HC Deb 03 December 1945 vol 416 cc1999-2026
Mr. Tomlinson

I beg to move, in page 2, line 31 leave out "forty-seven," and insert "fifty."

This is consequential.

Amendment agreed to

7.45 p.m.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

I beg to move, in page 2, leave out line 41 and insert: a manner as to show separately the amounts advanced to the Minister under this Act and the date of the advances; the receipts of the Minister in connection with the performance of each of the functions specified in section one of this Act; the amounts paid into the fund by the Minister of Health and the dates of such payments; the amounts paid out of the fund by way of principal and the amounts so paid by way of interest; the amount paid out to the Minister in payment of expenses incurred in performing each of the functions specified in section one of this Act in such form as the Treasury may direct; a statement showing the profit or loss made by the Minister in carrying out each of the functions specified in section one of this Act; and a statement in such manner and form as the Treasury may direct showing the financial position of the fund. Under this Bill the only obligation, so far as the preparation of an account is concerned, of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Works is to prepare an account of receipts into, and payments out of, the Fund in such a form and manner "as the Treasury may direct." Those words are so wide that I apprehend that the sort of account one sees stuck up in the village post office saying what has been paid in and out would suffice to meet the Statute. It would not suffice for our purpose, and that is why we have put down this Amendment to indicate the things we think the account should show. We think that the accounts should be prepared in such a manner as to show separately the amounts advanced to the Minister under the Act and the date of the advancement. Now that the operation of this Fund has been extended until 1950, it becomes even more important that we should know year by year the extent of the amount advanced by the Treasury and the time when it has been" advanced.

Then we ask that we should be told of the receipts of the Minister in connection with the performance of each of the functions specified in the first Clause of the Bill; that is to say, we want to know what he has received from the sale of building materials and of permanent equipment for building. We want to know what he has received under paragraph (b) and, in particular, what he has received from local authorities for carrying out their functions under the Housing Act of 1936. We suggest that those receipts should be shown in such a form as to be easily identifiable because, if that information is not given, it will not be easy to compare the cost of the work of local authorities being done by direct labour, by local contractors, and toy the Ministry of Works. We go on to ask that there should be inserted the amounts paid into the Fund by the Minister of Health and the dates of such payments; Those payments will be made, the Committee will recollect, under Clause 3 of the Bill. There is nothing in Clause 3 to limit the total amount of the subsidy that the Minister of Health can give to the Minister of Works in respect of permanent prefabricated houses, nor is there anything in the Bill to limit the amount of subsidy that can be given per house. One of the things which it is important we should know is the extent of the burden which is annually placed on the taxpayer by this unlimited subsidy being given by the Ministry of Health, and that can only be revealed if a specific entry is made in the account which shows how much the Ministry of Health has paid into it to balance the account.

Then we go to the expenditure side. We want to be told in this account the amounts paid out of the Fund by way of principal and interest. We surely ought to see how the repayment is getting on and, also, to know from time to time what are the rates that the Treasury is charging by way of interest. I ought to draw the attention of the Committee to a typing error in the sixth line; instead of the amount paid out to the Minister in payment of expenses incurred in performing such of the functions specified in Section 1 of this Act. it should be: the amount paid in to the Minister in payment of expenses incurred in performing such of the functions specified in Section 1 of this Act. If we get that information—and I think that not only this side of the Committee, but all sides of the Committee desire to have it, and the public will desire to know —then we shall be able to judge to some extent of the efficiency or inefficiency of the Government in big business. We ask in addition, for a form of account showing receipts and expenditure. We should have a profit and loss account with regard to the exercise of each one of the Minister's functions and also a general statement showing in any manner and form the Treasury may direct, the financial position of the Fund.

In fact, what we are asking for is no more and no less than that which any limited company has to provide annually—a statement of receipts and expenditure, a profit and loss account and a balance sheet. I hope the Minister will be able to concede our claims and agree to this Amendment, if not, perhaps, in the form In which it is, at least in substance, because, knowing him as I do, I feel sure that he will not be reluctant annually to inform Parliament exactly how this Fund is being worked, and with what results.

Captain Marples

I think both sides of the Committee agree with this Bill in principle. There was no division on Second Reading, but this afternoon I am afraid the subject has become rather political. I am sorry to see that the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks) is not here, because, in my opinion, it is a technical and not a political Bill. It is most important that hon. Members opposite should realise that. I am quite serious when I say that, because this afternoon there has been a tendency to get into a battle politically, and I think that is the wrong way to treat this Bill. In any case, the words I suggest to the Committee are practical and not political. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Works, talking about matters connected with the Fund on the Second Reading Debate, said: This is clearly right in order that a proper picture may be presented o£ the financial results of the operations of the Fund."—[OFFICIAL REPORT,1945; Vol. 416, c. 908.] I think we are all agreed on that. Later on, the Minister of Health, whom I am very glad to see in his place, said: We are carrying on a practical business operation and we insist on having the same elasticity as business men-claim."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th November, 1945; Vol. 416, c. 1003.] I think all sides of the Committee are agreed that the Government are going into business. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear hon. Members opposite agree. Therefore, let us compare that position with a limited company which is in business now. A limited company has to prepare a balance sheet, a trading and profit and loss account. I must disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) because he said that all we were asking the Government to do was to let us have the same accounts as a limited company has to produce. A limited company has to produce a balance sheet showing the assets and liabilities at a given date, and a trading and profit and loss account, or an income and expenditure account, for the period, whereas all we are asking them to do here is to provide a simple receipt and payment account which is not quite the same thing.

Mr. Diamond (Manchester, Blackley)

Has the hon. and gallant Gentleman noticed that the words "profit or loss" appear in the Amendment?

Captain Marples

Yes, and "a statement." It does not necessarily mean that we shall have an income and expenditure account on that Amendment. The point is that in a limited company the accounts are audited by an auditor who attends to the vouchers and looks after the wages, and then gives a certificate. Those accounts are discussed at the annual general meeting and any shareholder can raise an objection. They have to have a meeting every 12 months, and they present their accounts. Why cannot the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Works produce precisely the same account.

