HC Deb 19 February 1946 vol 419 cc1065-89

8.50 p.m.

Lord William Scott (Roxburgh and Selkirk)

I beg to move, That the Order in Council, dated 20th December, 1945, making Regulations entitled the Defence (Services for Industry) Regulations, 1945 (S R. & O., 1945, No. 1614), a copy of which Order was presented on 22nd January, be annulled. This S.R.& O. No. 1614 is of a completely different nature from the Order with which we have just finished. This Order in Council has the merit of being comparatively brief, and the further merit of having little in the nature of cross-references. These are the only two merits that I can find in it. The Order consists of two paragraphs. With paragraph 1 I have no quarrel at all, but there is one matter in it on which I would like an explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary. Paragraph 1 (2) states": Provided that, except in Scotland, prosecution in respect of an offence against these Regulations may be instituted by or on behalf of the Board of Trade.'' As a good Scotsman, I have no wish for the Board of Trade to be given authority to conduct prosecutions in Scotland. I would like to know for certain whether this Clause suggests that no prosecutions will take place in Scotland. I imagine the answer will be that these prosecutions will be initiated by someone other than the Board of Trade. It says very definitely in this Order: by or on behalf of the Board of Trade. I think we might have an explanation of the meaning why it is not extended to Scotland. Paragraph 2 is a lengthy paragraph, with all of which I am in very definite disagreement. The first part of Paragraph 2 deals with what used to be known as forced labour. It is a paragraph which gives authority to the Board of Trade to make arrangements to provide that: research and experiments in matters relating to the manufacture of products of the industry or group of industries, and the promotion and encouragement of such research and experiments by financial assistance or otherwise. I have never yet in this House of Commons been called upon to agree to any legislation which demands labour without any recompense. Here we have the first example of forced labour with or without recompense. I was rather interested last week when I heard the Attorney-General stating in this House that it was the inalienable right of every free man to withhold his labour. Of course, he made that statement when dealing with a very different Measure to the one which we are now discussing at the present moment—a Measure dealing with the right to strike. We had heard it before, so that it was no new thing although perhaps I have not heard it stated with such emphasis. Here one week later we are discussing whether the Board of Trade shall or shall not be allowed to impose on industry a demand for research and experiments with or without financial assistance.

We will go on to deal with the question of payments and the manner by which the Board of Trade are going to recoup themselves for money spent on behalf of research experiments, or for other purposes. We learn in paragraph 2 (2) that the Board of Trade will be permitted to exact a levy not exceeding£500,000 in any one year on any one industry or group of industries. I think it might be worthy of consideration to consider how that sum of£500,000 was arrived at. I suppose it might be maintained that it was the maximum figure that the Board of Trade had in mind as being necessary in dealing with any one industry or group of industries in any one year.

I do not suppose there is any Member of this House who would disagree that very, very few industries or groups of industries in this country could stand the strain of an imposition of forced levy of£500,000 more than once in any one year. Paragraph 2 (2) is what might be described as the "inquisition Paragraph." It gives the Board of Trade, roughly, the same sort of authority that 200 or 300 years ago was taken upon themselves by certain authorities in Spain during the period which is known as the Holy Inquisition. It was a time of dictatorial power, which has not been a feature in British legislation until very recent years. Let me admit that certain aspects of legislation we were asked to pass during the days of the Coalition Government savoured extremely of that type of legislation which once was associated with the Inquisition. The last paragraph of all is rather a delightful little paragraph. It is only of two lines and states: Any arrangements made by the Board of Trade under this Regulation may be varied by subsequent arrangements made by the Board I am in full agreement with that, but it might be extremely inconvenient to the individual who had just been fined under the previous Section. In this Order there is one set of words which I think are more capable of mass interpretation than the rest, and that is in Paragraph 2 (1) where the Board of Trade by way doubtless of a safeguard to industry state that they will not take upon themselves these measures until: after consultation with such organisations or persons as appear to the Board to be representative of the industry or industries concerned. We have learnt by experience now what a consultation with a Government Department can or may be and in the past even has been. Very often consultations by a Minister is with those with whom he thinks fittest to consult. It does not in any way mean that agreement has been reached with the industry. It merely means that the President of the Board of Trade or whoever is deputising for him has come into contact with certain individuals who, in some way represent, either the industry or some section of that industry and they may or may not be informed what the Minister intends to do. They are informed that there have been consultations and I do not regard those words: consultations with such organisations or persons as appear to the Board to be representative of the industry or industries concerned, as being any safeguard whatsoever in an Order of this kind. This Order was signed about the middle of the summer, and was laid on the Table the day after we returned from the Recess. During the next day's Sitting the President of the Board of Trade referred to it at very considerable length during the Debate on the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill. The right hon. and learned Gentleman gave a very pleasing explanation of the reasons of the meaning of this Order, No. 1614. But I must say that the more one reads the Order and the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the greater the gulf one sees between them. I cannot help wondering what really was the full meaning of this Order. It purports to assist industry during the difficult period of reconstruction. One rather wonders whether any great assistance will be given to industry, or groups of industries, if they are liable to a forced levy of£500,000 in any one year. I do not suspect that the Chancellor introduced a levy as a means of assisting towards the balancing of his Budget. It is too small a sum for that, but it is sufficiently large to cause anxiety and dismay to any industry, or group of industries.

