§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 3.34 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill consists of three parts. I propose to deal first with Parts II and III briefly, and then to deal with the history of the negotiations which led up to the framing of Part I, and to explain Part I to the House and deal with some of the caricatures of it which have found some publicity in various quarters.
Part II arises from two recommendations of the Royal Commission on Justices of the Peace. In paragraphs 270 to 272 of their Report, they pointed out that some limitation should be imposed on the sizes of licensing benches and recommended that county petty sessional divisions having 10 or more justices should exercise their licensing powers through a committee elected by the justices from among themselves. Those hon. Members of the House who are either members of petty sessional benches or appear before them on the occasions when they deal with licences, will be aware that it is not infrequent on such occasions for not sufficient seating accommodation to be available for the bench, and a number of people turn up who, fortunately for the general course of justice, are not seen on any other occasion. They appear to be able to adjudicate on these occasions after having the speeches of counsel and evidence repeated to them in the magistrates' room by their colleagues.
We propose to go rather further than the proposal of the Commission, and we therefore propose in Clauses 9 and 10 that in county petty sessional divisions and in county boroughs, not only licensing benches but also confirming authorities and compensation authorities should be committees of the whole body of justices or of quarter sessions. The Bill does not deal with non-county boroughs because the Roche Committee has recommended certain action with regard to smaller non-county boroughs and they will be dealt with in the Bill 1029 which will be introduced during this Session to implement the report of the Roche Committee.
The Bill will, I think, in this respect clear away a mass of complications from the existing law under which these licensing authorities, for reasons which are obscure even to experts in these matters, are sometimes committees and sometimes the whole body of the local justices or of quarter sessions. I am quite sure that it will make for the respect of the law if less unwieldy bodies adjudicate at licensing sessions.
Clauses 11 to 17 contain a number of minor and consequential proposals and minor amendments of the law relating to the work of licensing authorities. The second recommendation of the Royal Commission, found in paragraph 128, was that the law should be amended to remove difficulties which have been caused by the fact that under the existing law justices who hold shares in any company which deals with intoxicating liquor, with the exception of railway shareholders, are disqualified from taking part in nearly all licensing work. The reason for the exclusion of persons whose only interest was as a railway shareholder was due to the fact that that part of the business which was carried on, which might affect licensing even remotely, was so infinitesimal that it could not be regarded as being likely to influence the attitude of the justices.
We propose to follow very much that principle, and we leave the matter to the discretion of the justices by providing in Clause 18 first, that a justice who holds shares beneficially in a company which deals in intoxicating liquor should not accept appointment to serve on a licensing or confirming or compensating committee unless he has disclosed the fact; and secondly, that the justices should not appoint him unless they are satisfied that the company's liquor interest is so small in comparison with the whole business that no reasonable ground arises for suggesting that the justice is not a proper person to serve on the committee. This will remove what has been an anomaly in the law hitherto, and I commend it to the House.
Part III has two main objects: the first, to replace by permanent legislation Defence Regulation 42C which empowers the police, if authorised by the 1030 Secretary of State, to close undesirable night resorts; and secondly, to ease the work now in progress under the Licensing Planning Acts.
Clause 19 deals with what are known as bottle parties. The purpose of the bottle party, which was invented in the early 1930's, is to enable alcoholic drinks to be consumed in the early hours of the morning, regardless of the permitted hours fixed by the Licensing Act. The practice appears to be confined almost entirely to one small area in London—I have no report of this practice being followed anywhere outside that small, circumscribed area. In that area the last permitted hour for the service of drinks is eleven o'clock, but licensed premises and registered clubs are entitled, if the licensing justices are satisfied with their arrangements, to serve drinks with meals till midnight. Drinks may not be ordered there after 12 midnight, but an extra half hour is allowed for finishing them.
Licensed premises and registered clubs can, and do, also obtain special extensions of hours from the Commissioner of Police. This is done habitually at Christmas and the New Year, and at other times for special functions such as dances. Before the war there were frequent applications for these extensions, but in present conditions the Commissioner of Police reports that he is receiving few applications; only two hotels in London apply with any regularity for an extension, and they get one late night a week.
However, by the device of the bottle party it is possible for drinking to go on to any hour on any day of the week without an application for an extension. The arrangement is that the guest gives orders in advance for the liquor to be delivered at the party. I am now dealing with the theory of the matter—[Laughter.] I gather from the laughter that the practice can be best known from the other side. [HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Provided that it has been sold during permitted hours, it may be drunk at any time.
This is a clear evasion of the law which gave rise to considerable abuse in London before the war. Under Defence Regulation 42C, the police are empowered, subject to appeal to the summary courts, to close undesirable bottle parties, and 73 closing orders have been made during the 1031 time that the Defence Regulation has been in force. There is an appeal from the Commissioner of Police to the stipendiary magistrate, and in no single case has an appeal succeeded. I think that gives some indication of the abuse that these parties have represented. At the present moment there are about 15 bottle parties operating in London. Presumably they more than meet the demand, for I am informed that most of them are not doing a very good business.
The Government consider that the demand for facilities for obtaining alcoholic drinks after 12 midnight can be met adequately by the arrangements under the existing law for special extensions of the permitted hours, and that the proper course is to amend the law so as to bring to an end that form of evasion which makes a bottle party possible. Clause 19, therefore, makes it illegal to supply or consume intoxicating liquor outside the permitted hours at any party organised for gain and held in premises kept or habitually used for parties so organised at which intoxicating liquor is consumed.
Subsection (1) does not apply to parties at licensed premises, canteens, messes, or registered clubs or under an occasional licence as the hours for supply of liquor are otherwise controlled in these cases. Subsection (7) exempts supply to, and consumption by, persons in premises where they are residing. Subsection (2) provides that the afternoon break in the permitted hours is not, for present purposes, to be regarded as outside the permitted hours. The object of this is to avoid interference with unlicensed assembly rooms which may be hired for afternoon parties, such as wedding receptions, which are genuinely private parties but might nevertheless come within the definition in Subsection (5) of the phrase "organised for gain." Clause 20 gives the justices the same right of granting search warrants for bottle parties as they already have as respects licensed premises.
Clause 23 deals with what are known as bottle shops. These are retailers' premises where wine and spirits are sold for off consumption under an excise licence for which a justices' licence is not required. The present law was enacted so that wholesalers could carry on an incidental retail trade without a justices' licence, but it has been discovered that 1032 the wording allows what are virtually retailers and nothing else, by obtaining a wholesale licence, to evade the law and, in fact, to run a series of retail bottle shops. There are many of these cases in which undoubtedly the business has been of a genuine character. Therefore, Clause 23 (2) provides that where business has been carried on continuously since 15th November, 1948, the first application for a justices' licence shall be treated as an application for renewal, thus giving the applicant, if his application is refused, the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions. In that way, those businesses of this character which are not genuine can be eliminated and those which have some claim to be regarded as genuine are safeguarded.
As far as these two parts of the Bill are concerned I am somewhat embarrassed, I must confess, by the support of the licensing trade. Hon. Members who receive its monthly bulletin will recollect that in its article dealing with the Bill a sentence read as follows:The provisions of the Bill in regard to licensing justices and the embodiment in general licensing law of certain Defence Regulations which have been effective in checking evasions of the permitted hours are most welcome.I have also received a letter from the British Hotels and Restaurants Association assuring me that they welcome and support the elimination of the contrivance to evade the law known as bottle parties. They say that they are preparing some proposals which they will submit to me to meet any bona fide demand that there might be from the tourist trade. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is in that glass?"] I still have to appeal to the generosity of the House as have not yet recovered from the sore throat I caught at the Cenotaph on 7th November. I quite realise that in connection with such a Bill as this such an infirmity might be open to suspicion were it not for the colour of the liquid. [HON. MEMBERS: "Gin?"] Like Sir Philip Sidney, if there should be any Member also suffering from the same infirmity who has doubts as to the purity of the liquid, I will readily concede that his need is greater than mine.
I now come to Part I of the Bill. It has excited very considerable interest and, in view of the prevailing shortage of newsprint, a very considerable amount of comment in the public Press. I want 1033 to make it clear from the start that, like most Home Secretaries, I am not anxious to enter into the troubled controversies of amendments of the licensing law. I have always thought also that the trade shared that dislike. I was, therefore, somewhat surprised when, late in 1946, I received a letter from the trade which suggested that the passing of the New Towns Act and the creation of the new towns would make it advisable for discussions to take place as to the way in which licences could be obtained in the new towns.
I want to make it quite clear that I did not start the negotiations, neither did I appreciate, I am bound to say, the situation in the same way as the Brewers' Society. They made the discovery that one million persons would be moving from the County of London alone into other areas and that, with the departure of a million people, a number of licences—obviously, a substantial number of licences—would not be required for the remaining population, but that it would be necessary to make provision in the areas to which that million people went for new licences to be granted.
They drew my attention to the fact that this population would consist of three groups. There would be the existing population in the new town, the population from the large centre to which the new town might be a satellite—at that time people had the idea more of satellite towns than of new towns—and the population that would come in from other industrial areas. They pointed out that it might be a good thing if the licences could follow the people. I have no doubt that most of the people concerned who wanted to use a licence would have preferred that the licence should precede them. The suggestion was made to me of trying to find out roughly where the people had come from and saying, "Well, that wipes out that licence."
§ Sir Henry Morris-Jones (Denbigh)
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what period of time was visualised in that transfer of a million persons?
§ Mr. Ede
It was not I, but the Brewers' Society, who visualised the transfer. I am trying to detail a very complicated arrangement to the House and I hope I may be allowed to explain it without any unnecessary interruption.
1034 It became clear that these transfers would be something more than the ordinary transfer of a licence. Under the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910, a licence may not be transferred across a county borough. A London licence cannot be transferred to any of the home counties immediately adjoining it. Still less can a licence be transferred from London into Hertfordshire, Sussex or Berkshire, where some of these new towns are situated. Therefore, if anything was to be done, legislation would be needed.
The letter which raised this matter was written on 12th December, 1946, and a deputation was received by my officials on 22nd January, 1947. This matter was then explored. It was pointed out—I think it was mutually agreed—that this idea of identifying the unnecessary licence with the possibly required licence in the new town would be virtually impossible because it was not likely that people would be lifted up in hundreds or, possibly, thousands and moved off en bloc to a new town. What would happen would be a series of dribbles. The further point arises that the brewers in the new districts might not be at all ready to recognise the right of the brewer from the old district to take his licence into the new district. In fact, in the "Brewers' Journal" of June and July, 1946, certain very definite criticisms were urged against this proposal on behalf of the smaller brewers in the outlying areas. The general answer of the Brewers' Society was "You leave them to us." It was felt there was no really great amount of satisfaction to be got along those lines.
A further complication was created because, even in the overspill areas, which the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) will recollect, grew out of the town planning proposals, it had been found that difficulties arose on the boundaries of the areas. This is very important in view of the criticism of some of the wording of the Bill. A letter was received from the Brewers' Society, dated 14th July, 1947, urging that round these areas there should be provided what they called "Surrounding protecting rings." In view of the criticism which has been passed on the use of the words "adjacent" and "proximity," I think it will be seen that the difficulty of dealing with the fringes of areas was not confined to one of the parties to these negotiations.
1035 After these discussions at the official level, I received a deputation, on 24th October, 1947, and, in receiving them, I said that it seemed to me there were three possible ways of dealing with the matter. The first was to rely on the existing law. That, I think, was agreed by both sides not to be possible. The second was an adaptation of the Licensing Planning Acts, and the third was the adoption of State mangement in these new areas. We spent a very pleasant morning, during which the brewers dealt with their ideas on the necessary adaptation of the Licensing Planning Acts and, at the end of the morning, when we were just breaking up for lunch, I said that I did not suppose that the discreet silence observed on State management was to be taken as implying consent. I gathered from a subsequent letter that I was right in that conclusion.
What I want to impress on the House is that everyone is agreed that some alteration of the law is necessary, that we cannot deal with the problems of the new town without an alteration of the law, and an alteration that might be very considerable, even if some alternative course to that which I am proposing to the House were adopted. Let us see what is the size of the problem. One gets petitions and postcards from the centres of highly congested areas indicating that the signatory to the petition, or the sender of the postcard, has been persuaded that this is a proposal to bring his public house in the centre of a congested area under State management.
There are on the sites of the new towns so far designated in England a total of approximately 64,000 people. That is one out of every 573 of the population of England. Even when those towns reach their full development, they will still not represent more than one in 110 of the population. Allowing for any development of the new town idea that has been considered up to the present, the total number of people many years hence in these towns would not exceed one in 55 of the population. That gives some idea of the extent of the problem that is confronting us.
The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby knows from his experience of the Licensing Planning Bills 1036 during the Coalition Government how complicated and difficult is this problem of dealing with the rearrangement of licences. If necessary I could deal with the proposal to leave things as they are and say, "Let the licensing justices in these new areas deal with the matter as best they can and we shall hope that they will make a good job of it." [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because the initiative does not rest with them. They can only adjudicate upon applications which are made. If they think there is a need for a house but the proposal put in front of them is not for a house in quite the right place, they have to adjudicate on that application and not on some hypothetical application which might be brought forward if they rejected that application. After all, the brewers themselves reject the idea that we can rely on the ordinary law. The proposal we considered was that there should be a joint committee of licensing justices and members of the development corporation, without either the justices or the corporation having the right themselves to establish houses. Again, assuming they got a plan, whether it could be put into effect or not would depend on whether other people were willing to carry it out.
We therefore came to the conclusion that the best thing to do was to have a scheme of State management under the general law which has ruled State management up to the present. State management was first started in 1916 and was brought into the general law by the Licensing Act, 1921. It requires the Secretary of State, who is charged with the duty of running the scheme, to have a local advisory committee which is representative of all the interests in the area where the scheme operates. That is obligatory upon me, and my predecessors in England and the predecessors of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland have had such an advisory committee in both our countries since that day. I am bound to say that I do not think that the local advisory committee received much support or help during the 12, 13 or 14 years before I took office, because during that period, so far as England was concerned, it was left without a chairman. It was not until I was appointed to my present office that a chairman was appointed so as to bring the work of the committee together.
§ Mr. Ede
The right hon. Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake) was in office himself, During the war the opportunities for an advisory committee were far more limited than in the years immediately before the war, when more attention should have been given to the development of this particular area. That is the local organisation.
The Secretaries of State also have a State Management Council, to which they appoint certain persons, two of whom are very well known persons in the brewing trade, and who have given most disinterested and loyal service to the State management scheme. They have been both fertile in their suggestions and warm in their eulogies of the system which they have been helping to administer. One of the weaknesses of the State Management Council has been the fact that no one from the districts under State management has served on it. I propose, with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, to take steps to strengthen the State Management Council, who are the people who more directly advise me on general policy, by the appointment of persons representative of the existing State management districts and some of the new State management districts. In that way, I am quite certain that we shall get a great deal more help in every way for the task which we have to undertake.
§ Earl Winterton (Horsham)
I wish to ask a question which may concern my constituents. The right hon. Gentleman used the phrase "some of the State management districts." Would he define a little more closely what he means? Why should one State management district as contemplated under the Bill be left out, and another included?
§ Mr. Ede
Perhaps I did not make the point quite clear. If we had one representative from each State management district the body would tend to be unwieldy. I should propose, after consultation with the local advisory committees, to get them to suggest names from which a selection can be made which would represent the general view of the local advisory committees. I am quite sure that that would be a good thing and would enable the local advisory committees to feel that when matters of 1038 general policy were being considered their views would be heard and notice would be taken of them.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing (Weston-super-Mare)
Do I understand the Home Secretary to say that these nominees from the different districts should also be members of the local advisory committee?
§ Mr. Ede
No, I did not say that; they might not be. They might be some person who could be taken as representing their views. I wish the House to understand that this State Management Council, although it is a very important body, is not and never has been statutory. It is, therefore, possible to have considerable and justifiable elasticity in the method of appointment in an attempt to get the best persons to serve.
The most astounding statements have been made in the Press as to the enhanced powers that I get under this Bill. There is only one new power given to me, and it is not given to the Secretary of State for Scotland because he has it already. That power is that for the signing of certain instruments I may delegate my authority to an Under-Secretary of State. Apart from that, every proposal which is in this Bill is merely a re-enactment of the existing law. Of course, the criticisms are completely contradictory. In the first place, I am told that these State-managed houses are dull, dreary places. In the next column, sometimes in the next paragraph, it is said that I ought not to have powers to provide games, music, or other—[Interruption]—that was in the "Sunday Times" the day before yesterday. The noble Lord really should read these papers with more care. I want to emphasise the fact that there is no extension of powers. There is a slight extension, as I have demonstrated, of the area over which this service will operate, an extension over 1/573 of the population of England.
I wish to deal with some of the criticisms that have been made. For instance the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson), who I am pleased to see in his place, wrote an article in the "Daily Telegraph" in the course of which he said:In Annan, a small burgh of some 6,000 inhabitants in Dumfriesshire, a kind of community centre was built. It consists of a white wooden structure surrounded by a pleasant 1039 lawn and bowling green, and rejoices in the name of 'Gracie's Banking.' The building comprises a bar, a billiard room, a cinema and a restaurant which could also be used for dancing and concerts.Not exactly the picture which we have had in other newspapers of what these places are like. Of course, the hon. Gentleman has to think of his constituents. He says:The restaurant enjoys today the patronage of farmers who come from the surrounding districts to Annan market once a week. The management has been in the hands of one family since it started and is very efficient. The meals are good and the staff pleasant and courteous.Quite an angelic picture—[HON. MEMBERS: "Read on"]—I shall read on. In every Eden there is a serpent.But the quality of the Carlisle beer served there.says the hon. Gentleman,is (shall we say) indifferent.Of course, that is one way of saying that there is no bad beer. I wonder if the hon. Gentleman formed this conclusion himself or whether he was told.
§ Mr. Ede
I am rather jealous of the quality of the Carlisle beer after the reports that reached me. This is the amazing thing. "Gracie's Banking" is one of the only two public houses in the Gretna area which do not take Carlisle beer. It takes Tennents beer. I am speaking, I am glad to say, in a condition of privilege and therefore as I am not mentioning Tennents maliciously, I think I am protected. But the hon. Gentleman was writing an article in the public Press deriding the beer, because he thought it was State beer, which it does not happen to be.
There was another statement by the hon. Gentleman He said:At Annan an ex-Service men's Club was started after the war. It had to conform in its hours of opening with the State pubs and to close at 9.0 p.m. although in the neighbouring bur h of Dumfries, not under State control, where the closing time for public houses is also 9.0 p.m., the British Legion and other clubs are permitted to remain open until 10.0 p.m. In addition when it asked for an extension for a special occasion, the State Management came in and sold its own beer, in bottles only at 2d. more than the ordinary price to cover its expenses.1040 I am bound to say that to an Englishman that seemed to be quite wrong. I am the president of a working men's club where we have extensions, and when the Commissioner of Police grants us an extension we carry on with our own arrangement. But the law in Scotland is apparently different. A club cannot get an extension. If it applies for an extension it has to go to what is called a "certified holder" which I understand is, in English, a licensee, to get him to carry on after the permitted hours under the sort of arrangements which were made. Of course, that sounds terrifying to English ears. But in fact the arrangements made, including the charge, were the ordinary arrangements that are made whether by the State Management Board or by a private licensee in such cases.
I notice that the junior Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert) complained in the Sunday Press that there were no pianos in Carlisle. Let me assure him that if he went there he would find that there are pianos, and if he would oblige with a tenor solo from one of his inimitable works he would find that his entertainment would be greatly enjoyed. Now we come to dominoes. Dominoes are provided, but as in any other well regulated public house, if the persons in charge notice gambling going on they stop the game. Far be it from me, as head of the Metropolitan Police, to suggest that they should do anything else.
With regard to darts, well, darts is a matter of controversy inside the houses themselves. There are some people there who do not like darts and say so. There are others who do like them and say so. In fact, in one place in Scotland where darts are openly used it is said that there is very little demand for the game. I think that that is a great pity, because it is not merely a game requiring great physical skill, but it is the one way I know of teaching the higher mathematics to the proletariat. When I think of the school records of some of these people who work out those subtraction sums so quickly I am amazed at the value of this practical instruction.
All these suggestions that in some way or another the provision of facilities in this area is deficient as compared with the rest of the country would be disproved by a visit there. I went there first 14 years ago when, if anyone had asked me 1041 which was the most unlikely office for me to fill, I should have said that of Home Secretary. I formed an opinion then of the very highest with regard to the hotels in Carlisle. I have been back since, but I deprecate what I saw then because, quite obviously, when the governor is about one expects the place to be at its best.
§ Mr. Ede
I would venture to say that if one took the three hotels at Silloth on the sea coast of the Solway Firth, Skinverness, Queens, and Solway, for the ordinary man they are both better, more commodious and cheaper than anything in the holiday resorts of the south and east of England.
The hon. and gallant Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Colonel Dower) had a Question down addressed to me today which unfortunately was not reached. He asked me about the quality and the price of the Carlisle beer. The average gravity of the beer brewed in Carlisle in the year ending 31st March, 1948, was 1031.87 degrees, and the average gravity of the beer charged for duty in Great Britain for the same period was 1032.81. This difference of gravity represented a difference of beer duty of seven shillings a barrel. That is to say, we paid seven shillings less because of the slight difference in specific gravity. The average selling price of Carlisle beer was 12.32d. per pint, and of the beer in Great Britain generally 13.63d. per pint, a difference of 31s. 5d. a barrel. Beer for beer, it is supplied in Carlisle at 24s. 5d. a barrel less than the average throughout the country. That only confirms what is proved by the activities of the Co-operative Club Brewery in County Durham.
§ Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving the answer which it was impossible to give at Question Time. I would put the matter impartially. I have got some Carlisle State Brewery beer in the Lobby. [Laughter.] I am not joking. 1042 If the right hon. Gentleman cares to compare that beer with any decent beer brewed by a good firm, I can assure him that he will find there is no question which is the best.
§ Mr. Grierson (Carlisle)
Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman expect to carry beer from Carlisle and then to find that it is in the same condition as it is when sold in that city?
§ Mr. Ede
I do not want to delay the House much longer. One of the objections raised is that one can get only State beer in the State public houses. I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Penrith and Cockermouth will not say that, because the ordinary proprietary brands can be obtained, and if there is any other brand for which there is a reasonable economic demand, it will be supplied. But the best test of all is this. Of the 12 clubs in Carlisle, who are quite free to buy what draught beer they like, only one of them buys other than State beer.
We are dealing here with a difficult problem which in the past has caused the utmost bitterness in the controversies that it has aroused. I believe that the appropriate way to deal with the laying out of whole new towns is to ensure that the licences shall be so planned and brought into existence—that is a second and most important thing—as to ensure that the best facilities that are required shall be available. It has been said that this is nationalisation of the drink trade. It is clear from the figures I have given that that really is so wild an exaggeration that not even the brewers can believe it. If we leave the initiative to the trade itself to decide who shall have a particular licence, where it shall be situated, how many licences shall go to one firm and how many to another. we shall make the task of properly organising restaurant and drinking facilities in these areas very difficult indeed.
I believe that the proposal that we have put before the House is justified. The State management scheme received from the Royal Commission on Licensing the highest commendation. They suggested that when an opportunity occurred a further and extended experiment should take place. I believe that we shall never have a better opportunity with more justification for trying that further and more extended experiment than now. and I commend the Bill to the House.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Liverpool, West Derby)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and add:this House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which extends State ownership of the the liquor and catering trades to new towns and undefined districts adjacent to them, and thereby deprives residents in those areas of their freedom of choice, ousts the jurisdiction of licensing justices, and limits the powers of new towns corporations in the planning and management of their areas.I wish to concentrate the attention of the House on Part I of the Bill. Parts II and III deal with what are in comparison trimmings—some suggestions in my view unnecessary and some pedestrian tidying up of the licensing law. I may have an opportunity to deal with those matters later, but I shall leave them for the moment. In our view, Part I is not justified by licensing history, by recorded results or by public demand. It mounts an attack from Whitehall on one of the last bastions of local control—the licensing justices—and it seeks to deprive a large section of the people of this country of what should be their inalienable heritage, the right of choosing their own draught beer. In this it will inevitably fail.
