellow, I have found, in transferring people at the rate for the job, away from their jobs to other industries. Does this Service imagine for one moment, however, that without the women knowing what they are to be paid and without being organised in industry during this war they are going to get the best class possible coming back to it? Will there not have to be some protection, some advice and some help to rehabilitate this Service at the end of the war? Let me say this—and I have tried to study this question deeply—that our people have had no holiday, no rest, no recuperation since the war broke out; they have had winters of blackout one after another, and, if I read the people of Britain aright, when the whistle blows the first thing they will want will be a holiday. I am ready to co-operate with all these great services to try to find facilities so that it can be a health-giving holiday and in order that our people may have a chance.
But I need the Bill also for the post-war period. I have said before in this House that I am one of those who do not separate pre-war, war and post-war, as if they were three separate states of existence. One is an intensification of another; what you do in one has a great effect on the other, and I cannot separate the progression of this business into three separate categories. It must be progressive. Let me say too that I do not regard this catering service as purely commercial. A large part of it must, inevitably, be a social service as well. It has a great bearing on the provisions that have to be made to cope with the problem of organised leisure, and organised leisure, properly used, can contribute in a considerable measure to the volume of employment in the country. Holidays do not mean a waste of effort. I think my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister would agree with me that one of the great assets in this war has been the inventive genius that has been developed as a result of shorter working hours and the development of the leisure industries, which in the matter of radio-location, and in many other ways, have put us right in the fore- 1202 front in this war. Holidays can be made complementary with employment, as well as providing leisure for the producer. New measures as to leisure and as to spending it will have to be studied now, and I want them to be studied before the problem is dumped upon us and we are found not ready to deal with it. I think I have made it clear that I want this Bill for the war, for the transition period and for the post-war period.
Now may I turn to earlier efforts to regulate this industry? In 1924, in accordance with the spirit of the Bill of 1918, an attempt was made to regulate this industry. It failed. The Labour Government went out of office, and the proposal was dropped. A second attempt was made in 1930. I have been asked, "Why do you not rely on the trade board procedure?" I have been rather amused by that question, because, in 1930 all that procedure was carried out and the Department was taken to the courts to fight it, and in the end the thing was again dropped. But I thought it desirable, in order to be quite fair to those who opposed the 1930 proposals, to read carefully all that was said in the, court, and all of the claim that was made then by the opponents of this effort. The principal point, the principal claim that was submitted was one of scope, and the great argument before the court: turned on that issue. This is what was said by the opponents—the same people who are opposing the proposal to-day: "You cannot make a trade board for the whole industry. There are so many various sections and functions and such diversity that any attempt to establish one trade board for the whole industry will be wrong."
That was the argument. Very good. I have accepted that and have tried to meet that. There is a great deal in it. I am always willing to study what my opponents have to say. I have always had to do that. Therefore I thought, and the Government thought, that the basis had better be changed and instead of the Minister deciding, then waiting for objections and then having inquiries, we would in this Bill appoint a Commission—an independent Commission [HON. MEMBERS "Oh."] It comes ill from hon. Members in this House to sneer at that. You have trusted me since 1940 with powers and have never questioned my exercise of them. If you have never questioned me in ordering millions of 1203 people about the country, why do you question my integrity in appointing a Commission now for this purpose? Am I good only for one purpose, and not for another?
§ Mr. Bevin
I have been dealing with Departments for 35 years, treating every Government alike, as a trade union leader, and I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that in my long experience of Departments I have never found a Minister depart from impartiality in dealing with problems like this—never. Let me pay that tribute to them. Therefore I decided that this avoided all investigation by officials, that it avoided all the bureaucracy that was complained of and that led us as a Government to the next step. What were to be the functions of the Commission? Now the Government take the view unanimously, as a fixed policy, that it is our duty to encourage in every way we can self-government in industry wherever we can, but where we cannot, not to leave these people, unprotected.
§ Mr. Bevin
I say, not to leave them unprotected and without an opportunity of properly dealing with their conditions. Therefore the first duty is to ascertain how far wages regulation by joint agreements exists, and, believe me, they do exist. They exist even in this industry. [HON. MEMBERS: "Of course they do."] In some cases they existed, I found out, on one side, but I am referring to joint agreements. The first thing then is to ascertain what machinery exists. Secondly, they have to find out, where there is imperfect machinery, how it can be perfected. If they make a recommendation, the Minister adopts it and tries to carry out their recommendation, but if their recommendation is not successful, he can refer the matter back again for further inquiry. We desire that this Commission should be a long-term body in touch with the whole industry and 1204 enabled to make recommendations on matters affecting the good of the industry, including the welfare of the people employed in it. This can be done at the request of the industry itself or of the Government, quite apart from wages or conditions.
The procedure, I think, is most cautious. The first thing the Commission have to do—and I must confess that I have some sympathy with the Amendment that is not to be called—before recommending a wages board is to make an investigation, and they must publish notice of their intention. Then they must consider the representations made by all interested parties and must make the further inquiries which they consider necessary following such representations. It has been said that this is a hole-and-corner Commission, and I think I ought to explain what the procedure is to be. Powers exist, as will be seen in the Bill, for the Commission to decide their own procedure. In that I have followed precisely the procedure laid down under the national arbitration machinery. There is the same kind of Clause. One of the striking things about the proceedings of the National Arbitration Tribunal and the Industrial Court, both of which have power to hear in public if they so desire, is that in 999 cases out of 1,000 all parties prefer, when coming Jo grips with the problem, that the proceedings should be in private. That has been the historical experience for many years. I have taken part in a few public inquiries; the great docks inquiry in public was enough. Nobody asked for such a thing again. Even the railways agreed that their business should be carried on in private. I have learned from long experience that if you are trying to develop a-service and build up mutual relationship, the less playing to the gallery there is the better for all concerned. Therefore, I have left it entirely to the Commission. Who can complain of procedure of that kind? The same thing applies to the wages board machinery.
From a study of the development of this industry I have been impressed with its very wide range. Seasonal conditions probably require different treatment from the luxury hotels or public houses or tea shops, and the Commission can hear and discuss the views of all sections and can adapt the machinery to the requirements of the different sections of the trade. The 1205 Bill also provides for a variety of forms of wage agreements and conditions to be devised and enables the industry to co-ordinate recommendations on a wide range of subjects. That brings me to the problem of training. A restudy and a redevelopment of training are needed because of the opportunities offered for employment, bearing in mind our industrial and food position after the war. Who can say to young men or young women, "Come in and go in for training" when one does not know how much he or she will receive? There may be tips, 10s. or 11s. a week, floor money or a percentage on sales. An hon. Member of this House, when looking ahead for his boy or girl at some profession or service, will ask, "What are the chances?" How can this be done unless there is some sort of standard? I believe there is a great opening for people in the catering industry, because communal feeding will be one of the great services for the people of this country in the future.
May I turn to another important problem? The Commission and wages boards can look at the question of accommodation. I said that I would throw no mud, and I will not, but I have been in this business. I helped to build one of the greatest tourist organisations in this country—the Workers' Travel Association—and I have seen this thing from the inside. I believe that it is the duty of the local authorities or the industry, particularly where seasonal trade is concerned, by pooling, to provide proper accommodation for the staffs that help the industry through the season. Why should a person have to be crowded into uncomfortable surroundings? To a large extent my sympathy is with the people who are pressed on both sides—to find accommodation for the visitor and to find accommodation for the staff. This question must be reduced to a scientific form of welfare. Another thing I am keen about and which I shall ask the Commission to deal with is that I object to people from other countries coming here and taking our men's jobs. It will be wise to have a properly built-up organisation in this country, and I know it can be done. I have talked to Swiss people about this They are among the best hoteliers in the world, and they would be perfectly willing to enter into a proper reciprocal arrangement. Why should not this matter be organised on a proper footing 1206 in both countries? They have something to learn from us. They may even learn to read our French menus. I am anxious that both welfare and training should be lifted on to a higher plane.
In the Services we have had amazing success. In the Army alone we have over 100,000 men and women trained in catering. We are indebted to the late Member for Harrow (Sir Isidore Salmon) for laying the foundations. I think he did magnificent work. It would be worth the while of hon. Members to see the school which was redeveloped on his advice. There are other schools about the country, many of which will not be wanted for war purposes at the end of the war. But I do not want to see them thrown away. The equipment is there, everything is there.
I have talked to many of these men in the Services, and they are looking forward to coming back and finding an opportunity in this trade which they have learned in the Services, as indeed they are in other trades. We are indebted to the London County Council for its magnificent school at Vincent Square. Many of the leading caterers in the country have had their training there. I want to see that developed and supported in many ways. I do not want to see this training connected up with the relief of unemployment. I want to see it built up as a business and a profession, and not a relief from something. No one knows better than my predecessor what great difficulty there was in selection when it was purely a question of relief from unemployment. That is not the way to train people; you do not get the right temperament, and you do not get the right people in that way, and very often in the end you get disappointment.
Let me deal now with the scope of the Bill. Within the scope of the Bill we have included all forms of employment associated with catering and lodging in so far as they are distinguishable. One complaint in the case put before the court was that we had left lodging out of the scope originally. In this case I have met the point by putting it in, so that at least I have removed the argument that was before the court on that occasion. We have aimed at a simple definition in general terms, and we are leaving it to the Commission and the wages boards to work it out precisely. We have included non-profit making voluntary organisations 1207 as well as businesses, so that whether it be a club or a voluntary organisation, or whatever it may be, it will not be taken out of the wage levels. Let all the other things operate for their mutual benefit, but maintain the wage levels. I thought that by this step I would remove a grievance between club and pub that has gone on for so long, as far as wages are concerned. Therefore, wherever the people are working they will be given a right to properly regulated conditions. That is the basis of the Bill.
If I may refer to the Clauses, Clause I deals with the Commission and its scope, and the first Schedule deals with the Commission in detail. It is proposed that this Commission should be composed of independent and impartial persons, persons who, I believe, can make to the Minister a proper report. There will be no civil servant on it. I hope that is a complete answer to all that has been said in the Press about the Commission. They will be people, with experience of joint industrial bodies, and so on, who will be selected because of their ability, as the Government usually select people for Commissions. There may be a Scotsman upon it—I do not know, but I was publicly asked that question.
Clause 2 sets out the general functions of the Commission. Clause 3 sets out the particular functions of the Commission as regards the wage regulation machinery that is agreed upon. Clause 4 deals with recommendations for wages boards and makes adequate provision for inquiry and representation. Clause 5 gives the Commission power to recommend a variation or abolition of a wages board. I would like to dwell on that for a moment. If you start off with a wages board and it develops into a self-governing section of the trade quite satisfactorily, it is open for the section to come back and ask for the legal machinery to be taken away. It all depends upon whether the agreements can be enforced by the parties or not.
With regard to Clause 6, I have noted in one newspaper that I am supposed, under this Clause, to be taking control even of the menu—of everything. It is surprising how ludicrous some of these people can become. I really cannot understand why they write—I was going to descend to a word that I used outside, 1208 but I leave the House to guess it. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is on the menu."] I do sometimes go to the House of Commons dining room and ask the waiter for a political lunch; he always knows what I want. Under Clause 6 I have tried to incorporate in two words all the recommendations that were issued by the Government in 1917. The document in question is H.Q.7A, and I would be quite willing to circulate it. In that document there were model suggestions as to the constitution and functions of joint industrial councils and machinery. In the Bill I had to find a short term, so I used the words "efficiency and development" of the industry. Does anybody seriously object to a wages board being able to discuss matters affecting mutual interest, the efficiency of their own services, their improvement, and the enhancement of the position of the industry? That is one of the fundamental things in the joint machinery to be found in nearly every joint industrial council in the country. I have expressed it as shortly as I could. I am not interfering with management—if that is what has worried people—or anything of that kind. A wages board can make joint representations on matters which they regard as contributing to the end in view.
Clause 7 deals with the functions of the wages boards. They have to fix remuneration, meals and rest intervals We regard this as vital. Any of us who have been knocking about hotels for the last 30 years must have been a little conscience-stricken when the girl who comes with breakfast is the same girl as has been waiting on one all hours of the night. The unorganised arrangements for rest periods in that industry are not good, and I do not believe anybody in the trade can really defend them. All of us are conscious of this. As to holidays, that is a principle generally accepted by the House; and in the same way, notice has to be given and representations to be made, which is in keeping with the trade board machinery.
In Clause 9 we have tried to get over some very vexed problems. One of them is payment in kind. We have left it to the boards to fix the wages and what may be the balance in kind, but they can also say what the kind is to be. This business of paying wages in food or lodging, when the food and lodging may 1209 be anything, is not fair. This is one of the worst forms of competition between the good and the bad employer. In order that the value may be laid down, the boards will have power to deal with this. They will also deal with the question of tips. I hate tips. But it is no good flying in the face of it. The Board will have power to deal with it, argue it out and make recommendations. It will probably differ in different branches of the trade. But there must be a wage. As to how that wage is made up, the Board will say, but there must be a wage at the end of the week. That, I think, is fundamental. In Clause 16 the Bill applies to civilian employees of the Crown as it applies to other workers, so that it is an all-round Bill.
I should like to make a few references to the industry itself. I claim that the catering industry is dependent upon the productive industries for its success. The prosperity of this great trade depends upon the ability of science, management and workers to improve the standard of living generally of the general community. That is where it must find its force and support. Large sums of money will be spent on organised leisure—hundreds of millions a year—and I think that industry, which has to provide that money in the first instance, is entitled to an adequate return from these great services. The Government take the view that a good wage structure is a spur to efficiency, and I believe every man in business will accept that, especially if it is a good wage structure. A good organised wage structure does another thing which makes some return in its demand of other industries. There may be a demand for all kinds of light products and labour-saving machinery of one kind or another, and I hope it will come soon. If there is one service where the drudgery ought to be wiped out, it is this. In some places conditions are not good. No one can defend them. I want to see development which will attract enterprise and opportunity and capital, for I believe there is a great opportunity awaiting it in this direction. No one could make a better Conservative speech than that.
Then again I think we ought to have a better return in the health of the people. I propose concurrently with wages development to ask the Commission to study several other problems. I believe it can help in the rehabilitation of the industry 1210 quickly at the end of the war. I believe it can help by collecting information and knowledge as to lines of development. I believe it can help in the question of priority, and I further believe it can help in a very vexed problem which has baffled us all up to now and on which we must get put right, and that is the staggering of holidays. We cannot get this catering service right, particularly in seaside and holiday centres, unless we solve the problem of the staggering of holidays. That brings in a study of university procedure. It has nothing to do with trade at all. The universities will have to adapt themselves. We cannot have all the examinations in June. If we can get a review of the problem by the Commission, I believe it will help the industry considerably.
Fun has been made in part of the Press of references to tourist traffic. Britain has something to sell. She is war-scarred. None of us can meet people from overseas without recognising that the ordinary British folk are people they want to meet. They want to see the people who stood up to it. Why should they not? I believe there is a magnet of attraction in the country, but it has to be organised, facilities have to be developed, and who knows how much it can contribute to peace if others know us better than they now do? Who knows what the potentiality of it all is? To me it is not a joke but an opportunity which should be developed to the full. The Government have looked at this business as they are looking at every other business. Whatever one's views about social security may be, man cannot live by Beveridge alone. But I will leave that for another time.
There were about 500,000 employed in this service before the war. You cannot solve mass unemployment by any panacea. You have to look over the whole field and see where you can create opportunities. In the study of this problem we have been looking over the field, and we believe we can double, if not treble, pre-war possibilities of employment. Is that a thing to reject on the narrow footing that you do not like wage regulation? I appeal to the House to take a bigger view and recognise that it is not the idiosyncrasy, the mulishness or the stupidity of the Minister of Labour that is responsible for this. It is a Bill small in character, but great in potentialities, 1211 backed by the united decision of the National Cabinet.
§ Sir Douglas Hacking (Chorley)
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add:this House, whilst willing to support any measure necessary for the prosecution of the war and to give favourable consideration to any other measures which after impartial examination have won a general measure of agreement, cannot approve a Bill which, as a whole, fulfils neither of these requirements and so involves a breach of the undertaking given to this House on 12th November, 1942, regarding the introduction of controversial legislation.If ever I have had any doubt about the justice of moving this Amendment, my doubt has been completely set at rest by the speech that has just been delivered. I am engaged in a distasteful task, distasteful because I realise that I am in opposition to many of my hon. and right hon. Friends with whom I have worked and whom I hope I have assisted in days past, but I feel it my duty not only to my own conscience but to the House that I should take up this attitude and come out into the field of controversy. The Prime Minister once spoke of the corrective value of a growl from the Tory benches. I would point out that there is frequently something that follows a growl, and sometimes it is the attacker who gets off better than the attacked. I should like at the first opportunity to make it clear that this is a domestic issue, and it certainly does not affect in the slightest my determination, and I believe that of my hon. Friends who are supporting me, one iota to give every support I can to the Government in their desire and their work connected with bringing the war to a successful conclusion. I was glad to hear the Minister say he was not going to talk about sweated conditions. I take it that by that he means that he does not attempt to assert sweated conditions exist in these industries. That, I think, is an answer to the right hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), who unfortunately asked a question on Thursday. [Interruption.] I should certainly desire to have an inquiry before I made an assertion of that kind.
