§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
It has been thought that it might be of benefit to the Committee if I opened the discussion, in which I know quite a number of Members wish to take part, by making a short statement as to what it is that my right hon. and learned Friend desires to do by this Clause. What this Clause does is to increase from 20 per cent. to 30 per cent. the excise duty on football and other pool betting. Normally and almost exclusively I think the discussion tonight will centre round the duty on football pools.
This increase from 20 per cent. to 30 per cent. equals something just over a penny in the shilling, and although to many people that would not be a very great increase it has, as the Committee know, aroused in certain circles a great deal of feeling. This duty was first imposed in November, 1947, when 10 per cent. was put upon pools, particularly football pools. At that time I am sure all Members will remember there was general agreement that this was the right and proper thing to do. My recollection is that nowhere in the Committee or the House at that time was any voice raised against the suggestion that football pools should bear some share of the very heavy taxation which the population now has to bear.
The football pool promoters at that time did not object. I think, for one reason, they felt it gave them a status which they otherwise might not have 355 enjoyed, and also I think that they realised the strength of the feeling, both in the House and in the country, on this matter. In April, 1948, my right hon. and learned Friend increased the 10 per cent. duty by another 10 per cent., making it 20 per cent. The industry—because that is what it calls itself—stood up well to this increased imposition. It took it almost undisturbed; there was no wide scale attempt to rouse public opinion, and as far as I know few Members received letters protesting against the increase to 20 per cent. When my right hon. and learned Friend, in opening his Budget statement last April, announced that he intended to raise the percentage to 30 per cent. there was little or no comment in the discussions that followed in this House. Nor at that time was there very much said in the Press or among the public on the increase.
It was not until the Football Pool Promoters' Association embarked on an extensive campaign that protests in any considerable number began to be received by Members of the House. I make that point because I think it is important. It is said that the pool promoters have circularised something like 10 million of their clients—or, as they call them, investors—urging them to write to their M.Ps. That must have been a rather expensive proceeding as regards paper, staff and postage. Although, of course, they had every right to make this attempt to influence public opinion, we should note in passing that it is not as spontaneous as some protests which have reached Members of Parliament in the past have been. It was not until it was organised on a big scale, and at pretty considerable expense, that these letters began to arrive. How many letters have been received it is very difficult to say. There is an Amendment on the Order Paper by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) and if I am to believe what one of the Sunday newspapers tells me, although he has 137,371 electors, he has received only two letters of protest about the pools.
§ Mr. William Teeling (Brighton)
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has read this paper. I only saw it myself yesterday. I have had over 300 letters, and they were sent to my private address—not to the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I assumed, as the newspapers would lead us to believe, that the information was received from the hon. Gentleman. I am glad to have had that correction from him. I think it would not be over-stating it if I said that if it is true that many millions have been circularised and given every opportunity to write to their Members of Parliament, the response by these investors has been very small. There has not been the overwhelming response which the Pool Promoters' Association must have hoped for. It has certainly not frightened the punters very much, because in spite of the fact that the Secretary of the Association informed them, and the world, that this extra taxation was virtually the last straw, and that the ultimate effect might be to put an end to the football pools, it is obvious that the great body of people written to do not believe it, or else they are not perturbed by the thought that the football pools might shortly be going out of existence because of the extra taxation my right hon. and learned Friend seeks to levy.
We should be just to the football pools. It is very difficult to decide how much tax the pools can bear, and whether the 30 per cent., which my right hon. and learned Friend thinks not unreasonable, is fair to the pools. It is rather difficult to know just how much money is there. We can only deal in totals, and we know from what we have been told that the expenses of the larger ones, at any rate, are at least 20 per cent. of what comes in.
The first point which they make, and one which a very representative delegation which I saw at the Treasury not long ago made, is that this is an unfair discrimination against the pools. They pointed out—and I notice that in the publicity which they have issued they make the point again—that they are being unfairly penalised as compared with the greyhound racing totalisator. They suggest that because of the fact that the original duty imposed on the greyhound race tracks where totalisators were in existence was only 10 per cent. and that 10 per cent. has not been changed since it was imposed, whereas the 10 per cent. on the football pools has been increased by stages to the present 30 per cent. What I think the football pool promoters forget, and what those who up to now have accepted their propaganda forget, 357 is that the 10 per cent. which applies to the greyhound racing totalisator applies to all the relaying of bets and winnings, race after race throughout the evening, whereas with the football pool bet, or investment as it is called, it is one investment and not more than one.
§ Mr. Walkden (Doncaster)
I am not defending the football pools, but that does not apply to the starting price, the ordinary S.P. bet, on the dog tracks. I think that is a fair point.
§ Mr. Drayson (Skipton)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether a man who bets 2s. five times a night should be treated in the same way as a man who bets 10s. once a week?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I um making the point—and I think it is a fair point—that those who go to greyhound race meetings normally do not confine their betting to one race and one only; they bet throughout the evening, particularly if they are winning. The 10 per cent. is not a once-and-for-all duty; it applies every time they turn their money over on race after race. Therefore, it is not strictly comparable for the football pools to point to the greyhound totalisator and say that they are being unfairly penalised by comparison with those who go to the greyhound race tracks.
It is the same with the Bookmakers' Licence Duty. There, as the Committee will remember, the duty is graduated according to the enclosure and the duty that is now levied was based on an estimate of the bookmaker's turnover, taking about 25 representative courses. The bookmakers will tell us that the incidence of this tax upon them has had the effect of driving many of them off the race track altogether. I mention these facts in order to remind the Committee that it is in no sense true that my right hon. and learned Friend has penalised football pools and has favoured either the bookmakers, through the new Licence Duty, or the greyhound totalisator.
There is a Royal Commission now sitting and the question which has been asked is: why did not my right hon. and learned Friend wait before he added this 10 per cent. in order to see what the 358 outcome of that Commission might be? That is a fair point, but my right hon. and learned Friend, as I think he explained earlier in the Debates we have had since he opened his Budget, felt that the football pools could bear this extra 10 per cent. and that it would not be unfair from what we knew of the way the investor had stood up to the previous impositions that had been made upon him.
That being so, as it is essential to raise revenue from every proper quarter, he felt that the extra 10 per cent. was reasonable and that there was no reason why he should wait until the Royal Commission reported. He said, and I think rightly, that consideration of other improvements in the betting tax must await the report of the Royal Commission on the general matter of betting and gambling, and meanwhile the right and proper thing to do was to increase by 10 per cent. the tax on football pools. It would have been wrong for him to have imposed extra taxation in other directions, perhaps on articles used by the housewife in the home or on other articles essential to the life of the community, when he had this source open to him from which, so far as he knew, the extra money could be justly taken.
Another point made is that, in addition to this imposition of 30 per cent., the investor, before he makes his bet, has to lay out money in postage for his coupons and poundage on the postal order he sends. That, the promoters tell us, is an extra tax on those who invest in their pools. What the football pool promoters forget is that when an individual goes to the dog track it almost always costs him a considerable fare to get there and back. [HON. MEMBERS: "He walks back."] If in the agitation which they are carrying on the pool promoters are going to assert that the postage and poundage and cost of coupons puts them at an additional disadvantage as compared with greyhound racing, it is not unfair to say that where that costs only 4½d. or 6d. at the most, it nearly always costs those who go to greyhound race tracks more in fare to take them there and back.
Whether that argument is a valid one or not, I think the plain fact is that if the punter is unsuccessful—and the vast majority of them must be—it makes no difference to him whether part of the 359 stake goes to the Exchequer or not. Once he has sent his shilling, two shillings, five shillings or whatever his stake may be, if his guess has not been the right one, it is immaterial to him what happens to the money that he sent. I am sure that a very large number of them are delighted to think that when they do lose, not all of it goes into the pockets of the pool promoters and that the Exchequer is extracting at any rate 30 per cent. of it. If an investor is fortunate enough to win, as investors sometimes are, and to win a large sum for a very small stake, he is so delighted at winning that he does not grudge——
§ Mr. Drayson
Do I understand the Financial Secretary to be of the opinion that if an investor or client of a football pool makes a wrong forecast and gets no return, the two shillings goes to the promoter?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I did not say anything of the sort. It is computed that something like £650 million was spent on gambling in 1948. If hon. Members will bear that in mind and then look at the Expenditure and Revenue Account in the Financial Statement they will see what an enormous sum this is compared with what is spent on social services and in other directions by the State. About £60 million to £61 million of that total is spent yearly on football pools. The total yield of the duties which my right hon. and learned Friend put upon betting of one kind and another was, in 1948–49, nearly £23,500,000, and if the Committee agree, as I hope they will, that the 30 per cent. suggested by this Clause is not unreasonable, he will be taking this year something like £28,500,000. That sum, the Committee may be interested to be reminded, is made up of £18 million to £18,500,000 from the football pools, £7,500,000 from the totalisators, and about £2,500,000 from the bookmakers.
That is a very large sum, and, so far as I know, the vast majority of the people of this country, whether they are or are not interested in gambling, feel that at this time, when taxation is necessarily so high, when Purchase Tax running into many millions of pounds is levied, when there are very heavy duties on tobacco, beer and other things, betting should bear its share of the burden. Compared with 360 what is raised in other directions, I am sure that the Committee, on reflection, will realise that £28,500,000 is not excessive, and that £18 million to £18,500,000 from the football pools, which are now taking more than £60 million from the public in investments, is not unreasonable, and is a proposal to which they should agree, in spite of the pressure which might be brought to bear upon them to reject the Clause.
§ Mr. Stanley
I congratulate the Financial Secretary upon one thing, and that is his acceptance that all the arguments—as he so intelligently says, whether valid or not—put forward by the Treasury will have convinced all his listeners that he himself must be quite guiltless of any form of gambling in the past. In fact, he appears to have as little knowledge of gambling as I gather most of the members of the Royal Commission possess. I am very glad that, when referring to the campaign organised by the pool promoters, as he was entitled to do, the right hon. Gentleman started by saying that they had a perfect right to indulge in this form of propaganda. So they have.
There has been, I think, a good deal of rather hysterical talk about the immorality of the attempt by this particular interest to put pressure upon Members of Parliament. As all those who have been Members of the House for some years know, that sort of thing has been going on for many years. It has come from many quarters. It has not only come from these particular people, who may have a great deal of money at their command and may be unpopular with certain sections of the House. I, personally, had a great many more letters, and a great deal more pressure was put upon me, for the abolition of blood sports than over this question of football pools; but I never heard any Member opposite say how immoral it was that there should be such a campaign for the abolition of blood sports.
§ Mr. Paget (Northampton)
Is not the distinction that these people are not using their own money, that the cost of this campaign is being borne by the investors, that it is expenses being taken out of the investors' pockets?
§ Mr. Stanley
How does the hon. and learned Member know? We were told 361 that this would not be accepted as expenses by the Inland Revenue Department.
§ Mr. Stanley
The fact is that hon. Members know this kind of propaganda campaign. They know just how much weight to attach to it, and the ordinary hon. Member is not very much affected one way or the other. Quite frankly, of this present campaign I would say that it is, in my opinion, the clumsiest that I have ever known. There is usually some desire to make it appear that the letters are spontaneous, but in this case the promoters have gone out of their way to tell us that they are not spontaneous and how much money it is costing to run the campaign. I am not affected one way or the other by this campaign, and certainly shall not be stampeded to agreeing with the promoters; nor, however indignant one may be at the use of the private addresses of hon. Members—a wholly undesirable phenomenon—we should not allow that to affect the equity of the case so far as the investor in the pool is concerned.
