HC Deb 22 April 1947 vol 436 cc925-55

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Mr. Bramall (Bexley)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been very forthcoming this evening in promising to look into the questions of tobacco for old age pensioners and of kerosene oil for farm tractors. I want to ask my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to be equally gracious in looking into the case of another class of people whom I believe to be very deserving of consideration. I refer to those people who are endeavouring to buy, as they must, electric or gas cooking apparatus for installation in new houses, whether they be people who by luck or with management have obtained a house on a local authority's housing list, or have been bombed out of their house and have had the house rebuilt.

I think my right hon. Friend will agree with these two premises, first, that a cooking stove is in no sense a luxury and is something that every resident must possess, and, second, that by controlling or raising the price of cooking stoves nothing is done towards discouraging people from using their stoves. Once a person has bought a stove, the initial price is in no sense the governing factor in the amount of gas or electricity which may be used by the stove. Nobody buys a cooking stove for fun; people do not buy stoves to stand in the corner of a room. They do not buy more than one cooking stove. It is in an entirely different category from the type of heating apparatus which was so cheap before the imposition of the Purchase Tax, and which has been bought in such plentiful, and probably, in some cases, excessive quantities. Some people have in every room one of these small electric stoves which they use when they go into those rooms.

9.15 p.m.

The cooking stove, whether it is gas or electricity, is in an entirely different category. There is the case of people who, after terrible periods of waiting, often after living in most unsatisfactory housing conditions, have at last managed to obtain a house only to find, on taking possession of that house, that they arc now subjected to a quite arbitrary tax in the shape of extra payment for their cooking stove. I have had numerous letters on this subject. One letter, which I had today, was from a person who has had a cooking stove on order since 1944; he has offered to pay for that cooking stove but was told that he could not pay until delivery was made. Now, when delivery is made, he finds he has to pay a heavy extra tax.

I should also like to refer to the position of bombed-out people, people who perhaps lost everything in a house which was totally destroyed, who have received from the War Damage Commission, together with payment for their chattels, payment for the replacement of their cooking stoves. Another letter I received today cited the instance of a person who received £14 as compensation for the loss of a cooking stove which, before this Resolution, would have cost £26, but which now, with this extra Purchase Tax, will cost £36. This does seem a very unfair imposition. It will do nothing to reduce gas or electricity consumption, because every person must have a cooking stove. The person who is faced with this extra imposition will not say to himself or herself: "All right, I will go without a stove." Presumably, however much the Chancellor may wish to reduce smoking to the point where we leave it off altogether, he will hardly wish to reduce cooking to the point where we leave it off altogether. Presumably, it is realised that we must cook to some extent, and the person who has a new house has as much right to cook as the person who already enjoys the possession of a residence. Therefore, it will do nothing to diminish gas or electricity consumption, and will be a purely arbitrary imposition on a certain class of people, and a class of people which, in a very great many cases, has already suffered misfortune.

From the administrative point of view, it is possible that the Financial Secretary will raise the objection often raised by the Chancellor when he is asked to consider a remission of Purchase Tax for certain classes of people. I have in mind, for instance, the case of motor cars for disabled men. In that case, the Chancellor, quite rightly to my mind, has said that we cannot do that because we cannot know that a particular motor car will go to a disabled man. But I suggest that in this instance the administration is perfectly easy. People who are setting up a new home buy many of the things which they require on priority dockets. They are able to buy floor coverings, beds, and a hundred and one other things only because they are setting up home for the first time. Therefore, I suggest these people should also be issued with priority dockets to enable them to obtain cooking stoves, because a cooking stove is as much a part of the house as the front door, the bath, the lavatory, or anything else; it is an absolutely essential requirement. To put a heavy Purchase Tax on cooking stoves will not assist in cutting down gas and electricity consumption, but will be a purely arbitrary tax, very often on a section of the community which has already suffered very heavy misfortune.

Mr. David Renton (Huntingdon)

I should like to reinforce the argument so eloquently put by the hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Bramall). In doing so, I should like to remind the Government that it is not only the experts but the nation which, by now, firmly believes that the most economical use of coal is achieved by using it when it has been converted into electricity; that is so with regard to heating, lighting and cooking. At this moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer should do nothing to discourage the use of electricity by raising the Purchase Tax on electrical appliances which have to do with using fuel which has been converted into electricity. Besides that argument, I have several arguments whereby I wish to put forward important objections—

Mr. Harold Davies

I cannot accept the statement that the use of electricity is the cheapest way of using coal to go by with without a protest, because at the present moment it is the most expensive way of using our coal. Nevertheless, I support the hon. Member's general point.

Mr. Renton

I am not in a position to quote chapter and verse to the hon. Member, but I can assure him that it has come to my notice, and may have come to the notice of many other hon. Members not once but frequently in the past few months, that many experts do believe that the most economical way to use coal in the long run, provided electricity services are extended, is to convert that coal into electricity, because thereby only the essentials are used to produce the electric power, and the non-essentials instead of going up the chimney, are converted to other uses. I understand the experts are unanimous in that view, and that being so—

Sir Stanley Reed (Aylesbury)

I do not wish to interrupt, but I should be sorry if it went forth from this discussion that electricity is the cheapest source of heat for cooking in comparison with gas, and solid fuel in the heat storage stove.

Mr. Renton

Far be it from me to sit in judgment upon my hon. Friends to the right or my hon. Friends to the left, but if I may take up the comment made by my hon. Friend to the right, apparently in his' calculation he has forgotten that coal, before it goes to the power stations, is, I understand, generally processed, and a certain amount is saved which otherwise goes up the chimney when solid fuel is burnt.

However, I proceed to the other part of my argument, which is that the Resolution as drafted cannot be clear to the public. I think we are entitled to some enlightenment from the learned Solicitor-General as to the effect of these words in the table, because a lot must turn upon them: Domestic appliances and domestic apparatus, being appliances and apparatus of a kind suitable for operation from electric or gas mains. Those are the words which bring the Purchase Tax into operation, and I would like to give an example to illustrate the difficulty I feel in this matter. Take the ordinary electric lamp, a lamp normally used for an office table or a bedside: is it in all cases a domestic appliance, or is it only a domestic appliance when it is used in domestic quarters, in somebody's home? Will the learned Solicitor-General tell me whether an ordinary bedside lamp is still a domestic appliance when it is at the bedside of, say, a soldier in barracks? What is the position of hospitals, nursing homes and doctors' surgeries with regard to this Resolution? Are the various appliances which can be bought for such places to be treated as domestic appliances subject to the Purchase Tax, or are they free from Purchase Tax? Then, with regard to the exemptions in the table, it appears that there is an unpleasant piece of sex discrimination, because we find that hair-drying machines are not included in the general provision, and that means that ladies will be allowed to have their hair dried with a machine which has not been subject to Purchase Tax, whereas electric razors are included.