What, then, is the nature of our opposition? Shortly, it is based on a matter 1212 of principle. The difference between the right hon. Gentleman's views, political views if you like, and those of my friends and myself is that he would desire to interfere with private enterprise in any circumstances, while I would say you should never interfere with private enterprise until you have proved that it is not doing its job. Once it was proved after an impartial inquiry that this industry was working under bad conditions, I say without any hesitation—and here again I am speaking for my friends—that we would withdraw our opposition to any Bill which would put matters right. There has been a great deal of secrecy and haste in connection with the introduction of this Bill. The trade was told last September that it had to accept the provisions of the Bill.
§ Sir D. Hacking
The trade which the right hon. Gentleman is dealing with. The right hon. Gentleman sent for members of the trade whom he obviously thought were concerned with this Bill and told them in September that they would, generally speaking, have to accept its provisions.
§ Viscountess Astor
I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman means by "the trade." There are the catering trade, the drink trade and all sorts of trades. Which of these trades is the right hon. Gentleman referring to?
§ Sir D. Hacking
The catering trades were sent for by the Minister. He was the judge as to whom he should invite, and he invited representatives of the catering trade. I do not know who was there, but that was at the discretion of the Minister. He told them they would have to accept the terms of the Bill. No one else had to know. Everything had to be done in secrecy. I would like to know why the Bill was not advertised in the King's Speech. It was decided upon a long time before anyone thought what should be contained in that Speech. Why was a public investigation refused? I pressed for a public investigation months ago. It could have been over by this time. Why was a Select Committee refused? Why has there been so much hurry to bring on the Second Reading, and why has so little time been given for its discussion? I read last night in 1213 the "Star," a paper which does not generally support my views:This is part of a bold measure of post-war reconstruction likely to affect the lives of every man, woman and child in the country.Yet on the Second Reading of a Measure which concerns the lives of every man, woman and child in this country the Government are allowing us about 3½ hours apart from the speeches which will be made by Ministers. All this secrecy, all this haste point only to one thing—the Minister is afraid of public opinion.
§ Sir Frank Sanderson (Ealing)
Has my right hon. Friend read what the "Financial News" says this morning, that this is the development of a great new industry?
§ Sir D. Hacking
There is no necessity for me to take the "Financial News." The Minister of Labour has told us that he has not any up-to-date statistics regarding wage conditions. We who are opposed to the Bill do not profess to know what the conditions are in this great and complicated industry. The Minister quoted something from Sir Arthur Colefax's Report made in 1931, but he did not say that Sir Arthur Colefax stated that, generally speaking, the conditions in the industry were satisfactory. I maintain that since that time there have been great improvements in the industry and that if the impartial investigator in 1931 said that conditions were then, generally speaking, good, they are better now. At any rate it is worth while having an inquiry before we castigate this industry for not doing its job.
I turn to the Bill. Powers are placed in the hands of one man not only to control and regulate wages, but also, in accordance with the Title of the Bill, tomake provision for regulating the…efficiency and development of the industries in whichthe workers are employed.
§ Sir D. Hacking
It is not necessary to do these things unless you know it is necessary. The right hon. Gentleman will interfere with private enterprise. It is one of his principles to do so, but it is not ours. It is not our principle to interfere with private enterprise unless we know it is necessary.
§ Viscountess Astor
Does not the right hon. Gentleman remember that in 1920 we found that in the catering trade girls were working for 10 and 12 hours a day for 5s. a week and that even then there was opposition against looking into it? You have to interfere with private enterprise when it is unorganised and sweating.
§ Sir D. Hacking
My noble Friend has made use of the word "sweating." She has no right to use that word. The Minister himself does not say that this is a sweated industry, and he knows more about it even than the noble Lady. Powers are taken in the Bill outside the questions of wages and conditions of employment. The Minister has said that he is not going to interfere with the management. How do we know he is not? How do we know that his successor will not interfere with management? We do know that within the terms of the Bill the Minister is empowered to interfere, and that is what we object to.
There was one interesting omission from the Minister's speech. He never told us what support he had had from either employers or employees in this great industry. We all know what the employers think about it, and there is no reason why they should not express their views. What about the employees? My name has been closely associated with this Bill and this opposition for the last few months. My name has appeared not only in the newspapers but in all the trade papers which go to hotels, boarding houses and lodging houses. I have, however, up to yesterday morning had only one letter of protest saying that I was doing the wrong thing. By this morning I am sorry to have to tell the House that that number has been increased by 100 per cent., and I have received a second appeal against the Bill. [Interruption.] I am glad to have these interruptions, because they show that the matter is controversial. The more interruptions I can have, the more I shall like it, but unfortunately they occupy time.
§ Mr. Mathers (Linlithgow)
Can we be told the number of letters the right hon. Gentleman has had supporting his attitude?
§ Sir D. Hacking
If the hon. Gentleman means from employees, the absence of letters proves that they are not interested in this. I can say that I have had as 1215 many letters from employees in support of my action as I have had from those opposing it. That is surely proof that they are not interested in the Bill. They are happy to be as they are.
The Minister says that he will make inquiry and that the method of inquiry is incorporated in the Bill. What is that inquiry? Is it impartial? Each individual member of the Commission which is to be set up will be appointed by the right hon. Gentleman. He pays every member either by fees or by salary. When a Report is issued by the Commission, or the wages board it goes to the Minister. If he does not like the recommendation, he sends it back to the Commission or to the wages board. In fact the whole power is left in the hands of the Minister. Some people say that there as safeguards in the Bill. I say that the Minister has autocratic power and that we are provided with what are in no sense safeguards. The Minister sets up the Commission without reference to Parliament. He does not even submit the names of the members in the form of an Order so that if necessary we can turn it down. The Commission recommends to the Minister a wages board by means of an Order. The Commission asks the Minister whether he will set up a wages board in any section of the industry. If he agrees, an Order is issued, and that Order or any variation of it has to be laid on the Table of the House. No other Orders are laid in connection with this Bill. What really is the value of laying Orders on the Table? I have here a list of Orders which are required by Statute to be laid on the Table for an appointed number of days which are still unexpired. There are 150 of them. That is not really very much of a safeguard. The laying of this Order affects only Clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill. There are no other Orders which have to be laid on the Table. Parliament has no control over any Orders that are made, not even on wages regulation Orders. Clause 7, Sub-section (4), of the Bill says:On receiving any wages regulation proposals, the Minister shall make an order (hereafter in this Act referred to as a 'wages regulation order') giving effect to the proposals as from such date as may be specified in the order.In Clause 15 we see that the only Orders which the Minister has to lay on the Table are those in connection with Clauses 4 1216 and 5. Apart from those, the House loses complete control immediately the Bill is passed. I have been led astray by the House so much already that I have taken up more time than I anticipated. I will, therefore, pass over the question of who are included in the Bill. It is clear to my reading that every undertaking, including an ordinary domestic establishment, is included in the terms of the Bill. I am certain that my house will be included.
§ Sir D. Hacking
The right hon. Gentleman may say that it is not so, but I will read the Bill and let others say whether I am right. Those who are to be included in the operations of the Bill are:All those employed in any undertaking or part of an undertaking which consists wholly or mainly in the carrying on (whether for profit or not)…of the provision of living accommodation for guests or lodgers.A great deal depends upon the definition of "undertaking." There is a Clause dealing with definition which reads:In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the expression 'undertaking' includes any business, whether carried on by way of trade or not, and the activities of any body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporated.I maintain that if I have in my house paying guests, my wife and I are a body corporate or unincorporate, and that it is possible for an interpretation to be placed on this Measure which would make domestic houses come under its provision; but I understand that that position is going to be clarified, because an hon. Member has put down an Amendment to bring in private households, and then there will be an opportunity definitely to clear up the matter.
Then there is the inspectorate. This inspectorate will be intolerable. [Laughter.] It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen to laugh. If they were connected with an important industry, to which tribute has been paid by the right hon. Gentleman, they would get a little tired of regulations and inspectors. Unless the necessity is proved, we have no right to add to the difficulties under which they work. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House suggested that we should amend the Bill in Committee. If we had to amend it so as to give some of us satisfaction, there would be nothing left of its structure. Even the Short Title 1217 is a little misleading. I maintain that it is better to scrap this monster of bureaucratic autocracy and bring in something that is more reasonable.
What did the Minister say in introducing the Measure? He brushed aside the argument that the Bill is controversial by saying, "I do not consider it is controversial in the party sense." "He" does not consider this is controversial. This pledge to the House, however we interpret it, was given by the Leader of the House, and I believe that it is the duty of the Leader of the House, if this pledge is disputed, to give his explanation. If the right hon. Gentleman is going to take over the duties of Leader of the House, why should he not answer for the Secretary of State for War and for other Government Departments? We look to the Leader of the House to satisfy us in regard to a pledge that was given by the Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman, I was glad to hear, advocated the Trade Boards Act. He wishes his opponents had read the Trade Boards Act. I have, and one of its provisions is that it gives an impartial and public inquiry, which is not provided for in this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not in every case."] Not if there is agreement, but if either the employers or the employees object, there is to be a public and impartial inquiry.
§ Sir D. Hacking
The point is that there is an inquiry. In order to justify this Bill, the right hon. Gentleman commends other Acts of Parliament; most of his speech was referring to other Acts of Parliament, but we are dealing with this Bill and not with past Acts of Parliament. He also applauded the joint industrial councils. He must know that already application has been made from sections of the catering industry for inclusion under the Trade Boards Act. Why has he not approved of it?
§ Mr. Bevin
I should like to know which section of the catering trade ever asked me to include it under the Trade Boards Act. I do not remember that.
§ Sir D. Hacking
The right hon. Gentleman probably knows that a section of the catering industry which has a joint industrial council has made application—
§ Sir D. Hacking
To come under the Trade Boards Act. The right hon. Gentleman is probably playing with words. May I ask whether he has received an application from sections of the catering trade which has been refused by him or postponed by him?
§ Mr. Bevin
I should like to help my right hon. Friend. I had an application from a small section of the catering trade to have their people tied under the Essential Work Order, but not under the Trade Boards Act.
§ Sir D. Hacking
The right hon. Gentleman made a great point about the Essential Work Order. He said that he must have these joint industrial councils and these organisations before he could direct anybody under the Essential Work Order, and then when somebody makes application to come into an organisation such as he desires, in order to give him the opportunity of knowing the wages in the industry, he refuses to consider it.
§ Sir D. Hacking
I said the catering industry. It is concerned with canteens, I turn now to the Amendment. We promise in that Amendment to give support to any measures which are necessary for the prosecution of the war. Will this Bill shorten the war by one day? My opinion is that it will not shorten the war. The right hon. Gentleman says that it will, that he must have the Bill for war purposes. If the Prime Minister will tell us that he wishes to have this Bill in order to help him to win this war we will let him have it, providing it is for the period of the war only. The right hon. Gentleman knows he can have it for the period of the war, but that does not satisfy him. In the meantime, an important inquiry could be held which would help the House to come to a decision regarding post-war reconstruction. There is no hurry for this Measure so far as after the war is concerned. By means of an inquiry we might arrive at a general measure of agreement which would enable us to accept legislation for the post-war period. Surely that is a reasonable attitude. If this Bill is urgent for war purposes, powers will be granted at once. Otherwise, let us examine the facts before making a permanent and a revolutionary 1219 change. Our proposals are not only reasonable but in accordance with the pledge given to this House. What is the true version of this pledge? On 12th November the Leader of the House said that private Members' Bills might arouse acute political controversy and that he could not even allow special days to be set aside for private Members' Business in addition to the days in which we normally sit. The reason, he said, was the controversy that might be aroused. May I quote from the statement made by the present Minister of Aircraft Production:It has been suggested in some quarters that possibly a special day might be set aside for Private Members' Business in addition to the days on which we sit. This matter has already received the careful consideration of the Government, but they see great difficulties in any such arrangement. First, there is the difficulty of the subject matter raising controversial issues of a kind which might divide the unity of the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1942; col. 63, Vol. 385.]On 12th November it was a bad thing to divide the unity of the House, but today it is in order for the Government to bring forward a Bill which does definitely divide the unity of the House, not only divides that unity so far as parties are concerned, but divides the unity of one party in this House. We private Members gave up our right to introduce controversial legislation on the clear understanding that the Government would do likewise. On 12th November the Government asked for the unity of the House. Now they apparently claim complete freedom to introduce legislation which they know, and have known for a long time, would definitely cause disunity. It has been said that the Government have a right to decide what is controversial. Let me quote once more. When the Leader of the House was dealing with Bills which were not connected with the effective prosecution of the war, he said:It must be for the Government to decide…whether it is a Measure which in the belief of the Government it is necessary to bring before the House because there is that general measure of agreement on which action can satisfactorily be based."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1942; col. 83, Vol. 385.]The measure of agreement must come first. Then it can be followed by legislation, but there is no general agreement here.
§ Sir D. Hacking
We are not dealing with the Beveridge Report but with this Bill. Perhaps the hon. Member is a little ahead of the time. I do not think that Bill has yet been printed. I ask with sincerity, Did the Government believe that this Bill was necessary because there was a general measure of agreement? That is the pledge The Government knew in fact that 200 Members were opposed to the introduction of this Bill in the absence of prior inquiry, and in those circumstances could not possibly believe that there was a general measure of agreement. Consequently they had no right to introduce the Bill without first submitting the proposal to an impartial investigation and by so doing trying to obtain a measure of agreement. Do the Government seriously believe that they would have got that Motion to take away the time of private Members had it been known that this House was to have no say whatsoever in what was or was not controversial? Let them make it plain next time that the Government are to be the sole judges and that the House is to be completely impotent, and I say without the slightest hesitation that our rights will not be given up quite so readily again. I say deliberately that the Government, at the dictation of one man, have broken faith with the House.
I am surprised and I am shocked at the weakness in this matter of certain of my colleagues in the Government. With confidence, I invite all those who believe in the sanctity of an undertaking and who abbor the breaking of a solemn pledge to accompany me into the Division Lobby on this occasion.
§ Mr. Montague (Islington, West)
The Bill has the unanimous support of the Labour Party, not as a tribute to perfection, for it is a compromise—it has, of course, the logical disadvantages of a compromise—but because it is a workable and practicable attempt to place a large, important and honourable industry to some degree upon a footing of order and self-respect such as has been obtained by other industries that have accepted the principle of negotiation, with appropriate machinery, coupled with State authority, in the enforcement of agreements, independent of individual action, in the courts. We support the Bill unanimously as a party, just as the Cabinet are unanimous in their 1221 presentation of the Bill. I use the words "some degree" because there is a point of criticism which is unavoidable, even as the cause is equally unavoidable. It is connected with the dual method in which wages boards are to be set up on the one hand, and private negotiation machinery, either established or improved, upon the other.
I would draw the attention of the Government to the point that it may be desirable—I think it is desirable—in many cases that the recommendations of the wages boards should be considered not separately but in conjunction with other considerations such as the reactions of those recommendations, if they were implemented, upon the rest of the industry or upon other sections of the industry. There is need for co-ordination, but it is difficult from the text of the Bill to see how that co-ordination can be obtained without more explicit powers being given to the proposed Commission or Minister.
One point or question has been touched upon by both the Minister of Labour and the mover of the Amendment. It is a very sore point, and it concerns the presentation of the Bill. At this moment it is necessary for me to make a comment upon the position and upon statements that have been made on the matter, because it is claimed that there is an infringement of an agreement that no controversial legislation shall be introduced during the period of the war—or during the period of the National Government if it lasts for any short time after the war. Perhaps it would be as well to examine the statement made by the then Leader of the House. He said:We have now reached a stage at which it may be necessary for Parliament to consider legislation arising from or out of conditions created by the war"—This Measure arises from and out of conditions created by the war, as I shall show, and as, indeed, has been shown already to a large extent, in the course of the Debate.
§ Mr. Montague
Just a moment—on which there is a general measure of agreement."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1942; col. 40, Vol. 385.]It depends upon the interpretation of the word "general." There is a large measure of agreement not only in this House but 1222 in the country—certainly in the country. There is unanimous agreement upon the part of the Cabinet and upon the part of the Labour Party. As the Leader of the House said, the times are clearly inappropriate to bringing forward legislation of a character likely to arouse serious controversy between the political parties; well, the political parties are united, as parties, upon this issue. I do not know whether there are still 200 left of the cohort that was supposed to be opposing the Bill, but, in general, and the Division Lobby will show it, there is agreement for the principle of this Measure in this House as well as outside. Let me say at once that if that alleged agreement is to be interpreted as a section of the Conservative Party seem to interpret it, Members on this side of the House will have nothing at all to do with it.
I will give my reasons for that statement. There is made out to be an antithesis between the word "consider" and the words "bring forward." We interpret the situation otherwise and claim the support of the Government. We had from the Minister of Aircraft Production as recently as Saturday last the following statement, in reference to legislation to be brought before this House while the war is being fought:To wait until hostilities have ceased, until the binding force of the common danger is no longer present, is to miss the chance of common agreement…The war has developed for us many mechanisms for political and economic co-operation, many controls and much machinery of planning. These we have created because the call for efficiency has been held to override every special interest. This same spirit, this same stress on the supreme priority of the common weal, we must carry through the armistice and into the peace. Much that we have built up for purposes of war we can adapt quickly and easily to the needs of peace.The Labour Party entered this Government in order to help to win the war. It agreed upon an electoral truce and upon the principle that ordinary party strife should be avoided, but it did not contemplate a period of complete sterility. When hon. Members who are taking the line taken by the last speaker say that there should be no controversial legislation, what do they mean? That the only legislation to be brought before this House during the war shall be the legislation that suits them? Do they claim the right to determine—
§ Major Gluckstein (Nottingham, East)
Would not the hon. Member admit that this subject has been a matter of controversy for upwards of 20 years?