I accept whole-heartedly the assumption that, in the very difficult financial situation in which we are, taxation on gambling should and must play as large a part as State taxation on any other form of pastime in which we may choose to indulge. One may believe that gambling, in itself, is immoral; I do not believe it to be so, any more than drinking, smoking, or going to the cinema is immoral. Each of these four, if taken in excess, may have bad individual or moral effects; but the man who chooses gambling as his pastime must expect to contribute to the national revenue. He should, I think, feel under an obligation to do so, just as the man who chooses smoking, drinking, or going to the cinema. I think, therefore, there is general agreement that gambling should contribute its share, and there can be no complaint on the part of the gambler that he is called upon to provide his fair share of what the nation now needs.
Therefore, with regard to the particular tax which we are now discussing, we have to answer only two questions. First, 362 is it fair? If I may, I will deal now, not with the fairness as between one form of gambling and another, important as that question is and much as I want to deal with it later in my speech, but with the question of this particular tax on this particular form of gambling compared with the rate of taxation levied upon the other pastimes—the man who has his glass of beer, the man who has his packet of cigarettes, or the man who goes to the cinema. I think that, if hon. Members will look at the proportion that taxation plays in the price of their cigarettes, beer, whisky or even of their visits to the cinema, they will feel that, heavy as is the burden now placed upon the investor in the pools, it is still lighter in proportion than that which is borne by these other forms of amusement.
The second point is this: is this addition so great that in fact it will kill the goose that is going to lay the golden egg? Is the effect of this so heavy that the pool investor is going to say the odds against him are now so great, that the speculation is not worthwhile, and that pools investment is going to drop off? Really, I think the Financial Secretary is almost too innocent to live. After all, when a person loses his money, he does not mind whether some of it is going to the State; but the point is, of course, that when the person wins his money, he is going to win much less because of the 30 per cent. which the State is taking off.
Although people who want a "flutter" do not use the precise mathematical calculations which no doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer would use if he does, or perhaps when he does, apply his mind to the science of gambling, yet they say "We have a pretty fair idea that the odds are so great against us that it is not worth going on." The right hon. Gentleman has really made an assertion that because pool betting was able to take a 20 per cent. tax, there is no reason why it should not take a 30 per cent. tax. I should like to have heard from him any indication as to whether, in fact, as a result of the announcement in the Finance Bill, there has been a substantial falling off in pool betting.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
Perhaps I can answer that point now if the right hon. Gentleman would like me so to do. Of course, the season came to an end very 363 shortly after the announcement in the Budget, and it is rather early days to say; but it is our view, so far as we can judge, that the pools have stood up very well to the suggested increase of another 10 per cent. They certainly stood up to it, and there seems to be no diminution after the increase from 10 per cent. to 20 per cent.
§ Mr. Stanley
The right hon. Gentleman has certainly not been very definite. Of course, there is no doubt there has been some falling off—it was the general experience last year—in all forms of gambling and therefore some falling off would be expected in the pools; but it is a pity we are not able to have any more definite information as to what the effect has been.
Now, if the matter stood there and there alone, I must say, speaking for myself, that in the difficult position in which we are, and granted that we cannot now discuss the alternative to all these petty methods of raising a few millions here and there which we have been discussing this afternoon and evening, I would have to say that I should not think that the pool investor was being unfairly treated as compared with the cigarette smoker and that I should not feel it right to exempt him from this contribution to our national necessity.
One important point remains—a point over which the Financial Secretary slid rapidly. It is the question of fairness as between one form of gambling and another. That is, I confess, the point which really troubles me, feeling as I do about the general question of taxation of gambling. I must also confess that the anxiety which I feel has not been removed in the least by anything said by the right hon. Gentleman. I recognise that, if you decide it by comparison with the cigarette smoker or drinker, this 30 per cent. is fair, but merely to say that the man who bets on a racecourse or invests on a greyhound tote ought to pay more than he is doing, would not theoretically help the man we are actually discussing. It is all right in theory, and is perfectly true in theory, but what people want to know is that they are being fairly treated as compared with others.
I am certain that the greater part of the feeling which exists against this increased taxation does not lie in the 364 amount of the taxation itself, but in the feeling that this particular form of gambling is being singled out for discriminatory treatment—is being singled out not because it is more immoral than any other form, or a greater social evil, but because it happens to be the easiest form of gambling to tax. It is no use the right hon. Gentleman pretending that that feeling does not exist: it exists very strongly. Nor is it any good pretending that the sort of argument he used this evening is going to remove the anxiety.
In fact, some of the figures which he gave with regard to gambling made the position, I think, even worse. I have mislaid my notes at the moment, but the figures he gave were, I think, that £650 million were spent on gambling in 1948. Of the £650 million, £60 million were pool betting, and the £60 million of pool betting will pay us, I understand, £18 million in tax. That leaves £590 million to other forms of betting which are going to pay us £10 million in tax. It is pretty difficult, in view of those figures, to persuade the people whose form of gambling happens to be pool investment, that they are being fairly treated as compared with the people who bet on racecourses or invest in the totalisator on a greyhound course.
I do not think there is very much in the argument used by the right hon. Gentleman about a "once-for-all" payment here, compared with the tote. So far is I know, quite a number of people who go to greyhound meetings bet on every race. There are quite a number who send in more than one coupon; they have to pay on each betting transaction they make, just as in greyhound racing everyone pays on each betting transaction he makes, whether on one race or five. I do not think that is enough to explain the difference between the 10 per cent. in one case and the 30 per cent. in the other.
§ Mr. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
Is not the case rather different when one takes into consideration the fact that on the racecourse and the dog track a person has to pay a tax before he can make a bet, as part of the admission cost?
§ Mr. Stanley
I think that really is different, because it is the Entertainments Duty one pays for the entertainment, whether one gambles or not. We are 365 discussing the extra tax for gambling. Although I am not prepared to oppose this tax, I am very sorry that the right hon. Gentleman did not find it possible to wait until we had the report of the Royal Commission on Gambling before he acted. [An HON. MEMBER: "Tax them all."]—I agree. If you are to raise money from gambling, let it be raised fairly from all those who gamble, in a way which leaves no feeling of unfair treatment among any section. It was for that purpose that the Royal Commission was set up. It was set up very late. It was pointed out to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, not only on the last Budget but on the Budget before, that there was a feeling of discrimination which could only be removed by the treatment of the problem of gambling as a whole. It is most unfortunate that it took them so long to set up the Royal Commission. It will be more unfortunate if they do not give the impression that they will accept the report as a matter of urgency, and that they are prepared to act on the report when it is received.
Many of us have seen a good many Royal Commissions. We know perfectly well that, in the words of ray right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition a Royal Commission can either be a sofa or a springboard. It can be set up either to delay something that the Government do not want to touch or it can be set up to enable the Government to do something which they are really anxious to tackle. We want to know in which category does this Royal Commission fall.
The delay in setting it up does not give us much hope that the Government really want to tackle this problem, but I must say that the acquiescence of myself and my hon. Friends in this tax must be dependent on our feeling that the problem is now to be tackled as a whole, that we are to be enabled to see whether there is discrimination between one form of gambling and another and, if there is, that it will be cleared up, so that there may be fair and equal treatment all round. Much as I feel that this Clause should be allowed to pass, it can only be on the condition that the right hon. Gentleman assures us that there is a real desire on the part of the Government to tackle this problem as a whole and that we shall not be called upon another year to pass once again a tax which may be 366 discriminatory as between one class of gambler and another.
§ 11.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Haworth (Walton)
I must agree with every word that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) has said and for that reason I shall not weary the Committee with a number of the arguments which I had prepared. I am more than pleased to find that no attempt is to be made to try to make party capital out of this campaign which is being waged—but the blame rests on the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a good deal of the agitation being waged by the pool promoters at the present time.
In his introduction to the Budget he said:I first take another look at the football pools, which seem to have been completely undisturbed by the existing 20 per cent. tax. I do not think they will be any more disturbed if that tax is raised to 30 per cent."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th April, 1949; Vol. 463, c. 2102]If any hon. Gentleman were interested in football pools and read the words of the Chancellor, I imagine he would take them as an invitation to create a good deal of disturbance. My view is that a lot of the disturbance that has been created is not so much against the 30 per cent. tax as a preliminary measure against a 40 per cent. tax. For logically, if they do not create a disturbance the Chancellor next year is going to come forward and say that as there was no trouble about the 30 per cent. tax why not go to 40 per cent.?
Then there is the letter in "The Times" of today from Mr. E. Holland Hughes, Secretary of the Football Pools Promoters' Association, containing a report of an interview with the Financial Secretary. If hon. Members will read that letter they will see that it contains an invitation, as it were, to the promoters to embark on an agitation. Again, the Financial Secretary is, in fact, saying: "You have been so quiet about this that we have no feeling that we are doing anything you do not like." That is an invitation to try to kick up a row if they want this rake's progress of increasing taxation on football pools to stop.
I have received 782 letters on this subject, sent to my private address. 367 In my constituency I have two of the largest football pool factories or offices in the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I do not know what all that is about, for because of those letters, if there is a Division tonight. I am going into the Government Lobby in favour of this tax. I have tried to examine the situation as dispassionately as possible, and I have one or two criticisms. The first, as I have said, is of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is lacking in psychology on this as on a number of other things [Interruption]. Those cheers will not continue.
The argument from these investors or punters that they are going to suffer leaves me quite cold. I see no great hardship when a man contributes a shilling if he gets £100 instead of £200. Of all the taxes we are discussing in this Finance Bill this can be said to create the least hardship to anybody, because, after all, if people win, they win considerably more than they have staked. There is no need to worry about that side of it.
There is another type of letter which I hope every Member will ignore—the blackmailing letter. It leaves me cold. It says: "I have been a life-long member of the Labour Party but if you do not rescind this tax you will never get my vote again," or the one which says: "I am a member of the Tory party, and if you do rescind this tax you will get my vote." The only way one feels about that kind of person is this. Whether he holds Socialist or Conservative views if he is prepared to subordinate all his political convictions, and say he will vote one way or another because of a tax on football pools, he is not worthy of consideration by any Member of Parliament. That is why I am so glad that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol West (Mr. Stanley) in taking that point of view, is not prepared to be influenced, or to make political capital out of it.
