Lords Amendment: In page 14, line 20, at end, insert new Clause "B"—
B.—(1) Where the Tribunal is satisfied on the application of a lessor that the net annual sum received by him in respect of a dwelling-house in respect of which he is under a contractual obligation to provide services was less during the year ending on the twenty-fifth day of March nineteen hundred and forty-nine (in this section referred to as 'the later year') than the net annual sum received in respect of the dwelling-house during the year ending on the twenty-fifth day of March nineteen hundred and thirty-nine (in this section referred to as 'the earlier year') by reason of the increased cost of providing such services in the
later year over the cost of providing similar services in the earlier year the Tribunal may notwithstanding the provisions of the principal Acts increase the rent payable in respect of the dwelling-house to such an extent that if the rent had been so increased during the later year the net annual sum which would have been received by the lessor during that year would have been equal to but not greater than the net annual sum received by him during the earlier year.
(2) In this section the expression 'lessor' means the lessor for the purposes of the Act of 1946. The expression 'services' has the same meaning as in the Act of 1946. The expression 'contractual obligation' includes an obligation to which a lessor is subject by virtue of the provisions of section fifteen of the increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act, 1920. The expression 'net annual sum' means as regards the later year and the earlier year the rent payable for the dwelling-house after deducting therefrom the cost of providing the said services and any sums payable in respect of rates.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This Amendment is open to similar objections to those on the two earlier Amendments, namely, that again it is undesirable to pick out or attempt to pick out a separate category of case for special consideration in contradiction to the whole intention of this Bill. That intention, I must emphasise, deals with the specific problem of trying to protect tenants against certain abuses.
There is an additional reason why this Amendment should be rejected because here we are certainly not dealing with a category of hardship as we understand the word. The proposal is that lessors who provide services in the house which they own shall be entitled to recoup themselves of any additional cost of those services, such as gas and electricity, which may have occurred between 1939 and the current year. There is no suggestion that these lessors should be required to show hardship at all; indeed information available about the standing of those companies which undertake this class of house letting suggests that they are very far from being in any sort of financial difficulty at all. It does seems extraordinary that we should be asked to pick out this particular category, and to provide extra benefits for them. Their case, I assume, is regarded by hon. Gentlemen opposite as one deserving this. We suggest that whatever case has been made out for certain owners who suffered hardship in 1201 the war years, that case cannot be made out for this particular category. We would again emphasise that we do not regard this Bill as being a Measure for the protection of landlords as such, but rather a Measure to protect the tenants against the special abuses to which they have been subject in recent years.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans (Hornsey)
I must confess that I am not surprised at the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government have taken with regard to this Amendment. It is only part of the piece. It only fits in with what the right hon. Gentleman regards as the true purpose of this Bill, and, if I may say so, with his views generally about those who have anything to do with property. What is interesting to see is the way in which different arguments have been used at different stages of this Bill in connection with this particular point. When we started off, the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to admit that this limited type of property owner had a case. The hon. Gentleman now says he has not, but the right hon. Gentleman began by admitting he had. It is difficult for the hon. Gentleman to deny there was a case considering that one of the present members of the Front Bench opposite, and another right hon. Gentleman who only recently was a member of the Government, were members of the Ridley Committee which unanimously signed a report that this particular type of property owner, and this particular type of grievance, should receive the highest priority when the Rent Restrictions Acts were revised.
The hon. Gentleman now goes back on what his right hon. Friend said four years ago. What has happened in the meanwhile to make the case which was right then completely untrue now? The right hon. Gentleman almost got to the stage of shedding crocodile tears for those property owners, but said there was no time to deal with it, or at any rate there was no machinery to deal with it. But now there is machinery to deal with it. There are the tribunals under the Furnished Houses Act, which would deal adequately, quickly and effectively with cases of this sort. Later the basis of the argument was shifted, and it was said that one could not deal with these things piecemeal. It would create anomalies if 1202 this particular type of property was considered and other types were left untouched. That is exactly what is happening, because any landlord who owns expensive flats can go on charging what he likes, whereas the property owner who owns and maintains the medium type of flat has to go on providing services irrespective of what the services cost today.