Mr. Harold Davies

They are a nuisance anyway.

Mr. Renton

Why there should be this sex discrimination I do not know. I am not prejudiced, because I do not use an electric razor, which is nobody's misfortune but my own. It seems that before this Resolution goes much further it is capable of clarification, amplification and adjustment. Meanwhile, we should be grateful for the learned Solicitor-General's comments upon it.

Mrs. Manning

Whilst I appreciate the Chancellor's motives as outlined in this Resolution, I hope very much he will be guided by some of us on this side of the House and probably by some on the other side of the House as well, and that he will not include electric cookers in the list of those domestic appliances on which the extra tax will be imposed. There are two points in connection with this, which I have discussed with a considerable number of women in my constituency. The first is that the electric cooker is a piece of domestic apparatus which results in a considerable saving of fuel. It is one of the most economical forms of cooking, once a woman can use it intelligently. I admit that until a woman has learned to use the electric cooker, she can waste a good deal of heat, but once a woman gets the hang of it and knows how to use the residual heat in the cooker, there is an enormous saving of fuel.

In the summer months if a woman has to light a fire to do her cooking the amount of fuel which is wasted in order to do the cooking on a kitchen range is surprising. A great many women have already installed electric cookers in their homes. Only a small class are going to be denied the electric cooker, if this tax is reimposed. The woman who can afford a cooker has already installed it in her home. The more modern houses have electric cookers in them. The new council houses which will be built under Government schemes have electric cookers installed in them so I do not know what is going to be saved in this way with all these new houses going up and with electric cookers going into them. The only woman who is going to be denied the electric cooker is the woman in the old fashioned house who needs it much more than the other woman, because her work is immeasurably harder than that of the woman who is living in a small, modern house and immeasurably harder than the work of any one living in those lovely, modern labour-saving houses many of which have already been built by councils up and down the country. The only class who will be penalised if this tax is reimposed on cookers, are the hardest worked class of housewives in this country today, the women who are unable to afford to pay for the electric cooker, and who live in old-fashioned houses.

I had a letter recently from a woman in my constituency. She is an example of the class of women who have been saving up their money to buy an electric cooker. She is a woman who is living in a rather old-fashioned house. At present all she has to cook on are two gas rings—a very expensive and a difficult way of cooking. She saved up the money to buy an electric cooker on the assumption that it would bear only the lower rate of tax. Now she finds that the cost of the cooker is going to be more than the saving on her husband's Income Tax in a whole year and she has not got that in her hand at the moment. Therefore, she is faced with the possibility of cancelling the order for her electric cooker, unless the Chancellor cuts cookers out of his list. I said to her "You have such an old-fashioned form of cooking; why do you not go to the council and, telling them about this old-fashioned system of cooking, get an alternative system by hiring an electric cooker." If the Chancellor does no' make the change that I am suggesting I will advise all women who have old-fashioned cookers or only gas rings to hire cookers from the local authority, because they would be able to do that as an alternative form of cooking. Thus nothing will be saved in the long run. The council houses are going up and, with hiring instead of buying, nothing will be saved. I suggest that we might win a great deal of favour from hard-worked housewives without suffering any disadvantage. I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see fit to reconsider the matter.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. Eccles

I think that the Government ought to have printed this Resolution in black type. It really is a confession of bad planning. We should riot have had this Resolution on the Paper if the Government had planned the consumption of electricity a little more carefully. I am not at all sure that this is not a panic way of dealing with the difficulties into which we have fallen. I reserve my judgment whether we should take action until we have heard what the Financial Secretary has to say. In passing, I would point out that the Chancellor did me an injustice when, in the course of his Budget speech, he said that nobody in this House had objected to taking the tax off electrical appliances. I objected on the ground that I thought that there was an inflationary situation—not foreseeing the electricity difficulty at all, I fully admit. I objected on the ground that there was too much money about, and I thought it was bad finance to increase the purchasing power in the hands of the people.

The speeches which we have heard on this Resolution from all three hon. Members bring out this point. Has this Resolution been drafted in order to save electricity or to bring in more money? I think that the intention of the Government is merely to help to meet the coal situation. If that is the intention, I doubt very much whether this Resolution will assist. We should need a great many statistics on the consumption of electricity and alternative fuels in order to know whether the exceptions which are not to be heavily taxed are big consumers or not. We should want to know whether it is intelligent, for instance, to except lighting and wireless appliances. How much do they consume of the total amount? Is it not just as important to discourage people from having too many lamps in a room as it is to discourage the constituent of the hon. Lady for Epping (Mrs. Manning) from having an electric cooker? I rather think that the electric cooker is more important.

Supposing the intention is to save electricity, then the obvious thing would be to take off the tax altogether in the case of every new installation which could be proved would consume less than that which was being scrapped. Instead of that, the effect of this Resolution will be to make it less easy to substitute the fuel-saving devices for the old-fashioned and expensive devices now installed in some houses. It is not possible to see that any logical or scientific thinking has been put into this Resolution.

Mr. Harold Davies

That is not true. We have not got the generating plant, as the hon. Member ought to know.

Mr. Eccles

I was coming to that. I disagreed with an hon. Member when he said that the turning over from solid fuel to electricity was, in all cases, an advantage, for the very reason which the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) pointed out. There are certain areas where the generating plant is already under strain, and there it is to our advantage to continue to use alternative forms of fuel, but there is no sign that that has been worked out scientifically. I think it is correct to say that where I live in Wiltshire the load is not fully taken up. Nobody minds if a farmer instals electricity. If he can get the connection, there is no objection from the point of view of supply.

At least I never heard of any objection being made. If that is so, why not encourage it. Therefore the real question the Financial Secretary has to answer is: Is this designed simply to save electricity? If it is, will he give us the statistics of the consumption of electricity on these articles which he is penalising against those which he is exempting, and can we know on what scientific basis this schedule has been drawn up? If the House should find, as I think is more than likely, that this really has not been thought out at all, in relation to the saving of electricity, either from the point of view of installation in new houses, or from the point of view of substituting an appliance which consumes less than the one which is to be scrapped, then the House should not pass the Resolution.

