HC Deb 10 June 1947 vol 438 cc979-94
Mr. Stanley Prescott (Darwen)

I beg to move in page 9, line 33, after "spinner" to insert: or (ii) any cotton spinner or cotton spinning Concern affected by the arrangements sells machinery or plant and replaces such machinery or plant by improved machinery or plant ordered in such a manner as to satisfy the conditions requisite for the making of a re-equipment grant. This Amendment has been put down in order to try further to assist the Government's proposals for the regrouping and the re-equipment of the spinning section of the textile industry. It will be within the recollection of the Committee that on 30th April the President of the Board of Trade announced the basis upon which the Government were prepared to make a grant to the spinning section of the cotton industry if mills were regrouped and there was a certain amount of re-equipment. It was proposed that under certain circumstances the Government would make a grant of 25 per cent. The two main essentials were that some units in the spinning section would regroup themselves and carry out a very large proportion of re-equipment. The whole idea behind the scheme was that the industry would modernise itself and make itself more capable of competing under present conditions.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget Speech referred to this matter and in particular to the Clause which we are now considering. He said on 15th April: I propose to reduce to half the standard rate the Income Tax charged when, as a result of such amalgamation, machinery or plant is sold for more than its written down value."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th April, 1947; Vol. 436, C. 77.] As I understand it, this Clause is intended to carry out the statement which the right hon. Gentleman made during his Budget speech. Before turning to the actual details of the Clause I think I should refer to the announcement of the President of the Board of Trade on 30th April, to which I have already briefly referred, and in Which he announced the procedure which would have to be followed by units in the spinning side of the textile industry in order to avail themselves of the Government's proposals and obtain the Government grant. There were set out the main basis that the industry would have to follow, namely, regroupment of units, modernization and so on, and then also this paragraph appeared referring back to the Chancellor's statement: The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in Parliament on 15th April his intention of reducing to half the standard rate the Income Tax charged when, as a result of the formation of approved amalgamations, machinery or plant is sold for more than its written down value. The procedure for dealing with applications for approval, for the purpose of obtaining this concession, will be assimilated as far as possible to the procedure outlined above.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th April, 1947; Vol. 436, C. 253.] The Chancellor and I will be in entire agreement I am sure on this, that it is essential that there should be some reorganisation of the spinning side of the textile industry and some degree of modernisation. Tonight I am dealing with this particular Clause which affects the financial arrangements and adjustments when amalgamations which the Government desire take place. Clause 13 permits a reduction of tax when a balancing charge takes place due to an amalgamation between certain units in the spinning side of the industry. The criticism of my friends and I in regard to this Clause is that it does not go far enough and we want to extend its provisions. If my reading of the Clause is right a reduction in tax and the concession which that means can only be obtained if the sale of machinery is between the units which are forming the amalgamation. If I am wrong in that, I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to correct me here and now.

Mr. Dalton indicated assent.

Mr. Prescott

I understand then that I am correct. The concession which we propose would be in the interests of industry, of Lancashire and of the nation. It is agreed on all sides of the House that a great deal of money has to be spent on the textile industry, and I think it will also be agreed that the financing, re-equipment and modernisation of the industry will tax the ingenuity of Lancashire and its industrialists.

My submission to the Committee is that it may happen that when an amalgamation is taking place it may be desirable that old machinery like spindles and so forth should be sold quite outside the ambit of the amalgamation in the interests of the efficiency of the new set up. In other words, such machinery should be got rid of and should be replaced by new and most up-to-date equipment. This Amendment is designed to affect this and if such sales take place the owners of the machinery will be entitled to obtain a concession which is otherwise denied to them under the terms of this Clause. Neither I nor my hon. Friends advocate the sale wholesale overseas of our textile machinery. That is a matter for very tine consideration to determine to what extent it is desirable. I want the Chancellor to appreciate this that we believe that charity begins at home. We must look after our own industry in Lancashire first, and this Amendment is designed to that effect. I think it cannot be denied that in some of these new groups which will be formed it would be in the interests of the group and of the industry to get rid of some of the old plant and machinery and re place it with new plant and new machinery. There is a differentiation whether the sales are effected in this country or overseas, but we say that there can be no detrimental effect on the re-grouping, because under the Amendment which I am moving that old machinery must be replaced by new machinery in order to obtain the benefit of the concession. Before anything at all can be done in this matter a certificate of the Board of Trade through the Cotton Board will have to be obtained approving the whole scheme.