I cannot help wondering why the figure of£500,000 was introduced. It is obvious to every Member that a figure which was suitable for one of our major, or richer, industries was completely unsuitable for one of our smaller industries, or groups of industries. We have been told that the President of the Board of Trade had in mind about 20 industries, or groups of industries—I never could make out which—and I understand that if they were all fined the maximum sum in one year it would produce only£10 millions, which would not be of vital assistance to the Chancellor. I think this Order was introduced for other reasons. I have considerable doubts whether industry could suddenly spend£500,000 in one year on experimental or research work, with any hope of recouping itself, over a period, for that vast capital expenditure. I cannot help thinking that the figure of£500,000 was inserted largely for the purpose of what might be described as intimidation.

What we have noticed for some time— in fact, since the General Election results were declared—is that industries, and groups of industries, have been very nervous about their fate during the coming years. Each one of them has been wondering whether it is high up or low down on the list of those to be nationalised or liquidated, and it has been interesting to watch the behaviour of some of the leaders of these big industries. Their behaviour has reminded me very much of that of neutral States on the borders of Germany in the years 1939 and 1940.

We can all remember the great anxiety of Denmark, Holland, Belgium, and others to explain to the world at large, and to Hitler in particular, how amazingly neutral they were being, and how they had done nothing that could possibly give any justification for the Nazi hordes to cross their particular frontiers. Hitler at that time indulged in a war of nerves, and we are today, in Britain, seeing something rather similar with regard to British industries and groups of industries. They are all scared stiff that they are in due course going to be nationalised, and they are probably quite right about that. So far we have seen that they have put up just about as much opposition to being nationalised as Denmark did when she was invaded by Germany. This war of nerves is going on and I have little doubt that this particular Order, No. 1614, will have that intimidating effect which may be of considerable assistance to the Socialist outlook of the present Government. I can understand that.

9.7 p.m.

Mr. C. S. Taylor

I beg to second the Motion.

During the Debate on the Report stage of the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade said, in dealing with this particular Regulation we are debating tonight, "the new Regulation is one... enabling the Board of Trade, should it be so desired, after consultation "—and I ask hon. Members to note the words "after consultation "— "with any particular industry or branch of industry to make arrangements for securing that there shall be co-operative provision within that industry of certain facilities. Those facilities are set out in S.R.& O. No. 1614." I would like to ask whether the word "consultation," as used in this Order, does in fact mean consultation, or does it mean agreement, because, as I understand it, consultation takes place at the request of the Board of Trade with the industries concerned and there may be no agreement whatsoever. The President of the Board of Trade can then take action against those industries under this Order. Although there has been consultation there is no agreement. The President of the Board of Trade can take action against the industries concerned and they have no right of appeal against his decision.

The Order says: .The Board of Trade may, in relation to any industry or group of industries of the United Kingdom, after consultation with such organisations or persons as appear to the Board to be representative of the industry. The Order in those words gives the President of the Board of Trade the power to have these consultations with whomsoever he likes. He can leave out certain representatives of the industry; he can consult with those with whom he likes. to consult, and he can leave those he does not like out of the consultations. The Order also makes no provision for specialists in an industry. For example, the President of the Board of Trade may say to the brick-making industry, "We wish the industry to carry out certain experiments with a view to producing better and bigger bricks." Now there may be a man who makes bricks but not bricks for building use—they may be firebricks. He may say, "I am a brick maker because I make bricks and, therefore, I am to have this levy put upon me which is to be levied on the whole of the brick industry in order to find out how better and bigger bricks can be used for building, but those experiments have no interest to me whatsoever. I do not make bricks for building, I make firebricks." As far as I can see it, in a case like that such a man would be forced to contribute to the research of the brick industry as a whole.

The next point I would like to raise is that, after consultation has taken place between the President of the Board of Trade and the industry, I cannot see anywhere in the Order whether consultation is to take place about how the money is to be spent after the levy has been put upon the industry, and by whom. The Board of Trade can say how the money is to be spent, apparently, and how much is to be spent. I regard this as a shocking Order. [Laughter.] The ribald laughter of hon. Members opposite shows, I think, quite obviously, that they have not studied this Order, that they know nothing about its effects, and I would not mind guaranteeing that there are not half a dozen hon. Members on the other side of the House who have read the Order. To those hon. Members opposite who have taken the trouble to read the Order. I would draw their attention to 2 (I) (d). It says that the Board of Trade may make arrangements for securing, etc., and goes on to say: (d) any services conducive to increased efficiency in the production or marketing of products of the industry or group of industries. Who is to say that these services are conducive to efficiency? Is. the industry to say so, or is the Board of Trade coming into the industry to tell them how to run the industry on what they—the Board of Trade—think are to be more efficient lines? Who will say that?