Then in another place, and to a certain extent it was hinted at here tonight, we had another and new argument. It was hinted at just now by the hon. Gentleman and runs like this, "Well, these landlords are not doing too badly any way and they ought to be pleased at what they are now getting." In this connection there was trotted out in another place the argument that before the war these owners had a lot of voids or empty flats, but now they had none. The average was said to be 15 per cent., but I did not believe this figure when I read it, so I took the trouble to inquire from three large property companies what was the percentage of voids before the war and now.
The percentage of voids in the three years before the war was 5.1 per cent., and not 15 per cent. as suggested in another place. The percentage in the three years after the war was 1⅖ per cent. It has gone down, but when one considers the enormous number of flats that are void because they are not there at all, or because they have not been able to be repaired, that argument falls to the ground.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am suggesting that taking the three years after the war there are a number of flats destroyed from which the property owner is not drawing any income and that until recently there were damaged flats which could not be let. I am dealing with the arguments the right hon. Gentleman and his friends have trotted out, and they are contradictory. The arguments on voids 1203 have no relevance whatsoever, and the figures given in another place are grossly inaccurate.
Another suggestion was put forward to support the thesis that the property owner was not doing too badly, and that was over repairs. The idea was that during the war practically no money was spent on repairs, that vast sums were being accumulated, and because of that the property owner had no grievance. Here again I have taken the trouble to find out what the figures were. During the war taking three of the largest companies in London—and, after all, this Amendment deals with this particular class of property—the amount of money spent on repairs was only half of that spent in the three years before the war. In the three years after the war the amount spent on the bare minimum of repairs allowed was 80 per cent. above the period before the war, or taking the 14 years with which we are concerned, the average has been greater than what it was before the war. That is only the bare minimum. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman feels he has quite strong enough arguments without distorting figures. I hope we shall have heard the last of this argument that the property owner has been able to accumulate vast sums of money during the war, and for that reason he is not entitled to justice or consideration now.
Then we had another extraordinary argument, and that was the right hon. Gentleman saying "Well, we admit perhaps the property owner is not getting an economic rent now, but look how well he does if he sells."
§ Mr. Gammans
I presume what is said in another place by a Government spokesman has Government authority, but I will say "the Government" if it makes it any easier for the right hon. Gentleman. If this reveals a difference of opinion in the Cabinet——
§ Mr. Gammans
I am pleased to hear it. It would not have been the first time, nor will it be the last. The argument that because a higher price is received when a property is sold therefore justice need not be done, is a fantastic one to use. The class of property owner here is not a property jobber, but a man or a company which buys property and tries to maintain it for the benefit of the people who live there.
These are the various arguments put forward to remedy a grievance brought forward not by Members on this side of the House, but by the Ridley Committee. The Ridley Committee suggested it should be given the highest possible priority. Four years have gone by, and it has not been done. The only conclusion anyone can come to is that the right hon. Gentleman has not the slightest intention of doing anything for anybody who owns a bit of property. I understand his point of view. He loathes the middle class. He is the most bitter hater the middle class has ever had. If it rested with him, he would destroy it. He thinks the quickest way to do that is to destroy the whole institution of property ownership. That I understand. If he would say so, I would respect him more than I do now. But for him to take refuge behind this Bill, and say it is a narrow Bill which he cannot remedy in order to do justice, that I cannot respect. His hon. Friends on the other side who represent borderline constituencies, know that his attitude is solidifying the anti-Socialist vote among the whole of the property-owning community throughout the country.
I want, if possible, to start on a more friendly note, and I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman this. I hope he will listen—I have stayed here for several hours—and not discuss new Parliamentary Private Secretaries and other things which may be worrying him. Here is a case which the tribunal can consider without any confusion of words. It has been said that they would find it impossible to draw the line between the case that should come before them and the case that should not. This is a case of outgoings. The expenses of hon. Members, which are exactly similar, have also increased. I want the right hon. Gentleman to listen to this argument, 1205 which I am putting forward with complete earnestness. They can say clearly to the tribunal that before the war the cost of central heating was so much, or the cost of running a lift was so much, and that now it has increased by 50 per cent. or 100 per cent., or whatever it may be. That can be stated clearly in a signed statement which can be produced before the tribunal. The cost of running a lift in the blocks of flats in Tottenham Court Road, Hampstead Road, or Euston, is phenomenal. I do not know why it has increased so tremendously, but it has. To put in a small lift now costs something like £3,000. I am trying to put in a small lift, and I cannot get an estimate under about £2,500. If a lift has to be replaced, or radiators have to be renewed, the outgoings may have increased from 75 to 175 per cent., quite apart from salaries and wages.
