HC Deb 10 July 1950 vol 477 cc1061-85

8.32 p.m.

Mr. Nigel Birch (Flint, West)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 17, to leave out "one hundred and twenty-five", and to insert "fifty."

The general case that I am putting forward in favour of this Amendment was argued in a very able speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, West (Mr. Assheton) on the Second Reading of the Bill. But the Debate was unsatisfactory and necessarily cut down in length because it took place between one statement by the Prime Minister on Korea at the end of Questions and a further statement by the Prime Minister at five o'clock. I think hon. Members' minds were elsewhere when that discussion was going on. The hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benson) shakes his head, but I think that if he reads his speech he will agree with me. Anxiety about Korea must continue, but I very much hope that the Committee will give careful consideration to the Amendment which I am now moving.

We are trying to regain some control over our financial affairs which has been lost by the House to the Executive. Looking forward a little, I think the best that we can hope for is that we are in for a prolonged period of anxiety. In that period, whether we are financially sound or not will be vital. If the Amendment is accepted, we shall at any rate have done something towards the soundness of our finances. The effect of the Amendment is to reduce the Civil Contingencies Fund from the £125 million proposed by the Government to £50 million.

I would first like to consider with the Committee the purpose of the Civil Contingencies Fund and then to glance at its history. The purpose of this Fund is to provide against unforeseen contingencies and to provide for new services and for the extension of existing services which may have to take place quickly before Supplementary Estimates can be conveniently passed by this House. The Fund is used now, and has been used in the past, particularly for dealing with small and unexpected matters. Let me give one or two examples.

Before the war, the Fund was used for the purchase of the Codex Sinaiticus. The fact that the Codex was coming into the market could not have been foreseen and could not have been provided for in the Estimates. It was bought, and the money was provided from the Civil Contingencies Fund. An example which my right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Stanley) gave in 1946 was a hurricane in one of the islands of the West Indies where we needed £100,000 very quickly and it was not convenient in our procedure to allot time for a Supplementary Estimate. We therefore raised the money quickly which we wanted from the Fund and used it for that very desirable end.

Perhaps I might give one or two postwar examples. In 1946–47, £118,000 was found from the fund for the Victory Celebrations. The victory might have been foreseen but it would have shown hubris to provide for it in the Estimates. Therefore it was very suitably drawn from this Fund. In 1948–49, a sum of £36 15s. was raised for the Lord Chancellor's robes. That is a very small sum. The House may rest assured that it was not a utility robe. It had cost £414 the year before. In addition to that, £1,300 was raised for additional Stamp Duty on lost documents and a sum of £43 for licences under the Inebriates Acts, 1879–99.

All these are necessary acts of State, but they are in themselves very small. The intention was that the Fund should provide for small matters, and that is clearly shown by its size in the past. It started in 1862 at £120,000. It was not raised until 1913 when the sum became £300,000. The 1914–18 war was financed by Votes of Credit and in 1919, with the disorganisation and the difficulty of estimating which we always get at the end of a war, it was raised to £120 million. But three years after the end of the war—in 1921—it was reduced once more to £1,500,000, which is comparable with the pre-war figure of £300,000, taking into account the increase in the size of the Budget and the depreciation of the value of money.

In 1946 we did the equivalent thing to what was done in 1919 and voted £250 million for the Civil Contingencies Fund. Now, five years after the end of the war, we are asked to make it £125 million, whereas three years after the First World War it was reduced to £1,500,000, which, taking the comparable rise in the size of the Budget and the fall in the value of money, would be equivalent to about £5 million today.

Before dealing with the main mischief under the Clause, I want to refer to two of the reasons put forward by the Government for having a much larger sum in the Civil Contingencies Fund than we had before the war. The first reason dates back to Section 3 of the American Aid and European Payments Act, 1949. Hon. Members may remember that under that Act steps were taken to fulfil the Agreement for Intra-European Payments come to in 1948. What was sought was to give effect to what was then known as "conditional aid." "Conditional aid" was money which, in effect, we lent to our debtors in consideration of our being recouped under Marshall Aid. Very often under this Agreement we had to supply money to our debtors before receiving the Marshall Aid against which the money was lent. Therefore, we had a temporary transaction which was not unreasonably covered by the Civil Contingencies Fund.

But now we have a new Agreement which has just been negotiated—the European Payments Union. I hesitate to pronounce upon this Agreement because I have not seen the full text of it and it is not a very easy one to understand, but, as I see it, the "conditional aid" arrangement does not apply in the same way as it did under the 1949 Act. In any case the original Act under which the Civil Contingencies Fund was charged with this money could not apply to the new Agreement because the previous Act specifically mentions the Agreement which is now superseded by the European Payments Union Agreement. Therefore, it seems to me that fresh legislation would be required if the Civil Contingencies Fund is to be used in the same way.

I am reinforced in what I say on this because when we were discussing the Act which made the Civil Contingencies Fund chargeable with European Payments money, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said: … the present Payments Agreement, and any agreement of a like sort that follows it, will be subject to ratification by Parliament"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th January, 1949; Vol. 460, c. 116.] So the whole matter has to come before Parliament and we are now faced with a more permanent arrangement than the previous stop-gap one. It seems to me that it would be unsuitable to use that Fund as an auxiliary exchange equalisation account, because that is what it would boil down to if we do the same now as we did with the stop-gap arrangement. I hope we shall not be told that we are to use this Fund as an auxiliary exchange equalisation account, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will tell us whether in the opinion of the Treasury any sums can, under the new Agreement, be charged to the Civil Contingencies Fund or whether he intends to bring in fresh legislation.