Mrs. Braddock (Liverpool, Exchange)

I should like to follow the hon. Lady the Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning), but to deal with the matter from a different point of view. It is estimated that the increased cost of an ordinary electric cooker on account of tax will be about £14. The present rates of hire purchase are insufficient to meet the increased cost, and some alternative charge on the rate of hire purchase will have to be applied to those people who obtain electric cookers. It will make it particularly difficult for local authorities to differentiate between those purchasing cookers under hire purchase before the Purchase Tax came on, and those purchasing cookers after the additional £14 has been imposed. There will therefore be difficulties in relation to the administrative details. The cooker is an essential part of life. It is not a luxury, but an essential, and this tax will make it most difficult for those who have to acquire new cooking apparatus in areas where the local authority is able to change over houses from gas to electricity. In Liverpool there are a great many people, and in the country there are hundreds and perhaps thousands, who have already paid deposits to have electricity installed. They are without cooking apparatus at all because the gas has been cut off pending the electrical installation and they simply must change over from gas to electricity because the process of changing over is already in operation. In those circumstances the poorer sections of the people will feel the imposition of this tax, in relation to the rest of the articles which we might consider to be luxury articles. There is a case to be made out for withdrawing this tax on electric and gas cookers.

Sir S. Reed

I should like to support the appeal made to the Financial Secretary to give further consideration to this matter, because it seems to me that there is no answer to the argument that a cooking stove is an essential part of the equipment of any house, whether it he a new house, a bombed-out house or any other house. But I should not like it to go forth from this. House that the electric stove is the most economical means of using fuel, for that is very far from the case. The highest possible thermal efficiency which can be obtained by an electrical station is 33 per cent., the highest thermal efficiency in any modern station is I believe less than 30 per cent. and the average for the Kingdom must be very much less. The highest efficiency in the heat storage cooker is 35 per cent. If the Government wish to save fuel they should consider even giving away the latest stoves using solid fuel in order to economise.

Mr. Renton

Would the hon. Gentleman allow me to interrupt? Has he overlooked the fact that many power stations use a vast quantity of slack coal which cannot be served to domestic consumers, and also that some power stations—I believe not so much recently, but frequently in the past—used coal which had been partly processed before going to the power stations?

Sir S. Reed

That is true, particularly on the North-East coast of England, where they use slack, and in Swansea, where they use anthracite duff, but it has been argued that 9 cwt. coal gassified, taking into account all residuals, is equal to 18 cwt. used for electricity for cooking purposes. These things ought to be scientifically tested. I put a Question down to the Minister of Fuel and Power and he said that they did not know. I have another Question that there should be a scientific inquiry into the matter That does not affect the general proposition, that a stove is an essential part of the equipment of the house, and that the revival of the tax will be a very heavy burden on considerable numbers of the community Therefore, if it is practicable, will the Financial Secretary give favourable consideration to the Resolution that has been put forward?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I agree wholeheartedly with a great deal that has been said in the course of this Debate on this Resolution, and I have no reply to make to many of the observations. Quite obviously, electric cooking is much cleaner, and it is a modern method of heating and lighting as well. The policy of the Government and of all Governments has been to foster as far as they could the introduction of these labour saving appliances into the home, and the record of this Government, as the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) pointed out, has been to foster as far as it could the sale of these appliances since it first came into office.

In the first Budget that my right hon. Friend introduced in 1945, in the Finance (No. 2) Act and in the Act which we passed last year, Purchase Tax was taken off items of this kind, and today we are making what all of us believe to be a retrograde step in that we are reimposing a tax on some of the things he relieved of Purchase Tax in his first Budget. May I say in parenthesis that I believe that hair dryers, to which the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) referred, are used not only by ladies but by men too. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not by the Chancellor."] I can assure the House that no sex discrimination is intended, and in proof of that I would point out that in another Resolution we are putting a tax on razor strops of 33⅓ per cent. which is no less than the 33⅓ per cent. which is being put on hair dryers even if, as some hon. Members appear to believe, they are used only by women. The use of the word "domestic" is one, which, we are informed, covers the kind of appliances we have in mind, and it has worked well up to now.

9.45 p.m.

The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) was one of the few, he may have been the only one, who voiced the view that we should not take the Purchase Tax off these appliances as soon as we did. We have to admit, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor admitted quite openly when he introduced the Budget, that we were too optimistic, and took off the Purchase Tax before we should if we had been more cautious and wiser. There is no doubt that during the last 18 months or two years the sale of these appliances has gone up by leaps and bounds, and there is no doubt that the sale of so many, and their use at this juncture, has been one of the causes which led to the difficulties we experienced during the winter, when the load had to be shed almost from hour to hour, and certainly from day to day in most areas.

We are not here out for revenue. It is true that this will bring in a certain amount of revenue, but, principally, what we want to do if we can is to slow down the sale of these modern appliances, at any rate for the time being, until more plant has been installed and more generating stations have been built. The gain from the tax will be £13 million this year and £18 million in a full year, and the loss on the concessions listed in the table is £2 million this year and £2,500,000 in a full year. Therefore, the net gain to the Exchequer is this year £11 million and in a full year £15,500,000. As I say, we are not looking at the revenue, but at the situation and, much against my right hon. Friend's will, but nevertheless bowing to what he feels are the inevitable circumstances of the coming months, we feel that the Purchase Tax should go on in order to slow down the wholesale purchase of these appliances if we can.

Mrs. Manning

Could the right hon. Gentleman answer a short question? The Treasury will not be able to stop the use of these appliances in council houses. If they reckon up the small number which will be affected outside council houses, will the small number of cases be effective?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Of course it is quite impossible for me to say just what the effect will be in the direction visualised by my hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning). It is true, and I think we all welcome it, that the houses being built will be wired for electricity, and generating stations are being built, but cookers and other electrical appliances, radiators and so on, cannot be installed, or if installed cannot he used, as early as we had hoped they could be used. A lot of these appliances will be installed and sold, and that we cannot prevent. All we can do by putting on the tax is to ensure that they will not be sold so easily and readily as otherwise, until we have sufficient electrical generating stations to supply the whole need of the urban and rural populations. The only reply I can give to the House is that the Purchase Tax on these appliances is there for that reason, and no other. That being so, until the situation improves, it appears to be reasonable and necessary that the Purchase Tax on these appliances should continue in force.

Mr. Stanley Prescott (Darwen)

The Financial Secretary said that the Government had been too optimistic in their policy of fostering the supply of electrical appliances. I agree that the Government were far too optimistic. They were too optimistic about the thermal, mental and physical efficiency of the Minister of Fuel and Power. The reason for the reintroduction of this tax is to decrease the consumption of electricity. Even on that basis I have some severe criticism to make of this Resolution. May I put this question to the Financial Secretary? Let us assume that I am going into a new flat with my wife. I can, if I have the money—which I have not—buy an electric clock, an electric blanket, an electric warming pan, I can buy for my wife an electric hair-drying machine. I can buy an electric sunray lamp, and I am reminded that I can buy an electric lawnmower, though that would not be much use in a flat. All these I can buy without any increase in the Purchase Tax. The one thing which I shall need above all others, an electric cooking stove, I cannot buy without paying increased Purchase Tax. Surely, that is ridiculous, even on the assumption, which for the moment I accept, that it is necessary to limit the consumption of electricity, and that that is the real purpose for the introduction of this Resolution.