The Bill has the essential characteristics of a mule. It is without pride of ancestry or hope of posterity. As one would have expected, the right hon. Gentleman has put forward the perennial excuse of Mr. Easy's servant girl, that this unwanted child is a very little one. I should like the House to consider with me for a short time the alleged diminutiveness of this unwanted infant. The Home Secretary has said that he is not asking for fresh powers. He was careful, as a skilful advocate of his calibre would be, not to indicate how extensive were the powers that he had got already. It is not only a question under Clause 1 of the power to sell and supply liquor. As he is well aware, under the Second Schedule he has the power to run hotels and tea-shops, the power to brew and the power to go in for the manufacture of soft drinks. Under Clause 4 he has the right to acquire any licensed premises or any premises with the sale of liquor attached, and the right to acquire any land for licensed premises.
The right hon. Gentleman says, "Well, these are existing powers that for some 30-odd years have been confined, but I 1044 am not extending them far." Let us have a look at that statement. First, he can extend them to the new towns. It is true that there are only some eight in England and four in Scotland in being, or in the course of being brought into being, at the moment. But it is understood, if the reports and prognostications have any truth, that that number will be extended to at least 40, and it may be 50.
That is the suggestion. That means, at an inside figure of 60,000, something between two and three million people who are affected, because there are undefined adjacent areas which the right hon. Gentleman can, of course, take to himself. He sought to ride off by saying that the local brewers had asked for a protective ring, but protective rings would not suffice the right hon. Gentleman, who has only to extend his Act and take in any of these districts which he likes. But, of course, it does not stop there. He asks for further powers. If we get two new towns, or, perhaps, more than two and even a group of new towns, the right hon. Gentleman then claims the right to serve all the area between them. When we consider the area round Stevenage, Welwyn, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead and Harlow, it would give the right hon. Gentleman in Hertfordshire an area up to 400 square miles which he can take for himself. There are other new towns where the same thing can be done. It is absurd and disingenuous of the right hon. Gentleman to come to this House and say that he is not making any serious extension in this matter. His baby may be illegitimate, but it is lusty, in many senses of the word.
Obviously, what the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues are seeking is to get the powers in postion by which public ownership and State management are to be imposed step by step, and the first essential steps are to be imposed careless of the wishes of the people and without any due consideration of all the consequences of that extension or of the effect on the taxpayer. What is ensured is that, in these areas, the potential of future competition will be swept away and the hand of the State left alone.
The right hon. Gentleman, in his closing sentences, made a reference to what had happened in the past, and, for the first time in the numerous and to me happy occasions when he and I have faced each other across these Boxes on 1045 many different Measures, I have not had the pleasure of hearing from the right hon. Gentleman the mandate on which he rests his authority for this. Not a word in "Let Us Face The Future," not a word in the King's Speech. It has not even been before a Labour Party Conference, nor have they got instructions from the Trades Union Congress, as they had in the case of the Transport Bill. In fact, so far as we know and can find out, the Labour Party's policy remains that of local option which was declared in 1918 and has never been departed from hitherto.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned in a short passage, almost as he began to resume his seat, the question of the Licensing Commission of 1931, and he tried to get a little support from that. I do not say that he misquoted, but he quoted in his own free words what the Commission said. They said:We think it desirable that public ownership should be applied elsewhere in circumstances which will submit the system to a further test, both in a social and a financial sense.There has been no such test, and this is not a test. This is the application of a gamble to these areas, and what the right hon. Gentleman was careful to omit was that paragraph 420 of that Report, only two further on from the one he quoted, says:We do not reject the possibility of other schemes"—what other schemes?—providing for the further divorcement of the undertaking from State control.That is the rather poor support which the right hon. Gentleman can get from the Royal Commission, but if he were more venturesome and were to go across the Border and look at the Scottish Licensing Commission, he will get, not only no support, but a complete frontal attack, because they said in their Report:Apart from the official witnesses, the evidence laid before us was almost unanimous in condemnation of the system of State management.That was the Scottish Licensing Commission. The right hon. Gentleman was good enough to refer to the fact that I had the honour to introduce into this House, during the illness of the Lord President, the Licensing Planning Bill of 1945, and what I would point out to him is that, in that Bill, knowing its genesis, 1046 he will acquit me of any connection with what he referred to this afternoon and which took place two years after our consideration of that Bill.
In that Measure, we did find plans and machinery for dealing with the problem of distribution and the introduction of licensed premises in areas which were not new towns, but areas which were tragically new in their surroundings and conditions because of the activities of the enemy. There, we approached it in the way which we on this side of the House consider to be the right and proper way. We asked who were the local bodies who could help in dealing with this problem, and there were obviously two—the licensing justices themselves and the local authorities, who are charged with the care and governance of the people in their areas. They could combine and come together in the committees that we established to deal with this problem in a way which would produce the best result.
That refers not only to ourselves, as the Lord President would be the first to admit; we owed our inspiration to the Morris Committee, which went into this question, and on whose Report we based our Bill. I did not expect that the right hon. Gentleman would refer to the Morris Committee. For one thing, it was some 13 years after the Commission to which he referred, and the right hon. Gentleman has no urge to be up to date. Further than that, in paragraph 146 of their Report, the Committee drew attention to social trends in public house development and referred to the provision of improved premises, increased indoor and outdoor amenities and food. Further, they went on to say, and this again is the kernel of our case:Progress in all these directions is not, we feel, consistent with the establishment of stereotyped standards and features of a set pattern.I quite agree, and I should not for a moment suggest that the speech in which I introduced the Licensing Planning Bill could compare in sonorous eloquence or palpitating periods with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, but what I do say in all seriousness is that it was based, not only on truly democratic principles, but on the equally important principles of local government in this country, which is being attacked every day that this Government is in power.
1047 We need not stop there. The right hon. Gentleman, of course, is aware that, not in 1931, but in 1946, there was a Committee on New Towns, which dealt with licensing in three paragraphs of its Report. They laid down the conditions and type of place of refreshment which they thought desirable, but not for one moment did they make any suggestion that these should be run by the State, and not for one moment did the right hon. Gentleman or his colleagues in the New Towns Act make that suggestion either.
The right hon. Gentleman has dealt with Carlisle, and I shall deal with Carlisle, but it is only right that the people in this country who have to consider the matter should have the facts before them. The Carlisle experiment was undertaken in order to deal with a special problem, namely, drunkenness among people who were specially imported into that area. That reason has long since entirely disappeared in the existing districts. No such reason exists—nor would the right hon. Gentleman allege for one moment that it does exist—in the new towns, or is likely to exist. The decrease of drunkenness in this country is one of the things of which we can be most proud. In 1913, there were 18,000 convictions; in 1919, there were 90,000; in 1939 there were 45,000, and in 1947 there were 25,000. That is a record reflecting great credit on the people of this country. Whatever else can be said, the suggestion that the origin of the Carlisle experiment has any application now is entirely wrong. Let us take the credit for the qualities of our people which they have demonstrated in this field.
If that reason does not exist, then we have to look for some other evidence of need or demand. There has been no demand for this Bill; there is no demand either in the areas of the new towns, or by the people who are likely to go to the new towns. The right hon. Gentleman indicated that there has been remarkably little consultation with those whose advice might have been valuable before this Bill was brought in. There is no demand or popularity among the inhabitants of Carlisle for this system. I saw in the Press a statement by the chairman of one of the development corporations of the new towns in which he said that they had not been officially consulted before this 1048 matter was introduced. There has been no mention of it or discussion on it, and no one's opinion has been sought on the alternative schemes which have been discussed for years among social reformers for introducing municipal "pubs" in which the desires of, say, the development corporation, or of somebody else, might be given effect. I grant that the Bill has had a tepid welcome from certain temperance and religious bodies, but only a most tepid welcome. Some have said that this matter is very evenly balanced, and others that, on the whole, the balance comes down on the side of the Bill. That, I think, is a fair summary of the reception given to the suggestion. Therefore, if we take the whole field, there is no evidence of demand.
§ The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in view of what he has been saying, whether the Opposition would be content with a policy of municipalisation of public houses?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I did not say that. I thought I had indicated to the right hon. Gentleman that the policy for which I stand is the application of the principles which he and I put together in the Licensing Planning Act, 1945. I did not say "municipalisation," but I did say that one matter which has been discussed for years among social reformers has been whether, in a new area, the local authority should have the right to compete—not to have a monopoly. 1 think that was obvious to everyone but the right hon. Gentleman, who has the sinister wish to catch me, but has failed to do so. I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman; I always know that when he interrupts me, my speech is getting under someone's skin. Let me come back to Carlisle.
§ Mr. Fairhurst (Oldham)
On the point made by the Lord President, would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether, for example, if there were a public demand for a municipal "pub." the party opposite would then agree?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I have no objection to a municipal "pub." I will give the view for which I stand, and which I am perfectly prepared to justify anywhere. If in a new town the corporation said, "All right, Messrs. A and B are 1049 coming, but we should like to show how we could do it ourselves,' I would have no objection to their having the power to compete, but I should have very strong objections to their having a local monopoly.
Still dealing with the question of Carlisle, there is, first of all, the illustration which I chose with regard to draught beer. The right hon. Gentleman is right when he says that one can get other bottled beer, but he knows that does not meet the requirements of the ordinary man. In any other place, if one does not like the beer at one house, one can get it at another. That is something which cannot be done in Carlisle, and that is a very serious limitation in the ordinary man's life. The independent tenant who exists in a high proportion over the rest of the country is eliminated. The spirit of comradeship which exists between the licensee and the customer largely disappears. However good the buildings are, there is a standardisation which affects amenities and friendliness. In Carlisle the houses are gloomy and lack a welcoming atmosphere. Lavatory accommodation is a good thing in itself, but when tiled lavatorial style architecture is extended to the public rooms, I think it takes away from the friendliness of the house.
With regard to amenities, we say that there is a definite discouragement of games. With regard to darts, the right hon. Gentleman practically admitted that was so. My information is that pianos are also discouraged in a number of houses. The most interesting thing is the puny efforts that have been made with regard to food. In 1945, the takings for food were only five per cent., and in 1947 in only 24 State-managed houses were there any signs, not only of meals but of snacks. In 131 no food at all could be obtained. If the ordinary brewer were to run his business in that way, what bench of licensing justices would tolerate it?
The right hon. Gentleman may like sitting down when he has his drink, but the ordinary person may, occasionally, want to stand at the bar. He does not want to be told when standing at the bar that he must either sit down or get out. For heaven's sake let the right hon. Gentleman be human in this matter. I know that all these considerations are not important political facts, but they are 1050 important pieces of human nature and human conduct in the ordinary affairs of life, and that is what we are standing for here.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned clubs. He said there were 12 of them. One must have been started a short time ago, because he knows as well as I do that until recently there were 11 clubs in Carlisle with a membership of over 11,000—twice the average size of working men's clubs, and three times the average size of the clubs of the Association of Conservative Clubs. Of course, the clubs can only start if the right hon. Gentleman says they may. In every aspect of this matter there is remote Whitehall control, bureaucratic and inhuman, and that is what we resent being applied in other districts in this country.
The right hon. Gentleman might have some excuse if Carlisle had done particularly well with regard to the problem of drunkenness. I have said that that problem has largely gone, but Carlisle cannot show any improved position, because, taking the period from the institution of this experiment, in the first year 1917–18 Carlisle moved up from the 83rd position out of the 85 county boroughs to the 73rd position; but the interesting thing is that out of these 85 county boroughs, in 1921 it was 69th, in 1933 it was 67th, and in 1937 it was also 67th and over the 22 pre-war years its position was 60th in a list of 85—threequarters down the list. That does not say much for the general conditions of supervision. In 1947, again, Carlisle was in the second half of the towns with a population of between 40,000 and 80,000. It was in the lower and worse half. The right hon. Gentleman cannot point—and, in fairness to him, he did not seek to point—to any improvement in general conditions arising from State management.
Then we come to the question of local control. The right hon. Gentleman said that licensing justices had not got the power of initiation. That, of course, is strictly true legally, but as he and everyone else know, there is constant intercourse and suggestions are constantly made between go-ahead licensing benches and those who are going to apply. The answer to the example he gave of somebody applying for a badly sited house would be that the person would not get 1051 that house; he would be told to put his house on a better site and to apply again. That is what actually happens, and everyone who has experience of these matters knows that it happens.
The right hon. Gentleman, however, is not confined to that. In this problem he has got the licensing justices, the local authorities as they come into being, the development corporations of the new towns; he has got every organ of initiation here. He has all the machinery for doing this on a local basis. Will not the right hon. Gentleman and the Lord President of the Council get it out of their heads that a thing is only good if it is run from Whitehall? It is the genius of England that things are most excellent when local affairs are locally managed. I do commend that to them.
On the other points the right hon. Gentleman was most fair. He made no attack on the general improvement of conditions of licensed premises in this country, and I do not think anyone who can look back, as most of us can, could say that after the first world war there had not been a great and welcome improvement in the condition of licensed premises. The main improvements have been in ventilation, furnishing and amenities of all kinds. This has been done without losing the cheerful and friendly atmosphere which has been the glory of the English inn. In addition to that, in many parts of the country—and this is far from being a special point produced for this occasion—we have seen the initiation of social, cultural and other activities which have centred in the inn in the village or the neighbourhood.
There is no difficulty here. There is no question of capital resources or of experience not being available. There is a record of co-operation and of improvement, and we say that those who have shown that ability to improve the position should be allowed to have the opportunity of continuing so to do. We ask ourselves—and, believe me, this has been one of the great political puzzles of the post-war period—why the Government have introduced this Bill. What is the purpose of the Bill? As I pointed out—and the House generally agreed with me—drunkenness has steadily decreased throughout the country. In many places the public house is now frequented by those who would not have gone into it 1052 even in the years when I was a boy. It continues to play a large and effective part in the life of many communities and localities. That being the position, when we see, for no apparent reason, the forcing on of State ownership and State management in the way suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, we believe that it is the thin edge of the wedge for nationalisation coming by stages in the way which I have pointed out.
If the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I say quite clearly that the reactions of the ordinary man to this Bill and the right hon. Gentleman's speech remind me irresistibly of these lines of Chesterton:Conscious as I am that that delectable and still possible course cannot be pursued until the end of this Debate, it is in answer to that spirit, which I believe is widespread throughout the country, and not through any misunderstanding of the right hon. Gentleman but because we understand the right hon. Gentleman only too well, that I ask the House to support my Amendment and to vote against the Bill.
- "The new world's wisest did surround
- Me, and it pains me to record
- I did not think their views profound,
- Or their conclusions well assured.
- The simple life I can't afford
- Besides, I do not like the grub
- I want a mash and sausage 'scored'—
- Will someone take me to a pub?"
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris (Carmarthen)
Until I heard the Home Secretary's speech, I wondered what was the origin of this Bill. There was no mention of it in the King's Speech, there was no hint of it at the General Election, there has been no public discussion that I know of about the licensing law, yet suddenly this Bill is tabled and comes up for Second Reading today. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out quite clearly that no Home Secretary ever touches the licensing laws unless he cannot avoid doing so. The history of the relationship of the State to the control of the drink trade has never been better than it is today, or more peaceful. Further, the general level of temperance has never been higher than it is today.
I agree with what the Minister seeks to do by Part III of the Bill, which deals with bottle parties, but he does not need a Bill at this time to deal with them. The right hon. Gentleman said that the bottle 1053 party was an evil, that justices agreed, and we all admit that, but I would remind the House that it is an evil which is confined to a small area in London. Has the right hon. Gentleman had conversations with temperance interests, with justices of the peace and local authorities? If so, he did not mention any of them. The only consultation he mentioned was that arising from a letter in December, 1946, from the brewers, which resulted in a deputation, first, to his Department and then to himself. The only suggestion comes from the brewers, who say that the existing licensing laws cannot apply to the new towns. The present law has been the most satisfactory of any form of law applying to the drink trade.
I would remind the House that control of the drink trade is much older than Parliament itself. The relationship of Parliament to it has varied a great deal, but the interest of temperance in regard to public houses is a very modern one indeed. For instance, drunkenness was made a statutory offence for the first time in the 17th century. The preamble to an Act passed by Henry VII, in the 15th century, sets out the reason for that Act. It is very much the same reason as was given in the case of the Carlisle experiment. That Act says that young men of that period were spending their time, not in drinking, but in playing various games instead of making themselves proficient in archery. They were not making themselves proficient to defend their country and so, justices, by that Act, were ordered to reduce the numbers of inns and ale-houses. That was not done, however, in the interests of temperance.
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the same thing applies to the Carlisle experiment. It was the inflow of population in 1916 into Carlisle, and the rapid increase in drunkenness which caused interference with the manufacture of munitions, that compelled the Government of the day to take action. Surely it is the first duty of the State to see that its life is preserved, and to take any steps that are necessary, particularly in war time, for self-preservation. One of the difficulties is that the deterioration which takes place in the level of living in war time is reflected in the deterioration which takes place in the level of thought. It is suggested that the expedients which 1054 have been found necessary in war time are thought to be good now, and that they should be applied in time of peace. There could be no greater fallacy. The Minister, in justifying the Bill, said he must either apply the existing law, amend the 1910 Act or propose State control.
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris
I do not wish to misrepresent the argument. There were three courses open to the right hon. Gentleman after seeing the deputation. I have sought to make it clear why the existing law should be preserved. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) rightly stressed the importance of local opinion and control rather than centralised control. The Home Secretary stressed heavily that he would be advised by an advisory committee which was representative of all the interests within the area. How will that committee work? No better answer can be given than the answer provided by the Minister, that for 13 years before he took office, the Advisory Committee in Carlisle were without a chairman. What guarantee will there be that when he quits office they will still have a chairman? Why should the right hon. Gentleman lightly transfer to such a committee the powers of the local authority.
Let me put another point which is important. Whether we agree or not, a large body of opinion in the country regards the drink trade as an evil trade. I am not saying whether I agree or not; I am making a statement of fact. When people take that view, are they to be coerced into taking part in a trade which they abhor? Quite apart from the temperance point of view, an important factor is involved with regard to the relationship of the State to the individual. Whether we agree with an 1055 opinion or not, it is one of the bulwarks of this country that there should be such opinions, that moral conduct is an important part of life. We cannot lightly dismiss them. We may disagree with them, but the State has no right at any point to take over the responsibilities of those people and to say "We don't mind what your views are; we can ride roughshod over them."
§ Mr. Fairhurst
Does the hon. and learned Member agree that certain sections of the brewing interests are privileged to take over the supply of beer in the new towns?
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris
The Bill allows the brewers into the new towns. One of the points which the right hon. Gentleman made, in answer to an hon. Member, was that the beer supplied to Carlisle was supplied by private firms and that it had not been State beer. Far from it. It was beer supplied by a private company. So it will be in the new towns—or is the right hon. Gentleman going to have all completely tied houses in the new towns?
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris
I am not defending the tied house, but at any rate those who do not wish to have responsibility in it, are not affected by it. They will be affected in the new towns if all the houses are tied.
§ Mr. Fairhurst
My point was that if certain brewery interests have a full monopoly in the new towns, as I have heard suggested here today, then we shall have only one kind of drink.
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris
I quite agree, but there is another view about it. Inns and ale-houses do not exist merely for drinking purposes. That is only a part of their purpose. They exist for leisure and for the supplying of food. Important common law rights rest upon the inn-keeper. If he does not make proper provision, he can lose his licence, upon a proper application and in proper circumstances before the licensing sessions. When the right hon. Gentleman is the licensee, how are any of his managers to he brought before the court?
§ Mr. Evelyn Walkden (Doncaster)
Surely the licence will belong to the person who is actually managing the public house for the State.
§ Mr. Walkden
Does not the hon. and learned Member know that although the brewer grants facilities for the conduct of the house, the licence attaches to the tenant or owner, and to nobody else?
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris
I am not talking of the brewers or of the licensees. I am talking of the licences in places like Carlisle and the new towns, when the Home Secretary becomes the licensee. Where the right hon. Gentleman becomes the licensee, there will be no redress at all. If there is no proper provision of food or accommodation in an inn, there will be no opportunity of dealing with the matter at all. The right hon. Gentleman will be the sole authority as to where a licence shall be placed, and how many licences there shall be. He can, if he is not the present right hon. Gentleman, do that without reference to his advisory committee, without even summoning them and by leaving them without a chairman in a completely highhanded way.
The new towns will be built up from the populations of existing towns. We shall take, roughly, so many thousands out of London, say, and transfer them to a new town. The first proposal put forward was that we could then diminish the licences in London and transfer them to the new towns. That is the old fallacy of every planned State that I can think of. It reminded me of More's "Utopia," in which every town would have a population of 6,000 people, every family would not have more than 16 children, and no family would have fewer than 10 children. What do you do with the family with fewer than 10 children? You transfer to them the surplus from the families that have more than 16 children. In the same way it was proposed to transfer these licences. That was the proposal. It is always the proposal that the State must put forward when it wants absolute power. Why nationalise this industry?
§ Mr. Hopkin Morris
I agree. I am not saying that the right hon. Gentleman accepted that one, but he has accepted 1057 another form of it which gives him absolute power to determine what licences there shall be, where they shall be, how they shall be controlled and in what circumstances they shall be suppressed. He will be sole arbiter. The people of the locality will no longer matter. In Carlisle, one cannot object to a public house, however well managed it may be, being next door to the post office, as one can in another place. There are serious objections to Part I of the Bill. Parts II and III I would gladly support, but because of Part I, I have no hesitation in supporting the Amendment.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Grierson (Carlisle)
I am pleased to have the opportunity of taking part in this Debate. May I be permitted first to congratulate the Home Secretary upon bringing in the Bill for the extension of State management to the new towns. I represent a city that has had a State management scheme in operation for the last 32 years. I have lived in that city all my life, and I have had an opportunity of seeing the scheme working since its inception. I suggest that 32 years is sufficient time to be able to judge the merits and demerits of a scheme. I am confident that it is an exceedingly good scheme and is doing a real public service. Naturally, one expects opposition to a Bill of this character. We had the same experience when a Bill was presented in 1915. The brewers were up in arms and did their utmost to suppress the Bill.
There has been a good deal of propaganda since it was known that the Bill was to be presented. Representatives of the Press visited the city of Carlisle and gave their impressions through the various national newspapers. I do not consider that to be a fair test. It is impossible to judge a scheme of such magnitude in a few hours. My constituency has been very much in the limelight during the past few weeks. I have been approached by various Members of Parliament who informed me that they had been receiving petitions and numerous letters of protest against the scheme. That is rather singular as 1 personally have not received one letter. I think it is customary in these days that when our constituents feel a grievance they write to their M.Ps. On this occasion, apparently, I have steered clear.
1058 Carlisle, that ancient Border city, which for centuries stood guard over the main western route between England and Scotland, has in my day become a symbol of social progress and enlightened reform. It is a key city, well managed and more important still, the gateway to Scotland. To all who desire the welfare of the nation it provides also the key to the solution of a problem which has baffled legislators and reformers for years. Yet it was not until the 20th century that the Government accepted their responsibility and decided to put into operation the State scheme at Carlisle.
