HC Deb 14 June 1944 vol 400 cc2021-4
Mr. Ivor Thomas (Keighley)

I beg to move, in page 18, line 29, after "facilitate," to insert: the maintenance, adaptation, improvement or. My hon. Friends and I have put down this Amendment in order that the Bill may express more clearly what we think is in the mind of the Chancellor. I am fortified by reference to the Oxford English Dictionary in thinking that "extension" means primarily extension in space. I feel that that is not what the Chancellor has in mind, and for that reason we have suggested that "scientific research" should include research directed to the maintenance, adaptation, improvement or extension of any trade. The point, briefly, is that in any business there must be continual research if it is to adapt itself to changing circumstances. I think that the Financial Secretary will see the point at once. If he prefers any other form of words we shall, of course, be very happy to agree.

The Solicitor-General

I much sympathise with the motives that actuate the hon. Member, but if I explain one of the minor mysteries of drafting, he may understand the position. The definition Clause uses the words: References to scientific research related to a trade or a class of trades include— (a) any scientific research which may lead to or facilitate an extension of that trade. "Include," in a definition Clause of a Statute, means "shall be extended to include." It postulates that the ordinary meaning of "scientific research related to a trade" stands as the commencement of your regard of the ratter. Our view—my view, for what it is worth to my hon. Friends—is that "scientific research related to a trade," in its primary meaning, does fully cover the maintenance, adaptation and improvement of the trade. That would be the primary purpose. The only need for the definition in Clause 30 is to extend it to what would not be the trade itself but might be an extension of the trade in the sense of developing it along new channels and new paths. I hope that my hon. Friends will not think that I interrupted in order to end the discussion, but I thought it might be convenient to give an explanation.

Sir G. Schuster

I wanted to rise to clear up that very point. At the risk of repetition I would like to have it underlined, because the Chancellor also made reference in an earlier discussion to the significance of the word "include" in the Clause. I seem to recollect that, in my early days when I studied law, we were warned that if you expressly include something you run the risk of being interpreted as having excluded something else about which you remain tacit. I do not know whether that rule applies to Parliamentary draftsmanship, but I would like to have it, clearly stated that the meaning of the word "include" here is that it brings in matters which might otherwise not have been included and that it certainly excludes nothing. It widens the definition.

The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend is asking me to repeat what I said. I will repeat it with the greatest of pleasure.

The Deputy-Chairman

No, we cannot have a third repetition.

Mr. I. Thomas

In view of the explanation which has been given, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Woodburn

I would like to raise two little points with the Financial Sec- retary. The first is in relation to the coming discussion on the White Paper on Employment Policy. Entire freedom is given to firms here, in regard to judging for themselves when they will indulge in capital expenditure. The question is, Are any steps to be taken to link up the Finance Bill with the proposals of the Government for ensuring the proper location of industry and the various other things that are contemplated in controlling capital expenditure to carry out the policy of full employment? If the Government are giving certain concessions, that is obviously a very important lever, along with other measures, in directing industries to certain districts or deciding when capital expenditure will be carried out. For example, it is proposed that capital expenditure should only be carried out—or, at least, it should be encouraged—during a period tending towards slackness in general industry and not during a period when the rest of industry is expanded to the full. Will steps be taken to link up the policy of using the Government expenditure and Government encouragement of expenditure, as a balancing factor between the proposals in the Finance Bill and the proposals which are coming along in—

The Deputy-Chairman

I am sorry to interrupt, but the hon. Member's argument seems, so far, to be directed to Clause 27. We are on quite a narrow Clause now, and we cannot go into the whole question.

Mr. Woodburn

I quite agree with you, Mr. Williams. The only point is that the later part of the Clause gives an explanation relating to this expenditure. The other point is whether, as a result of this definition of scientific research and of what is going to be allowed, it will be made possible for firms to discover entirely new things, and perhaps to develop monopolies. What steps will be taken to protect the public against monopoly prices and to safeguard the public interest in these matters?

Mr. Assheton

I think both questions are rather wide. I should not think the Committee would feel that the reference to expenditure as such was sufficiently wide to raise this question. If we were dealing with matters which are going to be brought forward by the Chancellor at some time in the future, I could understand my hon. Friend raising the question. In this very limited field as to research, I should think it was hardly applicable. With regard to the second point, as to monopolies being developed as a result of this provision, I am bound to say that we cannot deal with it on this Clause. The whole question of what we are going to do about monopolies is being thought about, but this does not seem the occasion to discuss it.

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