I would like the next point to be answered by one of the Law Officers because I think it is rather a curious point. During the Report stage of the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill the number of this Order was placed in the Schedule. If we are successful—and I hope we shall be—in annulling this Order tonight, I would like to ask what the situation will then be? If we succeed in annulling this Order—[Laughter]—I would ask hon. Members to try to avoid making, I was going to say what are Zoo-like noises, but perhaps I would be called to Order for an unparliamentary phrase, although they sound somewhat Zoo-like—to try to look at this Order and consider what we are discussing. I would like to know what would be the effect if we succeeded in annulling the Order. I suppose the Government would have to take the Order out of the Schedule of the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill, but I would like to have that assurance because, knowing we are going to try to. get this Order annulled, I do not want to feel that the Government will then try to pull a quick one by leaving it in the Schedule of that Bill, although we have been successful in annulling the Order.

9.16 p.m.

Squadron-Leader Hollis (Devizes)

I am sure we all regret that the President of the Board of Trade is not able to be present this evening. The Board of Trade is a rather curious body which consists, I believe, principally of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and I remember a ditty written by a distinguished hon. Member of this House in which he committed himself to the opinion that: This eminent official is grossly over-paid For there wasn't any Board and there isn't any trade. We hope things will not be as bad as that under the present regime, but I cannot think, if they do not turn out as badly as that, that this Order will make much of a contribution to their amelioration. I think we have particular reason for regretting the absence of the President of the Board of Trade tonight, because it was largely through him that the present misunderstandings about this Order have arisen. When the matter was debated in January, hon. Members had hardly had time to study the Orders which had been given to them only a few hours before, and the President of the Board of Trade made a speech on that occasion which was very mild and reassuring and gave the House the impression that nothing very much was threatened in these Orders. It was only when they looked at the Order itself that they found it extremely difficult to find any reconciliation between what the right hon. and learned Gentleman had said and the Orders which were being presented to the House. Therefore, we would have appreciated it had the right hon. and learned Gentleman been able to come down to the House and give us this reconciliation tonight.

Lieutenant Hughes (Wolverhampton, West)

Is it in order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for an hon. Member to address the House with his hands in his pockets, or one of them?

The Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)

That is a question of good taste and not a point of Order.

Squadron-Leader Hollis

I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I do not think I have been alone in offending. We gather that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was not able to come down to the House, but we hoped that the Parliamentary Secretary, whom I take the opportunity of congratulating on his well-deserved honour, will be able to enlighten us. A number of these questions have been raised and I would certainly not detain the House by going over them again, but I would like at any rate to refer to two questions which have not been touched upon and to which I would like specific answers.

The first was referred to by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. C. S. Taylor) when he told us that the Order said nothing whatever about how this money is to be disbursed. It equally says nothing whatever about how the money is to be levied. It says in paragraph 2 (2) that the Board of Trade has power to levy sums on each industry not exceeding£500,000 per annum, but how that money shall be levied is not stated at all. I should like some information as to how it is to be levied as between one individual and another particular individual and as to what would be the position under this Order of any particular individual in an industry who does not agree with the particular measures that are to be carried out. We are not told in the least what is to be done in a case like this. It is as it stands simply a Measure for no taxation without representation.

The second question to which I would like a specific answer, and it would be interesting if the Parliamentary Secretary could give a satisfactory answer, is the question on paragraph 1 (d) to which the hon. Member for Eastbourne also referred. If we were to accept the description by the President of the Board of Trade that this is a moderate and modest order, then we ought to have a specific answer on this point. According to this Order the Board of Trade may make arrangements for: Any services conducive to increased efficiency in the production or marketing of products of the industry or group of industries. The President of the Board of Trade in his speech gave instances of such things as price fixing, which, he said, would not be covered by the Order. I cannot for the life of me sec why that is not so. I am willing to accept the word of the right hon. Gentleman that he does not intend to issue Orders to this effect, but that is neither here nor there. We are not discussing the intentions of a particular Minister, but we are discussing what the Order is saying. I can see no reason why price fixing should not be included. It has something to dc with the marketing of products, and I would be very interested indeed if the Parliamentary Secretary could give us any example of any sort in regulations such as are indicated in paragraph 2 (1d) which would be ultra vires. It seems to me that there can be no limit whatever to the power that can be used by the President of the Board of Trade under this Order.

9.23 p.m.

Major Spence (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Central)

In supporting this Prayer, I would like to do it on two main grounds—first, that the Order is not necessary and, second, that the Order as it stands is a bad order. The object of the Order is to carry out industrial research by means of a levy on individual industries. Speaking from my own experience in this connection I would say that the industrialist is not perplexed by the problems of what goods to make and where to sell his goods. His whole problem is one of being allowed to produce his goods and being allowed to sell them by the physical and regulating factors which enter into business today. At a time when this country is being troubled economically by the shortage of consumer goods, and when the world is short of these goods it is all wrong to put a burden like this which will bring us many short term difficulties, and it is all wrong to put such a burden on industry at all.