Surely, the way to limit the consumption of electricity is to cut out non-essential things which consume electricity. All the appliances I have mentioned are less essential than a cooking stove. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but surely that must be so? The main appliance one needs in a flat or a house is a cooking stove. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that there should be no increased Purchase Tax in respect of electric cooking stoves or gas stoves, that they should be excluded from the terms of this Resolution. If necessary, some of the items which are excluded should be included to counterbalance that change. This is a most invidious Resolution, and it sets about its object in entirely the wrong way. As my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) said, this Resolution should really be printed in black, for it is a prime example of wrong planning. While the President of the Board of Trade was fostering the manufacture of all these electrical appliances, the Minister of Fuel and Power was quite incapable of providing the current necessary to run them. Apparently it had not been brought to the notice of His Majesty's Government that current would be necessary to run this apparatus.

I would ask the Financial Secretary one question. I am informed that not only as a result of this reintroduction of Purchase Tax, but also for another reason, many firms now manufacturing electrical appliances will have to close down. I am informed that all facilities for the supply of raw materials and other matters are to be withdrawn from them. Is that so? To what extent will this Resolution affect the continuance of firms in the electrical industry? If it be necessary to limit the consumption of electricity, and if putting an increased Purchase Tax on certain electrical appliances will effect that result, is it not possible, even on that basis, to refrain from exempting things which are not essential, and to exempt appliances which are essential, for example, cooking stoves? I do ask that consideration should be given to that matter, and in conclusion I would, nicely and kindly, say again what a pity it is that the Government are not better at planning, for if they were, we should not have this Resolution.

Mr. Mikardo

I am sorry to say, and I hope I may say so without offence, that I think that the Financial Secretary completely missed the point of the argument put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Bexley (Mr. Bramall) and the two hon. Ladies who spoke from this side. My right hon. Friend has said the purpose of this Resolution is not to obtain revenue but to decrease the demand for electricity and gas. It is quite clear that, in so far as one is using taxation, as in this case, to decrease the demands upon electricity and gas, in so far as one is using taxation to influence demands, the influence is exerted only in the case of commodities that are in an elastic demand, and this is a case of an inelastic demand. My hon. Friend the Member for Bexley pointed out that it does not matter what we do about taxation. Every woman must have a stove on which to cook, and no woman wants more than one stove on which to cook, and, so far as I am aware, one cannot cook one dinner on two stoves, and so consumption of fuel will not be affected in any way by measures—

Mr. Glenvil Hall

It may well be that I did not make this quite clear—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—but surely the real core of this trouble is not whether we are using more or less coal. The point is we have not got the generating and the power stations to provide enough electricity for those who are using it.

Mr. Mikardo

But, surely, we are not here discussing the question of whether we are trying to get people to leave coal stoves which, on the whole, are a minority, to use gas stoves or electricity stoves, since the great majority of all cooking is done on gas or electric stoves and since the Resolution does not discriminate, it does not affect the transfer to gas or electric cooking or vice versa. The important point, it seems to me, is that what we are doing is furthering the continuance in use of obsolescent and inefficient cookers which whether they be worked by gas or electricity or coal, are using more fuel to cook the same dinner than a modern and efficient stove. My hon. Friend the Member for Bexley pleaded on behalf of those who are just setting up homes for the first time; but I would go further, and I would say that a case for encouraging the use of the most efficient cooking equipment, of whatever type, in order to economise fuel is on all fours with the case the Chancellor put forward for having a lower rate of taxation on undistributed as compared with distributed profits in business, in order to induce people to get new and modern and more efficient equipment.

What we do not always realise is that the great majority of the factories in this country are the kitchens of the country. There are more workshops which are kitchens than there are of any other forms of workshop in the country, and the occupation with the greatest numbers in it is the occupation of housewife. We get this enormous bulk of work done in the kitchen "workshops" with a layout and equipment we should be horrified to use in any other form of workshop. I do not see how we can encourage the use of electricity in factories, and discourage it in the homes. It seems to me that the case put up by my hon. Friend is quite unanswerable. It seems to me that, by the reimposition of the Purchase Tax on this apparatus, the Government are doing their best to ensure that it shall be inefficient. There is a clear case for including these standard parts, because they are supremely the inelastic demand commodities, in the exemptions.

10.0 p.m.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

From the discussion so far, it is quite clear that one of the chief reasons why the Government are taking this step is to cover up what has happened in another Department—the Ministry of Fuel and Power. I am extremely sorry to see that there is no representative of that Ministry on the Front Bench opposite at the moment, and it seems to me that, when this whole question comes down to a problem of the consumption of power, it is most regrettable that the Front Bench should contain no one who can answer for that Department. We are told by the Government, in the words of the Financial Secretary, that they have a policy to foster the introduction of labour-saving devices. As soon as they introduce that policy, they appear to reverse it, and who, above all, is responsible for the introduction of that policy but Members of the Front Bench opposite? Their new policy is designed to ensure that all cooking and other domestic appliances shall be either gas or electric.

What will be the effect of that on the average citizen of this country who is taking over a council house, as a result of the new Government policy? Does the Financial Secretary realise, and can he tell the House, what is to be the effect, in terms of rent payable by the occupiers to the local authority of these council houses, of this increased taxation? Can he indicate what penalty is now to be paid by the average ex-Serviceman trying to get a council house, as a result of this complete reversal of Government policy? That is a matter on which we have heard nothing from anyone on the Government Front Bench.

Further, I cannot understand, when we hear these requests from the Financial Secretary, who tells us how necessary it is to curtail our consumption of power, why according to the Table which is now before us, we are allowed to use lawn mowers. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I apologise; perhaps I have read it wrong. If the Financial Secretary says I am wrong, I shall be only too glad for the right hon. Gentleman to correct me, but, if I am right, it does seem to me to be an extraordinary contradiction that we should be entitled to use lawn mowers and not cooking stoves. If I am wrong, I am quite prepared to give way to the Financial Secretary.