The majority of the letters I have received have come from poor little girls who work in these factories. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of this campaign as being a worthy and normal one. I want to tell him that it has not been conducted in a worthy way. In many cases they have frightened these little girls. I have scores among these 700 letters implying—and in some cases stating definitely—that they have been told that 368 they will lose their jobs if this tax is to continue. We have been trying to find out from the right hon. Gentleman if there is any diminution in the amount of money invested in these competitions. I do not think there will be much falling away. There may be a little, but very little. It is wrong of the pools promoters to frighten these girls in the way they have done into writing these letters, and leaving them to think that they will lose their jobs. I do not think they will, but I will come back to that point later, because I represent an area where we have a lot of unemployment, and if that is going to be intensified through the Government's fiscal policy, we shall want some assurance about what they are going to do. I began to smell a rat when I received five letters with blank sheets of paper. I suppose it is bound to happen that in a large number somebody will "blow the gaff." I received one letter which said:I am writing this letter under pressure. I am a pool clerk, and you will know what I mean. The procedure is to ask the employees to write. The following morning the supervisors come round and ask us if we have written to our M.P. I said 'Yes,' because I am"—she mentions her age, which I am not going to read in case it identifies the person, and she goes on to mention family details which could identify her. I do not want the girl identified, but I am prepared to show the letter to anybody. It goes on:I have to work, and you will understand how difficult it would be for me to get a job, and I feel sure there would be a type of victimisation that one would not be able to compete with. Hence the letter, to clear my conscience. I do not criticise the tax. On the other hand, I think the Government is doing a fine job under great difficulty. I would be glad to work at something more useful, and would be very much happier if the pools were closed and taken over for production of some sort. I feel badly about not signing my name, but I am in no position to take a chance. Wishing you the best of luck …And so on. That, I suggest, is a letter straight from the heart, from somebody who has felt subject to this intimidation from the pool promoters. I think it is an unworthy campaign. It has been waged in an unworthy way. The promoters had every reason to wage it, they had no alternative to doing so, but they should have done it in a proper way and not involved their employees in the way 369 they have done, and caused them pain and trouble and anxiety. My final word is on the point that we have to satisfy these people that they are not being discriminated against because this is an easy form of taxation. There is that feeling in the minds of investors in these football pools. I hope that the Committee will report quickly, and that action will be taken quickly after that to satisfy these people, and everybody else that we are trying to be fair and tax all forms of gambling, and not merely this one because it is easier to tax than the rest.
§ Mr. William Teeling (Brighton)
I must confess that I felt a little bit sorry for the Financial Secretary this evening, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose and went away at the very moment this Clause was brought forward. I think none of us feels that it is the Financial Secretary who is in any way responsible for the Clause. It is rather bad luck that he should be landed in the position of having to try to defend it.
In his first few words the right hon. Gentleman pointed out that I have an Amendment on the Order Paper to leave out Clause 10. That Amendment was put down before Whitsun and, therefore, quite a time before this circularisation started. I feel I can appeal to everyone to approach this matter in the same way as that in which I approach it, being in no way influenced by the circularisation. I have many constituents in Brighton who are fairly closely connected with the Football Pools Association, who know a great deal about it and who explained the problem to me at the start. Since then I have been away, like many other people—not at Blackpool but outside the country—and that is why I did not receive these letters which were sent to my private address. I can assure the hon. Member for Walton (Mr. Haworth) that I have received over 300 letters. There are no pools factories or organisations in Brighton, connected with the pools industry, so far as I know, and to my mind the letters sent——
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Were those 300 letters from the hon. Member's own constituency?
§ Mr. Teeling
With the exception of one, which was from someone who had 370 left the constituency. Judging from the large number I receive on other subjects, on the whole, the letters were more detailed and showed common sense and a greater interest in the subject than many I have previously received.
So much for the actual reception of the letters. I appeal to everyone to look at this matter outside politics altogether. I have had discussions with some members of the Football Pools' Association and I understand that one of the main reasons for this circularisation was that interview which took place with the Financial Secretary, to which he has already referred. I gather—and he will no doubt correct me if I am wrong—that when he was spoken to, he said he had not fully realised all the points they were putting forward and he suggested that those points might be put forward in Parliament. Furthermore, he said that as far as he could see there was no strong resentment because of the increase of the duty. I understand that he also said that the Treasury would in no way resent it if the pools' promotors tried to show the Government that there was such resentment, since they themselves had received many hundreds, if not thousands, of letters on the subject and the Treasury had not.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
May I put that right? What they wanted us to do was to withdraw the duty straightaway. I told them it was quite impossible for my right hon. and learned Friend to do that. They asked what courses were open to them and I said, "The course open to any other elector, and that is to see your M.P., and if you can find anyone in the House sufficiently interested, get him to raise it when we deal with the Finance Bill."
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
That is a very different thing from what actually happened, namely the circularisation of 10 million people asking them to write to their M.P. at his private address. That is a very different thing and at no time did I suggest that to them.
§ Mr. Teeling
I cannot entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman on the point and it will no doubt be left to others to say what they feel on the 371 matter. I think the pools were perfectly justified in what they did in this connection.
With regard to the question of circularising to our private addresses, it affects me rather more than most, because I do not happen to have a domestic servant to open the door for me at my flat in Brighton. I keep my name out of the directory, and I have done my level best to try to hide my existence there. Of course, this flood of pools letters to an address they did not know before, has already brought more than one letter saying I am going to be called upon if I do not do this or that. Another point is that these letters were sent to private addresses because the House was not sitting. In the old days I was connected with the B.B.C. From the point of view of fan mail, we always considered that one letter was the equivalent of 100 people who could not be bothered writing. I have had 300 letters and I know of members who have had 20 or 30 and others who have had 300 and 400. It is wrong to say there is no feeling about it. To my mind it is not entirely a feeling organised by the pools promoters.
There are two things we want to find out: whether it is an unfair tax and whether it is likely to eliminate the football pools altogether. In regard to unfairness, I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman, in mentioning the different forms of betting that could be taxed, left out completely, fixed price betting. And why must we have this imposition straight away, without waiting until the Royal Commission has reported?
We have to look back to the days when the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was Chancellor of the Exchequer when he had discussions on this subject with the Pools Association. At that time various methods were suggested to him by which the tax could be levied. I believe he himself suggested that the best thing would be some kind of stamp duty or special postal order, but the Pools Association said it would be easier and better if the money was paid as usual and the tax taken out and passed on straight away by the pools. That method was agreed to by the Treasury. To the ordinary person it looked as if he had nothing to do with it at all and that the tax came out of 372 the pools themselves. But if they had to pay stamp duty or buy special postal orders, they would have realised what the tax was. I instance this as proof that the Pools Association wanted to help.
The original proposal discussed privately was a tax of 6 per cent. When brought in, the tax was 10 per cent., and in six months' time it rose to 20 per cent. Now it is 30 per cent.—all within 18 months. That is pretty quick going. We are told that there is no proof of diminution. I have referred to fixed price betting, which is the main rival of the pools at the present moment. Two years ago, I believe the figures for both forms of betting were something the same. Today, the returns of the fixed price betting people is something like 55 as against 31 for the football pools promoters.
It will, perhaps, not be easy to prove that everything has switched over from the football pools, but it is quite likely that that is the case, because there is no tax on these fixed betting people. Therefore, everything that goes into their concerns, barring expenses, comes back to the investors. That makes it more than likely that that is where the money will be going. All we know at present is that with regard to the racing pools which are now operating, the drop is already something like 25 per cent. in the number of people who are taking them up. We cannot yet tell what is going to happen in the coming winter for football pools.
People are paying twopence halfpenny for postage stamps, three halfpence as poundage for postal orders, and the extra halfpenny which they have to pay as an entrance fee. The halfpenny, incidentally, goes against the paper supplied, and does not go to the pool promoters. About 1 million people are paying one shilling, and between 2 or 3 million people, two shillings. The rest pay more. Add this 4½d. to that and it makes a very large sum to pay out before anything happens. From the shilling, sixpence has to go as to about 20 per cent. in expenses, and now as to 30 per cent. in taxation. It seems fairly logical that if other organisations are working forms of betting which do not charge, and have not got to charge such sums, that, bit by bit, people will drift to them from the football pools. It may be said that they have not done so. But I imagine that they probably 373 have from the fact that the pools are paying out less than these fixed price betting people whereas they were paying the same amount a year or a year and a half ago.
§ Mr. S. N. Evans (Wednesbury)
The hon. Member has made an interesting and important statement. I wonder if he could tell us whence he gets his figures and the comparison with the fixed price betting.
§ Mr. Teeling
From the Pools Association. I cannot say whether they are accurate or not. But my point is that the Royal Commission will be entitled to ask questions about these matters, and to cross-question all the different firms as to their accuracy. Therefore, it would seem fair to wait until the Royal Commission has decided on these particular points before we put on a tax which is probably going to kill these pools.
§ Mr. James Glanville (Consett)
Will the hon. Member use his influence to persuade the pool promoters to issue a balance sheet to every investor?
§ Mr. Teeling
The question is whether this tax is going to kill these pools or not. At present I understand that the figures I have been given, based on a direct mail business, taken over the last two years from 1st July, 1946, to 31st August, 1948—since the figures for the last football season are not in an exact form and cannot be got out yet—are, taking the stake as 100 per cent.—deducted from each stake in expenses—no more and no less than 15.7 per cent. These are split up under the headings of postages, 3.3 per cent; wages and National Insurance 9.9 per cent.; poundage, .2 per cent.; printing and stationery, .6 per cent.; advertising, including declaration of dividends, 1.1 per cent. Light, heating, rent, rates, telephones, insurance and other office expenses, account for .2 per cent., and sundries, such as repairs, travelling, transport, staff welfare and office cleaners, .4 per cent. That leaves the promoters the commission to which they are entitled by their regulations, at a rate of 5 per cent.; but I understand—and it is their own statement—that this is not more than 2.2 per cent.
§ Mr. Nally (Bilston) rose——374
§ Mr. Teeling
I will give way in a moment, but I want to give the Committee the total of the figures I have. Adding this promoters' commission to the 15.7 per cent., we have 17.9 per cent. total expenditure, leaving 82.1 per cent. for the winners and the tax. I understand that the Treasury accepts the arrangements as satisfactory in that they are receiving the actual tax necessary; and all these figures are signed by accountants—and, I would add, accountants of distinct reputation. If, of course, it is said, as it may well be said, that the 2.2 per cent. which goes as commission represents an enormous sum of money—[HON. MEMBERS: "How much?"] That is not the point; I do not know how much, but the argument at present is whether or not it is fair to increase the duty by a further 10 per cent. from 20 to 30 per cent. If it is to be increased by that amount, everybody says rather airily, "Oh, well, it can come from the percentage on the pools' commission taken by the Association." But how can one make 2½ per cent. cover 10 per cent.?—no matter how much they make—the sum is immaterial. It is the percentage that matters and it is obviously not a possibility to make 10 per cent. out of 2–2 per cent. Already 21 of the lesser pools, not members of the Association, have gone out of business on the 20 per cent. levy, and are likely to be joined by others; no less than two of the pools belonging to the Association are making no profit at all and are likely to go out during this coming year—[Interruption.] Hon. Members seem to think that is not so, but these are facts.
We have the Royal Commission coming on, and if these are wrong figures, there will be every opportunity for them to be shown up. It is quite unfair that this point should be decided before the Royal Commission meets. These are the two main points which I should like to stress. I will not go into the possibility of what could be done with this money if it did not go in tax; whether, as in Finland and Sweden, it should go to football fields and so on. But one point I would mention for the camel's back is being overloaded is that, in advertising in the Press, football pools have to pay 20 to 25 per cent. more than any other organisation at all merely because the pools are supposed to be so wealthy; and that is also why the Chancellor is 375 supposed to find it so easy to raise the tax.
It cannot go on for ever, and it may be that, although the Treasury hope to get this extra £6 million, they will not get it. Football pools are seriously thinking, I understand, of going into the fixed betting field and giving up football pools as such, adding a bonus on certain occasions. They would not do this if they thought they could carry on. But if they themselves are starting to go out, then the Chancellor is going to lose his £6 million. Lastly, why spend so much time criticising these pool promoters for the colossal amounts they make for themselves because every penny they make each year has tax and super-tax added to it, and presumably if it is properly looked after by the income tax authorities, they cannot get more than their £5,000.