The second reason given for the size of this Fund was that temporary working capital was required for the trading Departments. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West, whose absence we all deeply regret, gave some support to the use of the Fund for this purpose when he was speaking in 1946. I do not think he would give the same support today for the following reasons. First, since then the Departments have been working for four years and have built up large working balances for their own use. Secondly, the scope of the trading Departments is tending to contract. We have seen tin being put back to a free market, we are assured that tea will go back to it, and there are many other instances. So we have a contracting sphere of activity.

The third reason, one which could hardly have been foreseen by my right hon. Friend, is that the trading Departments have not found it necessary to use the Civil Contingencies Fund for this purpose to any large extent. The three Departments which trade extensively are the Ministry of Supply, the Board of Trade, and the Ministry of Food. If we study the accounts of the Civil Contingencies Fund, we find that the Ministry of Supply has never once drawn upon the Civil Contingencies Fund in the last three years. The Board of Trade has drawn twice—once for £30,000 in 1947–48, and once for £14,000 in 1948–49, both negligible sums. The Ministry of Food, it is true. has drawn for larger sums, for £40 million in 1948–49. As I understand it, however, that £40 million was largely the result of the Andes Agreement, which is something special and which I hope profoundly will never be repeated.

Therefore, I suggest that the Financial Secretary was a little misleading when speaking on this the other day, because in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) he said: The hon. Gentleman then suggested that the need for working capital from the trading Departments could not have been the main reason for the use of the Civil Contingencies Fund, because he said that the Supplementary Estimates of the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Supply had been relatively small in the last two years. That would not prove that they had not drawn to a considerable extent on the Civil Contingencies Fund."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th June, 1950; Vol. 476, c. 2335.] Of course it would not. What does prove that they did not was that the Ministry of Supply did not draw at all, and that the Ministry of Food drew quite large sums but those sums were due to a special factor in the Andes Agreement.

The last reason I say that my right hon. Friend would have changed his opinion is because of the Report on the Form of Government Accounts which has just come out. That Report, which is an able one, is much concerned about the question of these trading Departments and says: The present arrangements for bringing … trading transactions … into account in Exchequer statements are unsatisfactory, in that cash accounting provides an inadequate and possibly misleading record of facts essential to a proper understanding of what has actually taken place. I would be out of order, and I have not time now, to go into their solution. The point is that they do not think the present arrangement is correct, and they think that without the use at all of the Civil Contingencies Fund trading Departments could be much better financed and that they should not be financed in the present way.

8.45 p.m.

Therefore, I consider that the main reasons adduced by the Government—European payments, and working capital for trading account—are not valid in favour of a very large increase in the Fund. Pending the reform of our method of trade accounting, we have allowed the Government £50 million, a very considerable sum compared with pre-war, in consideration of the fact that until this system is altered they may have to go on raising sums of working capital from this Fund. That, I suggest, is fully allowed for in the amount we have given. So much for the Government's excuse. That brings me to my last point: the main mischief which we suffer from having a very big Civil Contingencies Fund. I believe that leads to sloppy and even dishonest estimating, it leads to a lack of full Parliamentary control over Government expenditure, and it leads to the possibility of the public being misled at times critically important in political history.

If I may give an example to prove what I say, I would take the example of last year's Health Estimates. As long ago as 12th April, 1949, my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), pointed out that the Estimates which were put up were wholly unreal and that there was no chance whatever of their coming out right. I have great difficulty in believing that the Ministry of Health, which is an experienced Ministry, did not know that those Estimates were wildly misleading and inaccurate. I do not doubt that they were dishonest estimates. So they proved to be, because if Scotland also is included the Estimates, as the Committee will remember, were exceeded by no less than £98 million.

How was that financed? No less than £55,500,000 was financed through the Civil Contingencies Fund. Had it not been so financed, a very early Supplementary Estimate would have had to have been brought in, and I am also informed that it is very likely that a special Consolidated Fund Bill would have had to be introduced. By that means, the House lost control of this money until it had all been spent. But the mischief did not end there, because no official breath of this was allowed to come forward until after the General Election.

The Financial Secretary, when speaking the other day, said that the reason why that Estimate was not introduced earlier was because the General Election intervened—that is true. It is fair to say that the hon. Gentleman did deny guilt; he denied mens rea. I will not argue whether the Government were guilty or not. All I would say is that I think the denial of guilt by the Financial Secretary was as credible as the denial of guilt by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War with regard to his speech at Colchester. However, things are argued, the fact remains that there was bad estimating and there was a delay in putting up a Supplementary Estimate; and because of those two things. the electorate were denied the knowledge they should have had of the way the Government were carrying out their stewardship.

Those things must be wrong and it is because we believe they are wrong that we are moving this Amendment so as to make them, if not impossible, at any rate more difficult in the future. The control of this House of Commons, and of the last, over expenditure has been much weaker than it ought to have been. All we are asking here is to take one small step—and in all conscience it is a small step—to fuller and more adequate control, and we are asking it at a time when fuller control of Parliament over expenditure was never more necessary.

