§ 4.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Peake (Leeds, North)
I beg to move, in page line 13, to leave out "is hereby repealed," and to insert:shall have effect as if after the word 'Subsection,' where it first occurs, there were inserted the words 'after the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and forty-eight'.This Clause is one of the most important in the Bill, and I think this is the most important Amendment which the Committee will have to discuss upon it. The purpose of Clause 1 is to extend until December, 1952, the period during which the Service Departments can decide, or put off deciding, whether or not to purchase land for military purposes, land 849 which has either been damaged by war use or upon which war works have been placed. All that is quite irrespective of whether the land in question has in fact been requisitioned. Of course, the greater part of the land in question has been requisitioned, but there are many cases where war works have been placed on the land or damage done to land which has never been requisitioned at all.
Until this Bill, with this Clause in it, was brought before the House, these powers of compulsory purchase would have expired on 24th February next. Similar powers of purchasing land under the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act of 1945, where the purchase is for what are called economic transitional purposes, have already been extended until 1952 by the operation of the Supplies and Services Act, 1945. We do not take very much objection to the latter date, where the land is going to be used for economic purposes, where the purpose of the purchase is to restore land, or rehabilitate land in order to make a contribution to our post-war economy. But we do say that where the sole purpose—as in the Clause before the Committee—of postponing this date for another four and a half years is to enable the Service Departments to put off making decisions as to whether or not they will purchase land until December, 1952, that puts the owner of the land in a most unfair position. These decisions about purchase could have been taken by now, and I will explain to the Committee why it is that they have not been taken.
The effect of the Amendment is this. We suggest that the date by which effective decisions must be arrived at should be the end of December of this year. This gives the Government and the Service Departments another 11 months in which to make up their minds as to whether or not they will purchase particular areas of land. I have said that where the purposes of purchase are to contribute to our post-war economy these extended powers of purchase already exist. If hon. Members will look at the Explanatory Memorandum, they will see the broad result is that the date is already extended to December, 1952, in relation to land held or work done for transitional economical purposes. Those purposes were described by the Financial Secretary in moving the Second Reading of the Bill as the case of 850 land required broadly for purposes connected with the economic problems which face the nation during the post-war period.
The Financial Secretary in his speech upon this point made it quite clear that the later date for what are called economic purposes, and the earlier date where the purchase was for military purposes had not come about by accident. He said it was now understood that the Supplies and Services Act left a shorter period available for the exercise of those powers on land used for military purposes than on land used for economic purposes. He went on to explain that at the time when the Supplies and Services Act was passed in 1945:It was firmly expected in all quarters that the permanent requirements of the Forces would be settled and the dismantling of war works and rehabilitation of land completed by early next year. This expectation has not been realised. The House will ask and have every reason to ask, why? "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th December, 1947; V. 445, c. 1519.]He went on to state his reasons.
§ 4.30 p.m.
Before we come to his reasons I want to quote to the House what was said by the Home Secretary during the passage of the Supplies and Services Act, 1945, upon this point. The Home Secretary was pressed upon this matter. He was extending the date for four and a half years where the purpose of the purchase was economic rehabilitation, but he was pressed in the case of the purchase for military purposes that some shorter date should remain. He said:
We recognise that the premises and works concerned fall into two categories for which different treatment is necessary. In the first category are premises requisitioned and works constructed for war purposes … and not required for the new purposes set out in Clause I of this Bill.
That is the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act.
As regards that category, we accept the contention that the two-year period after next February"—
that is the period ending on 24th February of this year
ought not to be extended.
Later he said:
So that within two years the Government will have to make up their minds in accordance with the pledges given by the Coalition Government, and no extension of our
powers is sought in that respect."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th October, 1945; Vol. 414, 1601–3.]
He admitted that the Coalition Government—when I occupied the position now held by the Financial Secretary—had given pledges that these powers of purchase would come to an end two years after the end of the war. The Home Secretary went further, and repeated that the Socialist Government in October, 1945, would honour and redeem those pledges given by the Coalition Government in March of the same year. What the right hon. Gentleman has to explain to the Committee is why these pledges given by the Coalition Government, and endorsed by his own Government, are now to be broken. That is the case which he must explain. He rightly says, therefore, that the Committee will ask, and have every reason to ask why.
Before I come to the reasons which he gives, I should like to examine the reasons given by the Solicitor-General who replied to the Debate upon this point on Second Reading. Those reasons are wholly and entirely different from those given by the Financial Secretary. The Financial Secretary, no doubt, opened the Second Reading Debate with an admirable written brief. I am much more inclined to think that the reasons given by him, rather than those given by the Solicitor-General, will prove to be the correct ones. We should look at the reasons given by the Solicitor-General, because he must have got hold of the wrong principles altogether. In defending this Clause, the Solicitor-General said:
The powers we are seeking to extend in point of time by this Bill are very largely powers which conduce to peacetime purposes, and not to wartime purposes.
The fact is that, so far as peacetime purposes are concerned, the extension of time had already been taken in the Supplies and Services Act of 1945. The Solicitor-General continued:
I would like to give a few examples of that. We are extending the powers conferred by Section 6 of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945. That Section gives power to acquire land permanently in order to rehabilitate it so that it can be handed back for peacetime purposes. It is not for a wartime purpose at all; it will conduce to the building up of the nation again in peacetime.
All these powers already existed, and the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading made that perfectly
clear. The memorandum on the back of the Bill makes it perfectly clear that these powers already existed, yet the Solicitor-General was defending this proposal on the ground that it would conduce to peacetime purposes.
In fact, the whole purpose of Clause 1 is to enable the same thing to be done where the purchase is for military purposes as can already be done under the existing law where the purchase is for economic purposes. Really, the hon. and learned Solicitor-General was quite off the point and, quite innocently I am sure, he was misleading the House when he suggested that the purpose of the extended powers given by this Bill was to conduce to our peacetime economy, to rehabilitation, to restoration of land for agriculture, forestry and so forth. Moreover, the Solicitor-General drew the most horrible picture of what he thought would happen if these extended powers were not granted. He said:
If we do not have these extended powers what will be the position? Either we should have to telescope the procedure for inquiries, and give immediate notice to treat in a large number of cases—that is, curtail the inquiries promised in the Prime Minister's statement which, I feel sure, everyone would like to see thoroughly carried out—or we must, in many cases, now relinquish properties held on requisition.
Powers of requisition have been extended by a recent Act until December, 1950. Properties held on requisition can continue to be held upon requisition until December, 1950. The idea that, if these powers of purchase are not given, the Government would have to relinquish properties now under requisition next month is wholly misconceived. The Solicitor-General continued:
I feel sure that that would be a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. Land would have to be derequisitioned, and those to whom it was handed over would have to be informed that it might be necessary later to retake it for a training area, or something of that sort." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th December, 1947; Vol. 41, c, 1589–90.]
The reasons given by the Solicitor-General did not assist the House to come to a judgment upon this very important question. The true reasons—in saying the word "true" I make no reflection upon the hon. and learned Gentleman—are to be found in the speech made by the Financial Secretary. He said:
In the view of the Government, there are three good reasons for this.
He is referring to the prolongation [...] the power of compulsory purchase.
The first is that during the period of running down of the Armed Forces … it has not been possible for the Services to work out what their permanent requirements for training, and other purposes would be. They have not been able to work out what they must retain permanently … and what they could start to hand back to owners.
He was speaking of training areas, and his point was completely met by the Solicitor-General, because when he replied to the Debate he stated that in the acquisition of training areas the Defence Acts would be used, not the Requisitioned Land and War Works Acts, but the Defence Acts from 1842 onwards. Therefore, the point made by the Financial Secretary about the difficulty in the Service Departments of making up their minds what areas were required for training, is met by the answer that the Defence Acts give the Service Departments all the powers they need for buying any land for training, at any time they may require it.
What was the right hon. Gentleman's second reason for asking the House to break these pledges solemnly given in 1945? He said:
The second factor which has militated against working to the date in early in 1948 has been the slowing down of proceedings, due to the procedure laid down before permanent acquisition can be decided on. We make no complaint about that.
Of course, we would not expect the Government to make a complaint about the procedure which they themselves have laid down. It is the general public and His Majesty's taxpayers who are the people to make complaints in a matter of this sort. The Financial Secretary continued:
Public opinion, … very properly takes a lively interest in such diversions"—
I suppose that is diversions of property for the use of the military.