During the winter months of 1915–16 Carlisle experienced a great invasion. This time the invasion was peaceful, but it caused profound disturbance to the city and its neighbourhood. At that time 15,000 highly-paid manual workers, for whom it was impossible to find housing accommodation or social amenities, were drafted into the city to build a huge munition factory near Gretna. Following this large influx of workers there was an acute outbreak of drunkenness and disorder in what had hitherto been a quiet cathedral city. As a result of this excess of drunkenness, and in response to appeals from the local authorities and other local bodies, the Central Board of Control in 1916 took the only way out of an impossible situation by acquiring the liquor business in the city and the surrounding districts. They took over five breweries and 321 licences. This included the City of Carlisle and 320 square miles of Northern Cumberland. This had to be done to prevent any interference with the production of war materials and the organisation of the transport to win the war.
The success of the scheme was acknowledged in 1921 when the Central Board of Control was abolished and Parliament decided to place the responsibility in the hands of the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Scotland. In the change-over there was a drastic reduction in the number of licences in Carlisle. At that time there were 116 licences in operation. These were reduced to 58. There was a reduction of off-sales from 100 to 13 We had the suppression of all the grocers' licences and none of those exists today.
What was the result of this drastic step? Despite what has been said this 1059 afternoon I want to emphasise that whereas the number of convictions for drunkenness in 1908 in the city was 200, and in 1916 rose to 950, in 1932 it dropped to 45. Today it is somewhere in the region of about 20 and, in the main, most of those offenders are strangers who come to the city. During the periods which I have quoted as showing a reduction in the number of convictions, the beer was not weak; it was at its normal strength.
In 1916 and subsequently the State paid £700,000 for the breweries, licences and goodwill in the district. Within 11 years, by March, 1927, the whole of this sum, plus interest at the current market rates, had been paid off out of the proceeds of the trade. I understand that the State today is in possession of property worth at least £1 million. The profits for the last ten years in Carlisle alone have been over £1½ million. For the last 21 years the net profit has been £2,211,000. The reserves set aside at the moment for further development amount to £270,000. This has all occurred despite the fact that there is no advertising for the sale of liquor in the city of Carlisle. The local council are particularly interested in the results of the State undertaking and last week a minute was presented to the city council suggesting that, after all the capital expenditure has been redeemed, there ought to be handed back to the local authorities for the area 33⅓ per cent. of the profits accumulating from the sale of the drink.
We have heard a lot of criticism about State control, but I venture to tell the House this afternoon that, generally speaking, State inns are models of public house construction. They are beautifully designed and particularly well furnished. They have large, ventilated rooms where the people can have a drink in comfort. There are opportunities for recreation—bowling greens, billiards and dominoes, if the public desire them. The bowling greens are very attractive and well patronised. Last year 16,000 people took advantage of the bowling greens despite the fact that we experienced a very wet summer.
In my view, Carlisle bitter beer is good, clear and supplied in the best hygienic conditions. I would challenge the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for 1060 Penrith and Cockermouth (Lieut.-Colonel Dower) by stating that in my view the Carlisle beer is equal, at the price, to any beer in the country. By the way, I was not the expert witness who travelled round the pubs with the Home Secretary when he visited the city of Carlisle. In all State inns one can get popular brands of bottled beer, Bass, Worthington, Guinness and all the rest. One can get proprietary brands of whisky at reasonable prices. Despite what has been said, the atmosphere is friendly and cheerful. We meet in Carlisle as we do in other places, to discuss football, the pools I suppose, racing and all the topics of the day. There is no comparison between the inns of to-day and those of years ago.
It is interesting to compare some of the prices in the State-controlled public houses with those one has to pay in the City of London and elsewhere. Carlisle pale ale in bottles at the bar is 10½d. Bass bottled beer in the bar is 1s. 1½d. Worthington is 1s. 1½d., Guinness 1s. 1d., and whisky 3s. a glass or 2s. 9d. in the bar. That is an amazing achievement. We are proud of what we have been able to do through our State management scheme.
I have read with interest the criticisms in the Press about standing in the bar. When the State-controlled "pubs" were built they were designed on the short bar method generally—the new type—giving more accommodation for people to sit, so that they could enjoy their drinks in comfort. There will, undoubtedly, when the time is opportune, be some improvements in that system. However, to try to create the impression in the minds of the general public that we are compelled to take a seat, that we are not allowed to stand at the bar, that we are absolutely in a strait jacket, is sheer nonsense.
§ Mr. Grierson
It is not very often that I trouble the House with speeches, and I think I have the right to complete my speech on this occasion. I was very pleased indeed when I heard the Home Secretary say today that he was deciding to give local representation on the Central Board. Who knows better than the local people the requirements of the general public? I should like to see the Advisory Committee given more power. I believe their power at the present moment has certain limitations.
1061 The Carlisle scheme is not all that could be desired, but I hope now that we have a Labour Government, they will endeavour during the coming years to make the necessary improvements. Any criticisms that have been made ought to reflect on past Tory Governments because they were responsible for any limitations in the scheme during the 32 years it has been in operation. I do not wish to delay the House any longer, because I know other hon. Members are very anxious to speak, but I sincerely hope that what I have said will influence those who are doubtful about supporting the Bill.
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford)
I feel some difficulty in following the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson) because I cannot myself claim any expert knowledge on the only subject to which he saw fit to refer, that is to say, the city of Carlisle. He has informed us that he was not the expert witness who accompanied the Home Secretary to Carlisle, but I am sure he will forgive me if I say he has, at any rate, one characteristic of the expert witness, in that he stuck remarkably closely to his brief. I am sure Baedecker will have to look to his laurels if speeches made to this House are to be so exhaustively eulogistic of the qualities and amenities of the places hon. Members have the honour to represent. However, had the hon. Member been able, as I was, to command an unobstructed view of the expression on the face of his hon. Friend the Member for West Ealing (Mr. J. Hudson) as the hon. Member for Carlisle catalogued those various choice liquors and the prices at which they could be bought, he would, I think, have cut his catalogue short for the sake of his hon. Friend. [Interruption.] I thought the hon. Member for West Ealing had a point to make. It was only, apparently, half a point in this particular case.
We who sit for constituencies in Hertfordshire do not have the glory of being in the gateway to Scotland, as in Carlisle. However, we have the compensation that we do not have the peculiar antecedents, if I may so express it, which caused the introduction of State management in Carlisle after the last war. [HON. MEMBERS: "During the 1062 first world war."] The use of the word "last" is, perhaps, to be avoided lest we should assume the mantle of prophecy.
However, so far as we are concerned in Hertfordshire, we are not convinced, as to the bulk of public opinion, that it would be well for us to follow the example of Carlisle, however attractively set out by the hon. Member. I think that this Bill has come as an unwelcome surprise even to some of those who support the Government in Hertfordshire and on the county borders of Essex. Hertfordshire is vitally affected by Part I of this Bill. Let me mention here that the noble Lady the Member for the Hemel Hempstead Division of the county (Viscountess Davidson) is not able to seek to catch your eye today, sir, but is strongly opposed, in the interests of the people of Hemel Hempstead, to this Measure.
The hon. Member for Carlisle spoke of letters. I can assure the House that I have received a vast number of letters and petitions protesting against this Bill from my constituents. It is not on every subject that the mere counting of heads is the right criterion of political action, but in this case, where public enjoyment is concerned, I should have thought that the weight of public opinion, as communicated to its Parliamentary representatives, was one entitled to particular attention and respect. I have not received one letter supporting the Bill. Therefore, I am not exposed, as hon. Members sometimes are, to the difficulty of balancing the conflicting views of constituents on a matter of vital local interest; because in this case there is this mass of opposition to the Bill expressed on the one hand, and not a solitary letter or personal communication asking me to support it, on the other.
There are those who say that the whole of the licensed trade and the taking of refreshment at licensed premises is wrong and harmful and contrary to the public interest. But while we may not agree with that view—for myself, I certainly do not—it is, at any rate, a logical view; but I cannot see any logic in the attitude underlying the Government's point of view—that a thing which exists for public enjoyment should be run in a way other than that which the majority of the public want. That is surely a supremely illogical view.
1063 It has been pointed out by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fife) that there is neither mandate for this Measure nor valid precedent. The Home Secretary appears to date the conception of this idea to a period after the New Towns Act. I have a very close and lively recollection of our deliberations on what was then the New Towns Bill. Certainly this proposition was not canvassed at that time, and I suggest to the House that the right approach to this problem would have been by the adaptation of the principle of the Licensing Planning Act, referred to by my right hon. and learned Friend, as a proper combination of functions on the part of the licensing justices and the local planning authorities. There has certainly been no noticeable surge of public opinion, which could be thought to have driven the Secretary of State towards the solution which he has taken in this Bill.
§ Mr. Scollan (Renfrew, Western)
We have repeatedly had reference to public opinion. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman if he has any means of knowing that the public opinion of 20 million adults in the country is against the Bill, in view of the fact that the trade itself has tried to work up an agitation which has been a complete flop?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The hon. Member takes the argument a little wide. He will appreciate now, if perhaps he did not appreciate before, that I am speaking more particularly in regard to a part of the country which is vitally affected by the provisions of this Bill. The Secretary of State has pointed out that this is a Bill which does not affect immediately the whole country. I am speaking as the representative of one of the areas which is already intimately affected, and I can give the hon. Member chapter and verse for the state of public opinion within the area affected. If he does not take it from me, I suggest that he asks his hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin (Mr. Asterley Jones) as to what is the state of public opinion in that part of the country.
I say that it would be wrong to give a State monopoly in the new towns even if they were built on virgin sites, unless there was a strong public demand for that course. Still more would I say that it is 1064 wrong to do so when the new towns are themselves sited where there are already existing and, in many cases, ancient communities. It is most wrong of all to use the opportunity for introducing State monopoly into new towns as a lever to introduce that system over a wider and undefined area. That is the worst course of all, and that is the course which is being followed in this Bill.
I want to draw attention more particularly to Clause 2 of the Bill which has been referred to in the Debate, but not, as yet, in detail. Subsection (2) states:Where it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary or expedient, to ensure effective State management in a town, that any area adjacent to the new town should be treated as part of the new town for the purposes of this Part of this Act, he may by order made in accordance with the provisions of the Second Schedule to this Act direct that the area shall be so treated.In my submission, that Subsection is highly objectionable in its content and in its phrasing. Every word in it is so drafted as to give wide and unrestricted power to the Secretary of State. In the very first line it says,Where it appears to the Secretary of State…;not even whether the Secretary of State is satisfied, which is the phrase normally found in Statutes. It goes on to say:necessary or expedient…and that is a very wide term. "Adjacent," again, is completely undefined. The same criticism applies to the following Subsection in regard to the linking up of new towns by reason of their proximity. Again, that is a completely undefined phrase. The effect of these two Subsections is, in my view, to put these powers beyond effective challenge of any sort. I am not totally without experience of these matters, and I would say, if I were confronted with these Subsections as part of an Act of Parliament, that one was virtually powerless in the way of challenge—
§ Mr. Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that in the Second Schedule provision is made so that local opinion shall be taken into account and a decision come to only after a local inquiry has been held?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
It is quite true that the Second Schedule provides for a public local inquiry for the testing of 1065 public opinion, but what the hon. Gentleman must understand is that the value of the public local inquiry is conditioned by the wording of the Subsection which calls it into being. The purpose for which a public local inquiry is held is conditioned by the words of the Subsection, and the only purpose of the public local inquiry in this case is to inform the mind of the Minister, so as to enable him to see whether it appears to him that it is expedient that this thing should be done. That being so, the value of the public local inquiry—and here again I speak not entirely without experience of these matters—is to my mind very largely shut out. Since the hon. Gentleman has referred to it, I would draw his attention to page 25, line 10, where he will see that the jurisdiction of the courts is ousted by the Second Schedule, except where an aggrieved person has a right under paragraph 4 (2), but the ordinary rules of quashing—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Bowles)
I think that the hon. Gentleman is getting into very great detail in referring to the paragraphs in the Schedule. I think that he ought to be more general in his remarks as what he has now been saying seems more like a Committee point. Perhaps he would keep to the general line of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
That was not part of the speech which I intended to make, but it will be within the recollection of the House that I was challenged on this point and, therefore, I thought it right to comment upon it. I will certainly not pursue the matter, but I shall be very glad to explain to the hon. Member in private, if he is still in any doubt, the effect of this Schedule on the Clause.
Under the powers of the Clause the twin new towns of Hatfield and Welwyn and the new towns of Stevenage, Harlow and Hemel Hempstead can presumably be linked up, and thus, with the adjacent areas which can also be included, the whole of that side of Hertfordshire and the Essex border can easily be brought within the system of State monopoly under this objectionable Clause. That would have the effect of enforcing State monopoly not only on new towns but on some of the old communities already existing.
1066 I intended to say something on the subject of Clause 4, which deals with compulsory purchase, because the Secretary of State rather suggested that his powers under this Bill were not, after all, so very wide. I would suggest that the powers of compulsory acquisition given under Clause 4 are very wide indeed. Hon. Members may have noticed that the powers of compulsory acquisition to be exercised by the Secretary of State are exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Second Schedule of the Acquisition of Land Act, 1946. That is a procedure by which the Secretary of State will be both the acquiring authority and the confirming authority. I say that that procedure is arbitrary and wrong; it is a case ofI'll be judge, I'll be jury'Said cunning old Fury'I'll try all the cause and condemn you to death'.It is an arbitrary power which the Secretary of State has taken, and it is wrong to give arbitrary power in a Bill affecting this very wide area.
My last comments concern the position of existing tenants. I must protest against the provisions of Clause 7 (2), which give no right of equivalent reinstatement to present tenants and licensees who will be dispossessed under this Bill. Many of them are likely to be my own constituents, and I protest most strongly against the provisions of that Subsection.
Finally, on the whole concept of the Bill, I ask: Why should new towns be considered the right place for the carrying out of every form of experiment and new idea? Why should they be treated in that way? We are not against the project of new towns, but I venture to say that if new towns are to have a strong and healthy existence they must be deeply rooted in the practices of the countryside in which they lie. Now, a lot of sentiment is talked about the place of the inn and the tavern in our British national life. But it reflects an admitted truth. Great tribute has been paid to the British inn in passages that are far too familiar to the House for quotation, by authors as diverse in period and in taste as Dr. Johnson, Dickens, Professor Trevelyan, and more recently the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister), who was good enough to send me a copy of his book on this theme.
1067 The new towns should be given the chance to grow up on a more traditional basis, and should not be made the trying-out ground for every form of experiment, including this most unwanted experiment of State monopoly in liquor. This is a surprise Bill and an unwanted Bill, and if the Secretary of State proceeds, as he presumably will, to the Division Lobbies this evening, he will no doubt win a victory there. But all the signs, at any rate from one most affected part of the country, are that it is likely to be a Pyrrhic victory so far as the Government are concerned. When they have won their victory in the Division Lobbies they may well echo the words of Pyrrhus:A few more such victories andΩwe are utterly undone.
§ 6.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie (Seclaefield)
I am sure the whole House is indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson) for his very informed speech and the excellent outline of the success of the Carlisle scheme. The figures he quoted for drunkenness were truly remarkable. Imagine dropping from the high figure of 900 cases in 1916 to 20 last year. The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) asserted that these State houses would deprive people of the right to choose what beer they liked. The Home Secretary has already informed the House that that is not the case.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I was careful to say "draught" beer. I did not deny what the Home Secretary had said, that people can get, I think, Worthington and Guinness; but I said that in Carlisle they cannot get any variety of draught beer. That was my point.
§ Mr. Leslie
The statement that people could get what beer they liked was subsequently confirmed by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle. I understand 1068 that draught beer can be obtained if there if a sufficient demand for it. But take the position of the tied houses owned by the brewers. What choice of beer is there in a tied house? People have to accept the beer brewed by the owner of the tied house.
§ Mr. Leslie
Oh, yes, he can get what beer he wants in Carlisle. That has already been shown by the hon. Member for Carlisle. But apart from that, I am now talking of tied houses. In a tied house a man can get only the beer brewed by the owner of that tied house.
§ Colonel Dower
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, and do so in the most friendly spirit. For years and years I have lived seven miles from Carlisle, and I know that it is not easy to get other beer. I like to get Younger's beer whenever I can, because it is a very good beer, and a fine example of private enterprise.
§ Mr. Leslie
I am prepared to accept the statement of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, who should know better than any other hon. Member. In my constituency it is proposed to create a new town, so naturally I am interested in this Bill. I want to see up-to-date, well planned refreshment houses for the comfort of customers, such as have been provided under the Carlisle scheme. Doubtless the brewers had their eyes on these new towns, as I think the Home Secretary has proved, because they offer facilities for exploitation. I want to see these new towns free from the tied houses of the brewers.
The Government ought, I think, to have gone much further and considered taking over the breweries. Think of the enormous profits made by the brewers, as shown last year. And let hon. Members bear in mind that those profits were not shared by the managers of the tied houses. I know that the managers of tied houses have been very badly paid; they 1069 have had imposed upon them conditions that had to be dealt with recently by the Wages Board. In most cases the managers of tied houses have to be helped by their wives; allowances for cleaning, for instance, have been insufficient to meet present day costs; and if a manager is dismissed for any reason, not only has he lost his job, but he has been deprived of both house and home. These managers will certainly be very much better off under a scheme similar to that of Carlisle.
The agitation against this Bill is somewhat bogus. I have had no fewer than 197 letters of protest and several petitions, but it is obvious that the writers of these letters have been misled and have not the slightest knowledge about the provisions of the Bill. They imagine that all pubs, hotels and inns are to be nationalised, and that dominoes and darts will be probibited. I find no reference to darts and dominoes in the Bill. These people base their protests merely on what they have heard about Carlisle, but we have been informed by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle that darts and dominoes are allowed in Carlisle, and that even bowling greens and billiard tables are provided. How many public houses in this country provide bowling greens and billiard tables?
The quality of the beer has already been mentioned, and the Home Secretary has informed us that working men's clubs in the Carlisle district prefer the State beer; it cannot be too bad if it is preferred to the beer of other brewers. I know it has been the attitude of brewers to oppose any system which seeks to limit their powers of exploitation. I well remember when the Gothenburg system was adopted in many towns and villages in Scotland, which enabled cottage hospitals, libraries and bowling greens to be provided out of the profits, instead of the profits going into the coffers of the brewers. Instead of the profits going into the coffers of the brewers, they will go towards assisting the revenues of the country under this Bill, which in the long run will help to bring about the reduction of taxation, which we all desire to see.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Wilson Harris (Cambridge University)
The eloquent speeches that have been made on both sides and the cogent arguments adduced, have left rather a confused impression on an untutored 1070 mind such as mine. Nevertheless there are one or two observations I should like to cast into the arena on my own account. Reversing the order of the Home Secretary and improving on his method, I should like to begin with Part I of the Bill and to say nothing at all about Parts II and III—that is the improvement on his method. I should like to start, like my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), with the essential preliminary question that anyone must ask who comes to give consideration to this Measure. In reviewing a book, an exercise in which I sometimes engage, it is necessary at the beginning to ask whether there is any good reason why the book should have been written at all, and in a good many cases there is not.
We now have to ask ourselves whether there is any good reason why this Measure should have been introduced, or, in the phraseology which was so familiar a few years ago, we need to ask the Home Secretary: Is your Measure really necessary, and, if so, why? It is certainly not necessary in the interests of sobriety. It is not necessary to reduce drunkenness or excessive drunkenness for the simple reason that, as the right hon. and learned Member has said, the vice of drunkenness is disappearing so rapidly that it has almost altogether vanished. I suppose that I am one of a minority in this House who remembers the days of 1915, when the munition workers all over the country were going to Mr. Lloyd George, who was then Minister of Munitions, to tell him that their output was being reduced intolerably on account of the drunkenness which everywhere prevailed. As a younger journalist in those days than I am now I remember going down to Dumbarton Road on Clydeside and to Scotswood on Tyneside to see the conditions created, both industrially and socially, by the manifestly excessive drinking that was taking place. Fortunately, most of that is a thing of the past.
My right hon. and learned Friend quoted Chesterton at some length, and I will quote him very briefly:The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.I am afraid that, in the new towns and elsewhere, we shall have to be satisfied with straight roads for the future, because the rolling English drunkards are, as Members on the Government Front 1071 Bench would put it, in short supply today. This welcome change in social habits seems to me actually to justify relaxation of some of the existing restrictions, and certainly some relaxation in the matter of hours, not at the later part of the day, but at the earlier part. If, like so many Members, I am doing the family shopping at 9 a.m. or 9.30 a.m., I regard it as an intolerable hardship to have to wait until 10.30 a.m. to buy a bottle of innocuous cider. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider abolishing these restrictions in the case of retail sales, or, if that creates an invidious distinction, let both the public houses and the retail shops open at 9 a.m.
But if all this is admitted, as I think it must be, that is not the last word on the subject. We all agree that whatever the extent of the excessive drinking that remains, drunkenness is an evil that must be regulated; everyone is agreed on the need for some regulation in the case of what is a potentially dangerous trade. Consumption of intoxicating liquor is not like the consumption of milk and bread, an excess of which will do no one much harm. An excess of intoxicating liquor can do great harm indeed, and a small excess may be very dangerous if a man is going to drive a car immediately after. There is no doubt that many of the motor accidents reported are not due to drunkenness, but are due to just a little too much indulgence, that dulls the faculties and slows down reactions. That is the reason why regulations in regard to intoxicating liquor must err rather on the severe than on the lenient side. I would not for a moment advocate anything like prohibition, and I am utterly opposed to local option, which seems to me an intolerable invasion of the rights of minorities. I should always oppose that, by whichever side it is proposed.
But when we are asked to look at the Carlisle experiment and consider whether there is a case for extending it to these new towns, that is a proposition which deserves our most serious consideration. The Carlisle experiment, in its day—and I can remember when it started—represented an immense advance in the standard of public houses of those days. There has been a great and welcome improvement in the standard of public houses 1072 all over the country, as the right hon. Gentleman said, since the days of the first great war—in other words, since the days when the Carlisle experiment was first initiated. When licensed houses were taken over by the State in Carlisle, they immediately made a profit, and out of those profits everyone of them, I believe it is true to say, was rebuilt in a vastly improved form. It is all to the credit of many brewers in different parts of the country that they followed suit, but the greater credit belongs to the pioneer experiment inaugurated by State management in Carlisle.
I unhesitatingly support this Measure, because it embodies the principle of disinterested management, which seems to me an essential principle that lies at the root of all reform of the licensing trade. It is most undesirable that people should be paid commission for the sale of drink, the sale of an excessive amount of which might do so much harm. I know it can be said, I have seen it in print, that the managers of tied houses or elsewhere do not push liquor on their customers. If that is the case, why are they paid a commission on what is sold unless it is to induce them to sell as much liquor to their customers as they can?
The largest group of hotels in this country, Trust Houses, follows the admirable principle that the manager of each house is paid a commission on refreshment sales and the accommodation he lets, but no commission at all on the liquor he sells. That, I believe, is the principle of Carlisle, and it seems to me a thoroughly sound principle The hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson), I thought, made an admirable point when he reminded the House that by far the greater part of the history of the Carlisle experiment fell in the time when Conservative Governments were in office. During all those years when Conservative Home Secretaries were managing the Carlisle experiment, nobody criticised it. So far as I know, there was never any suggestion to hand those houses back to the brewers, though it would have been perfectly easy to do that. No Government of whatever colour thought of it.
I should like to say this about the brewers. I was struck by the fact that the Home Secretary kept referring throughout to his conversation with the 1073 Brewers' Society and not with the licensed victuallers. If a man who owned his licensed house was going to lose his trade through the movement of population and said, "This is going to be a bad thing for me; I am going to lose my livelihood, and, therefore I should be considered for a place in the new town," that is a proposition which would deserve some consideration and sympathy But when the brewers say they are going to lose a bunch of tied houses in London and ask for a bunch of tied houses in a new town instead, I suggest that that is not a proposition which should be received with any great tenderness or sympathy in this House. The prime business of brewers is to brew beer. If they start buying up free houses right and left, and turning them into places where a man cannot get the liquor he wants, but only what the owner brews, there is, of course, nothing iniquitous about that, but it certainly does not give them much claim on the tenderness of the House.