Mr. Walter Fletcher (Bury and Radcliffe)

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) in nearly everything he has said. What has surprised me is the misnomer at the head of this Bill. It should surely have been called "The Failure of Planning Bill" because what it does throughout all its Clauses is to show that the best way the Government can find to conceal their errors of judgment, or failures of planning, is to have a rag-bag of this sort. I believe it is customary for every hon. Member to declare his interest on occasions like this. I have been a rubber merchant all my life, but I have never seen anything quite as elastic as this. One can pull it in any sort of direction.

At this stage when, as my hon. Friend said, the need for both careful financing and to show everyone throughout the sterling area our financial stability, and when we have the Prime Minister of Australia flying here with the avowed intention of beginning the process of altering within the sterling bloc the dollar allocations, for reasons well known to the Financial Secretary, this is not the moment to say quite gaily, "If we are wrong in our estimates we want a sort of wide reserve fund of £125 million so that we can dig our hands in without having to confess our errors openly as soon as possible."

I remember in the early days of the last Parliament we had what was called the "Cohen Act" which, quite rightly, imposed on all public companies the need for great care in finances and for showing absolutely clearly in the interests of shareholders exactly what had happened in the year under review. Transfer this Bill into commercial usage—if a finance company were financing a group of firms throughout the world, what would happen if they said, "We do not know what will be needed during the year. but we will create a sort of loose reserve and all our subsidiary and associated companies will be able to come along when they have made mistakes in estimating what they need and, without it going before the board or the shareholders, they will take what they need. "My hon. Friend discussed the needs of the trading Departments. I believe they are already fairly fully covered, but I should feel less qualms in this matter if the Financial Secretary would tell us that one of the reasons why he now wants this very considerable sum for trading Departments is to do with the need for stockpiling in this country. It is very important. We have run our stocks of strategic materials down to a very dangerous point.

Mr. Birch

I hope my hon. Friend is not suggesting that the Civil Contingencies Fund is very useful for stockpiling.

Mr. Fletcher

I am suggesting that, if there is a sudden violent need for the acquisition of some vital thing, it may be temporarily justifiable to use this Fund, but that is the only possible use I can think of and that is one which should not establish a precedent. Taking it by and large, it must be bad planning to take a piece of machinery specially designed and used over a number of years for one purpose and to use it for a different purpose. I therefore hope the Amendment will receive the approval of the Committee.

Mr. Hopkin Morris (Carmarthen)

Although the point involved in this Amendment is a short one it is really very important, namely the control of this House over Government expenditure. That control, as the hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) has pointed out, and indeed as the Chancellor pointed out in a speech in this House last year, over expenditure has decreased very substantially. This Fund was never intended for use other than for small items. If it is used, as it appears to have been used last year, in order to cover up bad estimating on the part of one Department or more than one Department, or to deal with the trading position, it has been used for a purpose for which it was never intended. All those purposes should be carefully scrutinised when the Estimates are made. That is the time when Parliament has the opportunity of going into the items. dealing with them in detail and sanctioning them.

This Fund should be kept to the very minimum to deal with small items, special items that have not been foreseen. If it is to be used to cover large sums required. for example, because of the bad estimating of the Ministry of Health, as was done last year, or for the instance given by the hon. Member for Flint, West in the case of the trading Departments, that is, handing over to the Executive to deal with until some other time the control which this House should properly exercise when the Estimates are introduced. That is an abdication of its responsibility on the part of this House, and it should not do it. One of the checks which the House has is to see that a Fund like this is kept to the smallest possible dimensions.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Douglas Jay)

The hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) made what I thought was an unusually moderate speech for him—until just before the end, when he returned to his normal style. In the course of his speech he questioned the necessity for our putting the maximum for the Civil Contingencies Fund as high as £125 million. I should first point out that the Bill reduces the maximum from £250 million to £125 million. The Government are, therefore, recognising the need for setting the maximum no higher than is necessary, and are taking a pretty big step in the direction which hon. Gentlemen advocate.

At the same time, it would in our view be foolish and imprudent to set the maximum so low that, in the light of the last few years' experience, a jam might be caused in our financial machinery. For those reasons we have decided that, in view of that experience, £125 million represents a reasonable compromise. The events of the last few weeks go some way towards justifying us in making allowances for contingencies of many kinds.

It is well to be clear at the outset of this discussion precisely what is the procedure in the matter of the Civil Contingencies Fund because I think there was some misunderstanding about that matter in the Second Reading Debate. First, the Consolidated Fund makes advances to the Civil Contingencies Fund and the latter then makes advances to Departments. It is the maximum level of advances from the Consolidated Fund to the Civil Contingencies Fund which is to be legally limited to £125 million. That, of course, in effect limits the amount which can be advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund. Individual advances from the Civil Contingencies Fund to Departments still have to be repaid out of Votes within the same financial year, with certain exceptions such as the need of the trading Departments for working balances over the end of the year.

The Accounts of the Fund as published do not show specifically the peak reached by the Fund's total advances on any one day during the year. It is however those annual peaks which we have had to examine in deciding what figure it would be prudent to put the legal maximum, and therefore I should like to tell the House what those annual peaks have been in the last three or four years. In 1946–47 the peak was £65,500,000, that is the total of advances by the Civil Contingencies Fund at the highest point reached during the year. In 1947–48 it was £181 million. In 1948–49 it was £155,500,000, in 1949–50 £137,500,000. In the light of those figures I think we have been fairly austere in fixing the total at £125 million for the next two years, and I think it would be imprudent to set at an even lower figure what is after all a maximum.