§ 12.15 a.m.
§ Mr. Nally (Bilston)
I have ventured on many occasions to occupy the House, probably too much so, on this matter of football pools, and I hope I may have the indulgence of the Committee in saying a word tonight. I do not think anyone can complain of the reasonable way in which the right hon. Gentleman who led for the Opposition in this matter, opened the Debate. I think they were reasonable points which he made and it certainly is a strong case when he argues that, because of simplicity, it would appear on the surface that football pool betting is being subjected to an imposition that does not apply to other forms of gambling in quite the same way and with quite the same impact. I am happy to have his assurance that, in due course, when the Labour Government are returned in 1950 and when, shortly after that time, they begin to tackle the big gambling winnings other than those of the football pools, the right hon. Gentleman will be in our midst to give us his support. He really has no case, however, in rebuking the Government about the delay in appointing a Royal Commission.
I remember that in the House over three years ago, I pressed the Prime Minister to appoint a Royal Commission, and indeed another hon. Member had done so before—and, as far as I can recollect, there was no support from hon. Members opposite. Something 376 like two years ago, I put down a Motion on the Order Paper demanding that the Government should set up a Royal Commission, or some other convenient form of inquiry into the whole of the facts of gambling. Again, although 140 or 150 Members on this side signed that Motion for a Royal Commission in effect, the right hon. Gentleman's name was not amongst its supporters. It is no good his pretending that either the Opposition or he wanted a Royal Commission at that time. If they had, they would have been helping to support the course we adopted.
§ Mr. Osborne (Louth)
Some months before the hon. Member put down his Motion for a Royal Commission, I had the Adjournment of the House and I wound up my speech by pleading with the Government to go into all the facts so that the House should know them. The hon. Member that night did not support me.
§ Mr. Nally
The hon. Member's recollection of the circumstances is not accurate. Now, the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) obviously needs some education—I say this without offence, I hope—as to the reason he received 300 letters. What has interested many of us since this campaign of the pool promoters started has been the extraordinary disparity as between the constituencies. In one constituency a Member receives 30–45 letters and in the next constituency the Member will have 200–250. The explanation is simple. It all depends on how well the canvassers and the collecting touts of some of the big pools in the particular constituency are organised. Where there is a constituency having a number of people employed as commission agents by the pools and those agents have grown accustomed to going from door to door collecting money during the season, these same agents have been around to the same doors persuading people to write letters.
As a consequence, it depends to some extent whether or not the commission agents in the area take concerted action to back up their bosses or not. In cases where they have not so decided, or where there are not enough to get together, there is a small number of letters. In a place like Brighton that sort of commission activity does take place. In the pin-table saloons there are people— 377 I say it with no offence to the hon. Member for Brighton—who act as part-time workers for some of the football pool promoters. As a consequence, there has been a fairly large number of letters to Members in these constituencies.
I cannot understand why the figures advanced by the hon. Member for Brighton, which have some force, have not been presented before this by the football pool promoters. Why were they not embodied in the circular which they sent out to 10 million people? Surely, it should have been an easy matter to translate the percentages he gave, which on the face of it seem impressive, into terms of hard cash? How many of the names that figured on the expenses sheet figure among the proprietors? How much of the percentage of takings devoted by various firms to expenses, in point of fact goes to identical names at the receiving end? There is nothing to prevent a promoter—I give purely a hypothetical case—from paying three or four of his relatives as head of the postal department, or supervisor of stamps or welfare, or what have you, any salary he likes and expenses which are not part of the 2.2 per cent. rake off. If the promoters had a strong case, they would put all this into facts and figures.
It is suggested that among the large pools—the big boys of the industry who will have something like £25 million or £30 million to play with even after the increased taxation—one or two will go out of existence as a result of this increased tax. But tie-ups exist. In the case of a large pool there might be, and indeed is, a subsidiary which is in the same bunch. It may well be technically advantageous for the big pool promoter concerned to close down his subsidiary. He still has the mailing list and can still circularise the customers of the pool he has closed down. I anticipate that that sort of thing will be done, and we have to face up to it.
I know that this House is jealous when an hon. Member seems to take advantage of the privilege we have, to say in this House, freely and frankly, what we believe to be the truth, although we may know that because of the law of libel or slander we could not do so outside. Therefore, an hon. Member must be extremely careful before he uses the protection which this House affords him 378 to make allegations. I ask the House to accept my word that I make the statements I am about to make because I believe them to be true and because they are known by many people apart from myself to be true.
One of the remarkable things is the way in which the Press has been more anti-pool than it was anti-brewery. The explanation is simple. We have discovered in journalism—and journalism did not generally discover this until the last 18 months or two years—that these big football pool firms—not all, but a number of the big pool firms—corrupt what they touch not only in the field of our general life in this country, but in the field of journalism. This is what has been happening: the football pool firms have discovered that, although it is not possible to get all the advertising space they want, to some it is of great advantage in their business to exploit the mumbo-jumbo of mathematics in what is known as permutation tips and tables. There are people in some newspaper offices whose job it is to publish neat little tables pointing out that if one puts his 1s., 2s., and Xs. in a certain way he stands a better chance of winning. It. has been the ambition of many pool promoters to get their names used in these features, so that one gets permutation tables with the phrase that "So-and-so coupons offer a very excellent chance in the use of the following permutation," and there then follows the elaborate little tables.
Bribes have been paid by some of the pool promoters to many of the people responsible for writing those permutation tips in order to get the pool name in the paper. There is scarcely a newspaperman in Fleet Street who does not know it. The "Daily Express" and the "Sunday Express" are papers I detest—I think the whole Beaverbrook outfit is poisonous—but I am bound to say that they were the first newspaper organisation to detect the dangers and issue an instruction that in future the individual names of football pool firms should not be given in any advice or guidance given in its columns to pool punters. The first newspaper group to recognise the dangers and to forbid it was the "Express" group. Then the people in charge of Odhams Press controlling the Sunday newspaper 379 "The People" saw the dangers and restricted the permutation tips that could be given to 5s. value. The Committee may not be prepared to accept my word, so let me give the exact words that the news editor of a national newspaper used to me:I know that people have received tips in cash or kind for publicity that they have managed to get for football pool firms.A sports writer on another national daily whose name is quite well-known to many in this House told me that he has been convinced that ever since the Unity Pool broke up in 1946 sums of money have been given to the person doing their permutation tips in his paper by the firms whose names he was able to introduce into his feature. One can give the names of the two biggest charlatans in this business. One is Bernard Ward and the other is Jack Boulder. These men have worked out quite an elaborate racket involving large sums of money and a close financial tie-up with the pools for publicity purposes. In addition——
§ Mr. McGovern (Glasgow, Shettleston)
May I ask if it is in Order to go into wholesale allegations in a Debate of this kind without giving names and substantiating them in some way? I am not interested here in the points of this Debate but I certainly object very strongly to the line along which it has been progressing.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I was considering the matter when the hon. Member raised his point of Order. The Debate is, of course, on the question of Clause 10 standing part of the Bill. I think the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally) must relate his remarks more closely to that, although we could have, and have had already, some discussion allowed by my predecessor and myself as to the methods adopted in first of all trying to organise the opinion of Members in this House. I think the hon. Member should be more careful before he goes too far lest he might seem to be taking advantage of that protection which he referred to in his opening remarks.
§ Mr. Nally
The point I was going to make was that on the expense sheets of the football pool firms there are many items, of which I propose to give a few minor examples, which do represent the 380 way in which expenses could be saved and the punters benefited. I introduce the following quotation because it happens to be taken from the "World's Press News" of 29th April, 1948. It stated:There was a pleasant gathering of advertising men and newspaper executives given by Shermans Pools Ltd. last week. Mr. Sherman proved a pleasant and affable host and made his guests feel fully at home. If all present had not been pool winners at one time or another they probably felt as if they had been, with the fare which was provided.That was almost on the eve of the Lynskey Tribunal, when we knew something of the matters involved before that Tribunal.
§ 12.30 a.m.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I think the hon. Gentleman is really going much too far now in his remarks. He may refer to expenses which he can indicate should be reduced, but he cannot go into the whole matter of the football pools and now on to the Lynskey Tribunal.
§ Mr. Nally
On the very eve of that Tribunal the Shermans ran a most expensive party at which they persuaded a leading newspaper editor to acclaim one of them as the best of hosts, a fact that was duly reported in the "World's Press News." I would invite the attention of the Royal Commission, and indeed the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the expenses in connection with the suites which the football pool promoters have had in the big hotels in London since Unity Pools broke up in 1946. The expenses on these and similar things reach fantastic levels.
There is a criticism to be made on this tax against the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is that while he is taking—rightly so—and is content to take, 30 per cent. in taxation, he is offering no protection whatever to the punter who is involved. This is not only a small man business; the amount of individual bets vary enormously. I have already referred to what I regard as and know to be some gross abuses in the handling of this high-powered publicity in relation to permutations. Look at the results. These are cases which have come to my notice in the past 18 months, about which I feel strongly, and all of which were reported in the Press. Case "A" concerns an insurance branch manager living within a 381 few miles of one of the leading pools. His financial circumstances could have been ascertained by any one of the investigating officers the pools employ. He was earning quite a good salary, and began to bet modestly. The accounts I am quoting from are straight reports from coroners' inquests. This man betted slightly, and then was attracted by permutations.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I am sorry again to interrupt the hon. Gentleman but I do not think that personal anecdotes of that kind can be relevant to the question whether this tax should be increased or not.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I have already told the hon. Gentleman he cannot go along that line further. He must relate his remarks much more closely to the issue whether this tax should be increased or not. He cannot discuss the merits, the morality or immorality, of the pools system, under this Clause.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I have asked the hon. Gentleman three or four times to relate his remarks to the Clause. He must not pursue that line further.
§ Mr. Nally
I have no doubt, as I ventured to say to the House in 1947 in a late night Debate, when I was accused of having "a bee in my bonnet" about the football pools, that although it is true they do not represent the main form of gambling yet, examining them in relation to commercial life, journalism and general financial policy, under their present management and control, they are a corrupt influence. The 30 per cent. tax, I believe, is gradually leading Parliament and any Chancellor of the Exchequer—no matter who he may be—to recognise the fact that, once having begun on the path of taxation of the pools, which I believe to be the right path, we have no logical defence against going further and placing the whole of betting under State control, so that the whole proceeds may accrue to the State and the punter may be properly protected.
§ Mr. Teeling
The hon. Member talked a lot about Shermans pools. Is it not true that Shermans pools do not belong to the pools association, which covers about 90 per cent. of the respectable pools?
§ Mr. Nally
If I had time I would explain the circumstances in which the then Football Pool Promoters Association decided to expel Shermans. Then they got frightened and decided rightly, that we would use the expulsion politically. Accordingly, they simply dissolved the Association and reformed it without Shermans—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I am sorry, but the hon. Gentleman did not refer to it, and he would not have been in Order if he had done so.
§ Mr. Harold Roberts (Birmingham, Handsworth)
I heard with great interest the letter that was read by the hon. Member for Walton (Mr. Haworth) from a young lady, but he dropped his voice a little at the end, and I think he said the letter was unsigned. Am I right?