§ Mr. Montague
And the claim is made now that the matter has been rushed. The hon. Member opposite said that the country and the House had not had time to consider the claim that there is a need for the proper organisation of this industry from a labour point of view.
§ Mr. Montague
Just a minute. I am coming to the point that the hon. and gallant Member raises. I was saying that hon. Members are claiming the right to determine the character of legislative proposals and the rate of legislative progress. That claim is made at the moment when, if it is only in the faint streaks of dawn upon the horizon, that victory is held to be in sight, victory that will bring with it immense problems of demobilisation and rehabilitation. Those problems loom ahead. It is obvious that legislation of the important and vital nature to meet such problems, and create the conditions necessary to deal with the situation that will arise immediately after the war, is bound to be controversial, in the sense that some Members in this House, and some interests outside, will raise objection to them. I do not know that there is any reason to object to controversy so long as—we would rather put it in this fashion—controversy in this House is not hindering the war. That is rather a different point of view from that put forward by the right hon. Member who moved the Amendment.
The Bill is a Government Bill, and all parties are agreed upon it, in the sense that it is regarded as belonging to the class of legislation which must be considered and undertaken if we are not to face a chaotic situation immediately the war is finished. It is a Government Bill, arising out of war conditions, to re-establish and develop on modern lines an industry which has before it prospects such as it has never had before. That claim is sufficient answer to the charge of breach of faith. In any event, it rests with this House. There must be a democratic decision. There is no desire—if there were, it could not be effective—and no attempt to force the hands of Members in the decision that we have to 1224 come to at the end of this Debate. In the minds of Members who are opposing the Measure, and of associations that have lobbied and circularised Members, the notion is that the catering industry only needs to wait until the end of the war to get back to its accustomed stride. From our point of view, the accustomed stride of large sections of the catering industry is not good enough. On some of the objections of hon. Members that we have not the right to use the word "sweated," I will comment in a few moments.
Revolutionary changes have taken place in this industry as a result of the war. Hotels have been requisitioned, and restaurants and boarding houses have been closed down. Tens of thousands of men and women have been given a first-class training in the Forces and elsewhere at the country's expense. It is now calmly proposed to let those men and women loose upon an unorganised industry, with no guarantee of tolerable wages or tolerable conditions, and an industry which is facing vast expansion. They are to be left to the immediate exploitation of those people who are called the catering industry to-day. I should like to have heard that term "industry" defined better. The catering industry of to-day is going to be expanded more than 100 per cent. after the war. The conditions are entirely new. There is a magnificent chance of raising the standards of life in that industry, and there is a great deal that needs raising. A properly organised and efficient industry in the catering world would be able to absorb hundreds of thousands from war industries and the Forces.
As I have said, the prospect is that there will be an industry of double pre-war size after the war is over. But for whose benefit is this to be done? Take the question that has been mentioned, the drive for holidays with pay. It is estimated that there will be thrown into the catering industry an additional £100,000,000 a year at least of new money coming out of the rest of industry at large. Then there is the expansion of civil aviation. It is anticipated that we shall obtain a lively tourist trade. I do not know what there is in that, but I would suggest that if we are to expect a tourist trade of any dimensions, in the interests of this country and its finances we have got to alter some of the conditions or some 1225 of the circumstances in this industry, since English cooking and service have come to be very largely a by-word.
The employers in the catering world expect that all these advantages of this fostered development of the industry, with its chance of profit making, shall fall into their laps like ripe cherries, with no guarantee of tolerable wages and conditions. New highly trained workers are to come into the industry under those circumstances. The employers say, "Leave it to the industry," meaning them, meaning the status quo, meaning going back to the old conditions that existed before the war and which, in spite of the right hon. Member, disgraced large sections of the catering service. The catering industry must be reconstituted to meet new circumstances. Members and the interests to which I have referred take the line that control must go just like a stretched elastic when it is released. These tens of thousands of people who are to help to win expanded profits are to have no guarantee. This industry is not alone, or its representatives are not alone, in that particular attitude, for there is every evidence of private enterprise mustering. With the prospect of the end of the war, with victory coming, the cry is, and has been to-day, "Back to private enterprise." State interference, yes, on one side, but no State interference for the workers' interests. Demand State support, demand State money, but when a Bill is brought forward that will give a chance, by means of wages boards and this wages Commission, to guarantee decent conditions in an industry, then we have the bogy of State interference raised.
The demand is made for a preliminary inquiry. The Incorporated Association of Purveyors of Light Refreshments say, in their circular to members:We do not oppose this Bill because we do not believe in giving the best possible wages and conditions of employment to all our workers, but because we do not think that there should be State interference in the domestic affairs of any industry, unless it can first be shown not only that the normal methods of self-government in this respect do not exist, but that wages and conditions of employment are not satisfactory.Thai is very much like the kind of thing factory owners said 100 years ago in this country. They want an inquiry now, with half the industry closed down, with labour difficult to obtain, with the holiday catering industry or trade finished; and 1226 the fate of the industry is to be determined, when there is some slight advantage over the normal conditions of supply and demand for the workers in that industry, by a distorted picture drawn under such favourable conditions. There is no case against inquiry. But the Bill provides inquiry, inquiry directed to permanent conditions and itself permanently directed. That is a purpose of the Bill and the Commission and the wages board.
The fact is that much of the trade, in spite of the right hon. Member, was a sweated industry before the war. Employees in seaside hotels and boarding houses worked double normal hours at miserable wages and depended upon the generosity of patrons to keep them off the dole as long as possible after the end of the season. Women were sent in large numbers to work day and night, to get what sleep they could in attics and overcrowded dormitories, and those in the kitchens and sculleries had no contact even with patrons. We say that if Whitley principles are good enough for craftsmen and civil servants, they are good enough for scullery maids and even for head waiters. I could provide figures which would keep this House interested for half a day about conditions even now in wartime with the law of supply and demand balanced in favour of labour at the present time. There is a restaurant at which Members of this House will dine to-night where work is carried on in these conditions. Wages for waitresses, 11s. a week, plus 5s. floor money, and 4½d. in the £ commission. Here is the case of a head porter in a large provincial hotel on regular night duty—40s. a week and food, and the work is 72 hours per week. We say that no industry can be efficient with these labour conditions, and they can be multiplied over and over again.
§ Major Petherick (Penryn and Falmouth)
I am not saying that the hon. Gentleman is incorrect, but is that all they get? Do they get anything in tips, and, if so, how much?
§ Mr. Montague
I will deal with the question of tips in a few moments. This is the scandal of the whole business, that these people should be exploited and have to live under these conditions because members of the public are expected, out of their generosity, to provide for them what the management refuses to provide. We are not satisfied with that condition, 1227 and I happen to know, in respect to the restaurant to which I have referred, that the tips paid to the waitresses really amount to very little, because people do not give so much to waitresses as they do to waiters, for some reason or other.
§ Sir Alfred Beit (St. Pancras, South-East)
The same thing happens in the case of railway porters. I do not know whether the hon. Member has any objection to that?
§ Mr. Montague
I have tremendous objection to the railway portering system, where railway porters with nominal wages simply have to scramble about for tips in order to make a living. I think the whole system is thoroughly disgraceful. Among the literature hon. Members have received there is one letter from Trust Houses, Limited, who, like the Light Refreshment Purveyors, profess their good will towards their workers. What they say is interesting. They say:Let it be said at once that the principle of collective bargaining with organisations of employees is not here in question. What is in question is whether terms of employment shall be settled by agreements reached by free negotiation between employers and employed, whether individually or through representative organisations, and enforceable in the civil courts like other agreements, or by regulations of a statutory authority any breach of which would be a criminal offence.Nothing could be more ingenuous—or is it ingenious? In an industry so complicated as this industry and so unorganised, what is the use of talking about even collective bargaining, let alone individual negotiation? Free negotiation—civil courts—hon. Members' minds will go back to the 1890's, to the Shipping Federation, to Taff Vale. How can free negotiations apply to these seaside hotels and boarding houses to which I have referred, to semi-casual labour and virulent sweating, to dining rooms, cafes and expensive hotels alike, to coffee stalls and fried fish emporiums? What is the use of talking about civil courts with individual or group application to these unorganised crowds?
But Trust Houses are interested very much in the small inns and country hotels, for all the world as if "Mine host" of historical romance had remained high and dry above the modern tendency to commercialisation, and as though these idyllic conditions represented any large proportion of the industry. There is one naive statement. They say: 1228At busy times persons not normally employed in catering may be engaged by an innkeeper to lend such help as they can for such time as they are available and their services are needed, to the benefit of themselves, the innkeeper and the public using the inn; but arrangements of this kind, which are particularly convenient in country places, would become impracticable if rigid regulations had to be complied with.That paragraph states the case for the Bill. In an industry compelled to employ labour of a casual character, and where, they say:The irregular demand for the various services offered necessitates interchange of functions of the staff, a porter helping to serve meals, a chambermaid helping in the kitchen, and so on, while in busy times the staff will work long hours, but this is off-set in quiet times when there is little for them to do.Such conditions cry out, not for rigid regulations. No one proposes interference with the management of industry; what they propose is interference with the management of labour against the interests of labour—not rigidity but adequate machinery to consider these very considerations in review, including, as admitted:In many cases the remuneration of staff includes board and lodging, in some board but no lodging, in others partial board only, in others lodging but no board, and in others again board, or lodging, or both, for members of employees' families.My only comment is, What a field for exploitation? If these people do not protest too much and they are really so tenderly solicitous for the welfare of their workers, one asks, what are they afraid of? What is it that the right hon. Member is afraid of when he protests against inquiries into the conditions of the industry—because that is what the Clause he referred to means?
§ Sir D. Hacking
The hon. Gentleman is wrong. I am in favour of a full inquiry before legislation takes place, in case legislation should then be found unnecessary. I do not want to waste the time of the House. If, as a result of inquiry, it is found that the conditions are bad, my opposition to any Bill to put matters right goes.
§ Mr. Montague
If the right hon. Member will allow me. The inquiry that he 1229 does not want is an inquiry by officers appointed by the Ministry, who are to ask employees and employers what the conditions are and to call for wages sheets and other records which might be available.
§ Mr. Montague
I am aware of what the right hon. Member wants, and I have told him that you cannot get an adequate inquiry under present conditions. The Bill is required because it is necessary that at the end of this war, which may come quite shortly, there shall be an organised industry, capable of receiving 500,000 more workers, who expect to obtain the guarantee of reasonable conditions and decent wages. This Bill, after all, is generous enough to its opponents. It is bound to be a compromise under the circumstances. It is not so radical as all that. It is not so good, I am sure, as the Minister would like it to be; but it reflects the mean level of opinion in this House, and is the type of legislation which should be discussed and carried during war-time. What opponents of the Bill especially fear is Clause 6, Sub-section (3), which says:In addition to the powers conferred on it by the subsequent provisions of this Act, any wages board shall have power to make such recommendations as it thinks fit for the consideration of any Government Department…In the same Clause the words "efficiency and development" occur. That is described as telling the managements how to run their business. It is nothing of the kind. As the Minister has pointed out, it is a principle embodied in such Acts as the Trade Boards Act, 1918, and the Road Haulage Act, 1938, which has a section giving power to wages boards to give attention to questions such as staggering holidays, training staff, the need for hostel development and so forth, and to make recommendations to appropriate Government Departments. Why not? Unless it is argued that there is no common interest the provision is one of practical purpose. It has nothing to do with preventing managements from running their own businesses.
1230 There is a familiar note about this opposition. When I was at the Ministry of Aircraft Production I had a good deal to do with the initiation of the joint works committees—the production committees, as they are called now. Those committees are now in considerable swing, and highly successful, I believe. But what was said? It was said that management is management, and labour is labour—the implication being that "never the twain shall meet." But they do meet, and they meet successfully. I remember one big manufacturer stamping up and down my room, flinging his arms about, calling to high heaven to witness this attempt of the Government to take authority out of his hands and to place it in the hands of what he no doubt conceived of as industrial Soviets. "Let us manage," he said, "or get out; run the multitudinous business incarnadine yourselves, or let us do the job"—no doubt those were not his exact words. Believe it or not, after an hour, when we had got down to details, we had an agreed policy, and he was as violent in favour of the committees as before he had been hostile. The production at his works has been as successful as at any in the industry. Why should not the workers have the same right as the employers to negotiate, and to negotiate under proper conditions that can be enforced, concerning the wages and circumstances of their industry? The constitution of the wages boards will give the workers one-third of the representation. We are entitled to think that healthy, beneficial results will accrue, as they have in other industries where a progressive policy has been adopted. The core of the objection is that the Minister is to appoint officers to require information about wages and conditions, and the production of wages sheets and records. That again is reminiscent. I ask again, What does the industry, as it is called, fear from, not secrecy but the bringing-out into the open of the real conditions in the industry?
Probably the most difficult of all problems in the administration of catering, certainly the one which has hindered reform in the past more than anything else, is the prevalence of the tipping system. I am aware that among favoured sections in the waiting and allied professions there are those who would not have the tipping system interfered with at any 1231 price. Perhaps there are personal, domestic advantages about an indeterminate basis of remuneration; I do not know. But there are no tips behind service doors, or for the ancillary industries at large. Our attitude to that, and I think the attitude of all decent persons, is that a principle of adjusting wages to prospective gratuities is thoroughly bad. Tipping is, in fact, a disgusting habit, a snobbish, even feudal, survival, delighted in by what Anthony Trollope called the "snobility." The Percy Brothers in their anecdotes spoke of the custom of giving money to servants in private houses as having got to an impossible pitch, such a pitch that a man could not dine with his father, brother, or personal friend unless he paid for his dinner twice as much as he had to pay at the best tavern in town. The practice was discouraged in the reign of Queen Anne but revived later, in more tolerable proportions. George Bernard Shaw said that no gentleman would offer another gentleman a tip for a personal service, or even a cheque for saving his life, but that he would do so if the beneficiary was no gentleman. That is the point that we have against the tipping system at large, and we should like to see the tipping system abolished. It is a humiliating system; and that is proved by what I have said, that no one with any decent sense of gentle manliness would apply it to the members of his own class.
The system is industrially harmful, as well as being anti-social. Its object is either to subsidise wages, having precisely the effect of the Poor Law wage subsidies in the early part of the last century, or preferential service, or both. "To ensure promptitude," which is supposed to be the meaning of the word "tip," is an admission that the service, which in any decent and efficiently conducted industry should be universally good, is to be subject to scaling according to the expected degree of generosity. However, the system is recognised in this Bill. It is very difficult to deal with, and it is not interfered with except in so far as wages boards will be able to consider tipping when they are examining the situation in various sections of the industry for purposes of recommendation. It is not clear though upon what principle the so-called benefits and advantages are to be taken into account by the wages boards, how far that does apply to tipping, and in what 1232 sense and to what degree tipping is to be recognised. It would be useful to have some statement from the Minister on that aspect. In any event, it is undesirable that the value of this Measure should be impaired by an anomaly so flagrant, and the less advantaged grades of workers would welcome the substitution of a definite, adequate living standard. We support the Bill in principle, and shall support it in Committee, though we reserve the right to give it critical and meticulous examination in detail. I congratulate the Minister on having introduced it and on his determination to stand firm against sectional pressure, so that this long-delayed Measure of reform shall be brought within the possibility of discussion and decision by this House. It is one bit of the reconstruction which has been promised the world, no less by opponents of the Bill than by its friends.
§ Sir Adam Maitland (Faversham)
I think it will be generally agreed that any Minister having the temerity to introduce legislation concerning wine or women is asking for trouble. Mobilisation of man- and woman-power in this country called for great courage, both in legislation and administration. No home has been unaffected by the Measures for which the right hon. Gentleman is largely responsible. From time to time authority was asked from this House to deal with those important questions. Some of them raised questions which were highly controversial. They were discussed, and the powers were granted to the Minister. The Minister was entrusted with very great powers, which he has exercised, affecting the lives of practically all the people of this country. His administration may be subject to cricitism, but I believe that on the whole, if we are fair, we will concede generally that he has successfully performed a very difficult task. Like us all, the right hon. Gentleman may have the defects of his qualities, perhaps and in greater measure he also has the qualities of his defects. I believe it would be churlish not to recognise the services that the right hon. Gentleman has rendered to our country in its hour of trial, and to discuss the Bill in that atmosphere of suspicion. Speaking as a Conservative—and in matters of this kind I do not think that one should be halfhearted—I say, frankly, that in my judgment the position of the right hon. Gentleman as an eminent Labour leader, having 1233 the confidence of the working classes, enabled him to carry out a duty in such a way as was impossible to the average Conservative Minister. I ask this question. In the light of that experience. Is it really fair to assume, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking) seemed to assume, that he or any successor will misuse any further powers which this Bill provides?