An enormous amount of time is spent in consulting with all the various interests concerned … and in trying to meet the objections of each. This must often be followed by a public inquiry, in accordance with the promise made by the Prime Minister in November, 1946. This process of inquiry is set forth in the White Paper.
It will be remembered that it was in November, 1946, when the Prime Minister stated that before areas were acquired there would be an opportunity for public inquiry, but it was not until 13 months later, in December last, that the Government produced for the first time even an
estimate of the amount of land which the Forces would require in peacetime. That was the White Paper which came out in December last. It is headed, "Needs of the Service Departments for Land for Training and other Purposes." That White Paper had been promised nearly a year before, and the delay in this matter is due not to the cumbersome procedure of having a public inquiry, but to the Government themselves having taken 12 or 13 months to produce even a somewhat vague White Paper setting out the amount of land required. Of course, the White Paper does not specify areas, but gives a global estimate of the amount of land which may be required.
The third reason why we are asked to break solemn pledges made two years previously is this. The right HON. Gentleman said:
The third reason … is the ever-increasing stringency in the supply of labour and materials. This has made it difficult … to go ahead as quickly as it had been hoped in clearing away war works and restoring land to a state in which it can be handed back to its owners Other and more pressing jobs have to be undertaken, and have to take precedence over this work. … "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th December, 1947; Vol. 445, c. 1519–20.]
That may well be true, but the whole point is that the powers already exist. Where the Government intend to improve land by removing concrete slabs or runways, and by turning it back into agricultural land or adapting it for forestry or some other purpose, the powers already exist. Those are the powers which we gave the Government in 1945 in the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall) indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Peake
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. I will read the opening words of the Supplies and Services Act which define the very wide purposes for which extended powers were given at that time. By Section 5 of that Act we gave the Government extended powers of purchase under the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, continuing until December, 1952, in any of these following cases. These are the purposes defined by Section 1 of the Act:… the purpose of maintaining, controlling and regulating supplies and services as to secure a sufficiency of those essential to the wellbeing of the community or their equitable distribution or their availabality at fair prices855 If that does not cover both agriculture and forestry, I do not know what it does Cover. Many other purposes are also specified.
These powers, which were taken in 1945, were of the widest possible kind for restoring the economy of our country after the war, and when the right hon. Gentleman says that it is the stringency of labour and materials which have caused the Government to fall down on their pledges, he is really stating that the progress of rehabilitation has not been as fast as it might have been. Of course, that is true; but the powers are not required at present for that purpose. The powers that are being taken today are to enable Service Departments to wait another four and a half years before they make any effective decision as to whether they will buy any of the houses and any of the land which they at present hold upon requisition or upon which war works have been put during the war.
§ 4.45 p.m.
I think I have dealt with this matter sufficiently to show that the Government have a very strong case to answer on this Clause. I have already described the proposal in our Amendment. It will give the Government 10 months longer than they were originally to have had under the old powers. In this matter I base my argument upon what was said by the present Minister of Health in the original Debate on the Act of 1945. He pressed very strongly for a limitation of the period during which these compulsory powers could be made. I quoted his words on the Second Reading, but I must quote them again, as they are so apposite. As my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Anderson) will remember, there was a strong demand for a limitation of the duration of these powers so that owners of property should be out of any uncertainty within as short a time as possible. The present Minister of Health spoke in support of the Bill, and said:
… Owners of property ought to be able, at the earliest possible moment, to know what their future will be. … It is not unreasonable to ask a Government Department to make up their mind within two years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th April, 1945; Vol. 410, C. 526–7.]
It is now much more than two years. Already nearly three years have elapsed
since the passing of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945. The Government are asking not for another six months nor for another year, but for another four and a half years during which this uncertainty will hang over all owners of property which is either under requisition or which has had war works placed upon it or which has been damaged by war works.
We say that so far as military purposes are concerned, the Government might well have made up their minds upon this matter by the present time. It has taken them 13 months to get out a White Paper on the amount of land they require for training purposes. We say that, by all means, in these circumstances, they may have until 1948, but that by the end of 1948 they should have made up their minds what they intend to do and come to some effective decision.
§ Mr. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I wish to reinforce the remarks which have been made so ably by my right hon. Friend the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake). This is not an issue which should divide the House on party or any other prejudiced grounds. This is a matter of how soon we can restore productivity to certain land which has been held, I think, unduly long by the Services. This suggestion of ours is a compromise. Instead of giving back the land on 10th February. 1948, we ask that the Government should have the rest of the year in which to make their decision. Under our proposal, they will have had 12 months since the publication of the White Paper in which to decide what amount of land the Services will require, and I should have thought that was sufficient time, in view of the very urgent need for getting more food produced in this country.
On the Second Reading, the Secretary of State for War made great play with the fact that 10 million acres had already been handed back. I think he gave a very delusive figure. I gather he was referring to Defence Regulation 52, under which the Service Departments held certain rights over land, and I hope the Financial Secretary will make it clear that that Defence Regulation has either already expired or will expire on 15th February, 1948, and is not in issue at all in this matter. What we are concerned with is the amount of land which is held under requisition or lease by the Service Departments.
857 The second point which the right hon. Gentleman made, and which was referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for North Leeds, was that there was some delay by reason of a public inquiry. I have experienced no such delay in my area. There have been no long protracted public inquiries on these matters so far. There has been a great amount of indecision on the part of the various Service Departments, which has hampered agriculture and amenities with very grave effect. A great part of the National Parks area in the North of England is subject to the demands by the Service Departments, but there has been no delay by public inquiry.
If the Financial Secretary's third point had validity, if stringency of labour delayed rehabilitation, surely there is something wrong with the Government's policy on this matter. Is it not urgent that we should get as much of the land which has been rendered sterile by Service Departments back into producing the potatoes and wheat which our people require? If labour is being diverted for non-productive purposes it is up to the Government to make the necessary adjustments to the labour force, to secure that this rehabilitation takes place. I do not know what the experience of the rest of the Committee has been in this matter, but I have found, during the last few months, that there has been very little derequisitioning.
Service Departments have been unable to make up their minds as to what land they will derequisition and what land they will eventually purchase. Will it help to solve that indecision on their part to give them an extra four years? That is really the issue before the Committee on this Amendment. Do we intend to give the Service Departments four and a half years in which to make up their minds as to what parts of the country they will use for the purposes set out in the White Paper?
The Service Departments have stated their demands in the White Paper. Let us, for the purposes of argument in this Committee, assume that their demands are the right demands. I am sorry that there is no representative of the Air Ministry on the Government Front Bench at the moment, because I regard them as the worst offenders in the misuse of agricultural land and in indecision in making up their minds. I would 858 like the Committee to consider the position affecting the use of agricultural land by the Air Ministry. The Government state, in the White Paper, that the Air Force will require 140,000 acres of land for airfields, and 34,000 for training. It happens that the Crown already own 140,000 acres, which are devoted to airfields. Therefore, the total new requirements of the Air Ministry amount to 34,000 acres. But we understand that in the spring of this year 200,000 acres of land were already under requisition by the Air Ministry. If this Amendment does not succeed, it will mean that 160,000 acres of good agricultural land will be held in a state of indecision by the Air Ministry from this date until 1952. That is a matter which the Minister of Agriculture should have inquired into: he should have represented to the Government that an Amendment such as we are now proposing should be accepted.
Let me examine the use that is being made of land held by the Air Ministry. Paragraph 35 of the White Paper states that of the 140,000 acres, 23,000 were arable and 57,000 grass. Of the 34,000 acres, 2,000 were arable and 30,000 grass. That means that out of the total of 340,000 acres, some 87,000 acres of grassland have been used for farming purposes, and some 25,000 as arable land. It means that out of the remaining 160,000 acres, only 58,000 are being used for agriculture. That shows that there is a sterility of 100,000 acres, which is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. These acres could have been used to plant 12 weeks' supply of potatoes; it would have made a great deal of difference to the Ministry of Food if the Secretary of State for Air had come to a decision by now. I do not say that we shall not require those potatoes next year. How will this tie up the indecision on the part of the Government with the Minister of Agriculture's appeal for more production from agricultural land this year?