§ Mr. Roberts
Thank you. I did not want to proceed on a wrong assumption. This is typical of the spirit surrounding this discussion. The hon. Member, arguing whether we should or should not agree to this impost, reads to us allegations by this girl, whose identity is concealed and whose letter was not signed. We are to base our discussion on an anonymous letter. It is followed by charges of extreme gravity made against pool promoters as a body, amounting to charges of systematic fraud. Most of us who move about the world have heard a good many stories of that kind, with nods, whispers and innuendoes. These considerations are all irrelevant. If it is true that the pool promoters are acting selfishly in sending out these circulars, let us remember that their living depends on their rake-off, or commission, which varies with the turnover of the pools. They think the turnover will suffer if this tax goes through. By itself, this is strong proof that the reasoning of the right hon. Gentleman who spoke first on this side is sound, and that discrimination is sought to be exercised by the Treasury against one class of the sporting public.
383 I have had a good many letters from my constituents. No doubt some of them were inspired by the pool promoters; many of those who wrote were stirred into action, I expect, by the circulars they received; but that by and large they were genuine expressions of the feeling of those who sent them, I have no doubt whatever. I have been convinced by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) that the pools' investors are being treated with grave injustice. I was so convinced before I came here today and heard him and I informed the constituents who had complained to me that I proposed to vote against this impost. That is still my resolve, because if an attempt is made to impose a duty or a charge which is unfair to those who have to pay it and I do not vote against it whenever I can, then I am failing in my duty.
One hon. Member opposite said he would welcome an opportunity of voting for this duty. Very well; let the issue be fairly joined and if, in his opinion, it is right to do this, let him so vote. But I say, let us try as far as we can to consider the duty on its merits as a trebling within 18 months of an impost, which was small to begin with and was put on a section of the sporting population because it is easy to collect. There is no regard to equity between these and other classes. It is imposed pending a Report from a Royal Commission and is supported by arguments containing the gravest prejudice. They are not directed to the morals or the standing of those who have to bear this duty, but to another body whom we are not concerned to defend and who may be the greatest scoundrels unhanged but who are not the people against whom this duty is being directed.
§ Mr. Symonds (Cambridge)
I feel that most, if not all, of the difficulties and doubts which have arisen tonight on this subject could very easily be dispelled if the pool promoters would give the public a few facts on which to go, instead of talking vaguely in percentages. One's dislike of this campaign is not because of any kill-joy attitude, and I would not consider I had any right in any way to try to prevent anyone who wished to do so from indulging in a flutter or gambling of any kind. I am convinced that any attempt to suppress gambling by law 384 would fail. It is not a question of adopting any high moral tone in this issue.
My real objection to this campaign and the reason why I support the Chancellor's proposal is that I object to my constituents being led up the garden path by a very high-powered and expensive agitation organised by people who refuse to give the public those very facts on which alone a proper assessment of the position can be made. If we look back, we see that this duty was proposed as long ago as 6th April, but there was no excitement anywhere at all until about a couple of weeks ago when this expensive campaign started. Since then we have had a campaign which I can only describe as one of hypocrisy, humbug and deception—hypocrisy because there has been a pretence that this agitation is in the interests of the ordinary working man who has his weekly flutter, and a pretence that these pool promoters are public benefactors who are performing a public service at great inconvenience and expense to themselves.
Actually their secrecy about the profits they are making gives a pretty good indication that they are on to something they find very good and do not want to lose. That is why I think this agitation is hypocritical; it is humbug because it is pretended that this will be the end of the pools. We are a gambling nation and these pools promoters know that the ordinary man in the street would not like to be deprived of the chance of his weekly flutter. But in making the suggestion that this would be the end of the pools they have not made the slightest attempt to provide any evidence. They might have given figures to show that the change from 20 to 30 per cent. is hitting them, but there has been no effort to show that. There is simply this play on fear and a complete silence about the actual facts.
I say it has been a deceptive campaign because we have had a good deal of sob stuff designed to conceal the fact that no real figures are being made available. It is impossible for the public to assess the value of this agitation without these facts. The right hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) said that we ought not to say that this was in any way an immoral campaign. He cited the blood sports agitation as a parallel. The essential difference between the two campaigns 385 is this. With blood sports, it was simply a moral issue; with pools, we have an agitation carried on by people with a direct, selfish personal interest to protect. We also have this attempt at what almost amounts to intimidation, though it has had somewhat the reverse of the effect expected. I should like to quote one letter I have received:As exhorted, I am writing to my M.P. about the enclosed.The writer encloses one of the advertisements.I hope you will do what you can to bring about an increase to a 50 per cent. tax. These people are parasites. The country cannot afford them. The labour they employ should be engaged productively, as I am sure you will agree.I am sure the pool promoters would not like that letter to come out. I am not saying that it is representative, but it shows there are people who are not being led up the garden by this agitation. Fortunately, I am not one of those who have had a large number of these letters. My total amounts to only 20.
§ Lord John Hope (Midlothian and Peebles, Northern)
What exactly does the hon. Member mean when he uses the word, "intimidation"?
§ Mr. Symonds
I said, "almost intimidation," meaning the attempt to incite mass pressure on individual members of this House, not to form their own judgments on the evidence available to them, but to take a course of action as a result of a greater or lesser degree of pressure. That is what I meant.
I put a Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday about this matter of the expenses of this campaign, the postage for which alone, I imagine, must come to about £40,000. I asked whether or not this would be reckoned as a business expense for Income Tax purposes. The Chancellor said that it would not. But as I see it, that is not to say that the pool promoters themselves, whether or not they can charge it for costs, will not in the end get the money for themselves directly out of the punters. When one considers this matter of pools finance, one finds it a great mystery. What are considered to be expenses, and how are they calculated? And what actual amounts of profit are being taken each week? Nobody knows. 386 It is suggested by the promoters that approximately 20 per cent. is deducted for expenses and commission according to the rules of the Football Pool Promoters' Association. In other words, they themselves, in their own association, decide what shall be regarded as expenses and what amount shall go to profit. But there is no clear indication of the division between the two.
Despite the fact that they have been invited, have been challenged, to produce balance sheets, they steadfastly refuse to do so. I suggest that the onus is really upon them. If they consider that this tax is going to cripple their activities, they should "come clean" and produce evidence of the financial set-up of their industry. If they think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is being too harsh, let them publish their balance sheets for the past few years, showing exactly their takings and expenses before and after the increases of tax from 10 to 20 per cent., and so on. If they refuse steadfastly to publish any such balance sheets, the only conclusion which I, for one, can come to is that they feel that were all the financial facts known to the general public, the general public might take a very different view from that which they are taking at the moment.
§ Mr. Frederic Harris
I gather that the whole of the hon. Member's point is the publication of balance sheets. But surely the revenue authorities have full access to the whole of the balance sheets. To whom does the hon. Member wish to see these balance sheets shown? Does he suggest that every member of the public should see them?
§ Mr. Symonds
I see no reason why the promoters should be so shy about letting every member of the public know exactly how much money they are making each week. Unless they are prepared to do so one can only assume that they have, from their point of view, very good reasons for continuing the secrecy. I would suggest that the sooner the Royal Commission on Gambling calls for full financial statements from these pools the better.
§ Mr. Raikes (Liverpool, Wavertree)
I do not propose at this stage of the night to make a long speech on this subject. It is, after all, a comparatively simple 387 question. I agree with the right hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) that gambling or betting is one of those entertainments which has to bear a part of the taxation of the nation. I agree also with another hon. Member who said that no Member of Parliament ought to be intimidated by letters from persons stating that they had been life-long Conservatives, or life-long Socialists, but were now going to consider their vote in regard to what the hon. Member did. I have received about 400 letters, but there has been no intimidation in that way.
It does appear to me, and I know it appears to many hon. Members on all sides of the Committee, that it is not satisfactory that this particular form of betting should be singled out as being apart from other forms of betting for a tax of this nature. I listened to the Financial Secretary very carefully, and he did not really endeavour to meet this point. He should have met the point by comparing like with like, but he merely talked of the 10 per cent. tax on greyhound tracks. Why should there be that complete difference between pool betting outside the course and taxless fixed price betting with bookmakers? No hon. Member has suggested, and I do not think that any hon. Member would so suggest, that pool betting is a particularly evil form of betting. I think it is the most harmless sport, in which pretty humble people enjoy a shilling or two shillings a week, rather than going in for backing a winner on the course.
It is not the sort of betting which ruins homes or brings the misery which other forms of betting might bring; but there is a differentiation of taxation, which, in my view, has not been considered carefully by the Government at present. The pools have carried a 10 per cent. tax, and then 20 per cent. So it is asked, why not 30 per cent.? There is always a point where one faces the danger of diminishing returns. The Association of Pool promoters kicked up no "shindy" over the 10 per cent. or the 20 per cent. tax, but now we have this suggestion of a 30 per cent. tax.
I do not think I am being very controversial when I say that any sort of agitation which provides a large number of letters for hon. Members is almost always organised and that such organisation is 388 quite legitimate. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol that the use of the private addresses of hon. Members rather than the House of Commons was foolish, but what we have to ask ourselves is, "Was it improper agitation?" I confess that my letters were rather more diverse letters than one normally gets when receiving a lot. One had a whole lot of rather differently expressed views, and I must admit that they were some of the most interesting I have read. There is no doubt that they were the kind of letter written by the individual; and by an individual who was sufficiently interested to write in his own words.
§ Mr. Haworth
The hon. Gentleman represents a Liverpool constituency, and would he not say that more than half of his letters were from employees in the pool industry?
§ Mr. Haworth indicated dissent.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ Mr. Raikes
The hon. Member need not shake his head at me. After all, I do read my own letters just as he reads his. I agree that the percentage of one's letters from persons actually employed in the pools would be very much larger in those constituencies where they are employed than in most of the other constituencies.
It is suggested that the Pool Promoters Association has got no real fear of the pools business falling off sufficiently seriously to create unemployment. I should like just for a moment to consider whether that case is unreasonable or not. It is probably not unreasonable that clients of the Football Pools Association should in the first instance write to the Association and say, "What are you going to do?" instead of writing to Members of Parliament. We are told that racing pools are already 25 per cent. down on 1948. They say, and I think there must be something in that, that the applications for football coupons for the next pool season are very, very much lower than they normally expect at this time of year. There has been a drastic reduction. I am inclined to think, with my very limited knowledge of this, that if the Association thought they would get away with the tax comfortably and continue to get people to go 389 in for the pools, they would be inclined to "play ball' with the Government of the day like other firms of big business.
If on the other hand, the result of this is going to be that the pools business goes right down, we are going to be faced with far more important things than the woes of pool promoters. Some people are going to drop this particular form of entertainment because they are being unfairly treated over taxation. These are the type who may be persuaded to go over to a bookmaker who is going to give them fixed price betting. There is also a vast army of people who go in for pools who would never dream of making a bet or gambling otherwise. But if they think that their amusement is so heavily taxed that it is not worth while doing, they will not continue.
That means not only that a certain amount of business will be lost but that in areas such as the Member for Walton (Mr. Haworth) represents, which I represent, and which the hon. Member for Liverpool Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) represents, we are going to be faced with a degree of unemployment amongst those at present engaged in pools. It is easy to take a respectable view and say it is much better for them to be employed in more productive industry, that it would be very much better to have them out of the pools. That may be the answer where we have full employment.