The Amendment suggests a breach of an undertaking. There may be different views as to the undertaking to which my right hon. Friend referred. If he will refer once more to the application of the statement to which he referred he will find that the then Leader of the House made it clear that the Government must be responsible for deciding in each individual case the legislation they introduce. I am sure that that is right. The right hon. Gentleman may have made out a case, in logic and in reason, for the suggestion that here was a promise given to the House. He argues with reason and logic. I am reminded of the case of the young university student who had been drinking whisky and soda and who got up the next morning with a bad head. He decided, "This will not do." The next night he went on to brandy and soda and still the next morning the same result, and again he said, "This will not do." The third night he went on to gin and soda, and he still got up the next morning with a bad head. He said, "I must commune with myself and make an analytical examination and call in aid reason and logic." He said, "The first night, I took whisky and soda, the second night, brandy and soda, the third night gin and soda, and on each occasion, the same result. The common factor of my drinks was soda. Therefore, on grounds of logic and reason, I must henceforth eschew the soda." The right hon. Gentleman made out a good case, but I would further like to call in aid, in thinking about the situation which he presented, something of the Chinese philosophy in matters of this kind. We Western people are presumed to be guided, step by step, only by reason and by logic, but our gallant Allies the Chinese are rather different from us. They have not only to be satisfied that you are right in reason and in logic, but they are very anxious to know whether what is proposed is in accordance with human nature. Therefore they say, "Is what is proposed reasonable?" 1234 I ask my right hon. Friend, Is it reasonable of him to say that the Government of the day should be denied of the responsibility of introducing legislation which they think right and proper? The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister is perhaps one of the greatest controversialists of his day. It would be indeed a strange irony if the Government of which he is the head, because of some undertaking interpreted by Members in this way were denied the opportunity of introducing legislation because it was contentious or controversial, and went down in history as the timid Government who were too timid to introduce legislation in this House because it was controversial. If there has been any misapprehension about the undertaking which is thought to have been given, it should be cleared up at once. For myself, I believe that the Government cannot abrogate the responsibility for introducing legislation. While I believe in the utmost possible unity, there is one thing the people of this country will never forgive of Parliament, and that is, if they make no preparations to deal with post-war problems. However much we in this House may properly study and try to apprise ourselves of the problems in front of us, responsibility for initiative and legislation must rest with His Majesty's Government. I would say to them, Do not be afraid to introduce legislation which appears to be contentious and which may, in fact, be controversial if you are satisfied that it is in the best interests of the country.
How can you differentiate in these matters? How can one differentiate in that precise kind of way which my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley said? He said that if the Prime Minister will come down and tell this House that this Bill is wanted for war purposes the opposition and the opposition of my right hon. Friend will be withdrawn. There are matters directly concerned with the prosecution of the war about which there can be no controversy. There are other matters upon which it might be a question of opinion which are inescapable and arise out of war conditions, and it is upon these matters that the Government of to-day must exercise initiative and, if necessary, bring in legislation, even though it be controversial. I believe that legislation will be introduced that will bring in its train opposition and contention. This 1235 House would cease to be a House of Parliament if legislation was introduced and was permitted to go forward without controversy. The main opposition seems to settle round the question of a public and impartial inquiry before this particular legislation is introduced and a disinclination to accept the inquiry which is proposed under the Bill. That is really the main contention made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley. Is it really right to assume that a public inquiry would achieve a better purpose than a statutory Commission? Why is it assumed, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley assumed, that the members of this statutory Commission are to be at the beck and call of the Minister or the Department?
§ Sir A. Maitland
It does not say so. The Bill says that a Commission should be appointed to investigate and report to the Minister.
§ Sir A. Maitland
Why are there this resentment and this suspicion? Hon. Gentlemen in all parts of the House have sat on Select and Joint Select Committees of the House, and no one has said that he is suspicious of them. They have been appointed by a Minister and have had to report.
§ Sir D. Hacking
Is my hon. Friend asking me a question? If so, I want to reply to it. The fact is that a Committee of this House reports to the House. This particular Commission reports to the Minister, and the Minister can send back to the Commission anything he dislikes.
§ Sir A. Maitland
That does not in the slightest vitiate my argument. Nobody would suggest before that Committee reports that it was not an impartial body. Members who sit on these Committees know that a committee regards itself as a fact-finding body. A committee has to ascertain the facts. What right have we to assume, we who are so dependent on Commissions of this kind and have been for years, and will be in the future, that a Commission statutorily appointed will be actuated only by the desire to do what the Minister or the Department think 1236 ought to be done? I do not believe that it is true. I do not think that it is true about the right hon. Gentleman's Department, and I do not think that it is true about his proposed Commission. The people who are appointed to these positions honourably discharge the duties to be fulfilled, quite apart from personalities, and they report upon the facts.
A suggestion has been made that there is to be no responsibility in the industry itself for wages, which will be taken out of their control and placed into the hands of the Commission. That just is not true. What is the position? The Commission has to make impartial inquiry. I would remind hon. Friends who oppose this Measure that until these inquiries are made nothing can be done. It depends entirely upon the reliance you put on the Commission appointed by Ministers who are responsible to this House. A Commission is appointed. They make inquiries and, believing that machinery at present exists in a section of the industry into which they are inquiring, nothing is done. The Bill says that. If inadequate machinery exists, the Bill provides for authority to be taken to improve the inadequate organisation. Do not hon. Gentlemen in this House think that a good basic structure is the basis of every sound industry? The right hon. Gentleman the Minister said that it was a spur. I would go further and say that it is the basis of every sound industry. I fail to see the opposition of some of my hon. Friends with regard to this Bill. Their objections are ill-founded, and, as the Minister said in his speech, by this means you have been able to take steps to bring up the more laggard employers. Is it contended that there should be bad employers and that nothing should be done? Is it not right that good employment and good management should be encouraged?
I fail to see why, with all the safeguards that the Bill gives, there should be the apprehension which has been raised in certain quarters. The success of our dealing with post-war problems in any industry will very materially depend upon the degree of organisation in that industry. For myself, I see in an unregulated industry only one alternative, and that is some degree of Government control. I say to my hon. Friends that I prefer that lesser of what they may regard as two evils. The opposition to this Bill is divided. Some of my hon. 1237 Friends think that the Bill attempts too much. My hon. and gallant Friend the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty Officer Herbert) thinks that it is a piecemeal and half-hearted Measure, and I gather that it does not attempt half enough. Of all the literature and newspaper articles of one sort Or another, the leading article in "The Times" of 30th January was a moderate and fair summing-up of this Measure. On that day "The Times" said:The Bill is the outcome of constructive thinking about catering both now and after the war and the contribution that it may make to industrial resettlement when the war is over. It is not a measure of arbitrary direction; it is designed to stimulate self-government in the different branches of the industry and collective effort to make the catering trades a developing national asset. The Commission which the Bill sets up will itself have no powers beyond those of recommendation; but its recommendations will be founded on carefully acquired knowledge.In the concluding sentence the leading article gave expression to the view that nothing could happen without investigation, and the safeguards at present to the setting-up of trade boards are in this Measure, and this Bill should rank as a genuine piece of post-war reconstruction. I believe that that is a fair summing-up. I am not perturbed that this has aroused controversy; it is all the better that these matters should arouse controversy, because they create interest. In view of the immediate post-war difficulties, it would be a bad thing if, on the occasion of the first piece of legislation dealing with post-war troubles, this Bill should be rejected. Therefore, on this and on many other grounds I propose to support the Bill.
§ Captain Peter Macdonald (Isle of Wight)
I rise to oppose this Bill and to support the Amendment so ably moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking). In doing so, I would like to make it perfectly clear at the outset, in case the charge pf vested interests should arise throughout the course of this Debate—as it is sure to do—that I have no financial interest, nor have I had any financial or any other interest in the hotel or catering industry. I have, however, for the last 20 years been associated with a constituency in which hotels, restaurants and catering have played a large part in the daily lives of the people and where millions of workers have spent their summer holidays. I have, therefore, 1238 had an opportunity of studying the problems of this industry and also the implications of this Bill.
What are the problems of the hotel and catering industry in most parts of Britain to-day? The chief problem is that in many parts this industry no longer exists. In my own constituency, which is a defence area, hotels and restaurants have been closed since the beginning of the war. People have not been allowed to go to that area. Further, the people who are responsible for running these establishments, or whose daily lives have been wrapped up with this industry, are scattered to the four winds; many of them are serving with His Majesty's Forces both at home and overseas. In addition, I have had the opportunity and honour during the first two and a half years of this war of serving with fighter squadrons which were responsible for the defence of the coast of Britain from Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight, and, therefore, I have had the chance of seeing the appalling devastation and misery which have been caused to coastal areas by the war. It is a most melancholy sight indeed to see miles and miles of coast with hotels, restaurants and shops closed and boarded up and the beaches where children and others have spent happy holidays littered with barbed wire and land mines. If there was anything in this Bill that would relieve the problems of these people, I should be the last person to oppose it. I have tried repeatedly to obtain some relief for the people who have had their livelihood taken away from them through no fault of their own, people whose burdens of debt are piling up, people who are mostly in the bankruptcy court to-day and who want to be able to return to their industry. But so far I have had no support whatsoever from the Government, and there is nothing in this Bill which will relieve their burdens, although there is very much which will add to them.
§ Captain C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)
I take it that my hon. and gallant Friend means that he has had no support from the Government, not that he has had no support from private Members?
§ Captain Macdonald
Yes. My hon. and gallant Friend has been in the same position. He and others who have supported me have tried to get the Government to recognise the problem and give some relief.
§ Captain Macdonald
It is a question of their rates, which are being deferred and not relieved. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says he has given instructions to local authorities to defer rates in cases of proved hardship, but the burdens are still piling up. What these people want is some decision as to whether they are to be relieved of these rates altogether. The Chancellor and the Government will not agree to this. Further, properties are being damaged through non-use, not by enemy action. They are boarded up, and the furniture and equipment inside are deteriorating. There are many ways in which the livelihood of these people is being destroyed by the war, and so far the Government have shown no sign of relieving these burdens. By introducing this Bill they are adding to these burdens. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why? "] I will tell you why. I want to know why this Bill is being introduced at all at the present time, why wages are being dealt with while other aspects are being ignored? I am afraid that there is something very sinister about the way in which this Bill has been introduced, something extremely dishonest. When this Session started a pledge was given by the Leader of the House regarding controversial legislation. A Motion, headed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Captain C. S. Taylor), other Members and myself, was On the Order Paper with regard to private Members' time. We were asked to withdraw that Motion after being told that we were to have a concession in that respect. The Leader of the House gave a definite pledge about the Government's attitude. We have heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley what that pledge is, and I will not repeat it, because it is on record. If my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Sir A. Maitland) thinks he is able to salve his conscience over that matter, I can assure him that certain members of the Government were worried about it for a long time. The only reason they have come to heel is because the Minister of Labour has cracked the whip and has brought them to heel, as he always does.
§ Captain Poole (Lichfield)
Is it not probably the case that it was the inability 1240 of the Minister to decide whether the Measure was controversial or not because he was not able accurately to assess how much retrogression there was among the Conservative ranks in the House?
§ Captain Macdonald
It has nothing to do with ranks. I have heard opposition expressed from the Benches on which Members of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's party sit. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where."] Well, certainly on the Liberal Benches. I quite understand why the Minister of Labour wanted this Bill. There is nothing inconsistent about his wanting legislation of this kind, because it is the first step towards the nationalisation of one of the most difficult, most complicated and most individualistic industries in the country to-day. That is admitted. It is a long step towards the control, direction and management of that industry. The Minister of Labour has always been consistent. I recollect that in 1926 at the time of the general strike, he challenged the will of this House and the country in order to carry it through. What about the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Leader of the House? [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Prime Minister?"] Yes, what about the Prime Minister? I think my right hon. Friend has been misled, and I will tell you why. The Prime Minister agreed that the Bill could be introduced because he had been told by the Minister of Labour that it was absolutely essential to the war effort. The Prime Minister, who is so busy dealing with other matters, leaves domestic affairs in the hands of the Leader of the House and other Ministers. I was informed that after he went abroad he was anxious to hear the other side of this question. The position was put to him in a letter, but the Prime Minister could never have seen that letter. This Bill has been rushed on to the Order Paper and put down for Second Reading before the Prime Minister had had an opportunity of hearing the other side, and I say again that there is something sinister about the way in which this Bill has been brought forward.
Why was this Bill not mentioned in the King's Speech? At the beginning of the Session we all looked at Parliament's legislative programme, and there was no sign of this Bill. There were other Bills that were considered urgent because they were necessary for the prosecution of the 1241 war. Why has this Bill been given priority over those other Bills? Why is it being rushed through; why are we being allowed only one day for Second Reading? I do not want to take up too much time, because I know many other Members want to speak, but the Government, if they had shown any vestige of statesmanship in this matter, would have introduced a comprehensive Bill dealing with the real problems of the hotel and catering industry of this country. They would have introduced a Bill to deal with the rehabilitation of the industry, the question of financial assistance to the industry—which it must have in the shape of relief of burdens like rates—such things as priorities of labour and material, staggered holidays, licensing laws, wages boards and so forth. This Bill does none of those things. It does not deal with the anomalies in the licensing laws to which the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty Officer Herbert) referred. There are many other things with which it does not deal. The Bill is brought in under a smokescreen and a camouflage of Service cooks and American tourists. I have seen a good deal of American tourists, and I have had some experience of Service cooks, especially during the last two years, and I cannot see Americans or anybody else flying to Britain in order to sample the cuisine of Army or Air Force cooks. I would not fly here to sample it; I might fly away from it, and a long way, too.
I do not want to be controversial about this thing, but I do very strongly oppose the Measure and I shall vote against it. It gives no assistance to the industry, it places new burdens upon the industry, and it lives up to the title given to it by someone the other day—"All that, and Bevin too." To me it is an anachronism and it is introduced contrary to the very definite pledge given to the House at the beginning of the Session. I shall go into the Lobby and vote against the Bill, even if I am the only one to do so.
§ Mr. Banfield (Wednesbury)
My only excuse for taking part in this Debate is that, as a result of experience over very many years, I know something about the labour side of the catering services and industry. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain Macdonald) asked what the Bill offers to hotels, restaurants, and boarding-house keepers. The hon. and gallant Member represents 1242 a place where I have spent my holidays from time to time, a place where there are many boarding houses and many decent people trying to get a living from them. What has happened there is that, as far as small boarding-house keepers are concerned, there has never been a living in the business for themselves or for anyone they employed. They have cut one another's throats in their anxiety to get hold of business somehow or other, men have worked their insides out during the season, they have sweated their wives and children and everybody they employed, and at the finish they have been very little better off. What this Bill may do, and what, in my opinion, it will do, is this. If the consultations take place as outlined in the Bill, there will be a chance for these people who work so hard to get a solid bottom into the business and they will at any rate get some reward for the labour they have put into it.
Honestly, I am surprised to find opposition to this Bill. The Bill bears every sign of being a Cabinet compromise, every sign of having been watered down, as though the Government had said to the Minister of Labour, "For goodness' sake do not go too far to start with, let us be a bit cautious, let us have it guarded as much as possible." The Bill contains no revolutionary proposals. From the speeches I have heard against the Bill, one might think the Minister was bringing in a Bill to institute a new U.S.S.R. in this country the week after next. All the Bill does is to better the condition of the catering trade, for the first time. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight said, among other things, "Who asked for the Bill?" I have had some years of experience in trying to get some decency and order into the baking industry. During the years I have fought to get better conditions for operative bakers, every time I have come across employers they have said, "Our men have never asked for it; they are quite satisfied.' They used to tell me that the men would sooner stay in the bakehouse 14 hours a day than go home, because it was warmer in the bakehouse. But the fact is, of course, that people who have no protection are unable to speak for themselves.
One point of importance that should be remembered is that, in my belief, as far as the confectionery side of the baking industry is concerned, there will be a tremendous development of what is known as 1243 the teashop trade. People are getting so minded that they go out more and more for their meals, and I am convinced that when the war is over there will be a tremendous development in dining and eating out. Many of these teashops are attached to bakers' shops. They have developed that side of the industry and—with all due respect to the great multiple combines which go down to the country and sneak all the trade of the country towns—I hope they will continue to do well, but I want to point out that it means there will be in future many thousands more girls employed in this class of catering. These girls are quite unprotected. It is easy to say that they ought to be organised, but to anybody who says that I reply, "You go out and do it." I have had 50 years of it and know that it is extremely difficult to organise them. What has happened in the past? Girls have been employed all hours. When people talk about good employers in the catering trade, whom do they mean? By good employers they mean those who will pay 2s. a week more than the worst sweaters in the trade—"I pay 2s. a week more than anybody else; I am the man who ought to have a medal."
With regard to the argument that there has been no agitation, I charge the whole of the catering trade with deliberately doing all they possibly could, and can, to stifle any trade union organisation inside the industry. I charge them with that, and I am sure they cannot deny it if they speak truthfully. They have, blackmailed and victimised men. I have seen men discharged from the great catering trades in London after they have worked in a place for 20 or 30 years; I have seen them discharged and sent on to the street because they were told they could not work in the place if they had a trade union card. Men have gone on to the streets, and their wives and children have suffered, and it has nearly made me cry to think they had to suffer simply because these men had the guts as Englishmen to say they had the right to belong to a union. I say that the catering trade, the hotels, the restaurants, the big teashops in London and in the provinces, have done nothing to organise the trade as far as the workpeople are concerned, but have put every obstacle in the way.