We have also heard a great deal from hon. Members opposite about the City, and I gather that they are not quite in agreement with the morals of the City in the past. I do not know whether I am right in saying that, but I think there has been some criticism of the City. Let us see for a moment what the City do when they have a promotion of any sort. When they have a promotion they produce, first of all, in the prospectus a valuation of the assets, which is signed by an independent valuer. That is something which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not able to do on the Bank of England Bill. But in the City —wicked City, according to hon. Gentlemen opposite—they have to do that when they have a flotation or a promotion. They also have to produce their profits over a period of years, again duly certified, and a statement in the certificate showing how the profit has been arrived at. The Government are the promoters of this particular Bill, the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is the chairman and the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Works is the managing director. That is shown by the great attention which the Minister of Works gave to these Debates which have taken place—a fact which I myself have very much appreciated. The shareholders are the taxpayers; I am afraid they have not very much option in it. In the City they get an option, and they do not subscribe if they do not want to. We on this side treat the shareholders as taxpayers, and I suppose on the opposite side they are treated as voters.

The point is that if the City with its bad record, according to hon. Members opposite, is in a position to insist on these provisions, we can at least insist on the same conditions in this Bill. It provides an instrument which can do a great deal of good in the building industry if properly applied. I quite agree with hon. Members opposite, if it is properly applied. If it is not properly applied, it can absolutely ruin the building trade. All we want in this Amendment is to see whether or not the Government are running it efficiently. It is not a political issue; it is purely a business issue. Let us see a full profit and loss account, a balance sheet and a quarterly statement of what goes on; that is all we ask for. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is a little shy in bringing forward these figures. He is a little shy in producing his housing figures. Surely he can be a little bolder with the actual financial provisions.

I come to what was my pet theme on the Second Reading of the Bill. I said there that a large contractor was an organiser and a financier rather than a craftsman. The success of business depends upon a time and progress schedule being carried out, and for that a contractor has to organise his two prime factors of labour and material. If he has labour under his direct control and he can order it to any point that he so desires, if the Minister of Works carries out the distribution his material will be left entirely in the hands of the Ministry of Works. If the Ministry of Works falls down on that distribution, and suppose, for example, there are 50 builders waiting for materials who do not arrive and the Ministry of Works has contracted to supply the material, it will mean something like £250 in a week having to be paid out by way of wages. I want to know—and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell me—whether the figure of £250 would be included. It appears to me, as far as I can make out, that the local authority will pay the final bill for the building, and if there is a claim against the Ministry of Works it will be included in the figure. Therefore, if the Ministry of Works are inefficient distributors, causing loss of wages which means loss of houses, it will not be shown in the accounts in any way. If the Minister of Works assumes responsibility for distributing materials, under this Bill he must obviously at the same time assume the responsibility for any breakdown in that distribution. I think that all sides of the Committee will be agreed upon that statement.

8.0 p.m.

I want to make the concrete suggestion that we should ensure that this account is a true account. If a contractor has any claim against a distributor for materials not arriving at the right time—and he will have one if the Ministry of Works have to supply the materials—the claim should not be charged to the local authority, but to this Fund. I want to see in the Bill the actual administrative machinery, and the efficiency or otherwise of the two right hon. Gentlemen in front of me now. We do not ask for anything more. With the Government's huge majority they can get anything through, but I think we are entitled to know whether the right hon. Gentlemen are efficient or not. That is all we are asking. There are other ways of finding out. I was reminded by an hon. Member that we can find out by Question and answer, but I think that the Questions and answers that have been addressed to the Minister of Works have not been satisfactory. [Hon. Members: "The Questions?"] I should have said said that the answers have not been at all satisfactory. I have several times tried to get out of the Minister of Works information regarding costs, and so has my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. Bossom). I have a great admiration for the right hon. Gentleman, but I submit with very great respect that some of the answers he has given have misled the House.

Mr. Tomlinson

Why did the hon. and gallant Member not challenge them at the time?

Captain Marples

I could not challenge them at the time because I did not have the actual facts and figures, which I have obtained from another source since. On 20th November, my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone asked the Minister of Works whether he would give a list of materials or equipment in short supply that are—

The Minister of Health (Mr. Aneurin Bevan)

On a point of Order. Will you be good enough, Mr. Beaumont, to tell the Committee whether the point now being raised by the hon. and gallant Member is in Order? We are discussing a specific Amendment which is on the Order Paper, but the hon. and gallant Member is now referring to a Question which he put to the Minister of Works some time ago about the supply of materials. Is it in Order to discuss that matter now?

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Further to that point of Order. May I put this argument to you, in order to suggest that my hon. and gallant Friend is in Order? The amount of information, or the lack of it, which is elicited by Questions surely strengthens the argument that we should have an account of the nature we desire.

Mr. Bevan

Is it in Order for hon. Members, in support of a proposition, to call into question the amount of information which is given at Question Time?

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

I was waiting to see what the Question was to which the hon. and gallant Member was referring. In any case, I suggest it is quite impossible on this Amendment for the Debate to range over so wide a field.

Captain Marples

What I was doing was not so much calling attention to the insufficiency of the information as to the accuracy of the information.

The Deputy-Chairman

I could not allow that point to be raised.

Captain Marples

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman said "Tut, tut." All I am seeking to find out is the exact financial position, and the efficiency or the inefficiency of the right hon. Gentlemen in action and not in rhetoric. It is fairly easy to talk about building, but it is a technical problem requiring a technical mind behind it. Those technical minds are sadly lacking at the moment. [Laughter.] I am sorry that hon. Members should laugh, because it is very serious that this country should have a company promoted, in some of the directors of which I have no confidence, taking £10,000,000 of the country's money, and the first time they come to the House, seven days after the promotion of the company, they say: "We have made a mistake. We want to add three years to our original two."

The Deputy-Chairman

That is not in Order on this Amendment.