The point I would like to make is that unless something is done, the amount of contractual services will be reduced to the bare legal minimum. Radiators will be hot for only a few hours a day, lifts will be running only between certain hours, and the porter, instead of being a good fellow who will do whatever he can to help, will be probably someone who has not been able to get a job at anything else, and the whole servicing of the flats will be reduced to a miserable state merely to comply with the contractual obligations inserted in the original lease.
Under this Amendment the actual rent is not being increased one penny. It will remain as it originally was. The only increase to be added will be the difference between what the services cost now and what they cost then. The right hon. Gentleman says this is a Bill to right abuses of extortionate rents, and I agree. Would he please let us have some indication of when he is going to right the abuses of other people who are suffering, because otherwise things will go from bad to worse? This is not a party question, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give it his consideration.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan (Perth and Kinross, Perth)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question? Does this new Clause apply to Scotland? If it does, will the Under-Secretary of State give us a short resumé of how it affects Scotland? May I have an answer?
§ Mr. Harold Roberts (Birmingham, Handsworth)
This Amendment applies to flats, and I assume flats chiefly in the London area. There seems to be no reason at all why, if the cost of services has gone up, the landlord should not be recompensed by a proportionate increase. That has been the policy under the Rent Restrictions Acts with regard to water charges, rates, and so forth, since 1920, and on merits there is no reason why it should not apply here. The answers attempted are very unsatisfactory. It may be true that where a man owns a number of houses, he occasionally sells one at a large profit, but this type of property is not a type with which one can do that. These are blocks of flats in which one never sells a flat with vacant possession.
The real reason which apparently actuates the Government is that this must wait until there is a review of the Rent Restrictions Acts. If I heard the right hon. Gentleman aright, he said that we had to remember this was a rent restriction Bill and therefore, apparently, anything which might appear to do justice to landlords cannot be put into it. It seems to me that to allow considerations of justice to be treated in this sort of legalistic way is very undesirable, so undesirable that I have been reading through the Title of this Bill, and I find it is not in terms of a rent restriction Bill at all. It says:An Act to provide in certain cases for the determination by a Tribunal of standard rents for the purposes of the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Acts, 1920 to 1939, and for the adjustment of rents by a Tribunal where premiums have been paid; to make provision where the tenant shares part of his accommodation with his landlord or other persons; to amend the Rent of Furnished Houses Control (Scotland) Act, 1943, and the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act, 1946, as respects security of tenure and as respects the districts for which Tribunals are constituted; to make certain minor amendments of the said Acts in so far as they apply to Scotland; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.The short Title and citation of it is to be: 1207 I dislike small legal points, but if I am told that this is a rent restriction Bill, I think I am perfectly entitled to say that control and restriction are not quite the same thing. Restriction means cutting down and abridging rent. Control means that there shall be no free economic market, but that the matters are to be decided by the tribunal. There is no reason why the graduation should not be upward as well as downward. I deplore the tendency to substitute law for justice, but if we are to use that type of argument, let us use it logically, and see that considerations of that kind are justified by the title of the Bill. I do not think they are. Therefore, it appears to me that we are back to the simple question whether this is or is not a matter of justice. I have not heard any argument to show that it is not the right thing to do. Therefore, why not take the opportunity of doing it?
§ Mr. Hogg
I am extraordinarily puzzled to understand exactly the basis of the argument put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary, which is the same as his argument upon the previous Amendment. He said that the Amendment, if it were accepted by the House, would really drive us to embark prematurely upon a revision of the Rent Acts. This argument has been used again as an argument why we should not agree to the Amendment. I gave the reasons why I did not understand that argument when it was presented in respect of the previous Amendment, and I will not go over them again.