I cannot see any argument for the Service Departments retaining this large acreage for another four and a half years. I think the Solicitor-General said, on Second Reading, that it would be a disadvantage to the Government if they did not have the extended time because they would have to purchase land at an enhanced value. If he did not make that 859 point I hope he will correct me, but if he did I believe he made it under a misconception. Under Subsection (2) there is provision for securing that the compensation given will eliminate the effect of Government war works under Clauses 40 and 41. This Amendment will not affect the point about enhanced value: its sole object is to release a large quantity of land for agriculture, and for those reasons I hope the Committee will accept it.
§ Mr. Peter Roberts (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
I want to emphasise a point about the giving up of battle areas. My hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) mentioned agriculture, and although I agree that that is a most important section of our producing field I would like to point out that in the Midlands we are most desirous of getting back the areas of land which the War Office now hold—particularly the Dukeries, Sherwood Forest, and Dovedale—for recreational purposes. Unless this Amendment is accepted the people of the Midlands will not know what the position will be for another four and a half years. Whereas there is a claim of agriculture on the one hand, there are also the claims of industrial areas which desire to get back neighbouring land for recreation. I support the Amendment in so far as it limits the time of the Bill, because there are aspects of this Measure which I disapprove in principle. I cannot now go into details of the various compensation proposals, which we shall talk about later, but I believe that the right of property-owners to compensation, as regulated by principles which were understandable in wartime, should not be continued into peacetime. In wartime we did not want to put into legislation Sections which would possibly not be any incentive to producers who were fighting to live. If compensation had been given to property-owners for amenities and increased values that might have upset the morale of our people during the war.
§ 5.0 p.m.
Our battle is now one of production. The war is over, and we are now fighting to get goods. We want to create incentives, but if the Government continue to produce legislation such as this Bill, that will not be the result. Property-owning is a form of incentive, but if the 860 Government can take over property without considering the factor of compensation values, that is a principle which I oppose. We should treat both large and small property-owners on the basis of a willing buyer and a willing seller, when the Government want to take over land. The Government ought not to bring forward legislation by which the property-owner is put at a disadvantage. In so far as the Amendment restricts the operation of the Bill, I support it.
Mr. Charles Willams (Torquay)
I support the Amendment, which has been argued very largely from a North country point of view. Until I hear what the Financial Secretary has to say I do not propose to go in detail into our troubles in the Western area. The Services are trying to behave very well. Some hon. Members do not seem to realise the real cause of the delay and why it could not have been cleared up years ago. The cause is not due to the Services, but to the pathetic lack of co-ordination and organisation on the part of Government Departments, under their chiefs who are sitting opposite me.
Being a good Conservative and representing all sorts of people in my division, I was supporting, not very long ago, an appeal which had for its object the removal of undue Service restrictions upon a farm owned by a co-operative society. I did that quite naturally, and I did it very well, having a large number of co-operative voters in my division. I am opposed to all this bullying by the Government, this coming down upon all sorts and kinds of people and interfering with their land, which is emphasised so clearly by the Amendment. It is usually done without any conceivable idea that it is necessary. It affects all sorts of people, and not only a few large landowners. It obviously affects co-operative societies, and it is doing a very deal of harm. It is not only the larger farmers who are in trouble about it, but a vast number of smaller people.
I hope that these few kindly words of mine will persuade the Government to accept the compromise which has been offered from our Front Bench. If a further year is provided in which the Departments can make up their mind, that will have given about 3½ years. During that time there will have been a very large number of Service personnel demobilised, 861 and we ought to know by then whether we should leave the matter to the common sense of the Services to make their own decisions. I am not saying whether the decision in regard to battleships was right or wrong, but the decision has, at any rate, been made. In the matter of land, all kinds of derelict Ministers are concerned, who find it almost impossible to make up their minds. I would offer the kindliest suggestion that we should shorten their power to the least possible time, so as to relieve them in future of the difficulty of making decisions.
There is a further point, which I am not the one to elaborate. Someone else ought to voice the opinions of Scotland and Wales. This Bill will be of considerable importance to Welshmen and Scotsmen, because of the indecision of the present Government. There are pathetic cases in both those sister countries. I cannot conceive that any Scotsman or Welshman would let an opportunity go by of putting in a word and making a claim for a time limit to the iniquity of the Government in this matter.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Glenvil Hall)
The Clause which hon. Members opposite seek to amend is one of the main pivots of the Bill. The Amendment, if accepted, would cut at the very root of the Clause and, therefore, at much of what the Bill seeks to do. For that reason we cannot accept the Amendment. I do not think that will surprise hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I would add straight away that we sympathise with the underlying object of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite in moving the Amendment. Obviously, we are as anxious as anyone that these matters should be cleared up. The sooner they are cleared up the better it will be for everyone, and for the economic life of the nation.
The Clause seeks to extend the powers of Parts II, V and VI of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, for military purposes from 24th February, 1948, the date at which, unless the Bill is passed substantially in its present form, those powers will cease, to 10th December, 1952, the date fixed for economic purposes under the Supplies and Services Act, 1945. The Clause seeks to equate the two classes of case, by making 10th December, 1952, the date for both military and economic purposes.
862 The effect of the Amendment is to make the operative date 31st December, 1948, with the proviso that if it can be certified under Section 5 (5) of the Supplies and Services Act, 1945, that the purposes are economic, the powers can be exercised until 10th December, 1952. It is unreasonable that we should accept that proviso. The law now provides that if the purposes are certified as economic the powers are extended until 1952, and the mere retention of the certification procedure for extending the powers under that proviso would be worthless to us. The argument used for the Amendment is that extension for military cases to the end of this year should be long enough.
The right hon. Gentleman quoted from a speech made by me, and from another made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General; and he went so far back as to quote from the speech of my right HON. Friend the Home Secretary when the Supplies and Services Bill was being put through this House in 1945, to the effect that the powers then sought would be sufficient. When we were dealing with the Second Reading of this Bill, it was admitted by me at this Box that we had hoped that the powers given in 1945 would give sufficient time to complete the work. I went on to give reasons, and I thought they were good reasons, why it had been found quite impossible to work within the limits then set and which had been envisaged by the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. Peake
May I interrupt? The right HON. Gentleman said that the time limit permitted had proved insufficient to complete the work. I want to ask him if it is a question of completing the physical work on the land, which comes under the Supplies and Services Act? When he says work, surely, what he means is that it has been impossible to get the Services Departments to do the work on paper necessary to give an effective decision?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
The work, of course, is complicated. It not only means the physical acquisition of land after inquiry, and the rehabilitation of land and making it fit for agricultural purposes, but also the clearing away of war works placed on the land in the recent emergency.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
Indeed, we have, and that, I think, is understood. What we 863 are here seeking to do is to extend the period in which these powers can be exercised by permitting land to be held until 1952 in military cases, in the same way as the Supplies and Services Act, 1945, and the amending Act passed last year, permits land to be held for a further period if the purposes for which it is essential it should be held are economic. We want to bring into line the military purposes and the economic, for which powers have already been given.
The reasons why it is essential that we should have these extended powers have already been given, and I can do no more than repeat them in reply to the speeches which have been made from the other side of the Committee. It is true that the Service Departments have now—and the White Paper is evidence of that—found that they can give a global estimate of the amount of land which they will require for national defence and training purposes, but, although that is so, that does not mean that their plans have been worked out in the utmost detail. All that they have done, so far, in the White Paper at any rate, is to fix the global area which, in their view and in the view of the Government, the Services will require for purposes of national defence, but that does not mean to say that they have reached the end of their labours. In fact, although a great deal of work has been done—and the work will indeed be speeded up during the coming months —it is quite impossible for me to say now that they will have completed their work and gone through the whole process which is necessary by 31st December of this year, which is the date fixed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake).
Then, too, the procedure has indeed been slow. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) indicated that, in his area, at any rate, he could see no evidence of public inquiries. That, of course, rather helps my case. A great deal of work has to be done before the public inquiry stage is reached.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
If I misquoted the hon. Gentleman, I apologise to him, but I do not know whether to understand from that that public inquiries have been held.
§ Mr. Turton indicated assent.