Captain Marples

I am sorry, Mr. Beaumont, and I apologise, but this is a very technical problem. If we are not very careful the accounts for which we are asking will not be produced, and the country will never know whether the right hon. Gentlemen opposite are efficient or not.

Captain Gammans (Hornsey)

I think that the Minister is under an obligation either to accept the Amendment or to give the Committee adequate explanations why he does not accept it. As the Clause stands, it reads to me like the prospectus of a bucket shop. This company is not prepared to submit its accounts to a proper audit. If any individual were to go before the public and say, "I want to borrow £10,000,000 but I am not going to tell you how I spend it, except that one of my subordinates in my own accounts department will lay down the form in which the accounts are to be presented," the man who tried to offer that would eventually go to gaol, and quite rightly too. Here we are dealing with public money, very large sums of public money. I do not understand any hon. Gentleman opposite, if they have this implicit faith—I was going a bit further, to say "childish faith "—in the efficacy of State trading, not being willing to start off properly. Let them lay all their accounts before the country and before the House of Commons. If the thing is good, all right, it is provable by figures, and it is provable only by figures and not by rhetoric in Hyde Park. If they can show by actual figures laid before the House that their adventures in making bath tubs and the other things they propose to make are successful, they will receive the approbation not only of this House but the country, and they will deserve it.

Why are they so shy? Why can they not come to us and to the country and say: "We are going to borrow £100 million and we are going to produce our accounts only in the form that the Treasury may direct"? The onus is on the Government either to accept the Amendment or to tell the Committee definitely why they cannot. If they were dealing with their own money as individuals they could produce such accounts as they liked, but when they are dealing with other people's money, and especially with the money of the people who put them into the House of Commons, they ought to be more meticulous as to the way in which they render an account of their stewardship. If they are satisfied that they will make a success of it, that is all the more reason why they should submit accounts in detail. If they are not prepared to do so, the country and this House are justified in drawing from their refusal the worst possible conclusion, which is that the right hon. Gentlemen know that they are going to lose money and believe that by hiding that prospect under certain phrases they can disguise it from the country.

Mr. Tomlinson

The last two speeches gave me the impression that the hon. and gallant Gentlemen were asking not so much for information as conveying to the Government the intimation: '' We do not trust you and we do not trust the individuals who will be responsible for this matter. Therefore, the only way in which you can present accounts is in the detailed way that we suggest." Anything other than that is to be taken as meaning that we are going to be dishonest. I resent the suggestion.

Captain Marples rose

Mr. Tomlinson

The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has had some experience in the House for a fairly long period to my knowledge—

Captain Gammans rose

Mr. Tomlinson

The hon. and gallant Gentleman does not know to what I am going to take exception. I am taking exception to the suggestion that despite the Treasury regulations which are laid down the Ministry will deal with accounts in the careless way he has hinted.

Captain Gammans

I do not want to make any imputation against the right hon. Gentleman personally. My imputation is against the inefficiency which I think will arise from these operations. Any right hon. Gentleman, in fact, any Government ought to be all the more meticulous in the safeguards which they put on the use of other people's money.

Mr. Tomlinson

I am quite prepared to accept that last restriction, but I did not hear any such reference in the fairly long speech casting doubt upon the regulations insisted upon when financial arrangements are being made. The accounts which will be presented to Parliament under the Bill will be somewhat in the nature of a cash account. On the receipt side will be shown the balance in hand at the beginning of the year, issues from the Consolidated Fund, payments by the Health Department, sales of building structures as well as building materials with the repayment by local authorities for work carried out on their behalf. On the payment side it would probably show under separate headings such items as repayment to the Consolidated Fund, interest on advances from the Consolidated Fund, purchases of building materials, equipment and complete structures, capital expenditure, work done on behalf of local authorities, distribution and transport costs and departmental expenses, and the balance of the Fund at the end of the year.

Mr. Bossom

Will these accounts show the extra charges caused by inefficiency or failure to deliver, because in this particular matter they can be very serious?

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Do I understand that all these various matters will be shown item by item in this account?

Mr. Tomlinson

I do not expect that every item will have to be put down. What I expect will be done will be as is done in the companies which are always being held up to us as examples. Possibly there will be put down an expenditure on miscellaneous items but whether there will be any objection to that I do not know. The important point is that it is not the intention of the Government nor their desire to hide anything. What we do object to, and what I personally object to, is that on this particular item or on that particular item with which the Ministry of Works is involved hon. Members opposite seek to set up a new standard of accountancy for this Parliament. In addition to what I have said about the cash account I would remind hon. Members opposite that the Treasury have certain powers under Section 5 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act of 1921. This Section reads as follows, and I wish to read it because I want Members to understand that we on this bench know that it is there: There shall be prepared in each financial year, in such form and by such Government Departments as the Treasury may from time to time direct or approve, statements of account showing the income and expenditure of any shipbuilding, manufacturing trading or commercial services conducted by the Department together with such balance sheets and statements of profit and loss and particulars of costs as the Treasury may require. All such accounts shall be transmitted to the Comptroller and Auditor-General and presented to Parliament on or before the date specified in that behalf in the first schedule of this Act. All such accounts as aforesaid shall be examined by the Comptroller and Auditor-General on behalf of the House of Commons and in his examination he shall have regard to any programme of works shipbuilding or manufacture which may have been laid before Parliament and shall certify and report on them to the House of Commons. Those are the Treasury instructions that are laid down. It will be seen that the Treasury have power to prescribe the preparation of and laying before Parliament of commercial accounts in the case of commercial operations carried out by Government Departments. We are assured by the Treasury that no exception will be made on our account. We, too, shall have, as we ought, to toe the line. As a matter of fact it has been the general practice of the Treasury so to instruct with regard to accounts and those instructions will be carried out under this Bill.

8.15 p.m.