I have listened with great respect to all the arguments on this side of the House, but it seems to me that nothing has been said which should stop the Government extending the Carlisle experiment to the new towns. It is a very limited experiment. It is not proposed to turn out people who are already in possession. The Government are entering on what is practically virgin soil. They are planning the whole of the new towns, as indeed they must, because that is the very essence of them, and it is only rational that at the same time they should plan the places in those towns where alcoholic refreshment is served.
I quite realise that that is not the only method which might be applied. Many hon. Members have read with much admiration the booklet which has been prepared by the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) and a coadjutor, who, I am sure he would be the first to admit, is more talented than himself. They have described a very interesting experiment which was made in Welwyn Garden City, where a firm of enlightened brewers were called in and given practically all the licensed houses in the area. But it is specifically explained why that was done. It was because the local authority did not feel itself competent and had not the necessary experience to run public houses. That argument does not 1074 apply in this case. A great deal of valuable experience has been accumulated in Carlisle. Carlisle may not be better now than many other towns. That is because they are rising to the standard of Carlisle not because Carlisle has degenerated. If in visiting a public school, you see an old-fashioned swimming-bath, the reason probably is that that school was a pioneer in such things. They had one when no one else had one, and they held on to it because they could not afford, or did not actually need, a new one
I hope and trust that the experiment at Carlisle will not be instituted as it stands in the new towns. I hope the Home Secretary will improve on it a great deal. My right hon. Friend needs to be imaginative and bold. I hope he will give a choice of drinks. I do not see why he should not have draught beers of different sorts. In that he would have a great advantage over the tied houses. I have no doubt in a few years, when the new towns are built and this system is introduced, a great many Members of this House who are criticising the proposal today will be praising it. I earnestly hope that this Bill will get the Second Reading it thoroughly deserves, and will if necessary be amended in Committee, and that some hon. Members who are threatening to abstain from voting will, after all, cast their votes behind the Measure.
§ 6.26 p.m.
§ Sir Robert Young (Newton)
In rising to make a few comments on the contents of this Bill, I wish to say that I do not claim to speak for any of the temperance organisations in this country, although I know that many of the members of those organisations will agree with what I am about to say. When I took part in the Third Reading discussion on the Civic Restaurants Bill I said that it was probable that I would come to a decision on the question of the sale and control of liquor in quite a different way from some of my temperance friends. A decision on that basis now confronts me I have no difficulty in making it, because it has come in an unexpected way which justifies itself. I trust that when this Bill is passed, the Government of the day will see that no encouragement shall be given to the system whereby many sites in our towns are disfigured by collections of public houses, which dominate conspicuously the chief street corner 1075 positions. We do not want that sort of thing in the new towns.
I, therefore, congratulate the Government on their prevision and prescience in relation to these towns. It would, however, be a mistake to regard this Bill as designed to promote temperance or increase sobriety. There is no compulsion in that direction. It is a Bill to improve the machinery for the control of the distribution, location and government of intoxicating drink selling facilities in existing State areas as well as in new towns, designated and actual. I am glad of this early taking of powers to improve and protect the amenities of these towns so that in the future, the threatening and insidious dangers of a great social evil will not imperil the influence of those new towns in ruralising "England's green and pleasant land."
On two occasions I have visited Carlisle for the express purpose of seeing and learning something of its liquor trade control. I do not say that I was satisfied with all I saw and heard. Perhaps it was because I had not successfully suppressed my teetotal objections, for the purposes of investigation, to the use of and therefore to the facilities for the consumption of strong drink. I should have liked to find a much greater interest in the scheme by the inhabitants of the city, but that failure I learnt—I trust the Home Secretary will take note of it—was in large measure due to the lack of some measure of local control in the management of the scheme and its financial disbursements.
On the other hand, the general opinion of representative men, temperance organisations and religious bodies was a decided preference for their system of control over pre-State management days. Those who were aged enough, readily said that they would regard a return to pre-State management methods as a moral mistake, while the middle-aged and younger people, themselves frequenters of public houses, stated that in their opinion the public houses in Carlisle were equal in amenities, and in many cases in other directions superior, to such other places in other parts of the country. I ask myself after what I have heard this afternoon wherein lies the approval of State control in Carlisle. It has reduced the number of premises where strong drink 1076 is sold, from 321 to 178. There has been no outcry against that.
§ Sir R. Young
I am talking about the "pubs" in the first instance, and I regard every public house as a temptation. There has been no outcry about that reduction in the number of public houses, and I therefore assume that those which have gone were unnecessary and redundant. A similar result has occurred in the other districts under State control. While this has been happening, land, premises, space and manpower have been released for more useful purposes in the city.
Another point is that the profit motive has been almost eliminated. I put it no higher than that, but that is true. The management and the managers of these shops are not encouraged as a result of their employment to entertain financial considerations as a motive to secure a full house and large turnovers in the sale of intoxicating liquor. Proof of that can be found in the annual report recently issued. The net profits are small in amount. Proof of that can also be found in the annual report. No one objects to that, least of all those who are saddled with the duties and responsibilities of control. That is due in large measure to the fact that the fixed salaries paid to the employees have no connection with and do not carry with them any pecuniary interest in the sale of strong drink.
The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) must give credit to Carlisle as a reforming agency for the country as a whole. It was the Carlisle scheme with its new and reconstructed premises, which led the brewers and the licensed victuallers to begin the improvement of their places of business in appearance, comfort and sanitation. As a teetotaller, I am not against that. I remember the dark, dismal, dirty, filthy dens of old which disgraced some of our towns and cities and were a menace to the general well-being of the residential community living around. In my estimation the amenities of all places where people eat, drink, sleep, work and play should be of the highest.
The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby said that the Government have no mandate for this Bill. Surely that is rather a fatuous objection coming from that side of the House. If the 1077 Government had a mandate, would the Bill be all right? We know from experience in this Parliament that the Opposition have consistently, and even viciously, opposed all the proposals of the Government for which there was a mandate. Let us be careful about this talk of mandates. Again I am old enough to remember the mandates in the political contests of long ago. The mandates of the past claimed by Liberal and Tory statesmen were seldom more than oral promises on one or two of the principal political questions, and certainly never as many as would cover the legal life of a Parliament. So I think it is about time we dropped talking about mandates as limiting the things which this Government should be permitted to do, even if they had no other ground for proceeding. The Government are on perfectly sure ground. The Royal Commission, as has been pointed out, recommended that the Government should experiment further with the system of State management in order to prove its usefulness and value to the community.
Again, it has been said that the Carlisle system, judged by statistics of convictions for insobriety, has been a failure. I am not impressed with that argument. The number of convictions for insobriety is not an infallible guide to the sobriety of one place compared with another. On the contrary, if the convictions for drunkenness are great, it probably indicates the vigilance of the police authorities and the desire of the magistrates to uphold the respectibility and prestige of their city or town. In any case, all magistrates are not alike in their handling of drink delinquents. If all magistrates were alike in their leniency or severity as regards the penalties imposed. then statistics in that direction might become comparable.
I have looked at the Amendments on the Order Paper and I confess to some surprise at the one sponsored by the Liberal Party for the rejection of the Bill. During my young manhood I was an enthusiastic Radical. I thought the fullest control of the liquor trade was inherent in the programme of reforms of the Liberal Party. I thought it was a temperance party and that if ever again it was in a position to influence large sections of the voting public, its work in that direction might accomplish much.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
My Liberal Friends are not here, so perhaps I may say that one of the reasons why they are opposing this Bill is because in their view it is not a Measure likely to add to temperance. I hope the hon. Member will agree that it is the representatives of the Liberal Party who are best able to decide whether a Bill is in accordance with Liberal principles or not.
§ Sir R. Young
I am not impressed with that view. I look back on their past policies and programmes and remember how they used to advocate vigorously the control of the vested interests of the liquor trade. I remember that they were the outstanding protagonists for the principle of local option, and I think I have a right to ask, have they discarded that principle now after what we have heard tonight? Of course, it may be that they have all become prohibitionists and do not wish any reform in that direction.
§ Sir R. Young
I have also looked at the Amendment which has been moved by the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby. Taken as a whole, it is a condemnation of all that has been done in Carlisle, but there is no need to burke the fact that the main objection of the party opposite is to the suggestion of the extension of State ownership. That, and that only, accounts for their objection. Hon. Members opposite know very well that their own party, in spite of much declamation in that direction, when in power in the past have never abrogated anything in relation to nationalisation, municipalisation or State control which had been passed by previous Parliaments. In fact, they themselves, unwittingly perhaps, restricted on one occasion private enterprise in a profit-making industry. Ultimately they repented of it evidently, left it alone, refused to proceed further. I am referring to their banking reform in respect of the municipal bank in the city of Birmingham.
The Conservative Amendment is tantamount to saying that the Carlisle system is a great failure, but that is not so. On 1079 the contrary, it is a quiet success. If it were not so, we would have had vehement protests and petitions against it in constant succession. We would have had the temperance organisations emphatically condemning the system. We would have had the local authorities seeking for repeal of the system. We would have had the religious bodies denouncing it as a continuing menace to the moral life of the community, and an advertised encouragement to young people to indulge in the consumption of strong liquor. Above all, we would have had the police authorities clamantly demanding, in the interests of law and order, that we should return to the general law of the land.
The objectors to State control of the liquor trade have been remarkably quiescent in Carlisle, Gretna and the Cromarty areas. Some of my hon. Friends will probably put down Amendments to the Bill. We trust that serious consideration will be given to them on their merits, for their express purpose is to bring the communities of the new towns into closer contact with the working of the schemes when these towns are established.
§ 6.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Niall Macpherson (Dumfries)
The hon. Member for Newton (Sir R. Young), apparently, thinks there has never been any protest whatsoever against State management in any of the State management areas. I happen to represent a constituency part of which comes under State management and I can assure him that I very frequently get complaints. Furthermore, on many occasions in the past Bills have been introduced by private Members for the abolition of State management, but they have not got through simply because the State management was limited to certain areas and it was difficult to arouse sufficient enthusiasm.
The present question is mainly one of the extension of those areas; that is the main purpose of the Bill. But it has not been put to the people and will not be put to the inhabitants concerned. The people in State management districts have never been consulted as to whether State management should continue. There has never been any consultation of that kind 1080 in my constituency. Its effect, in Scotland at any rate, is that the County Licensing Court, consisting of justices of the peace and elected county representatives, have no say regarding the distribution, numbers, location and so forth of public houses. Even the sheriff, who in Scotland has authority over club registrations, is not the authority for the licensing of clubs in State management districts. That authority is usurped by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland; usurped not of his own seeking, however, because he has been given the power by Act of Parliament. That is no reason why he should be given it elsewhere.
I see that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland is present. Perhaps he is going to reply. If so, I should like to ask him whether the provisions of the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913, will apply to the new towns which are to be placed under State management. That Act gives the inhabitants of a district the right to say whether or not there shall be licences in their area. In State management districts, of course, there are not licences but their equivalent. Will the inhabitants of these areas have that power or will they not?
I should like to remind the House of what the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Town and Country Planning said on the Second Reading of the New Towns Bill. He said:It"—meaning a new town—must be self-contained and self-governing; it must not be run as a distant colony from a remote control 20 miles or so distant."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May, 1946; Vol. 422, c. 1085.Twenty miles or so distant! Glasgow, which runs Annan, is 100 miles away from that district and is a good deal more than 20 miles from Glen Rothes. But the Advisory Council of which the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was speaking is not even in Glasgow. I presume that when it sits it sits in London. I do not know. It may sit in Carlisle. Even if it is in Carlisle, it is a very long way indeed from Invergordon or from any of the new towns that are to be founded. If it sits in London it is some 600 miles away from the Cromarty area with which it deals.
1081 I was a little surprised at the attitude of the hon. Member for Newton about local option. His speech was characterised by the lack of any mention of it. He will know very well that local option does exist in Scotland and that the Scottish Temperance Alliance does not take the same view as he does. It has taken objection to the Bill in these terms:That, apart from the principle of State management of the liquor traffic, which in itself is repugnant to many citizens, the Bill, as framed, is objectionable in respect to its complete disregard of democratic rightsΩThen it goes on to talk of the rights of the public to object to applications for licences.
§ Sir R. Young
Does not that reference to democratic rights mean the control of the people over the number of public houses, of which I approve?
§ Mr. Macpherson
Well, how is that to be effected? The hon. Gentleman did not explain how that would be achieved under the system of State management. Undoubtedly there are people who consider that drink is an evil and drinking a vice. Surely, it cannot be right for the State to peddle evil or to set up establishments for the encouragement of vice. I should explain I am not myself a teetotaller, as has already emerged in the Debate, but on the rare occasions when I visit public houses I like to find that congenial atmosphere which is generally described as "a home from home."
Apart from the consideration that it is not right for the State to encourage vice, the question will also arise whether vice will, in fact, be mitigated. We have heard a great deal about Carlisle. Particularly significant in the speeches made from the other side is the lack of comparison between Carlisle and other places. There is no evidence whatsoever that the record as regards drunkenness in Carlisle is any better than elsewhere. The hon. Member for Newton does not consider that relevant. Admittedly, there are differences in application of the law, but this fact must be taken alongside the others. As to improvements in public houses, those in Annan, with, possibly the one exception of "Gracie's Banking," which the right hon. Gentleman has visited, are not op to the general standard of public houses in Carlisle, and are certainly no better than those elsewhere.
1082 The community centre which has already been mentioned—"Gracie's Banking"—would without question be very much better if it were controlled by the people in the district instead of from a great distance away. Several things have been said about the Advisory Committee but I am certain that the Committee itself would be the first to admit that it is not in the closest of touch. Indeed, not having had a chairman for many years, the Carlisle Advisory Committee may not have been in touch at all. From the information at my disposal, it seems that they are not encouraged to be in touch because their advice is so rarely listened to.
§ Mr. Macpherson
It might be pertinent to ask how many times they had tendered advice. [An HON. MEMBER: "That has nothing to do with it."] It has a very great deal to do with it. Some reference has been made in the Debate to the findings of Royal Commissions. The Scottish Royal Commission, in their concise and sensible Report in 1931, recommended not only that State management should not be continued but that it should be abolished. I would remind the House that they said:
Admittedly the existence of these two small and widely separated areas"—Gretna and Cromarty—is an excrescence on the general licensing system of the country and the only effective plea for their continuance was based on the desire to carry on in these districts an interesting social experiment.Then the Report says:We have come without difficulty to the conclusion that this plea has not been substantiated.It goes on:We accordingly recommend that. with a view to bringing the Gretna and Cromarty State management districts into line with the ordinary system of licensing, the experiments in those districts should he discontinuedThat was a unanimous Report, whereas the Amulree Report was signed by only 11 out of 21 members of the Commission. Even though it had a bare majority, what did it, in fact, recommend? Did it recommend, for example, that there should be an experiment in 1083 new towns, or suburbs, or new building areas? Not at all; indeed, quite the contrary. It recommended a further test of public ownership in an area in which there were already far too many licences. This Bill proposes its extension to new towns where there are few, if any, as yet. The right hon. Gentleman did not venture to use the argument of a further experiment until the very tail end of his speech. Obviously he did not place very great reliance on it, but that was the view of the Amulree Commission, which also recommended that:the management should be further removed from State control";and suggested that there should be an "independent board of management." It went on to suggest:We do not reject the possibility of other schemes providing for further divorcement of the undertaking from State control.Yet for the new towns we have exactly the same set-up as has already been condemned unanimously in the Scottish Report and condemned in the minority reports of five Commissioners on the Amulree Commission. That deals pretty extensively with the claim that in this we are following out a recommendation of the previous Commissions.
It seems to me that there are two reasons urging the Government at present to impose this extension of State management. First, there is the famous profit motive. It is claimed by many that it is wrong to make a profit out of drink. The management, we are told, must be disinterested. But the fact is that the Government, and, indeed, the right hon. Gentleman in his speech today, have actually boasted of the profits which have been made in the Carlisle area. It is not a question of what sort of Government is in power. As soon as the Treasury's clutch gets on to something of this kind, it is extremely difficult to dislodge. But it should be remarked that in fact State management pays no Profits Tax, no Income Tax and, during the war, no Excess Profits Tax either. So the net profits shown by State management are nothing like what they purport to be. It may well be questioned whether the State would not get just as much revenue if the liquor industry in those areas remained in the hands of private enterprise.
1084 The second point is that new towns certainly give a chance to apply Socialism. The customer has no say in the matter, and the elected local government has no say. The local advisory committee may have a say, but that is certainly all they get. The right hon. Gentleman claims that the new experiment would be an advantage, but, if a new experiment is made, what will it prove? It will only prove, if successful, what should happen in other new towns when this particular form of control is applied to them too. The results cannot be applied to the rest of the country where the circumstances are not equal.
§ Mr. Macpherson
Certainly it is not intended to be an experiment; but the right hon. Gentleman claimed as one of the reasons that it was going to be an experiment. We are not deceived by that. We know very well that this is the cloud the size of a man's hand. The storm will overwhelm the Government.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Asterley Jones (Hitchin)
I oppose this Bill in its present form, not because I want to see the brewers establish a monopoly in the new towns, and not because I want to see tied houses established in the new towns. I am not perturbed by the spate of telegrams and letters which have arrived, nor impressed by arguments put up by hon. Members opposite. Indeed, some of the statements I have heard have encouraged me to rally to the support of the Home Secretary, because they are so wildly extravagant.
I am not opposed to the State entering into what is called the liquor business, which I prefer to call the management of inns, or something of that sort. I have no particular views on Carlisle. I have never been to Carlisle, and never seen these State-managed houses in operation. Only one comment I would permit myself on the speech of the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson). He referred to the large, well-ventilated rooms found in Carlisle public houses. Many of my constituents, I am afraid, prefer to do their drinking in small, smoke-filled rooms, and I have no objection to their doing so, if they wish.
1085 I am against this Bill as it stands simply because I have heard yet no reason why there should be a State monopoly. It is the monopoly to which I object, and not to the State engaging in this form of activity. I have in my constituency Stevenage, a new town, whose establishment I support and whose progress I shall always follow with very great interest. I live in Welwyn Garden City and one of the "grouses" we hear in Welwyn Garden City is of the existing preponderance of one brewer. It is not a monopoly. There is one house of another brewery, as readers of the book written by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) will know. There is not a monopoly but there is a preponderance of one brewery. One can see going out of Welwyn Garden City a trek of people who apparently do not want to drink in the large well-ventilated rooms of our excellent public houses—I make no complaint against them—but who prefer to go out into the old smaller houses, where there are fewer amenities, and certainly no bowling greens, because on winter evenings a bowling green is not a great attraction.
I object not only to this monopoly which is proposed, but to the existing premises being taken over without the licensees being offered alternative premises elsewhere in the new towns. Under the New Towns Act the development corporation already have power to acquire existing premises, but they are under an obligation to offer to persons carrying on business, whose premises are taken over, alternative accommodation in the new towns. It is quite wrong, as an hon. Member has already said, that such alternative accommodation should not be provided. If I may say so in parenthesis to the junior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Wilson Harris) who, if I understood him aright, argued that no interference with existing premises was intended, that most certainly it is. If Members will refer to Clause 4—
§ Mr. Wilson Harris
Would the hon. Member's case be met if the managers of existing houses were appointed managers of new houses?
§ Mr. Jones
I think not, for reasons which I shall explain in a few moments. I would not regard the manager of a house as being in a particularly satisfactory position. I should like to see an owner or a tenant, but not a manager. If what I said was not the intention of the hon. Member, I naturally withdraw what I said.
It has been already amply proved that there is no public demand in the new towns for what is here proposed. So far as I am aware there is no public demand for it from those persons who are proposing to go to the new towns. Indeed I am somewhat apprehensive that if this proposal is put into effect—I hope it will not be—it will have the effect of deterring people from going to live in the new towns. I do not believe it will make much difference, but it will have some effect upon them.
Not only is there no public demand but there is no expert demand. I am perfectly prepared to justify an unpopular proposal if it is necessary on good sound grounds. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) said at the start of the Debate, the New Towns Committee, which was specifically appointed to deal with these matters, did not regard it as necessary. Indeed it went a little further, in paragraph 205 of its final Report, which states:It would be our wish to do anything in our power to discourage drinking as an end in itself or as an escape from the realities and responsibilities of life.That is probably from the pen of Lord Reith. One can follow the high moral tone which is behind that observation. The Report goes on, in a remarkably enlightened way:But we believe it ought now to be possible to treat alcoholic drinks as forms of refreshment, subject to individual tastes and particular limitations, like other forms of refreshment.I entirely agree with that.
Again, I have not heard any opinion quoted in this Debate from development corporations or members of development corporations. I should like to ask my right hon. Friend whether any development corporation, either unanimously or by a majority, has represented to him that this Bill is necessary for the effective carrying out of its powers. During the passage of the New Towns Act no such 1087 additional powers were suggested by anyone to be necessary. As the Committee stated, the running of public houses may be done in a variety of ways. We do not want standardisation in that respect. There can be tied houses in the hands of the brewers. I regard that as the least attractive of the proposals. There can be free houses. The development corporation will acquire the land in the new towns. It is enabled, under the New Towns Act, to build premises, which it can let as free houses. I deplore the disappearance of the free house from this country. It has almost disappeared and for that I think the brewers have a big responsibility, because of their buying up of these houses and toisting their own beer on the public. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is entirely their responsibility."] The public has some responsibility for allowing it. The brewers have bought up the houses and are foisting their own beer on the public. I shall seek to show in a moment that, by and large, they do not treat their licensees very well.
The third possibility is State management, to which I have already referred. It is also possible to have public ownership and public management but not. State management. There can be a form of public ownership by means of the local authority. They are all to be cleared out unless the Home Secretary consents to their establishing an inn. Co-operative societies could also establish inns unless they were forbidden to do so by the Home Secretary. If the choice were only between having the tied house in the hands of the brewers and State management, I should be greatly inclined to vote in favour of State management. But that is not the only choice There is no reason why we should not have all these methods in operation in the same place.
To turn for a moment to the question of tied houses, I should not like to see the new towns having only tied houses in them. The Royal Commission of 1931, which has been extensively quoted today, was much averse to the tie as it exists today, and was very much averse to the tie extending to anything but draught beer. The tenant of one of these houses is completely at the mercy of his landlord. He is subject to three months' notice, and if the landlord does not like him he can give him three months' notice without giving any reasons for doing so. 1088 I have heard of unwillingness to carry out repairs. The tenant is left to do them himself, and in most cases there is no compensation. Brewers are going round and insisting on the display of this petition which has swollen the postbags of so many Members in recent weeks. The bureaucracy exercised by the brewers over their tenants is greater than anything my right hon. Friend can produce out of the immense resources of the Home Office.
It is often overlooked that the profit in this trade does not go normally to the tenant but to the brewers. If my right hon. Friend gets these powers he will be able to acquire existing premises compulsorily but he will not have compulsory powers to acquire breweries. He will be able to acquire breweries by agreement. Unless he builds his own or buys one by agreement, he will go on being supplied by existing brewers and the profits will go into their hands. To suggest, as some people do, that there is a right to drink draught beer of whatever brew one likes in tied houses is quite wrong, although it is perfectly true that in most cases one can walk down the street and get what brew one requires. I am against tied houses.
Let me examine the argument for a State monopoly. As the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) has pointed out, the Royal Commission of 1931 was entirely directed to cutting down the number of public houses. It did not turn its mind to the situation which arises both in war-damaged areas and in new towns in regard to the proper planning of new houses. Undoubtedly it is true that some of the new towns which have been designated contain areas where there may he rather more public houses than are immediately necessary. but the development corporation has absolute powers under the New Towns Act to acquire them and offer the licensees other premises within the new town, so that that argument has no validity at all.