I think I am right in saying that the hon. Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning) said that the increase on the average gas cooker would be about £14. But that is not the whole story. In addition to that, there is the further fact that we know that these essential domestic appliances cannot be delivered in the normal course of trade, and have to be sent by passenger train. We also know that before a family can move into a local council house, they need to have a cooker. If they had to wait for the cooker for a month or six weeks, which is the normal time for delivery, they would be unable to move in as quickly as they otherwise could. In order to get over the difficulty, many of them pay the carriage charges themselves. But the carriage charges are added to the cost price of the cooker, and the Purchase Tax is payable on the total amount. That seems to me to be an absurd state of affairs. Because of our shortage of wagons, of transport and of this, that and the other, the carriage charge is added to the bill in the case of these necessities, while, at the same time, if anyone has a lawn mower, he is allowed to use it. I feel that, unless the Financial Secretary can produce a very convincing answer, we should vote against this Resolution.

Mr. Gibson

I wish to support the plea made to the Financial Secretary to exclude the proposed increase in the Purchase Tax on cookers. I do not wish to go over the arguments used by other hon. Members, but there is one which has not yet been raised. My hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning) said that every one of a large number of houses being built all over the country will contain a cooker of some sort—either electric or gas. If the Purchase Tax at 66⅔ per cent. is placed on those cookers, it means that every local authority in the country will be put to an additional expense, which may vary from anything between £8 and £12 a house, in connection with their housing programme. That will be a serious charge on local authorities, and one which may have some effect in certain districts in reducing the pressure for the completion of houses. It will not have that effect in London and in most of the large cities, but all the local authorities will have to pay.

I am quite sure that the Government have no intention of deliberately doing anything to hamper the housing programme throughout the country. I appeal to the Financial Secretary to consult the Chancellor as to whether the Purchase Tax cannot be reduced on cookers placed in houses where, in any case, they have to go. Even if the tax is paid, there is no saving of fuel or of electricity. Cooking facilities must be provided, and, that being so, this is an absurd and quite unnecessary tax on housing authorities up and down the country. As to the rest of the proposals in the Resolution, I agree with them. It is worth while pointing out that when the Chancellor referred to this in his Budget speech, there was almost unanimous agreement that he was right. That being so, I am a little surprised to hear some of the opinions of certain hon. Members opposite. On this question of cookers, however, we are obviously unanimous, though probably for different reasons. I am anxious that the tax should not be imposed on cookers so that there may be no hindrance put in the way of the very large housing programme which the Government have under way at the present moment.

Mr. Henry Strauss (Combined English Universities)

The hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Bramall) and the hon. Lady the Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning) clearly and rightly confined the plea they made to the case of cookers, and that has been general in the speeches which have followed. My remarks will also be limited to the question of cookers. That being the case, I cannot see that the Financial Secretary has given any answer of any kind to the pleas that have been made, whether by Members on his own side of the House or by Members on this side. What does he think will be the effect of this Resolution as applied to cookers? I think the most astonishing feature of this Debate, apart from the inadequacy of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, is the absence from the Treasury Bench of representatives of the Ministry of Fuel and Power and of the Ministry of Health. Is it the object, as it is undoubtedly the effect, of this Resoluion, to put up the cost of housing, or has it escaped the notice of the Treasury that a house requires a cooker? Or is it, perhaps, their intention besides stopping the sale of cookers to stop the erection of such few houses as might go up?

Assuming for the moment that they desire some houses to be built, and that they desire those houses that are built to have cookers, may I ask them what cookers they desire those houses to have? Hitherto, we have imagined that, on the whole, they wished houses to have either gas or electric cookers. Under this Resolution, if they have either, the price of the houses will go up. Does the Financial Secretary realise that fact? If so, does he think it right? What good object does he think he is achieving by this Resolution? As has been pointed out by several hon. Members, people do not buy gas or electric cookers for the fun of the thing. They buy to cook. I make that elementary statement, not because I think any back bench Member does not appreciate it, but because I do not think it has yet penetrated to the Government Front Bench. Not the least consciousness of that fact was betrayed by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in his answer to the speech of the hon. Member for Epping, to give only one example.

I shall not labour that point, but I will make one more point which I think is important. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech spoke of the time when he removed the Purchase Tax from these articles and said that all of us had been wrong. That is completely untrue. There was nothing wrong about that removal at all, except that the Government either did not realise that the sale of electrical apparatus would be followed by the consumption of current—and that may be a measure of their planning ability—or they were too incompetent to provide the necessary fuel and power. But to pretend that that was a fault in which the whole of the House shared is to say that which is quite demonstrably untrue.

Mr. Mikardo

The hon. and learned Gentleman was not here.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Strauss

I read the Debates, even if I was not here. I do not think the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), who has just interrupted me, will dispute what I am saying, namely that there was nothing wrong whatsoever in removing the Purchase Tax from those articles. The only fault was in not realising the consequences and in not providing the necessary fuel and power. I hope that, unless the Government produce some answer to the points which have been raised from every quarter of the House, we shall divide on this Resolution. I came into the House with a perfectly open mind in regard to this Resolution. I thought it looked bad on the face of it, but I felt it was only fair to assume of the Treasury that they would not have put forward this Resolution unless they had an argument of some kind with which to support it. We have now had, from every quarter of the House, a devastating attack on this Duty. It has been proved that the main effect it will have is, not in any way to alter the demands for the use of this apparatus, but merely to alter, as far as I can see, the cost of housing. In those circumstances, and in view of the fact that the Treasury have produced no reply of any kind, I hope that the House, supported by all the hon. Members who have spoken, will divide against this Resolution.

10.15 p.m.

Mrs. Castle

As I hope the Financial Secretary will reconsider this question, and as there are other items of electrical equipment as well as cookers to which the same arguments apply, I should like to point out to my right hon. Friend the importance of considering this question in relation to a wider range of articles. We have been assured by the Financial Secretary that the purpose of this Resolution is not to raise revenue, but to economise in fuel consumption. Therefore, we must examine how far it achieves that end. In considering the question of fuel consumption, two aspects have to be borne in mind, first, the need for an overall reduction in the consumption of gas and electricity; and second, the need for watching our old enemy, the peak load of electricity. I suggest to the Financial Secretary that in this rather panicky mood, by retreating from the steps forward that were taken last year, he is, in fact, not achieving his end. The effect of this Resolution is not to tax fuel consumption at all, but to tax domestic convenience, and the two, fortunately for us, are by no means synonymous. The help that we can give to the housewife consists of substituting one form of appliance for another, which is also more economical in the use of fuel.