These accounts will probably contain a trading account, a profit and loss account and a balance sheet in normal commercial form. What more hon. Members opposite want I do not know. Everything that is asked for, or, at any rate, almost everything in the Amendment, will in fact be covered either by the account to be prepared under the Bill or by the commercial accounts to be prepared under the 1921Act. The accounts, however, will not show the date of advances and payments by the Health Departments, nor has it been made clear why these dates should be shown. It is obvious that they will come within a fairly narrow period and it does not seem to me why any specific date on which the payments were made should matter so far as the accounts were concerned. The advances may be made at fairly frequent intervals and at short notice. There was a point I made with regard to 1950 of which nobody seems to take any notice, but I object to having money in the Fund which is paying interest to the Treasury when, by extending the date a little, the Treasury can hold it for us, and it is there when we go for it. There seems to be no reason why, when the operations of the fund as a whole will be shown clearly in the annual accounts, the specific dates of the advances should be required to be entered in that account.

With regard to advances from the Health departments I do not see that the information which is demanded can be at all useful. The Amendment also asks for a statement showing the profit and loss in carrying out each of the funds specified under section 1of the Act. Not only are a balance sheet and a profit and loss account wanted, but the hon. Members opposite want three balance sheets and three profit and loss accounts. I have never heard it suggested that any company should carry out such a practice, nor anything like the practice which is suggested in the Amendment. I have never heard it suggested that a company should show the profit and loss made on each particular item. It always seemed to me all right so long as it came out all right in the end. I feel, therefore, that in asking for these details in three separate accounts, so far as the Ministry is concerned, the Amendment is asking for something which is not required in any other kind of accounting. Why you worry so much about this particular item I cannot understand.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hill head)

This Amendment raises a very important question and this is really the first opportunity that we have had of discussing the method of accounting which is to be con- ducted by the Government in respect of their new nationalised business activities. What is done here will no doubt constitute a precedent for what will be done elsewhere. Let us, therefore, see clearly what is going to be done. The right hon. Gentleman went a long way but he scattered all his assurances—if they were intended to be assurances—with the application of the word "probably." Why should we not know now without any "probably"? Why should we not know definitely? The Treasury is a Department of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman rather spoke as if the Treasury was something separate and aloof, with which he, as a Cabinet Minister, had no concern. The Cabinet rules the Treasury, and he is a Cabinet Minister. There fore, he cannot represent that the Treasury is something independent of himself. He speaks for the Treasury at that Box. Why, therefore, should we have the phrase, "The Treasury will probably do this" or "The Treasury will probably do that "? Have not the right hon. Gentlemen opposite made up their minds what is to be done? If the right hon. Gentleman likes, we will postpone this matter until the Report Stage in order to give him another week. Perhaps he will change his mind again in the course of next week, as he has done in the course of the last week, but do let us have something definite. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us definitely, with no probabilities, whether we are going to have a proper commercial balance sheet, and profit and loss account? If he will tell us that, it will be a very notable settlement or agreement for the future.

I do not want to go into details as to how these things are to be met. We want, as a minimum, the type of publicity of accounts which an ordinary public company gives. The Government ought to set an example here. There has been a good deal of criticism that public company law is not as adequate as it should be with regard to accounts. Therefore, let the Government set the example. Let them give not only what the companies Act requires, but a little more. If we are told—we have not been told yet—that the Government are to do that, then our point in putting down the Amendment is gained. It was not in order to establish a meticulous method of drawing up a balance sheet; our con- cern is to get a principle settled, and if the right hon. Gentleman will settle it for us, then, so much the better. We do not want to leave it that these documents will be as the Treasury may require, because we ought to know now what the Treasury are going to require.

The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that we were going to be hard on him in asking that there should be separate statements of account with regard to the three different activities under Clause I namely, the purchasing of building materials, the making and carrying out of arrangements for contractors, and the acting on behalf of local authorities. These are, in fact, separate, though no doubt unrelated businesses, and I think, following out what I said a few moments ago, the Government ought to go a little further than the ordinary requirements, and we ought to have separate statements with regard to these three separate activities. We ought to have something in the nature of a profit and loss account so that we may see the extent of the activities under each of those heads during the period, and the financial result. We do not want capital and income payments mixed up, as they could be, as the Bill stands. All the Bill requires is a global sum on one side, capital and income receipts, and a global sum on the other side, capital and income payments. That is all the Bill says, and all that the 1921Act says is, "You shall add to them as much or as little as the Treasury chooses to specify." That is all we have at the moment—global sums in the Bill and "trust the Treasury" outside the Bill, that is all. Therefore, if we can get a specific undertaking on the lines indicated, our purpose here is served.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Aneurin Bevan)

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Works has already given to the Committee an undertaking in very much more detail than is required by any public company or is obliged to be obeyed by any public company. I am bound to say that I am astonished at the impudence of hon. Members opposite. It was said on Second Reading that we are deliberately putting ourselves under constraint in this Bill, and especially in this Clause to which the Amendment relates, under far more discipline, far more rigid than the last Government submitted themselves to. The right hon. and learned Member was a Member of the last Government. Did he ever require the late Minister of Works to make any report to the House of Commons in detail?

Mr. J. S. C. Reid rose

Mr. Bevan

The fact of the matter is that hon. Members opposite have been having rather too good a time. We have never heard from the late Government any statement of the expenditure that they made on any of the accounts concerning prefabricated houses until the present Government published the statement. The last Government concealed, hid them from the country and it was necessary for the present Government to produce a White Paper showing the incompetent extravagance of the last Government. Hon. Members opposite hoped that it would be left to the Public Accounts Committee a year or two hence to discover their commercial incompetence." We suggested, and my right hon. Friend has given▀×—

Mr. Willink

The right hon. Gentleman was a Member of the last Government.

Mr. Bevan

I am talking about the last Government.

Mr. Willink

So was I. [Interruption.]

Mr. Bevan

Hon. Members are trying to have it both ways. I say to hon. Members apposite that the whole evening has been devoted not to a critical examination of what we have been discussing, but all the time, through a whole long drawn out wasting of time. Let me say to hon. Members opposite—and I said this on Second Reading—that in this matter we are committing ourselves to far more precise and particular information for the guidance of the House of Commons in the way that we are going to use these powers than that to which any other Government have committed themselves. Hon. Members opposite have not yet disclosed what was spent by the late Minister of Works on those steel houses—over £2,000,000 wasted. No information has yet been given to the Committee, or to the House, on the matter. No further development has taken place. The money, as far as they are concerned, has been thrown away.