Under presentday circumstances, when we need more consumer goods in the shops, when we need exports to bring in the foreign exchange we need, the imposition of this levy on industry, the taking out of industry of technicians for research is quite unjustified. I feel that the position is not appreciated by the Board when they bring forward this Order. In the vast majority of industries today we have no problem of what to produce. The problem is entirely one of production, and of getting round the difficulties which the Board of Trade make for us. On this question of industrial research, I would point out that every industry has in effect got its own research department. After all, the production of every article made by any factory in the country is the result of trial, of experience and of improvement. That is in itself research. The large industrial concerns naturally have their elaborate research laboratories, etc. Almost every major industry has its technical college and technical institution, and these have done great service to our trade, and will continue to do so. Therefore, I feel that the imposition of this added burden, which would be a heavy one in many industries, is not justified at the present time.

Another ground on which I oppose this Order is the fact that it will not work. When one takes into consideration the diversity of research in any classification of industry today, and considers the wide variety of uses to which raw materials are put, it is almost impossible to envisage a research establishment which will take care of all the different branches in any particular industry.

The President of the Board of Trade, when speaking previously, indicated that his idea of a levy would in many cases be a levy on the raw material. Therefore, research would have to cover every branch of the industry from the raw material to the consumer. If research was set up to give true research value to all the concerns who are handling any particular raw material, the whole structure would be so cumbersome, so elaborate, that£500,000 would not cover it, and if it was set up to give real value it would be top heavy, it would not be economic. On those grounds I believe that the project is not justified.

I intended to refer to the question of the paragraphs in the Order and the explanation given to the House on 23rd January by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, because there are wide disparities between what he said and what is in the Order. I wish to quote just two. The first has already been quoted, but I want to quote also the President's words. The paragraph in the Order says: The Board of Trade may,… after consultation with such organisations or persons as appear to the Board to be representative of the industry or industries concerned, make arrangements… etc. There is no mention of agreement. Furthermore, it is clear that the Board of Trade is the sole arbiter of who it is to consult. I would like Members on both sides to note the words used by the President of the Board of Trade, when he said: Thirdly, there is the safeguard that no imposition of such a levy could be made without the consent of a large part of the industry concerned.… He also referred to the Order as being … a flexible instrument of some value, which can be utilised only in those cases in which a large part of the industry is anxious that they should co-operate in order to get the best results out of these general services."— [Official Report, 23rd January, 1946; Vol. 418, c. 206–7.] In both cases it is implied that there will be agreement, and in both cases it is implied that a large majority—those are the words used—will be in favour of this research being set up. There is a wide divergence between those statements and the actual words in the Order itself. I am sure that all hon. Members, on both sides of the House, will agree that it is bad legislation to have one thing said in an Order and another thing said by the Minister. There is not the slightest excuse for allowing this Order to remain in its present form. Many industries are opposed to a scheme for research on the lines suggested, because they say it would tend to a regimentation of production, and with that I agree. It is also easy to see how a link-up of this industrial research scheme with the working parties which have been created will make it all the easier, when the time comes, to nationalise all industries—which is the obvious goal to which the Board of Trade is moving under the present Government.

I hope that the Minister will agree to the annulment of this Order. If he does not, we are entitled to answers to some very specific questions which arise. I should like to know first who is to distribute the funds raised by the Board of Trade? In the setting-up of these research. establishments, who will do the hiring and firing? Will it be the Board of Trade or the industry concerned? Again, what is to happen to patents, to secret processes? Is all industry to be compelled to lay its work open to these Paul Prys who are put into the business? Finally, will he give some safeguards as to the manner in which industry will be consulted?

I should like to quote again from the words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade at the end of the Debate. The last words he used were: I hope the House will put us in that position so that we may, in this very difficult time of reconstruction, have in our hands this added weapon with which to assist our industries."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd January, 1946; Vol. 418, c 222.] I do not think that, in peace time, it is a usual practice to "assist" people with a weapon. I suggest that " coerce "or" compel "would have been a more appropriate choice of word, and would have conveyed more accurately what was in his mind. I feel I can sum up the position by suggesting a cartoon, in which British industry is pictured as a protesting child being offered a bottle of-medicine marked" Industrial research "by a somewhat austere-looking nurse in spectacles, who has behind her back a bludgeon marked "S.R.& O., 1945, No. 1614."

9.34 p.m.

Mr. Jennings (Sheffield, Hallam)

I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes, and I hope that what I have to say is said in the best interests of industry generally. I support this Prayer because I am against the dictatorial powers sought by the President of the Board of Trade over industry today. I think industry is sick to death of the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. McGovern (Glasgow, Shettleston)

And with the Government.