It is also suggested that the licensing justices, being the power to regulate new licences, have no initiative; they can merely turn down applications. That is true. It would have been an argument of some validity before the passage of the New Towns Act, and before the passage of the Town and Country Planning Act; but it is certainly not right 1089 now. It is argued that a brewer can put down a public house anywhere he likes. He certainly cannot. He is subject to the Town and Country Planning Act in exactly the same way as anyone else, and therefore if the brewers wish to erect a public house, not only in a new town but anywhere else, not only have they to get the permission of the local authority but they also have to get a lease from the development corporation.
Supposing the situation arose where the development corporation thought there should be a public house, and there was no willingness to supply it? I cannot imagine such a situation arising, but supposing it did. Surely that is one case where the Home Secretary could come in and provide a State house. I think that a State house could quite easily operate within the new town. Let them compete on equal terms with the other houses and let the best man win. I say, therefore, that there is no case at all for State monopoly on the grounds of planning. All the powers can be achieved under existing legislation without any interference whatever.
It is also suggested that we must have State management in order to raise the standards. In the first place, the new buildings which have been erected in the last 20 years are very much better than many others which were put up before. Secondly, there is no existing complaint, so far as I am aware, in Steévenage, which is the only new town of which I have any immediate knowledge, that the existing premises are bad, or below standard, or anything of the sort. Indeed, experience has shown in the past in Carlisle and the surrounding areas that the existence of the houses with higher standards tends to bring up those in the neighbourhood. Therefore, there does not appear at this present day to be any argument on the subject of standards. It may be there was in the past, but the past has gone so far as the abuses of the drink traffic are concerned.
It is also suggested that the State-managed house can provide many more facilities for food. That may be a valid point; I am not sure that it is, but I will concede that one point to the Home Secretary. There is the suggestion of fear of competition from less high-principled houses. There, again, that seems to be answered by the argument—
§ Mr. Jones
I have heard the argument raised that a State monopoly is a way of avoiding competition from public houses of not such high standards. That argument appears to have no validity, and I am glad to understand from the Home Secretary that he does not put it forward or that there is any validity in it. That being so, there seems to be no reason whatever for the powers contained in the Bill to take over houses in areas adjacent to the new towns. I have a suspicious mind in these things, and I suspected the reason for the adjacent areas provision was to be able to claw in those areas which would perhaps provide more attractive amenities than the houses inside the new towns. I am glad to hear that there is no truth in that at all.
Another objection I have to this extension and the taking over of many small public houses is that the running of a pub is a job which can be done, and is done, either part-time or by men who have retired. Retired policemen and retired soldiers have found it an occupation suitable to them in their later years. Indeed, in many villages in my constituency small houses are run by men who do other work. I find no objection at all to that, and I should be very much averse to seeing the practice discontinued.
Therefore, may I put forward what I suggest should have been in this Bill, merely to deal with the question of new towns? The development corporation already has the power to plan in conjunction with the local authority and finally to hand over to the local authority. No building can be erected without the permission of the development corporation. The corporation, as the freeholder, has the power to require that the building shall be of a certain size and of a certain nature. All the details of the plan must be submitted to the development corporation. There appears to be no objection on that score to allowing the development corporation to decide.
I would go further and say that the development corporation not only can plan, but can also build the house itself, and either let it as a free house or run it through a manager if it appears that that would be the best method of dealing with it. That being so, the whole 1091 gravamen of the case made by the Home Secretary in this Bill, that the power of State management is necessary in order to plan, appears to be without any substance at all.
Another argument against this is that, in due course, the development corporation has a duty to hand over to the local authority. I see no valid reason why a local authority should not be a ground landlord of a public house any more than it should not be the ground landlord of any other undertaking. If it is suggested that it would be wrong for the local authority to take over a house which was managed by the development corporation, then I would say that something should be done by way of setting up a local body, not a highly centralised body, but a local body to carry on the management.
I have already spoken of the need for variety in running refreshment houses of all kinds. I should like to see the tenants of houses which are built by the development corporation have security of tenure. I should like to see them have the same security which the tenant farmer enjoys today under the Agriculture Act, that is to say, he holds on to his living so long as he is efficient. That seems to be more reasonable than the three months' notice to which tenants are now subject. A further objection is—how does one deal with the licensing justices? On that I can only repeat what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby has said. Precisely the same arguments could be made against the licensing planning committee in the war-damaged areas. What is an argument in one case is an argument in the other. If it is invalid in this case, it is invalid in the war-damaged areas.
And so, reluctantly, I must say that, unless the Government will give an undertaking that during the Committee stage of this Bill they will relax on these two points that is to say, that State management shall not be a monopoly and secondly there shall be no acquisition of existing premises without alternatives being offered, I am going into the Lobby tonight against this Bill, and I hope that a number of my hon. Friends will come with me. I do not believe that this Bill is necessary for the advance of Socialism. I do not believe that it is necessary to assist in the economic recovery of this 1092 country or in order to provide for the proper planning of new towns. Indeed, I consider that the Bill is entirely unnecessary.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Woodburn)
It would be convenient if, at this stage, I dealt with the Scottish points which have been raised. Later the Lord President of the Council will deal with the general Debate. What has struck me about the Debate is the number of objections to this Bill which are not based on anything in the Bill. In other words, most of the objections are to matters with which the Bill does not deal. For instance, the question has been raised that this Measure will make people drink one type of beer. The Bill does not provide for that, nor does it provide for people to drink only State beer. Nor does it raise the alternative of whether these public houses should be controlled locally or from a distance. That is not the issue. The hon. Member for Hitchin (Mr. Asterley Jones) has elaborated on the fact that he wants local control and local owner-occupiers of public houses. Those may be his ideals but they are not realities in modern society. A great number of the public houses in this country are controlled from a distance by the brewers and the big public house trusts.
§ Mr. Asterley Jones
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me what there is to stop a development corporation from building a new house and letting it as a free house to a tenant?
§ Mr. Woodburn
That is rather a different point. The hon. Gentleman suggested that the alternative is between this Bill and free houses. That is not the alternative. It is a false alternative and I suggest that if that is the basis upon which he has argued against the Bill, he should change his mind. He is under an illusion if he thinks that voting against this Bill means that free houses will be established throughout the country.
§ Mr. Woodburn
That is not the point. The hon. Gentleman did not raise it in his speech.
The hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) raised a number of 1093 detailed questions with reference to Annan. He argued that there is no local control, that it is done from London or Edinburgh, as the case may be, and that, somehow or other, local feeling in regard to matters affecting the public houses is not taken into consideration. The hon. Gentleman does a great injustice to the local advisory committee in his own area. In each of the areas in Scotland there are local advisory committees which meet at least every two months. They are consulted on all matters of consequence affecting the district and they visit and report on each house in the district annually. They are active and useful bodies which have given a great deal of assistance. During my visit to Annan, when I think the hon. Member for Dumfries accompanied me, we met the local committee who put before us a number of considerations. Most of those have been put into effect within the limits of the present building programme.
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the advisory committees feel themselves to be ineffectual?
§ Mr. Woodburn
They have not told us that. I think we ought to be the first to be told. I have visited them myself, and, as the hon. Gentleman may remember, not one of them made any such suggestion. I am afraid I cannot take the hon. Gentleman's view on that matter. I must take the view of the advisory committees as expressed to me. They have made no such statement.
The hon. Gentleman raised the more general question about the 1913 Temperance Act. I am willing to give a similar pledge to that given on that occasion. If a poll is taken I am willing, at a suitable time, to give that pledge and to put it into proper form so that the Temperance Act will be effective in State management districts as it is in other districts.
§ Mr. Rankin
I wonder if I might make that point specifically clear? Power is given to the Secretary of State to sell or supply intoxicating liquor for consumption. Is my right hon. Friend making it clear that at a later stage he will make provision to enable the Scottish local veto Act to function in the new towns?
§ Mr. Woodburn
I have given a pledge that it will be made effective. Whether 1094 it will be done in the Bill or by regulation is a matter of machinery which will be considered later. On the previous occasion it was done by regulation and it may be done in that way again. So far as the local power over the licence is concerned, I give that pledge. The hon. Member for Dumfries also raised the question of profits and suggested that these State management districts did not pay any Income Tax. Curiously enough, he went on to prove that not only did they pay Income Tax but they paid it at a greater rate than any other profit-making organisation in the country. In other words, he accused the Treasury of taking all the profit. He seemed to contradict himself in that respect.
The hon. Gentleman also referred to the 1931 Report. I am compelled to say that the Scottish Report advised against the continuance of State management. As in the Debate that has taken place in this House today, it is remarkable that in that Report there is a most curious alliance between those who stand for the unreasonable type of brewer and those who stand for the more extreme type of temperance. They tend to combine. It is a kind of unholy alliance where neither of them seems to be the appropriate bedfellow of the other. They combine against what seems to be a reasonable point of view about the drink trade. In the Report to which the hon. Gentleman referred, we had the same unity between the extreme temperance people and those who stood for the rather free and easy licensing system—
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
I cannot allow that to pass. Would the right hon. Gentleman really describe the late Dr. Harry Miller as representing either of those extremities?
§ Mr. Woodburn
I happen to know personally a good many people connected with that Report. What I have said is correct about some of them. I knew Harry Miller very well. I could not describe him in these terms, but he certainly took the side of those who held an extreme temperance point of view.
These people again take a contradictory point of view. The hon. Gentleman put the contradiction very clearly. Almost in the same breath he advocated prohibition and then he gave another temperance point of view and said that there ought to be free democratic control. In other 1095 words, we ought not to have any control at all over the drink trade. We are either to have a prohibition or to allow the trade to be free and easy. If that point of view were held generally, there would be no licensing laws in any part of the country. There would be unrestricted hours and people would be able to open public houses anywhere at any time of day or night. It seems to be a fantastic point of view that there should be no State regulation of the drink trade. If hon. Gentlemen do not accept that point of view—
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
Is not the right hon. Gentleman misrepresenting my argument? There is all the difference in the world between laying down rules and doing the thing oneself.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Sometimes to do it for oneself is the only way to get the rules carried out, especially when dealing with a large and complicated system such as this. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary explained earlier how the whole problem had been examined and how it was found that this was the only way of dealing with the matter satisfactorily. We must deal with the question whether prohibition or the free and easy way is the right way. This bill takes the medium line which is naturally anathema to people who believe in extreme dryness or extreme wetness. Therefore, it should commend itself to the reasonable people in the House.
§ Mr. Orr-Ewing
Can the right hon. Gentleman explain that last statement about reasonably dry and reasonably wet? As far as the records go, the system suggested in this Bill has by no means brought greater dryness, as we know from the sales records of intoxicating liquor.
§ Mr. Woodburn
That is rather a different point. I was talking about the difference between those who support the point of view of the extreme brewers and those who express the extreme temperance view. The fact that a man lives in a State management district does not mean that we should take him to be a very different type from one who lives in a non-State management district, and we take people as an average of the people who live in those areas. The question which the hon. Gentleman has raised has nothing to do with the point I was making.
1096 Certain points have been made in Scotland which are practical points, and which I agree are worrying people. People have asked whether a grocer's delivery man can go into the new towns from shops outside, or whether they would be debarred from delivering intoxicating liquors there under this Bill. The answer is that people can order drink from any part of the country to be delivered within a new town or a State management district. That right of delivery in the existing State management district is not cut across by this Bill. Another question was whether public houses and licensed places will be taken over or closed down as a result of this Bill. The Bill itself does not close any licensed place. As hon. Members will see, it allows the status quo to continue so far as existing licences are concerned. It does, however, empower the Secretary of State to take over these places if and when he considers fit, and to take over the State management districts, but there is no suggestion in the Bill itself that that is going to be done immediately.
The question has been put whether, if the Secretary of State does take over these licensed places, they will be taken over without compensation. The position is perfectly clear. If any public houses or other licensed places are taken over, either in a new town or in a State management district, adequate compensation will be paid to the proprietors, whether they live in the places or not. In other words, even tied houses would be entitled to compensation, and the value of the premises and the goodwill would be met in that direction.
Another question that has been posed by one or two hon. Members, and especially by the hon. Member for Dumfries, is whether prohibition is the right way to temperance, and the hon. Member seemed to be taking the view of extreme temperance people in Scotland that, first of all, we should neither touch nor handle drink, and that the State should have nothing to do with it. If the hon. Gentleman says that, he poses two alternatives. Either the State should allow this drink traffic to run wild, as it did many years ago, or it should take action to do something with it. The question is whether we shall take the alternative of prohibition as advocated by his extreme temperance friends, or allow 1097 a free run to the drink trade. We do not think that the State should exercise greater and greater control over the drink trade, but we regard this Bill as a step forward in another direction.
In the planning of new towns, we are taking steps to guide people in future to a better way of life. [Interruption.] Certainly, if anybody can picture the sort of thing which I can show hon. Members in my own constituency—the miners' houses in which people lived 50 years ago—and compare those conditions with the houses built now under a planned system, they would realise the difference that has taken place in our society in 50 years. When we are transferring great bodies of miners from the West of Scotland to the East, and building new towns, the whole purpose is to see that they do not grow up in the same haphazard way as the miners' villages grew up in Scotland in the last century, but that men and women receive an opportunity of living clean and healthy lives.
It would be quite ridiculous to plan every part of the town except the public house, and to allow anybody to build any kind of public house and to open as many as they liked. There is the further question whether, in a new town, the public houses are to fit in with the amenities of that new town. We say that, if we are to plan new towns, we obviously must plan the drinking facilities, and we propose to do that, not in a way to encourage drinking, but to encourage good living, and to see to it that, if people want to drink, they can do so in places fit for human beings.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question? These new towns have to be planned, and we are all glad to hear that, but the shopping district will also be planned. Is the Government intending to own every shop? If they plan both the shops and the public houses, why are they to own the public houses and not the shops? Why do not the Government try to own everything which they have planned?
§ Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite (Holderness)
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his courtesy. He said that the Government were endeavouring to raise the moral life of the people. Why are the Government taking 1098 over the manufacture and control of soft drinks—non-alcoholic liquors?
§ Mr. Woodburn
In answer to the last question, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary pointed out that, under this Bill, the Secretaries of State are taking no more powers than they had previously. Therefore, there is no extension of powers in that regard. With regard to the other point, I hope the hon. Gentleman is not pressing us to take on the job of running the shops. We are willing to consider that, but not, perhaps, at the moment. I am sorry that I cannot meet his request in that direction. We are simply confining this Bill to drink, and the Home Secretary has explained that we have had a discussion and have considered all methods of dealing with this matter, and we found that the only way of providing for the new towns was by this method of dealing with the trade.
On these grounds, I certainly hope that my hon. Friend will reconcile his temperance views, so that we may get common agreement on this Bill, in which case I am quite sure that we shall have his support in the Lobby, in spite of the desertion of his Liberal friends in front of him.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
May I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman before he sits down, because it is of great importance? Do I understand that he has some doubt whether this Bill overrides the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913, and has, therefore, given an undertaking that, if it does override it, he will insert a provision to ensure that this Bill does not override the local veto which the people of Scotland have today?
§ Mr. Woodburn
No, I do not think the Bill overrides that, any more than the previous Bill did. The fact is that the 1920 Act was a United Kingdom Measure, and the point raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman is a Scottish point. In 1920, this matter was dealt with by the then Secretary of State by giving a public pledge to observe the results of any poll under the 1913 Act. That was put into the regulations, and, therefore, that pledge will, be binding upon us. What I have said is that, so far as machinery is concerned, we will have to look at it again, and that, whatever is necessary to be done, we will take steps to see that it is put into proper 1099 form so as to give that guarantee to the people.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)
I do not intend to follow the right hon. Gentleman in his argument, but I want to say how much I appreciated the speech of the hon. Member for Hitchin (Mr. Asterley Jones) who is now about to leave the Chamber. I must say, with all respect, that there has been—I hope I shall be excused for using the phrase—an awful lot of nonsense talked by people who have been to Carlisle. I should think that all they saw of Carlisle was when their train stopped for a minute or two in the railway station.
I have never seen anyone so assiduous as the Home Secretary in following the terms of a Bill. That being so, I deeply regret the criticisms which I have to make. He said that he had paid two visits to Carlisle, one before the war and one quite recently with an expert beer taster. I suggest that those visits do not qualify the right hon. Gentleman, whom I admire immensely and who has certainly worked very hard on this Bill, to say what, in his opinion, is the success of the State-managed brewery in Carlisle. The main argument in favour of that particular State management scheme is that it is a financial success. It shows, I believe, a profit of 15 per cent. The second argument is that drunkenness has been reduced in Carlisle, that the supply of beer is far better under disinterested management, and that we have not the evil of tied houses.
I will deal briefly with the points put forward in favour of the scheme. There are quite a number of public houses in Carlisle. In fact, I believe there are 100 or more. I have been into most of them, although I admit that one or two may have escaped my attention. In none of those public houses have I found draught beer other than one State brewery draught beer. I thought the best thing to do was to bring some of that draught beer here. and that is what I have done. I am sorry to say that although the beer has been in this House for several hours now, only five hon. Members have approached me with the idea of sampling it. They were all Opposition Members. I can only deduce from that fact that either hon. 1100 Members opposite are all teetotalers, following the example of the Home Secretary, or that they know how rotten the beer is. However, the beer is here, and I shall be very pleased indeed if any hon. Member would like to try it.
With regard to the point about tied houses, several hon. Members opposite have said that they dislike monopolies. They suggested that we had a monopoly under private enterprise. I think that is a very fair and proper argument to bring forward. I hold no brief for the brewers, and understand nothing about brewing. If there were only one pub in the village and that was owned by a brewery, it would seem to me that that was a monopoly. If I wanted some other beer in that village I should not be able to get it. Therefore, I should be tied to whatever beer was being sold there. I have been told that there was no monopoly in a particular beer in the towns, and that one could get other draught beer by going a short distance down the street. I understand that Stratford-on-Avon was the only exception. I do not know whether that is true or not, but I have made one or two inquiries, and I am assured that in Stratford there is almost a private brewers' monopoly.
I am sorry I cannot agree with the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson) who is a very good friend of mine. I find that nearly everyone in Carlisle dislikes the beer sold there. I would point out to the Home Secretary that it is not the gravity which makes good beer.
§ Colonel Dower
I am told that the art of brewing is more important than the amount of gravity. As we as a country have not embraced teetotalism—I have a great respect for the Liberal Party and for one or two hon. Members opposite who are in favour of teetotalism—I think we ought to be permitted to drink the best beer in the most happy conditions, provided it does not lead to any kind of abuse. If it does, then the Home Secretary, whom I respect so much, should come down upon it like a ton of coals. Whether one goes north, south, east or west one finds very little drunkenness these days.
Therefore, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman. whose Bill I am afraid will 1101 get its Second Reading, will do his best to make State public houses cheerful places. It is all very well to say that the landlord should not be paid a proportion of the money received for the drink he forces down the throats of unwilling clients, but the publican wants to attract as many people as possible to his own house. There is something. in competition, but if hon. Members opposite decide that competition is bad, and that we are not to have it, then I beseech the right hon. Gentleman to try to make the State public houses homely.
I do not see why the manager of a State-managed public house should not become "mine host" even though he is a civil servant. Why should he not say to his customers, "Good evening, gentlemen, come in. You have done a hard day's work; have some good beer." I am told that managers are forbidden to have drinks with the customers under any circumstances. If the State is going to become more and more powerful—and we cannot stop it—then I would beseech the right hon. Gentleman to do his best to make it as humane and as cheerful as he possibly can. I have nothing else to say.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Lavers (Barnard Castle)
I am sorry that I cannot follow the hon. and gallant Member for Penrith and Cocker-mouth (Colonel Dower) other than to assure him that I have been to Carlisle and that I got out of the railway carriage when I was there. History tells us that the late Mr. Lloyd George said that every Government that has ever touched alcohol has burnt its fingers in its lurid flame. After listening to some of the speeches today, it seems to me that history is repeating itself. So much has been written and spoken in the past about the results of this State experiment that it would appear that there is nothing more to be said about it. Unfortunately, it appears to me that many hon. Members who have spoken have done so with preconceived ideas, and have been concerned with trying to prove their prejudices rather than trying to get at the truth.
I fully recognise the difficulty of preventing one's view from colouring one's impressions. I have approached the question from a definite standpoint. For many years I held the view that so long 1102 as the manufacture and sale of drink was allowed in this country, such drink should be pure and wholesome and should be produced, sold and consumed under the best and most comfortable circumstances possible. I have also believed that since the trade must of necessity, be in the nature of a monopoly—and this is important—the profits accruing ought to go to the public good and not to the benefit of a few who have been privileged by the decisions of licensing benches composed of magistrates who are by no means representative of people's wishes. Further, I have believed that public houses should, in the real sense of the word, provide refreshments of all kinds and should not be places merely for the consumption of intoxicants.
As this Bill will affect a substantial part of County Durham, and as County Durham, Northumberland and similar parts of the country are strictly club minded and have set a very high standard in the provision of drink and accommodation, I thought that it was very desirable that I should go to Carlisle again to see what had gone wrong with this State management experiment. I was also led to do that as the result of a statement which I read in the "Daily Mail" by Mr. John Stewart Eagles, who for seven years was the general manager of the State-run Carlisle brewery and public houses. He gave his views to a gentleman whose name is Mr. Charles Graves. He said:I make no attack on the Carlisle management. It has built many public houses of outstanding architectural merit and it has laid down the finest bowling greens.He offered other criticism, of course.
I was delighted to go to Carlisle. Despite such criticism as I propose to offer in a constructive way, I want to say that the opinion of the former manager of the scheme was not justified. I am expressing a very substantial body of opinion in Carlisle when I say that they very much resent a former servant of the State criticising the scheme, when for seven years he had the opportunity to improve some of the things which he mentions in that newspaper statement, but miserably failed to do so. The residential hotels in Carlisle are second to none in the country. The food is good and the tariff is better than in a 1103 lot of places of an equivalent type in this city. As to the first-class restaurant in Carlisle, I say without hesitation that there is nothing to equal it either in this city or in any other part of the country. I say that, having enjoyed three meals there quite recently. They were a credit to the scheme.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Kingsmill (Yeovil)
Could the hon. Gentleman give us the names of the places where he had those meals?
§ Mr. Lavers
The "Citadel" was one; I went to the "Citadel" twice. There was another one, but I could not give its name. I visited one place where the workers could obtain most wholesome food and take it away to their homes, and that was much appreciated by the people in that part of the world. Some of the public houses were old and some were new. We must remember that it is 11 years since it was possible to build or make any alteration to the Carlisle scheme, but I am satisfied from what I have seen and heard that once the austerity in labour and material comes to an end, a vast amount of leeway will be made up.
The architecture of the houses was exceedingly good. Probably there has been far too much put into the houses from that point of view, if that is possible. However well-intentioned the architect may have been in many houses, there was a complete lack of certain amenities such as darts, dominoes and other games. I understand that efforts will be made to improve the position in that respect. I also noticed a complete absence of arrangements for music and singing, although I believe this is permitted on the outskirts. I must tell the Home Secretary that if Durham is provided with a State-managed public house in which people are not allowed to sing, the experiment will not be a success. In Durham there are tens of thousands of people who work in heavy industries, and they like a chance to "let go" during the weekend; it is a sort of safety valve for them. In Carlisle I discovered there was not even a wireless set in any of the houses. When I asked one of the managers, "What about the broadcast of a big fight?" he said that he would bring his own personal wireless into the bar.