8.30 p.m.

Therefore, I suggest to hon. Members that it does not lie in their mouths to talk about commercial probity. They ought to be silent about it, or we shall exhume some other putrifying corpses. The fact is that at any time, as hon. Members opposite know very well, this information can be obtained. On the Vote of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Works, hon. Members opposite could put down Amendments if they wished. The fact of the matter is that the Treasury conducts its business, as hon. Members opposite know very well, far more scrupulously than any private company, and far more information is given by the Treasury than is given by public companies, with a far more itemised examination of accounts. I am astonished that hon. Members opposite, and particularly the right hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded me at the Ministry of Health, should dare to suggest that any procedure in which the Treasury is involved might have the result of concealing from the House of Commons information about public moneys which the House of Commons should receive. The fact is that hon. Members opposite are engaged in trying to discover defects in the Bill which do not exist, and I suggest to them that they should wait until the actual accounts are placed before Parliament, and not press this matter too far, otherwise we should be obliged to make disclosures of a character very much different to those which they seek.

Mr. J. S. C. Reid

The right hon. Gentleman made some complaint about wasting time. I have not noticed just how many minutes he consumed, but he has not said a single word relevant to this Amendment. [Interruption.] I asked the right hon. Gentleman a very simple question, which he could have dealt with, had he so chosen, in two sentences, or even one. [An Hon. Member: "Why waste more time? "] Because I have not got the answer to my question. I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether we could take it that the things, which the Minister of Works said would probably be done, would, in fact, be done, and I said that if we got an assurance that these things would, in fact, be done—and not probably—that would satisfy us. I certainly thought that, when the Minister of Health got up, he was going to deal with that point, but, as usual, he was so carried away with his own eloquence that he forgot all about it. Is he, or is he not, going to answer the point? I warn the right hon. Gentleman that, if he is not going to answer, we shall most certainly go into the Division lobby—[Interruption.] All right, there is plenty of time. It certainly means that we cannot rely on getting the information. Unless an assurance is given now, we cannot rely on getting one scrap more than the Government are bound to give under the Bill as it stands, and the Bill as it stands can be implemented by two global figures—total income and total outgoing. Is the Minister, or is he not, going to say that the details which his right hon. Friend said would probably be given will be given? There is a very simple question, which can be answered "Yes" or "No." Let us have "Yes" or "No" and not a lot of rhetoric.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

I wish to say one or two words about what the Minister of Health has said, and, particularly, his references to my right hon. and learned Friend who was formerly Minister and with whom I was associated for a little time. When the right hon. Gentleman talks about the impudence of those on this side of the Committee—and I admit that I would give credit to him as an expert on that subject—may I ask if it is not the case that a great deal, if not the majority, of this expenditure on temporary houses, and the commitments in respect of it, was, in fact, undertaken during the period of the Coalition Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Works was a member? I would add one further plea. The Minister of Health has raised his usual smoke screen about this matter. He seems to think that by abuse and offensiveness—

Division No. 43] AYES [8.39 p.m.
Adams, Capt. H. R. (Balham) Blackburn, A. R. Collindridge, F.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Bottomley, A. G. Collins, V. J.
Adamson, Mrs. J. L. Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Colman, Miss G. M.
Allen, Scholefield (Crews) Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.
Alpass, J. H. Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (Lpl, Exch'ge) Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Brook, D. (Halifax) Corvedale, Viscount
Attewell, H. C. Brooks, T.J. (Rothwell) Cove, W. G.
Austin, H. L. Brown, T. J. (Ince) Crossman, R. H. S.
Awbery, S. S. Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Daggar, G.
Ayles, W. H. Burden, T. W. Davies, Clement (Montgomery)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Burke, W. A. Davies, Edward (Burslem)
Bacon, Miss A. Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Davies, Ernest (Enfield)
Balfour, A. Byers, Lt.-Col. F. Davies, Harold (Leek)
Barstow, P. G. Castle, Mrs. B. A. Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)
Barton, C. Chamberlain, R. A. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)
Battley, J. R. Champion, A. J. Deer, G.
Bechervaise, A. E. Chater, D. de Freitas, Geoffrey
Belcher, J. W. Clitherow, R. Diamond, J.
Benson, G. Cluse, W. S. Dodds, N. N.
Berry, H. Cobb, F. A. Douglas, F. C. R.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Cocks, F. S. Driberg, T. E. N.
Binns, J. Collick, P. Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)

[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman has given more material for a broadcast this afternoon by trying to cast a complete cloud over this point.

The point is this. It is not what has happened in the past—to which the right hon. Gentleman confined his observations—but what is going to happen in future. We are entitled, when this Government are trying this big experiment with a Fund which they are going to operate, to ask for information on details, and I was glad to hear what the Minister of Works said. I interrupted the right hon. Gentleman because I wanted to get it right, but I will give way to him if I am wrong, or if he will confirm this—that, in these accounts, the list of items, which he read out, will be shown. Of course, there may bean entry for "miscellaneous," and a few odd things like that, but, with regard to the other items which he mentioned and which he says the Treasury can require, I am going to ask Will he give an assurance that he will reconsider this matter between now and Report stage, because, when the Government are undertaking a business of this sort, it surely should not be left to the discretion of the Treasury whether that information is provided, not only to Members of this House, but also to the public. With that point the Minister did not condescend to deal at all. I ask the Minister of Works, even now, if he will give an assurance to reconsider the matter before the Report stage.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 258; Noes, 102.