I support completely everything that has been said about cookers, but I want my right hon. Friend to add something to his list of considerations. I should not like the Financial Secretary to think that cookers are the only item to which this argument applies. There is also the question of electric irons. The problem that faces the housewife today is, as we all know, one of great difficulty and inconvenience. Before the Financial Secretary places the luxury or the necessity of electric irons outside the scope of the ordinary housewife, I urge him to consider very carefully the fact that the housewife is today forced increasingly to do her own laundry at home. I do not know whether or not my right hon. Friend is in the habit of ironing his own shirts. If he is, I ask him this question: If he has not got an electric iron, what does he use instead? [HON. MEMBERS: "He sleeps on them."] When he comes to the ironing stage of his laundry, if he has not an electric iron he will find that he has to take a flat iron, turn on the gas and put the flat iron on the gas to heat it up, than which there is no more uneconomical use of fuel consumption.

I therefore urge the right hon. Gentleman to realise that just as, so far as cookers are concerned, he has to appreciate that certain jobs have to be done in the home, and that we are helping our national drive for both fuel economy and domestic efficiency if we enable them to be done with the best possible apparatus, I also ask him to remember that the real damage that has been done over the past year in regard to fuel has been done by the widespread use of an increased number of electric fires. They are the source of the danger to the peak load, they are the cause of the increased fuel consumption. You can put an electric fire in every room in the house eventually, if you have the money and the fires, but nobody in his senses will put an electric cooker and an electric iron in every room in the house; one is enough. We have also to remember that whereas the electric fire goes on at the danger moment of the peak load, at eight o'clock in the morning when we get out of bed, there are other items of electrical equipment which are used with great convenience not at the peak load. The electric iron is used largely in the evening, and that is not the moment of danger, electrically, from the point of view of the generating stations.

I beg the Financial Secretary not to panic in this matter. The women have earned the right to these items of increased convenience, and I ask him to regard them all individually from the practical point of view as to whether or not they will inconvenience the main economy drive in fuel or whether they are not just a sop to a panic opinion which has been developing on this question. I urge him to reconsider these items of electrical equipment. He gave us the concession on irons last year, and wiped the whole of the Purchase Tax off. I urge him not to restore the 66⅔ per cent. tax this year on cookers or any other of those items of electrical equipment which do not endanger the peak load but only substitute a more efficient form of fuel consumption for an inefficient one.

Mr. Nicholson

I am profoundly sorry for the Financial Secretary; he is a victim of his own honesty. He is accused on all sides of the House of having made no adequate defence of this Resolution, and he made no adequate defence because he is an honest man and knows as well as any of us that there is no adequate defence. The only possible defence he could make is a confession of failure on behalf of his colleagues. Confession, though good for the soul, is bad for the reputation, and I must say I extend to him my full sympathy. I hope he has realised by now that the feeling of the House is very strongly against him. He said in one breath that this tax is not being imposed for revenue purposes, and in the next that it would incidentally raise £15,500,000 in a full year. By whom will that £15,500,000 be paid? Not by people who will pay it for fun, not by people with a large stake in our national economy; it will be paid by people who have to buy these installations because they are forced to do so. If it acts like that, I am sure it is a wrong form of taxation.

I would like to take a sample case. Let us consider a woman, living in a house with a coal range, who wishes to buy an electric ring. She may have a young baby needing hot food at regular intervals during the day. For the life of me I cannot see why she should not be encouraged to buy an electric or gas ring rather than have to light a coal fire to provide the baby with hot food. Such examples can be multiplied many times in the incidence of this tax. I am sure that it is a mistake, and I hope the Financial 'Secretary will go back to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor and explain to him that on all sides of the House, without regard to party affiliations, we hope he will make some concession and will not put his own Government in the ridiculous position of having forced £15,500,000 out of people who are the least fitted to pay it in buying articles which are absolute necessities.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I can speak again only by leave of the House. I do not know how long the House desires this Debate to continue but if I can briefly reply—

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

I object to the right hon. Gentleman being heard.

Mrs. Ridealgh (Ilford, North)

In his three Budgets, the Chancellor, in dealing with direct taxation, gave due regard to the capacity of the individual to pay. It is to be regretted that he did not aproach the question of Purchase Tax with the same attitude of mind, especially in relation to cookers, about which we have heard so much tonight, and also irons, cleaners, and electric washers. I realise that the restriction of the consumption of fuel is very necessary, but there are other ways of doing it. The Minister of Fuel and Power during the war controlled every installation of electric and gas equipment in houses. I understand that he could prevent the installation of alternative methods of cooking or heating, and I think in this case something of a similar nature might be done. At least a restriction could be put on the number of electric articles placed upon the home market. Great stress has been laid on the importance of cookers. I should like to emphasise, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), the need for irons. I knew a young couple who had been married only a few months and were trying to get flat irons. They were unable to buy them and they mentioned the matter to me. I told them that I had two rusty old flat irons stored away in a cupboard. They were very glad to get them. People cannot get flat irons today and so are compelled to use electric and gas irons. Today our housewives have to do much more washing than they had to do in the past. Articles do not came back from the laundry in as good condition as when they are washed at home and with more washing being done at home, a great deal more ironing must be done. Reference has been made to the way in which our women have to work. We should not forget that they also have to stand in queues, much of their time being taken up in that way. They are paying a high price for food and have to spend a great deal of time in cooking it as well as in mending and renovating. The least we can do is to relieve the housewife as much as possible from those jobs which tax her physical strength. I ask the Chancellor, therefore, to consider not only cookers but also irons, washers, cleaners and all things of a like nature which go to lighten the burden of the housewife. They have had six or seven years of hard toil and it is about time that their work was appreciated.

10.30 p.m.

Lieut. Commander Braithwaite

May I express the hope that the Financial Secretary will be heard in this Debate? My only reason for objecting a few moments ago to his intervention was the somewhat sinister omen of the return to the Chamber of the Patronage Secretary, who is not, I hope, going to make the kind of speech we heard from him a little earlier. The Financial Secretary finds himself surrounded by a House which unanimously takes a view con- trary to that of the Government. This is one of the occasions when Private Members on all benches should impress their wishes quite firmly on the Executive. No speech has been made in support of the attitude taken up by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not think that is at all surprising. He told us, with candour, that he had nothing to say in reply to the speeches of his hon. friends. He added that this was a reactionary or retrograde Resolution and that it was almost entirely a matter of saving electricity. I am sorry that he is not supported on the Front Bench by some of the Ministers who are interested in this matter. I think that the Minister of Fuel and Power might have been with us. I understand that there is no prize fight of any importance taking place. I think we might have had a representative of the Ministry of Health. We have, however, only succeeded in attracting the Minister in charge of the police and the Minister of Pensions, neither of whom has any direct interest in this matter. I agree that the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the President of the Board of Trade, whose absence in Geneva has emboldened her, has intervened on two occasions today and has said that this is a panic step. We are suffering now from shilly-shally in this matter. For the duty to be removed in one Budget only to be reimposed in the next, puts the greatest handicap on those who are anxious to obtain these materials.