What do the opponents of the Bill propose? There is a demand for a public 1244 inquiry. I wrote to the Secretary of the Incorporation Association of Purveyors of Light Refreshment, and I said, "I notice that you want me to oppose this Bill, not because you are not prepared to give the best possible wages—" What do they mean by the best possible wages? In their eyes it may be is. 6d. a week. It may be anything or nothing. It is neither here nor there. These people have asked for some legislation in some form or other. They want a public inquiry. I wrote to the Secretary of this Association—I know him very well, we have had a good many battles in our time, and we are pretty good friends, and we can talk a bit plainly to each other—and I said, "Dear brother"—I call them brothers—"I notice that you want a public inquiry before anything is done. Well, you and I know very well that all that means is, 'Delay the thing as long as you possibly can; put it off.'" He wrote back and said, "You are altogether wrong," but, of course, he was writing officially when he wrote that. I am quite sure this demand for a public inquiry is not really genuine in spite of anything that may be said in support of it.
But under the Bill there will be an inquiry and a chance for everybody to say what he wants. I speak as one who represents a trade that has been in the past shockingly overworked and my experience of the trade board in that industry—I thank the House for making it possible to have that trade board—is that the workpeople, for the first time, are getting paid for every hour of work they do and the employers are perfectly satisfied with the way the thing works. There is no complaint about it. Listening to the agitation against the Bill, anyone might think that somehing was going to happen that would make the catering trade different from any other trade. I will tell the House what the Bill might do. It might stop the influx of people from abroad who have been anxious to come here and work for nothing, or next to nothing. Hotel waiters and all sorts of people doing similar work have been shamefully exploited in that way. When I used to represent my organisation on the Continent, I talked to people in hotels in Switzerland, Italy and France, and I know that they were quite prepared to work for nothing to get here. I say that if you will make it worth while you will find as good cooks among Britishers as 1245 in any other nation, but our people have never been attracted either as cooks or waiters. There is something a little independent about the British character which causes waiting, in the way in which it is done at the moment, to have little appeal to men of an independent mind. They do not like it. They are prepared to give proper service, but it goes against their character to be so cringing and so dependent upon how much a person is going to put in their hands at the end of the meal.
I am told that there is a considerable number of Conservative Members who intend to oppose the Second Reading of the Bill. Honestly, I regret that; I think they are making a complete mistake. I want to remind those hon. Members that they were returned to this House in the main by the votes of working men and women. They are not here to represent particular vested interests, and, although working men and women may deplore that they have sent them here, they did send them here to represent them, and therefore it is their duty to remember that, while employers have their rights and responsibilities, workpeople also have their rights and responsibilities, and it is their business to protect the rights of those who are weak against the strong. That is what the House exists for. It is what we are sent here for. If the right hon. Member for Chorley was representing the Lancashire weavers who sent him here, he would be in favour of this Bill. It would be most unfortunate if the opinion were to get about that some of the opposition to the Bill was not a matter of principle but of personality. The Minister of Labour is doing his job in a way that commands the respect of all right-thinking men and women, and I hardly think he should be made the victim of personal prejudice in some quarters. I hope that is not so. [Interruption.] The noble Lady does not go into the smoking room. It would be most unfortunate if such a thing were even to be whispered. Let us be straight and honest with one another. If there was ever a time to sink party politics, it is now. It would be far better for Conservative Members to bend their heads a little. If they do not, they will get them broken off by the force of the gale which they themselves have brought about. I hope that some of the opposition to the Bill will be withdrawn and 1246 that the good sense and feeling of the House will support it.
§ Major Gluckstein (Nottingham, East)
Notwithstanding the eloquent speech to which we have just listened, I intend to vote for the Amendment. I was glad to hear the Minister of Labour say he did not intend to begin hurling charges. If he has listened to the speeches of some of his supporters, he must have wished that someone would save him from his friends, because the Debate has developed into a full-dress attack by a number of Socialist Members on the catering trade. The hon. Members for West Islington (Mr. Montague) and Wednesbury (Mr. Banfield) made it abundantly clear that they regard this as a political question, and they have imported into the discussion a heat of controversy, which, of course, having regard to the history of the matter, is not unexpected. I am surprised that the Government should not have realised that the matter is so full of controversy, and has aroused so much feeling. Only a few days ago the right hon. Baronet the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) talked about sweating in this industry. The "Daily Herald" yesterday, perhaps under the influence of its deputy chairman—[Interruption]—the Minister of Labour—[HON. MEMBERS: "He is not the deputy chairman."] It is in "Who's Who," because I looked it up.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)
This is a matter of some importance. My hon. and gallant Friend's statement has been contradicted, and perhaps he had better withdraw it.
§ Major Gluckstein
Of course, a Minister of the Crown cannot be the deputy chairman. I did not intend to say that, but that he had been deputy chairman. All I am saying is that the "Daily Herald" yesterday said that the Bill seeks to ensure better wages and conditions for the employees in the trade, and "The Times" on 17th September last said:In the period before the war both the rates of wages and the general conditions of employment in large areas of catering were under suspicion of being as unsatisfactory as they were unregulated. The opponents of regulation have to show that the conditions were or are satisfactory and are likely to remain so or, if they cannot go so far as that, to state the objections to a form of regulation…. The first question to decide, however, is whether the catering industry satisfies the requirement that its conditions of employment shall be socially right.1247 That seems to be a very novel form of British justice. It puts the onus on the persons charged of satisfying the persons making the accusation that they are not guilty of the offence charged. Of course, the catering trade, as such, as far as it is organised, strenuously resists these allegations and says they are untrue. I should go further and say that the people who make the allegations ought to prove them in detail. I cannot for the life of me understand, if the case against this industry is so strong, why, before we have any legislation at all, there should not be a public inquiry so that the matter can be fully discussed and ventilated. The stronger the case is, the more discredit will attach to the catering trade for having resisted these admirable proposals.
§ Major Gluckstein
The learned Attorney-General will tell the hon. Member all about that and how the Bar Council view matters of that kind. Of course, there is controversy in this matter. For 20 years there has been tremendous controversy, and, as the Minister stated, the Labour Party in 1924 sought to introduce certain legislation. When they went out of office it is not without significance to notice that the Conservative Government which followed dropped that legislation. It may have been right or wrong; I am only proving that it is a controversial matter. It is the first element in controversy that people should disagree.
Then came 1930, when Miss Bondfield, who was Minister of Labour, made a draft special Order applying the trade board principle to the catering trade. I want to reassure the Minister, in case he has not realised it, that that is not such a dilatory procedure as he seemed to fear nor as hon. Members think it is. On a day in August, 1930, Miss Bondfield announced that she was going to make a draft special Order. There was a public inquiry on 24th November. The Commissioner sat for 15 days, excluding Sundays, until 8th December, and on 31st December made his report. I was present throughout the whole of that inquiry, and prob- 1248 ably I am the only person who is in a position to say what happened. I propose to tell the House exactly what did happen, because it is not uninteresting. There were a large number of objectors, about 80, of whom 30 or 40 appeared and addressed the Commissioner. Sir Arthur Colefax made a series of findings. At this inquiry there were represented, among others, the trade boards advisory council of the Trades Union Congress, and they were represented by quite a strong team. I will read some of the evidence, so that the House can judge what they said about this Order. The Commissioner, when he considered the evidence against the trade, reported:No case was developed at the inquiry with a view to establishing the prevalance of bad conditions in any class of employment in any branch of trade included in the draft special Order.It seems fair, in view of the allegations made to-day, that no effort was made on that occasion to attack the whole trade. No one can say that the conditions have deteriorated since 1930, although the hon. Member for West Islington has said that the conditions in the trade are so artificial that it would be monstrous to hold an inquiry now because it would not give any idea what the present conditions were. What did Mr. Mallon say in the course of his evidence before Sir Arthur Colefax? He is a man for whom I have the greatest possible respect. He sat in the forefront of this Inquiry and remained there throughout. I will read what he said as reported in "The Times" of 28th November, 1930. He was asked directly by the Commissioner whether the conditions of employment in the trade were good or bad. Mr. Mallon said:There were some workers whose plight was less good than that of others.He could not say anything more precise than that. Mr. Mallon contended that there was no organisation in this section of the trade; even the employers were not organised. There had been, however, attempts to organise the workers by the unions, which had spent a lot of energy and money in attempts to build up an organisation and had failed. The idea that all was well in the trade was a fallacy.The presence of the unions here,said Mr. Mallon,is an exercise on their part of pure philanthropy. They are not going to gain anything. 1249 Practically all the unions have given up concerning themselves seriously with this trade. They have not spent £10 on this inquiry; indeed, they have not got it. We have never made any allegations against all the employers in this trade"—unlike the hon. Member for Wednesbury—Our case is that there are conditions which are easy to remedy, and we hope that we shall get the good will of the employers who observe decent and admirable conditions in remedying the conditions that are ill.In view of that and of the views of the Commissioner, it is not surprising that Sir Henry Betterton, the Minister of Labour who succeeded Miss Bondfield, decided to drop the whole thing. That was the decision of a National Government after a Socialist Government, and it might be thought by some people that that was evidence that the matter was controversial.
What I want the House to understand about this industry or service is that it is of a domestic character. It is unlike any other trade or industry in the country from that point of view. There is much closer contact between employer and employees than anywhere else. Any Member who is accustomed to going about and living in hotels will always find that there is some person closely concerning himself at all times with the conduct of the business. That holds good throughout the industry. It has to be so, because at the first sign of the workpeople's dissatisfaction with either wages or conditions in the industry the standard of service given to the customer drops, and very serious consequences may follow. That is one reason why, in self-protection, employers, even if they are not humanitarian, see to it that conditions of employment and wages are good.
I should like to thank the Minister for his commendation of the work of the late Member for Harrow, and I should like to tell the right hon. Gentleman and the House that Sir Isidore Salmon, with a good record of service in relation to this industry, was an implacable opponent of trade board procedure and to this suggested regulation of the industry. He was the founder of the London County Council school which has done such admirable work in training people for the catering industry, and that scheme did not need a wages board or a commission or any of the rest of this paraphernalia. Is it really necessary that we should have 1250 this machinery? Nobody except the Minister, and he only in a half-hearted way, really wants it. I cannot believe that this Bill is necessary for the purpose of winning the war. I think men in the Armed Forces in different countries who hear about our deliberations to-day and hereafter in Committee may wonder what we think we are doing. They may wonder whether we could not do more to assist the war by producing tanks, aeroplanes and contrivances to defeat submarine warfare than we are by setting up commissions of inquiry into hypothetical conditions after the war. No Commission which sits now and makes recommendations in the light of present circumstances will be of the slightest value when we come to deal with things after the war. The whole position is completely artificial. No findings by the Commission will make the slightest difference to what will have to be done after the war.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Marlowe (Brighton)
Was it not a suggestion of the opponents of the Bill that an inquiry should be set up now?
§ Major Gluckstein
Yes, that there should be an inquiry straightaway because if the conditions in the trade were bad, and I say they were not, then we had better know straightaway, so that we can take steps against what is to happen at the end of the war. But what is happening now is that the House of Commons is asked to pass a Bill before it knows why it is to pass it, or whether it is needed and we are to follow that up by an inquiry, and if by any chance the inquiry shows that the legislation was not necessary then we shall have wasted our time. Does anybody really want this Bill? Have employees asked for it? I am told that the employees have not any organisation through which to put their views, but, after all, one would expect that one man somewhere would have come forward to say that it was quite a good idea. I have not received any such letter and do not know of anybody else who has. There have been plenty of letters against it from both employees and employers.
§ Mr. Banfield
Is it not true that if a man employed by the biggest catering firm in London wrote a letter publicly supporting this scheme he would get the sack?
§ Major Gluckstein
We are having some more sob-stuff from the hon. Member. Obviously this is slightly controversial.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (Oxford)
Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman not realise that controversy has been introduced by himself?
§ Major Gluckstein
No. I have been setting out the objections to this scheme, but quite a number of irrelevant personalities have been introduced. I am trying to stick to the Bill. I think the position boils down to this: the Minister of Labour wants it. A good many years ago there was an advertisement of Pears' Soap showing a small child leaning out of the bath reaching towards a cake of soap and underneath were the words "He won't be happy till he gets it." I think that applies in this case. The Minister has always believed in this policy and he wants it. Whether some of the Conservative Party are quite so sensible in helping him to get it is a matter for them. But he has demonstrated quite clearly "The Importance of being Earnest."
I have read the Bill very carefully and am afraid that I do not agree with some of the views put forward by the Minister. We are to have an inquiry, but who are to be the inquirers? We do not know. There are certain mysterious people. I think one will be a woman. She might be able to help a little in some of the domestic questions. What I want to make clear is that no matter how sincere and how high minded and how able the people are who make these reports the Minister is not obliged to accept them. He can put them into the waste-paper basket, or he can send them back and invite them to have another try. He is absolutely a dictator of the catering trade. If the Commission do not like it they can either resign or fall in with the Minister's views. I see no reason why the Minister of Labour should be a sort of super-caterer. Another important point is that the Commission will receive representations in writing. They can do exactly what they like, can take evidence or not as they think fit, and when they have part of the story they can make their report. Surely it would be wiser 1252 for the Commission to sit in public and hear evidence from the people who are affected.
I am a little concerned about Clause 6, the efficiency Clause, since I do not put upon it the construction which the Minister does. It seems to me that the trade board has power under this Clause to report anything which affects the efficiency and development of that part of the industry in relation to which the board operates. After that the matter goes before the Commission and the Commission make representations to the Government Department concerned. I must interpret the word "efficiency" as covering every single activity of the trade. It is an extremely dangerous principle to adopt, and I feel that the large majority of Members of this House have no mandate to advocate it. If the electors had decided that industry should be publicly controlled one could understand the situation, but as things stand I do not feel that a Minister or a Government Department are the best judges of what represents efficiency in a trade. Are Ministers satisfied that they have conducted their own Departments so efficiently that they can go to private enterprise and suggest an amendment in its standards of efficiency? I expect that the Minister of Labour has had a number of complaints of the things which have been done by his officers. I hope that we can induce the Government to see that this Bill is a very controversial matter. A number of quite loyal supporters of the Government are opposing it. They are not accustomed to being against the Government, and do not want to cease supporting the Government, but I do not think any person who believes that a trade ought to be tried and judged before it is sentenced can possibly support the Bill.
§ Sir Ralph Glyn (Abingdon)
I think the House will have heard with interest the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for East Nottingham (Major Gluckstein). On the question of controversy, I am one of those who regret very much the statement of the late Leader of the House, because I think the House will lose all its savour if it parts with all controversy. This House exists in order that matters should be discussed, and it is the duty of the Government to introduce Measures of this kind if in their opinion they will have a definite 1253 effect on the post-war position. I have not heard anybody who is in opposition to the Bill mention that it is definitely stated in the Bill that the Commission are to encourage voluntary machinery for the settlement of disputes. The whole emphasis of the criticism of this Bill is that it is forcing wages boards on the industry. As I understand it, that is not so. The catering trade is very diverse, and it is almost impossible to have a common wages board for the whole trade, but if different sections of the employers and workpeople get together and establish proper machinery on the lines that all well regulated trade unions and employers take, there will be no question whatever of a wages board being set up. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary may find it possible to emphasise that fact, because anybody coming into the House who had not heard the speech of the Minister might well think that this was a wages board Bill.
In regard to conditions, I have been engaged recently, with other hon. Members, in work which has brought us into contact with the great improvements now being made in the arrangements for cooking in the Army and the other Services. The work has been carried out extraordinarily well, so well that contractors for swill now complain bitterly that they cannot get any swill. That is a measure of the efficiency of the cooking. I am certain that those who have been laughing to-day about the efficiency of Army cooks would indeed have something to astonish them if they had known the cooking in the last war. It is now infinitely better. Our people have proved that they can tackle the problem of diet and the selection of foods.
In regard to conditions in the industry the Minister said that he had had a great deal to do with the caterers' association, and we all recognise the work that he did. I saw something of the business of that association. It was extremely well run. I am convinced that it will be necessary after the war to find proper accommodation for all these workers in every part of the country and under decent conditions. I do not think we can expect trade unionists to take a holiday with pay if they find that the people looking after them are living under impossible conditions. I cannot understand why there should be opposition to trying to put this industry on lines similar to all the other 1254 great industries of the country. I feel that those who are associated with this industry are—I say so with all respect—very ill-advised, because the ordinary man must think that there is something to hide. The time is past for that kind of thing.
As one who has been in this House since 1918, I feel that we must now cast our minds forward. I do not care in the least what Miss Bondfield said in 1931. I want to know what the facts are and what the Minister of Labour says to-day, in 1943. I want to see this country adjust itself to new conditions. If hon. Members on this side of the House are always to put themselves in opposition to anything new, we shall never make any progress. I must say that it is rather galling to think that hon. Members on the other side take to themselves all the credit for progress. The past record of our side shows that sure progress has very often been brought about by Members of the party to which I have the honour to belong. Several hon. Members to-day have said that they want a committee of inquiry to go into this matter.