9.15 p.m.

Therefore, I do not think there can be any risk in this Amendment. There is no question of denuding the mills of Lancashire by selling capital assets overseas. The desire is to further the modernisation of the mills and we suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that that desirable process will be furthered if the concession is granted. This is a rather important Amendment. If it is accepted it will considerably further the ambitions of the right hon. Gentleman and the President of the Board of Trade in regard to the Lancashire cotton industry. I regret to say that although I have done my best in the highways and byways, I have not been able to obtain any estimate of what would be the cost of the additional concessions which I am now proposing. Certain it is that it would be nowhere near the magnitude of the sum that has been suggested. It would be very small indeed. The Amendment would be of great assistance and would give much greater flexibility in the formation of amalgamations. It would not be abused, because the matter would be under the Cotton Control Board and the President of the Board of Trade. There are many other aspects of the matter on which I would like to speak, but I conclude by saying that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept the Amendment. It is a bona fide Amendment which will have the effect of revivifying the spinning section of the textile industry.

Mr. Walter Fletcher (Bury)

I support the Amendment, and in doing so would say how difficult it is to add very much to the extremely clear, cogent and well-informed argument which has just been put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott). Certain things must be added. I believe that the omission from the Clause as drafted of provisions similar to those of the Amendment goes back to the period after the last war, when large quantities of cotton textile machinery were exported overseas from Lancashire and were not replaced by new or by any other machinery. That was a great blow to the Lancashire textile industry. Here, as has been pointed out, we are safeguarded in every possible way against it. In the Amendment we try to make clear and bind down everything, so that although sale to third parties is not precluded under the reorganisation scheme, new machinery has to take its place. If any argument is to be based upon the old, out-worn idea that this will do harm to the Lancashire cotton industry, it cannot carry any weight.

If the Amendment is not accepted, it must be clear to the Committee that a sort of congestion, a sort of spindle constipation will be created, in the industry, which will be extremely dangerous. If various groups argue among themselves as to the best way to carry out this highly desirable and Government-impelled amalgamation because they cannot find businesses capable of and fit for amalgamation, they will be frustrated in their desire to do exactly what the Chancellor and the President of the Board of Trade wish them to do. I am aware that there are many overseas buyers who might wish to buy this machinery. We are thinking in terms of an export grant. Failure to accept the Amendment will tend to stop the export drive in this type of cotton machinery. Textile machinery is sold competitively all over the world. Some countries which are backward in textiles will undoubtedly wish to buy this machinery. If it is laid down absolutely hard and fast that this machinery can be sold only in a very restricted area, it might well have an influence upon the factors which make amalgamation possible.

I urge upon the Chancellor, for the reasons which have been put forward, the very cogent ones that we have heard already, the he would give great satisfaction to everybody in Lancashire, as well as those who are moving the Amendment, it he would not only say that he will look at it—which presupposes that he has not already looked at it—but that he will go a little further and, in contradistinction to his treatment of my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne)—whom the Chancellor slew with his mouth—will get up and say that he welcomes the Amendment. We hope he will say that he realises that it is constructive and that it still gives full power for the Minister to step in, should there be any abuse. If he will do that, he will have returned from the meal which was so necessary to him with considerable post-prandial satisfaction.

Mr. Dalton

I think all Members from Lancashire will agree that the Government have done a very great deal already towards helping the cotton industry to modernise itself, and to get back on to what we hope will be a firm foothold for the future. The Amendment only illustrates that the more you do, the more people ask you to do in addition. The President of the Board of Trade and I have had many consultations on this matter. We are both most anxious to assist Lancashire to help itself, particularly in the spinning section, where the chief weakness at present lies. If we can get the spinning section into better and more up-to-date units, much else will follow.