1104 I discovered that the internal decoration of the State-managed hotels in Carlisle leaves much to be desired. There is far too much dark oak panelling which, accompanied by old-fashioned lighting, is inclined to be depressing. I saw no signs of better lighting, fluorescent lighting, until I reached the administrative block. The time has come for modern ideas to be translated into practical effect. I should like the managers of the State scheme to come to Durham, and see our working men's clubs, with their bright colour schemes and new plastic furniture. I also noted that adequate seating accommodation is provided, and that managers do their best to persuade people to take advantage of it. But there are difficulties through overcrowding. Carlisle is a big marketing town, with outside visitors in substantial numbers coming to the city, which reflects the Government's policy of full employment. Some of the old brigade think that the reduction of number of licensed houses was far too drastic, and that that has resulted in this congestion.
There is a complaint about service in the public houses. It is admitted that there was a deterioration in the service in the State public houses and hotels during the war, but that was also the case in many private public houses and hotels. Such service was not peculiar to those licensed houses which were controlled by the State. There is talk about the weak beer in Carlisle. Of course, there is weak beer there, but there is a reason. Three grades of beer are brewed there—mild, which has a monopoly, of production, bitter which is excellent, and the bottled beer, which is called "the local." The mild beer, at 1s. 1d. per pint, is the cheapest. I know of no cheaper beer in the country. I know something about this subject, and I say that there is no better value anywhere for the money. Why is it weak?
Before the war, because of lack of purchasing power by the people of Carlisle, the State management scheme had to produce beer which, in the main, had to be priced at a figure in keeping with the pockets of the workers. When war came the State management scheme was allocated raw materials on quota basis on a pre-war beer gravity and found it very difficult to maintain strong gravity beer. Even now, adequate raw materials cannot be obtained, and so we get this 1105 unhappy position. Having talked to the brewer and secretary of the scheme, I am assured that if they are given the requisite raw material they will produce beer that will be as good as any in the country. In my opinion the standard of public houses in Carlisle is very high indeed. In any case, the worst public house I saw was better than the best that could be found in the industrial area of Durham. Some of the public houses in this area are absolute monstrosities. The State management scheme has nothing to be ashamed of, and I am surprised that some Members of the Opposition are trying to queer the pitch.
I will say a few words about staffing matters, of which I have some complaint. There is no system of training within the industry to provide opportunities for promotion. Too many people come in from outside, and this is resented. It is time a training scheme, and system of promotion on the basis of efficiency, was introduced. Ex-Service men who work for the Carlisle scheme tell me that in the Army they were taught that there was a field marshal's baton in every soldier's haversack but that since they have returned, the only baton they are likely to handle is the handle of the beer engine. Private industry encourages its workers to take more responsible jobs, and I think the State Management Committee could do no less.
The time has come to establish a proper negotiating machinery for the industry. At present, there is a great deal of resentment. The workers feel they are working for a grand paying concern. There is far too much delay in settling staff disputes. For instance, the present holidays agreement of the State management scheme dates back 30 years. the workers' representatives are attempting to obtain an improvement, but are finding it difficult. Further, there is no superannuation scheme. The Government should give a lead in these matters. On 16th March the Minister of Labour said he proposed to call the attention of the two sides to the possibility of setting up joint negotiating machinery for the Brewing Industry. There is a feeling that such a body ought to have been created long ago.
Apparently, as no one has said that the State Management scheme should be 1106 abolished, or that it should be improved, things have remained as they are for 30 years. It is said that the present set-up should be abolished. I was glad to hear the Home Secretary say that he would see there was liaison between the district and central authorities by direct representation from districts to centre. There is a feeling among the workers that there are far too many lay magistrates on the local advisory committee. They say it should be more representative of workers, consumers and other interested people. The workers also speak of a return of the percentage of profits. One intelligent chap referred to a statement made by the Chancellor some time ago, that all successful industries should plough some of their profits back into industry. The State management scheme workers in Carlisle share that point of view; they believe they should share some of the profits.
I should like to tell the House about another great experiment, bigger than the State management scheme. It started in 1921. It is the workmen's brewery on the north-east coast—the Northern Clubs Federation Brewery—and it was created because of the harsh treatment by the brewers in denying the workers on Tyne-side and in Northumberland their drink during the 1914–18 war. They taught the workers there to build their own brewery. This brewery last year had a turnover of more than£2 million and we handed back to the shareholders last year a total sum of £384,996 independent of the normal profit. We know what profits are being made in the brewing industry. We have 349 workmen's clubs with 200,000 men engaged in industry by hand and brain and mostly in heavy industry. To these workmen's clubs we give a rebate in the form of a dividend of £2 16s. per bulk barrel, and 15 per cent. dividend from all bottled products.
Since the inception of this brewery in 1921 the astounding figure of £3,307,272 1s. 5d. has been distributed in dividends, discount and interest in capital. In case some hon. Member should ask what sort of beer we brew, I would say that this brewery has swept away every challenge cup that has been offered by the Brewers' Exhibition in days gone by. Since 1921 we have been ploughing the profits back. I suggest to the Minister that when the new scheme comes to 1107 Durham, where the people have been educated on Socialist lines for a long time, they will expect a repetition of this kind of experiment on Tyneside. Important as the State scheme is, it will have to buck up its ideas when it is extended to County Durham. These club men in the north-east have more than £1,250,000 of money waiting for the time when they can build clubs in keeping with the local authority's conception of the housing of the people. The House can see what an excellent standard there has been set in our part of the world and the problem it presents to the Government with regard to the new extension to Durham of the State scheme.
I should like to ask the Home Secretary a number of important questions affecting club men. I hope the House will forgive me, but this is the first chance I have had of speaking since I have been absent on account of illness. These are vital points. I ask the Minister to say whether the rights of existing registered clubs to supply intoxicants to members is to be extended to new clubs formed in those districts? Will those clubs be on the same footing as the other clubs? For instance, will the new clubs be subject to police supervision and police entry without a warrant? We gather from the Bill that it is the intention of the Secretary of State to sell intoxicants, but that it is not his intention to run clubs in which intoxicants are supplied to members. To make this point clear, we ask that references in the Bill to supplying should be deleted.
On the question of the permitted hours in clubs, is it intended to fix the Carlisle system on the new clubs or will the existing law stand as applying to clubs? Will the right of the existing clubs to purchase beer from such brewers as they would desire, or will they be compelled to take supplies from State sources? With regard to the right of a new club to be erected in new town areas, would the Home Secretary preclude land being purchased within such areas for the erection of new clubs? Lastly, I would in all seriousness ask the Home Secretary whether it is true that one of the conditions attached in the most recent instance of the Secretary of State's authority to supply intoxicating liquor in a club in the Carlisle district is that the prices charged for beer or spirits shall not be less than the retail 1108 prices ordinarily charged for beer or spirits of like strength in the public bars of the licensed premises in the neighbourhood? Is that a statement of fact? If so, I submit that the Home Secretary is in for a rather troublesome time with an organisation such as mine, and from the clubs concerned which have built the business up upon a co-operative basis and who claim that clubs' boards of management should have the right to determine in what way they should distribute their profits.
Finally, we say that there should be uniformity of law in all clubs irrespective of whether they are existing and registered or whether they come into the new areas. The new clubs should not be under conditions which do not apply to other clubs existing alongside them. With those qualifications I wish the Bill godspeed on its journey.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey (Macclesfield)
I am sure that the House will welcome back the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Lavers) after his recent illness. Judging by his appearance we may suppose that the products of his local clubs have had much to do with his recovery. He was obviously speaking on good authority, but I should have thought it would have been much more in accordance with custom if he had declared his interest earlier on.
Be that as it may, I would point out that nothing was said about the demands for this Bill that is now being discussed. Hon. Members tonight are discussing the Bill as a very academic affair which has nothing to do with the public. The Secretary of State for Scotland has talked about guiding the people to a new way of life. I have a very great respect for the Secretary of State for Scotland, but I suggest that this is the wrong time to come to this House and talk about guiding the people to a new way of life. That is not what they want from the Government or from Members of Parliament. We want some good sound common sense directed towards improving conditions for the people. The hon. Member for Hitchin (Mr. Asterley Jones) said there should be more free houses. In that respect I agree entirely with him. I should like to see 50 per cent. of the public houses free of the brewers. I have no brief for either the brewers or the 1109 Government in this matter. What I want to see is competition in this business, and I am sure that if we have real competition the people will be better off.
I should have thought that a Measure on this scale should at least have been mentioned in the Gracious Speech. But there was not a word of it. Suddenly it is sprung upon us. As if there is nothing else to fit into this particular day's business but a discussion on legislation for public houses. I think it is an unnecessary Bill and it certainly has very many bad Clauses. It is a bad Bill indeed. Undoubtedly it will go through on Second Reading tonight, but I hope it will be considerably improved in the Committee stage.
We have been told that the people have been led astray in signing petitions. Led astray! When the people voted this Government into power in 1945, we were not told that they were led astray. From Macclesfield I have received 4,230 signatures in a week protesting against this Measure and I have had one letter in favour of this Bill.
§ Mr. Mathers (Linlithgow)
May I ask the hon. and gallant Member whether the petition indicates clearly that the real purport of the Bill is understood by those who signed it, because if it does, then it is very different from many of the communications which have been received by hon. Members.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
I will read what it says at the top of the paper. It is addressed to myself. It says:We, the undersigned, view with grave concern the possible outcome of the Licensing Bill at present before the House of Commons. This Bill appears to us to be the first step towards the nationalisation of the public houses and hotels, to which we are strongly opposed. We therefore hope and trust that you will, on our behalf, use every means to oppose the passing of the Bill.The right hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Mathers) may say what he likes about that. The fact is that in Macclesfield my Socialist opponent—who incidentally is now a Tory—obtained 20,000-odd votes, and looking through these names on this petition, I am quite sure that many of them were his supporters. It is quite wrong to say they have been misled. The British people are politically minded. They know the position perfectly well—and I think they know many 1110 things better than many hon. Members in this House.
Supposing the Government were to come back with a majority—personally, I do not think they will—I am quite sure there would be a certain section of hon. Gentlemen opposite who would want complete nationalisation of this trade. That is the trouble with the Government over nationalisation; we never know how far they are going. This Bill is aimed at taking away privileges from the individual which are much valued. Having got through three and half years of their life, the Government should have left this matter alone for the time being and tackled outstanding problems. They know quite well that if they had had a referendum in the country, there would have been very little support for this Measure. Then why talk about guiding the people in a new way of life?
Turning to the soft drinks industry, there is no provision in this Measure for compensation to manufacturers where they lose substantial trade. None at all. It must be admitted that there is very good competition in the soft drinks industry. That has been admitted in this House recently. The cheaper drinks have come down in price since de-control and the more expensive ones have gone up. Probably that is as it should be. I see no point in the Government talking of manufacturing soft drinks.
As has already been mentioned, the residents of these new towns have no opportunity of expressing their views. Surely if we are to move large sections of the public from one place to another they should have some say in what is to take place. I see the Parliamentary Secretary shakes his head. He does not agree.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning (Mr. King)
I was shaking my head about that reference to the residents of the new towns. They are not there.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
No, but they will be there.
I want to refer briefly to Clause 19, which is to replace Defence Regulation 42C to deal with bottle parties. They have not been mentioned so far, except very briefly by the Home Secretary. I have no doubt that many hon. Members on this and the other side of the House 1111 are more qualified to discuss them than I am, for I go to them very little indeed. I think it would do hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite a power of good to go to a bottle party. It might cheer them up. However, if legislation is required for the night life of this great city, let us have real legislation which will improve the conditions. Do not let us have this sort of legislation, which may lead us back to the sort of conditions that we had 25 years ago, when there were various night clubs around London which did nothing but harm to the young men and women who frequented them. That is not what we want.
I say that if the brewers or their associations are agreeing with the Home Secretary in objecting to bottle parties, that carries no weight with me at all. In this great city of ours we have to have conditions in which we can entertain people from abroad, conditions comparable with those of their own countries. If this Bill goes through there will be nothing to do in London after about 11.30 at night or midnight.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
Only one or two hotels exercise their privilege of applying for an extended licence. Many people simply will not come here unless they can have some night life. Of the people who frequent bottle parties, 40 per cent. are foreigners. At least, that is the figure I have been given. Of the invitation holders; 40 per cent. are foreigners. That is a very large percentage, and I am told it is on the increase at present.
There are one or two very good restaurants in London, and they have to shut at about midnight. I should have thought that there was a good case for putting bottle parties on the same basis as restaurants and hotels, at the same time extending the hours. Hotels will not keep open because they will have to pay a third shift on the new scale of wages, and that makes the cost prohibitive. Since we must have night life, and bottle parties, let us see that they are run well, and that the sanitary arrangements and the precautions against fire, and so on, are fully satisfactory. I took a foreign gentleman last week to a restaurant in 1112 London to entertain him. He said what a good place it was, and then added, "But why do I have to go home so soon? In my country we begin to come out at about this time."
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
Maybe, but we want foreign visitors to come here. People do not make a habit of going to bottle parties every night, or to night clubs. They go there once in a while, and they are not wrong in doing so. If on one night they drink only half of what they order, they are allowed to keep the remainder until their next visit to the club. The remainder of their drink is labelled and sealed. That is a very fair arrangement. At most hotels, if one buys a bottle, it must be consumed during that one visit.
I do not believe that the young men and women of today drink very much at all. Certainly, during the war, in the messes the young men drank very little; mostly soft drinks. The same is true of the Smoking Room. The amount of tomato juice consumed in the morning and the evening is quite amazing. I am told that the foreign embassies telephone to the bottle parties to reserve tables for their official visitors, and that the ambassadors themselves frequent these establishments. Of course, they all have to be introduced. They just cannot come to London and go to a bottle party. They have to have a proper introduction and fill in the various necessary forms; and, then, eventually they are notified that they may use the premises.
Now that the Home Secretary has come in again—if I may have his attention for a moment, and if he will listen to this one point—I would remind him that he referred today to the closing down of a number of undesirable bottle parties and night clubs. I think that the figure he gave was 70. Surely, he will agree that if he has got rid of the undesirable clubs those that are left are desirable and are well run. If that is so, then why close them down?
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
It is all very well to say that. That may be so in Cardiff, but it does not apply to 1113 London. My own belief is that, having got rid of these undesirable night clubs, what we want to do is to improve the ones that we have—the clubs that can earn us the foreign exchange and hard currency which we want so much. I ask the Government to reconsider this whole matter. This is an unpopular Measure throughout the country. I believe that the Government will regret it, and I ask them to review the Bill very carefully and bring back one which is more in line with public opinion.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Lyne (Burton)
I am very grateful to have the opportunity of dealing with one or two points which I think have been entirely missed during the Debate. I do so, because I feel that the Bill itself, good for the greater part, is, so far as Clauses 2 and 3 are concerned, entirely misleading, unwise and unnecessary. I am not opposed to State management in any respect, but I feel that the alternative system that will operate in the new town areas, is not the State control system as we have it in Carlisle. I believe that this Bill would have met with the general approval of most Members in this House had the issue been narrowed down to the question raised in Clause 1, leaving out Clauses 2 and 3, because I think all of us would agree that where a development board is planning a new town, the erection of refreshment houses should be under the ownership and control of those who have spent large sums of money in order to build the new town as we want it to be built.
I believe that there is a much better way of dealing with the situation than is to be found in this Bill. After all, State management as we know it in Carlisle is not the only alternative. It is quite possible by the erection of these houses under the control of the, corporations and, under the ownership of the local authorities, to plan the houses just as would be done under the system which operates in Carlisle, and to put in tenants who would be responsible for the conduct of the houses. What is more, they would be entirely free houses and not tied to any particular brewer. Furthermore, that would do away with the necessity of establishing boards of management, whether local or remote.
A good deal has been said in the course of the Debate in eulogy of the 1114 Carlisle system. I do not know the system as it operates in Carlisle, and I accept the views of those who know most about the system; but, at the same time, the houses that have been built under the scheme have shown a considerable advance on the situation that applied before the State took control. Let us remember that throughout the whole of the country there has been a general improvement in the standard of licensed houses over the past 30 years. It is not to Carlisle alone that credit should be given, unless it be credit for being the first city to establish the houses as we know them there, and as we want them to be elsewhere. But that would not, in any circumstances, prevent the standard in licensed houses erected in new towns being equal to, if not an improvement upon, that set in Carlisle.
The one point on which I profoundly disagree with the Government in respect of the advocacy of the first three Causes is that the State-controlled licensed Muses in the new towns are given a monopoly. Clause 2 not only deals with the erection of new houses in the new towns, but gives the Home Secretary power to take over existing licenses in the designated area. Clause 3 gives the Home Secretary power to go beyond the specified area of a new town and to include adjacent land, without any specified limit to the extent to which he can go. I had hoped that when the Home Secretary spoke this afternoon he would deal with the criticisms that have been levelled in respect of the provision to include adjacent areas, but to my surprise he made no mention of whether or not there was to be any geographical limit to the extent of his powers. Unless some reply is made tonight to those criticisms, I shall have to go into the Lobby and vote against the Bill.
I believe in State control, and I believe in State ownership where there are monopolies. If the brewing industry were a monopoly today, or if it became a monopoly, I should be strongly in favour of State control of the industry as a whole. But I know that there is tremendous competition among the large brewers of this country. At the same time, when the Government allow an industry to remain under private enterprise, as is suggested with this industry, it is unwise to establish a hegemony of 1115 State-controlled licensed houses in an area where there are existing licences, and where there should be the free play of competition between the State houses and the existing private enterprise licensed houses. If there is something better in State management—as I believe there is—than in the tied houses of the brewers, then let free competition prove it to the general public. If State management proves to be better the obvious course is to extend it to areas where, up to now, it has not existed.
I hope that whoever replies for the Government tonight will deal with these three specific questions. First, is it the intention of the Government, under Clause 2, to take over existing licences in the designated area? Secondly, is it the intention of the Government to fix a limit for the adjacent areas which can be brought under the scheme? Thirdly, is it the intention of the Government to prevent any form of competition in the area they propose shall be State managed?
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Keeling (Twickenham)
I hope that the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lyne), whose support to our opposition we welcome, will forgive me if I do not comment on anything he has said because I have promised to be very brief. The reason I intervene in this Debate is that many of my constituents in Twickenham are going to be offered accommodation in the new town of Bracknell in Berkshire, which is to take the overflow—I think that is a better word than "overspill"—of Twickenham and other towns in West Middlesex. It is therefore not surprising that I, like so many other Members, have received a large number of letters about this Bill, including a number from constituents who say they are members of the Labour Party, and all protest, without exception, against this Bill. The Home Secretary has said that the Bill will affect only one in 573 of the inhabitants of this country, but, whether that be so or not, it is no consolation for the one person who is to be affected adversely by it. I have had more protests against this Bill than on any other subject since this Parliament began. I am not referring to round robins which it is so easy to get signed in public houses, but to personal letters 1116 from people who are perfectly well aware that this Bill applies only to the new towns.
The gist of these letters is that a State public house, managed and staffed by State servants, never mind how efficient they may be, subject to Whitehall control—which means the destruction of the traditional spirit of the British pub—governed by State rules, selling mainly State beer—and I am very glad that, owing to the generosity and enterprise of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Colonel Dower), we are to have an opportunity to taste it after the Debate—subject to no competition except by other pubs likewise bound by the State—a public house with all these handicaps can never be a substitute satisfactory to the Englishman for the local of his own choice, which is free to satisfy his needs, and does so for the very best of all reasons, namely that it is subject to competition from other public houses which are eager to meet those needs. The Home Secretary said that the Press accounts of this Bill were a caricature, but I assert that his account of the objections to it, if not a caricature, at any rate shows a complete failure to appreciate them.
It is impossible to imagine a trade less suited to nationalisation than the licensed trade, where so much depends on the individuality of the landlord. It is also impossible to imagine anyone less suitable for the job of landlord of a pub than a civil servant. I think that the experience of Carlisle, of which we have heard so much in this Debate, proves the limitations of the civil servant landlord. I have had put into my hands a notice which was copied yesterday by my hon. Friend the Member for Westonsuper-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing), in a public house in Carlisle. He is unable to read it himself because he has not been able to catch Mr. Speaker's eye. It runs:In order to maintain the amenities of this room, and also in order to safeguard the comfort of 'customers, the management desire it to be known that members of the staff have been requested not to serve customers who have been unable to obtain seats.No wonder that people who hear about these things happening in Carlisle are somewhat discouraged from migrating to a new town.
The calling of a landlord requires character, humour and infinite patience, 1117 and we cannot expect all these qualities in a civil servant who is subject to Whitehall orders. A State publican will always be a very poor substitute for the publican we know, whose methods are derived by tradition, albeit unconsciously, perhaps subconsciously, from the ancient hospitality dispensed to wayfarers by manor or monastery. The two types are absolutely poles apart.
What is the Bill for? There is no need for State ownership, because the trade is already subject to control from top to bottom. Does it meet a public demand? I submit that all the evidence is to the contrary. My conclusion is that the Government, blind to the facts, deaf to the wishes of the public, have fallen victims to the pedantic theories of the Fabian Society, and have slipped this Bill into their legislative programme without mandate, without warning and without good reason.
§ 8.56 p.m.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
We are now drawing to the end of a very important Debate, and in view of the number of Members who were recently on their feet, it is a pity that the Debate could not have been extended. Although there are three parts to this Bill the Debate today has been primarily concerned with Part I. I suppose there is reason for that in that in Parts II and III there are not matters of great principle involved. On the other hand, there is room for great difference of opinion on Clauses 19 and 20, to which the Home Secretary referred, and which come within the orbit of Part III. But generally, as my right hon. and learned Friend said, Parts II and III deal with matters of less fundamental importance, which can properly be considered on the Committee stage.
Part I has excited the keenest controversy throughout the country and great differences of opinion in this House. No one will deny that principles of the first magnitude are involved. In these circumstances I propose to devote my time entirely to that part of the Measure. We were told by the Home Secretary that Part I of this Bill provides for the system now in existence in Carlisle, Gretna and Greenock, which was brought into existence under the Defence of the Realm Act in 1915, and continued by the Licensing Act, 1921, being applied to 1118 all new towns, and also to such areas adjacent to them as may be expedient for securing effective State management or for including in a continuous district two or more new towns lying near one another. Under that provision, there is no doubt that areas of hundreds of square miles in extent can and will be brought under State management.
In fact, we have before us now a proposal to embrace in areas limited only by the modesty of the Secretary of State, a system of management which on the evidence of Carlisle, was necessary 33 years ago, in areas where great munition works were in process of construction, involving the importation into the district of many thousands of navvies, many of whom let us remember, came from a country now outwith the United Kingdom. Those men were earning enormous wages judged by the standards of that time and had no proper outlet for the expenditure of those wages. Further, they were housed under very poor conditions. Those were the circumstances, in which, with an insufficient police force to control them, drunkenness occurred to an extent almost unbelievable today. It was to meet that situation that this system of State management of the liquor trade was introduced.
Is it really contemplated that the conditions which led to that system will occur in our new towns? Even to make the suggestion is ridiculous. On the other hand, the implications cast a slur on the habits and civic sense of the tens of thousands of people who in course of time will inhabit those new towns. It also exposes to the public view the mentality of the present Government and makes plain the fact, which we on these benches at least have long suspected, that they are living in the days of the past and that their outlook and judgment are warped by stories which the great majority of them could only have heard from their dads, of conditions which have long ceased to exist.
I want to repeat certain questions put by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply will find it convenient to answer them. My right hon. and learned Friend wished to know—and so do all of us on this side of the House—whether the Government 1119 claim any mandate for the extension of State control to the extent proposed in this Bill. We also want to know whether there has been any public demand; whether the churches, the temperance societies or the corporations of the new towns have made any representations; whether they have ever been consulted, and whether the matter has ever been considered by the Labour Party Conference or the Trades Union Congress. Indeed, is it not contrary to the declared policy of the Labour Party laid down in 1918, and never repudiated, that local option should be pursued? There is very little local option in this Bill.