As I understand it, looking at the discussion and the short piece of printing in the margin, this is described as an "Amendment of 9 and 10 Geo. 6. c. 34." As I understand it, that is not one of the Rent Acts, but the Furnished Lettings Act of 1946. If that is right, why is it to be supposed that an Amendment to that Act, if it is passed, will cause us to embark upon revision of the Rent Acts, which have to do with different matters of tenure and letting? I do not, so far, understand it. It may be that I have understood the Parliamentary Secretary wrongly, but I still think that there is no basis for that argument at all.
The second point I wish to make is that the Minister, I think, is being shortsighted as regards the interests of the 1208 tenants themselves in matters of this kind. We are concerned here with service flats. One does not need to know much more about house property than I do, to know that service flats are not, in the main, provided for what are called the working classes. I think that is the greatest possible pity. I heard an hon. Member on the Front Bench below the Gangway laugh at a reference to putting in a lift. Why should not lifts be as much an essential of working-class flats as of any other flats?
§ Mr. Gibson (Kennington)
May I say that I was not laughing at the matter of lifts, but at the extravagant figures of cost?
§ Mr. Hogg
I know nothing about lifts, because I do not put them in, but it struck me as an extraordinarily shortsighted thing to suggest that working-class flats should not have lifts. It seems to me that one of the reasons why the provision of amenities in working-class properties is rather less than it should be in matters of this kind is the obscurantist attitude of hon. Members opposite to the little luxuries which make life more pleasant. My belief is that the inevitable result of this economic policy with regard to property holding which is followed by the party opposite, and their obscurantist attitude, will be to prevent the improvement of the amenities in working-class dwellings—and that is an improvement we all want to see, irrespective of party. I believe it is precisely because they try to penalise people who put in amenities of this kind, and who pioneer changes in our social habits which are very desirable, that these improvements do not take place. I believe the inevitable result of their policy is to penalise these people and thereby prevent improvements.
§ Mr. Bevan
I cannot understand the indignation which the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) has worked up about this matter. It certainly does not lie in his mouth to talk about the desirability of putting lifts in working-class flats because we are doing it on a very great scale—far greater than was ever done before. In fact, we agree very much with the practice of having amenities like lifts in flats, and that is why, if the hon. Member looks round London and other parts of the country, he will find that lifts are being put in flats. Furthermore, if 1209 he casts his mind back to the legislation for which I was responsible in 1946, he will see that there is a special subsidy in order to enable local authorities to put lifts in flats. Consequently, the hon. Member's indignation was in direct ratio to his lack of knowledge of the subject.
Then why does the right hon. Gentleman prevent private enterprise from doing these things and putting in lifts?
§ Mr. Bevan
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will permit me, I will answer him. If lifts are put in flats the rents can be raised by 8 per cent. Hon. Members come here armed with this indignation, but if lifts are put in flats, an increase in rent is permitted. As it is in the House of Commons, no professional charge is made for that advice to the hon. and gallant Member.
I think the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans) is one of the most incompetent advocates in the House of Commons. He should know that persuasion is the first purpose of advocacy and he is the worst persuader we have, because he put his case in the most unpleasant manner possible. It is an unpleasant case, of course. It was made all the more unpleasant by the way in which he put it. When he suggests that we have no use for the middle classes, he must remember that what he wants is an opportunity to milk the middle-class occupants of the flats. His indignation is reserved for the owner of the flats, not for the tenant. Has it escaped him that these are middle-class people who are living in these flats? It is they whom we are trying to protect from him.
§ Mr. Gammans
I said—and if the right hon. Gentleman checks it, I think he will find I am right—that my point was that the right hon. Gentleman, not only in this Bill but in all his legislation, has proved himself the bitter opponent and confirmed hater of the middle classes. To that I stick.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Bevan
In other words, most of the statement is irrelevant to the subject before the House. In other words, the hon. Member indulges in abuse because argument deserts him. Furthermore, he knows that the abuse is quite untrue because there are pieces of legislation 1210 even now before the House of Commons—there is one upstairs in Committee—where, for the first time in the history of this country, in legislation, grants are made to property-owners for the improvement of their property. Furthermore, he had better talk to the middle classes about the National Health Service Act, and see what they say of that.