First of all, there was a proposal for a 25 per cent. grant in aid of the cost of re-equipping the spindle section. It was a very exceptional grant. We made no such offer to any other industry. My own hesitation in agreeing to the proposal was lest I should be pressed by every other industry to do the same for them, which I should not be prepared to do. Lancashire was singled cut for exceptional help by the Government We proposed this 25 per cent, subsidy, and this is to be granted the Committee will appreciate, in aid of the cost of new machinery, in groups or concerns that control more than 500,000 spindles. It is limited to groups of that large size. I thought I had done pretty well for the cotton industry at the expense of the taxpayers.

Then, representations were made—I make no complaint about this, I merely relate it to the Committee, so that hon. Members can get this matter in its proper setting—that there were a number of small groups or concerns which were having difficulty. They were unwilling, or unable, to come together in large aggregations, so as to become eligible for the 25 per cent. subsidy unless some further assistance was given. Therefore, I agreed with my right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade that there should be further assistance given, as is proposed in this Clause, and that we should provide that, as an incident of amalgamation—and I emphasise that—and not merely with a view to assisting modernisation generally, but in order that larger groups shall be formed, we should give this relief with regard to the balancing charge, where machinery had been sold for more than its written-down value, and that the balancing charge should be reduced to one-half of the standard rate. That was the second concession, the first being the provision in regard to amalgamations. I think the Government have done pretty well with these two concessions to the spinning section of the Lancashire cotton industry. The hon. Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott) and I used to discuss this matter in the last Parliament, and both of us are agreed that the Lancashire spinning section wants a bit of "bucking up," and we agreed that we were on common ground there.

Mr. Prescott

It depends what the right hon. Gentleman means by "bucking up."

Mr. Dalton

Well, I think we can guess. We have given two leads in assistance to Lancashire, and, really, if I thought I could take the advice of the hon. Member, I would do so, but I will not say that I will consider it. I think we have already gone far enough, and we are now being asked to add a third inducement, which is not limited to large groups, nor even limited to the written-down value of plant incidental to amalgamation. We are now being asked to go into the whole wide field of modernisation generally, and, although the cotton industry needs modernisation, there are a good many other sections of industry which need it. If I conceded this Amendment, I should be led into the much wider field of extensive modernisation everywhere. I do not think that it is reasonable that that should happen. It would be reasonable for every other section of industry to ask me why I should do any less for them than I have done for the cotton industry, and I think that this is where we must draw a line. We have made two very substantial commitments. There is no additional finance in this worth speaking of. It is not that this Amendment would cost us much more directly, but it is widening the field in such a fashion that I should not be able consistently to resist claims for the subsidisation of modernisation everywhere throughout the whole range of industry. That we are not prepared to do. For that reason, I suggest that the hon. Member should reflect that this has been a good Government to the cotton industry, that it has done more for it than any other Government, that it has put up more ideas and more money, and that he should feel grateful for all that, and not press his Amendment.

Mr. Prescott

The Government certainly have done one thing for the cotton indus- try which no other Government ever did. They stopped it completely, because they could not provide the coal and could not provide the power to run the mills. I concede that point entirely. I do not think that anyone could have moved this Amendment in a more friendly spirit than I have done. I agree that in the last Parliament I have met the right hon. Gentleman in his room and have talked over matters with him. The right hon. Gentleman talked Socialism to me, and I talked commonsense to him. Let me assure him that I shall never reveal anything he said to me in confidence. I moved this Amendment in a very friendly way, but I do not think the Chancellor's reply was couched in such terms as it might have been, in view of my speech and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Bury (Mr. W. Fletcher). I believe that, if the Amendment were accepted, it would further help in amalgamations, and that is why it was moved. The right hon. Gentleman has said that it would open the door to the general modernisation of industry. Certainly it would, I entirely agree that it would further and facilitate modernisation, but the basis behind it is that it would help amalgamation and regrouping within the industry.