§ Sir R. Glyn
I respect the reasons which were put forward for my hon. and gallant Friend's constituents, but he himself said, when he was talking about a Commission, that a Commission could not possibly do much good because the whole industry was upside down. How could an impartial public inquiry now come to any other conclusion? It seems far better to establish a permanent Commission to take its time. Such a Commission will not be composed of prejudiced idiots. [An HON. MEMBER: "How do you know?"] If Parliament is always to assume that any Commission set up by the Government is to be composed of ninnies, we shall never get on with our legislation. I do not want to take up any more time, but in conclusion I would say that I am sure we have a definite duty to ex-Service men after the war, and to women also. We cannot expect them to go back into an unorganised industry. We must organise this industry from every point of view. I am sure it can be done. The history of the war shows, above everything else, that if you have happy relations between workers and management you can do a 1255 great deal more than would be possible otherwise. You could never have got the present organisation which the Ministry of Labour has arranged in mobilising man-power, unless you had had well-organised unions working in with the managements. The same will be true of demobilisation. It is essential to realise that demobilisation will be a vast problem. God knows, we were not ready to win the war in 1939; let us see to it that we are ready to win the peace when it comes.
§ Sir D. Hacking
May I ask the Leader of the House a question, Mr. Speaker? In view of the very large number of Members who desire to take part in the Debate—he has seen it himself—will he consider the suspension of the Standing Order to enable us to continue this Debate?
§ Mr. Eden
I am must reluctant to do this. Of course I am in the hands of the House in the matter. I had no notice of this request before to-day, and, in my view, when we make a rule such as we have now had for six months, we should keep to it. We shall find ourselves in great difficulty if we depart from it. If we did so once we should have to do so again. I must be guided by the House on this matter/but I hope we shall be able to come to our decision at the usual time.
§ Petty-Officer Alan Herbert (Oxford University)
Historians, who are often unfair, may remark with sardonic interest that at a time when the whole of Europe is waiting to hear the thunder of the guns of the United Nations and to see the ships bringing food to the starving peoples, the House of Commons was compelled, even bullied by His Majesty's Government to discuss a contentious Measure concerning eating and drinking in Great Britain—after the war. I should not share that view. These things are important in the life of the nation. The way in which they are conducted is an index not only of our civilisation but of our character and even of the soul of a nation. They are a corner of the art of life, and therefore suitable, I think, for the attention of a University Member.
And, therefore, I take more interest in the second part of the Preamble of the Bill than I do in the first part. The second part has hardly been discussed to-day. It refers to catering workers and to the measures proposed for the 1256efficiency and development of the industries in which they are employed.I believe that the Minister has a vision: and so far as I understand that vision—interpreted, it is true, by the very busy propaganda service of the Ministry—I share it. It is that we should arrange our eating and drinking on standards much nearer to those on the Continent. By the way, is not this business of public relations officers being a little overdone? It is not enough to-day for a Minister to discharge explosive Bills at us, but the whole country must be flooded at the same time with clouds of tear-gas in the form of propaganda from a public relations officer, in order to stupify the defences before the battle is joined. Well, I gather from one of these gentlemen that the Minister of Labour "desires to see the British inn compete with the Continent in the provision of decent meals and beds." I should like to see it too. Much as I have said, and fought, and written for the people's beer, and the people's pub, I agree that there is much that is barbarous in our conditions and if those conditions were likely to be swept away by the Bill I should whole-heartily support it. I hate to see a mother and child standing in the rain, or even in the sun, outside a place of refreshment which the law has decided is not fit for a child under 16 to enter. I hate to take anybody into a place labelled "licensed victualler" when I know that you will not be able to get any "victuals" there at all—not so much as a sausage roll (though, let me say, this is better than it was—I know many a little pub which has done very well, but they are far between). I hate to take a foreigner, a Parisian for example, into an eating-house, where I have to confess that the wines of this country are taxed as though they were dangerous poisons.
§ Mr. Speaker
I hope that the hon. and gallant Member will not get on to the subject of the licensing laws.
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
The licensing laws were mentioned in the Amendment which I had on the Paper.
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
I was trying to examine what the Bill will do for the efficiency and development of the industry. What I want to see, and I know 1257 what the Hon. Gentleman wants to see, is more cheap decent eating-houses for the people where not merely man and wife but man, wife and child can go and entertain themselves together—as they can in almost any street abroad. The right hon. Gentleman keeps telling us that there will be more and more catering after the war. He does not say who is to provide it. Presumably this most despised catering trade, which has been so firmly ground in the dust to-day. Well, let us see how this Bill will assist in providing more decent, clean, cheap eating-houses. In my own district of Hammersmith I could march you along three miles of a great highway and not find a single place where a man could take his wife and child to have a meal either midday or in the evening. There are not enough. [Interruption.] Do let me implore the Noble Lady not to interrupt me even when I am agreeing with her. Four years ago I gave her the advice to take a barrel of port every day to soothe her nerves and make her a better citizen and a less restless Member of Parliament.
§ Viscountess Astor
Does the hon. and gallant Member think that those people who take a barrel of port every day are better Members than me in this House?
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
I have never had that experience. My only doubt about the Noble Lady is whether a barrel would be a sufficient sedative. To return to the Bill, I do want to see how it is to work. The Minister, God bless him, directs the Wages Commission to find out why it is there are not more decent, clean, cheap eating houses and, by the way, I want more, not merely after the war but now when there are so many overworked housewives, workmen and so forth. Will he direct one of his officers to make inquiries? This officer, by the way, is entitled to question any employer or employee and when he gets a reply he is entitled to compel the putting of the answer into writing: and these seem to be very odd proceedings. However, in this way the Wages Commission find out that there are not enough decent, clean, eating houses in such and such a street. The officer also finds out the reason why there are not—that this street is in the licensing division of X which is notorious because the licensing justices of that division are the sort of justices who say that if a game of darts is played on Sun- 1258 day the licensee will lose his licence, who will permit no music, no—
§ Captain C. S. Taylor
On a point of Order. Under Clause 6 (3) surely the points the hon. and gallant Member is raising do, I submit with the greatest respect, deal with "the efficiency and the development" of the industry.
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
Well, under the machinery which the Ministry is putting forward it will be asked why there are so few of these cheap, clean eating houses: and it will be reported that new licences of that sort in this division are opposed by the justices, by the brewers and by other eating houses for this reason. Every new licence has to pay a monopoly value—which may amount to £2,500 for a big hotel and £250 for a small one; and in addition to that for each existing licensed premises a large liquor licence has to be paid. When an enterprising person wants to start a new eating house he is opposed by the justices because they set their face against an extension of drinking even with eating; secondly, by the brewers; thirdly, by the other eating houses, who say "If we have to pay this large monopoly value why should others come in?" In nine cases out of ten in many areas, and ten cases out of ten in not so many, a licence will be refused and the applicant cannot start an eating house. That is the fundamental obstacle to development and progress and this Bill does nothing to remove it. I agree that in this battle between brewers and teetotallers, the old tragic unnatural divorce between eating and drinking sometimes the brewers are to blame, sometimes the followers of my Noble Friend. I say that this Bill is absolutely worthless, or nearly absolutely worthless, from the point of view of helping the efficiency and development of the industry unless the Minister is as bold about the things I must not mention as he has been about the others. I feel so strongly about this that I really cannot give a vote for this Bill. I should like it to be defeated, apart from other things in it, so that the Minister will be forced to go back to the 1259 War Cabinet and say, "I cannot do what I want to do unless I have these powers, and I cannot put more burdens on this industry unless I am allowed to free their hands." Therefore I shall vote against the Second Reading of the Bill. I cannot support my hon. Friends because they want "no controversial legislation"—and I want, at the moment, more.
Having stated this position, I suppose my opinion on other parts of the Bill are not very important, but as an independent person I should like to say this about hours and wages and the Trade. First, I have an awful confession to make! I must say that I have one share in the Cafe Royal of £5 which brings me about is. 7d. per year. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up."] I am so ashamed! I was saying that I do hold one share in the Cafe Royal of £5 value bringing me about is. 7d. a year. I bought it in sentiment because the Cafe Royal seems to me to be the embodiment in London of what I like, and what the Minister likes, in Paris. Well, I wish to say about the catering trade that I think they have been rather harshly used. The Minister has been very fair, but he might have been fairer still, I think. For instance, when he referred to the L.C.C. school of cookery he might have said that that was the idea of the hotel and catering trade and the money for the building to provide that excellent scheme was provided by the hotels and restaurants.
He has spoken about the exchange of waiters and so on. Well, I am told that before the war the Hotels and Restaurants Association had a great scheme for the exchange of servants between England and Norway, France, and elsewhere. They made 500 exchanges; and but for this war those exchanges would still be going on. Where do these gentlemen who write apparently-inspired paragraphs in the papers get their information? There is a gentleman in the "Star," calling himself the Labour Correspondent, who wrote yesterday that after the war it would be impossible for the Government to leave this industry "entirely unregulated and uncontrolled."
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
What does the Noble Lady mean by, "Hear, hear"? So far as I know, there was never an 1260 industry more regulated. [An HON. MEMBER: "In wages and hours?"] Not wages; I am talking about conditions. Has the Noble Lady ever heard of the Shops Act, 1913, which was specially brought in for the catering trade 30 years ago? She will find notices—here is one—stuck up near the staff room doors of every hotel, public house, and canteen, every place which sells food and drink, to other than residents, because all workers in such places come under the Shops Act, 1913—and so will all the workers in the new hostels and canteens foreseen by the Minister. Here are beneficent provisions for the hours, holidays, and meal times of such persons; and, believe it or not, this unregulated trade had 30 years ago, I believe before any other industry, a weekly holiday with full pay. True, it was a six-day week, but we have advanced since then.
Mr. Robertson (Streatham)
Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that, in spite of these things, the mortality in the public-house industry is greater than in any other industry, greater than in coalmining, the steel industry, or any other dangerous occupation?
§ Viscountess Astor
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that when we examined conditions in Newcastle-on-Tyne we found that there were girls under 18 working 10 hours a day, and getting 5s., 6s. and 8s. a week, in spite of that Act?
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
May I for a moment intervene? I am not going to question the assertion of my Noble Friend. All I can say is that if that is right it is not a very big advertisement for "regulations." I say that this has been a most regulated industry by-law for 30 years. If the provisions are out of date or wrong, let us amend them. We are not asked to do that. We are asked to buy a pig in a poke. It would be a much better thing if we said here in this House, that we wanted fewer hours, more holidays, or whatever is required, but we have not got that. I must say I can see nothing new being offered in the way of "conditions." Wages I grant. Well it is not for me to oppose the regulation of waiters' wages. But is it relevant to ask whether waiters want to have their wages regulated?
§ Petty-Officer Herbert
I do not think they do want regulated wages. I do not know. But I belong to a very similar trade, which caters, it is true, for the mind, and I should thank no man for regulating my remuneration. I should thank the Government if they would create a prosperity, in which my work can be done and disposed of, let me have paper and so on, which they do not do now. I do not know that you are going to get much thanks from the workers for what you are doing. I am afraid that what the Minister is offering is merely machinery. It is quite natural that, with his very fine history of fighting for the working man, the very thought that anybody has not got a trade union seems to him a crime against nature. The trade union button is to some what I am told the old school tie is to others. It may be that both are a little out-of-date. Well, I entirely agree that where you have a great powerful trade union in an industry and it has fought its way up, everybody ought to be in it; but I am not persuaded that in an industry where there is not only no obvious anxiety to have a union, but a stubborn refusal to have one, the men should be forced to have one for their own good. And if this trade were not quite all we should like it to be, would it be surprising? Can you think of any other trade which is so harassed and persecuted and taxed? Can you go on year after year beating an animal like a donkey, and then expect it to behave like a Derby winner?
I hope the Minister will reconsider this Bill. I am not a party man, and I am not going to talk about party truces and all that sort of things, but it seems to me that this Bill is a great mountain of machinery with not very much meat in it. It reminds, me of a man who insisted on buying a large expensive gilt frame. When asked what picture he was going to put into it, he said that he was not quite certain, but that he must have a frame. I do not think this Measure will add to the happiness of many people. I know it is not going to lure a single tourist to this country. It is not going to create so much as a coffee stall. It takes none of the burden away from this industry; it adds more. It is going to cause ill feelings—it has—though not with me. I do 1262 not say, "We want nothing like this!" I say: "Take this away, and bring back something better."
§ Mr. Horabin (Cornwall, North)
I shall not follow the hon. and gallant Gentleman in his delightful incursion into the jungle of the licensing laws. I represent a constituency in which the main industry to-day is catering. Ever since the question of a Catering Bill being introduced was first mooted, I have been snowed under with letters and telegrams asking me to oppose the Bill. All this intensive lobbying led me, to think the Minister was going to introduce a blood-red Measure, instead of which we have the pale pink Bill we are considering at present. We all agree that the catering industry is difficult to deal with. It is divided into many branches, and it is difficult to determine the boundaries between the sections. The remuneration of the employees, very frequently, is a mixture of a cash wage and tips; in other words, employees are frequently not only paid by the employers but are also paid by the people who pay the employers. There is dissatisfaction with this position, which lays itself open to all kinds of abuses. I agree with the Minister. The special case of catering has required special treatment, but I fail to understand to-day—and I have listened to the whole of this Deflate with the exception of 10 minutes or a quarter-of-an-hour—why the opposition are accusing the Government of breaking any pledge. What is there in this Bill that is going to cause any great political dissension? What is the Minister trying to do? First of all, he sets up an independent Commission on which the views of the employers and workers are fully represented. What is wrong with that? How does that lead to political dissension? This independent Commission will inquire into the remuneration and conditions of employment in the catering trade. What is wrong with that? And then, after inquiry, the Commission will report whether the conditions are satisfactory or not, and they will report how conditions can be made better. Surely, there is nothing wrong with that? There is nothing controversial in it. The Commission can make proposals for improving the conditions in the trade.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
The hon. Member says that the Commission will have upon it members representing 1263 employers and workers. He will find that that is not true.
§ Mr. Horabin
If the hon. Member will look at the Schedule, he will see that it says representatives of both employers and employed.
§ Mr. Baxter
It saysnot themselves directly connected with the hotel and catering trades.It is on page 13. That is the Commission.
§ Mr. Horabin
The first Schedule says:The Commission shall consist of persons appointed by the Minister, being—not more than three persons, chosen as being independent persons;and not more than two persons chosen by the Minister to represent employers;not more than two persons chosen by the Minister to represent employed persons.I cannot believe that the Minister would appoint those persons to represent the employers and the employees without, first of all, consulting the sections they are to represent. The Commission can make a proposal for the establishment of wages boards, but when can they do that? Only when, by investigation, they have shown that the conditions as to wages and conditions of employment are unsatisfactory. What on earth is wrong with that? Or alternatively they can report to the Minister, whose duty it is then to carry out any improvement the Commission suggests should be carried out. There is nothing in these proposals to raise political controversy. Surely at this stage in our industrial history this kind of proposal is not going to cause any political division in the country. One thing is certain. Caterers who are already paying employees adequate wages and giving them decent conditions of labour have nothing whatever to fear from either the Commission or a wages board. What the caterer who is treating his employees well has to fear is being under-cut by those caterers who are sweating their workers. That is the real thing they have to fear, and that is what I could see operating adversely in my own division before the war broke out.
There is an Amendment on the Order Paper to include domestic servants in this proposal. Personally, I feel that that is a sound proposal. At the present moment the conditions for domestic servants are on 1264 the whole excellent, because labour is in short supply, but when the war is over we may again have those conditions which obtained before the war. Here again I suggest that the good employer of domestic servants will have nothing whatever to fear from any investigations of such a Commission as the Minister proposes to set up.
I support the Minister to the full in this Bill, because I believe that it is in the interests of those caterers who are in my Division. They will be making a profound mistake to oppose this Bill. I would say to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking) that I am deeply grateful to him for bringing forward this Amendment and to those Tories who have supported him, because they have given us a very clear picture of what this country is going to be like after the war if there is a Tory majority in this House of Commons.
§ Mr. Muff (Kingston-upon-Hull, East)
I would like to sympathise with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain P. Macdonald), who is not now in his place. He drew a moving picture as to the conditions from the Yorkshire coast right away down to the Isle of Wight, of what had happened and of the parlous state of boarding-house keepers. One thing that this Bill will do, I honestly think, is to bring more prosperity ultimately to all those boarding-house keepers, and that is why I have risen to support the Bill. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight referred to sinister influences. The chief sinister influence in the Debate to-day is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking). He has not as yet completely unmasked his guns. I cannot for the time being realise what he is after. At first I thought he was going to be a Lancelot, but in debate he proved himself a Don Quixote. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight and the hon. and gallant Member for East Nottingham (Major Gluckstein) asked why this Bill has been introduced. I want to tell the hon. and gallant Member the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty-Officer Herbert) that it has not been introduced in order to bring even foreign tourists to this country. Those of us who are in touch with affairs know that immediately we have peace there will be millions of workers who have not been 1265 able to take any intended holiday who will want a holiday. That is one reason why the Bill should be introduced at the present juncture and not await either a new Parliament or until the peace treaty has been signed.