I find myself in complete agreement with the hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Bramall), who initiated this discussion. He said he thought it hard on people who have ordered a cooker, to find themselves confronted with a delayed delivery just on the wrong side of the line when this tax has been reimposed, and who have to pay Purchase Tax at the time of delivery. I support the suggestion that there should be a minor concession, and that the operation of this tax should date from the time of the order. I hope the right hon. Gentleman is reconsidering this whole matter. I thought I detected him, just now, in close consultation with some of his officials, as if the matter needed some sort of consideration, and I hope I am not being too optimistic. It really is time that the House asserted itself. This has been an appalling day—no smoking to begin with, and now no cooking. Where are we going? We are marching steadily, under Socialism, back to the Middle Ages, and to a state of things in which there will be no conveniences at all. First of all, the right hon. Gentleman tells us that the policy of His Majesty's Government is to encourage the use of labour-saving devices; then the Government switch off the juice as soon as the labour-saving devices are installed. I hope this matter is going to be reconsidered. I was rather impressed, on my way to the House yesterday, when I was confronted with a large poster which told me that we were "up against it." We have known that ever since the election of the present Government to power. When I saw an equally impressive poster. "Work or Want," I little thought that as the result of today's discussion the Government are going to say to the housewives of this country, "Work and Want."

Mr. Marlowe (Brighton)

There seems to be such a division between the Front Bench opposite and those who nominally support them that I am beginning to feel there must have been some meeting upstairs today. But I am convinced that is not so, because I have not seen anything about it in the "Evening Standard." The position, as I understand it, is that everyone who is supposed to be supporting the Government is opposed to this Resolution. Some hon. Members, particularly the hon. Lady the junior Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), have dealt at length with the way in which the Financial Secretary was expected to wash his shirt. But I would remind the House that the right hon. Gentleman has an advantage over the rest of us in that, when he wants his shirt to be ironed, he has only to put it on the Despatch Box and get the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make a speech When. the right hon. Gentleman has banged the box enough, the shirt will be ironed—[Interruption]. What I think the Financial Secretary has to deal with is the charge made against him—which I entirely support, of introducing a panic Measure. The hon. and learned Member for the combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss), with a sort of touching simplicity, and in the belief that he was still living in the past and that cookers were still used for cooking, forgot that under Socialist planning, neither the food comes in nor the electricity comes on

I must say I cannot help feeling that there is a lack of reality about this dis- cussion. We have arrived at the stage where the Budget is used as an economic weapon, but one is in the difficult position of not knowing how far one is in Order in discussing this subject. We are told that this is not a matter of increasing revenue, but the House is being asked to pass a Measure as a result of which it is said we shall save some fuel. How do we know that this will save any fuel? I should like to know, but I do not think that I should be in Order in pursuing that matter any farther. We are in the absurd position of not knowing whether this tax is justified. I submit that the only person who can really tell us about that is the Minister of Fuel and Power, and he is not here to-night. Is this Measure going to save fuel, or is it not? That is supposed to be the purpose. I do not think that the Chancellor has heard one speech tonight supporting him in this matter, and I ask him to think again over this Resolution and realise that he has taken a step which has the unanimous disapproval of the House. I ask him to withdraw this Resolution.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

I think there is agreement on all sides of the House that the general intention of the Government to try to cut down the amount of electrical apparatus likely to absorb electricity, which is in short supply is right arid proper. But I ask if this list of items is wisely framed. From the speeches on both sides, I should say that that is not the case. The Financial Secretary has made it clear that this Measure is not designed to bring in revenue, but rather to save electrical companies from possible breakdown. If so, I ask why gas equipment is included in the list. Although we are short of gas at times, the gas companies are not "up against it" as are the electrical companies. We are told by the Financial Secretary that this Resolution is designed to save electricity, and if so, I cannot see why gas apparatus is included in the list. Gramophones and player-pianos, which are sometimes very large things, can use current greatly in excess of the domestic electric irons which the hon. Lady referred to just now. People put in electric irons of the latest variety that plug in to the light, and come into the category of light appliances. Gramophones and player-pianos might consume a great deal of electricity. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]

Major Cecil Poole (Lichfield)

Very much less.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

I have looked at the Finance Acts of 1940 and 1942 referred to in this Resolution and they do seem to exclude certain heavy items of electrical appliances which ought to be within the range of Purchase Tax, having regard to what the Financial Secretary said on the saving of electricity. There is no mention here, for example, of electric motors, domestic and commercial. There is nothing about heavy electric machinery for large houses and hotels, lifts, for example. That is the kind of thing the Government ought to direct their attention to in framing this list and it is a great pity to bring before the House an incomplete list which has not been wisely framed from everybody's point of view and try to force it through without adequate consideration. I beg the Government to give an indication that they will recast the whole list for the Finance Bill and make it possible to justify all items.

Mr. Stanley

I hope that one of the Ministers will be able to make some pronouncement on behalf of the Government at the end of a Debate which has covered a wide range but has been distinguished by what is almost unanimity in criticism of the present proposals. I agree that we are in some difficulty. The Amendment on the Order Paper has not been selected and therefore we are left considering electrical appliances as a whole and are unable, if it comes to a Division, to distinguish, as I should like to do, say, between electric fires and electric cookers. It does not seem to me that the same arguments apply to both. The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) was, I thought, quite right when he selected electric cookers as a type of commodity with a wholly inelastic range of demand which is really uninfluenced by price considerations and I am very doubtful whether in fact the tax which we are told—this time quite categorically—has no object but that of preventing the manufacture and purchase of these articles will be successful.

I want to ask the Financial Secretary this question, which seems to me a most important one, with regard to electric stoves. I should like to know what proportion of electric stoves manufactured and sold go into housing schemes under the Government's own control; what pro- portion goes into ordinary local authority housing schemes assisted and directed by the Government, and what proportion is sold in the open market to people not going into that type of house. I should imagine a very large proportion of electric cookers today are going into municipal building schemes. In so far as that proportion is concerned what is the effect of this tax going to be? If you want to stop the manufacture and sale of electric stoves, cannot you do it simply by telling local authorities that they are not to install electric cookers in their houses?

10.45 p.m.