Now, what is proposed here? The proposal is that we shall lift out a special class of property-owner from the rent control Acts, with regard to a special class of property in the great cities, a class which was over-built in 1937 and 1938 so far as London is concerned—a city where the housing before the war was so badly planned that it was easy to get flats of this type. In 1937, 1938 and 1939 there was a very large number of vacancies in this kind of property and the rents had to be reduced in order that tenants might be obtained; but since that time the flats have been fully occupied.
§ Mr. Gammans
Does the right hon. Gentleman then deny the figure of just over 5 per cent. which I gave?
§ Mr. Bevan
Why does the hon. Gentleman hasten to have the cane? I am going to give him the cane in a moment; he need not rush to the desk for it. These flats have been in full occupancy all the time, earning rents all the while. Why should one protect this type of property, owned by trusts, and investment corporations and insurance companies?
§ Mr. Bevan
Why on earth do hon. Members opposite always ask us to consider the troubles and fight the battles of these great investment corporations, as distinct from the occupants of the flats themselves? The hon. Gentleman never opens his mouth unless it is to plead for property-owners of some sort. All this is a naked attempt to protect property.
§ Mr. Gammans
Does the right hon. Gentleman then deny the recommendations of the Ridley Report, on which his own colleague, the Minister of Works, was a member?
§ Mr. Bevan
The hon. Member should not anticipate my arguments all the time. Why is he so reckless about it? It is a fact that what is suggested in the Clause is that the difference in providing services 1211 should be taken entirely from the landlord and given to the tenant. Why should property escape the increased charges when property often makes increased income? It is a most peculiar line of reasoning, which I cannot understand. Why should the tenant bear the whole of the increased cost and none of that cost fall on the owner of the property? Why should property itself always escape the incidence of social convulsion? It is the most peculiar argument. So far as the property-owner is concerned, according to the hon. Member, the war has never happened; all the increased cost is to be put on the occupant of the flat; that is a curious argument which we cannot accept.
I am trying to find out what is in the minds of hon. Members opposite. How is it that they are prepared to neglect the well-being of all the occupants of these flats in London, and plead the case of a far less numerous number of people? Where is the pressure lobby? There must be some reason for their peculiar argument; it is the strangest thing of which I have heard. If these attacks are made against us, we must think that members of the Tory Party are trying to earn the Woolton millions. Surely some excuse must be found for the fact that they are rushing with some intrepidity into a battle here, which may have grave political consequences for them, if the people find out what they are doing.
§ Mr. Molson (The High Peak)
We do not require a pressure lobby in order to try to make us see that justice is done.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
It is not injustice. The right hon. Gentleman can never understand.
§ Mr. Bevan
Hon. Members cannot "take it." I listened to a most bitter and vindictive speech by the hon. Member for Hornsey, full of innuendo and direct 1212 charges of an entirely unworthy kind. Is the hon. Member for Hornsey still chairman of the Adamant Investment Corporation? Is he? He did not disclose an interest. In other words, we had all that dithyramb from the hon. Member who is pleading his own case. He owns, I understand, a direct and controlling interest in Bircott Estates Company Ltd., Glenside Properties Ltd., and Greenlands Housing Company Ltd. I have never witnessed a more disgusting exhibition——
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it in Order for Members standing behind your Chair to join in the Debate?
§ Mr. Gammans
Why? Is there anything wrong in my making the suggestions and criticisms I have made, even if I am chairman of a company? Is there anything dishonourable in that?
§ Mr. Bevan
Nothing at all, but it is usual in this House, especially in circumstances like these, that the interests shall be disclosed. I am not sure how far Privilege is involved but if it had been anybody on this side of the House—[Interruption.] This is another instance and definition of "Jobs for the Boys," is it not?
§ Mr. George Porter (Leeds, Central)
May I draw the Minister's attention to the fact that the hon. Member to whom he is referring said he had consulted three of the biggest property-owning people in London—that is, himself.
§ Mr. Bevan
The answer, of course, when he says he does not accept my figures, is that I do not accept his figures because they are obviously self-interested figures. If he had disclosed at the beginning that he had this interest in these companies, the House, especially on this side, would have discounted a very large proportion of the advice he gave to hon. Members. That is the purpose of disclosing interest, that we should know how much weight to attach to the 1213 testimony of the person who makes a speech. It is not because it is dishonourable to do so, but because it is dishonourable to conceal from the House of Commons knowledge which it ought to have to weigh all the counsel which is being given to it.