The Government must have some justification, a justification far greater than that which the Home Secretary gave today, for the introduction of a Measure which removes from the hands of local justices and local licensing courts all control over the liquor trade in their own locality. Local opinion is no longer to have any say whatsoever. As things are now, any body of citizens has the right to object to the imposition of a licensed house in their immediate neighbourhood, but under the new régime that does not appear to be allowed in the new towns. Men who know the needs and wishes of their districts are to have no opportunity of providing for those needs or meeting those wishes. Everything is to be removed from local control and concentrated in the hands of the Secretary of State and the pundits of Whitehall.
The Secretary of State is to appoint the local advisory committee. We have had a good deal of experience of local advisory committees in other directions. The Secretary of State sets great store by them, but I am not sure that the rest of us think them of much account. No other person than a man appointed by the right hon. Gentleman is to be allowed to sell retail or to supply liquor to licensed premises or registered clubs in any State-managed district. The patronage which will be available to the right hon. Gentleman will soon be very much greater even than that available to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power and all his other right hon. Friends put together.
Let no licensee of premises or any member of a registered club take comfort 1120 from the proviso in Clause 3 (1, a). He may have a licence today but that is not to say that he will have one three months after the Bill becomes an Act. I invite them to take note of what happened in Carlisle where, within a few months, every house had been compulsorily acquired and in consequence traders of long standing were deprived not only of their businesses but of their livelihood and were compelled to seek some other means of earning their living elsewhere. In Carlisle the demand was for complete monopoly, and that will happen again.
§ Commander Galbraith
Very poor compensation. I should also like the right hon. Gentleman to observe the great opportunities for increasing patronage which the Government will obtain under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this Subsection. Under these the Home Secretary can grant authority for almost anything, and they enable favours to be extended either to the co-operative societies or to other privileged bodies or persons.
Now let me try to find some justification for this Measure. It is not to be found in the decrease of drunkenness in Carlise as compared with other places. My right hon. and learned Friend gave the figures of convictions. In brief, in 85 county boroughs between 1917 and 1938 Carlisle never stood higher than forty-ninth on the list, and has descended today to a much lower figure in the sixties. Out of 19 towns of comparable size in 1947, Carlisle occupied only the tenth place. I should like the House to mark that proceedings were taken in twice as many cases as in Great Yarmouth, which is of a similar population—perhaps the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson) and the hon. Member for Newton (Sir R. Young) will note this—and Great Yarmouth has 3½ times the number of licensed houses of Carlisle, and in a seafaring place there is much more excuse for these unfortunate occurrences than there is in Carlisle.
§ Mr. Beswick (Uxbridge)
How does this fit in with the argument advanced earlier by the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) that in the State-managed public houses, people were discouraged from drinking?
§ Commander Galbraith
I do not think that the remarks of the hon. Member apply at all. I am merely pointing out that in a town of the same size there were half the number of convictions with three and a half times the number of licensed premises. I am not surprised at the lowly position occupied by Carlisle for the good reasons given by my right hon. and learned Friend, which the Home Secretary had tried previously to brush aside. In fact in the licensed premises in Carlisle, other than those few which happen to have billiard tables, people get little or no opportunity to entertain themselves other than by drinking and, so far as I can discover, the drink that is supplied lacks both quality and variety. The Home Secretary said that the lack of amenities could be disproved by anyone who cared to visit Carlisle or other State management districts. I do not know, but one of his right hon. Friends has actually visited them. I find that the Secretary of State for Scotland visited Annan on 31st March, 1948, and this is what the "Annandale Observer" has to say about it:The Secretary of State was interviewed by an Annandale Obesrver' reporter, and asked about the criticism which was made in the Town Council some months ago regarding the State-controlled houses in Annan. Mr. Woodburn said he had heard little criticism that day, but accompanied our reporter into a public bar in State-controlled premises in Annan. When he entered the place he looked round and said, 'This certainly casts no credit on State management.'Seeking further justification, I have gone through practically every report of every Royal Commission or other committee appointed to inquire into this matter, and I will give to the Rause what the Southborough Committee on the State management of public houses had to say in 1927. In paragraph 50, I find these words:We are not satisfied that a case has been established for the extension of the schemes"—that is, the State-management schemes—to any other particular area or place… it would not be justifiable to terminate them at this stage.There is nothing helpful from the point of view of the Government in that reference. Then I referred to the Royal Commission on Licensing, 1931, which has been mentioned so often during this Debate. I found that while they were in 1122 favour of the continuance of the Carlisle system, they suggested that public ownership should be applied elsewhere so that the system might be submitted to a further test in areas where there was a superfluity of licences. I suggest that that would not apply to this Bill. In the nature of things the number of licences will be smaller to start with in proportion to the ultimate population. Two somewhat revealing sentences later on prove that the Bill does not carry out the recommendations of that Commission The first says:We think that the management should be removed further from direct State and Treasury control.I will repeat the quotation which was given by my right hon. and learned Friend:We do not reject the possibility of other schemes providing for further divorcement of the undertaking from State control.In my contention the whole tenor of the Bill is in complete contradiction of these sentiments.
My right hon. and learned Friend drew attention to the findings of the Committee on war-damaged licensed premises and reconstruction—the Morris Committee of 1944. In particular he called attention to that Committee's recognition that progress was not consistent with the establishment of stereotyped standards or set patterns. Again, the Bill departs directly from that suggestion. The point which has impressed me most, and no doubt has impressed other hon. Members also, is that while the Morris Committee had every opportunity for doing so, it made no suggestion whatever that better results could be obtained under State control.
Now I come to the last of these Reports, the Report of the New Towns Committee of 1946. It contains no proposal whatsoever for the introduction of State management. In those circumstances, in the lack of any demand or of any mandate, in the failure of Carlisle to show any improvement in social conditions over other places, and as, apart from the somewhat tepid suggestion in the Report of the Royal Commission of 1931 that further experiments might be made, no proposals for a Measure of this kind appeared in the Reports of the Morris or the Reith Committees, I can only conclude that the Government have no real justification for the Bill.
1123 My conviction in this direction is strengthened in view of the developments which have taken place over the last 30 years: the great improvement in amenities which have been provided, the change in the social habits of the people, no doubt connected with the transformation of the public house which has taken place as a result of the awakened conscience of the licensed trade, and the expenditure of vast sums of money.
There have been suggestions that the Bill is warranted as a means of curbing drunkenness or of preventing the urge to get drunk. The official figures of convictions for drunkenness, given in detail by my right hon. and learned Friend, dispose completely of that contention. Briefly, in 1913 there were 180,000 convictions for drunkenness; in 1947 they had been reduced to 25,541. These figures show what a remarkable change in social habits has come about. No doubt many factors have contributed to that change, including the much greater literature which is now available and the much greater variety of entertainment which has been opened up during the last 40 years.
Credit is due also to those who have helped to restore to the English inn and public house the social atmosphere which was its great attribute until it was destroyed or debased by the industrial revolution when great numbers of people were gathered into congested localities. That is a matter of history but the English inn today is being rapidly restored to its old time rôle and place in a healthy social life. The figures of the number of convictions and the great fall which has taken place, prove that the average citizen is quite capable of deciding for himself where and how he can obtain his entertainment.
In the connection in which we are discussing entertainment today, I remind the House that the ordinary man does not talk so much nowadays of the public house or the "pub." He speaks in fact of "my local" with emphasis on the word "my." He chooses it himself because he likes it. He likes the atmosphere, the landlord and the company and he likes the type of recreation and the refreshment that is provided. What was it in English life that struck the men who came here from overseas 1124 to fight during the war? [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen are quite correct. It was the warm and friendly social atmosphere of the English inn. That atmosphere is to be destroyed entirely and completely by this Bill.
The owner and the independent licensee are to be dispaced by a manager who will pay far more attention to the instructions he receives, in order to keep his job, than he will to the enjoyment of his customers. The buildings will become standardised and stereotyped just as are those of the post offices and labour exchanges today. They all tend to conform to one type. The choice of refreshment will be limited. It is no use at all for hon. Gentlemen opposite to say that they are limited today in the tied house, because we are able within a reasonable distance, either to find a free house or the tied house of another brewer. Those conditions will not exist when this Bill becomes an Act. All of us will have to put up with what the State thinks is good for us, and not what we would wish to obtain for ourselves.
An attempt has also been made to decry the great implications of this Measure and, in particular, the size of the areas concerned. I should like hon. Gentlemen to read closely and with care Clause 2, Subsections (2) and (3), to which attention has been drawn by the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith). They will find there that the areas are capable of almost indefinite expansion—and that, at the mere whim of the Secretary of State. All of us know quite well how little protection is provided by the local inquiry or the negative Resolution procedure in this House. Indeed, it is possible under Clause 2 to bring the whole of the London area itself within the scheme. So far as Scotland is concerned, it is obvious that Glasgow at least, with a new town at East Kilbride on one side and another new town suggested at Bishopton on the other, could also be included. Be that as it may, why should any large areas be treated differently from the rest? Why should some parts of the country be free to decide for themselves and other parts of the country have this system with all its restrictions thrust upon them? Why should they have to submit to the dictation of the Secretary of State?
I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he really suggests that he can provide 1125 better for the new towns than the inhabitants can provide for themselves as, for example, they did at Welwyn Garden City as is so ably portrayed by the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) in a book of which he was the joint author, and on the tone of which I congratulate him. Why not follow the precedent set by Welwyn? Why not leave the new town corporations to get on with the job themselves? Why not, as my right hon. and learned Friend suggested, go in for a system of licensing planning committees such as those set up under the Licensing Planning (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1945? They are functioning well and successfully in no fewer than 31 areas today.
I have always looked on the two right hon. Gentlemen whose names are particularly connected with this Measure as rather modest men. But now that they are taking on the role of dictators, I do not like them half so much. They are taking it upon themselves to decide where, when and how their fellow countrymen should drink and what they should drink, the atmosphere in which they will foregather and the entertainment which will be provided, what games they will be permitted to enjoy and what food they will be allowed to eat. Considering how very intimately these matters ere concerned with individual taste and choice, is it not really a piece of pure impertinence and a gross presumption on the part of Ministers to take it upon themselves to decide these things for people who are just as adult as they are, and just as capable of deciding for themselves? What would either of the right hon. Gentlemen think if I had attempted to impose the conditions on which they should enjoy their leisure? What moral right or justification have they to decide these things for their fellow citizens?
What is happening is that the country is beginning to get a taste of Socialist superiority, the kind of superiority which is obvious in the members of the Fabian Society and those who have been through the London School of Economics, the busybody technique, "the gentleman in Whitehall really does know best" attitude of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, the "we are the masters now" attitude of the Attorney-General. If I 1126 know anything about my fellow-countrymen, they are not going to take this interference in their own private affairs either from this or any other Government.
There are two other aspects of this Bill which call for some comment. The first concerns the powers which it gives to the Secretary of State either to compete with or interfere in the activities which the local authorities have been authorised to carry on either under the Local Government Act, 1948, or the Civic Restaurants Act. I leave it there for hon. Gentlemen to consider that point. The other is the power which the Secretary of State has to enter into competition with any bona fide trader. The Bill empowers him to enter into any aspect of the hotel and catering trade, licensed or unlicensed, from the smallest teashop to the largest possible hotel. He can set himself up as a brewer, a blender of wines and spirits, a bottler, manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer of table waters, and he can provide entertainment of any kind whatsoever, so long as he sees that a snack bar is attached.
This Bill envisages the State entering into competition with private traders on the widest possible scale. It is a warning to manufacturers and traders, great and small, of the Government's real intentions. It is the thin edge of the wedge. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad hon. Gentlemen admit it. It is the thin edge of the wedge, and, with the Iron and Steel Bill, it forms a precedent which will be extended as opportunity offers. I am glad that my remarks have met with such general approval. The aim of the Government, in spite of protestations to the contrary, becomes perfectly clear. They are not going to rest content until they have transformed this country into a Socialist State, with the State in complete control of the means of production, distribution and exchange. That is the real issue which confronts the country. It is not a question of 80 per cent. free enterprise, as the Government have suggested; it is a case of 100 per cent. State activity in every field.
I have hitherto dealt with the effect of this Measure on the United Kingdom as a whole. I want now to deal with the situation purely as affecting Scotland. In Scotland, the temperance party, backed wholeheartedly by the churches, is I 1127 believe stronger and more powerful than in England, and, in Scotland, there exists among the public a deep objection to either the Government or the local authorities being in any way connected with the liquor trade. That was very clearly demonstrated at the time of the passage of the Civic Restaurants Bill when on the pretence of the difference in the laws of the two countries, but really on the strength of public opinion, the Government bowed and excluded Scotland from that part of the Bill authorising the local authorities to sell liquor in their own restaurants.
So far as England is concerned, the Government find a small thread of justification in the Report of the Royal Commission of 1931, though they cannot so far as Scotland is concerned. I will read the relevant passages of the Report of that Royal Commission. The members of the Commission had recently visited the Annan district, and in paragraph 188 of the Report they said:The impression left upon the minds of those who visited the various parts of the district was that, with perhaps one exception, the licensed houses attained to, but were no better than, the general standard which we would expect to find in privately-owned establishments under similar conditions elsewhere.In the next paragraph they said:The plea for their continuance was based on the desire to carry on in these districts an interesting social experiment.I am going to quote the whole of the next paragraph, although my right hon. and learned Friend has already quoted half of it. It says:We have come without difficulty to the conclusion that this plea has not been substantiated, and that the weight of the evidence is strongly against retaining these two exceptional districts. Apart from the official witnesses the evidence laid before us was almost unanimous in condemnation of the system of State management, and we feel that we should not be justified in advocating its continuance merely as an experiment even in its present limited form.It is interesting to note the point with which they conclude:We have based our recommendation solely on what we consider to be the general interest of the country.I suggest that if this Bill is founded in any way on the Report of the English Commission—and that was claimed by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary—then we in Scotland have an 1128 equal right to found on the Report of the Scottish Committee, and to claim that Scotland should be excluded from this Bill. From the advice which is available to me, this Bill does, in fact, over-rule the Temperance (Scotland) Act, 1913. That is the advice which I have been given. We know that it is not the intention of the Government, as has been explained to us by the Secretary of State for Scotland. The Secretary of State has given a pledge, but we must insist that that pledge is inserted in this Bill. Apart from Part I of the Bill being most imperfect as far as Scotland is concerned, of the 10 Clauses in Part II, only one applies to Scotland, and Part III does not apply to Scotland at all. In these circumstances, Scotland should never have been in the Bill and it should now be removed.
This Bill, in that it removes local control from things that are vital to and should be left to the determination of local people, and concentrates under a central authority matters of local interest, weakens local democracy and strikes at the very roots of democracy itself. In that it interferes with individual choice and impinges on the legitimate desires of private citizens, and sets up the State in competition with private traders, and, also, in that it creates a State monopoly over a wide field, it is a bad and vicious Bill.
It is, again, a bad Bill because it transgresses on principles strongly held by people in Scotland. It is a Bill which no one at all desires, and on which no body of authoritative opinion has been consulted. It is a Bill without rhyme, reason or justification of any kind. Further, I contend that it is a Bill which is an insult to every man and woman in the country, and particularly to those who in future will live in the new towns. It is a Bill which may react adversely on that great advance in social conduct which we have witnessed in recent years. As such, it should be treated with absolute contempt. I hope, therefore, that there will gather in the Division Lobby tonight a majority of Members from every party in the House to support the Amendment so ably moved by my right hon. and learned Friend.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
I think the House will agree with me that the Opposition Front Bench is to be congratulated 1129 on one thing—that is the great harmony that there was between the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe), who opened, and the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith) who wound up, for the Opposition. Indeed, I thought that there was not only harmony but almost identity in the speech to which we have just listened—having regard to the frequency with which the hon. and gallant Gentleman echoed—"As my right hon. and learned Friend said in opening the Debate." There was a great similarity between the two speeches—not that I am complaining about that; I think there is a lot to be said for it in all parties. On the other hand, the last speech might have provided a little more variety, if some new points had been introduced. We had a bit of fire, and of good "Morning Advertiser" tub-thumping from the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I have been reading the "Morning Advertiser" lately. It is not usually so extensively read as to reach me, but I have been reading it lately, and I have found it lively and interesting, with a good deal of rather exciting misrepresentation of this Bill and of the Government.
The hon. and gallant Member for Pollok has dealt with the origins of what has been known as the Carlisle experiment. I do not need to recount the historical origins of that scheme of State management, or disinterested management, which took place in Carlisle. It was largely started, I think, by the late Mr. Lloyd George in the Coalition Government of the first world war and there was, as has been indicated, an exceedingly serious drink problem at that time in the Carlisle area. I would not quarrel over-much with what was said by the hon. and gallant Member as to the circumstances and the causes of that serious situation. As a consequence of the introduction of the State scheme, the amount of drinking in the Carlisle area certinly did decrease dramatically during that war.
Indeed, the experiment so far established itself, although it was done under Defence Regulation, then known as the Defence of the Realm Act, during the first world war, that it was continued by statutory enactment by the Coalition 1130 Government after the war—a Government of which Mr. Lloyd George was Prime Minister, but in which the Conservatives were, I think, predominant. That was a remarkable thing, because undoubtedly that scheme is in principle, as we have seen today, contrary to the principles of the Conservative Party. The real explanation is that it was so outstanding a success that Liberals like Mr. Lloyd George and others, Conservatives and Labour men and women, too, felt it would be a tragedy for that scheme to be abandoned. In fact, it led to a diminution of drunkenness, and of drinking, and to the encouragement of other forms of drink and also of food.
I would not advocate that, as a consequence there should be prohibition of alcoholic consumption, but it is a legitimate ambition and legitimate aim of social policy that the existence of State management houses and of disinterested management should lead to absence of the pushing of alcoholic liquors, which might otherwise take place. I expect, and indeed I think that it will be a good thing, that this will be one of the results if State managed public houses are established under this Bill. While the nation will not go teetotal in these new towns, nevertheless, the probability is that the amount of alcohol consumed will diminish, and I think that that is a perfectly legitimate purpose of social policy in this regard.
The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby and the hon. and gallant Member for Pollok quoted some figures about certain selected county boroughs—on something like a population basis, I think. However, I am not complaining about the fairness of the quotations as to the relative figures of proceedings for drunkenness in Carlisle and certain other county boroughs. None of us can be dead sure about the implication of the statistics that the right hon. and learned Gentleman gave us, or those I am going to give—except that, as statistics, they are right. But one must look behind these statistics for possible explanations or qualifications, in view of the circumstances with which one is dealing.
I noticed in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's list though I have not got it in front of me at the moment there was a fair proportion of what I should call quiet-living, rather select towns, of the 1131 type of Cambridge. It is probable that, in some of these quiter and more select towns, public house life is not quite so vigorously furthered as it is in working-class towns which have not the same good housing conditions. Moreover, in these quiet and select towns it is quite likely that people may conceivably, in individual cases, consume more in their homes than the proletariat consumes in the public houses.
Therefore, the figures are not conclusive, and I am not going to say that the figures I am about to give are conclusive. But they are for what they are worth. They are official, like the right hon. and learned Gentleman's figures. The only difference is that I am taking the comparison of Carlisle with all the county boroughs, and this, with respect, I am inclined to think is a better comparison than that with a select body of county boroughs on a population basis. I should say that I have been to Carlisle both to preach the word of the Labour Party, and to see the State management scheme. I should say that Carlisle is a good, respectable, average type of city of predominantly working-class character. I hope that that will not offend my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Grierson). According to the statistics, the legal proceedings for drunkenness in 1938 were, for all the county boroughs, per 1,000 of the population, 2.28, and for Carlisle, 1.52; in 1947 the proceedings were, for all county boroughs, per 1,000 of the population, 1.11, and for Carlisle, 38. It is a notable diminution in both cases. However, I only say that the diminution in Carlisle from 1.52 to .38 is a more dramatic reduction than that of all the county boroughs. Therefore, I think that as a social experiment, Carlisle has succeeded.
It may be relevant or not—I do not know—to quote what an authoritative Liberal publication said about this, especially as the Liberal Party—once more falling into it—have an Amendment down in the Order Paper proposing the complete rejection of the Bill. One of these days, perhaps, we shall have a Liberal proposal on the Order Paper conforming with Liberal policy. I have here a document which was written as long ago as 1928.
§ Mr. Morrison
I dare say it was. I can quite imagine it. It was before the time of the hon. Gentleman, because this has a ring of Liberalism about it. As I have said, it was as long ago as 1928—and, of course, since then the policy of the Liberal Party by its progressive freedom of mind, has become, naturally still more progressive. That is what ought to have happened. This is what this book says. I admit that it is soft-pedalled and very careful. The reason is that, at that time, there was a considerable division in the temperance movement as to whether they favoured State management or not. That is well known. Even today, among some temperance elements, there is some doubt about it. This book is published by the Liberal and Radical Candidates' Association, after consultation with the National Liberal Federation. It says about the Carlisle scheme:Introduced as an administrative expedient in face of a temporary breakdown of the existing system, the schemes are a challenging experiment in reform which is bound to have considerable influence on future proposals for dealing with the licensing problem. For any final deductions to be drawn, however, as to the possibilities of the system, its trial under normal conditions in a large industrial area would be necessary.That is exactly what we propose to do by this Bill. On page 60 of this Liberal publication—
§ Mr. Morrison
We have now got to the point when the hon. Gentleman, in cultivating the Tory vote at Dorset, begs me to put away an authoritative Liberal publication.
§ Mr. Morrison
If the hon. Gentleman goes on gravitating in the Tory direction, the Tory candidate will defeat him the next time. 'There is another extract from this book which says:Whether conditions could be improved elsewhere by the adoption of a similar scheme would largely depend on the degree of efficiency obtained in administration. Experience of undertakings by public bodies in other 1133 fields, as well as considerations of finance, would suggest the desirability of an experimental, rather than general or haphazard method of extension.There is nothing general or haphazard about this extension of the Carlisle scheme, and, therefore, we are firmly in line with what, I think, was a reasonable commentary upon the Carlisle experiment.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman who opened the Debate asked me to answer three questions. First of all, the question of the mandate. I am not going to accept the argument that everything that every Government does has to be justified by specific electoral declaration or mandate. This matter arose incidentally, in relation to new towns. Certainly we had a mandate for proper town and country planning. Certainly we had a mandate, which was well within the broad line of policy of the new towns, and when we came to the actual proposals for the new towns, we had to consider what was the best way of running the licensed premises. It really is an incidental matter, a by-product of the new towns' policy, as to how the licensed premises should be dealt with. Therefore, the question of a specific mandate does not arise. This is not such a startling Bill as all that. Indeed, that is why this Bill was not in the King's Speech. But then not every Bill was in the King's Speech. Quite frankly, we did not regard this as one of those exciting Measures which ought to occupy a place there. There has been far more excitement about the Bill in the columns of the "Morning Advertiser" than there has been during this day in the House of Commons.
Last week some of my hon. Friends—and I was very sorry about it—were worried in their hearts and minds about a Bill dealing with National Service, as they were worried about a previous National Service Bill, which became an Act of Parliament. Some of them—and I do not boast about it; I am very sorry and weep about it—voted against the Bill, much to my consternation and unhappiness. But did the Conservative Party then say that the Government had no mandate for the passing of the National Service Bill? As a matter of fact, I will freely give this point to my hon. Friends who voted against the Government on that Bill: I am bound to admit that the Government 1134 had no electoral mandate for the passing of that Bill. But that is not, in itself, a reason why it should be voted against. The fact is that a Government, when elected, must govern the country to the best of its ability, and within the broad limits imposed by the circumstances of the time. When circumstances emerge which require the Government to take hold of some situation they must take hold of it and answer to the electorate when the next General Election comes—which we shall do, with all the customary vigour and confidence that is characteristic of the Labour Party.