Simply to put up the price without giving them an order not to install them seems to leave the question of manufacture and distribution exactly as it was. Is there any reason to believe that a local authority that is prepared to make an all-electric house will alter that plan because of the tax? They will simply go on and pay more. If they did not, what is the alternative if the right hon. Gentleman is successful in his tax in preventing local authorities by this increase from installing electric cookers? What does he want them to install? They have got to install some apparatus for cooking and we are surely entitled to know what the Government want in its place. Is it the old-fashioned coal range? Is it something which is more economical in fuel? In fact, in view of the plans made for two years past upon the production and sale of gas and electric cookers, if you stop their sale, is there any alternative form of cooking stove available in the quantities which we hope will be required for municipal housing?

It seems to me that all these things we are entitled to be told before we pass this Resolution. We have had no detailed justification at all. We have just been told that this proposal is intended to prevent the sale of electric appliances but we have had no explanation of how it is to achieve that end and if it achieves that end, what people are to have instead. It is a thoroughly unsatisfactory state in which the matter is left now and I confess, although I should have much preferred to deal with a particular Amendment, sooner than allow the Resolution to pass I shall vote against it as a whole, even though as far as electric appliances are concerned I think they might well have been brought within the ambit of the original discussion.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 238; Noes, 88.

Division No. 134.] AYES [10.48 p.m
Adams, Richard (Balham) Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Price, M. Philips
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Pritt, D. N.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Proctor, W. T
Alpass, J. H. Guy, W. H. Pryde, D. J.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Haire, John E. (Wycombe) Pursey, Cmdr, H
Attewell, H. C. Hale, Leslie Randall, H. E
Austin, H. Lewis Hall, W. G Ranger, J.
Awbery, S. S. Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R Rankin, J.
Bacon, Miss A. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Baird, J. Hardy, E. A. Rhodes, H.
Barton, C. Haworth, J. Richards, R.
Bechervaise, A. E. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Ridealgh, Mrs. M
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Robens, A.
Benson, G. Herbison, Miss M. Rogers, G H. R.
Berry, H. Hewitson, Capt. M. Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Beswick, F. Hobson, C. R. Royle, C.
Blackburn, A. R. House, G. Sargood, R.
Blenkinsop, A. Hoy, J. Scollan, T.
Blyton, W. R. Hubbard, T. Shackleton, E. A [...]
Boardman, H. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Sharp, Granville
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Shurmer, P.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Irving, W. J. Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Janner, B. Simmons, C. J.
Brown, George (Belper) Jay, D. P. T. Skeffington, A. M.
Brown, T. J (Ince) Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Skeffington-Lodge, T C
Buchanan, G. John, W. Skinnard, F. W.
Burden, T. W. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Burke, W. A. Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Callaghan, James Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Solley, L. J.
Carmichael, James Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Soskice, Maj. Sir F
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Keenan, W. Sparks, J. A.
Chamberlain, R. A Kenyon, C Stamford, W.
Champion, A. J Lang, G. Steele, T.
Cobb, F. A. Lavers, S. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Cocks, F. S. Leonard, W. Stross, Dr. B.
Collick, P. Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Stubbs, A. E.
Collindridge, F Lipton, Lt.-Col. M Swingler, S.
Collins, V. J. Logan, D. G. Sylvester, G. O.
Colman, Miss G. M Longden, F. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Comyns, Dr. [...] Lyne, A. W Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Cooper, Wing-Cmdr. G McAdam, W Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Corvedale, Viscount Mack, J. D Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Grossman, R H. S McKay, J. (WalIsend) Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Daggar, G. Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N W.) Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Davies, Edward (Burslem) McKinlay, A. S. Thurtle, E.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Maclean, N. (Govan) Tiffany, S.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) McLeavy, F Timmons, J
Deer, G. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Titterington, M[...]
Delargy, H. [...] Macpherson, T. (Romford) Tolley, L.
Diamond, J Mallalieu, J. P. W. Ungoed-Thomas, L
Dobbie, W. Mann, Mrs. J. Usborne, Henry
Driberg, T. E. N Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Dumpleton, C. W Medland, H. M. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Dye, S Middleton, Mrs. L Watkins, T. E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mikardo, Ian. Watson, W. M.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Mitchison, G. R. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Monslow, W Weitzman, D.
Evans, John (Ogmore) Morgan, Dr. H. B Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Morley, R. West, D. G.
Ewart, R. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Fairhurst, F. Moyle, A. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Farthing, W. J. Murray, J. D Wigg, Col. G. E.
Field, Capt. W. J. Nally, W. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Neal, H. (Claycross) Wilkins, W. A.
Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Follick, M. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Foot, M. M. Oldfield, W. H. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Forman, J. C. Oliver, G. H. Williams, W. R (Heston)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Paget, R. T. Willis, E.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Wills, Mrs. E. A
Gibbins, J. Palmer, A. M F Wise, Major F. J
Gibson, C. W. Pargiter, G A Woodburn, A.
Gilzean, A. Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Woods, G. S
Gooch, E. G. Paton, J. (Norwich) Wyatt, W.
Goodrich, H. E. Pearson, A. Yates, V. F.
Gordon-Walker, P. C. Piratin, P. Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)
Grey, C. F. Porter, E. (Warrington) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grierson, E. Porter, G. (Leeds) Captain Snow and Mr. Daines.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Grant, Lady Noble, Comdr. A. H. P
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Grimston, R. V. Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Astor, Hon. M. Hinchingbrocke, Viscount Ponsonby, Col. C. E
Baldwin, A. E Hogg, Hon. Q. Prescott, Stanley
Barlow, Sir J Hope, Lord J. Price-White, Lt-Col. D
Baxter, A. B. Howard, Hon A. Prior-Palmer, Brig O
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H Hurd, A. Ramsay, Maj. S.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Rayner, Brig. R.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.) Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Carson, E. Jeffreys, General Sir G. Renton, D.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S Jennings, R. Roberts, Maj P. G. (Ecclesall)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Keeling, E. H. Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G Kingsmill, Lt.-Cot. W. H Scott, Lord W
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Spence, H. R.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U (Ludlow) Lindsay, M. (Solihull) Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H F C. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O E Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Cuthbert, W. N. MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness) Thorp, Lt.-Col. R A. F
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight) Vane, W. M. F.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Mackeson, Brig. H. R Ward, Hon. G. R
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness) MacLeod, J. Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Drayson, G. B. Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond) Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Duthie, W. S. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Eccles, D. M. Manningham-Buller, R. E Willoughby de Eresby. Lord
Erroll, F. J. Marlowe, A. A. H York. C
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Marples, A. E.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Marshall, D. (Bodmin) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Mellor, Sir J.
Gage C. Neven-Spence, Sir B Mr. Drewe and Mr. Studholme.
Gomme-Duncan, Col [...] C Nicholson, G

Question put, and agreed to.