§ 15.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
Then it is an area where they obviously do things with efficiency and despatch, but I can assure the hon. Member that in other areas things have not happened as quickly as that. It is essential in these matters, where land is being acquired in this way, that the promise given by the Prime Minister to the House should be fully implemented, and that all interests should be consulted, in order, if possible, to meet their objections, and, where that is not possible, public inquiries, where necessary, should be held. It is clear that, the procedure being what it is, it is impossible for the Government to complete their work by the end of the current year, and, although the right hon. Gentleman has said that the shortage of labour and materials should not have made a great deal of difference, I can assure him that it has. The situation has not improved, I am sorry to say, in one sense, in connection with this type of work. It has, indeed, worsened in the last few months, and it has been essential in the national interest, for much labour and materials to be directed to other ends, and I think that most of us would agree that that must be so. It has not been possible, and it will not be possible for some time, to speed up the work of rehabilitation and removal of war works, which, frankly, should come down and which normally ought to have come down a long time ago.
Having said that, I can add this. The Service Departments are fully alive to the urgency of this matter. They have done a great deal of work behind the scenes, and, though I admit that b things have not gone as quickly as they might have done, the fault has not altogether been due to the Service Departments. It has been due to a number of reasons, some of which may have been due to the shortcomings of this Government. I am not here to hold a brief for this Government in this direction, though I could quite easily do so if we were dealing with another Bill and on another occasion. We are dealing with this particular Bill, and it is quite true that there have been delays, and that these delays have been clue to a wide variety of causes, some of them completely beyond the control of either Government Departments, civil servants or the Government themselves.
865 All that being so, it is obvious that some forward date must be taken, and the Government come to the Committee with the suggestion that the reasonable thing to do is to make the date set for military purposes coincide with that to which the House has already agreed for economic purposes. There is another reason which I would like to mention which, in the view of the Government, makes this desirable, and that is that it is impossible, very often, to decide whether, in any particular case, the purposes are within the definition of economic purposes or military. There are quite a number of borderline cases where it is impossible to decide whether the case comes within the Supplies and Services Act, 1945, or whether the powers originally conferred by the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, must be relied on. Where we have two dates on which to work, and, therefore, a decision has to be taken whether a case comes within the economic or the military definition, it is a nice decision, and it is essential that Parliament should make these dates coincide and run the two together. For that reason, if for no other, I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that we did not require these powers, so far as military purposes are concerned, on the ground that the Government could use the Defence Acts. That, of course, is true, so far as the acquisition of quite a lot of land for training purposes is concerned. But we are not dealing here mainly with that type of transaction. In my speech in the Second Reading Debate, I said:I should add, for the sake of perspective, that the most important reason for requiring this extension of time is not to enable the Government to acquire land permanently for military purposes, useful though that power may be. Such power is available to the Government, if they desire it, under the Defence Act, and in many cases they will undoubtedly use the Defence Act powers for acquiring land permanently where it is needed. The Bill does not in any degree affect the powers which the Government have under other enactments. It is true that the present Bill extends Part II of the 1945 Act which does give power for permanent acquisition. But this applies only to a limited range of cases. More important is the extension of Part VI. That is the power to remain temporarily on land in order, either to decide whether it should be permanently acquired, or to remove war works, or, as is the case in some instances, to put it into a fit state for agricultural use. In these instances the pur- 866 pose of these further powers is not to sterilise the land, but to ensure that it shall not be sterilised."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th December, 1947; Vol. 445, c. 1520–21.]Therefore, I can assure the Committee that we have not got the powers. The powers which we want extended here are powers which are essential to help clear up the mess due to the war. That mess is there, whoever is to blame. I am sure the Committee will agree that another 11 months will be quite insufficient for us, in view of the situation in which, unfortunately, this nation now finds itself, to carry through these varied pieces of work which are essential, and which were envisaged in the 1945 Act which gave the powers that are now to lapse within about a month unless something is done. Therefore, we ask the Committee to give us these extended powers. I can give the assurance that, although the date will be 1952, it will be our object, as long as we are in office, and during the lifetime of this Parliament, to see that the extra time given is not abused, and that the Service Departments do their best to clear up as far and as speedily as they can the outstanding commitments which they have.
§ Mr. Turton
Before the right hon. Gentleman finally sits down, will he answer the specific question which I put to him, and which is causing some concern in the country? It was whether this Clause extends Defence Regulation 52, or whether that will lapse on 10th February, 1948. The speech of the Secretary of State for War in the Second Reading Debate has given rise to misconception.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I cannot charge my memory with what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War said in his Second Reading speech. If the hon. Gentleman will give me the quotation, I shall then know what he has in mind?
§ Mr. Turton
The Secretary of State for War quoted the fact that the Government had already derequisitioned 10 million acres of land. Those 10 million acres were held under Defence Regulation 52 which, it was understood, was expiring on 10th February this year. From the speech of the Secretary of State for War it would appear that that power is being extended until 1952.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
No powers are being extended except those under the Acts of 1945, as amended by this particular Bill. 867 We are not asking for an extension to make new requisitions under this Bill. The requisitions which have already taken place can, under this Bill, be continued, but no others. It does not extend any of the regulations, including the one to which the hon. Gentleman refers.
§ Mr. Keeling (Twickenham)
We on this side of the Committee are very dissatisfied with the reply of the Financial Secretary. He gave some reasons why the Government could not accept the date 1948 named in this Amendment. But he gave no good reasons why they insist on the date of 1952 in the Bill. The reasons he gave were, first, that he thought that it was more tidy to have 1952 for military land. Well, we are so accustomed to untidiness in legislation that I am sure we should be prepared to put up with further untidiness if we could get back the land. The other reason he gave was that it was difficult to distinguish between land for military purposes and land for economic purposes. Surely, if that is a difficulty, it has been in existence all the time, and is nothing new.
He based his arguments for resisting this Amendment on the point which was stressed by the Solicitor-General in his reply in the Second Reading Debate, namely, that the Prime Minister had promised public inquiries where desired, that there were 1,200 proposals all requiring investigation, and that, if they did not get powers up to 1952, they would be forced to telescope the proceedings of the public inquiries, and, perhaps, give immediate notice to treat in a large number of cases. Surely, this is a question of degree. It cannot seriously be suggested that it requires nearly five years more to go through the procedure of these local inquiries.
My hon. Friends have dealt particularly with the need for restoring much of this land to the production of food. I want to point out also that there are quite a number of pieces of land, which are to be subject to this Measure for the next five years, which are required for public amenities. There is a considerable number of National Trust properties and many pieces of land which are earmarked for national parks. There are also many commons and other open spaces, the use of which the public wish to get back. If 868 the Government cannot accept the date of 1948, and cannot produce better reasons for retaining 1952, will they, before the Report stage, consider putting some other date into the Bill?
§ Mr. McKinlay (Dumbartonshire)
I wish to raise a point which it may be more appropriate to raise on the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." I want to know from the Financial Secretary if it is still the intention of the Government, where land has been requisitioned for military purposes, to transfer that requisition to another Government Department when the need for military purposes has ceased to exist. I want to draw particular attention to what is possibly the largest public park in the City of Glasgow. When I contrast what has happened to the public parks in London with what has happened to this park—
§ The Deputy Chairman (Sir Robert Young)
I cannot see what that matter has to do with the Amendment under discussion.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I am sorry, Sir Robert, but I was trying to follow the Financial Secretary's reply. I submit that, if his reply was in Order, then the point to which I am leading up is also in Order. Of course, if you rule that it is out of Order, I can raise it on the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," but I think it would suit the convenience of the Committee if I dealt with the point now. This park has been out of the possession of the people of Glasgow since 1937. It was requisitioned by the military in 1939. I find that the military requisition no longer exists, but my right HON. Friend the Minister of Works has a dump in the park which would be a disgrace to a builder's yard, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport—
§ Mr. C. Williams
On a point of Order. Is not the hon. Gentleman opposite saying that this extension of the period by three or four years is being used by the Government in an entirely wrong way—to give them time to think up reasons for handing over land for non-military 869 purposes? In other words, they are using the military under this Bill to secure land, and they want time to think up reasons for using it for other purposes.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I am sorry, Sir Robert. I have no desire to transgress the Rules of Order. The Ministry of Transport, the last time I saw the park, had more floats and lifeboats in it than there are sailing on the Western Ocean at the moment. I want an undertaking that if we are successful in getting these people out, others will not come in. One wonders at present who is to step in next. This was a military requisition. I heard my right hon. Friend talking about giving notice to treat. There is an experimental station in my own division that has been there a long while. Notice to treat in respect of those premises was served a long while ago, but owing to the uncertainty, I presume, of the international situation, the notice to treat has not been acted upon. Again, the Air Ministry used a village playing-field under an Air Force requisition for the purpose of amusing the airmen, but the airmen have all gone. When the need for their requisition was passed, the property was passed to the captain superintendent of the Roseneath Base. Despite the fact that we have several acres in Roseneath for sports purposes, they have pinched the village green. This, as I say, was originally an Air Force requisition but it is likely that thousands of troops will be trained in my division. One army has moved out and another army has moved in. The Poles were there, and the Germans were there, and I understand that the Territorial Army is going there.