The hon. and gallant Member for East Nottingham mentioned that he had not had one letter in support of the Bill, but we have all had a pamphlet—I suppose it was really from the brewing industry, though I do not really know—in which it is stated that with all the courage that the Minister of Labour might have he would not have dared to introduce the Bill if the workers in the catering industry had been organised. I suggest that there would have been little or no need to introduce this Bill if the workers had been organised. This House is legislating for the great inarticulate; we are not legislating so much for those foreign waiters in Seven Dials and the other places that my hon. and gallant Friend frequents all too often. We are legislating to see that these boarding houses are carried on and particularly for those who usually live in the area down below and who are unseen. That is another reason why I am so glad that so many of my hon. Friends opposite are supporting the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chorley for years sat on those benches. He used to come like a flitting ghost. He looked at his battalions, as a chief of staff should, to see if any were "browned-off" and then went back to St. Stephen's Chambers. Now he has less responsibility and more freedom. He speaks to-day for a bygone tradition.
To-day we are having a preliminary rehearsal as to the real intentions of this House. I remember a historic Debate when the then Prime Minister, now my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) said, "As a result of this Debate I shall apply the acid test." He did so in 1918, and over 100 Members below the Gangway got the order of the boot. To a minor degree we are applying the acid test to ourselves to-day, that test being whether we, as a Council of State, are ready, without too much party feeling, to try to solve the problems which are most difficult to solve under ordinary conditions. It is my privilege to be able to mix with the men in the Forces, and they tell me that they do not want too 1266 much party politics. The acid test of our sincerity is not whether we can simply give a square deal to those in the catering industry. We shall have other tests in the future. When they come I hope the House will rise to the occasion and that we shall endeavour to do our duty to the great inarticulate, as we have tried to do it during the past two or three years.
§ Sir Leonard Lyle (Bournemouth)
I rise to oppose the Bill and support the Amendment, and to try and correct some of the misrepresentations which have been made concerning those who are opposing the Bill. I would like to make my own position absolutely clear. I have never given my support, and I hope I never shall, to any trade which indulges in unsatisfactory conditions for its workpeople. If the Minister could show that in this trade there was any suspicion that conditions were not as they should be, or that there was sweated labour, my opposition would cease from that moment, as I believe would the opposition of those who take the same view as I do. I hope the House will forgive me for dwelling on a personal aspect for one moment, because I do value the good opinion of hon. Members opposite in this matter. I would not like anybody to think that I would support anything in the nature of a sweated industry. I have had a happy industrial career and have been very happy with the people I have had the great honour to employ, many of whom are my friends. I am sure hon. Members will believe me when I say that I have not come to my present age in order to support anything in the nature of unfair conditions or a sweated trade.
I said during the negotiations that if the Minister could show that any such condition existed, our opposition would cease. In opposing the Second Reading of this Bill without a preliminary inquiry, I submit that the charges that have been levelled against us are unfair and, in some cases, unworthy. After all, there have been a good many red herrings drawn across this Debate to-day. We have heard a lot about what the Minister wants to do with regard to improving conditions after the war and absorbing the men and women who are coming back. We are all agreed on that. I am opposing the Bill only on principle. What we object to is the procedure which has been followed, the secrecy and absence of 1267 proper consultations with the trade and industry and the gilding of the pill with the exaggerated suggestion that it has something to do with the post-war prosperity of the trade in general. I do not think anyone can say that once during this war has there been any indication of a public demand for control of the catering industry. We have heard a lot about social security and planning, which have been approached in a different way. We have had inquiries and reports, and on these matters Parliament has been able to throw light, as a result of which well considered schemes of reconstruction have, in consequence, been brought forward. Such matters have been raised above party controversy, and as a Council of State we have had something to go on. But with this Bill there has been no public inquiry—
Mr. Robertson (Streatham)
Why does my hon. Friend keep harping on about a public inquiry? Does he realise that an inquiry at the moment, when there is a famine in the labour market, would reveal that reasonably good wages are being paid? Does he realise that in some kitchens in London hotel workers who used to receive 35s. a week now receive £3 10s.? That is all an inquiry would reveal. But when the war comes to an end there will be a surplus of labour, and wage rates will go downwards again if this Bill does not become law.
§ Sir L. Lyle
I have been given the chance of speaking in this Debate on the understanding that I would not occupy more than a few minutes, and therefore, I hope my hon. Friend will not object to my not answering him in detail, except to say that I think no harm would have been done in having a public inquiry. Certainly, we would have found out many things in regard to wages and conditions. I do not think it is a good argument to say that because we are in conditions of war an inquiry would have been of no service. In any case, there has not been any inquiry, and therefore, in my opinion we have not had the necessary information. What happened was that the Minister suddenly announced his intention of bringing in a scheme with regard to the catering trade and he decided on this much in the same way as Ribbentrop decided to tell the Poles what was going 1268 to happen to them. The Minister did not give us any information. He has himself said that he is not in possession of any up-to-date facts, and the only thing we know for certain is that during the past two years, when we did have inquiries, all the inquiries showed that they could find nothing wrong with the business. What can be said quite fairly is that, as a result of those previous inquiries, there was nothing on which they could condemn the industry as a whole and on which they could say that the conditions were sweated.
Instead of there being an impartial inquiry such as I think there ought to have been, all that has happened, as the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty-Officer Herbert) has said, is that there has been Ministerial propaganda on a very big scale, not only by way of meetings addressed by the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, whom we were delighted to hear talking to us, but a regular spate of propaganda from the public relations officers of the Ministry. That is a matter that is worthy of the attention of the House. Although it is very necessary that Ministers should have public relations and propaganda officials, and although these men do their work extraordinarily well, I think that, since the taxpayer pays for them, it is introducing a very new principle if these officers are to be put on to the job of propaganda before the House has decided on a Measure and while a Measure is still what one might call sub judice.
I am rather surprised that the trade unions should be so enthusiastic about this Bill, as the Minister suggested they were. It seems to me that if such a system is extended it will very seriously weaken the power of the trade unions. On questions of wages alone they will find that they will be asking people to join the unions and finding that the answer will be, "What have you got to offer? The regulation has been made already." In any case, the trade unions, if they do make an arrangement, may find that the agreement is entirely disowned by the Government or by the Minister of Labour. That is what seems to have happened in the case of the industrial canteens. Two unions agreed to a scale but a third union managed to persuade the Minister not to carry on with the scheme. I think the whole of the episode of the industrial canteens and their efforts to get a wages 1269 agreement and bring themselves under the Essential Work Order is a very gloomy foreboding of what will happen when this Bill becomes law. I will read to the House a letter which was sent by the Minister of Labour to the Joint Council of these canteens, dated 28th January, 1942. It reads:I am directed by the Minister of Labour and National Service to inform you that he has now completed the examination of the wages position affecting canteens mentioned in my letter of 9th December with reference to the request made by the National Joint industrial Council for the industrial catering trade for the application of the Essential Work Order to canteens in essential works. In Mr. Bevin's view the final responsibility for the staff employed in the canteen ought to rest with the principal employer in the factory and the staff employed in the canteen are entitled to all facilities for welfare in the factory, including medical attention and any other amenities. To apply the Essential Work Order in the manner suggested by those concerned would imply his acquiescence in the divorce of this responsibility from the principal employer. For these reasons Mr. Bevin does not feel able to agree to the application of the Essential Work Order to canteens in essential works.What does this mean? It means that although the workers and the employers have worked out a satisfactory wages scale, the Minister would not accept it simply because it would not fit into his line of thought and did not carry out what he thought was the right thing. This is a matter of principle. Under this Bill it is not a matter of what type of conditions we want to have after the war. It must be remembered that under the Bill the Minister is taking to himself what can be described only as dictatorial powers. It is not a question of what wages and conditions are in a trade. It is a question of the Minister of Labour, the present Minister or any other Minister, saying, "I do not know the latest facts of the case, but I have decided that the trade should come under certain regulations." If we allow that sort of thing to happen, if we allow the Minister to do this not only with regard to wages and regulations of that sort, but to be able, if he so desires, to try to apply control to the management of the industry, we might as well give up our position altogether. In conclusion, I want to make my firm protest against the breach of the pledge that was given. It is a terrible thing if the Government, who are, we all know, individually men of the highest and most unimpeachable honour, should as a body break a solemn pledge that was given.
§ Sir L. Lyle
The pledge was made that no controversial measures should be brought forward unless for the successful prosecution of the war. Quite obviously it is controversial, and as it is only going to apply after the war is over how can it be for the purpose of the war? I have not time to go further into it and must leave it there.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. McCorquodale)
I am sure the House will agree that we have had an interesting Debate with some good cut and thrust in the old style, and I do not think it was any the worse for that. I do not think my right hon. Friend has any reason to complain of the reception of his speech and the very widespread degree of support for the Measure from every party in the House. He introduced it in a comprehensive speech and showed, with a wealth of historical detail, how the Bill falls into its logical place in the sequence of industrial legislation in the last half-century. He also dealt in some considerable detail with the Clauses of the Bill. I presume the House will not expect me to go in detail over the ground that he so well covered. My purpose is to endeavour to reply to some of the points that have been made.
May I first say a word as to my own position? I have been for the last year a Conservative Member of Parliament working at the Ministry of Labour and National Service with two colleagues belonging to the Labour Party. I am proud to be working there. I never want to serve under a better leader than my right hon. Friend, and I am proud to be serving along side my colleague, the hon. Member for Farnworth (Mr. Tomlinson) in this great Ministry during the war. It has always seemed to me that the method we follow, which is to approach every problem strictly on its merits, is the right one, and is in conformity with the policy of the Government as a whole. I mention this because several Members have said to me, "Of course, we understand your position over this Bill. You cannot very well oppose your own Minister." I 1271 should like to say emphatically and categorically that that is a complete misrepresentation of my position. The fact is that when I came to examine this problem—for it is a problem both from the point of view of what has gone before and from a practical angle—I, as a Conservative, and as one who has been in business all my life, became completely convinced that there were overwhelming advantages in dealing with the problem in the way we propose. I say, therefore, with no reservations of any kind, that I am certainly not less enthusiastic for the Measure than is my right hon. Friend himself. In my view it is no party Measure. For many years now every political party has consistently supported, inside and outside the House, the principles of collective bargaining and the development of self-government in industry.
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) reminded me that this Bill placed in the forefront the development of self-government in the industry which, alas, is conspicuous by its absence at the present time. Following the industrial policy which this House has pursued regardless of party for so many years, this Bill seeks to develop joint machinery by which a foundation can be put in the trade, where collective bargaining does not exist and is not at present a practical possibility. If my years in business, and a highly competitive business, have taught me one lesson above others, it is that there is nothing more harmful to industry and nothing which is more liable to bring about chaotic conditions and poor returns than unfair and uneconomical price cutting. When price cutting is sustained by cutting wages below the general level, and when this is made possible because there is an over-crowded labour market, it is a disaster to everyone concerned. This Measure will protect the catering trades and all concerned from this major curse of industry. May I say a word later on the principle behind this Bill? I claim that it is in direct keeping with the Conservative attitude as it has been adopted in this House for many years.
We have been constantly asked: "Why not an inquiry first?" Indeed, the whole opposition from the political end has not been to the substance of the Bill but to the mechanism of it. The question 1272 of the pledge has also been raised and I will come to that in a minute. It is demanded that we should set up an inquiry before the Bill is proceeded with. This is a practical question. It is not one of fundamental principle. If I am right in regarding it as a practical question, let us look at it from a practical angle. What would such an inquiry seek to do or not to do? It would, I presume, examine the conditions of the trade as a whole. We must remember that it is not one single trade but, as was described in the law courts, a congeries of trades. It would tell us the amount of organisation and the innumerable levels of wages that appertain in the industry. In the fourth year of war the conditions are like nothing that have been known before and are unlike anything we shall know again. No doubt such a form of inquiry would be interesting and possibly instructive, but would it pass the test I have laid down—would it lead to anything of any practical use? I do not believe it would.
Nevertheless, it is obvious that some proper inquiries must be made before a wage board is set up. Our proposal is that the independent and long-term Commission—I emphasise "long-term"—should first sort out the industry. Those sections which were found to have a proper voluntary organisation and machinery, or where it was thought that there was a likelihood that this would be created, would be left and there would be no further investigation. The Commission would then have to consider all the other sections of the trade, and in the words of the Bill, wouldmake all such investigations as appear to them to be necessaryso that they could make up their minds whether a wages board was appropriate or not. If they think that a wages board should be proceeded with, they publish their recommendations, they receive representations in writing, and they hold an inquiry into those representations, an inquiry which may be held in public or in private as the Commission think best, following the lines of the arbitration courts at the present time. Following the further inquiries they make recommendations to my right hon. Friend. Before he sets up a wages board the whole matter is laid on the Table of the House for 40 days.
To suggest, after all that has been gone through by the independent Commission, which is the master throughout, that my 1273 right hon. Friend is taking to himself dictatorial powers, is surely nonsense. It has been argued in one or two organs of the Press, and I am sorry to say has been brought up here, especially by the last speaker, that the investigation of the Commission was worthless because the Commission would be the creature of the Minister, paid by him and merely doing what he wants it to do. I would say, if I may, that I regard that idea as rather silly. In the first place, the opponents of this Measure want what they call an independent inquiry. My right hon. Friend would have to set up the personnel of that inquiry. Is there any reason to suppose that he would set up an independent body of people to make that inquiry but choose an improperly biased set of people for his own Commission? It seems to me absurd. Moreover, under Regulation 58A this House has been prepared to entrust to my right hon. Friend the ordering about of every single individual in this country for the purposes of the war. I regard the suggestion that this House is prepared to do that, but not prepared to let him set up an independent Commission, because he would probably "rig the market," as a suggestion that is not only silly but unworthy of the people who make it. To my mind the proposal to have a Commission making the necessary inquiries, and leaving the scope of their inquiries entirely to them, has many outstanding merits. One is that this Commission will be a long-term body which will not only make recommendations but live to see them carried out, and must therefore take responsibility for them. The Commission will be in existence after the end of the war. It will have to be in a position to advise and help with the difficulties of demobilisation and re-settlement, and I have no doubt that its recommendations will be largely influenced by the thought of those responsibilities.
§ Mr. McCorquodale
There is a point on that which I will endeavour to answer when we come to it on the Committee stage. I would emphasise also that the Commission, because it is a long-term one, need not take decisions hurriedly. It can watch developments, it can proceed in the light of developments, it can take 1274 short-term or war-time decisions in the knowledge that it will be able to consider the post-war position later. In all respects I maintain that our mechanism of inquiry by the Commission is more practical and more valuable than that of the independent inquiry suggested.
Now may I deal with the question of the pledge? Let me repeat that it is the view of the whole Government that this pledge does not conflict in any way with the pledge that was given. [Interruption.] This is the view of the whole Government, and as the Government gave that pledge and chose the wording of it, I should have thought they would be in the best position to judge. [An HON. MEMBER: "Disgraceful."] The Bill is necessary for two reasons. It was desirable for many reasons, but it is absolutely necessary for two reasons. The first is for the more efficient prosecution of the war. I am in closer touch, possibly, than any individual in this House with the difficulties of staffing the various industries in this war. I assert that it is absolutely necessary, if this war is prolonged and if we are to use the man and woman-power efficiently, for us to have some control in this industry. We cannot get that control without knowing what the wages and conditions are in the industry. In no case can we direct a man or woman to an industry or demand that that man or woman should remain in the industry, without knowing the conditions and the wages. The House would never allow it.
§ Mr. McCorquodale
I do not think that we need any special powers. The operation of the Essential Work Order would be sufficient when there is some basis in the industry, and the Bill will provide the basis. The second reason why the Bill is absolutely necessary is to deal with immediate post-war problems. [Interruption.] All those points are directly in line with the words used by the then Leader of the House. I will go on to deal with the other points, one of which was that if: is clearly inappropriate at this time to bring forward legislation of a character likely to arouse serious controversy between political parties. I emphasise the words "political parties," because I emphatically deny that there is political controversy over the substance of the Bill. [An HON. 1275 MEMBER: "Of course there is."] The Bill consists of Clauses dealing with trade boards, trade unions and collective bargaining, matters on which we are all agreed in this House. Indeed, the opponents of the Measure have been at pains, both to-day and outside, to show that they are not opposing all those things but are merely demanding an inquiry beforehand to see whether the Bill is necessary.
§ Captain P. Macdonald rose—
§ Captain Macdonald
I only wanted to make one point, and that is, that the Minister is misleading the House in what he says about trade boards. There is actually a breach of the Trade Boards Act in the Bill, because there is not to be an inquiry.
§ Mr. McCorquodale
There is no breach between this Bill, the Trade Boards Act and the Road Haulage Wages Board which was set up by a Tory Government. I fully admit that there is a dispute on a practical issue as to whether it is better to have an inquiry beforehand or a Commission permanently set up to make an inquiry; but that is not a major political dispute between political parties. I would further say—and I believe this feeling is shared by a good many in this House and in the country—that the demand is that the Government should take all possible steps for the successful prosecution of the war, while leading articles and speeches constantly clamour for more detailed plans to deal with the period of demobilisation and resettlement. Surely the truth is that any Government which failed to take what they regarded as necessary steps, either for the prosecution of the war or to deal with the demobilisation period, or for both objects, as in this Bill, because they feared to meet with opposition in certain quarters, would be quite rightly turned out of this House neck and crop for refusing to take that responsibility. The honest course, and to my belief the only course, for the British Government to take when they come to a decision that any Measure is necessary for either of those two purposes is to come down to the Houses of Parliament and tell them so, and that is what we are doing 1276 in this Bill. I wonder whether I might make one more observation on this point. If we accepted the argument of some hon. Members in this House, we would get into the position that a relatively small section of this House, by reason of clamour, of controversy, could exercise a veto on the wish of the Government and the desire of the great majority of this House. For that position to be tolerated in a democratic House of Commons is, I believe, unthinkable.