Dumpleton, C. W, Longden, F. Simmons, C. J.
Dye, S. McAdam, W. Skeffington-Lodge, Lt. T. C.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McEntee, V. La T. Skinnard, F. W.
Edwards, John (Blackburn) Mack, J. D. Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) McKay, J. (Wallsend) Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Maclean, N. (Govan) Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) McLeavy, F. Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Farthing, W. J. Macpherson, T. (Romford) Smith, T. (Normanton)
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Mallalieu, J. P. W. Snow, Capt. J. W.
Follick, M. Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.) Solley, L. J.
Foot, M. M. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Sorensen, R. W.
Foster, W. (Wigan) Mayhew, Maj. C. P. Soskice, Maj. Sir F
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Messer, F. Sparks, J. A.
Freeman, P. (Newport) Middleton, Mrs. L. Stamford, W.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. Mikardo, Ian Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Mitchiton, Maj. G. R. Strauss, G. R.
Gibson, C. W. Monslow, W. Stubbs, A. E.
Gilzean, A. Montague, F. Swingler, Capt. S.
Goodrich, H. E. Moody, A. S. Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Gordon-Walker, P. G. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Grenfell, D. R. Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen) Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Grey, C. F. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.) Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Grierson, E. Murray, J. D. Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Naylor, T. E. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) Neal, H. (Claycross) Thorneycroft, H.
Haire, Flt-Lieut. J. (Wycombe) Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Tiffany, S.
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Tolley, L.
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E, (Brentford) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Hardy, E. A. Noel-Buxton, Lady Turner-Samuels, M.
Hastings, Dr. Somerville O'Brien, T. Ungoed-Thomas, Maj. L.
Haworth, J. Oldfield, W. H. Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Oliver, G. H. Viant, S. P.
Hederson, J. (Ardwick) Paget, R. T. Walkden, E.
Hewitson, Captain M. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Walker, G. H.
Hicks, G. Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Hobson, C. R. Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Watkins, T. E.
Holman, P. Paton, J. (Norwich) Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Horabin, T. L. Pearson, A. Weitzman, D.
House, G. Peart, Capt. T. F. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Hoy, J. Perrins, W. Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Popplewell, E. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Porter, E. (Warrington) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W. Porter, G. (Leeds) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pritt, D. N. Wigg, G. E. C.
Janner, B. Proctor, W. T. Wilkes, Maj. L.
Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Pursey, Cmdr. H. Wilkins, W. A.
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Randall, H. E. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Ranger, J. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Jones, Mai. P. Asterley (Hitchin) Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R. Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)
Keenan, W. Reeves, J. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Kenyon, C. Reid, T. (Swindon) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Key, C. W. Rhodes, H. Williamson, T.
King, E. M. Richards, R. Willis, E.
Kinley, J. Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Kirkwood, D. Robens, A. Wilson, J. H.
Lang, G. Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth) Woodburn, A.
Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J. Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire) Wyatt, Maj. W.
Lee, F. (Hulme) Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.) Yates, V. F.
Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Rogers, G. H. R. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Leslie, J. R. Sargood, R. Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
Lever, Fl. Off. N. H. Scott-Elliot, W. Zilliacus, K.
Levy, B. W. Segal, Sq. Ldr. S.
Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lindgren, G. S. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Mr. Mathers and
Shurmer, P. Captain Blenkinsop.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Conant, Mai. R. J E. Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)
Aitken, Hon. M. Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M. Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)
Allen, Li.-Col. Sir W. (Armagh) Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Harvey, Air-Cmdre. A. V.
Amory, Ll.-Col. D. H. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. P. Digby, Maj. S. Wingfield Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Baldwin, A. E. Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D. Holmes, Sir J. Stanley
Beanie, F. (Cathcart) Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Hurd, A.
Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel Drayson, Capt. G. B. Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C)
Bossom, A. C. Eccles, D. M. Jeffreys, General Sir G.
Bower, N. Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Keeling, E. H.
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Erroll, Col. F. J. Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Fletcher, W. (Bury) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Buchan-Hepburn, P, G. T. Foster, J. G. (Morthwich) Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)
Bullock, Capt. M. Gammans, Capt. L. O. Linstead, H. N.
Carson, E. Glossop, C. W. H. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Gridley, Sir A. Low, Brig. A. R. W.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Grimston, R. V. Lucas, Major Sir J.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Orr-Ewing, I. L, Sutcliffe, H.
MacAndrew, Col. Sir C. Peto, Brig. C. H. M Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Mackeson, LI. Col. H. R. Pitman, I. J. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Poole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Manningham-Buller, R. E. Ramsay, Maj. S. Touche, G. C.
Marples, Capt. A. E. Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury) Turton, R. H.
Marshall, Comdr. O. (Bodmin) Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead) Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Marshall, S. H. (Sutton) Renton, Maj. D. Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Maude, J. C. Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland Ward, Hon. G. R.
Medlicott, Brig. F. Sanderson, Sir F. Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Mellor, Sir J. Shephard, S. (Newark) White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Moti-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W- Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Nicholson, G. Smith, E. P. (Ashford) Willink, Rt. Hon. H. U.
Nield, B. Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. "Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Nutting, Anthony Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray & Nairn) Sir Arthur Young and
Mr. Studholme.
Mr. Willink

I beg to move, in page 2, line 43, leave out "November," and insert "June."

I gather from the appearance of the Government Front Bench that the Government benches are not going to have the stimulation of the Minister of Health, but that instead we shall have the courtesy of the Minister of Works in dealing with this Amendment. I think the Committee probably appreciate that the Bill places an obligation upon the Minister of Works to prepare accounts of receipts into, and payments out of, the Fund, but the accounts which he prepares in this way need never see the light of day or even be seen by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and certainly not be seen by Parliament, until some very late date after the accounts have been prepared.

My hon. Friends and I find it difficult to discover any reason why, with regard to this Fund—in marked contrast with the affairs of most commercial undertakings—it is necessary to have from 5th April to 30th November to make up the accounts. We think that it should be perfectly possible, if the business is being carried on efficiently, for an account of operations and transactions up to 5th April to be prepared by 30th June. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman agrees that this is so, and so, on what is a short Amendment, I shall say no more at the moment.

Mr. Tomlinson

No, I do not agree. This is the date which is recognised. One would imagine, judging from what has taken place tonight, that this was the first time the Government had ever entered into any trading of any sort or kind, that we were embarking on an uncharted sea, and that hon. Members opposite were particularly anxious that we should have all the safeguards they desire. As a matter of fact, November is accepted as the date for the presentation and the appropriation of accounts of Departments. Again I ask, why do hon. Members always pick on us?