Requisitioning there amounts, therefore, to a continuous requisition. In the interests of every one it would be much fairer to all concerned if there were an outright purchase of the site, which will still retain its value even should it become redundant from the Services' point of view. The present uncertainty is not fair to any one. The proposal is to extend to 1952 the effects that may result from this sort of thing and the requisitioning of property for other work that was originally requisitioned for military purposes. I understand that when the Bill mentions "land" it means "buildings" as well.
Could I have an undertaking that when any requisitioned land is no longer needed by the Armed Forces, it will be derequisi- 870 tioned and handed back, and that nonmilitary Government Departments will not be notified that it is no longer needed by the Armed Forces, so that they will not, in fact, be told, "there is some requisitioned property, do you want to take advantage of it?" That sort of thing is being done, and it is being done far too often in the County of Dumbarton. Members of Parliament have enough to worry about from day to day without being continually put on the spot about requisitions being held which ought to be surrendered. My fear is that if we extend these powers to 1952, the boys will lie back until 1952 approaches, before de-requisitioning the properties they have requisitioned.
I think it is good for the Government that some of their supporters should let them know what is passing in their minds. In any case, we are not sent here to act like blind mice. [Laughter.] All the blind mice are not on one side. I think we should get a fair undertaking. It is in the interests of all Members in the House to be able to tell their constituents. "We have a firm undertaking that such and such a property will be derequisitioned." I do not want a notice to treat served on one of my constituents, and some official then to forget all about it, while occupying land which does not belong to him, until 1952, without having paid anything for it. In places where there is to be development in the future, where there are requisitioned properties for military purposes, it would be fairer to every one concerned if there were straightforward acquisitions, so that the local authorities in such areas could know exactly what their future commitments are to be. I hope that we shall be given such an assurance as that for which I have asked.
§ Mr. W. J. Brown (Rugby)
I associate myself with the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay). We all know what happens with requisitioned property. It is requisitioned by a particular Department, which may be either a civil or a military Department, and then, when that Department has no further use for the particular piece of property, that fact is notified to the Ministry of Works, and then the Ministry of Works undertakes a canvass of other Government Departments to find out if they want them.
§ Mr. Brown
One could say they hawk it round if one likes, but I prefer the Civil Service phrase, "canvasses other Departments." They do so to find out whether any one of them by chance would like to take over the requisitioned property in place of the Department which has no further use for it. I agree with my hon. Friend that that leaves the owner of the property, whether the owner be a private owner or a public owner, completely up in the air, with no assurance that even when the Department now there has finished with the property, it will then give it up, and enable it to be used for its normal purposes. I support the argument, and hope that the Financial Secretary will be able to say something on that.
However, I rose primarily to say that the Financial Secretary's case in this Debate has failed to carry conviction to me; and if it has failed to carry conviction to me, it is a bad case. He began by saying that the Amendment before the Committee, which is to restrict the powers for which the Government ask until the end of this year, cuts at the root of that which the Bill seeks to do. It is no argument against an Amendment to say that it cuts at the roots of something, or even at the flower of something, or at the branch of something, unless it can be demonstrated that the root, flower or branch ought not to be cut at. That is the whole point of the Debate. The whole argument for the Amendment is that the proposal to extend these powers by nearly five years ought to be cut; and, therefore, the fact that we are cutting at it is not a ground for rejecting the Amendment.
Then he went on to say, in effect, "Cannot you realise that we are as anxious as anyone else to clear up these matters as speedily as possible; and if you give us these powers, cannot you trust us to clear them up with reasonable promptitude and despatch?" There are two answers to that. The first is that there has not been reasonable promptitude and despatch so far, and that there is no reason to suppose that, if we give more time, promptitude and despatch are to be more marked in the future than they have been. The second answer reminds me of one given at a conference of the League of Nations devoted to the problem of dis- 872 armament. Delegates talked about disarmament for days on end, and eventually M. Litvinov said, "You talk about disarmament. If you want disarmament, the way to achieve it is simply to disarm." I say to the right HON. Gentleman that if he and his colleagues want to clear up the situation, the way to do it is simply for them to get on with it, and not to ask for an unreasonable extension of power.
I beg to remind the Committee of the period for which the Government ask. I see no more reason why we should believe them this time than we had for believing them last time. If they were then wrong in saying that the period until February of this year would be adequate, when they put that before us two years ago, I see no reason to suppose that they are right now when they say the period until 10th December, 1952, will be adequate. I can conceive it possible—I do not say it is certain—that in the spring of 1952 the right hon. Gentleman will make exactly the same speech that he has made today, and will ask for the year to be made 1860. [HON. MEMBERS: "1960."] That was an unconscious recognition on my part that Service Ministries are always preparing for the last war but one. Even if the right hon. Gentleman could satisfy the Committee that the period the Government now have is inadequate, and that 1948 is wrong, it does not follow that, therefore, we have to jump to 1952, which is the proposition contained in the Clause.
The real truth here is that the longer we extend this period the greater will be the dilatoriness of the Departments in getting rid of the property. When dealing with men we very properly have to fix a demobilisation date, and it has to be a date corresponding to the rough sense of justice of the country. I submit that when we deal with property we are no more right to leave the owner of property in a state of continued uncertainty than we are to leave a man in a state of continued uncertainty as to his date of demobilisation.
The Financial Secretary says the reasons why he asks for this extension are exactly the same as they were before, and are threefold: First, that during the period of running down of the Armed Forces the Service Departments have not been able to form a firm estimate of what they want; secondly, that the process has been slowed down because of the Prime 873 Minister's pledge that there should be a public inquiry where land was to be taken permanently; and thirdly, that there was an increasing stringency in labour and materials for the purpose of restoring these sites or areas to the condition in which they were when requisitioned. Those reasons were advanced a couple of years ago; they are advanced again today; and I see no earthly reason why exactly the same reasons should not be advanced three or four years hence. I remain utterly unconvinced that we need to extend this Bill to give the Government powers until 1952.
The Financial Secretary goes on to say that it is desirable and convenient for the date in respect of premises for military purposes to coincide with the date in respect of property for economic purposes. That is the exact opposite of what we were told when dealing with the Bill in respect of land for economic purposes. We were then told it was not necessary or convenient that the date in respect of land for economic purposes should correspond with the date for military property; and, indeed, we were begged to agree with the date for property in respect of economic purposes partly on the ground that the Government were being so modest, and were not asking for the same in respect of land for military purposes. Now, a couple of years or so later, we are told that all that argument should be disregarded, and it is now convenient and proper that the dates should correspond.
It reminds me a little of the Prime Minister who once said to his Cabinet, "Gentlemen, it does not matter very much what we say, provided we all say the same thing." That principle ought now to be extended: It does not matter what a Minister says, but it is desirable that there should be at least some distant resemblance between what he said two years ago and what he says today. The credibility of the Government is undermined when a Minister says one thing two years ago and another thing today—and may very well say something still different a few years hence.
§ 5.45 p.m.
A term has to be fixed in this regard, and when a term is fixed we can expect a response from the Government Departments concerned. However, as long as they know they have five years to play with, it is no particular criticism of Government Departments — even the 874 Defence Ministries; and it is true of all of us—to say that if they know they have a long time in which to make up their minds, they will make up their minds in a long time. That is a characteristic of human nature, and applies to Government Departments as to everybody else. In those circumstances, if this goes to a Division I shall vote for the Amendment. I do not say the period specified in the Amendment is precisely the right period; but what I am clear about is that the period asked for in the Clause is related to nothing that can be argued, except the general disposition on the part of the Government to ask for as much time as possible. That is not a basis for argument for these powers to be extended for so long, and I shall vote for the Amendment against the Clause.