9.30 p.m.

I have one advantage which the Chancellor has not had, in that I have discussed this Amendment with people who are prominent in the industry, and who know the industry, and I am assured that it would be of benefit in forming these regroupings if this concession was given. I am assured that the Clause as drafted is too hidebound and watertight and that sufficient elasticity is not given. The Chancellor has said that the amount of money involved here is very small indeed. He refuses this Amendment admittedly on the question of principle; that can be the only reason for refusing it. I say to the Chancellor that the Government's proposals have not been entirely acceptable in Lancashire. The President of the Board of Trade and the Parliamentary Secretary who is here would support me when I say that there has been a good spirit in Lancashire, and a good attempt has been made to help the Government and further their desires for the industry. Indeed, the only direct negative came from a trade union, not from the employers' side at all, but we need not deal with that. In saying that he will not even look at this point—it will not cost any money but it is refused on a matter of principle—I do not feel that the Chancellor is being entirely helpful or co-operative, and I do not think that that is the right way to approach this matter.

I am convinced that the Amendment would give a degree of elasticity in regrouping the spinning section of the industry which would be of great benefit. These matters cannot be tied down entirely and absolutely by saying that regrouping must take place this way, and that it shall not take place that way. If this facility was given, it would give elasticity and it would also further modernisation. It would also possibly bring in foreign currency, which we desire, and it would be of great benefit to the industry. I very much regret the stand which the Chancellor has taken in replying. It is rather reminiscent of an observation which the Foreign Secretary made in the foreign affairs Debate which was very unpopular in Lancashire. He said, among other things, that the Lancashire cotton industry and Lancashire people had a stubborn mentality, that there was a stubborn mentality to progress. That is not a fortunate tone to use about Lancashire, and I do not feel disposed to withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. Raikes (Liverpool, Wavertree)

I confess I have listened with a certain sadness to the Chancellor. He said he had done a lot of good for the cotton industry. Surely, if that were so he would have thought that this might have been a case to do just a little bit more. Upon what did the right hon. Gentleman base his refusal? He said, "If I broaden this basis any further I shall have pressure brought upon me from other industries." That would have been a stronger argument had he not already said that he had treated the cotton industry rather as a special case. If the cotton industry was being treated as a special case in this instance the argument about pressure would not appear to be a strong one. This concession would cost very little money, and it would not make the matter into a special case; it is already a special case at the present time. It would to a certain degree encourage spinners, who will certainly incur a good deal of rather heavy expenditure in modernising their plant, to sell machinery and modernise it. That is, perhaps, a small thing. To the Chancellor and to hon. Members opposite I say, why not make the best of it? We on this side are trying to co-operate, and I suggest that we should be given a little bit more encouragement than merely the reply, "I have done a certain amount and that is quite enough."

Mr. W. Fletcher

I think the Chancellor has tried, quite wrongly, to argue a large and wide question of principle on this rather narrow Clause which is really permissive and which, in certain circumstances, will allow certain things to be done. That is twisting the thing round entirely. He knows full well that the President of the Board of Trade has full powers to stop this being expanded in any direction whatever. As long as the Government retain these full powers, it is really nonsensical for the Chancellor to argue that a large question of principle is involved. I cannot understand why on this Amendment, which covers certain circumstances which are not imaginary but real, he should fly an enormous balloon to carry the question out of the area to which it properly belongs—that of practical negotiations which have the impulse of the Government behind them.

This is not a policy which will help. Lancashire is doing its best in every way and it is not right that the people should be slanged by two senior Members of the Government and told that they are obstinate, stubborn and not coming into line. It is obvious to everybody with a knowledge of the facts that that is not the case. I would like the Chancellor to deflate himself in this matter considerably. I promise to try to set an example myself. I beg him to look at this, not in the grandiose light which he, somewhat naturally, with his normal ebullience, has thrown upon it, but as a practical contribution on which he or the President of the Board of Trade can keep his finger the whole time in order to allow the policy which they have initiated to be carried out.