9.0 p.m.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre (New Forest)

Before the hon. Gentleman passes from that point can he say what were the major items which caused those peaks at the times mentioned?

Mr. Jay

I was coming to that next, but while we are on the peaks I should say in reply to the hon. Member for Flint, West, that there really is no analogy with the 1918 and 1920 figures. because of course our whole case for retaining a higher maximum is that there are new Government activities, in particular those of the trading Departments, and new needs prevailing. The hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) asked how the peak totals were divided into advances to the individual Departments. One finds that the chief items in the last three or four years are first, on account of the trading Departments, secondly, on account of the Health Departments, and thirdly, the intra-European Payments Account.

To take the trading Departments first. The peak for the Ministry of Food was £45 million in 1946–47; £135 millions in 1947–48—that included the Andes payment to which the hon. Gentleman referred—and finally £40 million in 1948-49. The hon. Gentleman was incorrect in supposing that that £40 million in the last year included the Andes payment. The £40 million was attributable to ordinary trading operations. The Ministry of Health has accounted for £51 million in 1948–49 and £92 million in 1949–50. The hon. Gentleman quoted the statement by the right hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Stanley) in 1946 that the provision of working capital for the trading Departments was a legitimate use of the Civil Contingencies Fund, and I think the figures that have been given show that that argument is equally valid today. The trading operations of the Ministry of Food may not be quite so great as in 1946, but they are still very large, and the Department must therefore, it seems to us, be provided with working capital.

Mr. Birch

Would the hon. Gentleman say something about the Government reaction to the Report on the Form of Public Accounts so far as it affects trading Departments?

Mr. Jay

There again I was coming to that in my next sentence. The hon. Gentleman refers to the Crick Report, as I think it was called, which makes interesting suggestions for new machinery covering these needs of the trading Departments. That report has not been very long available, and is being studied by the Government. We cannot as yet say what action, if any, is likely to be taken on those recommendations. Naturally, until any decision is reached, we must continue to provide in other ways for the needs of these Departments.

I agree with the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher) that the necessity of holding certain levels of stocks, and perhaps of building stocks, at this time might be a legitimate use of the Civil Contingencies Fund under the general heading of the "Trading Departments." I should like to correct the impression, which perhaps he did not mean to give but which is not true, that the stocks of most of our essential commodities are run down to a low level. That is not correct over the general run of those stocks.

We certainly hope that it will not be necessary again to draw on the Civil Contingencies Fund for the National Health Service. That is one reason why we think that it is not imprudent to make this cut from £250 million to £125 million. The hon. Member for Flint, West was wrong in saying that no indication was given to the public before the General Election that any Supplementary Estimates for the Health Service would be introduced. He has forgotten that my right hon. Friend made a speech at the beginning of October in which he said clearly that Supplementary Estimates for the Health Service would be necessary.

The reason why Supplementary Estimates could not be introduced in January or February, as I said on Second Reading, and as is perfectly true in spite of what the hon. Gentleman said, was that the General Election intervened. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn, West (Mr. Assheton) asked why they were not introduced earlier, in November or December. The reason was that it was not possible at that time to estimate precisely what the figure would be. I think the right hon. Gentleman would agree that it would not have been desirable, as it never is in these cases, to introduce a Supplementary Estimate which afterwards proved to be either substantially too large or substantially too small. That is the reason why, in what I should have thought was a reasonable and business-like way, we waited to introduce the Supplementary Estimate until we knew what the figure was.

The other use of the Fund has been in financing the Intra-European Payments Scheme. That scheme, I think by common consent, has been a most valuable—indeed, perhaps the most valuable—practical form of economic co-operation in Europe in the last three years. If an artificially low limit had been set, or were set now, to the Civil Contingencies Fund, the United Kingdom might be hampered in playing its vital part in financing European co-operation of this kind. The hon. Gentleman rightly pointed out that this scheme is now to be replaced by the European Payments Union. It is not possible for me tonight to say exactly how the European Payments Union will affect our internal financial machinery, but I can assure hon. Members that it is highly probable that, in the early months of the scheme at any rate, we shall need to draw on the Civil Contingencies Fund to launch this highly important experiment.

The hon. Gentleman was not correct in assuming that the procedure of conditional aid which he described which was part of the old European Payments Scheme will disappear from the European Payments Union. The probability is that there will be some form of conditional aid in the new scheme. Nor, of course, is it outside our powers to use the Civil Contingencies Fund for advances for the European Payments Union in advance of legislation in the next few months, if it is necessary to do so. That would rank as an unforeseen contingency like some of the others which the hon. Gentleman described, and it would be perfectly legitimate to use the Fund for that purpose. Whether or not it will be necessary to introduce further legislation to regularise the whole procedure for the European Payments Union, I am afraid I cannot say now, but it is highly probable that the Civil Contingencies Fund will have to be used.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Is the hon. Gentleman really saying that the whole finance of the European Payments Scheme is now to come from the Civil Contingencies Fund?