§ Mr. Wingfield Digby (Dorset, Western)
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) put forward some very cogent reasons why we should not accept the period of four and a half years extension, which we are being asked to accept. The Financial Secretary commenced by telling us he was anxious that these things should be cleared up. He went on to show that in his view one year was insufficient, and then, for no apparent reason—except two rather feeble arguments—he came down in favour of four and a half years. One of his arguments was the convenience of uniformity; the second was that the Government found it difficult to distinguish between military and economic purposes. Those two arguments could just as easily be used again in four years' time for a further extension, as the hon. Member for Rugby pointed out. There is no earthly reason why the Government should not come forward with those arguments in four years' time, and go on putting off the decision ad infinitum. Meanwhile, there are many hardship cases all over the country, one example of which was given by the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay). They could be multiplied by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee.
I cannot see the real reason of the Government in sticking to this date of 10th December, 1952. I am sure it is bound to put off the decisions of the Service authorities. Meanwhile, the interests of a great many people, not least the Service Departments, are likely to be 875 Service Departments, which, I gather are primarily for training purposes, should be determined at the earliest possible date, in their own interests. If there is to be proper training in any of the three Services they must know what training grounds they are to develop, and must get on with that development so that training can be realistic and up-to-date, in order that money shall not be wasted on training grounds which are abandoned later. Thus, in the interests of the Services, I am certain it is necessary for them to be given the earliest possible date at which to make up their minds, because if they do not, we shall have a repetition of the past, with the wrong site being developed and then the whole thing scrapped, with great waste of public money.
We now come to the needs of another class, and that is the inhabitants of those places used as battle areas, who were turned out of their homes, as in the case of the Purbeck area in Dorset, and were told that they would be likely to come hack soon after the war. There is no reason why these people should not know what their position is for another four and a half years. It is obviously very unjust to a class of people who have made great sacrifices during the war. It is a class which may be small, but is nevertheless entitled to every consideration.
We then have the case of the farmers, part of whose land has been requisitioned, who wish to know whether it will be necessary for them to continue to cultivate only part of their holdings, or whether they will be able to take over the whole of their land. Lastly, there are the needs of the landowners, who wish to know whether permanent adjustment to farm boundaries is necessary. Farm boundaries should be permanent if we are to take seriously this question of the production of more food. I can see no reason why four and a half years' extension of these powers for military purposes is necessary. I can understand that perhaps one year is not long enough, but no case has been made out for a longer or intermediary period by the Financial Secretary. If he can show no sense of compromise in this matter, then I, for one, shall be pleased to vote for this Amendment.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
I was not at all impressed by the reasons given by the Financial Secretary for the extension of the period until 1952. I hope that 876 he will give very careful consideration to the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling), that he should, between now and Report stage, insert a date which is more favourable. The reasons he gave for the extension of time was that, owing to circumstances quite outside the control of the Government or anyone else, it was quite impossible for Government Departments, holding land or buildings under requisition, to make up their minds before 1952 whether or not they wished to continue using them for the purposes for which they were requisitioned during the war. hon. Members know quite well that much as we respect civil servants, the general attitude of mind in the Civil Service is not one of undue haste. All that will happen is that every Department concerned with requisitioned property, will merely take the view that since their powers have been extended until 1952, they can take a little longer to reach a decision.
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) stressed not only the inconvenience caused by existing delay, but what was still worse, the uncertainty. He described very well what I call the "clearing house procedure," that is as soon as one Government Department decide that they no longer require land or buildings, and before de-requisitioning takes place, the property is offered in turn to all the other Departments until it arrives at the Ministry of Works which is the final clearing house. It is this awful uncertainty which is holding up production. Where agricultural property is concerned, farmers do not know whether they will have their land or their buildings back next year or the year after.
I have a case in my own constituency which is causing a great deal of anxiety at the moment. I think that the Financial Secretary knows about it. It concerns the Imperial Services College premises at Windsor, which was requisitioned by the War Office for the A.T.S. during the war, and subsequently purchased by the Windsor Borough Council. The Council require it for their offices and for a civic centre. So far, the reason given for refusing derequisition the building is that alternative accommodation has not been found for the A.T.S. personnel. That may be a good or a bad reason, but all that the Government's refusal to accept this Amendment means is that if the War 877 Office like to procrastinate, they can continue to hold the premises until 1952, on the ground that they cannot find alternative accommodation. In other words, it merely extends the period during which the War Office can go through the motions of trying to find alternative accommodation, meantime causing immense inconvenience to the Windsor Borough Council, as well as to the Youth Club and to other bodies, including the Territorial Association, who are very anxious that the premises should be used for the purposes for which it was bought.
Both on grounds of delay, and still more on grounds of uncertainty, therefore, the Financial Secretary has made out a very bad case for extending the period. I hope that he will consider the suggestion put forward by the hon. Member for Twickenham, because on past form, there is no reason to believe that if the period is extended, Government Departments will be any more ready to come to an early decision than they are now.
§ Mr. Peake
I wish to make an appeal to the Minister of Works, whom we are fortunate to have with us today. I know very well the position in which the Financial Secretary finds himself. I was not in this position so often as he is; but from time to time a Financial Secretary does find himself having to defend a very bad case. No one who listened to the right hon. Gentleman could possibly be convinced by the case he put forward today. The hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay) and the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) both expressed their dissatisfaction with his answer. It was impossible to believe that he was convincing himself, much less anyone else.
I know what happens when one finds oneself in his position. He is not authorised to make any concession, and he has not sufficient status, if I may say so, to hold out any hope upon any Amendment that a point will be considered at a later stage. He has instructions to resist this and that Amendment, and in this case I am sure that he feels that a very strong case has been made for a shorter period than 1952. He speaks about it not being possible to do the work. He was not speaking about doing the work on the land, but getting Government officials in the Service Departments to come to effective decisions on paper.
878 That is the work which wants doing. Two and a half years have already elapsed since the end of the war, and it is now suggested that another four and a half years should be granted, making a period of seven years in all for these decisions to be taken. All that is required is a decision as to which properties will or will not be kept.
I appeal to the Minister of Works, who enjoys a higher status than the Financial Secretary, having listened to the Debate, and having seen that there is very little to be said in defence of the Government's point of view, to get up and say that he will consider the matter further, and will try to meet some of the criticisms on Report stage. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give some hope in a matter of this kind. Otherwise, it does seem that all the Clauses of this Bill will be perfectly useless for we are going to be met with stonewall opposition by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and by passive resistance from the Solicitor-General. If only the Minister of Works would give us a little hope at the outset of our proceedings on this Bill, how much more smoothly, easily, and agreeably we might pass the remainder of the time in discussing the other Clauses.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
May I make three observations on what the right hon. Gentleman has just said. First, I think it would be wrong of him to assume from his experience of defending bad cases from this Box under a Conservative Government—
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
—that my experience is similar to his. We have a very good case and one which the country will accept as reasonable. The second point I wish to make is that I am, perhaps unfortunately for me, in general charge of this Measure. I should like to inform the right hon. Gentleman that I have full authority to make concessions where they are reasonable and in accord with Government policy, as he will see presently. Those concessions unfortunately do not go to the extent of covering the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman has moved, which we think is unworkable and which we could not reasonably ask the Committee to accept. The third observa 879 tion I wish to make is that the Under-Secretary of State for War is here and is very willing to answer the points that have been made since I spoke.
§ Mr. Peake
May I put this point? Is the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, in point of fact, saying that his authority covers certain Amendments on the Paper and that every decision on every Amendment has been taken already? If that is so, will anything we have to say have any influence whatever on the future course of our proceedings?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I meant no more than to say that we do not come to this Bill wedded to any particular form of words. As the arguments proceed, it may well be that we shall be able to meet the Opposition or my hon. Friends behind me on any points which they may put forward. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman and the Committee that I have full authority in all these matters.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Michael Stewart)
I think the issue before the Committee must now be clear to all of us. It is the period of the continuance of powers with respect to land in which there are war works. The issue was stated very clearly by the right hon. Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake). He put forward the view that the reasons which have led the Government to prefer the date of 10th December, 1952, were inadequate, which is really what we have to consider. What are the nature of those reasons? Are they inadequate and has a reasonable case been made out by those who have spoken for the Amendment for cutting down that date to merely 11 months? The Committee will remember that one of the reasons advanced has been that time must be given for the Service Departments to make firm decisions about their requirements, and the view that has been expressed in some quarters of the Committee is that the reason why the Government are asking for a date in 1952 is some defect of chronic indecision on the part of the Service Departments. On that I might ask some of the hon. Members opposite who have supported this Amendment to join issue, but I was very happy to receive the assistance of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) on the question of the powers of the Service Departments to come to a 880 decision. He argued that it is not the Service Departments which have failed in this matter but that we were surrounded —this I think was his phrase—with derelict Ministries. I would urge him to impress such parts of his argument as concern the powers of Service Ministers on his hon. Friends opposite.