Mr. Assheton

We have had a most interesting exposition of this case by the hon. Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott), well supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury (Mr. W. Fletcher) and my hon. Friend the Member for Wavertree (Mr. Raikes). The Chancellor has made only one substantial argument in opposition to this Amendment, and I urge the Committee not to pay too much attention to it. The Chancellor has told us that it would not cost a substantial amount. He does not oppose it on that ground, but merely because he is frightened of the repercussions. The right hon. Gentleman has been Chancellor of the Exchequer for quite a long time. It seems a very long time to us on this side of the Committee. I dare say that even the Chancellor himself is beginning to feel that it has been quite a long time. I suggest that he has held office long enough now to be able to stand up to reper-

cussions. Every single project which comes before the Treasury has repercussions written all round it by everybody in the Treasury. That is quite proper. This is an occasion when the Chancellor could stand up quite easily to the repercussions. He has already admitted that he has given special treatment to the cotton industry. I hope very much that hon. Members will take this matter to a Division.

Question put, "That those words be inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 109; Noes, 268.

Division No. 242.] AYES. [9.40 p.m
Amory, D Heathcoat Grimston, R. V. Orr-Ewing, I. L
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Pitman, I. J.
Astor, Hon. M. Harvey, Air-Comdre A. V Ponsonby, Col. C. E
Baldwin, A. E Haughton, S. G. Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Barlow, Sir J Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C. Prescott, Stanley
Baxter, A. B Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Price-White, Lt.-Col. D
Bennett, Sir P Hope, Lord J. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O
Birch, Nigel Howard, Hon. A Raikes, H. V.
Bossom, A. C Hudson, Rt. Hon R. S. (Southport) Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Bower, N. Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Ropner, Col. L
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr J U Jarvis, Sir J. Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W Keeling, E. H. Sanderson, Sir F.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T Kerr, Sir J. Graham Scott, Lord W.
Butcher, H. W Lambert, Hon. G. Shephard, S. (Newark)
Carson, E. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Challen, C. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Smithers, Sir W
Clarke, Col. R. S Linstead, H. N. Snadden, W. M.
Conant, Maj. R, J. E. Low, Brig. A. R W Spearman, A. C. M
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Lucas, Major Sir J. Spence, H. R.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O E Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Cuthbert, W. N. Maclay, Hon. J. S. Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Davidson, Viscountess Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Digby, S. W. Maitland, Comdr. J W. Sutcliffe, H.
Dodds-Parker, A. D Marlowe, A. A. H Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P W. Marples, A. E. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V G. (Penrith) Marsden, Capt. A. Thorneycroft, G. E. P (Monmouth)
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness) Marshall, D (Bodmin) Thorp, Lt.-Col. R.A.F
Drayson, G. B. Marshall, S. H. (Sutton) Vane, W. M. F
Drewe, C. Maude, J. C. Walker-Smith, D.
Dugdale, Maj. Sir [...] (Richmond) Mellor, Sir J Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Eooles, D. M. Molson, A. H E. While, Sir D. (Fareham)
Fletcher, W (Bury) Morris-Jones, Sir H. Winterton, Rt. Hon Earl
Fraser, H C. P. (Stone) Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) York, C.
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Neven-Spence, Sir B.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M Nicholson, G. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gage, C Noble, Comdr, A H P Mr. Studholme and
Gammans, L. D. Nutting, Anthony Major Ramsay.
Gridley, Sir A. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H
Adams, Richard (Balham) Belcher, J. W. Bruce, Maj. D. W T
Adams, W T. (Hammersmith, South) Benson, G. Buchanan, G.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Berry, H. Burke, W. A.
Alpass, J. H. Beswick, F. Butler, H. W. (Hackney S)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Bing, G. H. C Callaghan, James
Attewell, H. C. Binns, J. Castle, Mrs. B. A.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R Blenkinsop, A Champion, A. J
Austin, H. Lewis Blyton, W. R Chetwynd, G. R
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Cobb, F. A.
Bacon, Miss A Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Cocks, F. S
Baird J. Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Coldrick, W.
Balfour, A. Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Collindridge, F
Barnes, Rt. Hon A. J. Bramall, E. A. Collins, V. J