My attitude about this is perfectly clear. These people, as far as I know, do not suffer any hardship. About the Ridley Committee—what the Ridley Committee said was that when tribunals are set up all over the country to carry out their recommendations, priority should be given to this task, but tribunals are not set up all over the country and are not carrying out at this moment the recommendations of the Ridley Committee. Nor do we propose to carry them out until there is a more equitable balance between the landlord and the tenant. Everyone understands that. In the meantime, I am not taking away from the occupants of these flats the umbrella which the law intends to give them.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
Of course, the Minister of Health was bound to explode some time. He has been putting an undue strain on himself all night. We do not complain; we like these demontrations. They are very interesting and very useful. If one were to look for an attitude of bias against the middle class, one would not look at the right hon. Gentleman's past speeches but at his present speeches. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary, who does not have very much opportunity in these Debates, is trying to horn in on anything that comes along. We will deal with him later, or, if he would prefer, we will take him on now. He would be ill-advised, however, to put his hand between the hammer and the anvil. The Minister of Health complained of the bitter and vindictive speech against him by my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans). That was mere love talk compared with the sort of speech the Minister delivers here and in the country. He paid no attention to the most friendly and conciliatory speech made by the hon. and gallant Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Colonel Dower).
May I remind my right hon. and gallant Friend that the point I was making was concerned with repairs to lifts and renewal, because they do not go on permanently. The cost of renewal and repair is two or three times the pre-war cost.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
Yes. The Minister is not giving anything away. When he does give anything away for nothing, it is worth that much. I come to his main argument, which was interesting and very characteristic of the Government. He claimed merit for the Government on this basis: first, they pass a Bill saying one is not to have an economic return; second, they become alarmed and have an inquiry to find out what is happening; third, they make grants to people to carry out the things which otherwise would have been done in the normal course of events.
We want to save the Minister from putting Clauses into his next subsidy Bill. It is true that he is putting through a Bill upstairs to make grants to certain kind of private owners—who, when it suits him, he bitterly denounces—for carrying out certain improvements. Sometimes he meets with considerable opposition from his hon. Friends, but as the grants are insufficient to be of real advantage, they need not worry. This is all to give an appearance of activity. So long as the Bills are being thrown in the air, it does not matter to the right hon. Gentleman whether they serve a useful purpose or not. So long as there is this juggling with Bills, first the forbidding, then the inquiry, then the insufficient grant, he is carrying out an appearance of activity, and everyone is happy. So long as he can deliver vitriolic attacks on anyone who incurs his displeasure, whether on this side of the House or on that, he is perfectly happy. He is entitled to amuse himself as he will.
We say that here is a simple business proposal that certain conveniences shall be made available to certain tenants, and that, in return, they should pay what they are perfectly willing to pay but what they are prohibited by law from paying. This is a simple business transaction for the convenience of the tenant, but the Minister says "It is a terrible idea, and it 1215 might lead to a property-owner receiving some addition and I will, therefore, leave it until I can make some grant at a later date." We consider that this proposal is just, sensible and businesslike, and we shall certainly support it in the Division Lobby.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Before my right hon. and gallant Friend sits down, will he ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will give a reply to my question about Scotland.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I am afraid I cannot go silently to a Division on this point. I wish to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the very great kindness he has done for me. I notice that he is leaving the House, because he knows perfectly well that he will be incapable of answering what I am goring to say. I was rather doubtful about this new Amendment. I have made strong promises in my Division that I would do all I could to get an improvement in the housing and the services in those houses in my constituency, but I know, from what I have been told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that it is quite impossible unless certain expenditure is incurred. This cannot be done unless there is saving. Unless this Amendment is passed, it will be impossible for the workers in my constituency, or in any constituency represented by hon. Gentlemen, to hope to get improved services in their houses. That is what I am aiming at. That is what I want. Clearly it is what the House of Lords wants, too.