Mr. Jay

No, I am not saying anything of the kind. I am saying that it is highly probable that temporary use will have to be made of it, in just the same way as use was made of it for the previous European Payments Scheme. It is for that reason, as well as for the others which I have mentioned, that we must ask the Committee to reject this Amendment and to grant the Government the latitude involved in this rather lower maximum of £125 million which we propose.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

I think we have just heard a speech which must rank high in the annals of Parliamentary debate in that a Fund which was originally designed for the most minor occasions, something like erecting a statue for which there was no specific Vote, is now being used, in the words of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to finance the war in Korea, on the one hand, and the whole of the European Payments Union, on the other. The sum for which the Government are now asking is not anywhere within measurable reach of what this Fund was designed for, and it has now merely become a weapon in the hands of the Government for use for those matters which they either do not dare or do not wish to bring before Parliament. That is really the situation which we have now reached.

The Financial Secretary quoted from a report mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch), about trading Departments, though, as usual, in the most disingenuous terms and without acknowledging what that report recommended. I would ask the Financial Secretary again whether it is not a fact that the interim report said that sufficient experience has now been received to show that each single trading Department should be self-sufficient and should be maintained out of the Vote of that Department? It may be that, because of Government policy from time to time, and particularly at the beginning of a Socialist Government's period of office, credits are necessary while the methods of bulk purchase are being learned and the commitments of bulk purchase studied.

I ask the hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that the Committee's report stated that the Civil Contingencies Fund should no longer be used for these purposes and that the necessary amount of money to deal with the trading services should be supplied by the Vote of the Ministry concerned. I think that, if the Financial Secretary looks at that report, he will find that his explanation to the Committee tonight was far from frank, and one can only say that he was telling half the truth, and even that would be to put a gloss on what he said.

Why did the Financial Secretary say that the last few weeks had shown how necessary a Fund like this is? This Committee is not frightened of facing up to the facts, and the only people who are frightened are some hon. Members behind the hon. Gentleman. We are perfectly prepared to face, as may be, necessary sums of money, and I think the Financial Secretary has shown a very bad sense of justice to the Committee by saying that they propose to do these things out of the Civil Contingencies Fund. What he has said tonight—

Mr. Jay

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is going rather far in misrepresenting what I said. What I meant, of course, was that, when we have contingencies occurring, provision has to be made for a few weeks or a short period out of this Fund, until such time as Estimates can be introduced.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

The hon. Gentleman is again very disingenuous. He said that the last three weeks have shown—those are his words—

Mr. Jay

Certainly, I meant the events in Korea to illustrate how special emergencies arise which may call for finance before time has materialised for the introduction of Estimates. I should have thought that that was perfectly clear.

9.15 p.m.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

There is no quarrel between us. The hon. Gentleman proposes to finance the war in Korea out of the Civil Contingencies Fund. He has just said so. I think that is an extremely bad way of dealing with these matters. This Committee is perfectly prepared to vote money for such a matter, but to try to hide it under this cloak is, I think, a very bad thing both for this Committee and for the country. Furthermore, this Bill was introduced and the sum set out long before Korea happened, and for the hon. Gentleman now to make excuses to the effect that Korea is the reason, when the target was set beforehand. seems to me to add duplicity to duplicity.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned three sums in connection with the Ministry of Food. I want to ask him why it was necessary to take this money out of the Civil Contingencies Fund. He will remember as well as I the discussion we had on the Andes Pact, and he will also remember that this sum was agreed. Therefore. why not produce a Supplementary Estimate for that sum rather than deal with the matter out of the Civil Contingencies Fund? There is another point. My hon. Friend the Member for Flint raised with the hon. Gentleman the question of the Supplementary Estimates for the National Health Service. The Financial Secretary said, again disingenuously, "We dare not introduce a Supplementary Estimate until we know it is sound." I would say that he knew that a Supplementary Estimate would be necessary and that, equally, he knew that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, "We are going to have no Supplementary Estimates."

Why, therefore, did he shelve the whole thing until after the General Election and take the money out of the Civil Contingencies Fund where it could not be traced until the accounts were put forward? The truth is that, on the one hand, we have the Financial Secretary saying they want to use this Fund for sudden emergencies, which were never envisaged when the Fund was set up, and, on the other hand, we find it used for things which are questionable. I hope, therefore, that the Financial Secretary will accept our Amendment and thus indicate that he is going to use this Fund for the purposes—and for the purposes alone—for which it was originally authorised by Parliament.

Mr. Assheton (Blackburn, West)

When we were debating this Bill on Second Reading, I told the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that I hoped that when we came to the Committee stage he would explain why he wanted as much as £125 million for the Civil Contingencies Fund. We on this side of the Committee have put down an Amendment to reduce that sum to £50 million. My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch), in his most able speech, gave very cogent reasons for reducing the sum from £125 million to £50 million, and his argument has been well supported in other quarters of the Committee, both above and below the Gangway.

I do not consider that the Financial Secretary has given us a satisfactory answer to our question. I explained to the Committee at some length the other day what, I think, most hon. Members already knew, but perhaps some new hon. Members did not, namely, the history and purpose of this Fund. This Fund has a long history. It was designed to deal with small matters and with civil matters, and the suggestion that we can finance a war in Korea out of that Fund shows a complete lack of knowledge of our whole financial system. In fact, it would not, of course, be possible at all. Service Departments cannot obtain money from the Civil Contingencies Fund except for very special purposes unconnected with military operations. That disposes of that one, I think.