Barstow, P. G. Brook, D. (Halifax) Colman, Miss G. M
Barton, C. Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Comyns, Dr. L.
Battley, J. R Brown, George (Belper) Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.
Bechervaise, A E Brown, T. J. (Ince) Corbet, Mrs. F. K (Camberwell, N.W.)
Corlett, Dr. J Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.) Rooms, A.
Cove, W. G. Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Crawley, A. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Crossman, R. H. S Irving, W. J. Roberts, W (Cumberland, N.)
Daggar, G. Janner, B. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Dalton, Rt. Hon H. Jay, D. P. T Rogers, G. H. R.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Jeger, G. (Winchesters Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Jeger, Dr. S. W (St Pancras, S.E.) Royle, C.
Davies, Harold (Leek) John, W Sargood, R
Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Segal, Dr. S.
Deer, G. Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Shackleton, E. A. A
de Freitas, Geoffrey Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Sharp, Granville
Delargy, H. J. Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Shawcross, C. N (Widnes)
Diamond, J. Keenan, W. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E
Dobbie, W. Kinley, J. Shurmer, P.
Dodds, N. N. Kirby, B. V. Simmons, C. J.
Donovan, T. Kirkwood, D. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Lang, G. Solley, L. J
Dumpleton, C. W. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M Soskice, Maj. Sir F
Durbin, E. F. M Logan, D. G. Sparks, J. A.
Dye, S. Longden, F. Stamford, W
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lyne, A. W. Steele, T.
Edelman, M. McAdam, W Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) McEntee, V. La T
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) McGhee, H. G. Stross, Dr. B.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Stubbs, A. E.
Ewart, R. McKinlay, A. S. Summerskill, Dr Edits
Fernyhaugh, E Maclean, N. (Govan) Swingler, S.
Follicle, M. McLeavy, F. Sylvester, G O
Foot, M. M Macpherson, T. (Romford) Symonds, A L.
Forman, J. C. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Maninng, Mrs. L. (Epping) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Medland, H. M. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mellish, R. J. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Gaitskell, H. T. N. Middleton, Mrs. L. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Gallacher, W. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E R Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Mitchison, G. R. Thurtle, Ernest
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Morgan, Dr. H. B Timmons, J.
Gibbins, J. Morley, R. Titterington, M. F
Gibson, C. W. Morris, Lt.-Col H. (Sheffield, C.) Tolley, L.
Gilzean, A Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon G
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen) Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Gooch, E. G Mort, D. L. Usborne, Henry
Goodrich, H. E. Murray, J. D Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Gordon-Walker, P. C. Naylor, T. E. Viant, S. P.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon A (Wakefield) Neal, H. (Claycross) Wadsworth, G
Greenwood, A. W. J (Heywood) Nichol. Mrs M. E. (Bradford, N.) Walkden, E.
Grenfell, D. R Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Grey, C. F. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J (Derby) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Grierson, E. Noel-Buxton, Lady Warbey, W. N.
Griffiths, D (Rother Valley) Oldfield, W. H. Watson, W. M.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Paget, R. T. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Weitzman, D.
Guest, Dr. L. Haden Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Wefts, W. T. (Walsall)
Gunter, R. J Palmer, A. M. F. West, D. G.
Guy, W. H Pargiter, G A. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Haire, John E (Wycombe) Parker, J Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Hale, Leslie Parkin, B. T. Wigg, Col. G. E.
Hall, W. G. Paton, J. (Norwich) Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R Pearson, A. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Peart, Capt. T. F. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Hardy, E. A. Plaits-Mills, J. F. F. Williams, J. L. (Ketvingrove)
Harrison, J. Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield) Williams, Rt. Hon. T (Don Valley)
Hastings, Dr. Somervill Popplewell, E. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Haworth, J. Porter, G. (Leeds) Willis, E.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Proctor, W. T Wills, Mrs. E. A
Herbison, Miss M. Pryde, D. J Woods, G. S.
Hewitson, Capt. M Pursey, Cmdr. H Wyatt, W.
Hobson, C R Randall, H E Yates, V. F.
Holman, P Ranger, J. Young, Sir R (Newton)
Holmes, H E. (Hemsworth) Rees-Williams, D. R
House, G. Reid, T (Swindon) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hoy, J Rhodes, H. Mr. Joseph Henderson and
Hudson, J H (Ealing, W) Richards, R Mr. Dairies.