It is not a matter of balancing between one side or the other. It is a matter of looking after the tenants as well as looking after the owners. I thank the Minister of Health who, through his supreme advocacy—and be was lecturing someone a short time ago about being a good or bad advocate—has convinced me that what has been done by another place is
§ perfectly right. It was so clear that he has disagreed with so many of his colleagues. The way in which he pressed the House and showed a lack of persuasive capacity demonstrated clearly that he knew from the very beginning he was arguing a hopelessly rotten case. He could not urge the House to accept this Amendment in the interests of the workers of the country, and I shall certainly go into the Lobby in favour of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Williams
Does the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway wish to intervene? I should like to warn him that evil things happen to hon. Gentlemen who intervene needlessly. I do not want to get him into trouble because he has not had fair warning of the danger.
§ Mr. Janner
Could the hon. Gentleman please explain, if he understands the Amendment, how his argument can apply to increased facilities or improved services when the date is March, 1949?
§ Mr. Williams
That is on the same level as the usual interruptions we get from the hon. Gentleman. We have had a considerable discussion on almost all these Amendments, and we did deal with the position of improved services. The Minister also pointed out the position about improved services. I realise now that I have continued my speech when I had no intention of prolonging it, merely because of the hon. Gentleman's provocation. I hope that other hon. Members on the opposite side, who did not support the Minister fully just now, will realise that if they want votes from working-class people who want improved accommodation, they had much better vote for the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 75.1217
|Division No. 148.]||AYES||[11.52 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Bechervaise, A. E.||Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Berry, H.||Braddock, T. (Mitcham)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Beswick, F.||Bramall, E. A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Brook, D. (Halifax)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Bing, G. H. C.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Binns, J.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Blenkinsop, A.||Brown, T. J. (Ince)|
|Baird, J.||Blyton, W. R.||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)|
|Barton, C.||Boardman, H.||Byers, Frank|
|Carmichael, James||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Champion, A. J.||Janner, B.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Cobb, F. A.||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Collindridge, F.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Collins, V. J.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Royle, C.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Scollan, T.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Keenan, W.||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Kinley, J.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Daggar, G.||Lang, G.||Sharp, Granville|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Deer, G.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lindgren, G. S.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Diamond, J.||Logan, D. G.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Donovan, T.||Lyne, A. W.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McAllister, G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||McGhee, H. G.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Mack, J. D.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)||Symonds, A. L.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||McKinlay, A. S.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Ewart, R.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Fairhurst, F.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Farthing, W. J.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Field, Capt. W. J.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E)||Mann, Mrs. J.||Timmons, J.|
|Forman, J. C.||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Titterington, M. F.|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Freeman, J. (Watford)||Mitchison, G. R.||Walkden, E.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Monslow, W.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Gilzean, A.||Morley, R.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Morl, D. L.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Murray, J. D.||Watson, W. M.|
|Grey, C. F.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Weitzman, D.|
|Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Noel-Baker, Capt F. E. (Brentford)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Guy, W. H.||O'Brien, T.||West, D. G.|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon John (Edin'gh, E.)|
|Hall, Rt Hon. Glenvil||Palmer, A. M. F.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wigg, George|
|Hardy, E. A.||Parkin, B. T.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Pearson, A.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Holman, P.||Price, M. Philips||Willis, E.|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Pryde, D. J.||Woods, G. S.|
|Horabin, T. L.||Pursey, Comdr. H.||Yates, V. F.|
|Hoy, J.||Ranger, J.||Younger, Hon Kenneth|
|Hubbard, T.||Rankin, J.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hushes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Robens, A.||Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Snow.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Grimston, R. V.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Harden, J. R. E.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Nicholson, G.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Nield, B. (Chester)|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Bower, N.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hollis, M. C.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Hops, Lord J.||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Channon, H.||Howard, Hon. A.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Clarke, Cot. R. S.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Spence, H. R.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Keeling, E. H.||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Crowder, Capt, John E||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Studholme, H. G.|
|De la Bère, R.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Touche, G. C.|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Low, A. R. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Drewe, C.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Wheatley, Col. M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||McFarlane, C. S.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Gage, C.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gammans, L. D.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Major Conant and|
|Gemme-Duncan, Col. A.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Mr. Wingfield Digby.|
Question put, and agreed to.