But on the Merseyside we have never seen full employment—even today with Marshall Aid and everything else. I say frankly that the absorption of a good deal of female labour and that of a number of disabled men on Merseyside has been a blessing to the community at a very difficult time, whether one likes the pool promoters or not. I am disturbed by the idea that reduction and possible termination of pools may make necessary an increase in unemployment among persons who theoretically can be absorbed elsewhere but in fact go out on the street. For those reasons I hope that even at this late stage this tax might be reconsidered and at any rate kept in some sort of order compared with other forms of taxation on betting.
§ Mrs. Braddock (Liverpool, Exchange)
I appreciate that it is rather late to be taking part in a discussion of this sort, but I represent an area which perhaps 390 employs more pools clerks and others associated with pools than any other. The main office of the biggest pool in the country is in my constituency. There are so many people of the ordinary type who are able to do pools work living in the constituency that as soon as I began to receive letters, numbering between 400 and 500, I was compelled as the representative to take notice and make some inquiries as to what the position actually was. I discovered that the first tax on pools was suggested by the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not knowing how to deal with the position himself he had interviewed the Pool Promoters' Association and they very kindly gave him the solution of how easily to put a tax on pools. They had no objection of any sort to the fact that they were going to be taxed. In fact, they offered assistance and suggested the easiest method whereby the tax could be put on them.
Their suggestion was adopted and a 10 per cent. tax was put on in 1947. In 1948 it was automatically increased to 20 per cent. It has been stated, correctly, that no objection was taken and that there was no agitation when the 20 per cent. tax was imposed. That was mainly because they felt that the country, being in the state it was in, was entitled to the tax. When the next Budget came along the suggestion was 30 per cent. and the pools people began to want to know what was going to happen and applied to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was away and the representatives of the Pools Promoters' Association were met by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. They asked him what was the situation and why the extra tax was being imposed—why there was discrimination in taxation between pools and other forms of betting. I understand that they were told by the Financial Secretary: "It is quite all right; 20 per cent. was put on and nothing was said; if there is any agitation or objection in the country there is one way to deal with it."
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
May I correct that impression? That is not what happened. What happened was that they came to the Treasury, as many delegations do, and I informed them that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had imposed this tax because in his view it was the proper thing to do. So naive were they in these 391 matters that they imagined that they had only to come here and put the point to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and he would withdraw the tax immediately. I had to point out that that could not be done, that the matter would come before the House, and that if they desired to make representations they could do what others did and go to their Members of Parliament and ask them to raise the matter when the Committee stage was reached.
§ Mrs. Braddock
I feel that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury may have a guilty conscience. I am told that the Treasury said that they had no evidence of any agitation or dissension among those people who were investors in the pools, that the Treasury would welcome any discussion and that the way to deal with the business was to have it raised on the Floor of the House. If they did make an agitation and did take steps to see that it was adequately expressed on the Floor of the House of Commons, nothing would be held against them for that action by the Treasury.
In perfectly good faith, I am empowered to say that there is no suggestion at all, no intention at all, and no desire at all on the part of the football pool promoters in any way to lead an agitation against the Government. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nonsense."] That may be one feeling, but I am just as much entitled to express an opinion as anyone else is entitled to say "Nonsense." If any section of the community is invited by the Treasury to show that there is an agitation against the application of a certain increased tax, the only way to do it is for those people directly affected to express some opinion, and if that is going to be called in any circumstances an attack on the Government, then we shall have to look at the matter of attacks on the Government very carefully.
There is another aspect of this matter. In an area such as I represent we are bound to look at the question of whether any alteration in a tax is going to increase unemployment. We have to face the fact that a perfectly legitimate industry in an area of deep depression is employing practically 16,000 people who are earning good wages in fairly good conditions. In fact the conditions cannot be equalled by other employers in the 392 area, who object to the high rates of pay offered because they cannot attract work-people from that industry into their own. We have to face the possibility of creating additional unemployment to the 21,000 steady unemployed in the Liverpool area. There are still over 3,000 women in the Liverpool area unemployed, and it is all very well to say that the people employed by the football pools should be employed elsewhere, but we have no right to prevent them being employed while not being able to offer them alternative or better employment inside or just outside the area. That is one of the difficulties of the situation in the Liverpool area. Here is an industry employing so many people that any steps that may be taken to reduce the number must be of great concern to those of us who represent divisions in the area.
It is said that this tax comes out of the pool promoters. It does not. It will not affect the pool promoters one extra halfpenny. What happens is that the more money goes into taxation from the pool promoters the less goes into the pool to divide among those who win, so that if it is a question of taxation for the purpose of putting the pools out of operation it is not actually doing that; it is preventing the people who like to bet.
I do not think I have ever filled in a pools coupon in my life. I do not go to races, I do not drink, and I do not smoke, so the Financial Secretary to the Treasury does not get much out of me—[AN HON. MEMBER: "What do you do?"]—I do not think that would be relevant to the discussion.
The ordinary British man and woman likes to gamble in some way—and there are over 1,000,000 of them whose bet on the pools does not exceed a shilling and there are over 2,000,000 whose bet does not exceed 2s., so a very big percentage of those we are discussing now, as this is quite legal, are people who are entitled to do their betting on the pools in the way they desire. As there are, I understand, 9 to 10 million people in the country who fill in pools coupons for the various organisations, and as a person does that because he expects to win something additionally—hope springs eternal—then, if the odds come down to 393 such an extent that is not worth the expenditure, obviously that person looks for some more remunerative method of betting. We shall never stop the British people from having a bet on certain things.
A reduction in the number of people paying into pools means that there must be a reduction in the staff that is used to deal with pools operations generally, and it automatically means, if it is consistent, an increase of 10 per cent. on each bet. That will eventually mean that people will not take out pools coupons and eventually the industry will gradually be reduced. If we were discussing shutting down the pools I would make a different speech, but we are not discussing that. We must be realists and face the position as it is. I say quite definitely, that so long as pool betting is legal, people are entitled to take part in it. They have no objection to paying tax, but the agitation that has been created is definitely for the purpose of ensuring that there will be no further increase of high taxation periodically until the Commission have reported and a decision has been taken about what is to happen about gambling generally.
For these reasons I made special inquiries. I have gone into the letters I received, most of them from constituents, some from pools employees. Suggestions were made in the Liverpool area that there has been intimidation. The organised labour and trade union movement expressed an opinion about it—that they would deplore any pools organisation or any employer putting pressure on employees to do something they did not desire to do. If there comes to the notice of the labour organisation in Liverpool any individual case where there has been pressure or victimisation of any employee who has refused to sign, that will be a matter for individual concern. I believe that the pools people took the step they did take at the invitation of the Treasury, and I do not think we ought to be too dogmatic about the position they have adopted.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
The hon. Lady has made a forceful speech, which I am delighted to say I agreed with as to every word. I only hope that what she said at the beginning about the agitation in this affair, got under the thin skin of the hon. Member for Cambridge 394 (Mr. Symonds) and the hon. Member for Walton (Mr. Haworth), who seem to have forgotten the past of the party to which they belong, which was one of consistent, sustained agitation for 50 years. Fortunately we have had the admission from the Financial Secretary that he is the author of the campaign.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
The noble Lord as usual is up to form. He has had a golden path through life, he has never needed to look for a house or a job, or to search for money, but one thing he still has to look for, and that is manners.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I have noticed that the Financial Secretary has been out once or twice tonight, and I hoped he was looking for fortification to make remarks on the Debate rather more interesting and informative than those which have just fallen from his lips. He is clearly the author of the campaign. He frankly avows that he instructed the representatives of the Pool Promoters' Association who went to see him at the Treasury that they were within their right in seeking the assistance of Members of Parliament on the Committee stage of the Finance Bill. I agree with my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Wavertree (Mr. Raikes) in saying that, so far as the letters that have been written are concerned, they are all of a more detailed, instructive, individual and informative character than anything I have experienced in this or the previous Parliament. I have one which I propose to read at the end because it accurately reflects my views, not only on this situation but on the general policy of the Government.
I object on four grounds to the increase of this tax. First, because of the fact that the Royal Commission is sitting. Do the Government propose after this decision to increase the duty next year, to readjust the duty on other forms of gambling and betting in order to bring them into line? Then, afterwards, will they look again at the pool promoters to provide some further duty, and then again readjust it to make for fairness all round? If so, what is the purpose of the Royal Commission? We appoint a Royal Commission in order to leave the field quiet and clear to be properly explored by responsible men in public life who can take evidence from all the bodies concerned. I have never before 395 heard of a case where a Royal Commission has been appointed and immediately thereupon the Government have plunged about in the field which it was supposed had been left to those people to investigate. I deplore the fact that so soon after the appointment of the Royal Commission the Government should have come along with this increased duty.
Secondly, I object because of the very unfair comparison it is now possible to establish between this duty and other forms of duty. The Financial Secretary himself gave the figures and they were repeated by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley). A total of £650 million is spent on gambling. A total of £61 million is spent on the pools. Altogether £18 million is taken out of the pools in taxation, as against £28½ million taken in all taxes on gambling. If the ratio were correct the sum of £2.8 million only should be taken in taxation from the pools. What it is now proposed to take is, therefore, 6½ times too much. That seems to be a clear reason for complaint against this new duty.
Thirdly, I deplore that at this time there should be any increase in taxation at all in any part of the financial structure. As I said on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill, this is a time when we should reduce taxation all round. We shall have further opportunities for saying that tomorrow. More particularly is it vicious to carry through this very serious extension of indirect taxation. What is to prevent the Chancellor of the Exchequer from year to year and time to time seizing upon some aspect of public policy which he dislikes and taxing it almost out of existence? Last year it was the Capital Levy. This year his venom has descended on the pools. Next year it may be to prevent firms making maces for city livery companies or wigs for barristers or canopies for African chiefs. One does not know what he may descend upon with this new principle of indirect taxation. It is deplorable both to support an extension of indirect taxation on this scale and to extend taxation on any scale at all.
Finally, I am genuinely impressed with the letters I have received from my con- 396 stituents. Why should we not be? Why should it be held by hon. Members opposite that when there are these campaigns hon. Members should instantly react against them? Are we not here as representatives of our constituents? Are we not ready to receive their representations at all times and give effect to them when we think they are wise and just? I act tonight on the number of letters I have received and particularly on this one, a short extract from which I propose to read:The football pools are the working man's weekend hobby, not to be placed in the same category as, for instance, daily tote betting, which is not taxed. Surely the working man is paying enough now in taxation either direct or indirect, and so far we have not seriously objected to a 10 per cent. taxation on the pools, or even the last increase bringing it up to 20 per cent., but the proposed 30 per cent. increase is far too much. After all, the average pools fan only speculates with a very few shillings each week and certainly does not regard his speculation as being just a gamble but an interesting form of entertainment, a test of skill, his knowledge of football as opposed to that of the newspaper 'experts.' That he has to pay a few shillings each week is just incidental, and an added fillip to his weekend relaxation, which is, I suppose, something Stafford Cripps has never experienced and therefore neither understands nor appreciates. The country needs our services desperately enough.This is an ex-service man.We are half starved, taxed almost out of existence, yet are still expected to give our best efforts and work, work, work. We cannot have a drink, smoke, dance or see a film without paying a tax. Stop the upward trend of taxation and give us a chance.
§ Mr. Kinley (Bootle)
My contribution, which I will make as brief as I can, will differ somewhat from those which have gone before. I start from the basis that my bag of letters of protest contained 1,000 letters, due to the fact that two of the largest pools firms have centres in Bootle. It is of interest to note that of the thousand letters I have received, 950 were from pools employees and were sent to me because the writers were pools employees and for no other reason. The firms supplied the envelopes, paper and stamps. The hon. Member for Walton (Mr. Haworth) said earlier that he had had envelopes sent to him containing plain paper. I received eight of those—the firm's envelope, the firm's stamp and the firm's plain paper. But they had to be sent apparently, and we are bound to judge from the evidence that comes to us.