Why should there be any such chronic indecision on the part of the Service Departments? All the Service Departments are profoundly anxious to reach finality as early as possible on this matter. It was suggested by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) that the Service Departments were continually preparing for the last war but one. I would suggest that one of the reasons for the difficulty of this problem is that the Service Departments have been asked to consider the problems created by a completely new set up of Service requirements such as the introduction of National Service. The many problems created by the experience of the last war have obliged the Service Departments to consider in an entirely new light not only the question of what land they require but a great many other problems besides. We should deserve the strictures of the hon. Member for Rugby if we rushed into a decision of so grave and vital a matter. I do not think it can be maintained that such part of the time as is consumed by the Service Departments in making their requirements known can be regarded as wasted.
§ Mr. P. Roberts
Can I give a specific case, that of the Stanford battle training area. There is a case where the War Office undertook to clear out when the war was over. The hon. Gentleman says there is no delay on his part. Can he give an assurance that this matter, which has been under consideration for two years, will be dealt with quickly? Otherwise his argument would seem to fall to the ground.
§ Mr. Stewart
I can give the hon. Gentleman an assurance that we have not engaged in any unreasonable delay in this matter. I do not think the Committee would expect me to enter into a detailed review of all the areas that are in question. If we turn from the question of any delay by the Service Departments and others to the procedure of discussion between the Service Departments, other Ministries and, equally important, the 881 local authorities and the voluntary societies representing amenity interests, we come to the derelict Ministries referred to by the hon. Member for Torquay. I am not quite sure which Ministries he had in mind, but I would notice that we are dealing in particular with one Ministry that certainly cannot be regarded as derelict and to which I would apply the term infant Ministry, namely, the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. Though I say that, it is an infant Hercules endeavouring to strangle the ugliness and mal-administration which disfigured the country in the past.
We will have to work out the different claims for the use of land. The hon. Member for Ecclesall (Mr. P. Roberts) urged us not to let the important consideration of agriculture blind us to other needs for land. We are being constantly asked to weigh up any number of competitive claims, and the Ministry of Town and Country Planning has been created to face a new and very important problem. It would not be in the public interest, if, merely to get into this Bill the date 1948 rather than 1952, we were unreasonably to telescope the whole process of weighing up competing claims.
The hon. Member for Rugby compared this process with the demobilisation of men. He said that if we could give a firm date for the demobilisation of men, why should not we do the same thing for abandoning the use of land. I think that there are two answers. First, the holding of a man to a service which imposes certain restrictions upon his personal liberty, is a more serious business than the holding of a piece of property for a particular use. Second, a piece of land, unlike a human being, is immortal, and any decision that is taken about its use may affect the welfare and amenity of this country for a very long period ahead. It becomes, therefore, particularly important that a decision shall be made with forethought and care and with a proper balancing of all the claims.
The Committee will remember that it was also urged that we should not accept the earlier date, because, if we did, it would oblige us, in some instances, to carry out certain physical work, and that would mean the diverting of labour and materials from what is at present more essential work. That argument has grown in strength and intensity since this matter 882 was first before the House. That is one reason why Parliament is now being asked to record a changed judgment as to the date on which we retire from occupation of these pieces of land. I could not follow the hon. Member for Rugby when he suggested that it was incumbent on Governments always to say the same thing as they had said in previous years. To accept such a proposition would mean, in fact, that we were not prepared to learn from experience or adapt policy to inevitable and uncontrollable change of circumstances.
If the date 1948 proposed in the Amendment is too early, it may be asked if there is a case for the date in the Bill, which is 1952. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has given the House a reason to which, I think, not sufficient importance has been attached. Although it was originally the intention of Parliament to discriminate between military uses and economic uses, it has again become apparent that, in actual practice, it is extremely difficult to draw a dividing line, and to say on which side of that line any particular case falls. That, in itself, is a reason for making the date for the military use and for the economic use the same date; more particularly, as we have to be pre-occupied with the question: Are we dealing here with military or economic uses, and which date will apply? If that strictly legal question has to be solved in instance after instance, that is a factor militating against the speedy solution of the whole problem. It is, therefore, actually in the interests of a speedy solution of the problem that we should simplify the legalities of the matter by making the date the same1952—for economic and for military purposes.
On the general question, it is most emphatically true that the Service Departments and other Ministries will be glad to be quit of these problems which are the aftermath of the war. I think, indeed, it would be true to say, speaking as a representative of a Service Department, that we find ourselves, time and again, landed with a variety of problems outside the normal scope of the Service Departments work, which have fallen on us at the end of the war, and there is nothing that would please the Service Departments better than to be free of all aftermath problems of that kind, so that they could concentrate on their major 883 and normal work. Therefore, when we put the date in the Bill as 1952, it must not be supposed that not one of these problems will be solved, and not one particular case will be dealt with, until we have reached the eleventh hour provided for under the present terms of the Bill.
§ 6.15 p.m.
The suggestion has been made by a number of hon. Members that an extension of the period will be an excuse for further delay. The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) suggested that that would be the case in the particular instance that arises in his constituency. I would assure him that he under-estimates his own powers of persuasion and of championing his constituents interests if he supposes that the problem can be left unsolved and untackled until the very last moment provided for in the Bill. The Service Departments and the Treasury have the strongest motives for dealing with all the cases that arise under this Bill as early as possible. We may, therefore, I think reasonably accept the date of 1952 in the realisation that it is not in the interest, nor is it the intention, of any Department of Government to prolong the proceedings until the last possible moment.
The hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay) asked for an undertaking so wide in its nature that I do not think he could have expected me to give it in the form for which he asked. He stressed the importance to all the parties concerned—the general public and the particular private interests—that the Government Departments should act as speedily as possible in this matter. If that is in the interests of the people for whom he speaks, and for whom other hon. Members have spoken, it is also emphatically in the interests of the Services and of the Government.
§ Mr. McKinlay
I asked for an undertaking that when land or buildings had been requisitioned for a military purpose and ceased to be needed for that purpose, it should not be the policy of the Government to circularise every Department to take over the requisitioning. I have already given an illustration that the Ministry of Transport have filled a Glasgow public park with lifeboats and life rafts and my right hon. Friend's Department have got it turned into a builders' 884 yard in another place. That is not fair. That is because the military requisitioning was transferred to another Department.
§ Mr. Stewart
I was aware that that was the nature of the undertaking asked for. It was because I was so well aware of it that I felt compelled to say that it was impossible to give an undertaking of that weight in general terms. Surely, it would not promote good administration and speed if the moment any piece of land, property or building ceases to be required for one purpose, it immediately reverted to a private owner, only for it to be found at some later date that, in some instances, it was essential in the public interest that it should be again acquired for the public. I know the kind of irritation and disappointment brought about by the examples which my hon. Friend has given, but I ask him to believe that the remedy he has suggested would not lead to better administration or greater speed.
§ Colonel Dower (Penrith and Cockermouth)
Why is it necessary in all cases to hawk premises round all the Ministries, which takes a tremendous time?
§ Mr. Stewart
It is not necessary in all cases, nor, in fact, is it done in all cases. The hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling) endeavoured to suggest that we might find a period between 1948 and 1952. I hope that suggestion involves a recognition by hon. Members opposite that the Amendment does not really meet the needs of the case. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is a little hard that we should at one moment be asked to compromise and the next moment he told that hon. Members opposite are not prepared to recede an inch from their position.
§ Mr. Stewart
No. I was about to add that I understood the hon. Member for Twickenham to suggest some intermediate period. I expressed the hope that that involved recognition opposite that the Amendment did not meet the case. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I see that my hope is dashed. If they consider it, hon. Members will agree that the problem is too great and too complicated to be settled wisely in the very limited period proposed in the Amendment. If we are to reject, as we must do, the date proposed in the Amendment, the administrative reasons quoted by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury for uniting the 885 date for military and economic purposes are then paramount, and for that reason I trust the Committee will reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. C. Williams
The Committee will have been delighted with the Under-Secretary's charming and attractive speech which was at times less sleepy and more provocative than those which we have been having lately from the Front Bench. I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the very definite attempts he has made to help us get a better understanding of the Bill. I was, however, shocked at one or two things he said. I was very shocked at the stern military way in which he tried to suppress the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay). After all, the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire is a Scotsman who is not used to these over-riding War Office habits, and he was pleading not for private individuals but for a public authority. If we are to be told that the War Office can play battledore and shuttlecock with these things for four or five years and that back bench Members must not take any interest in them, it is taking us a considerable way towards a military State.