§ Mr. McCorquodale
No, I am afraid that I cannot. I have a lot to say in a short time. I would like to make one or two points in answer to what has been said in this House. How can we send back hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and members of the A.T.S., the W.A.A.F., and the W.R.N.S. to this industry after the war, when there may be a considerable measure of control still, as indeed there is bound to be, if we cannot answer the question, which they will naturally ask, "What are we to get in the way of pay?" How can we say to a man or a woman who has come back from fighting our war for us, "You go and take a job at such and such an establishment where there is a vacancy. We cannot tell you what you will be paid. You must make the best bargain you can with your employer "? That would be intolerable. Those who are in a position to know—[An HON. MEMBER: "Who are they? "]—tell us constantly that there is one question which our Fighting Forces are constantly asking: whether practical steps are being taken to see that the jobs which so many of them will have to go back to after the war are decent jobs so far as possible. This Bill endeavours to meet that point. As a corollary, there would be nothing worse, in my view at any rate, for the morale of the troops than to learn that Parliament had refused to allow the Government to take any practical measures and decisions, and was prepared to leave these men and women to the full rigours of supply and demand after the war. Surely it would knock the whole heart and stuffing out of these people. This is a point about which I personally feel very strongly, and I would like to appeal to those who are opposing this 1277 Measure, if they have not thought of these things. Are they really happy in their minds or with the attitude they are taking—[Interruption]—when they consider the men and women who are in the Armed Forces, who are in the munitions industries, and with whom we have to deal after the war?
The point has been made that, because we have put in a reference to efficiency and development in the industry, the Minister is going to dictate how the industry is to be run in individual establishments. That is awful—I apologise, I must not say "awful nonsense" in this House—quite ridiculous. These words are included in the constitution of nearly every joint industrial council which has been set up. They are in the Road Haulage Wages Act, which this House passed under a Conservative Government, and they have been most valuable. Very valuable suggestions have been received from the Road Haulage Wages Board. Suggestions will emanate from the wages boards, which will be made up of people representing both sides in the section of the trade concerned. Therefore, the recommendation will come not from the Minister but from the industry itself.
May I make one or two remarks about the position of this Bill, as I believe, in relation to Conservative principles? I believe that some of the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Sir D. Hacking) were more in line with free trade Manchester School principles. Disraeli would turn in his grave. Remember what he said:The Tory Party, unless it is a national party, is nothing.The Tory Party, in his view, was a party representing not any section of any trade, or even the employers generally, or the middle classes, or the working classes. We claim to be a national party, representing
|Division No. 5.||AYES.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Bartlett, C. V. O.||Bowles, F. G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Cannock)||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Boyce, H. Leslie|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Bracken, Rt. Hon. B.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Beaumont, Hubert (Batley)||Briscoe, Capt. Ft. G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Beaumont, Maj. Hn. R. E. B. (P'tsm'h)||Broad, F. A.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Beachman, N. A.||Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ.)||Beit, Sir A. L.||Brooke, H. (Lewisham)|
|Assheton, R.||Bellenger, F. J.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)|
|Astor, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Benson, G.||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)|
|Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Bevan, A.||Brown, T. J. (Ince)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Bevin, Rt. Hon. E.||Buchanan, G.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Bird, Sir R. B.||Bullock, Capt. M.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Boothby, R. J. G.||Burden, T. W.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Bossom, A. C.||Burke, W. A.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Butcher, Lieut. H. W.|
§ what is best in every section and walk of life in the community; and I believe it is because our party represents not any one section but the national interest that the country has so consistently placed its confidence in us. I believe that if we Conservatives depart from this national outlook, and begin to support sectional claims against the common good, we shall inevitably forfeit the confidence of the nation, and that it would be hard indeed to regain it. Disraeli also laid down as one of the points in his definition of what we should work for, "the elevation of the condition of our people." This Bill carries out that principle.
§ It is for these reasons that I claim, without fear of contradiction, that this Measure is directly in line with modern Conservative thought and the principles that Conservatives have consistently supported—indeed, may I say, with the principles that unite us all in this House in these times of stress and strain. I would ask, with some confidence, for the support of the House on this Measure. The work of my right hon. Friend in the mobilisation of Britain for war is almost complete. The responsibility for planning the demobilisation of Britain—or, as some prefer to call it, the mobilisation of Britain for peace—rests on his shoulders. This Measure is part of that mobilisation, and I would ask the House to give him every support and encouragement.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. James Stuart) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 284; Noes, 113.
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Kicks, E. G.||Poole, Captain C. C.|
|Cary, R. A.||Holdsworth, H.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Cazalet, Col. V. A.||Hollins, A. (Hanley)||Price, M. P.|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Hollins, J. H. (Silvertown)||Pym, L. R.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Holmes, J. S.||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Chater, D.||Horabin, T. L.||Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Hughes, R. M.||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C.||Isaacs, G. A.||Richards, R.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Ridley, G.|
|Collindridge, F.||John, W.||Riley, B.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hon. A. Duff||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. (St'i'g & C'km'n)||Roberts, W.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Johnstone, H. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Robertson, D. (Streatham)|
|Cove, W. G.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir Stafford||Keir, Mrs. Cazalet||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)|
|Critchley, A.||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's.)||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey, W.)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Kimball, Major L.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Sandys, E. D.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Kirby, B. V.||Schuster, Sir G. E.|
|Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Shinwell, E.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Lawson, J. J.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Davies, R. J. (Wosthoughton)||Leach, W.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leonard, W.||Smith, E. (Steke)|
|De Chair, Capt. S. S.||Leslie, J. R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Dobbin, W.||Lewis, O.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Drews, C.||Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)||Logan, D. G.||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. Oliver|
|Dugdale, Major T. L. (Richmond)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Oliver||Stephen, C.|
|Duncan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. R. (C. Ldn.)||Mabane, W.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Dunn, E.||McCorquodale, Malcolm S.||Stewart, W. Joseph (H'gton-le-Spring)|
|Ede, J. C.||McEntee, V. La T.||Storey, S.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||MsEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Mack, J. D.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)||McKinlay, A. S.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray & Nairn)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Summers, G. S.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Edwards, Walter J. (Whitechapel)||McNeill, H.||Suteliffe, H.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Magnay, T.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Etherton, Ralph||Mainwaring, W. H.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Maitland, Sir A.||Thomas, I. (Keighley)|
|Foot, D. M.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Foster, W.||Mander, G. le M.||Thurtle, E.|
|Frankel, D.||Markham, Major S. F.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Marshall, F.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Furness, Major S. N.||Martin, J. H.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.|
|Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M.||Mathers, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gallacher, W.||Maxton, J.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Gammans, Capt. L. D.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Walkden, A. G. (Bristol, S.)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Medlicott, Colonel Frank||Walkden, E. (Doncaster)|
|Gates, Major E. E.||Messer, F.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'broke)||Mitchell, Colonel H. P.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Molson, A. H. E.||Waterhouse, Capt. C.|
|Gibbins, J.||Montague, F.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Gibson, Sir C. G.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Glyn, Sir R. G. C.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. H. (Richmond)|
|Granville, E. L.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||White, H. (Derby, N.E.)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Mort, D. L.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Muff, G.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Murray, J. D.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Grigg, Sir E. W. M. (Altrincham)||Naylor, T. E.||Wilmot, John|
|Grigg, Rt. Hon. Sir P. J. (Cardiff, E.)||Nicolson, Hon. H. G. (Leicester, W.).||Wilson, C. H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Windsor, W.|
|Groves, T. E.||Oldfield, W. H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gruffydd, W. J.||Oliver, G. H.||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Islington, N.)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir K. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Guy, W. H.||Owen, Major G.||Woodburn, A.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Aberdare)||Paling, W.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Wootton-Davies, J. H.|
|Hardie, Agnes||Parker, J.||Wright, Group Capt. J. (Erdington)|
|Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Harvey, T. E.||Pearson, A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Hayday, A.||Peat, C. U.|
|Heilgers, Major F. F. A.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Mr. Boulton and Mr. J. P. L.|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Peto, Major B. A. J.||Thomas.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Ross Taylor, W.|
|Alexander, Bg.-Gen. Sir W. (G'gow C.)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Rowlands, G.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Haslam, Henry||Salt, E. W.|
|Beattie, F.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h & Selk'k)|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Selley, H. R.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Herbert, Petty Officer A. P. (Oxford U.)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Hewlett, T. H.||Shaw, Capt. W. T. (Forfar)|
|Boles, Lt.-Cot. D. C.||Hopkinson, A.||Shute, Col. Sir J. J.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Hunter, T.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Brass, Capt. Sir W.||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Bull, B. B.||Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Carver, Colonel W. H.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Somerset, T.|
|Challen, Flight-Lieut. C.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hn. L. W.||Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J.|
|Channon, H.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Strickland, Capt. W. F.|
|Christie, J. A.||Lees-Jones, J.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (Northwich)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Studholme, Captain H. G.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Levy, T.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Liddall, W. S.||Sykes, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. Sir F. H.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lipson, D. L.||Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Dodd, J. S.||Loftus, P. C.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'd'ton, S.)|
|Doland, G. F.||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'th'm'tn)|
|Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W.||Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard||Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh, Cen.)|
|Ellis, Sir G.||McCallum, Major D.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Elliston, Captain G. S.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Everard, Sir W. Lindsay||Mills, Colonel J. D. (New Forest)||Wells, Sir S. Richard|
|Fildes, Sir H.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Weston, W. Garfield|
|Fox, Flight-Lieut. Sir G. W. G.||Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)||White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)|
|Fraser, Capt. Sir Ian (Lonsdale)||Nunn, W.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Gledhill, G.||Petherick, Major M.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Gluckstein, Major L. H.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||Purbrick, R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Radford, E. A.||Sir Douglas Hacking and|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Rankin, Sir R.||Captain Peter Macdonald.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
|Division No. 6.||AYES.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Brooke, H. (Lewisham)||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Cannock)||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Dugdale, Major T. L. (Richmond)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr'h)||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Duncan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. R. (C. Ldn.)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Buchanan, G.||Dunn, E.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Bullock, Capt. M.||Ede, J. C.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. (Sc'h Univ.)||Burden, T. W.||Eden, Rt, Hon. A.|
|Assheton, R.||Burke, W. A.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.|
|Astor, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Butcher, Lieut. H. W.||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)|
|Aster, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Campbell, Sir E. T.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Cary, R. A.||Edwards, Walter J. (Whitechapel)|
|Banfield, J. W.||Cazalet, Col. Y. A.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Etherton, Ralph|
|Barstow, P. G.||Charleton, H. C.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)|
|Bartlett, C. V. O.||Chater, D.||Foot, D. M.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Cluse, W. S.||Foster, W.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Frankel, D.|
|Beaumont, Hubert (Batley)||Cobb, Captain E. C.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)|
|Beaumont, Major Hn. R. E. B. (P'ts'h)||Cocks, F. S.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Collindridge, F.||Furness, Major S. N.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Cooper, Rt. Hon. A. Duff||Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Cove, W. G.||Gallacher, W.|
|Benson, G.||Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir Stafford||Gammans, Capt. L. D.|
|Bevan, A.||Critchley, A.||Garro Jones, G. M.|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Gates, Major E. E.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Culverwell, C. T.||George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'b'ke)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||Gibbins, J.|
|Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Glyn, Sir R. G. C.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Granville, E. L.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. B.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||De Chair, Capt. S. S.||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Broad, F. A.||Debbie, W.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)|
§ The House divided: Ayes, 283; Noes, 116.
|Grigg, Sir E. W. M. (Altrincham)||Maitland, Sir A.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Grigg, Rt. Hon. Sir P. J. (Cardiff, E.)||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Smith, Bon (Rotherhithe)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mander, G. le M.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Groves, T. E.||Markham, Major S. F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Gruffydd, W. J.||Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Islington, N.)||Marshall, F.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Guy, W. H.||Mathers, G.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Aberdare)||Maxton, J.||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. Oliver|
|Hall, W. G. (Coins Valley)||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Stephen, C.|
|Hardie, Agnes||Msdlicott, Colonel Frank||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.||Messer, F.||Stewart, W. Joseph (H'gton-le-Spring)|
|Harvey, T. E.||Mitchell, Colonel H. P.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Hayday, A.||Molson A. H. E.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Heilgers, Major F. F. A.||Montague, F.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Summers, G. S.|
|Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. (Rochdale)||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Universities)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Hicks, E. G.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Holdsworth, H.||Mort, D. L.||Thomas, I. (Keighley)|
|Hollins, A. (Hanley)||Muff, G.||Thorneycroft, Major G. E. P. (Stafford)|
|Hollins, J. H. (Silvertown)||Murray, J. D.||Thorneycroft, H. (Clayton)|
|Holmes, J. S.||Naylor, T. E.||Thurtle, E.|
|Horabin, T. L.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G. (Leicester, W.)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Hughes, R. M.||Oldfield, W. H.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Isaacs, G. A.||Oliver, G. H.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Owen, Major G.||Viant, S. P.|
|John, W.||Paling, W.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. (Stl'g & C'ktn'n)||Palmer, G. E. H.||Walkden, A. G. (Bristol, S.)|
|Johnstone, H. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Parker, J.||Walkden, E. (Doncaster)|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Keir, Mrs. Cazalet||Pearson, A.||Waterhouse, Capt. C.|
|Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's)||Peat, C. U.||Watkins, F. C.|
|King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Kirby, B. V.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. H. (Richmond)|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Peto, Major B. A. J.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Lawson, J. J.||Pools, Captain C. C.||White, H. (Derby, N.E.)|
|Leach, W.||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Leonard, W.||Price, M. P.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Leslie, J. R.||Pym, L. R||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Lewis, O.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Wilmot, John|
|Linstead, H. N.||Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.||Wilson, C. H.|
|Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)||Rathbons, Eleanor||Windsor, W.|
|Locker-Lampson, Commander O. S.||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Logan, D. G.||Richards, R.||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Oliver||Ridley, G.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir K. (W'lwich, W.)|
|Mabane, W.||Rlley, B.||Woodburn, A.|
|McCorquodale, Malcolm S.||Roberts, W.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Robertson, D. (Streatham)||Wootton-Davies, J. H.|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Wright, Group Capt. J. (Erdington)|
|Mack, J. D.||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|McKinlay, A. S.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey, W.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Maclean, N. (Govan)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Sandys, E. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|McNeil, H.||Schuster, Sir G. E.||Mr. Boulton and Mr. B. P. L.|
|Magnay, T.||Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)||Thomas.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Shinwell, E.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Davison, Sir W. H.||Gridley, Sir A. B.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Alexander, Bg.-Gen. Sir W. (G'gow, O.)||Dodd, J. S.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Doland, G. F.||Haslam, Henry|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.|
|Beattie, F.||Dower, Lt.-Col A. V. G.||Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||Drewe, C.||Hewlett, T. H.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gt'n, N.)||Howitt, Dr. A. B.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Ellis, Sir G.||Hunter, T.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Elliston, Captain G. S.||Hurd, Sir P. A.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Everard, Sir W. Lindsay||Jarvis, Sir J. J.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckross)||Fildes, Sir H.||Jewson, P. W.|
|Brass, Capt. Sir W.||Fox, Flight-Lieut. Sir G. W. G.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k Newington)|
|Drown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Frassr, Capt. Sir Ian (Lonsdale)||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hn. L. W.|
|Bull, B. B.||Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Kimball, Major L.|
|Carver, Colonel W. H.||Gibson, Sir O. G.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.|
|Challen, Flight-Lieut. C.||Gledhill, G.||Lees-Jones, J.|
|Channon, H.||Gluckstein, Major L. H.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Christie, J. A.||Gower, Sir R. V.||Levy, T.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Liddall, W. S.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Lipson, D. L.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Taylor, Captain C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Salt, E. W.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'd'ton, [...]|
|McCallum, Major D.||Scott, Lord William (Ra'b'h & Selk'k)||Thomas, Dr. W. S, Russell (S'th'm'tn)|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Selley, H. R.||Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Mills, Colonel J. D. (New Forest)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Shaw, Capt. W. T. (Forfar)||Watt, F. C. (Edinburgh, Can.)|
|Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)||Shuts, Col. Sir J. J.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Nall, Sir J.||Simmonds, O. E.||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Nunn, W.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Wells, Sir S. Richard|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)||Weston, W. Garfield|
|Petherick, Major M.||Smithers, Sir W.||White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)|
|Procter, Major H. A.||Snadden, W. McN.||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Purbrick, R.||Somerset, T.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Radford, E. A.||Southby, Comd. Sir A. R. J.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Rankin, Sir R.||Strickland, Capt. W. F.|
|Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Studholme, Captain H. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Ross Taylor, W.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Sir Douglas Hacking and|
|Rowlands, G.||Sykes, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. Sir F. H.||Captain Peter Macdonald.|
§ Sir D. Hacking
In view of the figures in this Division, may I ask the Leader of the House whether he is not now satisfied that there is controversy?
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House, for the next Sitting Day.—[Major Sir James Edmondson.]