Mr. C. Williams

I really sympathise with the Government. I feel that the Front Opposition Bench are, for once, not quite as right as they might be, because I know they are optimists on that Bench. They thought the Government would do these things quickly, but they are much slower than anyone had thought, and really hon. Members ought not to try to hustle them in this way. I doubt whether they will be efficient, and it would be unfair to expect this Government to move quicker. I think on this occasion they might fairly keep November, although naturally I notice that they have given no argument or reason why they should, apart from their own incompetence.

Mr. Richard Law

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Works is so sensitive that he cannot give a reasoned reply to an Amendment that was certainly intended to be reasonable. I am afraid that he is so conscious of the ill manners of his colleague, who is not now on the bench—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh?"]—that he feels, unless he adopts somewhat the same terms, he will be exposing his colleague to the Committee and the country. Now the right hon. Gentleman asks, why are we always picking on the Government in these matters? I would say to him, if he has so much confidence in the effectiveness of this Measure, why are he and his colleagues, on every occasion so very unwilling to give the House of Commons the fullest possible information about it? I suggest to the Committee that the only reason why the Government make such difficulties in giving full information on this accountancy problem is that they have not confidence that the accounts will show up very well, and they want to gloss them over. [Hon. Members: "Shame."] That is the only reason I can think of. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not again take the line that we are impugning his personal honour, because we are not, but the right hon. Gentleman must realise—and hon. Members opposite must realise—that we on these benches, rightly or wrongly, do not believe that the methods of this Bill—direct purchase, and so on—will be any thing like as efficient as they profess to believe them to be. If the right hon. Gentleman▀×—

Hon. Members


The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

I am sorry to interrupt the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, but lie is getting extremely wide.

Mr. Alpass (Thornbury)

He has been away a bit.

Mr. Law

I am sorry, Mr. Beaumont. I heard your Ruling—if I am wide, I will try to come back to the point—but I missed the gem from the other side. The real point of this Amendment is that we cannot see why, if the Government are going in for trading and business in the big way in which the right hon. Gentleman said they were on Second Reading, and they believe that business will be very successful, they are not willing and, indeed, eager, to give the House of Commons the earliest opportunity of judging how successful they have been, instead of leaving it for five or six months for us to find out. I think the right hon. Gentleman, who has not met us very much, might on this occasion meet us on this request.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

This is the second time that this question of speed and urgency has been resisted by the Government Front Bench. I think we are entitled to ask why. We have heard arguments put forward as to why the financial provisions of this Bill should be extended from two to five years, and now we find the Government resisting the reasonable Amendment of my right hon. Friend that they should submit accounts within three months, instead of taking six months over them. I would most humbly suggest that if as the right hon. Gentleman says the Government are going in for State trading, they will have to go into State trading on the grounds of efficiency. Then I would say, let them start off and produce their accounts as any business firm would. As my right hon. Friend pointed out, the test that would be applied to private enterprise is to produce accounts in three months. If hon. Members on the other side think they can base their claims on ideologies without actually producing the goods, they are quite mistaken. Therefore, I humbly suggest that the right hon. Gentleman would do well to accept the Amendment to prove to the Committee that he means to conduct State trading on an efficient basis.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Willink

I am most anxious that there should not be an unnecessary Division on this point, but I do wish to make the position clear to the right hon. Gentleman. No argument whatever that I know of has been advanced to support the view that the preparation of these accounts would take eight months instead of three as I suggest—except one, and that it is that it has never been done before. I do not know whether that is accurate or not. Is that the only argument against the non-production of accounts and transactions which are quite simple in their nature though they may be extensive? Is the Minister of Works saying that his Department will not be able to prepare these accounts in less than eight months—[An Hon. Member: "Eight months? "] Yes, from 5th of April to 30th November? Is he denying that it would be possible to do this by 30th June, or is he merely basing himself upon a precedent of which I have not heard? If there is no other argument except this precedent, I should find it difficult to withdraw this Amendment. I want to give him another opportunity to put up some argument of some kind.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. James Wilson)

If I may I will answer, in order to save my right hon. Friend's voice. He has been answering questions for a very long time. I think that the Minister has already answered the point effectively and I am surprised that an answer is asked for again. It has been made clear that on all similar occasions 30th November has been regarded as quite satisfactory. The question has never been raised-before with previous Governments, so far as I am aware, and I am very much surprised to hear this point raised from the other side of the Committee. I am a little interested in figures, and on going to the Ministry of Works I asked for figures which are of very great importance in this connection, the figures of such things as the production of raw materials, but there were none available which were less than four or five months old, although we wanted much more recent figures. In view of that I think the detailed figures which are being asked for—figures which in the case of any public company would be regarded almost as indecent exposure—will take