The Under-Secretary stated that I had said that I thought the Service Departments were in advance of and made decisions more quickly than the other Departments. I am accused of saying that and I believe on the whole that the Service Departments do. If we could leave it to the military people, they would make up their minds and come to a decision. My hon. Friends need no convincing on that. The Under-Secretary invited me to try to convince my hon. Friends on that point earlier in the proceedings. I am convinced that if we had told the Services to give us their wants within the global figure, they could have done so in six months. The detailed figures could have been given very quickly afterwards because the Services do not make up global figures unless they know something of the numbers and the details involved.
The Under-Secretary tried to lead me into trouble with the Minister of Works. I will resist that temptation. If I said anything at length it would take an awful time, and I will only say—I have been asked to go into it—that his administration in this connection is absolutely appal 886 ling. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury was delightful. He said that we must have the same time for requisitioning for military and for economic purposes. Imagine what would have happened if at the General Election we had said that in two-and-a-half years' time the Socialist Government would be asking for what they are asking here: for two-and-a-half years plus four years, that is nearly seven years, in which to requisition anything in the way of land for military purposes. They can requisition a public park or Dartmoor—[Interruption]—
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member. I did not know that he would catch the observation I was making. I was whispering to my hon. Friend that what the hon. Member for Torquay was saying is quite incorrect. We are not asking for those powers. There are no new powers for requisitioning in this Bill.
§ Mr. Williams
I was referring to what the right hon. Gentleman was saying earlier. They are not new powers but extensions of existing powers. Unless this Amendment is accepted, powers are being extended for military and economic purposes until 1952. The military situation will be on exactly the same basis as the economic situation. In other words, the Government admit that their military situation today is as difficult as their economic situation. If we had forecast that at the last General Election, we would have been told that it was completely hopeless.
Nothing will induce me to believe that the military situation today is as bad as that. It is completely and utterly futile for the Government to ask for this long extension so that every opportunity may be given to some small Ministry to say that it requires requisitioned land to carry out some experiment. We have had support from the other side of the Committee for what we are attempting to do, and I hope that a good number of hon. Gentlemen opposite will support the hon. Member for Dumbarton in his attack on the Government for the very ungenerous way with which they have dealt with the Amendment.
§ Mr. Keeling
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury said, and we were delighted to hear it, that he has full discretion to make concessions on this Bill if he thinks 887 they are good ones. He also said that in the exercise of his discretion he did not think this Amendment was a good one, but he made no reply to the suggestion that some intermediate date between 1948 and 1952 should be inserted in the Clause. He must be well aware that the date 1952 has aroused profound dissatisfaction in all quarters of the Committee. It is not a party matter. Tories, Labour Members and an Independent have all expressed
§ great dissatisfaction with that date. So I ask, will he in the exercise of the discretion which he says he has, at least give us an assurance that the insertion of an earlier date in this Clause will be considered by the Government before the Report stage?
§ Question put, "That the words 'is hereby repealed' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 284; Noes, 138.889
|Division No. 58.||AYES.||[6.31 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Diamond, J.||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Dobbie, W.||Lee, F. (Hulme)|
|Alpass, J. H.||Dodds, N. N.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Driberg, T. E. N.||Leslie, J. R.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Dumpleton, C. W.||Levy, B. W.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Durbin, E. F. M.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lewis, T (Southampton)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Edwards, N (Caerphilly)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M|
|Barstow, P. G.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Lyne, A. W.|
|Barton, C||Evans, A (Islington, W.)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Battley, J R.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Evans, John (Ogmore)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Ewart, R.||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)|
|Benson, G.||Fairhurst, F.||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Berry, H.||Farthing, W. J.||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Beswick, F||Fernyhough, E.||McLeavy, F.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon A (Ebbw Vale)||Field, Capt. W. J.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Macpherson, T. (Romford)|
|Binns, J.||Fool, M. M.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Mallalieu, J. P. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Marshall, F. (Brightside)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Gibbins, J.||Mathers, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Braddock, T (Mitcham)||Gibson, C. W.||Medland, H. M.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Gilzean, A.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Brooks, T. J (Rothwell)||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Grenfell, D. R.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Grey, C. F.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Grierson, E.||Monslow, W.|
|Buchanan, Rt. Hon. G.||Griffiths, D (Rother Valley)||Moody, A. S.|
|Burden, T W||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Burke, W. A.||Gunter, R. J.||Morley, R.|
|Butler, H W (Hackney, S.)||Guy, W. H.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Callaghan, James||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hamilton, Lt.-Col. R.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham E.)|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Hardy, E. A.||Mort, D. L.|
|Champion, A. J.||Harrison, J.||Moyle, A|
|Chater, D.||Harbison, Miss M.||Murray, J. D.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hicks, G.||Nally, W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hobson, C. R.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Cobb, F. A.||Holman, P.||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Cooks, F. S.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Coldrick, W||Horabin, T. L.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Collick, P.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)|
|Collindridge, F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||O'Brien, T.|
|Collins, V. J.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Comyns, Dr. L||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Orbach, M.|
|Cook, T. F.||Irvine, A, J. (Liverpool)||Paget, R. T.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Corlett, Dr. J||Janner, B||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jay, D. P. T.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Daggar, G.||Jones, D T (Hartlepools)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Daines, P.||Jones, J H (Bolton)||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Pearson, A.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Keenan, W.||Perrins, W.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Kenyon, C||Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Key, C. W.||Popplewell, E.|
|Davies, S O. (Merthyr)||King, E. M.||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Deer, G.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Kinley, J.||Price, M. Philips|
|Lang, G.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Pryde, D. J.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Sparks, J. A.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Randall, H. E.||Stamford, W.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Ranger, J.||Steele, T||Watson, W. M.|
|Rankin, J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Reid, T. (Swindon)||Stokes, R. R.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Richards, R.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. (Lambeth, N.)||West, D. G.|
|Robens, A.||Stubbs, A E||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Sylvester, G. O.||Wheatley, J. T. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Symonds, A. L.||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Rogers, G. H. R.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Royle, C.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnel)||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Sargood, R.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Scott-Elliot, W.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Segal, Dr. S.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Sharp, Granville||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Shurmer, P.||Thurtle, Ernest||Willis, E.|
|Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)||Tiffany, S.||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Timmons, J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Titterington, M. F.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.||Tolley, L||Woodburn, A.|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Woods, G. S.|
|Smith, C. (Colchester)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Wyatt, W.|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Usborne, Henry||Yates, V. F.|
|Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Vernon, Maj. W. F.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Snow, J. W.||Walkden, E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Solley, L. J.||Walker, G. H.||Mr. Joseph Henderson and|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)||Mr. Wilkins.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Harris, H. Wilson||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.||Haughton, S. G.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Head, Brig. A. H.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Ramsay, Maj. S.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hurd, A.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Bowen, R.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Renton, D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Jennings, R.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Roberts, Peter (Ecclesall)|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Keeling, E. H.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Lambert, Hon G||Robinson, Roland|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Langford-Holt, J.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Eyers, Frank||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Challen, C.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Linstead, H. N.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Lipson, D. L.||Scott, Lord W|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Low, A. R. W.||Shephard, S, (Newark)|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Crowder, Capt John E.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon M. S.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Davies, Clement (Montgomery)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Teeling, William|
|Digby, S. W.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Manningham-Buller, R. E||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N|
|Dower, E. L. G (Caithness)||Marsden, Capt. A.||Touche, G. C.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Turton, R. H.|
|Drewe, C.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Maude, J. C.||Wadsworth, G.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Mellor, Sir J.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Fox, Sir G.||Morris-Jones, Sir H.||Wheatley, Col. M. J.(Dorset, E.)|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Williams, C (Torquay)|
|George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)||Nield, B. (Chester)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Willink, Rt. Hon. H. U.|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Nutting, Anthony||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Odey, G. W.||York, C.|
|Granville, E. (Eye)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Osborne, C.||Mr. Studholme and|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.