What are the reasons for which money can be wanted from this Fund? In the first place, there are advances in anticipation of Parliamentary Votes. That is one of the commonest uses of this Fund. That was the use so rightly and properly criticised in the circumstances with regard to the National Health Service Estimates last year. When this 1946 legislation was being introduced, there was no suggestion whatever from the Treasury Bench that this Fund would ever be used for such a purpose as temporarily to meet Supplementary Estimates running into nearly £100 million, and it is most improper that it should have been used in that way.

The Financial Secretary said there was a smaller drawing the previous year, against which he said no complaint was made by the Opposition. I will tell him why there was no complaint. It is that, whereas this year, knowing full well that we were on the track of it, there is a note in the Supplementary Estimate to say that the sum of £54 million had been advanced from the Civil Contingencies Fund, in the Supplementary Estimate of the year before there was no note to that effect. They concealed it from us, and we did not know it. That is why we did not raise it.

Next, there are issues in advance of legislation. The Intra-European payments Account was a good example of that; and nothing the hon. Gentleman has said this evening has convinced me that under the new arrangements being entered into it would be necessary to draw upon the Civil Contingencies Fund at all. There were special reasons for using it on that occasion, and nothing he hag said leads me to think it will be necessary to draw upon this Fund for these arrangements.

Thirdly, there are advances to outside bodies which are subsequently recoverable. We had one or two examples of that when the Electricity Board and Gas Council were set up. Money was advanced by the Civil Contingencies Fund to support a preliminary committee to get to grips with the problems, or to provide salaries for eminent gentlemen kept, as it were, on ice. That is a type of use of the Civil Contingencies Fund which has been made in the past.

I think the most obvious use, and the one which hon. Members have been most accustomed to is the use of this Fund for emergencies. [Interruption.] I know hon. Members opposite are not interested in financial matters, and do not seek to show much interest. A good case, for example, would be the case of the recent Winnipeg floods. If, in examining the account next year, it was found that some use had been made of the Civil Contingencies Fund for that purpose, I should make no complaint whatever. That has been done in the past, and no doubt will be again.

Now I want to come to one case which the Financial Secretary to the Treasury put forward with some substance; that is the case of the trading accounts. There ought not to be large advances to postpone Supplementary Estimates. In the case of the Ministry of Health there ought to have been a Supplementary Estimate in the Autumn and, if necessary, again in March. It was quite monstrous for a Department to run up a bill of £100 million and not to have come to the House with Estimates. The only reason they did not tell us was because they knew there would be a General Election, and they knew that we should criticise their extravagance.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West, pointed out, the only Department which really has drawn largely upon this Fund is the Ministry of Food and, to a smaller extent, the Ministry of Transport for certain services in connection with the operation of commercial shipping. I see no occasion for the Ministry of Transport to draw on the Fund to any extent in the future and no occasion for the Ministry of Food to draw on the Fund to an extent approaching the £50 million we suggest. I believe that £50 million is more than enough. Of course, the Financial Secretary told us how much they had used the Fund in the last four or five years of Socialist extravagance and tried to convince the Committee that, because they had taken £181 million from this Fund two years ago and £155 million last year, that procedure should continue. That sort of argument does not appeal to us at all. We believe that procedure ought to stop and the sooner it stops the better.

I suggest that unless we put our foot down and set a limit to this Fund, a very reasonable limit which should soon be reduced—the £50 million could soon be reduced to a much lower figure—we shall weaken Parliamentary control over finance. Ever since the House of Commons was formed it has been the duty of Members of Parliament to keep a control over finance and we cannot keep a proper control over finance if we have a petty cash till containing £125 million which the Government have at their disposal.

When an eminent Treasury official gave evidence before the Public Accounts Committee about this Fund some years ago he said that the Civil Contingencies Fund was a kind of perquisite of the executive Government who could make use of it as much as they liked. So it was when it was only £100,000. Is it to be thought that the executive Government are to have a perquisite at their disposal of £125 million? Of course, such a suggestion is completely contrary to the idea of the proper control of finance by the House and I suggest that the Committee should accept the Amendment which we have moved.

Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)

I should like to congratulate the Financial Secretary on having made a perfect speech which will serve as a model to anyone who, in the future, wants to know the sort of reason put forward by the Government as to why they should have a large and quite unnecessary fund at their disposal and why they should avoid proper and adequate control. He said that the Government wanted funds for certain emergencies, but everyone knows that one of the reasons for our present financial weakness is that in the last few years the House of Commons, through the incompetence of the Treasury, has not been able to keep a close enough hand on financial affairs. The result is that the sort of excuse put forward tonight has been advanced in the past for any form of waste, from the Kitchen Committee to the largest Government Department.

The whole trouble with this Fund is that none of us really knows where the money goes. Even after the speech by the Financial Secretary, we do not know that. I urge the Committee to follow the advice of the hon. and learned Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Hopkin Morris). As the Government have given no reason at all why we should vote this large sum, we should certainly vote them only the £50 million. Personally, I think even that is too much; I believe it could have been cut considerably.

It has been suggested that one of the differences between now and the years after the last war, is that we have new needs. It is the job of the House of Commons to find out what the cost will be before they supply the new needs. That is precisely what the Chancellor of the Exchequer preaches, but neither he nor the Government, nor anyone else on that side of the Committee, ever puts that principle into operation. I realise that anything which savours of saving the taxpayers' money is very much disliked by hon. Members opposite.

9.30 p.m.