Mr. Jennings

I feel perfectly certain that to place in the hands of the President of the Board of Trade the decision as to who does or who does not represent industry is doing a very grave injustice to those people who in his mind are not representative. But they are to be levied to the tune of£500,000 per annum. I think it is grossly unfair that without any explanation whatever one section of an industry is to be taken into the confidence of the President of the Board of Trade. He is to have powers to ask them to present their books and their accounts. We shall see what they will be levied for. I am in favour of the Prayer, for the reasons I have given. It is high time that the country outside this House knew what we are being let in for in these Orders.

9.35 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Belcher)

I am afraid that my second appearance at this Box is for the same purpose as my first. I hope that my career here is not to consist exclusively of dealing with Prayers moved by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am surprised at the violence of the attack which has been made on this Order, and particularly of the form of the attack made by the lion. Gentleman who has just sat down. What we are suggesting is not entirely new and neither is it something which has just come out of the brain of the President of the Board of Trade, that ogre who has such evil designs on British industry. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite must remember that the last few words of that sentence should have appeared in quotation marks.

Speaking in another place on 1st August, 1944, not on behalf of the President of the Board of Trade but on behalf of the Coalition Government, it was said that the Government, ' for their part would be prepared to consider sympathetically a proposition for the introduction of enabling legislation for this purpose,"— that is, the purpose of doing what we propose in this Order, —if there is sufficient demand for it from industry. We are told that there is no demand for it from industry.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)

Whom is the hon. Gentleman quoting?

Mr. Belcher

Lord Templemore. [An Hon. Member: "Who is he? "] In case any hon. Member should take me up on the point about there appearing to be no demand from industry, I would point out that we already have consulted a number of most important industries in this country, and that they have indicated their very active support for what we propose to do. Let me mention the wool industry. I do not think anyone will deny its importance. Then there are hosiery, footwear and furnishing fabrics. I have no doubt that, in the course of time, the list will be very much extended.

The Noble Lord who moved the Prayer asked a specific question about paragraph 1 (2), where it is provided that, except in Scotland, a prosecution in respect of an offence against these Regulations, may be instituted by or on behalf of the Board of Trade. The answer is that, without it, prosecution in England and Wales can be undertaken only by a constable or by the Director of Public Prosecutions. In Scotland, provision already exists for prosecutions to be undertaken by the Lord Advocate. Therefore, Scotland is excepted from the proviso, since the Lord Advocate is the proper person to undertake such prosecutions in Scotland.

Lord William Scott

On that point would he not be conducting his prosecution on behalf of the Board of Trade?

Mr. Belcher

I am advised that the Lard Advocate acts in prosecutions in these matters in Scotland as the Lord Advocate and not on behalf of anybody. Undoubtedly he would be advised on these matters. I was rather puzzled when the Noble Lord referred to paragraph 2 in terms of forced labour.

May I here cover the general points which were raised by all the hon. Members who spoke in support of the Prayer? A great deal of play has been made with the fact that the Order states that after consultation with the various industries concerned the Board of Trade may make arrangements. It is suggested that there is no safeguard either that we might not consult the right people, or enough of them, or that, having consulted them, we may then proceed to make arrangements with which they disagree. In my opinion, from the experience which I have already had at the Board of Trade, it would be utterly impossible to carry out any scheme such as is suggested in this Order—a scheme for securing research and investigation and the collection and publication of statistics and services conducive to increased efficiency—unless we had first consulted people who were truly representative of the industry and had secured their agreement with what was about to be done.

Mr. Sydney Shephard (Newark)

Would it not then have been better to put in this Order, "after consultation and agreement "?

Mr. Belcher

The hon. Member must allow the Board of Trade to have some say in these matters. I could go further and pose the question, "Agreement with whom?" It may be that there would be dissident elements inside any particular industry or group of industries who would not see eye to eye with other people in that industry who were perhaps people of more advanced thought. I am surprised that hon. Members opposite are so violent in their opposition. The whole purpose of what we are trying to do is to secure that the provision of research facilities and the other things asked for in this Order is not left to the enlightened minority in any industry, the unenlightened others benefiting by the activities of the enlightened minority, but that after due consultation arrangements are made, particularly financial arrangements, which will compel—I know hon. Members do not like that word—which will compel the reactionary ones to play their part in improving the efficiency of their industry from which they are eventually going to benefit.

The hon. and gallant Member for Central Aberdeen and Kincardine (Major Spence) appeared to me to be arguing against the need for research, which to me indicates an appalling state of mind. I do not believe there is a single industrialist of repute in this country who would say that research is not vitally essential at the present time.

Major Spence

The Parliamentary Secretary has accused me of saying that I entirely disapprove of research. That is completely false. What I object to is research on this scale set up at the present time when we need to get our industry going. I made that very clear in my opening remarks.

An Hon

Member: Five hundred thousand pounds is a fleabite.