Division No. 44] AYES. [9.04 p.m.
Adams, Capt. Richard (Balham) Davies, Harold (Leek) Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)
Adamson, Mrs. J. L. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Deer, G. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)
Alpass, J. H. de Freitas, Geoffrey Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Diamond, J. Keenan, W.
Attewell, H. C. Dodds, N. N. Kenyon, C.
Austin, H. L. Douglas, F. C. R. King, E. M.
Awbery, S. S. Driberg, T. E. N. Kirkwood, D.
Ayles, W. H. Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Lang, G.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Dumpleton, C. W. Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.
Bacon, Miss A. Dye, S. Lee, F. (Hulme)
Balfour, A. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
Barstow, P. G. Edwards, John (Blackburn) Leslie, J. R.
Barton, C. Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Lever, FI. Off. U. H.
Battley, J. R. Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Levy, B. W.
Bechervaise, A. E. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Belcher, J. W. Farthing, W. J. Lindgren, G. S.
Bellenger, F. J. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Longden, F.
Benson, G. Follick, M. McAdam, W.
Berry, H. Foot, M. M. McEntee, V. La T
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Foster, W. (Wigan) Mack, J. D.
Binns, J. Fraser, T. (Hamilton) McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Blackburn, A. R. Freeman, P. (Newport) Maclean, N. (Govan)
Bottomley, A. G. Gaitskell, H. T. N. McLeavy, F.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Gibson, C. W. Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Gilzean, A. Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Brook, D. (Halifax) Gooch, E. G. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwefl) Goodrich, H. E. Mathers, G.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Gordon-Walker, P. C. Messer, F.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Middleton, Mrs. L.
Burden, T. W. Grenfell, D. R. Mikardo, Ian
' Burke, W. A. Grey, C. F. Mitchison, Maj. G. R.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Grierson, E. Monslow, W.
Byers, Lt.-Col. F. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Uanelly) Montague, F.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side) Moody, A. S.
Champion, A- J. Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Chater, D. ' Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Clitherow, R. Hardy, E. A. Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)
Cluse, W. S. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)
Cobb, F. A. Haworth, J. Murray, J. D.
Cocks, F. S. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Neal, H. (Clayorou)
Coldrick, W. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Collick, P. Hewitson, Captain M. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Collindridge, F. Hicks, G. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Collins, V. J. Hobson, C. R. Noel-Buxton, Lady
Colman, Miss G. M. Holman, P. O'Brien, T.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Horabin, T. L. Oldfield, W. H.
Corvedale, Viscount House, G. Oliver, G. H.
Cove, W. G. Hoy, J. Paget, R. T.
Crossman, R. H. S. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Daggar, G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Davies, Clement (Montgomery) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A' Paton, J. (Norwich)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Janner, B. Peart, Capt. T. F.

very much longer to prepare than the figures which previous Governments were unable to provide on matters of very considerable importance. We are continually being pressed—the right hon. and learned Gentleman is always on this point—to reduce the staffs of Government Departments. It will be quite impossible to produce information of this detailed character in a matter of two or three months if we are to carry on what is, after all, the very much more urgent job of providing the materials and getting on with the building of the houses.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 254; Noes, 104.

Perrins, W. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Walker, G. H.
Platts-Mills, J. F. F. Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Popplewell, E. Smith, T. (Normanton) Watkins, T. E.
Porter, E. (Warrington) Snow, Capt. J. W. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Porter, G. (Leeds) Solley, L. J. Weitzman, D.
Pritt, D. N. Sorensen, R. W. Wells, P. L. (Favarsham)
Proctor, W. T. Soskice, Maj. Sir F. Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)
Pursey, Cmdr. H. Sparks, J. A. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W)
Randall, H. E. Stamford, W. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Ranger, J. Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham) Wigg, Col. G. E. C.
Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R. Strachey, J. Wilkes, Maj L.
Reeves, J. Strauss, G. R Wilkins, W. A.
Reid, T. (Swindon) Stubbs, A. E. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Rhodes, H. Swingler, Capt. S. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Richards, R. Symonds, Maj. A. L. Williams, Rt., Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)
Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Robens, A. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. E. O. (Merioneth) Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet) Willis, E.
Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire) Thomas, 1. O. (Wrekin) Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.) Thomas, John R. (Dover) Wilson, J. H.
Rogers, G. H. R. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Woodburn, A.
Scott-Elliot, W. Thorneycroft, H. Wyatt, Maj. W.
Segal, Sq. Ldr. S. Tiffany, S. Yates, V. F.
Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes) Tolley, L. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Shurmer, P. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G. Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
Simmons, C. J. Turner-Samuels, M. Zilliacus, K.
Skeffington-Lodge, Lt. T. C. Ungoed-Thomas, Maj. L.
Skinnard, F. W. Vernon, Maj. W. F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester) Viant, S. P. Mr. Pearson and
Smith, Ellis (Stoke) Walkden, E. Capt. Blenkinsop.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Harvey, Air-Cmdr. A. V. Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Aitken, Hon. M. Headlam, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C. Pitman, 1. J.
Allen, LI.-Col. Sir W. (Armagh) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Amory, Lt.-Col. D. H. Hogg, Hon. Q. Poole, Col. O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Holmes, Sir J. Stanley Ramsay, Maj. S.
Baldwin, A. E. Hurd, A. Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Beattie, F. (Cathcart) Hutchison, Lt.-Col. J. R. (G'gow, C.) Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel Jeffreys, General Sir G. Renton, Maj. D.
Bossom, A. C. Keeling, E. H. Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Bower, N. Law, Rt. Hon. Ft. K. Sanderson, Sir F.
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Shepherd, S. (Newark)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull) Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Linstead, H. N. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Bullock, Capt. M. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spearman, A. C. M.
Carson, E. Low, Brig. A. R. W. Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. O.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Lucas, Major Sir J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.
Conant, Maj. R. J E. MacAndrew, Col. Sir C. Studholme, H. G.
Cooper-Key, Maj. E. M. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Sutcliffe, H.
Corbett, Lieut-Col. U. (Ludlow) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Maitland, Comdr. J. W Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Digby, Maj. S. Wingfield Manningham-Buller, R. E. Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D. Marples, Capt. A. E. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Marsden, Comdr. A. Touche, G. C.
Drayson, Capt. G. B. Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Turton, R. H.
Eccles, D. M. Marshall, S. H. (Sutton) Vane, Lt.-Col. W. M. T.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Maude, J. C. Walker-Smith, Lt.-Col. D.
Erroll, Col. F. J.' Medlicott, Brig. F. Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Mellor, Sir J. Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) White, Maj. J. B. (Canterbury)
Gammans, Capt. L. D. Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Glossop, C. W. H. Nicholson, G. Williams, Lt.-Cdr. G. W. (T'nbr'ge)
Gridley, Sir A. Nield, B. (Chester) Willink, Rt. Hon. H. U.
Grimston, R. V. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Nutting, Anthony TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hare, Lt.-Col. Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Orr-Ewing, I. L. Sir Arthur Young and
Major Mott-Radclyffe.
Mr. Mathers (Treasurer of the Household)

I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."

Question put, and agreed to.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.