There has never been a Government that has come to this Chamber to demand an almost unlimited sum of this kind with no excuses and no reason. The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows perfectly well that a Supplementary Estimate for any special emergency would be passed in a few hours, and would have, of course, the support of this side of the Committee. But the Government know

they would not then get the same support from the other side. For that reason, I shall vote in favour of the lower sum, although I feel that it would have been better if it could have been made smaller still.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 282; Noes, 246.

Division No. 61.] AYES [9.32 p.m.
Adams, Richard Delargy, H. J. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Albu, A. H. Diamond, J. Janner, B.
Alien, A. C. (Bosworth) Dodds, N. N. Jay, D. P. T.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Donnelly, D. Jeger, G. (Goole)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Driberg, T. E. N. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R Dugdale, Rt. Hon. J. (W. Bromwich) Jenkins, R. H.
Awbery, S. S. Dye, S. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Ayles, W. H. Ede, Rt. Hon J. C. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Bacon, Miss A. Edwards, John (Brighouse) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)
Baird, J. Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly) Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Balfour, A. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Jones, William Elwyn (Conway)
Bartley, P. Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Keenan, W.
Ballenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Kenyon, C.
Benson, G. Ewart, R. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Beswick, F. Fernyhough, E. King, H. M.
Blackburn, A. R Field, Capt. W. J. Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E
Blenkinsop, A. Finch, H. J. Kinley, J.
Blyton, W. R. Lang, Rev. G.
Boardman, H. Fletcher, E. G M. (Islington, E.) Lee, F. (Newton)
Booth, A. Follick, M. Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Bottomley, A. G Foot, M. M. Lever, N. H. (Cheatham)
Bowden, H. W. Forman, J. C. Lewis, A. W. J. (West Ham, N.)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Lewis, J, (Bolton, W.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Lindgren, G. S.
Brockway, A. Fenner Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Lipton, Lt.-Col. M
Brook, D. (Halifax) Ganley, Mrs. C. S Logan, D. G.
Brooks, T. J. (Normanton) Gibson, C. W. Longden, F. (Small Heath)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Gilzean, A. MoAllister, G.
Brown, George (Belper) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) MacColl, J. E.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Gooch, E. G. McGhee, H. G.
Burke, W. A. Greenwood, Anthony W. J. (Rossendale) McInnes, J.
Burton, Miss E. Grenfell, D. R. Mack, J. D.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Grey, C. F. McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Callaghan, James Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.)
Carmichael, James Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) McLeavy, F.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Champion, A. J. Gunter, R. J. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Chetwynd, G. R. Hale, J. (Rochdale) Mainwaring, W. H.
Clunie, J. Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Cocks, F. S. Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Coldriok, W. Hall, Rt. Hn. W. Glenvil (Colne V'll'v) Mann, Mrs. J.
Collick, P. Hamilton, W. W. Manuel, A. C.
Collindridge, F. Hannan, W. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Cook, T. F. Hardman, D. R. Mathers, Rt. Hon. George
Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.) Hardy, E. A. Mellish, R. J.
Cooper, J. (Deptford) Hargreaves, A. Messer, F.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Peckham) Harrison, J. Middleton, Mrs. L.
Cove, W. G. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Mikardo, Ian
Creddook, George (Bradford, S.) Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R.
Crawley, A. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Moeran, E. W.
Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Herbison, Miss M. Monslow, W.
Crossman, R. H. S. Hewitson, Capt. M. Moody, A. S.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Hobson, C. R. Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Dagger, G. Holman, P. Morley, R.
Daines, P. Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Houghton, Douglas Mort, D. L.
Darling, G. (Hillsboro') Hoy, J. Moyle, A.
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N.) Mulley, F. W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Murray, J. D.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Nally, W.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughtort) Hughes, Moelwyn (Islington, N.) Neal, H.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J
de Freitas, Geoffrey Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) O'Brlen, T.
Deer, G. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Oliver, G. H.
Orbach, M. Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Padley, W. E Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Weitzman, D.
Paget, R. T. Shurmer, P. L. E. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly) Silverman, J. (Erdington) Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Simmons, C. J. West, D. G.
Pannell, T. C. Slater, J. Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Pargiter, G. A Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) White, Mrs. E. (E. Flint)
Parker, J. Snow, J. W. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Pearl, T. F. Sorensen, R. W. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Poole, Cecil Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Wigg, George
Popplewell, E. Steele, T. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B
Porter, G. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Wilkes, L.
Price, M. Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Wilkins, W. A.
Proctor, W. T. Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Vauxhall) Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Pryde, D. J. Stross, Dr. B. Williams, D. J. (Heath)
Pursey, Comdr. H Sylvester, G. O. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Rankin, J. Taylor, H. B (Mansfield) Williams, Rt, Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Rees, Mrs. D. Taylor, R. J (Morpeth) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Reeves, J. Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Huyton)
Reid, T. (Swindon) Thomas, George (Cardiff) Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham C.)
Reid, W. (Camlachie) Thomas, I.O. (Wrekin) Winterbottom, R. E. (Brightside)
Richards, R. Thomas, I. R. (Rhondda, W.) Wise, Major F. J.
Robens, A. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Timmons, J. Woods, Rev. G. S
Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G Wyatt, W. L.
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Tomney, F. Yates, V. F.
Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Turner-Samuels, M. Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Ross, William (Kilmarnock) Vernon, Maj. W. F
Royle, C. Viant, S. P. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Shackleton, E. A A Wallace, H. W. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Sparks.
Watkins, T. E.
Aitken, W. T. Crowder, F. P. (Ruislip—Northwood) Hill, Dr. C. (Luton)
Alport, C. J. M. Crowder, Capt. John F. E. (Finchley) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Amery, J. (Preston, N.) Cundiff, F. W. Hogg, Hon. Q.
Amory, D. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Cuthbert, W. N. Hollis, M. C.
Arbuthnot, John Davidson, Viscountess Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Davies, Nigel (Epping) Hope, Lord J.
Assheton, RI. Hon. R. (Blackburn W.) De la Bère, R. Hopkinson, H. L. D'A.
Baker, P. Deedes, W. F. Hornsby-Smith, Miss P.
Baldock, J. M. Digby, S. Wingfield Horsbrugh, Miss F.
Baldwin, A. E Dodds-Parker, A. D Howard, G. R. (St. Ives)
Banks, Col, C. Donner, P. W. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Beamish, Maj T. V. H. Drayson, G. B. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Bell, R. M. Drewe, C. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Bennett, Sir P (Edgbaston) Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond) Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.
Bennett, R. F. B. (Gosport) Duncan, Capt. J A C Hurd, A. R.
Bennett, W. G. (Woodside) Duthie W. S. Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Bevies, J. R. (Liverpoel, Toxteth) Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Birch, Nigel Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Walter Hyde, H. M.
Bishop, F. P. Erroll, F. J. Hylton-Foster, H. B.
Black, C. W. Fisher, Nigel Jeffreys, General Sir G.
Boles, Lt.-Col D. C (Wells) Fletcher, W. (Bury) Johnson, Howard S. (Kemptown)
Boothby, R. Fort, R. Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Bossom, A. C Foster, J. G. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Bowen, R. Fraser, Hon. H. C. P. (Stone) Kaberry, D.
Bower, N. Fraser, Sir I. (Lansdale) Keeling, E. H.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan Gage, C. H. Lambert, Hon. G.
Brains, B. Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Langford-Holt, J.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr J. G. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hilthead) Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W Garner-Evans, E. H. (Denbigh) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Brooke, H. (Hampstead) Gates, Maj. E E. Linstead, H. N.
Browne, J. N. (Govan) Glyn, Sir R. Llewellyn, D.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gridley, Sir A. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)
Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E Grimond, J. Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)
Burden, Squadron-Leader F. A Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Butcher, H. W. Grimston, R. V. (Westbury) Longden, G. J. M. (Herts. S.W.)
Carr, L. R. (Mitcham) Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbbridge) Low, A. R. W.
Carson, Hon. E. Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.) Lucas, Major Sir J. (Portsmouth, S.)
Channon, H. Harris, R. R. (Heston) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
Glarke, Col. R. S. (East Grinstead) Harvey, Air-Codre. A. V. (Maselesfield) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.
Clarke, Brig. T. H. (Portsmouth, W.) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.
Clyde, J. L. Harvie-Watt, Sir G. S. McAdden, S. J.
Colegate, A. Hay, John Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)
Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S) Head, Brig, A. H. Mackeson, Brig, H. R.
Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Heald, L. F. McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne) Heath, Edward Maclay, Hon. J. S.
Cranborne, Viscount Henderson, John (Catheart) Maclean, F. H. R.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)
Cross, Rt. Hon. Sir R. Higgs, J. M. C. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Cal. O E Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawa) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Crouch, R. F.
Manningham-Buller, R. E. Raikes, H. V. Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Rayner, Brig, R. Teeling, William
Marples, A. E. Redmayne, M. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Remnant, Hon. P. Thompson, K. P. (Walton)
Maude, A. E. U. (Ealing, S.) Renton, D. L. M. Thompson, R. H. M. (Croydon, W.)
Maudling, R. Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth) Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Medlicott, Brigadier F. Robertson, Sir D. (Caithness) Thorp, Brigadier R. A F
Mellor, Sir J. Robinson, J. Roland (Blackpool, S.) Tilney, John
Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T. Robson-Brown, W. (Esher) Touche, G. C.
Morris, R. Hopkin (Carmarthen) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Roper, Sir H. Vane, W. M. F.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Ropner, Col. L. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Russell, R. S. Vosper, D. F.
Nabarro, G. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Wade, D. W.
Nicholls, H. Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Wakefield, E. B. (Derbyshire, W.)
Nicholson, G. Savory, Prof. D. L. Wakefield, Sir W. W. (St. Marylebone)
Nugent, G. R. H. Scott, Donald Walker-Smith, D. C.
Oakshott, H. D. Shepherd, W. S. (Cheadle) Ward, Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Smith, E. Martin (Grantham) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Smithers, Peter H. B. (Winchester) Waterhouse, Capt. C.
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Smithers, Sir W. (Orpington) Watkinson, H.
Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Webbe, Sir H. (London)
Osborne, C. Soames, Capt. C. Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)
Perkins, W. R. D. Spearman, A. C. M. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Pete, Brig. C. H. M Stanley, Capt. Hon. R. (N. Fylde) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Pickthorn, K. Stevens, G. P. Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.)
Pitman, I. J. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) Wills, G.
Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Powell, J. Enoch Stewart, J. Henderson (Fite, E.) Wood, Hon. R.
Prescott, Stanley Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. York, C.
Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.) Young, Sir A. S. L.
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. Summers, G. S.
Profumo, J. D. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Remaining Clauses ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the Third time Tomorrow.