Resolution agreed to.

Mr. W. Fletcher

I beg to move, in page 9, line 41, after "cotton," to insert: or of staple rayon fibre less than three inches long. Referring to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer in breezy terms reminiscent of Margate, called the "jolly good report" of the working party, I would like to point out that this Clause attempts to do what the working party obviously desired. The working party said: We have left one subject of major importance to the end—the relations between the cotton industry and the rayon industry. It is implicit in all that we have said that we regard this as vitally affecting the future of both. There must be a close link between the two. It goes on: As pointed out in Chapter IX, scientific advance has created a new integrating force for all the textile industries. We consider that a new outlook is necessary on the relations between them. This matter is of such wide national importance that we recommend that the Government should call an early conference between representatives of the rayon industry and all the textile industries to consider their future relations. Without going as far as that, this Amendment attempts to bring into line the parts of the textile industry where the spinning of rayon and cotton are equally affected. The Chancellor has been a very good friend to the rayon industry. In the Budget last year, he gave them a very good leg-up, and, in contradistinction to other textile targets, which he and other Members of the Government aim at so frequently, he has singled out the rayon industry for praise for its initiative. I think, therefore, he will appear in a rather different rôle in regard to this Amendment from that in which he appeared a quarter of an hour ago in connection with the previous Amendment. There can be no doubt that, for amalgamation purposes, in regard to machinery that can spin both cotton and rayon, it is absolutely necessary to accept this Amendment. Without labouring the point any more, because I am certain that he has been well instructed on it, we look forward in a very few minutes to his ready acceptance of this Amendment as an amende honorable, as he was saying just now, and hope that he will accept it as being a helpful and constructive one, emanating though it does from the source on which, so far, he has not cast a very favourable eye.

Mr. Dalton

I thought I made a most friendly speech on the last Amendment. In fact, I was quite surprised, after what I said, that it was taken to a Division. However, I am anxious not to be less friendly now, although there is one difference. I think there is a good case for this Amendment. I tried to put in a friendly way why I thought there was not a good case for the last one I am advised that the scope over which this Amendment would operate would not, in fact, be as large as a casual reading of the text would suggest, because the concerns engaged in both cotton and rayon spinning could enter into these schemes without this Amendment being accepted. Nevertheless, there are some cases in which this Amendment would operate and, in my view, would operate beneficially. Therefore, although I cannot bind myself without examination to the exact words, I can give an undertaking that we will put down an Amendment on Report which will give effect to the hon. Gentleman's intention.

Mr. Prescott

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his helpful speech, may I point out that there are a few mills which spin rayon fibre entirely and exclusively? It is in respect of those that we desire this Amendment.

Mr. W. Fletcher

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

Mr. Prescott

May I ask, Major Milner, whether it is your intention to call the Amendment standing in my name, in page 10, line 11, to add Subsection (3)?

The Chairman (Major Milner)

No, I am afraid it is out of Order.

Mr. Prescott

While not questioning your Ruling, Major Milner, may I respectfully mention that this Amendment is taken almost verbatim from the Finance Act, 1941, into which Act it was inserted without discussion. While not questioning your Ruling, may I respectfully ask, if it was in Order to insert it in the Finance Act, 1941, must it not be in Order to discuss it in relation to this Bill?

The Chairman

I am afraid I had not the honour of occupying my present position in 1941. Then the case may have been quite different from the present one.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.