397 Of the 950 letters from pools employees, 50 came from divisions which surround Bottle division. Every Liverpool division supplied me with one or more letters of protest and addressed me as "my local representative."—instructions from the firms to their employees, all apparently drilled in the same way. The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) will be pleased to know that three of his constitutents sent letters of protest against the increase of 10 per cent. Why? If any protest were to be made, surely he would do it much more ably and effectively than I could. But they are employees of a pools firm and instructions were given that they should send letters in a certain form.I call upon you as my local representative.That gives us a clue as to how the whole thing has been arranged. As I have said, I have had only 50 letters of protest which were not sent by pool employees. I have a dozen letters sent by people protesting against the protest. I have four which denounce the whole idea of pools, and whose writers would do away with them.
Here, in lighter vein, is an illustration of how badly the pools firms, or those who acted for them, did their coaching. Here are two letters on a firm's notepaper which came in the firm's envelopes. The first one reads,Sir,—I am strongly against any further increase in tax on football pools as I think the working man's pleasure is already too heavy.Here is another letter, from another part of Bootle, which reads,Sir,—I am strongly against any further increase in tax on football pools as I think the working man's pleasure is already too heavy.Exactly identical wording. One of them comes from one particular firm, because that firm uses green ink. So that can be traced. Another interesting sidelight on the campaign arises out of a circular sent by the firms to their regular "fans." I am not going to give the man's name, as he proposes to continue his "fanning" with the firm, and it may be better that they should not know who sent me this letter. It reads,Dear Sir—I have received a letter from X pools—He gives the name in his letter, but I am 398 not being paid to advertise them, so I will not give it.—on the tax subject. I am a modest gambler on the pools—between five shillings and ten shillings every week—and I feel that the tax should be increased by a further 10 per cent., making 40 per cent. I also think that every dividend of £20,000 should pay 25 per cent. tax straight away. I enclose in this letter the circulars I have received from the firm.The other thing I want to mention is that of the 900 employees of those firms, nine out of every 10 write for precisely the same reason—because they are employed by the firms, they want to retain their employment, and they have been convinced by their employers, or those who speak for the employers who have deliberately deceived them, that this 10 per cent. extra tax is going to smash the pools and put them out of business. I do not think there is a pool promoter who is stupid enough to believe that this additional 10 per cent. will have any material effect upon his pools business. What does it mean? A man who, for a shilling, or 1s. 6d., or 2s. 6d. stake last season landed £10,000 as a prize, if able to repeat the performance, will get £9,000. What sort of fool is he who will suggest that a man will throw it up because he can get only £9,000 for his 2s. 6d.
§ Mr. Kinley
If the lucky man of last season who got £20,000 gets only £18,000 this year, that does not mean he will give up gambling. That is the effect which the additional 10 per cent. will have on the winners. To the losers it does not matter how much is put on because their money is "dead" in any case.
There has been this deliberate and persistent campaign by the employers of these women and girls to fill their minds with the conviction that the imposition of this additional 10 per cent. is going to smash the pools and throw them out of work; and there need be no reminder that unemployment on Merseyside and in Bootle is high enough already. They asked me, therefore, not to take any action which might tend to increase that unemployment. That is their case. It is despicable conduct on the part of the pool promoters and if there is for any reason to be a Division on this matter I shall support the Government, hoping 399 that the pool promoters will learn that such conduct is despicable in every respect.
§ Mr. Osborne
The only reason why I am intervening this morning at such an hour is because I raised this question in February, 1947, and I wish to remind the Committee of certain points germane to this discussion which I raised then but which Government supporters refused to face. Can the pools stand this 30 per cent. tax? I do not think that there is an hon. Member on either side who would be against this tax if it were proven that the pools could legitimately pay it; but this Debate is taking place completely in the dark, financially. We have no idea what the figures are or what the resources of the pools may be. I blame, first of all, the Government itself, and then I blame the pool promoters. The Financial Secretary said in his opening remarks that it was difficult to know how much money is available and, therefore, whether the 30 per cent. could be borne or not.
That is the difficulty which we have to face. But it is his own Government which is responsible for that because, asked to get these very facts, the Government refused to do so. The right hon. Gentleman said that, so far as the Chancellor knows, the money is there to be taxed; but the pool promoters say it is not. Neither the Government nor the pool promoters have given the evidence, which must be in existence, upon which we can come to a reasonable and proper decision. We are debating this rather important point without knowing the real facts.
When the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally) chided my right hon. Friend the hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley), for not supporting him late in 1947, my retort is this. When I raised the matter on 12th February, 1947, I finished in this way, and if the Government had acceded to my request that evening we should not have been in this position tonight. This is what I asked the Government to do:I plead that an investigation into the pools should be made, so that we could get to know the whole of the facts, and then the House would be in a position to demand action."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1947; Vol. 433, c. 492–3.]400 The Socialist Minister who answered for the Government gave this extraordinary reply for a party holding their views and responsible for their actions:It would be an intolerable imposition and a restriction on the rights of the individual.I never heard such nonsense coming from a party who has taken away almost every liberty we have got. What he was afraid of is what, I suspect, some hon. Members in all corners of this Committee are afraid of tonight, and that is losing votes. When I had finished my plea that night, I was warned by hon. Members opposite that it would cost me my seat. Well, I do not think that is true.
I say it is this Government which is partly responsible for the position we are in of not knowing the facts. Just to digress one moment. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock), put forward the very natural plea of an hon. Member who may face greatly added unemployment in her division by saying, "If you do smash the pools, my people will face enormously increased unemployment and that, among old people who are now employed doing this work."
I gave an example two-and-a-quarter years ago in the Liverpool area where a rayon company had lost in one week over 260 clerks to a football pool office just down the road. The hon. Lady says that they get better wages in the football pools. Of course they do. There is no competition. They have not to sell their wares anywhere else. The rayon makers have to sell their product in Canada and America and in competition with people all over the world, but the pool promoters can take out of the pool just as much as they like. This is the important point. Not only did I say that the people who were employed there—the 75,000 who were fully employed in the pools—were required at the time in the textile industry, but I placed before the hon. Lady this alternative, that it was a case of more clothes and more food——
§ Mr. Carmichael (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
On a point of Order. Are we discussing whether people should be engaged in the cotton industry or in the pools, or are we discussing whether tax should be 20 per cent. or 30 per cent.? I raise the point because on a recent occasion, when we were discussing the cinema tax on the cinema quota, the Ruling from the 401 Chair was that one might either discuss the 40 per cent. quota or the 45 per cent. quota but nothing else. I do ask, because it has been going on all night, how far Members are permitted in this Debate to roam all over the field and ignore entirely the question of 20 per cent. tax or 30 per cent. tax.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman may have noticed that I was engaged in conversation and was not listening to the hon. Gentleman. Therefore I cannot say whether he was out of Order or not. The Motion before the Committee is, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," and I gather from an interruption which the hon. Member made earlier that he was going to refer to the fact that he opposed the tax on pools some two years ago.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey (Macclesfield)
Further to that point of Order. The hon. Member for the Liverpool Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) pointed out that there might be unemployment in her division. Surely it is in Order for my hon. Friend to point out what would be the effects in another industry?
§ Mr. Osborne
I am much obliged, Mr. Bowles. If the hon. Member on the other side of the line had been in the House and listened to the Debate I do not think he would have made such a foolish and irrelevant intervention.
§ Mr. Carmichael
If an hon. Member raises a point of Order, surely he is entitled not to be spoken of in a disparaging manner by another hon. Member? I think it is extremely unfair.
§ Mr. Osborne
I am grateful to you, Mr. Bowles, and will not labour the point. The intervention was much below what we usually expect from Scotsmen. The hon. Member for the Liverpool Echange Division was making the legitimate claim that if this tax is increased from 20 to 30 per cent. there is a danger that in her division unemployment will be seriously increased. I think that is fair. She was saying that in her division the pools, taxed at 20 per cent., were now able to pay much better wages than were paid by other employers in the same area. Our retort was that the pool promoters 402 can take from pool subscriptions just as much as they like. There is no control over them; no one knows how much they do take. I appeal for the information on which we can judge the case.
§ Mr. Tolley (Kidderminster)
If that argument holds good, they can afford to pay 10 per cent. additional tax.
§ Mr. Osborne
I am merely pleading that we should have all the information available. It is rather a pity that the Government refused my request two and a half years ago for this information. They did so because they were frightened of it.
What the Committee should have from the pool promoters is the figures upon which we can judge whether they can legitimately pay the extra 10 per cent. We ought to know their gross receipts for five years, how much they have paid away in expenses—and legitimate expenses—and we ought to have a column showing how much they have kept for themselves and how much they have sent back. If we know that, we shall be in a position to judge whether they can afford to pay this 10 per cent. I have a shrewd idea that they can pay it on their heads—and scarcely miss it. We could have had this information two-and-a-half years ago if the Socialist Minister who replied had had any political courage at all.
The best pools say that they run on 20 per cent. expenses. The less well-organised pools—I said this in my speech and it was never contradicted—take as much as 50 per cent. and some as much as 70 per cent. There are certain businesses whose activities are controlled by the Government which are not allowed to take more than 5 per cent. gross on their activities. We have to run our businesses on a 5 per cent. margin and yet the pool promoters say they cannot do it on a 20 per cent. margin. I should like to run some of my businesses on a 20 per cent. margin. I am not arguing whether betting through the pools is right or wrong, is justified or otherwise. All I am urging is that we ought to have full information.
I have received fewer than 20 letters as a result of this agitation and only half of them came from my own constituency. Some, it is true, represent several punters, a much better word than "investors." One represented 14 people out 403 of one small village. They were protesting against this extra 10 per cent. because they were convinced that it was going to stop their pool betting. They feel that the rich man's gambling comes off cheaper than the poor man's betting and they feel it is an injustice. I urge that until we have all the relevant facts we cannot satisfy the working man that he is getting a square deal—[Interruption]—Hon. Members can jeer as hard as they like, but it is through their own folly that we are debating this tonight.
§ Mr. Keenan (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
The pool promoters made an awfully big mistake. They should have concentrated on educating Members of the House as to what takes place in football pools—and a lot of them do not know. A lot of information has been given about the pools. There has, however, been a great deal of nonsense talked about the amount that is kept in commission. I believe the pool promoters themselves have admitted that they have kept 5 per cent. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] A few months ago a number of people in the Pool Promoters' Association came to see a group of us. They told us that they kept 5 per cent. and they said that 20 per cent. was the total for commission and working costs of running the pool. I think that is in the literature they sent out.
As the new tax is 30 per cent., the total outgoing is at least 50 per cent. of the amount subscribed and therefore only 50 per cent. will be available for dividend. The football pools have some knowledge of the value of staking and they expect a return. The reason why pools have developed over the last 25 or 26 years in paying the dividends they have paid is because of the fact that they did give better results on fixed rates than the bookmakers before them gave. Anybody who knows anything about pool betting knows that odds are, on the average, much higher than those offered by any bookmaker.