Mr. Belcher

The hon. and gallant Member says what we want to do at the present moment is to get our industry going. We also want to keep it going, I hope the hon. and gallant Member will agree. I suggest that there can be no better way of getting our industry going and keeping it going than by productive research into the most efficient way of operating our industry. As for the cost, there was an interjection by an hon. Member behind me that£500,000 was a flea-bite. To a Parliamentary Secretary like myself,£500,000 is a lot of money, but in one respect the observation was true. In the 1935 census of production, the value of output of one industry— mechanical engineering— was£171million. Half a million pounds raised by a levy on that industry will amount to less than half of 1 per cent. of the total turnover of that industry Is that unreasonable, especially when one knows— I cannot quote exact figures—that there is a substantial return from money expended in research into industries of that kind?

Mr. Shephard

Would the hon. Gentleman say what percentage would be applied to pottery?

Mr. Belcher

I am unable to say, not knowing that the question would be raised, what that percentage would be, but I am able to say that the Committee on behalf of the pottery trade did recommend that what we are asking for in these Regulations should be adopted by the industry.

Mr. Solley (Thurrock)

Is the Minister aware, on the question of the return from an investment of£00,000, that one great authority on this matter estimated the return from scientific research of this kind as being in the neighbourhood of 800 per cent., and that more particulars will be found in the book, "The Social Functions of Science "?

Mr. Belcher

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that information. I think my-self that much depends on the particular industry involved, and that, quite obviously, there is more room for research in some industries than in others. I am quite certain that, in almost any industry, research is bound to bring a profitable return. Surely, everybody agrees that, if this country is to re-establish itself in the world and hold the place which it held for so long, it must not fall behind other great nations which, we all know, spend enor- mous sums of money on research, whether the money is provided by the State or by private industry.

The hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. C. S. Taylor), who appears to take part very frequently in this particular kind of Parliamentary activity, produced the example of a man engaged in the firebrick industry who might be called upon to make a contribution to a fund which was set up to conduct res arch into the brick industry. I know little or nothing about the brick industry or the firebrick industry, but I would have thought that either the firebrick industry can be identified as a completely separate industry from the brick industry or it cannot, so that, if it cannot, money expended on research into the brick industry, since the firebrick industry cannot be divorced from it, must have some useful repercussions.

Mr. C. S. Taylor

I used that only as an example.

Mr. Belcher

I think other examples could have been produced, but the same thing would apply. What we are trying to do—and this was all stated by the President of the Board of Trade in the discussion on the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill—is to provide that Government encouragement and help shall be given to assist industry in this country to maintain itself at the highest possible level of efficiency. We are acting along lines which have been tried and tested in the cotton industry.

We have a Cotton Board which closely resembles the type of organisation which might be set up under this Regulation. I think it is agreed that the Cotton Board has accomplished a useful work. In our export groups connected with various industries, we have raised sums of money by this identical kind of levy from all the firms involved in an industry. The export groups have functioned and, as I know from personal experience during the past two or three weeks, are functioning with very good effect. The industrialists who compose those export groups are quite happy in their relationship with the Board of Trade. We do not try to impose upon them ideas foreign to them, and they do not try to impose on us ideas foreign to us. I agree, we sometimes differ, but out of our discussions a policy is formulated which is good for the in- dustry and good for the country. I hope that the House, despite the arguments levelled against these Regulations—arguments far more violent than warranted— is going to agree to allow us to retain these powers so that we can encourage British industry to play its full part in the recovery of this country.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. William Whiteley)

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, 238; Noes, 83.

