HC Deb 15 March 1945 vol 409 cc396-9
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the Business for next week?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

Yes, Sir.

Tuesday (3rd Allotted Supply Day)—Report stage of the Civil and Revenue Departments Vote on Account. A Debate will take place on Civil Aviation. Report of Ways and Means Resolution.

Wednesday—Second Reading of the Distribution of Industry Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Thursday and Friday—All stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill. An opportunity will arise for a Debate on Housing.

Mr. Greenwood

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of a Debate on the matters coming before the Conference which is to take place before the actual San Francisco Conference is held? In the last Debate a great deal of time was taken up with Poland and so on and although the question of San Francisco was referred to, there was no Debate. Since then, statements have been made with regard to the procedure of the proposed security council and I suggest that a day's Debate before 25th April might be useful.

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, I will certainly consider that suggestion. I think it probably would be desirable. We have a little time after Easter before the date of the Conference, and I think a Debate might take place then. Perhaps I might take this opportunity of saying that we had provisionally arranged for a Debate to take place next week on the subject of supplies to liberated countries, but, as the House is aware, the Lord President of the Council has recently returned from the Continent, and it would be more convenient to the Government if that Debate could take place during the week after next, and I am proposing to allot a day then.

Earl Winterton

While thanking the Government for agreeing to a Debate on supplies to liberated countries, may I ask whether it is definitely settled that there will be a Debate before Easter, or at least in the following week?

Mr. Eden

My idea was that we could have it during the week after next. I would like to give advance notice to the House that we propose that the House should adjourn on Thursday, 29th March, for the Easter Recess and meet again on Tuesday, 10th April. We propose to meet at II a.m. on Thursday, 29th March. Questions will be taken.

Sir Percy Harris

As a great number of Members are desirous of speaking on the Distribution of Industry Bill, which adversely affects a great number of districts, is the Leader of the House aware that there is a desire for a second day? If that is not possible, will he consider an extension of time?

Mr. Eden

I have considered an extension of time, and I agree that it is desirable.

Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson

Will it be possible to find time in the not too distant future for discussion of two Motions standing in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir J. Shute)?

[That the whole question of the counting of temporary service for Civil Service pensions should be referred to a Select Committee of the House.]

[That the case of the age-barred officers should be met and that superannuation practice in the Civil Service should be so amended as to preclude such cases arising in the future.]

About 100 other Members have their names down to these Motions.

Mr. Eden

If my hon. and learned Friend will put that question to me next week, I may be able to indicate what is likely to happen.

Mr. Stokes

Can the Leader of the House give us any indication when the decisions and recommendations of the Bretton Woods Conference will he discussed in the House? Will he bear in mind that the matter has already been before both Houses in the U.S.A. and I believe that secret discussions are now going on between Lord Keynes and Members of this House with the knowledge of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Eden

The hon. Member is always so suspicious of secret discussions. I can only repeat the undertaking which the Government have already given, that an opportunity will be given to this House for a discussion before any commitment is made by the Government.

Mr. Purbrick

May I ask when legislation will be introduced for the establishment of the Ministry for Civil Aviation?

Mr. Eden

I hope at an early date.

Mr. Bowles

In view of the announcement that a Debate will take place on civil aviation next week on the Civil Estimates, and the fact that it will be very difficult for hon. Members to express any opinion on whether they agree with the White Paper or not, cannot the right hon. Gentleman provide another chance later for a discussion on the White Paper, followed by a vote?

Mr. Eden

That is hardly a matter for me. I understand that next Tuesday will be a suitable opportunity. The Debate will be quite wide.

Mrs. Cazalet Keir

Will my right hon. Friend consider arranging an agricultural Debate at as early a date as possible in order that a Motion concerning the Women's Land Army may be considered?

[That in the opinion of this House, the rejection of the claim of some form of practical recognition on demobilisation for members of the Women's Land Army is unreasonable and calculated to destroy the confidence of the Women's Land Army in the importance of their contribution to the maintenance of our maximum food supplies and asking the Government to reconsider the matter in the national interest.]

Mr. Eden

I would like to consider that question.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Do I understand that the Debate on housing will occupy two days?

Mr. Eden

Two days—Thursday and Friday.

Mr. Tinker

When can the right hon. Gentleman give a day to discuss a Motion on the subject of war gratuities?

[That in the opinion of this House, the scheme for war gratuities outlined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 6th February, should be amended so as to make one uniform rate according to length of service applicable to all ranks, whether men or women.]

Mr. Eden

I cannot give a definite date, but I still hope that it will be before Easter. I cannot be more definite.

Mr. Butcher

In view of the importance of the housing Debate, may I ask whether it is intended to see that a Member of the War Cabinet will participate in the discussion?

Mr. Eden

That is a matter for consideration. Certainly the Ministers responsible will take part in the discussion.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the fact that the Scottish Education Bill has now been introduced, will the Leader of the House try to arrange for the Second Reading Debate before the Easter Recess?

Mr. Eden

Although I have the greatest desire to meet the wishes of the hon. Member, I am sure that he will want time to consider the Bill in detail.

Colonel Burton

May I ask what will be the date of the Budget Statement?

Mr. Eden

I cannot deal with that matter now.

Mr. Bowies

In view of the importance of civil aviation, will my right hon. Friend make it quite clear that whatever Debate takes place on Tuesday, the Government will do nothing to implement the White Paper, and that any company, shipping or railway, which starts getting active in the matter will do so at its own risk?

Mr. Eden

I cannot give any such undertaking at all. What we desire on Tuesday is to hear the views of the House and, like all Governments that are wise, we shall be deeply impressed by them.

Commander Aģnew

Will the Committee stage of the Income Tax Bill be taken before Easter?

Mr. Eden

I am afraid I cannot say.

Miss Rathbone

Is it possible to say when the Committee stage of the Family Allowances Bill will be taken?

Mr. Eden

Not next week. As soon as we can afterwards.

Mr. McKinlay

Will the Leader of the House agree to postpone the General Election until we get all these Bills through?