I want to remind the Committee that we are dealing with something which is an important factor in the lives of the people of the country, as about half of the adult population indulge in this form of betting. We cannot afford to ignore that fact. The football pools have been 404 selected for a vicious tax and the others have been left alone. If gambling in one form or another can stand a tax of 30 per cent., as I believe it can and should, then what about the other forms? The right hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) dealt in a very generous way with gambling. He knows something about the sport of kings, and I must say he showed some knowledge of that by the generous way he dealt with betting as a whole. But what about the totalisator? Last year the totalisator on the racecourses actually turned over £26,254,614. If the totalisators had had to pay the 20 per cent. tax imposed on the football pools last year it would have cost £5,250,922. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is worried about getting £6 million, here is one way of getting £5 million of it right away by equalising the tax on betting.
§ Mr. Frederic Harris
Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that if that were done, people would not put money on the tote at all?
§ Mr. Keenan
That is the argument of the football pool promoters. It is as good an argument for them as it is for the totalisators. Last year on the Finance Bill I did grumble a little about this, and I said that the pool promoters were entitled to some protection from the Government. I meant that there should be some control and some knowledge of the finances of the pools. We have to remember that there are 12 football pool companies collecting 5 per cent. for the purpose of running the pools. This amounts to £3 million, which is too much. It was suggested by those who criticised the taxation on football pools and the exclusion of other betting that there was some arrangement by which 10 per cent. was devoted to horse-breeding. I followed that up last year. I tried to get from the Board of Trade what was the value of our exports in bloodstock. The Board of Trade could not tell me.
§ Mr. Keenan
That is so, Mr. Bowles, I am sorry. But I want to suggest that there is much more justification for taxing not only the totalisator but the bookies as well as the others. I am 405 prepared to agree with what was said by the right hon. Member for West Bristol, that there should be no increase of any taxation on betting while the Commission is sitting. There is another point I want to emphasise. There is not, so far as I have been able to sense the feeling of the House, any appreciation of the fact that there are about 10 million people outside who invest in pools and get a kick out of it. I have always been a pool fan myself. I still shall be, in spite of the 30 per cent. tax. Football pool betting is the least vicious form of gambling. It has taken the place of betting in the back entries and in the works with the bookmakers. I bet that the most popular broadcast in the week, from September to April, is at half-past five on Saturdays.
§ Mr. Keenan
The average amount spent on pool betting is 40s. for the 42 weeks in which there is pool betting. In addition, the competitor will pay 14s. in postage and poundage. Everyone who indulges in pool betting pays about £2 14s. a year, which means that the 10 per cent. will increase that about 16s. 8d. That is in excess of what he should pay, and I hope there will be further consideration of this taxation.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
We have been discussing this matter for several hours and there are further Clauses which we have to dispose of before we separate. [Interruption.] I wondered whether I might conceivably help the Committee to come to a decision on this Clause by replying quite briefly to the one or two main points which have been made.
First, we are debating whether the duty on football pools should be increased from 20 per cent. to 30 per cent. That is what we are now deciding. It is not a question of whether the pools are desirable or not, whether they are moral or immoral, whether the paper, materials and personnel engaged in what is called this industry are productively employed or not. All those are points upon which most of us have views, and some have very strong views, one way or the other. But we are not debating that subject. We are here deciding, during the Committee stage of the Bill, whether it is right and proper of my right hon. and learned 406 Friend to increase the duty on football pools from 20 to 30 per cent.
What I tried to say in the observations which I offered to the Committee earlier in the proceedings was that, so far as the 20 per cent. is concerned, we have quite definite evidence that it was not crippling to the pools. So far as the extra 10 per cent. is concerned it is quite obvious that it is impossible at this stage to say whether it will, as the pools assert, cripple them and perhaps put them out of existence or whether they will find it quite easy to carry, as was the original 10 per cent. and the 20 per cent. There is not yet sufficient evidence to show.
§ Air-Commodore Harvey
If that is the case, would it not be better to wait for the next Budget before increasing the duty?
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
The answer to that, of course, is that we should be in the same dilemma then. It is normally towards the end of the football season, so it would be quite impossible between the opening of the Budget and the passing of the Finance Bill to have any evidence worth going on as to whether the extra 10 per cent. was or was not crippling the football pools.
I want to be perfectly fair to the Committee—I tried to indicate this earlier—for so far as the 20 per cent. is concerned the evidence is pretty conclusive that the pools could stand it and stand it easily. That being the case, there is no reason why they should not pay it. What we have to prove now, if we can, is that they can also bear the extra 10 per cent. We have no final evidence on that for the reasons which I have given to the Committee. We are hamstrung in this matter to a certain extent, as the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) indicated, by insufficient knowledge. We know that roughly something like £60 million goes into the football pools and the promoters indicate to us that at least 20 per cent.—they go so far as to say even more—is eaten up in expenses. We do not know how much, in fact, of this £60 million, when the expenses, commission, Excise Duty and the rest are taken out, actually reaches the public by way of prizes of one sort or another, either large or small.
§ Mr. Drayson
Why has the right hon. Gentleman not got that information? The 407 Income Tax Authority, the Treasury, over which he has a certain amount of control, are able to ask for any figures they want. They must have seen representative balance sheets of one of these companies, if not all.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
The hon. Member will learn by experience, but it is nearly time—he has been in the House some years now——
§ 2.15 a.m.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I am about to answer it, but I shall answer it in my own way. The hon. Member should know that Income Tax information is quite confidential as between the individual and the Inland Revenue. I have no right, and I do not intend to attempt to assume the right, to go to the Inland Revenue and demand from them the Income Tax returns that are made by the pools promoters.
I think the main criticism that has been made to which I should attempt to reply has been that because other forms of gambling—namely, totalisators, particularly greyhound racing totalisators—pay less in the way of excise duty, therefore it is wrong to tax football pools 30 per cent. I could not accept that as axiomatic for a moment. It is the general rule surely in taxation that where taxation has to be raised it is not wrong to levy it from such sources as are available. To say that because the greyhound racing tracks pay only 10 per cent. and the bookmakers something approximating to
§ the same percentage, therefore the football pools should pay no more, would be tantamount to saying that tobacco and tea and other commodities essential to the life of the community should all be taxed at the same rate. Of course, that could not be accepted for a moment.
§ I want the Committee to realise that this tax is a legitimate form of taxation and if this amount were not raised in this way, it would have to be raised in some other way, possibly—indeed, I might say, definitely—from a more deserving section of the community. I was asked by the hon. Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) whether it would be possible for the Government to speed up the work of the Royal Commission, which has now begun to sit, and to expedite their report. Of course, I could not give an undertaking in that direction. The Royal Commission will meet and will produce their report in their own good time; but I should like to express the hope, on behalf of the Government and of most members of the Committee, that the Royal Commission will expedite their work and that at no distant date the report will be ready. I think I can promise the House that when that report comes into the hands of the Government, the Government will be willing to consider it and, if necessary, to act on it with speed.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Whiteley)
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 186; Noes, 59.409
|Division No. 169.]||AYES||[2.21 a.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Dobbie, W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Callaghan, James||Dodds, N. N.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Carmichael, James||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Champion, A. J.||Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Chetwynd, G. R.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Cocks, F. S.||Fairhurst, F.|
|Baird, J.||Collindridge, F.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Barton., C.||Collins, V. J.||Field, Capt. W. J.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Comyns, Dr. L.||Foot, M. M.|
|Beswick, F.||Cook, T. F.||Forman, J. C.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.|
|Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Cullen, Mrs.||Gibbins, J.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Gilzean, A.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Deer, G.||Grey, C. F.|
|Bruce, Major D. W. T.||Delargy, H. J.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)|
|Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gunter, R. J.||McKinlay, A. S.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Guy, W. H.||McLeavy, F.||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Snow, J. W.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Steele, T.|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hardman, D. R.||Mitchison, G. R.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Hardy, E. A.||Monslow, W.||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Moody, A. S.||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Haworth, J.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Symonds, A. L.|
|Holman, P.||Nally, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Horabin, T. L.||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Houghton, A. L. N. D. (Sowerby)||Oliver, G. H.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Hoy, J.||Orbach, M.||Timmons, J.|
|Hubbard, T.||Paget, R. T.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Tolley, L.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Parkin, B. T.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Peart, T. F.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Popplewell, E.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edin'gh, E.)|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Pritt, D. N.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Randall, H. E.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Ranger, J.||Wilkes, L.|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Rankin, J.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Keenan, W.||Rhodes, H.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Kenyon, C.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Kinley, J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Lavers, S.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Leonard, W.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Levy, B. W.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Willis, E.|
|Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Royle, C.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Longden, F.||Sharp, Granville|
|McGovern, J.||Shurmer, P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mack, J. D.||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon; Sir D. P. M.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Birch, Nigel||Gage, C.||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Bowen, R.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Raikes, H. V.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Gates, Maj. E. E.||Renton, D.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt-Col. W.||Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Carson, E.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Channon, H.||Hollis, M. C.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Hope, Lord J.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Crowder, Capt, John E.||Low, A. R. W.||Teeling, William|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|De la Bère, R.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Wadsworth, G.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Marples, A. E.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Drewe, C.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Odey, G. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Erroll, F. J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Brigadier Mackeson and|
|Fox, Sir G.||Osborne, C.||Colonel Wheatley.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."410
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 24.411
|Division No. 170.]||AYES||[2.27 a.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Bing, G. H. C.||Callaghan, James|
|Albu, A. H.||Blenkinsop, A.||Carmichael, James|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Blyton, W. R.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Bowden, Fig. Offr. H. W.||Champion, A. J.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Bowen, R.||Chetwynd, G. R.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Cocks, F. S.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Bramall, E. A.||Collindridge, F.|
|Baird, J.||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Collins, V. J.|
|Barton, C.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Comyns, Dr. L.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Cook, T. F.|
|Beswick, F.||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Cullen, Mrs.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jay, D. P. T.||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Royle, C.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Deer, G.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Sharp, Granville|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kenyon, C.||Shurmer, P.|
|Dobbie, W.||Kinley, J.||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lavers, S.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Leonard, W.||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Levy, B. W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fairhurst, F.||Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Steele, T.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Longden, F.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Field, Capt. W. J.||McGovern, J.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Foot, M. M.||Mack, J. D.||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Forman, J. C.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||McKinlay, A. S.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||McLeavy, F.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Gage, C.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Gibbins, J.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin|
|Gilzean, A.||Mitchison, G. R.||Timmons, J.|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Monslow, W.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Moody, A. S.||Tolley, L.|
|Grey, C. F.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Nally, W.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Gunter, R. J.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Guy, W. H.||Noel-Baker, Capt F. E. (Brentford)||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Oliver, G. H.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Orbach, M.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edin'gh, E.)|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Paget, R. T.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hardman, D. R.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wilkes, L.|
|Hardy, E. A.||Pargiter, G. A.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville.||Parkin, B. T.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Haworth, J.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Peart, T. F.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Holman, P.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Pritt, D. K.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Horabin, T. L.||Randall, H. E.||Willis, E.|
|Haughton, A. L. N. D. (Sowerby)||Ranger, J.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Hoy, J.||Rankin, J.||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hubbard, T.||Rhodes, H.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Carson, E.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Channon, H.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Teeling, William|
|De la Bère, R.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Wadsworth, G.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Odey, G. W.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Prescott, Stanley||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Fox, Sir G.||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Raikes, H. V.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Sir John Mellor and|
|Mr. Harold Roberts.|
Resolution agreed to.