Division No. 82.] AYES. [9.52 p.m.
Adamson, Mrs. J. L. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Moody, A. S.
Alpass, J. H. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Morley, R.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Gaitskell, H. T. N. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)
Attewell, H. C. Gibbins, J. Mort, D. L.
Austin, H. L. Gilzean, A. Murray, J. D.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Nally, W.
Bacon, Miss A. Gooch, E. G. Neal, H. (Claycress)
Baird, Capt. J. Goodrich, H. E. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Balfour, A. Gordon-Walker, P. C Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Barton, C. Granville, E. (Eye) Noel-Buxton, Lady
Bechervaise, A. E. Grenfell, D. R. Oldfield, W. H.
Belcher, J. W. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Oliver, G. H.
Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Orbach, M.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe) Paget, R. T.
Binns, J. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Hardy, E. A. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Blyton, W. R. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Pargiter, G. A.
Boardman, H. Haworth, J. Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.
Bottomley, A. G. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Perrins, W.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H.W. Herbison, Miss M. Popplewell, E.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Hobson, C. R. Porter, E. (Warrington)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Holman, P. Porter, G. (Leeds)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) House, G. Price, M. P.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Hoy, J. Proctor, W. T.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Hubbard, T. Ranger, J.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Rankin, J.
Buchanan, G. Hughes, Lt. H. D. (Wolverh'ton, W.) Rees-Williams. Lt.-Col. D. R.
Burden, T. W. Hynd, H. (Hackney C.) Reeves, J.
Burke, W. A. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A Rhodes, H.
Champion, A. J. Janner, B. Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Clitherow, Dr. R. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St, Pancras, S.E.) Royle, C.
Cluse, W. S. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Scott-Elliot, W.
Cobb, F. A. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Segal, Sq.-Ldr. S.
Cocks, F. S. Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Coldrick, W. Jones, Asterley (Hitchin) Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Collick, P. Keenan, W. Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)
Collindridge, F. Kenyon, C. Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Colman, Miss G. M. Key, C. W. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Comyns, Dr. L. Kirby, B. V. Skeffington, A. M.
Corlett, Dr. J. Lavers, S. Skinnard, F. W.
Daggar, G. Lee, F. (Hulme) Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Daines, P. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Leonard, W. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Leslie, J. R. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Snow, Capt. J. W.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Lewis, J. (Bolton) Solley, L. J.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lewis, T. (Southampton) Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Deer, G. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Stamford, W.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Longden, F. Steele, T.
Delargy, Captain H. J Lyne, A. W. Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)
Diamond, J. McAdam, W. Strachey, J
Dobbie, W. McEntee, V. La T. Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Douglas, F. C. R. McGhee, H. G. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Driberg, T. E. N. McGovern, J. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Mack, J. D. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Dumpleton, C. W. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Thomas, L. O. (Wrekin)
Durbin, E. F. M. McKinlay, A. S. Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Maclean, N. (Govan) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) McLeavy, F. Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) MacMillan, M. K. Thorneycroft, H
Ewart, R. Mainwaring, W. H. Tiffany, S.
Fairhurst, F. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Timmons, J.
Farthing, W. J. Mathers, G. Titterington, M. F.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Mayhew, C. P. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Foot, M. M. Medland, H. M. Turner-Samuels, M.
Forman, J. C. Messer, F. Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Foster, W. (Wigan) Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Usborne, Henry
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Monslow, W. Viant, S. P.
Walker, G. H. Wigg, Col. G. E. Wise, Major F. J.
Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst) Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B. Woodburn, A.
Warbey, W. N. Wilkes, Maj. L. Yates, V. F.
Watkins, T. E. Wilkins, W. A. Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
Watson, W. M. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland) Zilliacus, K.
Webb, M. (Bradford, C.) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Weitzman, D. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Wells, W. T. (Walsall) Williams, W. R. (Heston) Mr. Pearson and
White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Willis, E. Mr. Simmons.
Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Astor, Hon. M. Hurd, A. Ramsay, Maj. S.
Bennett, Sir P. Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel Jennings, R. Renton, D.
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Keeling, E. H. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Kerr, Sir J. Graham Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H. Sanderson, Sir F.
Bullock, Capt. M Lancaster, Col. C. G. Scott, Lord W.
Challen, Flt.-Lieut C. Langford-Holt, J. Shephard, S. (Newark)
Clarke,Col. R. S. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Shepherd, Lieut. W. S. (Bucklow)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Linstead, H. N. Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Cuthbert, W. N. Lipson, D. L. Spearman, A. C. M.
Digby, Maj. S. W. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spence, Maj. H. R.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. (Penrith) Lucas, Major Sir J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Dower, Eric L. Gandar (Caithness) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Sutcliffe, H.
Drewe, C. Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Taylor, C. S (Eastbourne)
Eccles, D. M McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Foster, J G. (Northwich) Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Gage, Lt.-Col. C. Marples, Capt. A. E. Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F
George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke) Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Touche, G. C.
Glossop, C. W. H Maude, J. C. Turton, R. H.
Glyn, Sir R. Mellor, Sir J. Walker-Smith, D.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G Molson, A. H. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Grimston, R. V. Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Head, Brig. A. H. Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Nicholson, G.
Hogg, Hon. Q. Osborne, C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. Commander Agnew and
Hulbert, N. J. Raikes, H. V. Major Mott-Radclyffe.

Question put accordingly, "That the Order in Council, dated 20th December, 1945, making Regulations entitled the Defence (Services for Industry) Regulations 1945 (S.R.&' O., 1945, No. 1614), a

Division No. 83.] AYES. [10.2 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C. Raikes, H. V.
Astor, Hon. M. Hulbert, N. J. Ramsay, Maj. S.
Bennett, Sir P. Hurd, A. Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Birch, Lt.-Col. Nigel Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh, W Renton, D.
Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A. Jennings, R. Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G. Kerr, Sir J. Graham Sanderson, Sir F.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G T. Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W H Scott, Lord W.
Bullock, Capt. M. Lancaster, Col. C. G Shephard, S. (Newark)
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'flr'n W'ld'n) Langford-Holt, J. Shepherd, Lieut W. S. (Bucklow)
Challen, Flt.-Lieut. C Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Smiles, Lt.-Cot. Sir W.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull) Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Linstead, H. N. Spearman, A. C. M.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.. Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spence, Maj. H. R.
Cuthbert, W. N. Lucas, Major Sir J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Digby, Maj. S. W. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Sutcliffe, H.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. (Penrith) Mackeson, Lt.-Col. H. R. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Dower, Eric L. Gandar (Caithness) McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Thorneycroft, G. E. P.
Drewe, C. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Touche, G. C.
Eccles, D M. Marples, Capt. A. E. Turton, R. H.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Marshall, Comdr. D. (Bodmin) Walker-Smith, D.
Gage, Lt.-Col. C. Molson, A. H. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Glossop, C. W. H. Mott-Radclyffe, Maj C E. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Glyn, Sir R. Neven-Spence, Major Sir B. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Gomme-Dunean, Col. A. G. Nicholson, G. Mr. Maude and
Grimston, R. V. Osborne, C. Mr. C. Taylor.
Head, Brig. A. H. Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.
Hogg, Hon. Q. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Adamson, Mrs. J. L. Attewell, H. C. Baird, Capt. J.
Alpass, J. H. Austin, H. L. Balfour, A.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Barton, C.
Anderson. F. (Whitehaven) Bacon, Miss A. Bechervaise, A. E.