The fact is that the trade has worked itself up into an excessive degree of excitement, as if this were a social revolution. I even hear that some of my hon. Friends are nervous about this Bill, and think it is rather a bold and revolutionary Measure. But only the other day they voted with great equanimity for a much bolder Measure, namely the Measure for the socialisation of iron and steel; and I do suggest to them that, if a few weeks ago they could swallow iron and steel, they should be able to swallow liquor under this Bill tonight. I expect I shall hear more of that.
Now with regard to public demand. I do not say that there is a heated, excited public demand for the particular provisions of this Bill, any more than there is really any heated, excited, public antagonism to the Bill. But I do say that this method, of dealing with the liquor traffic is not one of the big issues of politics. The temperance question, as a whole, has always been a matter of public interest, and still is. Nevertheless this particular issue in relation to these new towns is not causing a lot of heat and excitement up and down the land. But ever since the Carlisle experiment was established, there has been a powerful body of opinion among reformers, not only of the Labour Party but also of other parties—a substantial and a growing temperance opinion—in favour of this method of mitigating the possible evils of the liquor traffic as regards excessive consumption.
Therefore, behind this Bill there is a substantial body of public opinion which has taken a special interest in the temperance problem and in the problem of planning our towns. To that extent we are entitled to claim that we have 1135 a considerable degree of public support. I shall not go back to the Labour Party Conference of 1918 to find out exactly what it said, or to argue, as has been done, that as the Labour Party has not said much about that subject since, it must still be the policy of the Labour Party. It is not good enough to assume that because the Labour Party Conference of 1918 said something which it has not since contradicted, it must still be Labour Party policy.
§ Mr. Morrison
I appreciate the discomfort of the hon. Member, and I am sorry if I have again trodden on his toes.
§ Mr. Morrison
It is not vital that the hon. Member should be heard at this point. We have just been told from the Opposition a long and pathetic story about civil servant publicans and bureaucrats dominating the bars, whereas mine ancient host ought to be there; and that the Government are presuming the right to prescribe what should be drunk and how it should be drunk. What nonsense. "The hon. and gallant Member knows it is utterly untrue. But there was a Tory Member who was yesterday trying to interfere with what we shall drink. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. McFarlane) asked the Minister of Food how much he had spent recently on imported ingredients in the manufacture of soft drinks; and the Minister gave him the answer in regard to fruit juice, citric acids and other perfectly healthy sounding things, including essential oils. The hon. Member then promptly said:Does not the Minister think it utterly indefensible that such expenditure should be encouraged for such a purpose, in view of our present necessities?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th December, 1948; Vol. 459, c. 35.]Who is trying to dictate to the people what they shall drink?
§ Mr. Morrison
I have no doubt that the hon. Member will get another chance. I am very sorry, but my time is limited.
§ Mr. Morrison
The hon. Member cannot take it. The trade has really got itself into a state of hysteria about this Bill. Our case is that if my right hon. Friend had not done anything in this direction and had left it to ordinary trade development, he would have got into great difficulties. It is not that we have a bitter quarrel with the brewers or the publicans; nothing of the kind. There is nothing personal, spiteful or vindictive about the policy behind this Bill. My right hon. Friend and the Secretary of State for Scotland are really in a great difficulty about this. They were in the difficulty that the public houses do not exist when it came to arranging who should have the licences, the licences would either have to be sorted out on the basis of distributing them equally among competitive brewers; or, as the brewers seem to feel, on the basis that my right hon. Friend should do a deal with them and distribute the licences among the brewers formed into preconceived spheres of influence—an understandable policy. In our view that would be wrong. That is not free competition. In our view the provisions of this Bill are an essential part of the planning of these new towns. The arrangements ought to be fitted into the general requirements of the new towns and in a way where we can get the maximum of private social enterprise, with the minimum of sheer incitement in the consumption of alcoholic liquors.
§ Mr. Morrison
I have only four or five minutes, and if hon. Members opposite deliberately occupy that time with laughter, it will prevent me being heard. They can do that if they like. [Laughter.] I can only say that if hon. Gentlemen are going to do that sort of thing, with the assent of their Front Bench, we shall have to do the same to them.
Persistent reference has been made to the Morris Committee, which dealt with the problem of the bombed sites of public houses. They have really nothing to do with this case. The Committee were concerned with bombed public houses in built-up areas, whereas this Bill is concerned with public houses which are not bombed and which are not in built-up 1137 areas. The right hon. and learned Gentleman quoted from the Report which said:In our opinion for establishments of such different character and location there is room for diversity in view and in practice in all such matters as the architecture and siting of licensed premises, and their number and size, their amenities and the catering facilities. offered.That was quoted as a case for opposition to the Bill. Lower down on the same page it was stated that in rural districts near Carlisle they noted with pleasure new or reconstructed village inns which replaced one or more unsatisfactory licensed houses and were designed to retain or recreate attractive features of some of the old British inns which in their design seemed to reflect something of the sociability and companionship to be found within.
A great agitation has been going on and much correspondence has passed through the post. I have had a lot myself. I think that a good deal of this postal pressure is artificial. I will give the House one piece of evidence which came to my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland division of Liverpool (Mr. Logan). I quote from what a licensed publican wrote to him:I have been instructed to forward enclosed to you. Personally I would prefer to leave it to the Government whether pubs should be State-owned or not. They do not seem to be making a bad job of this country.He added this:I risk my livelihood in writing to you in this manner but at least I am conscientious.That is the type of agitation which is going on.
I wish to say in conclusion that there have been various meetings of the trade, and one gentleman, Alderman A. J. Dyer, O.B.E., Chairman of the National Consultative Council of the Retail Liquor Trade "has told the Government bluntly," says the "Morning Advertiser"
that the trade, hitherto non-political, will not hesitate to act on political lines if necessary.
Let me in all seriousness say this last word to the trade. I am just old enough to remember in my youth the Liberal Licensing Bill and the by-elections, including Peckham and the Liberal allegation that every public house was a Tory Committee room. If the trade is going to revive those conditions, they will find a lot of mixed customers in their public houses and it will not be good. Secondly, I say, that if, as I hope will not be the case, this trade is going to make itself the instrument of a political party—[Interruption]—if this trade is going to make itself, according to this declaration, a party political instrument and turn every public house into—[Interruption.]—If that is so [Interruption.] The Opposition will get this back in good time—[Interruption.] If that is so, then I venture to say that the trade will be ill-advised and will be inviting a policy which it does not want.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes. 307; Noes, 203.1141
|Division No. 36.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Blackburn, A. R||Colfick, P.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Blenkinsop, A||Collindridge, F|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon A. V||Blyton, W R||Collins, V J|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Bottomley, A G.||Colman, Miss G M|
|Allen, Scholefield(Crewe)||Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Cook, T F.|
|Alpass, J H.||Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl Exch'ge)||Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Braddock. T (Mitcham)||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well. N. W.)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Bramall, E. A.||Corlett, Dr. J.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R||Brook, D (Halifax)||Crawley, A|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Cullen, Mrs. A|
|Awbery, S. S.||Brown, George (Belper)||Daggar, G.|
|Ayles, W H.||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Daines, P|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Bacon, Miss A||Butler, H. W (Hackney, S.)||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)|
|Baird, J.||Callaghan, James||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Balfour, A||Carmichael, James||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S W.|
|Barnes, Rt Hon. A J||Castle, Mrs B A.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)|
|Barstow, P G.||Chamberlain, R. A||Davies, S. O (Merthyr)|
|Barton, C.||Champion, A. J.||Deer, G.|
|Battley, J. R.||Chetwynd, G. R||Diamond, J.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Cluse, W. S||Dobbie, W.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Cobb, F. A||Dodds, N N|
|Benson, G.||Cocks, F. S.||Donovan, T.|
|Binns, J||Coldrick, W.||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Dye, S.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Royle, C|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C||Leslie, J. R,||Scolian, T.|
|Edelman, M.||Levy, B. W.||Segal, Dr. S|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)||Shackleton, E. A A|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Sharp, Granville|
|Edwards, W J. (Whitechapel)||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Lindgren, G. S||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Logan, D. G.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Longden, F.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Evans, S. N (Wednesbury)||McAdam, W||Skeffington, A. M|
|Ewart, R.||McEntee, V. La T||Skinnard, F W.|
|Fairhurst, F||McGhee, H. G.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Farthing, W. J||McGovern, J.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Fernyhough, E||Mack, J D.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Field, Capt. W. J.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Solley, L. J.|
|Fletcher, E G. M. (Islington, E.)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Follick, M.||McLeavy, F||Steele, T.|
|Foot, M M.||MacPherson, M. (Stirling)||Stewart, Michael (Futham, E.)|
|Forman, J. C.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Strauss, Rt Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)|
|Freeman, J. (Watford)||Mallalieu, E L. (Brigg)||Stress, Dr. B.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Stubbs, A. E|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Swingler, S.|
|Ganley, Mrs C. S.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Gibbins, J.||Marquand, H. A.||Symonds, A L|
|Gibson, C. W||Mathers, Rt Hon. George||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Gilzean, A||Messer, F.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Middleton, Mrs. L||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mitchison, G. R||Thomas, D E. (Aberdare)|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Monslow, W.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Morgan, Dr H. B.||Thomas, I. O (Wrekin)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Morley, R.||Thomas, John R (Dover)|
|Grey, C. F.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Grierson, E||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Griffiths, D (Rother Valley)||Mort, D. L.||Tiffany, S.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Moyle, A.||Timmons, J.|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Murray, J. D||Titterington, M. F.|
|Guy, W. H.||Nally, W||Tolley, L.|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Naylor, T. E.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Hale, Leslie||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Ungoed-Thomas, L|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Usborne, Henry|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Vernon, Maj W. F|
|Hardy, E. A.||Oldfield, W. H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Harris, H. Wilson (Cambridge Univ.)||Oliver, G. H||Walkden, E|
|Harrison, J.||Orbach, M.||Walker, G. H.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Pagel, R. T||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Haworth, J.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Warbey, W. N|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Palmer, A. M. F||Watson, W. M|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Parker, J.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Parkin, B. T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hicks, G.||Paton,. J (Norwich)||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Pearson, A||Wells, W T.|
|Holman, P.||Peart, T. F||West, D G|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Perrins, W||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Horabin, T. L.||Piratin, P.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Hoy, J.||Platts-Mills, J. F. F||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Popplewell, E.||Wigg, George|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'Iverh'pton, W.)||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B|
|Hynd, H (Hackney, C.)||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Price, M. Philips||Willey, F T (Sunderland)|
|Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Proctor, W. T||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A||Pryde, D. J.||Williams, D. J (Neath)|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Pursey, Comdr. H||Williams, J. L (Kelvingrove)|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Randall, H. E.||Williams, R. W. (Wigan)|
|Jenkins, R. H.||Ranger, J.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Johnston, Douglas||Rankin, J.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Rees-Williams, D. R||Willis, E.|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Reeves, J.||Wills Mrs. EA|
|Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Wise, Major F. J|
|Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Richards, R.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon A|
|Keenan, W||Ridealgh, Mrs. M||Woods, G. S|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Robens, A||Wyatt W.|
|King, E. M.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)||Yates, V. F|
|Kinley, J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Young, Sri R. (Newton)|
|Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Lavers, S.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Zilliacus, K|
|Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J||Rogers, G. H. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lee, F (Hulme)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Mr. Snow and Mr. George Wallace.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P G||Haughton, S. G.||Nicholson, G|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Head, Brig. A H||Nield, B (Chester)|
|Baldwin, A E.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt Hon Sir C.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Barlow, Sir J||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nutting, Anthony|
|Baxter, A. B||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Odey, G. W|
|Beamish, Maj. T V H||Hogg, Hon Q||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Beechman, N. A||Hollis, M C.||Orr-Ewing, I L|
|Bennett, Sir P||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Peake, Rt Hon. O|
|Birch, Nigel||Hope, Lord J.||Peto, Brig C H M|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D C (Wells)||Howard, Hon. A||Pitman, I J|
|Boothby, R.||Hudson, Rt Hon R. S (Southport)||Ponsonby, Col C E|
|Bossom, A. C||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr N J||Poole, O. B S (Oswestry)|
|Bowen, R.||Hurd, A.||Price-White, Lt.-Col D|
|Bower, N.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Prior-Palmer, Brig O|
|Boyd-Carpenter J. A||Hutchison, Col. J R. (Glasgow, C)||Raikes, H V|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G||Irvine, A. J (Liverpool)||Rayner, Brig R|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col W||Jarvis, Sir J.||Reed, Sir S (Aylesbury)|
|Brown, W J (Rugby)||Jeffreys, General Sir G||Renton, D|
|Bullock, Capt M||Jennings, R.||Roberts, H (Handsworth)|
|Burke, W A.||Jones, P Asterley (Hitchin)||Roberts, P G (Ecclesall)|
|Butcher, H. W,||Joynson-Hicks, Hon L W||Robertson, Sir D (Streatham)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R A (S'ftr'n W'ld'n)||Keeling, E H.||Ropner. Col L|
|Byers, Frank||Kendall, W D||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Carson, E.||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Sanderson, Sir F|
|Challen, C||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H||Savory, Prof D L|
|Channon, H.||Lambert, Hon G||Scott, Lord W|
|Clarke, Col. R. S||Lancaster, Col C. G||Shephard, S (Newark)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt,-Col G||Langford-Holt.||Shepherd, W S (Bucklow)|
|Conant, Maj R. J. E||Law, Rt Hon. R. K||Smiles, Lt-Col Sir W|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A H||Smith E P (Ashford)|
|Crookshank, Capt Rt Hon. H F C||Lennox-Boyd, A T||Smithers, Sir W|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O E||Lindsay, M (Solihull)||Snadden, W M|
|Crowder, Capt John E||Linstead, H. N||Spearman, A C M|
|Cuthbert, W N||Lipson D L||Spence, H R|
|Darling, Sir W Y||Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Stanley, Rt. Hon O|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Stoddart-Scott, Col M|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Low, A R W.||Strauss, Henry (English Universites)|
|Da la Bère, R||Lucas. Major Sir J||S'udholme, H G|
|Digby, S. W||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H||Sutcliffe H|
|Dodds-Parker, A D||Lyttelton, Rt Hon O||Taylor, C S (Eastbourne)|
|Donner, P W.||MacAndrew, Col Sir C||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Dower, Col A. V G. (Penrith)||McCallum, Maj. D.||Teeling, William|
|Dower, E L G. (Caithness)||McCorquodale, Rt Hon M S||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Drayson, G B||MacDonald, Sir M (Inverness)||Thomas, J P L (Hereford)|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Riehmond)||Macdonald, Sir P (I. Of Wight)||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Duncan, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (City of Lond.)||McFarlane, C S||Thornton-Kemsley, C N|
|Duthie, W. S.||Mackeson, Brig H. R||Thorp, Brigadier R A F|
|Eccles, D. M.||McKie, J H (Galloway)||Touche, G C|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Maclay, Hon. J. S||Turton, R. H|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Walter||Maolean, F H R. (Lancaster)||Tweedsmuir, Ladv|
|Erroll, F. J.||MacLeod, J.||Vane, W M F|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L||Macmillan, Rt. Hon Harold (Bromley)||Wakefield, Sir W W|
|Foster, J G. (Northwich)||Macpherson. N. (Dumfries)||Walker-Smith, D|
|Fox, Sir G.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W||Ward, Hon G. R|
|Fraser, H. C P. (Stone)||Manningham-Buller, R E||Watt, Sir G S Harvie|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Marlowe, A A H.||Webbe, Sir H (Abbey)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Marsden, Capt A||Wheatley, Col. M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Gage, C.||Marshall, D (Bodmin)||White, Sir D (Fareham)|
|Galbraith, Comdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Marshall, S H. (Sutton)||White, J B (Canterbury)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Medlicott, Brigadier F||Williams, C (Torduay)|
|Gammans, L D||Mellor, Sir J||William, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Glyn, Sir R||Molson, A H E.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Granville, E (Eye)||Moore, Lt-Col Sir T||Winterton. Rt Hon Earl|
|Gridley, Sir A||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||York, C|
|Grimston, R V||Morris Jones Sir H||Young, Sir, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Morrison. Maj J G (Salisbury)|
|Harden, J. R. E||Morrison, Rt Hn W S (Cirencester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Mott-Radclyffe, C E||Mr. Buchan-Hepburn-and Mr. Drewe.|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V||Neven-Spence. Sir B|
Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee1142
§ of the whole House."—[Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe.]
§ The House divided: Ayes, 195; Noes, 295.1145
|Division No. 37.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G||Beamish, Maj T. V H||Boothby, R|
|Astor, Hon M.||Beechman, N. A.||Bossom, A C|
|Baldwin, A E||Bennett, Sir P.||Bowen, R|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Birch, Nigel||Bower, N.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Boles, Lt-Col D C (Wells)||Boyd-Carpenter, J A.|
|Braithwaile, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R S. (Southport)||Peto, Brig, C. H. M|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hurd, A.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Poole, O. B. S (Oswestry)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Jarvis, Sir J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O|
|Byers, Frank||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Carson, E.||Jennings, R.||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Challen, C.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L W||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Channon, H||Keeting, E. H.||Renton, D.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S||Kendall, W. D.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Conant, Maj R. J. E.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H F C||Langford-Holt, J.||Robertson, Sir D (Streatham)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Cal. O E||Law, Rt Hon. R. K||Ropner, Col. L|
|Crowder, Capt. John E||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Ross, Sir R D (Londonderry)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Savory, Prof. D. L|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Linstead, H. N.||Scott, Lord W.|
|De la Bère, R.||Lipson. D. L.||Shephard, S. (Newark)|
|Digby, S. W.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.|
|Donner, P. W.||Low, A. R. W.||Smith E. P. (Ashford)|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Lucas, Major Sir J||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Snadden W. M.|
|Drayson, G B.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Drewe, C.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Spence H. R.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||MeCallum, Maj. D.||Stanley; Rt. Hon. O|
|Duncan, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (City of Lond.)||MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M|
|Eccles, D. M.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. Of Wight)||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||McFarlane, C. S.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Sutcliffe H|
|Erroll, F. J.||Maclay, Hon. J. S||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L||Maclean, F H. R. (Lancaster)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||MacLeod, J.||Teeling, William|
|Fox, Sir G.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Manningham-Buller, R. E||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N|
|Gage, C.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thorp, Brigadier R A F|
|Gatbraith, Comdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Marsden, Capt. A.||Touche, G. C.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Turton, R. H.|
|Gammans, L. D||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Gates, Maj. E. E||Medlicott, Brigadier F.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Mellor, Sir J.||Wakefield, Sir W. W|
|Granville, E. (Eye)||Molson, A. H. E.||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Moore, LI.-Col. Sir T.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Harden, J. R. E||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Watt Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V||Morrison, Rt. Hn. W. S. (Cirencester)||White, Sir D (Fareham)|
|Haughton, S. G.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||White, J B. (Canterbury)|
|Head, Brig. A. H.||Naven-Spenee; Sir B||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Nicholson, G.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nield, B. (Chester)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P||Winterton, Rt Hon. Earl|
|Hogg, Hon. Q||Nutting, Anthony||York, C.|
|Hollis, M C.||Odey, G W.||Young. Sir A S L. (Partick)|
|Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H|
|Hope, Lord J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Howard, Hon. A||Peake, Rt. Hon. O||Brigadier Mackeson and|
|Asland, Sir Richard||Benson, G||Carmichael, James|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Berry, H.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon A. V.||Beswick, F||Chamberlain, R. A|
|Allen, A C. (Bosworth)||Binns, J||Champion, A. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Blackburn, A. R||Chetwynd, G. R|
|Alpass, J H.||Blenkinsop, A||Cobb, F. A.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Blyton, W R.||Cocks, F. S|
|Attewell, H. C.||Bottomley, A. G.||Coldrick, W.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R||Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Collick, P.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.(L'pl. Exch'ge)||Collindridge, F|
|Awbery, S S.||Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Collins, V. J|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Bramall, E. A.||Colman, Miss G. M|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Cook, T. F.|
|Baird, J.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)|
|Balfour, A||Brown, George (Belper)||Corlett, Dr. J|
|Barnes, Rt Hon A. J||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Crawley, A|
|Barstow, P G||Bruce, Maj. D, W. T||Cullen, Mrs. A|
|Barton, C.||Burke, W A.||Daggar, G.|
|Battley, J. R.||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Daines, P.|
|Beshervaise, A. E||Callaghan, James||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Keenan, W||Royle, C|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||King, E. M||Sargood, R|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Kinley, J||Scollan, T|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Lavers, S.||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Davies, S. O (Merthyr)||Lawson, Rt Hon. J J||Shackleton, E. A A.|
|Deer, G.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Sharp, Granville|
|Diamond, J||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Dobbie, W.||Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)||Shawcross, Rt Hon Sir H. (St Helens)|
|Dodds, N. N||Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Shurmer, P|
|Donovan, T||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lindgren, G. S.||Simmons, C. J|
|Dumpleton, C. W||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Skeffington, A M|
|Dye, S.||Logan, D. G||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Longden, F.||Smith, S. H (Hull, S. W.)|
|Edelman, M.||McAdam, W||Snow, J. W|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||McEntee, V. La T||Solley, L. J.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||McGhee, H. G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||McGovern, J||Steele, T.|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Mack, J. D.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Evans, S. N (Wednesbury)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Ewart, R.||McLeavy, F.||Swingler, S.|
|Fairhurst, F||MacPherson, M. (Stirling)||Sylvester, G. O|
|Farthing, W. J||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Symonds, A. L.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Field, Capt. W. J||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Fletcher, E G. M. (Islington, E.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Follick, M.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Thomas, D E. (Aberdare)|
|Foot, M. M.||Marquand, H. A||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Forman, J. C.||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Messer, F.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Freeman, J. (Watford)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mitchison, G. R.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Monslow, W.||Tiffany, S|
|Gibbins, J.||Moody, A. S.||Timmons, J.|
|Gibson, C. W||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Gilzean, A.||Morley, R.||Tolley, L.|
|Glanville, J E. (Consett)||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Gooch, E. G.||Morrison, Rt Hon. H. (Lewisham, E)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Mort, D. L||Ungoed-Thomas, L|
|Greenwood, A. W J (Heywood)||Moyle, A.||Usborne, Henry|
|Grenfell, D. R||Murray, J. D||Vernon, Maj W. F.|
|Grey, C. F.||Nally, W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Grierson, E.||Naylor, T. E.||Walkden, E.|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Walker, G. H.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Guy, W. H.||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Oldfield, W. H||Watson, W. M.|
|Hale, Leslie||Oliver, G. H.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Orbach, M.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Palmer, A. M. F.||West, D. G|
|Hardy, E. A.||Parker, J.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Harris, H. Wilson (Cambridge Univ.)||Parkin, B. T.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Harrison, J.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon W.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Pearson, A.||Wigg, George|
|Haworth, J.||Peart T. F.||Wilcook, Group-Capt C. A. B|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Perrins, W.||Wilkes, L.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Piratin, P.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Williams, D. J (Neath)|
|Holman, P.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Price M. Philips||Williams, R. W. (Wigan)|
|Horabin, T. L.||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, W R. (Heston)|
|Hoy, J.||Pryde, D. J.||Willis, E.|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Pursey, Comdr. H.||Wills, Mrs. E. A|
|Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Randall, H. E.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Ranger, J.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Rankin, J.||Woods, G. S|
|Irving, W. J. (Tottenhom, N.)||Rees-Williams, D. R||Wyatt, W.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Reeves, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Jenkins, R. H.||Richards, R.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Johnston, Douglas||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Zilliacus, K|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Robens, A.|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Roberts, Gorenwy (Caernarvonshire)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Mr. Popplewell and|
|Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Rogers, G. H. R||Mr. Wilkins.|
|Jones, P Asterley (Hitchin)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
Question put, and agreed to.