copy of which Order was presented on 22nd January, be annulled."

The House divided: Ayes, 79; Noes", 239.

Belcher, J. W. Haworth, J. Proctor, W. T.
Beswick, Flt.-Lieut. F. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Ranger, J.
Bing, Capt. G. H. C. Herbison, Miss M. Rankin, J.
Binns, J. Hobson, C. R. Rees-Williams, Lt.-Col. D. R.
Blenkinsop, Capt. A. Holman, P. Reeves, J.
Blyton, W. R. House, G. Reid, T. (Swindon)
Boardman, H. Hoy, J. Rhodes, H.
Bottomley, A. G. Hubbard, T. Roberts, Sqn.-Ldr. Emrys (Merioneth)
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Hughes, Lt. H. D. (Wolverh'ton, W.) Royle, C.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge) Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Scott-Elliot, W.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Segal, Sq.-Ldr. S.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Janner, B. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Jeger, Capt. G. (Winchester) Shawcross, Sir H. (St. Helens)
Buchanan, G. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St, Pancras, S.E.) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Burden, T. W. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Burke, W. A. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Skeffington, A. M.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Skinnard, F. W.
Champion, A. J. Jones, Asterley (Hitchin) Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)
Chetwynd, Capt. G. R. Keenan, W. Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Clitherow, Dr. R. Kenyon, C. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Cluse, W. S. Key, C. W. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Cobb, F. A. Kirby, B. V. Snow, Capt. J. W.
Cocks, F. S. Lavers, S. Solley, L. J.
Coldrick, W. Lee, F. (Hulme) Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Collick, P. Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Stamford, W.
Collindridge, F. Leonard, W. Steele, T.
Colman, Miss G. M, Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Stewart, Capt. Michael (Fulham, E.)
Comyns, Dr. L. Lewis, J. (Bolton) Strachey, J.
Corlett, Dr. J. Lewis, T. (Southampton) Symonds, Maj. A. L.
Daggar, G. Lipson, D. L. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Daines, P. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Longden, F. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Lyne, A. W. Thomas, l. O. (Wrekin)
Davies, Harold (Leek) McAdam, W. Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) McEntee, V. La T. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Davies, S.O. (Merthyr) McGhee, H. G. Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Deer, G. McGovern, J. Thorneycroft, H.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mack, J. D. Tiffany, S.
Delargy, Captain H. J. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Timmons, J.
Diamond, J. McKinlay, A. S. Titterington, M. F.
Dobbie, W. Maclean, N. (Govan) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Douglas, F. C. R. McLeavy, F. Turner-Samuels, M.
Driberg, T. E. N. MacMillan, M. K. Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Mainwaring, W. H. Usborne, Henry
Dumpleton, C. W. Mallalieu, J. P. W Viant, S. P.
Durbin, E. F. M. Mathers, G. Walker, G. H.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mayhew, C. P. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Medland, H. M. Warbey, W. N.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Messer, F. Watkins, T. E
Ewart, R. Mitchison, Maj. G. R. Watson, W. M.
Fairhurst, F. Monslow, W. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Farthing, W. J. Moody, A. S. Weitzman, D.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Morley, R. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Foot, M. M. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Forman, J. C. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Foster, W. (Wigan) Mort, D. L. Wigg, Col. G. E.
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Murray, J. D. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Nally, W. Wilkes, Maj. L
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Neal, H. (Claycross) Wilkins, W. A.
Gaitskell, H. T. N. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Willey, O G. (Cleveland)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Gibbins, J. Noel-Buxton, Lady Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Gilzean, A. Oldfield, W. H. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Oliver, G. H. Willis, E.
Gooch, E. G. Orbach, M. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Goodrich, H. E. Paget, R. T. Wise, Major F. J.
Gordon-Walker, P. C Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Woodburn, A.
Granville, E. (Eye) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Wyatt, Maj. W.
Grenfell, D. R. Pargiter, G. A. Yates, V. F.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T. Younger, Maj. Hon. K. G.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Perrins, W. Zilliacus, K.
Haire, Flt.-Lieut. J. (Wycombe) Popplewell, E.
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Porter, E. (Warrington) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hardy, E. A. Porter, G. (Leeds) Mr. Pearson and
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Price, M. P. Mr. Simmons.